Category Archives: Wedding Planning Advice

Things I’ve Learnt Whilst Planning My Sister’s Wedding

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In less than a week my baby sister will be married. Next Saturday she’ll be standing up there and all the stresses and strains of planning The Wedding Of The Century (fact) will have been worthwhile.

I got married in 2008, and without wanting to sound 672 years old, things were so different then. Back then, the fact that my bridesmaids wore black and we made our own cake was considered pretty unconventional. These days most people (ourselves included) would look at our wedding and think it was actually very, very traditional.

So needless to say I have learnt a lot in the past 12 months. It’s given me a brand new perspective of what it’s really like down in the trenches, and I’ve a new found respect for anyone who’s having a completely DIY or budget wedding. This shit is stressful you guys!

You’re going to offend and disagree with people… and probably feel guilty a lot

Arguments will happen. Whether it’s between you and your significant other, your parents, or well meaning (but, at times, irritating) friends. Emotions are high and there’s a lot to do so they are pretty unavoidable. If you get through your entire wedding planning experience without a single raised eyebrow then you must be a saint. Report to the Vatican immediately.

Having a wedding is just like throwing a big party. That’s stressful on it’s own except this party is the party, everyone’s invited and there are no do-overs. Also everyone has an opinion about it and their own expectations.

You need to attempt to strike a balance between realising the wedding isn’t just about you but also knowing that at the end of the day, it actually is. You have to consider other people’s feelings (because if you don’t you’re an arsehole) and understand that doing so doesn’t mean you’re ‘selling out’ or that your wedding won’t be cool/ alternative/ the most perfect day ever.

If you are arguing a lot, don’t take it as a failure and try not to feel bad about it. It doesn’t mean your wedding day will be in any way less awesome. It probably just means that everybody cares, and (in our case anyway!) everybody has their own, very strong opinions of how they’d prefer things to be done.

Compromise is key, which brings me onto my second lesson…

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You won’t necessary get everything you wanted 

This isn’t a wedding from a movie, this is real life. There are other people’s desires to consider and, as frustrating as it can be at the time, you can’t just stick your head in the proverbial sand and do everything to satisfy yourself.

For example, parents. This is an important day for them too and (especially if they’re contributing financially) you should consider what they want as well. They might have different priorities to you, but that doesn’t make them automatically wrong. Sure, they might think all the extra stress of hand making the favours is pointless, whereas you can’t think of anything worse than asking your guests to stand in a receiving line. As frustrating as it is, try to see things from their perspective. And remember, letting them ‘win’ certain things will not make your wedding any less special.

In the same vein, budget constraints might mean that you aren’t able to have everything you initially wanted. Make a list of the things you absolutely can not live without, and ditch or consider cheaper options for the rest.

You’ll spend more than you planned to

Its very rare that I hear about a wedding that came in under budget. Whether you have £500 or £50,000 to spend, there are always costs that you don’t factor in. I don’t really have any advice here other than to let you know that this probably will happen so brace yourself!

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Bridal Body Confidence with Harnaam Kaur

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Harnaam Kaur has polycystic ovary syndrome, which meant she started growing a beard from aged 11. Battling to remove her hair every day, and bullied at school, she started to self-harm and considered suicide. Harnaam is now a body-confidence and anti-bullying activist. She fully embraces her unique look and hopes to encourage others to do the same.

I absolutely love weddings. I grew up attending Sikh, Hindu and western weddings and although each event was very different from the next, each time I would look at the bride in awe, transfixed by her beauty and elegance. Each and every one of them looked like a goddess, and I remember feeling excited about dressing up and being a bride myself one day.

Wearing the most gorgeous dress, carrying the prettiest floral bridal bouquet and marrying the man or woman of your dreams – there is so much to look forward to at a wedding! However I would imagine that for most of you, making preparations for your big day can be quite stressful, not only because you’re concerned about how it will turn out, but because of anxieties about your body or appearance.

