Category Archives: Wedding Planning Advice

Navigating your Way through Planning an LGBTQ Wedding

It's 2020 and so planning an LGBTQ wedding shouldn't be any different to planning a straight one. While there have been HUGE, incredible strides made all over the world in the last few years, parts of the wedding industry are still (STILL!) outdated and hetro-normative as fuck. Hayley of Wedding Business School has recently set up a FREE online course for wedding suppliers to help educate and improve the lack of inclusivity and diversity she's personally experienced. Today she's sharing some practical tips and advice on how you can best navigate your wedding planning when you are an LGBTQ couple, too. Hayley, we love you! Over to you...
It’s 2020 and so planning an LGBTQ wedding shouldn’t be any different to planning a straight one. While there have been HUGE, incredible strides made all over the world in the last few years, parts of the wedding industry are still (STILL!) outdated and hetro-normative as fuck. Hayley of Wedding Business School has recently set up a FREE online course for wedding suppliers to help educate and improve the lack of inclusivity and diversity she’s personally experienced. Today she’s sharing some practical tips and advice on how you can best navigate your wedding planning when you are an LGBTQ couple, too. Hayley, we love you! Over to you…

Yay! You’re engaged! No doubt you’ve already started pinning inspo to your Pinterest board, started discussing who would make a great ‘I Do’ crew and thinking about venues. You may have both already faced some ‘opinions’ from family and friends on what they feel you should do for your wedding day. As an LGBTQ couple planning your wedding, you may notice as you go along that things are a little different for you both. Now, of course, it definitely shouldn’t be like this, but in a day and age when we still need Pride and LGBTQ awareness, things may be challenging sometimes. The great news is that you can definitely overcome any challenges with some prior contingency planning!

My wife and I got married last year and even though I’ve worked in the wedding industry for 13 years, I was still a little taken back, to put it mildly, at some of the challenges we faced… And I’m not even talking about the reaction to the relaxed ‘dress code’ we had either! We found ourselves regularly educating our family, guests and wedding suppliers on what we wanted and how to be fully inclusive. This took us back as you can imagine – who would have thought that in 2019, the wedding industry could still be so LGBTQ exclusive?

One of our bridesmaids bought us a pile of wedding magazines when we got engaged (not Rock n Roll Bride I must add!) As we sat down to go through them, I noticed a similar theme; none of them had any LGBTQ content whatsoever. How could I relate and plan my wedding using these magazines that were outdated in their view of modern day weddings? Blogs were a saving grace for us and showed us ‘real world’ weddings that were full of originality, inclusivity and diversity, rather than the well staged photo shoots featuring the same ‘Mr and Mrs’ narrative.

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Set Healthy Boundaries With your Family (Whatever Family Looks Like to You)

Before we get started, I want to caveat this piece by saying I’m going to be using some of the traditional family names such as mum, dad, grandparent and sibling, but please feel free to input whatever caregiver is relevant in your world. These rules for good boundaries apply to anyone if your life including the families we make ourselves. Essentially, whatever ‘family’ looks like in your world, these rules will help you feel happy and sane before, during and after your ‘I Do’s’.

Oh families… Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em! There can be few more challenging times to manage family relationships than when you find yourself planning a wedding.

There’s not only the trickiness of the guest list and the sudden wishes of your dad to invite his important work clients see his little girl get married (this actually happened to someone I know) but there might also a bit of parental money put into the pot, and that can mean a fine balancing act of their wishes being granted and your wishes, full stop.

It’s tough getting a group of (let’s be honest, often awkward) people to wear what you would like them to, eat what you would like them to and listen to whatever music you would like them to! So, here’s some advice on how to put in healthy boundaries:

Learn to feel when a boundary has been crossed

We’re very conditioned, especially with any parental figures, to go along with things. If you’ve been told as a child not to question a parent’s authority (i.e. ‘because I say so’) then, even as an adult it can be very hard to stand up for your needs. If you’re not sure when it’s time to set a boundary, take note of when something trips your emotions into play. You might feel uneasy, angry, sad or anxious. Physical sensations might be your belly dropping, heart increasing and dry throat. Give yourself permission (and space) to feel your feelings and these sensations because they’re trying to tell you something. Important side note: Anything too much for you to deal with on your own, then please seek out professional support.

Be clear about your needs

Before having any sort of conversation with your family, work out what your needs are and write them down. Would you prefer your sibling not be in the bridal party because you’d rather just have friends? (They’ll get over it). Do you need your dad to not walk you down the aisle because you don’t believe in that tradition? (He’ll get over it) Would you prefer your mum to not see your outfit before the big day? (A biggie, but she’ll also get over it).

