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How to Announce your Engagement

How to Announce Your Engagement!

As soon as he (or she!) has popped the question you may feel rushed to share your news and excitement, but give your engagement announcement just a little bit of thought before you post your cute selfie to instagram!

Tell your Family the news first

Traditional engagement announcement etiquette is that the bride’s parents be the first to be informed of their daughter’s engagement (once the groom had asked for the bride’s parents permission in advance). Second, of course – followed shortly after – is the announcement to the groom’s parents.

If you possibly can, do so in person, and most importantly tell both sets of parents first. Decide whether you can reach them both before announcing the news to others, and either call straight away, or keep your lips sealed until you see them both.
If the parents don’t yet know each other, make plans for them to meet. I suggest to loosen them up a glass of Champagne to do so, and do not discuss wedding guest lists or financial contributions under any circumstances.
Traditionally it was customary for the groom’s parents to invite the bride’s parents over for dinner. If there are any children involved from prior relationships (or ex-spouses) be fair to them and tell them next.

Next, tell your besties!

Don’t leave your BFFs to find out on social-media – through don’t worry – that announcement is coming! Can you get your friends together to pop the bubbles (like, immediately?) As above, if you can’t get them together really really soon, call them to announce the good news.  The hardest thing about being engaged is not shouting it from the rooftops, so get the news to the most important people ASAP to avoid hurt feelings! Don’t feel in a rush to choose your wedding party and/or ask your bridesmaids and groomsmen – there’s plenty of time for that!

Before you announce your engagement on social media…

Tell siblings, other close family, and anyone else who won’t see it on social media within the first couple of days.  Then, do a final check through your contacts, Facebook messages and anywhere else, to ensure all the most important, inner circle know before you blast a #shesaidyes hashtag!  It’s worth it to wait – people get funny about engagement announcements, and will be easily offended if they feel left out.

Finally… Facebook (and Instagram!)

So you’re ready for your phone to start blowing up… go for it. You only get to do this once so give it some thought, so how do you announce your engagement on social media?

First, give your nails some TLC. You’re going to be flashing your digits for all to see, so buff, polish and moisturise away (even better – get a manicure.). Pick up your favourite polish (I suggest a neutral colour so as not to take away from your new bling) and get glossy…

Make sure to grab the little white book wedding planner so that you can record your proposal story, and start planning when you’re ready.

Social Media Engagement Announcement Inspiration…


essie-polish-engagement love-notes-from-the-heart
Put it in the Paper!
When my amazing friends got engaged earlier this year, they not only put it in the paper, but they used a photo of that newspaper announcement to let their Facebook friends know – both traditional and savvy!

Take a cute photo!


If you’re engaged, have a look at the little white book and keep a note of your proposal story then head to the Wedding Planning page for an index of our content.

A Super Stylish Matakana Elopement by Jodie C Photography

I’m not even sure where to begin with today’s Matakana elopement. Tanille + Kristy are super stylish, simply stunning and sooooo in love, that every pic is just PERFECTION! I have been waiting oh so patiently (nearly 6 years in fact) to feature a bride wearing a white tuxe on her wedding day, so today all my Christmases have come at once with not one, but two brides rocking drop dead gorgeous custom-made kit, and each in their own unique way. Of course, as always, Jodie C Photography knocked it out of the park with these images, so I won’t keep you any longer from falling in love with this elopement, also perfect wedding inspiration for the style savvy couple! Enjoy xox

 Who Tanille Elley + Kristy Holt
Where Matakana, New Zealand
Guests None!

