Category Archives: Wedding Planning Advice

Wedding Day Survival for Introverts

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Dear Kat
I’m sure this isn’t something you struggle with but I was wondering if you might be able to use your infinite wedding wisdom to help me none-the-less. I am a painfully shy introvert. I suffer from crippling social anxiety and although I desperately want to marry my fiancé, the thought of being the centre of attention for the day fills me with dread. I’m worried about so many things especially what our guests will think about the wedding. We don’t have a huge budget and I’m worried it will be boring because we can’t afford more than an iPod playlist as entertainment…

I was just hoping you might have some tips or advice you could share?

The wedding industry is pretty much built around the idea that your wedding is supposed to be this big entertainment circus where you are the main attraction. It’s enough to make even the most extroverted of us hyperventilate with stage fright. Of course this couldn’t be further from the truth and if I try to do one thing more than anything else with this blog, its to demonstrate to you that you can – and should – do YOUR wedding YOUR way!

For the record, as you probably guessed, I am not an introvert. While I love spending time at home with my husband and my cats, I adore nothing more than being surrounded by people – laughing, chatting and catching up. I feel energised by talking to others and much prefer to be with someone else than spending time alone.  

You probably know this already but while extroverts draw their energy from others, introverts recharge their batteries by being on their own. Gareth is a classic introvert by the way (which actually works well for us, I can be out doing my thang while he’s perfectly content to hold the fort at home!) The fact the we are at opposite ends of the extrovert/introvert spectrum is not a problem for us, as long as we respect each other’s needs.

But I digress…

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Here are a few simple tips for those introverted babes amongst you who are feeling worrisome about being the centre of attention on your wedding day:

Realise that it’s not all about you

The notion that this is “your big day” can be terrifying for introverts but weddings are as much for the family and friends of the couple as they are for the couple themselves. Weddings bring people together. In fact your wedding day will probably be the first day in a long time that everyone you know and love is in the same room.

Your family and friends are not there to be vicious energy sucking vampires. They simply want to share in your joy and to show their love and support for you and your marriage. The bride and groom do not have to be constantly at the centre of everyone’s attention. You are but the reason for everyone to be there together.

Most of your guests will be perfectly happy catching up with each other, reminiscing, laughing, drinking, dancing… I promise, you do not have to put on a massive show for them! For many people forced entertainment is a lot more annoying than the old classics anyway – flowing wine, good tunes and a little bit of dancing!

Have a small wedding

If having all eyes on you is something that fills you with dread then why not have a small wedding? Or at least keep the ceremony (often the most nerve-racking part) intimate? Legally, you only need to have two witnesses at a wedding ceremony (in the UK) and there is no law saying you have to invite everyone you know along for the ride! If a full on elopement is out of the question for whatever reason, a low-key ceremony followed by a more casual reception might be the way forward.

Take the focus off the bride

There are definitely small adaptations you can make throughout your wedding so you are not the focus of everyone’s attention. Have a think about what parts of the day are making you the most anxious – is it walking down the aisle, saying your vows in front of everyone, the first dance? Then change them!

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How to Plan a Wedding: The Cheapest Ways to Get Hitched

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The cost of weddings is always increasing. While there are plenty of DIY darlings planning their big day on a shoestring, many others really struggle to see how they can shave the pounds.

The industry is undoubtedly to blame. Yes, wedding suppliers have overheads, and need to make a profit, but there are many things that are still perpetuated by the wedding media as ‘essentials’ when quite frankly that’s total bullshit. These ‘essentials’ are peddled to make people money. End of.

If you have limited funds you can still have an amazing wedding. I’m here today to show exactly you how.

The Ceremony

Undoubtedly the ceremony is the most important part of any wedding, and actually the only thing you HAVE to do in order to get married. The cheapest way to say “I do” would be to hop down to your local registry office and have a quickie ceremony with just the two of you and some witnesses (you’re required to have at least two) present.

For the purposes of this article I’m just focusing on the costs for a wedding in England and Wales so be sure to check your own country’s marriage laws if you live elsewhere.

In England and Wales a registry office wedding costs £119 (£35 each, paid when you give notice, £45 to register the marriage afterwards, and £4 to purchase the marriage certificate which you will need to prove your marital status in the future). Notice must be given at least 16 days in advance. The ceremony will be short, you must exchange some formal wording, you’ll sign some papers and voilà! You are wed!

