Planning An Extraordinary & Fuss-Free Wedding Part 2: The Extraordinary Aspects

Last week we shared some examples of wedding traditions and etiquettes that some people might agree with us are not THAT important to focus on in the wedding, that could be downscaled or perhaps even left out. In this weeks Wedding Planning post, we present you with the areas that we believe are more relevant.

(For your own interpretation, of course!)

Extraordinary wedding ceremony

Dress – When I say relevant, I do not mean you need to expect to go into the “Say yes to the dress rapture”, but you need to feel comfortable and feel great wearing the dress. You might have seen a fab gown in an advert. But if you don’t love wearing it for the right reasons, you will regret it later. A more expensive dress is not necessarily going to be any better or more fabulous. Guests will not appreciate your appearance more because you spent more! Find a dress that feels “you” and remember that trends go out of fashion quickly so rather go for a timeless design. Remember there are 100s of dresses out there that could be “the one” – you will know when you  are wearing one just by how it makes you feel.

 

 

Hair– unless you are a hairstylist with serious skills it will be very hard to get your own hair right, even if you are going for a hair down boho style, you need a pro to make sure it is looking perfectly un-done and stays that way.

 

 

Wedding rings– it is for life – get something on the less “complicated” side, that way you wont grow out of it in 10 years. They are precious and symbolic to you and your husband and will always be a reminder of your love and commitment. Get wedding bands that you will identify with for a long time ahead, and don’t be afraid to custom make if you are not sure what you love the most. Classic and simple will be more durable for the test of time than trends.

 

 

Photography and videography – The big names can seem really expensive, but it is probably going to be worth it. If you don’t want to spend a third of your budget on photography and videography, do seek out up-and-coming photographers instead who  are not yet as established, whos work is most likely going to be just as good.

Whoever you end up choosing, be sure that you LOVE their style and previous work. They must also be able to make you feel comfortable and natural – so use that engagement shoot as a way to test the chemistry out and get used to the idea of being in front of the camera.
The pictures and videos are going to be your memories and documentation for the rest of your life – so the photographer and videographer talent and technique is everything!
New thing worth spending on: having a wedding gopro or even a drone to capture the ceremony, the venue and the wedding reception like nobody else saw it.

 

Ceremony music– If you go for live ceremony music and performance, make sure they are really good. Broken violins or off-key voices are not befitting for the special occasion and start of your marriage.

Officiant – ideally choose someone you  really click with. This part of the day is likely to be the most special to you and your groom and he/ she will say words of huge significance to you and your guests, so you don’t want to let budget decide when choosing officiant. Rather go for personal chemistry, recommendations and previous work records. Meeting and and communicating with the several times before the wedding is key.

 

Seating never go for plastic budget chairs! It is worth spending more to create the appropriate seating for your guests. Comfort is most important, so before you pick chairs, sit in them to make sure they feel good, and if possible have a seat cushion too. People will remember if they were uncomfortable for the whole night. Make sure the elderly guests will be comfortable too, maybe they need a few extra cushions or a more supportive chair. Lounge seating and barstools are equally important for the mingling hours  – no one likes tired feet. Ps. Make sure that all chairs are clean and not broken!

 

Having a weather plan B – needless to  say, we can never be in control of the weather, and even if the wedding is in the middle of summer you can never be too sure. If your wedding is outdoors, have a marquee or other structure where you can seek shelter. If parts of the day needs to be outside, it’s a nice idea to provide umbrellas or rain jackets for guests to borrow. Likewise, have blankets to hand out if it gets colder later in the evening, and a few gas heaters are also a good idea. Guests will go home sooner if they cold! It is not nice be too hot either – so that tent will be crucial to provide shade. Some fans and sunscreen is also a good idea.

Young guests will require entertainment or you wedding might turn chaotic. Games, drawing pads with crayons, activity book, and do consider a special kids area and appointing a child minder, so that the parents can focus on enjoying the day with you. appropriate food for children should be a priority – a hungry and frustrated child can quickly become a loud and demanding monster. Having children in your wedding can add a wonderful atmosphere, it can turn the other way too though. Don’t feel obliged to invite children, everybody will understand.

Entertainment for guests – if everyone can find something to do, your wedding is gonna be so much more enjoyable. Especially if there is a period of waiting in between ceremony and reception, do provide guests with something to keep occupied with. For example an upbeat live band, lawn games, mad libs, a huge canvas to paint on, guest book (make this a fun and interactive one), lounge seating with comfortable cushions, finger foods, plenty of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink options, wedding bingo or other Q&A competition, etc. Create different zones and make it unique and fun – happy guests and laughters makes for the best wedding atmosphere, and all those interactive things to do will ignite conversation and make the guests familiar with one another. If the activities are a bit ridiculous that is good – you are creating life long lighthearted memories!

 

 

Wedding night hotel – Don’t go for budget options, but do tell the hotel (after) you have booked that it is for your wedding night. Ask them to leave a bottle of champagne and chocolates for you, or whatever you may like. The bed needs to be comfortable and the room quiet and secluded. Go for luxe and comfort  and make sure they can deliver breakfast to the room- this is a once in a lifetime night so indulge yourself! Make sure the room has a large bathtub so you can enjoy a relaxing, unwinding post wedding romantic bath. Do NOT stay at home!

Food and Drink – cut décor and wedding party costs and rather splash on amazing food – this is what guests will be taken aback by and remember for years to come. I am not a food and wine connoisseur, but I can ensure you what a great difference there is between a good vs bad tuna steak or Chardonnay. Rather go for flavour and abundance as opposed to trying to impress with fancy presentations and pretentious sounding names.

Special touches – What guests really are going to love and remember about your wedding are special personal touches (not Pinterest touches – sorry). So think together with your groom what you as a couple love, represent, and live for. For example: you love travel and you met in Mozambique on a charity project. Can you add a node to these aspects of your life to you wedding? Perhaps one or both of you have a hobby which can bring an influence. If you own a horse or a dog why not include it somehow? Walk down the aisle to your favorite Guns N Roses song. Serve dim sum as starters if your favorite restaurant is Chinese. If you are into cycling, have a miniature bicycle on top of the cake instead of the usual plastic toppers. And so on and so forth. – How can you make the wedding truly you? Let your imagination guide the way!

Another lovely way to individualize your big day is to involve friends and family in the making of your wedding. Maybe somebody makes the best brownies. Your uncle might have an impressive collection of patterned ties that the groomsmen can borrow. Maybe somebody is even legally able to officiate? Not only for saving cash, but more so to involve and personalize – everybody you ask will feel honoured  to help out, and coming together as a group for a great cause is a perfect way to strengthen family bonds.

Economize in the areas that feel less meaningful to you, so that you can make the parts of your wedding that matters extra special. Make it your day, your way. Be less concerned with following norms and traditions that doesn’t resonate with you, and concentrate on creating a fabulous and non-fussy day filled with memorable moments that you can proudly say it’s yours. 

All the best

image sources: bridal guide // brides // weddings online // 100layer cake // style me pretty

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Planning An Extra-ordinary & Fuss-Free Wedding Part 1: The Fuss-free Aspects

Making sense of wedding traditions - for a fuzz-free wedding day

Have you read a wedding planning checklist yet? There are long lists of details that I could never imagine had to be present in my wedding. I don’t like stress. I don’t like unnecessary waste. And I don’t like clutter. How is that going to work when planning a wedding?

