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The 6 Most Beautiful Bridal Robes & Sleepwear Sets

Whether you want to wow the groom on the wedding night, or to have your bridal party to feel as beautiful as you on the Big Day, these stunning bridal robes will live on well beyond the wedding.

  1. The divine Adele bridal robe includes beautifully textured 3D floral lace fabric – designed exclusively by Le Rose in Sydney. Perhaps a little sexy for the bridal party, but perfect for the honeymoon…
2. The Serenity Wear Silk Set is as deliciously comfortable as it looks and we want one in every colour! The perfect bridal party gift for the night before the wedding.
3. Ivory Pearl Tulle lace Bridal maxi nightgown deserves a closer look…
4. This stunning asymmetrical flowy charmeuse ruffle slip was designed to wear under a bridal gown, but we think it deserves a spotlight all of its own.
5. Only the best – Set hearts a flutter with this beautiful set of Ivory silk crepe de chine pyjamas made in the UK.

6. For a more budget-friendly option for the bridesmaids, New Zealand company Something Blue (best known for their bridal subscription boxes) have beautiful lace-trim bridal robes for $47 and bridesmaids boxes (including robes) from just $57.
silk-satin-lace-bridal-robes-bridesmaids-boxes-nz-04073
bridal-pyjama set bridemaids
Monogramming optional
Still our FAV

30 Unexpected Wedding Costs Brides Forget to Budget For

Planning your wedding is not only one of the most exciting journeys of your life, it’s also one of the most expensive. With so much to think about, it’s easy to overlook many of little expenses which make up your wedding budget, which can cause you to overspend significantly. Here are 30 unexpected wedding costs you may forget to budget for:

For more savvy spending advice, head to wedding budget breakdown, guide and templates and keep on top of your wedding budget with the little white book wedding planner.

Unexpected Pre-Wedding Budget Costs

Engagement Party Costs

Many couples wish to celebrate their exciting news by hosting an engagement party. A great way to introduce each side’s friends and families to each other, your engagement party can be as simple or extravagant as you like, and you may find that it makes planning your wedding easier too, as it’s basically a practice run.
However, like a wedding, you may be catering to a large number of people, as well as hiring and possibly decorating a venue – and the costs quickly add up. As well as being a practice run for wedding planning, an engagement party is also good practice run for wedding budgeting.
To save money on your engagement party, you might consider something casual at home (a potluck or barbecue if you’re offering dinner), or a simple celebratory drink at your favourite restaurant. You may wish to start the bar tab or offer a drink on arrival, as well as some canapes, but you’re not obliged to offer full catering to your guests which is often the most expensive cost. If you do wish to offer full catering, an engagement party brunch will also help save on costs.
See How to Plan an Engagement Party.

Proposing to Your Bridal Party in a Special Way

Once you have chosen your wedding party, you may wish to do something cute or quirky to ‘Propose’ to your bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Asking your bridal party with a creative gift is becoming very fashionable (or should we say #instagrammable) with personalised cookies, a personalised robe for the Big Day, or even an entire box of bridesmaids gifts, but all of these costs add up, especially if you have a large bridal party.
If you’re trying to keep to a tight wedding budget, the most thoughtful thing you can do is write a handwritten note telling your friend why you can’t wait to have them stand by your side on the Big Day. You can spend a few dollars on a “Be My Bridesmaid” card if you wish, but the most important thing is that the note is from the heart.

Your Bachelorette Party

Like many things wedding related, the once-humble hens-party send offs are often becoming a Vegas extravaganza. Perhaps fuelled by films like The Hangover and Bridesmaids, our pre-wedding events are getting more and more expensive. Though the bridesmaids might offer to pay for yours, you may wish to offer to contribute, especially if you’re going somewhere overnight.

Wedding Stationery and other Paper Goods

On-the-day Stationery

So you know you’re going to be sending wedding invitations, but have you thought about what kind of stationery, signage and other paper-goods you might want on the Big Day itself? Programs, menus, social media signage, a welcome sign, etc. Depending on how extravagant you’re feeling (acrylic and neon signs are gaining popularity), these can set you back a few hundred dollars more than you may be budgeting for.
If you want to send something simple, you can save 10% on these save-the-dates with code ‘MEG‘ and get each for just 90 cents.

