“Tradie Tuesday” Twigs N Twine

All you need is love and … some wisdom from a wedding professional.

Now, I know a lot about weddings, but not everything, so “Tradie Tuesday”is a series of interviews with wedding professionals, who will share their stories and wedding wisdom.

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 Twigs N Twine

Business Name: Twigs N Twine

A bit about yourself and your business: My name is Ayla. I have a gorgeous husband and 2 fur babies.  We have recently moved back from Auckland to our home town of Dunedin. Twigs N Twine evolved through word of mouth, starting it’s journey from prettying up my office to flower bombing “Morning Magpie” cafe.  After being inspired in Melbourne and working in a very sterile environment, (the Prison system) I realised the need to have living creations around me and began flowering everything!!

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Our new store aims to create a magical space to gather and create.  We host events such as bridal showers and also have various flower workshops on offer.   With the main feature being a long table set amongst candles and flowers to come and chat, chill and recharge your inner flower child!

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We source unique blooms to create beautiful artworks for all occasions and especially those Mondays!! We also do a free wedding consult prior to your big day to finalise the specifics.

The latest addition to our packages is “The Proposal” So should your loved one need some creative inspiration/flowers for the big question/a space or assistance to set the scene, they can book in for a consult.  The consult includes a ‘love them’ bouquet and action plan.

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What do you love about your job? The best part about blooms, would have to be the amazing amount of people I have met!

What do you do in your spare time? HaHa, actually this is my hobby! I also love spending time with friends, family, exploring, sipping coffee, travelling, beaching, getting lost in our MASSIVE garden, and most of all walking with the pups.

What one thing do you wish that every wedding couple knew? That whatever their vision is to GO FOR IT  and to do what they want to do!

Any wedding trends you love? I love flower crowns!

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What piece of advice would you give to a couple planning their wedding: To not let others opinions sway you, and to do whatever is YOU.  Don’t get caught up in the details, and make it fun.

One insider tip or trick to pass on: Take time out together on the day. Factor it into your schedule.

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We would so love to create something amazing for your magical day, so pop by, or give us a call to lock in your beautiful blooms.

Twigs N Twine Store: 40 Stuart Street, Dunedin

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Facebook: Twigs N twine blooms/design & events

Instagram: @twigsntwinedunedin

Email: twigsNtwinedunedin@gmail.com

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Here’s Ayla, and one of her beautiful flower crowns.

 

 

 

“Tradie Tuesday” Peg + Pencil Design Studio

All you need is love and … some wisdom from a wedding professional.

Now, I know a lot about weddings, but not everything, so “Tradie Tuesday”is a series of interviews with wedding professionals, who will share their stories and wedding wisdom.

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Peg + Pencil Design Studio

Business Name: Peg + Pencil Design Studio

A bit about yourself and your business: My name is Kirsty-Ann and I’m a wife and importantly, mum to two gorgeous boys. I grew up in South Africa, moved to the UK in my twenties where I spent 7 years working in law, but soon realised this wasn’t the path I saw myself leading, especially with being a new mum.  Three months later, Peg + Pencil Design Studio was born. “Peg” was derived from the little pegs I used to decorate and then hang up wall art and paper goods with (yes, I got the idea from Pinterest) and “Pencil” was incorporated to include the graphic design aspect of my business.  I soon added Design Studio as it gave me more freedom to incorporate the bespoke stationery range that I have started designing, yet still keeping the key function to my business which includes wedding stationery design, corporate branding and party goods elements.  With being a mum, I have also started designing a kids range of bespoke items such as milestone cards and “Pebble Says” toddler stones.

What do you love about your job? Mostly the fact that I get to be a mum first and foremost. I keep my business time and family time completely separate so that I can still be 100% present in my boys’ days/lives.  I love that I can work my own hours and be my own boss.  With the time I dedicate to my family, this still means I often work from about 9pm at night to close to 3am-4am in the mornings, most days – but I would rather have it that way until I am able to afford getting an assistant! (#businessgoals!) I feel I also concentrate more when the house is still and there are no distractions.

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What do you do in your spare time? I am pretty keen on photography, so often find myself snapping away at things and admiring the angles and lighting of each picture.  Still have a long way to go before I can call myself a photographer though! I surf and I snowboard, so thankfully I have a winter and summer sport that I can enjoy.

