Category Archives: Wedding Planning Advice

Wedding Dress Wobbles & How to Stay Sane When Planning Your Wedding

This is your guide to staying sane and – shock horror – actually having fun while planning your wedding and choosing your dress. 

Why does getting married have to happen to a nice person like me?” she asked me. After I finished laughing, I commenced serious contemplation of how wedding planning can be quite so brutal and not that fun for everyone. I, like a lot of wedding industry people, am bang up for all things to do with weddings, but for some it literally ruins their previously happy lives with stress and other people’s expectations and budget blow outs and decision fatigue and whether you have to invite your mother’s second cousin by marriage and adoption.

Having married twice (you may call me Elizabeth Taylor; though I am quite into husband #2, so there is a chance I won’t make it to eight) and worked in the wedding industry for a few years now, I’ve seen and heard it all.  May my musings below assist brides everywhere to have a bangin’ fun time during the fiancé phase and skip some of the life sapping and definitely avoidable nonsense.

How exactly does one remain sane while being engaged?

Include a hefty line item in your budget for psychiatrists, psychologists, massages and heroin. If that is not a possibility then I suggest you and the fiancé set yourselves some priorities. What is important to you both for this pretty monumental time in your lives? What sort of engagement do you want to have and what sort of wedding suits you?

That way, when you start to get into the wedding worm hole, wondering if you should release doves or butterflies, you can donk yourself on the noggin and remember that your priority is a relaxed indoor urban wedding, and thus the pigeons, oops I mean doves, will get all disoriented and poop on your guests.  And getting pooped on does not make for relaxed guests.

Is it even possible to avoid being stressed while planning a wedding?

Some stress is part of life. It’s OK and normal and won’t kill ya. The key is to keep it to the good level of stress – you know, the smallish amount of stress the pushes you along and energises you, rather than the type that has you shouting “NO YOU CALM DOWN!” at your fiancé and Kirsty at the BT call centre.

Ask for help. Don’t do it alone. It’s a pretty big project so make sure you split tasks with your beloved and perhaps ask your bridesmaids and friends to help with things, and mums. Mums love helping. And Dads, don’t forget dads.

Keep things simple – there are literally thousands of things you can include in a wedding and within each of those things, there are a gazillion choices. The internet has a lot to answer for in this regard. So even though you can scroll for days and see hundreds of options, you don’t need to see every single veil that exists in the northern hemisphere to choose the right one for you.

Why are all the wedding dresses so gross? Where are they hiding the good ones?

The internet is full of garbage. There are great dresses out there, but they are under a mound of internet garbage as big as the Pacific Ocean rubbish vortex, which for those who don’t follow rubbish related news, is the size of Texas.

Instead, go and check out some of the excellent wedding blogs such as Rock n Roll Bride (duh!), Green Wedding Shoes, Hello May, Bespoke Bride, Way Out Wedding, Mr & Mrs Unique and Together Journal. Within those blogs, there are real brides wearing real dresses in real weddings, so it’s a great way to see dresses on real humans instead of model humans (who, like model aeroplanes, are only meant for show). Check out the designers and retailers of the dresses you dig and you will avoid the sifting through the internet rubbish pile for 1000 years.

Note: NEVER Google Image search for wedding dresses. Unless you have drunk lots of wine and want to do the laughing. It is the worst type of garbage and it will not help you on your quest. Help me, I’m drowning in a sea of sweetheart necklines and marble staircases and Chinese rip-off dresses that definitely won’t meet your expectations even if you did only spend £67 incl. shipping.

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10 Alternative Wedding Readings from Books

Through thick forests and ancient worlds and feelings that live just beyond the tips of your fingers, books can share some of the most exciting emotions and depths. Corinthians is a cutie, but if you would rather expand your horizons to include some of the dreamiest novels and authors, then here are some suggestions to do just that.

To quote the wonderful late Sir Terry Pratchett, “Stuff literature, I’d much prefer a good book!” and these all fall firmly into that category. Let your weddings sing and dance and stomp free, and invite your favourite characters to the party…

For dreamers – From Nicole Krauss’ A History of Love

“Once upon a time, there was a boy. He lived in a village that no longer exists, in a house that no longer exists, on the edge of a field that no longer exists, where everything was discovered, and everything was possible. A stick could be a sword, a pebble could be a diamond, a tree, a castle. Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in a house across the field, from a girl who no longer exists. They made up a thousand games. She was queen and he was king. In the autumn light her hair shone like a crown. They collected the world in small handfuls, and when the sky grew dark, they parted with leaves in their hair.

Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.”

For wisdom – From Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Talents

“Kindness eases change.
Love quiets fear.
And a sweet and powerful
Positive obsession
Blunts pain,
Diverts rage,
And engages each of us
In the greatest,
The most intense
Of our chosen struggles.”

For forever – From Phillip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass

“I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again… I’ll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you… We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams… And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me.”

For friendship – From J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

“Luna had decorated her bedroom ceiling with five beautifully painted faces: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Neville. They were not moving as the portraits of Hogwarts moved, but there was a certain magic about them all the same: Harry thought they breathed. What appeared to be fine golden chains wove around the pictures, linking them together, but after examining them for a minute or so, Harry realised that the chains were actually one word, repeated a thousand times in golden ink: friends…friends…friends…”

For hope – From Emily Dickinson’s The Complete Works of Emily Dickinson

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.”