Cost of Postage and Shipping

If your friends and family live all over the world – and even if they’re pretty local – the cost of shipping your invitation to them (and a save the date if you’re doing both). When designing your invitations, keep in mind that the thickness will significantly add to your postage costs, and may mean you have to pay for the invitation to go as an international parcel rather than a letter. The same goes for the specific shape of your invitation, while a long and narrow invitation may suit your theme best, it will also change the cost of postage.
Don’t forget to budget for sending your thank you cards post-wedding too.

Getting Ready for the Big Day

Bridal Beauty Treatments

It goes without saying that you want to have perfect skin (and hair, and nails) for your wedding day, but have you included the cost of these bridal beauty treatments in your wedding budget?
As well as setting aside money for the hair and make-up artist for you and your bridal party, you may be thinking about having regular facials and adhering to a skincare regime, as well as booking in for a mani-pedi in the lead up to the wedding. My advice – treat yourself, but make sure you make room in the budget for it too.

Wedding Gown Alterations

Unless you’re extremely lucky, your wedding gown is going to require some alterations, whether that means hemming the gown, taking it in (or letting it out), or structural changes (like adding straps). Even if you’re ordering your dress made-from-scratch, you may find that it only covers a certain number of adjustments before you have to pay. As many brides embark on health and fitness regimes in the lead up to the wedding – or do the opposite and order their wedding dress in a smaller size – it’s common to need some adjustment. The same goes for the bridesmaids’ dresses, so I suggest adding a 10% buffer to your wedding and bridesmaids gown quotes.

Undergarments and Accessories

While we’re on the subject of bridal attire and accessories, don’t forget your veil, wedding shoes and possibly even your lingerie can set you back a few hundred if you want to spend that much. You may not have given much thought to whether you’d like a garter, but that too can cost from $50-200 on average.

Accommodation

If you’ve envisaged your bridesmaids having a final pampering and sleep-over the night before, don’t forget the cost of accommodation. You’ll probably need to pay for most of the second day, unless you’re going to be ready to check out by 11am, so you may wish to book the same room for your wedding night – but ask for a maid’s service once you’ve left for your wedding.

Wedding Day Breakfast

Whether you’re staying at home, or at a hotel, there’ll be a few extra mouths to feed  – your bridesmaids will likely be with you from the crack of dawn getting their hair and make-up done. You may wish to have a grazing platter to share with the photographers too – and don’t forget champagne!

Wedding Morning Attire

If you gifted your bridesmaids a robe as part of their “Will you be my Bridesmaid” gift then this is taken care of (though you still may wish to order one for yourself). If not, have a think about what you’d like all of the girls to be wearing on the wedding morning, and make sure to budget for it.

Guests

Transportation For Guests

Depending on the type of wedding venue you choose, or whether you have an all-in-one venue for both ceremony and reception, you may wish to assist your guests with transport. Many wedding venues do not have parking availability for 100+ guests, and you may also be conscious of your guests drinking and driving. If you aren’t paying for transport, you may still wish to organise for taxis to arrive at the end of the evening.

Unexpected Guests

Be sure to follow up with every single one of your invited guests, as there’s always one who doesn’t think the RSVPs apply to them. Unfortunately, there’s also a chance that a guest will bring a plus one that wasn’t invited, so you may wish to organise 1-2 extra meals on the off-chance this happens.

Wedding favours

Though certainly not necessary, if you wish to organise wedding favours for your guests to take home with them, they can cost upward of a couple of dollars each. The nicest favour we ever got was a hand-written note, and it’s probably the only one we actually kept. If you don’t feel comfortable writing a note to each person but want to cut costs: opt for one favour for each couple/family rather than per person, make DIY favours if you’re feeling crafty, or skip them altogether — most guests won’t notice if you don’t have them.

