12 most overlooked elements of a wedding day

Planning a wedding is bloody stressful, you’ve got every one giving you their opinions on what you ‘should’ do/have/wear/eat etc that it can all be very overwhelming. Usually planning starts witht the big things, venue/food/photographer/CELEBRANT and once those are booked in then we start thinking of all the little detail things.

I’ve comprised a list of some of the most overlooked elements of a wedding day to help you out.

  • Plan B – ‘yeah we don’t need a wet weather option, it’ll be fine!’ famous last words, always a great idea to have a Plan B option, incase of the weather not getting the email about sunshine on the wedding day. There is literally nothing worse than your guests being frozen and wet, because it’s raining, and you don’t have anywhere else to go for your ceremony. It will be memorable, but not for the right reasons.
  • Where the sun will set and when – always good to know what direction the sun will be, for your ceremony (so no ones squinting in the photos) and where do you want your guests to stand and where will you and your attendants stand. If you know what time the sun is setting you can schedule your day accordingly, maybe sneak away from your reception for beautiful sunset shot.
  • Transport for the bridal party home – Yip, your attendants will probably arrive at the ceremony space together, maybe in a fancy car or limo, but how are they getting home? Especially the married couple. Make sure you have someone who can drive you to where you’re going to be staying the wedding night.
  • Music during drinks/nibbles – if you don’t have a band/singer/dj then it’s a great idea to organise a speaker and playlist for while your guests are having drinks and nibbles and chatting after the ceremony before dinner, because once the ceremony music finishes it can be weird to not have something playing in the background.
  • Overnight bag – I have heard of many a bride waking up the morning after the wedding and not having anything else to change into to go home, and having to scamper out of the flash hotel, still in their wedding dress. Make sure you have a bag packed with a change of clothes and your toileties for going home the next day, and leave it in the car (if you’re taking the same car after the ceremony) or someone that you can grab before you leave the reception.
  • Eat and drink before the ceremony – I know the morning of the wedding can feel like a blur. There’s hair and makeup and dresses and little people and mothers to wrangle and it can seem like you’ve got all the time in the world, and then suddendly you’re putting on the dress and heading out the door, and wondering why you have a stinking headache and feeling faint. Organise someone to grab some food, or better yet, get it delivered, for you all during the morning and keep up the water intake, to ensure you get through the day feeling good.
  • Who’s in charge of the wishing well, and the gifts? It’s a great idea to give someone the job of keeping an eye on the wishing well, and the gift table, and removing it to somewhere safe during the ceremony, away from temptation.
  • Comfy shoes – Yes those heels look killer, but are your feet going to thank you after a couple of hours on the dance floor? Have someone pack you a pair of slip on’s or jandals or converse, that you can slip on to give your feet a break.
  • Factor yourselves into the guest count – It’s easy to go through the guest list and rattle off the count for caterers etc and forget yourselves or your bridal party.
  • Eat – during the day, you’re going to be catching up with all the people. You’ll be laughing, drinking, talking, hugging and dancing, make sure you sit down and eat too.
  • Keyholder – If you’re dIYing your wedding, and holding it in a hall etc, who is going to be there to open up for the guests before the ceremony, and who is going to be responsible for locking the doors up at the end of the night?
  • Take it all in – Take a 10 minute breather with your honey at some point during the night to check in, and connect and share your memories of the day. It will go so fast that it will be over before you know it.

Don’t forget to enjoy it!

What I won’t do.

So we all know by now that we need a celebrant to make the marriage official. And there are a ton of us around, most of us do an amazing job, and it’s really important to choose the exact right celebrant for you. It’s important to choose someone who gets your vibe, if you want serious, choose a serious celebrant, if you want someone who can speak French then choose one who can speak French, if you want a male, then guess what choose a male!

We are all there to perform your ceremony, and there are a million different ways that that can happen, because essentially in New Zealand there is a very small part of the ceremony that has to be done to make it all official, so really the sky’s the limit with how you want your ceremony to look and feel.

I thought I would make a list of things that I won’t do, to give you an indication of what I will do for you in the process of getting you both hitched.

