Category Archives: wedding

Tips and tricks for pulling off DIY elements for your wedding

Tips and tricks for pulling off DIY elements for your wedding

By Roya

For your wedding, you may be thinking that you want to create some of the elements yourself. DIY is great for couples who are creative, who want to put their own spin on their wedding décor, or who simply want to save a bit of cash.

Some of us are DIY experts. While the rest of us have never even been into a craft store and have no idea where to start. It’s okay. Whatever level you’re at you can pull off some DIY elements for your wedding.

You might be throwing yourself completely in to the DIY elements or be just doing a few things so as not to overwhelm yourselves. Either way, we’ve got some tips and tricks to help you succeed.
Play to your strengths

While DIY can be great for weddings, it’s not so great if you don’t have the skills to back up the project you’re conquering. Some people think that they’ll save money doing their own DIY elements even if they have to teach themselves a skill along the way. This can certainly work for some, but for most people it can just be a big mess.

For example, say you want to bake your own cake and decorate it too. It’s a cake, it can’t be that hard, right? Well, it actually is that hard. That’s why there are professionals who do it for a living. If you’re not someone who cooks often and when you do, often burns things to a crisp, then baking your own cake may not be the best DIY project for your wedding. In this instance, you’ll likely end up wasting time and money trying to get it right when if you had known that your strengths were in sewing and cooking, then you might have been sewing up a storm rather than setting fire to your kitchen. See what we mean?

When it comes to DIY, pulling it off successfully will come down to what skills you can bring to the party. If you’re good with your hands, then you might be great at decorating your wedding cake and end up discovering a new hobby. Or if you’re good at art, then you might end up dominating at designing your wedding invites.

If you think of all the DIY elements at your wedding in a realistic way, you likely won’t fall into any traps. You may want the challenge of covering a three-tier cake with fondant, or you might decide that it isn’t worth the time, sweat and tears and instead focus on elements you know you can do well. Doing this will save you time and money down the track. After all, imagine the costs of a last-minute wedding cake after you burnt the first one or last-minute invites after you realised that you’re not very creative. Outsourcing for things you can’t do is smarter than trying to do everything.
Don’t become a social media horror story

We all know the ‘nailed it’ sections of popular social media. This is where we see people attempting to recreate something they’ve seen on social media and it’s an epic fail, yet they think they’ve ‘nailed it’. This kind of thing is funny to laugh at when it’s not happening to you, but when it is it can be so super embarrassing. No one wants their wedding day to be seen as some kind of joke because you make some poor DIY decisions.

The ways to avoid this are simple. Firstly, don’t attempt things you know you’re unable to do. Unless you’re someone that can easily learn new skills, it’s better to leave the stuff that’s out of your league to either the professionals or to simply buy it in.
In order to do DIY successfully, you need to be honest with yourself about your skill level. For example, you might be good at sewing. You may have made a few dresses or pillow cases. But can you really tackle making your bridesmaids’ dresses? Be honest to avoid disaster.

If you’re going to give something a go but you’re a bit inexperienced, say for example baking your wedding cake or desserts, then practice beforehand. If you’re launching into something where you lack the experience, then you really need to practice because we’re telling you now, there’s no way you can pull off something remotely professional the night before.

Avoid being the next ‘nailed it’ sensation by tackling projects you can actually do or practicing until you actually have nailed it for real.
Create a vision board

An easy way to keep on track with your projects and your theme is to create a vision board. This will allow you to maintain your focus on your inspiration for your wedding DIY. It also helps if you’ve got a few whacky ideas and you’re not sure if they’ll fit in with the rest of your wedding. If they clash on the vision board, then they’ll clash in real life too. So it makes them easy to cut out.

Having a vision board will also stop you from letting your ideas get out of hand. You may have a lot of ideas for your wedding. You might actually have too many, so a vision board will help you see what is necessary and what is too much. It will help you see when you’re going overboard and when you’re pulling focus from other more important elements. Plus, it’s perfect for getting an overview on budget and time constraints which are obviously very important when it comes to your wedding planning.
Don’t copy, create a new version

Scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest in the lead up to your wedding is definitely going to be something that you do. This is all well and good; you always need a bit of inspiration as a jumping off point. The problem lots of people have is when they end up just copying the original thing they were inspired by instead of making it their own.

Say for example, you see a beautiful bouquet of flowers on Instagram that you want to recreate for your own bouquet. Copying it exactly will result in something beautiful, but you have to ask yourself if those exact flowers in those exact colours are completely you. If you always thought you’d have tulips, but the bouquet is a bunch of roses, step back and consider what you like about it. Is it the colour? The way it’s sitting together? The binding? The shape? It might not be the entire bouquet that you’re in love with but one of these elements instead.

It’s your wedding day so you need to put your own stamp on the little elements. Let your imagination wander with this stuff and arrive at a place that you know reflects who you are. Take something you see and put your own twist on it to turn it into a representation of you.
Browse, research, then buy

Okay, this is a big one. When it comes to doing DIY elements of your wedding, you’re going to be looking online and in stores for the things that you need. The problem with going shopping in either environment is that you’re bound to get distracted and pulled in lots of different directions. It is far too easy to get caught up in a sale only to realise you never wanted anything in that sale to begin with. It’s important to slow it down and think about exactly what you want before you launch in with purchases.

Far too many couples get excited by the prospect of spending money for their wedding. They spend money buying elements that they don’t need. Things that may not even go with the rest of their wedding. For example, you might buy 100 glasses bottles for your wedding favours only to realise later that perhaps those bottles don’t go with their theme as well as glass jars would. That purchase is now redundant.

All the money that you spend for your wedding is important. So you need to treat it that way. If you’re dead keen on those bottles, then sit on that decision for a week. Give yourself a bit of thinking and breathing time before you go ahead with that purchase. If it’s still seeming like a great idea in a week, then buy them. If it’s not, then move on.

Another super important thing to do here is to talk things over with your partner. Spending big chunks of money should be something that you decide on together. And if they’re thinking that waiting is the best option, then do that and come back at it later.

