Bridesmaids top tips for the big day

The bridesmaid’s role at a wedding might not be as clearly defined as the best man’s, but it’s just as vital. And from emotional support to practical assistance, your duties start long before the big day.

1) Check the Venue

You might be asked to help set up or make sure the placing is correct on the morning itself. Don’t worry about losing out on “getting ready time” — remember the bride is the only one who needs to look perfect, your help and support is much more valuable.

2) Getting Ready

Get dressed as quickly, quietly and efficiently as you can (the bride won’t thank you for hogging the GHDs or having a tantrum over a bad hair day) and take charge of any younger bridesmaids to ensure everyone’s dressed with hair and make-up done.

3) Act as Photographer’s Assistant

Before the ceremony, liaise with the photographer as well as rounding groups of guests up later on.

4) Attend the Bride

As well as walking down the aisle, hold the bouquet as she says her vows and arrange her train. Later, check she and the groom have champagne and canapés.

5) Public Speaking

More and more bridesmaids are making a speech, They’re also often asked to give a reading and the chief bridesmaid may be a witness. So be prepared to show the best man how it’s done.

6) Be Ready for Emergencies

Have a kit prepared, including lipstick, sewing essentials, tissues, baby wipes and blister plasters.

7) Get the Party Started

Make sure guests go in to the wedding breakfast when they should, and be one of the first onto the dance floor later.

8) Don’t Forget the Details

Check everyone has confetti, remind the bride to throw her bouquet (and make sure there are people to catch it!) — you can even help to distribute the cake.

9) Go the Extra Mile

One idea is to take the brides mobile phone on the morning of the wedding and not let her have to deal with any phone calls. Let her enjoy her morning and get ready without the hassle of having to answer calls.

African Wedding

There is something special about African weddings with celebrations from jumping the broom to tasting four elements. To make it memorable and happy, here are some traditions that you can include in your wedding to personalize it so that it pleases everyone with unique experiences.

Jumping the Broom

This tradition reaches all the way back to slavery times. Today, this game consists of the bride and the groom jumping over a beautifully decorated handmade broom to publicly signify their commitment to one another. The newlyweds can hang the broom in their home as a reminder of their wedding day and commitment to one another.

Libation Ceremony

As a way to honour the elders in your families and to honour your ancestors, this ceremony has lots of meaning. To perform the Libation ceremony, use holy water or alcohol to pour on the ground in east, west, north and south respectively. Someone should be designated to learn and recite the prayers to say during the ceremony.

Kola Nuts

The Kola nut is given to the couple during an African wedding. With the nut symbolizing the happy couple and extended family, it means the couple is willing to help heal together as one. The Kola nut should be shared between the newlyweds and their parents.

Tying the Knot

With this ceremony, the bride and groom are tied around the wrists with a cloth or grass that has been braided for the ceremony. The braided grass symbolizes the unity of marriage. The ceremony is conducted while the wrists are tied.

Crossing Sticks

Use two tall wood sticks that represent life force among the trees and the couple will cross the sticks to represent the unity of their love and start their marriage on the right foot.

Knocking the Door

In this ceremony, the groom will knock on the door of his future in-laws and bring them gifts and requests permission to marry. This ceremony brings the families closer together.

Purple and Gold

Choosing these colours for your wedding colours not only adds fabulous and modern feeling, but it is also an African American wedding tradition because they represent royalty in many African cultures.

Feeding the Family

After the four elements tasting, it’s time to sit down and share a meal with the family. Joining the families is important in the African wedding ceremonies.

Ditching the Diamond

Because many diamonds have been mined in Africa, some brides choose to use a different stone as a symbol of their marriage instead. Ditching the diamond is becoming more popular today.

Kente Cloth

All brides want to have the Kente cloth as part of their wedding. This bright fabric is gold, green, and red in color and is made in Ghana. The groom’s vest can be made from this material or you may see it in the bridesmaid dresses.