  • I won’t tell you what to do – That’s not really my job, I see my job as providing you with inspiration, ideas and solutions to help make your ceremony the best ceremony ever! So I will never tell you what you have to do.
  • I won’t leave you hanging – I’m pretty good at communication, I will get back to you promptly if you have any questions (not at 3am, because that is sometimes when you’re awake stressing about wedding stuff) I will give you a timeline for the process and give you updates and deadlines when things need to be done.
  • I won’t let Great Aunty Fanny bully you – If you’re a long time listener of me, then you know who Great Aunty Fanny is, but it can also be your Mum or your Mother in Law or your sister etc. It’s that person who always puts their two cents in, and thinks that they are always right. I will be clear on what your vision is, and make sure that that is what is executed in the day, regardless of what Great Aunty Fanny wants.
  • I won’t make you do anything in your ceremony that you don’t want to do – Usually the first thing people say to me is “We don’t want any religion in our ceremony” but they say it in a pensive way, like they are not sure what I’m going to say. Truth is the reason why you choose a celebrant over a church is because you’re not religious, so no drama. Don’t want to say vows? No sweat (I’ll probably tell you to really think about that option, just because vows are so special, and one of my favourite parts of the ceremony) Don’t want to walk down the aisle, then don’t.
  • I won’t be boring, stiff and cold – I want your ceremony to be the best part of your day. I want you to look forward to it, not dread it. I want your guests to be engaged, active listening, laughing and crying if they are really feeling it. So I work hard at making your ceremony fun, personalised and full of all the feels, right from the word go.
  • I won’t freestyle it on the day – You will know exactly what I am going to say during the ceremony, except for a bit of ad libbing. It means you can relax that you’re not going to get any surprises (especially bad ones) and why we usually do a rehearsal, so you know exactly what is going to happen.
  • I won’t be late – I will be at your ceremony space at least 45 mins before your ceremony. Usually I’m the only one there at that time, but that’s ok, because it gives me time to set myself up, help with any last minute prep and calm the groom down.
  • I won’t be inappropriately dressed – One of the questions I ask when we are planning your ceremony is what are your colours and your theme, that is for me to ensure that I am dressed appropriately. If your bridesmaids are wearing one colour I don’t want to turn up wearing the same colour, and blend into the bridal party. If there is a particular colour you want me to wear then I’m happy to accommodate, and rest assured I will leave my neon pink leopard print mini dress at home.
  • I won’t be creepy – One of my extra skills as well as being a kick arse celebrant is also a ninja, that means that I will slowly ninja my way out of your first kiss photo. Because no-one needs my face creepily watching you kiss!
  • I won’t drink all the champers and eat all the food – I generally ninja my way (see ninja skills come in handy) out of your wedding shortly after you have walked back down your aisle. Because I know how much a wedding cost, and I don’t want to drink all your wine, and eat all the yummy food, that you have paid for your guests. I know you want to get on with hanging out with all your friends and family, not me.
  • I won’t be disorganised and forget the important paperwork – Your marriage licence is printed off as soon as you email it to me, and put in your file with all your other wedding items and that will always be with me on the day, as well as vow cards, readings, music playlists, my PA and microphone, and there will always be tissues in my pockets too.
  • I won’t sing you down the aisle – For good reason, although I sound amazing in the car with the stereo cranked right up, I can’t sing, and it would totally ruin your wedding. There are some celebrants who can sing, and who I know sound amazing, so choose one of them. I will stick to creating your a spotify playlist and using that instead.
  • I won’t copy and past your ceremony – Your ceremony should be about you, your personalities, your story and your love, so of course it’s going to be different to any one else’s ceremony.

Sound good? Then feel free to hit me up and lets have a chat about your plans.

Why the nerves? You’re only getting married!

All you need is love and … to remember why you’re there.

It’s pretty common knowledge that weddings bring out the nerves and stress in almost everyone, and if they say they’re not nervous they’re normally lying.

But, why are we nervous? There are normally two reasons why a bride or groom are nervous of their wedding day.  They are freaking out about  the actual act of getting married, because OMG I’m committing to spend the rest of my life with one person, or it’s OMG I’m standing up the front of 100ish people and they are all looking at me!  In my experience it’s door number two 99% of the time (the OMG I’m standing in front of everyone reason)  In most cases a really really jittery bride or groom (like full on cold feet, I don’t know if he’s really the one for me, can I do this for the rest of my life) will have resolved those feelings before the wedding, or they should have.

So let’s break down some of the reasons, you may be nervous on your wedding day.

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“I’m worried I’m going to trip over, because I’m not used to wearing this big puffball of a dress or these heels.”  In this case you practice, practice, practice walking in that dress with those shoes until you can do it with your eyes closed, you walk slowly, and you lean on the arm of who ever is escorting you. And if you trip, then you shake it off, laugh and keep going. In my experience I have had one bride trip (not fall over) and she laughed, and the guests laughed and it broke the ice, and you could visibly see her relax.  And of course there’s no rules that state you have to wear heels under that puffball of a dress, flats, chucks, sneakers or even jandals will all be perfect if no one can even see them.

