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Eclectic French Bay Yacht Club Wedding

“We didn’t have a set-in stone style, more just elements from different styles that we like. We had a mix of boho, rustic, vintage, and knew that we wanted lots of romantic flowers with touches of gold.”

Who Katie & Rob Dennis
Where The French Bay Yacht Club

The proposal…

Rob took Katie back to Auckland for a holiday, Katie had no idea but months before Rob had already before purchased a ring and asked Katie’s pop and Mum for her hand in marriage. The day that Rob proposed he took Katie out for a picnic lunch out at the Karekare falls, they sitting there talking and having a great time when before Katie knew it Rob had dropped to one knee. Katie was completely surprised and of course said yes!

The ceremony…

We had about 100 of our closest friends and family attend the ceremony just on the grassy area next to the water outside the French Bay Yacht Club. We didn’t have a lot of decorations due to the wind, we couldn’t have our archway but instead we had the lovely view. We had lovely wooden bentwood chairs and we had a very cool vintage caravan bar to serve guests drinks before and after the ceremony, both hired from One Lovely Day. Our ceremony although it was very windy it was very personal and intimate, Erin was a fantastic celebrant who really relaxed us both.

The reception…

Our reception was held inside the French Bay Yacht Club, it was a very relaxed cocktail affair with a cheese grazing station and walk and fork style dishes. We had a mix of wooden high tables and stools, and seated tables and chairs, with lots of flowers, greenery, and feature lighting. Vintage and Style did all of our lighting and created a very cool Edison ladder light in the center on the room.

Unfortunately, we did have a little hiccup, a big storm came through during our reception causing a power cut, but fortunately most of the food had been cooked by this stage and we had plenty of candles which made for a very romantic and intimate atmosphere. We had our first dance to Eric Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight to candle light, and our band who couldn’t play through their PA system played acoustically and sung classics that everyone could sing along to. Our band Mixtape Brothers where truly amazing, the lead singer Chris literally sung until he had no voice just to make sure that we could still have music.

Advice for engaged couples…

Everybody says it but don’t sweat the small stuff, we had some pretty big stuff to sweat with nearly having to move the ceremony inside because of the wind and losing power during the reception but you just have to go with the flow, embrace whatever the day throws at you, and remember what the day is actually about.

CREDITS

Photographer Sweet Events Photography
Flowers + Styling Floral Stylist
Prop Hire Floral Stylist, One Lovely Day, Vintage and Style
Venue French Bay Yacht Club
Hair + Makeup Rubie Dickinson Makeup + Hair
Bridesmaids Dresses Shona Joy
Bridesmaids Shoes + Accesories Famous Footwear + Collette
Groom Suit from Roger David, Shoes + Shirt from Tarocash, Watch from Emporio Armani
Groomsmen Supsenders from Etsy, Watches & Cufflinks from ASOS
Stationery Make by Katie (the bride)
Celebrant Erin Marmont
Transport Rob’s brother Sam’s vintage car
Music Mixtape Brothers
Catering Canapes & Co Creative Catering
Cake Lemon Semi Naked Cake by Home Baker: Adetola Olanrewaju
Rings Mazzucchelli’s

Mental Health: How to emotionally survive wedding planning

Staying calm and mentally sane throughout wedding planning isn’t as easy a feat for some as it is other. Planning a wedding may place unwanted pressure on any couple to make it ‘the perfect day’ or the Pinterest-style wedding they’ve long dreamed of, while a combination of decision-making, money-spending, and family politics can all add stress to your already busy life.

Before we begin talking about “mental health”, I should clarify – we all have mental health of course. It is our individual thoughts and emotional, psychological wellbeing, and just like our physical health, we can have good mental health and poor mental health as well as good and bad days in between.

Thinking about and being aware of your mental health is vital to wedding planning right from the start, so that when you do encounter stress, you know how to deal with it. Navigating the potential stresses of wedding planning will set you up well for marriage, so take it in your stride and be grateful for the lessons you’ll learn along the way.

Finances – The Wedding Budget

Money can become a huge deal when you’re planning a wedding. There’s few other times you’re spending the equivalent of a house-deposit on one day, and for many it’s not just their own money their spending (i.e. the Bank of Mum & Dad).

Taking financial contributions from others can lead to an imbalance, or a change in the relationship with those people, as though meant in the most generous of spirit, money can come with expectations too. Before you accept financial contributions, understand exactly what those generous contributors want in return – don’t just accept offers of financial support and assume that your supporters won’t want their voice heard in the planning of the wedding. On the other hand, some parents won’t be able to contribute, so make sure to manage this relationship tactfully.

As for your own money, talk to your partner early and openly. Make sure you know (and approve of) how much you’re both willing to spend and how much your budget should be, and how much you can actually afford in order to continue a normal life both until, and after the wedding.

Once you have a budget in place, keep discussions open, and if you want to ‘blow’ the budget to spend money on something that’s particularly important to you, have another conversation with them first.

Family, Friends and the Guest List 

There’s little more political than a wedding guest list, and many brides and grooms are fraught with difficulty over it. It’s one of the very first steps to begin planning, so to ensure it isn’t also the first source of stress. Have open discussions with your fiance and both sets of parents about their expectations, and be kind but firm. At the end of the day, it’s the relationships that live well beyond the day. The relationship with your partner, your joint families, and your friends. Don’t let a wedding be the source of disintegration and stress between yourselves – deal with these issues openly and constructively.

Explain that you can really only invite X number of people – those whom you have enough space and money for. For many large families, parents will feel pressure to invite all of their relatives, but this can’t be at the expense of your wedding budget, or your enjoyment. You don’t have to feel guilty about not wanting someone there – it’s your day and it’s absolutely your decision. Oh, and the smaller the wedding, the easier the seating plan!