What one thing do you wish that every wedding couple knew? That your day is just that – yours! You do not need to invite an army of guests just because you feel they may be offended if they’re not on your guest list. Weddings are expensive and what matters are those that support you, love you and praise you and your partner, unconditionally.

Any wedding trends you love? Most definitely foiled wedding stationery. A simple, minimalistic, but elegant invitation or menu, with a little sparkle of rose gold foiling! I do feel that the trend of including an RSVP card to your invitation is outdated as most will not return this and you will still be chasing guests for their attendance a month before the wedding. Rather look at setting up a personalised email address or even a personalised wedding website where you can digitally send your guests the option ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to confirm their attendance and dietary requirements.

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Any great interesting stories about working with a couple? I have been incredibly fortunate to have worked with truly amazing and down to earth couples, but one specific couple that really left an imprint on my heart was Beth + Justin.  I worked on their full stationery suite from Invites to Thank-you’s and Menus etc, but more special than that, I got to design their vow reading cards.  Every time I read their vows I would cry.  They are two beautiful people with humble hearts, surrounded and supported by a phenomenal family with God at their sides.

What two pieces of advice would you give a couple planning their wedding? Choose your guest list wisely, and think about a morning wedding, rather than a late afternoon wedding. The day goes so quickly and before you know it, it’s over.  You only get to live this day once, so try extending it out and make the most of it.

One insider tip or trick to pass on? If you are writing your own vows, consider asking your designer to include them in your design package.  This way, you can have them on a pretty card to read out on the day, and frame them after the wedding for a lifelong keepsake.

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The lady herself: Kirsty-Ann

Feel free to get in touch with Kirsty -Ann for a non-obligation quote.

Kirsty-Ann and “Peg +  Pencil Design Studio is all over social media.  Here’s how you can get in touch with her.

Website: www.pegandpencilstudio.com

Email: info@pegandpencilstudio.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pegandpencil

Instagram: www.instagram.com/pegandpencilstudio

Twitter: www.twitter.com/pegandpencil

“Tradie Tuesday” – Melt Wedding Photography

All you need is love and … some wisdom from a wedding professional.

Now, I know a lot about weddings, but not everything, so “Tradie Tuesday”is a series of interviews with wedding professionals, who will share their stories and wedding wisdom.

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Melt Wedding Photography

Business Name: Melt Wedding Photography

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business: We are based in sunny Dunedin, and we travel extensively in Central Otago to photograph weddings in Wanaka, Queenstown, Cromwell and beyond.  Our style involves lots of candid shots and visual storytelling, paying close attention to detail, capturing your family and friends, your wedding preparations, the ceremony, reception, and of course your portrait shots too.

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My assistant and I will work with you both to ensure we get the shots you want, and plenty of them. We meet and talk many times before the wedding, so that we all know what’s happening, so you can rest easy on the big day.

We love to hear all about your special day, and what you have planned, so we can help provide you with some beautiful photographic memories from your wedding day, in the form of images, prints, bespoke wedding albums and thank you cards.  We can’t wait to hear from you.

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What do you love about your job? I love the energy a wedding day provides. It’s great to share and feed off the excitement, nerves, happiness, and then turn this into amazing memories for our lovely couples.

What do you do in your spare time, hobbies/interests? Movies!!! I love losing yourself in a good movie, but the trouble is I’m always looking at camera angles, lighting etc !!

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What one thing do you wish every wedding couple knew? How quickly the day goes, so to make sure they enjoy every second.

Any wedding trends you love, or would love to see disappear? I love the relaxed country/woodland type weddings, fabulous light and beautiful for photography!

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Any great/interesting stories about working with a couple? I photographed a very lovely couple’s wedding on my birthday one year. At the reception about 5 minutes into the speeches, the bride and groom thanked me and then proceeded to get the whole room of about 100 people to sing happy birthday to me … it was the longest 30 seconds ever … but very lovely of them.