As a “child of the earth” who has swapped countries several times, my values are a mix from all over, and I don’t feel any need to include any rituals in my wedding which are outlined by implication. I am not practicing any religion and not feeling any particular bond to a specific cultural traditions either.

My fiancé has a Jewish ancestry and we will have a kind of Jewish ceremony,  we are including some meaningful elements as a node to his background. I am looking forward to decorate our chuppa with a green garland and lengths of chiffon, crushing the glass and everyone shouting Mazeltov! It will be exotic and personal!

But other than that, the other wedding day elements we have picked are those we feel are close to our heart, and others have been entirely excluded. I don’t want my husband to remove a garter in front of everyone I know, and tossing a bouquet seems to me like superstition and a waste of good flowers.

Traditional or not traditional, I find that many of these to-do-items seem irrelevant. I feel so lucky that I am planning a wedding in times when it is accepted to create a totally unique and different wedding, even in vouge!

With this article, I just want to remind and encourage you brides out there that we don’t have to follow a set of rules to get married – there are no criteria we have to fulfill -apart from the legal required procedure – the rest of the day is up to us.  We decide exactly how traditional or avantgarde we want to be, how typical-of-a-wedding day we’d like, or if we take this as the perfect opportunity to create our new traditions, our way.

This list is one part frugal, one part time-saving, one part de-stressing, and one tiiiny part cynical towards standard wedding norms.. 😉

Less relevant (in my opinion):

Save the dates: They are pretty and alluring, I agree. But isn’t this a very recent invention? Sending out the invites 2 months before is plenty notice. For your international guests, a personal email or phone call is much nicer. Just another reason for stationery makers to separate you from another chunk of your wedding budget. An option is to create your Save the date digitally, and send as an email.

Teeth whitening – if you brush 2 minutes twice a day and floss every other day, how bad can it possibly be?

Making sense of wedding traditions - for a fuzz-free wedding day

Pre-wedding manicure – I appreciate that many girls are already in a nail routine and love it, but if you are not then I don’t see any need to start one during your engagement just because you will show your ring to people. They will look at the ring, not your nails. Keeping them clean is enough. For your big day, it could however be a nice treat for a bit of “princessification”. I’d recommend to choose a timeless nail design as you will look at the photos when you are 80. What is in fashion now quickly goes out of fashion.

Making sense of wedding traditions - for a fuzz-free wedding day

Elaborate Centre pieces – candles and some foliage such as olive or penny gum goes a long way. Maybe a potted plant or cactus from your existing collection? A basket of colourful fruits and vegetables? Remember that not every table has to look the same either. Fewer, well executed decorations are going to be much more effective and stylish than big and over designed ones, if you ask me. Im a fan of the potted plant concept – they cost the same but last a long time (given you treat it right).

Making sense of wedding traditions - for a fuzz-free wedding day
Favours – No one in South Africa had heard about it before Pinterest. It is a nice gesture, but your guests are really not going to mind if they didn’t get a bag of homemade popcorn or a mini jar of decantered honey. Your invitation and hosting is plenty. (In some cases, they might be relieved). They will rather have a great selection of cheese to nibble on at the wedding.

Aisle carpet or decorations – total overkill. All the guests are just looking at you, and you and the groom are just looking at eachother. The bride will be decoration enough! Keep it simple and focus on beautiful bunches of foilage and flowers on the arch, at the entrance to the aisle or on the ceremony table. That is where people will look at and appreciate it.

Making sense of wedding traditions - for a fuzz-free wedding day

Programs – another irrelevant piece of paper that will be looked at momentarily only to then be tossed. They all know what will happen: The officiant will speak, someone’s gonna sing, somebody else might read something nice, more music and then vows, kiss, confetti, hoorays!

 

Bridal beauty pressures such as Wedding day perfume – whats wrong with your normal one? Or if you don’t usually wear, why should you now? You might end up spending the day sneezing, or your husband might not enjoy it – how we smell is how we subliminally are attracted to eachother, so wearing a brand new perfume could be a bit of a gamble.

Beating yourself up in the gym or through a starvation diet – unless you loose more than 7 kgs, very few people are going to notice anything anyway. You are getting married, not signing up for bikini model school. Size 10 is no better than size 12, and 12 no better than 14. Your sanity is priority. Stick to your normal routine. Your dress will work the magic if it fits you right.
Facials every month leading up  to the wedding – it is a nice pampering treat which could be good for relaxation. But your skin is probably not going to be visible through the ultra-photogenic foundation you’ll be wearing on your wedding day. Washing and moisturizing regularly and a face pack once a week will go a long way.

Talking about makeup – most of us knows how to prettify ourselves to look a bit more polished – there are plenty of online tutorials too. Use what you would spend on the makeup artist to buy your own professional makeup instead, that you can use again and again. The natural, understated look is always going to be more pretty and timeless in the end. Go for a look that you will proudly show your children.

My advise is: don’t try to be or look like anyone else than yourself.

Making sense of wedding traditions - for a fuzz-free wedding day

Fancy backdrop or floral wall– ribbons, makramé or foliage attached on string will be plenty decorative, pin-worthy and unique. Minimalists might favour strings of lights or some beautiful fabric instead.

Making sense of wedding traditions - for a fuzz-free wedding day

Flowers everywhere – it s expensive, only lasts a few hours and is costly for you and the environment. Unless you can forage wildflowers or cut flowers from somebody’s garden – reduce the wastage and expenditure by choosing greenery over florals, having an organically produced bouquet, have bridesmaids carry a single stem flower and keeping flower decorations to a minimum. Choose your favorite flowers and display them where they will be appreciated for years to come – such as in your hair, on your wedding cake and your bouquet (as they will be photographed the most here)
People hardly notice what is hanging in the trees or above the tables anyway.

 

Making sense of wedding traditions - for a fuzz-free wedding day
Sit-down starters – Why not let the starters happen during cocktail hours as canapés and fingerfoods. Less formal and more dynamic mingling and interaction.
100s of homemade signs with slogans/ rhyming instructions on. It is only cute up to a point, then it quickly gets corny. Stick to 2-3 essential ones, such as directions to the toilet and where to sign the guest book.
Groomsmens outfit – rent or borrow, or look for more or less matching wardrobe items such as white shirt and grey trousers, then coordinate with a matching tie or bowtie. Mismatched is also great!

Making sense of wedding traditions - for a fuzz-free wedding day
Co-ordinating bridesmaids makeup, hairstyle, earrings, bangles, nail polish… having them wearing more or less the same colour and hairpiece/ crown is plenty enough. No one will notice the details. Your wedding is not boarding school. As for shoes, let them pick a matching colour from their own wardrobes – for example white, black, or metallic. I’ve asked mine to wear leather sandals because they are nice and everyone has got a pair.
Wedding music – for the background music and DJ, an ipod playlist will do just as good job, as long as there is someone who can press the stop and play button as needed.
Individual wedding menus – guests will look at it once. Printing one per table will be enough, or writing it on a bigger board for more to see.
Paper invites – easier to manage RSVPs’ if you send from a wedding website. People prefer to do everything online these days anyway. Cheaper, less time consuming, and less paper waste too (yes you do know they will end up in the bin soon enough?) No guest is going to turn down your wedding because they didn’t think the invites where goo enough.
Fancy table runners and napkins – table runners are just an unnecessary detail and can make tables seem overly busy. All that napkins need to do  is absorbing the dribbling  soup starter and your smudging lipstick, so thread count and colour is never gonna be worth remembering. I ensure you: nobody is EVER gonna say “Oh do you recall cousin Mark’s wedding – the napkins were just SO stylish and soft”. I guarantee it. Spend that money on great wine instead, that’s something guests will appreciate more. (You do need napkins- don’t get me wrong – but in this area there is no need to go for top quality)

Making sense of wedding traditions - for a fuzz-free wedding day
The extraordinary wedding cake– these days wedding cake designers seem to have taken up the challenge of making each and every cake into a more elaborate and bombastic design than previous.

