Category Archives: Wedding Planning Advice

How to Plan an Elopement

If the idea of sacking off the guest list and avoiding the extra stress, drama and expense of a big wedding sounds appealing then you’ve probably already considered eloping. Even if you’re planning a low key or small wedding and you just want to do things entirely on your own terms, this article is for you.

1. Do it for the right reasons

It’s all very well and good wanting to elope because you think it’s the ‘easier’ option but I’d caution you doing this just because you’re feeling stressed out about wedding planning. It could lead to you regretting it in the long run. Saving money, keeping things intimate or avoiding drama are all valid reasons to elope but be sure you’ve thought a lot about your decision and that it’s what you both really want, rather than it being a knee-jerk reaction to how you’re feeling at this very moment.

2. Stop feeling guilty!

A lot of couples feel twangs of guilt about not involving their friends and family in their wedding, but so long as you’re following my first point there’s no need to! You don’t have to justify your decision to anyone else but yourselves, and remember, you can always have a party without the extra pressure when you get home.

3. Have a plan for telling people 

You may decide to throw a big party to let everyone now you’ve eloped or even just casually tell your loved ones (in person!) and call it a day. But whatever you decide to do, its a good idea to have a plan, especially when it comes to parents. It would be the worst if they just found out via Facebook! Eloping and parents can be a particularly tricky thing to navigate but by having a proper idea of how you’ll break the news, you can still make it a special moment for them too.

4. Remember the legalities

Just because you’re running away and doing things on your own terms, doesn’t mean you can avoid the legal stuff. If anything it’s MORE important to make sure you understand how it all works as you won’t have a wedding co-coordinator or venue with wedding experience to talk you though it.

If you’re eloping abroad make sure you speak to your local council to find out if there’s anything you need to do when you get home to make sure your marriage is legally recognised.

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The “Fuck It!” Bucket

Stressed out with wedding planning? Aleisha McCormack of The Bridechilla Podcast is here to show you how to throw all that wed-stress into the Fuck It Bucket!

There’s something pretty freaking empowering about saying no to things that you thought you needed but you don’t.

To get married, you really only need three things: you, your partner, and someone to marry you. That’s it. All of the other stuff is fun (and sometimes unnecessary) icing on the cake and those extras are often the things that stress us out the most.

The concept of being a Bridechilla, well my interpretation, is all about simplifying the wedding planning process and removing all of the extra tasks, stress, and stuff that we’ve been told over and over again that we need when in reality, they are entirely optional. It’s about enjoying the process and focusing on what matters the most… that you’ve found your fellow weirdo and you and that weirdo are planning an awesome party together.

The concept of the fuck it bucket isn’t new (people have been putting stuff in it for years!), however in this instance I was inspired by a Reddit/Weddit thread, where couples listed all of the details and worries that they were going to ditch. My interpretation of the Bridechilla fuck it bucket is that it is a magical vessel where all of your wedding expectations, tasks, and unfinished DIY projects go.

The fuck it bucket (FIB for short) comes in handy when disposing of the things that you initially thought were important, but six months (or six minutes) in you realise aren’t worth it. It can include traditions, expectations, trends, gifts and well-intentioned DIY projects can all find a new home in the FIB. Everyone’s FIB contains different things, and that is A-OK.

Recently a wedding planner I had as a guest on the Bridechilla Podcast suggested that we should reverse the process by putting everything in the FIB to start with and by doing this only retrieving things that are really important. Start simple and add-on.  Here are but a few suggestions of things that you can place in the FIB and watch burn.

EXTRA WEDDING EVENTS

The day after party/brunch/lunch can be an excellent way to share some more time with your guests, but like many wedding-related events, they can also feel like an extra production. What used to be just “Let’s meet for a brunch or a BBQ,” has turned into “Let’s plan a third wedding.” Some people create fully catered events with staff and fancy china – who has the time? (or the budget?) If you are keen to host a day-after event but lack time and money to organise it, consider asking your in-laws or extended family to host the event (which is a great job to pass on, especially if they are keen to help). If you just want to call it a day at the end of your wedding and go home or off to a honeymoon somewhere delicious, then chuck the day-after events straight into the FIB and move on with your life.

