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Category: Real Wedding

Romantic Wedding Of High School Sweethearts

Paige and Todd are the epitome of high school sweethearts who started dating when they were only 17. The two wed at Burnham Grove Estate in NSW, Australia as they envisioned the perfect garden-styled wedding and an intimate affair with only 80 of their nearest and dearest.

How did you and your partner meet?

We started dating at school when we were 17.


How did he propose?

We organised a holiday to Kingscliff in Northern NSW at Santai Retreat.
On the first night, we went out for dinner and when we got back to our room there was candles
and petals everywhere. Todd got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was
absolutely perfect.


What’s your most important piece of advice for creating and maintaining a strong relationship?
Communication is so important. If two people can be honest with each other their relationship
will flourish.


Tell us about your wedding gown and how you chose it:

I started shopping locally and I was
open to trying on all different styles as I had no idea what I wanted. After trying on a few different styles, I decided I wanted a fit and flare design. After shopping all over Sydney I found my perfect dress at Penrith Bridal Centre. It had a sweetheart neckline, keyhole back with a long train and lots of lace.


What sort of style did you envision for your wedding day?

We wanted a garden style wedding at
a venue where we could have our reception and ceremony at the one place. We looked at many
venues from the Hunter Valley to all over Sydney. We found Burnham Grove Estate and we both
agreed it was perfect. It had a beautiful garden for our ceremony with a lovely marquee and croquet lawn for our reception. There were plenty of opportunities for photos amongst the manicured gardens, beautiful fountain and pond and surrounding acres.
The styling we left in the capable hands of Kylie from Flower Me Pretty. She created a gorgeous
romantic feel to the marquee with flower, greenery and an abundance of candles.


What was your favorite moment from the day?

The whole day was absolutely perfect. I loved every moment!


If you could do it all over again, what would you change?

I would not change anything. The day was perfect!


Any tips that you can give to future brides?

Stay relaxed and enjoy every minute as it goes so quickly.

Photographer: Lucas Kraus Photography | Invitations: Adorn Invitations |  Dress: Sophia Tolli | Makeup: My Addiction Makeup | Hair: Oakville Hair Studio – Tanya Ogden | Accessories: Love On Jewellery | On The Day Stationery: BWedding Invitations  | Cake: The groom’s mum made the cake | Food: The Chef and I Catering | Flowers: Flower Me Pretty | Ceremony Venue: Burnham Grove Estate | Reception Venue: Burnham Grove Estate

Want to have your wedding story featured on Lovely Pretty? Click right here!

Kelse and Neill’s Forest Wedding

Is there anything more romantic than exchanging vows among the trees? This DIY wedding is full of rustic projects, pretty dresses, candid moments and of course, a happy bride and groom. You wouldn’t guess that Kelsey-Anne and Neill were on a small budget, because their DIY decor is simple and effective, while their talented photographer captured their wedding perfectly. Tabitha, from Illuminate Photography is one of my favourite wedding photographers and she has outdone herself this time around. Don’t believe me? Take a look…

How did you get engaged?

Oh boy, the engagement tale – a fun story that is.

It was university and work holidays for Neill and myself, and one of my closest girl friends was down from PE for a visit. She made a friends watts app group, under the pretence that she wanted to have an evening beach visit to Llandudno with us all, before heading back to PE. And of course, sensing nothing amiss, when Neill asked if I was keen, I happily agreed. So we packed a few blankets into the car, and off we went to Llandudno, me of course expecting to meet everyone there.

But once there, to my surprise, nobody else had arrived yet. (And you must understand, Neill and I are NEVER the first people to arrive anywhere) So slightly confused, I of course messaged the group to ask where they were, and got the response: “Stuck in traffic, on our way.” So Neill, ceasing the opportunity, suggested that we go up onto the rocks to wait for them. Now I should have seen it coming – beautiful evening, beach, blankets, and sunset. But nope, totally unaware was I.

So we sat down, got comfortable, and started to chat. And Neill, obviously nervous, brings up the topic of tsunamis. (Romantic, right?) And from the start, I am super  invested in this conversation – suggesting things that we could do should it ever happen, analysing which houses I think would be the safest inside, etc. (Poor man was probably thinking I would never be quiet!) So as the sun was in its last few moments of setting, the pinky-sky reflecting beautifully off the waves, and me still chattering about Tsunamis, Neill stops me and interrupts: “Kelse, there is a reason nobody has arrived yet…”

I knew the minute the words were out of his mouth, what was happening, if nothing else but for his heart against my shoulder, which I could feel beating extremely fast. And the next thing I knew, he got down on one knee, pulled out the ring, told me how much he loved and cherished me, and asked me to be his wife!

What inspired your wedding colours and theme?

Neill and I knew from the get-go what type of wedding we wanted – something relaxed and laid-back, small and intimate, and in a forest. We both just love the outdoors, and the idea of a forest wedding – come on, how beautiful? Where better to have a wedding than under a canvas of trees? Thus, when thinking themes, we didn’t want to take away from the beauty of a forest, so we decided earthy and laid back – in other words, rustic!

Once we had that decided (which took us all of two minutes), PINTEREST, PINTEREST and PINTEREST!! Pinterest was our best friend during the wedding planning! There were thousands upon thousands of wonderful, simple ideas on pinterest, all for the taking. Neill easily found a groomsmen style he loved, fitting in with our neutral and rustic theme, and I instantly fell in love with the idea of a neutral-blush colour palette for my girls.

But advice for those pinterest-lovers out there: once you have settled on an idea/theme, don’t keep looking on pinterest. The thousands of ideas can be a bit overwhelming, and can make you second-guess your original choice. Stick with your gut!

Did you include any DIY projects?

