Category Archives: Wedding Planning Advice

Dealing with Fatphobia on your Wedding Day & Beyond

2020 always felt like it was going to be numerologically significant number, didn’t it? I think it’s fair to say that it’s really not disappointing us! We are living through a bizarre and surreal moment in history, one that could be straight out of a Hollywood movie. While I’ve been heartened by the rise in community spirit, and have been so grateful that technology has lessened the impact of isolation (the internet, as always, proving to be a creative hotbed for humour), I have found myself despairing at the onslaught of exercise videos, healthy cooking advice and the normalisation of fatphobic ‘jokes’ and memes.

My coaching clients have shared that it’s not just the people who they expected might share such hurtful, thoughtless ‘jokes’, but even close friends who they had thought would be more considerate and respectful. Let’s not even fall down the rabbit hole talking about poor Adele.

For a vast chunk of the population, it appears that dying a horrible death isn’t their biggest fear during COVID-19, but rather it’s putting on the ‘quarantine 15’.

While the body positivity movement has made some strong inroads into diet culture, the tendrils of the thin ideal and fear of fat run deep. There is, sadly, still a lot of work to do before the poisonous idea that gaining weight is ‘bad’ and losing weight is ‘good’ can be fully debunked.

Come on people, it’s 2020. The future is here! Aren’t we past fat jokes now? Can’t we see the hurt they cause? And moreover, can’t we see that fatphobia is a form of discrimination? And the worship of thinness, especially in the tabloids (again, poor Adele), keeps us thinking that this is what we should all be striving for.

For me, I’m also noticing a total lack of regard that ‘jokes’ about overeating, restrictive eating and/or binge eating could be incredibly triggering for people recovering from, or coping with, disordered eating or eating disorders.

So, why has there been such a rise in diet culture?

It comes down to people grasping at things they feel they can control in a moment of collective uncertainty within the construct of a social narrative that says we must all be shrinking ourselves to be happy.

Diet culture is so ingrained in our shared culture that even during a time of unprecedented crisis it still permeates into our behaviour.

We are sold the idea that our bodies are easy to control if we can only be disciplined enough. We are also sold the myth that there is one correct way to have a body via the beauty standard (which currently puts thin, white, able bodies at the top of the hierarchy).

We are unable to move, eat and live how we would choose to at the moment, and a lot of people are trying to counter this by creating content that gives them the illusion of control.

Make no mistake, ‘health’ is often diet culture dressed up in lycra. Today, we are meant to be striving for ‘health’, which is, let’s be honest, frequently equated with gaining the ‘perfect body’. In reality, true health is holistic and a far wider reaching concept than a number on the scales. You can be thin and unhealthy and fat and healthy. Health should also include our mental health and we know that diet culture is a shit show for that.

Every time ‘should’, ‘ought’ or ‘must’ pop up in your mind with regards to food – challenge them. Is it just your pesky inner critic beating you up? Tell that bitch to leave the room, because judgement has no place in the most stressful and challenging moment we’ve experienced in generations!

I know that putting on weight might feel like a disaster if you have a wedding coming up, but it really isn’t unless you let it take over in your mind.

What has brought me a lot of solace during this time is seeing lockdown as the ultimate collective act of love. We have stayed home to protect the people we love, to keep the key workers from being too overwhelmed and to keep ourselves safe. If you manage to have a wedding this year, don’t let any changes in your body get you down. Focus on the reasons you wanted to get married, focus on having your favourite people around you or being able to sneak off on your own…and focus on the love. Because, at the end of the day, that’s really all that matters.

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The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Makeup for Self-Identifying Men

Photography: Jan Galvan – Creative Direction: Luxe MediaSee the full feature here

It’s 2020 and thinking that makeup is “just for girls” is about as old fashioned as racing to blockbuster for 11pm on a Sunday to return your VHS tapes. But, if you identify as a man or non-binary, where can you go for the best advice? YouTube is obviously a great resource and there are plenty of influencers of all gender identities rocking the most incredible looks, but for your wedding day you may want something a bit more subtle. Plus, doing a face that looks great in a highly edited selfie is very different to creating a look that lasts all day. Makeup artist Natalie Flewitt has been working with male and non-binary clients for years, and today she’s sharing some of her top tips. Over to you Natalie!

Bridal magazines are, on the whole, aimed at women and while you may see plenty of great makeup tips and product recommendations, how do you know if they’ll work for you? While obviously any person can wear whatever the hell they like, if you don’t ever see yourself or your gender represented, it can be confusing.

There are a few differences between biologically male and biologically female skin. It’s not a con or a marketing ploy when you get skincare targeted at different genders. There is often more to it than them just smelling like a rich woodland rather than a flower garden. Biologically male skin is thicker and contains more collagen (so it stays bouncier and youthful for longer), it also produces more sebum so it’s oilier with larger pores, and often has more melanin so it can have more pigmentation… Then there is obviously facial hair. With all this in mind, nothing bad is going to happen if you use face cream aimed at a different gender, but you will get better results by using a product created with your skin type in mind.

