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.


Bridesmaid – Do or Don’t I?

Bridesmaid – Do or Don’t I?

Bridesmaid – Do or Don’t I?

By Erika Unbehaun

Bridesmaid - Do or Don’t I?
Most bridesmaids are selected because they have a close friendship or family connection with the bride. Dare I say it, I have noticed some bridesmaids are selected purely for their outstanding organisational skills and authoritative leadership because the bride knows she will perform her duties and act the perfect bridesmaid.

If you’ve been asked to take a role in the wedding party, make sure you are emotionally and financially available for it. Do you have the time for all the pre-wedding engagements, get-togethers and wedding planning? Do you have the extra finances to pay for the Hen’s night, your dress, shoes, accessories, and hotel if required?

Over the years I’ve picked up some helpful bridesmaids dos and don’ts. If you’re a bridesmaid in waiting, read the below before saying “I will”.

Do: Do make sure you’re up for the job emotionally and financially. Less damage will be done to your friendship if you kindly decline a bridesmaid request rather than accepting and not living up to the responsibilities.

Do: Check in with the bride every month by giving her a call and asking how you can help. This may seem tedious and unnerving as to what will happen next, but most of the time the bride is just looking for emotional support and that phone call will mean the world to her.

Do: On the wedding day you need to look after the bride to make sure she’s a happier version of herself. Get her a drink if her glass is empty, tell her when she needs a new coat of lipstick, and replace her Louboutins with a pair of flip flops when her feet start to ache.

Do: Check your emotions at the door. If the bride does something that upsets you, you need to let it go. The bride will be extremely emotional on the wedding day and a fight with her best friend would be seen as the start of a bad day.

Don’t: Don’t disappear throughout the planning process, and especially on the wedding day. You’ve accepted a supporting role so you need to live up to it.

Don’t: Don’t get too inebriated on the wedding day. You are there to represent the bride and her family. Likewise, don’t complain or badmouth anyone on the day. Smile for the camera! I’ve witnessed far too many bridesmaids consume an excessive amount of alcohol and ignore all bridesmaid responsibilities on the day.

Don’t: Don’t assume the type of party your bride wants for her Hen’s night. Give her various suggestions then involve her in the planning.

Don’t: Don’t make the day about you. As exciting as it is to look glamorous and make a grand entrance, you must remember that the wedding day is about your friend and the celebration of her marriage. ♥

Wedding Coordinator Erika Unbehaun has a degree in international wedding planning which gives her a great insight and knowledge into wedding cultures and traditions around the globe. She’s worked in the US and the UK as is now based in London where her focus is luxury wedding planning. www.flutterflyevents.com


Wise Wedding Planning

Wise Wedding Planning

Wise Wedding PlanningWise Wedding Planning

by Erika Unbehaun

It’s a busy time. You’re suddenly browsing wedding magazines and blogs, ticking off planning checklists, and incorporating wedding lingo into your everyday vocabulary. Read our wedding planning tips for an enjoyable and stress free day.

Tip #1

Purchase or make “RESERVED” signs for the wedding ceremony. Even if you’re having ushers escort your guests down the aisle, there may be some cheeky guests who move to the front for the best view of the bride and groom. Your parents may be one of the last to walk down the aisle (depending on order of procession) so it’s important they have reserved seating in the front row.

Tip #2

A couple of days before your wedding you’ll want to drop off a box of wedding “stuff” at the venue so you don’t need to bring it on the day. Things you might bring in advance include: menus, escort cards, place cards, table plan, decorations, alcohol and beverages, guest book and pen, gift box, change of clothes (if required), guest favours, and anything else specific to your wedding. Make sure you schedule an appointment with the venue ahead of your arrival. You’ll also need to ask the venue if you can store items overnight then have someone collect them the next day.

Tip #3

When you hand over the seating plan to your wedding planner, put a star alongside the names of those people who should be facing the head table. As a planner, I often receive seating plans that tell me the order in which guests should sit around the table, but I don’t know where on the table they should be positioned. To help me out, let me know who should have the best view of the new Mr and Mrs.

