Elopement wedding – why & why not?

Elopement weddings - why you should give it a thought before planning your wedding

Wedding planning is the best thing ever for some – and the worst for others. Not every bride and groom are smitten by the idea of a big celebration with a hundred or more of people around them. Your personalities, priorities and your lust for adventure might just make it more sensible to elope as opposed to arranging a traditional wedding.

Perhaps you are a bit shy, favor independence or possibly have complicated family relations, or for any other reason -such as a sense of fun, romance, or practical or budget reasons- feel like eloping is more up your street. If you have a tendency to get stressed out, or simply cannot understand what the big “fuss” is all about – an elopement might be your answer.

It could be simple reason that you prefer to do something purely for yourselves, or something a bit different, and you might find that it suits you better to create your own wedding day layout as supposed to following a line of conventional traditions, that you might not feel any connection to, or find irrelevant or unnecessary to you.

Is elopement for you? Or are you determined to have the traditional wedding day, where you and your groom are the king and queen of the day? Which option would make your wedding dream come true?

The advantages of a traditional wedding:

  • The buzz and fun of the preparations (some love a challenge of this kind!)
  • It is a once-in-a-life time event (supposedly…)
  • It is a big get-together where 2 families can get to know each other better and celebrate together as one family
  • A chance for all your friends from all walks of life to meet and mingle
  • The traditions: cake cutting, garter toss, bouquet toss, first dance etc – some brides have looked forward to this all their life
  • The reception party with food, dancing, guest book, favours, centrepieces etc
  • The opportunity to design and decorate your dream day with flowers, decor and colours
  • Photographs with lots of family members and guests
  • Significant memories for family members and friends
  • The shared joy amongst all attending
  • “Celebrities” for a day, being the centre of attention
  • The registry – people will most likely give gifts or cash and you can wish for anything you likeElopement weddings - why you should give it a thought before planning your wedding

    The disadvantage of a traditional wedding

  • The cost of renting a venue, tent, feeding people, wedding party, hair and makeup etc
  • The pressure and stress involved with planning and coordinating a big event, such as guest list, invites and RSVP management
  • People management – bridesmaids drama, flaring up family feuds, grumpy step-cousins who did not get invited and so on
  • Nerves – not everyone is built to handle stress well
  • Stage fright – not every person enjoys being in the spotlight
  • Loud and “crazy” – not everyone likes dancing or being at a big party
  • The more people involved, the more opinions and personalities are in the mix
  • The build up to the wedding can be exhausting, especially the week before when all final details must fall into place, and out of town guests start to arrive
  • The need to find good vendors and people you can rely on and trust to do a good job – you have to be comfortable with putting your fate in their hands
  • It might put a lot of pressure on the bride to look great, loose weight, have perfect hair and makeup etc
  • Dress, shoe and accessory hunting (not just for for bride, but bridesmaids, groom and groomsmen too) is actually pretty confusing and hard mental work, not to mention pricey
  • Liaison and negotiations about costs and contracts with vendors – not everyone is cut out to be a business woman/ man
  • Lots of small and big decisions to be made, which can prove overwhelming especially if your nature is anxious and indecisive
  • Planning details such as seating chart, choice of music, wedding colours, even choosing the wedding party – some think these aspects shadow what the wedding truly should be about – the newly weds
  • Depending on how lucky/ resilient/ multi tasking genius you and your groom are – the months of wedding planning could be a stressful nightmare. Not everyone is up for it

Elopement weddings - why you should give it a thought before planning your wedding

Elopement: Advantages

  • It is all about you, your love and your commitment to each other
  • There is nothing else in the way for the 2 of you  to enjoy each others presence
  • Less risk of mishaps – except missing the plane I suppose
  • No paraphernalia (flower girl’s nappy needs changing, bridesmaid broke her stiletto, escort cards blew away in the wind..) to worry about
  • It will most likely be a lot less expensive (unless you decide to travel far and wide with a luxury honeymoon)
  • Can save the money for something long term which is perhaps more worthwhile than a few hours of party – or splash it on that luxury honeymoon
  • Less people= having to rely less heavily on others
  • You can be more in control of your own wedding
  • Manageable size = less stress = easier to achieve
  • Can be planned sooner = shorter engagement
  • More spontaneous and “wild” (Las Vegas, anyone?)
  • Some say it is more romantic
  • Great excuse to travel to your dream destination
  • You can still have the dress, the flowers, professional photos and cake, at a smaller and more cost-effective scale
  • Could spend more money on your wedding dress (- hello Grace Loves Lace!)
  • Can create a completely unique day, choose an unusual ceremony spot (nature, city, unconventional locations and buildings not normally used as a wedding venue)
  • Can get amazing wedding photos in a wedding destination that would probably not have been possible otherwise.