Over the years, I have provided makeup services and lessons for many people from the LGBTQ+ community and here are my top tips:

Photography: Jamie Y PhotographySee the full feature here

Skincare

Before any good makeup artist takes a brush to your face, they will prep your skin with products specifically aimed at your skin type and condition. This is going help make your skin look amazing and make your makeup last, rather than just cover any areas of concern with a mask of full coverage foundation.

A dermatologist or beauty therapist who provides facial and skin treatments will be able to advise you of your skin type. If your budget won’t stretch to seeing a beauty therapist, an advisor in the cosmetic and skincare section of a department store will also be able to guide you. Remember, you’re not obliged to buy the products they have recommended from their counter and it’s ok to walk away if you want to think about it.

Whatever your skin type, start cleansing, moisturising, exfoliating and using treatments (such as masks, oils and serums) and SPF in the run up to the big day. For optimum results, start this at least three months before the wedding. In my experience, and whatever your skin type, cream, milk, oil, and balm cleansers are better than anything soapy and foaming, and liquid exfoliators containing salicylic or glycolic acid are more effective and kinder to your skin than the ones with gritty bits in.

Photography: Indigo and Violet PhotographySee the full feature here
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Alternative First Dance Ideas for Rock n Roll Brides

Photo Hé! Capture – Styling Mix & Match Paris – Florals Aurélie Meunier – Hair Alexis Mercier – Makeup Gwen Art Make Up – Dress Mademoiselle de Guise

Music is pretty darn important to most Rock n Roll Brides, and some of you will have had a dream first dance song picked since before you even got engaged. Be it a number from the nights out you used to go on together, what was playing on the radio during your first date or a song from one of your joint favourite bands. But if you have wildly different music tastes, or the thought of slow-dancing to yet another Ed Sheeran song makes your toes curl, it can be difficult to know where to strike a balance. We reached out to the amazing Rock n Roll Bride community to see what they’ve chosen and compiled them into this handy list – why not listen to the Spotify playlist with your love over a bottle of something cold one night and see if one resonates?

ROCK

Of course the starting point for any Rock n Roll Bride playlist would be rock songs, but your favourite Slayer number might not be suitable for slow-dancing to. While we whole-heartedly approve of a first-dance mosh pit, here are some more family-friendly options to keep Grandma happy while still being true to who you are:

Foo Fighters – Everlong (acoustic)
The Cure – Just Like Heaven
You Me At Six – Take On The World
Biffy Clyro – Rearrange
Foo Fighters – Best of You
Killswitch Engage – Always
The Hunna – Lover
Sum 41 – With Me
Led Zeppelin – Thank You
A Perfect Circle – The Nurse Who Loved Me
Metallica – Nothing Else Matters

ALT-POP

If you’re more disco that deathmetal, you’re still worthy of an alternative first dance – despite what a lot of wedding DJs will tell you, there are more options than Lonestar! Here are some off-beat pop options:

Yellowcard – Only One
Picture This – Saviour
Randy Newman – We Belong Together
Queen – You’re My Best Friend
Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere
Elton John – Tiny Dancer
P!nk – True Love

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Yes, Wedding Planning Anxiety & Apathy is a Real Thing (Especially in 2020!)

This morning I posted in our private Facebook group checking in with everyone and asking if there was anything particularly worrying people right now. Overwhelmingly, the responses were that there was a general feeling of anxiety and apathy about having to postpone and re-plan their weddings. I figured if that’s going on in there, it’s probably going on out here too, so I did something I haven’t for a very long time and sat down to write and publish a blog post in real time!

Here’s my advice if you’re feeling very anxious and stressed out, or if all the excitement of planning your wedding has all but disappeared right now:

IF YOU ARE FEELING ANXIOUS

I read once that depression is thoughts about the past and anxiety is thoughts about the future – neither of which you can control. The only thing we CAN control is what happens here and now, in this moment. Anxiety robs you of feeling good right now and the things you’re worrying about may not even happen! I know it’s not as simple as waving a magic wand and those feelings go away, but realising this a while back really helped me reframe how I let my anxiety control me.

I’m sure you are doing everything you can to make sure that your wedding goes ahead on your new date, so trust in yourself and your suppliers. Write lots of lists (to get those stresses out of your head – this is especially important if you’re struggling to sleep because you keep going over things in your head) and if something out of your control DOES happen (like having to postpone your wedding again), well, its literally out of your control so try your hardest to stop worrying about it. You got this!!

IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING TO FEEL EXCITED

If you’re feeling bored, apathetic or kind of numb about the whole wedding planning thing – can you plan something else to look forward to right now? If your wedding has been postponed for example, you may have a long time to just sit around and wait for it to happen. What else could you look forward to? A mini break? A new house project? It’s OK to not be a super excited bride all the time. That’s not realistic, even if you DIDN’T have a worldwide pandemic to deal with.

