Weddings on a budget

It’s easier than you think to save money on your big day. Here’s the first part with those easy peasy ways to keep to your budget during the wedding planning process…

Set yourself a budget

It’s essential to have a clear idea of what you can and can’t afford before you even begin any planning. With a strict, set budget you’ll be able to keep track of where your money’s going and you won’t end up overspending!

Prioritise

Before you start planning, think about what’s most important to your on the day. Plan to splurge only on the things that are really meaningful to you and your h2b, and save on everything else.

Simplify

It’s important that your day reflects you. Don’t try to plan an extravagant wedding if you don’t have the funds! Simple, elegant weddings can still be perfect and you won’t blow the budget. Remember – your wedding day is about sharing and showing your love for your partner, not showing off.

Shop around

Don’t rush into buying anything as soon as you’re engaged. Dress shopping is definitely a planning highlight, and it’s so easy to get carried away and end up buying the first dress you fall in love with. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the best offers and get an idea of different styles that are available. Likewise, get several quotes to make sure you’re getting the best price and research carefully so you don’t end up being overcharged.

Hunt for bargains

You don’t have to splash out on a designer gown if you don’t have the money. The high street has a great selection of wedding gowns and if you search vintage shops you may discover quirky and original finds for a fraction of the price.

Let your bridesmaids wear their own dresses

It can be a nightmare finding bridesmaid dresses that your girls all agree on. If you let your maids choose their own, not only will you cut out any dress shopping drama, but they’re also more likely to foot the bill at the end!

Create a salon at home!

You can still look and feel fab if you do your own hair and make-up. While getting styled by the professionals is a definite luxury on the day, if you’re used to doing your own make up, you’ll still be able to create a natural, beautiful look as well as saving money.

Just remember that it’s important to practise a few different styles before the big day to avoid any beauty mishaps! Why not book an appointment with a beauty consultant in a department store or go to a masterclass as party of your hen do?

Don’t turn into a Bridezilla!!!

We’re sure you already know that wedding planning has its ups, and its downs. Here are the signs that wedding planning has got a bit too much for you (it’s only temporary, promise!)…

Taking over your life

With it being a day that most brides-to-be have dreamed about since they were a little girl, it’s no wonder that it planning your wedding will take up a lot of your time. Even if you’re not actively out shopping for it or actively getting those DIY tasks done, you’ll find yourself subconsciously ‘favouriting’ all sorts of articles and shopping searches so you can come back to them later. Even your iPod that you plug in on the way to work is filled with ceremony classics to help you pick out your playlist.

The one becomes not the one

If you’re starting to question the magical feeling you had when you found ‘the one’, you’ve been thinking too much about it. When the dream-dress-doubt creeps in, it’s time to get a grip! It’s a common thing for brides to feel in the run up to their wedding – they want to look and feel their best after all – but get yourself through the doubting stage, and that magical feeling will return when you put it on. Then you’ll be wondering how on earth you ever thought it wasn’t the one!

Goodbye wedding diet

Sometimes brides and grooms-to-be fancy going on a diet or a mission to get into shape before their big day, and that’s okay! Healthy eating and taking up jogging is all around good for you and we totally recommend it to not only look your best, but also feel and be your best (but no ridiculous dieting please!). But when the stress kicks in, so do the carb and sugar cravings, and before you know it: your head is lodged in the back of the cupboard trying the find that secret stash of Mars Bars you hid away from the healthy-you. Oops.

Your friends stop contacting

Suddenly, conversation becomes just you talking. Why aren’t they replying your WhatsApp’s, texts, phone calls, Facebook messages, emails or tweets? Just why? Because maybe, just maybe, your predominant conversation topic – your wedding – is getting a little too much. Linking to the first point, just because it’s taking over your life (to a degree if you’re careful!), doesn’t mean it has to take over theirs. If you can’t think back to what you and your best girls spoke about before you got engaged, you’ve gone a step too far.