GIFTS, GIFTS AND MORE GIFTS

One of my favourite things to chuck straight in the FIB is gifts.

Gifts for the bridal, gifts for the parents, gifts for the driver that drove you to the venue. I mean, we seem a little bit obsessed with giving people gifts. Don’t get me wrong; I love gifts – I love receiving gifts, I love giving gifts. But at the moment, we are going through a gift-giving renaissance. And the renaissance needs to end because The Bridechilla community is swamped with messages from Chillas saying:

I don’t know what to give this person as a gift.
I feel stressed about having to find a gift.
I haven’t got time to think about a gift.
Do I need to give them a gift?
How much should I spend on the gift?
When should I give them the gift?
Do I need to give them a gift to say, “Would you be in my bridal party?”
Do I need to give them a gift to say, “Thanks for organising”?

No! Stop it! Stop with the gifts. It stresses me out, man. And again, it’s like the gift bag. The thought is lovely, but no one’s going to judge you, or think any less of you, if you don’t give them a special wine bottle with a personalised label that says “Will you be my bridesmaid?” And another special box of perfume to say “Thank you for being my bridesmaid.” A card, or something handwritten and delightful, is perfect and much more personalised and thoughtful, especially if you’re on a budget. Excess gifts are in the FIB now.

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Wedding Planning & Taking Care of Your Mental Health

This week (May 14th-20th) is Mental Health Awareness week in the UK and one of our amazing freelance writers, Ellie Kime, is here to talk about the importance of taking care of yourself as you plan your wedding.

DIY wedding décor, giant floral arrangements and gold sequinned wedding dresses are, of course, super exciting, but nothing is more important than your mental health. Literally, no thing. And your mental health waits for no-one, regardless of whether you’re planning a holiday or planning a whole wedding.

How many times have people asked you about the ‘happiest day of your life’, expecting bouncing and bubbles and LOTS of squealing, whilst you’ve been sat there absolutely distraught and totally suffocated at the idea of the whole thing? How do you cope with wedding planning, famous for being super stressful, when you’re suffering with your own mental health? With 1 in 5 people suffering from mental health issues (and 1 in 4 in young women), know you’re not alone. We’ve compiled a few ways that you can be kind to yourself in the run up:

Talk to your partner

Be open with your partner about how you’re feeling. There shouldn’t be a stigma attached to mental health, and your partner should understand you better than anyone. Struggling with the incessant demands of wedding planning isn’t a reflection of how you feel about them and your relationship, so don’t feel ashamed in explaining how you’re coping. You’re in this together, in sickness and in mental health. And as cliché as it sounds – although let’s face it, clichés are famous for a reason – together, you can be a stronger force than just one.

Enlist help and delegate

Similarly, if you can, talk to your nearest and dearest so they can help you navigate the next few months of planning. Feelings of worthlessness often come alongside depression, but those around you will want to help in any way they can. Delegate the tasks that are really worrying you to give yourself more head space. Alternatively, look into hiring a wedding planner. A good wedding planner will organise your day exactly how you’d want it, so you can release the worrying and stress-inducing parts of planning without losing control over the process as a whole. There’s lots out there who’ll do the jobs you’d never dream people would do!

Don’t feel guilty if you’re not enjoying it

There’s this whole mythical aura surrounding weddings that everyone adored the whole planning process, from choosing venues to finalising food orders. Some couples do, don’t get me wrong, but the idea that every couple does is an airbrushed Instagram-esque alternative reality. Most of the real weddings we get submitted for publication mention how stressful the planning process was, so don’t feel guilty if you’re not enjoying it – it’s not just you!

Let’s face it, you got engaged because you’ve found the love of your life, not because you’re a highly decorated events coordinator with military precision, so don’t feel bad for not enjoying everything all the time.

