What does a best man do?

All you need is love … and a great best man.

It’s an honour to be asked to be a best man.  It can be heaps of fun but also comes with a lot of responsibility.  Here’s a run down on what a best man does.

Before the wedding

  • Plan the stag party – probably the most fun aspect of the role.  It’s your job to plan what/when/how much for the stag party.
  • Tux/suit hire – it’s your job to help the groom sort out his suit for the wedding, whether he’s going to be buying or hiring.  It’s also your job to organise the other groomsman to make sure they’re all there when the suits are selected and for fittings.  That way you’re all matching.
  • Rehearsal – Attend the wedding rehearsal, usually the day before. Pay special attention to where you’ve got to be, when you have to be there. You will also need to ensure all the groomsman know where they have to be.
  • Help the groom on the wedding day – It’s your job to make sure you take the stress off the groom on the big day.  You need to help him dress, make sure he has everything he needs, and then give him and all the groomsmen a quick once over before you arrrive at the ceremony.

During the wedding ceremony

  • Distribute the boutonnieres (buttonholes) and make sure everyone is wearing them.
  • Hold the rings.  You either need to have the rings right from the beginning or you take the rings off the ring bearer.
  • Sign the marriage licence. You may be asked to sign the marriage licence to make the marriage official.  Make sure you bring it up at the rehearsal if the officiant doesn’t mention it.
  • Escort the maid of honour or bridesmaid out of the ceremony.

At the Reception

  • Best man toast – Perform the best man toast/speech at the reception.  Probably the most nerve-wracking part of the role.  There’s heaps of info on the internet about how to nail your best man speech.
  • Read the telegrams – or in today’s day and age, read any emails, tweets, facebook updates for the couple.
  • Dance with the maid of honour-It’s your job to get the party started once the first dance of the bride and groom is underway.
  • Decorate the getaway car.
  • Help to decorate the honeymoon suite with the maid of honour.
  • Suits back – take the grooms tux/suit back to the hire shop, if the couple are leaving for their honeymoon straight after wedding.

The gist of the role is that you are the right hand man for the groom, you are standing beside your best mate/brother to support him on one of the biggest/best day of his life. It is a honour to be asked, so make sure you are happy to fulfill the role to the best of your abilities before you say yes.


Wedding Hacks

All you need is love and … some real life wedding hacks.


We all know planning a wedding is stressful even for the most organised person, and we all know that millions of people have done it a million different ways before you, so why not learn from their wisdom.

  • Heel protectors – these cute/simple devices slip onto the heel of your stillettos and allow you to walk and stand gracefully on the grass on your wedding day.  They are a life saver and a must for all brides who are going to be walking on grass at some stage of their wedding day.
  • Have a 2-3 tier cake for display/cutting at the reception – but serve guests from a more inexpensive sheet cake thats hidden in the kitchen.
  • Number the back of your RSVP Cards – place a small number on the back of your rsvp cards then have a corresponding guest list.  That way if someone’s writing is illegible or they don’t fill the card in you’ll know who it’s from.
  • Limit your guest list – I know you want to invite everyone but when you’re on a budget it’s just not possible.  Think to yourself would you be happy paying for a dinner out for this person? (because that is technically what you are doing) and if the answer is know, they don’t get invited.
  • Ditch unnecessary extras – no-one really remembers and/or uses the wedding favours that may have cost you alot of time and/or effort.  You don’t always need to send save the date cards to everyone.
  • DJ? – Save yourself some money by making a play list on your ipod or even a smart phone and use that for the music during the reception.
  • Think creatively when it comes to venues, for either your ceremony or reception. There can be hugely varying prices between venues, look around and think creatively. Can you use the local park, library, movie theatre?
  • New wedding shoes – Rub the soles of new wedding shoes (girls and guys) with samdpaper to de-slick them, especially if what are wanting to get down on the dancefloor.
  • Magnetic veil weights – I did not even know they were a thing, but they make complete sense to me for holding that veil in place, especially for an outside wedding.
  • Hand the phone over – Appoint someone ‘Official media person for the day’ Hand your phone over and let someone else intercept the texts, tweets etc on your big day.
  • Write your thank you notes as your receive your gifts – this will stop you from freaking out after the wedding when you are faced with a mountain of thank you notes to write, and will make sure you don’t get confused with who sent what.