OR they’re constantly asking if you’re okay

Or perhaps you’ve got to the stage where you don’t want to talk about your wedding, in fact, you don’t want to do anything. Like any good friend, they will all be worried about the fact you’re not getting out of bed due to wedding-meltdown. When you actually do make it out of your dressing gown and slippers and go out, you’ll be jumped on with incessant questions like, ‘Are you okay?’, ‘I’m always here for you, you know that, right?’ and ‘If there’s anything I can do, will you tell me?’. If you’re at either of these stages with your friends – them either outright ignoring you or them overly anxious about you, it’s probably a good time to have a little break from planning, we think…

Can the honeymoon hurry up?

Talking of a little break: the honeymoon! You just cannot stop thinking about the honeymoon. The happiness of the thought of just utter relaxation and having nothing to worry about is so much that you even start to curse the wedding because it’s getting in the way of it! It’s the one obstacle between you and that sunbed.

You’re ticking all the boxes.

If you’re ticking any of these boxes of 10 signs that you are an un-cool bride to be, you only need a quick reality check and you’ll see the monster you’re turning into!

Do It Yourself Stationery

Making your own wedding stationery is a creative approach that lets you design something to suit your day perfectly. Receiving an invitation that has been handmade by the bride and groom also feels extremely special. It’s a wonderful gesture, and the card can become a keepsake of the day. Do have a good think about it first, though ‐‐ it’s a time‐consuming process, so can either become an enjoyable part of your wedding preparation, or a major regret.

Is DIY stationery right for you?

If you’re thinking about making your own stationery, the first thing to do is to be realistic about how much you’d like to make, and how much time you have. If you’re having a relatively small wedding and have plenty of time, creating your own could be an excellent idea. If, however, you’re inviting hundreds of guests and only have two months before your big day, you’ll be better off sticking with a personalised range. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make other items of stationery. Don’t forget that as well as invitations, you might need place name cards, order of service sheets, menus, seating plans and thank‐you cards. Table names and menus are a simple way of having some artistic input without too much work, as you’ll probably only need to make 10 to 15 in total. Place cards can also be a simple way of being creative.

The benefits of creating your own stationery;

Perfect if you want to use your creativity and artistic skills to create completely unique designs

Getting creative is fun. Evenings spent with bridesmaids making cards can be a highlight of wedding planning

You’ll have the chance to create an unusual design or wording format that you might not find in a personalised stationery range

DIY stationery tends to be less expensive

Get creative

Have a practice run and see how long it takes you to make something. The key thing to remember is that you don’t need to make each and every item of stationery ‐ just one type is fine. It’s also important to assess your creativity. If you’re an artistic person, you might decide to try something relatively challenging. If the last piece of artwork you created was at primary school, now’s not the time to try your hand at the most complicated design you can think of. Simplicity is the key. Once you’ve decided what you’re going to create, start practicing and creating as soon as you can. The more time you give yourself, the more you’ll enjoy it. And remember, you can always rope in your bridesmaids for a fun night in making stationery with the girls.

Top tips for DIY stationery

Give yourself plenty of time ‐‐ the more time you have, the more you’ll enjoy being creative without feeling too pressured.

Have a look at wedding stationery offered online and on the high street to give you some ideas and inspiration.

Choose your colours and plan your design, taking into account the style of your wedding. If, for example, your dress is decorated with beading, you might use a bead style trim on your stationery. If your cake is adorned with feathers, you could incorporate feathers into the design.

When you have an idea for the design, make up a few different samples. This ‘testing’ session is crucial ‐‐ you can see exactly how the finished products will look and whether you enjoy making them before you buy enough for your entire wedding party. You’ll also know exactly what you need to put on your shopping list.

Before you even think about going shopping, make a detailed list of what you need. You don’t want to waste money by buying too much, but you also want to make sure you have enough (allowing for a few mistakes along the way). Paper, glue, glue dots, trims, ribbon, envelopes, pens, place cards, ribbon and card might all be on your list.

