Category Archives: Wedding Planning Advice

How to Stay Resilient when Everything Keeps Changing

Regardless of how well or not well you think you did at adapting to change in the last year, the fact that you’re here reading this shows me that you made it. Congratulations!

We’re still not quite be out of the woods yet, and making plans (especially big wedding ones, particularly if you’ve had them dashed hard before) can feel really scary. What if you book something, get really excited about it and then find that everything has to be cancelled or postponed again?

I hear you honey, those thoughts are real and valid. It’s a tough time to try and get a big mixed generation group together (“Auntie Doris is 98, we can’t have her in the same room as little Jimmy’s 5-year-old-potential-germ-carrying-sticky-fingers!”) But here’s the thing, change is happening to us all the time.

We may wish the hands of time to stop turning but unless you happen to have Bernard’s watch*, we all have to deal with those calendar pages whipping away. (*For those of you who were not a small child in Britain in the 90s, this is an obscure reference to a BBC programme where a boy could stop time with his watch so as to get up to adventures and mischief and still be home in time for tea.)

Life is change. We must deal with changes in our relationships, mental health, communities, finances, physical health, job… there’s not a single place in our lives that isn’t subject to change. The problem is we need a balance of familiar and new, otherwise things feel incredibly stressful (it’s called Future Shock). 2020 was too much change, too quickly and that’s when many of us struggle to cope.

This is where resilience comes in. Researchers used to think that resilience was genetic. We all know someone who manages to cope with anything, right? We all used to believe that some people were just more able to cope with change than others. However, what the research has discovered is that resilience can be taught. If you haven’t heard, it turns out that our brains are malleable and we’re able to develop new neural pathways all the time. Look up neuroplasticity, it’s very cool. This scientific breakthrough means the saying is wrong, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Hurrah!

The question is, what does best practice in coping with change look like? (No, there’s no wine involved!) If you’re wobbly about change, here are a few healthy practices for increasing your level of resilience.

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Confessions of a Second Time Bride

The wedding industry will have you believe that by achieving wedding day perfection you will ensure your happily ever after. But let’s be realistic for a second, we all know that for some couples, that simply isn’t the case. Being a second (third or fourth!) time bride is nothing to be ashamed of. The good news is that in most cases partners are often wiser and know themselves even better having gone through the wedding – and marriage – process before. Alicia Porter is here to share her experiences of wedding planning second time around.

When I got married the first time in 1996 it was, for lack of a better phrase, ‘planning chaos’. We had location battles, I had a ‘friend’ wanted me to pay her to be a bridesmaid, my mother told me I was too fat for my wedding dress and people constantly wanted to ‘help’ by faxing me pictures of suitable dresses. So, I went on strike. We flew from Alaska to New Zealand and eloped. It was pretty, there were fun cousins nearby, and the florist was a star. The wedding dinner was a random restaurant, and there was chocolate log for a wedding cake. It was wonderful.

My family then threw an elegant garden party reception on our return. However, my parents attitude was it was their party, therefore their choices prevailed. My mother chose the invitations, the cake, the venue and what everyone wore – including me. This is how I found myself in a borrowed dress with a gardenia on my shoulder in a receiving line with outright strangers.

In hindsight, I now realise that although an elopement was easier, the result was we were two very independent people who didn’t know how to work together on big projects. Obviously, this wasn’t the only issue in the relationship, but a lack of being able to work together as a team compounded the fact that the marriage simply didn’t work. Planning for a future together requires work and communication. Child rearing is nothing if not a joint effort. Wedding planning in some respects is a safe practice run to make sure that you know how to work with each other for the bigger picture.

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I Do … & I Don’t: A Feminist’s Guide to Being a Bride – Getting Engaged & Splitting the Cost of My Ring

Introducing our brand-new real bride columnist! Rachel is getting married in September so we’ll be following her journey of planning a feminist meets rock n roll wedding, culminating in us sharing the big day in our last issue of the year! Over to you Rachel

The first time I learned about Rock n Roll Bride was at a wedding show in 2015. I was exhibiting with a vintage wedding band and caught sight of Kat’s bright blue hair. I went looking for her, intrigued by this exhibitor, who looked so unlike the wedding industry I’d been used to after five years of wedding singing.

I found the Rock n Roll Bride stand and learned what it was all about: how these friendly people were on a mission to change the face of the wedding industry; to make it more inclusive; to celebrate individualism. With no ring on my finger and no boyfriend(!), I subscribed to the magazine immediately. Five years later, in 2020, it was my turn to be a bride.

Though I believe I would be perfectly happy to be ‘not married’ to this excellent man ’til death us do part, the Disney Princess-loving, Nora Ephron-viewing, Notting Hill-quoting romantic in me really did want to be married to the person I loved. And, luckily, H really wanted it too. “Let’s do it,” we said, “But let’s do it our way.” (Like everyone who reads this magazine says!).

The reason I’d been dubious is feminism. Long and short: I was worried that wanting to be married made me a bad feminist.

I don’t feel I need to explain why I had any reservations about marriage and feminism to the readers of this magazine. If you’re here, clearly you understand that there’s a lot that’s wrong with many marital traditions and you’re up for breaking the status quo in your own special way. One quick Google of the origin of the word ‘wife’ was enough to make me wonder if I was letting the sisterhood down.