My take on wedding cakes are similar to dresses: less is more. Instead of paying for good looks, focus on the essential stuff – which is that the cake tastes amazing. Asking for a simple white fondant cake is much more practical too – (less risk of sliding, collapsing or melting, and the cake will keep moist even if on display for a few hours.) Easily transported and easily assembled means less risk of cake accidents. Decorate with fresh flowers, succulent or fresh berries and fruit, and you will have a stunning and unique cake.

Another idea is to  have several smaller cakes instead of one big cake – this way you have more possibilities to unleash your creativity.
DIY ALL the decor – it is pretty time consuming, actually often more expensive, stressful and after a while quite repetitive. I feel embarrassed when I compare my dream catchers to those on Pinterest, and the tin vase table scape that looked so great online, to me mine look like a kindergarden recycling activity. And I thought I loved DIY!

Unless you have loads of time, money, ingenuity, persistence and crafting experience, chances are that your projects might end up rather sub-standard. Consider freshly foraged local flowers, naturally found objects and greenery instead.

If you DO want to DIY something, I dare you do do something you DIDN’T find on Pinterest but invented yourself  (isn’t it time for some new creations now?!)
My second tip is to produce or buy decor items that  you could also make use of after the wedding: such as lanterns, candle holders, picture frames, concrete pots, copper pipe candelabra, coffee table or a nice artwork for your home. It would be both beautiful and practical keepsakes.
My third and last tip is to select 1 or 2 projects, take you time with it and lovingly do them really well.

Decorated champagne flutes for the newlyweds – the ones you buy look mostly tacky. And why are they neccesary? Be minimalist stylish and attach a twig of rosemary instead, or a simple bow of twine.

Formal posed photographs with every possible combination of family members. Why not let them be more organic and documentary style – they will be more natural and representative of what the day really was like.

First dance with elaborate steps requiring dance classes? I personally do not feel enthusiastic about the prospect of showing off my dancing skills, and will gladly avoid this wedding tradition. If I did, I would probably do a slow shuffle to Bryan Adams – like I did on school disco’s in the 90s. Just for a laugh.

A fancy carriage – Ever heard of Uber gold? It will be cheaper and easier in every way, you will conveniently get a jazzy car for less. Or ask around in the network – someone ought to have a cool car or a characterful old truck. Few will take notice your mode of transport – spend the money on guest comfort instead such as comfortable chairs, cozy blankets and great wine.

Please take my advice with a pinch of salt! All I intend to do is to question why we do certain things, and if we really have to. There is nothing wrong with being traditional. But there is also nothing wrong with going your own way.

The essential elements on your wedding where it IS worth paying more attention to, even if it means spending a bit extra, will be presented to you  in next weeks Wedding planning post!

In the meantime, I hope you feel inspired to find ways to de-clutter and re-organize your wedding day so that it makes better sense to you. Cut the unnecessary details out and rather focus on meaningful elements that will add real value.

The less fussy details – the less to worry about.  More room for love, happiness and quality time with your groom and guests.

image sources: oh best day ever // hello gem // the perfect wedding // hi miss puff // junebug weddings

The causes and cures of Wedding Distress (Brides and friends of brides you have to read this!)

Having been a bride-to-be for nearly 6 months, I have definitely had moments of despair and disbelief, especially in the last month or so which proved more challenging in ways I could have never expected. First it looked like my mum suddenly wasn’t going make it because of requiring surgery. My maid of honour had a car crash and injured a disc in her neck. My custom-ordered wedding dress turned out to be a disaster and I struggled for almost a month to get a refund. I fell when running and smashed my face on the pavement, spending 2 weeks swollen, badly bruised and a nose like a sweet potatoe. When my new dress maker seemed to have vanished into thin air with my deposit and precious bridal fabric, I was on the verge on a “bridal breakdown” for sure. I was ready to cancel all wedding plans and elope.

 

Causes and Cures for Wedding Planning Panic

Luckily, all the things above got more or less resolved eventually. But I am still struggling with the anxious aftermaths, difficulty to sleep some nights, fatigue and my lips have taken a beating as I can’t seem to stop nibbling on them.

So what it is that happens to us when we are planning a wedding? Why are brides susceptible to anxiety? Why can the months of engagement easily turn into months of stress, and sometimes even dread?

Now with this unfortunate hands-on-experience, it is time to dive deep into the subject and unravel the causes – and cures- of wedding panic.

Causes and Cures for Wedding Panic

In the research from popular wedding articles on online wedding blogs, everyone is taking about “BRIDEZILLA”.
If you ask me, this term is extremely unfair and judgemental!
I want to tell all brides out there, that we have every right to “go mental” as brides-to-be. Being engaged and planning a wedding is SO charged of various and contrasting emotions:

On the one hand:
Extreme happiness. Excitement. Looking forward to an incredible special day. Waiting for a life together with the love of our life. Getting to choose between fantastic dresses, décor, music, all things related to wedding conceptualizing and design. Looking forward to spending time with family and friends. Fun preparations together with your wedding party.

On the other hand:
Anticipation – easily turned into nervousness. Complex emotions about what lies ahead – marriage is a pretty big commitment right?
Indecisiveness – there seems to  be an infinite of big and small decisions to be made- after about 50 decisions it gets pretty muddled as of what is relevant and irrelevant. (Napkin colours – do you know what I mean?)
The prospect of being centre of attention can frighten some – me included.
The prospect of coordinating and getting all the details to fit together into one smooth and seamless event – we want it to be amazing on top of that.
Family and friends from all walks of life in one place can be joyful but  also overwhelming.
Juggling bridesmaids personalities and making decisions as a group.
Deciding on their dresses – and the big one: deciding on YOUR DRESS, shoes, hair, makeup and accessories – hello! I can take 1 hour getting ready for an evening with book club and I know others that are similar or worse. For a day when one is going to be the most photographed EVER, one can easily develop anxieties about ones appearance, not to mention ones figure. Especially when there are millions of dresses and shoes etc to choose from.

There is already a lot of pressure on women to look good just in everyday life, on ones wedding that pressure is amplified beyond what many women are comfortable with. A common description of the typical wedding day as PERFECT – no wonder at all that brides-to-be are yearning for a perfect wedding day too, which includes perfect appearance, perfect details and perfect everything. This is why, my dear readers, brides-to-be often come across as “perfectionists” – and it opens every single possibility of immense insecurity.

Causes and Cures for Wedding Panic

Many women getting married have no problems with the above and take wedding preparations in their stride, or just hire a wedding planner. But for any one who has even the slightest inclination towards anxiety and self-doubt, this is definitely one of the more challenging times a woman will ever be going through. (Ok, raising toddlers and teenagers might be worse)

So will everyone PLEASE stop talking about bridezillas now, and simply have some understanding and compassion of what it is like? Brides are often accused for being “Divas”, Neglectful of others (including fiancés),  Aggressive, Irritable, Perfectionists, Obsessed, Attention seeking and the worst: Irrational.
All these behaviours are merely symptoms of the extreme stress, anxiety and the overwhelming phase we are going through. Have some mercy on brides, man!