“I’m worried because everyone’s going to be looking at me.”  If you are one of those people that get in a cold sweat and break out in hives at the thought of having to walk down the aisle and have everyone stare at you, then maybe a big wedding isn’t how you should celebrate the start of your marriage, maybe you should go with a small intimate wedding and then have a big party with all 200 of your family and friends.  If you’re worried about the actual walk down the aisle, then feel free to mix it up and not walk, but just appear at the altar from the side, or ask your partner to meet you from the car and then walk down the aisle together, or even just mingle with your guests before the ceremony and then come together when you start.

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“I’m worried that something won’t go according to my schedule, and the whole day will be ruined.”  In essence a wedding is about two people who love each other the mostest and are committing to spend their lives together, and it’s also about friends and family, it’s not about centerpieces and place cards and chair covers, they are all nice to have, but your wedding is about all the feels, and your chair covers not matching your place cards matching your centerpieces should not affect the feel of your wedding day.  Once you have done everything you can leading up to the wedding day, on the day you need to relax and let it go and enjoy having everyone you love in the same room.

“What if I stuff up my vows?” Take your time, everyone there at your wedding, doesn’t have any where else to be, otherwise they wouldn’t be there in the first place. You are standing in front of your friends and family, and the reason they’re all there is because they love and support your and your partner, so what if you stuff up the lines? A good celebrant will make you feel relaxed (well as relaxed as you can be, considering) and help you if you stumble.

Just remember that it’s completely normal to be a tad nervous on your wedding day, but don’t be so overwhelmed that you forget why you’re there and actually enjoy yourselves.

 

 

 

 

Different is good!

I love what I do, and I’m pretty sure that’s no secret to anyone who knows me or has been married by me. I have a really incredible job (and if you love what you do then it definitely doesn’t feel like a job, right?) I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet couples, all different types of people, from all different backgrounds and jobs and lifestyles and income brackets who all have one thing in common.

They have found the one person, out of all the billions of hearts in the world, who they love and who loves them, and they want to tell that person “I’m  all in!”

New Zealand Wedding Photographer
Photo provided by Acorn Photography

I believe love and our love stories should be treated with respect and delicate hands, they are after all, our stories, the narration of our journey as a couple. I believe our stories should be listened to, and commented on, and sometimes I shed a tear over the good or the hard, or the unjust of the story, and usually we laugh over the fun, the awkward and the miscommunication of feelings, and a lot of the time I have to coax extra ‘stuff’ out of you, like ‘how did you feel about that’ because more often than not talking about all the ‘gooey’ feelings is hard. It’s not the usual Friday night activity of anyone to sit around and tell your loved one, ‘this is what I want to promise you in the future’ (maybe it should be, but that’s another story)

One of my favourite parts of the journey to get you married, is to find out more about you, your personalities and your relationship. I aim to find out as much as I can about your story so I can honour that and write you the best damn wedding ceremony I can! The more ‘gold’ you give me the better the ceremony will be! That’s why every wedding ceremony should be different, because every bride and every groom is different, every story is different, every relationship is different, every family is different,  so in theory every ceremony should be different.

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Photo provided by Kerry Hodge Photography

I have had a lot of guests come up to me after I’ve performed a wedding and say  ‘wow, that was different’ and ‘that’s not what I was expecting’ and ‘that ceremony was so them’ and the first few times I was a little taken aback, thinking that there was something wrong with my ceremonies being ‘different’ or ‘not the norm’ but the more I reflected on it the more I agreed with the statements. Yip my ceremonies are different, and they should be different, because every love story is different, and yes they are different, because I’m aiming to create a ceremony that you will remember, that the bride and groom will remember and the guests will remember, because two people have decided they’re in it for the long haul, people! That’s huge, and we should remember it! A ceremony should bring all the feels, it should take you on a journey, it should represent and narrate a love story between two amazing people who want to share these feelings with you, their loved ones. I believe a ceremony should be interactive, guests should feel comfortable sharing their feelings, they should feel comfortable laughing when they hear something they like (like when the bride shares her first impression of the groom and that hipster moustache he was trying to grow) applauding when they see something epic (like that first kiss) they should ugly cry if the mood strikes them (like when Dad is wiping tears away when he hands his little girl over at the altar) and they should be comfortable making some noise and waving their hands in the air (like they just don’t care) when the new Mr and Mrs (or Mrs and Mrs, or Mr and Mr) walk back down the aisle!

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Photo provided by Simone Jackson

For many many years, wedding ceremonies where ‘one size fits all’ there was a certain way you got married, with the same ceremony that was preformed for all the other weddings that took place , and it was boring as! If that’s how you want to get married then ‘go you!’ you do you, and more power to you! There are definitely people who are happy with that, and there are definitely people out there that will happily oblige you, but if you want a ceremony that reflects you and your relationship, one that is actually part of the day, one that sets the tone for the celebrations (not just the boring bit that needs to be done to get to the good stuff, like the cake and the champers) one that is fun, and personal and relaxed and different, then let me know I’d love you help you out!

