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Author: Kelly Hartmann

11 People Reveal Why They Chose To Get Married

Marriage: /ˈmarɪdʒ/

Noun | the legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship (historically and in some jurisdictions specifically a union between a man and a woman).

I am a happily married woman and I have many happily married friends. Recently I started thinking about why people choose to get married. Do we do it because this is just what people do? Has society convinced us that marriage is something we need to do? Is “being in love” a good enough reason to choose to marry someone?

So, I did some research and got some real life humans to tell me why they chose to get married. I think you might find this interesting. Read to the end to see why I chose to get married.

Related: 3 Things People Don’t Tell You About Marriage

Why do people choose to get married?

– As it’s God design and to have children, creating a family. Gods family!

– A public declaration of your love for each other and a life commitment to one another. And to start your life together officially.

– I wanted to travel and work abroad with my partner and we were required to be married in order to obtain the right visas to work and travel freely together… and in the spirit that we were already in a long term committed relationship with the knowledge that we want to travel and build a life together.

Beverly Clark: “We need a witness to our lives. There are 8 billion people on the planet … I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything — the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things … all of it, all the time, every day. You’re saying, ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.’”

– We got married cos we both wanted to start a family and we wanted our children to grow up in a stable, loving home with parents that are happily married. And of course we got married cos we loved each other.

– The older (outdated) opinion that it is expected of you by society to reach certain goals and achievements such as educational degree, marriage, children to say you have lived an ‘accomplished life’.

– Marriage is about a commitment to each other perhaps just in your hearts…not written into any legal paper…… a wedding now that’s quite different……..something to ponder!!??

– We got married because we loved each other and because we believe marriage is God’s design (not society’s) and we felt ready to commit to that and each others’ purpose in life and helping each other get closer to fulfilling that purpose and become closer to God through His design of marriage, commitment and intimacy. (It seems a lot of people say that marriage is expected from society or you need to get married in order to start a proper family – that was not our motivation!)

– We got married to celebrate our love for each other and make a tangible promise do life together. That tangible promise to someone else both feels wonderful in the good times and might help in the bad times – when relationship motivation is low you have a reason to keep trying and keep working: you made a promise. And then we had a wedding so we could celebrate with all the people we love the most in the world and bring them together in one place. Our families got to know each other a bit better and being able to share our story and special day with all our fabourite people was wonderful (sharing good news is almost as exciting as getting good news). Love should be celebrated!

– To honour God, honour family tradition, honour eachother and have SEX as God intended us to.

– We loved each other. I had refused to move in together without at least being engaged… (He moved up from KZN for me) We realised that if we stayed engaged too long, it might just stay that way forever. (Also, we weren’t too thrilled with “living in sin”).

BONUS: This is why I chose to get married:

Firstly, I love my partner, Glen, very much. I can’t imagine not doing life with him and I wanted to officially do life with him by making a formal commitment to him in the eyes of God, our families and the state. I also believe that our individual effect on the world isn’t as great as our combined effort. We work better as a team and I want to formally honour that. Marriage is a gift from God and I’m happy I chose it!

What do YOU think? Leave a comment and tell me why you are choosing marriage.

Getting married soon and want to know more about this incredible journey you’re about to begin? Join us for a Marriage Preparation and Date Night event in Cape Town.

Most couples spend hours and hours planning their wedding and often forget to prepare for the most important journey they are about to begin: marriage. This marriage preparation event is designed to provide you with important tools that will build a strong, loving and fulfilling marriage.

Guest speakers, Phil and Dale Hartmann, have been happily married for over 37 years and have been running a marriage preparation course from their home. These two experts will teach you how to communicate effectively and resolve conflict in a way that brings you closer together.

In addition, you’ll be receiving some helpful and practical advice on marriage contracts from our friends at Gunstons.

Event details:

Monday 28 August

17:30 for 18:00

Sostanza, Lakeside

Three course meal and beverages included.

For more information, please fill in the form below:

3 Things People Don’t Tell You About Marriage

Marriage is a wonderful, messy, beautiful thing. I have been happily married for just over two years, so I don’t consider myself to be an expert at all. The more I learn, the more I realize I know nothing.

The day I got married, I made some really important promises to my husband in front of everyone we know and love, and before God. I didn’t fully understand what I was promising to do or to be, and the more time I spend learning to be a better wife, the more I realize just how significant those promises are.

Marriage won’t make you happy

If you are unhappy before you get married, you will be unhappy in your marriage. If you are lonely, insecure, anxious or selfish, those things won’t change just because you’re married.

This may come as a shock to some, but you aren’t getting married so you can be happy. And if you are, you’re in for a surprise.

Tyler Ward from Relevant Magazine says it best:

“I’m intensely certain that nothing in life has ever made me more angry, frustrated or annoyed than my wife. Inevitably, just when I think I’ve given all I can possibly give, she somehow finds a way to ask for more. 