Tip #4

Hire or purchase a white/ivory golf umbrella in case it rains. If it doesn’t rain, the umbrella makes a great accessory in photographs!

Tip #5

If you’re serving the wedding cake as the dessert course, you should highly consider having the cake filled with one flavour instead of having each tier filled will different flavours and fillings. Why? Sue will be served a chocolate ganache and her neighbour, Adam, will be served a sponge cake with vanilla buttercream. Make it simple and order the same thing!

Tip #6

Two of your biggest decisions will be choosing what to wear and where to wear it (venue). I suggest nailing down the WHERE first, as the style of the venue will have a huge impact on design decisions later in the planning process. Besides, imagine purchasing a ball gown to find out that the only venue with availability during your wedding month is a horse ranch!

Tip #7

If you and your fiancé are from countries that speak different languages, consider having a short Reading at the ceremony followed by the same Reading in the other language.

Tip #8

One of our greatest wedding planning tips comes down to the table plans. Table plans are stressful for the bride, groom and both of their respective families. Following are a couple of our top table plan tips:

• Elderly guests should be seated further away from the band/DJ and any speakers

• The children’s table should be at the back of the room near the door so they have easy access to the restrooms and can be escorted out if there are disruptions.♥

Wedding Coordinator Erika Unbehaun has a degree in international wedding planning which gives her a great insight and knowledge into wedding cultures and traditions around the globe. She’s worked in the US and the UK and is now based in London where her focus is luxury wedding planning. W: www.flutterflyevents.com





TOP 10 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL DAY1. Give yourself plenty of time to plan your wedding. Unless you’re a superstar, don’t try and organise it in a matter of weeks. Have fun!

2. Orchestrate things carefully for the big day itself. Anything more than 15 minutes off schedule and things get a little crazy for everyone. If the venue doesn’t provide a coordinator, hire one just for the day. Do remember that perfection isn’t everything. Some of the best moments happen through uncontrolled events taking place. Embrace the unexpected.

3. There’s only so much you can do – prioritise and delegate! You won’t please everyone, so don’t try – it’s your day!

4. Plan travel times. Traffic at 4pm on a Saturday is different to 4pm mid-week.

5. When it comes to hair and makeup, ensure the bride gets underway first. If things get a little crazy, it is far better to rush the maids than the bride!

6. Do you have a wet weather alternative? Let’s be honest, New Zealand’s weather can be fickle and you don’t want to be caught short. Discuss your options with your planner or the venue coordinator well in advance.

7. Take time out for yourself the day before the wedding – read a book, have a massage, perhaps enjoy a picnic with your loved one. If you haven’t organised something by this stage, forget it! If you’ve chosen your wedding suppliers carefully, perhaps using guaranteed professionals like The Wedding Associates, then you should be able to relax knowing that they’ll take care of things on the day.

8. And that leads into our next tip – remember to enjoy the day. It will fly by in a whirl otherwise.

9. Many couples choose to have their first look at each other in private. It allows you to take a deep breath, enjoy the moment together and really feel the emotion of the day.

10. And (finally) remember to eat…all that bubbly on an empty tummy is not a good idea!




Mr & MrsSo, after months of planning, it’s nearly here and, hopefully, your wedding day will be everything you dreamt it would be from the minute you said ‘Yes’ to the proposal. But what happens when the confetti has settled, the tan has faded and your new life together begins? After all, being married doesn’t start and end with ‘I do’.

In the midst of all the planning and excitement it’s easy to pour all your energy into ‘getting’ married, without taking time out to consider the fact you will soon ‘be’ married. For those having a religious ceremony, marriage lessons are a great opportunity to stop and think about what this change in your relationship means.

While there’s no comparable process for those having a civil ceremony, it’s beneficial for all couples to take a moment to consider what this amazing step represents. Every marriage is different, which is why there’s no handbook for a successful one.