DIY? Definitely. Neill and I were on a pretty small budget, and the wedding industry is so expensive, so from the get-go we set out on a mission to DIY the heck out of our wedding! Basically all our décor was DIY; from the crates on the tables, the jars for the flowers and candles, the table runners and napkins, signs etc. We had great fun putting together all of these projects, but a little advice for future brides: it is never too early to begin! It can be time-consuming, so get an early start, and don’t decline help when offered!

How involved were your bridal party and family?

Hmm, this is a tricky question, because there was only so much my family and bridal party could help me with, because up until the final months before the wedding, it was mostly decisions and research that only Neill and myself could do together.

But no doubt, when I asked for help, my bridal party was always willing and ready, and my family was always ready to offer extra help. One of the biggest helps to me and Neill was the ‘décor’ day we organised with our bridal party – they all dedicated a full day to help us with wedding stuff, whether it was cutting bunting or washing tons after tons of jars. It was such a blessing to Neill and I, and was a great opportunity for bonding and a good time!

And future brides, don’t forget the importance of good old mothers – I know my poor mom listened to just about every idea and thought throughout the wedding planning, and gave me her honest advice every time! I would never have been able to do it without her!

What was your favourite thing about planning your wedding?

Please don’t be fooled – planning a wedding is not as fun and worry-free as it seems in the movies. Neill and I actually found that towards the end, we just wanted the day to come already, so we wouldn’t have to faff any longer with napkins, emails, or bunting. (Can you tell, neither one of us is much for planning and admin?)

But all in all, I think my favourite part was actually at the beginning of the entire process  – before the hustle of the real planning started, I really enjoyed just being ‘engaged’ to Neill. I loved the time we spent together; looking at Pinterest, looking at venues, discussing our possible ideas, and quite frankly just being excited that we were finally going to be husband and wife.

What stressed you out the most about planning your wedding?

Budget, budget and budget. If you have an endless budget, than the sky is the limit! Wedding planning is going to be a breeze for you!

But Neill and I, me still being a university student, we were on a pretty small budget. And man, can I tell you… The wedding industry is SO expensive! So trying to fit within the budget was, eish, tough! But I can definitely tell you that in the end, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. As stressful as it was, it forced Neill and I to really trust in the Lord to provide, and provide He did. It also kept us focused on what was really important – not the materialistic things like the décor or the dress, but on the fact that we would be joined as husband and wife, for the rest of our lives.

Looking back on your day, would you have changed anything if you could?

No, all in all the day was perfect!

Tell us about the dress! How did you know it was ‘the one’?

Ah, the dress… Well, you know how in the movies they make wedding dress shopping look glamorous, with the bubbly and smiling bridesmaids? Not quite my experience… I had the smiling bridesmaids of course, and actually a ton of fun, but not so much the glamour. Just about every dress that I tried on, practically fell off of my tiny frame, and EVERTYTHING, I mean everything, was puffy, heavy and sparkly! Not at all like the simple, flowy and slightly boho dress I had in mind. So in the end, while it was fun to look, I ended up getting my dress made. I knew pretty much what I was looking for, so I searched on Pinterest for something similar, and actually ended up choosing two different dresses, and putting them together! (top of one, bottom of another) The combination was exactly what I had in mind. And boy, I cannot tell you how much I loved seeing my dress take form – from the very first fitting, I knew I had made the right choice. On the day, I could not have been happier with how my dress turned out!

What is one of your favourite memories of your wedding day?

Hmm, I actually have two favourite memories of the day.

My first was seeing Neill at the other end of the aisle, as I walked towards him. Words cannot express that moment when our eyes met, and I saw him crying (and not a little glimpse in his eye, but proper tears streaming down his face). It was the most special moment ever, to see the man I love, unable to contain the love that he held for me!

My second favourite, was just taking a step back later in the evening – when the ‘I do’s’ had been said, the speeches done, and the food eaten. Neill and I just took a few moments to ourselves, newly husband and wife, to look upon the entire wedding reception, and to see it in its entirety. After 9 months of planning, it was such a precious moment to see it all come together, filled with our friends and family.

Where did you go on honeymoon and who planned it? Was it a surprise?

Aah the honeymoon… Our honeymoon, three short days, (Neill and I both had to be back to work a few days after the wedding) was spent in Franschoek at a lovely self-catering apartment called Los Olivos. It was cozy, well-kept, beautifully decorated, and really just an amazing accommodation. I highly recommend it to others.

The honeymoon was planned by the both of us, and thus was not a surprise. But this I found to be better – because let’s just imagine that Neill, surprisingly, took me to the Karoo… Yay, desert… This way we both knew we were happy with what we chose!

Planning your own wedding and looking for some help from the pros? I’ve created Wedding Planning Starter Kit to demystify wedding planning for you. It’s crammed with wedding planning advice from my years of planning and coordinating weddings and it’ll help you make good wedding planning decisions. It’s going to save you tons of time and money.

To find out more, you can click right here.

 

 

 

Featuring:

Food by French Afrik Bistro Food Truck | Wedding photos by Illuminate Photography  | DJ: Play4u | Venue: Helderberg Plaas | Dressmaker: Deidre Unser | Makeup: Chelsea Abrahams | Coordinator: Bells and Whistles | Engagement photos by Caitlyn Grace Photography

Chase and Claire

How we got engaged:

Chase booked me in the middle of May for a dinner date at the end of May. He was actually very smooth about it all, I just know he doesn’t plan dinner dates 2 weeks in advance (usually). OK, the story. After a morning spent with Chase’s twin, we drove to my flat in Sun Valley for the afternoon. Chase hadn’t told me anything about the evening so I was just happy for some afternoon relaxing with him. He eventually told me we were meeting my sister, Sarah, and Calvin, her boyfriend, at five o’clock about 10 minutes away from my house but that he and Calvin had a meeting at church (not unlikely) between four and five. He was going to fetch me before five.