The worst part of it all is that her demands aren’t unreasonable. One day she expects me to stay emotionally engaged. The next, she’s looking for me to validate the way that she feels. The list goes on – but never ventures far from things she perfectly well deserves as a wife.”

Something I am slowly learning is to put my husband’s needs before my own. It’s not easy. Sometimes it’s really hard and I am reminded of how selfish I am. But it is so rewarding. It’s funny how serving someone else without expecting anything in return is so satisfying.

There is no Plan B

In marriage, you are stuck with each other forever. Till death. That sounds pretty dark, but it is beautiful. When there is no Plan B, you’re telling someone that no matter how much they fail you and hurt you, they are stuck with you. There is nothing your person can do to scare you.

Wrapping your mind around the fact that you are committing to a lifetime of loving, serving and doing life with the same person means never uttering the “d” word. It means you don’t say or do things that will damage the marriage you should be striving to protect.

Those vows you will share on your wedding day are really important. You are committing to make your marriage work no matter what.

If your spouse doesn’t make you happy anymore, Plan B means that someone else might. In marriage, Plan B prevents you from fully committing to one another with everything you are.

Conflict doesn’t mean things are bad

In every relationship, there will be conflict. Conflict is inevitable and it’s normal.

For some reason we put marriage into a different category. When conflict arises and couples begin to argue, we start to think something might be wrong. We start to think that our marriage might be dysfunctional.

The truth is, conflict happens. It’s how we handle conflict that makes the difference. It’s totally possible to handle conflict in a way that honours each other and works towards a common goal.

When you know that conflict is normal, you’ll be slow to anger and quick to forgive. You’ll aim to be the first person to say sorry.

Getting married soon? You’ve probably already spent hours planning your wedding day, and now it’s time to start preparing for marriage. This marriage preparation event is designed to provide you with important tools that will build a strong, loving and fulfilling marriage.

Guest speakers, Phil and Dale Hartmann, have been happily married for over 37 years and have been running a marriage preparation course from their home. These two experts will teach you how to communicate effectively and resolve conflict in a way that brings you closer together.

In addition, you’ll be receiving some helpful and practical advice on marriage contracts from our friends at Gunstons.

Event details:

Monday 28 August

17:30 for 18:00

Sostanza, Lakeside

Three course meal and beverages included.

For more information, please fill in the form below:

How To Include Someone Who Isn't a Bridesmaid In Your Wedding

How To Include A Friend Who Isn’t A Bridesmaid In Your Wedding

There are many reasons that you’ll have close friends who aren’t in your bridal party. Perhaps your bridal party consists of family only. Or maybe you’ve chosen to have a Best Man and a Maid of Honour, without anyone else join you. Regardless of the reasons, you’ve probably got someone in mind who you would love to include in your big day. I’ve got a few ways you could honour your friend and make her feel special, even if she isn’t a bridesmaid.

How To Include Someone Who Isn't a Bridesmaid In Your Wedding

Photo credit: Love Made Visible

As with all things wedding related, there is a fine line between “doing what you want, because it’s your wedding” and “sticking to wedding etiquette”.

Related: Wedding Etiquette Rules For The Modern Bride

Only you will know if any of the suggestions below will go down well with your friend. You’ll know how trustworthy, organized and responsible your friend is, and you’ll know if she is able to fulfill any of the responsibilities suggested below. You’ll also know if she’ll feel honoured to be involved, or offended that she isn’t a bridesmaid. So my first piece of advice is to tread carefully. Make sure your friend knows that the situation is unique and you want her to feel special. Use this as an opportunity to bond with her.

So, here are some suggestions for ways you can include your friend in your wedding even if she isn’t a bridesmaid:

Give her a practical role 

There are things that need to get done, when having someone take charge is super helpful. Manning the guestbook, handing out programs, assisting at the photobooth, welcoming guests or handing out confetti are all areas in which you’ll need some help.

Another biggie is “present patrol”. Having your aunt, with bubbly in hand, help guests find the presents table as they walk into the reception, is less than welcoming. Rather, ask a friend who knows a lot of guests by name, so she can point people in the direction of the presents table, while welcoming them.

Include her in the ceremony

While she may not be standing up there with you, there are plenty of ways you could include your friend in the ceremony. There are roles that need to be filled: musicians or readers of scriptures or poems, for example. If you are having a religious ceremony, you’ll know that there are many other ways you could include your friend if she shares your faith.

At the end of your ceremony, you could opt for a non-traditional procession. Say you’re only having a Maid of Honour and Best Man in the bridal party. You could invite your other besties to sit in the front row with you and exit the church with you as a group.

Ask for her help with the planning

Host a tasting party where you invite your besties over to taste wine, champagne or cakes. Not only is this one of the most fun elements of wedding planning, but it’s also really important to have more opinions that just your own.