Create an area at home and get organised. You need to give yourself plenty of room and have a working system. If possible, choose an area where you can leave your stationery out and don’t have to pack everything away every time you finish.

Try and find some willing helpers (such as the groom, bridesmaids, family and friends) and don’t be precious about doing everything yourself.

Make sure your guests know the time and effort you’ve put into making the stationery ‐‐ a handmade invitation or place card by the bride herself is something they’ll treasure, so write ‘made by …’ on the back.

Consider making a special design for the members of your wedding party.

Be sure to make an extra set to keep for yourself to put in your wedding photo album or scrapbook.

Child Friendly Wedding

Often the cause of much debate but to invite (or not invite!) children to attend your wedding day does not have to be a daunting prospect; with careful consideration everyone can have a fantastic day…
There you both are saying your vows carefully chosen and delivered with heartfelt emotion and a little voice in the background says, “Mummy I need a wee”! But with a little thought and preparation it could be easier than you think to include children in your big day.

Some couples may well not have the budget to cater for children at the reception, or the chosen wedding venue may not be suitable, or have enough space – so the decision is already made for you! Sometimes a way of keeping costs down or overcoming this is to stipulate an ‘adult’s only day’. This point can easily be put across without offending anyone by way of a small carefully worded inclusion on the bottom of your invitations. This could be followed up with a list of adult activities available at your chosen venue to reinforce your message. Anyway, most couples like the thought of a child free weekend now and then with time on their own, so will probably jump at the chance of a day (and night) away from their little ones!

It is also worth considering the number of small attendants you want to include in your wedding party; your guests may be offended if you then have ten small flower girls and pages when the day is supposed to be child free.

There are so many great reasons to invite children to your big day, children can be brilliant “ice breakers” and bring some comical and magical moments to your day. With a little bit of thought you can keep everyone happy and have a great time.

1. Ask ushers to seat families towards the back of the ceremony room or church so if any awkward moments arise parents can slip out with their little ones unnoticed.

2. If you have the budget and a small room is available a children’s entertainer may be the answer to keep little ones happy throughout the ceremony.

3. Just providing a colouring book and crayons for each child during the service is a cost effective alternative

4. Ask a family member to provide small bags of freshly chopped fruit or boxes of raisins to keep hungry moments at bay.

5. It is always an idea to think of photography in advance. If you can sort the pictures with the bridesmaids and children first they are then free to roam for a while!

6. To prevent boredom setting in during the drinks reception hire a bouncy castle, or a giant board game such as ‘Twister’ or ‘Snakes and Ladders’. The adults will get as much fun out of it too!

7. During the reception think about where to seat families with children. Your child free guests may not be happy sitting next to a fidgeting two year old!

8. Safety also has to be an issue, think about table decorations. What will be child friendly, not towering candelabras or too many twinkling tea lights. A puzzle book or a small story book placed in each child’s place, perhaps with a bead set for girls and a small box of Lego for boys, will keep them entertained throughout the speeches.
Guests should always assume that children are not invited, unless they are named on the invitation (i.e. Mr and Mrs Johnson, Samantha and Rebecca).

If you are not inviting ANY children, it is sensible to include a note with the invitations saying “unfortunately we are unable to accommodate children” – don’t feel that you need to justify your reasons.

If you are only inviting children of close friends and family, it is tactful to telephone others with children before sending out the invitations to let them know or they may feel that their children have been singled out.

If you do have to invite children to your wedding, here are some tips and handy hints to try and keep “little ones” amused and allow the adults to have fun.

