5 Tips for a Budget-friendly yet Elegant Wedding

5 Tips for a Budget-friendly yet Elegant Wedding

Even if you are not planning on getting married now, chances are you will be in the future, or you will be involved in your daughter or son’s wedding. Your cousin may also consult you on a few tips to use to achieve a dream wedding.

DIY planning can save you thousands. But planning a wedding can be stressful and exhausting. Oftentimes, the bride and groom will hire a wedding coordinator to help relieve some of the burden. Your game here is the ‘Complete guide to planning your dream wedding’ by Editor Carolyn Menyes at Thedailymeal.com.

Here a few tips that you can use to organise your own or child’s elegant wedding at a budget-friendly cost:

DIY Dessert Bar

If you are close with your family members, you should take advantage of their dessert skills, if they have some. A potluck dessert bar can come in handy, saving money that would otherwise be used in ordering your dessert from caterers.

If you have aunties or grandparents that have baking skills, you can use them to share their desserts with your wedding guests. You can ask them if they can make a certain amount of cookies or cupcakes to put at the dessert bar.

Get a small cutting cake for the bride and the groom, then fill the table with some special sweets. One can then use some customised tags that shows who made the sweets or the cake.

5 Tips for a Budget-friendly yet Elegant WeddingHire the dress 

Most people who think about hiring a wedding dress think of it as downgrading the most important moment of their lives. Everyone wants to say ‘I do’ in the perfectly elegant dress and the mention of “hiring a dress” shatters that dream.

However, that should not be the case. You can easily hire a designer dress with all the details and specifications that you want. This will not only ensure you have a dream wedding, but also achieve this dream at a pocket-friendly price.  

Marilyn.nz is a wedding dress hire company with dresses starting at $500 and going up to $1,000. If you cannot afford the hire charge, you could consider taking a small personal loan! 

Buy Used Items

Many times after the wedding, the things needed at the wedding are disposed of by already-married brides. Some of the things may include décor items, candle holders and even chandeliers.

Many physical and online shops sell used wedding items that are in perfect condition that can be reused again at your wedding. These items may also not necessarily be used as some weddings are usually cancelled leaving their wedding items unused, or the previous bride may well have over-purchased!

You can buy these items at a subsidised price that will enable you to have the wedding you have been dreaming of all this time.

Avoid Favours

This is one of the most efficient ways of saving money and time. Instead of giving everyone free rides to and from the wedding, simply let everyone know in advance to cater for their transport so as to save yourself the cost of transportation.

One of the most common misconceptions about a wedding is the use of a limo. Couples should be creative and find other ways of getting to the wedding venue and from without having to hire a limo.

5 Tips for a Budget-friendly yet Elegant WeddingLimit Your Guest List 

This is the most dreaded and crucial part of wedding planning. Dreaded because it’s difficult when it comes to deciding who to invite and not to invite to your wedding. 

The guest list is crucial because you get to reduce the number of people so that you can reduce the cost of the wedding. Remember, the more people you invite, the more food and drink you’ll have to buy to serve them at the reception.

Wedding costs wilvary accordingly. In an article on Cost of Wedding, it says that about 50 per cent of couples spend less than $15,000 on their wedding, while the other half “spend between $19,323 and $32,205.” The honeymoon is usually excluded from the budget.

Be sure to always check with your your accountant or financial advisor before committing fully to any of your wedding plans and taking out a loan. You must carefully read the disclosure statement before considering taking out a loan. Quickloans.co.nz offer loans to New Zealand residents, with repayments terms starting at $20 per week.

 There’s nothing wrong with spending money on your wedding because you only marry once. However, a wedding with a tight budget does not make it any less personal or cheap. It just means the couple chose frugality over debt to save up for their newly-wed life. You can also browse the rest of our site (My Wedding) for more wedding inspirations, tips, and advice.


Seasonal Weddings

Seasonal Weddings

Seasonal WeddingsIN SEASON

By Rebecca Murray

Make an informed decision on the timing of your specia lday.



• There’s a good likelihood of fine weather and a sunny day.

• Better weather offers a choice of outdoor locations for ceremonies and receptions.

• Summer weddings lend themselves to a variety of colours and themes.


• A hot summers day can turn sticky and uncomfortable for your guests. Ensure you provide shade and drinks.

