Mehndi Ideas

No Asian bridal look is complete without the age old tradition of mehndi and we can see why. Not only does it signify happiness and good luck, the designs you can choose from are breath-taking. Whether you’re a fan of the bold traditional designs or prefer the more contemporary style, the choices are endless. We run down our favourite mehndi designs, from the simple to the more challenging patterns.

Detailed Bridal Mehndi

Inspired by Indian and Arabic cultures, detailed designs, which include motifs, bold flowers and illustrations have been around for hundreds of years and are perfect for any bride wanting to stay true to traditions. If you look closely you will see the mehndi artist has beautifully incorporated an illustration of a bride and groom. This is one design you don’t want to do yourself. The intricate work is best left to a professional mehndi artist. For an added special touch jazz it up a little by adding glitter and coloured rhinestones to match your outfit.

Contemporary Mehndi Patterns

As with any look, you don’t have to stick with tradition. You’re free to experiment and express who you are and your mehndi is a great way to do this. For brides wanting a contemporary mehndi all you have to do is give the traditional look a modern twist. Instead of covering your hands completely, take a pattern you like from a traditional look and use it to cover only half of your hand. This is a beautiful and clever way of emphasising the pattern making it eye catching, elegant and modern.

Mehndi patterns for your feet

Don’t forget your feet, ladies! Just like painting your toe nails to match the colour on your hands, mehndi has the same effect. You want to make sure the pattern you used on your hands is the same as your feet. Again, don’t be afraid to step outside of the box of tradition. Pick a style and make it work for you!

Unique mehndi ideas

Finding unique and fun ways to use mehndi is a growing trend. We love the idea of using mehndi to emphasise your ring finger. Not only does it look great on its own, but when paired up with your wedding rings, the look will be super chic and unique.

Mehndi on your back

One of the reason we love mehndi is because it’s not just limited to your hands and feet. If your wedding dress or blouse has a low back, use it as an opportunity to be a little adventurous and adorn your back with a beautiful mehndi pattern to compliment your outfit. You can be as simple or as bold as you want. This is feminine and sexy at the same time, perfect for a sanjeet, mehndi or hen party.

Mehndi for your bridesmaids

If your bridesmaids are wearing the same outfits then the perfect accessory to complement their attire is mehndi. Find a design they will all like and one that works well with the overall style you want for the girls and you’re done! Not only does it look great in pictures but having the girls round for a mehndi party is a fun and a great way to de-stress before the big day.

Why brides wear a garter

Are garters a thing of the past? A recent poll had a mixed reaction. It seems some of you love them, while others think they should be consigned to the dustbins of history.

So how do you wear them and what should they look like? Garters are often ivory and blue silk, satin or lace – ivory to match your dress and the pale blue to be your ‘something blue.’ They come in old fashioned lacy Edwardian or racy contemporary styles in all colours and widths, with ribbons or crystals or, if you’re superstitious, a lucky 6pence in a matching bag stitched to the garter. You can even get edible candy garters for the naughty child in you! Garters should be worn mid-thigh and were originally designed to hold up silk stockings by tying a length of silk or cotton around the top, before the invention of elastic, or nylon, or tights for that matter!

Garters for every size of thigh

For slim or sexy thighs they provide an ideal photo opportunity for the wedding album. And for sexy plus-size brides there are plus-size garters out there to fit every thigh. About a Bride offers plus-size bridal garters in dress sizes from 18-54. Yes 54! So there’s no excuse if you want to wear one!

Embroidered keepsake garters

Sweet Nothings Lingerie and Silk Garters both offer a bespoke service where you can have a garter made in your chosen style, colour and fabrics. A biker bride could have a leather garter made, another bride may prefer to have a personalized garter embroidered with her new married name and the date of her wedding to have as a keepsake long after the wedding.

Tossing the garter

These days many brides have two garters, one to treasure as a keepsake of the wedding, the other for her new husband to (ahem) ‘toss’ to the male guests at the reception. Traditional folklore has it that the groom removes the bride’s garter and throws it to his single friends after the wedding in much the same way that his new wife throws the wedding bouquet, but this strikes a startling image of a hapless male struggling to get the darn thing off. No, once slipped onto a sexy thigh, we think it’s better left there for your new husband to peel off later, much, much later.

All About Accessories

From the bride’s bouquet to the groom’s boutonnière, the couple can enjoy wonderful embellishments on their wedding day. A lot of couples strive to have matching designs or colours across their accessories too, which makes for a wonderful harmonized look. So here are some of our favourite traditional wedding jewellery and accessories for him and her.