Instead of the bride being constantly asked to monitor her behaviour, being kinder to bridesmaids, being more grateful, humble and serene, how about her near and dear ones stops mocking her and instead showing a bit compassion and understanding? If she is attention seeking – maybe you haven’t given her enough attention? If a friend of you is getting married and you find her worrying about centrepieces – just stop for a sec and realize that this is a woman in distress, and she is not intentionally being relentless or “irrational”, but only experiencing insecurity and confusion whether to please her grandma or her uncle in the choice of flowers.

It is not a conscious decision by brides to act this way– it is rather that we are under attack by wedding demons, way beyond what we can control ourselves. Our bridezilla diva tendencies is not a choice – it is a result of too much pressure from every direction. Because we have looked forward to this special day for a long time, and now it is fast approaching – surely that is reason enough to get hyper-excited about everything about it – even the flower girls basket?

We have never done this kind of thing before – so it is obvious why one is going to feel insecure and bewildered, all at the very same time.

Causes and Cures for Wedding Panic
Have you ever found yourself spending more than 20 minutes in the cereal aisle of a supermarket trying to decide what breakfast cereal you want? There are simply too many brands to choose from, alluring packaging, concepts of what is good for you or not, in the end of it  you don’t even know what you like anymore. Do I like cranberries or raisins more? Do I prefer granola or flakes? Gooseberry/ almond or cashew/ fig? What about my fiancé, what does he like again – maybe this sports blend? In the end, you might pick up something that you really didn’t like, or walked out of the aisle empty handed.

Even a normal person can find this detailed decision making too much. Multiply that feeling by 10.000 – that is what it is like to be a bride. Do you follow? Stress and too much choice can make any normal human irrational. It is not fun.

Ok, so lets stop ranting and rather take a quick look at what can be done to support a bride you know going through this, or if you are a bride, how you can help yourself feeling this confused way. Because maybe you like me is just sick of spending everyone waking hour thinking about your wedding, debating endlessly with yourself if you want a block heel or a stiletto for your wedding shoe, how much to spend on the dessert buffet, associating everything in your surrounding to your wedding (it is not pleasant im telling you – when I go for a “relaxing” run I cant stop thinking about greenery garlands, and that is most likely why I tripped and bashed my face into the pavement)
Maybe you are sick of finding yourself absent minded and distracted (I have found mittens in the freezer) because your mind is full of possible vendors, leaving you unable to concentrate on everyday tasks.

The main objective is:

To calm the bride/ you down and find some healthy distance to the issue – try watching a lighthearted movie (not about weddings), go for a walk in nature, or visit a friend who is not in your wedding party ( do NOT talk about weddings)
To understand that the bride/ you  are not going crazy, she/ you are going through a stressful time, and everybody does sometime so it’s okay
To realize the bride/ you are not a wedding “freak” and this is really normal (hence the numerous articles on the subject)
The bride is/ you are not acting this way by choice, she is/ you are temporarily taken away by feelings that are outside of her normal personality and she needs gentle treatment to come out of it – not making fun of, brushing over, or abandonment
To understand that the wedding is only the brides/ yours and your fiancés – not some bridal blog or wedding magazine. Peer pressure and comparing with other weddings can leave one feeling “not good enough” But the most important thing is that you create your day your way, not anybody else’s.

Causes and Cures for Wedding Panic

How to deal with yourself/ a bride you know in times of wedding worry before it leads to acute bridal distress
It is important to get some wedding “off”time and plan some time away from wedding planning. For example, try to have a few wedding free days per week
As a wedding planning human being, you are going to have 100s of ideas coming to you at random times. Instead of trying to have all your wedding ideas and thoughts in your head, put it somewhere like in your phone. Me and the fiancé share a list where we jolt down what we come up with, just to get it off our minds, and can look at it later. (We have ended up scrapping most of the ideas already)
Limit wedding related social media time – if Internet was ever accused for being information overload – Pinterest is inspiration overload.
Have a friend – who is not in your wedding party- you can talk to about your wedding who isn’t personally involved. It can be especially helpful to talk to an older, already  married woman. They will help you get some healthy perspective and realistic view points.
Try to solve other things in your life as a distraction – perhaps time to reupholster that sofa? If you don’t keep up with your “normal” life at the same time as wedding planning, you are almost guaranteed to feel empty and sad after the big day – a.k.a the “wedding blues”
Adopt a cheerful motto such as “Everything is going to be fine in the end – and if it is not fine, it is not the end” or similar for a bit of self-reassuring as needed
Try to limit the amount of alcohol you consume – it makes sleeping much  harder, it exacerbates anxiety and endless worries, and is a depressant which could kill motivation.
Don’t crash diet – very bad for your mood and energy levels. Eat balanced, nutritious and stable diet – a bit of this and a bit of that, no deprivation because it tends to backlash in the end.
Have a stable and sensible exercise routine, don’t try too hard or you might burnout or loose the willpower
Pick out 3 – max 5- segments of the wedding to focus harder on, such as the ceremony, dress and the food, and let the other segments of the party be less important (napkins, flower girl baskets etc). That way your attention will not get spread too thin.

Causes and Cures for Wedding Planning Panic
As soon as you are engaged, people will LOVE to tell you everything you should and shouldn’t do. Just smile, say thank you very much, mop up one or two ideas (or none) and then move on. It is your wedding so create it from your heart and your individual circumstances. Know what you love and what you don’t – it will make deciding much easier. No two weddings are ever going to be the same. You are not arranging somebody else’s wedding – your and your grooms only. There is no right or wrong way. Realizing that will take a huge bundle of stress of your shoulders.

It’s hard not to get caught up in all the attention and excitement, and most of the time in is FUN. There’s nothing wrong with being eager about your wedding and gorging in all the details – no matter how serious or silly they are. So try to just relax and have a good time, keep your happiness and motivation level as high as possible, be sensible for your own sake  and enjoy the process! You are most likely only going through this time once in your life, this time will fly by quickly so be as “bridal” as you feel like and hopefully your surroundings will be understanding enough for you to keep up with your wedding enthusiasm 🙂

image sources: hello may // joel allegretto // hey wedding lady   //  magnolia rouge // my wedding guides

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.

How to select your bridesmaids wisely – practical advise!

How to choose the best bridesmaids    SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

Congratulations! You are engaged and you have just started a wonderful and exciting journey of preparing for probably the biggest party and event of your life. But you will need some friends with you along the journey for emotional support, positive encouragement and a little bit of practical help too.

It may feel the most obvious to choose your best friend as your Maid of honour. Good bridesmaids candidates could be your sister, a childhood friend and your grooms sister too perhaps. But before asking them the “question”, it is fine to have a month or so after the engagement, let the high of the engagement settle and avoid letting the rush of emotions influence you to make a premature decision.

There are some important factors to consider in order to create the best Team Bride to help you get married and to share the fun with.

  • Commitment and time

    Will they be around this year? Perhaps they have work lined up in a different country/ city. Consider how much you would want them to be around to help you with dress trials, parties and crafting. Take a look at their life situation – if they just got a new job or a baby, joined a course or any other time consuming commitment, they might not be able to help you as much as they otherwise would have.

    How to choose the best team of bridesmaids

  • Feet on the ground

    How practically minded are they? This also depends on how practical you want them to be of course. If they are absent minded or easily get stressed but have a great taste, perhaps assign them a more suitable job such as helping you to decide on design aspects of they day, such as managing bridesmaids flower crown and shoes as opposed to keeping track of the RSVP lists.

