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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!]

This Is Why I Don’t Laugh At Marriage Jokes

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

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

Photo credit: Hayley Takes Photos

Weddings are a celebration of marriage

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

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

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

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

Related: How To Choose Your Wedding MC

Mutual submission is beautiful

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

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

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

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

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

Related: How To Write A Winning Wedding Speech

Spouses should honour one another in private and in public

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

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

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

Related: 7 Day Relationship Enrichment Challenge

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

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

Related: Get to Know Your Partner’s Love Language

Related: Nine Prayers To Pray For Your Husband

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:

10 Things You Should Avoid Doing On Your Wedding Day

You’ve spent months planning your wedding day and it’s finally arrived! Take a look at the list below of things you should avoid doing on your wedding day, so you don’t get stressed out, have an unnecessary break-out, or freak-out!

10 things to avoid doing on your wedding day - LOVELY PRETTY.jpg

1. Set up your wedding decor

One thing that you don’t want to be doing is setting up your own wedding decor on the morning of your wedding. Wouldn’t you rather be relaxing with your girls with a glass of bubbly in your hand? If you really want to (or have to) be involved in your own wedding set up, arrange for this to be done a day or two before your wedding day, or hire a wedding coordinator. Don’t believe that this will stress you out? Check out my post on all the wedding set up things to consider:

Wedding set up: What to do with all the stuff

2. Wear your wedding shoes for the first time

Can you think of anything more uncomfortable than blistered feet from new shoes? Do yourself a favour and wear your shoes around the house for a few days before your wedding. That way, on your wedding day, your pretty shoes will be more comfortable.

3. Try a new beauty routine

To avoid an unexpected break-out, don’t try a new beauty routine on your wedding day. In fact, don’t even try one in the week leading up to your wedding. You know your skin and what works for you, so stick to your usual “cleanse, tone and moisturize” routine and don’t give in to the temptation to try the fancy facial and tanning lotion.

4. Get your hair cut or dyed

If anything goes wrong [like your hair gets cut way shorter than you imagined, or the colour you chose just doesn’t look right] there is very little you can do to fix it. Rather have a hair trial two weeks before your wedding day and include a haircut and colour in that appointment.

5. Go for a wax

You know those itchy red bumps that sometimes appear when you get your legs, bikini, armpits or face waxed? You don’t want to be dealing with those on your wedding day when you should be feeling and looking beautiful. Even if you regularly go for waxes, schedule your appointment for a few days before your wedding day.

6. Eat foods that cause bloating

Obviously, you are going to eat a delicious meal at your actual wedding. Don’t spend your wedding day pushing food around your plate when you could be celebrating over a good meal. However, if you can avoid uncomfortable bloating by eating the right things before you  walk down the aisle, go for it.

Check this out: The 1-day debloat diet {Hello Glow}

7. Skip breakfast

Fainting, feeling dizzy, getting hangry (the kind of grumpiness that comes from hunger) or getting tipsy from one glass of champagne – you don’t want any of that. Be a good girl and eat breakfast. You’ll thank me later.

8. Wear sexy underwear if it’s uncomfortable

Some people find thongs comfortable (who are these people and how do they do this?), but if you are anything like me, your wedding day is not the day to try something just because people think it’s sexy. Wear your granny panties under your pretty dress and change into something a little more “wedding night appropriate” right before you leave your wedding reception or once you get to your hotel room. Trust me, “sexy” underwear that has been worn all day just isn’t sexy for the person wearing it or the person seeing (and smelling?) it for the first time.

9. Phone or email your wedding suppliers

This is why you hire a wedding coordinator. Someone else can be the point person who tells your suppliers where to set up and phones the ones who don’t arrive on time. This is not your job anymore.

Related: Wedding coordinator VS venue coordinator

10. Keep checking your phone

Worried that your friends might get lost and not know how to find your wedding venue? That’s what maps are for. They should not be phoning you. Want to post some selfies on Instagram? Save it for later. Everyone you know and love is right there with you. Enjoy the moment and put your phone away.

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

 

Eight newlywed couples share their best honeymoon advice and stories

So, you’re planning your honeymoon? There are lots of things to consider: budget, how much time you have, do you want this to be a surprise or will you plan your trip together? So many things! But, what better way to learn a few tricks than by hearing from newlyweds who have recently had their own honeymoon?