Our love story started…

Just over 2 years go after a love at first sight moment on Anzac Day 2014. Through use of facebook & mutual friends… we had the courage to contact each other by early July 2014…

The proposal happened when…

TJ asked KH to return to the same little local coffee shop where we shared our first date. KH didn’t realise it was exactly one year from our first date. KH also didn’t understand why they had to meet for breakfast, travelling in two separate cars, when they lived under the same roof, but didn’t ask any questions. TJ arrived at the café with a bunch of flowers and a little letter. The letter said it all, except the four words, ‘will you marry me?’, which TJ mustered up the courage to ask when KH was at the last sentence of the letter…..Selecting a ring for an artist and designer was impossible, so TJ’s florist made a little pink ring from wire and ribbon, which did the trick while two matching black triangular diamonds were sourced (which took months!).

Our inspiration for the day was.

Our day, in the least selfish way possible, was about us, our feelings for each other, and the goals we have together. Because of this, we chose to elope. There was absolutely no distraction from the meaning of the day, and it couldn’t have been more filled with love and laughter. IN fact, it’s hard to find photos in which we aren’t throwing our heads back in joy, enjoying the day, enjoying each other, and excited at the life we have ahead of us.

What was the hardest thing about eloping?…

We had to source everything we needed online… Celebrant, Chef, Photographer, Hair and Makeup Artist, and Florist. There was no opportunity for trials or face to face meetings, so we just had to trust our gut feeling. the hardest part was keeping it all a sceret! TJ’S mum has keys to our house and often calls in… we always had to be scrambling to hide any research including material samples, tourist info on NZ & Matakana, air flight tickets etc..!!

Our advice to engaged couples is…

You can have all the ‘bells and whistles’ without the long guest list!


Photographer Jodie C Photography
Flowers, Corsage + Wreath Twig & Bloom, Matakana
Stationery Postcard Announcing Our Elopement from Vistaprint
Venue Matakana 360, Matakana, NZ
Catering + Cake Mark Townsend at iCATER
Signage Lightbox DIY +  ‘Mrs & Mrs’ Letters from TYPO
Hair & Makeup Paige Best
Celebrant Linden Louise Cowen (
Rings Paul Carruthers Manufacturing Jewellers
Brides Outfits One Piece Playsuit + Coats custom made by Gail from Stitches Dressmaking,  NSW, Australia
Accessories Alison Jackson “XO” Earrings purchased from Studio Melt, NSW Australia
Fabric Tessuti Fabrics, Surry Hills, NSW, Australia
Tie + Bowtie Custom made by Gail from Stitches Dressmaking, NSW, Australia
Fabric Spoonflower
Brand Bride Tanks Private Party
Lingerie Simone Perele + Calvin Klein
Shoes Wanted Shoe Co.

A Sweet, Simple, Vintage Hall Wedding by Sweet Events Photography

Today’s simple wedding is sweet, fun and a little bit vintage! You might recognise the beautiful bride Bets as the talented creative behind Magnolia Kitchen (we sure have featured a lot of her cakes + sweet treats on P&L over the years!). Im loving the bridesmaids in red, Bet’s gorgeous makeup (love a bride who rocks a strong lip!), and the gorgeous simple greenery bouquets!. Congratulations to gorgeous lovebirds Bets + Harley, and a big thank you to Emma from Sweet Events Photography for sharing this lovely little wedding with us!

Who Bets Gee & Harley Gee
Where Coatsville Settlers Hall
Guests 55
Budget $25k

In three words describe your wedding style… Romantic, Simple with a hint of Vintage

What music did you play for those special moments? 

Isle song: Somebody to Love, Queen
Register Signing: Lucky Man, Verve
First Dance: Kiss, Prince

What were the save and splurge items for your wedding?

Save: made my own cake & desserts, did my own florals
Splurge: Alcohol, food and Accommodation (getting ready and wedding night)

What was the most difficult part of planning your wedding? And the most fun?

Difficult: having our wedding at the same time we were opening Magnolia Kitchen Sweet Café meaning Harley had to plan the entire wedding himself.

Fun: The Wedding day

Did you DIY?

We DIY’d the Invites/stationery design and printing, planning, cake, desserts, florals, table settings.