On our way to this restaurant, he told me Sarah and Calvin were running late so we could go walk on Noordhoek beach in the mean time. This was something we did quite often in summer but, being autumn, it had been a while since we last had. It was sunny, almost sunset and peaceful. As we got closer to the shore, Chase pointed out a blanket and basket to me. He said, acting oblivious, that we should sit down. We did. He gave me roses, followed by peanut-ty chocolate (he knows I love peanuts in chocolate), sparkling wine and another blanket.

Soon after, he took out a small box and asked me to stand. Words, my mind going crazy, words and I said yes! We spent a few minutes enjoying the surreal moment, before Sarah and Calvin popped out from behind a rock with his camera and their congratulations! I had been wanting an engagement shoot but had not wanted to spend wedding money on one. Calvin (Neopixel Media) was kind enough to offer ours as a gift. Before our fun photo shoot, my mom and brother ran out from behind another rock. That was another surprise (they live 4 hours away in Swellendam). Calvin took some amazing photos that I will love forever.

Chase told me we were still going for that “dinner” but as we drove, I knew we weren’t going to the place near the beach. We drove about 25 minutes to a small restaurant just off the main road. I was happy because I had been once before and loved it. We walked up the stairs into a candle and fairy-light lit deck and as I got to the last stair, I saw a full room of our family and friends. This was the final and definitely the most surprising surprise of the night! It was a night of just us two, but also a night celebrating with people who had been with us throughout our journey.

What inspired my wedding colours and theme?

Picking a theme was easy. I always wanted to get married outside, preferably in a garden environment. I got a few good pictures from Pinterest and worked from those. The colours were very difficult. I actually didn’t want to pick a colour. I didn’t want commit to one colour because every time I imagined what my wedding would look like, I just imagined a bright, corny over-coordinated wedding. I wanted our wedding to look romantic, floral and flowy. I eventually picked blue because it’s one of Chase’s and my favourite colours and I knew not picking a colour would mean my bridesmaids wearing nothing or black, neither of which I wanted. I added beige later when choosing bridesmaid’s dresses. We both love beige, too and Chase’s tie had beige in the floral pattern.

DIY:

Yes, I made my own bouquets, Chase’s boutonnière. My sister sprayed jars gold for some flowers and a bridesmaid made gold handwritten messages on white paper doilies for each plate setting. Most of my décor was made or put up by friends and family, including all flowers, a backdrop and balloons at the church. I also sprayed a wooden board gold, attached Bluegum leaves to the top and a bridesmaid wrote a verse: “Your love is better than life itself” on it. This was at the entrance of the church (ceremony).

How involved were my bridal party and family?

My bridesmaids helped a lot, especially my sister, with DIY and execution of plans. I was planning our wedding from White River, Mpumalanga, so my sister did a lot of communicating with suppliers, church staff, friends and other helpers. My parents were not very involved although I did give my mom and brother a few tasks to include them. Chase’s family helped, too. Being in Cape Town, they could organise things like drinks, my nail appointments and the flowers and they did. Family was more involved over the last month, other than my sister.

Favourite thing about planning:

I think my favourite thing about planning the wedding was planning décor, DIY and food! I love food and had a great chef to work with. I have also always loved décor.

What stressed me out most?

Organising and coordinating bridesmaid’s dresses, being away from Cape Town planning a CT wedding and finding a venue.

Would I go back and change anything?

No, I don’t think I’d change anything.

The dress:

This is a funny story, actually. So I moved to White River, Mpumalanga two weeks after we got engaged and managed to go for one dress fitting in CT before leaving. I then went to a few places in Nelspruit (city next to White River). The whole process was so stressful for me! I knew I wanted the princess / small ball gown style but every place I went, all they wanted me to try on was figure hugging or mermaid style! I do not like mermaid style, on myself!! I also only had one girl friend in White River who could come fitting with me so getting other close friends opinions was difficult. I wish there were wedding malls I could have just browsed for days and eventually just pick a dress. But, there are none. I felt like I got 20 dresses shoved in my face and then had to choose out of those. Stressful, as I said! So, the last place I fitted dresses, I tried on a princess style that didn’t particularly catch my eye and then an A-line, champagne, floral one and that was the one I chose! I went home, paid for it over the next few days to secure it but then a week later started freaking out because I decided I didn’t want to get married in that dress! I then went back to try on the princess style one again and exchanged mine for that one. I was happy, but I didn’t really have that feeling of “ah, it’s the one” until a few days to the wedding! I wanted it to have my own kind of signature on it, so the week before my wedding, I was belt, sash and accessory hunting! I removed the belt that was attached to the dress (I’d originally asked for it to come with but not be attached), and bought a large piece of lace to tie around my waist on the day. However, on the day, I forgot to wear it! So, maybe that’s what I’d go back and change about the day, lol! Anyway, I loved the dress and on the day, felt like it was the one!

Favourite memories of the day:

The morning getting ready with my bridesmaids is one of my favourite memories. I also liked the first time we properly looked at each other during the ceremony and he told me I looked beautiful as well as looking at at my bridesmaids and seeing, for the first time, how good they looked in their outfits! The photoshoot was another great memory. It was so relaxed and intimate. There were a few times we just got to talk quietly and a few kisses that made it great.

Honeymoon:

We went to a lodge in Hazeyview which is near a gate of Kruger Park. It’s only about an hour from where we stay, but because we are new to this area, it was like an out-of-town experience. We stayed in a 4-star wooden cabin. Chase planned it, but it wasn’t a surprise as neither of us are good at those!

Planning your wedding and looking for some expert advice that’ll save you time and money? I’ve created Wedding Planning Starter Kit to demystify wedding planning for you!

To find out more, click right here.

 

 

 

 

 

Photographer: Paige Wood and Sarah Joy

Food: Chef, Bernadette Shraader

Dress maker: Studio Brides

Makeup: Le’Chelle Taylor

Engagement shoot:  Calvin Munhuweyi

Jess & Jeremy’s Mountain High Wedding

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The proposal. Details please!
Jeremy surprised me with a holiday at Binna Burra when he came back from a 4 months’ overseas deployment. He took me for a hike to a lookout and clearing over a mountain stream, and proposed on the rock ledge in front of the stunning view. We celebrated with champagne and a delicious dinner at the mountaintop restaurant.