So, now that you’re not getting carried away anymore, what you need to do is make yourself a list. Plan exactly what you want to get and then go browsing. Don’t browse before you know what you want or you’ll end up wasting time and getting distracted. Have a plan and then shop around for the best deals online. You can find some great bargains particularly in online shops. Plus, it’ll save you time than shopping in physical stores will.
Make it fun

Okay, so you absolutely do not want your wedding planning to be a drag. So don’t let it become that. If you’re planning on tackling some DIY projects, make it a fun and exciting experience. Invite your friends over to help you create flower crowns or have a movie marathon while you make your wedding favours. You can really make this fun if you don’t let the stress get to you.

Remember that DIY elements are time consuming. You don’t want to commit to them if you don’t have the time or the relaxed nature to handle the project. So consider this before you decide that DIY is for you.
Give yourself time

As you can imagine, DIY elements take a long time to prepare. These aren’t things that can be whipped up quickly especially if you’re learning as you go. If the things you’re working on have fiddly or time consuming elements, then it’s worth starting the projects early. This way you won’t be stressing about the time frame because you’ve given yourself more than enough time to complete the projects.

This is another way that your vision board can come in handy. If you start early, then you’ll easily be able to have a sample of what you’re making pinned to your vision board. This will keep you inspired to keep on track in getting this element finished early.

Remember that if you leave everything to the last minute, you’ll end up creating a negative vibe around this and probably other DIY projects for your wedding. You definitely don’t want that as it’ll lead to unnecessary stress. Starting early, staying organised and managing your time well is essential for pulling off a DIY wedding.
Be prepared to scrap something if it doesn’t work out

So we’ve mentioned that you need to be honest with yourself about your skills. You can always attempt something and then find out later that that kind of DIY isn’t for you. If you’re at this stage and you’re not sure where to go next, consider scrapping the idea.

This may sound extreme, but hear us out. Sometimes things just don’t work out. You might have had some elaborate origami-esque ideas for your wedding invitations. But as hard as you tried, they just haven’t worked out. Don’t be afraid to scrap the idea entirely in favour of something more achievable. Simple done well is better than complicated done poorly. If it’s not right, then don’t force it because you’ll end up wasting your time and money and potentially could up right where you started. it’s really not working, then accept the defeat and come up with a new way to tackle your invitations or you wedding favours.

Everything you need to know about kitchen tea gifts

Everything you need to know about kitchen tea gifts

By Roya

A kitchen tea is one of those parties that are becoming more popular within the UK. We’re now seeing many brides having first an engagement party, then a kitchen tea and then a hen’s night to finish it all off. The kitchen tea is the perfect wholesome celebration where all the bride’s closest friends and family attend and shower the bride with gifts. If you’re attending a kitchen tea soon and you’re a bit confused as to what gift to give, don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

Kitchen teas are kind of difficult to buy for because you’re already getting the bride and groom a wedding gift, spending money on going out for the hen’s and probably a new outfit and potentially accommodation for the actual wedding. The spending never seems to end when a close friend is getting married. We’re here to guide you through the whole process.
How do I know what to buy?

Traditionally, a kitchen tea was a way for the bride’s friends to help her set up her new marital kitchen. That ideas seems pretty outdated these days now that both men and women seem to cook and clean equally. So what does this mean for kitchen teas? Well, essentially, unless the bride is mad on cooking or baking, we’d say that the gift giving can be anything you choose that you think the bride will like.

A few different things might happen when you’re invited to a kitchen tea. Firstly, the maid of honour might have a list of items that the bride is keen for, like a mini registry. She might distribute this list and everyone picks what they’re going to buy from it. This way is super easy for gift-buying but not all kitchen teas will be this way.

Another thing that could occur is that you can just buy something from the wedding registry that you think the bride will like, then tick it off and hey presto, you’ve bought something that you know the bride is after. There’s an issue with this one though.

So I went to a kitchen tea a few years ago for a good friend. I used her wedding registry to buy her some beautiful linen tea towels and some baking spoons and spatulas that she said she wanted. The problem with this gift was that everyone else, literally everyone had bought her tea towels but not checked them off the registry like I had. So she ended up with probably 50 tea towels and she was not happy about it.

The moral of this story? Don’t buy tea towels. If you’re basing your purchase off the registry then go for something that isn’t so generic as tea towels, even if they’re listed.
What should I spend on a kitchen tea gift?

As we’ve already established, if you’re a good friend of the bride, there are going to be a number of events you’re going to need to attend for this wedding, including the big day itself.

A way to not spend more than what you can afford is to put a cap on each gift or thing you feel you need to buy. If you’re attending all the events prior to the wedding, you might want to refrain on spending too much at each. However, if there is only one event prior to the wedding, like a kitchen tea but no hen’s, then a bigger gift for the kitchen tea is fine too. Just as long as you can afford it.

For a wedding gift you might want to spend around £100. Yet for a kitchen tea gift, you should be spending much less. We think around £20 would be an appropriate amount.

If you can’t find anything good for that price, consider asking the other girls invited to the kitchen tea if they’d go in on a bigger gift with you. This way you can pool your money and get something big, perhaps something that was on the wedding registry like say, a waffle maker or coffee machine.
What are some original kitchen tea gift ideas?