 

From engaged to finally married ….. Mr and Mrs Bray!

All you need is love. That’s it, that’s all you need.

So we’ve followed the journey of Sharmain and Jeremy as they went through the process of planning their wedding day.  We saw what went well, and what was more challenging, and finally we get to share the last installment, The Wedding Day! Here Sharmain and Jeremy share how that final week was, and of course the day itself.

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All photos supplied by the very talented Chris Garden.

What was the week before the wedding like? The week before the wedding was a very busy one.  Luckily, we had both taken that week off work, so that helped a lot!  It was very stressful for me as our reception venue was still far from finished and by Wednesday I was nearly in panic mode no matter how much Jeremy tried to assure me it would all work out.  Thankfully, the place was finished enough for use by Thursday night and on Friday we were able to set up for the reception.  There were a lot of last minute jobs that needed done in that last week, and I’d definitely recommend to anybody to take that week off, if possible.

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What surprised you the most about the wedding planning process? Overall i did find the wedding planning enjoyable.  There were a lot of hiccups along the way and many stresses that came with it, but I think knowing that in the end, after it all, I’d be marrying the man of my dreams, made all those little glitches worth it.  I honestly can’t describe the excited feeling I’d get every time I thought of a new idea or something for our wedding.

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How did you feel the day before the wedding? The day before the wedding I’ll admit, I think I was a mess.  My Mum took me out to get my nails done for the wedding and all I could think about was how the venue was going to look and why wouldn’t it stop raining.  When we returned to the venue and I say how everything looked I broke down in tears.  Jeremy’s family and my litte brother had spend the last few hours placing everything exactly where I’d wanted them to and how I’d wanted it and I was so overwhelmed with how everything looked that I couldn’t hold back my emotions.  Everything was perfect.  Later at the rehearsal I saw how badly the rain had affected our ceremony venue and almost broke down again, for a different reason.  There were puddles everywhere and I went in to a panic about how it would be the next day.  Thankfully it, somehow all dried out overnight and was perfect.

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Did things go well on the wedding morning? On the wedding morning I swear there as just a blanket of calm over the both of us.  I was up early making breakfast for the bridesmaids and Jeremy fed the dog and checked into our hotel for that night.  There were no hitches and I just couldn’t wait to see my soon to be husband.  Our photographer commented that he’d never had a couple, or wedding party in general, be so calm on the morning of their wedding.  We were too excited and too happy to be nervous.

Do you remember what you were thinking as you walked down the aisle? As I walked down the aisle everything was a blur, all my focus was on Jeremy waiting for me at the end.  There were people at the ceremony that I didn’t even realise were there until looking at photos weeks later.  The world felt like it stood still and he was the only thing that mattered in that moment.  All Jeremy could think was simply ‘wow’

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What were some of the highlights of the wedding day? Jeremy’s biggest highlight of the day was seeing me walk down the aisle.  I think my biggest highlight was seeing his face once I reached the end.  I swear I’ve never seen that man so happy.  Overall though, I think the entire day was amazing, the best day of our lives so far.

Any thing you would have done differently? I think if I could’ve done anything differently it would be to practice our first dance before performing it, preferably in similar clothing to what would be worn on the day.  As we found out, on the night it wasn’t as easy as we thought it was going to be, as I couldn’t step backwards in my dress because of the train, which was not something I’d thought about until I stood on it.

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Advice to other brides/couples? Our advice to other couples would be to try not to stress.  As difficult as that sounds at the end of the day all that matters is that you’re marrying the love of your life.  Throughout our entire planning process and wedding day and everything Jeremy was very laid back and easy going, it was me who stressed over every little thing and at the end of it I look back and just wonder why I ever let some things get to me. Also remember, it’s your day, so have it the way you want it, not everyone else.

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Would you recommend your vendors on the day? We were very happy with all of our vendors for the day.

  • Michelle and her team from Just Essence Catering did an amazing job, and were more than happy to work with every requirement we threw at them. Including setting up a children’s buffet table to keep their meals separate for the adults food.
  • Kate and the team at The Dessert Room were amazing too and worked with us very well. Plus they were far more reasonably priced than we expected.
  • Hirepool was one we didn’t expect to use but ended up needing to hire the tables and chairs for the reception from, they were very easy to work with, and allow 3 day hire which was definitely easier than trying to set up and clean up all in the same day.
  • Our photographer Chris Garden, was great! We had a lot of communication with him leading up to the day and he was happy to do whatever we asked of him, and his photos are amazing.
  • And of course our amazing celebrant Angela Port.  She worked with us so well, and helped out with everywhere we needed it.  She was happy to give us any advice we needed and help with vow writing, and we both love her ceremony and working with her.