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How did you and Jeremy meet?
Jeremy and I actually met at the gym!

The Gown! Where from and why?
I chose my wedding gown at Belladonna Bridal in Brisbane. I was looking for really beautiful and intricate classic detailing but still wanted something I could dance and party in and feel comfortable in all day.

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The Style of the wedding day?
Classic, timeless and elegant. We let the venue speak for itself. We splurged on our venue, photographer and dresses. We also paid for guest accommodation so they could stay the night in a gorgeous lodge and celebrate with us the next morning for breakfast. After all, they are some of the most important parts and it was our venue that created the elegant atmosphere we were after. We saved on transport, with the ceremony and reception at the same place.

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If you could do it all over again, what would you change?
Remembering to take my engagement ring off before the ceremony! I completely forgot and had to quickly take it off and put it on the other hand.

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Any tips that you can give to future brides?
Keep your perspective centered. A wedding is just one day, and things do go wrong; embrace it. The weather on our day was absolutely crazy but as a result, some of our best photos are swirled in fog and rain!

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How about your favorite moment?
We played the shoe game and cried with laughter. The crazy weather was also memorable. We had sun, rain, storms and fog. It made the view even more incredible and cosy inside.

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Photography: Studio Impressions http://www.studioimpressions.com.au/
Ceremony + Reception Venue:
Spicer’s Peak Lodge https://spicersretreats.com/spicers-peak-lodge/
Bride’s Dress: Watters gown from Belladonna Bridal
Bridesmaids’ Dresses:
Custom Made
Hair + Makeup:
Dollhouse Hair and Makeup Artistry
Groom + Groomsmen Suits
: Custom Made
Coordinator:
Chloe Douglas of Spicers Peak Lodge
Flowers:
Blooms Bridal http://www.bloomsbridal.com.au/
Cake:
Special Moments Cakes Made with Love
Stationery:
Giant Invitations http://giantinvitations.com.au/
Music: Matt Fasso and String Ensemble
Celebrant: Renee Wilkins
Accessories: LOVEON Jewellery www.loveonjewellery.com.au
Engagement Ring:
Xennox Diamonds
Bride’s Wedding Ring:
Saleras
Groom’s Wedding Ring:
Michael Hill

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Meet the bride who made her own wedding dress

Anyone who knows me knows that I love pink! I also love it when people get married and have a wedding that’s very “them”. Put the two together and you’ve got a unique wedding that includes a beautiful pink wedding dress made by the bride!

The bride is Benita from Chica Loca and today she’s telling her story about how she got engaged and began to plan her dream wedding to her man, Gary.

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  1. How did you get engaged?

 

One of my dearest friends was getting married on a wine estate in Paarl, we headed out there early on a Saturday morning in April. Gary had surprised me by booking a suite at a beautiful manor house nearby. At the time I assumed “the spoil” was to celebrate our two year dating anniversary, not to mention we were seven months pregnant.

It was a sublime day full of romance, and a very special wedding. I ended up dancing under the stars all night long with preggy belly et al. The next morning we ate a lovely breakfast under the pin oaks at our guesthouse. Afterwards Gary suggested a walk in the charming orchard on the estate, at a secluded spot he dropped to one knee!

We actually kept the news to ourselves for the day aside from telling our parents. It was like basking in a delicious secret.

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2.Our wedding theme and colours

 

Our wedding theme and colours were inspired by our Modern Romance and the gorgeous ethereal dress fabric I happened upon just after our engagement. Being a dress designer by calling,  it was an integral part of our wedding.

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3.Did you include any DIY Projects?

 

We were both very involved in the Planning and Design of our Day. We both had a clear idea of what we wanted our day to look and feel like. It was a celebration of our love and our young family.

We wanted a chic affair but not stuffy. Our main focus being on everyone having a good time. We wanted our two girls to be an important part of our wedding day too. We sourced everything ourselves, spending nights and weekends trawling for vendors and décor on websites and blogs, and driving to farms and estates and warehouses in order to make our vision a reality.

We had a hand in everything! I designed and made my wedding dress and veil in my design studio, the flower girls baskets were adorned with mother of pearl satin flowers and ribbons.

I designed and sourced all of our table décor layout and greenery. I also worked closely with our amazing stationary designer and fabulous florist. Everything was a true labour of love, from picking the playlist to the delicious menu. We bought our favorite wine from a boutique winery we came upon years before on a weekend away.

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  1. How involved were your bridal party and family?

 

We wanted our friends and families to show up and enjoy the wedding, we wanted them to be every bit as surprised and spoilt as our other wedding guests, so we tried not to involve them in too much of the planning and hard work, they did however get involved in a bit of set up and were always there to bounce ideas off and to lend a hand whenever needed in the run up to the big day.

Our Bridal party was small by today’s standards but invaluable in our lives and on the day.

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5.What was your favorite thing about planning your wedding?

 

We loved the design and décor part of it, and the menu, cake and wine tasting were highlights for sure. We enjoyed choosing our playlist with my eight year old daughter too and creating The Dress was a huge highlight for me! Picking out what our girls would wear was also so much fun.

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  1. What stressed you out the most about planning your wedding?

Sticking to The budget and finding the perfect wedding venue was hard.

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  1. Looking back on your day, would you have changed anything if you could?

Not a single thing. It was perfect!

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  1. Tell us about the dress, how did you know it was the one?

 

I’m a clothing designer, so The Dress was always going to be one of my highlights. It did create a bit of pressure though, as I knew everyone would be expecting me to create something special.

