Category Archives: Wedding Planning Advice

What’s Your Love Language?

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When you get engaged, inevitably your mind quickly becomes encompassed by things such as guest lists and table plans, dresses and shoes, flowers and cake. Of course all of these things are important to pulling off a beautiful wedding, but what are you doing to make sure you pull off an even more beautiful marriage?

A impending wedding has a bit of a habit of bringing things that you might not be completely happy with in your relationship to the forefront of your mind. While no relationship is perfect, thinking about spending the rest of your life with someone can make you start to question if your relationship is ‘normal’.

One of the things I hear again and again from brides is phrases like “Oh I love him and can’t wait to marry him but I wish he wanted to be more involved in the wedding/ he’d spend less time on his computer/ we had more sex…” If there are things that have been niggling you over the years that have been easy to sweep under the carpet before, you might start to question whether they are more then just mild irritations when FOREVER is on the horizon.

It’s quite an old-fashioned idea, but just before Gareth and I were married we took part in a marriage course. When we were informed that we had to do one in order to get married at the church we had our eye on, I’m not going to lie, I was less than enthusiastic. I was annoyed that we had to give up one night a week for a whole month to go and talk about, I assumed, the outdated views of the Anglican Church on what makes a good marriage. I mean, we’d lived together for over a year, how different was marriage really going to be?

We went to the first session with dragged feet and closed minds, but we were pleasantly surprised at how wrong both of our expectations and assumptions were. We’ve now been married for seven years, but regularly think about many of the topics we were given the opportunity to discuss during the course and I hand-on-my-heart believe that it was one of the best things we’ve ever done for our relationship.

Not only did it give us the space to think and talk about our expectations of marriage, but we also learnt about the Five Love Languages. Pioneered by Gary Chapman in 1995, the concept outlines the five ways to express and experience love. It states that everyone feels and acknowledges love different ways, and to make sure you’re communicating it in a way that means the most to your partner, you need to know what “languages” those are for them. It’s quite normal to have more than one but the key is to understand what they are for each other.

The five love languages are:

♥ Words of affirmation
♥ Acts of service
♥ Receiving gifts
♥ Quality time
♥ Physical touch

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How to Ask For a Discount without Offending Your Wedding Suppliers

Alternative Humanist Outdoor Tipi Wedding

Let’s not beat around the bush: Weddings are bloody expensive. There’s so much to think about and so many things to pay for, who can blame a girl for wanting to save every penny possible?

There are a myriad of ways to plan a wedding at a pinch, but what if you’ve got your heart set on something in particular that doesn’t fit in with your very strict budget? Is it ever OK to ask for a discount and if you do will those suppliers get mortally offended?

As this seems to be a hot topic right now, I figured I’d go straight to the source and ask some of my wedding industry pals to shed some light.

Do you ever give discounts to clients?

“I ask for a few details from my couples before sending over a quote. I ask thing like the location, the number of guests and what time of year or day of the week it is. With this information I can provide an accurate quote and take into account if it’s low key/ off season /a week day or involves an overnight stay. If they come back to me and say it is out of their budget, I could look at taking things out of the packages for them to make it more affordable, maybe less coverage or taking out the album. However I don’t generally do this for key summer dates.” Lisa, Devlin Photos

“We are more than happy to give discounts to our custom order clients when we’re able to. For example if a client is ordering more than one piece in the same style and we can combine materials so we’re often able to reduce the cost per piece slightly. A lot of our ready-to-wear collections have long-term discounts and offers attached already though so we won’t take money off those just because someone asks!” Sophie, Crown and Glory

“If you’re a good friend or blood relative, you’ll get a discount without asking for it – it’s your wedding present. Better than a toaster, no? But in general, we don’t offer discounts. Full stop.” Rachel, September Pictures

“We mostly give discounts through offers on our magazine or blog advertising. However, if we feel like it’s really going to make the difference to someone we will quite often pre-empt a discount. We’ve also had situations where people have said ‘I’m not sure we can afford that’ so we’ll always do whatever we reasonably can to bring it in to the hallowed realms of affordability for them.” Matt and Leanne, Swoon at the Moon Stationery

“We are happy to offer a discount on large quantities of lanterns – what ‘large’ means varies from person to person and of course budgets vary greatly from wedding to wedding too. On average, most couples wanting wedding lanterns to decorate the whole reception space use 50-75 of them for a good level of coverage across the whole ceiling. On this quantity we would happily offer a discount of 15-20%. We also include free delivery on orders over £100. ” Aimee, The Hanging Lantern Company

Alternative Humanist Outdoor Tipi Wedding

Do you ever get offended when people ask for money off?