Before we launch into gift ideas, we need to establish what kind of kitchen tea you’re attending. Do you know if the bride is trying to stock her kitchen? You’ll know this if her and spouse-to-be either live together or don’t. Couples who already live together don’t tend to need generic kitchen items like tea towels, sets of mugs or plates as they’ve likely already bought that stuff out of necessity. If the bride and groom have yet to live together, then buying kitchen-related items is perfect.
Consider the following gift ideas:

A high quality apron that has a print of something she loves on it or is in her favourite colour.
Fridge magnets – these may seem a bit bland, but it’s one of those things people always forget to pick up and you can buy some really cute ones these days.
Oven mitts or gloves – these always come in handy and you can get them in some really cute prints and patterns;
Sauces or spices – if the bride-to-be is big on cooking, get her a gift set of some unique spices, sauces or other condiments.
A cookbook – cookbooks are always a great option, but try to get something you know they don’t have, and one you know they’d be interested in. Say they always talk about making their own pasta, get them an Italian pasta making book.
Bread making kit – if you know the bride to be is mad on bread-making, consider picking up some bread stuff and making your own hamper. This could include a banneton/ proving basket or two, a scoring knife, a bread cookbook and some organic flours.
A bespoke cake-stand or chopping boards – don’t go generic with these, try to find a woodworker at your local farmer’s market who has these items for a more personal touch.

For an additional gift for the bride, consider getting all the guests to write down their favourite recipe. You can then have them compiled into her own personal cook book.

Bridal shower dilemmas and solutions

Bridal shower dilemmas and solutions

By Roya

If you’re a bride in the making or know a bride-to-be who has been not-so-subtly hinting that they’re hoping for a bridal shower, then you’re in the right place. Bridal showers can be a beautiful way to bring friends together to celebrate the bride’s upcoming nuptials. However, there are some small, some bigger dilemmas that could prevent the friends of a bride-to-be hosting or throwing a bridal shower. Here are some common dilemmas and our tips on getting through them so you or your friend can have the best bridal shower ever.
The bride has moved away; can we still have a bridal shower?

If you’re a friend of the bride or you’re in the bridal party, then you may be thinking about throwing said bride a bridal shower. However, what are you supposed to do if the bride no longer lives near you or near any of her other friends? This is a pretty common dilemma that many people face when it comes to bridal showers, so trust us, you’re not alone.

These days, it’s pretty normal for people to move away from where they grew up. So whether the bride is living very far away or only a few hours away, you obviously want her at the bridal shower as it’s hardly a bridal shower without the bride.

What you need to do is either organise for the bride to come back to where you all live, or for you to organise a bridal shower where she lives. This may seem like a hassle for either party, but let’s think about this. If you live in the town the bride grew up in, then she’ll probably love coming home for a visit. Or if you decide to go to her and she lives in a big city like London, think of all the fun and excitement you could have! You could try to organise the shower so it lines up with the timing of the wedding too. This way you or the bride won’t need to do any excessive travel.
Can we arrange a shower for a small destination wedding?

Hosting a shower for a destination wedding is a tricky one, and it’ll all depend on how you feel about the situation. These days many couples are now choosing to marry overseas or have more intimate weddings where only a select few are invited.

If your bestie and bride-to-be is marrying elsewhere and half of your friend group can’t attend, or strictly family are invited, then consider hosting a bridal shower before she jets off. Lots of people might see this as a sneaky way for the bride to get more presents, but it’s actually just a nice way for the bride to see everyone before she goes. This all depends on how you’re feeling about it though. So if you’re not invited to the wedding and none of your friends are, then you all might be feeling a tad strange about hosting or attending this kind of party.

Brides if you’re reading this, hosting your own bridal shower or similar might make it up to your friends who can’t attend your wedding. If you organise a fab party and foot the bill, plus specify that no gifts are to be given, then it’s a beautiful way to let your friends know you still love them even if they’re not coming to your wedding.
Who pays for the bridal shower?

This one depends on who is the host. If the bridesmaids are hosting, then they’ll likely be footing the bill. However, sometimes brides host their own bridal showers like they might host an engagement party. In this case, the bride or her family would be pay for the bridal shower.

Sometimes you might come into sticky situations though. Like if you’re the Maid of Honour and the mother of the bride wants a lot of family to attend that you weren’t expecting, then it would be fair to ask her to contribute a bit financially if you can’t afford the extra guests.
Should the bride have a shower if she’s already been married?

This all comes down the bride. Some ladies get married really young and regret their first marriage. So when it comes to marrying again, they want to ‘do it right’. If the bride in question is someone who feels this way, then giving her a bridal shower is a beautiful gesture that shows her that you think she deserves to be pampered.

Some brides who have been married already might have had an elaborate bridal shower and then want a second one for their upcoming wedding too. There aren’t any issues with this unless you’re the one hosting and you can’t afford it. If she or her family are hosting, then there’s no problems.

If the bride is looking for a more understated wedding and wants every celebration before the big day to be quiet, then perhaps a small gathering where you go out for a nice meal is more appropriate than a big bridal shower. If in doubt, ask the bride what she wants and be open and honest with her if you have any concerns or budgetary restraints.
Can a family member host the bridal shower?

Back in the day, it wasn’t common for a bride’s mother or family to host the bridal shower as it seemed like they were just out for the gifts. We think this idea is pretty outdated as there’s no requirement for gifts at bridal showers, and some brides don’t even want them. I mean, who wants a million tea towels or measuring spoons when they’ve been living with their partner for many years and own this stuff already? The answer is: no one.

These days, if the bride is closer with her mum or finds that their bridesmaids or Maid of Honour aren’t living particularly close by, asking their mum to host is perfectly acceptable. You can also ask your sister or a close cousin or aunt to host if you have more of a kinship with them.

New wedding trend: the delightful bouncy castle

New wedding trend: the delightful bouncy castle

By Roya

Okay, so do you remember when you were a kid and the most exciting thing ever at carnivals, fairs or birthday parties was a bouncy castle? We all remember those carefree days when all we had to think about was jumping and having fun. They were great times. But don’t be sad. You can have them again because the bouncy castle wedding trend is officially in.

The idea of having a bouncy castle at your wedding may seem a little outrageous to you, but don’t write it off. It could be the thing you end up loving most about your wedding (other than the actual marriage bit, of course). Here are the pros and cons of having a bouncy castle at your wedding.

Pros:
It’s perfect for entertainment

If you’re having a wedding with lots of children, then the bouncy castle is ideal for entertaining those little critters. This is great if you want kids to be entertained safely and for them to have their own area to play in.