• A popular season, Summer is super busy. You may need to book 2 years in advance for your preferred venue and suppliers.

• If you are getting married or taking your photos in a public place, expect to have a few spectators.

Best Tip: If there are no trees or manmade structures for shade, consider parasols. Cool bottled water will definitely be appreciated.



• Many couples favour the rich colours autumn heralds in, and use those within their theme or as a base for a colour palette.

• Chances are the weather will hold, and you’ll avoid the sweltering heat of a summer day.


• The weather can be a little more unpredictable. A brisk wind or light shower may affect outdoor ceremonies, so a back-up wet weather option should be considered.

• You may find a little less variety for your outdoor photos in terms of colourful or vibrant landscapes – everything will be gold, yellow and brown.

Best Tip: Make the most of the natural autumn landscapes in your photos. Stand out amongst the fallen leaves.



• You may find that you can get a discounted rate for a wedding as there are generally fewer bookings.

• You can really amp up the heat and atmosphere inside your venue with an open fire and tons of candles.

• Snow can make for great images.

• You can vary the colours from the warm tones of red and gold, to the icier blues and silvers.


• It’s cold! While you can use this to your advantage, getting your guests excited about it can be hard.

• There’s a distinct possibility of rain – your photographer may need to hang around for longer (as will your guests) while you wait for a shower to clear. And don’t forget the frizzy hair!

• You may not be able to get outdoor photos at all – have an alternate in mind.

• You may be restricted on venues that offer wet weather options.

Best Tip: Plan, plan, plan! If possible, have your ceremony and reception in the same location to avoid travelling and getting in-and-out of vehicles, and make sure you and your guests will be warm and comfortable.



• Fresh new grasses and flowers create a beautiful backdrop for ceremonies and photos.

• With so much new growth around, spring weddings can take on a variety of themes and colours.

• Venues and suppliers are less busy so you may not have to book so far in advance.


• The weather can be unpredictable.

• Outdoor ceremonies are a possibility, but make sure you have a wet-weather option on hand.

Best Tip: Take advantage of nature’s bounty and incorporate spring freshness into your theme.



The Guest List

The Guest List


By Nicky Luis

If you are experiencing cold sweats and dread when thinking of your guest list – don’t worry as you are not alone! So many couples have issues when dealing with the tricky challenge of managing their guest list, and the challenges come in many shapes and forms. Which one are you facing?

It just keeps growing

Often the number of guests being added to the list is ever-increasing and, more often than not, this is due to family influences. Parents often want to invite friends and (distant) family members to your wedding who you may not necessarily want at your nuptials. I often say to my couples that the guests attending the wedding should be there because their presence will make my couple’s day that much better and more memorable. If not, they should be questioning why that guest is being invited. For the couple, this is a good test of working as a team and standing up to your respective families, politely standing your ground, and asserting that as a couple you are controlling the final guest list.

It did not say “and Partner” 

When you send out an invitation to a single guest and you have addressed it solely to that person, what do you do if they RSVP for themselves and a partner? It’s quite simple really – send a note, email or make a phone call to say that you are delighted that they will be able to join you in celebrating your marriage, but due to “venue capacity limitations/budget restrictions” (insert the most applicable response), the invitation is just for them and not for a partner, and you sincerely hope they will still be able to join you. Again, you want to have people at your wedding who will make your day better by being there – having a complete stranger there is not going to do that.

I don’t want HIM at MY wedding

Oh, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this line! Admittedly, it is normally from a fairly irate bride and she is often referring to a close friend of the groom. A small point here: It is not just her wedding – it is his wedding, too. Often when I have sat and chatted to my distraught bride about this “fiend” who dares to show his face at her wedding, I discover that she has not even spoken to the poor groom, who is completely oblivious to her distress.

Ladies (and, yes, I am stereotyping here), you do need to talk to your fiancés about how you feel. As much as we wish they had the superhuman ability to read our minds, the fact is that they don’t. And it may come as a bit of a shock to you to understand that there may just be one or two girlfriends on your list who he is not all that thrilled about. Some key cornerstones to a great relationship are communication and compromise – so it is a great idea to talk to each other about any “fiends” who may have made their way onto the list – the most common one is the drunk, loud Uni friend who always tells the most inappropriate jokes. This way your Superman can have a quiet word to the offensive brute far in advance, thus causing you the least amount of distress.

