Blog

Advice

How to include people in your wedding planning

03.12.18

wedding-planning-include-others

Image: Style Me Pretty

A wedding is an emotional event not just for you, but for many people in your life who are close to you. It is a celebration of a new family, and in some ways a ritual of letting go of the past to embrace the future. Throughout the wedding planning process, the people who love you and are closest to you will most likely want to feel included, loved, heard, valuable, and appreciated. During difficult times it might not always come across that way, but if you remember that their intentions are probably rooted in love and wanting to feel included, it will make your wedding planning experience much smoother.

Although it might feel like an imposition to include people in your planning and decision making process, it could actually make you happier in the end. If your in laws are stressed and unhappy, that probably isn’t great for your mental state, happiness, or your relationship. Finding a way to include people and keep them happy (without giving up everything you want) will be more worthwhile in the end than doing everything yourself. Plus, weddings are large events that require a lot of work, and taking people up on offers of help will definitely make your life easier and allow you to enjoy the process.

Make a list of people you want to include

When thinking about including people in your wedding, the first thing you might like to do is to make a list of all the people you’d like to include (or who would like to feel included). Your list will most likely be made up of some of the following:

  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Friends / bridesmaids / groomsmen
  • Grandparents
  • Other extended family whom you are close with (uncles, aunts, cousins)
  • Close family friends

Of course your wedding day is about you as a couple and you are not obligated to bend over backwards trying to make everyone happy, but it’s nice to have a list of some important people in your lives that you might want to include in some way in your wedding.

Make a list of things you would like help with

Decide what is most important to you and where you are willing to compromise. Also make a list of the things that are non-negotiable and that you are not willing to compromise on. Maybe you and your partner want to have complete control over the food, but you’d like some input with choosing the flowers. There are probably a few things that you might not want to include a lot of people in, but there are most likely a lot of things that if you think about it, you could find a way to include someone if it was important to them.

When making this list try to keep in mind the things that you know really matter to the people that are important to you. Your MIL might feel very passionately about the bonbonnieres, so that might be an area that you could include her. The perfect sweet spot here is to find something that you’re happy to share and have input on, and is also important to the other person.

Make a plan of action

Find a way to include people in a controlled way. What I mean by this is to open up engagement and participation in the areas that you previously identified that you would be happy to have involvement in. E.g. Maybe your bridesmaids and MIL would love to go dress shopping with you, but the idea of trying on dresses for a bunch of people with differing opinions is stressing you out. Instead, you might go for the initial wedding dress shopping with just your mum, then take other people with you to try on the final 2 dresses that you’re deciding between. This way everyone still gets to feel included, but you’re able to include them in a way that isn’t stressful for you.

Have you got any tips for including people in the wedding planning process or on the day? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.


Do you need a wedding logo or wedding invitations? Click here to shop my semi-custom designs, or send me an email to chat about creating a custom design just for you.

Planning

How to have a stress-free wedding day

03.05.18

white table centrepiece stress free wedding

Image: Greg Finck

Your wedding is a beautiful and exciting celebration of the love between you and another person. It is also an event, and events require careful planning in order to run smoothly. Sometimes when we are planning our wedding we get so caught up in the excitement of how it will look, that we forget to think about how the day will feel. The secret to a stress-free event is to plan as much as you can from the perspective of your guests. Keep reading to find out how to make sure your wedding runs smoothly (and that you actually enjoy the day).

Designate a day-of coordinator

On the day of your wedding someone needs to be in charge, and it really shouldn’t be you. Either hire someone or appoint your most organised friend. You want someone who has initiative, that you trust, is good in a tight situation, and who understands your vision for the day. The idea is to have someone else be the first point of contact for all the suppliers and key people, so that you can simply relax and enjoy the day you spent months planning. If there are questions about the catering, access, timelines etc., these should all be directed to your day of coordinator rather than you or your partner.

Plan things from your guests point of view

We know it’s your day, but it’s your day that you’re sharing with 100 of your closest friends and family.  A big part of pulling off a successful event is having happy guests, and guests only need a couple of basic things to be happy. They need to know what is going on at all times, and they need to be fed. That’s pretty much it. Do as much as you can to keep your guests feeling informed and prepared as the day progresses. No one likes feeling lost, confused or awkward at a wedding. There’s nothing worse than not knowing what to do while the couple gets photos, where to put your card, where to sit, when to dance. These are small details, but the more of these you can work out ahead of time and find a way to communicate with your guests, the more smoothly your wedding day will run, the happier your guests will be and the less questions you will be answering all day.

Prepare as much as you can in the days (and months) prior to the event.