Disadvantages of eloping

  • If keeping it secret, you will not get much help from others, unless you still hire a wedding planner
  • It foregos certain aspect of wedding preparations (dress hunting with mum and maid of honour, getting ready with the girls, or bachelorette party for example) – which you might feel like you missed out on
  • Lonesome – perhaps you do want to have near and dear around you when you make the promise of a lifetime
  • Possibly regretting not arranging the “big day” afterwards
  • Family and friends might feel left out and get resentful
  • You probably wont receive many gifts

It is basically personality and a list of preferences that should determine your choice. Remember, just because you got engaged, it does not automatically mean you are destined to have a wedding with all the traditional aspects that comes with it. Modern weddings are completely flexible events and you can plan it to suit both of you  perfectly.

Do give elopement a thought if you  are daunted by the prospect of arranging a traditional wedding day, or simply feel a desire to do something “different” and being adventurous with your groom. In the end of the day, you are marrying your husband and not anyone else or a tradition you are not bothered about – the most important thing is that you as a couple both are doing what feels most natural to you.

Torn? The perfect compromise: An Intimate Wedding!

Final tip: it is best to decide if you are eloping or not BEFORE you invite people to your wedding or pick a bridal party – in order to not making people disappointed 🙂

Elopement weddings - why you should give it a thought before planning your wedding

image credits: junebug weddings // intimate weddings

 

Questions to ask your wedding venue, ceremony venue & caterer – the most comprehensive list

Important questions to ask your wedding venue, ceremony venue and caterer!

Important questions to ask your wedding venue, ceremony venue and caterer!
Vrede and Lust wedding venue, Tulbagh, South Africa

Choosing a venue is one of the first things that you need to do when planning your wedding. Picking the right venues for your ceremony and reception are invaluable to creating your perfect wedding day.

Before you start visiting your dream venues, you’ll need to know exactly what questions to ask to make sure you’re choosing the right place. Since you’re probably only going to interview venues once in your life, you might not know exactly what to ask. Luckily, we have got you covered!

Important questions to ask your wedding venue, ceremony venue and caterer!

The wedding ceremony site and reception venue are the cornerstones for your wedding event, so it’s important to pick a site that fits you and your grooms vision, your budget and the kind of day you would like to have. Of course going with a reputable venue is important – reliability is a big factor you need to consider.

When booking the venue for your wedding you are entering into a business agreement. While the person you are working with is not likely to be deceptive, they are in business to make a profit. Consequently, there are certain aspects you should confirm and get in writing to avoid last minute surprises. Also, when thinking about and comparing costs between different places, it’s important to understand the details so you can make a direct comparison.

Important questions to ask your wedding venue, ceremony venue and caterer!
Groot Constantia Wineyards, Cape Town, South Africa

Below is a long list of the things you should be checking with your wedding venue before making any decisions about where to hold your wedding.  For a really comprehensive planning kit, get yourself the Sheer Wedding Planner  and Budget tool. It’s got detailed worksheets for your wedding planning and budget tracker.

This list probably looks overwhelming, and I don’t recommend you sit the wedding venue coordinator down and interview them about everything all at once, but definitely read through it to help you avoid missing any important parts that you didn’t know that you need to know. You might be able to cover some of the questions yourself by reading on their website – they might have an information sheet already available.

Important questions to ask your wedding venue, ceremony venue and caterer!
Vrede and Lust wedding venue, Tulbagh, South Africa

photo credits: manhattan bride // zara zoo photography
Here are the all important questions you need to ask before signing on the dotted line.

Questions specific to the ceremony venues

  1. Where will the sun be positioned during the ceremony? 
  2. Are we close to nice photo locations? 
  3. Are there suitable spots for family/group photos? 
  4. Does the ceremony venue supply a sound system or can they give us any advice on acoustics? 
  5. Is there seating available for family/elderly guests? 
  6. Is it wheelchair accessible? 
  7. Are there restrooms? 
  8. What sort of passing traffic can you expect to get at this venue?
    If outdoors, you many not want cars and foot traffic walking nearby in the ceremony

 

Questions for Reception Venues

  1. Is it available on the day we want to get married? What days are available?

  2. How much does it cost to hire the venue? What exactly does it include?
    Ask to see an itemized breakdown of costs. It is critical for you to clarify the agreement not only so you know the final cost, but also so you understand which extra costs could possibly fall on your shoulders.