But the bouncy castle isn’t just for children. Adults also love to jump on one of these inflatable castles so even if your wedding is child-free, the adults at your wedding will have a great time playing on one of these.

The bouncy castle is particularly great entertainment if you’re planning on ditching the wedding for an hour or two to go get your wedding photos taken. Your guests won’t even know you’re gone.

It’s ideal for daytime weddings or wedfests

If you’re planning on having a beautiful daytime wedding or a luxurious wedfest as your celebration, then the bouncy castle really is the perfect addition. Booking the castle for the whole day or for the entire wedfest is a great way to keep people entertained and add a unique and fun element to your wedding.

It fits in perfectly with a carnival theme

Like the bouncy castle, the carnival theme for weddings is definitely in. To take your carnival theme to the next level, add a bouncy castle to the mix. You can have other entertainment like a magician or clown for the kids at the party, food trucks and lots of bunting and fairy lights to really make the whole theme pop.

Your guests will love the fun nature of your wedding and have the best time both celebrating you and enjoying your fabulous theme.

It’s perfect for a photo prop or backdrop

Recently, on Easy Weddings we posted about modern back drops for weddings that are currently in fashion. We’re officially adding a new backdrop option to the list: the bouncy castle.

Instead of doing one big group shot where you and your guests all say ‘cheese’ imagine you all doing something radically different. Instead of this very typical kind of group photo that is seen in most wedding albums, have all of your guests board the jumping castle. You can be photographed jumping for joy as a group and it’ll look supremely amazing. This will be hugely fun as well as being photogenic and unique.

If your particular bouncy castle can’t hold all of your guests, then consider having some people on the castle for photos like the bridal party and having the remaining guests around the castle. Or just use its pillowy shape as your backdrop and every photo featuring it will look exciting, interesting and so completely fun.
Cons:
It’s not great for very formal weddings

So if you’re having a wedding where the guests are going to be very dressed up, a bouncy castle is going to seem out of place. These are meant to be fun and joyful and no one will be feeling this way if they’ve spent 2 hours getting ready only to be jumping around and ruining their hair and makeup.

What we’d suggest if you really want the bouncy castle to work is to tell your guests beforehand that your wedding has a certain theme, like a carnival theme and that the dress code is smart casual instead of formal. You don’t have to tell them you’re having a bouncy castle if you want it to be a surprise, however, your little hints on the invites will be enough to let them know something interesting might be happening.

It doesn’t work if the weather is bad

Okay, so unfortunately in the UK we don’t have the most reliable weather. In fact, it’s extremely unreliable. One minute it’s sunny, the next it can be raining. So, obviously this makes things difficult if you’ve got your heart set on a bouncy castle.

As you may know, bouncy castles don’t tend to be set up inside and even if they were able to, your venue would likely not approve this. As this is a piece of outdoor entertainment, if the UK weather is bad, then you won’t be able to have your castle.

If you can’t bear not having a bouncy castle at your wedding, then our advice would be to have your wedding in summer or spring where the weather is more reliable.

Adults and children play on these very differently

Okay, so you may or may not have noticed that adults and children can play on bouncy castles very differently. Adults on these castles can go a little wild and end up bashing into each other and causing a big raucous. This is all well and good as long as there are no children on the bouncy castle at the time. Our advice here would be to have the adults and children go on separately to avoid any collisions.
There is a chance of injury

Following on from the above, there is a chance of injury on a bouncy castle. People can get squashed or fall awkwardly which can cause sprains, strains or fractures. It’s good to be fully aware that these things could happen if you have a bouncy castle at your wedding.

Hen’s nights vs bridal showers: what’s the difference?

Hen’s nights vs bridal showers: what’s the difference?

By Roya

Both the hen’s night and the bridal shower can play a big role in the rollercoaster ride that is getting married. These two celebrations may seem similar, however they’re actually vastly different.

Hen’s nights are known for being a bit wild. They often involve lots of alcohol, nudity and just general debauchery or mischief. The bridal shower is a tamer party that tends to be multi-generational and quite sophisticated. These two celebrations couldn’t be more different in nature, however at the core, they’re the same. Both are there to celebrate the bride-to-be.

Many brides find themselves wondering if both parties are needed. Here are our thoughts on the matter.

The traditional hen’s night is definitely an acquired taste that not everyone is going to enjoy. Hen’s nights tend to involve the bride-to-be gathering all of her bridal party and other close friends for a night out. This night out tends to be filled with excessive drinking, dancing, penis paraphernalia, brightly coloured sashes stating whether you’re the ‘bride-to-be’, ‘bridesmaid’ or ‘maid of honour’, and probably some male nudity in the form of a stripper.

This kind of loud and raucous evening is all in good fun. It’s definitely a way to be yanked out of your comfort zone if you’re someone who is quite shy or introverted. If you’re a bride in this situation and you happen to have very outgoing and cheeky mates, then you may end up on this exact night out.

These parties are all well and good, however, many women don’t think this kind of party is for them. If this is you, this may be an indicator for you to plan your own hen’s with a more subdued schedule, or to instead decide on having just a bridal shower.
Bridal showers

Out of the two, bridal showers tend to be on the more sophisticated side. The point of a bridal shower is to have a fun and relaxing day with your female friends and family. Plus, it’s called a shower because the idea is that the bride gets ‘showered’ with gifts.

The bridal shower is a great option for those ladies who aren’t looking to walk on the wild side and simply want to have a fun-filled afternoon with their nearest and dearest. The bridal shower is great if the bride wants to thank her bridal party and anyone else close to her, for being so helpful in the lead up to the wedding. Gifting doesn’t just happen to the bride either, she can also choose to gift something to those who’ve been really helpful like said bridal party or even her mum.

Activities at a bridal shower would be things like high tea, spa treatments or a classy party held at the bride’s house with lots of food, wine and good conversation. Anything goes for a bridal shower as long as the bride is having a good time and everyone can attend, like the bride’s grandmother and have a perfectly respectable time.