Work + Life + Wedding = Balance

Trying to balance work, life and wedding planning may feel like a lot of pressure. The key is to incorporate wedding planning within your day-to-day life, rather than looking at it as an insurmountable chore to squeeze in. Make sure you start early, set a calendar and plan it in small chunks – little white book is the perfect place to get organised. With a 12 month diary incorporated, you can use it every day, and tick off each of your wedding ‘to-do’s’ one at a time, and when you have the time.

As the day comes closer, have catch-ups with girlfriends while tending to little wedding errands, and it will be all the more fun for both of you.

Relax

Make sure you get enough time to totally relax, and also pamper yourself. If possible, book yourself in for regular relaxing facial or a massage.

It is of course so imperative to make sure you are getting enough sleep. It will clear your mind, ease decision-making and do wonders for your mental health. Speaking of sleep, never go to sleep angry at your partner – it’s bad for your night’s rest and your relationship – so snuggle up and shut your eyes.

Keeping up with the Joneses

In many groups of friends, engagements, and therefore weddings, follow each other in quick succession. While it’s great fun that you can all plan, and attend each others’ weddings, it may be a source of angst if you feel like you’re constantly trying to keep up with your friends’ weddings, or wedding budgets.

Weddings can be as unique and different as their couples, so instead of focussing on what everyone else is doing, sing your own tune. What makes you and your fiance different, and how can you celebrate that? Don’t feel obliged to follow every custom or tradition, or fit the cookie-cutter mould of wedding that Hollywood movies portray. Be you and be different, seize the opportunity to make your wedding uniquely personal, and you’ll have less to stress about.

Seeking help

Don’t be afraid to ask a friend, wedding planner or even us at She Said Yes for help, guidance and a little sanity check. You may be surprised how willing people are to lend a hand – if you just ask.

Post-wedding

Many brides actually suffer from poor mental health after the wedding, once their big day is over and done – it can feel like a bit of a come-down, or ‘Post-wedding-blues’. You’ve just been through a major life milestone, so it’s understandable to have some anxiety with change, and there may feel like less to look forward to. For us, having the honeymoon a little later helped with that, but it also takes a shift in your thinking. Focussing not on what’s just been, but on what’s to come, is much more positive. It wasn’t until near to first wedding anniversary that I really started to get excited about all the things we were going to do in the future – and how much we had to come.

This was one of the major reasons for creating ‘I still do‘ too, as a wedding anniversary diary and keepsake of marriage – every year, beginning as soon as you’re married ideally, and again on your wedding anniversary, working through your lives together and setting goals for the future. Setting goals is an incredibly powerful tool for your mental health, whether that’s months, years or decades in advance.

Top Tips to Organise and Style your Save the Dates

Once you’ve found a venue and booked a date, set the budget, and narrowed down the guest list, your next step is to send out save the dates.
Save the dates are like an advance notice of a wedding invitation (think of it as a pre-invitation) before you’ve been able to finalise all the details which are expected to be included on the full invitation. Brides frequently brides will launch straight into event management mode, keen to get the whole wedding together in such a rush that they don’t give thought to the overall theme of the special day.

Tips to organise your Save the Date cards

  • Speaking from experience, you need to get your wedding date locked into your guest’s diaries as soon as possible, either with a save the date, or by sending the full invitation very early.
  • Especially if your wedding day is in peak season, is a destination wedding or you’re expecting many guests from overseas, it’s advisable to give as much notice as possible.
  • People will take an official save the date card more seriously and get booking flights/accommodation etc, than you just letting them know of the upcoming date.
  • Generally save-the-dates go out six months prior to the wedding day, or eight months for international guests/destination weddings.
  • It should go without saying, but Save the Dates are only sent to those who are definitely invited to the wedding.
  • It’s best to be clear about who exactly is invited, so if you’re anticipating giving your friend a “guest” or “plus one”, put it on the save the date.
  • A save the date can be designed to be sent via email to save on costs and be eco-friendly, but some guests (like Grandparents) may prefer a physical card, and it’s also a nice reminder for guests to keep on the fridge and as a keepsake for later.
  • If you’ve got a Wedding Website, the save the date is a great chance to share the website with your guests.
  • Save the dates should include the date and destination, but specifics aren’t necessary (location, time, dress, etc), and should finish “Formal invitation to follow”, so that guests don’t start calling you for more information.

Save the Date in Style

While save the dates officially announce the exciting occasion of your upcoming nuptials, they also indicate to your wedding guests what style of wedding yours will be: colour, theme, and feel.  As a designer I believe the wedding story begins with the save the date, and the other items that follow (invitations, rsvp cards etc) help to tell guests what to expect at the upcoming nuptials.When I meet with couples I like to establish the theme in our first meeting, I then create a stationery design mood board that fits within their overall theme. I like to ensure the look and feel of the wedding stationery is a true reflection of the day the couple is wanting to experience.For a consistent look from the save the dates to the wedding itself (and thank-you cards!), think about the look and feel of the day, and how you can incorporate that in your guests’ first look.  In my opinion, it is essential the save the date design is carried across your complete wedding stationery collection.  Not only is this the first hint of the wedding day to come, but it’s likely to sit on the fridge for the next 6 months or more, so it’s a great opportunity to showcase your style and set the tone. 

Colour, Theme, Formality, Feel
Consider the following:

  • What colours do you have in mind?
  • Is it a Vintage, Rustic, Garden or Modern theme Wedding?
  • How formal will it be – will it be glamorous or casual?
  • How will it feel? Are you and your partner laid-back and down-to-earth or are you looking to Wow your guests?