Photographer Sweet Events Photography
Second Shooter Joanna Walker Photography
Wedding Stream Watch My Wedding
Venue Coatsville Settlers Hall
Catering Jess’s Underground Kitchen
Hire Company  Two Foxes StylingInsphire
Hair Boutique Bride
Makeup Asrin Makeup
Cake, Desserts and Favours Magnolia Kitchen
Celebrant Nicki McClintock
Brides Dress, Accessories & Shoes Online
Bridesmaids Dresses Online
Grooms Suit & Accessories The Syndicate
Rings Custom Love Winter (bride) + Stewart Dawson (groom)
Music DJ Swinddle (friend)


How to Plan a Feminist Wedding

Planning a wedding, you soon realise that wedding planning itself, (like, perhaps the institution of marriage) has clearly defined gender roles which possibly don’t conform to your feminist ideals – and quite rightfully so. So can you plan a “feminist wedding”, or rather, how can you plan a wedding that doesn’t contradict the very idea of feminism?

Can you even be a feminist and get married?

feminism |ˈfɛmɪnɪz(ə)mnoun [ mass noun ] 
the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes
Feminist has become somewhat of a ‘buzzword’ over the past decade, shirking its bra-burning connotations of the 60’s, and becoming a more respected description of both men and women.
Like many, I’m shocked that there ever, let alone still, exist those who don’t consider men and women to be equal, so how, and why, can I go along with ‘marriage’ or a ‘traditional wedding’?

How are traditional weddings anti-feminist?

Marriage, and therefore the act of planning your wedding and getting married, has historically been oppressive to women (like sex, money, education, career opportunities, advertising, etc).
Some critics assert that marriage will always remain a symbolic institution signifying the subordination of women to men.
Clare Chambers points to the sexist traditions surrounding marriage and weddings; she writes

Symbolically, the white wedding asserts that women’s ultimate dream and purpose is to marry, and remains replete with sexist imagery: the white dress denoting the bride’s virginity (and emphasising the importance of her appearance); the minister telling the husband “you may now kiss the bride” (rather than the bride herself giving permission, or indeed initiating or at least equally participating in the act of kissing); the reception at which, traditionally, all the speeches are given by men; the wife surrendering her own name and taking her husband’s.

There’s more than just that, though – consider: the engagement ring marks the woman as ‘spoken for’ or ‘taken’ (the man wears no ring to show he is betrothed),  the bride’s parents paying for the wedding because its her ‘dowry’, the bride’s father literally and figuratively ‘giving her away’ because until her marriage she is his property; and after: her husband’s.
Anyway, let’s switch things up and make your wedding a little more feminism-friendly!

Rethink the traditional ‘Give-Away’ of the Bride

You don’t have to continue the custom of “father walking daughter down the aisle to transfer ownership” ritual, just because it’s “tradition”. Have both parents walk you down the aisle, or do so on the arms of your siblings, maid-of-honour, or even walk the aisle alone, as I did.
This is only the beginning, though – whether you are “given away” by your father or not, actually think about the traditions you might otherwise blindly follow. Some customs you may love the idea of, so go ahead and follow them. If they don’t really speak to you on a personal level, though, trim down on tradition.


Pick a progressive officiant.

Your choice of celebrant will have a huge influence on the feeling of the wedding ceremony – choose someone who has beliefs and values consistent with your own, who is prepared to personalise the ceremony to suit you. We had a friend become a celebrant to marry us, otherwise we’d have had Melanie Stuart who says:

My role as your celebrant is to get to know you both, and create a bespoke ceremony tailored to meet your specific values, beliefs, culture, personalities or quirks. You are a unique couple – your ceremony should be too.

Don’t underestimate the power an officiant has to affect the vibe of your ceremony, if not the entire wedding. We had so many nice comments on our ceremony, and attribute that to our celebrant Andy

 Brides wearing White Wedding Attire?