Someone smart once said ‘People will only remember two things about your wedding day. The food and the feel of your wedding’  Stick to that plan and you’re bound to have a great day.


Real Life Wedding – Helena and Michael

ringsAll you need is love and … a real life wedding.


Helena and Michael

16 – 3 – 2013

Port Chalmers Town Hall, Dunedin, New Zealand

Wedding Dress: Bought Online – I did have some issues with the dress not being entirely the same as the picture on the internet site, and the flowers, one of the features I especially loved about the dress, needed to be re-made by a seamstress before being refastened to the dress.


Bridesmaid Dresses: EziBuy

Photographer: Robert Jones

Hair: Petrina McFarlane  MakeUp: Lisa Leslie


Grooms Attire: Volcom Stone Suit (Pinstripe)

Shoes: No 1 Shoes

Celebrant: Grace Ockwell


Flowers: Artificial (Black with a  diamante pin)

Cake: Stir Cupcakes, choc and red vanilla cupcakes


Catering: Just Essence

Best part of the day: Exchanging the wedding vows. As well as exchanging wedding vows between the two of us, Michael also presented Catie with a special signet ring and made some promises to her, she didn’t know what he had prepared so that made it extra special to both her and I. There wasn’t a dry eye among the guests at that stage of the ceremony. Definitely a special moment among the three of us.


Anything you would do differently: Video the day.

Ideas, Inspiration: Bridal Magazines, Internet, Pinterest.


Colours: Black and White (Michael’s sports team colours)

How did you pick your wedding party: Sisters and close friends.


Best piece of advice: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t try and keep everyone happy, you won’t.  It’s your day so don’t worry who’s toes you might step on

Tips for brides: Do everything, as much as you can online! Bargain hunt (shop around) Enjoy the day, because it’s over in a flash.  Don’t focus all your energy on the wedding day, it’s only one day, the marriage is for the rest of your life.  Get plenty of sleep the night before.


Anything that didn’t go according to plan: the boys got lost on the way to the photo location, and the fridge broke down at the reception.  Was definitely the best day ever.

How to honour those who can’t be at the wedding.

All you need is love… and ways to honour those who can’t be there at the wedding.

Weddings are special days. They are days of celebration where you surround yourself with those who you love and who love you.  Sometimes those you love aren’t able to help you celebrate your big day.

There are a few things to think about when deciding to how to honour the memory of someone special who has passed.

  • How fresh is the wound – how long ago did the person pass.  Have you and the guests had a chance to grieve privately before the event.  Will a special mention on the day be too much for you or your guests, and overshadow the joy of the day.
  • How much attention to you want to draw to the honouring -Sometimes too much attention will take the focus off the fact that it is a wedding and a happy occasion.
  • What’s most appropriate for the person – What’s the personality of the person you want to honour, would they want want a big fuss make of them?

Here’s some suggestions for elements you can add to either your ceremony or reception to bring attention to and honour your loved ones.

  • Wear something – wear something of their’s, a piece of jewellery or a tie would be perfect.  It could also cover your something borrowed.
  • Tribute in the ceremony program – If you are using a ceremony program you could add a small remembrance piece, or if you have a welcome sign at the entrance to your wedding space you could add something there.
  • Light a candle of remembrance – as part of your wedding ceremony you can light a candle of remembrance, or have a candle lit during your reception.