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The Reception

The cheapest way to have a reception is to book a non-wedding venue. Wedding venues can charge a premium because they do weddings day in, day out and can offer their couples exactly what they need, all under one roof. However, if traditional isn’t your bag then there are a million ways you can have a party on the cheap.

If you’re blessed with a house or garden that can hold everyone you’d like to invite (or you have a friend or family member who’s willing let you use theirs), how about having the reception at home? Do the catering yourselves (pot luck buffet for the win!) and either have a dry wedding or buy the alcohol in bulk from a wholesaler. Moneysavingexpert.com have compiled an awesome wine discount finder which can help you find the biggest discounts and cheapest options available at Tesco Wine, M&S, Majestic and Slurp!

Another surprisingly affordable option is to hire a pub or restaurant. A little known fact is that a lot of them will actually let you hire them for a nominal amount or even FOR FREE (usually only on weekdays) as long as you (or your guests) spend a certain amount behind the bar and/ or you buy all your food from their kitchen. I know!! I couldn’t believe it when I heard that either!

Also don’t disregard church halls, village halls or local sports clubs which can also be suuuuper cheap to hire for an event (pro tip: avoid saying the W-word when you enquire, some places will slap on an extra fee if they think it’s for a wedding, the bloody cheek!)

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The Dress

There are so many places you can buy a low-cost wedding dress these days. Firstly you could buy one from a wholesaler in China. Ethical debates aside, it is still an attractive option for may brides. These gowns are often imitations of designer gowns and are made from cheaper fabrics and with less sophisticated techniques. While there is no question that a copy from China will never be even close to the quality of the expensive designer gown that it’s been based on, if your budget is really small they are something you might want to consider. Prices usually start from as little as £100.

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Surviving Your Wedding When You Don’t Feel Beautiful

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I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve cried too many tears over my weight. I had an eating disorder for ten years and although I was technically recovered by the time I came to walk down the aisle, it was still at the forefront of my mind when planning the wedding.

My thoughts of self-loathing reared their ugliest head when it came to choosing my dress of course. I was worried that I’d never find one that I felt good in. I was worried that I’d be uncomfortable all day. I was worried that I’d look back at my wedding photos and cry because I looked so enormous.

There seems to be two main schools of thought when it comes to body image, weight and weddings. There are those, like me now, that believe you should focus on being healthy and not stress yourself out by trying to lose weight before the wedding. Then there are others that go on a diet or sign up to some kind of sadistic bridal bootcamp torture as soon as that sparkler is slipped onto their finger.

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How to Plan a Wedding: Personalised Ceremony and Vow Ideas

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Undeniably, one of the most (if not the most!) important parts of any wedding is the ceremony. But with wedding blogs, books and magazines mostly focusing on the pretty stuff (flowers! cakes! dresses!!) it is often the bit that leaves couples the most confused. So today I thought I would briefly cover a few of your options and help you to with some vow ideas if you plan to write your own. I’ve concentrated on English marriage laws in this post so be sure to check your own country’s requirements as they may vary.

Unfortunately, English marriage laws are some of the strictest in the world. Here, you can only be legally married in an approved location and the ceremony must be performed by an authorised celebrant (usually, but not always, a minister of religion) or by an authorised registrar. So your dreams of a beautiful beach or backyard ceremony being performed by your best friend who bought his marriage license on the internet would not be legally binding. Sad face.

But, you can still do it! You’ll just have to make sure you do the legal bit as well by popping to your local registry office to sign the papers. Most couples do this on the same day, but you could do it the day before or after and have another mini-celebration! Also, if you’re having a destination wedding make sure you check where you stand legally. Ceremonies that take place in another country are not always legally binding back home! 

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If you’re planning to write your own wedding ceremony, you’ll need to check with your local government to see if there are any legal requirements that must be included. Other than that what else happens is completely up to you, especially if you’re having a non-religious ceremony. If you are getting married in a religious setting the rules about what you can and can’t do are often a bit stricter. Just make sure you speak to your officiant if you want to do anything non-traditional.

When you chat to your celebrant before the day, they will most likely go through what you can expect from the ceremony. They’ll also describe the various aspects and explain their significance to you. They may also suggest that you do a rehearsal the day before so you’re all prepped and there are no unexpected surprises!