“I don’t get offended, I understand that the precedent is often set by venues offering discounts or because couples have been told to haggle for everything. I know what it’s like trying to plan a wedding but some parts are worth investing properly in. I do find it funny when they come back with a comparison saying this other photographer is offering more hours or free albums, can I match it? Er no… just book the other guy!” Lisa, Devlin Photos

“Not really, especially when they are realistic about it. We can often knock a little bit off multibuys, but expecting to pay less than the listing price for a customised version of an existing design is probably not going to be possible and can come across a bit offensive!” Sophie, Crown and Glory

“I totally get why people ask for discounts: I know how horrifying it can be to budget for a wedding. I also think it can be pretty unclear how the whole thing works: is it like walking into a shop where you pay the price on the tag, or like hitting the Medina in Marrakech where you’re expected to haggle? Commissioning a photographer isn’t something most people have done before, so I don’t get offended.” Rachel, September Pictures

“We NEVER get offended when people ask for discounts but we probably would be offended if someone said ‘Yeah but X can do it for X price, can you come down to that?’ as there are so many variables and SO much competition in wedding stationery that it’s already a buyer’s market. Everyone is already competing at pretty tight margins and we all have their own reasons for pricing the way we do. If you like X’s product and it’s cheaper, then go for it!” Matt and Leanne, Swoon at the Moon Stationery

Are there any instances when you would never offer a discount?

“If it’s asked for without any manners or if someone says that their wedding will be ‘really cool’ as if that has any affect on how much work I need to do! By the way, when they say that, it usually turns out to be the opposite of cool!” Lisa, Devlin Photos

“If someone was being a jerk about it or expecting a discount for no reason other than they asked!” Sophie, Crown and Glory

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Wedding Traditions, What Are They Good For?

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The story behind the flying wedding dress

I was chatting to my newly engaged sister last week who told me there was no way in hell she’d be doing a first dance and that come to think of it, walking down the aisle seemed mortifying and silly too. “But you have to walk in somehow,” I replied, “you can’t just ‘poof!’ and appear at the end of the aisle!”

As someone who champions alternative weddings day in, day out, I actually surprised myself at how horrified I was that she wouldn’t walk down a set ‘aisle’. I think because, for me, walking into the church and being given away by my father was such a special and emotional part of the wedding, I couldn’t ever imagine not wanting to have that experience. But that’s the thing with getting married in your own way, there really are no rules any more.

If my sister is worried about walking in and being the centre of attention, she could walk in with her fiancé, or there could be a circular ceremony set up (with no aisle at all), or we could all walk in together like a big rugby scrum around her – there are plenty of other options!

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Your Wedding Does Not Have To Be The ‘Best Day Of Your Life’

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Don’t get me wrong, a wedding is undoubtedly a very important day, but it is not your one shot at happiness or your singular life defining moment. By that I mean, even if the day was a complete disaster and everything that could go wrong did, the actual act of getting married is just one little flash in a life full of potentially joyful occasions!

The pressure the wedding industry puts on couples is ridiculous. “Oh it’s the most important day of your life!”, “This will be the best day you’ve ever had!” they squawk. And yes, while it is undoubtedly a special day, it does not have to be the “best day of your life”.

Our wedding was was absolutely one of my top five life highlights, but I feel like claiming it was “the best” would be a bit of a lie. That’s not to say that our wedding wasn’t completely amazing, but so was buying our first house, quitting my day job to blog full time, launching my own magazine… There are many more days in my life that I’ve loved and boiling your complete happiness down to one very specific and pre-planned moment only sets you up for disappointment if things don’t go exactly to plan. It also makes you put an extreme amount of pressure on yourself to make everything utterly perfect.

Can you think of any other event in your life that you have amazing memories from that was planned to the very last second? Of course not! Most of your fondest times had a bit of spontaneity around them – those nights out you didn’t even bother to re-do your make up and ended up on a wild adventure, the time you bumped into this cute guy and ended up falling in love, when you booked a last minute holiday and had the most amazing two weeks ever! These moments of unexpected joy are rarely pre-planned to the last minute detail, and I think there’s something to be said for letting your wedding be a bit like this too.