 

Japanese weddings

Shinto is the ethnic religion in Japan and it has a huge impact on the country’s culture and ceremonial traditions. Even today, more than 79% of Japanese people still belong to Shinto temples. Still, a large majority of people in and even outside of Japan are not very familiar with how the religion influences different ceremonies and events in Japan. The same is the case with Japanese wedding traditions that may come as a surprise to many.

The Betrothal/ Engagement

Called the yuino in Japanese, the betrothal ceremony is an exchange of symbolic gifts between the bride’s and groom’s families. The most popular gifts are a seaweed called konbu, which refers to “childbearing woman”; a long piece of hemp in white that represents the wish that both husband and wife will grow old together; and a folding fan that spreads and indicates future growth and wealth. The most common gifts also include a hakama for the groom and an obi for the bride. One of the main gifts in this ceremony is money, which can be £5,000 or more – the money is offered in a shugi-bukuro, a special envelope with gold and silver strings. Ornate rice-paper envelopes are also used to give other gifts.

The Venues

Since most Japanese weddings take place in Shinto temples, the wedding venues are always quite attractive. These locations also feature religious iconography that give the whole function a special feel. Some of the most common are water pavilions, stone dogs, and tall red gates that symbolise the division between the corporeal and spiritual worlds.

San-San-Kudo

This sake sharing ceremony is common for Buddhists as well as Shinto Japanese weddings. It is among the most interesting Japanese wedding traditions for outsiders. There will be three stacked cups of sake and both bride and groom have to drink taking three sips. “Three, three, nine times” – just as the name San-San-Kudo suggests. Ku or 9 means good luck in Japanese culture. So, some believe that the three sips each time represent love, wisdom, and happiness, while others believe they represent earth, heaven, and mankind. Some believe they represent the three couples – the bride and groom, the groom’s parents, and the bride’s parents. However, some believe they represent the biggest human flaws, which are passion, hatred, and ignorance, which the couple will overcome together in life.

Wedding Wardrobe

Something that will always fascinate you in a Japanese wedding is the wedding wardrobe. It is all in white – at least most of the time. The country’s national colors are red and white, and you will notice these same colours in Japanese weddings. While a bride’s gown may be of delicate silk or some other material, the colour is usually white. Sleek evening gowns may come as a surprise to you, but they are quite common. Grooms usually opt for black – they may wear a suit or kimono. At some Japanese weddings, brides wear a white silk material over the bun in their hair – that silk headdress is called a wataboshi and is one of the oldest Japanese wedding traditions.

Speeches

Wedding speeches hold a great place of importance in Japanese wedding ceremonies. Family, friends, teachers, colleagues, and other relatives stand in line and wait for their turn to wish the couple well. These speeches can be moralistic tales about marriage, but they can also be heartfelt messages of love from family and friends.

Gifts for Parents

As you may have gathered, Japanese wedding traditions are often about exchanging gifts. There will be loads of presents for the parents of both the bride and groom. The most common gifts are a toast for the parents, bouquets of flowers, and a personal letter of thanks and love. These simple gestures make Japanese weddings very intimate and special.

Gifts for the Guests

Japanese weddings have a lot available for the guests as well. Brides usually spend up to £50 or even more on favours for their guests. These favours might be a lace bag of sweet almonds and much more.

 

Classic Traditions

Trends come and go. But, if you want your wedding to be more timeless than trendy, consider incorporating some of classic traditions that have been in hiding for years.

We think it’s time to bring these sweet rituals back!

  1. Tying The Knot

It turns out there is deep symbolism behind the phrase “tying the knot.” It refers to an old Irish and Scottish ritual called hand-fasting. The officiant ties the couple’s hands together with a brightly coloured ribbon or cord. The rope symbolises that the couple is bound together with an eternal bond. Hand-fasting is popular in European weddings—Prince William and Kate Middleton even incorporated it into their royal wedding ceremony.