What two pieces of advice would you give a couple planning their wedding? Have a pre-wedding/engagement shoot.. it’s a great way to get comfortable with your photographer, and each other in front of the camera.                                                                                                        And also, don’t forget to relax and enjoy your day! It’s so easy to spend time worrying about little things, but your family and friends won’t know if something hasn’t gone perfectly to plan, or much less care … they love you no matter what.

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One insider tip/trick to pass on? I always advise the bride to bring some comfy flat shoes, hankies, and some spare lipgloss etc.. for touch ups.  That way she will be far more relaxed on the portrait shoot, because chances are she’ll have sore or tired feet by the afternoon.

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Mel and Melt Photography would love to hear from you to discuss your wedding day dreams and how they can help you achieve them.

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Mel’s all over social media, so you can contact her here:

Website: http://www.weddings.meltnz.co.nz/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/MeltWeddings/

Twitter:https://twitter.com/Melt_Weddings

Pinterest: https://nz.pinterest.com/melt_weddings/

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/melt_wedding_photography/

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And here’s the lady herself! Apparently it’s notoriously hard to get a photo of a photographer, but here she is.

 

Who says what at the wedding.

All you need is love and … a run down on wedding speeches.

 

Wedding speeches can scare the beejezus out of even the most confident person, and it can be the part of the wedding day that stresses people out the most.

There is a list of who traditionally performs speeches at a wedding, but this is really just a guideline and many couples choose to add extra people to the list, or lots of couples do away with the speeches altogether, knowing that sometimes people just want to get into their dinner and dessert and then the dancing part of the wedding. Fair enough I say.

Here’s a brief description of the traditional list of wedding speeches.

It is your Master of Ceremonies role (among others, see that list here The role of a Master of Ceremony) to seemlessly introduce the speech section of the evening, and to introduce each speaker, and then thank them afterwards.

 

Father of the bride – (or whoever gave the bride away, not always the father)

  • Welcomes and thanks the guests for coming.
  • Expresses how proud he and his wife, are of their daughter.
  • Welcomes the groom into the family.
  • Possibly shares one or two stories about the bride.
  • Shares words of wisdom and good wishes for the couple.
  • Proposes a toast to the couple.

Groom

  • Thanks his father-in-law for his kind words and the toast.
  • Thanks the brides parents for all their work raising the woman of his dreams (his new wife) and all their help with the wedding
  • Thanks the guests for coming and for the wedding gifts.
  • Acknowledges his best man for all his help, and any other helpers.
  • Acknowledges the bridesmaids, and thanks them for all their help with the wedding, and proposes a toast to them.

Best Man

  • Adds to the comments about the bridesmaid, lamenting how great they look today.
  • Congratulates the groom, on his good fortune, in marrying his new wife.
  • Possibly shares a story about the bride and groom, maybe about how they met.
  • Reads any messages to the bride and groom, from guests that couldn’t make it. Traditionally this was in the form of telegrams, and letters, these days it’s most likely to be texts and/or emails.

Invited guests

  • There may be other guests that have asked before hand to speak, or who you would like to include. Make sure that you have a general idea of the content of their speech, and that you communicate to them how long they have to speak. I would not recommend the Master of Ceremony, ask if anyone else would like to speak, on the fly, it opens you up to Great Uncle Barry, who’s had one too many beersies ramble on, or say something inappropriate.

This is by no way an exhaustive list, and it is very common for couples to include mother of the bride/groom, the bride herself, and a bridesmaid/maid of honour.

Make sure all your speakers know their time limit, say 5 mins, so they can tailor their speech accordingly.

I would not recommend forcing any-one to speak if they absolutely loath public speaking, it will either cause stress for the person, possibly stress your relationship with the person and probably lead to a bad speech, better to address everyone before hand, asking them if they are comfortable doing so (don’t assume, they may not have even thought they had to speak)and if they are not comfortable, then ask someone else or not have them speak at all.

Who’s walking down the aisle?

All you need is love and … someone to walk down the aisle with or not!

The whole wedding process is steeped in so much tradition, and one of the traditions is the father of the bride walking her down the aisle and ‘giving her away’. It is said that the custom dates back to a time when the daughter was considered to be property and the groom had to pay a price before he was permitted to marry his intended. Another theory is the ‘giving away’ symbolised the transition of authority from the bride’s father to her husband as she moved from the family home into her married home. Today the act of ‘giving away’ the bride is seen more as a symbolic blessing by the parents of the marriage to the groom.