  3. Are there reduced rates for winter or weekdays?
    You could save as much as 40% on venue costs

  4. How many people can the venue accommodate?
    Find out if that number includes the staff members

  5. Can I use my own vendors? Is there an additional charge for that?
    Many locations have their own coordinators, caterers, or other professionals they want you to use for your event or included in the cost.

  6. Does the price include alcohol or is that extra? (See separate list of questions for alcohol further down)
    Some venues will charge based on actual wine, beer, and liquor used. If this is the case, the quoted fee will not include those items.

  7. Are rentals included in this price? What items am I likely to have to hire in? Tables, utensils, chairs, or just décor?
    Smalls like champagne coolers, table runners, napkins, candle holders and other adornments may or may not be provided. Find out what you can rent from the venue or what you need to outsource yourself – you don’t want to  realize on the day that there are no table cloths!

  8. How many hours do we get at the venue? Is there a time limit?

  9. How much are additional hours?
    The cost of going over on time can be substantial.

  10. Are there set up fees?
    This could be especially important to make clear if you plan to have both your ceremony and reception at the same venue.

  11. When can we access the venue to decorate?
    Sometimes only get access the day of the wedding – you’ll want to be getting ready then and would need to delegate to somebody else

  12. Do you do the set up and clean up or do I?

  13. What staffing/support is on hand for set up and clean up? During the wedding? Post-wedding?

  14. Is parking extra? Is parking free for guests?
    It may or not be included in the quoted fee.

  15. Is it wheelchair accessible?

  16. How many restrooms are there?
    Make sure you are happy with their appearance too! Ask if you would be allowed to decorate the restrooms, if you wish to do so.

  17. If there is an additional service charge – does it cover all tips?
    Does the fee cover extras to staff or do they feel it is customary to tip certain additional staff?

  18. Is there a time limit and what’s the cost of going over?
    There is often a set amount of time you can utilize the reception space

  19. How they will arrive at the final cost?
    If you are charged per person for any piece of the reception, you will want to understand how it has been charged.

  20. Is there an additional cost for my other vendors (photographer, videographer, planner, and DJ/band)?
    Your professionals will need to eat, so it is important to know if or how you need to count them. Should they be in the final head count or reported separately (In other words, if you can get a discount rate for the vendors)?

  21. Is there space for a band or DJ? Are there noise constraints?

  22. Is there a dance floor?
    Sometimes that will affect the number of guests the place can seat, as there might be less space for tables if it is in one room

  23. Are there special considerations for children?
    The child cost is most often less than the adult rate.

  24. What are payment terms, i.e. what sort of deposit is required and when is final account settled?

  25. What is the cancellation policy? 

Questions to ask about catering

  1. Can I bring in my own food, other drink, and cake?  
  2. If I do bring my own food, drink, or cake are there extra charges? 
  3. Do they have an on-site caterer/chef or do we need to arrange our own caterer? 
  4. Do they have an on-site kitchen? (If not, you will be limited to the types of food service available) 
  5. Is there a range of menus? 
  6. Will the menu be able to cater to different dietary needs (vegetarian, low-carb, gluten free etc) 
  7. Will we need to inform the caterers in advance of dietary requirements, or can they cope with these requests on the night?

Questions to ask the reception venue about Alcohol

  1. Are you fully licensed? 
  2. Do they have the brand of alcohol you favour? 
  3. What’s the corkage fee – is it per person, per bottle or a set charge? 
  4. What happens to half drunk bottles of wine, or left overs? 
  5. Do I need to hire glasses or will venue arrange? 
  6. Do I need to arrange bar staff? 
  7. Do I need to arrange a duty manager for the bar? 
  8. Do they allow bring your own toasting wine/ champagne? 
  9. Do they do alcohol packages?

 

Are there any other questions you’d like to add to this list? Comment below with any questions we’ve missed or handy questions you asked.

Wedding Photography – Art edition

weddingphotographyart

It is a rainy autumn morning in Cape town. I got myself a generous pot of tea, the cat is purring on my desk and jazz is playing in the background. A perfect set up for focus on dreamy, moody, breathtaking wedding photography.