Hire babysitters or a crèche service.
Hire a children’s entertainer, clowns or puppet show.
Seat children together at a special “kids table”. Cover the tables with paper and put crayons or felt-tip pens in the middle.
Give each child an activity pack including games and puzzles, bubbles, crayons, colouring books.
Serve a kids meal consisting of chicken nuggets, pizzas, cheesy potatoes, pasta, fish fingers etc.
Give children jobs at the wedding reception i.e. asking guests to write messages in the Guest Book, passing around favours, handing out disposable cameras.
Have a special cinema corner set up for young ones, with comfy pillows, popcorn and juice showing tiny-tot favourites like Finding Nemo, Shrek, The Lion King etc.

It may seem like a lot of additional effort, but this day is one to remember for the rest of your life, and if having children at the wedding means you can ensure your closest friends and family can also be there, it’s well worth it!

Unique Weddings

Here are some top ideas to make your wedding a standout celebration.

A Luxurious Reception Lounge

Give guests a place to mingle between dance breaks by creating a lounge area at your reception. Fill the space with couches or chairs and plenty of pillows to sink into. It’s the perfect way to keep everyone in on the party even when they’re resting. Really want to wow? Close off the area with curtains to create a VIP vibe.

Ushers

You may already be planning to have your ushers escort guests to their ceremony seats, but consider having reception ushers. These “live escort cards” walk guests to their tables for an upscale restaurant experience. Ask your reception venue or caterer if its waiting staff can do this double duty, or assign a few ushers to the job.

Guest Transportation

If you’re planning on shuttling your guests from the ceremony to the reception, make the journey part of the fun by renting some seriously cool mass transportation. Take wedding transportation to new heights with a hot air balloon ride. Or, if it’ll suit your wedding style, get nostalgic with some charming buses. And for extra flair, customize the ride by playing fun music or decking out the wedding bus with a sign that reads, “Wedding Guests”

Pre ceremony cocktails

Your guests won’t be expecting any drinks until the reception, so give them a pleasant surprise by setting up a table of light beverages on the way into the ceremony. Just don’t serve anything too strong — think: mimosas or fruit-infused iced teas they can sip before taking their seats (and don’t forget to have non-alcoholic versions too!). Have your caterer or ushers collect any stray glasses to make sure the space is tidy before the processional begins.

Welcome Bags

Make your guests feel like VIPs with welcome bags that go beyond a map and a few snacks. Stuff personalized tote bags with mini bottles of bubbly or a six-pack of a local microbrew, a gift certificate to your favourite local coffee shop and an individual “Welcome!” note from you.

Make your guests feel like VIPs with welcome bags that go beyond a map and a few snacks. Stuff personalized tote bags with mini bottles of bubbly or a six-pack of a local microbrew, a gift certificate to your favourite local coffee shop and an individual “Welcome!” note from you.

Wedding favours

Keep your guests comfortable all day by thinking ahead. Out of town guests will appreciate a custom scented soap so they don’t have to rely on the standard hotel samples. Planning on dancing until the next morning? Put out baskets of flip-flops (in your wedding colours, of course) so guests can take their shoes off. Having an outdoor reception that might get breezy? Make sure guests keep warm by offering up some cosy pashminas. And for a summer outdoor ceremony in the afternoon, provide a station with spray-on sunscreen and a stack of inexpensive sunglasses.

Convenient Child Care

Hire a babysitter (or two) and set her up in a room so your youngest guests have a place to go when they tire out. If it’s possible, pick a room near your reception location so parents can stop by to check in on and then return to the party easily. Stock the room with snacks, games and a portable DVD player to keep them entertained, and make sure there’s a soft sofa and blankets for those inevitable naps.

First Dance Confetti Drop

Your first dance will be one of the highlights of your wedding, so add this extra-special touch to up the entertainment factor (and make for some serious photo ops!). If your song is slow and romantic, have fresh flower petals instead of confetti dropped from the ceiling. Your rental company and florist can work together to make this happen — and don’t forget to make sure the reception waiting staff will be standing by to clean up.

Show stopping ceremony exit.