Get her to help you with DIY decor projects, assembling gift bags and maybe even setting up decor the night before the wedding.

If you aren’t able to afford a wedding coordinator and you trust your friend’s organization skills, you could ask her to help oversee the coordinating side of your wedding.

Involve her in the reception

Would your friend be comfortable saying grace, delivering a speech or making a toast? These are some of the ways you could include her in your wedding reception, even though she isn’t a bridesmaid.

Typically your head table is where you’ll sit, along with your parents and/or your bridal party. There are plenty of reasons to mix it up and sit with people who don’t necessarily fall into either of those categories.

If your friend is charismatic and open to playing “hostess”, why not ask her to be your MC?

Before the wedding

You could invite your friend to get ready with you on the morning of your wedding. If it’s in your budget, offer to pay for her to get her hair and makeup done with you.

And this one is a no-brainer, but your friend should be invited to all the pre-wedding festivities. The engagement party, hen’s night, kitchen tea, and rehearsal dinner (if you’re having one). Use these as opportunities to remind your friend of how special she is to you.

Opt for an uneven bridal party

Perhaps the reason this friend of yours isn’t a bridesmaid is that you don’t want to have an uneven or lopsided bridal party. Maybe you should consider just asking your friend to be a bridesmaid. I think an uneven bridal party is totally okay. In fact, I’ve written a whole blog post about how to have epic wedding photos without symmetry:

It’s OK To Have An Uneven Bridal Party (Here’s How!)

Your Ultimate Maid of Honour Guide

Your bestie has asked you to be her Maid of Honour and you’ve said YES! Now it’s your time to learn how to be the best Maid of Honour you can be. And that’s why I’ve put together your ultimate guide, with everything you need to know to do the job well.

Your Ultimate Maid of Honour Guide

This is me and my Maid of Honour, Welmie. What a champ. Photo credit: Love Made Visible

Before the wedding

As soon as you’ve accepted the role as Maid of Honour, there are a few things you need to start thinking about. 

Coordinate the bridesmaids

One of your key roles as Maid of Honour is to make sure all the bridesmaids are getting their tasks done. Have they found dresses, shoes and accessories? Are they pulling their weight when it comes to bridal shower planning and organizing? Help them to get it all done by delegating tasks and following up appropriately.

If you find yourself in the common position of not knowing the bridesmaids super well, take it upon yourself to get to know them. Put together a What’s App group, Facebook group or email chain so you can start planning together, and host a “wine and planning” evening so you can all get to know each other.

Essentially you’ll be the liaison between the bride and the bridesmaids when it comes to wedding-related admin. Let the bridesmaids know that if they have any questions or concerns about dresses, budgets and plus ones, they can speak to you and you’ll speak to the bride.

Plan the bridal shower and bachelorette

You certainly aren’t required to do all the planning yourself, but you do need to spearhead the planning.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Hosting a Bridal Shower

Coordinate calendars by first asking the bride when she is available, then asking the bridesmaids when they are available and then set a date for the bridal shower and bachelorette.

While you’re at the bridal shower, don’t forget to make a list of which gifts came from which guests, so that the bride knows who to thank.

Related: Bridal Shower Themes and Ideas

Coordinate dress fittings and shopping trips

Offer to organize a day of shopping, where the bridesmaids can find the perfect dresses for the wedding. Make a point of finding out what the bride has in mind for the colour and style of the dress. With all the details known, you can all find the right dress!

Related: The Art of Choosing Bridesmaids Dresses

If the bride hasn’t initiated any conversations about who is paying for dresses and accessories, it’s up to you to clarify these details on behalf of the bridesmaids.

Related: What Bridesmaids Should and Shouldn’t Pay For

Your Ultimate Maid of Honour Guide

Being the bestie

Something really important to remember is that before you got the “Maid of Honour” title, you had the “Bestie” title. Don’t forget to fulfill this role by doing things a good friend would do:

Provide wedding planning support

You might not feel like a wedding planning expert (and let’s be real, who really does?) but there will be things you could do to help. Googling forest wedding venues, addressing invitations, and helping to pick out the right centrepieces are things you could do. Ask the bride if there is anything you can do, do the job well, and then ask again.

Support her emotionally

Getting married is a life changing experience. Check in with your bestie and see if she is getting excited about preparing to be a wife. Ask her how you can help manage her stress levels, and do what you would do in any other situation to show love and support.

Related: Why I Declined The Invitation To Be Your Bridesmaid

Go to appointments that the groom can’t go to

Be a good wingwoman and (when possible) attend meetings with the bride when the groom can’t. Offer to drive with the bride to look at wedding venues or pick up decor items.

Your Ultimate Maid of Honour Guide

At the wedding

This is your opportunity to help your bestie have the most incredible wedding day by taking on some of the stress that she’ll be feeling. 