I came across the fabric while sourcing fabric for a client’s dress, and quite by coincidence my Mom was with me, as she was helping me with my baby on that day. I knew I wanted something other than white for my dress and I had blush in mind which is why my dress fabric jumped out at me. My mom and I instantly knew it would be perfect for what I was after. It was pretty, romantic and ethereal. I put it away until I had decided on my design.

We put it together over three months, my team were amazing. In essence we created two dresses, one satin strapless ice pink dress with a small circular mermaid train. The second dress was a diaphanous deeper blush mesh with deep V and straps. We had to place and Hand Stitched single organza and satin flowers, leaves and stems onto the mesh slip. The dress was finished off by hand with tiny mother of pearl buttons. The soft pink veil on a rose gold comb was the cherry on top. I felt amazing in my dress on our wedding day.

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  1. What is one of your favorite memories from your wedding day?

There were so many!

Getting ready with my girls and my family in The bridal Cottage, was very special for me.

I loved walking down the Aisle to my groom.

My mom had walked ahead with our baby girl. My oldest daughter and Niece walked ahead of my Dad and myself and it was very exciting to see my groom waiting for me.

Having all our family and friends with us to celebrate our happiness was incredible.

The first dance was so much fun, and the entire celebration left me with cheek ache from smiling so much.

Hands down one of the best days of our lives.

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  1. The Honeymoon.

 

Our honeymoon is still to come, we have decided to wait a year until we can leave our baby without stressing and we can truly relax and enjoy. We haven’t quite decided where we will go yet.

Italy, Greece and Botswana are all on the table.

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Photographer : David Dettmann Burning Heart Photography

On the day coordinator : Sian Atterbury-Simply Style Sorted

Florist: Tanya -Studio Bloem Paarl

Venue: Janet -Belair Country House Paarl

DJ: Jonathan Bradshaw

Catering: Herman -Two Chefs

Hair and Makeup: Colleen Van Rensburg- Colleendoesmakeup

Megan and Paul’s Wedding Story

Paul and Megan

1. How did you get engaged?

The day started off perfectly. Sipping on my cup of coffee, I couldn’t be more excited to spend the day out in Langebaan in our secret cove on the beach. We quickly packed the days essentials, tied the blue SUP to the roof and set off on our road trip. This excitement quickly turned into apprehension when we approached Langebaan and the clouds were daring to burst. Paul, with ulterior motives in mind, managed to convince me that the beach would still be nice despite my hesitation.

We got to the beach, found our little cove and I lay out in the sun desperately trying to warm up. But as soon as I got comfy, Paul insisted I paddle out with him on our SUP. I finally agreed and we began to paddle out into the lagoon. And then, when we were about 100 meters from shore, he asked me to turn around and “chat” to him. As I turned around, there he was-on both knees- asking me to marry him.

I obviously said yes, trying to contain my excitement because of the fear of falling into the freezing water. I screeched and giggled the whole way back to shore which was soon to be scattered with all my favourite treats. My ring was perfect, the sun began to beat down and I got proposed to on an SUP. How cool?

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2. What inspired your wedding colours and theme?

We steered clear of tradition for our wedding. We had a rustic, “warehouse-style” wedding with food trucks, fairy lights and a mix-match of crates and funky couches for seating. As for the colours, anything went. I love colour and I wanted it splattered all over my wedding day.

3. Did you include any DIY projects?

Yes. All of the invitations and ceremony cards were designed by Paul, myself and my very talented brother. We also managed to rope in family members at the last minute to help with the venue set-up which was a massive life-saver.

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4. How involved were your bridal party and family?

From the get-go, I tried to take on everything by myself but quickly realised that burn out was approaching much sooner than expected. My bridesmaids were all of my closest friends so their support was felt throughout the entire process. Our families where hands-on when we needed them which was perfect for the vision we had in mind.

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5. What was your favourite thing about planning your wedding and what stressed you out the most?

This is a tricky one. I would say the actual idea of planning something this big for the first time. We wanted our wedding day to be a real reflection of us as a couple and trying to capture that become daunting at times.

 

6. Looking back on your day, would you change anything if you could?

I would’ve stood up and said a speech. I was itching to!

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7. Tell us about the dress! How did you know it was “the one”? 

Well it wasn’t really “the one” because I had two. The first was airy and slightly more elegant and the second was a tighter fit, perfect for an evening of wine and dancing. Both of the dresses were extremely inexpensive and I found them both on a whim.

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8. What is one of your favourite memories of your wedding day? 

Yoh. I have so many favourites from the wedding. But I think what was most special to me was having all our favourite people in one room. It’s a feeling I’ve never experienced before.

9. Where did you go on honeymoon and who planned it? Was it a surprise? 

Paul planned our mini-moon. We went to Kol Kol mountain lodge where we spent four days in a secluded log cabin. It was the perfect escape. Our honeymoon happened a few months later when we set off to Vietnam for three weeks. We both planned it and fell in love all over again on the shores of the small rustic towns.

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Venue: ColorBox Studios

Photographer: Dylan Bosman

DJ: Justin Sletcher

Live entertainment: Glen Hartmann

Caterer: Mon Ami Food Truck

Hair Styles: Natalie Rabie

Coordinator: Welmie Turner

Margs and Bri’s Wedding

Bri and Margs

How did he propose?

Bri asked me on a Wednesday, “Can I take you for a full day date on Saturday?” I was furious and replied, “Bri, I wanted it to be a surprise!” He then said, “It isn’t biblical that it has to be a surprise…”  I realized he was right and kept quiet. He does not have many romantic bones in his body so I knew that the day he got romantic- would be the day it happened.

The Thursday, I was mad that I knew I was getting proposed to on the Saturday. Then a friend put me in line saying that we have done pre-engagement prep and that engagement would follow eventually.