If you’re planning a more classy and formal occasion, you might want to stick to the traditional save the date card matched to the formal invitation, menus and other wedding stationery.

Other ideas for Save the Dates:

Photos

Couples often have engagement photos professionally taken shortly after getting engaged. Not only does it give you a trial run with your wedding photographer, but it gives you a great selection of images to use as part of a Save the Date postcard or on photographic paper.  If budget allows, you could even send a photo holder or magnet to hold the photo on the fridge.
Destination WeddingA destination wedding lends itself to all sorts of ideas: Save the dates designed like airplane tickets, a passport, map, or even a luggage tag Save the date.  You could handwrite them yourself or get them printed.  This is a great option if you haven’t finalised your theme yet as they can be very simple.

Theme

If you’re unsure yet exactly what style and feel of wedding you’re having, simply choose a style which suits your partner and you, keep it simple with a cute photo of the two of you with simple writing, or choose a timeless symbol like a heart or engagement ring.  Of course, Paperweight Design will handle all design of the save the date, and ensure to carry the look through the rest of your wedding.Plain white envelopes are fine (they need not be custom-matched to the save the date as the invitation might be), but it’s a nice personal touch to handwrite the addresses, rather than print them from the computer.  It won’t take that long, you can askyour bridesmaids and friends involved, just be careful with spelling, it’s awkward if they get lost in the post!

Wording example:

Please Save the Date
Megan & Blair
Are getting married in Coromandel, New Zealand
20 February 2016
Formal invitation to follow

Head to our wedding planning advice blog now and if you haven’t already, check out the best wedding planner book – the little white book.

Simple Romantic Otaki Milk Station Wedding

“I said Yes when I was 1 week overdue to have our first baby. As huge and uncomfortable as you could possibly be in a pregnancy! Even so, It was very well planned out with a treasure hunt around wellington on my birthday ending in a proposal at the beach. We had one week to enjoy our engagement before the whirlwind of new baby madness.”

Who Alycia + Sam
Where The Milk Station

Our inspiration for the day…

I guess my styling in general is simple but pretty and I took this into our wedding with soft colours and luckily the most stunning and romantic looking venue. The Milk Station really did a lot of the work on the day for the ‘look’ of the wedding.

Special moments + music…

Walking down the aisle of course was a special moment, it was certainly made more special by the fact I was holding my daughters hand. One of our best friends was the celebrant and that made the whole ceremony really meaningful to me. She was there the night we met and became a celebrant after I asked her to marry us. The pink roses that we had were bred by my husbands family who were Rose breeders. Coincidentally the rose is called ‘Alicia’ (also my name) after my husbands great grandmother. That was very special.

Save Items… 

Table decorations – Kmart was my best friend and I kept it really simple with flowers and candles. Wedding shoes – I borrowed these! I figured they wouldn’t be seen much from under my dress and I wouldn’t wear them again anyway. Bridesmaids dresses – I bought these on ASOSand waited for a sale! The returns policies are so great for online stores like ASOS that if you don’t like the dress or it doesn’t fit its free and super easy to return for a refund or exchange. They were about $50 each!

Splurge items…Splurge items…

The photographer! Photos are all you have left over after the day (apart from the husband of course!) and you want them to be great – they help form your memories of the day. I’d seen a lot of Dave’s work already so I was stoked that we had him for our wedding. I would have happily outsourced all my wedding decisions to him if I could – he has such an eye for style and detail.

The venue – our venue wasn’t expensive compared to many others we looked at so it wasn’t necessarily a splurge but it had plenty of beautiful accomodation on site and many of our guests ended up staying there and paying more than they would have otherwise in Otaki. It really made our wedding having so many of our best friends on site for the weekend. One of my favourite moments are just hanging out in the groomsmen’s cottage for a few hours after our wedding having a few drinks and some good banter with a bunch of our Otago Uni friends.

A nanny if you have young children. I knew that if I didn’t have someone dedicated to looking after my one year old in particular that the day would be a juggle of trying to get married and trying to care for a baby. Once the nanny arrived in the afternoon I relaxed so much. She totally took control and I was able to really start enjoying the day without worrying about nappies, food, baths and sleep for the baby.

The DJ – Andy from Hype entertainment was amazing and kept the dance floor pumping all night long. I’m really glad that I didn’t have to worry about whether the guests were enjoying themselves or whether the right music was being played – it was all taken care of.

If I could do anything differently…

Honestly, I would get married either before I had children or when they were a bit older. It was stressful juggling a 1 year old and 2 year old on the day. I didn’t get to take in a lot of the fun ‘getting ready’ part. And the night of the wedding we had a 2 year old in our bed, the nanny in the next room and I was woken 4 times by the 1 year old!

Advice for future brides…

I’m sure everyone says this but try to relax and enjoy the day. Take in the day and don’t stress the small stuff. No one but the bride notices anyway!

CREDITS

Photographer David Le Design & Photography
Flowers Mandi from Village Green, Khandallah
Hair Nicky Olivier
Makeup + Beauty Kristy Leigh Beauty
Cake My cousin, Ellen Edmonds
Brides Dress BHLDN
Bridesmaids ASOS
Groom Hallenstein Brothers
Venue The Milk Station, Otaki
Catering Simply Food
Wedding Stationery Etsy
DJ HYPE Entertainment

Honeymoon Planning Tips: How to get into Business Class and the Honeymoon Suite Upgrade

For the best that money can buy, without actually spending all your money.

