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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!]

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!

Find out more by clicking right here.


How to find wedding suppliers

Every week I have friends and Lovely Pretty readers asking me to recommend my favourite wedding suppliers. Finding the perfect wedding suppliers isn’t an easy task, because let’s face it, this is probably the first time you’re planning a wedding so how are you supposed to know people in the wedding industry? Well, there are a few things you can do to make the most of the resources you have!

How to find wedding suppliers

Know what you’re looking for

Before you start searching, have an idea of what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to spend. Are you looking for an intimate wedding venue or a big outdoor garden? Do you want a wedding planner or someone to come in and coordinate your wedding on the day? Have you got an abundant guest list or are you wanting to have a small wedding? Having even just a little bit of an idea of what you’re looking for will help you to know when you’ve found what you want.

1. Do a Google search

Something like “Small wedding venues in Cape Town” or “Cape Town wedding coordinators” will give you somewhere to start.

2. Look at supplier listings

Lists of wedding suppliers? Yes, that is a thing and here are three of my favourites:


SA Functions


3. Attend wedding expos

There are many reasons to attend a wedding expo, and finding great wedding suppliers is just one of them.

Related: Why every bride should attend a bridal fair

4. Ask around

Do you have any friends who got married recently? They’ve just gone through this process and may have a list of suppliers they looked at before choosing the ones they booked.

5. Get professional recommendations

Once you’ve booked just one supplier you can make use of their connections and book more! The first supplier I booked for my wedding was my super talented wedding photographers. I ended up finding our dream wedding venue on our photographers’ website. If you book your wedding planner or coordinator first, you can make the most of some great discounts that he/she can get for you.

Who should you book first?

I’ve met with many brides who are stressing out over wedding suppliers they think they need to book now, but they really don’t. Making loads of wedding planning decisions can be very overwhelming, so it’s really helpful to have an idea of which decisions need to be made first. I just released an eBook that comes with a whole section on which suppliers to book, how to book them and what questions you should ask in the process.

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The eBook is called “Wedding Planning Starter Kit” and it is the perfect resource if you are just starting to plan your wedding. I’ve created a comprehensive guide to show you how to make certain decisions, when they should be made and how you can keep track of all the hundreds of admin tasks you’ve got on your hands. There is also a “Printables” section that includes the above questionnaires, to help you find the perfect wedding suppliers.

eBook available now $4.95

You can get your copy of “Wedding Planning Starter Kit” >> right here << for just $4.95.

South African Songs You Have To Include In Your Wedding

As a South African, I am proud of the quality of music our locals produce. Everytime I attend or coordinate a wedding and I hear South African tunes my heart feels happy and proud. So, I’ve gathered some of my favourites for you to choose from:

For walking down the aisle

Matthew Mole – Same Parts, Same Heart


Majozi – Darling


For walking out of the church / Getting covered in confetti

Gangs of Ballet – Breaking The Silence


Michael Lowman – Crayon Boxes


For your first dance

Matthew Mole – The Wedding Song


ADAM and Daniel Baron – Say What You Want


To get the party started

Shortstraw ft. Shane Durrant – The Wedding Blues


Lacey May – Tip Toe


Ruby Gill – Winter


Al Bairre – Bungalow


For your official send-off

Glen Hartmann – On Our Way


Cash Bar or Open Bar?

I recently came across this article by Brides, in which socialite and DIY queen, Lauren Conrad, speaks about her one wedding planning don’t.

The former Hills star couldn’t help but share her one wedding planning don’t and, we have to admit, she might stir up some controversy with this one. “Don’t have a cash bar. Nobody’s happy about it,” she said. “[When planning my own wedding] it’s the one thing I stood by.”

I ended up entering into a bit of a debate in the comment thread and it looked a little something like this:

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Now that you know my stance on the matter, I thought I’d play devil’s advocate and go a little more in depth and explore the “Cash Bar or Open Bar” debate. I have to admit, even though I hold strongly to my opinion that a cash bar is not tacky, I can understand parts of the argument that staunch open bar supporters have voiced.

Reasons you should have an open bar

  1. Your guests are already sacrificing to be at your wedding – They are setting aside the day to celebrate with you, bring along an expensive gift and taking part in the pre-wedding festivities. Why ask them to buy their own drinks at your wedding?
  2. It’s a party! When do you ever ask people to come to your birthday party and pay for drinks?
  3. Your guests will spend less time waiting at the bar – think about it, if cash is left out of the equation, the queues are shorter and an additional table with cocktails, wines or beers can be set up somewhere.
  4. Your guests will dance. If you want guests to join in on the dance floor, help them loosen up a little with a couple of drinks.

drinks 1

Reasons you don’t need to have an open bar – cash bars are good too!