    How to choose the best bridesmaids    SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

  • Holy matron-omy

    Your Maid of honour – is she a good leader/ speaker? Is she sensible and mature? Do she stand by your side in all situations? It is traditional that she gives a speech on the day, and she would normally be assigned to keep track of the rings and being “head of” bridesmaids, as well as many other responsibilities. Ensure that she would be comfortable to manage these significant tasks before assigning her to the role.

    How to choose the best bridesmaids    SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

  • True wisdom

    Wait to see how enthusiastic your close friends really are about weddings – it might not be the way you think. My friend who is a divorcée turned out to  be the most involved and interested in my wedding preparations even though I assumed she would not be keen at all – and now she is giving me great advise about what to expect, how not to fret about dresses, and other most useful words of wisdom.

    How to choose the best bridesmaids    SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

  • According to ability

    What roles do you want them to play? Do you want them to help you choose the dress, venue decor, wedding colours or is it enough that they plan your bridal shower and stand by your side during the ceremony? How will they be useful?

    How to choose the best bridesmaids SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

  • Different strokes for different bridesmaids

    Think about peoples skills and personality – do they have the right attributes? Look for qualities such as being caring, attentive, “together”, being a good companion, having a good eye for details, a positive outlook, being a calming influence and so on and so forth.

    How to choose the best bridesmaids SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

  • Temperament

    Take the nature of each candidate into account. If one of them is known to be an opinionated drama-queen who loves being in the centre of attention, or your mate from varsity who can’t hold down a job and seems to have a new boyfriend every month, will possibly not be the most stable support for you, even if you have had lots of fun together and love her as a friend.

    How to choose the best bridesmaids    SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

  • Tendencies

    Take a honest look at what every candidates energy and ability to be a positive force is like. If they have a tendency to complain, pull out of commitments or cancel your dates, not answer the phone, talk mostly about themselves – rule them out immediately. You want your team to be able to focus on you and fill you with positivity. Reliability and accountability is a must.

    How to choose the best bridesmaids SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

  • Say yes to the best

    If they are going to accompany you to your wedding dress appointments – make sure that they would put your interests first, as opposed to their personal opinion. Have you ever seen the show Say Yes To The Dress? Then you know what a nightmare a strongly opinionated entourage can be. Try to find out if they would put you first in this situation by taking them out for a regular shopping trip first.

    How to choose the best bridesmaids    SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

  • Future investment

    What do you see you and this friends relationship to be like in 10 or 20 years time? Is she a contact you can count on to be around or is she a brand new or possibly a fleeting friend? Do you honestly see it possible for you to be friends for life? This might not matter right now, but prepare yourself by considering the future.

    How to choose the best bridesmaids SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

  • Keeping it simple is ok

    You don’t have to choose more than 2 bridesmaids, just for the sake of it. Quality support is better than quantity. The more members of your squad, the biggest risk for disagreement and confusion – choosing outfits is a classic scenario with potential for difficulty.

    How to choose the best bridesmaids SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

  • With your heart

    Maybe  you feel fine to deviate from any of the points above,and that  is totally up to you. Don’t let anything stand in the way for your personal feeling about who you wan’t to have around during this precious time. Just being aware of who they are and can offer can help to prevent any disappointment further down the line.

    How to choose the best bridesmaids SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

  • Meaningful maids

    Choose women who mean the most to you, that you admire and feel good when you are around. You don’t need to follow conventional traditions when selecting your crew – go with your gut instinct when it comes to your final decision. Select thoughtfully, and be fine which whoever you decide on.

    How to choose the best bridesmaids    SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

    DON’T

  • Choose a bridesmaid just because you know you can ask her certain favours, or use her contact network or other resources to your advantage when planning the wedding. She will probably end up feeling abused and that will not be a good experience for either of you. Mutual respect is very important – be a fair bride just as you expect them to be fair to you.

    How to choose the best bridesmaids SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

  • Make your decision too quickly. Mull over the options before making your final decision. Use the first month to figure out just how big interest your close friends take in this journey you just embarked on and what role they play in your life.

    How to choose the best bridesmaids SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

  • Feel obliged to ask somebody just because she asked if she could be your bridesmaid. Be honest and explain that it was a tough decision but you have considered it carefully, or tell her that you want to think about it for a bit first.

    How to choose the best bridesmaids    SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

  • Choose somebody unless they are 100 % fond of your fiancé and are fully supportive of your engagement. Total agreement and encouragement is key.

    How to choose the best bridesmaids SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com
    You hopefully have a clearer picture of who makes the best team to support you in your wedding. After picking out the members, you can enjoy to so much fun and excitement with them. Good luck!

    PS. Don’t forget to spoil your girls along the way to show your appreciation!

image sources: plum pretty sugar // brides // popsugar // wedpics // wedding party app // green wedding shoes // pinterest

Eco-weddings: How to make your big day environmentally friendly

Eco-friendly wedding inspiration  SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

Typical weddings are known be heavy on resources and can clock up quite a few carbon emissions and materials going to waste after being used just for one day. But having the time of your life doesn’t mean you can’t be kind to the environment at the same time, without compromising on your dream day’s appearance.

Here are some tips to throwing the best party ever with the least environmental impact.

  1. Eco-style

    Generally speaking, the easiest way to “greenify”your wedding is to simply making it smaller. The fewer people, the less travel, materials and waste produced.
    But you can of course counterbalance the wastage by adopting a minimalist approach to reduce resources used in the production of your wedding day.

    Think that you are confined to a rustic theme with brown invites, vintage tea cups and home made decor? You needn’t skimp on elegance just because you go green. Keep the elegance by implementing a botanical theme, use minimalist as your main approach and buy a sophisticated dress from a eco-conscious designer such as Minna or Reformation. Off-set the carbon imprint by serving a vegan/ vegetarian menu and hosting your wedding locally. Instead of asking for gifts or giving out favours, you can ask people to donate money into a charity with an environmental cause.

    Eco-friendly wedding inspiration SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

  2. Invitation environmental ingenuity

    There are wonderful paperless options for your invitation – just look online and you will find numerous wedding websites and apps that are often free and easy to use both for yourself and your guests. It makes RSVPing so much easier when the guest clicks a button in their electronic invite and you instantly get an updated list of who is coming, and can keep a quick tally of the numbers and any dietary restrictions. Don’t we all prefer to do everything online these days anyway?

    If you must have traditional paper invite, source recycled paper and make them as small as possible. Instead of making separate papers for Details, directions and RSVP, try to fit them on one paper, or provide a wedding website address where the guests can look up further information. You can skip the Save the dates altogether – or just make a phone call to those who live far-away who may need to make travel plans further in advance.
    Instead of printing menus for everyone – save time, money and paper by writing the menu on an old window or mirror by each table instead.

    For your registry – unless you really need a toaster and new crockery – consider asking your guests for a cash donation instead of something that might end up collecting dust. This way you can spend the money on something really worthwhile – and it will save a lot of paper on packaging too.

     

  3. Green dress success

    The fashion industry, including the bridal fashion industry, is not famous for it’s environmental consciousness. But there are ways you can be eco-clever with your bridal attire: number one is to repurpose an old dress – for example your mothers – where you use existing material and turn it into your very own dream dress. It is a wonderful way to pass down a special heirloom and it will great for both you and your mum for many more reasons than environmental.