All of these needs, and whatever list you come up with, are worthy of respect. Boundaries are there to make us feel safe and comfortable. Without them, we feel unsafe and uncomfortable. Having the courage to communicate our needs and set a boundary is more loving than pretending something is okay when it isn’t. Not communicating how you feel can lead to resentment and even pulling away from the relationship entirely. Don’t let that happen. Regardless of whether it’s a family member or not – no one has the right to make you feel uncomfortable (in any situation, not just planning a wedding, ya feel me babe?)

Be brave

That being said, THIS STUFF IS HARD! When your mum has her heart set on a swing band and two tables of ‘her girls’ coming to see you get hitched, it’s very hard to stand up for the vision of the day you want (which you want filled with your friends!) You’re not alone in finding this stuff really scary and potentially confrontational. We get scared that the person will be hurt or angry (they probably will, more on that in a mo’) and we get scared they won’t like us or worse, that the relationship will end.

Intrusiveness and judgement are both characteristics of family communication. It takes balls to put a line in the sand and say no more. Show yourself some kindness, take some deep breaths then look at your list of needs. Say it with me: MY NEEDS ARE VALID.

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How to be a Confidence Queen

There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to be the centre of attention in life, however on your wedding day it can be kinda tricky not to be.

Everyone is there because they love you and your partner so It’s inevitable that they’re going to want to spend a little bit of time with you, take your photo (because you look incredible) and shower you with compliments. The amount of attention can leave even the most confident person feeling overwhelmed, but don’t give up on your dream day just yet.

There are a million reasons why getting over your ‘confidence wobbles’ is worth it for a wedding, for example: Seeing the look of love in your partner’s eyes when you see them at the end of the aisle, getting ready with your best friends, sharing a special moment with your mum or mad (if you have one that you’d fond of), seeing your friends throw shapes at the party of your dreams that all your friends have to come to (even if it’s a death metal or rainbow sparkle theme they would on any other day not agree to).

There’s no getting around it, for one day only you’re going to have to learn to love the limelight. To help get you through, I’ve got some killer tips to help even the most introverted babes.

Utilise your bridesmaids

This is your buffering crew! Give your pals strict instructions to save you from certain situations. Arm them with a list of people you would rather avoid getting stuck talking to (sorry not sorry, Auntie Doreen) or perhaps simply tell them that if they see you lost in a sea of people, they are to throw you a life raft immediately. If you don’t have a secret hand gesture, now is the time to make one.

Instruct your photographer

It’s likely that even if you don’t like being at the centre of it all, you’re going to want to capture something of this magical day. In my experience, investing in a photographer is one of the best things to spend your budget on. A professional photographer can not only make you look like a movie star but they’re also used to dealing with drunken wedding crowds, and they can follow any instructions you give about shots you do or don’t want. Don’t want to spend hours doing a thousand traditional family portraits? Don’t do them then. You can even ask a good photographer not to take any formal photos and just capture the whole day without even knowing that they’re there. You don’t even have to look down the lens of a camera in order to receive a magical set of memories back if you don’t want to!

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How to Mark Your Original Wedding Date if You’ve Postponed Due to Covid-19

Oh babe, what a time to be planning your wedding. I won’t preface this by going over what a difficult time this is again and again because you know that, and if you clicked the link to read this article it’s because you are SOLUTION FOCUSED and honey, I’m here for it!

While you may have gone into wedding planning thinking it was all going to be about dresses and flowers and champagne breakfasts (believe me, it’s not, even if you don’t have a worldwide pandemic to contend with!) I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all realised what the true meaning of weddings, and marriage, is all about over the past few weeks. Love. Commitment. Standing up in front of your loved ones (or doing it in private yet still signing a bit of paper to declare it) and saying “THIS IS THE ONE I CHOOSE; THIS IS MY PERSON.”

Maybe your original wedding date is coming up soon, and maybe you’re really sad about it. Well, it doesn’t need to be just another day in lockdown, here’s some ideas for you to still mark the date and make it as special as quarantine will allow.

And by the way, I know it’s not the same, but my husband and I celebrated both our birthdays (AND our wedding anniversary!) in quarantine this year and they were honestly some of our favourite birthdays ever. We got to do the days entirely on our own terms, we didn’t have to please or host anybody else and we got to spend them with our favourite person – each other. The pressure was off and we were able to realise that it is possible to still make a day special even when it doesn’t pan out how you may expect. The little efforts we were able to go to (hanging homemade happy birthday bunting, making our favourite drinks, going for a long walk in the sunshine) had so much more impact.

Have a virtual ceremony

While in the UK (somebody please correct me if I’m wrong) a virtual wedding – where you have an officiant ‘marry’ you over Zoom or Skype – won’t be legal, it’s still a wonderful way to mark your original wedding date. At the end of the day, although your marriage won’t be recognised by the state until you’re able to go and do the paper signing bit, you can still CHOOSE to celebrate whichever date you damn well please as your anniversary – OR this way you get two!

Spend your quarantine writing your vows, invite your friends and family to join you online and commit your lives to one another! What better time to celebrate your love than right now? You can always make it legal later.