Don’t leave anything until the last minute if you can help it. This one is pretty self explanatory, but there are many ways that you can prepare in advance for your wedding day, even if you can’t actually set up and decorate at your venue until the day of, such as:

  • Hair and makeup trials.
  • Full outfit trials, including jewellery, shoes and accessories.  
  • Ceremony rehearsal, to make sure that everyone knows what they should be doing and when.
  • Speech practice. Particularly important if you are nervous about giving a speech, practicing and being prepared can help you feel much calmer on the day.
  • Practice walking in your shoes, and down the aisle.
  • Make a shot list for your photographer. Make sure to give discuss and give this to your photographer at least a couple of weeks prior to your wedding so that they can plan equipment and lighting.  
  • Plan your food and snacks for the day – what will you eat for breakfast and lunch? Will you need snacks in between the ceremony and reception? Would you like a drink before or after the ceremony?
  • How will everything be getting to the ceremony and reception location(s)? What day and time will be arriving, who is responsible for each item, and how will they be removed from the location after the wedding?

Nail your day-of organisation ahead of time.

Create a day-of document and make sure that all key parties have it prior to the day. This will help make sure that everything happens when it should and that the whole day runs smoothly. Include a run sheet showing what time things will be happening throughout the day, all relevant contact details (day-of coordinator, suppliers etc.), and an ‘items list’ – a detailed list of what is supposed to be moved when and who is responsible for each item e.g. “Bouquets – delivered to the ceremony venue at 11:00am by the florist”.

Have an organisation system that works for you and start using it early on.

The most successful events usually involve the most planning (boring but true). The little details are the things that make everyone feel welcomed, at ease, and ready to able a great time. Keep on top of all of your wedding organisation with a planning system. Having a dedicated space for all of your wedding planning documents, contacts, notes and inspiration will help you stay on track, avoid forgetting things and feel relaxed throughout the process.

Styling

3 bridal hair accessories for your wedding day

02.26.18

I’ve pulled together some of my favourite bridal hair accessories to help you create a magical hairstyle. Hair accessories can be a fun and inexpensive way to express your personal style and get creative with your bridal look. There are so many great hair accessories that you can add to your look to tailor your hair to your wedding theme/style. Don’t feel limited to a veil!  Or maybe you are wearing a veil, but want to inject some personality and jazz it up with a hair accessory. 

Tiaras and crowns are some of my all-time favourite accessories, and I wish there were more opportunities to wear them. I fell in love with the star version below. Clip in hair accessories are super versatile, and can work with any style or length of hair (great for short haired brides). And finally hair flowers, which are having a real moment! Keep this look fresh by choosing flowers that you are using in your bouquet or styling, and consider placing them in an unconventional way, like weaving them through the hair. 

Tiara / Crown

Star crown

Erica Elizabeth Designs 

Bridal Tiara

Eden Luxe Bridal

Laurel leaf bridal tiara

Anna Marguerite 

CLIP in hair accessories

delicate hair clip

Sally T Photography

short bridal hair

Mackensey Alexander Photography

bridal up do hair accessory

Powder Blue Bijoux

Flowers

bridal up do flower accessories

The Wedding Playbook

long bridal hair with flowers

Wedding Forward 

long bridal hair with daisies

Kelly Oshiro

Bridal Flower crown

The Wedding Playbook 


What kind of hair accessories will you be rocking on your wedding day? Let me know in the comments. 

Advice

Help! I can’t afford the wedding of my dreams. Now what?

02.19.18

Image: Margaret Austin Photography

When I got engaged I was ecstatic. I had been thinking about my wedding for the past 10 years.

Peony bouquets. Letterpress invitations. 3 course dinner. Hanging floral installations. Bentwood chairs.

I started researching and getting some quotes from wedding suppliers. My jaw hit the floor. Our initial budget had seemed so reasonable! Surely I could have my dream wedding without spending a stupid amount of dollars?

As soon as you realise that you can’t have the wedding you’ve been dreaming about, you can start dreaming about the wedding you never knew you would have.

 

Ensue more researching. I’ll just be savvier and thriftier than the average bride, I think to myself. Surely one day can’t cost that much.  Eventually come to the realisation that we cannot, in fact, have the wedding I’ve been dreaming about for, well, my entire life. Cue depression and self pity, anger at the wedding industry in general. Sound familiar? If you can relate, I have some good news for you.

As soon as you realise that you can’t have the wedding you’ve been dreaming about, you can start dreaming about the wedding you never knew you would have.  Stay with me. Here are my 5 tips on what to do when you realise that you can’t afford the wedding of your dreams.