  1. Wedding Bells

The church bells ringing at the beginning and/or end of a wedding ceremony was once thought to ward off any evil or negative spirits. As many wedding ceremonies have moved out of the church and fewer churches seem to have bells, this tradition has fallen by the wayside. But, don’t give up on this one yet. The original Celtic tradition involved a smaller bell that was rung at the end of the ceremony. The bell was then brought to the couples’ new home and whenever tensions arose (as often they do with newlyweds) the bell was to be rung to restore the marriage commitment and break off the negativity of the argument.

  1. Sixpence In Your Shoe

Most of us are familiar with the rhyme “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” But, not as many are aware of the last line, “and a sixpence in her shoe.”  The sixpence was given by a father to the bride to symbolise all the blessings he had for her. By giving her the sixpence, he was symbolically wishing her great health, wealth and happiness that could be passed down with the coin from generation to generation. So sweet!

  1. Decorating The Car

The ritual of decorating the bride and groom’s wedding car with flowers on the bonnet and ribbons streaming from the side mirrors or ariel began in Germany. The newly married couple would lead a procession to their reception, and guests would beep their horns all the way there to get the party started!

  1. Money Dances

This is a custom that comes in several different forms depending on the culture of the bride and groom. In Poland, the bride will dance with different guests as they take turns pinning money to her. It is sometimes called the apron dance as brides would wear aprons in order to save their gowns from holes. At an Italian wedding, you may see the bride carrying a silk bag and when guests come to dance with her they put money into the bag. The Phillipines, Mexico and several other countries also have their own version of the money dance.

  1. Love Letters

In traditional Icelandic wedding ceremonies, the future bride and groom would write love letters to each other the night before the wedding. They would use the letters to express their feelings about the upcoming day, as well as their hopes and dreams for their future together, or to recount the story of how they fell in love. Oftentimes, parents of the bride and groom or the officiant of the ceremony would also write a letter to the couple. The letters would then be sealed in a box to be opened on the couple’s first anniversary. What a beautiful and meaningful tradition.

 

Join in the Entertainment

In the hopes of ensuring that everybody at your wedding can ‘break the ice’, here are four interactive wedding entertainment ideas that guests will enjoy.

Garden Games

If you are looking to plan a summer wedding, then you might be wanting to hold much of the big day outside in the sun. If this is the case, then after the ceremony and perhaps during the drinks reception, you might like to offer some garden games for your guests. Also able to be enjoyed after the wedding breakfast, games like  croquet or quoits roll back the years and ensure a level playing field from the ages of eight to eighty!

Ceilidh

When it comes to booking music for a wedding, you generally have two options – book a wedding band or book a DJ. But there’s actually a third option. Rather than booking a function band, you might like to book a Ceilidh instead! Similar to a barn dance, a Ceilidh band has an experienced caller who explains the dance moves to you ahead of time and ensures that all ages get involved. A fantastic option for your wedding entertainment.

Retro Games

It used to be that if you liked computer games, you’d keep it to yourself for fear of being ‘geeky’. Games are very much in these days though with the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and recently released Nintendo Switch proving to be extremely popular and why not tap into this love by hiring retro games for your wedding. A bit of fun at the wedding reception, having a Mario Kart tournament featuring your Auntie and colleague from accounts is sure to be one of the most surprising events of the evening! Not sure on going digital? How about booking Scalextric for a wedding instead?

Photo booth

One of the most popular additions to weddings in recent years, a photo booth brings people together like no other wedding entertainment can. Creating memories of your big day, guests will ordinarily be able to instantly print their photos and keep a copy for themselves whilst also sticking in another photo into an album that the bride and groom will be given after the wedding comes to an end. Photo booths often come with props for an extra dose of comedy and you’ll be even able to send yourself a digital copy as well. Marvellous!

 

Controversial music pieces

One area that doesn’t seem to be quite so unique is the wedding ceremony music; many opt for a traditional theme that they have heard before like Mendelssohn’s Wedding March or Pachelbel’s Canon in D. That being said, some of the pieces are a tad controversial. Here’s why!