If your engagement has been even the least bit stressful, you will be wanting to plan your honeymoon in the most efficient, straightforward and cost-effective way – while also making the most of all the travel perks and honeymoon hacks you possibly can.

Because planning a wedding only gets more demanding and time-consuming the closer to the date you get, I suggest you don’t leave your honeymoon planning til the very last minute. By getting organised in advance, you’re also best placed to take advantage of the best offers, reward schemes, and all the little honeymoon benefits (hotel and flight upgrades + bonuses) your once in a lifetime trip merits.

How to choose your honeymoon destination (with the best chance of an upgrade!)

While Lonely Planet and Conde Nast come out with the ‘best’ honeymoon destinations each year, your idea of the best honeymoon destination will differ widely from others, so don’t feel constricted to sticking to well-trodden paths. How far your honeymoon budget will go, and your chance of getting a flight upgrade, or the best room at the resort will largely be determined by availability, capacity and demand.

Whichever destination you choose will have a peak/off-peak rate based on its season/temperament, the visitors it attracts, and the peak holiday times those visitors take. If you choose to visit a family resort in Hawaii during US school holidays, it’s much harder to get upgraded to a better room – nevermind whether you even want to be at the resort at this time of year.

It can be hard to choose a honeymoon destination, when literally the entire world is on offer, but take into account the length of your trip, how far you’d like to travel in that amount of time, whether you’re prepared for a language barrier, intrepid travel, a culture shock, complete relaxation or a more bustling, busy trip of exploration. Some travel websites include suggestions based on the type of trip you’re booking, such as Booking.com, where you can search according to “Romance” in Europe, for instance. In fact, that’s exactly what Blair and I are booking right now, as we fly into Berlin next month to begin our Euro-trip, so I’m browsing hotels which specifically cater to child-free adults.

How to get the “Honeymoon suite” Upgrade

An uber indulgent honeymoon suite is a guaranteed cure for all those Pinterest headaches, weekend wedmin woes, and possibly even a few sleepless nights. For the best in post-nuptial R&R, don’t leave it to chance:

  • Filter by Freebies!  Hotel reviews are always essential, but discovering the ability to filter hotel reviews by ‘Freebies’ life changing – this is a feature of Booking.com via the tab “Verified Guest Reviews” (all 119 million of them!). These reviews in particular can tell you how a hotel deals with any issues which arise, but also what exactly they may able to do for you. You can show reviews from couples only (or families, solo travellers, etc) which may give you an idea of the experience of other honeymooners, or filter by ‘views and surroundings’ which will let you know what kind of room to request, for example pool or beach facing.
  • Stay at a brand new hotel: Besides the perks of being among the first to stay, a brand new hotel is likely to:
    • Give you a great deal on a room; and/or
    • Have better rooms available.
  • Book well in advance: again, the key is availability, and as rooms get booked out and others become scarce, hotels don’t need to discount rooms to ensure capacity. We learned this the hard way one year, not booking our San Francisco trip in full to keep our options open, and having to spend a fortune over the Christmas and New Year period to extend our stay in the CBD.
  • Go beyond the weekend: if you’re looking at just a Friday and Saturday reservation, you’re likely to be paying the top rate, and there’s less chance of getting a great deal. Many hotels also have a stay 4, pay 3 scheme, but if you’re only staying 2 nights, try to schedule one on a weeknight.
  • Leave a note: when you first make your reservations, whatever room you can afford, mention that you will be on your honeymoon. This doesn’t have to sound like you’re scrounging for a discount, but rather, for example “As we are celebrating our honeymoon, we would love to be placed in a quiet area of the hotel, away from the pool/kitchen/carpark if possible.” Even if your request doesn’t turn into a nicer room, usually a hotel will do something small if they can, such as a fruit platter, chocolate, or bottle of bubbles.
  • Don’t request an early check-in. As above, the key with room upgrades is availability. If you request an early check in, there will be fewer rooms available, and the staff won’t yet have a clear picture of what rooms may still be available.
  • When you check in, if not informed that you have been given an upgrade, you can politely ask “What room upgrades are available” and you will most likely be given either of:
    • the cost for each room upgrade;
    • a discount for a room upgrade; or
    • a free room upgrade!
  • Check in is also a good time to remind the staff that you’re on your honeymoon, and check whether you were able to get the beach view/quiet room/balcony, etc, or query “What romance packages do you have available?”

It’s all about direction! How to get bumped and “Turn left for Business Class”

As the chances of us actually flying together are slim, I’ll share what I know.

  • This is not the time for a ‘Just married’ t shirt (as much as I applaud you if you can convince your new husband to wear that…) – the most convincing thing you can do to get bumped up is look the part. Of course, you also want to be comfortable while travelling, so dress in a white shirt and jeans, with a t-shirt underneath and a pair of leggings in your carry-on. For men, just add a jacket to a smart ensemble.
  • Mention it at check in – while asking for an upgrade won’t usually do the trick with an airline, it may be worth asking if there are any exit-row seats available, and slide in that you’re honeymooning at that point. Again, you don’t want to sound like you’re scrounging, but it won’t hurt to ask.
  • Travel on a Saturday. Business and elite travellers are less likely to be flying over the weekend, meaning your business class upgrade is more attainable.
  • Treat the crew with respect. I’m sure you would anyway, but your patience and respect for check-in staff and flight crew will you give you the best chance of flying perks.
  • The main reason you’ll receive an upgrade on a flight is because they’re overbooked, i.e. they’ve sold all their economy seats and would otherwise have to bump someone off the flight. Unfortunately, this may mean they only have room for one, or you won’t be sitting together. For your honeymoon, this may not be ideal.
  • Join the Airpoints scheme. Crew are much more likely to be able to upgrade you if you’re on their rewards programme, and/or you can often use points to upgrade too. I and collect points every time I spend money on my credit card I book a hotel.