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Self Esteem, Body Confidence and Learning to Love Yourself

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If you’ve been reading my blog (or following me on Instagram!) for a while you’ll probably have already heard of Gala Darling. Not only is she one of my best friends, but I’ve been raving about her, and her message of Radical Self Love, for quite some time!

I first discovered her blog in early 2009 (check out my adorable fangirling) but it wasn’t until happenstance enabled us to meet IRL a few years later that I knew we were kindred spirits. There are just some people you meet who instantly light up your life and make the world seem like a more positive, happier place. Gala does this for me every single day and I’m so honoured to call her my friend.

If you too want to live a more magical, happy life then Gala’s brand new book will show you exactly how to do it. In Radical Self Love: A Guide To Loving Yourself And Living Your Dream you’ll begin to discover exactly what makes you so magnificent, and you’ll uncover a litany of tools and techniques to help you manifest a life that bursts with magic, bliss and adventure. I only wish this book was around when I was a depressed young adult consumed by my eating disorder. I really do feel like it should be mandatory reading for every single woman on the planet.

I could not be prouder of my girl for following her dream to becoming a best selling author. So to celebrate the release (and the fact that it hit the #1 spot in the self help category on Amazon!) I asked her if she’d like to share some tips for brides that might be struggling with their self esteem or body confidence. Of course she enthusiastically obliged.

1. Learn to love your body

Obsessing about the way we look can be one of the worst parts of getting married. Instead of freaking out, going on a crash diet that makes you feel like shit, and going on punishing runs, choose to be kind to your body instead. One of the best ways to do this is to take a burlesque class! (In New York City, Jo Weldon’s School of Burlesque is an awesome place to start, but there are classes all around the world.) In addition to learning a simple striptease — sure to delight your partner on your wedding night — you’ll discover the beauty, power, and agency of your own body. Few things are more liberating. Hell YES!

2. Remember that what other people think of you – or your wedding – is not your business!

When you’re looking at blogs like Rock n Roll Bride, which showcase the coolest weddings on the planet, it’s totally normal to feel intimidated and worry about whether your wedding will “measure up”. Will it be cool enough? Will it be Instagrammable? Will your wedding’s hashtag look as good as you hope?

Don’t get caught up in appearances. As much as we’d all love to have beautiful photos to look back on, ask yourself, what’s more important? Marrying someone you truly adore and having a magical day, or fussing with place-settings and obsessing about how many likes the photos get on Instagram?

Radical Self Love A Guide To Loving Yourself And Living Your Dream (14)

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The Six Biggest Wedding Planning Concerns & How to Quash Them!

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recently asked my Facebook fans what their biggest worries were about getting hitched, and oh my goodness, do you lot have a LOT of things on your mind! Here are the five main stress factors I saw pop up again and again, plus some practical ways you can overcome them.

“I’m worried about looking and feeling my best”

Us women can be hard on ourselves and our appearance at the best of times. Throw in being the centre of attention on one of the biggest days of your life in the mix and it’s a recipe for self-deprecation overload! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had brides tell me they feel like they’re not going to feel pretty on the day. They’re worried about everything from feeling fat to their make-up smearing, and from getting sweat patches to having cankles! We really are super hard on ourselves aren’t we?

First of all, you ARE going to look amazing on your wedding day! If you choose a dress that flatters you, you get a great make up artist and you pick a good deodorant like Sure Maximum Protection, you’ll have nothing to fret about! Twice as strong as the leading antiperspirant, Sure Maximum Protection Stress Control offers unrivalled protection against sweat and odour so it won’t let you down on your big day. Just remember you’re marrying someone that thinks you’re gorgeous each and every day. You could turn up in your PJs and they’d still think you looked amazing!

“Our families don’t get on!”

Family politics are a tricky one, but unless they’re complete arseholes, it’s unlikely that they’re going to purposely cause a scene at your wedding. However if you are worried, I would advise that you to have a quiet word with the potential perpetrators ahead of time and voice your concerns. Remember, they love you and hopefully (!) want your day to be a pleasant one.

Divorced parents can be tricky too, so how about instead of having a top table you have each parent ‘host’ separate ones and the two of you have a sweetheart table instead? Who says you have to go traditional if you’re family dynamics are anything but!? 

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