What was your biggest surprise on the wedding day? Our biggest surprise on our wedding day has to have been the weather.  For the days leading up, it was absolutely pouring with rain, right up until 2am that morning (yes I was still awake) and then on the Sunday it again was pouring down.  But you couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day on the Saturday, it was absolutely stunning.

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What is your favourite memory of your wedding day? I don’t think we’ll ever forget our wedding day, but I think my most favourite memory would be learning Jeremy’s reaction as I walked down the aisle, more happy tears were shed then. Jeremy’s favourite memory is seeing me, at the end of the night walking around cradling my baby cousin in my arms.  I absolutely adore babies and Jeremy says I looked so peaceful and happy in that moment.

Anyone you would like to especially mention for their help? So many people helped us out in so many ways.  Friends giving advice and support, family giving advice and helping us out financially.  I don’t think we could really thank one person in particular without listing many, many names.

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How did you feel the next day, once it was all over? The day after the wedding, we had to go clean up the reception venue and start returning hired things back to the companies.  It was a very busy day and felt like we’d just had a great big party, but we didn’t feel any different.  However it was a very stress free day, like a great weight had been lifted from our shoulders.  And I know I saw Jeremy playing with his ring, just as much as I played with mine.

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At the end of the day I believe just do what makes you happy.  We were both so happy with how everything turned out for us, we couldn’t have asked for it to be better.  The day definitely does fly by though and I think the best piece of advice I could give to any couple is to try take a moment for themselves out of their wedding day, away from the guests, and just enjoy each other.  It’s something we didn’t do and in the end we didn’t really see a lot of each other once we got to the reception.

I wish you a life time of happiness together, and thank you for allowing me to share a part of your special day with me – Angela Port 

How to choose your wedding date and time.

All you need is love and … a date and time.

How do you choose your wedding date and time? The majority of weddings I attend  take place in Summer, on a Saturday at 3pm. And there’s a good reason for that, it’s warmer in Summer (well sometimes, although not always in Dunedin) a Saturday means no-one has to go to work early the next day, so they can party late into the night, and 3pm works well, for the ceremony, photos, dinner time line.

But…

Is it really the best time?

Ask any photographer, and 3pm in Summer is not always the best time for those magical wedding photos. There are times of the day (morning and late afternoon/dusk) that they call the ‘golden hour’ because it provides stunning light, and thus equally stunning photos. It can be harder for a photographer to work with the light in the middle of the day in summer to make sure the bride and groom aren’t squinting during the ceremony, or that half the bridal party is in direct sunlight and the other half are in shadow, a bit of a nightmare to make everyone look great.

Summer, while it should be warmer, and less chance of rain, is peak wedding season, so all the good venues, celebrants, photographers will be booked up really fast. You snooze unfortunately you lose in some cases. And I know not everyone’s that organised to plan 18 months ahead. Where as Autumn, you get great colours, leaves falling, it’s still not that chilly yet, and the light is better for photos. Google search ‘weddings in Queenstown’ and you will see the most stunning winter wonderland images. There are also some absolutely stunning venues around that lend themselves to the perfect winter wedding, and if you plan a winter wedding inside, you don’t have to stress about whether it’s going to rain or not. I know many a bride to be who has been constantly checking the weather app on their phone the week leading up to their wedding.  One less stress in my opinion.

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Photo via: Heliweddings.co.nz

 

3pm, or as I call it “wedding o’clock” is the most popular time for a wedding. Why?  Well most people figure it gives the girls long enough to get hair, make-up, maybe a glass of champers under their belt, and then it leads nicely into canapes after the wedding, while the couple go off to have their photos taken, leaving the guests to their own devices, and the open bar, then back after photos straight into speeches or dinner and dancing the night away. But what about exchanging your vows at sunrise, then having a wedding breakfast with your guests?  Or having an 11am wedding, then heading into a beautiful lunch somewhere fancy, or having your ceremony at 5pm (having your first look and photos before hand) and then not having to leave your guests, who you invited because they are your favourite people, and starting the party straight away?

Why Saturday? Fridays are awesome for a wedding, you get to spend a long weekend with your loved ones, especially those who have travelled a long way to hang out with you. And if you give everyone enough notice, then most people will be able to get the time off work, and still not have to go to work the next day. And you’ll have a better pick of venues, celebrants, photographers etc. Having a wedding out of season could also let you take advantage of specials that many photographers, venues etc may have to build business in the less busy season.

If you’re looking for a way to stretch the budget, then consider thinking outside of the 3pm on a Saturday in Summer square. There’s plenty of other options around if you just be open minded.