Vendors

Day-Of Coordinator/Wedding Planner

Even brides who have planned the entire day themselves often change their mind last-minute and want to book a day-of wedding planner. This can cost around $1-2,000 in New Zealand, and may be worthwhile to give you peace of mind, if there’s no one else to help you on the day. Because we had a fairly small wedding of 75, and we were all close friends, I asked our MC and the bridesmaids to ‘run the show’ which they did very well, so this isn’t a necessity, but just something to keep in mind.
Of course, lots of brides will use a wedding-planner right from the beginning, which will cost a lot more but it’s part of the planner’s job to budget for everything.

Vendor Meals

Depending on your arrangements with your wedding vendors, you may be expected to feed some of them. Your photographer and/or videographer will be with you the longest, so ensure to budget for their meals and confirm which of your vendors will expect the same. Include these vendors in your final guest count with the caterer.
While we’re on final guest count – don’t forget to include the guests of honour (yourselves!) when you’re finalising your numbers. It’s easy to overlook the two most important people, or even your entire bridal party, when you’re counting the numbers.

Overtime

Your vendor contracts will also determine how long you’ve paid each of your vendors for. Your photographers’ ‘All-Day’ package may actually only be until 9pm, so if you wish for them to stay later, this is likely to be an additional fee. Same goes for the band –  if you had planned on only having the band for 4 hours but you ask them to stay later, this will be at your cost. Ensure you understand your vendor contracts and all overtime fees prior to extending your vendors’ services. I recommend going through the wedding planning pack when you book each of your vendors so that you get the best understanding of what each contract entails.

Decor

Lighting/Sound/Decor

When you visit your wedding venue, keep in mind that whatever you don’t see but envision for your wedding will be at an extra hireage cost. Most venues require a bit of extra lighting, a sound-system or microphone for speeches, and though you’ve probably budgeted for wedding flowers, you may wish to decorate the tables or reception room with fairy lights, candles in hurricane vases, lanterns, etc – all of which will incur an extra hireage cost.
Even if the venue looks perfect to you, I would suggest budgeting for a little extra décor – you may find yourself getting inspired over the next few months of wedding planning.

Wet-weather planning

Similarly, if the weather turns bad and you have to resort to your back-up plan, will you have all the hireage, décor and lighting that requires. For instance, if your plan is to have the reception on the lawn, but your wet-weather plan requires moving into the venue’s hall or barn, will you be happy with the look of the space or should you organise for some décor to fill it?
If your wedding is in a marquee and the weather is poor in the days prior, you may also need to hire a floor or turf for it too.

Forget-me-nots

The easiest and most-expensive way to add unexpected costs to your wedding budget is to forget to organise something and have to do so at the last minute. Keep track of all your costs with the little white book wedding planner to avoid unpleasant surprises right at the sharp end.

Post-Wedding To-Do’s

The list just keeps going (sorry) – wedding planning doesn’t exactly finish on the day of the wedding. Not only do you have thank you cards to write and send, you may wish to send gifts to your bridal party or your parents (especially if they contributed to the cost of your wedding), and there’s a few other loose-ends to wrap up which can add unexpected costs.

Dry-cleaning and preserving your wedding dress

When you’ve spent a fortune on it, you don’t want to let it disintegrate due to to a wet hem, or let a small mark turn into a forever-stain. Dry-cleaning your dress, and/or having it preserved can be more expensive then you imagine – a few hundred dollars even, so add it to your wedding budget in advance.
Thank you cards may already be organised with your stationery designer, but you may wish to print off a beautiful wedding photo to accompany it. I’ve found the absolute best quality prints are from NZ printing company Happy Moose (you can use the code ‘MEG’ to save 10%), and they also offer thank you cards pre-made for $1 each.
We also spent a small-fortune (or so it felt at the time) having a photo book printed. Though it was time-consuming and cost a few hundred dollars, I know that if I didn’t do it immediately, I never would.

Last-minute unexpected costs

If there’s one thing a stressed-out bride or groom doesn’t need in the last days or weeks before their wedding, it’s the unexpected. The sooner and better you budget now, the less likely you are to have unexpected costs at the last minute. Double-check your vendor agreements, talk through your plan with your fiancé and a friend, and keep checking in with your budget along the way.

If you get organised early, you’ll actually be able to enjoy the wedding countdown without worrying about money – and all the unexpected costs you can get on top of with plenty of time mean more honeymoon spending!