Humanist wedding celebrant Zena Birch performed one of the first virtual weddings in the UK on March 28th and the story was beautiful.

Make the mundane moments as special as you can

If your original wedding date falls while we’re still in quarantine then don’t let that stop you having the best day ever. I mean, gosh, isn’t that what this whole marriage thing is all about ANYWAY?

Cook your favourite meal (or order in – shout out to all those delivery drivers!), have a living room dance party, have a movie night, take some time to go down memory lane. You could recreate your first date at home, or take the time to go through old photos, letters, or mementos of your relationship. While it’s not going to be what you originally thought you’d do on this date, you can use it to remind yourselves why you fell in love in the first place.

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Positivity During A Pandemic: How To Make The Most Of This Time If You Have A Wedding To Plan

{DEEP BREATH}

You guyssssss, 2020 is a real fucking trip. My heart goes out to everybody effected by what’s going on right now (so that’s the entire world then?) not least of all those of you that have a wedding that was supposed to happen over the next few months. There have been so many articles and social media posts written recently about how to postpone your weddings (I particularly liked this one from Happiful magazine) but this is not another one of those. Instead, today I wanted to today talk to you about how (once you’ve dealt with the drama, pain and logistics of actually postponing your day) you can now move forward and use this time in the very best way possible.

The fact of the matter is that problems/ bumps in the road/ challenges are a fact of life, and whatever way Covid-19 is affecting you right now (with your business or job, with health concerns, with worries about vulnerable members of your family, or with dealing with your wedding) it is our attitude toward them that matters the most.

I fully appreciate that what I’m about to say may ruffle a few feathers, in fact it may darn right piss you off but I TRULY, with my whole entire being, believe that that how you approach what is happening will either pay dividends to your mental health and how you move on from this moment… Or it won’t. It’s up to you, boo.

We have been given the gift of time. That’s a fact. Yes, the other side of the coin is that there is also a lot of emotional pain, money worries and trauma to deal with, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that most of us (BIG love to all the NHS staff and key workers keeping the country going right now) now have a lot of extra time on our hands.

I choose to focus on the good. Focusing on the positives around this situation doesn’t in anyway negate the negatives. However, I simply choose to put my focus on the (however small) slithers of hope and joy that I’m witnessing. You may call me idealistic, you may call me naive, you may even call me privileged but this is how I choose to view the world, not only throughout this pandemic, but my entire life! This is also your choice to make.

Think about it this way (and thanks to Sophia Hilton for this analogy – I stole it from an Instagram Live she did last week) If you booked a holiday to the Maldives, would you sit on your sun lounger complaining that you’d spent all this money to be there? Would you wake up every day and say “OMG we’re going to have to eat baked beans for a month to pay for this!” No, you would ENJOY THE FUCK out of that holiday. Yes, it cost you a lot of money to get there, but while you’re there you may as well use and enjoy the time you have in paradise.

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For Women Who Wear the Trousers: The Evolution of Bridal Jumpsuits

Gone are the days (thank the lord) of brides wearing what is expected of them. Dwindling is the era of big puffy dresses and five-hour wedding breakfasts. The change in bridal trends over the last few years has been rapid and fearless. But what has made us buck tradition quite so boldly? We spoke to Hannah Ollichon of iconic British bridal jumpsuit brand, House of Ollichon, all about it

There are the obvious answers to why bridal fashion is changing so much; social media’s exposure to ‘different’ options, inspiring influencers who have encouraged us to be more ‘us’ and numerous celebs who have donned the trousers down the aisle like a boss – Solange Knowles, Sophie Turner and Vogue Williams for starters.

However, there are many other contributors that have encouraged the rise of the bridal jumpsuit and cemented the fact that trousers will live on in bridal fashion. And, it will come as no surprise that we are here for it!

Statistically we are getting married later in life. The average age of a single woman getting married is now 30/31 years old, whereas in 1971 the average was 22/23 years**.

By the time we wed, our careers (and often earnings) have flourished. We therefore depend less on mum and dad to pay for our big day, which reduces the pressure to wear something more mum than more you.

Women are prioritising comfort and freedom in what they wear over vanity.
Marrying later may mean babies arrived before bling. Nowadays 48% of all newborns are born to parents who are not married*. Believe me, running around after a toddler (which will still happen whatever day it is) with a huge train is not easy! Another example, and something we regularly hear, is the desire to wee alone rather than having three bridesmaids hold up your train while you squat over the loo.

Our priorities have changed; lots of couples would prefer to get tipsy in the pub and have a whacking great deposit for their first home rather than a plush wedding and continue to rent a property. As of 2016, only 24% of weddings were religious ceremonies*. Move over the traditional church and make way for the registry office, garden party, restaurant luncheon, festival, boat party occasions – all far more appropriate to wear something cool and comfy over layers and layers of tulle and a restrictive corset.

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