Whatever kind of ceremony you’re having it’s nice if it follows a basic structure. This way it will be easier for your guests to follow along. A wedding ceremony usually goes as follows:

Processional (the bit where you walk in)
Welcome
A note about love/ marriage (often referred to as the “definition of marriage”)
Readings
The declaration of intent (the “I Do!” bit!)
Vows
Ring exchange
Pronouncement (aka the kiss!)
The signing of the register
Recessional

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How to Plan a Wedding: 8 Ways to Get Affordable but Amazing Wedding Photographs

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Anyone that’s been reading my blog for a while will know what an advocate I am of getting the very best wedding photographer you can afford for your big day. I’ve written about it on numerous occasions (here, here, here and here).

I know that budget can be a huge barrier for some of my readers but that still doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to get the most amazing wedding photographs that you can. Whenever I speak to couples after their wedding they always say “It went by so fast!” or “the whole thing was such a blur, I don’t really remember the ceremony!” And it’s so true. You’ll be feeling so many emotions on your wedding day that often it’s very difficult to recall a lot of the details afterwards. That’s where your wedding photographer and film-maker come in.

Wedding photography is something that you shouldn’t try to DIY. Your uncle with a fancy camera will never get the same results as a professional with years of experience. It’s a massive cliché, so much in fact that I almost hate saying it, but it is totally true – once the wedding is over, the cake has been eaten and the flowers have died, the photos and video are all you’ll have left to remember the day. I love looking back at my parents’ and grandparents’ wedding photographs and if we ever have children ourselves I can’t wait for them to see how mummy and daddy got married too.

One of the biggest things my readers say to me whenever I address this topic is that while they understand how important photos and video can be, they simply don’t have the budget for them. So today, I thought I’d share a few simple ways that for you to get great wedding photographs without having to spend thousands of pounds.

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1. Do your research

Wedding blogs are a great place to start. Look through the real weddings on your favourite blogs and click the adverts running down the side of the sites. The more people you look at the more likely you are to find someone whose work you love and that suits your budget.

Speaking of pricing, it will fluctuates massively depending on the photographer’s location, experience and what kind of coverage they offer, but as a rough guide, in the UK for a wedding photographer with decent experience, you’ll likely be looking at around the £1200-£2500 mark. Same goes for a film-maker.

2. Have short coverage

Some photographers will offer shorter coverage for a lower price. They might not always do this on peak, high season days (i.e. a Saturday in the summer) because, quite frankly, shooting a short wedding for less money on a day that they’d be able to book full coverage isn’t a very smart business decision. But if you’re getting married on a weekday, or in the winter, you might be able to negotiate this option.

As a side note to that, often other suppliers will give discounts for off-season or weekday weddings too. Especially venues, they are ALWAYS more expensive to hire over the weekend. So if you want to save money across the board a Wednesday wedding is the way forward!

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How to Plan a Wedding: Reception Décor & Flowers

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The décor for our wedding was actually the bit I struggled with most. I’m not the most crafty of people, and during my (pre-blog!) planning I struggled to find any ideas that I actually particularly liked. It was all mirror tiles and fish bowls filled with water and floating geraniums back then. So we went for something super simple – tall floral table centrepieces (which I ended up hating but oh well!) and a black and white colour scheme. Yep, that was pretty much it.

However these days you are overrun with inspiration to make your wedding reception as unique as you are! From wedding blogs to Pinterest, and magazines finally getting on the more quirky train… it must be completely overwhelming.

Whatever style of wedding you’re having, my advice to you would be this: just pick stuff that you like! Try not to over-think it and simply choose things that reflect what you and your partner love in everyday life.

If you love travelling, how about a map as a table plan? If you adore reading, what about books as part of your centrepieces? If you’re really into comics why not use your favourites as the table names and markers? Once you get started the ideas will just start flowing. I promise.

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Picking a colour palette can be difficult (hence why we went for monochrome!) and unless you’re a stylist or designer it can be really tricky to know which colours will work well together. A great resource to get you started is Adobe Kuler. Simply select your main colour on the wheel and it will show you which other ones work with it – genius! Another great resource is Colour Lovers. This site is packed with thousands of colour schemes and you can search by type (wedding, corporate, home, fashion) as well as upload an image and get the codes for the actual hues used in it. Amazing!

Don’t stress to much about everything being all matchy-matchy. We actually went for our black and white theme because I literally couldn’t think of anything worse than having to carry colour swatches around with me to make sure the bridesmaid’s dresses matched the napkins matched the flowers… YAWN! Little did I know that an intentionally mismatched and eclectic scheme looks flippin’ awesome. Embrace the colour chaos I say!

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