Our real bride columnist Rachel got married in September this year. We’re following her journey of planning a feminist meets rock n roll wedding.
I’m sad to say I’m the only person I know who has ever been “fired” as a bridesmaid. I was eighteen and the bride was in her early twenties. As the big day came closer, I realised I was expected to pay for my own no-so affordable bridesmaid dress, shoes, hair, make-up, travel and accommodation over the wedding weekend, and for the hen weekend, including all the activities and meals out. I absolutely could not afford to do this, and neither could one of the other bridesmaids who was also in her teens.
I constructed a careful message to the bride, explaining that we simply didn’t have the money and asking if we could maybe talk on the phone about how to make it work for everyone. Minutes later, I received an all-caps response telling me “THIS IS MY WEDDING DAY!!! NOT SOME BIRTHDAY PARTY!” and that I needn’t worry because I was no longer welcome at her wedding… “OR HER LIFE!”.
When I responded, she didn’t reply and we haven’t spoken since. I now realise that this probably wasn’t about me at all, there was clearly a lot else going on and she snapped, plus we were all very young. I still think it’s sad that one day became more important than years of friendship, though. I still think it’s sad that when her marriage ended a couple of years later, we were no longer friends.
When it comes to writing this column, there are a thousand directions I could take. I’m going to stick to the thing I’ve known since that experience when I was eighteen… that my friendships with the people I ask to be part of my bridal party are more important to me than one day of my life, even if it is my wedding day.
You’d have to be living under a rock to notice that the world is kinda on fire at the moment! The majority of folks acknowledge that climate change is happening now and that future predictions look, quite frankly, pretty terrifying. The good news is that taking action is the number one way to counter any anxiety or despair you might be feeling and there’s heaps of ways to do this on your big day.
Happily, it’s never been easier to be a change maker because there are now so many badass green alternatives out there. You really don’t need to be planning a hippy boho wedding to be putting on a spectacularly sustainable do, and you never know, you might just inspire other couples to do the same! (As an additional added bonus, you might find that putting the planet first can actually SAVE you money, see our tips below).
Let’s get one thing clear, we can’t recycle our way out of the climate emergency. Reports from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) emphasise that the real push for change this late in the game needs to come from governments and big industries, so join a local lobbying campaign and hassle your local leaders to take faster stronger action. However, consumer power is real. Use your voice by choosing wisely where to spend your hard-earned dosh.
Our real bride columnist Rachel got married in September this year. We’re 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! This month she’s been thinking about wedding traditions.
I thought I had a handle on the major bridal traditions and the gripes many of us have with them. Lots of you reading this may have already decided to scratch out the word ‘obey’ from your vows, for example. A lot of modern brides also wrinkle their noses at the idea of ‘being given away’ and what that actually used to mean (that the literal ownership of the bride was changing hands from father to husband). Many have even come to believe that the first dance is tired and unnecessary. Not me, though – it’s my one chance to feel like I’m on Strictly Come Dancing. But I get it. It’s not for everyone.
It turns out I had no idea about the murky origins of so many staple wedding moments. For instance, did you know that the garter removal — that moment where the groom takes off the bride’s garter with his teeth, in front of his nephews, his grandma Joyce and his new father-in-law (I’ve seen it happen from many a stage as a wedding singer and it is never anything other than excruciating, please don’t do it) is the very distant descendant of a medieval tradition that would happen at the end of the wedding feast? Right before bedtime, someone would shout, ‘GET HER!’ and the congregation would launch upon the virgin bride, ripping off pieces of her dress to help unclothe her before the naked part of the nuptials. The bigger the chunk of dress you took home, the better the luck apparently. It’s worth nothing that this gang-undressing is also considered by many to be the great, great, great grandparent of catching the bouquet, as it’s in the same family of ‘taking home a piece of the bride for luck’.