Headwear

Traditionally, the bride tends to have far more choice concerning headwear. Wedding veils seem to be the norm, for they come in a range of lengths and styles depending on fashion and culture. Similar to the veil is a decorative net or art deco style bonnet, which also come in an array of designs. But many brides also opt for headpieces such as tiaras, headbands, hair clips and combs. For the groom, there does not tend to be any jewellery headwear pieces available, so the groom and his groomsmen typically wear hats.

Head-wear for the bride and groom, including veils, tiaras, hats, and headpieces.

It’s safe to say that the style of headwear depends on your desired theme. In truth, the bride could wear a hat if she wished, but the wearing of hats and fascinators are usually left to the mother of the bride, the mother of the groom, and other female wedding guests.

Face and Neck

For the face and neck, the groom is well-known in western culture to wear a classic necktie or bowtie, and no other jewellery. Ties, coming in all manner of colours and materials, will fit any wedding. In other cultures there is also the option of wearing a cravat.

Often the bride completes her look with a pretty set of earrings and a necklace and in some cultures facial jewellery like nose piercings are common too. Like with headwear, the chosen wedding theme (and personal taste) goes a long way in helping the bride decide on the style—some pieces of jewellery are rather discreet, and others are far more overt. Some brides even wear a garland around their neck.

Torso

On the torso, grooms can wear pocket squares and handkerchiefs. Depending on personal choice, these can be purely decorative or intended for use. Pocket squares and handkerchiefs are available in a variety of colours, designs and patterns and are an ideal way to inject personality and personalisation into grooms wear.

For more of a traditional look, the bride may opt for a brooch. Brooches come in all shapes and sizes, and can fit any theme or colour scheme. They can be used for anything, be it accessorising a jacket, the wedding dress, or the bouquet. Also, some couples dress in bright, rich fabrics covered in gems and sequins, which makes for a truly striking wedding look.

Arms, Wrists, and Hands

On his wrists, the groom traditionally wears cufflinks, and such a small and simple accessory works wonders to add style and decoration. Available in a range of styles and materials, from plain silver or gold to intricate engraved, bejewelled or rhinestone studded options. The groom might also wear a wristwatch as a finishing touch, but the more traditional wedding watch option for a groom is a classic pocket watch.

Wrist wedding accessories for the bride and groom, including bracelets, corsages, cufflinks, and watches.

The bride often wears a bracelet, and these too come in numerous styles. You may want a simple band, or a chain with pretty dangling charms. A growing trend is to wear a corsage as well.

The most important wedding accessory of them all: wedding rings!

But the most important accessories for the bride and the groom are the wedding rings! The giving of rings is a traditional part of the wedding ceremony! No doubt a lot of thought and consideration has gone into choosing your engagement rings and your wedding rings from deciding on the optimum metals, gems, engravings, etc. Steeped in tradition, the practice of giving rings can be traced back centuries.

Wedding Beauty

Skincare, Health and Fitness

Certain beauty treatments such as facials, are the most obvious thing a bride feels that she needs but to be honest with you, if you aren’t having regular facials already then there is really no need to start now.  The same thing goes for any other treatments or products promising to tone, tighten or take years off you!  

The best thing you can do for your skin is to keep yourself healthy.  Making a conscious effort to drink more water, eat more vegetables and increase your protein intake will give you far better and quicker results than any “wonder” treatment or product.  Green and herbal teas are great for keeping you hydrated and for flushing out toxins and they are a lot more interesting than water.

Nails

As for manicures and pedicures, while it is lovely to visit the salon and be pampered while they do it for you, this can become extremely costly. Fear not however! These are super simple to do at home and in all honesty I actually prefer doing these myself at home. I don’t have to sit impatiently waiting for my nails to dry in a strange place, I can watch TV or read a book in the comfort of my home while any polish sets.  

Hair and Makeup 

Firstly, make sure it is just a basic trim and not a complete restyle that they need you to model for! There should be no need to worry as you’ll usually find a senior stylist present at all times to ensure there aren’t any mistakes.  As for conditioning your hair, again, it’s nice to get wrapped up in all the beautifying but you don’t need to rush out and buy the latest keratin treatment! There are lots of home remedies you can make to nourish your hair or even just applying coconut oil can help bring any ratty locks back to their ultimate shine!

 

When it comes to wedding makeup for the day, if you don’t have the budget for a makeup artist then putting some hours in on YouTube tutorials to teach yourself can really help.  It’s like learning any new skill, it’ll take time so be patient. I would make sure you find a YouTube artist that you find easy to follow and stick with following their videos only instead of confusing yourself hopping from one to another. If you’re in need of some new makeup anyway, then getting yourself down to a makeup counter for a ‘“free” makeover which is redeemable off products purchased after then this could be a great learning tool for you too.

 

If you really don’t have a budget for wedding hair or makeup artist then don’t scrimp on costs or forego a hair or makeup trial unless you are absolutely sure that they will do a great job for you on your wedding day. Tension will be running higher than normal on your wedding morning and time will be precious so you do not want any nasty surprises or added stress of trying to rectify a bad hair or makeup situation! You could be better off just doing it yourself if you’ve practised enough – that way you will know exactly what you are doing and what to expect.

 

Hair & Beauty for the big day

Something old

Keep your hair healthy by trimming and conditioning regularly during the run up to your wedding, and don’t be surprised if your stylist wants you to wash your hair the night before. Just washed hair is often too soft and silky – hair behaves better for styling when it is a day old and means pins, veils and hair accessories grip better.

Flawless foundations

The prettiest bridal makeup always features flawless skin as a base, so your foundation must be a perfect match for your skin. You can add colour afterwards with bronzer, soft blusher and lipstick. Choose a lipstick and lip liner that will give your smile definition… especially with neutral or barely there shades. Contour and highlight carefully but don’t over do it – you can take a black and white photograph to check whether your contouring is too dark, if need be it can easily be toned down.

Eye it up

Your eyes are the most expressive part of your face and you’ll be amazed at the difference well groomed eyebrows can make since they quite literally frame your eyes. Neutral colours will enhance your natural eye colour, but don’t be afraid to use a little sparkle, which can look stunning on the most natural makeup. Individual eyelashes are great for lifting and accentuating the outer eye area, and don’t forget to add waterproof mascara!

Best of both

If you can’t decide whether to wear your hair up or down, why not have both? Ask your wedding stylist to add some curl or volume first, then create a soft, natural up style that can be easily let down later on in the evening. If you’re struggling to choose a hair accessory and have decided against a veil, a delicate hair comb or small spiral hair pins  can be added in to complement your hairstyle and add a subtle sparkle to your look.

On trial

Book your trial around six to eight weeks before your wedding. If you just can’t wait that long, ask your stylist for a consultation as early as you like so you can meet and discuss the look you’re aiming for. A Pinterest board reserved for bridal hair and makeup is a great way to show your stylist your ideas. Don’t wear black or bright coloured tops to your trial – a colour close to that of your wedding dress will mean you’ll get a much clearer idea of how your makeup colours will work on the day.

Flashy lashes

Eyelash extensions are becoming a really popular option and it’s something I often suggest to my brides. They can really open up the eyes and can look more natural than strip lashes, especially when applied so that they gradually increase in length towards the outer corners. The added bonus of these is that you get to keep them for your honeymoon!

Flowers everywhere

If you love flowers, ask your florist to wire tiny buds and sprigs that complement your bouquet so that your stylist can work these into your hairstyle. This creates a timelessly romantic look and can be a fresh and pretty alternative to more traditional headpieces or wedding hair accessories.

 

How to be a confident Bride

On your big day, you want to be a confident bride, not a bride that’s hiding away from her wedding guests and the photographer in the corner! Don’t think you can do it? We beg to differ…

Look the part

First thing’s first: if you’ll look the part, you’ll radiate confidence. It’s all about your posture, smile and eye contact. We don’t want to sound like your grandma, but stand straight and keep your head high! We doubt your hubby really had his imagination set on marrying the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Plus, it will do wonders for your back. And what’s more attractive than a gorgeous natural smile and genuine eye contact? Now, for how to actually feel confident.

Forget what the others think

Don’t go following trends or other people’s expectations just to make sure your wedding guests are happy on your big day. It’s YOUR day, and it’s about you and your husband getting married – you’ve got to show each of your personalities, not anyone else’s. Too many brides concern themselves too much with meeting other people’s expectations, from the wedding theme to that ‘dream wedding body’, which is extra stress that those brides just don’t need. If it’s not you, don’t do it!

Don’t overdo it

It’s not uncommon for brides want to take on as many tasks to do with the wedding as possible, if not all of them. You want to be in control of your perfect day, don’t you! However, don’t overdo it! Make the most of your hubby, your friends and your family – hand some tasks over to them to relieve yourself before it’s too late, and you start to resent wedding planning.