You’re creating something that is unique to the pair of you and which will constantly evolve over time. That’s why it’s so important to share your hopes and fears at the very start, so you can work together to shape it into what a happy marriage means to you both.

‘Happy’ doesn’t mean ‘perfect’ though, so make sure your expectations are realistic. If he didn’t clean the bath before you got married, a marriage certificate isn’t going to change that! Equally, if you argued before you became husband and wife, you’ll still argue once the ring is on your finger. However, arguments within marriage tend to be more constructive than destructive as you both have a vested interest in coming to an understanding – that is if you don’t want to spend a lifetime fighting about the same thing!

One change no bride is ever fully prepared for is having an entirely new identity. I vividly remember watching my husband sleeping the morning after our wedding and being hit by the realisation that, after 29 years, I suddenly had a brand new name. In the space of just 24 hours, I’d become someone else! While sharing a surname only further underlines our togetherness, it’s an unsettling notion to have to relinquish a name you’ve grown up with and which has symbolised you being a part of your own family for so long.

For me, it also marked the end of an era – my maiden name will die with my parents…as I am an only child.

It was certainly a strange sensation to suddenly be called Mrs Gaffney – the other Mrs Gaffney being my new mother-in-law! And even stranger to hear my husband refer to me as his ‘wife’! Men only have to adapt to becoming a husband, but women go through a monumental identity change and mixed emotions are natural. On a practical level it also means learning a new signature – which I still struggle with six years later! Then there’s the contacting of what feels like a hundred different organisations to change your name and marital status on their records.

There’s no denying that your new name is an external sign that you’re now officially a team. If you lived together beforehand you could always have stepped out of the relationship with relative ease. In contrast, marriage brings with it the strongest feeling of love and commitment because you’ve both sworn that it’s forever in front of your family and friends. There’s therefore a tremendous sense of oneness, security and peace.

This in turn means you can now make plans for the future with complete certainty. Before you said ‘I do’ dreams may have been confined to ‘one day I’d like to…’. Now you can really examine what you both want out of life and turn those hopes into reality.

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to live abroad or retrain for a new career? You can now shape your lives in the way you want to live them. What could be more exciting or reassuring than making that journey with the person you love most in the world?

Be warned: one of the consequences of tying the knot is that friends and family will be expecting to hear the imminent pitter-patter of tiny feet and some will be less than subtle about it! From would-be grandparents to friends with children, everyone will be keen to know when your family is going to expand. In particular, be prepared to come under intense scrutiny if you wear loose clothing or avoid alcohol or mention special dietary requirements or display even the slightest hint of nausea (or all of the above) no matter what the cause!

If I had to sum up what being a wife means to me, it would be knowing that I am one half of the most amazing, lifelong team and that my best friend is the other. A sense of belonging that goes deeper than anything you’ve ever experienced; facing the world together. Most of all, it’s about making each other’s journey through life as happy, enjoyable and memorable as possible, supporting the other’s hopes and dreams, helping to alleviate their fears and worries, and receiving exactly the same support in return.

Next issue: Ways to manage the post-wedding slump

10 Tips for planning the perfect wedding

10 Tips for planning the perfect wedding

Putting together your wedding day can be seriously time-consuming and stressful as you juggle guest lists, flower arrangements, dress fittings, demanding family and big budgets.

With just a few simple tips however, you can save time, money and reduce your stress levels while organising what should be one of the best days of your life.

Having organised many large-scale events, including her own wedding in 2007, Impact PR managing director and event management specialist Fleur Revell knows how to put together a beautiful event that you and your guests will remember for the rest of their lives.

Here, Fleur shares her top ten tips for your wedding planning and the big day itself.