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I Said Good Day Sir! How to Avoid Wedding Advice That You Did Not Ask For

It’s a little-known fact that when you get engaged, your aura changes colour to alert people that you are ready and willing to hear all of their unsolicited wedding advice. Pay no mind to the fact that the would-be-advice-giver got married four decades ago. Ignore that much of it is second, third and even fourth-hand advice, “Oh so your work friend’s son’s friend got married at a caravan park and they saved heaps of money? Awesome they definitely sound like someone I should listen to.” Obviously, you have to completely disregard the fact that they have the literal opposite tastes and interests than you, and just stand there and Take. All. That. Advice. Right?

NO FUCKING WAY.

Like I said to my mum when I was pregnant, ‘The advice I want is the advice I ask for,’ and it was the best boundary-setting I had ever done. It made me realise that politely listening to the unending stream of other people’s opinions about what you should do about your life, doesn’t serve anyone. Meaningful connection is not made through the one-sided pushing of opinions, nor through the simmering resentment that builds from feeling accosted with opinions that you never asked for and that are not at all appropriate for your life.

Add in that little thing called social media, and you’ve literally got the whole damn world giving you their opinions. Lordy, it’s enough to make the chillest of the friggin’ chill run for the hills.

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No Laughing Matter: Giving a Speech at a Sober Wedding

Scotland’s Covid wedding rules include a blanket ban on alcohol until 17th May, reopening a years-long debate about dry receptions. Thankfully, we’ve moved on from the days of needing a drink in hand to have a good time. Haven’t we…? We asked the award-winning comedy writers at Speechy how to keep wedding speeches funny without the help of the ultimate social lubricant.

Dry weddings are fairly uncommon but – whether down to religious reasons, the Covid wedding rulebook, or simply as a lifestyle choice – they are on the rise. And without the usual bar and dancefloor antics, the speeches may well become the epicentre of your day, so they need to be on point.

It’s fair to assume some guests will be sceptical about sitting through a booze-free toast – as Ernest Hemingway famously wrote, ‘I drink to make other people more interesting’. That’s why it’s so important to add laughter to proceedings via your speeches. Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through how…

SMART HUMOUR

A clear-headed audience is certainly a more discerning one. A crowd with its wits about it will be even less likely to laugh at recycled wedding gags so, first off, step the hell away from Google. It is not your friend.

The internet is a wonderful tool for things like wedding décor inspo and reminding yourself which day the bins go out, but it offers suspiciously few ideas for truly original wedding speeches. You’ll want to make sure your humour is fresh, witty and bespoke.
Sober guests are less likely to heckle and ad lib – this might be both a good and a bad thing, but ultimately gives you space to deliver your speech without distraction. If the bride’s nan guffaws throughout, you’re either doing something right or she’s managed to smuggle a hipflask into the venue.

COMEDY MOCKTAIL INGREDIENTS

There’s a basic recipe for a standout speech, so try the following advice – it’s worth a shot winks.

Honesty – Comedians get their best material from real life because it’s properly funny. Guests aren’t interested in some fantasy bride and groom. They know you’re not that pure so give them what they’re really after – the truth. Make the ordinary extraordinary.

Hyperbole – Keeping it real doesn’t mean you can’t jazz things up. If you’re the best man, exaggerate the traits your audience will already recognise in the newlyweds and feel free to put a slapstick spin on your anecdotes. Send yourself up while you’re at it.

Swearing – Just because it’s a sober wedding, it doesn’t mean the guests have suddenly turned into saints. Resist the urge to censor yourself if a potty mouth is how the crowd know and love you. Like any wedding speech, it depends on the audience demographic but a few bollocks, bloodies or arses adds enough of an edge to loosen people up.

Confidence – Enjoy yourself. It feels good to make people laugh. Like, really good. And after a year of pretending to enjoy Zoom parties, everyone will be ready to put on some suave-looking garms and be entertained in person. Believe us, they’re practically holding the belly laughs in before you’ve even started.

MINDFUL MOMENTS

Mindfulness isn’t just something you hear about on Yoga Influencer Instagram and your long-forgotten Headspace app. Being fully present and engaged in the moment is an important life skill, and it’s much better honed without the distraction of inebriants.
Taking alcohol out of the equation means none of the usual blurred memories or fuzzy flashbacks. Your audience is present. Like, bright eyed, bushy tailed present. This means they’re likely to actually remember the speech, so make sure it’s memorable for the right reasons.

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How to Choose Wedding Suppliers who Align with your Values

If you want to hire suppliers who are inclusive, diverse, anti-racist, pro-LGBTQIA+ and
thoughtful about how they run their businesses then black business owner Autumn Rabbitts has lots of great advice and things to think about/ ask your potential suppliers.

Picking your suppliers is one of most fun and important things to do when organising your wedding. Your day needs to feel like it is 100% tailored for you, your partner and family. If they are raging racists, homophobic or climate change deniers and you are not, then you might have a problem. However, most suppliers don’t tend to advertise that they are these things on their websites, so how can you be sure you’re giving your hard-earned cash, and putting your day in the hands of people whose values you align with?

PHOTOGRAPHERS

You need to look for certain behaviour to ensure your photographer and/or videographer can capture the day beautifully no matter who their subjects are. Although having a handful of people with different skin tones in a portfolio is lovely to see, remember to look at how and when they were added. Does it seem like they were added as a knee jerk reaction to the newly supported global Black Lives Matter movement, or were they regularly featured pre-June 2020? If the former, have they almost immediately gone back to posting only white, cis-gendered and non-disabled people once the noise on social media about BLM died down?

Is the editing on darker skin tones as well executed as on lighter ones? You want to make sure you are hiring someone who can capture you in all of your beauty. You’ll soon see a pattern.

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