If you don’t get the flight upgrade, don’t fret, at least you can fall asleep on each others’ shoulders – Business Premiere isn’t designed for romance. Now’s the perfect time to fold down your tray table and start filling out the ‘Honeymoon’ diary of your little white book, and get started on the ‘Wedding’ part of I still do!

So long as you’ve got a nice hotel room to look forward to, you’ll soon sleep off any long-haul aches!

Little things that make a difference

When booking your rental vehicle, book well in advance while you have the choice of vehicles, and book a compact car (the cheapest). Once you arrive at the destination, you can choose to upgrade, or if they have sold out of all compacts, they will have to upgrade you.

When making a reservation for a nice meal, don’t hesitate to tell them you’re on your honeymoon and would love a table with a view overlooking the [pool/beach/balcony] – if they can, staff will most likely oblige, and if they can’t, you may be offered a glass of bubbles on the house.

Modern Tongariro Elopement Inspiration

“This being New Zealand, we get a heap of elopement requests all year round from all over the globe! Mostly, however, these inquiries are for some stunning mountain vista or other, nestled in the gorgeous Southern Alps in the South Island.

Now, being from the North Island, we thought we would step into our creative and educational elopement shoes and show off some of our own bejewelled landscapes and vistas that are so often overlooked by the Google search ‘elopement NZ’. We also brought together a plethora of insanely talented creative vendors who totally rock what they do and who come together to make any wedding day extra special

We set out to create and shoot a modern and fun elopement styled shoot in a place which would be stunning all year round and showcase properly one of the most beautiful and magical spots in the North Island. The foothills of Mount Doom and Ruapehu – Tongariro National Park!

This modern elopement highlights the fun, the love, the nervous energy and pure passion synonymous with any elopement. It highlights modernity and at the same time the classic power of love and joy of a wedding day in the truly stunning North Island of New Zealand.” – Tinted Photography

CREDITS

Dress Astra Bridal
Photography Tinted Photography
Makeup Marnie Jade Makeup Artist 
Glasses Occhiali Optical
Flowers Petite Posy Florist
Bride’s ring The Diamond Shop
Stationery An Uncharted Colour Story
Celebrant Laura Giddey

How to Organise and Manage Your Bridal Party

As you may have just worked out, your bridal party’s contribution to your wedding is so much more than smiling for photos and organising a hen’s party or bachelorette.  I didn’t realise the extent of this myself until the days leading up to the wedding itself, and didn’t fully appreciate how completely indispensable my bridesmaids were until even after the wedding.

I’ve put together a complete guide – from how to choose your bridal party to how to propose to your bridesmaids, and keep your bridesmaids and groomsmen organised til the wedding day and beyond.

  • Traditional bridal party attendants and roles and alternatives;
  • What to consider when choosing your bridal party;
  • What is reasonable to expect of your bridal party (both in time and financially); and
  • How to show your appreciation for your bridal party’s time, effort and support.

Bridal Party Traditions

Traditionally, a bride’s sisters would be chosen to be her bridal attendants, and a groom’s brothers would fill the male roles.  If each only had one or two siblings, they might also ask another close relative best friend, then a niece, nephew or child of a close friend as a flower girl or page boy.
Traditionally, more formal weddings would have larger bridal parties, and would have an even number of attendants on both sides.

New Bridal Party Roles

Now, traditional roles have changed, especially gender roles. Many brides choose a best male friend to be one of her attendants, or bridesmen, and a groom may have his sister or close friend as a groom’s maid.
Some couples are no longer having bridal parties at all. As well as just a bridal party, there are also other roles for siblings and close friends to fill.  Having a friend act as MC or perform a song or a reading during the ceremony can be just as special.
Don’t worry about having even numbers in the photos or at the ceremony line-up. Instead, choose your bridal party based on those people you really want to be a part of your big day (and ideally, people who you truly want to be a part of the rest of your lives).  Seeking to even up numbers is likely to make you ask people you wouldn’t otherwise.

How to choose your bridal party

These are the women and men who help plan your pre-wedding parties, lick envelopes and tie ribbons, hold your dress up while you pee (yes, really), witness your vows and the signing of the registry, and stand by you and your husband’s side in your wedding photos forever.  No pressure, but choose wisely.
First, sit down with your fiancé and discuss the bridal party
Don’t be afraid to take your time in asking your bridesmaids and groomsmen to be part of your special day.  Each person chosen needs to be right for both their individual roles and as part of a group.  It matters less that you have even numbers, or a large and glamorous squad of ‘maids, than who those attendants will be.
Talk to your fiance about how many people he envisages, whether your or he has any particular requests that the other include a sibling or best friend in the other’s group.  If applicable, tell him that you want to have a male friend as one of your attendants and gauge his response.
Budget
Even if the bridal party pay for their own attire, the cost of having a bridal party adds up – consider transport to the venue, bridesmaids’ bouquets and groomsmen’s boutonnieres, and bridal party gifts.  If you’re no paying for the bridal party attire, be very considerate as to how much each person can afford. See What should your bridesmaids pay for.
Venue
Consider whether the venue would look crowded with a large bridal party, or whether there’s room at the altar for the bridal party to stand.  Similarly, is the venue suitable for a large head table, or will you split the bridal party up to seat everyone?
Availability
Consider whether your bridal party will really be available to help you, both before the wedding and on the day.  Before the wedding, if your potential bridesmaids or groomsmen have work or family commitments that take up a lot of their time, they may not be able to help you with wedding preparation, or devote time to planning a hen’s or stag party.  If one of your girlfriends lives a long way away, is looking after her own small children (or is pregnant), she may also find it difficult to be available and able to help.
Don’t be pressured
Whether a future mother-in-law is pressuring you to include your finance’s sister, or you feel obliged to ask the friend who made you her bridesmaid, be assertive and make decisions which make you happy.  You only get to choose once, so don’t choose your bridal party just to be polite.
Who is reliable?
As much as you might love your younger sister, or feel close to certain friends, bridesmaids and groomsmen fill very important roles that really require people who can be relied on.  Whether they’re forgetful, tardy, immature or perhaps even self-centred, they may not be the right choice for your bridal party.  Remember, a true friend will always respect your decision.
Consider the party as a group
Think about how the bridesmaids and groomsmen will get on together as a group – the last thing you want is to deal with any unnecessary drama (either between the girls, guys, or between each other).