  1. First things first. Don’t start your planning with unnecessary stress. Be realistic about the planning time you require. You’ll be surprised at how fast time flies when you’re approaching a time deadline, so if possible give yourself an extra few months’ grace – you’ll probably end up needing them!
  1. Preparing your invite list can be tricky, especially if you’re limited on numbers. After your bridal party and immediate family, focus on prioritising your guest list to friends who you think will still be a big part of your life in five years’ time and beyond. You may have had ‘best mates’ in the past who you always thought would be at your wedding, but there’s no point inviting people who you no longer have anything to do with. Keep it realistic!
  1. If you need to save money on decorations and flowers, then don’t spend much on the church or area where the ceremony is taking place as this is the place your guests will spend the least time. It’s better to spend money on flowers and decorations in your reception area where you and your guests can enjoy them.
  1. Your favourite music might be house or trance beats, but remember that alongside you and your husband-to-be’s personal touches, it’s a good idea to include music that will suit the masses if you want a packed dance floor. They may be cheesy, but often it’s the good old classics that gets everyone up, to get down.
  1. New Zealand (or overseas) weather is never predictable. So to save yourself extra worry and constant what-ifs by preparing a wet weather plan so that no matter the weather, you and your guests can still enjoy the day in comfort.
  1. If you’re fanatic about photography and have a pretty clear idea of what you want, ensure you have briefed your photographer clearly – and even offer a written sheet of family, guest and detail photos you want captures. This means not only can you relax and enjoy your day without stressing about whether every moment is captured, it also means there will be no ‘missing photos’ when you collect your prints post wedding.
  1. While champagne is a popular celebration and toasting tipple, it can also tip your budget into blowout. Why not offer a refreshing Pimms after your summer ceremony, or fill up your guests glasses at toast time with local bubbles (the non-French kind). It will save you a lot of money, and most of your guests probably won’t even notice.
  1. If you choose to get married in a remote location, it may be courteous to offer transport in the way of a bus drop-off or similar. There’s nothing worse than your guests having a perfect evening, only to be kept waiting in the cold for two hours for the next available taxi.
  1. And speaking of logistics, tell your guests as much information as possible about location, transportation and accommodation for your wedding location (either on a separate piece of paper with your invite, or create an information website/blog). It will save multiple organisation phone calls from out-of-towners in the lead-up to your day, and it means that with a little more knowledge, guests can plan their own timings and transport with ease.
  2. Finally, the more people in your bridal party and key contacts who know the days order and timing, the better. The last thing a bride needs while trying to enjoy her wedding preparation is phone calls every five minutes from people wanting instruction. Make a clear run-sheet for the day, go over it with all involved, and tell them to ring your husband-to-be or maid of honour in the first instance. After all, this is your day to relax, enjoy, and to soak up the love.


Rows & Vows at Mercure Hotels

Rows & Vows at Mercure Hotels

Rows & Vows at Mercure HotelsWhen you think of weddings you automatically think of love, beautiful dresses and smiling brides, but the reality can be quite different, according to a recent survey of Mercure Wedding Planners across Australia and New Zealand which shows that rows not vows are the focus for a fair share of nuptials.

Planning a wedding can be stressful, with the pressure to impress and keep relatives happy turning some blushing brides into blubbering ‘bridezillas’. Many brides end up fighting on their big day (26%) – with their fiancé, family or friends. Results from the survey show the three things most likely to cause fighting are: the guest list (23%); the seating plan (19%); and the food and wine selections (17%). And things were especially stressful for Mercure Townsville when it literally hosted four weddings and one funeral (well actually a wake) on a single weekend last year.

With brides increasingly seeking a more personalised experience, Mercure’s Wedding Planners are often called on to meet unusual demands – such as the bride who asked if she could have two doves painted pink for her ceremony or the couple who wanted an Alice in Wonderland theme, requiring chef to bake 400 biscuits and decorate each one with the words “Eat Me”. Then there was the Halloween-themed wedding which required one chef to buy up pumpkins from four different suppliers.

Sometimes a wedding can throw up unique challenges for hoteliers who have to balance the demands of the couple with the needs of their existing guests. For example, for a nudist wedding the couple had to be led through the public areas in bathrobes before discarding them at the reception room and staff had to be forewarned of the dress code. At Mercure Melbourne one wedding caused a security scare when a guest from the Mobster-themed party turned up with a fake machine gun.