If the idea of walking down the aisle scares the bejesus out of you, or just doesn’t sit right with you, either because you don’t want the attention, or the traditional father/bride relationship or non-relationship does not fit the circumstances, then there are a number of alternatives to the whole ‘walking down the aisle” Instead of the traditional view of ‘giving away’ you could think of it as the person is supporting you through this life transistion.

Someone else

It’s extremely common for a bride to choose someone other than her father to walk her down the aisle: mother, grandparents, siblings, good friends, both mum and dad, own children and even the family dog.

 

Walking down together

I have seen this done at a wedding, one of the reasons being that the groom was very shy, and didn’t want the focus before the ceremony to be on him. There is something very sweet, and I imagine, reassuring to walk into your wedding ceremony hand in hand.

Go Solo

If you feel confident and comfortable enough, just mossey up the aisle yourself.

Meet your groom halfway

Start the journey by yourself, or even with someone else and meet your groom halfway up the aisle.

Make a bouquet as you walk

Have someone give flowers out to your guests either the guests sitting on the end of rows, or maybe close family and friends, before the ceremony and gather these flowers up into a bouquet, as you walk down the aisle. It is a nice, meaningful way to include some of your guests in the ceremony.

 

Ceremony circle or spiral

There’s no rules that say your ceremony space has to have a straight up and down aisle. You can create a spiral shape using your chairs, and walk along this spiral. This gives you a chance to see all your guests on your journey. Alternatively create a circle shape, and just leave a small hole for you to enter into, and then you and your groom will be encircled by your loved ones.

No walking down the aisle

If you don’t want to walk down the aisle at all, you can just mingle with your guests before the ceremony begins and then just move to the front when it’s time to start. One bride I know had alot of fun running around with the kids, barefoot before her wedding started.

Have the guests enter after you

Keep your ceremony space private and closed prior to the wedding starting, and then position yourselves in your desired spots either with bridal party or not and then open the doors and invite your guests in to be seated.

Lead a processional

Lead your guests, you could even use a musician, to your ceremony space with a processional. When you get there, make your way to the front and let your guests be seated before you begin.

Enter from the side

Enter the ceremony at the same time from different sides, takes the emphasis off the bride, and there’s no need for an aisle at all.

Two aisles

Create your ceremony space with two aisles, and both walk down your own aisle. This is very popular with same-sex weddings, and can be appropriate when parents don’t have any daughters and want to walk their son down the aisle.

I think there are more than enough options if you don’t want to do the traditional walk down the aisle. Just remember it’s your day, so do it your way.

 

 

 

Wedding Day Cards

All you need is love and … a wedding day card.

I’m not actually sure if this is a thing already, but I thought how cool would it be if there was a way to share a cute/funny little message with your wife/husband to be on the morning of your wedding, just a small way to let them know you’re thinking of them.

So I created these cute “wedding day” cards. There’s 11 different designs, so there’s bound to be something that floats your boat.  They are A5 size and all come with an envelope, ready for you to write a special message inside.

They sell for $6 each plus postage.

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Let’s get our wedding on. See you later. I’ll be the one in the fancy dress.
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Thanks for marrying this hot mess. Love you.
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Holy Crap! We’re getting married. Bring It On!
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Lets be in love until we’re dead OK?
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You’re my favourite. I love you the mostest.
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Can’t wait to do rude things with my new husband later.
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Dude! We’re totally getting married today! Can’t wait!
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I can’t wait to marry the crap out of you.
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Fancy getting married later?
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Thanks for being the person who can handle my crap. Love you.
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Thanks for being my person. I can’t wait to marry you.

Conan and Lydia – Real Life Wedding

All you need is love and … The real life wedding of Conan and Lydia in Beijing, China.

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The bride and groom: Conan and Lydia.

In March 2016 Tristan (my husband) and I were invited to a wedding, nothing unusual about that really, except that the wedding was in Beijing, China.  We received the informal invitation (from Conan and Lydia, good friends who now live in Australia) about a year out, which is generally the case for out of town (or out of country, in this case) weddings, so it gave us time to organise flights, accommodation, visas, extra spending money for shoes etc. We had no idea really what to expect, so just approached it with an open mind, and it was awesome, so completely different from a western wedding, and kinda nice to be at a wedding that I wasn’t officiating at.