How to Choose your Wedding Party: Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, MC & more

How to Choose your Wedding Party

Choosing your wedding party is one of the exciting first steps to planning your wedding, but it can also be a daunting one. Choosing bridesmaids, groomsmen, an MC, possibly flower girls and more for your Big Day is a lot to think about, usually before you’ve even set a date. Like with every aspect of wedding planning, it’s key not to rush into your decision – this one in particular is a hard one to undo.

Grab your wedding planner book, read on, and think seriously about how you wish to choose your wedding party.

Is it a Bridal Party or Wedding Party?

Traditionally, the ‘Bridal Party’ are the usually female attendants to the Bride: bridesmaids and maid or matron of honour, while ‘Wedding Party’ referred to the entire group, that’s the bridesmaids and groomsmen on both sides. We consider that ‘Wedding Party’ is also more inclusive of different gender roles on each side, such as a bride who has male attendants, and is also more appropriate for same-sex weddings which don’t have a bride at all, so we use ‘Wedding Party’ where possible.

We also think it’s a united decision for the couple to make, it’s not just for the bride to choose the bridesmaids, and the groom to choose the groomsmen. Ensure you and your partner are in complete agreement on who to ask, because although you are asking them to be your bridesmaids or groomsmen you are also asking them to be part of your joint wedding party. You will both spend a lot of time with your wedding party in the lead up and preparation for the wedding and on the Big Day itself, so it’s really best for everybody if you all get along.

Likewise, think about the dynamic between the people you want to ask, for instance (if you are having traditional female/male roles), ensure the bridesmaids will all get along with each other. It’s best to choose people who have been in your life a long time, whom you know you can trust to always have your best interests at heart.

How to Choose your Wedding Party

When considering who to ask as your bridesmaids and groomsmen (or bridesmen and groomsmaids), first consider what roles your wedding party will have have to help with. These might include:

  • Helping you to plan your engagement party – will at least one of them be organised, helpful and responsible?
  • Attending and helping you to shop for your wedding attire – able to be honest and help you look the best you can on your Wedding Day, not to mention be accommodating with your choice of bridesmaids dresses or other attire.
  • Getting creative with you to craft or help with DIY wedding projects – will they going to have the time and want to do so?
  • Plan your pre-wedding parties – a bridal shower and/or bachelorette party -and make sure you get home in one piece.
  • Getting on with one another, possibly following instructions from the maid/matron of honour of the best man – if they are not going to get on well with the other bridesmaids, your family members, the groomsmen or even the Groom, perhaps rethink your team.
  • Keeping you company the night before your Wedding Day and ease any last-minute jitters before you walk down the aisle.
  • Getting ready on your Wedding Day – will they calm you down or stress you out?
  • Making a kind and thoughtful speech – 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 flower girls and page boys (and possibly 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?

It might sound harsh, but being part of your bridal party is a big responsibility (and can be a costly one for both them and you).  If your friend is swamped with work and can barely come out at the weekend for brunch, they probably won’t have time to help with your wedding – which is, after all, the point. If you already know they’re on a tight budget, it may be difficult for them to contribute to planning some of the wedding events, or purchasing items for your wedding, so when you choose your wedding party, think about whether your friends really can commit.

How large a Wedding Party can you afford within your Wedding budget?

Like most things, the number of girls and guys you choose for your wedding party will affect your wedding budget. The more bridesmaids and groomsmen you have, the higher the cost.
Traditionally, bridesmaids have been responsible for all the costs of their own attire and accessories; organising the bachelorette party; gift for the couple and a gift for the bride or couple.  The couple traditionally covers the cost of each bridesmaid’s bouquet; transportation to the ceremony and reception; a thank-you gift; and hair and make-up if the couple requires it to be professionally done.  If that is the case, the couple ought to be prepared to spend at least $100 on each bridesmaid’s bouquet, and around another $100+ on a gift.
Alternatively, couples may choose to pay for their bridesmaids’ outfits in lieu of an expensive gift, but the costs add up either way. Choosing someone to be in your wedding party really shouldn’t be asking for a significant financial contribution to your big day. See also What should your bridesmaids pay for and keep this in mind when you decide on who to choose. The average cost of a Bridesmaid is apparently up to $1,700. so if you are on a tight budget, you may wish to just have one bridesmaid or groomsman.
P.s. I love this article on Why Bridal Musings’ Editor Claire didn’t have a bridal party!