Sometimes being prepared for anything means separating fighting guests, especially as there is often free-flowing alcohol, with 11% of Mercure’s Wedding Planners saying they have witnessed physical fights between guests or bridal party members.

With food and wine selection causing 17% of fights, the Mercure’s Grands Vins selection is very popular with couples, providing a signature list of regional wines at very affordable prices that takes the pain out of choosing the right tipple because the hard work is already done.

Sarah Connelly of Mercure Sydney says Wedding Planners have to be prepared to be flexible and inventive, so that when one flower girl decided she preferred the floral arrangement in the lobby to her own bouquet, it was quickly swapped to avoid a mini meltdown.

She has even designed a Wedding Emergency Kit after arranging dozens of weddings and seeing how often things don’t go smoothly. It includes hair spray, band aids, nail polish and remover, lipgloss, perfume, safety pins, mouthwash, sticky tape, superglue and more – all items that have been needed throughout the years at different weddings.

“It is our job to ensure we have everything on hand that a bride might need so she can relax and enjoy the day,” she said.

One wedding planner from Mercure Launceston took her job so seriously that when a bride spilled a bottle of coke down her dress just an hour before the ceremony, she drove home and loaned the bride her own dress.

And it’s not just the Wedding Planners who must be flexible. At Mercure Queenstown a performance of the Hakka caused the cake to topple but chef was able to whip up a new cake before the bride and groom took their first dance.

Some of the trends emerging in recent years are that weddings are becoming less traditional and more themed, that fewer guests are being invited and that couples are choosing quality over quantity. Increasingly, couples are eschewing churches and combining the wedding and reception in one venue, with the Mercure Yarra Valley Balgownie being one of the most popular “all in one” venues thanks to its onsite vineyard, restaurant and gardens. And demand is growing for weddings that go all weekend with guests staying onsite.

Another trend is that couples are now often choosing to use their own music selection from their iPods but sometimes the Mercure has to provide entertainment. At Mercure Townsville two weddings have resulted in impromptu concerts from visiting bands Wolfmother and Empire of the Sun who just happened to be staying at the hotel and popped in to give the wedding guests a treat. In both cases the bands did not know the bride and groom. That’s the kind of thing that can happen at Mercure!

And proving Billy Idol’s song a little outdated, Mercure Hotels now offer brides a “nice day for a green wedding” with Mercure offsetting the carbon emissions impact of all weddings (at a cost to Mercure) as part of the brand’s commitment to the environment. This means that brides can not only create their own paradise but they can help save the world on their big day.

Mercure has 35 hotels across Australia and New Zealand, all of which provide a uniquely personal wedding service in distinctive settings in city centres and resort locations. The most popular locations in Australia include Port Macquarie, Port Douglas, the Hunter Valley and Hobart while in New Zealand, Queenstown, Dunedin and the Marlborough Sounds are all favourites. Mercure is Accor’s mid-market brand, offering brides exceptional value for money for their special day, along with facilities and services that reflect each region’s local character, culture and personality.

For more information on Mercure hotels go to www.mercurehotels.com

Animals and their Antics

Animals and their Antics

Animal AnticsBy Lauren Prill

Pets – they’re part of your family so why wouldn’t you include them in your wedding day?

Admittedly there are a dozens reasons why not. What is it they say? Never work with animals or children. Touché!

Pets play such a huge role in many couple’s lives that the thought of not including them just never occurs. In fact, they’re often parked at the top of guest lists. I guess one good thing is that  here’s no need to fork out $100 a head for their meal, and their water is free!

The first thing to consider before you seriously include your pet in your wedding is their behaviour. How are they in crowds? Do they react adversely to loud noises? Are they okay with unfamiliar people?

You need to be confident they will enjoy the day. You want them to do you proud.