Conan and Lydia have been gracious enough to share their story and of course the all important pictures of their day.  Below is the information Conan supplied in his own words (kind of special to have a grooms perspective of the whole thing)

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Look at those smiles.

Names: Lydia and Conan

Date: 26/03/16

Venue: Hong Cai Fang (Chinese restaurant) Beijing

Wedding Dress: (see pictures as attached)

Photographer: Feng Zhiyuan (Lydia’s cousin)

Hair and Makeup: Meng Huan Jiu Jiu (wedding planner)

Catering: Restaurant

We were married in Beijing at Easter of 2016. Lydia’s parents live in Beijing and we live in Adelaide, South Australia, so they organised for the ceremony to be conducted through a local wedding planning company. With this in mind, I’ll share what little insight I might have from someone largely outside the actual organisation of the ceremony and also from a wedding where two different cultures met. Oh, just to be clear, I speak very little mandarin.

I come from a large kiwi family, but only one sibling (Kevin, my younger brother) could make it all the way to Beijing. We actually chose the date to coincide with his mid semester break. As it turns out this was Easter, which I imagined help the other four western guests, two of whom were Tristan and Angela Port. It took a bit of “to and fro” trying to get the right date, but it was important to us that Kevin, who was coming from New York, could attend both the wedding and the catch up in Hong Kong beforehand. Rather than just set the date and deal with who might be available, we were flexible and had everyone we’d wanted, come.

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Pouring a drink for each of your guests is part of the tradition in a Chinese wedding.

My (now) wife wore a red lace dress that we had made in Hong Kong a week and a half prior to the wedding. Red is the traditional colour for wedding dresses in Chinese culture. We had a few concept drawings with us when we arrived, courtesy of Kevin, who was studying fashion at the time. Rather than actually commissioning someone to make a dress to our design (which would have been amazing) we quickly adjusted to looking at dresses on offer in a similar style. We found a beautiful dress a size or two larger than was needed that would fit the bill.

The dress maker wanted to discount the floor model and adjust it to Lydia’s size, but we declined and asked that she construct a new dress from scratch, with a few changes that we requested. For those brides considering having a dress made, particularly overseas, I would advise you start from scratch, or you will forever be dealing with a flawed/compromised article. Pay a deposit and insist on multiple fittings. Don’t be pushed around by the dress maker, who will generally not be invested in how the final product is delivered. They are more concerned about throughput. Pay only when you are happy with your dress.

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The mother and father of the bride.

We also bought a metre or two of extra lace in the same pattern as the dress, just in case we have a daughter who wants to wear it someday and it needs to be adjusted, or sleeves added. I got a bit of flack for this idea, but felt vindicated when Kevin reckoned it was a cool and thoughtful move.

I wore a blue wool suit that I had made overseas and tailored back in Adelaide. I am built like a bulldog so also wore a bespoke shirt. I had planned to wear a linen suit and brown brogues, but the bride’s parents thought the shoes would have been too informal and requested black footwear. Lydia wore shoes we found in a mall in Sydney for the wedding ceremony and red flats that we spotted for $50 HKD  (about $10 NZD) in a shoe store in Kowloon just after we’d picked up the dress. Between us, our wedding attire cost us maybe $1300 AUD. I wore black R M Williams boots that I’d had for years, but were essentially new.

The wedding ceremony didn’t involve a wedding party, so we had no need to concern ourselves with their attire, nor with choosing those that would fill the important roles. What it did include was a drink pouring tradition, immediately after the wedding ceremony, in which the new couple had to refill the cup of each guest in attendance. For this, my bride changed into a red and gold qipao (bought in Beijing) and the aforementioned flat shoes from Kowloon.

Ours was never going to be a typical western wedding. For starters, even though we were ready to depart for the venue at 9.50am, we had to wait until9.56am as six is an auspicious number. Likewise, we started our procession “down the aisle” at 10.58am, because eight is similarly lucky.

