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Simon and Zara

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I had the honour of attending the wedding of Simon and Zara, I must admit I was a little excited to go to a wedding, just as a guest. Don’t get me wrong for a second, there is nothing better than what I do, making people married is a huge honour that I take seriously and I do realise how lucky I am to help people do this, but this wedding was the first in about 4 and a half years that I haven’t conducted. This is the first wedding in 4 or more years that I haven’t known what is going to go on, I haven’t known what is going to be said about the couple and the first wedding in a long time that I haven’t been so involved in that I’m a little nervous because I just want it to be so perfect. It was really lovely to sit back and remember what it is like to attend a wedding.

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Simon and Zara were married in the North Fizroy Church of Christ, a really lovely, spacious church. Zara had  4 attendants who were all wearing a lovely latte/gold kind of colour, in 4 separate styles.  Zara looked radiant. Simon had his 3 brothers as his groomsmen, and it was just a really lovely service. I was quite surprised as the minister used the monitum in the service, (the legal words that a celebrant has to use for a wedding to be legal,  you can read a blog about it here) I wasn’t aware that they also had to use the monitum when marring someone  in a church for some reason.

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Simon and Zara had their ceremony and then they had an afternoon tea, before they headed off to their reception.  This is the perfect way I think to have people attend the ceremony part of the wedding and not have all of your guests attend the reception.  I’ve previously blogged about inviting guests to the ceremony only, and how I didn’t really understand how this could work, but Simon and Zara have this worked out perfectly. I didn’t go to the reception, I just went to the ceremony and the afternoon tea, it was a great compromise, as the guests who weren’t going to the reception still got a chance to mingle with the bride and groom and still had a cup of tea and some scones to celebrate.  I felt really thankful to have been able to witness them exchange their vows with one another and to be able to see them become husband and wife, and glad that they did just invite some people to the ceremony and afternoon tea as otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to be a part of this.

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There were a few wonderful stand out moments about Simon and Zara’s beautiful ceremony. I loved seeing close up Zara and her Dad entering the church, Zara and her Dad both holding back their tears, and watching Simon do the same. (Usually I get to see the Grooms emotion close up).

I really loved the moment when Simon and Zara were walking through the church, being congratulated by all of their family and friends, at the end of the ceremony, they got to the end of the aisle and saw their friend on a computer screen that had been watching the wedding on skype. They look some time to go and speak to their friend who had watched the whole wedding from the other side of the world.

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I think though other than them exchanging their vows and seeing the love they have for each other, the next most beautiful thing was watching a beautiful exchange with Simon and Zara’s Dad when they had completed the signing of the register, I have no idea what they said to one another, but the embrace they exchanged and the look that they gave one another spoke volumes, about the love that they both share for Zara.

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A big thank you to Sophie Timothy for the use of her images on the blog. Check out her website here, and you can click here to go to her facebook page.

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Saving money by hiring a ‘friendor’

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I have been reading a lot lately about couples that are using what is being referred to as a ‘friendor’ in the urban dictionary it tells us that a friendor is:  A friend whose skills are employed as a vendor at an event or a wedding. Results may vary, as some friendors are highly skilled (as a DJ, photographer, baker, etc), while others are not. The bride & groom hired a friendor for their videography.

I know people who have both successfully and unsuccessfully hired friendors for their wedding, and I’m sure you all have too. We have all heard the horror stories of people who had their friendor do their wedding photos and they were disappointed with the style, or they didn’t see any images for a few  months, or worse still they hired the friendor and now they are no longer even friends. Sometimes there are occassions where having the friendor work on your wedding ends up costing you a whole lot more,  friendships suffer and so does your wallet.

I have been a friendor, and hope to continue to be one. I think that there are some great ways to ensure that you have a positive friendor experience.

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1. Be clear on what is expected on both sides.