Although there are pressures for woman to look a certain way whatever their race, in talking to my friends I have found that Asian women are put under a very particular kind of pressure to look perfect when they walk down the aisle. One of my friends who got married recently spent so much time in the morning worrying about if her make up was perfect (and if her skin looked light enough), whether she looked bloated from breakfast, and if all her body hair was removed properly that she was almost two hours late. I had another friend who told me that her future husband said he would only marry her if she had laser treatment all over her body to remove her excess hair. I’m pleased to say that she didn’t marry him in the end!

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Now, I understand that most brides want to look perfect on their wedding day, but it’s a fine line between wanting to feel happy and confident, and making yourself look a certain way because friends, family or society tells you that you should! Why do so many women feel the need to conform and fit into what other people say is beautiful?

Another added pressure I’ve noticed in Asian culture is the desire for brides to not only please her future husband, but his family as well. Too many times to mention I have overheard Indian mothers saying certain girls were too short/ too fat/ too tall/ too hairy to marry their sons. Every time I am absolutely horrified. I have always been shocked by how much women are judged for the way that they look, and although it happens to men too, it certainly doesn’t to the same extent.

I started growing thick hair on my body and face when I hit puberty. At 11 years old I was diagnosed PCOS which is a condition where there is an imbalance in hormones within the female body. This led me to have more male hormones then female ones which meant my hair grew like a man’s and I developed beard. I used to shave and wax my face but at the age of 16, after years of being bullied, self-harming and feeling suicidal, I thought enough was enough and I let it grow out. Since then, I have never felt more content, happy, and in love with my body.

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Unhelpful Husbands-to-Be

Dear Kat, I’d love some advice on how to get my fiancé more involved in the wedding planning without being accused of harassing him or being a bridezilla!? Essentially, I want to know how we can make it fun for both of us and not appear to be a chore. I’m happy doing most of the organising, but when it comes to the stuff I can’t really do (such as his suit) or things I need his input on (the guest list, the music, the food) he just rolls his eyes, huffs and gets annoyed! Help!

Men are such interesting creatures aren’t they? I have to admit, at first I was completely stumped on how to reply to this because its something I struggle a bit with too! I am very action-oriented. I hate to sit on things that need doing, whereas Gareth will take forever to motivate himself to do something and it drives me fucking insane. Granted, when he does get to whatever the task is, he always does a brilliant job (whereas my penchant for rushing right in sometimes ends up with a bit of a haphazard result!) But sitting around waiting for him to do things is very frustrating. I guess what I’m saying is I totally feel your pain!

Instead of trying to answer this myself, I actually decided to chat to Gareth about this, as he’s much more likely to be able to see things from your fiancé’s point of view. Here’s what he had to say. I hope this helps.

“Well, it’s a tricky one with such little info, because there’s going to be an underlying issue which is causing him to get so easily annoyed. It could be as simple as he’s got something on his mind which is really bothering him (finances, health, work) or it could be more difficult to tackle problem like anxiety or depression.

The trouble is, once a subject like picking a suit is raised frequently enough at the wrong time to cause anger, it becomes a trigger point forever more. So even mentioning it at a good time can lead to a reactionary outburst.

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Can We Please Stop Booking Cheap Photographers and Moaning About Them ‘Ruining’ Our Weddings?

Deep breath.

This week, yet another news story about an amateur photographer ‘ruining’ a couple’s wedding photos hit the headlines. “Poor couple!” the comments read, “What a terrible woman this photographer is!” “She deserved to get sued!” The comment threads (including on the photographer’s business social media accounts, which have all now been deactivated) read like the modern day equivalent to the Salem witch hunts. They might as well have been chanting “BURN THE PHOTOGRAPHER!”

Now I’m not saying the photographer was wrongfully called out here. In this particular instance the photos that we made public were, for all intents and purposes, utterly terrible. There are also always two sides to any story so I’m not even going to get into the claims that she was 45 minutes late, only took 15 photos of the reception and spent more time in the photo booth than doing anything else. That’s really all superfluous to the point I want to make.