    Buying a second hand dress is equally eco-friendly. Look in local classifieds or designated preloved dresses online shops for gorgeous discounted designer dresses that need a new bride to make happy.

    If you want to purchase a brand new gown, seek out designers who either has a “zero waste” policy (which means all the wastage from pattern cutting is minimized) and/ or choose a designer that creates sustainable gowns, whether it’s by hand-making the dress or supporting women in developing countries.

    Certain fabrics are more eco-friendly than others. Buy fabrics that are decomposable and made of natural fibre, and for extra conciseness, make sure the fabrics are made in fair working conditions.

    Ingenious brides who dont want to part with their dress, may also find ways to make use of their wedding dress after the big day is over: a baby crib cover, baby girl dress, teddy bear, a new top and skirt, lingerie, cushion cover, a scarf, lanterns – anything you can think of making something white with. You can even make a necklace!

    Eco-friendly wedding inspiration  SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

 

  1. Deco=eco

    As for most stylish weddings, less is more when it comes to decor – the less material you use, the less wasteful your wedding will be. Minimalist = environmentalist. You will save money and time too!

    Make sure that your decorations have either been re-purposed already, or will be possible to re-purpose after the wedding. How about thrifting all your reception decor from charity shops or vintage shops, and handing it back to the shop they came from afterwards? I guarantee you will have the most unique wedding ever, and this is just such a great way to put a personal stamp on your decor.
    For the more modern and minimalist look wedding look, paint recycled wine bottles white for elegant and classy vases.

    Or how about sourcing your decorations from your local landscape? Rocks, driftwood, grasses, feathers, shells – fits like a hand in glove with a bohemian decor scheme. Combine with harvested wild flowers and you  have a wedding as beautiful as Mother Nature herself.
    Upcycling – another wonderful way to save on resources. Pallet wood, tin cans, jam jars, glasses and plywood can make fantastic and on-trend decorations with just a small bit of DIY that anyone could handle.

    If you want a traditional decoration for your wedding, try to at least avoid using polystyrene and plastic, and recycle as much as you possible can.
    Avoid balloons and send-off Chinese lanters – they are pretty but create garbage in undesirable places.

    A clever way to reuse (and make some bucks) is to sell or rent out your wedding decor after the wedding – you can of course hire yours as well if you have the possibility – it save a lot of effort and hassle too.

    Eco-friendly wedding inspiration  SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

     

  2. Eco-power flowers

    If you are getting married in spring or summer, you should easily be able to find your wedding flowers in abundance in a nearby field.
    You could minimize the flowers you use and go for a majority of greenery and foliage instead – and you get extra trend-bonus points as well. Pampas grasses are another fashionable edition to this years flower design, and add interesting texture and movement to decorations and your bouquet.
    Using succulents that can be replanted after the wedding (they root easily) is a smart way of making sure nothing goes to  waste. Likewise, why not use potted plants on your centrepieces instead of cut flowers? Branches can also look just as nice in a vase.
    Fruit and vegetables can be used as colourful and interesting centrepieces – what you can’t use after the wedding, donate to a local food bank or give to family to enjoy.
    For your confetti: use leaves, herbs or small flowers such as lavender and rosemary instead. Pretty, fragrant and no clean up required after. Make confetti holders by rolling upcycled paper into cones.
    If you are going for traditional flower arrangements I have only two words: local and seasonal!


     

  3. Environmentally favourable favours

    Give responsibly! Edible flavours such as homemade jam, organic coffee beans honey, or plants or a bag of seeds to plant are all great ideas of eco-friendly favours for your guests that everyone will appreciate. You could even give a little tree seedling to offset the carbon emissions from all the miles people have travelled to attend your wedding.
    If you can’t think of anything worthwhile to give, how about offering the money  you were going to spend on favours to a charity with an environmental cause? Your guests will not be disappointed, and you will set a great example for future weddings.

     

  4. Hire the attire

    Just as for your dress, consider having your groom and groomsmen renting their outfits, or using something they already own. Chances are they would only wear this outfit once anyway. Matchy-matchy is no longer a must for wedding outfits – just give a guideline and let them dig out what they have. Everybody has a white shirt and grey pants; and suspenders and a funky bowtie can easily be found in a vintage shop. Then let them rent a jacket and waistcoat – it will save everybody money and time too.
    For your bridesmaids – give them a budget and colour scheme and then let them buy their own. If they choose something themselves, they will pick something they will wear again and this way the fabric has not been wasted just for one use. Perhaps they already have something in their wardrobes that can be coordinated?
    Head to a vintage market together as an outing and be surprised how creative you can be with the bridesmaids look.
    If you must have matching evening dresses for your girls, either rent the gowns, or buy preloved (like we hope you did with your dress).

    Eco-friendly wedding inspiration  SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

     

  5. When it comes to venue: local is better

    For the venue, do consider your nearby options first. Picking a destination across the ocean for 100 people to travel to – well you can imagine how many tonnes of damaging emissions that produces. A farm, an Inn or a forest outside your town is a wonderful eco-friendly and less expensive alternative. Also consider your favorite restaurant, your local library or why not a warehouse for a bit of wedding-edginess.
    If your venue is far from the nearest town, consider arranging a shuttle of guests or organize car-pooling – it will mean more guests can enjoy your bar menu without driving restrictions.
    When setting up the venue,make sure that somebody installs 4 different bins for collecting waste: Paper, tins, glass and other.

    Eco-friendly wedding inspiration  SheerEverAfter.wordpress.com

     

  6. Eating without cheating

    Look carefully at the products used to create your menu. As much as possible, make sure the chef uses seasonal ingredients and locally grown produce. If you serve fish, make sure it is sustainably fished. If you are serving meat, use it as an ingredient as supposed to the main event. Chicken and pork are less heavy on water and resources than beef and lamb.
    If there are organic options, choose them as much as possible. See if the ingredients could possibly be purchased from the farmer to minimize fuel for transporting to and from grocery shops, and plastic packaging.

    Ask your chef to carefully calculate the servings as to minimize food wastage. Arrange all leftovers to be stored properly and be taken to a soup kitchen the next day.

     

  7. DIY-savvy

    Doing DIY for your wedding is a wonderful and fun way to personalize your wedding. It might even save you some money and the environment too. But keep in mind that not all DIY projects are eco-friendly. Try to use the principle of up-cycling when choosing your projects, I e turn something already used into something new. For example: doilies into dream catchers. Glass ware from a charity shop into votives. Tin cans into vases. A pretty garland made of fabric scraps.
    Pinterest is full of clever DIY ideas – but remember to use “new” materials as little as possible and rather look at what is already available.
    For crafts that calls for paper – why not use pages from an unloved book? You could even make a stunning table runner this way!

     

  8. Sweetest honey-moon

    When planning your honeymoon, do consider the flights you have to take in order to get there. Flying less will not only save you money , but perhaps you will find a destination off the beaten track nearer to – or in – your own country that is just as exiting. Perhaps you can book a train instead of driving a car. Romance does not have to travel far to flourish – the most important thing is you and your spouse are alone in eachothers company and can connect and enjoy this precious experience of being newly weds. After so many busy months of wedding planning, chances are that all you want to do is to take it easy for your honeymoon, so anywhere quiet and pretty is going to be as good as anywhere exotic. (Even if you are a self-confessed environmental enthusiast – do NOT consider camping though – you need the comforts this time!)