Neeta’s honeymoon in Greece

Where did you go on honeymoon? I went on honeymoon to Greece, Athens the capital then 2 islands Mykonos and Santorini.
Did you plan your honeymoon together? The honeymoon was planned together as its a destination we have both been dreaming of.
Any advice for couples planning a honeymoon to Greece? Pick about 4 islands and narrow them down to what it is you both would enjoy, there are gorgeous beaches like the black sand  beach, red sand beach, plenty of bars at the beaches.

Be sure to purchase travel gum in Greece at the pharmacy this is to prevent sea sickness while on the boat, comes in handy as there are days the seas are rough.

It’s cheaper to take superjet boat rides then fly locally between the islands.

Food choices are great from seafood to veg, hummus, yoghurts are amazing, crepes are divine if you have a sweet tooth, meat dishes are available too, great pizza places around the Santorini area. Note in Greece you are charged for bread so if you don’t want the bread rather send it back as you would be paying for it in Euros and it’s rather expensive.

Make notes and do lots of research, gather info, read blogs, chat to others that have travelled. Ultimately it’s your choice and pick islands that make sense for you and your budget.
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Sarah and Herman’s Seychelles honeymoon
Where did you go on honeymoon? We had a 2-part honeymoon with the first part being road trip and driving my car up to Nelspruit and the second part being a week in the Seychelles. We took a 2 week honeymoon.
Was it a surprise? Herman organized the whole thing and kept it a surprise from me. I loved having it as a surprise. It freed me up from the stress of organizing and planning as I had enough on my plate with the wedding. Herman told me where we were going as we were driving away after our wedding and I loved that moment.
Any honeymoon tips for newlyweds? I would strongly recommend that you spend the first two nights after your wedding at the same place. We were exhausted and I was so glad to not have to set an alarm and get up and pack up. We could spend the day relaxing instead of moving. I would suggest that you make time to go away straight away after the wedding, even if it’s just for a night or two. If your honeymoon is delayed by a few months then make time for something special straight after your wedding. After the hype of the wedding I am very glad I had something else to look forward to and didn’t just return to normal life from the Monday.
sarah kelly
Richard and Anke’s Western Cape honeymoon
Where did you go on honeymoon? Protea Hotel, Mossel bay and George.
Who planned the honeymoon? [Groom] I planned our honeymoon.
Any advice for newlyweds on honeymoon? Don’t drink and drive and don’t book in season, off peak season is more value for money and it’s less busy, more privacy, there’s no children to cramp your style.
richard and anke
Lauren and Sean’s Minimoon to Copenhagen and Honeymoon in South Africa
So we aren’t married just yet but have our honeymoon & minimoon planned. Being in the UK we have more opportunity I guess to be greedy and have a minimoon too. We get married in July – UK summertime, so for our minimoon we are going to Copenhagen. It’s just for 4 nights away straight after the wedding. Then our for our honeymoon we have 3 weeks touring South Africa & 1 week in Namibia. We’ve booked & planned everything ourselves & it’s been a joint effort. There’s a great website called Honeyfund that we’ve used as our wedding gift registry.
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Simone and Charlton’s ULTRA honeymoon
Where did you go on honeymoon? All we can say is ULTRA 2016! The BEST two day camping/music/dance festival/honeymoon experience ever!
Did you plan together? We planned ahead, gathered our bridal party, friends and had a blast!
Any honeymoon advice for newlyweds? A tip for any honeymoon planned, save up separately from the gifting cash and wedding, and have a honeymoon fund with an amount set on what exactly you plan to do. Let’s use ULTRA as an example, we bought tickets for the festival and for camping, fuel to and from the venue OR Uber, food and drink for two days and ULTRA merchandise (t-shirt/caps/etc).
Candy and Emile’s Western Cape honeymoon
Where did you go on honeymoon? We kept it local and went to Knysna, Wilderness and Tsitsikama.
Was your honeymoon a surprise? Emile and I planned our honeymoon together.
Any tips for couples wanting a Western Cape honeymoon? We used Honeymoon Solutions to organise accommodation and things to do while on honeymoon. We chose this like bungy jumping and sunset cruises. We let guests at our wedding know what we wanted to do while on honeymoon and they could gift us those events as wedding gifts if they wanted.
Megan and Paul’s Mountain Lodge honeymoon
Where did you go on honeymoon? Kol Kol mountain lodge. Nothing beats a log cabin in the mountains.
Was the honeymoon a surprise? [bride] It was all a surprise to me!
Any honeymoon advice for newlyweds? Take lots of wine.
megan and paul
Paige and Luke’s Kwazulu-Natal honeymoon
Where did you go on honeymoon? Leopard Walk Lodge, Hluhluwe Kwazulu-Natal.
Did you plan together? 90% of the planning was done by me, I did get Paige’s approval before booking. I thought it best that we both agreed on what type of Honeymoon we wanted.
Any tips for newlyweds exploring Kwazulu-Natal? 
1. If you are hiring a car, and your Honeymoon takes you off-road, do not worry about hiring a 4X4. It is a well known fact that cheap rentals are the best off-road vehicles. You drive without concerns.
2. Do pack for all eventualities and perhaps pay for that extra luggage space for the plane as it is inevitable that you will be bringing back more than you had brought on holiday.
3. Do ensure that you have medicine with you. After the stress of the wedding, I relaxed completely on Honeymoon and ended up getting terribly ill in the last couple days. I took enough Meds to keep me Human though.
4. Do find out where you should not go, and make an effort to mark out reference points like petrol stations so that you do not get lost. We did a lot of driving to and from Leopard Walk Lodge through incredibly rural areas, nearly running out of gas on one occasion.
5. Make an effort to learn some of the local language. The locals think it is hilarious and appreciate it.