What roles?
When considering who to ask to be in your bridal party, consider what roles your attendants might have to help you with:

  • Organising an Engagement Party (are they organised, helpful and responsible?)
  • Choosing the dress (are they going to be honest and help you look the best you can on your wedding day?)
  • Making invitations/place-cards/favours (are they going to have the time and inclination to do so?)
  • Plan your bridal shower and Hen’s do (and make sure you get home in one piece)
  • Getting on with one another, and possibly following instructions from the Maid of Honour
  • Keeping you company the night before your wedding day (and easing any last-minute jitters)
  • Getting ready on your Wedding Day (will they calm you down or stress you out?)
  • Making a speech about you (can they speak publicly and refrain from embarrassing you?)
  • On-the-day roles including encouraging guests to sign the guest book; ordering family into photos; and tending to stray children and groomsmen!
  • Appearing in your wedding photos (and therefore possibly appear on your living-room wall for the next 60 years – will you still be friends?).

Of your group of bridesmaids and groomsmen, it’s helpful to have friends with different strengths.  For organising your bridal shower and planning your hen’s party, it’s great to have a planner: someone who is detail orientated, organised and reliable.  On the day, it’s good to have one person in charge – possibly the Maid of Honour, to keep the other bridesmaids – and the groomsmen – in check. Of course, the most important thing on the day is to be surrounded by girls who will bring out the best in you, who’ll hand you a glass of wine when you’re stressed out and melt your worries away with a hug.

Show your appreciation
It’s essential to say thank you to your bridal party (and anyone else who has contributed to your big day). Your speech is the perfect time to do so, or you might like to set some time aside the night before or the morning of the wedding to do so, and gift your bridal party a gift.  Some ideas for gifts: jewellery to wear on the day, bridal robes, make-up, champagne, special chocolates, an engraved item, or a voucher (dinner, in-home cleaning, etc).
If you can’t afford to buy a gift, show your appreciation another way: if you’re a skilled cook you could make some meals for them, deliver baking, offer to help with laundry or childcare, for example.  Bridesmaids often give up a lot of time for the bride and the wedding, so be sure to notice and appreciate any time, money or support given.
What if things go wrong? Can you un-ask?
Well, of course you can, but doing so will put both you, her, and the other bridesmaids (or groomsmen) in a very difficult position.  If things really have gone wrong, and you don’t feel like he or she is able to fulfill the role, or the relationship has changed, think about the best way to avoid any hurt feelings.  You don’t want to cause any awkwardness that will permeate on the day.  Instead of un-asking them altogether, you could ask them to do a reading instead, showing that they are still a special part of your day.  Any conversation along these lines should be done privately and discreetly.  Be aware that dealt with improperly, you could be ending the friendship.  In the end, the bridal party should be a group that makes both the bride and groom happy, and positively contributes to the wedding day of your dreams.

Best Man’s Responsibilities
Traditionally, these are the responsibilities the Best Man was responsible for:
– Help the groom choose the suit or tuxedo
– Touch base with the groomsmen to ensure the correct sizes are ordered for everyone
– Organise the stag party
– Get the groom to the venue on time
– Look after the rings if there is no ring bearer
– Act as a witness and sign the wedding register with the Maid of Honour
– Make a speech at the reception and toast the couple
– Help round people up for photographs
– Collect and keep safe cards and gifts
– Make final vendor payments
– Dance with the Maid of Honour
– Return the groomsmen’s suits to the rental shop
Head Bridesmaid/Maid of Honour
– Helps the bride find her wedding gown and attends all fittings
– Helps to fulfill “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”
– Liaises with the other bridesmaids for dresses and accessories
– Arranges or hosts the bridal shower and plans the hen’s party
– Helps the bride get ready on the morning of
– Holds the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony
– Adjusts the bride’s veil and dress as needed during the ceremony and for photos
– Acts as witness and signs the wedding register with the best man
– Helps the bride go to the bathroom in her dress
– Play hostess at the reception, sharing jobs such as encouraging guests to sign the guest book and informing them of where to put wedding gifts
– Dance with the best man
– Take the bride’s dress to be professionally cleaned and stored
Once you’ve chosen, you might want to pass this article onto your bridesmaids so they know what to expect, or ask them to read How to organise the bridal shower which was written with assistance from my bridesmaids.

Timeless Rustic Old Forest School Wedding

“Our love story began at the young age of 15 (for Cath!). We met through Jeremy’s brother (also Cath’s good friend) and were basically inseparable after the first date. 8 years later here we are! I said yes at the beautiful Waoku Lodge in Raglan. After convincing me at a dinner out that we didn’t need to be engaged to buy our first home, he blindfolded me and drove to the stunning lodge overlooking the ocean. When the blindfold came off he was on one knee with the ring. Dessert, wine, spa – what a dream!”