Help everyone get ready

Make sure there are snacks and drinks available and that the morning of the wedding is a relaxing one. Find out what time the bride would like everyone to get together and pass on those details to the bridal party. Ask the bride if there is anything you can bring to make the process easier (makeup, your curling iron, and bobby pins, for example).

Related: How We Had The Best “Getting Ready” Experience

If you’re all doing each other’s makeup, I’ve got some expert tips for you from makeup YouTuber, Le’Chelle Taylor: Talking About Bridesmaids Makeup

Keep everyone organized and on time

Your bestie isn’t going to be checking the time (and if she does, tell her to stop it) so it’s up to you to make sure everyone is organized and ready. Have a copy of the wedding timeline at hand so you know where everyone needs to be and when.

Related: How To Create A Wedding Timeline

Introduce yourself to the wedding planning/coordinator and offer to be the point of contact should she need anything from the bride or the bridal party. Have a copy of the wedding vendor contact details so that you can speak to any of them should someone be late or lost.

Ask the bride if she would like to give your phone number to family, close friends and vendors, so that you can be phoned if anyone needs anything.

While you’re being super organized, put together a wedding day emergency kit!

Your Ultimate Maid of Honour Guide

Some things you should do once the wedding has begun:

  • At the church, hand out the bouquets to the bridesmaids.
  • Arrange the bride’s veil and train before and during the ceremony.
  • Hold the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony and have tissues ready for her.
  • Along with the bridesmaids, play hostess during the reception. Help guests find their seat and show them where to leave their gifts.
  • Make sure the bride and groom have had something to eat and drink during the wedding.
  • Before the bride and groom head off, put a slice of their cake into a cake box so that they can enjoy it after the wedding.
  • Be on clean up duty after the reception.

Related: How To Be The Best Bridesmaid Ever

Your Ultimate Maid of Honour Guide

Things NOT to do 

  • Tell her you don’t like something (flowers, decor ideas, etc). 
  • Be late.
  • Get upset if she chooses to do something you wanted to do at your wedding.
  • Go against her wishes because you think she’d like it better.
  • Get drunk at the reception.
  • Give her a reason to micromanage you.

Costs to factor in

  • Your outfit (including shoes and accessories) .
  • The bachelorette and bridal shower (these costs can be shared between you and the bridesmaids).
  • Gifts for the engagement part, bridal shower and the wedding.

Go the extra mile

If you really want to spoil your bestie, help her to plan her wedding like a pro by giving her a copy of my Wedding Planning Starter Kit. This ebook is full of wedding planning wisdom I gathered from years of planning and coordinating weddings. You can find out more about the book right here.

One of my favourite things about this ebook is the Printables pack. I’ve created a wedding planning checklist, a budget tracker, and a whole lot of questionnaires for each wedding vendor.

 

10 Harmless Habits That Could Destroy Your Marriage

It’s no secret that marriage is not all sunshine and rainbows. There will be beautiful, romantic moments, and there will be difficult, testing moments. I don’t consider myself to be an expert on marriage, but I do know that it takes work, and it’s so worth it. Recognizing how we can better honour our spouses is huge!

Heard of The Five Love Languages? Find out what your love language is by taking the quiz.

Habits That Could Destroy Your Marriage

1. Avoiding conflict

Fights happen. This is part of married life. You are two humans living together, and you are bound to argue about something. Avoiding conflict is never a healthy thing. Learning how to resolve conflict immediately helps to foster a loving environment in the home.

2. Resentment

Resentment is what happens when conflict is avoided or not handled properly. “Ugh, this isn’t worth the conversation” is a cop-out, and it’s probably going to lead to negative feelings towards your spouse. It’s easy to think “You did this thing to me, and I’ll never get over it”, but you actually need to resolve conflict, forgive and move on.

3. Criticism

You know that awful feeling you have when your boss constantly points out the things you do wrong? Imagine making your spouse feel that way. Not pretty. Nitpicking (out loud or in your head) will make you only see your partner’s faults, when you should be learning to grow in compassion.

4. Fighting to win

Resolving conflict isn’t about winning the fight. If one of you “wins”, nobody wins. Conflict resolution in marriage is all about team work and an “Us against the world” mentality. Focusing on “being right” and not resolving the issue won’t make the situation right.

5. Pride and selfishness

It’s alright to be the first one to say “sorry”, even if you don’t think you started the fight. Learn to put your pride aside for the sake of the one you love.

6. Unforgiveness

You know the principle “Love keeps no record of wrong”? Your spouse is going to offend you, and you’ve got to forgive and move on.

7. Disrespect

Never ever ever disrespect your spouse. In private and in public, your job is to make your spouse look like a hero. Couples who tease each other often carry subtext underlying the teasing, and this isn’t a good way to speak of your spouse.