However, what is important is that when these types of stories come out, the recurring theme always seems to be that the couple hired a cheap, brand new or (as in this case) student photographer yet still expected their photographs to be of the same quality that a seasoned professional charging ten times more might deliver. There appears to be a complete lack of value placed on what a professional wedding photographer actually does. And believe me, its way more than having a fancy camera, lighting equipment and retouching software installed on their computer.

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15 Alternative Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

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I don’t know about you, but the thought of going out to dinner on Valentine’s day and sitting in a crowded restaurant with a hundred other couples isn’t my idea of romance. In fact Gareth and I have NEVER been out for dinner on V-day… and we’ve had 14 of them together!

Dinner and a movie is BORING y’all, and who wants to celebrate with something played out and obvious? So, for your romantic pleasure, here are 15 alternative and unusual ideas for this weekend!

Brunch

Not all dates have to happen at night, especially as Valentine’s falls on a weekend this year. Start the day off right with an opulent brunch. You can go somewhere fancy or make it at home and eat it in bed!

Go on a bike ride

Doing an activity together is much more fun than just sitting, staring into each other’s eyes. How about a brisk walk or bike ride followed by a pub lunch?

Visit a museum

Museums are cool. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

Be a tourist in your own city

You know those historic places in your own town that the tourists flock you and you’ve never found the time to visit? Now is your chance! If you don’t live in a big city, why not hop on the train to your nearest big smoke and have a day of adventure?

Cook a three-course meal

Going to the supermarket together and picking out the ingredients is all part of the fun too. You could each do a course (Come Dine With Me style) but I think it’s better if you do it all together and it’s something you’ve never made before. Even if your soufflé ends up looking like a pancake, you’ll just laugh through it (and then order a takeaway!)

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Go see a band

You could go and see someone you already like, but its way more interesting to Russian Roulette it! Check out your local paper’s live music section and go see someone you’ve never heard of. They could be terrible, or they could be utterly amazing – that’s all part of the fun!

Take a class

Pottery, jewellery-making, spin… There are so many classes you can take, so why not do one together? It’ll be even better if it’s something neither of you have done before. You’ll probably be surprised just how much you enjoy it. Gareth and I once did a ring making workshop together. We had the BEST TIME and we got to make each other some rings, which we both still wear to this day!

Get lost in nature

Take a long walk on the beach… at your nearby woods… up a mountain! Just start walking and see where you end up!

Video game arcade

No explanation needed here. Get hopped up on sugar and embrace your inner geek!

Zombie apocalypse!

Yep, seriously. In Reading (where I live) one of the old, disused shopping malls in the town centre has been taken over by zombies. If you’re looking to finally face those zombie fantasies then the Zombie Shopping Mall is the date for you!

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How to Plan a Festival Wedding: Being Interviewed by Helen Anderson

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I’ve followed Helen Anderson; YouTuber, Instagram megastar and all round cool girl, for a few years now. I think I first found her when she did a video about how to get pink hair or something! I secretly always thought she was funny, awesome and that if we met we’d probably hit it off immediately.

When she got engaged last year I tweeted her to say congrats and offered to send her a magazine, and to my utter surprise she not only replied, but told me she’d been reading my blog for years too! What followed was a whirlwind internet romance of mutual fangirling (we’re both not ashamed to admit that we’re a little bit obsessed with each other – ha!) and messages like “OMG one day we have to actually meet OK?”

Then, a couple of weeks ago, she emailed me to ask if I’d like to film a video with her all about planning a festival wedding. It took me approximately 5 seconds to reply and we arranged for her to come down to Reading for the interview at my house following week!

As you can see, my predictions were very much correct. I LOVE her. Like, I’m pretty sure we’re officially best friends already. I’ve invited her to the National Wedding Show to come and hang out again too, so it’s not too long until we get to meet again. Yay, aren’t new friends just the best?

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