Make things as easy as possible

Also, don’t feel guilty for taking an easy route if it’s there. Sure, you could DIY the shit out of your wedding, or you could have these exact candles sourced from very specific markets in Marrakech, but if it’s not important to you and not worth the struggle, don’t feel bad.

If finding suppliers is stressing you out, ask your venue for their recommendations – you’ll minimise the worry of finding them in the first place, but you’ll also minimise the stress on the wedding day itself, as they’ll know the venue inside out.

If the idea of going down the aisle in front of your guests is making you panic, don’t have an aisle, or come in with your partner on your arm, so you don’t have the pressure of their reaction with everyone’s beady eyes staring. And I know there’s nothing more infuriating than people telling you to ‘just stop’ when it’s important to you; but that’s not what this is about. It’s about finding the easiest way to do what you must, so that it’s as kind on you as possible. Do whatever you can to make you the most ‘you’ version of yourself at that point in time.

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Losing Weight Isn’t a Prerequisite for Wedding Day Happiness

This week (May 14th-20th) is Mental Health Awareness week in the UK so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to revisit this article. Written for Rock n Roll Bride magazine issue 18 by body positive blogger Megan Jayne Crabbe (aka @bodyposipanda), the message is something I’ve been proudly fighting for since the inception of this blog – that you do not have to lose weight for your wedding! 

What colour will your flowers be?”
“Which caterer did you choose?”
“Will there be live music at the reception?”
“How much weight are you going to lose?”

23 pounds. That was the average amount that brides-to-be wanted to lose in a study conducted by Cornell University in 2008. In a study of 272 women, 70% wanted to lose weight, some by any means necessary. Out of all the pre-wedding dieters, 40% used at least one extreme weight control behaviour such as weight loss pills, skipping meals and fasting. Of women surveyed who had already bought their bridal gowns, 14% purposely bought a wedding dress one or more sizes smaller than their then-current dress size.

I wish that those numbers were surprising. But they’re not. Because as soon as that first ‘yes’ brushes past a bride-to-be’s lips with a ring full of promise gliding onto her finger, the expectation is there. Hovering over everything until the day she goes down the aisle.

Meet the Brides Who Lost 100 Pounds for their Big Day!

The Skinny Bride’s Guide to Wedding Dress Weight Loss!

What to Eat to Shed the Pounds before You Tie the Knot!

If you didn’t know any better you might think that every wedding came with a mandatory weigh-in before anyone was allowed to say ‘I do’. Didn’t shrink yourself down small enough? Sorry, try again in 6 months.

The message is inescapable – getting married in the body you already have just isn’t an option. Losing weight for your wedding seems more like an unquestionable commandment than a choice. But honestly? It is a choice. One that you have full, unrelenting permission to opt out of. Before you decide on that though, maybe we should do some questioning of the unquestionable, starting with where the ‘Every Bride Must Lose Weight for the Wedding’ commandment comes from. To do that we have to talk about two things: Money, and what it means to be a woman in our society.

We live in a world that’s obsessed with weight loss whether there’s a wedding to plan or not. Everywhere we turn we’re being fed the message that thinner is better and that changing our bodies is the ultimate key to happiness. The message comes in many forms: Adverts on TV for a special drink that expands in your stomach. Billboards miles high with ‘I lost 5lbs my first week at *insert weight loss group here*!’ plastered above a smiling face. Supermarket aisles filled with guilt-free, low-calorie, no-sugar desserts, and overheard whispers in every public place we go about pounds dropped and calories cut.

What all of these messages add up to is a culture that prizes weight loss above all else; a diet culture. And make no mistake – although it’s packaged up as happiness, beauty, and often even health, it’s rooted in cold hard cash. The diet industry in the UK is worth around £2 billion (and in the US, closer to $60 billion). That’s how much money we spend trying to shrink our bodies, and the people on the receiving end of the cash know exactly how to make us keep spending.