Mendelssohn’s Wedding March

Although hugely popular, Mendelssohn’s most famous work has proved to be controversial to its literary origins. Mendelssohn was commissioned by Prussian monarch Friedrich Wilhelm IV to compose a number of pieces to accompany various pieces of literature in order to revive a lagging genre in society at the time. In 1843, Mendelssohn was tasked with writing music for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and this is where the Wedding March comes from. Why controversial? That particular play features a lot of pagan mythology including magic, fairies and fantasy, of which many in Roman Catholicism are uncomfortable. Is it therefore inappropriate for a Christian wedding ceremony? We don’t have the answer but it’s always best to check.

Schubert’s Ave Maria

Another tune that is popular during the wedding ceremony or as a prelude to the bride’s arrival, Ave Maria is a beautiful piece of music that was originally composed by Schubert for Sir Walter Scott’s Lady of the Lake in 1810. The plot of the story focuses on King James V banishing the Douglas clan to a castle on Loch Katrine and one of the group’s number is Ellen, a daughter who has to live with her exiled father. The initial lyrics have changed over the years to convey a more matrimonial tone, but some fear the lyrics don’t quite go far enough. Some hear them and feel the song is a beautiful hymn to a loving mother while others believe the words to convey the desperate cries of an exiled bride.

Wagner’s Bridal Chorus

Richard Wagner’s Bridal Chorus is perhaps the most well-known music chosen by couples on their wedding day. Known by many as ‘Here Comes the Bride’, we are pretty certain that you’ll have heard the piece before, even if not at a wedding. Why is it controversial? The music was composed as part of Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin and lovers of the operatic music scene may very well be aware of where the piece featured. Although it was used during a wedding scene, the marriage itself was short-lived. Not the omen you’d like on your wedding day! Richard Wagner was also notoriously anti-Semitic, which is another reason you may wish to avoid picking the Bridal Chorus for your wedding ceremony.

No matter which wedding music you opt for on your big day, we advise a couple to choose whatever makes them most happy. Still, it’s interesting to know the provenance of the tunes you might hear!

 

The best surprise of all

When it comes to weddings, there are many opportunities to surprise the bride and groom. Be it with gifts, a fun interactive game for the newlyweds to engage in during the wedding reception or the Best Man’s speech, each surprise is sure to delight and entertain those in attendance. But what about surprising the bride and groom with entertainment? Here are three brilliant options.

Stand up Opera

One for the couple who love a bit of musical theatre, Stand Up Opera is a comedy and music performance unlikely anything you’ve ever seen! The concept begins during the drinks reception, where two charismatic performs will mingle with other wedding guests. Later in the day, the duo take centre stage to commemorate the new Mr. & Mrs. but their witty chatter quickly turns into an impressive and unexpected performance with operatic and classical crossover duets. The perfect blend of laughter and spine-tingling music for your big day!

Breakdancing Waiters

For those who are familiar with flash mobs, Breakdancing Waiters shouldn’t be too hard to explain. For the uninitiated, a flashmob is when a group of people who appeared not to be linked suddenly break out in song and dance! If you book Breakdancing Waiters for your wedding, you’ll receive a troupe of performers who immerse themselves among the wait staff and then break out into a stunning dance routine that will shock everybody in the room. A tremendous alternative to Singing Waiters but just as enjoyable!

Singing Waiters

Perhaps the most famous of the surprise acts, since their arrival on the events scene over the past decade, Singing Waiters have been a hugely popular booking for wedding entertainment each and every year. Working as part of the catering staff throughout the wedding breakfast, Singing Waiters surprise every person in the room by breaking out into song at a pre-arranged time. Perhaps the bride and groom have a special song that would be perfect for the Singing Waiters treatment? Hugely fun, this is sure to stun the room.

 

How best to choose your entertainment

When it comes to choosing wedding entertainment, many have absolutely no idea where to begin. Very few newlyweds have ever been married before so to expect the bride and groom to know how to choose wedding entertainment is ludicrous. Thankfully, we are here to help!

What’s most important to you?

