Category Archives: Wedding Planning Advice

What Does Marriage Mean To You?

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Working in the wedding industry means than when I meet new people, after the usual queries about “what makes a wedding alternative?” and “what’s the weirdest wedding you’ve seen?” are answered, our conversations often turn into a discussion about marriage.

I feel like I’ve had these conversations with a very broad spectrum of people, all with very differing thoughts on what makes a healthy marriage. I’ve met people who have sexually open relationships and others that didn’t go to bed together before they said I do. I’ve chatted with those who cohabited within days of meeting and others that are married but still chose to live separately.

Over the years, these conversations have quickly made me realise that while I might be all for the most unconventional of weddings, I really do have quite a traditional view of marriage. Sure, our roles might be slightly unusual as I’m the main breadwinner whereas Gareth takes on more of the household chores, but in terms of what it actually means to us to be husband and wife, we’re pretty damn vanilla.

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With This Tattoo, I Thee Wed

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When we were 17, a friend of mine and her boyfriend got each other’s names tattooed on their hips. Unfortunately, but probably rather unsurprisingly, the relationship didn’t last and they both ended up getting their once oh-so-permanent reminders of first love covered up with something else.

Inadvisable teenage tattoos aside, I am still a big fan of matching ink and more than ever I’m seeing couples opting for tattooed wedding bands, or a small symbol on their ring ringer, in place of physical wedding band.

While researching for this article I was massively disappointed to find that near enough every single piece I read on this so called ‘trend’ (if tattoos are a passing fad then it’s the longest running one I’ve ever heard of!) we’re wholeheartedly negative. “Oh if the marriage ends they’ll be stuck with a tattoo they hate”, “Laser removal is expensive and painful”, “It will be a permanent reminder of a relationship gone bad” they warned.

I felt completely depressed. Yes, we should be cautious and unimpulsive with big decisions like getting a tattoo… but surely even more so with a big commitment like, oh I don’t know, choosing to get married! It is a sad fact of life that some marriages end in divorce, but – shock horror – many of them do not.

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But What if You’re Disappointed with the Proposal?

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There is a lot of pressure surrounding weddings. Pressure to have the most gorgeous celebration, to spend the most (or least!) money, to DIY up a storm and for everything to be utterly picture perfect. So it doesn’t come as a shock to me that proposal expectations can also be sky-high for the soon to be betrothed.

With viral proposal videos hitting the headlines on an almost daily basis, this is hardly surprising. It can be hard, if not impossible, for us normal folk to feel like we’ll ever measure up!

Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing the stories of the flash mobs, the sky-writing and the treasure hunts. I’m an old romantic after all. But the fact of the matter is that a proposal doesn’t have to go viral for it to be utterly incredible.

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I Hate The Way I Look in My Wedding Photos

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I‘m aware that you like to help people with the planning of their wedding, however mine has now passed. It was a beautiful day and I’m so in love, but I hate my dress. Everytime I look at my photos, I feel sad. I’m a large girl and unfortunately my chest seems to have taken over my photos. When buying my dress I specifically stated that I didn’t want my chest to be very obvious in my dress and it was just a nightmare. I was just wondering if you had any advice on how to love my dress and feel happy when I look at my photos? 

I receive emails from women worried about their wedding every single day. “Will it be cool enough?” “How do I deal with my meddling mother-in-law?” “Why are my bridesmaids being such arseholes?”

But sometimes I get an email like this one, and more than with any of the others, I want to drop everything, find the person in real life and give them a massive hug.

I know just how you feel. I spent years loathing the way I looked, critiquing my appearance in every minute detail, hiding behind big, baggy clothes and turning and running if I saw anyone holding a camera. Even though I still struggle with my appearance on a daily basis, I’ve come a long bloody way. And you can too.

While you might not like the way you looked on your wedding day and every single photograph makes you cringe, that’s not the big problem here. The real obstacle is the way you’re thinking about yourself.

Yes, your wedding is a special moment in your life, but it is just one day. The relationship you have with yourself lasts a life time and so that’s the thing you should be focusing on. So I want you to put away that wedding album and start focusing on all the blessing you have in your life.