Do you need to choose your Wedding Party to have an even number on each side?

Bridesmaids and Groomsmen and Wedding Parties in general do not need to be in even numbers.  Isn’t that a strange tradition, that Bride and Groom must have the same number of close friends to stand next to them on the day?  Traditionally, the Groomsmen’s job was to help the Groom kidnap the Bride, apparently… but that’s another story.

Don’t worry about having even numbers in the photos or at the ceremony line-up, instead choose your wedding party based on those 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.
It’s also becoming increasingly common to have both genders on both sides – because as if men and women can’t be friends!?

Who should you avoid choosing to be part of your Wedding party?

I suggest you avoid asking anyone to be part of your wedding party just to be polite, for instance the friend from school who asked you to be a bridesmaid for her wedding – if that’s the only reason why.  We’re all grown ups now, we don’t need to return the favour on choosing our bridesmaids.  Each of us has a different set of circumstances and a different group of close friends, close sisters, a large circles of friends; etc – just because you made someone else’s ‘inner circle’ does not entitle that someone to be within yours. Of course, you don’t want to offend anybody by not asking them to be in your wedding party, when they may have expected to be asked, but you’ll be so much happier if you just ask the people you really want to have.
As above, due to the cost and time commitment which may be expected, you should avoid choosing anyone to be part of your bridal party who can’t afford the commitment – either financially or in time – or be prepared for them to graciously decline.

How to discuss your Wedding party with your fiancé

If you’re still having trouble, talk through with your partner and get back to your wedding priorities:

  • Who would you choose for each other – who are really your closest friends?
  • Would you like to include each other’s siblings?
  • What do you expect your wedding party to help each of you with, and pay for?
  • How large would your wedding party be ideally, esp. relative to your entire wedding guest list?
  • Will those you’re considering still be your closest friends in 5-10 years?
  • Can you afford to purchase everything for your bridal party, or will those you’re choosing be able and happy to contribute?

Once you have chosen your bridal party, here are some creative ways to ‘Propose’ to your bridesmaids – aka “Will you be my Bridesmaid”.

Photos from Elegant Waiheke Wedding

37 Unique Bride Jackets To Keep You Warm (+ Cool!) At Your Wedding

I have always loved the idea of rocking a fabulous custom bride jacket at a wedding reception (especially in NZ where nights can get chilly brr), but up until now everything was looking a little plain jane for my liking. Today, these unique jackets are getting their grove on in all sorts of wild and wonderful ways, making them totally wedding worthy (and perfect as a future wedding day family heiloom!). Whatta ya think? xox

Hand Painted Wifey Jackets by Bee Davis Shop

I couldn’t choose just one from Bee Davis… here are my favs!

custom-handpainted-bridal-leather-jackets-denim-alternative-bride-rock-n-roll-bee-davies custom-handpainted-bridal-leather-jackets-denim-alternative-bride-rock-n-roll-bee-davies custom-handpainted-bridal-leather-jackets-denim-alternative-bride-rock-n-roll-bee-davies custom-handpainted-bridal-leather-jackets-denim-alternative-bride-rock-n-roll-bee-davies custom-handpainted-bridal-leather-jackets-denim-alternative-bride-rock-n-roll-bee-davies custom-handpainted-bridal-leather-jackets-denim-alternative-bride-rock-n-roll-bee-davies custom-handpainted-bridal-leather-jackets-denim-alternative-bride-rock-n-roll-bee-davies custom-handpainted-bridal-leather-jackets-denim-alternative-bride-rock-n-roll-bee-davies custom-handpainted-bridal-leather-jackets-denim-alternative-bride-rock-n-roll-bee-davies

& on with the rest…


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Custom Jackets by Fabrics Tattoo

Custom Heart & Arrow Embroidered Denim Jacket

til-death-bridal-wedding-leather-jacket

 Hand-Painted Flower Skull Motorcycle Style Jacket by Once Upon a Lauren

Mrs Jacket – The Ever Collection

Luxury Painted Bridal Jacket – Mama Inc Studio

Wife Of the Party!