01. Make a (realistic) budget

Begin by knowing that this is possible. And a glass of wine doesn’t hurt either.

There are a few important things to consider here: Who is funding this party? Will you and your partner be paying for the wedding yourselves, or will your families be contributing? How much can each party afford to contribute? Be honest here – with your partner, your families, and yourself. If staying out of debt is important to you, keep that in mind when thinking about this.

Then, how much do you want to spend on your wedding? This number very well might be different from the answer to the previous question. Just because you can “afford” to spend a certain amount on a wedding doesn’t mean that you have to, or even want to. Think about what other priorities you and your partner might have, and where else you might want to be spending your money. What are your financial goals? Come to a number you can not only afford, but feel happy and comfortable spending on your wedding.

02. Look at real weddings within your budget

Find out what is possible. Remind yourself that others have done it. Truly amazing things can be accomplished at any budget – when there’s a will, there’s a way! Read about real weddings of all different budgets online. Ask your friends and family how they did it. Ask someone twenty, forty, or sixty years older than you what their wedding was like. Chances are, it was probably memorable, joyful, and full of love.  

I’d recommend starting here for examples of fabulous real weddings at budgets starting from $2K.

03. Decide on your priorities

I’m not very good at compromise. Or trade-offs. Or doing things halfway. Or settling. So I’m not going to lie, this step was (is) hard for me. But as much as I care about every detail, from the silhouette of my wedding gown right down to the specific shade of pink rose petals for the aisle, the reality is that I cannot have absolutely everything I want. And that is ok. What I can do, is choose a few things that are really important to me, and make sure that they are priorities. Then, I’m going to do my best to not stress too much about the little stuff. It just creates more headaches anyway, right?

Sit down and have a think about the top 3 things that you care most about for the wedding, and get your partner to do the same. This exercise is actually good to do separately, so that you can get a clearer idea of what you both value without influencing each other’s choices. Then, discuss your top 3 things together. If there’s some crossover, great! If not, discuss why these things are important, and try to understand why it means a great deal to the other person.

Make a list of Your Top 3 Things + Your Partner’s Top 3 Things. This has now become the Official List of Wedding Things You Care About. Consider devoting more time, energy and money to these things, because at the end of the day, they are the things that matter the most to both of you. Everything else can be be incorporated where time, funds and care-factor allow.

04. Get creative

A wedding can be anything you want it to be. Sometimes following tradition can be expensive, and maybe it isn’t even what you want anyway. Come back to your wedding priorities. How many different ways can you think of to achieve what you want? Take a sit down dinner for example. That could mean a 3-course traditional meal. Or asking everyone to bring a plate to create a delicious buffet of food made with love. Or serving tacos instead of an alternate plate menu. Or making the meal lunch instead of dinner. The possibilities are endless if you allow yourself to think of creative solutions and consider out-of-the-box options.

Next, research, research, research. Ask for recommendations from family and friends, read reviews, compare prices, and look in unconventional places. A friend-of-a-friend’s might be a florist. You might find your photographer on Gumtree. A knock-out catering company might have a dodgy website, but incredible recommendations and you instantly click when you meet them in person. The point is to keep an open mind, and not only look down traditional wedding avenues.

Lastly, ask for help, or accept help when it is offered. Fun Fact #1 – people love weddings. Fun Fact #2 – there are probably quite a few people in your life who love you. Those people are usually happy and willing to help you with wedding-related tasks. Instead of politely declining, take some time to think about the things you could really use a hand with, and enlist your people to help you pull it all together.

05. Remember that you’re marrying the love of your life

Keep sight of what’s important. It’s a cliche, but it really is true that as long as you are marrying the love of your life, everything else is gravy.

My fiancé has a line that he brings out when we are moving house that I find applicable in this situation too. While I’m busy freaking out over packing boxes and starting all over again, he simply says: 

“Home is where you and Harvey are.”

 

(FYI Harvey is our bunny fur-baby and you should definitely be following him on Instagram). Instagram pets aside, my fiancé is right. At the end of the day, as long as we have each other, everything will be ok. 


How did you cope with wedding sticker shock? Do you have any tips on how to create a dream wedding on any budget? Share your wisdom in the comments below.

Planning

8 wedding readings to inspire your ceremony

02.12.18

wedding readings

Image: Wedding Include

Structuring a wedding ceremony and making it feel personal can be difficult. One way to make it feel special is to have a reading of a poem, song lyric, hymn or passage that you both love, and which has a message that is meaningful to you. I’ve compiled a list of 8 romantic wedding readings that I love and am thinking about incorporating one or two into our ceremony. My absolute favourite is “Love” by Roy Croft. 