The verdict

You may have read through this and think that just one of these parties would be enough and you’d be right. No one needs to parties. The only issue with only have one of these parties is that you don’t get all the benefits.

If you skip the bridal shower, then you won’t be showered with gifts and your young family, parents or grandparents won’t be there to celebrate at your hen’s. If you skip the hen’s and opt for just the bridal shower, you might regret not letting your hair down and having a carefree fun night with your girls.

For lots of brides, both the bridal shower and the hen’s party sound like amazing activities. For others, only one will suit them. We think that if you like the sound of both, then have both, because who doesn’t want multiple parties dedicated to them? If you still haven’t found the right thing, stick around for our alternatives!
Alternatives

So lots of brides are uncertain about whether to have a hen’s night, a bridal shower or both. The rule is, that there are no rules. It’s your wedding so you can literally have as many parties as you like, or none at all. If you’ve read the above and think that maybe we still have found the right party type, then don’t worry, we’ve got more up our sleeves.

Swap tequila shots for whisky or wine – instead of getting wild at a dance club which may be very far from your scene, consider a wine or whisky tasting. Anyone who’s been to either of these knows how fun it can be without there being anything crazy or too wild at all.
Opt out of the elegant soiree and do a class – for brides who find themselves bored when they’re not doing something with their hands, consider a taking class with your bridal shower guests instead of simply gabbing over prosecco. You can take a flower crown making class, a cooking class, a pottery class or even a life drawing class. None of this has to be saucy or silly, but can be a beautiful bonding experience where you’re guaranteed to have a lot of fun.
Don’t go out, stay in – if you’re planning on marrying in this nice warm weather we’re having at the moment, then you may want to consider keeping the party at home. You can throw a backyard barbecue with your nearest and dearest. This option is great because people of all ages can attend, it’s chilled, relaxed and later into the evening, you can crank up the tunes and have a dance floor set up for busting moves. Or if this isn’t your style, invite everyone over to have a movie night where you watch all of your favourite movies with excessive junk food.

Get out of town – for those wanderlusters, getting out of town with your mates is a great option for a hen’s or bridal shower alternative. Go on a mini break nearby or jet over to Europe for a bigger adventure.

10 ways to avoid wedding music disasters

10 ways to avoid wedding music disasters

By Roya

When your wedding day is in sight, you of course are beginning to think about the wedding soundtrack. The soundtrack at your wedding can greatly define the mood and the vibe of the day. Choosing the right songs will result in you remembering your wedding day fondly for years to come. Choosing the wrong wedding songs will result in a whole lot of cringing whenever you think about the hip hop track that you got down to as your first dance. Don’t fret, we’re here to help. Here are our top 10 ways to avoid music disasters at your wedding.

Don’t choose your entertainment based solely on price

While it might be tempting to save a bit of money when you’re booking your music entertainment for your wedding, don’t fall into this trap. A band, a DJ or a string quartet will be cheap for one of two reasons. One: they’re just starting out as wedding performers and need the experience. Or two: they aren’t very good and are going to provide a bad service.

You can get lucky finding people in the former category who are actually excellent but inexperienced, but this is rare and usually happens if you happen to know one of the band members or they’re friends of friends.

So it’s much more likely you’ll end up with the latter. To still get a good price on your music, try to compromise. Get a smaller band or a one man DJ. Going smaller will mean less cost for a good performer.

Have realistic expectations

If you hire a live band, don’t expect them to play all of your favourite songs exactly like the way the original sounds. If you want the original, then play the originals using an iPod or CDs. A live band are very likely put their own spin on the song, so make sure that’s what you want before you sign up.

Have music playing in between set

If you opt for a live band, they’re going to need to take a few breaks at some point during the day and night. When the band is away during these breaks, make sure you’re prepared by having music ready to play. Entertainers usually bring their own, but it’s your wedding so have your own input here too.

Book your entertainment early

Music is one of those things that many couples leave to the last minute. The problem with this is that lots of bands book up quickly. Consider booking your band or DJ as soon as you’ve booked your wedding venue. You don’t want to miss out on your favourite.
Hire the right band for your venue

We’ve all been in a restaurant where the band is far too loud and ruining the ambience of the small-sized venue. You don’t want this to happen at your wedding now, do you?

The venue is very important to consider when it comes to your wedding day music. Consider the space and where the band will fit, but also consider the style of music. Will it go with the venue’s style? Will it be too loud for the space? Will it be loud enough for the space? Consider all of this before you book.

Trust your band’s instinct

Some couples want to have complete control of their band. They want to pick all of the songs that get played and make sure they’re getting exactly what they want. An element of this is fine. Obviously, you want them to play your favourite song for your first dance and maybe a few other classics, but don’t be too controlling. They know what they are good at playing and they’re in this industry for a reason. They know what people like to dance to. Trust their instincts.

Make sure they do a great job of your first dance song

When you hire your wedding band, make sure they can cover your favourite song for your first dance well. You don’t want to be standing around waiting for the song to start only to realise that the singer doesn’t know the words properly or they don’t have all the instruments to do it justice.

Give you band or DJ a run sheet for the day

It’s important that your band or DJ are given a run sheet for the day. This will help them know when things are happening. It’s also very useful if you want them to play particular songs at different points of the night. You’ll obviously have a first dance song, so they’ll need to know when is good to play it, but you may also have a few other tracks that you want sandwiched in at the right times. You might be having a father daughter dance, or you want a big dance number to be played when the guests have finished eating. Consider all of this when you give you band the schedule.

Make sure you sign your band or DJ for the whole day, not for a fixed amount of hours

Many photographers and many bands do weddings at fixed times. They might have an 8-hour time limit that they stick to and then they simply pack up and leave. If you want your band or DJ to play for your entire wedding, then make sure they take all day bookings. If your favourite band doesn’t do this, then hire one for a set number of hours and have an option ready for when they leave.

Make sure the band or venue has the music equipment needed

Many couples have been very upset to realise that when their wedding band arrived at their wedding, that they didn’t have the correct speakers, a PA system or even microphones. In this space there’s a lot of assuming from all parties. Bands assume the venue will have this stuff, venues vice versa, and you don’t realise this is even a thing until it’s an issue on the day. Ask your band if they have everything needed, if they don’t then make sure your venue does.

8 quirky wedding themes that actually happened

8 quirky wedding themes that actually happened

By Roya

If you’re a bit bored of the standard wedding themes, it might be time to kick things up a notch. You might not be a normal wedding theme kind of person. You might not enjoy rustic table settings and chic lighting options. You might want something bold, quirky and completely outrageous. If this sounds like you, then stick around for some serious wedding theme inspiration.

A Star Wars Wedding

Star Wars is one of those things that you either love or hate. If you happen to love it, then why not do what one real life couple did and have this science fiction movie franchise become the theme of your wedding. You can tell your guests to dress up as characters from the movie, although ban gold bikinis unless you want everyone to both freeze and steal all of the attention from you. You can have a themed cake. You could even have a Star Wars themed photo booth to really embrace this theme.

A Japanese Zoo Wedding

You’ve heard of Japanese inspired weddings and you’ve heard of weddings taking place at the zoo, but how does both sound to you? One real life couple combined their love of Japanese food and a particular Japanese garden that happened to be at a zoo. While you don’t need to embrace this quirky combination completely, you can have two seemingly opposing themes and blend them together for something new and amazing.

A Woodland Wedding

Lots of people these days have rustic weddings, which you might say could essentially be the same as a woodland wedding. But you’d be wrong. A woodland wedding is about creating an environment. It’s about creating magic in a forest so it feels like mythical creatures live in the space you’ve set up. It’s less about creating a natural looking wedding and more about creating an entire world that you and your guests can escape to. One real life couple set up lanterns, had a dessert table that looked like it was prepared by fairies and frolicked through the forest for their woodland wedding.

A Disney Wedding

We all love Disney. And many of us wish our partners could get on board for a majestic Disney themed wedding. If your partner is more adventurous than my own, then do like one real life couple and opt for this theme. Wear brightly coloured glittery princess style shoes, play your favourite Disney tunes for your soundtrack and have a Cinderella castle wedding cake.

An Art Gallery Great Gatsby

For one real life couple, combining a Great Gatsby theme with a beautiful art gallery seemed like an obvious match. If this sounds like your thing, find a grand room or museum for your wedding venue and have your wedding become an elaborate party with way too much dancing, the perfect amount of jazz and not nearly enough champagne.

A Mythical Forest Wedding

If you’re thinking, how can a mythical forest wedding be more elaborate than the woodland wedding? Well, we thought the same thing. But trust us, it can get even more intense. One real life couple, decorated the forest floor where their reception was located with thousands of flower petals. Their whole theme was based around flowers and so there was blossoms in abundance.

Set up your mythical forest wedding under a grand tree in the middle of a beautiful, forgotten-looking section of forest. Hang rustic hand-held lanterns in the branches of your grand tree and have them peppering the ground too. String fairy lights as well and make your reception feel like it’s a part of the forest.

A Halloween Wedding

Maybe you and your partner are not super romantic or you have dark senses of humour. Or maybe you just really love Halloween, scary movies and all things spooky. If this sounds like you, then a Halloween wedding might be on the cards.

Do like one real life couple and pick a creepy venue, ear a dark-coloured dress and a long veil. Veils are the key to creepiness. Haven’t you seen The Others?

This couple even hired actors to dress as zombies and scare their guests. Have some black and gothic themed cake and keep the lighting nice and low for more scaring opportunities and just have the most fun time.

You could even treat your wedding like an escape room and have those actors make your guests feel like they can’t leave. It’ll be so hilarious. If you’re into that kind of thing. This kind of wedding is perfect if you’re craving something super different and super spooky.

A Dog Theme

Okay, so we don’t mean a complete dog themed wedding here. Like, don’t come dressed up as dogs. We just mean featuring your furry friends at your wedding. One real life couple pulled off a luxurious and glam wedding with their beautiful huskies as the focal point. Apart from them of course.

If you love your dogs and can’t imagine getting married without them, then have them along. You can even add on your invitations for your guests to bring their dogs along if they’re well-trained and well socialised. This will result in a super fun, dog filled day that neither you nor your guests will be able to forget.

For this theme, you can send home dog wedding favours, have a dog shaped cake and plenty of water bowls hanging around if the pups get thirsty. Granted, this theme is not for the faint-hearted. But if your heart happens to be beating for pugs and border collies over elegant table settings and perfectly neat flower arrangements, then ditch the latter and invite all of your dog pals. You only get married once so you might as well enjoy it.

We hope this list has shown that you don’t need to stick to the norm for your wedding. It’s your special day so you can be as fabulously outrageous as you please. Combine themes, mix and match and go all out. You only get married once.

9 mistakes your guests might make and how to handle them

9 mistakes your guests might make and how to handle them

By Roya

When your wedding day rolls around, you’re going to learn that your friends and family are going to do things that go against your plans. Many of these mistakes will be unintentional, others will be intentional for whatever reason. We’re here to help. Guaranteed at least one of the following will happen to you on your wedding day. But there are ways to keep your stress and frustration levels under control. Here’s our advice.

Wedding crashers

Marrying at a large hotel or wedding venue may mean that other events are happening on the same night as yours. This could easily result in the odd wedding crasher. Of course, for some couples the idea of wedding crashers is seriously amusing. Yet, for others who have been saving for a long time for their wedding seeing a total stranger helping themselves to drinks or food can be upsetting. The discreet way to handle this is to confirm with your new spouse if that person is a stranger and if they are then, ask the manager of the venue to escort them out. It doesn’t have to be a big scene.

Not listing food allergies

Most couples provide some kind of food at their wedding, so it can be really inconvenient when your guests don’t share with you their dietary requirements or allergies. This can leave these guests hungry and grumpy. In an attempt to avoid this, have a section on the RSVP card of your invites that asks guests about their requirements and/or allergies.