Who Catherine and Jeremy Farr (Catherine nee Mills)
Where Old Forest School, Bay of Plenty
Guests 100

Our wedding inspiration was…

Rustic, but still with classic elements. We wanted it to be a day we could look back on in 20 years and still love. The venue alone had a beautiful rustic feel so we added our own touch to this. We didn’t want overcomplicate things with the venue being gorgeous already, so we stuck to simple, fun, rustic themed table settings.

We saved by…

We did all the table settings ourselves (apart from the flowers!) and all decorations were provided by us and set up by the grooms party and friends on the day. The wedding car was hired and driven by Cath’s dad, and worked so perfectly. Even the invites were created by Cath’s sister Sarah!

We splurged on…

We stayed in really nice accomodation the night before and of the wedding, and I don’t regret it! It made for such a lovely time, both to get ready in and to wake up in as Mr & Mrs! We also didn’t hold back too much when looking at the outfits for both us and the bridal & grooms party, we wanted everyone to feel good on the day!

Our advice to engaged couples…

Planning can be such a stressful process, but on the day all the little details you stress about are almost forgotten. When planning, make sure you dedicate plenty of time and love to the parts that are most important to you as a couple, not just the technical parts! And I know everyone says this but remember to absorb as much as you can throughout the day-it goes so fast!

CREDITS

Photographer Arie & Tash from Black Robin Photography
Flowers Sweetpea & Jasmine
Venue Old Forest School
Catering Southern Spit Roast
Hair Hannah Stechman Hair
Makeup Kate Solley Makeup
Celebrant Morgan Croasdale
Brides Dress Grace Loves Lace
Shoes Ruby
Bridesmaid Dresses Miss Crabb
Grooms Suit + Accessories Barkers
Rings Michael Hill
Transport Uzabus
Music Nathaniel Leith from Taktix Sound

Vintage Chic Matamata Barn Wedding

“Rhys and I met through Church friends at ten pin bowling. We all got together in the summer and did a lot of cool activities like trips to the lake, bush walks, looging and all sorts. We became great friends as we spent time together with our friends and started dating. And then we fell in love!”

Who Emily + Rhys 
Where Red Barn, Matamata

I said Yes…

Rhys proposed at Waihi beach at the top of the Bowentown Hill as Waihi Beach is a special place for both of our families. I could see the ring box in his pocket and had been waiting for it as we had designed my engagement ring and had it made so i new it was coming.  It was such a special moment for both of us and the anticipation and nerves were defiantly there. There was no one else at the top of the hill until a loan cycler came up and was just chilling in our moment, we thought that was pretty funny. We then got to go tell all our friends and family which was loads of fun.

Inspiration for the day…

We got married at Matamata Baptist Church as this is the church we attend and a important part of our lives. We decorated it with  beautiful white doors with flowers, suggested by our florists. Rhys is a dairy farmer and I have always had a lot to do with my families dairy farm so we decided to have the reception at The Red Barn which is a beautiful barn wedding venue not to farm from home. We liked it because it was so us, it also had the potential for a lot of flowers which i wanted and was rustic. We kinda went for rustic/vintage. It fitted just the amount of people we wanted and was nice and personal. I don’t like the traditional wedding venues with white cloth and silver ribbon everywhere so steered clear of that. My favourite colour is pink so naturally that had to be a large part of the theme.

I loved the idea of big wild flowers and succulents although they were terribly heavy bouquets they were beautiful. I originally wanted pink bridesmaids as that is my favourite colour but they were so hard to find. We ended up having white bridesmaids dresses that were thick appliqué lace. I loved how they looked in the photos with me in my white gown also. Rhys and the boys wore Grey suits as I loved the look of grey and pink together. So because a lot of the flowers and other parts of the wedding theme involved pink, so did the boys socks and bow ties.

We saved on…

We saved on the boys suits from Hallenstines. The bridesmaid shoes were the perfect ones I was looking for and were only $15 from The Iconic. We got our glass domes and lolly jars from kmart. We loaned an old ladder from a friend which with decorated with flowers and hung above the bridal table as one of the features. There were heaps of other savings too i just can’t remember them all. A major saving was a friends dad had two white rolls royce’s which we used as our wedding cars and they suited our theme and looked gorgeous.

We splurged on…

My dress, the stationery and a videographer which were all worth every penny. We decided what was very important for us and what we could compromise with so it worked out well. Anita did an amazing job with my dress and helped me to choose what worked with my body while incorporating what i asked for. She was the only bridal shop/designer I even went to. I didn’t look in any other shops or visit any one else as I new she had to make my gown. I had seen hers in your magazine and new that it was high quality. Quality fabrics and fitting was something that I would not overlook. A videographer wasn’t something Rhys was originally keen on so it took a bit of talking about. In the Frame was amazing to work with and we are so happy to not only have our wedding on video but also a short film which we can show family and look back at. It is a grand snapshot of our day. Beautiful stationary was a must and something that I didn’t want to have the hassle of trying to do myself online. Wendy did a great job and it was so easy to have it all done for me, it was beautiful and all matched from the invites, order of service to table plan. I even had all the names and addresses printed on the envelops for me and got envelop liners because they were so pretty

Special moments and music…

The whole day was special, it was better than we ever could have imagined. We loved that it reflected us. It was so lovely to spend the day with all of our family and friends. Taking photos with David was a blast, he was so funny and easy to work with. Before we went into the reception David, Rhys and I went into a paddock and he took some beautiful photos. it was nice to have some downtime before the reception and special for me and Rhys to have moments together where we were relaxed as the sun was setting. We loved looking back on our guest book after the day as everyone had taken polaroid pics and written special notes. This way we could see all the funny pics that our guests had taken that we missed during the reception.