Finding a way to infuse your wedding with cool and individual ideas is something that can bring pure joy, but it can cause a lot of stress too. Cake designer and all-round creative gal Autumn Rabbitts is here to bring you some tips for being creative on your wedding day when it doesn’t come naturally to you.
I see myself as incredibly creative, I’m always full of ideas, but sometimes I struggle making them a reality. As a designer, I have spent years (and a shit-ton of money!) learning how to do what I do. I have also learnt that everyone struggles with this sometimes, no matter how well trained they might be. Getting the ideas out of your head and into tangible actions can be really difficult. The following processes should help if you have lots of ideas for your wedding but you’re not sure how to bring them together to create the vibe you want.
Research, Research, Research
The aim is to get your mind thinking about things visually. I would suggest faking it till you make it – you are now Picasso! Create a Pinterest board or scrapbook with colours, tones and textures you like. You could include foods, dresses or florals – anything that floats your boat!
I suggest Pinterest to help you organise all of your ideas because it is something I would have killed for as a bride-to-be! Use it to organise your thoughts and ideas. Start with boards for everything you love and then step back and see if there is an overall feel that you might have subconsciously gravitated towards. Then create one ‘master’ board with your favourite parts to work from.
For instance, everything I ever pin seems to be pink, green, shiny (I am a magpie in a human costume!) and is always based in something to do with the natural forms of nature. If I was creating my wedding theme from scratch, this is where I would start.
Figuring out your wedding budget and paying for the day can feel like an insurmountable task. Whether you have £1000 or £100,000 to spend, your wedding will be one of the most exciting (and very likely) expensive days of your life. We spoke to five couples about what they spent and precisely how they did it.
UNDER £5000: Bridey and Jon
Jobs: Bridey is a Lash technician and Jon is an engineer.
They received a generous wedding gift of £2000 from Bridey’s grandad which helped them out a lot. They booked their venue, The Old Rectory in Sheffield, at the last minute and got a great deal. For food they served a huge buffet. The cake was made by a friend, the bridesmaids wore dresses from Missguided and the groomsmen wore their own suits. All the decorations were homemade, they did their own hair and makeup, made their own invitations and drove to the wedding in a friend’s campervan.
“Our biggest splash out was on the honeymoon at £2000, and we saved money on the fact my dad is a genius and can make anything I ask him. That gravestone was definitely such a feature for our wedding and looked so expensive and amazing, we still have it in our living room now in the fireplace. Also, having the ceremony at the registry office and the fact we booked our reception venue last minute meant we and got a good deal.”
The time between your wedding day and getting your photos back can seem like forever. You may be dreaming of gushing over each one, getting your favourites framed and sending out thank you cards with your happy ‘just married’ faces on the front. So, what happens if you get your pictures back and you’re less than thrilled? Or, worse still, what if you hate the way you look in them? Recently married, Steph Hale, is here to share her experience of hating yet eventually learning to love her wedding photographs.
When we got our wedding photographs back, I cried. They were not happy tears either. Upon opening the package, I discovered the photo DVD had a picture frame built in to the leather holder and our photographer had selected a photo to put in it. In that picture I looked like a horse. I hated that picture and once I put the DVD into the machine and the images rolled by one by one, I couldn’t think about anything other than picking holes in almost every single one I was in.
Now don’t get me wrong, we hired incredible photographers who captured the day beautifully, but my own appearance, or at least my feelings and my perception of my appearance, made me dislike the photos. Intensely. I sobbed and sobbed as disappointment washed over me, and I hated myself for spending so much money on something I now didn’t like.
And then, for the first time in my life, I did something sensible. I put the disc away and for a while forgot about them. A couple of months later, I looked again, and to my surprise, my feelings had begun to change. OK, I still looked bad in some of them, but that one wasn’t as bad as I first thought – I looked passably human! And so, this continued, I found the images more tolerable every time I looked through them after a break of time. When we reached the 10 month point post-wedding, I discovered that I actually adored my pictures, and now, as we approach five years that love has only grown!