Broadcasting the wedding on social media

This one is inevitable for all weddings these days. Everyone has a phone with a camera and people love to check into events on Facebook and post hashtags on Instagram. But doing this might make you and your new spouse uncomfortable. This can be for lots of different reasons but one of them would be that you feel guilty about not being able to invite all of the guests you had intended on inviting. If you feel strongly about it then make a note either on your website or your wedding website if you’re having one.

Constant calling

If you’ve got guests travelling to your wedding either because they live far away or because you’re marrying abroad, then you will likely get a few guests who are constantly calling or texting you with questions. They might need advice about where to stay, where is good for food and what to do when they’re not doing wedding things. A good way to avoid this stuff is to prepare in advance. Do your research early and have your suggestions ready before your guests can bombard you. You can either have your research on your wedding website or include it all in your wedding invitations.

Showing up late

We all have those friends, who try as they might, are always a little bit late. This can be hugely inconvenient and annoying on your wedding day especially if they rock up after the ceremony has started. You can try to prevent this by giving everyone the start time and adding on 15-20 minutes to that time for when you make your entrance. This will give extra time to the latecomers. Also have someone near the back to help the late guests find seats quickly for minimal disruption.

Not sending RSVPs

You’d be surprised to hear that many people ignore wedding RSVPs. It’s crazy to think about someone doing this especially as you likely always respond when you’re invited to weddings. Consider having your mobile number and email address listed on the invite instead of card RSVPs. It is so much easier to respond so you’ll likely get a better response rate this way. If you’re still struggling getting a response, then make sure to check in with those that haven’t replied to confirm if they’re coming.

Sending RSVPs, with an uninvited plus one

This is the situation where the guest has replied to their RSVP (hallelujah!) but they’ve decide to add a plus one to their invite. They’ve written on the card that they’ll be bringing a date or their child, etc. This move is seriously uncool as it makes everyone feel awkward. If you’ve been placed into this situation, you’ve got a few options. You can see if your budget and venue can accommodate the uninvited few. Or you can just contact the guest and tell them why they can’t bring someone with them for whatever reason.

RSVPing but not showing up

Is this worse or better than the guests who don’t RSVP at all? We can’t decide. They’re both pretty crummy, to be honest. When people are unexpectedly unable to make a wedding, calling the couple straight away is standard practice. As is sending the gift you bought. If you see that there are some empty seats on the wedding day, have the wedding coordinator at your venue work their magic and rearrange the seating a little, removing seats and letting the caterers know. It’s then up to you how you handle the situation after the wedding with that friend who didn’t show.

Buying a non-registry gift

This one might be one of the most annoying things that can happen on your wedding day. You have the registry so that you don’t end up with the same things. No one needs two toasters or three kettles. You have the registry to avoid this. But people always go rogue. Fair enough if certain guests know you particularly well and want to gift you something more personal that they know you’ll love. But when guests gift something generic and ignore the registry, that can be the most annoying thing ever.

I went to bridal shower once where every single guest, including me, bought the bride a set of tea towels. Except, I bought the three that she requested on her registry early and marked them as bought. Every other lady there in that room of twenty or so, went off-registry and bought what they felt like. The result: way too many tea towels that one human could possibly need in a lifetime.

Drinking too much

We all have been to weddings where someone has had way too much to drink. If this happens at your wedding, monitor the situation and make sure that person doesn’t attempt to drive home. You can even enlist the staff at the venue to help with drunk people watch if you feel like your plate is too full.

Imaginative hens party ideas for the unique bride

Imaginative hens party ideas for the unique bride

By Roya

When your wedding is coming up, you obviously want to celebrate with your friends. You want a day, night or both of celebration and fun with your nearest and dearest. But here’s the thing, you want the celebration to be unique. You want it to speak to your unique sensibilities and so, we’re here to help. Here are our suggestions for some truly fab and imaginative ideas for your upcoming hen party.

When most of us think of hen parties, we probably don’t tend to think about staying in for the night. Yet, you can have a grand hen party just by inviting your pals around and keeping all the fun and celebration indoors. This is particularly good if you’re someone who loves a night in, dislikes loud clubs or restaurants and is down for spending some quality time with the people you care about most. So have the ultimate girl’s night by ordering food, watching some cheesy movies, drinking champagne and chatting and laughing long into the night. You’ll have a great time and so will all of your friends.

Lots of us will marry in our local towns or somewhere nearby. The thing about the place you live though, is that you never seem to explore it as well as you should. This is why a tour is perfect for your hen party. Invite your girls on a whisky tasting tour if you live in Edinburgh. Or go for a walking tour of London and see things you haven’t seen yet. Fall in love with your city all over again and share it with your friends in the lead up to your wedding.

Dancing is fun. There’s no doubt about it. Everyone loves a little dancing, so why not do a dance class for your hen party? For many years doing a pole dancing or belly dancing class were all the rage when it came to hen parties, but if you’re after something a bit more unique (which is why you’re here), then consider doing a hip hop or salsa class with your friends. You’ll have the most fun and if you used to dance as a child, then you may ignite your passion for it once more.

For a long time, heading to a life drawing class with your hens has been a very popular way to pass the time at your hen do. But if this feels little dated to you, then consider another creative outlet. Taking a pottery class is fun and creative, and you’ll be able to keep the things you make, once they’ve been fired of course. Also consider doing a class that will help out with your wedding, such as making candles for your wedding favours or making flower crowns for you and your bridal party to wear at your wedding. Think outside the box and have a fun and creative time.

Like the creative class, consider a cooking one as well. If you’re someone who loves food, then embrace this love and learn how to create dish that you really love to eat. This kind of class works well for those who are good at cooking and those who are new to the art. You could learn to make something that you’ve always wanted to know how to cook, like perfect gnocchi or hand-made pasta. Or if you’re new to cooking, perhaps a basics class where you learn some simple dishes would be the right thing for you. You and your hens will have so much fun with this one.