8. Busyness

Stop blaming your busyness and start prioritising date nights and other activities that foster intimacy.

9. Addiction to anything

Putting your shopping habit or favourite TV show ahead of your spouse? This isn’t healthy for you or your marriage.

10. Commenting on the attractiveness of others

Even the most beautiful model in the world would hate to hear her husband commenting on other women. Make the effort to praise your spouse solely.

I’ve said these habits are harmless, because they won’t kill you, but if you don’t change them, you could destroy your marriage. Make the effort to create a loving environment in your marriage.

Related: This Is Why I Don’t Laugh At Marriage Jokes

Related: 7 Day Relationship Enrichment Challenge

7 Things A Wedding Planner Wouldn’t Do At Her Own Wedding

If you’ve hired a wedding planner, there are some helpful bits of information you’re going to receive. You’ll be told to invest in a great photographer and to make sure there’s plenty of food for your guests, among many other pearls of wedding wisdom. But have you ever wondered what a wedding planner would do at her own wedding day and what she wouldn’t do?

In my years of planning and coordinating weddings, I learnt a few things which shaped the way I planned my own wedding.

Related: My Wedding

1. Set up her own decor on her wedding day

When it comes to wedding decor set up, there are two options:

  1. Set it all up the day/night before the wedding.
  2. Get someone else to set it up.

A wedding planner will know that the last thing you want to do on your wedding day is set up decor. If you have a particular vision for your decor, sketch it out or put together a mood board of photo inspiration, and get someone else to handle it for you.

Related: 10 Things You Should Avoid Doing On Your Wedding Day

2. Plan an outdoor ceremony during rainy season

If there is even a chance of rain, a wedding planner wouldn’t even think about hosting an outdoor ceremony. The stress of having to check the weather and arrange a last minute back up plan is not worth it.

Related: What To Do If It Rains On Your Wedding Day

3. Use her iPod instead of hiring a DJ

I am a huge believer in a good wedding DJ, because I know that there is so much more to the job than just playing music. You want someone reliable, who has a great sound system, lights, backup equipment, and the ability to take initiative. You want a DJ who’ll know when to stop playing Michael Buble and when to get the party started. An iPod simply won’t do the whole job.

Related: How To Effectively Open The Dancefloor // Advice From A DJ

4. Plan a wedding that only looks good

I’m all for pretty wedding trends, but a wedding planner won’t include anything in her wedding just so she can come across as trendy. Wedding planners know that the essence of a special wedding is in the stuff you can’t see in photos. A memorable wedding is one that makes guests say “Wow, I love these guys!”.

Related: How To Have A Fun Wedding

5. Become Bridezilla to get her own way

A wedding planner has dealt with many unreasonable brides and guests, and will know how to manage everyone effortlessly. A wedding planner knows which wedding etiquette rules are archaic and which ones simply help everyone to be on the same page.

Related: Wedding Etiquette Rules For The Modern Bride

6. Check the time

A wedding planner knows that it’s not the bride’s job to keep track of the time on her wedding day. That’s what wedding coordinators are for! Managing the timeline and making sure all the vendors are working together well is not something the bride should ever need to think of.

Related: How To Create A Wedding Timeline [Part One]

and How To Create A Wedding Timeline [Part Two]

7. Host a wedding that looks like everyone else’s

Wedding planners have seen every “original” wedding idea under the sun. The same wedding trends are seen in multiple weddings, and wedding planners know what makes people roll their eyes. A wedding planner will try to create a wedding that is uniquely hers (or his) and not try to mimic weddings seen on Pinterest.

Related: Why We Didn’t Have Flowers At Our Wedding [And How We Pulled It Off!]

This Is Why I Don’t Laugh At Marriage Jokes

This post is a little different to the things I typically write about (how to plan your wedding and how to be an epic wife), but it’s been on my heart for a while now. In the two short years I’ve been married, I’ve heard a lot of jokes about marriage. Most of these jokes were shared in the context of a wedding (crazy, right?).

If this is the first time you’ve thought about it, I’d like to share with you why I think we should take marriage more seriously and stop joking about it [and how we can start speaking about marriage in a better way].

Photo credit: Hayley Takes Photos

Weddings are a celebration of marriage

As a former wedding coordinator I’ve heard my fair share of marriage jokes shared in wedding speeches. Here’s one that really makes me cringe:

Marriage is like a deck of cards. In the beginning all you need is two hearts and a diamond, but in the end you’ll wish you had a club and a spade. 

I see what you did there, but I really don’t think that’s funny. Jokes like this teach us that the happiest day of your life is your wedding day, and that afterwards it’s all downhill. We learn that spouses should come to resent each other to the point of wanting to hit each other over the head with a club. Sound pretty? Not really.

