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.

Nailing those thank you cards

All you need is love and … a way to say ‘thank you’

The jobs and etiquette of a wedding doesn’t stop once the day is over.  You will come home from your honeymoon all newly wed and smiley and be faced with getting those thank you cards out.  It is important to thank all your friends and family for their time, generosity and their thoughtfulness on the day.  After all they helped you celebrate your special day and they are the people who are helping you build your life as a newly married couple, surely that deserves a thank you card.

Thank you notes also act as a confirmation that you received a gift that may have come in the mail, it lets the givers know you received their gift.

There’s some tips to make the process simpler

  • Keep the list of addresses when you do your invitations, because you are going to need those again when you do your thank you cards.
  • Keep a list of who gave you what, either before the wedding, or give someone the job of noting it (making sure cards are firmly fastened to gifts) at the reception.
  • Order thank you cards when you order your invitations. www.bemyguest.co.nz/ does beautiful personalised wedding stationary.
  • Save yourself some time by writing thank you notes as the gifts come in before the wedding, it’ll be one less to do after.
  • Ask your photographer to take a photo of you with a ‘thank you’ prop, (either a sign or bunting etc) on the wedding day to use as a thank you card.
  • Don’t try and write them all in one sitting, you’ll get writers cramp, and make sure you share the job with your husband.
  • Wedding thank you notes should be hand-written, and make sure you address the giver by name and reference the gift they gave you.
  • Notes should go out within 2 weeks when the gift is received before the wedding and within 2 months after the wedding, unless you’re lucky enough to be on a 6 month honeymoon, and then lucky you, but you’ll still need to get them done when you get home.

 

  • There are many ways you can do thank you cards, you can just do a thank you card in the same suite as your invitations, and you can order them at the same time, or you can use a wedding photo as a postcard as a  thank you, or you can take a photo on the wedding day with a thank you prop which you can use as part of the thank you card.
  • Don’t forget you’ll need to purchase stamps to send them all, make sure you budget for postage.

Putting pen to paper – how to write your wedding vows

All you need is love and … advice on writing your wedding vows

Legally in New Zealand a wedding ceremony only has to have one part to satisfy the ‘powers that be’ and that is the ‘I do’ piece. Everything else if totally up to you, so you can perform an interpretative dance if you feel the need ( I quite often offer that option to people, but usually they so no, not sure why)  I generally structure a wedding with welcome, love story, vows, I Do’s, ring exchange, husband and wife, kiss, party!

Your wedding vows are very personal, it is the part of the ceremony where you are speaking directly to your beloved, not the guests. I describe it as the part where you share your gratitude to the other person and your promises for your shared life ahead. They can be tricky and most people struggle with them, use your celebrant to give you some pointers, and to proof read them before you commit to them.

Things to consider when writing your vows:

  • Decide on the tone of the vows – are you going to write them together, or separately? Are you going to keep them secret for the big day? Are they going to be funny or totally serious? Are they going to be the same or totally different?
  • Read as much inspiration as you can get your hands on – the good thing about Uncle Google is that there are wedding vows all over the place. Spend some time having a look on-line and making a note of what you like.
  • Think about the future – how will your vows sound 10,20.30 years from now?
  • Pinterest – it will be your best friend in this situation, tons of inspiration there.
  • Questions to ask yourself – Why are we getting married? Where do I see myself in 10, 20 years from now? How does your partner inspire you? What do you miss about them when they’re not around? What surprised you about them? What have they taught you? What challenges have you met together? What did you think when you first saw them?
  • Don’t leave it too late – Yes you think you’ve got tons of time, but it will run out pretty quickly when planning a wedding. Don’t leave it till the last minute and be doing it the night before.
  • Vows are just for you and your partner – sure everyone is going to hear them, but remember that you are speaking directly to your loved one.
  • Vows should sound like you.  There is no point copying someone else’s long love poem if that is not really you.  Your partner will appreciate it more if it comes from your heart and sounds like you.