  • Photo table – use photo’s of important people to decorate a table at your reception.
  • Toast to their memory – you could include a toast as part of your ceremony of use their favourite tipple to toast to them during the speeches at your reception.
  • Reading/poem during the ceremony – have either the celebrant or a friend/family perform a reading during the ceremony and dedicate it to your loved one.
  • Favours – Use your wedding favours to celebrate that special person. Use a charitable donation (to their favourite charity) in their name as your wedding favours.
  • Moment of silence – add a moment of silence to your wedding ceremony, usually at the beginning after you walk down the aisle, to remember your special person.
  • Save a seat – leave a seat in the front row spare with their name on it, to honour where they would have sat.
  • Piece of clothing – sew a piece of their clothing into the inside of your wedding gown or into your suit jacket.

  • Charms – use photo charms or jewellery charms either in or on your bouquet so your loved ones walk down the aisle with you.
  • Hankerchief – use a loved one’s hankerchief to wipe away your happy tears on your wedding day.

  • Wedding shoes – place a photo or name of your special person on the bottom of your wedding shoes, so they can walk you down the aisle.

There are lots of special ways to honour those who you wish could be there to help you celebrate your wedding day.  

Starting the journey. From engaged to married.

All you need is love and …to follow a real life wedding planning journey.

I’d like to introduce you all to Sharmain and Jeremy.

Sharmain and Jeremy
Sharmain and Jeremy

 These two love birds just got engaged and their journey from engaged to married is going to be a regular feature, where every month I will check in with them to see how the wedding planning process is going.

So let me tell you a little about these two. Sharmain is 22 and her fiance Jeremy is 31. They have been together for just over 4 years and engaged for 3 weeks.  They met at work where he hit her with a door (I’m assuming accidentally) and the rest they say is history.

Jeremy proposed to Sharmain while they were on holiday in Auckland celebrating their 4 year anniversary.  Sharmain has an absolute love of animals (we’ll probably hear more about that later) so Jeremy decided that proposing to her at the Auckland Zoo would be perfect. He felt that its a place they don’t have a chance to visit everyday (since they live in Dunedin) and somewhere they hope they can one day take their children back to. So after hours of wandering around the zoo,  just before the zoo closed, Jeremy told Sharmain to take one last photo at the tiger enclosure, so she took the photo and then when she turned back around to put the camera away, Jeremy was down on his knee. Pretty romantic move if you ask me.

So first Sharmain cried, as you do, then called her mother, as you do. Then Jeremy called his parents to tell them she was crying, apparently they had already been let in on his secret before they left for the trip.  So after some more texts and phone calls to close friends and family it was announced on social media, and then the whole world knew.

The Ring
The Ring

The ring came from Pascoes the Jewellers, and  Jeremy admits it was fairly easy to do a bit of window shopping and then sneakily purchase the ring due to the two of them not having the same days off work, and unknown to Sharmain she had been inadvertently  giving Jeremy ideas of styles she liked.

They haven’t set a wedding date yet, but are considering early 2018.  Which will give them plenty of time to hopefully have a relaxed wedding planning process. It’s important to Sharmain and Jeremy that they have an enjoyable and memorable day but that is still remains their wedding.

As part of the planning process Sharmain is hoping to get advice from family and friends who have been through the wedding planning process and has signed up to Pinterest ( like every good bride should) and is now a regular purchaser of  bridal magazines.

Each month we’ll check in to see how the process is going, what’s been done, how everyone’s feeling, if there are any issues etc.  I’m looking forward to seeing a real life wedding unfold.  Let the fun begin!

Best wedding planning advice ever!

All you need is love and … the best wedding planning advice ever!

This wedding planning business can make even the most sane person a little (or lot) crazy.  Where do you think the term Bridezilla came from?  It’s so easy to get caught up in the hype, but here’s a list of a few key points to keep in the back of your mind, as you navigate your way to planning your big day.