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    image credits: pinterest // boho weddings // brides // etsy // weddbook // wedding chicks

Take the stress out of the dress

Wedding gown shopping advise @Sheer ever after

Shopping for your wedding gown is one of the most wonderful but potentially stressful moments in your preparation for a wedding. Before hitting the wedding gown shops, it will be good for you to be aware of some crucial things, and by knowing these few tips, you should feel more confident of what you want as you begin the wedding gown search.

  1. Know your timeline

You may notice in many wedding planning checklists that you’re supposed to purchase your wedding dress six-eight months before the wedding. This may seem like an unnecessarily early date, but know that it typically takes 16-20 weeks to create your dress, and that doesn’t include the fittings you will need before. Not only do you want to have plenty of time to find The One, but all of the people who make your dress perfect need enough time to do so.

When you begin your search, keep in mind that  alterations can take one to two months. Don’t delay your wedding dress shopping!

2. Know your budget

One of the top mistakes brides make is not knowing the budget for their wedding gown before trying on dresses. Having at least a range that you are comfortable spending will help both you and your consultant when picking a dress.

Discuss your budget with your partner, with your parents, with anyone who might be involved in the purchase of your dress. Planning out your wedding budget ahead of time will help you know what you realistically know what you can afford. If someone else has offered to pay for it, ask what range they would be most comfortable with.

Don’t forget to leave room in the budget for shoes, veil, accessories and alterations.

3. Know your wedding

Before booking your bridal salon appointments, make sure you know the type of wedding you’re planning, when and where. This means the season, type of venue, and your wedding theme, if you have one. Yes, you can wear whatever you want, but if you purchase a low-key gown and you end up booking something really fancy, you may wish you went bigger and bolder.

The sleeves, skin exposure, train length and fabric could all depend on your ceremony space, wedding reception venue and the time of the year. In addition to bringing in images of dresses you like, having a mood board for your wedding décor can be a helpful tool for your consultant. If you’re getting married in a forest with rustic decor leading up to the altar, a traditional princess gown may not be the most cohesive fit.

4. Know your body

Be aware of what dress silhouette flatters your shape the most. Remember that not every style dress flatters every figure. Gowns where the bodice and skirt don’t transition smoothly can visually cut the body in unflattering ways. Likewise, thin fabrics such as silk or chiffon skim the body and tend to magnify every little detail.

5. Know your habits

Don’t buy a wedding dress too small because you want to lose weight before the wedding.  Avoid that stress by buying  the dress of your dreams that fits comfortably. Fit now, adjust later – a professional seamstress will be able to adjust the dress as much as 2 dress sizes down or up, if necessary.

You fiancé proposed to you as you are, and he will marry you as you are. Don’t stress too much about your weight, rather focus on sanity and wellbeing. There will be enough things to think about as it is – don’t push yourself over the limit.

6. Know your personal style

Unless you frequently don evening gowns in your every day life, it’s likely that you’re not sure what dress shape will look best on you. Instead of focusing on the silhouette you think will be most flattering, hone in on how you want to look on your wedding day. One of the most important factors here is the vibe of your wedding. It can be helpful to have a few guide words like “classic,” “boho,” “glamorous,” or “vintage” to share with your bridal consultant, who will have a better idea of the look and feel of your day.  Bringing along images of gown styles and silhouettes that interest you can also be helpful.

In order to best know your style – just look at  the dresses in your wardrobe. What do you  feel most fabulous in? It’s a good idea to have a list of things that you love and don’t love, but be open to trying some things that might surprise you.
Although all that looks great in a magazine might be a different story in reality, many dresses can be altered to fit your vision.

 

7. Know your local shops and designers

One of the most helpful pieces of advice we can give is to research the stores in your area before booking your first bridal appointment. Not every store carries the same gowns or even the same designers. Different salons tend to have a slightly different style or bridal clientèle, much like any other boutique.

When you look for your dress, go with your own instinct. Don’t let your entourage mislead you with their own personal opinions. Most importantly, choose with your personal style and comfort in mind. If you feel great when you wear it, then you know this might be the one!

Wedding gown shopping advise @Sheer ever afterWedding gown shopping advise @Sheer ever after

8. Know your options

Going to a bridal dress shop is not the only way of buying  dress. You actually have plenty of options should you not find your dream dress on the well trodden path. If you find the dresses in the high street shop too ordinary, in the bridal boutique too expensive, you also have the option of buying a dress second hand via portals such as Still White or Preowned Dresses, or even your local online classifieds such as Gumtree.

Try Etsy for an unique and artisan dress, or online fashion wholesalers such as Luulla. be cautious when ordering online though – rather buy a dress that you know is a bit big and then have it adjusted locally. If I were you I’d definitely avoid the Chinese wholesalers altogether – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

You could look in vintage shops for unique wedding dresses and tailor it to suit your personal style. Likewise, ask around in your network for a family members or friends wedding dress, either buy it and have it remade or borrow and wear as it is.

Another viable option if you can’t find what you are looking for, is to find a pattern maker and seamstress that will create the dress of your dreams, where you get to choose the shape, details and fabric entirely on your own.

Some more tools (to use as a guideline only) is the fun Wedding dress style quiz to gauge what dress style might suit you,  and this handy chart of what silhouette would suit your body shape:

TOP WEDDING DRESS DO'S & DON'TS:

This is a very exciting journey – best of luck!

Wedding gown shopping advise @Sheer ever after

 

Image sources: Deer Pearl Flowers / Green Wedding shoes / Weddingomania / Pinterest / trubridal 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding planning pitfalls to avoid

Wedding pitfalls to avoid

From losing your engagement ring to overdoing it on decor or failing to keep guests protected from mosquitoes, read on to find out the most common wedding planning errors brides-to-be make.

Get your ring insured

Even if you are the most careful person in the world, accidents that are beyond your control could happen, God forbid. Never take your ring off in public places. Avoid cleaning products with bleach or ammonia that will damage the ring. Don’t clean your ring over an open drain. You can’t stop things from happening but you can get your precious insured, now!

Avoid wedding pitfalls

Put Yourself First

Take time to think about the type of celebration you want. Discuss with your groom and find out what you two as a couple truly represent and what your uttermost desires are – before hitting pinterest and gorging over bridal magazines. That way you will create the wedding that is the closest to your heart and most important to you, as opposed to the off-the-shelf wedding ideas as prescribed by others who you never met.

Don’t be mislead by others advise

As well as my previous point, only absorb as much advise from others that feels relevant for you and your groom. Everybody who got married will often be quick to give suggestions for you, but these are most likely based on what THEY think they should have done differently. Everyone has different priorities and interests don’t they? So while their advise is well intended, it might not apply to the wedding day you are hoping to create.
I have been suggested twice from one friend that I must have “koeksisters” (A south African sweet) on my wedding dessert table – even though I have never even tasted them. She even suggested I put them on the wedding cake! Is this my wedding or is it what she wished she had done?

 

Do consider your far-away guests needs

Many guest will probably travel from far and wide to attend your wedding. Do write to everybody from out of town to express gratitude for their attendance, as it will be to their considerable expense. They will really appreciate if you surprise them with a “welcome bag” with local goodies as a treat. On your wedding website, include a list of recommended accommodation and popular activities in your area, or simply send out a group email specifically for out-of-towners. Even suggest that guests coordinate to stay at the same hotel or at least near each other (and you). A nice way for everybody to get to know each other is to arrange list of activities, sightseeing and meals together in the week leading up to the wedding. (You and your groom do not have to attend all of them)

Also consider their comfort on the wedding

Provide necessary items for your wedding guests comfort at your outdoors wedding
Such as bug spray, blankets, umbrellas, heaters and/ or a midnight snack. I have seen at a couple of weddings that the bridal couple provide flip flops for guests to dance in or to have a welcomed relief from formal shoes – and then keep as a favour. Quite a cool idea.