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Wedding Planning Advice for the Newly Engaged

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You’re probably feeling a heady mix of emotions right now – excitement, anticipation, joy, terror!? While everyone you speak to will kindly remind you that this will be the happiest time in your life, you’ll soon be feeling that inevitable wave of panic too. It’s perfectly normal to be a little bit scared and overwhelmed at this stage. I mean, how on Earth do you even start to plan a wedding!? Yes, there is an enormous amount to do in a relatively short period of time but come on, if I can do it, you certainly can too.

The most important thing to remember is that this is just one day. Your wedding will not define the rest of your life. It should be a nice starting off point for your marriage. But I know how it feels, and once the happy glow of getting engaged starts to wear off, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of hyperventilating over guest lists, seating arrangements and finding that one perfect dress.

So relax.  Try not to think about everything you have to do right away, instead break your tasks up into manageable chunks and tackle them one at a time. The wedding industry is notorious for scaring you about time frames and budgets and blah blah blah. But often they’re more worried about their own bottom line than actually helping brides and grooms navigate the muddy waters of planning ‘the biggest day of their lives’ (cynical but true). On the Rock n Roll Bride blog I’ve featured weddings that were planned in a matter of weeks and weddings that cost under £1000. So whatever your timeframe and budget, it can be done.

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Get Organised

What you do have to do, whatever your timeframe or budget, is get yourself organised. Now.

I’m a huge fan of lists and breaking things down so they’re less intimidating. My only advice other than that would be to make sure you have your priorities in mind and try to book the big three first. These are the things that either take the longest, get booked up the soonest or set the tone for the rest of the wedding. They are the venue, your photographer (and/or videographer, if you’re having one) and your dress. Get those three sorted first and everything else will fall into place around them.

However, before you can start any of that you need to make some decisions. Set some time aside, just the two of you, to sit down and have ‘the talk’. You need to decide what kind of day you want, when and where you’re going to hold it and how you’re going to make it all happen.

What

Think about what kind of wedding you both really want. Will it be big or small, religious or civil, on a beach, in a marquee, a manor house or a pub? Do you want to hand make everything or is that your idea of hell? Do you want a big bridal party or do you want it to be just the two of you up there? What is most important to you both? What are your biggest priorities and what is completely non-negotiable?

Secondly, it’s time to think about the theme. Recently this has become a bit of a dirty word, but these days thinking about a theme doesn’t have to mean you should be picking accent colours or deciding whether you’re more of a glamorous, retro or modern couple. In fact I’ve lost count of the number of weddings I’ve seen recently where the couple say “Oh we didn’t really have a theme; we just had stuff we liked”. Perfect, great – that’s your theme then!

This is the fun bit. It’s time to write down anything, and everything, that makes the two of you tick. What is it that makes you both the unique little snowflakes that you are? Are you really into sci-fi, or gaming, or food? Have you always dreamt about getting married outside, or by the ocean, or in a cave? Is music your biggest passion? Are your pets the light of your life? At this stage, write down whatever you want on this list and don’t restrict yourselves. I always think that the most successful weddings are those that are really unique to the couple and a share a mash up of how they are in everyday life.

Of course when it comes down to actually putting things in the wedding, you don’t have to include everything, but making a list like this is a really good way to get those ideas flowing before you really decide what’s going to work for you both.

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Being ‘Too Fat’ for Photos, Planning a Wedding on the Cheap, Not Inviting Children & Much, Much More!

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Advice pieces are some of the most enjoyable posts for me to write. I get hundreds of comments and emails from you guys asking all number of wedding planning – and weirdly hair! – questions, and being able to help you out where I can is immensely satisfying.

If you ever have a question or concern, please feel free to email me! While I can’t promise to reply one-on-one, I may turn your question into a future blog or magazine article.

Here are twelve of the most popular advice articles that were published this past year.

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Life doesn’t wait for you to ‘get thin’, life is happening right now

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5 things you probably don’t know about planning a wedding

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Bridesmaid 101

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Help! I’ve got pre-wedding cold feet

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