Category Archives: Wedding Planning Advice

Low Key but Luxe: How to Have a Budget Wedding that Still Looks Fancy AF

Laura Martha Photography for The Stars Inside

If there’s one thing we know to be true in wedding world ‘19, it’s that engaged couples are looking to save as much money as they possibly can. In fact, some reports coming though at the moment state that the £25k ‘average’ wedding budget that’s thrown around by the media may have in fact decreased to something much closer to £12k in the last year or so (thanks Brexit, thanks Trump).

However, what that doesn’t mean is that 2019 couples want their budget savvy weddings to look cheap, far from it in fact. Rock n Roll brides in particular are, if anything, becoming even more creative and experimental with how they pull off a killer wedding on a budget. Today, our friends at Most Curious Wedding Fair are here to tell you how to do it.

More and more nowadays, couples are opting for a smaller, more refined wedding rather than the opulent and (dare I say?) over the top caricatures of what weddings may have once been. Often this goes hand-in-hand with having a smaller budget, but not always; if you want an intimate pub reception rather than a stately home bash, we totally feel you.

However, with that lower-key wedding plan comes the high-key worry that it won’t look or feel luxurious on the day. I’m here today to show you how you can have a wedding day that remains low-key but still looks luxe. I’ve spoken to some of the exhibitors at Most Curious Wedding Fair (who you can meet in the flesh at our March fair in Shoreditch) for their advice on getting minimal design and maximum impact.

Re-frame your focus

Amy Meadows Events suggests re-framing your focus from the beginning. “When you are mood-boarding for your wedding, rather than imagining what it looks like, and the specifics of what you want to see, think about how you want to feel on the day, and importantly how you want your guests to feel. What kind of experience are you creating for them, and yourself? When you re-frame your expectations to be focused on feelings rather than visuals, it allows you to think more creatively.”

Valentina from The Stars Inside agrees, saying “Luxe doesn’t mean everything is ostentatiously expensive – it means the elements you’ve chosen to include are high quality and personal to you. It’s walking into a room and feeling the details, without even realising you’re noticing them.”

The great upside to this is that it also helps avoid TPO (total Pinterest overwhelm). “The thing about planning a low key, super-stylish, luxe wedding is to focus on what really matters to you both as a couple and then invest in these core elements, rather than trying to do everything that you see on Pinterest – hooray!” Olivia from Patchwork says.

Anemone Style

Think about the details that matter to YOU

Ann-Marie from AM Faulkner – milliner extraordinaire, Most Curious team member and divine 2018 bride – did this for her wedding last summer. “I live by the motto ‘the devil is in the detail’ so tried to apply this to the wedding. Little things like making sure you have more than enough food and drink, a hand written thank you card which can double up as a place name, and all of this styled to perfection.

You can also be clever and allocate budget from things you have saved on, for little luxuries that make all the difference. For example, as we got married outdoors in Scotland our venue was free. So, we chose a ridiculous spot on the banks of a loch and chartered a little boat to get all our guests there! In the grand scheme of things, the boat wasn’t very expensive, but it made our guests feel so special and added that luxe element.”

Think about colours and textures

This focus on low-key luxe means honing in on textures and colours to create the overall mood. To do this, Liz from Flower and Fern says “We always use plant dyed, hand torn silk ribbons which are understated and natural to compliment the bouquets, and table flowers look stunning with single stems in vases mixed in with larger bowl centrepieces against a modern tablescape design.”

Ami, of Lo and Behold Bespoke, advises carefully selected and well-placed items, such as interesting shaped bottles, to make your tables pop without popping the seams of your purse.

Megan from Blossom and Crumb also suggests focusing on flavours with your cake, if that’s somewhere you’re looking to keep minimal. “Choose a cake maker with an interesting menu and select some unusual flavours or ones that are really personal to you so that even if you keep the design on the outside relatively simple the cake still feels really special on the inside.”

She also makes the very good point that keeping some more ‘traditional’ elements of a wedding, like the cake-cutting, but updating them with a modern twist, will help low-key events still retain that essential wedding-ness. That is, of course, only if said tradition appeals to you…

Flower and Fern

Continue reading

Welcome to 2019: An Introduction for New Readers & Wedding Planning Tips from our Awesome Community!

Welcome to 2019!! At the start of a new year it’s customary around these parts for me to take a moment to introduce myself and the Rock n Roll Bride brand to our newly minted brides-to-be. If that’s you then WELCOME!

Hi, I’m Kat. I’m the editor of this here blog and our utterly lovely print magazine. I live in Reading (UK) with my husband, Gareth, and our two enormous Maine Coons, Henry and Rachel. I started this blog when we were engaged as a way to document our wedding plans. Fast forward nearly 12 years and we now both work full time on the business.

Before we get to anything else I’d like to congratulate you on your excellent blog finding skills (ha!) Rock n Roll Bride is the ONLY wedding blog and magazine in the world that is wholly dedicated to alternative weddings. If you’d like to find out more about me, this website and our magazine (which FYI you totes need to subscribe to – you can also pick it up in WhSmiths, Sainsburys or selected local newsagents) then check out the below posts:

About Rock n Roll Bride
A welcome to new readers
How to start planning your wedding 

Oh I also wrote a book which comes out NEXT WEEK. Holy shit, I might explode before then.

Photo by Lisa Jane Photography

As a newly engaged babe you’re probably feeling a lot of FEELINGS right now: Excitement, anticipation, overwhelm (is that a word?) panic… !? But fret not, Rock n Roll Bride will see you through.

First up you absolutely MUST join our private Facebook group. There are nearly 14,000 of us in there and, I swear to God, its THE friendliest most non-judgemental wedding space on the internet. I’m not even exaggerating. No-one will shame you, no-one will call your ideas weird or stupid and everyone goes above and beyond to help and advise each other. We’re all in this together! I can’t wait to chat with you in there.

Talking of the Facebook group, and to PROVE their awesomeness, I recently asked our members what would be their one piece of advice for someone who’s just got engaged. This advice is golden! But it’s also just for starters, you can see the entire thread here.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading