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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.

 

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!]

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!

Six Things I Wish I Had Known Before Planning My Wedding

My name is Kelly and I used to plan and coordinate weddings. I like naps, pugs, Chandler Bing and anything pink. I believe anyone can plan their own wedding, so my blog is all about sharing wedding planning tips with you!

 

As someone who has planned her own wedding and lived to tell the tale, I thought I’d share some advice to help newly engaged couples plan their own wedding!

I planned and coordinated weddings for years before getting married, but there is something fundamentally different about planning your very own wedding. Planning someone else’s wedding meant I could be objective about things. It’s much more difficult making decisions when it’s your own wedding. So, even though I had an advantage by being in the industry, I feel your pain when it comes to all the overwhelming decisions you need to make!

1. Weddings are freaking expensive

OK, so I knew this before planning my wedding, but the thing I didn’t realise was just how hard it is to stick to a darn budget. We came up with a budget early on and this helped us to select the right venue and make some really important wedding planning decisions. Yet, somehow we ended up wanting things that didn’t quite fit into our budget, which meant we had to save money elsewhere. Creating a budget at the beginning of your wedding planning journey will help you save money in the long run.

Do yourself a favour and start by creating a budget for your wedding. Account for everything you can possibly think of, and be slow to spend more than you should. But also, be willing to change it up. If your dress is a little more expensive than you thought it would be, buy it anyway and save money on wedding stationery (for example).

I’ve got an awesome wedding budget tracker in my Wedding Planning Starter Kit. Find out more about this right over here.

2. Finding vendors can be hard

Never ever book a wedding vendor without meeting them first. Recommendations from friends – or better yet, from other vendors you trust – is huge! Take all the advice you can get, but don’t forget to meet up with all your vendors before confirming their involvement in your wedding. This is where you get to see if your prospective vendors have the style you are looking for, if you are compatible and if you get along well.

It’s totally ok to start finding vendors by doing a Google search – we all do it – but make sure you know what – and who – you’re paying for. Meeting face to face means you get the opportunity to share your vision with your vendors so they are able to deliver a service that meets your expectations.

There’s a chapter in my Wedding Planning Starter Kit that will help you to find the best vendors. I’ve also included a pack of questionnaires that will make sure you know everything you need to know about each vendor before paying their deposit. Find out more over here.

3. Everyone has an opinion

You’ll find that everyone thinks it’s ok to tell you how to plan your wedding. You’ll hear everyone else’s idea of venues, photography styles, where you should be spending money and what type of dress you should wear. Distinguish between those whose opinions you value and those whose ideas you will politely ignore.

You’re going to want to bounce ideas off of people, so choose them wisely. Create a mood board of ideas you like and include things like your colour scheme and any pretty details you’d like to include in your wedding. That way, once you’ve shared ideas with your parents or bridal party, they know what your ideal wedding is meant to look like. It’s a lot easier to give an objective opinion that way.

4. You don’t have to include every tradition under the sun

We certainly didn’t. We changed it up with our confetti, we didn’t throw the garter and bouquet, we had multiples cakes instead of just one, we didn’t do a first dance and there were no flowers at our wedding. It took a little while for us to be ok doing things our own way and I’m so glad we did! There were some traditions that we loved, so we kept them, and we threw the rest out the window.

5. Delegation is huge

Even a professional wedding planner (ahem… me!) needs help. Don’t try to do it all on your own, while working a full time job and trying to maintain some sort of social life. Get your family and bridal party to pitch in and help wherever they can. In the week before your wedding get other people to do the running around and fetching decor items for you. Women have a tendency to become more like “bridezilla” as the wedding day draws nearer if they are trying to do all the wedding planning alone.

6. There’s a lot to keep track of

Planning your own wedding means keeping track of paperwork, email conversations, payments, RSVPs and all the hundreds of decisions that need to be made. Having files, spreadsheets and magazine clippings is important, and so is the ability to make lists and stick to them. If you’re not a naturally organized or admin oriented person, you might find this really difficult, but I promise you, you can do this! All you need to do is keep a checklist and stick to it.

I’ve created a 12 month checklist that will tell you which decisions to make and when to make them. This way, you won’t have to worry that you’ve forgotten something. No more sleepless nights – hallelujah! You can get your own copy of the very checklist I used to plan my wedding, right in your inbox, by clicking on the image below:

Happy wedding planning, ladies!

Things may seem a little overwhelming, but you are totally capable of planning a kick ass wedding.

I’ve got another tool you might be interested in. It’s called Wedding Planning Starter Kit and it’s an eBook that covers everything you need to know about the beginning stages of planning your wedding. Which vendors to book first, which decisions to make first and which decisions to save for a few months time. I’ve included an awesome Printables pack which has questions to ask each vendor (so you know you’re booking only the best) and a wedding budget tracker (so you don’t overspend) among other things. Find out more about Wedding Planning Starter Kit right here.

“I can’t attend your wedding because…”

Take this as a fair warning that not everyone understands that a wedding is a once in a lifetime event. Some people also tend to forget that someone else’s wedding is not about them and their requests. The comments below are real things that friends and family members have said are their reasons for not attending a wedding.

“Because I don’t like or get on with some of your guests.” (Brother of the Bride)

“It’s too far to travel because I need to let the dog out.”

“I have nothing to wear.”

“We won’t come because we won’t know anyone.” (A family member of the Groom, who knows all the other family members who will be attending)

“Because I have to work.” (Two years in advance)

“We can’t come unless we have transport to get home so we can feed our chickens.”

“I will only come if you let me bring my mom and you pay for our taxi each way.” (The trip is 1.5 hours each way)

“Because your wedding is on a Saturday.”

“I’ll be revising for exams.” (In a year’s time)

“I can’t find someone to look after my dog, and there’s a football game on.”

“We have booked a holiday somewhere else, so we will no longer be attending your wedding.”

“I got drunk and booked a six week holiday to Spain which leaves three days before your wedding.” (Aunt of the bride)

“It’s our 11th wedding anniversary and we always go away that week.” (Sister of the bride)

“I can’t get off work.” (The would-be Best Man who cleans cars for a living)

“I can only come if I can bring my son, because everyone we would leave him with will be at your wedding.” (their son is 17 years old)

“Because I don’t approve of your dress. You should only wear a white dress if you are a virgin.” (Father of the Bride)

“I can’t attend your wedding in July, because I am getting married in July. I don’t have a date yet, but it will be in July.” (Father of the Bride)

“I’m going to be ill.” (2 months in advance)

“It’s my new boyfriend’s daughter’s birthday so I don’t know what she’ll want to do that week.”

“I don’t feel like coming. Something more important may come up.”

“We can’t come because we want to decorate the house.”

“Your wedding is too far away.” (20 minutes from their home)

“I can’t attend because another friend is having a birthday party that day.”

“I don’t like eating in front of other people.”

“I’m going to Disney on Ice.” (Sister of the Bride)

“I can’t come because I have a headache.” (Mother of the Groom, 3 days before the wedding)

“I won’t come because I’m not your Maid of Honour.”

“I can’t come because I will have a fight with someone if I drink. Not drinking isn’t an option, because if there’s free alcohol available, I’m drinking!” (Mother of the Groom)

“I won’t be able to come if you don’t arrange babysitters.”

“I do my washing over the weekends.”

“I need to help my brother move out of his home.” (3 days before the wedding)

“I agreed to work because I forgot your wedding date.” (Father of the Bride)

“We can’t really say if we will be free so far in advance.”

“We don’t like to drive in the dark.” (Aunt and Uncle)

“I just need to make sure I’m not busy that day.” (Parents of the Groom, three weeks before the wedding)

These submissions have been edited for clarity. 

Do you dream of planning a wedding that is magical, romantic and stress-free? After years of planning and coordinating weddings, I’ve crammed tons of wedding planning expertise into an eBook. I believe that anyone can plan their own wedding. All you need is a set of tools that many wedding planning pros won’t share.

Find out more about “Wedding Planning Starter Kit” (eBook) right over here.

 

 

 

Kelly is a newly married wedding blogger who lives in Cape Town, South Africa. She has years of experience in wedding coordinating and planning, and believes that anyone can plan their own wedding. Lovely Pretty is a blog for brides and wives and is here to provide you with everything you need to plan your own wedding and become an awesome wife. 

Today We’re Talking About Bridesmaids’ Makeup [Featuring Le’Chelle Taylor]

You might not know this, but I have a brand new YouTube channel which is for wedding planning tutorials and fun things like today’s video.

I don’t know much about makeup, so it as an absolute treat to have Le’Chelle – a makeup expert and YouTuber – do my makeup. While she was making me look good, we chatted about makeup, my experiences of bridesmaids’ makeup, as well as the differences between bridesmaids’ makeup and bridal makeup.

If you are a bridesmaid and you’ve got to do your own makeup, here are some tips I picked up from Le’Chelle:

1. Prep your face

In general, make sure you are cleaning your face and using face cream. Since filming this video, I’ve been applying face cream every night and being very intentional about looking after my skin. If your skin is dry and not well looked after, makeup isn’t going to change that.

2. Foundation

I always see people testing foundation on their hands, which has always seemed odd to me. Le’Chelle showed me how to test my foundation on my jawline to make sure it’s the right colour for my face. She’s also given me permission to use my fingers when applying it! No need for fancy brushes (yet)!

3. Fill in those brows

Remember in the 2000s when every high school girl plucked her eyebrows to smithereens? I was one of them, and I am now growing out my eyebrows so they are fuller and more natural looking. In the meantime, a brow pencil is my new best friend.

4. Keep your eyeshadow neutral

This is one of the things that sets the bride apart from everyone else in terms of makeup. The bride is the one who gets to wear sparkly eyeshadow that makes her eyes pop. As for the bridesmaids, neutral and natural is always better and safer. You want to emphasize your already beautiful features and not go too heavy on the eye makeup.

5. You don’t need eyeliner

Le’Chelle taught me another useful trick – to keep your makeup from looking too harsh, use eyeshadow on the lash line instead of eyeliner. This also comes in handy for people like me who end up smudging eyeliner all over the place, because we don’t buy the fancy stuff.

6. Tame those lashes

Le’Chelle first used an eyelash curler on me – which felt super weird – and then mascara. This made my eyelashes look dark and long, but they were also sitting in the right place.

7. No contouring please

Remember we’re keeping things natural over here, so focus on bronzer. Le’Chelle applied some to my cheek bones and added some warmth and colour to my face.

8. Your lips should be natural too

Le’Chelle applied a very natural pink colour to my lips, right over the lipbalm I applied at the very beginning. Unless the bride asks you to wear something bright, rather opt for natural colours like light pinks.

Grab your copy of “Wedding Planning Starter Kit” right over here. This eBook will help you to plan the wedding you’ve always dreamed of, but without all the unnecessary stress. I planned and coordinated weddings for years, and I’ve crammed a whole bunch of wedding planning tips into one book just for you.

Get more wedding planning tips by checking out the blog.

Check out Le’Chelle’s YouTube channel if you’re into makeup, hair styling, and all things pretty and fun. Le’Chelle is an amazing makeup artist and if you are living in Cape Town and looking for someone to do your makeup for your wedding, I can seriously recommend her. Fill in the form below if you’d like to find out more:

How to Coordinate Family Photos

Putting together a wedding timeline isn’t an easy task. There are things that people forget to account for, or things that seem so simple yet take a lot longer on the day than anticipated. For me, that’s where family photos come in. When this part of the wedding day isn’t planned properly, family photos can take ages and they can be a painful task. But, when family photos are well thought-out, they can take 15 minutes or less and you’ll still have everyone smiling afterwards!

Find out how you can coordinate your family photos with a few simple tips from my years of wedding planning experience:

In summary, this is what you need to do:

1. Know when you’re having the photos taken

Generally you’ll want to squeeze in family photos after the ceremony. Don’t forget to allocate a little bit of time to mingle with your guests first. They’ll want to hug and congratulate you!

2. Pick a place

Find a pretty spot to take your family photos and let everyone know ahead of time that this is where they should congregate after the ceremony.

3. Make a list of who you want in our photos

Be specific!

Here are some examples:

  1. Bride + Groom + Bride’s Brother + Bride’s Sister
  2. Bride + Groom + Bride’s Grandparents
  3. Bride + Groom + Groom’s Parents

4. Ask someone to facilitate

Your photographer won’t know who any of these people are, so have someone from each side of the family call the family members up when it’s their turn to be in a photo.

Want to see some of our family photos? We love them and we’ve used a few of these as gifts for the family:

Have you just started planning your wedding? Wedding Planning Starter Kit will help you to know which wedding planning decisions you need to make now and what you need to consider when making such decisions. Use a wedding planner’s tools to plan your wedding like a pro!

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How We Had the Best Getting-Ready Experience on Our Wedding Day

When I pictured the morning of my wedding day, there were a few things that came to mind: tea, champagne, laughter, snacks and no rigid timeline. With nine bridesmaids and plenty of helping hands coming in and out, I was surprised to have the exact getting-ready experience that I wanted. And this is how we did it…

All photos by Love Made Visible

We had a plan

You know what they say: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

A relaxing morning doesn’t just happen. It takes even just a little bit of planning. Coordinating a huge group of girls is quite a task and it helped a lot that my girls were so flexible.

A couple of weeks before my wedding, I contacted all my girls to let them know a few things:

  1. What time to be at my house.
  2. Which girls should be dropped off and who should keep their car around and become a driver for the day (this involved a lot of coordinating and flexibility).
  3. What to bring. In this case: lunch, snacks, nailpolish, makeup, hair products and extra mirrors.