If you are tasked with the job of MCing a wedding or delivering a wedding speech, please do us all a favour and avoid tasteless wedding jokes. You are not speaking at a 21st, so don’t think of this as the perfect time to roast your best friend. Use this as an opportunity to honour your friend, to share lighthearted (and funny) stories that make him or her look great. If you are married, tell the bride and groom how much they have to look forward to. Encourage them that marriage is a beautiful thing.

Related: How To Choose Your Wedding MC

Mutual submission is beautiful

Hear me out. I consider myself to be a bit of a feminist. I believe household chores should be shared. I believe that women are strong and often shushed. My husband brings this out of me and encourages me to speak my mind, and its awesome. That said, I also believe in submission. Mutual submission.

This is my all time worst wedding joke and I’ve heard it many times:

New husband, put your hand on top of your new wife’s hand. Take this moment in and remember it forever, because this is the last time you’ll have the upper hand. 

Essentially what you are saying is that your friend’s wife is going to boss him around and nag him all the time. Jokes like this feed the lie that we’ve been told by the media: wives run the household and tell their husbands what to do. In return, husbands resent their wives for taking control. Sound like a lovely picture of marriage? Nope. But this is what we’re constantly sold in movies and TV shows, and now in wedding speeches.

Mutual submission is about trusting each other. I trust my husband with my life, my finances, my heart and my future children. I don’t feel the need to nag him and boss him around, because I trust him to do a good job. He shouldn’t have to feel like I have the “upper hand”, because that is not what marriage is about.

Related: How To Write A Winning Wedding Speech

Spouses should honour one another in private and in public

Friends, you will not hear me joking about my husband and moaning about him. You won’t hear stories about his embarrassing habits and you won’t hear me mocking him in any way. Why? Because he’s my husband and best friend and I simply won’t dishonour him.

To my unmarried friends: don’t encourage your married friend to complain about her husband. This is never okay.

Your husband should never be the butt of your jokes. Ever. Instead of joking about him, find ways to praise him in front of other people.

Related: 7 Day Relationship Enrichment Challenge

To help you out, here are a few ways you can speak of marriage and spouses in a way that honours and cherishes them:

  1. Tell your unmarried friends how beautiful marriage is. Married friends, share stories about the blessing of marriage.
  2. Be wise about who you confide in. Maybe a friend could provide a fresh perspective on something specific, but that can be discussed without publicly flogging your partner. Choose someone you trust before entering into a conversation like this.
  3. Spend time with people who already honour each other in marriage,  and their habits will rub off on you.

Related: Get to Know Your Partner’s Love Language

Related: Nine Prayers To Pray For Your Husband

Wedding Etiquette Rules for the Modern Bride

Wedding etiquette is more than just a list of outdated rules. Rather, it’s a way to communicate in kindness. Think of wedding etiquette as a set of guidelines to help you communicate effectively. You’ve already got to  deal with issues like family, faith, and money, so throwing etiquette into the mix can get messy. This blog post is here to clear it all up for you and answer your burning questions about etiquette.

Here is a no-nonsense, non-archaic list of wedding etiquette, or um, guidelines, to help a girl out.

Do I have to have an engagement party?

In short, no. Engagement parties are totally optional. These days engagements are announced on social media first, so an engagement party is merely a formality. It’s a way of celebrating your engagement with close friends and family, and you totally don’t have to have one.

Who hosts the bridal shower?

Many moons ago, it was considered impolite for a family member of the bride to host the bridal shower, because it came across as “present-grabby”. These days, anyone can host your bridal shower. Typically, it’ll be your bridesmaids who throw you a party of sorts and more often than not, it’ll be a surprise for you.

You can find some more helpful tips in this blog post: Everything you need to know about hosting a bridal shower

Who pays for what?

Back in the day, it was the bride’s parents who hosted the wedding and therefore they paid for most of it. Traditionally, a wedding is about the bride being given away by her parents, so they’d get to invite all of their friends. A lot of modern couples are in a financial position to pay for their own wedding, or at least contribute towards it. So in terms of who should pay for what? Whoever is able and willing to contribute, should.

Can I send wedding invitations to people I know can’t attend?

If you’re talking about your bestie, then yes! Your guests are adults and they won’t take offence to this sort of thing.

What about plus ones?

Again, totally optional. It’s a kind gesture to allow single guests to bring a date (because social anxiety is the real deal) but if you can’t afford it (or you just don’t want to), skip the plus ones rule altogether.

Do I have to invite all my coworkers?

Nope! It might help to have a few general rules in place. For example, you could invite your direct team, but leave out anyone else from the office. There are exceptions to every rule, of course, but it’ll help you out if you find yourself in a pickle.

Do I have to invite my friend’s significant other?

If your friend is in a long-term committed relationship, yes. If your friend met their significant other on Tinder last week, then no.

Is it alright if we don’t want kids at our wedding?

That’s totally alright. I’ve covered that in another blog post: Wedding etiquette: How to say “No children”

Do we have to send out paper invites?