And if there are any ladies (or men) whom your groom finds objectionable, you have the opportunity to have a little chat with them, too. Remember, while your friends are incredibly important and you always need to have them in your life, both you and your partner need to be respectful of each other’s feelings. You are a team now – that is why you are getting married.

Over the years, I have discovered that when it comes to couples who are trying to handle tricky guest list situations, they usually sit and stew on the problem, getting more and more worried. It is far better to make the decision jointly as to what you are going to do and take action immediately. You can then move on to other wedding matters and decisions. Do remember that it is a joint decision. There will be many times as a married couple when you are going to face family pressure, conflicts, friends being difficult, etc – this is a very good opportunity to have each other’s back and show what a strong couple you are.





Claire Moulds offers invaluable advice to mum, dad and future in-laws on their roles in making the wedding planning process as smooth and as stress-free as possible.

First and foremost remember the golden rule – it is NOT your day. True, you may have dreamt about your child’s wedding since the day they were born but, ultimately, the final decision on every aspect of the ceremony and reception lies entirely with them and their future husband or wife. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have any input into the big day, or proffer advice, but always wait to be invited first!

Some couples have a very clear vision from the outset, and are happy to work together on creating their dream wedding, with minimal help from their respective families. Others will want to involve their nearest and dearest in the entire process, from writing the invitations, to making the table centrepieces, sewing bunting for the marquee, baking the cake.

Whichever approach your child chooses to adopt, be supportive and let them know that you are there to help them as much or as little as they want.

The pressure of creating the perfect day – not just for them, but for their family and friends – can be extremely stressful, so make it your aim to reduce the pressure wherever possible and not to add to it. This is especially the case if you do not agree with some of the choices being made!

If you are unable to let it go and feel you simply HAVE to say something, try to deliver your thoughts in a calm, measured fashion, however upset you might be. Emotions will already be running high, so bear in mind that any perceived criticism of the wedding plans is likely to be taken badly and leave you all feeling battered and bruised afterwards.

It’s also important to recognise that the wedding is about two families, not just your own. Your child, through the act of getting married, will form a lifelong link between your family and their partner’s, and both need to be on an equal footing from the very start. While the bride’s parents may have historically taken the lead on decisions, as they were paying for the wedding, the modern approach is for both families to be equally involved. If you don’t know each other very well, suggest getting together a few times during the planning process for a meal or a drink to remedy this.

If you’re the mother of the groom, it can be difficult to find your place in proceedings as your future daughter-in-law is likely to be taking the lead role in the planning process and will turn to her own mum for advice and support.

Make it clear from the outset that you are more than happy to help share the load and are available as a sounding board whenever she needs it, even if it’s simply to vent over a coffee if things are getting too much for her. And, while she may have a clear idea who she wants to accompany her on her own dress appointments, there’s no reason at all you can’t invite her on a shopping trip with you to choose your outfit.

One of the thornier aspects of being ‘the parents’ is how much to contribute financially. These days many couples prefer to pay for their own wedding – or at least the majority of it – with the onus no longer on the bride’s parents  to pick up the entire bill. However, that still leaves the dilemma of ‘how much?’ It goes without saying that it’s not a competition as to who gives the more generous donation to the wedding fund. Both families may have very different incomes, approaches to funding family weddings and opinions on what the parents should and shouldn’t pay for. Respect the decision of your opposite numbers and, if they don’t want to share what amount they contributed, do not ask your son or daughter to tell you, even in confidence!

If you can’t afford to make a financial contribution, remember that your time and skills are just as valuable. You could offer to write all the invitations, address the envelopes and take them to the post office, thereby saving the bride and groom hours of precious time. Putting money into the wedding fund does not ‘buy’ you the right to make key decisions, even if you have put in the largest amount. My friend’s mum thought that by paying for the lion’s share of her wedding she could demand to have three tables at the reception solely for her own friends, even though that meant her daughter and fiancé would have to not invite some of their closest friends in order to make room for them!