  • Don’t get caught up in ‘perfection’ – don’t get so obsessed with getting everything perfect, in fact some of the best moments of the day can be when things don’t go according to plan, the flower girl who lifts her skirt up to show everyone her knickers.
  • Savor every moment, it will fly by quickly – take some time during the day to just breathe and take everything in.  Make sure you have a little time at some part of the day to have a moment with your new husband/wife to just revel in the joy of the day.


  • Prioritize – pick what are the most important elements of your wedding to you as a couple, and spend the most of your budget on those. Is it the photos, is it good music?
  • You can’t/won’t please everyone – the best/worst thing about wedding planning is that everyone has an opinion.  You are not going to make everyone happy, and you will do yourselves a disservice if you try to.  Remember it’s your wedding day so make yourselves happy.
  • Remembering whats truly important – it’s easy to get caught up in choc cake vs carrot cake, and completely forget that the weddings about you getting married to the love of your life.
  • Eat and Drink – Your wedding day will absolutely fly by and it’s important to eat when you can and keep up the fluids (not just the bubbles) if you want to be able to party into the night.
  • Only do things you can afford – don’t put too much pressure on yourselves financially doing things that you think you need to do just to impress your guests.
  • Start early/finish early – Start the planning process as early as you can, to give yourself time to get everything done and to minimise the stress, and finish as early as you can to give yourself time to relax and enjoy this time.
  • Delegate – Ask for help when you need it.  Communicate clearly as a couple what your expectations/jobs are for the wedding planning process.
  • Stand your ground- Don’t be pushed into something you don’t want just to keep Great Aunty Fanny happy.
  • Treat your bridesmaids as you would like to be treated – Make sure you communicate your expectations to each of your bridal party, to give them a chance to decide if they’re up to the job.
  • Invitations need more time than you think – Send out your invitations earlier than you think, and set your RSVP date earlier than you need to, and you’ll still need to chase some of your guests.  Make it as easy as you can to RSVP for your guests.
  • Have Fun – remember it’s your wedding day, enjoy it.

The role of a Master of Ceremony

All you need is love … and a great Master of Ceremony

When I talk to a couple in the initial stages of their wedding ceremony planning I always ask if they have organised who will be their MC.  The MC is the person I will liaise with on the wedding day if there are any issues, and it is also the person who I give the couple’s marriage licence to after the wedding.  So when choosing your MC think about the person who you know will not leave the licence on the back seat of the taxi on the way home.

Why have a MC?

A MC will be like a ‘Person Friday’ on your wedding day.  They will be the person who will be the point of contact for any guest questions, any vendor questions, and ensure the smooth running of the wedding day.  They are not just for the speeches at the wedding reception.

How to choose an MC

  • Choose someone who’s personality fits the tone of your wedding/wedding reception. If you want it to be humorous/casual then choose someone who can pull that off, if you’re going for a more formal/traditional vibe then go for someone that way inclined, normally someone a little older.
  • Choose someone who feels comfortable speaking to an audience.
  • Choose someone who is organised and a good communicator, someone who can keep to your time line, and can communicate to event staff to ensure everything runs smoothly.
  • Someone with a can-do attitude, who is going to be OK pitching in to help when needed.
  • Someone who either doesn’t drink, can stay sober or can control their drinking, they need to be in control throughout the day/night.