Take a break

No matter how much you think you have to do, it’s so important that you take a break from it all from time to time. We mean it! Don’t head home from work and head straight to your laptop to narrow down the different centrepieces you’ve got in mind – do something a bit different. Schedule in a date night for you and your hubby-to-be where wedding chat is totally banned. Nope, no mention of which colour napkins or what wine to serve. It’s will make you feel revived, refreshed and more ready to get back on it, we promise!

Get foody

Eating healthily is not just about losing weight, it’s about feeling great and at your best – aka feeling confident! A balanced diet, full of lots of goodness, is super important to your mood,  and we all want a happy bride, don’t we! Make sure you fight the bad binges that just make you grumpy and feel rubbish; pack your fridge full of good-for-you foods, and snack on fruit and nuts rather than that share bag of Doritos you’ve got in your cupboard…

Boost your endorphins

There are a number of ways to boost your endorphins, and yes, exercise is one. The idea of exercise might send a shiver down your spine, but we’re not necessarily talking hardcore cardio – even going out dancing with your friends can count! That’s not the only fun way to boost those endorphins either: laughter is a booster, music is a booster, and sex is a booster… even more reason to have that date night we talked about

Treat yourself

Just because of that wedding diet or wedding budget that you’ve got going on, doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself every so often. Yes, that means a little retail therapy or a sneaky Twix or Crunchie bar here and there. You should enjoy yourself now you’re engaged, not punish yourself by banning your favourite pastimes or treats. That’s no fun!

Relax

Planning a wedding isn’t all about running round and doing stuff – that’s just exhausting! You need the nights when you can run yourself a lush bubble bath, sit back and read your favourite wedding magazine. There’s no point in stressing and getting uptight over things that aren’t going to get done, or aren’t playing by your exact plan, because your wedding day will undoubtedly be the best day of your life – even if you’re getting a three tier cake instead of four.

 

Stick to traditions

When planning a wedding more couples than ever are doing away with Britain’s great wedding traditions – from confetti throwing, to the classic white bridal gown. We all know what to expect with a Great British wedding – the white dress, the exchange of rings, a toast to the bride and groom, and confetti in the air as the happy couple drive away in a “Just Married” car.

But it turns out that more couples than ever are throwing the rulebook out the window, almost a third admitted that they wouldn’t insist on any wedding traditions at all on their big day, while nearly three quarters of brides stated that they wouldn’t choose to wear a white dress.

Only a third would recite traditional vows on their wedding day, while only a fifth would want a toast to the bride and groom. One in four couples would also insist on guests throwing confetti at the end of their ceremony.

The way couples think about their big day and what they want is changing, some of the traditions we take for granted are being challenged and it’s not just the big day itself that is looking different, either.

Traditions around the build-up to a wedding – especially the hen and stag experience – and what happens after are also being given a different flavour.

As it turns out, two in five couples would want to combine their stag and hen night (rising to half among 16 to 34 year olds), while only two in five brides keep their dress a secret before the big day. As many as eight per cent of brides would want the groom to take their name, rather than the other way around.

Even present lists are being challenged, as nine out of 10 newlyweds asked for money towards their honeymoon rather than more traditional gifts, like homeware or vouchers.

In the same way that stag and hen parties are changing – with foreign trips to exciting destinations being favoured instead of the local pub – the wedding day itself seems to be evolving, it will be interesting to see what new trends emerge over the next 20.

 

Shedding some extra pounds

Unsurprisingly, brides hope to shed extra pounds before getting married. However, perhaps more shockingly, as many as one in three will resort to crash dieting in an extreme bid to get their ideal bridal body.

The sooner you start the better. Don’t wait until the last minute to try and lose weight and then expect miracles.

You should be thinking about your diet and exercise plan as soon as you start planning a wedding, so that you don’t end up resorting to a crash diet in a bid to lose pounds at the last minute. Ideally you should aim to reach your weight loss goal within 4 weeks of your wedding, in time for the final dress fittings. That way you’ll be able to focus more on the finishing touches of the wedding planning rather than worrying about fitting into your dream dress.

Make sure you take regular exercise over the first four to six weeks for general fitness, then start to target specific areas such as your stomach, thighs and bottom. Keeping a fitness diary will also monitor your progress and help you to feel good about your achievements.

Finding the right kind of exercise regime to suit your needs and schedule can vary from a brisk walk to a full workout in the gym or an exercise video that you found online.

If you have a demanding work and life schedule that rarely allows you to fit exercise in, then try to make lifestyle swaps wherever you can. For example, ditch the car and walk to work or the shops and try to take the stairs instead of the lift – even just taking up small exercises like this will help you keep trim.