Just remember it’s your day, and of course you should do it your way, whether it’s 3pm on a Saturday in Summer or not.

Wedding stress busting

All you need is love and … to look after yourself.

Wedding planning is hard, and stressful, so very stressful. And we all know that stress has a huge impact on your body and your mental health. And we all want to go into our wedding day, and our married life, looking and feeling our absolute best. So I’ve put together some tips on how to look after yourself while wedding planning.

Leading up to the wedding day

Get yourself organised – Now is the time to organise yourself, especially if you are organisationally-challenged. Get yourself a wedding planner, any kind will do, whatever suits your personality and lifestyle, and use it.  She said yes have a beautiful one, you’ll feel better knowing that there’s not a chance of you forgetting anything.

Start a exercise plan – If you are wanting to lose a few kilos for the big day, or just want to be in the best possible shape for your wedding day, then formulate an exercise plan. Enlist the help of a nutritionist and/or personal trainer if you like, or just rope in the bridesmaids for added incentive.  Exercise as well as making you look great, will also make you feel great,and it’s also a great stress buster.

Skin care/Hair care- Now is the time to think about how you’re going to get your skin and hair into tip top condition. Talk to your make up artist and your hair dresser about the best way to do this. They may suggest regular treatments and/or products to use leading up to the wedding day, to ensure you have the perfect canvas for the day.

Multi-vitamins/supplements – Now is a good time to talk to a professional about what type of vitamins or supplements it may be a good idea to start using to make sure you both look and feel your best. You may need to think about a supplement to help with stress, or energy to help you get through the wedding planning intact. Make sure you are getting enough fruits and vegetables too.

Water – Up your water intake, nearly everyone doesn’t drink enough water, so increasing your water is a great way of helping with hydrating your body.  It will give you glowing skin, and help you flush out toxins. If you’re not a water fan, try using sliced fruit in your bottle to add a tasty flavour.

Delegate – Don’t try to wear too many hats. Make sure  you do your research with vendors, so you know they are professionals, and can do the job, and trust that they will on the day. Sometimes you need to choose what you can let go of and delegate. There are always lots of people who are just waiting for you to ask for help.

Wedding week –

Exercise – Keep up with the exercise. It will help relieve stress, and zone out in this busy week.

Wedding day contact – Choose someone to be the wedding day contact. Someone who you can trust to make decisions on the day so you can relax. This is where a wedding co-ordinator or day of wedding co-ordinator would step in.

Pamper yourself – It’s time to book in for a massage, or some other type of treat for yourself. It’s your wedding week, it’s time to indulge yourself.

Good People – Surround yourself with good people. The type of people who will bring you good vibes, not stress.  If you have to deal with a family member who you know will stress you out, then be very selective with how much time you spend with them.

Set aside more time – Give yourself way more time than you think you’re going to need to complete errands, everything will seem to take much longer than you think, which will leave you running late, and thus stressed, something we are trying to eliminate remember.

Wedding Eve – Don’t go too hard the night before the wedding. It’s ok to have a celebratory drink with the girls, but you want to be waking up fresh faced and bushy tailed, not like a zombie, with dark circles and a monster headache.

Sleep – Make sure you are not burning the candle at both ends leading up to the wedding. There’s a reason it’s called ‘beauty sleep’

Wedding Day

Eat – Make sure you have something in your belly during the day, to stop you feeling faint, and the wine going straight to your head.

Exercise/Fresh Air – Go for a quick walk with the girls in the morning before breakfast.  Getting some fresh air will make you feel amazing.

Water – Make sure you are hydrated, especially if you’ve planned a outside summer wedding.

Mediation – If you’re a mediation fan, then this is the perfect time to practice a little quiet time to re-focus your mind and energy as you head into a full-on day.

Focus on what’s important – Make sure you take a little time on the morning, especially if you’re feeling stressed out, to focus on what’s important about the day.  That you are getting married to your soul mate, nothing else matters!

 

Engaged to Married – August/September

All you need is love and … and update on Sharmain and Jeremy.

We’re now on the home stretch, we have less than 100 days to go, so everything is ramping up. The last two months have been very busy with lots of organising, and finalising, but there’s still the little details to go.

Bridesmaid dresses have been purchased and they have arrived, and the girls will all be together to try them on in the next couple of weeks, with possible alterations being scheduled closer to the wedding date.

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Wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses.

The cute flower girl and ring bearer outfits have also been purchased.

There will be gorgeous wedding favours (which have now been paid for) for the guests and other little bit and pieces to personalise the day.

The table centerpieces are being finalised and finished, just need a bit more tweaking to make them perfect.