The bride and groom are often exceptionally busy on the wedding day itself so tend to ‘miss out’ on a lot of what’s going on by virtue of having other things to do. While your guests are sipping at champagne, the happy couple will often venture off to have their wedding photos taken. As everybody is enjoying their wedding breakfast, the couple often have to walk between tables as each guest wishes to congratulate them on their day. So what matters most to you? If you’d prefer to have attendees chatting to one another, a magician can help break the ice. If you’d like a fun photo album of your day, booking a photo booth is a must. Have a think and we are certain you’ll be able to prioritise accordingly!

Inside/Outside

Booking wedding entertainment definitely varies depending on whether your wedding is inside or outside. In the summer, you might want to book a strolling acoustic act, but always have a backup idea in place if it starts to rain! If your event is taking place mainly indoors, there will naturally be a few types of wedding entertainment that won’t necessarily work.

Consider your budget

The final consideration to make when it comes choosing wedding entertainment is your budget. Newlyweds don’t want to start married life with a mountain of debt but it does happen so please only book what you can afford. At the end of the day, a wedding is a marvellous celebration of a couple’s love for one another and nothing should get in the way of that. If you can’t afford a function band, then perhaps look at booking a DJ. There are a multitude of options available for any budget so there really is something for everyone.

Restrictions

It’s best to start by looking at the wedding venue you have chosen and working backwards from there. Are there any restrictions in place that might immediately cut down your list into  a more manageable size? Many wedding venues are very old or are situated close to public areas. In this case, they may have a sound limiter which means you probably won’t be able to book that Metallica tribute band you had your eye on. Others might prevent wedding parties from having jugglers or acrobats indoors due to the highly expensive art on the walls. So ask your wedding venue whether they have any restrictions in place before booking wedding entertainment.

Taste

The important thing to remember about your wedding day entertainment is that it is all about you! The bride and groom! There’s no point booking a harpist if you can’t stand the harp (though in all honesty, we not sure any harp haters actually exist) and if you absolutely love card tricks, feel free to book a magician if it’s what you want. Your wedding day is exactly that: your wedding day. Make sure it’s everything you first envisaged after getting engaged!

 

Traditions for weddings

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue… You’ve probably had this old wedding rhyme quoted to you ever since you got engaged.

It’s a superstition that you need to have all of the above included on your big day, so you can have a long and happy marriage. And while we don’t think anything’s going to happen to your marriage if you don’t follow these rules, it is a fun way of building some items into your wedding look.

People are definitely going to ask you what items you’ve got on that are old, new, borrowed and blue, so you might as well have something to tell them!

With the trend for vintage looking like it’s not going to go away anytime soon, there are quite a few ‘old’ items that you can incorporate into your wedding look.

We love the idea of wearing your mother’s or grandmother’s jewellery on the big day. It might be a brooch, garter, neckline or a pair of earrings. Maybe you had a christening bracelet you want to wear on your wedding day. Something old doesn’t have to mean clothing or accessories, either. If you’ve an old family cake topper you could use that.

If there’s an old family veil that your mother, aunts or older sisters wore on their big days, ask to borrow that. Wedding veils don’t date too much, so this could be a money-saving item for you, too.

Your something new is most likely to be your wedding dress or your new husband! If you’re recycling a family wedding dress or borrowing one, then what else would be good that’s new? Kate Middleton wore a new pair of diamond earrings on her wedding day to Prince William, her parents had them commissioned especially for her, lucky girl.

In fact, many generous grooms buy their brides-to-be a gift that is presented to them on the morning of their wedding, which might be something like a pearl bracelet, earrings or a necklace.

Alternatively, if you’re not into possessions you could treat yourself to something new that’s going to give you a different look. You could have a brand new look by having a teeth whitening session or have laser eye surgery. Or you could even just buy a new lipstick or makeup if your budget is tight. Just make sure your something new is something practical that you’re going to enjoy in the long term.