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How to Carpe the Diem Out of Your Wedding and Your Life: Three Ways to Seize the Day

Carpe Diem. Seize the day. It’s such a grand phrase, like you should be swanning about in white robes and an excellent beard, but in reality, when we’re flinging ourselves from work to school run to the gym (ha! Or not), ‘seizing the day’ seems to fade to ‘fumbling at the day with your jumper on inside out and your skirt tucked into your knickers’. Throw planning a wedding into the mix, and it’s a wonder that our brains can function at all. But seizing the day isn’t about seeing how much we can squeeze into 24 hours; it’s about doing something meaningful today that makes tomorrow a better place to be.

Weddings are beautiful occasions that mark the beginning of a wonderful new era, but for a lot of couples, the planning can feel stressful, overwhelming and as far from ‘seizing the day’ as a person can get (oh hey Covid, we see you). With so many decisions to make, feeling confident and secure about making the right choices can bring on waves of anxiety. But it’s all about taking one day at a time, focusing on what we’re doing in the here and now, and taking care of ourselves and our busy brains so that we are able to function from a place of self-assurance. So, how can we be intentional about taking action today to make our tomorrows a bit brighter?

I like to think about three things when it comes to (fanfare please) Seizing The Day.

Be thankful

It’s so easy to take life for granted. Often, the ordinary everyday slides past our senses. Starting from a place of gratitude, with a positive state of mind means we’re approaching the day with hope, rather than stress. Every morning, list three things you’re grateful for – speak them out. Step outside, feel the fresh air in your lungs and be thankful for a sunrise, the wind in the trees or the changing seasons – life moving. Gratitude helps us look outside ourselves at the world around us – at the people, places and things we ‘do life’ with. So, on the flip side, what are the things that aren’t so important? Can we set them down to make our tomorrows clearer and less intimidating? Look again with fresh eyes at your wedding planning – is there anything that’s really stressing you out? How can you simplify, amend or edit your plans to relieve that pressure you’re feeling?

Do one thing every day that scares you

We’ve got Baz Luhrmann’s 1990s hit, Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen), to thank for highlighting this one, but I think it’s a sure-fire way to feel a sense of achievement every day. It doesn’t have to be extreme – you don’t have to be throwing yourself from a helicopter on the daily, just a little thing you can be proud of. Have a think, compile a list and go for it! Make a phone call, go to that taekwondo class, smile at a stranger… Or have a go at something on your wedmin list that you’ve been putting off. A growing sense of achievement builds confidence in our own abilities and encourages us to be bold, with a positive outlook each day. We CAN do this!

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Avoiding Pre-Wedding Fights (Don’t Worry, It Happens)

Perfect wedding venue? Check.
Gorgeous wedding dress? Check.
Constant bickering with your betrothed? Double check.

What? Fighting? That’s not on your pre-wedding checklist! Yet, unfortunately, having a few
squabbles with your partner usually comes with the territory of planning your wedding, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. To prevent your fights from becoming fully-fledged feuds that make you think ‘let’s just call the whole thing off and elope’ there are some tactics that come into play.
If your stress levels have reached an all-time high, keep calm, collected and read on. Here’s how to keep the peace and ensure your wedding is fantastically fight-free.

Set aside time for wedding talk

I’ve seen it a thousand times: someone who uses every excuse under the sun to bring up the
wedding – and it drives their partner absolutely crazy. It’s natural to be fully invested in creating your ideal wedding, but a line has to be drawn somewhere. It shouldn’t consume your entire life to the point that you’re so sick of your wedding months before it’s even happened.

The feeling that your partner is not invested in your wedding can also lead to a serious
disagreement. To avoid this, set aside time for the two of you to discuss it. Set a reminder on your phone, get cozy on the couch and communicate everything wedding-related that’s on your mind. No in-laws or best friends allowed! This sacred time is for the two of you to feel totally comfortable to express your expectations, dreams and concerns for your big day.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

It’s no secret that planning a wedding is a big project. From the venue to the bridesmaid dresses to the date of the wedding, there are big decisions that need to be made. Then there are also the smaller decisions like the colour of the napkins or the tiny flowers you want as part of your hairstyle.

The sheer number of decisions you have to make is enough to make anyone go crazy – especially if these decisions are to be shared with your partner. To keep the peace (and your sanity) don’t place a huge focus on the tiny details. I can tell you now, none of your guests are going to notice if the colour of your tablecloths is ivory or eggshell.

Think win-win

One of you wants a traditional low-key, low-cost wedding with close family and friends. The other wants an extravagant Game of Thrones wedding with everyone from your gym instructor to your second cousin twice removed in attendance. Although you’re going to try your best to avoid fighting with your fiancé, disagreeing on something is bound to happen. When it does, it’s how the two of you react to the argument that sets the tone for your wedding day (and the rest of your lives together).

When you and your partner have a squabble, it’s important to think win-win; how can you both benefit from the optimal solution? Don’t try to achieve a personal victory of getting your own way – remember, you’re in this together. If you’re at a stalemate then this is where the art of compromisation and knowing when to pick your battles comes in!

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