Being a bride-in-the-making, quite naturally I have headhunted around the web for inspiration, and by now got quite a substantial pinboard on wedding photography and all thing related. As I feel it is a massive component of the day, with the highest significance after the wedding, one does want to make sure that one feels confident that the guy behind the camera has a good understanding of ones wishes and vision when he/ she shoots away. What is as important as photography budget, is that one is happy with the style of the photographer and his/ hers preferred edit of the images, so that  once the album is in your hands you can more or less trust that you will be pleased with the result.

I’ve looked at many wedding pictures where I feel that this was just a bit over-the-top romantically styled and posed. I dont know about you, but sometimes it does make me cringe a bit! It will be hard to avoid I guess, but I really wouldn’t like too many corny shots (why I chose the awesome Mint Tea photography who’s operating with a more alternative and dreamy vibe).

So if one feels keen on a different style, I strongly recommend to discuss with your photographer about how you and your groom want the day to be shot. Photographers are artists – I do believe most of them will really enjoy taking more focused and serene pictures than what they are asked to do for the average wedding album – as long as it is within their capability of course. (Remember to never ask a photographer to copy somebody else’s work – it is offensive and a highly inappropriate thing for them to do.)
Take a good look at their portfolio and previous work before paying the deposit, and make sure than you love their portfolio and are 100% in agreement with the style of their work.

As a trained artist with a keen photographic interest, I do feel inclined to want to involve this alluring art form in my wedding. Ok – maybe I do want some “normal” pictures for the ease of capturing the day as it unfolds naturally without having to think too much about angles and those fancy things etc, but the fine art shooting of the photography could be aimed for a specific part of the wedding day, such as before the reception, when a bit more serious, dramatic and apprehensive mood is in the air.
As the photos below will reveal, it makes good sense for a Bridal portrait session, to capture that exceptional beauty of a bride waiting to get married. Your fine art bridal session could be part of the getting ready, and one can also visualize how perhaps a “First look” shoot where romance and levels will be soaring could work really beautifully. The style would lend itself very  well to all those emotionally charged and precious moments where you almost can touch the intensity in the air and the purity of your  love  – such as the ceremony itself of course, and any moments when bride and groom can be alone and treasure eachother. There is just so much poetry in that – why not capture the deepest sensations of the day with photos that would really give it justice, the moments when what you are feeling and experiencing are almost tangible?

I would definitely like to have a coffee table book like that!

So for all you photography-fans, brides and wedding loving people, today I’m bringing you the best of the best inspiration for fine wedding photography I have come across lately – I hope you enjoy the vibes as much as I do.

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image via joyus

 

Images via Hey Wedding Lady and OnceWed

Images via bride2be.tumblr.com and Junebug weddings

Images via 100feminin.fr and Wedding Sparrow
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Via When He Found Her
via gregfink and photosbycaleigh
via lets get weddy and sibo designs

 

via wedding sparrow and happy wedd

 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBERT WOJTOWICZ / WWW.ROBERTWOJTOWICZ.COM
via robert wojtowicz
via wedding sparrow and paula ohara
via hey wedding lady and matoli keely photography
via anna campbell and sortra
via the lane and mod wedding
via hi miss puff and confetti daydreams
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via style me pretty

 

Equestrian wedding dreams

equestrianweddingdreams

People have said it is a bad idea to mix weddings and animals, but as a sworn horse woman I feel quite adamant about including this beautiful, majestic and faithful creature on my big special day. Imagine an outdoors wedding, suddenly the music is playing, everybody rises, and down the lawn come the bride on horseback. What a spectacular entrance.

Just some things to think about:

  • Make sure that you have a handler, even if you are experienced rider
  • Provide some hay to pick on in between stage sets.
  • Build a step for getting off, and develop a technique to manage the ride without your or Mr Horse getting tangled in the train in the process of getting on and off
  • My advise is to borrow a horse you are already familiar with, or use one which is known to be spoof-proof with a solid temperament.
  • Definitely schedule in a few test rides with the dress prior to the wedding day, and get the horse to the venue early, allowing it to acclimatize with the settings and the arrival route.
  • Perhaps skip the heels for the ride – horses don’t like stilettos in their sides! Cowboy boots would be more appropriate for your grand entrance.
  • Make sure to have the horse wait around for the photo shoots to capture some magic images of this unforgettable moment.
  • Have a bag of apples and carrots for reward after.

Unleash your inner cowgirl!

All images in this post via Pinterest

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HorseAndWomanFull

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bride-and-groom-with-horse

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