We didn’t hire professional help for the entire bridal party

There are a few reasons we didn’t hire professional hair and make up artists for all the bridesmaids:

  1. There were nine bridesmaids, so it would end up being quite pricey.
  2. We simply didn’t have time for each bridesmaid to get her make up and hair done one at a time.
  3. My girls are pretty great at doing hair and make up already.

This strategy really helped us to have a relaxing morning. I painted my own nails on the day, while we all sat around and ate snacks.

My makeup was done by one of my bridesmaids and then a lovely friend, Nicole, came over to do my hair.

 

While this was going down, the girls were all helping each other get ready. Having nine girls get ready at once takes a lot less time than having each girl get ready one at a time, even with the help of a professional.

This was something that worked well for us, and I am by no means saying that a professional hair and make up artist isn’t worth the money. Believe me, if you have the time and money to do it, then please do!

 

I had some time to get ready alone

The one thing I worried about was being surrounded by people 24/7 and perhaps feeling a little rushed and flustered. We made sure there was plenty of time to get ready, and I slipped away and got dressed in my room, with the help of my mom.

 

While I was getting ready, the girls were putting final touches to their outfits.

 

Then, everyone gathered in the lounge for the “big reveal” photo…

 

That gave me the perfect moment to hand out some pretty gifts to my girls. I specifically told them all not to buy their own earrings and I gave them each a pair of pretty gold leaf earrings that fit into our wedding theme. The rest of the gift included a personal note for each girl and a pack of bridesmaid essentials (mints, bobby pins, pain killers and that sort of thing).

 

Around about the time that this photo was taken (below) was when the nerves kicked in and I started to realise I’d be walking down the aisle towards my groom and in front of everyone we know and love…

 

Want to see what the boys got up to on the morning of our wedding? Their morning was less planned out (not having to put on make up will allow for more flexibility) but still relaxing, like we wanted.

 

Glen also had a little something for his friends, and he received a little something from me too…

 

Glen’s mom made all the bouquets and button holes and I couldn’t leave this photo out of our getting-ready story:

 

Just take a look at the best looking bridal party ever!

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Everything You Need to Know About Engagement Rings

I will never forget the day Glen and I started looking for engagement rings. We went to the mall, knowing absolutely nothing about rings. I didn’t really know what style I wanted, so I was open to trying on anything. We were also really nervous; we cringed at the thought of walking out of a jewellery store and bumping into friends, and we thought the people in the store would judge us. How silly are we?

Once we got over the awkwardness (which was totally in our heads), we sat down and started talking about rings. We soon realized that we knew nothing about what makes an engagement ring special. Hint: it’s not the size of the diamond that counts. So, I thought I’d share some wisdom on the matter, so that when you go ring shopping, you know what you’re looking for!

DIAMONDS

When it comes to picking out a diamond, there are four things to think of. They are called “The Four Cs”: 

Cut – This is the shape of the diamond when viewed from the top.

Colour – This is the amount of yellowness in the diamond.

Clarity – The small imperfections inside a natural diamond. The fewer visible imperfections, the better the clarity rating.

Carat – A Carat isn’t the size of the diamond, but rather the weight of the diamond. 1 Carat is equal to 0.2 grams.

Here is an infographic to show you a little bit more:

 

THE RING

Now that you’ve given some thought to the diamond, it’s time to think about the actual ring. With this, there are three things to consider:

The Metal

There is Platinum, Silver, White Gold, Yellow Gold, and Rose Gold, which are the more popular choices. Other choices include Palladium, Steel, Titanium, Ceramic and Tungsten.

The Karat

The fineness of gold is measured in Karats. Karats are measured in units of 24, so 18k gold is considered to be 18/24 or 75%. 24k gold is considered to be 100% gold.

The Setting

Your ring’s job is to hold the stone securely, and there are four settings to choose from: Prongs, Bezel, Channel and Pave (Pa Vay).

To see this in a little more detail, take a look at the infographic:

RING SIZE

Make sure you’re getting your girl the correct ring size with these sneaky tips:

  1. Find an existing ring of hers and measure it (make sure it’s a ring she wears on her ring finger; it’s the second finger on her left hand).
  2. Ask one of her close friends if she knows the size.
  3. Pretend to buy a ring for your mother or sister and ask your girl to help you out. Better yet, phone the jeweller ahead of time and get them to sneakily measure her finger.

For a more detailed look at how the sizes work, here is a helpful infographic from Galaxy and Co.

Looking for some wedding planning help from the pros? I’ve created Wedding Planning Starter Kit to help demystify wedding planning for you and I’ve crammed it with tons of tips and tricks. It’s going to save you tons of time and money.

For more information, click right here.