We had a few dancing lessons with our family friends and hit our first dance with the dirty dancing song “time of your life” . I was so excited to do a proper dance and not just a shuffle. We had a jump at the end an all! Instead of hiring a DJ we hired a local band called “Hatchton” made up of some people that we knew. They were amazing and everyone had a dance. They were all the old classics that we liked and are very talented people.

Advice for future brides…

Dont stress. We so enjoyed planning the wedding, it was great fun!. And yes i would do it all over again. Yes there are moments where things might get stressful or not appear to go as planned but in the end it will be ok. The wedding is a day to celebrate your marriage so don’t loose focus and remember that its about you getting married. Also have a bit of time after you get engaged just to enjoy it before you start planning, says me who bought magazines far before I was engaged haha.

CREDITS

Photographer David Le Design & Photography
Videographer In The Frame
Wedding Stationery Fox and the Hare
Flowers Forever Yours Floral Design
Venue The Red Barn
Catering Kerr & Ladbrook
Hair Esther Pratt (Family Friend)
Makeup + Beauty Michaela Bird
Cake Spongedrop Cakery
Brides Dress Vinka Design
Bridesmaid Dresses Alannah Hill
Groom Hallenstein Brothers suits, Hannahs shoes, Odd Pears socks, OTAA bow ties

How to Find the Perfect Wedding Dress or Attire for Your Body Type

We all want to look our best and wear clothes that fit and flatter, and this is never more true than on your wedding day. While you may generally know what looks best on you, wedding dresses and suits are very different to our everyday attire and require a little more thinking about.

I want to end any fear and frustration that may come with choosing your bridal attire. This article is about Wedding Dresses, see also Stylish Suiting Inspiration.

Wedding Dress Silhouettes 101

There are six generally acknowledged wedding dress silhouettes, each of which is best suited to different body types. To choose the one that flaunts your body shape to its full advantage, and walk down the aisle with all the confidence in the world, read on.

Wedding Dress Silhouette: Ball gown

Best Suited Body Shapes: “Pear” weight distributed lower on the body mainly around hips and thighs

When to wear: The full skirt and fitted bodice of a ball gown silhouette is ideal for a pear shaped body, as it helps to accentuate the waist and hide the lower body. If you want to conceal a larger tummy or have full hips and thighs, the best silhouette to suit is something with a natural waist such as a soft ball gown or A line shape. This style will be fitted to your upper torso area while hiding anything from the waist down – creating a more proportional silhouette and perhaps also making you feel like a total princess!

Wedding Dress Silhouette: Column Dress / Sheath Gown

Best Suited Body Shapes: Tall & Slender Brides

When to wear: A column dress is contoured to the body’s natural shape from head to toe, fitting closely, and is best worn by slender brides – both short and tall – which will also help to elongate shorter brides. This form-fitting style follows the body’s natural line and doesn’t flare out. To create more shape on a very lean figure, a bias cut column is effective. 

If you favour a clean and simple shape, the column shape may be for you – just be aware it’s one of the less forgiving wedding dress silhouettes.

Wedding Dress Silhouette: Empire Gown

Best Suited Body Shapes: Various

When to wear: This silhouette is defined by the raised waistline – sitting just below the bust, from where the rest of the dress flows. This creates the illusion of a longer torso, and is suited to the smaller busted women or petite brides wishing to elongate. 

An empire silhouette wedding dress can also be great on larger brides since the dress flows from the bust line, it can conceal and cover unwanted body features such as shorter legs, or rounder body parts. While covering up, the dress shouldn’t be too big and baggy, which will make you look bigger – ensure it is also well fitted.

Wedding Dress Silhouette: Mermaid

Best Suited Body Shapes: Hourglass – Fuller bust and hips, smaller waist

When to wear: For girls blessed with an hourglass figure, most cuts will work – the choice is what body part to accentuate the most. To play up your curves, mermaid styles with a fitted bodice or a ball gown will show off your waist, and likewise create more of a waist for those without great definition. This style contours the body from the chest to the knee and is more fitted than the trumpet.

This can be a very sexy look, so confidence is a must.

Wedding Dress Silhouette: A-Line

Best Suited Body Shapes: Most, including ‘Apple’ with weight mainly around the middle

When to wear: The A-line silhouette suits most body shapes and help to create an hourglass figure. If you are plus size or want to appear taller, this is an ideal shape. Not only does it have a flattering waistline, it conceals hips and thighs and can elongate the body. Ensure the smallest part of the waist is also at the smallest part of your waist.

The A-line dress is versatile and has many modifications to the neck and waistline and can make sure you show off your best features (while downplaying others).

Wedding Dress Silhouette: Trumpet

Best Suited Body Shapes: Curvy

When to wear: This straight-lined skirt flares at just below the hips in a trumpet shape and can often be mistaken for the mermaid. This semi-full skirt gives you a little something something without the extra volume and bulk. It is less fitted and allows more movement, while still cutting a sexy figure.

Whatever you wear, choose something that makes you feel comfortable – don’t force yourself into a certain style or shape that doesn’t feel right. Confidence and comfort is a must on your wedding day, no matter what you’re wearing!

Photo Credit: Feature Image, Photo Credit: Image OnePhoto Credit: Image Two, Photo Credit: Image ThreePhoto Credit: Image Four, Photo Credit: Image Five, Photo Credit: Image six.