The Friday I woke up too excited to even think straight. I went to meetings and told clients I was getting engaged the next day. They thought I was crazy because Bri didn’t officially say he was proposing. When I eventually got to work, my boss asked me why I was acting odd. Then I told him, he told the entire office. The boys all said Bri was taking me on a whole day date to dump me. Or, that Bri had bought a lawn mower and guys celebrate stuff like this.

I could not sleep the Friday night and at 2am I remembered Bri likes my hair the next day- never the day I do it. So, I started doing my hair so that I could roll around and still give it the-day-after look.

Then it was Saturday. Bri picked me up looking like a champion.

He took me to all our sentimental spots in Cape Town. We went to the Waterfront, the beach, Hout Bay Market, a visit with the seals, Chappies and then Groot Constantia.

He hiked me up the mountain and pulled up a picnic in-between the vineyards, overlooking the whole of Cape Town.

There is a book in the bible I wanted to save for marriage: Songs of Soloman because it is super PG. Bri and I went to a wine farm three years ago and we had the most delicious MCC called Rose of Sharon. I said to Bri then that this would be the most romantic MCC to propose with because of the biblical reference to that book. So, when he bought that out of the picnic basket- it really hit me. My eyes started to water at the thoughtful gesture…

Then, Bri came and sat next to me and pulled to scripts from his pocket. It is from my favourite play, “The Importance of being Earnest.” Bri and I have a running joke about the whole taking of names because I am adamant that the combination of our surnames Faure and Conradie:Faurarie (Ferrari) would be the best way to go. So when I saw the play titled: The Importance of being Faure- I got this Mexican wave of goosebumps.

We read the scene of the proposal. Instead of the names Gwendolyn and Jack, there was Margs and Bri…

The last thing Gwendolyn says is, “… You haven’t proposed to me yet?”

Then the next line of the play was empty:

Bri:                         …

Bri then took my hands and walked me to another part of the vineyards. He got on one knee and finished the play in his own words.

It was an out-of-body experience because as much as I wanted to be in the moment, all his hard work and sentimentality made me feel like I was in a dream. That moment was amplified as he opened the ring-box and I saw the ring he specifically chose for me.

I got to wear a ring from the man who took the time to court me for five years, design something so different yet timeless, and create a moment that shows that he knows me best.

I fell to my knees and broke out into tears… He was asking for an answer but the only thing I could get out of my mouth was, “Thank you”. Which he took as a yes.

He then took me for our usual walk around the vineyards and straight into a surprise celebration with our closest friends.

The day ended with us going for a romantic dinner.

He pulled out all the stops.

It was perfect.

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What inspired the wedding colours and theme?

The credit to the colours go to my bridesmaids. We didn’t really have a theme. It was cozy and simple.  I am not too fussed about these things so I was super blessed to have such an incredible team of girls who made that job easier.

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Did you include any DIY projects? 

Bri and I made the invites on Canva. That was hilarious as we are not creatives but it was fun to do together. We also had a cool date jar and Map where people could give us date ideas and pin a place in the world we need to visit.

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How involved were your bridal party and family?

The venue decor was a surprise to me. I wanted to have a day that wasn’t just mine. I asked Bri to run with the décor etc. He surprised me beautifully. I planned a surprise music video where my bridesmaids and I danced all over Cape Town. The girls wore masks with Bri’s face on it. It was really fun to make.

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What stressed you out most about planning your wedding?

People had way too many opinions. That was stressful.

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Looking back on your day, do you think you would’ve changed anything if you could?

I don’t think I would have changed anything. It was pretty darn cool. So great, that Bri and I went back after we did the exit tunnel and hung around with family and friends. We were the last to leave our wedding!

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Tell us about the dress! How did you know it was “the one”? 

The dress was affordable and sentimental as a girl I know from church, originally bought it off gum tree. She is down-to-earth, not materialistic and it was an honour to wear her dress. I also had one of my bridesmaids help with making that decision which took a lot of pressure off me. I don’t believe in ‘the one’. I wanted to buy something affordable that I could have a jol in and not feel bad if it got dirty or damaged.

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What are some of your favourite memories of your wedding day?

There are so many favourite memories. My pancake cake was a winner. The speeches. The people there. Dancing with Bri. It was pretty perfect. I think because so much of it was a surprise for me, I never saw if anything went wrong. I got to enjoy the day with my husband and friends. What more do you need?

Another moment I’ll never forget was walking down the aisle to the non-audio soundtrack of Trumpets by Jason Derulo. What Bri was going to wear was a surprise to me and with coming in to that uplifting drop of Trumpets and seeing how flipping great Bri looked blew my mind. I knew he was amazing but never did I know that boy had that much style. That was a super memory.

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Where did you go on honeymoon and who planned it?

We went to Breede for our mini moon. We stayed in Bri’s folks holiday house. It was super chilled and easy. We did not want to do anything too out of the ordinary and have a shock adjusting to reality. We love the river, nature and quality time. I discovered my love for cooking and made Bri meals fit for a king. We are going to hike Mont Blanc at the end of Aug for our official honeymoon. So, I have been learning French and we have tried to hike once a week to prepare for it.

Wedding suppliers:

Photos and decor: Lara Scott

Video: Tessa Brown
Venue: Cassia
Hair: Paul
Makeup: Carmen
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Trash The Dress with GLOSS Events & Weddings

I love it when people I love get together and produce some of the best work I’ve ever seen. Two of my dear friends, Justin and Rochelle, got married a little over a month ago, and another dear friend, Welmie, was their photographer.

The reason I’m sharing this with you is because there was some dress trashing involved and I’d love for you to see how gorgeous the photos are. So, I sat down with Welmie over a cup of hot chocolate and a donut or four, and she told me all about the freezing cold ocean, and more behind-the-scenes stories from this shoot.

Trash the dress

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Whose idea was it to do a “trash the dress” style shoot?

When I met with Justin and Rochelle, that was one of their main requests. They wanted a photographer that would be willing to go to the beach with them and do the shoot. It was 100% their idea and I was 100% on board.