Head to Real Weddings for more inspiration

This Coronavirus Lockdown might actually make your Wedding BETTER… here’s why!

The worldwide Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has thrown the entire world into a tailspin, causing thousands of couples to postpone their wedding plans, and leaving those who were just getting started with wedding planning in another kind of limbo – how can you plan anything right now, let alone a mass gathering or travel.

However (stay with me here…) if there is one silver lining to planning your wedding while being logistically unable to actually plan your wedding, it’s that this is an opportunity to make your wedding better: more personal, more budget-conscious, more thoughtful and more awesome.

Put simply, whether you are starting wedding planning from scratch, or postponing your original planned wedding during this lockdown you may find you can actually plan a wedding with purpose.

Stop Wedding Planning on Autopilot

The Coronavirus lockdown has caused us all to adopt a much slower pace of life. There is much less to do, there are fewer places to go, many of us are off-work, all events are cancelled, and we’re being forced to spend a lot of time together. Often, when couples get engaged, they are in a huge rush to plan their “Big Day”… they are anxious to book the best wedding venue money can buy, secure the date in all their friends’ schedules, go wedding dress shopping and start DIY-ing their Pinterest-inspired wedding themes.

However, what do any of those things actually have to do with planning a wedding that’s thoughtful, personal and reflects the journey you two have shared? I take some responsibility here, I know many of you will have bought or been gifted the little white book immediately, you want to get started straight away, working through the first checklist on autopilot.

Let me just stop you there. I want to help you plan your wedding, not just any generic wedding, not a mirror image of the last three you’ve attended, but one that you have planned with purpose, that looks and feels like a reflection of you and your relationship.

Who, what, how and WHY are you getting married?

What makes you want to get married in the first place? Beyond getting married, why do you want a ‘wedding’ (there is a difference).

What about your relationship is completely different to that of any of your friends’ relationships? What drew you to your partner in the first place, and what keeps you together? Are there unique cultural elements you could bring together in a celebration, are you getting married to bring your two friend and family groups together, or planning a destination wedding to celebrate your love of travel?

Have you always dreamt of a big wedding? Do you have visions of feeling like a princess for a day, or are you uncomfortable about the idea of having all eyes on you? Perhaps you love to party, and this is the perfect excuse you’ve been looking for to throw a big one?

Whatever your reasons are, hold onto them tightly. As you may have already noticed, lots of people will have lots and lots of opinions about all the ways you can plan a wedding – whether you should get married in a Church, how much to spend, how many bridesmaids you should have, who you’re supposed to invite, whether you can ask for cash for your wedding present… the list goes on.

The point is, with everyone offering their advice, it’s easy to lose sight of your own “What”, “How” and “Why”, and forget that it’s really all about the “Who” – the person you are marrying, and what makes the two of you so special.

You’ve got plenty of time on your hands right now, so use it to your advantage and make sure you’re both clear on the wedding you really want to have, before you started talking to vendors and making bookings.

Can you still afford the wedding you wanted? Do you still want to spend that much?

Many of us are going to come out of this crisis financially worse-off (ourselves definitely included). If this was us five years ago, I’m not sure whether we would be able to say we could still afford the wedding we had intended to have.

Wedding budgets are all about priorities. What will mean more to you over the next year? If you’re still feeling financially stable, is an expensive wedding the difference between being able to afford your first home together, or finally renovating your bathroom? Now that you’re spending more time at home, are there things you really want to fix, or would you rather spend more money getting far, far away from home on an extravagant honeymoon instead?

Had your parents or any other close family offered to help you financially? Are they still in a position to do so? As many people are currently been made redundant, some older people may find it difficult to get back into the work force and may consider retiring early, so be mindful of this when accepting contributions.

Perhaps you’re all going to come out of the other side of this exactly the same, but this time may even make you rethink what’s important to you in organising your celebration. Maybe you’re faced with having to postpone your wedding, but you’re actually desperate to just get married immediately, and will just plan a party afterwards – in which case you may still need to revisit your wedding budget and possibly make some tweaks.

What has this time taught you about each other?