Appreciate that your offspring might not want to give you a full financial breakdown of the cost of the wedding, and that you might not know what your money fully or partly paid for. If you feel strongly that your money should pay for specific items – as the bride’s parents you may want to buy her dress, and as the groom’s parents you might want to pay for the drinks – then ask if that’s a possibility.

On the day itself, accept that your son or daughter is going to be in huge demand. As well as wanting to spend time with each of their guests and having their formal photographs taken, they will also want to enjoy private moments with their new spouse. Do not take it personally if it feels as though you are only getting a brief word here and there!

If there is a special moment you want to share on the big day, make it clear beforehand so it can be included in the schedule, especially if it’s not a traditional part of the proceedings.

Finally, don’t forget that a wedding is just the first of many future celebrations that you will all share – use it as an opportunity to get to know the people who have welcomed your child into their family and build the foundations of a lasting friendship. Your children – and future grandchildren – will thank you for it.


Top Trends

Top Trends


By Michelle Kelly


• Hand lettering and calligraphy is a pretty hot ticket across the design world right now. With it’s sweeping nature, it’s a very romantic aesthetic and with more eclectic styles opening up it can still be a modern choice.

• You’d be hard pressed to find anyone in this day and age that hasn’t succumbed to the selfie phenomenon, and couples are using creative ways to include their faces on invitations and save-the-dates. We say save it for the professionals and book yourself in for an engagement session with a great photographer.

• Couples are utilising craftsmanship to create something entirely unique with their invitation suites, from folded origami and lasercut paper, to printing onto unusual materials like perspex, wood and leather. The only limitation is your imagination.


• Loose and unstructured arrangements are still the order of the day, as though you could have been walking through a wildflower meadow picking up blooms as you go along. We’re seeing a heady mix of flowers with foliage as well as herbs and even fruits mixed in for a decadent feel. Colour-wise, it’s rich bold colours softened slightly with paler creamy blooms.

• The trend for refectory style dining is great as it is so much more intimate and interactive than traditional round tables. It does mean though that there’s much less space on the tables for flowers and décor, particularly if family-style sharing platters of food are added. So there’s only one thing for it and that’s to go up with your decor. We love a good floral chandelier – from a mass of twigs and foliage to cascading flowers, they look nothing short of magical.

• There are so many great reasons to use faux flowers and it’s not all about budget-saving, there’s a sustainability aspect, too. You can keep them long after the day, hire them in and minimise the wastage, and they allow the use of out-of-season blooms.

• What you pop your flowers into is just as much a part of the design as the flowers themselves and we’re seeing such a creative selection filtering through, from minimalist, geo-inspired pleated styles in soft dusty pastels through to modern metallics and even fruit. Seek out the unique.



Ceremonies: Your promises to one another

Ceremonies: Your promises to one another

Ceremonies: Your promises to one anotherCeremonies: Your promises to one another

by Sheryl Mungall

If there is anything you remember of your wedding ceremony, may it be love that brought you here today. It is only love that can make yours a glorious union and by love that your marriage shall endure. As your separate lives merge into one, you are taking into your care and keeping the happiness of the one person in all the world whom you love above all others. You are adding to your life not only the affection of each other but also the companionship and blessing of a deep trust. You are agreeing to share strength, responsibilities and love. You will make promises and declare your love before family and friends, so choose words that mean something to you both. Here are some beautiful vows to help you get started.

1. I take your hand in mine. This symbolises our friendship, and I promise to be your true friend. It symbolises our union and I promise to keep you uppermost in my life. It symbolises help and caring,and I promise to support and care for you always. But most of all it symbolises our love, and love is what I have for you. I take your hand in mine, for this hour, for this day and for this lifetime. I promise to love you always.

2. Today I take you to be my husband/wife, and my wish is that we will share our days, our nights, our laughter, our dreams. I choose you above all others to share my life. I love you for yourself and I want you to become all that you can be. I promise to honour this pledge as long as I live.

3. I promise to love you, to remain honest and faithful to you, to be available for you when you are in pain or grieving, and when you are filled with happiness. I promise to challenge you always, to support and nurture you and be receptive to the gift of your love. I love you with all my heart and I will love you for the rest of my life.

4. As I take you today to be my husband/wife, I promise to be your constant friend, faithful partner in life, your one true love. I promise to love and support you every day, and I promise to try to be the best man/woman I can be for the rest of our lives. I make these promises to you from this day forward. I will love you always.