01. “The Art of Marriage” by Wilferd A. Peterson

A good marriage must be created.
In the art of marriage the little things are the big things…
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted;
the courtship should not end with the honeymoon,
it should continue through all the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude
of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation
and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience,
understanding and a sense of humor.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.
It is discovering what marriage can be, at its best.

02. “Love” by Roy Croft 

I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good,
And more than any fate
To make me happy.

You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.

03. “Blessing for a Marriage” by James Dillet Freeman

 

May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage
should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and
understanding.
May you always need one another – not so much to fill your emptiness
as to help you to know your fullness. A mountain needs a valley to
be complete; the valley does not make the mountain less, but
more; and the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain
towering over it. So let it be with you and you.
May you need one another, but not out of weakness.
May you want one another, but not out of lack.
May you entice one another, but not compel one another.
May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another.
May you succeed in all important ways with one another, and not fail
in the little graces.
May you look for things to praise, often say, “I love you!” and take no
notice of small faults.
If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have
good sense enough to take the first step back.
May you enter into the mystery which is the awareness of one
another’s presence – no more physical than spiritual, warm and
near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are
in separate rooms or even distant cities.
May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another
happy.
May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.

04. From “The Gift” by Hafiz

Even
After
All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,
‘You owe me.’
Look
What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.

05. “A Simile Like Love, A Metaphor Is Love” by Allen Steble

(love is like)
Love is like a painting
filled with all colours and shades
love is like a bleeding heart
cut with many sharp blades
love is like a never ending story
that always begins with a kiss
love is like a space everlasting
that fills bitterness with bliss
love is like the circle of eternity
always there to take for free

(love is)
Love is an open clear pool
where no hate can dare swim
love is a captured sunset
where the warmth never grows dim
love is desire held in the eye
that spreads quickly to the heart
love is a black starry night sky
a metaphor of glorious art
love is a deep dark hole of mystery
always there to take free

06. “Carrie’s Poem” – Sex and the City

His hello was the end of her endings
Her laugh was their first step down the aisle
His hand would be hers to hold forever
His forever was as simple as her smile
He said she was what was missing
She said instantly she knew
She was a question to be answered
And his answer was “I do”

07. “I promise you” by Nicole Dominique

I can’t promise you
That dark clouds
Will never hover
Over our lives Or that the future
Will bring us many rainbows .
I can’t promise you that
Tomorrow will be perfect
Or that our lives will be easy.
I can promise you my everlasting
Devotion, my loyalty, my respect,
And my unconditional love for a lifetime .
I can promise you that
I’ll always be here for you,
To listen and to hold your hand,
And I’ll do my best to make you happy,
And make you feel loved.
I can promise you that
I can see you through a crisis
And pray with you,
Dream with you,
Build with you,
And always cheer you on
And encourage you.
I can promise you that
I’ll willingly be your protector,
Your advisor, your counselor,
Your friend, your family,
Your everything.
I promise you

08. From “The Chaos of Stars” by Kiersten White

And I’d choose you;
in a hundred different lifetimes,
in a hundred worlds,
in any version of reality,
I’d find you and
I’d choose you.   


Have you picked any readings for your wedding, or heard any great ones at a wedding you’ve attended? Let me know in the comments below.

Advice

Waiting to be proposed to was making me crazy

02.05.18

Image: Taralynn Lawton

I have a confession to make.

Every time I saw that another couple had gotten engaged, I felt a very brief, hot stab of jealousy. I would preemptively plan my wedding, creating elaborate Pinterest boards, dreaming about every little detail. My heart fluttered at the thought of when my boyfriend would decide to get down on one knee and ask me to be his wife. It was my favourite daydream.

I was on a vicious rollercoaster of emotions. I would dream about how he might propose, feel excited about my one-day wedding, get my hopes up that today might be the day… then it wouldn’t happen, I’d get disappointed, then feel bad about myself that I was disappointed. I’d squash the feelings down and move on, trying not to think about it too much or to “put pressure on it”.

Society tells me that I’m not supposed to feel this way about getting engaged. I’m supposed to be perfectly happy dating my partner, without any expectations of when they should propose. I have to want to get married, of course, but not too much… because then I’m desperate, and frankly, a little crazy. No one wants to be that girl. I’m not supposed to be impatient, or feel frustrated when it doesn’t happen. It’s a very hard line to walk. Be ecstatic when it happens, but don’t be excited about it before it happens. Want your partner to propose, but don’t mention it too much, or have any expectations of when it should happen.