Why Every Bride Should Attend A Bridal Fair

Bridal fairs and wedding expos can be scary and overwhelming, but there are a few important reasons why engaged couples should make an effort to attend at least one bridal fair. I have listed a few.

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You might win something

I have listed this first because this is the reason I attend bridal fairs. I’m married now, but I always get excited at the prospect of winning something. Most exhibitors will run private competitions at their stall and it is usually as simple as leaving your name and email address and your name will be put into a draw to win something. Free photography at your wedding, a discount on your wedding cake, a photo booth, a discount on your day of wedding co-ordinator needs, etc.

You will be inspired

One thing is for sure, if you find yourself in a room full of wedding vendors, you will feel inspired. It’s pretty much a real life version of Pinterest! Each vendor has a unique style and way of incorporating modern trends and classic ideas.

You will be up to date on the latest wedding trends

One thing that Pinterest hasn’t always achieved, is ditching last year’s trends and replacing them with something new. Some pins are repinned so many times we forget that the original idea is actually two years old. If you are keen to have a modern wedding that is inspired by only the latest trends, your local wedding vendors will have what you are looking for!

You might find things you didn’t know you would want

Most brides have a detailed list of things they want to incorporate into their wedding, but attending a bridal fair or wedding expo will open your eyes to things you didn’t realise you would want. Some may think this is a great way to blow a wedding budget, but you may be surprised at what you will find. For some it is the general style of the wedding that they end up changing, or purchasing a couples’ massage, or adding a small touch that hadn’t been thought of.

You will get great discounts

Most bridal expos offer their exhibitors the opportunity to provide new clients with a significant discount. These discounts usually range between 15 and 30% off their usual fee and they are only valid when booking the vendor at the bridal fair. This is a great way to save money by booking your vendors at an expo!

You can chat to your vendors face to face

Most brides and grooms have day jobs and activities that cause them to be incredibly busy. This means that organising meetings with each wedding vendor can become a hassle. Attending a wedding expo means that you get to meet with potential wedding vendors face to face and get a sense of their personality, style and what they could contribute to your wedding. Essentially, you could meet with all your wedding vendors under one roof in the space of an hour or two.

You can enjoy free samples

If you don’t end up booking any vendors, winning anything or feeling inspired (that is unlikely), at the very least, you can enjoy the free samples that you will find at most exhibitors’ stalls. Sweet treats, massages, a glass of bubbly, and of course, the free fashion show and live music!

The FAB Bridal Expo

Cape Town brides, get to the FAB Bridal Expo in on 7 and 8 May! The expo will be at the Market Hall at Grandwest between 9:00 and 16:00 on both days and tickets cost just R70 per person (this includes viewing of the fashion shows, live music, and entertainment, exhibitor competitions and demonstrations , win-4-your wedding lucky draws after each fashion show, and over 100 exhibitors to view). Tickets can be purchased at the entrance to the expo. For more details take a look right here.

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.

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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?

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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.

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