5. I take you to be my lawful wife. To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer as long as we both shall live. I take you to be my husband/ wife, my partner in life and my one true love. I will cherish our friendship and love you today tomorrow and forever. I will trust you and honour you and I will laugh with you and cry with you. I will love you faithfully through the best and worst, through the difficult and the easy. Whatever may come, I will always be there and will love you always.


Series: Becoming Mr & Mrs

Series: Becoming Mr & Mrs



One of my clearest memories from my own wedding is standing alone in the bridal suite, after everyone else had gone to church, and being hit by an attack of nerves. Not because I had any doubts about getting married, or about the man I was marrying, but because I had suddenly realised that I was about to become the centre of attention, with all eyes on me as I walked down the aisle.

We all invest so much thought and effort into planning our big day that we don’t stop to think how it will actually feel to be a bride. Certainly, if you’re not used to finding yourself in the spotlight, suddenly becoming the focus of everyone’s happiness, along with your new husband, can be a little overwhelming.

Nobody can predict how he or she is going to respond emotionally. My friend Nikki – a tough, no nonsense prison officer by trade – was visibly shaking, almost in tears and clinging onto her father for all she was worth as she made her way towards the altar, while my friend Caroline, after ten years of patiently waiting for her moment, practically sprinted towards her future husband!

And it’s not just you that will be battling with a range of emotions. For my own husband, who hates being fussed over and having his photo taken, the day brought its own set of challenges.

While at the time I thought his refusal to let go of my hand throughout the service was his way of calming my nerves, I now realise it was to also steady his own.

It’s important to accept from the start that not everything over the course of the day is going to go accordingly to plan. The flower girl might not want to walk ahead of you scattering rose petals, the person doing a reading may stumble over their words and the organist might hit a wrong note or two. However thorough your preparations, you simply cannot control everything. In our case, I didn’t sleep a wink the night before as I was so excited, my husband locked himself out of our flat in the process of getting dressed and my hair and make-up artist arrived so early that I barely had time to grab two mouthfuls of breakfast before dashing up to my room to get ready!

Equally, some of the things that were entirely out of your hands from the start will surprise and delight you. We got married during one of the wettest summers on record and, when I opened the curtains on the morning of the wedding, the sky was dark and brooding. As the day progressed though the sun came bursting through the clouds and we enjoyed the best weather of that entire year. So much so that the photos of the evening do showcase a collection of ever redder faces! I’d also been worried about my Dad’s speech as he has little experience of public speaking and isn’t entirely at ease at big social events, but it was absolutely brilliant – touching, funny and a great way to welcome all our guests.

While it’s natural to want to play the perfect hostess, don’t feel under pressure to do so at the expense of your own enjoyment of the day. It’s someone else’s job to ensure people know where they are going, have ample food and drink and make it safely to bed at the end of the evening. That’s what you have ushers, a best man, bridesmaids and the staff at your venue for. I will confess though to insisting on checking the reception room before I left for church to ensure it had been laid out exactly how I’d asked it to be, but then, I am the ultimate perfectionist!

Although your wedding doesn’t come with a script, there will be moments that you have anticipated ever since you got engaged. It might be what your father says on seeing his little girl dressed as a bride, it might be the look on your fiancé’s face as you walk down the aisle or it might be the reaction of your guests to the line ‘I now pronounce you husband and wife’. Just remember that these might not play out exactly how you imagined them and that even though someone might not articulate their emotions in the way you’d hoped, it doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling them.

A standout feature of the day, which everyone warns you about but you don’t fully appreciate until it’s your own wedding, is that it all goes by so fast. We therefore deliberately chose to have an early ceremony so we had as much time afterwards as possible to celebrate with our guests. We also stole moments here and there, just the two of us, so we could drink in everything that was happening and share how we were feeling.

One item on the schedule that can be highly unpredictable is photography. Even though we’d selected a photographer with a relatively relaxed style so we weren’t having formal photos taken for hours on end, the process still took far longer than we thought. I don’t regret it, as we have some wonderful images, but you do need to allow for this and to accept that you might be away from your guests for some time, especially if bad weather complicates the situation.