If you play it right, your ceremony exit will be one of the most heavily photographed moments of your wedding — so forget the rose petals and birdseed. Jazz up your exit by passing out small bags of colorful confetti, paper airplanes, mini beach balls, or even lavender buds for everyone to toss your way. Even better: Stage your own mini parade by passing out parasols and noisemakers for your guests to escort you to your getaway car.

Guests Dos and Don’ts

Brides often worry about some guests that may not behave and are worried about how to approach the issue of the Grooms (or her) relatives or others that may not behave well. Here is a list a do’s and don’ts for guests. We dare you to include a print-out in your wedding invitations!

1. RSVP on Time

Hi guest! You’ll notice on your wedding invitation there’s a date for RSVPs to be in by. That deadline is there for a reason, so please make sure you get back to us by then. The seating plan is hard enough to sort without all of the RSVP’S!

2. No Kids Means No Kids

You might notice your wedding invitation is addressed to just you and your partner. As much as we love little Cosmo and Chrysanthemum, we’ve decided to have a child-free wedding. No exceptions. Not even for children as delightful as yours. Don’t ask. (This goes for everyone – if the name isn’t on the invitation, they NOT invited.)

3. Don’t Wear White

Or ivory, or cream. Steer clear of those colours, and even more so if lace is involved too. You can wear your nice white lace dress to any event of the year. Brides get one day to wear their nice white lace dress. Don’t ruin it.

4. Don’t Wear Black

Black is a bit funeral-esque, and traditionally wearing black was a way to protest against the marriage. So unless you not-so-secretly wish the bride was marrying you, put your black tie back on the rack and pick out a more jaunty floral one.

5. Just Obey the Dress Code in General

Unless the wedding invitation states that there’s an informal dress code, don’t assume there is one. That means no jeans! Yes, they’re comfy and you can do an awesome slide-across-the-room-on-your-knees in them, but it’s not the time or the place.

6. No Last Minute Change of Plan

If you’ve said you’re going, unless it’s a serious emergency or you’re horribly, contagiously ill, do not even think of cancelling. Likewise, if you said you’re not attending, don’t even think about rocking up to the wedding breakfast unannounced. Even if you bring an awesome gift. Come to the evening party (with the gift).

7. Switch Your Phone Off

Picture the scene, the registrar is guiding the couple through their vows, the bride is delicately wiping tears of happiness from her eyes and…what’s that? ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears starts blaring out. Oh, that’s your phone? TURN IT OFF.

8. Don’t get in the Photographer’s Way

So you have over 500 followers on Instagram? You’re still not the photographer the couple hired for their big day, so don’t get in their way, wielding your iPhone. Or iPad. But no one would actually bring an iPad to a wedding, right…?

9. Think about Your Hat

If you’re wearing a hat to the wedding, good for you. More people should wear hats. But be considerate when choosing it – a tall hat will block views at the ceremony and a wide hat will eclipse guests during the group pictures.

10. Don’t Smuggle in Alcohol

You’re not going for a night out in Oceana. You’re going to a fancy wedding, where the couple have paid a considerable amount to host you, and may be limited by corkage charges. Don’t risk getting them fined or getting yourself thrown out for the sake of a few Malibu miniatures in your clutch bag.

11. Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol

There’s a fine line between dancing with your friends and taking some hilarious photo booth pictures, but if you start to cry, swear or be sick, you’ve gone too far. No one wants to be the person who wrote a rude message in the sentimental guest book after one too many Sambuca’s.

12. Behave Yourself

You wouldn’t go to a restaurant and decide to steal some of the décor (at least we hope not), so resist the urge to make off with one of the carefully assembled centrepieces or inhale the helium from a giant balloon before giving an impromptu speech. Unless you’re invited to, in which case, knock yourself out

13. Do Not Touch the Seating Plan

I know Uncle Jerry is a bit boring, but if you’re sat by him – tough luck! The couple have spent hours working out their seating plan and you can’t even begin to imagine the logistics. If you switch place cards for whatever reason, all hell could break loose.