To achieve this, it’s a good idea to have a dry run. Take your pet on location to familiarise them with the surroundings. If they are taking a role in the ceremony, remember that practise makes perfect, and treats are terrific tempters when they get it right!

Rehearse their role to the point that they are accepting. Most importantly, remember that sometimes the best laid plans go out the window, so have a backup. Pets don’t always do as?t hey’re told – their cheekiness is often why we love them most! So have a Plan B and rehearse that, too!

Be mindful that ceremony and reception venues may not be so enthusiastic about a horse drawn cart or having a dog on the premises. When they hear the word “pet”, all they think of is mess! They may include a charge for soilage.

Delegate a trustworthy guest to be your pet’s guardian for the day. They may have to dress, walk and feed the animal throughout the day, so they need to be animal confident and your pet needs to be comfortable with them.

The fun part is deciding on your pet’s look for the day … au naturale, accessorised with bling, or matching your own garment! If you prefer the natural look, preparation is as easy as a wash and brush. If you’re dressing them up, the options are countless … bow tie, tux, tutu, diamante collar … you can even get pet tattoos! Just make sure your pet is used to wearing outfits and accessories so as to not cause alarm on the day. Think about what the outfit will do in the wind, will it scare them. The more relaxed your pet is, the smoother things will run.

Dogs seem to be the most popular pet at weddings, mainly due to their sociability attitudes and willingness to be trained. Dogs work well as ring bearers, with rings or a small ring cushion easily tied to their collar. History has seen dogs as a page boy, bestman and maid of honour.

Only recently Robbie Williams had his eight gorgeous pooches as bridesmaids, their necks adorned with beautiful flower garland collars … the photos were amazing.

Cats tend to have a staunch independent streak, but if your feline is up to the occasion then go for it. Fish are definitely the quietest on the list, although their transportation in itself proves a headache! Birds look pretty in their cages, just consider the acoustics that screeching birds may provide.

Horses look beautiful against the scenery of farm or beach weddings … but let’s not stop there: rabbits, ferrets, turtles … and the list goes on.

Many brides wish to arrive at their ceremony on horseback. Whether bareback, side saddle, Western or English, be sure to practice riding your horse in a dress similar to your wedding gown. The length and weight, the noise it makes in the wind and the feel of it over your horses back. If you’re wearing a veil then throw that into the mix too, along with your bouquet. The last thing you need is your horse being scared by your beautiful? dress, leaving the possibility of you ending in a white heap on the ground while your pony gallops off in fear … not quite the fairytale ending you envisaged!

If you don’t trust your horse one hundred percent, it may be safer to have someone lead you, or for them not to be ridden and to just walk beside you. Sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry – a nasty grass stain would haunt your wedding photos for life.

If, despite all your efforts, you feel your pet won’t cope with being in attendance, there’s always the option to have photos with them at home. Before or after the ceremony you can take a few pictures in the relaxed environment of your house or garden. If your pet lives in a paddock, then visit them there. The opportunity provides you more scope for some great shots, as well as the satisfaction of them still being part of your day.

I had fantasised of a white horse, flowing mane blowing in the slight breeze, a vision of bliss riding bareback to the church, inspired, I think, by an episode of McLeod’s daughters! Yes, that would have been my dream wedding, but alas I walked the aisle on six inch stilettos! ?

This editorial is part of the creatively cute weddings ‘Bride to Be’ pack – a starter pack for all ‘Bride’s to Be’! The pack includes a detailed budget along with a wealth of information to ease the stress in preparing for your?wedding. To purchase a pack or find out more visit www.creativelycute.co.nz , mention ‘My Wedding’ magazine for a 10% discount. See our featured ad for more details.


Getting Started

Getting Started

Getting StartedYour man just got down on one knee and you said “yes”. It’s only as you sip celebratory champagne that your mind starts thinking “… goodness, what next?”

Planning a wedding can be a very daunting task. The To Do lists in magazines seem so long. Does all that really need to be done? What do we tackle first?

Of course it all depends on the scale of your wedding.