I resented feeling bad for wanting to get married, and for wanting to play an active role in something that would, quite literally, shape the course of my entire life.

I felt powerless, and I hated it.

Until one day, it occurred to me that I could actually do something about it.

I asked myself, if there was anything else in my life that I wanted, would I wait for somebody to hand it to me, or to give me permission? No! Never in my life have I been crystal clear about wanting something, and then done absolutely nothing to get it. That is just not how I work, and it felt wrong for me to keep ignoring the fact that I clearly wanted to get married.

 

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

 

I try to live by this quote, and it came to me as I was tentatively considering the idea that I could propose. I want to see more variety in the kind of proposal stories that we hear about and see in the media. I want to hear about the spontaneous proposals, the heartfelt discussions, the not-so-glamorous engagement stories. I want to hear about women proposing. I’m sick of only seeing the beautiful rings in front of the Eiffel tower – I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with a traditional, romantic proposal. I just believe that there is room for a whole spectrum of proposals, and I want to see more diversity. I realised that if I truly believed this, then it was up to me to take action and embody the change I want to see in the world.

Contemplating proposing

A big part of making the decision to propose was working out what I actually cared about and what was really important to me. It turned out that “being proposed to” wasn’t actually important to me at all. Getting married in November (peony season), was important to me – so much so that I was worried he would propose at a time that would make planning a November wedding difficult. I also had a specific year in mind for when I would like to get married – over two years from when I proposed. This timeline fit in with our financial goals, my flower preferences, and gave us enough time to enjoy being engaged and comfortably plan the wedding. (I will probably write about our decision to have a long engagement in another post 🙂 ).

I started doing some research – had any other women proposed to their boyfriends? A quick Google search told me that a handful had, though I struggled to relate to their proposal stories. As I read through a few, I realised that not only did I have a problem with the expectation that only the man could propose, I also found it uncomfortable that getting engaged is seen as a purely romantic gesture. For me, the decision to marry someone is about so much more than just romance (although that is important). It’s a financial decision – not just in terms of merging your finances with another person, but also in making the decision to spend a chunk of your combined money on a wedding. There is also a much larger discussion that I believe should underpin the decision to get married, and that is about making sure you are on the same page with values, and short and long term life goals. The traditional narrative also leaves little room for LBGTQI stories and proposals, and that definitely didn’t sit well with me.

For us, the decision to get married was in some ways more a financial one than a romantic one. We already knew that we wanted to spend our lives together. We also knew that we wanted to get married, but since we are paying for the majority of our wedding ourselves, it was important that we discussed how it fit in with our other financial goals.

Execution (The Proposal)

It was not well planned. By that I mean, I decided to do it one afternoon while I was at work, and I asked him that evening. I didn’t buy him a ring or plan a romantic dinner. It was a (fairly) spontaneous and heartfelt discussion.

We discussed the important things (for us). That meant, when, where, and how much. Then we celebrated! Once we had realised that we were really going to do this, there was a small pause in our discussion as the implications began to sink in. After a minute, he said “I guess I should call my mum and tell her!”. I smiled. This tiny comment made it all feel so real. Even though I knew he wanted to be with me and I had felt (relatively) confident in asking him to marry me, this one little sentence settled any lingering fear I had – it showed me that this was real, we really were engaged, and that he really was excited to marry me.   

My thoughts afterwards

Proposing to my boyfriend was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Why? I felt so in control of my life. It gave me a massive confidence boost. I enjoy doing things differently from other people. Just because something is right for someone else, doesn’t mean that it’s right for me. I try to remember this with all things in life, but this really was true for me with getting engaged. You make the rules for your own life/relationship. You make your own rules. You can literally do whatever you want, because it’s your life. Don’t let yourself feel limited by what people “usually” or “should” do.

Other people’s reactions

The majority of people were very excited to hear that we were engaged, though momentarily surprised when they found out that I had been the one to propose. The shock wore off quite quickly and most people agreed that it was actually pretty in character for me. A few people were impressed that I had the courage to do it, and were proud of me for unashamedly going after what I wanted.

A few people reacted a bit strangely to the idea of a woman proposing – they didn’t think it was “right”, and had the attitude that I had somehow lost some self respect by “having to be the one to propose”. I’m not going to lie, that hurt. I didn’t at all feel that way about my decision, but it still stung that for some people, our engagement wasn’t really legitimate because the man hadn’t done the asking. Just like anything in life, if you do something differently, there are always going to be some people who don’t understand it. And you know what? That is one-hundred percent OK. There were a small number of people whose opinions really mattered to me, and outside of that, I let it go. Other people’s opinions, fears, and anxieties are not my concern, and not my burden to bear.