14. Try Not to Sulk

There’s a thing about wedding season – lots of wedding tend to happen. If you’re marrying at a similar time to a friend, don’t be upset if they, like you, have gone for a rustic theme or a similar dress. It happens! No one will notice, unless you point it out.

15. Consider the Environment

Everyone loves the confetti shot – it’s so much fun! But be considerate and choose biodegradable confetti. It’s nicer for the environment and avoids the happy couple getting whacked with any fines for flouting the venue’s rules.

16. You get what you’re given

Don’t moan about the menu choices to the couple. It’s their wedding and they’re footing the bill, so it’s only fair they’re allowed to eat their favourite wedding foods. As long as they’ve catered for any dietary requirements, you can’t complain. And don’t try and ask for different food on the day anyway. It won’t happen.

17. Try Not to Be an Entertainment Hog

It’s fine to request a song or two, but be wary of being the guest who hassles the DJ or band with an endless stream of requests, or commandeers the iPod playlist to introduce everyone to your favourite experimental jazz band. It’s quite likely the couple will have a playlist worked out – now is not the time for experimental jazz. We’re not actually sure there’s ever a time for experimental jazz.

18. Have Fun!

It seems like a lot of rules and diva demands, but really it’s just courtesy and common sense! Be happy for the newlyweds and enjoy yourself!

Church Wedding

With more UK wedding venues available than ever, saying your vows in a church is no longer the norm. But for many couples, a church wedding is still an essential and traditional part of the big day.

So with around a third of UK couples still choosing a religious ceremony, here’s our beginner’s guide to booking a wedding ceremony in church:

What are the legal requirements for a church wedding?

Couples must be 18 to marry without their parents’ consent in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or 16 with their approval. The ceremony must take place between 8am and 6pm, witnessed by two people.

In Scotland it’s legal to marry from 16 without consent and at any time of day, although you do still require two witnesses.

Most marriages require banns to be published before the wedding, signifying your intention to marry. These need to be read out in the parish where each of you lives, as well as the church where you’ll be married for three Sundays during the three months before the wedding.

If there isn’t enough time for this, you can apply for a license costing from £200, which you may also need if one of the couple isn’t British or lives outside England. In Scotland, you need to give 15 days’ notice with the local registrar.

NB: Marriage and Civil Partnership laws are changing from March 2015 when it comes to giving notice. Find out more!

Are the rules different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

Yes — Scotland in particular has different laws than England and Wales, while there are stricter residency requirements in Northern Ireland. Catholic churches also differ, for example, needing a dispensation if one person is not Catholic but not requiring the banns to be read.

Can I get married in any church?

For a ceremony in England and Wales, you can marry in any church if you meet one of several conditions: that either of you has lived or attended services in the parish for at least six months, was baptized or prepared for confirmation there, that one of your parents or grandparents was married in the parish, or one of your parents has lived or attended services there for at least six months after you were born. If you’ve recently moved, you’ll be eligible to marry in your new parish too.

In Scotland, there are no residency requirements so you can marry in any church you choose. In practice, it may depend on availability and the individual minister who’s likely to want to meet couples who aren’t members of the church beforehand.

In Northern Ireland, one of the couple must be resident in the district where you plan to marry for at least 14 days before being eligible, unless you apply for a special licence

Do I have to attend church before I can get married there?

Not for a Church of England ceremony, although if your heart is set on marrying in a church where you have no connections, attending services for six months — even a single service each month — would allow this.

Do I have to be religious to have a church wedding?

Not necessarily. The Church of England says anyone is “welcome to have a Church of England wedding, regardless of your beliefs… as vicars understand that spiritual beliefs are complex and varied”.

How far in advance should I book a UK church ceremony?

Churches can become booked up several months in advance, so ask the vicar or church office as early as possible, especially for popular dates. Many churches won’t arrange weddings during Lent, although this doesn’t apply to Catholic ceremonies.