  1. Not everyone can afford it – You shouldn’t have to wait longer to get married just so that you can have an open bar. If you can’t afford it, asking guests to buy their own hard tack is acceptable.
  2. Less drunk people – If people are buying their own drinks, they are less likely to go a little crazy.
  3. Weddings aren’t about the alcohol – Your wedding is about bringing together your friends and family. While a nice glass of wine or a celebratory toast with champagne is great, alcohol isn’t – or shouldn’t be – a necessity to celebrate with those you love.
  4. You’re already paying for everyone’s food – If you’re already buying a three course meal, supplying champagne and perhaps some drinks to the table, why should you need to pay for an additional open bar?

drink 3

Is there a middle ground?

There is! There are plenty of ways you can satisfy guests who want to have a drink, while not coming out tacky or spending more money than you have:

  1. Have a cash bar with a limit – It doesn’t matter how big or small your limit is, having some free drinks for part of the night is a nice treat and the amount that is spent on those treats can be controlled.
  2. Offer free wine, beer and soft drinks – If you’re worried that your guests will order expensive alcohol, select your favourite wines, beers and soft drinks and allow guests to enjoy those for free. If they still want whiskeys and other more expensive drinks, they can buy those.
  3. Have some free drinks brought to each table – One bottle of red wine and one bottle of white wine can be easily shared amongst a table of 6 – 8 guests. Throw in a big jug of fruit punch and a big bottle of water and most guests will be happy to buy one or two additional drinks.
  4. Have a coffee bar – A free drink in the form of a good cup of coffee is always a welcome treat. A lot of people would rather have coffee than beer anyway.

drink 2

So, what do you think? Are you having a cash bar or an open bar?



Being A Best Man // Where To Start

There are a lot of helpful articles on the internet about planning a wedding [I’ve written a lot of them myself] and even a few great ones about being a good bridesmaid or Maid of Honour. However, there aren’t many resources about being a great Best Man, so I’m here to fix that.

Before I begin, here’s one tip I’d like you to remember. I’m going to say it a number of times and I hope that if you forget everything else, you’ll remember this: It’s not about you. Whether you are attending the wedding as a guest, you are the sibling of the bride or groom, or you have the honour of being a groomsmen, bridesmaid or Best Man, this wedding is 100% NOT about you.

I recently wrote a letter from a bride to her girls and I’d love for you to read it. It won’t all apply to you, as the Best Man, but the sentiment is there. You can take a look at it here:

best man 2

Talk to the groom

Now that you’ve accepted the role of being the Best Man, you may be wondering what is required of you and how you can live up to the task. I’ll let you in on a few traditions but your best bet is to talk to the groom. Each wedding is unique, because each couple is unique, and that may mean that your role will look a little different to what you’ve seen or experienced before.

Something to keep in mind is that the groom probably hasn’t been a groom before, so he probably doesn’t really know where to start either. So, here are some questions you can ask him to make sure you are both on the same page and that his expectations are met. Ultimately, you want to do the best job you can do so that your best friend has the most incredible wedding day possible.

  1. I am available to do anything you need me to do leading up to the wedding. Would you like me to help with any of the planning, heavy lifting or fetching and carrying?
  2. Are there any other ways I can show support to you, as my best friend, during your engagement?
  3. During your engagement, I’d love to take on the role of facilitating events, coffee dates and things with the rest of your groomsmen. Are you happy for me to take on that role and would you like me to communicate anything else to your boys?
  4. In terms of outfits, would you like me to start looking out for anything specific now or are you planning on choosing something for me to wear?
  5. Would you like me to plan a bachelor party for you? I’d love to plan a fun day for you and your closest friends so tell me how I can make that the best bachelor party for you.
  6. On your wedding day, would you like me to say a speech? If you do, I would be honoured, and I’d like as much time as possible to make sure my speech is awesome.

best man 3

The Best Man’s role

Attire: You may be required to help the groom find the right outfit for all the groomsmen to wear, or at the very least, collect hired suits a couple of days before the wedding or make sure that all the groomsmen have found their outfits.

The bachelor party: Your job isn’t to plan the whole bachelor party, but rather to rally the groomsmen and get the ball rolling. You also aren’t expected to fit the bill but you have a permission to veto bad ideas and make sure the bachelor party is something your best friend would enjoy.

Be a time checker: The groom isn’t expected to know what the time is or where he’s meant to be on his wedding day – that’s your job. While you’re all getting ready, keep your eye on the clock to make sure everyone is ready and at the church on time. Assist the MC and wedding coordinator to make sure that your best friend is ready for his speech during the reception.