And, while you might only just have become husband and wife, don’t be surprised if, in and amongst the confetti, cake cutting and first dance, talk turns to the pitter patter of tiny feet. We’d barely made it out of the church before people were asking us when a baby would be arriving, so the pair of you might want to have a few witty retorts up your sleeve!

Finally, people say that their wedding day was the best day of their lives for a reason. You’re committing to spending the rest of your life with your soul mate, surrounded by the people you love most in the world – cherish every single minute!

Next issue: Claire looks at what it means to be married


Guidelines for choosing your celebrant

Guidelines for choosing your celebrant

Guidelines for choosing your celebrantGUIDELINES FOR CHOOSING YOUR CELEBRANT

by Sheryl Mungall


Apprehension is normal! Make time to meet, and then consider the following:

• What was your initial impression? Were they warm, welcoming and friendly? Did you feel at ease right from the start?

• Did you feel that they took a personal interest in you as a couple and your wedding? Remember: your wedding is the only one that matters!

• How much experience do they have? What training have they had? Did you feel confident they were professional, knew what they were talking about and not just winging it?

• Did they focus on the two of you, your wedding, your plans and your interests, and not spend too much time talking about themselves? Or, if they did, was it relevant?

• Wedding ceremonies follow a process – was this explained well enough to you, so that you left clued up?

• Ask about their style – Do they have any photos to show you of other couples? You’ll want to ensure he or she meets your dress code and standard of personal presentation. They should not wear clothes that compete with the bride and bridesmaids, but should still look professional. Did they enquire about the theme of your wedding and level of formality?

• Did they offer ideas that excited you, were fun and meaningful to you as a couple? An experienced celebrant will have many creative ideas to inspire you, but you do need to feel you will be in control and have the freedom to make choices!

• Do you feel their fee to be fair? While it’s impossible to put a price tag on an emotional experience, you need to be happy that you’re getting good value for your money.

• Did the celebrant offer you a resource pack of ideas to take home? This would allow you to take your time choosing words for your ceremony you both like and which mean something to you.

• Did you feel confident the celebrant would meet your expectations?

• Do they speak confidently and clearly – will your guests be able to hear your ceremony?

• Will they be able to deal appropriately and sensitively with screaming babies, weather conditions, bossy parents, dysfunctional family matters, your emotions, and give you wise advice which makes sense to you?

A celebrant who understands that’s it’s YOUR day and who spends time getting to know you will be worth their weight in gold.

At the end of your wedding day, if you can say your wedding ceremony was perfect, all the planning and hard work will have been worth it!





By Claire Moulds


‘The perfect match’

How to find wedding suppliers who can turn your dream day into a reality. Now you have a clear idea what you want your wedding day to be like it’s time to start searching for the perfect location.

Since the venue will take up a large proportion of your budget, and popular ones get booked up so far in advance, it’s important to focus on this first, not least because it will mean that you can then set the date!

Make appointments to visit all of the venues you’re interested in and be sure to spend at least a few hours there. Don’t just look at the building itself … observe how the staff behave, how professional and on the ball the wedding co-ordinator is, and try and taste the food and drink. Ask if yours would be the only wedding there that day, where your photos would be taken if the weather is bad, and what time the music has to stop in the evening. Try and see it when it’s set up for a real wedding so you can really get a feel for how it would look on the day.

If the venue is also where you want to spend your first night together as husband and wife make sure the bridal suite is reserved for you – don’t assume this will automatically happen!

Now that the venue and date have been confirmed, inform everyone you intend to invite so that they can put it in their diary and book time off work if required. It’s not imperative to send out save the date cards; you can simply phone and email everybody on your guest list. Make it as easy as possible for those travelling a long way by sending them details of airports, railway stations, local taxi firms and a choice of accommodation to suit every budget.

My next priority was booking the photographer. As your wedding photos are your lasting memory of the day, they are absolutely worth investing in but, as photographers can vary markedly in price, they can also make a big dent in your budget. Certainly, at whatever stage you book your photographer, it’s worth asking to see albums of recent weddings they’ve shot at your venue so you can get a feel for how they use the space. It’s also important to confirm how much of the day they will cover – will they still be there to capture your first dance together?