Kate Middleton had the ultimate borrowed accessory on her wedding day when the Queen lent her a sparkling vintage diamond tiara. While your new in-laws may not have something quite as valuable to lend you, your mother-in-law may be delighted to lend you a vintage accessory or brooch to decorate your bridal bouquet.

We think wedding accessories are a great thing to borrow if you can. It will make the lender feel that bit closer to you on your big day.

We see a lot of brides-to-be add a bit of blue to their garter as their something blue, but you could choose a more visible blue accessory.

Light blue wedding shoes can look amazing with a traditional wedding dress. You could even opt for a coloured wedding dress it doesn’t have to be in a dramatic shade but pale blues and pinks are right on trend now for wedding gowns.

 

Artificial Flower Guide

Even the least green-fingered of brides can discover a penchant for florals as they work with their florist to create their bouquets and centrepieces.

While it’s pretty tough to beat the fragrance of fresh flowers, choosing faux flowers does bring many benefits. From budget to dates to décor, here’s seven reasons why you should to choose artificial flowers for your wedding…

If you’ve been dreaming of a blush bouquet of barely open peonies but set the date for September, your first thought will be disappointment. Do you really have to give up one dream in favour of another?

Choose from high quality suppliers for realistic replicas for all of your favourites – whether that’s ranunculus, delphiniums or prized peonies – and you can carry bouquets, wear buttonholes or choose table centres with any blooms at any time of year, allowing you to have your day as you dreamed it while also taking advantage of off-peak dates if you wish.

When you’ve got a venue to set up and decorate as well as getting ready on your wedding morning, we’d forgive you for feeling just a little over busy. Give yourself the relaxing morning you deserve by planning and setting up in advance.

That’s the beauty of working with artificial flowers – you needn’t worry. Not about them wilting in the warmth of your marquee or the flowers fading and crumpling or even how you’ll find the time to arrange them.

They can all be arranged into vases weeks in advance, making the final few days before the big one much more blissful.

If you choose a fresh flower wedding bouquet and want to keep it after the wedding, you’ll encounter the challenge of preserving the petals and flower heads perfectly. This challenge is only compounded by the fact that you’ll probably be jetting off on honeymoon soon, so there’s very little time to get these kinds of tasks done.

With an artificial wedding flowers bouquet, though, you can simply wrap them in protective paper and stow them in a box, forming a lasting memento of your perfect day without half of the fuss.

You might have heard of couples gifting their floral centrepieces to family, friends or perhaps members of the bridal party as thank you gifts. It’s a lovely touch, but with faux flowers to gift the present will last so much longer.

In general, purchasing artificial flowers usually works out cheaper than buying them fresh from a florist. This means that for some couples, going faux can facilitate far more in the way of flower walls, garlands and canopies, and standout table centres, making all the difference to their overall reception décor.

 

Lighting up the Barn

Having a barn wedding might be on of the most popular styles of rustic weddings right now but often times you have to take the barn wedding venue and transform it into a beautiful wedding location. One of the best ways to add some wedding glam to your barn wedding location is by adding some dramatic lighting to space.

The proper lighting can help to make a rustic barn feel more intimate, more wedding day ready and of course more fairy tail like. It is not always easy to light a space like a barn so many times it helps to bring in a wedding lighting professional who can help you achieve the look you are going for an help you actually hang the lights.

If you plan on going more the DIY lighting route than you might want to take some advice below and start to create your perfect barn wedding lighting.

It is pretty clear that one of the best and easiest ways to add lighting to a barn wedding space is by adding string lights.

If you have a special place in your heart for the rustic industrial style wedding then large industrial hanging lights create more of a warehouse look all the while adding fun between the modern look with the barn wedding location.

Magical is the best way to sum up a vintage style farm & barn wedding and so is the lighting. With just one chandelier hanging over the ceremony spot and the hundreds of tiny white lights with the addition of the white drapes makes for maybe the perfect barn wedding decor.

Another way to make your lighting amazing is to use large white paper lanterns, cheap and cheerful with dramatic look.