How much will a church ceremony cost?

The legal fee for marrying in 2015 costs £486 in England and around £500 in Wales, which covers expenses for calling the banns, the certificate, vicar and church. Extras such as having an organist, bells, choir or flowers — as well as heating — will incur an additional cost. In Scotland and Northern Ireland there are no fixed costs.

Can I use my own vows in church?

Not in England and Wales, where legally no part of the wedding vows can be changed. However it’s possible to include poems, readings or songs which have a special significance in the service, depending on the individual vicar. In Scotland, you can vary the traditional forms or write your own with the minister’s approval.

Can I decorate a church with my own flowers?

Yes. Most churches will be able to recommend someone, but you can also use your own florist. It’s worth discussing any plans for large displays with the vicar to check they won’t cause any problems during the ceremony.

What happens during a church wedding rehearsal?

The rehearsal is a chance for the bride and groom, as well as bridesmaids, the best man and any family and friends who are involved in the ceremony, to run through the service and make sure everyone knows what to expect.

Will my guests be allowed to throw confetti outside the church?

The rules on throwing confetti vary from church to church so it’s worth asking whether or not confetti is allowed so that you can inform your guests in advance. If confetti is not allowed then the church might allow a natural or bio-degradable substitute.

Can I have my reception in the church hall?

Yes, although it depends on the individual church and their facilities. However you can also arrange the reception at another venue if you prefer.

Sit back and Chillax

If you’re feeling frazzled on the lead up to your big day, you are most definitely not alone. There is no doubt that planning a wedding is one of the most stressful events you may have to put together so it makes total sense that every once in awhile you need to take a step back and essentially, chillax. So we’ve put together a list of some activities that are guaranteed to get you zen 

1. Keep a Balanced Diet 

Some stress can often be perpetuated by having too much or too little of something in your diet. In the lead up to your wedding, it’s important you’re staying healthy and eating enough of everything. Make sure you’re eating at least 5 fruit and veg a day (preferably more vegetables than fruit) and that you are getting the correct amount from each food group. A good way to do this is to ensure you’re sticking to this as a routine throughout the weekdays and then at the weekend let yourself indulge a little. 

 

  1. Have a friends night 

Just as much as a wedding is a celebration of the love you have as a couple, it is also all about the love you have for your friends and family. There’s no doubt that sometimes when you need to take your mind off things, getting together with all your good friends is the best thing for it. To minimise any stress of organising, get your pals round and have everyone bring a dish and some vino and just let the giggles begin.

3. Have an evening dedicated to YOU

Everyone has their ideal kind of evening and has a good idea of what sort of ingredients that might involve. For some it may be a takeaway and a boxset, for others it might be cocktails and a night out until the late AM. Have a think about what fail-safe things always make you happy and have an evening dedicated to YOU.

 

  1. Get Outside

Sometimes there’s nothing better than wonderful fresh air to clear your head and help you realise the things that matter in life. Take a stroll in the countryside or in your local park – we love a bit of people watching as a way to check out of your own life, just for a little while. Treat yourself to a hot choc or a burst of caffeine, grab a magazine or a book, a good pal or the dog and just chill – we guarantee it will do you the world of good. 

  

  1. Go on a date 

In all the wedding chat, you can often lose sight of what this is all about – your marrying the very person you love the most. So turn this period of time into a bit of a pre-honeymoon phase and value the time you spend with your husband to be. Organise a date night that you know you’ll both love and just catch up and most importantly – ban the wedding chat, just for one night. If will help you put everything into perspective and help you realise there’s other stuff outside of the wedding bubble. 

 

Bridesmaids tips for the 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 wedding 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.

Valentine’s Day proposals

It’s completely understandable why you’d want to! Is there a more romantic day of the year? Whilst everyone seems to be planning a wedding you haven’t even proposed yet!!!  So even if the day is cliché, your proposal doesn’t have to be. Here are 5 creative ways to propose on Valentine’s Day!