There was no separation of the bride and groom prior to the ceremony. I’d thought about spending the night at the guests’ hotel and getting ready apart from my bride, but it such move would only have complicated things in a country where it’s hard enough to get the simplest of things accomplished.

Shortly after we arrived at the venue on the wedding day we were whisked away to wait in a makeup room while the guests were seated and our celebrant belted out a few songs. I say belted, because though I wasn’t there, I heard that it was like a pop concert in both intensity and volume. My best friend, who would have otherwise been the Best Man, said it felt closer to a game show than a western wedding.

We’d met the celebrant for our wedding the evening before the event at the venue which was a large Chinese restaurant. He seemed charismatic but wore a polyester suit that was a size too small and had a noticeable food stain. I almost said to my (now) wife, “I hope he’s not going to be wearing that to our wedding”, but didn’t. He did.

I wish we’d done a sound check the night we met the celebrant and they were setting up the venue. The equipment guys were late getting there and it was a particularly cold night so we didn’t hang around. As we walked into the venue on the day, it was pretty clear that the microphone volume was way too loud (though probably normal for a Chinese wedding, I’m told). I asked that the volume be lowered as we started toward the stage, but of course, no one within earshot spoke English. That one’s on me. I definitely should have learnt more mandarin.

The two sentences of mandarin I did master, were used to thank the guests in attendance at the beginning of my wedding speech. I was both nervous and so relieved that I’d remembered the mandarin portion, that I hardly enjoyed the actual delivery of the English part. Having said that, sharing the content of my speech quietly, the night before with my bride-to-be was probably my favourite part of our whole wedding.

In some ways, I’m grateful for having so little input into our ceremony. What we got was an authentic modern Chinese (well, Beijing) experience, unlike anything our western guests had experienced. We didn’t spend a particularly large amount and recouped a lot of the cost in cash gifts, as is the Chinese custom. We saved our money for our honeymoon, in which we toured through Japan and South Korea, as well as a few days in Shanghai on our way “home” to Beijing.

The advice I’d have for couples planning their wedding, or even having a wedding planned for them, is to recognise where to spend your effort and where not to sweat the details. Lydia’s parents wanted a video shot of the entire day. I thought we’d never watch it and that we’d be better off with paying for still shots (I think they were the two mutually exclusive options offered by the wedding company in the package we chose). Ultimately I didn’t press the case for my preference as the video was more important to them, which I think belies different cultural values. We got great pictures from a relative with a decent DSLR camera as it turns out. In years to come, I’ll probably find I was wrong on the value of the video anyway.

Further, it was liberating to realise the details I would have been fretting over in Australia or New Zealand were (at best) trivial in China. For example, we had juice in tetra-paks on each guest table. When I first saw them, I assumed they’d be decanted into a carafe, but in their tetra-paks they stayed. And nobody cared. The focus, of course, was on the couple and then on the traditional drink pouring that followed the ceremony. Each guest temporarily became the centre of attention as we moved through the tables, making sure that each had a drink and that their cup was refilled. You soon realise that the day isn’t about getting the details right, it’s about not caring and enjoying your time with the friends and family sharing the day.

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All the westerners in one shot. Aren’t we a gorgeous group?

After the wedding ceremony itself, it is local (Beijing) tradition to have a dinner with close friends and family. In our case, the dinner was attended mainly by our western guests and friends of the brides’ father. The meal was a great fun and probably came closest to the western norm, with the customary Beijing alcohol alleviating any language barriers.

Though I would have preferred to have stayed somewhere separate, it’s local custom that the bride and groom spend their first night in the family house. Similarly, a local tradition is carried out after the wedding in the hope that the first offspring is a boy-child.

The bride’s family make a batch of dumplings the day of the ceremony, including one particular dumpling, filled only with dough in the shape of a, um… bean. When the newly wed couple sit down to the meal, the groom asks his bride if the dumplings are cooked or uncooked as she bites into the “bean shaped” dumpling: “Sheung bu sheung?.” The bride replies: “Sheung!” complaining that the dumpling is uncooked and the tradition is complete.

This was our wedding. Far from the western norm, not without a few hiccups, but entirely enjoyed and attended by our closest friends after a great time in Hong Kong together.