The diet industry was born out of the fact that advertisers needed a reliable way to make money. What better way than convincing half the population that their bodies are wrong and selling them the solution? What started over a hundred years ago as a quaint advert for ‘reducing cream’ printed in the newspaper has now become one of the most profitable industries of all time. Which is even more impressive considering they’re always selling us a product that doesn’t work (no really, if any weight loss method truly worked, none of the others would exist, and we’d all be thin by now).

One thing that the diet industry does sickeningly well is prey on women at times when they are the most susceptible to feeling insecure. There are two moments especially that this is clear as can be: Pre-wedding and post-baby. Both milestones that we’re taught to see as quintessential moments of womanhood. Both life-altering, powerful, unforgettable events. Both distilled by our culture into the number that flashes on the scale when they happen.

Which brings us to the second answer of why weight loss is such an inescapable part of getting married. Because ultimately, the driving force of diet culture, is the message that how women look is the most important thing about them. So, of course, on a day that’s seen as an expected milestone of womanhood, everything boils down to our bodies. It’s no wonder that once the flowers are arranged and the families are seated, a bride can feel more like an ornament than a person fully participating in the day.

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With These Words I Thee Dread: Getting Cold Feet

So you’re freaking out hey? The wedding is just around the corner and suddenly you’re feeling pusillanimous. Pusillanimous means cowardly by the way and has no connection to genitalia, but as an aside do start slipping Pusillanimous into conversation and watch people lose their shitillanimous.

Anywho, as the big day approaches the question thrust upon you by every pulse owning carcass is ‘So have you got cold feet?’ When I was getting married I couldn’t help but think ‘even if I did, I’m not entirely sure that you’d be the one I’d confide in… my mother’s cleaner Cathy.’

On account of being such a nice guy I’m going to talk you down from that apartment ledge of doubt and aim you back down the aisle by putting some things into perspective using an undeniably enchanting blend of mild sentiment and ripping the piss.

I must say I’m only going to point out things that aren’t a reason to call off the wedding. Obviously, if there’s something that’s really changed, or you can’t see yourself living with (like your fiancé now wants to dress as a cat and be referred to only as Mr Pistoffolees) then yes, perhaps call the Registry Office back.

Statistics.

I’m sure that you’ve been told that 1 in every 2 marriages in this country ends in divorce, well did you know that it’s actually 42% which is more like 1 in every 2 n a bit marriages…so… are you calmer now? Ok let’s be brutally honest that doesn’t bode well, but let’s put this into context: Imagine you’re watching a certain morning chat show at 9:25 hosted by an aggressive man, and the tag line reads ‘We met at a bus stop when I threw up in your shin pads two weeks ago, but our marriage is over if you cheated with my Nan.’ If it’s that marriage versus yours to be the 1 out of the 2 (n a bit) that survives then I believe in you guys.

OK I’m being flippant, so let’s play worst-case scenario, there’s a chance it won’t work out, does that make it pointless to do? If someone told me I could spend one hour with my wife then never see her again, or I could never be with her at all, I’d obviously choose to be with her for even a second. Crap, that got very legitimately sentimental and sweet… pusillanimous … phew good save.

Parents

Parents as we all know, always cause more than one issue; with cold feet their issues are three fold:

i. There’s this horrible thing that mother’s do when you introduce them to a partner that they like, they say something like ‘oh, she’s lovely, she reminds me of me at her age.’ Whilst this is the kind of sentence that would’ve sent Oedipus straight down the aisle, for most of us it’s a concern. Am I marrying my mother? To be honest with you: probably, at least a bit. But let’s be fair, you’re turning into your mother too, we’ve all seen you, ironing bed sheets. So, she’s a bit like your mum, you’re a bit like your mum, and do you know whose opinions your mum always agrees with? Her own. You’re perfect for each other. Gosh that was like some straight up Freud shiz.