  1. Put It in the Movies

Are you and your love a couple of movie buffs? Rent out an ad space at your local theatre to play your “trailer” asking them to marry you! Thanks to technology, you can produce a short video fairly easily using video editing software. Or hire a Videographer to help you produce something that’s a little more high-end. Turn your life into a true romantic comedy with clips of video of the two of you, or recreate classic scenes from old romantic movies. We guarantee they won’t see this one coming!

 

The Proposal: During the last scene of the trailer, proclaim your proposal onscreen and have the ring waiting for the moment of surprise.

 

  1. Make it a public affair

An idea for the artsy couple, or just those who appreciate spontaneity and the unexpected: Incorporate live art. The trend of “living creativity” is definitely growing, and live artists are quite amazing to watch. Maybe you set up an evening stroll, and “happen” to come across a Performing Artist who is painting on a canvas, or creating a chalk mural on the sidewalk. Encourage your significant other to stop and take it in for a moment, for a truly unique memory.

 

The Proposal: Coordinate with the artist ahead of time to have them include the two of you in their piece. As your darling realises that it’s about the two of you, pull out the ring for your big moment.

 

  1. Say It with Paint

For the imaginative couple who loves to try new things together, hide your proposal in painting class. Most cities offer a wine/paint class, where romance and art meet! They’ll assume that you’ve found something new and exciting to do together, never suspecting that you have a proposal waiting. And after the big event, you’ll have a memento to remember the evening for the rest of your life.

 

The Proposal: Paint several easels ahead of time, spelling out “Will You Marry Me?” and make arrangements with the class instructor to have them help coordinate the big reveal.

 

  1. Create a Storybook

There’s no better way to lead up to the next chapter in your life than to start at the beginning. Create a book about the journey that has brought you to this moment by highlighting key moments in your relationship! Start with how you met, your first date, first holidays, memorable trips, or inside jokes along the way. Don’t worry if you’re not an amazing artist or writer.

 

The Proposal: On the very last page, create a part of the story that says something like “This is when I asked you to be mine forever.” Or simply draw or include a picture of a ring.

 

Leave it to the Band

You’ve found the love of your life, you’re getting married, you want your night to be a party to remember, so you hired a band for the wedding entertainment… what next?

 

Your aim is to make sure you and your wedding party have an absolute whale of a time – to end the night having that much fun you haven’t noticed you’re only wearing one shoe and your Dad has found himself a table to dance on. If you’ve booked the right band, there’s a high chance that these things could happen… here’s a few party tricks that will help make this mission a success.

 

Timing is Key – Start the band as late as you can. Ideally the first set would start at around 8.30pm/9pm to make sure everyone is limbered up and ready to start throwing some incredible looking shapes. This kind of timing also gives the evening guests time to arrive, catch up with the newly weds and get a few drinks down them.

 

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of dutch courage to prepare you for the dance floor, but to create the perfect party atmosphere, dim down the lights and hey presto! Your dance floor will be full of shape throwers.

 

Trust Your Band – Your band is playing ‘Mr Brightside’, everyone is singing their socks off and the dance floor is packed, next up is your favourite Kayne West song, the band plays it and everyone leaves. Now we all love a bit of Kayne but it might just not be the right time. Being particular about what the band plays means they won’t want to upset you by going against your wishes but they also want you to have the best possible time.

 

Putting together a set list that keeps such an eclectic bunch of people is an art form and this will be one of the main reasons why you will have such an awesome party. You will always be able to choose the odd song or two.

 

Having 3 sets of music can mean a lot of stopping and starting, the last thing you want to do is stop the music when your wedding party has just formed a dancing conga. If you’re still stuck, let the band worry about it, they will do what’s right and look after your Band too, don’t forget to feed them.

 

Being able to leave your night in their capable hands whilst you have the time of your life. So go on, give it a go.