Final thoughts

For me, waiting was becoming an unpleasant experience. I wasn’t tearing up at the sight of other people getting engaged, but I also wasn’t content with waiting. Getting engaged was on my mind more than I felt comfortable admitting, and it had reached a point where I was in danger of beginning to feel like it was desperately out of reach. I want to feel like I am playing an active role in shaping the course of my life, and asking my boyfriend to marry me helped me do just that.

In writing my own story, I in no way want to shame anyone else’s experience. Waiting for your partner to propose does not make you desperate or crazy. This was purely my experience, and I wanted to share it because I want to see more diversity in proposal stories. I believe there is always more gritty stuff behind the pretty proposals, and I’m interested in hearing about it. But it doesn’t make the “pretty”, “traditional” proposals any less valid, real, or meaningful.


What are your thoughts on a woman proposing? Would you ever do it? Have you done it? Comment below, I’d love to hear your proposal stories!

Planning / Styling

The Pros + Cons of a Summer Wedding

01.29.18

Style Me Pretty 

Summertime weddings can be dreamy, romantic, and bucket loads of fun. Think beautiful ceremonies by a picturesque body of water, late sunset photos, and raging dance parties. Having your wedding during the summer months could be the perfect choice. On the other hand, summer comes with its own set of planning challenges. I’ve put together a quick guide of the pros and cons of having a summer wedding, as well as some handy suggestions to help get you through the challenges you might come across if you are having a summer wedding.

Summer Weddings: The Pros

FLOWERS APLENTY

Flowers and greenery are readily available in summer. If floral arrangements are important to you, it could be a great thing to have so many options to choose from. Garden ceremonies and outdoor settings for photos can also be stunning in summer, when everything is green and lush. Some of my favourite flowers in season during summer are roses, hydrangeas, freesias, water lilies, chrysanthemums, and protea.

Bonus points: You’ll have plenty to choose from in terms of colourful flowers, so go all out with a statement floral arrangement or bouquet.

BALMY NIGHTS

Warm, sultry evenings were made for one too many glasses of champagne and dancing the night away. Guests will be in prime party mode for your summer wedding, and will arrive ready and willing to dance the night away with you. Without frosty snows and icy winds to dampen the mood, warm summer nights and late sunsets help to create a celebratory atmosphere.

Bonus points: you’ll also have great warm weather for a bridal shower, hens/bucks night, and honeymoon.

DESTINATION WEDDINGS

I have two words for you – Beach. Wedding. Need I say more?

Hawaii, Australia, Thailand, Greece, Mexico… the options are endless! Say your vows with sand between your toes and water lapping your feet, then party ‘til the sun comes up with cocktails served in coconuts. Top it all off with a decadent brunch with your guests the morning after, and a refreshing swim in the ocean or pool.

Bonus points: your honeymoon essentially begins the second you arrive at your destination. #winning.

Summer Weddings: The Cons

…THE HEAT

Depending on where you live, it might be really hot (duh). I live in Sydney, and in the height of summer it’s not uncommon for some areas to reach 40+ degrees. This is clearly not an ideal situation for an outdoor wedding, and can make the day generally uncomfortable. Venues may not let you use the wet-weather backup option just because it is hot, so if you’re concerned about this make sure you check with your venue on this. The possibility of an afternoon summer storm is also real, so make sure you have a solid indoor backup plan if this happens.

Solution: Choose a venue with great air conditioning.

FOOD, FLOWERS & MAKEUP MAY SUFFER

Summer sweat is real, and some food and flowers will not hold up well in stinking hot temps. Drinks won’t stay chilled for as long, food meant to be served cold will be in danger of quickly turning room temperature, and your flowers and greenery may wilt in the sweltering heat. Ditto for makeup; no one wants their mascara transferring to their face and foundation melting during photos!

Solution: waterproof, long lasting makeup is a must. Also be mindful of food and floral choices, and speak to your caterer/florist about options that will hold up the best in the heat.

BUSY TIME OF YEAR (ESPECIALLY IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE)

In Australia, Christmas is in our summer. So is the long school holiday break, New Year’s, and christmas parties galore. A lot of people go away over the summer, and it’s generally a very busy time of year. This can make it hard to make sure that everyone who is special to you can make it to your wedding.

Solution: Make sure you give your guests plenty of notice for your wedding. Send out some cute Save the Dates to ensure that all of your special people will be there for your big day.

Advice / Planning

The Ultimate Secret to Stress-Free Decision Making

01.22.18

Want That Wedding 

The pain of information overload and analysis paralysis when planning your wedding is real. Decision fatigue leaves me feeling burnt out and unsure of my choices. Any other brides feel me? 