How to be a stellar MC

  • Spend some time before the wedding, liaising with the bride and groom to create a time line of the day.  It’s a great idea to also be at the wedding rehearsal to make sure you have a good grasp on what’s going to happen. Make sure you know the names of the bridal party, parents, grandparents, it makes it a bit more personal.
  • Test the microphone before the reception, and practice using the volume and the acoustics of the space.
  • Make sure you are seated near the front so you don’t have to constantly move through the guests to get to the microphone.
  • Introduce yourself at the beginning, and a little spiel about how you know the bride and groom.
  • Be humorous, but appropriate, remember there will probably be grandparents/and or small children at the reception. No jokes about what happened on the stag night!
  • Introduce the speakers, and make sure you actually know who they are before hand, so you’re not aimlessly looking into the crowd after you introduce them.
  • Be able to go with the flow, sometimes things don’t always go according to plan, be able to roll with it.
  • Communicate with event staff, bride and groom, parents etc. Make sure every one knows what’s going to happen and when.
  • Be the point of contact for event staff, you may need to be able to perform last minute errands, if someone forgets something, or you run out of juice etc.
  • Stay relatively sober.  No one wants to listen to a slurring MC.
  • You will be the person to make announcements during the day, family photos, social media requests, when dinner is served, introducing the bride and groom, cutting the cake and the first dance.
  • Make sure the guests are aware of the house rules at the beginning of the reception, where the toilets are, smoking etc.

It is an honour to be asked to be a MC, its a big job which can definitely have an impact on a couples wedding day.  Think carefully when choosing a MC and think carefully before saying you’ll do it.

Alternatives to a flower wedding bouquet

All you need is love … and an alternative to a wedding bouquet.

So maybe you’re not a big flower person, maybe you or your groom are allergic to flowers, maybe you want to save some bucks or maybe you want something that is going to last longer than 2 days.  There are tons of alternatives to a traditional wedding bouquet, many that can be adapted to suit your colour scheme and many that may be a better match to your theme/location than a traditional bunch of flowers.

Back in the day brides carried a bouquet of flowers to disguise the poor hygiene habits of old, when normal showering each day was not the done thing.  These days this isn’t really too much of an issue, but it is still a tradition many partake in, the carrying of a bouquet not the not showering!

Here’s a list of alternatives to the wedding bouquet, you can use them as your bridal bouquet or incorporate them into your entire wedding party.

  • Pinwheels – always look cute and fun, and are generally colourful, you can make smaller versions for the groom and his boys.
  • Lollipops – love the look of a bunch of giant lollipops tied with a colourful ribbon, can be tailored to your colour palette.

  • Succulents – group together a variety of succulents.
  • Sprigs of dried herbs and/or dried flowers – imagine the smell of a bunch of lavender or rosemary.
  • Feather flowers – look beautiful with wee diamante included.
  • Stack of favourite books – wrap a stack or even a single favourite book with some beautiful fabric ribbon.

  • Brooches – Brooch bouquets look stunning, you can even ask all your favourite female family members/friends to gift you a brooch that you can use in the bouquet, making it extra special.
  • One giant paper flower –  looks very striking
  • Origami flowers – or any origami shape pulled together into a bouquet would be lovely, especially paper cranes.
  • Giant pom poms – definitely fun, can be matched to your colour scheme, you could either use one giant pom pom or a bunch of them together.
  • Balloons – either fastened into balloon flowers or a bunch of helium balloons held together with a ribbon.
  • Button bouquet – these are becoming very popular and look stunning.

  • Lantern – either by itself or filled with foliage and/or a candle, would look stunning for a night wedding.
  • Fan – can be adorned with a little foliage, or a favourite poem, would be handy on an especially hot day.
  • Seashells – would be a perfect fit for a beach wedding.
  • Parasols – look awesome for all the bridal party.

  • Flower crown – if you’re going for a more boho look this would be ideal, with long wavy natural looking hair.
  • Corsage/flower necklaces – a corsage either worn on the wrist/upper arm or ankle keeps the hands free for all the hand-holding you’ll be doing on your wedding day.

  • Metal wire bouquets – use think stainless steel with beads or diamante for a definite showstopper.
  • Paper butterflies – would not look out of place at a garden wedding.
  • Pinecones/Fruit/Vegies – For something completely different.
  • Paper flower – you could have them made out of pages from your favourite book, or love poems, or maps, if you love to travel.
  • Felt or fabric flowers – can be made to suit your colour scheme and will definitely last.

and the last and definitely my favourite a large dollop of candy floss, imagine the smell as you walk down the aisle.