A bride wearing white on her wedding day traditionally symbolised her virginity and purity. While for most couples these days, those ideas are dated, if it doesn’t speak to your personal taste and feminist feelings, don’t wear white attire.
“Wear whatever makes you feel pretty or handsome” as friends of ours said on their wedding invitations instead of a wedding day dress code.
P.S. Yes, I was totally inspired by Gwen Stefani’s pink ombre wedding dress by John Galliano when she married Gavin Rossdale in 2002!

Write your Ceremony Accordingly

Some elements of a wedding, however “traditional” cannot truly coexist with feminism, and the vow “to love, honor, and obey,” must be one of those.
We not only personalised our vows, but completely switched up a reading during our ceremony: taking the “Good House Wife’s Guide” of the 1950’s, reversing the gender roles, so reading to Blair:

Touch up your make up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. She has just been with a lot of work weary people. Be a little more interesting. Her boring day may need a lift.

Feminism = Equal Pay

The long-held tradition that the bride’s parents pay for the wedding, while the groom’s parents attend and enjoy the benefits, has its roots in dowries.
According to The Knot’s 2015 Real Weddings Study, the bride’s parents cover 44% of the wedding, the bride and groom cover 43% and the groom’s parents cover 12% – WTF.
If at all possible, either have the bride and groom’s family contribute equally, or (shock, horror) pay for it yourselves (we did!).

Bridesmen and Groomsmaids…

Don’t feel you have to conform to gender specific bridal party/wedding party roles, and that includes the speeches. Choose your besties, whether male or female, dress them as you like, and have a couple from each side make speeches.

Keep Your Own Name

new study conducted by Facebook shows that younger women are opting not to take their husbands’ names in marriage. The statistics, which show that a third of all married women in their twenties chose to keep their own names, whereas only 12 percent of women in their 60s decided not to take their husbands’ name, have been hailed by some as a sign that younger women are “embracing feminism“.
For many, taking your husband’s name is to be submissive, to lose your identity, and be subservient.
Contrary to “embracing feminism” I chose to take my husband’s name. I liked his name, and I wanted to have the same surname as him. My father died when I was 18 years ago and my mother remarried – my maiden name hadn’t been one I identified with “family” for a long time.

Wedding Planning – Share the Load

While I don’t expect your fiancé is going to help you choose the stationery colours, fuss over centrepieces or fret over flowers (or am I being sexist and conforming to gender roles?), don’t let wedding planning fall squarely onto your ‘to-do’ list. Divide the tasks: grab the little white book wedding planner, head to ‘first steps’ and give your partner every second item on the list, regardless of what it is

Of course, the absolute, most important thing you can do to have a “feminist” wedding…


Criticisms of marriage for being anti-feminist hark back to a time when marriage meant ownership, submission, possibly even (legal) violence and marital rape and other imbalances between the sexes. Marriage, however, is NOT inherently oppressive to women. Sexist men are oppressive to women. Whereas once, marriage unit meant ownership, now it signifies partnership. Marry a man who is a feminist – that is he considers you his equal, and your marriage will can be a feminist one, as will your wedding be.

Head to our wedding planning advice and check out the little white book wedding planner.

Wedding photography The Official Photographers.

7 Simple Ideas for a Natural Seaside Wedding

Being a long narrow country surrounded by ocean, a large percentage of New Zealand weddings take place by the sea! Today’s ideas are perfect for a seaside wedding inspired by the natural elements of our stunning coastline! xox

ONE. Driftwood placenames ➳ By A Fabulous Fete

TWO. Mussel / Oyster shell decorated cake➳ Image by Erich McVey via Once Wed

THREE. White + Green Flowers with a hint of Blue ➳ Image by Claire Morgan via Magnolia Rouge

FOUR. Girls in Navy, Boys in Grey ➳ Image by Tom Moks via Inside Weddings

FIVE. Linen napkins + table runners ➳ Image by Connie Whitlock via Wedding Sparrow

SIX. Sea shell ceremony backdrop ➳ Image by Hayley Takes Photos

SEVEN. Watercolour wedding stationery ➳ via She Fox Studio

A Stylish Capri Inspired Bachelorette Party that will have you rethinking your ‘Hens Do’!