What style of wedding should we have?
What are our wedding colours?
Which venue should we pick?
Which photographer should we book?
What do we want our invitations to look like?

Too many options creates a whole world of stress and leaves you paralysed, unable to make a single decision. Then, when you finally do choose something, you’re eternally haunted by all of the other decisions you could have made. Would the first venue have been better? Maybe the fourth florist would have been the right decision?

Which brings me to the point of this post… there is no ‘right’ decision. There is no perfect choice. You can spend the rest of your life second guessing every decision for your wedding, or accept that you can make the best decision at the time, enjoy it for what it is, and move on. Don’t let making decisions (or not making them) cloud the joy of your wedding planning experience.

How do you do that? The Magic Rule Of Three.

This decision making tip has literally been life changing for me. For example, only meet with three potential photographers/florists/caterers/venues. Only try on dresses at three different shops. Only give yourself three colour schemes to choose from. You get the idea. Here’s how to implement it in your own wedding planning process.

01. WORK OUT YOUR CRITERIA

Take one decision, for example, picking a photographer. Next, figure out your criteria. This is the list of things that you need this supplier to fulfil for you to be satisfied. In our photographer example, this might include a particular editing style, printing inclusions, availability to travel, a personality that you click with, and a price that is within your budget. This list is also a good place to examine your expectations, and revisit your priorities for the wedding. If photos are really important to you, then you might have a longer list of criteria and a bigger budget for this area. Or maybe you’re more interested in putting your money into the best catering you can find. The point is, be realistic about what you expect from each aspect of your wedding and how much you are willing to spend. This is best done when you are in a level-headed frame of mind, and as you make your list of criteria you can keep what is important to you front and centre. Everything else is just noise.

02. RESEARCH

Research suppliers that fulfil that criteria. A word of caution – don’t look at photographers out of your price range, try on dresses that cost three times what you actually want to spend, or visit venues that you know are out of your budget. This will result in nothing good. To avoid feeling like your budget isn’t big enough (it is, I promise) or getting caught up in a million details that, when it comes down to it, actually won’t impact your wedding day that much, only look at suppliers that fulfil your criteria. Your criteria list might be broken down into two parts – ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’. If this is the case, ensure that the suppliers fill every single one of the ‘must haves’, and don’t get too caught up on the other things. Once you’ve found three suppliers that fulfil your criteria and look like they might be a good fit for you, stop your researching immediately, and move on to Step 3.

03. DECIDE

Set up appointments with your three chosen suppliers. I repeat, only three. Meet with them, talk to them on the phone, confirm their pricing, ask more detailed questions about their services, get a feel for their working style and personality. Chances are, one of them will be a great fit for you. If this is the case, go ahead and book them! Then cross this decision off your list and do a little happy dance in celebration. Obviously if you explore your three options and are realise that none of them are the right fit you can keep looking. Again, I recommend limiting your next round of options also to three, because information overwhelm is real.

THE TAKEAWAY

The reality is, if you were thoughtful and honest when writing your criteria, and the supplier fulfils that list, then it is a good decision. A decision made based on your (pre-decided) criteria will feel a lot better than a decision made in the moment out of a desperation to be done with making decisions. The criteria also helps ensure that you feel satisfied with your choice, because you know you ticked all the important boxes. 

Limiting the number of options within every decision makes your life a whole lot easier and simpler. Because otherwise, the options for every single decision relating to your wedding are literally endless. Limiting the number of options in a single decision to three means that you have more mental energy for other things.  

Have you tried the Magic Rule of Three? How did it work for you? Do you have any of your own tips to make decision making easy? Let me know in the comments below, or email me.

Advice

4 Ways to Word Your Wedding Invitations

01.15.18

Hazel & Xavier Invitation

Question: How should I word my wedding invitations?

Answer: However you damn well please!

 

Your wedding is a celebration of the love that you and your partner share. Given that it’s a day all about the two of you, feel free to break all the rules and design a day that truly reflects you. How you word your invitations might be influenced by what style of wedding you’re having (formal, traditional, black tie, relaxed and intimate, small and personal, elopement), who is hosting or paying for the wedding, how many people you’re inviting, and your personalities.

If you’re feeling totally lost about where to start with wording your wedding invitations, you’re in luck! The following 4 invitation templates can be customised to suit your wedding.  Use them as a jumping off point for wording your invites. Take what you like, change what you want, and add some of your own sparkle to make them your own.

 

Invitation Wording 1

Invitation Wording 2

Invitation Wording 3

Invitation Wording 4

How did you word your wedding invitations? Did you stick to tradition, or make it totally your own?