In short: no. But you may want to print out invitations for your grandparents or any other older guest who doesn’t check their email.

Do I need to have a wedding registry?

Well, the point of a wedding registry is to avoid receiving a collection of mismatched kitchenware or 65 tea cups. Having a registry means you get to tell guests what you really need, because they want to buy you something for the home.

Do guests have to bring a gift?

Not at all. Make it clear that you don’t expect gifts and your guests will feel comfortable attending your wedding even if they can’t afford to bring a gift. The idea that a wedding gift has to equal the amount of food spent per head is archaic and super oldschool.

Can we include information about our gift registry on our invitations?

Unfortunately, this one still isn’t ok. You don’t want to make it look like bringing a wedding gift is a requirement for attending your wedding.

Do we need a wedding website?

This would be a great place to include wedding registry information and any other details that don’t fit onto the official invitations. That said, you don’t need a wedding website. You could spread information via word of mouth or email.

Can I wear white to a wedding?

If the bride is wearing white, no. The same goes for a bride who is wearing pink, or red, or blue. The point: Let a girl have her moment!

Do we have to send out Thank You notes?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Your Thank You note doesn’t necessarily have to be in the form of a written letter in the mail. If the person you are thanking is under the age of thirty, you could use whatever medium you usually use to communicate: text, email, or a social media tag. If the person you are thanking is over thirty, a more formal Thank You note is required, I’m afraid.

When should we send Thank You notes?

Technically you’ve got a year, but realistically you should send Thank You notes two to three months after the wedding.

Got anymore wedding etiquette questions you’d love to have an answer to? Leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help!

7 Day Relationship Enrichment Challenge

Hi friends. Today I’d like to invite you to join me in experiencing a 7 Day Relationship Enrichment Challenge. Below, you’ll see seven simple things you can do to demonstrate selfless, Christlike love to your partner. These are things that ultimately, you’ll want to do more even when the challenge is over.

Perhaps you’re going through a tough time and you’re finding it difficult to love your partner. Maybe you’ve been together for so long that things have gotten a little stale and you feel like you’re craving more romance. Or maybe you think you’re doing a great job of loving each other but you want to take things to a new level of selflessness. Regardless of where you’re at, it’s possible to soften your heart even more, and to show deeper love.

Side note: This is a challenge for you! Don’t tell your partner you’re taking part in this, because that defeats the purpose of it all. Just follow the steps and start to serve your partner more selflessly, without asking for anything in return. Don’t use this as an opportunity to invite your partner to join in so that he/she can learn to serve you better. You’re here to learn to serve. There’s something so significant about having a servant heart and it’s something I’m working on!

You’ll love this: Get to Know Your Partner’s Love Language

Day 1: Thank him for something specific

1 Cor 1:4 “I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.”

There are so many verses about the importance of being thankful. There is a direct link between being thankful and being joyful. Yes, most of the scriptures are talking about being thankful to God, but the principle is still the same. Being thankful for things your partner does for you, for who he is, and for the fact that he is in your life, will generate an attitude of being grateful.

Today, make a point of thanking your partner for something specific.

“Thank you for making me coffee today. I really appreciate it!”

“I’m so glad we got to spend the evening together. Thank you for spending quality time with me.”

Day 2: Pray for him

James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

When you pray, God hears you. Your prayers never fall on deaf ears, so today I want to encourage you to spend some time praying for your partner. You don’t have to pray with your partner, but rather do this during your own quality time with God. Not only will God hear you, but your heart will be softened towards your partner.

This list will help you: Nine Prayers to Pray for Your Husband

Day 3: Leave him a note

Prov 12:25 “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” 

Write a note that you can slip into your partner’s work suitcase, his pocket, his favourite book or onto his pillow. Leave it as a surprise that will cheer him up and put a smile on his face. I’ll leave it up to you to decide what to write, but don’t overthink it. If you aren’t usually a letter-writing person, keep it simple and just write something that your partner will appreciate.

Day 4: Hug him

1 Cor 7:3 “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due to her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.”

Hugs are great. Men, in particular, love to be shown physical affection. So, today, make a point of hugging him three times for no reason at all. If you don’t usually do this, it will catch him off guard and make him feel awesome. That’s the point, right? To make him feel so loved!

Day 5: Go a whole day without correcting him

Eph 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Today, don’t nag him about things he hasn’t done. Don’t moan about the pile of socks he’s left on the bathroom floor or the fact that the you had the put the toilet seat down. Don’t get irritated that he was five minutes late and you had to wait for him. Think of today as an exercise in grace.

Day 6: Honour him in front of other people

Rom 12:10 “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour.”

There are plenty of ways to honour your partner in public. Pick a way that he will appreciate. A Facebook status, a cute Instagram picture, or a simple “Wow, Glen is such a talented musician” in front of his friends. Make a point of honouring him in front of other people today.