Remember it’s your wedding day so do it your way.

All you need is …advice on how to propose.

All you need is love and advice on how to propose.

 

So this is it, she’s the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. Now it’s time to think about how to propose.  Proposals are one of those things that women love to tell everyone about, when they show off the ring, so you want to make it great.  Here’s some do’s and dont’s on how to propose like a boss.

  • Decide if you want to ask her parents – some women may find it sexist and/or offensive if you do this, others will love it, and it could score you some great brownie points with the in-laws.  If you’re ready to spend the rest of your life with her, then you should know the answer to whether you should ask or not.
  • Figure out whether you should buy the ring or let her choose one – you will have a pretty good idea whether she wants to pick her own ring or not. Talk to friends, even take one shopping with you, to get the perfect one.
  • Decide on the day – Do you have a meaningful day? (anniversary of first meeting etc) or birthday or Christmas. There’s definitely pros and cons to choosing a special day, you can do it in front of family and friends who can help you celebrate. On the other hand you will always share the day with another special occasion, which could take the shine off it.
  • Decide location – do you have a favourite, meaningful spot you want to use? Try to get a sense of whether she would want a big public proposal or something more private.
  • Getting down on one knee is always a good idea.
  • Clothes make the man – Be dressed in your best, suited for the occasion and location.  Remember there will probably be photos/selfies, so you want to be looking your best.
  • Don’t over-complicate it – the best proposals are the simple, heartfelt ones
  • Calm your nerves – practice what you want to say. Remember she will probably remember what you say for the rest of her life, make it count.

 

  • Big no-no’s – Don’t propose while you’re drunk, or hungover. Don’t hide the ring in food, so many ways that can do wrong. Don’t break the law to propose. Don’t propose to stop her being angry at you in the middle of a fight.

This is a once in a lifetime deal, make sure you give it the thought/planning it deserves, and good luck.

All you need is love and …

All you need is love and …an unplugged wedding.

What’s an unplugged wedding?

Imagine a photo of you, as a bride getting ready with your bridesmaids, shared on Facebook before you get to the wedding. Imagine the first time people see your wedding is through your 14-year-old niece’s unflattering Instagram upload.  Imagine your professional (paid) photographer being unable to get that perfect shot because Great Aunty Daisy has her IPad right in front of you. Imagine walking down the aisle on your wedding day but unable to see anyone’s faces because they all have their phones or cameras out. All scenarios I’ve been witness to, and all perfectly good reasons for an unplugged wedding.

An unplugged wedding makes your professional photographers job so much easier (remember that lovely talented photographer, who you are paying a lot of money to, to get those once in a lifetime shots?) There’s nothing worse for a photographer when everyone’s got their cell phones out and it trying to get that shot, or getting in their way while they try to capture that first look of the bride.

In today’s digital age, absolutely everyone’s connected 24/7. Everyone’s firing off tweets and Instagram photos like nobody’s business and it’s easy for people to get into the thinking of  ‘if it hasn’t been uploaded in some way, then it didn’t really happen’.

Unplugged weddings are becoming very popular with couples who don’t want their wedding splashed all over social media, before the day’s finished. In fact probably 90% of my couples ask for an unplugged wedding. I ask them at our planning meetings what their thoughts are on this, some have very definite thoughts, others have never heard of it, and once I explain it to them, completely understand. Unplugged is not just about not sharing photos on social media, it’s also about asking your guests to be fully present in your ceremony and/or day.  It’s asking people to turn off their phones/cameras/computers and just enjoying what’s going on around them.

There are many nice ways to ask your guests. Most people include it on their invitations, some include a sign at the entrance to the venue, and I usually  remind guests before the ceremony begins to switch everything off, enjoy the ceremony and they can continue taking snaps and selfies after the ceremony and at the reception. If you have a relative who is going to be put off by not being able to take photos, you can remind them that they can get a copy of the professional photos after the wedding.

Just remember it’s your day so do what feels right to you.