Here are a  few guidelines to help you set out confidently on your bridal planning path.

Your Wedding date and venue comes first, everything else fits around it. Planning your wedding over a year out will be easier to secure your favoured date. So bear that in mind, especially if you are considering a specific  venue.

Venue searching is a little like house hunting, every weekend off looking at places! Luckily the internet is a great way to narrow down choices. Don’t be afraid to ask for more photos and information. Get reviews  from past weddings.

It’s worth noting that many venues will have a preferred list of suppliers. This can remove a lot of the leg work for you. Ask about this from the start and save yourself some time and research. Securing your date and venue is an awesome achievement and a huge tick on your list once booked!

Start a scrapbook. Paste in anything you like the look of. Dresses, flowers, stationary, hair, makeup, cars, suits, decorations, favours…. This becomes a great reference guide and it’s very useful when talking with suppliers –  they can see the look and feel you are after.

Attach your To Do list and other relevant information … phone numbers and emails of your venue, celebrant etc. Having everything in one place makes life much easier.

Catch up with married friends. They are an invaluable resource. Ask them for their three top tips and advice. Everyone loves to help out by sharing their bridal experiences. View their wedding album for ideas. You may even wish to use some of the suppliers they did.

Walking into a wedding dress boutique can be overwhelming. All those white frocks hung up in a row! On the rack, the dresses can look pretty drab. Remember they are only the try-on dresses! Amaze yourself and try on a selection of styles – they look very different on, gaining shape and personality. You’re there to experiment! Ask the assistant to recommend styles she feels will suit you. It is very interesting! Take your Mum and a friend  with you for their feedback; make a fun day of it.

Your wedding ring is a symbol of your union as Husband and Wife. You wear it every day, so take the time to visit jewellers to sample lots of styles. If none suit, or you want something and can’t find it, consider having one  designed. Think about matching wedding bands or inscriptions. You may even have jewellery from family members passed that can be remodelled. Smaller boutique jewellers tend to have their craftsman onsite and will have endless creativity and enthusiasm when it comes to designing your rings.

Jewellery and shoes don’t need to be expensive to look gorgeous. Stores today have a fabulous selection of bling to choose from, whether your taste stretches to bling or is reserved for subtle! Search your local high  street shops for ideas. If you are trying to match pieces, take what you have with you so you can compare. Visualise the dress, hair and makeup all together to get the full effect.

Stationary options are numerous. Many people nowadays are creating their own wedding websites, with invites sent by email. Start by scouring the web. Your invites are an introduction for guests to your big day; they set  a precedent and make a statement. Will you have them made at a printer or DIY them yourself? The latter will undoubtedly save you money.

From traditional folded invites, to simple postcard styles, magnets, or even a puzzle for guests to put together … you are only limited by your imagination.

Get inventive. Try and tie in your wedding theme and colours, so  everything marries up… excuse the pun! Search your local Emporium for ribbon, tulle and other little haberdashery treats. These are fabulous for decoration ideas, invites, table runners, favour bags, ribbon for cars and much more.

Remember your photos are a lifetime memento of your special day, so to be sure you get a qualified photographer. Visit www.nzipp.org.nz, www.aipp.com.au or www.bipp.com.

Make an appointment with potential photographers and view various albums. Ask to see a complete wedding album, not just an album of their ‘best shots’. Ensure you get a good vibe from them. They need to get the  best out of you on the day for your photos to be spectacular.

Very exciting times lie ahead for you and your fiancé. Being organised enables you to enjoy the ride much more! Wedding websites are a great source of ideas and inspiration. For times when humour is required, visit  www.bridezilla.com a guaranteed stress buster! ?

Lauren Prill is the owner of Creatively Cute Weddings. This editorial is part of the Creatively Cute Weddings ‘Bride to Be’ pack.