Wedding pitfalls to avoid

Provide entertainment and enough snacks during waiting time

If there is a long waiting time between the ceremony and the reception, when you are off taking photographs for example, make sure that there is enough things for guests to keep themselves entertained while they wait. Lawn games, mad libs, colouring books for the children, and help-your-self finger foods. Make sure there is water and lemonade or similar for the guests to keep hydrated, especially if it is a hot day. Happy guests that have something to do and are having fun, will create the best atmosphere for your wedding day.

Feed your vendors

You don’t need to feed your florist and her assistant, or the officiant, but for the vendors that are spending the day at your wedding should be getting a meal as part of their deal. You don’t want your photographer to have an empty stomach when capturing the most significant moments of the day. Or the DJ to suffer from fatigue when building up the energy on the dance floor. Ensure they always have a water bottle handy, and fruit/ energy bars would also be a considerate way to keep them going.

Wedding pitfalls to avoid

Create your decor and tables with you and your grooms own style in mind

There are too many wedding that look like every other. Be creative and individual in your wedding design and remember that each table doesn’t have to look exactly the same either. Let the decorations be as unique as you are. It will be all the more interesting for guests to look at, and make your wedding even more memorable.

Wedding pitfalls to avoid

Consider the venue when planning the decor

Do have the venue in mind when planning the decor. Rustic boho might not blend well  in to a chateau wedding, and vice versa.  Even if you are going for a gypsy festival theme, remember to keep it tasteful – you don’t want to over-decorate or block guests views across the tables. Less is often more.

At your engagement party, bachelorette and bridal shower, make sure that each guest is also going to be invited to the wedding

Needless to say, always be considerate and fair, so keep the wedding party consistent leading up to the wedding so no one gets left out. (If they can’t attend the wedding for own reasons you can of course include them, if they want)

Wedding pitfalls to avoid

Be flower wise

Make sure the flowers you are choosing for the table are not too overpowering in fragrance. It might disturb the experience of the meal, and some might be allergic too. Discuss with your florist carefully your colour scheme and theme of the wedding so she can create the best visual impact. Your favorite flower might have to be imported or out of season – you  can keep flower costs down by choosing seasonal and locally grown flowers. A florist will help you with the best alternatives.

Also bring along a picture of your dress to the florist so that she can match the size and shape of the bouquet to the design of your dress.

Wedding pitfalls to avoid

Try not do DIY everything

Cake, dessert, invites, place cards, centrepieces, garter, photo booth props, even your wedding dress.. some brides can and will do it all, with or without help from friends and family. But to avoid decor anxiety, try to limit your projects to just a few things, those that feel most relevant, realistic and not too time consuming. Many pinterest ideas look so wonderful and fabulous online, but chances are they won’t look so amazing in real life. Be DIY savvy and don’t try to overachieve. It can get stressful, and worst scenario would be if they don’t ready in time/ break/ don’t end up looking like you want.

Remember to eat!

You might be so busy that you forget to eat your own wedding food, and excited that you don’t feel the hunger. But it is important to have something in your stomach for energy, and especially when you start on the cocktails. Have your caterer prepare a take away box in the kitchen that you can take with you to the hotel, in case you are ravenous!

Wedding pitfalls to avoid

Plan the toasts as well as the speeches

As nice it can be to be saluted, chances are that the wedding guest with the microphone will barge ahead and sneak in a few minutes speech into their toasts. Coordinate beforehand who is making speeches and who is toasting and make sure that everybody knows to keep to a certain time limit so you don’t bore the other guests or cut into the rest of the party time.

Allow for surprise costs in the budget

Extra facials, tip to a vendor that was forgotten about, last minute dress adjustments, extra hours for the photographer or an unexpected taxi ride – it is a very good idea to have an contingency plan, as much as 10% of the total budget, for unforeseen expenses.

Let the little things go

As much  as you can, plan the wedding thoroughly. But you can’t and won’t be able to control every single detail on the wedding day. When the day comes, just disengage from planning and coordination mode and just enjoy the day with your groom, family and friends. No one but you  is going to notice those minor things that might occur. Don’t be a bridezilla and try not to worry so much – the day will be perfect for what it is. The best way to overcome mistakes is to keep calm and happy, and smile, because these memories will last a lifetime – so just enjoy everything!

Wedding pitfalls to avoid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unique dresses your bridesmaids will want to wear again

Unique dresses for bridesmaids

Your bridesmaids are excited that you’ve chosen them to be your bridesmaid! I swear they will do their best to stand by you and support you as you plan your wedding day. But you have to try and do the same for them. If you’re lucky, you have been a bridesmaid at least once in your lifetime. Being a bridesmaid is fun! One of the biggest tasks, however, is choosing the bridesmaid dresses – the process can be stress-inducing to some.

It’s important to understand a few key factors. To make your wedding journey as enjoyable and smooth as it can be, I think you’ll be the coolest bride ever if you just follow these simple dress decision guidelines.

  • Firstly consider the theme, the season and the destination of the wedding. For a beach wedding, skip the formal frocks and choose a floaty flirty summer dress. Florals work well for a garden party. Consider crochet lace for your boho-chic feté. Winter weddings call for a high neck long sleeve maxi. And so on and so forth.
  • Each bridesmaid brings a different build and size into the mix. Similarly, every girl will have a different opinion about which silhouette and fabric looks the best. Listening and understanding is important – everyone needs to be a team player.
  • Give them color swatches and some general guidelines to choose from, and then let them choose their own cuts, sleeve styles and dress lengths. If they wear something they feel fabulous in, they will also feel great and look fabulous on the day.
  • By foregoing a traditional dress and instead choosing an outfit that is unique, you’re adding a special touch to your wedding day and giving your bridesmaids and yourself more options to choose from.
  • Letting the bridesmaids choose the style that fits them the most, the girls might want to wear the outfit again after the wedding day. Win-win! You also open up lots of possibilities as far as each individual girl’s body type.
  • It is always good to be mindful of costs, especially if you are paying for the dresses.
  • To keep within the budget, hit the high street sales instead of going to the bridal boutiques. Don’t be afraid of online shopping either – most of them have a return policy should it not be as expected.
  • Choosing mis-matched bridesmaids outfits means you can choose outfits that flatter everybody and make your bridesmaids feel like a million dollars, as well as having a fun and vibrant mix of styles that will make your wedding more unique and funky.
  • Choosing the colour scheme is another cause for confusion. You can’t go wrong with pastel colours or neutrals, but don’t be scared of using statment colours too. Try to choose something that matches everyones skin tone.
  • As much as it’s your big day,  you’ll both have a much better time if you are both happy with the dress. Having an open mind and listening to everybody’s needs is important, but the bridesmaids also need to be respectful of the brides wishes, of course.

For brides who want their bridesmaids squad to look more original, you can even introduce beading and ornate prints. Bridesmaids mix and match separates is all the rage in 2017, which opens up lots of possibilities, and you also can introduce more shades of your wedding colors and shades into their look. Choosing different designs in the same shade of fabric is another ingenious way of pleasing everyone without diverging from the colour scheme.

These dresses are sure to be attention grabbing for the right reasons.

Bridesmaids inspiration @Sheer ever after
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How cute are these mismatched bridesmaids?

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