Day 7: Plan a date that he will love

Prov 11:25 “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”

When planning a date, think of things your partner will love. His favourite meal or drink, an outdoor hike, a visit to his favourite coffee shop. Make a point of keeping your phone packed away in your handbag so you can have quality time together. The date doesn’t have to cost you anything, but it should give you an opportunity to give your partner your undivided attention.

Here are some more date ideas: Date Ideas

Every day: Say “I love you”

To help you keep track of the 7 Day Relationship Enrichment Challenge, download the image below and save it on your phone:

This challenge is meant to encourage us to be more selfless for more than just these 7 days. I hope and pray that we are all inspired to love in a more deep and selfless way, and that this challenge overflows into a longlasting attitude of servanthood.

I’d love to hear how this 7 day challenge has enriched your relationship, so please get in touch and tell me about it! You can leave a comment below, or you can connect with me via email. If you click right over here and you’ll also get some awesome free printables right in your inbox.

Our Anniversary Dinner at Chef’s Warehouse

Last week, Glen and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. We went on a weekend cruise, which technically wasn’t an anniversary celebration because Glen was invited to perform on the ship. You can read about that in this blog post and check out our cruise photos.

We got back from the cruise and the sea sickness kicked in! We spent our actual anniversary sleeping, watching series and feeling tired and sick. The following day, we ventured outside to experience the greatest food experience of our lives. Hello Chef’s Warehouse!

Before we dig in, you should know that the head chef of Chef’s Warehouse is Ivor Jones, who used to be the head chef of The Test Kitchen. We had really high expectations, because Ivor and The Test Kitchen both have a reputation for creating some of the most incredible food experiences.

Chef’s Warehouse is situated among the vineyards of Beau Constantia, just a short drive from our house. It was easy to find, and we were greeted by the security guards, who helped us find a good parking spot. The very first thing we noticed was the amazing view of the night sky and the city. I wanted to take a photo, but you have to see the view for yourself. Photos don’t show off the entirety of this spectacular view.

We walked into the cozy restaurant and we were greeted by a friendly waiter who showed us to our little table. Something I loved about Chef’s Warehouse was that the kitchen is visible. You can watch Ivor and his team preparing food and plating their dishes. I love knowing what’s going on in the kitchen!

Our waitress came over to greet us and she explained how the menu works. Chef’s Warehouse is known for their “Tapas for 2” shared meal, and that’s exactly what we wanted. There’s nothing more romantic than sharing food with someone you love.

In addition to the “Tapas for 2”, we chose to order a bread and butter platter, and Ivor so generously sent over a complimentary platter of Oysters. The menu described the platter as “Oysters with Flavours from the Garden”. This was my first oyster experience and I probably won’t order them anywhere else, because I know they won’t taste nearly as good as these did.

The “Tapas for 2” is a set menu, served in three courses.

Course 1:

Linefish Sashimi with Lemon Achar, Buttermilk Dressing, Toasted Garlic and Smoked Paprika Oil.

Coal Seared Tuna, Hand Chopped Baba Ganoush, Parsley Dressing.

Seared Blesbok Rump, Whipped Ricotta, Pickled Daikon Salad and Kataifi.

Course 2:

Celeriac Risotto, Pickled and Fire Roasted Celeriac, and Hazelnut Beurre Noisette.

Slow Cooked Egg Yolk, Miso and Butter Poached Mushrooms and Brioche Soldiers.

Course 3:

Grilled Kingklip, Cape Malay Dressing and Tempura Mussels.

Roast Pork Belly, Spiced Sour Cabbage and a Coconut Salad.

Persian Spice Lamb Rib, Spiced Yoghurt, Chickpea Salad and Lamb Jus.

Excuse the blurry photo. Clearly we were excited to eat!

In addition to the amazing starter, bread and butter platter, and the three course tapas menu, we decided to order dessert. Our choice: Wild Honey and Lavender Creme, Honeycomb and Smoke Cassia Bark Ice Cream.

We seriously recommend Chef’s Warehouse for a date night or anniversary celebration. The food is absolutely amazing. We couldn’t choose which dish was our favourite because they were all delicious and full of flavour. This has been the food highlight of the year for us and we can’t wait to be back.

Open for Lunch Tuesday to Sunday from 12h00 – 14h30 (Kitchen Closes)  |  Open for Dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 17h00 to 20h00 (Kitchen Closes)  |  Closed on Sunday Evenings, Mondays, Christmas Eve & Day, Boxing day, New Years Day and Good Friday  |   GPS: S 34°0’ 48.57” | E 018° 24’ 21.67”  |  Maximum of 8 guests for Restaurant Reservations, no more than that will be accepted.

Reservations: +27 21 794 8632  ext.1 | Emailcw@beauconstantia.com