Wedding rings have been chosen and paid for, and are now tucked away in a safe place away from the dog.

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Ring boxes minus the rings, that have been tucked away for safe keeping.

I spent some time transferring everything into clear plastic tubs, so it’s all together in one place and easily transported, and more importantly away from the dog.

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Plastic clear boxes are a life saver for keeping everything together.

We had our second meeting with our awesome celebrant, we now have a better idea on the structure of our ceremony. She asked us a lot of questions, which she will use to personalise our ceremony, that’s what we love about her style of ceremony. We also have some ideas for writing our own vows, which we will keep secret from each other until the ceremony, something to look forward to on the day. She also gave us information on obtaining our marriage licence (an essential part of the day!!) and we are nearly  within the 3 month time period to obtain this. (Awesome celebrant has just about finished your ceremony, you should have it in a couple of days, whoop, whoop!!)

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We have our final meeting with our photographer in a couple of weeks.

Invites have been sent, and we are now just waiting for the RSVP’s to come back in.

It feels good to have all the big things ticked off, but now it’s time for all the finalising (caterers, RSVPs) and all the fiddly little jobs (centerpieces, finishing DIY projects)

It’s getting really exciting now it’s less than 100 days to go.

 

When to say no, when to compromise and when to go with the flow.

All you need is love and …to learn when to say no, when to compromise and when to go with the flow.

When I sat down to research and write this piece, it became apparent to me that the principles for the successful navigation of the wedding planning process and  successfully navigating marriage are quite similar. Although I have yet to find a need for a seating chart in my marriage, and 17 years in I don’t think there will ever be a need for one, so in that respect they are different. So while you are reading this piece, be mindful that you can take some of the advice and apply it to marriage as well as wedding planning.

Wedding planning is hard, this we know. In fact if anyone says to you “Oh I loved every minute of planning my wedding, it was all so much fun” they are lying. They are a big fat liar McLiarsons.

With my experience in the wedding industry, and the many articles I’ve read, blog posts I’ve perused and Facebook rants I’ve been privy to, the number one issue couples (well let’s be honest, mostly brides) have is every man and his dog seems to have an opinion on how you should plan your wedding.

So with that in mind I’ve put together some tips for how to handle those sticky situations and those well-meaning friends and family (who we know only want to help) during the wedding planning process.

Come up with a budget, and stick to it – When you first start planning your wedding, you need to sit down together and have a conversation about money (I know boring as hell, but so important) You both need to decide on how much you can realistically spend on your wedding day, and what type of wedding you want. Is it going to be all out, over the top, dream wedding, or maybe something a little more scaled back? This will help you make all the big decisions (venue, photographer etc) when you know exactly how much you’ve got to spend on each element. Having a set budget means that you also have a good excuse to say ‘no’ to suggestions “Sorry I really can’t incorporate those swans  you really want into the wedding Great Aunty Fanny. I can’t afford it!” Soz not soz!

Make sure you’re both on the same page – Make sure you both converse about what’s important to you for the big day. Are there some non-negotiable items that you must have or that are priorities to you? For example, he may be a big fan of a particular type of car and really want those as the wedding cars, where you couldn’t care less what type of cars you arrive in. So you budget for those cars, and if someone offers their opinion on another type of car, you can say ‘no’. If you are both on the same page you will be in a better position  when people start questioning or offering their opinions. You will know exactly what the other person thinks and wants and can stick together.

Make sure your partner will back you up – Weddings and wedding planning can bring out the worst in people. A lot of people in your lives will have set opinions, whether solicited or not, on your wedding plans. If you’ve already had the discussion about the budget and your priorities, then you’re in good shape.  You also need to know that your partner will back you up if/when you have to say ‘no’ to a suggestion. Also be aware that some people will go for  the “divide and conquer” technique, where they will offer their suggestion on you first and if you say ‘no’ then they will try your partner. But once again if you both know the plan and know that you both  have each other’s back then you’ll come out on top.

Stick up for what’s important to you – It’s your wedding day, you get to do it your way. If there is something that you really want (priorities and non-negotiable items) and someone questions your decision then make sure you stick up for what’s important.  You don’t want to look back on your wedding day with regret on something that you gave up to keep someone else happy.

Don’t be emotionally black-mailed, especially by family – Split families can be  a hotbed for emotional blackmail (the whole if he’s coming then I’m not type of childish behaviour, can rear it’s ugly head) Make sure all your family members know that you will not be held to ransom on your wedding day. Remind them that it is your day, and that they need to ‘pull their heads in’ and if they can’t then maybe they should not come.  You’ll find nine times out of ten, they will start behaving. No-one wants to miss a wedding.