Photography: Unique Visions – www.uniquevisions.co.nz

Decifering The Details

Decifering The Details

Decifering The DetailsBy Lauren Prill

Image: Glow Studios

We may not all have the luxury of being blessed with an exceptional wedding planner, specifically hired to stress on behalf of us, fussing with unbridled passion over the finer details of our big day. Imagine such a thing? Imagine the price tag?

We are capable of adhering love and creativity to the details of our wedding to make a memorable affair for ourselves and our guests.

Many of the special details don’t come at a cost either, it’s all about maximising one’s opportunities. Over the years I’ve been to many a wedding and it never ceases to amaze me how each couple manages to put their own stamp on the day. That in a nutshell is what makes it special, personal and a pleasure to witness.

Details – the word is pretty broad in essence. In the dictionary it states: “To provide with artistic or decorative detail .To select and dispatch for a particular duty”.

In wedding speak, it equates to seamless presentation. All the little touches and extra effort you have assigned in various areas. For example: wedding favours, place settings, table decorations all spring to mind.

A couple may see their vision from the start, others come into play as planning evolves. First things first, buy a scrapbook or folder. This will host all your ideas and become a fantastic reference guide. Then you can set about noting all your details, particular and/or artistic.

Here are some aspects to start with:

Friends & Family: You may have a musician, photographer, seamstress, priest or celebrant within your circle. Call on them. Undoubtedly the knowledge they have of you will bring about more of a personal feel. Not many people can say their uncle performed their marriage service, best friend was photographer or Mum and Nana made their wedding cake.

Putting a wedding together is like a jigsaw; incorporating many friends and family in ?the build enhances emotion and unity. You can then give these people recognition on the back of your order of service. It’s nice for guests to see who was involved, and everyone loves a wee pat on the back!

Favours: Lollies seem to be the favourite here, cutely presented in little boxes or sheer gift bags. Why not go one step further with homemade fudge, cookies or rocky road? Have a baking afternoon with your  bridesmaids. You can incorporate the favours with the place setting, tie them up together and have a little tag with the guest’s name – a lovely touch and less clutter for the table.

Theme: Unity is the key here. If you run with the same colour/design concept through your invitations, order of service, table decorations and thank you cards, there is definitely more ‘wow’ factor. This can be done with minimum effort to receive maximum results. Take black ribbon – now use it wherever you can … ties on your invitations/ menus/order of service, bows under table names, around the waist of your wedding dress … you get the gist! The end result is extremely polished.

Dress: Have a piece of your mother’s (or mother in law’s) wedding dress sewn into your gown – it could even be your “something blue”. It’s a lovely way to honour them.

Tradition: Parents, grandparents or great grandparents may have family heirlooms and traditions they want to apply to your day, whether it’s weddings bands, a broach, hankie or merely displaying their wedding  photographs at your reception. These little touches identify you, your family tree and how they’ve played a part in your life.

Granddad may like to write and say Grace before you sit down for your wedding breakfast. There ?may even be something quirky like a family fertility wand that’s passed down generations at weddings.

Rings: Have your wedding date engraved into the inside of your wedding bands. Your husband will never have an excuse to forget your wedding anniversary!

Then of course there’s you on the day itself. Mother Nature may throw some finer details into the mix, whether you’re prepared or not … wind, rain, even snow! Don’t despair. It’s how you deal with it that counts. These acts of God often make for fabulous wedding photos. Take a deep breath, sit back and enjoy the ride.

If you’re falling short of detail ideas, wedding magazines and websites are a great source of inspiration. Don’t be scared to steal ideas from others – it is, after all, the utmost compliment!

The ultimate prize is seeing it all come together on the day. The place settings you mulled over for weeks, the colours in all their glory and the ribbon, oh the ribbon … just perfect. Just look at everything together.  Personally, I saw 10 months worth of hard labour materialised in unison – and it was perfect! ?

This editorial is part of the creatively cute weddings ‘Bride to Be’ pack – a complete starter pack for all ‘Bride’s to Be’! A who’s who of what needs to be done for your BIG DAY! The pack covers a wealth of information to ease the stress in preparing for your wedding.