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Tristan and I with the happy couple. I’m pretty stoked I got to wear my wedding dress again too.

As a guest at the wedding, it was a little hard to understand exactly what was going on, purely bacause of the language barrier, (there were only 6 of us who didn’t understand/speak mandarin, including the groom), but in saying that Tim (Conan’s best friend commented to me that he noticed that I teared up a little during the ceremony, so even though I didn’t really know what was being said, it still absolutely touched me)

The food at the wedding was insane, we had sampled quite a bit of Chinese food already while we were in Hong Kong and Beijing (dumplings and my favourite Peking Duck) but the food at the reception after the ceremony was completely out of control.  The food just kept coming, there was everything you could imagine, so much so that it didn’t all fit on the table, and was stacked three plates high in the middle, it’s fair to say that we as well as the rest of the guest were very well fed. Mirroring a western wedding I’m not sure whether the bride and groom actually ate anything, they were so busy greeting and pouring drinks for all their guests.

I would like to say a huge congratulations to Conan and Lydia on their marriage.  It was an absolute honour to be a part of your special day.  I would like to say a big thank you to both Lydia and Lydia’s parents who went above and beyond to make sure we had a great time in Beijing (even though they didn’t speak a word of English, they were completely welcoming) and a big thank you to Tim (for providing pure entertainment just by being a 6ft6 tall blonde in China) and Erin (for being my partner in crime for helping scope out non-squatting toilets, and being the tour guide) and Kevin (who provided humour and an insight into life in New York City), who we got to spend time with in both Hong Kong and Beijing, it was a real treat to explore different countries and knock some stuff off the bucket list with (the Great Wall).

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And one more for luck!!

What’s a Ring Warming Ceremony?

All you need is love and … maybe a ring warming ceremony.

 

You may have heard the term ‘ring warming ceremony’ before, or you may never have heard it described before, and are unsure of what it is, and whether it’s something you’d like included in your wedding ceremony.

What is a ring warming ceremony?

A ring warming ceremony is a special and simple way to include all your guests in your wedding ceremony.  A ring warming is when you give all your guests the opportunity to hold and imbue your wedding bands with a silent wish, blessing or prayer for your marriage.  The rings are passed among your guests during the ceremony for each of them to touch, hold and essentially ‘warm’ before you exchange them with each other.

Why have a ring warming ceremony? 

A ring warming ceremony is a really unique and nice way to include all your guests in your wedding ceremony. My thoughts are that it is best suited to smaller weddings, with less than say 50 guests, only because if you have a large amount of guests the rings may not get around to everybody during the ceremony and then you have the awkward situation of not everyone getting their turn, or having to pause the ceremony while you wait for everyone to get their turn, not ideal.

I have incorporated this concept into numerous more intimate ceremonies and it has been very successful. You can see the look on the guests faces as they hold the rings and say a silent wish, many of them closing their eyes while they do so.  Very sweet

And the rings are actually very warm when they get back to the couples ready to be exchanged. I encourage couples to tie the rings together with a piece of ribbon, matching the colour scheme of the wedding or in a small bag, that way everyone can actually feel and hold the rings.

How do you incorporate a ‘ring warming ceremony’ into our ceremony?

Each time I have peformed this ceremony, I prep the ring bearer or who ever will have  the rings on the day, (at the rehearsal, another reason to have a rehearsal, there are many more reasons explained here Rehearsal? Hells yeah!! ) so they know what’s going on. At the beginning of the ceremony, after the initial welcome I explain to the guests what’s going to happen, and then the ring bearer or best man hands the rings to the first person and then they start and then we start the ceremony, generally everyone will have their turn before the ring exchange part of the ceremony and then the last person who is holding them gives them back to me. Simple and lovely and very meaningful.

How does the celebrant explain the ‘ring warming ceremony’ to my guests?

I start by inviting the guests to take part, by using these words, or similar ones:

“Today I invite you all to take part in the ring warming for Brad and Angelina. Please hold their wedding rings for a moment, warm them with your love and a silent wish for Brad and Angelina. When the rings are exchanged they will contain in their precious metal, that which is more precious, that which is pricelss – your love.”

A ring warming is just another way you can infuse more of your personality into your wedding ceremony.