For many couples, this period of “lockdown” is the most time they’ve ever spent together – and it will really test their relationship. Now’s a great time to think about learning each other’s love languages and also really communicate your needs to each other.

I’ve written an article on the 5 awkward conversations you need to have prior to getting married, and there’s no better time to have them than now.

What’s on your bucket list, what do you want to achieve in the next 5 years, will you be wanting to start a family as soon as possible? If so, are you happy to wait until after the wedding, or is that the new priority, and you can get married later on?

The New York Times article on Couples Surviving Lockdown is full of more tips, including “Journal. Spend five to 10 minutes every day writing freeform.” So grab your little white book and don’t just focus on planning a wedding, but on taking care of yourself and your relationship. It also advises prioritising some time to yourself. Easier said than done sometimes, but crucial to surviving this time together, is having some time alone.

Tough times make for tough people

The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown will be among the toughest thing some of us have ever, and will ever do. We are isolated from our family and friends, our support networks, our jobs, our physical and mental outlets and the freedom we have had our entire lives. Not to mention the stress and anxiety we are feeling.

We will come out of this tougher, and perhaps more sure of ourselves and what is important to us in life. How will this impact your wedding? Maybe it won’t, or maybe you’ll get tough enough to tell your parents you don’t want your wedding to turn into their high-school reunion, or get tough and decide to have a small wedding without your extended friend and family groups, or feel confident enough to break all the “rules” and wear a red dress, have a brunch wedding instead of a traditional evening party, or maybe you’ll just elope to Las Vegas when the travel ban finally lifts.

Whatever you choose, if you take this extra time to make decisions which are truly for you, you’ll have no regrets. Again, I’m sending all my love to those of you who are struggling after having to postpone your weddings, and I wish you all the best with wedding planning during a pandemic – which I know will feel so far removed from what you expected when you got engaged. Things could be worse, things could be better (you could be this couple trapped on their luxury Maldives honeymoon), but things will hopefully get back to “normal” soon, and maybe there will even be some silver linings for wedding planning too.

Lots of love

Meg xx

Change the Date: How to Postpone your Wedding

The current coronavirus pandemic has led to entirely unprecedented, unthinkable changes for most of the world. As the virus has infected over one million people and devastated as many businesses, it has also left thousands of bride and grooms-to-be distraught at the prospect of having to postpone their weddings. The emotional and financial repercussions of having to quickly defer their long-awaited celebrations and honeymoons is not something that should be downplayed. Yes, they are doing it to save lives, and that is unquestionably the most important thing, but for couples who have been planning their weddings for months or years, having to change the date and re-organise your big day is incredibly distressing.

If you are one of those thousands of couples whose wedding plans have been affected by Covid-19, please know that your feelings of loss and disappointment are valid. While it might seem impossible to imagine now, you have not lost everything, and in a few months you will be able to have the ‘I do’s’ you’ve been dreaming of. Don’t think of this as a ‘cancellation’, your wedding is not cancelled, you’re making adjustments and your wedding day will happen.

I’ve spent this week talking with friends in the wedding industry, and the overwhelming response is how much everybody wants to help.

Try to remember that whenever your wedding ultimately takes place, it will still be wonderful and your loved ones will be there to support you. Until then, try to soak up being engaged to the love of your life for just a little more time. We’ve had a lot of our ‘something blue‘ brides extend their subscription, so that at least they get to enjoy the treats of being a bride-to-be for longer, so see if you can find a silver lining somewhere.

Take a Deep Breath, Be Flexible

Emma of Emma Newman Weddings has been here before. As a predominantly Christchurch wedding planner, she experienced a similar scenario following the Christchurch earthquake – right in the middle of New Zealand’s busy wedding season: “Take a deep breath and don’t feel like your dream day has gone. If anything, this and the quake time has taught me to be flexible.”

Keep Calm and Communicate

If you had planned to get married in the last few weeks or the next few, you will have already communicated with your wedding guests that the party is postponed. If your wedding is in the next couple of months, you will probably facing the same result – though ‘lockdown’ is currently only until the end of April, it seems unlikely we will be resuming full movement around the country or having any large gatherings allowed for some time yet.