SERIES: BECOMING MR & MRSWhen looking for suppliers don’t be afraid to pick the brains of family, friends and colleagues who have recently married. Many brides shy away from this as they want their wedding to be completely different to anyone else’s. However, if your friend has already done the legwork and found a florist who offers a good service for a fair price – and you loved the flowers at her wedding – it would be silly not to ask.

Research, research and more research is the key to finding good suppliers who really understand your vision and who you feel confident working with. Weddings often attract a premium, so negotiate on everything you order – if you can’t get a reduction on the price ask, for something extra to be thrown in for free!

Throughout the planning process, it’s vital not to lose sight of your original vision for the day. You might want to tweak some ideas based on your research, but always remember that the best weddings are a true reflection of the couple themselves. It’s the personal touches that will make your wedding stand out in people’s memories in the years to come, and these are often more about thought and effort than spending lots of money.

For example, we ordered very simple, good quality wedding stationery, then added a ribbon detail ourselves to match my dress and to create a signature look that ran through the whole day. The ribbon only cost a few dollars, so the main investment was spending a few hours together tying them on. I also spent days constructing a playlist for the DJ of all our favourite songs – and those of our guests – and everyone said that they hadn’t danced as much in ages.

The hardest part for me was finding my dress, especially as everyone said I’d know the minute I found ‘the one’. I never experienced that initial rush of love for mine – even though it was absolutely perfect. Having spoken to other brides, I’ve now realised I’m not the only one, so don’t worry if you don’t! Spend your first appointment trying on every type of dress available, even if you think you know what you want. I was adamant I didn’t want a strapless dress but, quickly realised they suited me best. While I sometimes took family and friends with me, I probably made the most progress when I went on my own, as I wasn’t being swayed by the opinions of others.

Be true to your own style with your choice. Don’t feel compelled to go down the ‘big dress’ route if that’s simply not you. Consider how your wedding photos will look in twenty years’ time. Is the dress too ‘of the moment’? It shouldn’t be the determining factor in your decision, but it is worth considering so your photos don’t quickly appear dated.

While it may be a stressful and expensive process, planning your wedding is also a really special time in your lives – you’re creating something that reflects the pair of you and which sets the tone for your future lives together. Enjoy and treasure every single moment of it!

Next time: Claire looks at the day itself and what it means to be a bride.


Stress busters

Stress busters

Stress bustersStress busters

Hot tips to help avoid anxieties leading up to and on your wedding day.

It will pay to be well organised and not leave arrangements to the last minute. Keep a wedding planning file and tick the boxes.

Ensure that all the wedding services you have booked are confirmed, especially if you booked a long way out from your wedding date.

Choose people to work who will help you rather than hinder.

Choose wedding professionals you feel comfortable with and who meet your requirements, and who offer exceptional customer service.

Take into consideration that your darling wee nephew or niece might be so cute that they take attention away from you. The stars of the day are the bride and groom!

Consider where the sun will be if planning an outdoor ceremony, and also the comfort of your guests. Nobody likes sitting or standing in the blazing sun these days. If you are looking into the sun everything will look black.

Rescue Remedy really works. It will take the edge off your nerves. It’s best to start taking it at least three days before your wedding day.

Keep a hanky or tissue in your man’s pocket, just in case you need it.

Avoid sore feet by wearing your bridal shoes around the house BEFORE the big day.

Practice your wedding vows together, so that when the time comes you feel confident and at ease saying them publicly.

Choose an MC who will manage the crowd, and who is assertive. Your guests will appreciate knowing the procedure for the day.

If a friend is doing a reading, choose someone who is confident at public speaking, otherwise the beautiful words will not be heard and the moment will be wasted and lost.

If there are challenging family dynamics, accepting you will not please everyone will help you a lot.

If out in an open space, check out the sound system – a professional company is a wise investment.

Try and organise your work schedule to give you at least four days off before the wedding to attend to last minute details, and to prepare you mentally for the big day ahead.

Your honeymoon is important, a time to leave your normal routine behind. Give yourselves time to absorb, reflect on your new status, to be alone – and then return afresh to day-to-day routines and married life.

No matter what happens, the most important thing to remember is that you are in this together. Careful planning will ensure a stress-free experience and ensure your wedding day’s success.

Wishing you a fantastic wedding day. ♥