If you’re a lover of all things vintage, then consider having a bit of a vintage themed hen party. For this, you could do a number of things. So, you could all dress up in your favourite vintage dress and go for high tea somewhere oozing with class and sophistication. To step this up a notch consider hiring the services of a vintage styling company and having you and your hen’s hair and makeup done before you head out for an afternoon of tiny sandwiches and fancy pots of tea.

If you’re thinking that high tea isn’t your thing, make your hen party all about the styling. You can hire a vintage styling company for you all and then have a vintage styled photo shoot to complete the day. Your guests will love being pampered and you will all be able to take home the amazing vintage-themed pics at the end of the day.

If you’re a bit of a travel nut, then why not take a trip with your girls? You can scratch this travel itch a number of ways. You could travel somewhere local and take a mini break. This might be to a luxurious spa, or to a town that you love and want to see again before you get married. Mini breaks in the UK are so much fun because we’re blessed with so many unusual and unique places that you really won’t be short of things to do and places to explore.

If you’re thinking bigger, then why not go overseas? In the UK, again, we’re incredibly lucky to be so close to all the delights that Europe has to offer. You could jump on the Eurostar and go to beautiful Paris for a weekend of delicious food and amazing shopping. Or hop a flight to somewhere warm like Spain or Greece and soak up some much needed sunshine before you say ‘I do’. You could even go somewhere you’ve never been before that has a unique culture and interesting history so that you can have a truly unique hens party and you can your friends will remember the experience forever.

Now that you’ve read this list, we hope you’re inspired to step outside the box and have the imaginative hen party that you deserve. Don’t settle for something ordinary when you’re so unique.

Solutions for every hens party dilemma

Solutions for every hens party dilemma

By Roya

Hen parties should be pretty straight forward. It’s a gathering with your closest friends and tends to involve doing something that you find super fun. It sounds easy enough but it can come with many issues that you might not be predicting. So here are some common dilemmas that many women face when it comes to hen’s parties.
Should the hen’s night be a surprise or planned with the bride?

The surprise hen’s night is a tricky one to manoeuvre. It depends on so many different things. Is the bride likely to want to organise her own party? Is the bride into surprises? Will the bride be upset if she can’t do a particular activity on her hen’s night? There are a lot of questions to ask yourself and many things to figure out.

Ultimately, the surprise factor will come down to the bride. If you’re the maid of honour and you happen to know that the bride loves surprises or is quite spontaneous, then a surprise party may be the way to go.

But if you’re not sure, then plan it together. Or she might even have her own plan too. A bride who is very organised and not very spontaneous will likely want to plan her own party and likely already has ideas.

Realistically, it is unlikely that if you’re the maid of honour, you’ll need to plan a surprise hen’s night. Brides these days tend to know what they want so it would be odd for them to expect you to do everything and them to just sit back and relax. You’ll probably find that as soon as you mention the hen’s night, that the bride will began to tell you what she’s thinking for it. If you’ve got a few ideas too, then there’s nothing stopping you from planning something amazing together.
Should mums be invited?

As with the surprise, inviting mums is going to vary from bride to bride. If you’re planning a very raucous affair and you expect the night to get a little wild, then inviting your mum or future mother-in-law may not feel appropriate. You want to spend the night enjoying yourself and not worrying about whether you’re behaving appropriately. So if you’re planning on letting loose, don’t invite them.

However, if you’re going for a night that’s a little less wild and you happen to be very close with your mum, then of course you’re going to want to invite her. This is all unique to what kind of personality you have and the relationship you share with your mum and your future mother-in-law too.

If you’re the maid of honour planning this for your friend, make sure you consider everything before discounting the idea of inviting the bride’s mum. She may end up feeling really sad if her mum isn’t there, so you really need to confirm whether she would prefer her there or not. You can just ask this; it doesn’t need to be a big deal.

If you think that the night will end up a little on the wild side, consider having something like high tea or a sit down lunch where the mums are invited. This way you can still have your mum along for the celebration, but when things start getting a little crazy, they will be spared seeing you dance and drink too many tequila shots.
Stripper or no stripper?

Tradition dictates that all women should have a stripper at their hen do. This is all well and good if you think this activity will be one that you and your hens will find fun. Lots of women do find this to be very fun. They think a hen’s night isn’t complete without a stripper and so simply must have one.

However, if you’re someone who isn’t into this kind of thing, then definitely don’t feel pressured by your hens to book one. If it’s not you, then don’t force it.

If you’re planning the hen’s night for the bride and you’re unsure about whether she’ll want a stripper or not, then consider what kind of personality she has. If she finds it easy to laugh at situations that may cause others stress or if her favourite movie is Magic Mike, then she definitely would be an ideal candidate for a stripper.

If she’s quite conservative or serious, then perhaps skip the stripper and plan something a bit more wholesome instead.
One night or more?

These days, hen’s nights don’t have to be just single night affairs. They can be entire weekends away where many activities are dedicated to the bride’s upcoming marriage. You have to determine whether the bride-to-be will want a longer hen’s celebration or if they’re a one-night kind of girl.

There are many different factors that should be considered when it comes to the length of the celebration. Firstly, there’s the bride’s personality. If the bride is big on travel, then a weekend away somewhere may be the perfect send-off for her before she gets married. If the bride loves to be pampered, then perhaps a spa weekend may be the best thing for her.

Your bride may also make it clear that she doesn’t want her hen’s night to be too over the top. This of course would mean that you wouldn’t book anything away, you’d do something low key and nearby. You have to make sure the bride will be happy if you’re doing the planning for her. There are many things to consider when you’re looking into what type of party is appropriate.

The other thing to consider is finances. The bride may be inviting a number of people to her hen’s night and would want them all to come. When you plan a lengthier hen’s celebration, inevitably there are going to be certain friends or family that can’t afford to come along. You and the bride will need to consider if you want a one-night party where more friends can come along or a lengthier getaway where only some friends will be able to make it.