High intensity interval training (known as HIIT for short) is great for a busy bride. This consists of short bursts of intense exercise mixed in with small rests, which could benefit you more than a long session in the gym.

You need to start sweating and exercising alongside a healthy diet to make great changes to your body but this doesn’t mean that you need to spend hours on a treadmill.

Above all, have fun and don’t beat yourself up if it takes a while to get the results you want. Getting fit and losing weight healthily takes time, but stick with it and you’ll feel fabulous inside and out when you finally get into that dream wedding dress.

 

The Benefits of a Toastmaster

As anybody who has ever attended a wedding will know, they can be stressful affairs. Celebratory occasions yes, but there are a whole host of timings to abide by from arriving at the wedding venue right through to the final minute of the evening. With this in mind, some prefer to book a toastmaster to worry about the day for them, to make sure everything is just so and ensure that your wedding day really is the best day of your life.

No matter whether a big or a small celebration, a toastmaster can be a fabulous booking at a wedding and that’s simply because they know exactly where and when everything will be happening, all whilst taking a traditional role of calling out proceedings as and when they occur. So what does a toastmaster do at a wedding?

A toastmaster will ensure that the wedding venue is ready, greet guests as they arrive, organise the photographs, direct guests as required, announce the wedding breakfast, orchestrate the moments that nobody wants to miss, introduce the speakers and take on each and every duty that will help everybody else to enjoy this most special of days. For the bride and groom, it will be a stress-free day and ultimately, that is the finest way to enjoy your own wedding!

An experienced toastmaster will sit down with you weeks in advance to make sure that everything is perfect. Even so, things can occasionally run awry on the day and they can therefore step in if things aren’t quite going as planned – allowing more time for wedding photographs, noticing that the food is taking longer to prepare than expected – and will ensure that all being well, nobody will ever notice that the day was very briefly going ‘off-plan’. In a sense, a good toastmaster are the eyes and ears of the bride and groom on a day when they can’t be expected to be everywhere at once!

Many might feel they have no need to book a toastmaster because everything a toastmaster does could be done by an usher or best man already in attendance. This is possible but whereas many of the groomsmen are required to be with the groom ahead of the ceremony, that would leave nobody to greet guests or check on the venue. The ushers and everybody else involved in the day want to have a good time themselves so it wouldn’t be fair on them to take away from the proceedings.

In summation, if you are wanting a wedding that runs to plan and on the hunt for an entertaining master of ceremonies to guide you through proceedings, a toastmaster is an excellent idea, especially considering that you can often book a toastmaster for less than the price of the wedding cake!

 

First Dance Worries

If you’re not sure whether you want a first dance at your wedding reception, you aren’t alone, we know couples can find it tricky.

If you hate dancing, and don’t want to do it with everyone watching – don’t worry, your guests won’t judge! They will just be happy to see you and your new spouse have a little chat for three or four minutes while you sway from side to side  – which is what most first dances end up being.

Despite the soppiness of it, a slow first dance is probably your best bet if you are a little worried about dancing. If you’ve got moves, and you want to show them off, something faster can definitely work.

Weddings are frantic, and over the course of the day you’ll hardly get a moment to yourself, let alone with your new husband or wife. Everyone there will want to talk to you, and there’s timings and speeches to worry about. The first dance can be a little calm in the storm. First dances are a great way to put a momentary pause on a wedding day.

In addition to this, the first dance is a great ice breaker to move the day from meal to massive party, and 99 times out of 100, the dance floor gets fuller faster when there is a first dance, compared to when there isn’t.

If you aren’t sure which song to pick, try writing down separate lists of at least 10 songs without conferring. Songs that make you smile and think of your other half when you listen to them. The ones that give you goosebumps, or send those tiny little hairs on the back of your neck standing on end.

If there are none that match, make a playlist of your partner’s suggestions, and get them to make a playlist of yours. Listen to them when you’re not together and see if you get those goosebumps from any of your partner’s suggestions.

First dance suggestions

  • You Are The Best Thing – Ray Lamontagne
  • You’re All I Need To Get By – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
  • It Must Be Love – Madness
  • Keep On Movin’ – 5ive
  • One Day Like This – Elbow
  • You’re My Best Friend – Queen
  • Lover Of The Light – Mumford and Sons
  • Dancing In The Dark – Bruce Springsteen
  • Mountains – Biffy Clyro
  • Stand By Me – Ben E. King
  • Your Body Is A Wonderland – John Mayer
  • Mean To Me – Brett Eldridge