Every-ones on the same page – If your parents or other relatives are financially contributing to the wedding then you need to have discussions at the beginning with them all about your plans. There can be times when their money will come with strings attached ( an example: if they are paying for flowers, then they want to pick the flowers) and if you’re all good with that, then great, if not then you need to discuss and come to a compromise. I know, maybe easier said than done, just make sure they know how much you appreciate their contribution, but, that you have your hearts set on your plans. And if they still won’t play ball, then you need to decide if the money they are contributing is  worth all the hassle.

What can you let go of – There may be times where you just need to let go of some of the control or your expectations and go with some-one else’s idea to keep the peace. But only if it’s something that is not one of your priorities. For example one bride let her mother in law choose and order the wedding favours, because it kept her involved (and happy) and it wasn’t really a priority for the bride. Win, win I say!

Remember what’s important -You love each other. You  are choosing to share your love story and commitment with your friends and family on your special day.

 

Letter to a bride on her wedding day.

All you need is love… and a letter full of marriage advice.

 

I have a niece who’s getting married, and that made me think about what advice I would give her (or any bride) about to embark on the road to marriage. I’m a huge advocate of marriage, I’m a wedding celebrant for petes sake. I adore seeing a couple flush with love, ready to embark on the next chapter of their lives as husband and wife, so I support marriage whole-heartedly, but I also know that it’s not always plain sailing. With that in mind I thought I would share some of my own thoughts on marriage (of course it’s not a ‘how-to’ guide to being married, because I have made my fair share of mistakes, just ask my patient husband) I’ve been married myself for 17 years, so while I haven’t made it to the 46 years of my in-laws, I think I have a reasonable grasp on the whole being married thing, and thought I’d share my musings.

It’s bloody hard work

and anyone who tells you it’s easy and they never fight, is lying!  And anyone who has been married to the same person for any length of time will probably agree with me.

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My wedding day 17 July 1999

  • You will love them, but may not like them all of the time. Yes of course you love them, but there will be times when they will annoy the crap out of you.  Times when you need to leave the house because you fear you may ‘accidentally’ stab them in the face with a fork.  And that’s OK. The leaving the house, not the stabbing them.
  • You will not agree with them all the time, but it is how you deal with a disagreement that  matters.
  • You will need to compromise, a lot. And that’s OK, as long as you’re both  getting some of the good stuff.
  • You will argue, a lot. But once again it is how you deal with the argument, and talk it through, and resolve it that matters. And ‘better living’ tip: you need to resolve the argument, otherwise it will continue to rear it’s ugly head sporadically. Of course not all arguments can be resolved over a cup of coffee, but you need to realise when you need a second opinion, or professional help.
  • You will both change.  Of course you will, you are not the same person you were 5/10 years ago, and neither is your husband, and you won’t be the same person in 5/10 years from now.
  • Communication, communication, communication. It is key, you need to keep talking.
  • There will be times when one of you is strong, and will need to take the lead, and the other is weak, and needs to be cared for, and then it will change.  Being married, in my opinion, means that you know the other person always has your back.
  • Kids will change everything.  Of course they will, how can they not. They come into your nice, settled, comfortable, disposable income filled life and turn it upside down. Don’t get me wrong I love our kid, but it can be very stressful and taxing on a relationship to have this other little person, who takes up so much of your time, money and attention.
  • Pick your battles. You’ll get sick of the sound of your own voice if you nag about everything that the other person does that drives you crazy. Just focus on the things that you can’t overlook. See the section on compromise.
  • You need to maintain your own life outside of the marriage.  It’s important to maintain friendships, hobbies, interests etc that are separate to your partner.  It helps keep your own identity, and gives you something to talk about at the end of the day.
  • Everyone brings baggage to the marriage. Everyone has a life before they get married, and depending on your past relationships and family dynamics, everyone has ‘stuff’ and it can be challenging to sort out how your new family is going to work.  Marriage is essentially asking two different people from different backgrounds to come together and live their lives together.  Of course it’s not going to be seamless.
  • Your marriage needs to be a priority in your life.  It is so easy to get complacent, and busy and not put the effort in.  But if you don’t tend to your marriage it will not work.
  • Marriage is not the same for everyone.  It is not a one size fits all.  You do not have to have a marriage like the Jones’s. You need to negotiate what works for you both, your happiness and your family. Marriage is not a noun, it is a verb, it is constant work, and change and discussion and negotiation.
  • There will be times when you think ‘what the hell have I done?’ but you work through it and come out the other side.
  • Marriage is awesome If you pick the right person, you will have a friend that you can laugh with, love with, have adventures with. Someone who will challenge you, help you to grow, and help make you a better version of yourself. 

I’m keen to hear what your advice to a bride on her wedding day would be.  Is there anything I missed?