How much of the shoot was planned and how much was spontaneous?

The location was planned, the fact that they wanted to get into the water was planned, and the idea of taking sunset photos was planned. I told them to bring props if they wanted, so they brought along the umbrellas. Everything else came out as it happened.

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Do you normally work with a shot list or leave it all up to whatever happens in the moment?

I usually have a mental shot list. Obviously you want the classic shots of them holding hands, kissing, and enjoying each other, but mostly whatever happened in the moment is what got captured. In saying that, I did ask them in the meeting to tell me about any specific shots they had in mind. Rochelle specifically requested a shot of their shoes with them in the water in the background.

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Did you walk into the water with them?

No, I didn’t walk in with them. However, I did try and get as close as possible and they would give me a heads up that the water was coming in (like they did when I was taking the photo below).

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How did you make them feel comfortable in such a cold and not normally comfortable environment?

I told them to just get in the water and have fun. People often need to be reminded to enjoy themselves and loosen up, and it helps to tell them to just forget that there is a camera around.

How does a typical shoot day begin for you?

Everything would’ve been packed up the night before so it’s ready to be grabbed in the morning. On our way to the location, we’ll stop at our favourite coffee shop for something to drink on the way. I’d arrive at the location, greet everyone, someone will show me around and then I’ll get started on shots  that don’t involve asking people to do anything (shots of the shoes, flowers, jewellery, etc). From there, as things go, photos are taken.

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Do you usually shoot weddings by yourself?

No, I don’t. I have a very trusted assistant, my husband. I’ve taught him the ins and outs of taking photos and he usually has the zoom lense, so he’ll usually stand in one place and I’ll do a lot more running around. He often gets photos like this one:

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Have you ever had any awkward photos you wish you could show people?

I once took a photo of a group of guys dancing, and I didn’t realise that one of them was wearing a kilt, um,  traditionally. It was only the next day when I was looking at the photos and saw a little more than I expected.

Have you done any other non-wedding shoots that are fun like this?

I’ve done food shoots for Pigalle restaurant, lots of lovely engagement and couple shoots, maternity shoots, parties and photo booths.

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Get in touch with Welmie by filling in the form below:

You can also say hello on FacebookInstagram and The GLOSS website.

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Brian & Hayley’s Vintage Vineyard Wedding

BRIAN

  1. How did you get engaged?

Bri and I got engaged in August last year. He planned our engagement in Wales, while we were visiting the UK to attend his brother’s wedding. Whilst marriage was definitely on the cards for us (we had dated for over four years after all!), it was a total surprise for me, and I love surprises. We started the day with a lovely buffet breakfast at a hotel in Liverpool, then took a Ferry ride across the river Mersey. This was special to us, as we had hoped to catch the Ferry the last time we were in Liverpool, but quite literally ‘missed the boat’! After that, we took a stroll around Albert Dock. By this point, we were starting to think about lunch, so we decided to “spontaneously” pack a picnic with all our favourite treats, then picked up Tilly (Brian’s very special family Border Collie), and took a drive to beautiful Wales.  We pulled into Bri’s favourite childhood retreat, the caravan park, situated in the Welsh countryside. We took a walk through one of the trails – the landscape was stunning! At one point, we paused to look at the view, and Bri asked me to give Tilly some water. I bent over to sort her out (Tilly was a very reluctant drinker, so this took some time!), then turned back to face Bri, and he was on one knee, waiting patiently to pop the question. He asked me to be his wife, I of course paused for effect, then replied “Yes, of course!” We sat down and to delicious picnic, and enjoyed the moment. Getting engaged is incredibly exciting and wonderful, but can also be quite overwhelming, so it was special to spend some quality time together before we broke the news. After the picnic, we headed to a “family braai” Brian had planned, which turned out to be our engagement party. The day ended with a good old pub dinner with some special friends.

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  1. What inspired your wedding colours and theme?

We (Hayley really) decided to go for a rustic, vintage vineyard wedding– think bare tables, lace runners, Proteas and wild flowers, succulents and lace bunting. Our colour scheme was mint, navy and white, purely because I like the contrast of those colours together. As a child, I dreamed about having a traditional fantasy wedding with all the bells and whistles (with a reception on a cruise liner preferably). At this stage in my life, however, I’ve enjoyed countless traditional weddings, and decided I wanted our wedding to be a little more relaxed, authentic, and true us as a couple.

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  1. Did you include any DIY projects?

We had a lot of DIY projects for our wedding. We had a limited budget, and being a rather particular bride, I elected that DIY was the way to go in order to capture the vision I had for the day for certain aspects. Flowers, for example, become exorbitantly expensive as soon as you mention the “W” word to the florist, so we outsourced some beautiful flowers from Woolworths, and arranged them in crates for the table setting. We also cut out about a million hearts from old books and strung them around the venue. The biggest DIY project I completed was to make over 36m of lace bunting for our reception venue. It was a huge undertaking, but gave off such a beautiful effect in our venue.

  1. How involved were your bridal party and family?

I could probably fill a book with all the ways in which our bridal party and family were involved. Planning a wedding is a huge undertaking, and we were incredibly blessed to have such supportive families, and quality bridal party team! We were very fortunate in that both our families made financial contributions toward the big day. We planned our wedding across cities (we are based in East London but got married in Cape Town), so my parents were very instrumental in helping us find our dream reception venue, and communicating with our vendors, among many other things. My mother-in-law, Di, gave me a beautiful wedding band, and my father-in-law gave Bri his own original wedding band. My brother put together our playlists and, along with his two band mates from Mobbing Bali, spoilt us with live music throughout the reception. Two of my bridesmaids were based in East London and my two sisters (who were also my bridesmaids) live in Cape Town, so I really had the best of both worlds when it came to hands on deck. Bri also had four amazing groomsmen, who went above and beyond the call of duty.