Remain calm, relax, and communicate with your wedding guests, and your vendors. When telling your guests that your wedding is postponed, don’t feel pressured to provide them with any further information. At this stage, we all understand that the future is uncertain.

If you’re using a wedding planner, they will be able to help with this and can also help you read through and navigate the vendor contracts you had in place. Emma Newman has offered to have a no-pressure, no obligation chat, if you’re interested in having her take over some of your wedding planning admin for you.

Free Change the Date Wedding Stationery

Amanda of Be My Guest Wedding Stationery has created the most incredible free template to “Change the date” on which you can leave off a date for now, but could simply use to let friends know they won’t be celebrating with you quite so soon. Amanda has offered “if you want colours changed, or a physical copy printed, or want us to design something else for you – we can totally do that too. We are busy setting up some designs that match our existing wedding stationery (so your “Change of Plans” card can still match your existing stationery, because #matchymatchy doesn’t take pandemics off).

Talk to your close family

(While maintaining social distancing). Talk to your spouse-to-beabout what is important to you both, and when you are ready, discuss with your families and set out a plan. Emma’s advice to couples is that while a change of date could mean no other changes, if you’re changing seasons it might mean a relook at all facets from venue to catering style (winter becomes spring etc), while if your guest list will be much smaller without international guests, there may also be more to change.

Again, don’t be in a rush to set a new date immediately, as the situation both here and around the world may still be fluid for the next few months at least. If you are anxious to set a date for yoru own peace of mind, you may wish to consider a “back-up back-up date” just incase.

Emma suggests that if you need to communicate with multiple vendors, or groups of family and friends to set a new date, start a group chat to avoid back and forth emailing.

What if your loved ones can’t make it anymore?

The sad reality for some couples is that they may now have to marry without some of their loved ones present, but if this past couple of weeks have taught us anything, it’s that we can still connect with those we love without being present with them (or breaking any social distancing rules). A couple of years ago, I wrote a feature on “Watch my Wedding” – a startup company by a couple who couldn’t have all their overseas relatives at their wedding, and so instead created a wedding streaming video service. There’s never been a better time to think about having a small wedding, but sharing it with loved ones all over the world. “When planning our wedding, we experienced first-hand just how difficult it is when loved ones can’t attend your wedding –  we decided to stream our ceremony so we could still include them.However, after weeks of researching the best way to stream our wedding, we just couldn’t find a solution that was both affordable and reliable. That’s when we decided to create our own software and hardware solution.”

Want to have a smaller wedding now?

Some couples may now be looking to down-size their celebrations, which again will take some careful communicating. Wedding guests will understand if you choose to have a small celebration, or an elopement now to be followed by a bigger party later on.

The Covid-19 crises has impacted the financial stability of many of us, so if you want to relook at your budget, there may be ways to keep costs down, whether that’s changing wedding venue, guest list or catering for instance.

Crucial to some of these decisions will be the contracts you have with vendors. While all wedding vendors in New Zealand are doing their best and want to help you, many small businesses have been impacted by the crisis as well, so be patient and kind when trying to change your plans. Re-look at your vendor agreements and consider how best you can move forward with a slightly different day, if that is how you wish to proceed. Be understanding – if deposits are non-refundable and a vendor is unavailable for a new date, you have to understand that they did not decide to not do your wedding. I know that they will help as much as they can – this is a hard time for everyone involved.

Think about what you really want

The silver lining to a postponement is that it gives you longer to plan, and the perspective to think about what’s really important to you both. I’ve always emphasised how important it is to plan a wedding that really reflects you personally.

Remind yourselves what your engagement (and wedding) is really about. Plan a wedding that’s just right for you, however small and simple. I suggest reading The life changing magic of Wedding Planning!

Celebrate your “Wedding Day” anyway

If you can, and you feel good about it, do something just for you and your fiancé on the day your wedding was to take place. Right now, our options are pretty limited #lockdownlife – but even if it’s as simple as going for an afternoon walk and talking about your future plans, or having a glass of wine at the time you would have otherwise been toasting your nuptials, try to mark the occasion in a special way.

Remember, you’re not alone – read these wedding stories of others who have had to postpone their weddings.