ii. Many of you reading this will be from a family where your parents are divorced so I imagine the memory of that leaves a sense of distrust for the whole marriage thing. If I’m honest, I think you’re looking for reasons to doom the marriage, when you were 15 and copping off with Natalie Patterson behind the temporary Geography block did you think to yourself ‘Oh Natalie whilst I like you and I feel like one day we might get as far as dry humping outside the Science labs, this romance is ill-fated because my mother and father drifted apart in the early 90s.’? No, or at least I hope not. Your marriage is not going to fail just because 20 years prior another marriage did.

iii. Are my divorced parents going to make a scene at my wedding? This one could be the most stress-inducing issue for all weddings. Maybe it’s not parents, but there’s always some hatred going on somewhere in the family. I can deal with this one really easily. You know when Margaret from HR really winds you up, you go home and you stew on it, you spend hours thinking of all the verbal (and sometimes physical) ways that you will destroy Margaret the next time you see her, ha ha ha Margaret will just be an empty shell of a 42 year old mother of three once you’re finished with her. Then the next day you see Margaret walking towards you down the corridor, now is your chance, melt her like cheese, load your weapons, it’s going to be World War Fondue.

Margaret: Hi
You: Oh hiya.

Yeah, that’s what happens at weddings too. We’re all super fake.

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Wedding Planning When You Have an Unconventional Family

If the Kardashian-Jenner’s and the Bridget Jones’s of the world have taught us anything, it’s that today, the unconventional family is far more conventional than ever before. However when it comes to planning your wedding, many elements only seem to work for a very traditional family set up. Zoe Wells is here today to help us navigate what can be very tricky waters.

If this is your situation then my first piece of advice would be to immediately let go of your expectations and pains that your family dynamic does not living up to societal expectations. As someone planning their own wedding for an unconventional family, I can tell you first hand this part is not easy…but that planning for the inevitable that could play out at the wedding is better than ignoring the enormous elephant in the room.

Arrange for people to meet in advance

Don’t let the wedding itself be D-Day. If your partner’s parents haven’t met yours, if your divorced parents haven’t seen each other since the separation, if either party has a new partner then I’d recommend arranging a meeting before the wedding. This will (hopefully!) mean that any potential awkwardness or conflicts can come about before the wedding and they’ll then have time to work through them, rather than there being a blow out on the actual day!

Gathering in an informal space without the pressures of the big day can really help to diffuse things and will also put your mind at rest. Engagement parties and bridal showers are the perfect opportunity for this.

Set your own boundaries and rules

You may have a few people that are overbearing, so set your boundaries in place early. Know what your non-negotiables are and make these clear in advance with an explanation of why these choices are important to you. Let family members know how much you love and appreciate them but also make your limits known.

Make your own traditions

Don’t be afraid to set your own rules and make new traditions. If you want your sister to walk you down the aisle because your parents can’t – do it! If your best friend is male, definitely forget gender typecasting and have a dude of honour. If you want to have eighteen bridesmaids or two mothers-of-the-bride – go for it! Just be aware that older generations may hold traditions a little closer to their hearts so give it some thought and warn people in advance if need be.

Get the right seating plan in place

Getting the seating chart sorted is one of the most headache-inducing parts of the wedding planning process and it’s only made worse by the complexity of the modern family. In saying this, most of the time, as long as your guests know and get on with at least one person on the table, or have something in common, they should be happy.

Most people will be more than happy to sit wherever they’re put for the duration of the meal but obviously, you don’t want to seat people that really don’t like each other together! There are have many options on how you can address this.

Before you plan anything, you could ask your family and friends who they would like to sit with. Although you should never promise you will be able to accommodate every request or it’ll turn into a logistical nightmare. If either sets of parents are divorced, or have new partners, then ditching the traditional top table completely might be a good option. One idea is to have each of them hosting their own table and you having a ‘sweetheart table’ for just the two of you.

Another idea is to have long tables with guests sitting opposite one another, rather than round ones. This is a good option for limiting the conflicts that can come up in a group seating dynamic.

You could simply mix everyone together with no hierarchy at all, or you could ditch the seating plan entirely and tell people to sit wherever they like! This blended format is really good for encouraging your guests to mingle with one another too.

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