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  1. What was your favourite thing about planning your wedding?

The best thing about planning our wedding, was knowing that Bri would finally be my husband on the other side! My two favourite things about the planning process however, would have to be realizing the vision we had for our wedding day, and just being overwhelmed with the love and generosity people showed to us.

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  1. What stressed you out the most about planning your wedding?

I felt quite overwhelmed with the responsibility of planning a wedding, and that stressed me out a bit. I constantly felt like I was forgetting something important, and was worried that something terrible would go wrong on the day and my poor bridal party would have to pick up the pieces!  Poor Brian. The good news is, it turned out to be the best day ever.

Planning your own wedding? Get your free 12 month wedding planning checklist >> right here <<

  1. Looking back on your day, would you have changed anything if you could?

In the rush of the day, I didn’t get a good picture with my Mom, and I really wish that I had!

I also would have loved to have been on the dance floor a bit more, but time just got away from us!

  1. Tell us about the dress! How did you know it was “the one”?

I loved my dress! It was a Robyn Roberts creation with lace capped sleeves and a keyhole back. I was so overwhelmed and excited when I first started trying on the dresses in the studio, that it took me quite a while to be able to relax and focus on making a decision! The dress I chose originally looked quite different, but I fell in love with the fabric and the train, so I decided to go with that dress, but to have some alterations made, which the design team were happy to do. The end result was beautiful, and Bri loved it, which is kind of the whole point.

  1. What is one of your favourite memories of your wedding day?

Hard to answer this question without sounding cliché! I loved seeing Bri standing at the altar waiting for me; walking towards him and feeling the love and support of our friends and family, and saying my vows to Bri before God and hearing him say his.

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  1. Where did you go on honeymoon and who planned it? Was it a surprise?

Bri managed to keep the location of our honeymoon a surprise all the way until we checked in at the airport the morning after the wedding! I wasn’t very subtle about making it known that I wanted to go somewhere warm and preferably tropical, so Bri spoiled us with the most incredible trip to the Seychelles! Spoilt. Rotten.

Suppliers:

Venue: Altydlig Wine Farm

Photographer: Knit Together

Videographer: Dan O Connell

DJ: Kenric Potter

Live entertainment:  Kenric, Warren and Jared from Mobbing Bali

Caterer: Ebony and Ivory

Wedding cake: Life’s Sweet

Dress maker: Robyn Roberts

Hair stylist and Make-up artist: Minke du Plessis

Florist: Woolworths

Decor: (Linen hire) Distinctive Choice

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Submit your own wedding story here

Why I Declined The Invitation To Be A Bridesmaid

There is a common misconception that being a bridesmaid is an easy job. You get to spend the morning of the wedding with the bride, you get to wear a pretty dress and walk down the aisle, and there is that awesome bachelorette that you get to be a part of. Sounds fun, right? Well, yes it is a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of work. Being a bridesmaid is a commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

How To Be The Best Bridesmaid Ever

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I got married in May 2015 and I had 9 lovely bridesmaids. I had a great support system and lots of help leading up to the wedding. A lot of the girls were in constant contact with me, asking how the wedding plans were going, and actively showing their support and love as often as they could.

During my engagement, a friend of mine asked me if I would be her bridesmaid. Well, she didn’t really ask. She just sort of mentioned it in passing. “You know you’re my Maid of Honour, right?” was thrown into the air, like it wasn’t really a big deal. I remember feeling a bit weird about it, but saying “OK, sure”.

Once my wedding had come to an end and I was back into “normal” life, I started thinking about how great my bridesmaids were. I really appreciated them and the effort they made to love me and help me during my engagement and on my wedding day. It struck me – once again – that being a bridesmaid is quite a task. My bridesmaids bought their own dresses, did their own hair and makeup on my wedding day, they planned my kitchen tea and bachelorette, contributed money and gifts at each, they bought wedding gifts, they made sacrifices to be at my wedding rehearsal, to help put together my wedding invitations and to help with a “DIY decor” day we had just before the wedding. That’s a lot of stuff to be involved in.

I like to think I was a pretty chilled bride and I was pretty easy to get along with during my engagement. At least my husband thinks so. So, even though my girls had a relaxed bride, there was still a lot to do and I’m sure there were many things that went on behind the scenes that I wasn’t even aware of.

So, when my friend just kind of expected me to be her Maid of Honour, I was a little surprised that I wasn’t actually asked, and that it was such a seemingly unimportant task that was required of me.

There were many external circumstances that led me to the decision not to pursue a friendship with this person. So, I was forced to make a decision:

Option 1: Be her bridesmaid and then never speak to her again afterwards.

Option 2: Be her friend and force myself to stay in her life afterwards.

Option 3: End the friendship now.

After giving it a lot of thought, I realised that the only fair thing to do was to go with option 3. I sat her down and told her why I had to end the friendship and that as a result, I would not be able to attend her wedding and be her Maid of Honour. Can you imagine looking back on your wedding and thinking “I wish she wasn’t in all my photos. She isn’t even my friend anymore”? I wanted to spare her of that experience. I wanted to give her the chance to ask someone else. Someone who wanted to stick with her through thick and thin and support her marriage in a way that I couldn’t.

I’m sharing this very personal experience to show girls that being a bridesmaid is a choice. When your bestie pops the question, you don’t have to say yes. You can – and should – give it some thought and ask yourself whether or not you are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to make her wedding day and buildup as special as possible. This may require not being able to buy yourself special things, so you can save money and put that towards your bridesmaids dress and wedding gifts. It might mean sacrificing a couple of social events here and there, so that you can be at the pre-wedding functions at the bride’s side. It might also mean that during a time of stress, you put yourself aside and show support to the bride without making the situation about you.

Whatever you choose to do, please know that the bride loves you. If you tell her in all honesty that you don’t think you have the time to commit to being the best bridesmaid you can be, she will still love you.

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