Inspired by one of the most picturesque and wildly romantic destinations, today’s ‘Capri Citrus Bachelorette Party’ is perfect for brides and bridesmaids who want to create a stylish and unique celebration that is more of a ‘classy ladies lunch’ than ‘typical hens night on the town’ (I love the idea of all dressing in white, adding a wedding fun feel to the whole day!) A big thank you to all the clever creatives in involved in this shoot for sharing it with P&L! Enjoy! xox

Photographer The Official Photographers | Styling & Rentals The White Wedding Club | Makeup Raglan Beauty Studio | Florals Raglan Buds Flower Farm | Catering Bach Bites | Stationery Violet & Valentine | Location Hoskin Villa Pirongia


Styling & Rentals The White Wedding Club
Photographer The Official Photographers
Makeup Raglan Beauty Studio
Florals Raglan Buds Flower Farm
Catering Bach Bites
Stationery Violet & Valentine
Location Hoskin Villa Pirongia

The Wedding Venue you Know and Love (but haven’t thought of yet) – Villa Maria

Sometimes the right one can be right under your nose for years before you realise it, fall in love, and the rest is history. The rest of wedding planning, that is, because brides-to-be, the right wedding venue for you might be one you already know and love.
You may even have been there this summer, perhaps for coffee, lunch, or even a concert. You might even have a souvenir in your fridge right now. I’ll give you a hint.

Warming up for a night at @villamariawines tonight – who’s coming to see @six60 🍾🥂 🎶

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Yes, as well as producing some of the world’s best wines and serving up world-class music acts like Jack Johnson (and New Zealand’s own Six 60 just a couple of weeks ago), the beautiful (and New Zealand’s most awarded winery) Villa Maria Winery is also home to some of the most idyllic wedding ceremony spots in Auckland, as well as offering a full service wedding reception venue at its Vineyard Cafe.

Wines in the Vines 🍇🍷

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Between glasses of Rose (this year’s drop is out-of-this-world-good) I chatted to the team about Villa Maria Weddings, as they become Auckland’s first wedding venue to be gifting a copy of I still do to their couples.
Villa Maria encapsulates so much of what the consummate New Zealand wedding is to many couples: ceremony sites between the picturesque vines or in any of the lush garden spaces in the huge Auckland grounds; beautiful New Zealand wine and food (we checked); and really good (NZ owned) service – not to mention an events team whose job is to make it all easy on you.
Blair and I sat down to lunch a couple of days after Jack Johson in December, just to ensure the food was up to scratch…

Incase you were wondering what my happy place looked like… ☕🍰🍨@villamariawines – After Sunday with @jackjohnson & @theblackseeds (and sampling *all* the wine) we came back for a “little” lunch date at this beautiful spot 💕🥂

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(It really was)
What I really loved about Villa Maria, after speaking to the wedding and event coordinators, is how completely flexible they were about wedding planning. They’re just as happy to create a completely tailor a bespoke day for you as they are to help you with one one of their wedding packages. For those among us that want to know exactly how much our beverage budget is going to set us back (and I know this is a huge wedding budget concern) they do have set prices available (per hour). For weddings of 60 or more, Villa Maria offer a set price of $200 per guest, inclusive of everything except for beverages ($12,000 for a 60 person wedding).
Honestly, this would have been a huge lifesaver (and penny saver) for our 75 person wedding – it cost us at least twice as much as the $15,000 it would have been here just for the venue, food, hireage and decor.
I am so thrilled to have been able to partner with such an iconic New Zealand company, and such a beautiful Auckland wedding venue, and can’t wait to return with more books for future brides – and for more wine of course!
You’ve just missed the Summer concert series but have a look at their Wedding Information, chat to the team at and pop in soon for a vino.

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