Planning / Styling

How to organise your wedding Pinterest boards

01.08.18

Photography: Greg Ross

Want to know the best way to fight styling overwhelm, narrow in on your core themes, and distill one visual style? Pinterest. The juggernaut of wedding planning and inspiration in the virtual space. Sometimes we love it, sometimes we get sucked in for hours at a time looking at different kinds of gilded cutlery, trying to pick the perfect shade of gold to create the tablescape of our dreams.

Here’s how to avoid the Pinterest-rabbit-hole-comparison-trap and use pinterest mindfully, as a strategic wedding planning tool.

01. Work out your why

Why do you want to use Pinterest to help you plan your wedding? The answer to this question may seem obvious, but stick with me. Your answer may be some combination of the following:

    • To get styling inspiration
    • To help you organise and distill your ideas
    • To learn how to DIY a project
    • Because it’s fun!

Now that you have the answer to this question, I want you to keep it very firmly in mind as you progress through your wedding planning journey. Pinterest is a wonderful, instructional, pretty resource for wedding planning, but it can quickly turn into a rabbit hole of impeccably styled tablescapes, designer dresses, and elaborate hanging floral installations. I’m willing to bet that your answer did not contain anything like “to compare my wedding and budget to other weddings and styled shoots and see where mine falls short”. So, when you inevitably begin to feel yourself falling into the Pinterest-rabbit-hole-comparison trap, come back to your reason for using it in the first place. It is a fun tool to help you plan your wedding, and the minute it stops being that, step away from the computer.

02. Create a separate board for each aspect of the wedding

Like in your home, it’s much easier to keep things organised when everything has a place. Using separate boards for different aspects of the wedding means that you won’t have to scroll through 386 photos to find that one bouquet you liked when you’re talking to your florist. Seeing all of your visual inspiration for each aspect of the wedding in one place also allows you to easily see at a glance if your ideas are forming a cohesive theme, or a mix of several different styles. For now, feel free to pin away, not worrying too much about if all your ideas match, or how to pull it all together. Just gather inspiration, and pin it to the appropriate board.

03. Narrow in on one styling concept

Refine, refine, refine.

The trick to narrowing in on a styling concept for your wedding is to remember that you cannot have everything. Unfortunately, choosing to have a “woodland boho” wedding means that you are also choosing not to have a “glamorous 1920s” wedding. This is where you need to be honest with yourself, and be okay with the fact that you might feel sadness about what you are choosing not to have. The reality is that there are probably several kinds of weddings that you would love, and in picking one you might feel regret about not picking another. If the themes you love have some crossovers, by all means incorporate those concepts, but remember the goal is to have one clear vision for your styling concept.

To actually work out what you like, scan your images and look for common themes – extensive use of candles, a relaxed atmosphere, moody photography, bright pops of colour, a particular kind of flower. Start editing your boards, and delete the things that look out of place. Once you have a clearer idea of what you like, give your styling concept a name. It might be a blend of how you want the wedding to look and feel. Focus on picking words that conjure an exciting vision for you and your partner. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Enchanted forest
  • Classic fairytale
  • Ethereal romance
  • Vineyard escape
  • Mountain chic
  • Vintage glam
  • Global fusion
  • Rustic chic
  • Eclectic boho
  • Tropical paradise
  • Beachy bliss
  • Minimalist chic

04. Limit the number of pins you have on each board

If you have 100 pins on one board, you probably don’t have a super clear vision for that aspect of the wedding. Think back to the purpose of your wedding Pinterest boards. You want to bring clarity to your ideas, and create a clear vision for your day. Clarity comes from carefully selecting a few images that really resonate with you and embody the style you want. Pick a number (say, 20) and only pin that many images. This will help you really pin only what you love, and stay focussed on your styling concept. Once you’ve found them, pat yourself on the back and feel free to never pin anything from that category again.

05. Delete a board as soon as you no longer need it

You know what you don’t need when you’re planning a wedding? Inspiration for things that you’ve already booked, planned, and locked in. Bought your wedding rings? Delete that board, you now have no use for it. Some boards you may want to keep for reference right up until your wedding day, such as flowers, ceremony styling, or hairstyles. Many can be deleted after you’ve made your decision though, such as dress & accessories, stationery, or groom’s outfit. The point is to remove the things you no longer need as soon as possible, so that you don’t end up with an overwhelming number of pinterest boards.

Happy pinning!

Tell me, how do you use Pinterest as a tool to plan your wedding? For wedding inspiration, check out Flick Creative on Pinterest.