At the ceremony: You may be asked to hold onto the rings during the ceremony and hand them over to the officiant at some point.

Give a speech: You will probably be asked to give a speech, in which you will share happy memories and embarrassing stories about your friendship with the groom, as well as make your toast to the bridesmaids. This is where you get everyone to clink their glasses because the bridesmaids look awesome.

Be a good host: You may not be the host of the wedding, but since the bride and groom will be pretty overwhelmed, you can step in and help to make sure that everyone is happy and having a good time. You could make sure the bride and groom have eaten something, greet guests as they arrive at the ceremony, help everyone to find their seats as they walk into the reception hall, and do your best to check in on the parents and bridal party.

The bridal couple’s car: Arguably one of the best jobs you have on the wedding day is making sure the bridal car is decorated and impossible to get into. Enlist the help of the rest of the bridal party, but make sure you’ve got shaving cream, balloons, confetti and anything else you need.

best man 4

best man 5

Photo credits:

  1. By Katie Byram, as seen on Huffington Post
  2. Etsy
  3. Photography by Britton
  4. Hitched



Ten reasons to consider a winter wedding

I am a big fan of the winter wedding. My husband and I got married towards the end of autumn and we went all out in incorporating season-appropriate decor. Our colour scheme was pink and gold and we featured leaves instead of flowers. That’s right, there was not one flower in our wedding decor. You can read more about that right here.

The funny thing about our wedding day was that it rained the day before and everyone freaked out that it would rain on our wedding day, and honestly, I kind of hoped it would. I love the rain, and if I hadn’t chosen the perfect wedding date for us (more on choosing your date here) I may have considered waiting a few weeks and getting married in the middle of winter. Here’s why:

1. It’s cheaper

The peak wedding season is spring – summer. During peak wedding season, everyone gets married and everything is expensive. During offpeak wedding season, people are less busy (more on that later) and things are cheaper. Venue hire fees are lowered and sometimes dropped altogether, and other suppliers have winter rates too. Photo below found on Intimate Weddings.

winter wedding 10.jpg

2. It’s less busy

Getting married in summer means having to book your dream wedding venue and suppliers up to a year in advance because the really good ones get booked up fast. Because winter is less popular, the really good suppliers are more likely to be available on your wedding day. The photo below is Stein’s Lodge captured by Cory Ryan.

winter wedding 9

3. Local honeymoons are less crazy

Imagine getting married in summer in a beach town, with the hopes of sticking around for a honeymoon. Chances are, every holidaymaker is thinking exactly the same thing. Local honeymoons in winter are much less busy and a heck of a lot more cosy. People don’t seem to enjoy holidaying in winter – and I don’t understand why, because I think it’s awesome – so that means less queues, traffic and loud people for you. This article will give you some winter honeymoon ideas.

winter wedding 8

4. Your groom won’t sweat (as much)

Wearing a tailored suit in the thick of summer has got to be tough. Some grooms are clever, though, and wear something more appropriate for summer but that isn’t always an option. Having a winter wedding will allow your groom to keep warm in his tux. Just look at this cosy couple. Photo by Anastasiya Belik.

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5. Hot drinks!

Welcome drinks can now come in the form of cosy warm cocktails or cute mugs of hot chocolate. Look at this awesome cocktail and a host of other creative ideas in this article by Brides.com:

winter wedding 1

6. Cuddly winter wedding favours

I’ve seen some really lovely winter wedding favours and they are usually practical things that people actually want. I love these blankets, spotted on Bridal Musings. More wedding favour ideas here.

winter wedding 2

7. Ambient candle lit dinner

If you’re wanting to create a beautiful winter wedding with the ambience of a romantic dinner, candles are your best friend. Just look at this photo found on Wedding Forward:

winter wedding 3

8. Winter attire for the girls

If you’re getting married in winter, don’t just wear a summer dress with a cardigan and stockings. Go all out! I especially love this bridal party’s winter wedding ensemble. Photo by Lauren Fair.

winter wedding 4

9. Comfort food

Another way to go all out and embrace winter is with your choice of food! In winter you don’t want to eat dainty canapes, you want warm comfort food. Think soups, stews and roasts. Photo below by Lisa Berry.

winter wedding 5

10. The photo opportunities

Just look at this incredible photo by Brinton Studios and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

winter wedding 6

How To Choose Your Wedding Songs

Music is the backdrop to your wedding and it really sets the tone. Want your wedding to be relaxed? Acoustic tunes are the way to go! Want to get the party started? Choose something upbeat that will get your guests moving on the dancefloor.

Processed with MOLDIV

I came across an initiative created by Wedding Paper Divas that makes this whole process that much easier! First, you select the category you want:


Then, once you’ve selected your category you can then choose a genre, or simply look at all song choices within your category. I chose “Wedding Party Entrance Songs” + “Indie” and these are some of the choices I was given:

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I love music and I have a lot of songs I really like, and I STILL found it difficult to choose the best songs for each part of my wedding. If you are unsure of which songs fit best into the different parts of your wedding, this app is such a helpful tool!

You can take a look at the app right here. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!


Planning Your Honeymoon // Part 3: Creating A Budget

Recently engaged? Don’t forget that your wedding isn’t the only fun thing you’ll be planning. There’s the honeymoon too! I chatted to Candice from Organised Traveller to find out more about how to create a budget for an overseas honeymoon. Things are expensive and Candice’s expert tips will help you save money and have the honeymoon you’ve been dreaming of!


The most exciting part apart from the wedding, is planning your honeymoon. However, It can also be daunting when you discover how expensive things are these days. Which is all the more reason why you should start to plan early, I’d even go as far as saying plan it as early as you would your wedding, so that you know what to expect.

I would first start at the destination you want to go to. Do your research, the costs can all add up when you consider the following:

If it’s International travel you want I would consider choosing your destination based on following factors:

–          Passports? Do you have a passport to begin with, this is a cost you will have to incur if not

–          Visas? Find a destination that the visa costs are not a big issue as now days some can cost R1000+

–          How long are you wanting to be way for – Travel Insurance will have to be considered as well

–          Find a hotel / lodge that offers discounts. Such as free nights, if you stay for 7 only pay for 5. Honeymoon benefits like bride pays half or couples massage or private dinner on beach as added value some operators offer.

–          Make a list of your interests and explore those options for pricing. So you know how much spending money on average you will need a day.

–          Find out the costs of drinks and meals at destination you intend to visit. The local sites, what the entrance fees are going to cost. If it’s an island holiday, find a resort that is all inclusive. I guarantee that its cheaper to go on all-inclusive package than Breakfast only. This is where they make their money.

–          The earlier you book a honeymoon the more likely you are going to receive early bird discounts as well.

–          There are some fantastic websites you can register your details on. Similar to that of a gift registry, that when you send the invitations out this link can be included. And from there guests can already start to pay money in for your honeymoon fund.

–          Weebly.com is a good place for the above.

Want more expert honeymoon advice and tips? Chat to Candice directly by sending her an email: reservations@organisedtraveller.co.za 

How To Plan Your Engagement Shoot

Engagement photo shoots have been around for a few years now and they are really popular with newly engaged couples. Originally, engagement shoot photos were used to announce an engagement in the newspaper, but with social media being the platform for announcements, engagement shoots have a whole lot of other benefits:

  1. You get to have some formal photos with your new fiance.
  2. You both have an opportunity to become more comfortable in front of the camera, resulting in better photos taken on your wedding day.
  3. You can incorporate your engagement shoot photos into your wedding stationary and decor.

There are plenty of good reasons to plan an engagement shoot and today’s blog post will let you in on some secrets so that you can plan an engagement shoot that is very YOU! Along the way I’ll share some behind the scenes photos from an engagement shoot that Kurt and Nicole won via a competition on my blog! The professional photos can be found here and they were taken by the lovely Welmie of GLOSS photography.


Step 1: Choose Your Location

The backdrop to your engagement photos should be something interesting and fun. If you live in Cape Town, you have plenty of gorgeous backdrops to choose from – the beach, the mountain, the forest and so much more! Choose a location with various backdrops to keep things interesting and to provide a variety of photos.


Step 2: Pick An Activity

There are only so many “smile at the camera” and “kiss him on the cheek” photos you can pose for. So, pick an activity to keep things fun. Play a game together, take your dog for a walk or drink some coffee.


Step 3: Consider Your Hair & Makeup

You want to look good, so make an effort to do your hair and makeup. Or, better yet, get a professional involved if you can. For this engagement shoot we got Shelley from Love Make Up to make Nicole look beautiful.


Step 4: Select Your Outfits

For an engagement shoot what you really want to do is wear complimentary outfits that go together but aren’t too matchy. You should consider neutral colours, and avoid large logos and anything super stylish that will date your photos in years to come.


Step 5: Bring Along Some Props

To spice things up a bit why not bring along some fun props? Chalkboards with cute messages on them, something pretty to display your new engagement ring, or maybe you’ll be lucky and stumble upon a gorgeous vintage car like this one:


Whatever you end up choosing to do, make sure it’s fun and it’s something you love! If you have any questions about engagement shoots and props ideas, leave them in the comments section and Welmie and I will offer our best advice to you!