 

Rehearsal? Hells yeah!!

All you need is love and … a wedding rehearsal.

Fridays in wedding season are rehearsal days for our house hold.  Why? … because I believe a rehearsal is an essential part of the wedding planning process.

I have a checklist that I use for every wedding rehearsal to ensure that I cover all the essentials before the big day.

Here’s whats on my checklist:

Logistics – where is everyone going to stand, the guys – hands in front vs behind, suits open vs closed, how far apart will they stand?

 

 

Rings – Who will have them, are they carried by the ringbearer, or just held by the best man? If carried by the ringbearer when will he give them to the best man at the beginning or will he be responsible enough to hold onto them throughout the ceremony and then give them to me for the ring exchange?

Signing of the marriage licence – who are the witnesses, do they know they are signing, where are we going to do the signing?

Procession (walking in) – the order of the processional, how the bridesmaids should walk, where to, where they should stand.  Where should the flower girl/ring bearer walk to and stand during the ceremony.

 

Double check of all pronounication of names – do I have the pronounication correct?

Recessional (walking out) – where to walk to, who’s walking with who (sometimes its the first time bridesmaids/groomsman meet each other)

Touch base with the MC – who are they, what time will they be there on the day, let them know I will be giving the couples copy of the marriage licence to them on the day, and remind them not to leave it on the back seat of the taxi (haha)

Music – who will be controlling the music? If we are using my PA then teach who ever is going to be in charge of the music how to control the volume etc. Also use the rehearsal to time the music to make sure the bridesmaid and bride know when to start walking etc.

 

Any special elements – if there are any special elements to the wedding – ring warming/unity ceremony etc, its a good chance to make sure everyone knows where that’s going to be done, and how.

Microphone – test the volume for the event.

Pick up the licence – take the licence from the couple, so I have it for the wedding day, and there’s no chance of it being forgotten.

Vows/Readings – show the bride and groom how the vows are written out for them and that I will have them on the day for them, and show whoever is doing a reading how that is written and where they will stand while they are doing the reading.

Wedding rehearsals can be done anytime during the week leading up to the wedding, if you have little people in your bridal party I think it’s best to do it the day before, because they have such small attention spans/memories, they need to know what they are going to do tomorrow, not in 3 days time, they won’t remember that far away.

A rehearsal settles everyone’s nerves, a wedding day can be stressful enough, so my aim to to make sure everyone feels happy about where/what/how they are going to do on the day.

Real Life Wedding – Amber and Jeff

All you need is love and … a sneak peek at Amber and Jeff’s real life wedding.

On April 18 2015 I had the pleasure of joining Amber and Jeff and their friends and family at the beautiful Larnach Castle as Amber and Jeff committed to each other and became husband and wife.

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Amber and Jeff

18/04/2015

Venue: Larnach Castle, Dunedin

Wedding Dress: Brides by Mancini – Belle

Bridesmaid Dresses: JJs House – Online

Photographer: Lisa Reid

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Hair: Aurum Hairstylists

Make up: Kristine at Body Shop

Grooms Attire : Online

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Shoes: Overland

Celebrant: Angela Port (woot, woot!)

Flowers: Hand-made by the bride

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Catering: Larnach Castle

Cake: Family friend made the cake – a restounding success

Anything else you want to include: we had our photo’s taken before the ceremony, which meant we could spend more time with the guests. (Larnach Castle only allows weddings to take place after the castle is closed to the public after 5pm, so having the photos taken before the 5pm ceremony actually works out well)

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When was the best part of the day: after the ceremony and the photos, when I could kick back and relax.

Is there anything you would have done differently? Worried less beforehand – it all works out in the end.

How did you pick your wedding party? Easy – family.

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Best piece of advice you were given: Enjoy it, it really goes so quickly, so it’s important you enjoy your time.

Any tips you want to pass on to future brides? Relax as much as possible – it should be fun.

Anything that didn’t go according to plan? Nothing major, some theatrics from our daughter during the ceremony, but that was to be expected (and was cute, so ok). I do remember wee Violet wandering off during the ceremony behind me – Angela

Thank you Amber and Jeff for sharing your beautiful wedding day. I hope you and your family and friends enjoy rel-living your special day.