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Cultural Appropriation and Diversity in Weddings

Diversity is most definitely a hot topic right now, we have our socio-political climate to thank for that. Rock n Roll Bride has always been about accepting everyone that feels marginalised – regardless of whether that’s because you identify as LGBTQ, you’re from a minority group, you’re plus sized, disabled or just a little bit goth! Basically, if you don’t see yourself being represented by the mainstream wedding media, at Rock n Roll Bride we want to say pull up a chair and join us.

But we don’t always get it right. There was a VERY heated discussion on cultural appropriation in regards to weddings in our private Facebook group recently. The reason I think it can cause such uproar is because often these things fall on a sliding scale – what offends one person may not offend another and the cultural history of something in America, for example, might not have the same significance to people that grew up in the UK.

For me personally it is a very difficult thing to discuss publicly. I will be 100% transparent with you here and admit that it actually makes me extremely uncomfortable. I don’t want to get it wrong and I don’t want to cause even more offence. However, I do think it’s something that needs to be addressed, least of all so we can all become better educated about it in a non-judgemental space. I don’t know all the answers, no-one does, but I hope that by opening up this discussion we can learn something and become a more actively inclusive group.

After a recent (very lengthy!) discussion with my friend Nova of Nu Bride, I’ve invited her to write this article. Nova is a diversity advocate and does incredible work on raising awareness around race and culture. She is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to this stuff and I’m honoured to publish this piece for her.

Over to you Nova!

I often get asked how to fuse cultures together without them looking like, ‘mish-mash’. How to respectfully celebrate cultures that might not be your own without appropriating.

Nu Bride is all about celebrating difference and encouraging you to have a wedding that acknowledges your western side and is also representative of who you both are in a way that at times honours more than one culture, something more and more couples are keen to do. So, with a growing online cancelling culture, how do you do that without culturally appropriating?

What exactly is cultural appropriation?

In black and white (no pun-intended): Cultural appropriation is ‘the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society.’

The key component to cultural appropriation is remembering that it only becomes problematic when a dominant group of people (for example, white people) take on the culture of a minority group of people (for example Native American Indians) who have historically been marginalised / oppressed in some way and who still face discrimination pertaining to their culture. It could be anything from clothing, food, sacred religious artefacts or hairstyles like braids or dreadlocks, for example. It is generally considered offensive when it is done in a way that stereotypes, exploits for commercial gain, or is taken without consent.

Here some examples to bite your teeth into:

Beyoncé Slammed For Cultural Appropriation After Performing At Indian Wedding

Gucci Criticised For Cultural Appropriation On A Global Scale

The jury is out for if this wedding example is appropriation or not, I will let you decide after you have digested this article in full.

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How To Spice Up Your Wedding Night

Last week, an article allegedly published by an Irish wedding magazine in their Winter 2018 issue went viral. In it, the writer had some sage (ahem) advice for wedding night sex. My favourite comments being that obviously you’ll be a virgin, you should absolutely forget the foreplay and that you might want to consider a sex tape because, ya know, your hair will be all on fleek and shit.

Here at Rock n Roll Bride we couldn’t let this momentous occasion pass us by without putting our own two cents of advice for the best wedding night of your life. Thanks to the crushingly funny Hannah Millard (she also takes lovely wedding photos you know) for our alternative suggestions.

You’re welcome.

Its 1.30am and you’ve just fallen out of a taxi at your wedding night accommodation. The reception is closed and you can’t find your key card, so you spend twenty five minutes waiting for the night manager to arrive and let you in. The night manager appears, could this be the first time he’s encountered another human being? He stares at you disdainfully, with the cold, dead eyes of a serial killer and begrudgingly unlocks the door.

You finally make it to your room, you’re knackered and sweaty and drunk because your friends kept handing you jagerbombs and you’ve been up since 5am. Your hair’s stuck to your forehead, you’ve got individual eyelashes stuck to your cheeks like whiskers and your mouth tastes like a bin – It’s time to get naked!

That’s when you remember that it took twenty minutes and a highly trained team of bridesmaids armed with a crochet hook to wrangle you into a dress with twenty million buttons. Under the dress you’re wearing structural, functional underwear. There’s no bridesmaids, no crochet hook, only your spouse whose hands can’t stop shaking because they’re hopped up on red bull and coming down off a massive adrenaline high. You briefly consider ringing the night manager to come and bring the hunting knife he almost certainly has but also, you don’t want to get murdered.

You’re both gassy as fuck because you’ve lived like Henry VIII all day. You’ve consumed a surplus of booze, cake, cheese, coffee and a three course dinner and it’s all good and curdled because you jumped around on the dance floor to ABBA (even though before the wedding you vetoed Dancing Queen and threatened the DJ with death if they played it, because when all’s said and done it’s a banger and… y’know… JAGERBOMBS). Before the day you’d agonised over picking a special wedding day perfume because scent is the strongest sense associated with memory, but now the only aroma that will truly take you back to the day is truly eye-watering.

After an hour of dress wrestling (dresstling if you will) you give up and collapse in a farty heap on the floor next to a king sized bed with towel swans on it who are silently judging you as you fall asleep, ready to start the rest of your lives together.

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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

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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.

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