Communication is key, make sure you talk about all things expected on both sides from the beginning. No matter who’s wedding I am asked to do, I always send them my contract, and all sign it so that we all know what to expect and  know where we stand. Obviously some of the details are different, and there are things that I change when it comes to my friends that are getting married. At least if it is all in writing there are no grey areas and no one is left wondering where they stand with anything. Be clear if you are the one that is employing the services of a friendor, tell them what you want and expect. That way they will not be left guessing on things too.

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2. Don’t expect a job done for free.

You know what you are like yourself, if someone wants something done for free, it takes a different line in your priorities than if you are being paid for a job. A lot of friends that I have conducted weddings for have said that they would have to pay for the services of someone else if they didn’t know me, and they don’t want mates rates, they just want me to be a part of their ceremony. I love this, and make sure that I do still give them a deal, but at the same time, I still feel appreciated and that my work is respected that they would hire me to do the job.  Being paid makes sure that your friendor still feels like they are working for you, but majority of the time they want it to be great, so they will work really hard on your job.

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3. Give credit where credit is due.

I married a couple at mates rates, and after the wedding they did a huge facebook post saying a massive thank you to all the people involved, the hairdresser, the make up artist and every bob and their dog was included and tags made to relevant pages. Do you think that I got a shout out? Nup. Nada. Zip. To say that I felt under appreciated is an understatement. The ruddy hairdresser that she would never see again got a shout out and a link to their page. This was my friend. I don’t expect you to thank me in the wedding speech or send me a tweet or rant about my services to all that people know. (Although people have thanked me in wedding speeches and, boy howdy it warmed my heart) but if you are giving a shout out to all the people that you paid full price to that are not your friends, an add to the list would be nice. Knowing how hard I work on all weddings, it was just a little hurtful is all.

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4. Make sure the friendor has the right skill set.

Don’t choose your friendor, just because they will be cheaper. If they make do a job and do it well and you’d hire them anyway then that is great, but if they are a chef and you are asking them to be a baker and it isn’t what they like to do or they don’t usually make cakes. It is a bit unfair to expect a cut price cake. Not only does that put your friend in a position, what if they don’t deliver what you had your heart set on. On the other hand if they are keen to make cakes and you’ve seen what they do before , by all means employ their friendor services. Don’t ask your landscape photographer friend to photograph your wedding if you haven’t seen any ‘people’ or ‘wedding’ shots that they have done before. Always make sure you have the right person for the job.

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In the majority of cases friendors I think are the bomb, they know you and care about you and generally want your day to be the best it can be, I think if you trust what they do and you would pay them to do it, they are the right person for the job. If they don’t have the skills or your asking them just to save a buck, maybe don’t they will probably be relieved, and it will probably save you some heartache. What do you think? Do you have any other tips or suggestions on hiring a friendor?

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A big Thank you to Love Journal for the use of their images on the blog this week. Check out their website and their facebook page.

 

 

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Things that guests hate at a wedding

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I know that I am always saying that your wedding is all about you and it should reflect what you want. It’s true it is your day and it should be what you want it to be. Just for a moment though I am going to chat about the things that guests hate at a wedding. It’s not to say that you can’t do what you want and have these things as part of your day but just they are just some things that I have heard or read about people complaining and therefore something to consider.

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Not knowing where they are going

I know with this day and age people have GPS and they have their google maps and their phone, but even then sometimes these things can be unclear. If you are having your reception in a building this doesn’t apply so much. Even so, if a guest can quite easily find where they are supposed to be, lack of signage or anything to direct them can cause panic. If you are getting married in a garden or somewhere that is open to the public, provide a map or have someone near the entrance so that your guests know where to go. It is a great way to stop people becoming part of the processional too, you can have someone who can tell people to wait if the bride has already arrived. This is a great job for a wedding planner if you are having one too.

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Going home hungry

This is a big one. Now not for one moment am I saying that you need to feed people until they are sick and if you are choosing to have just a cake and champagne affair there is nothing wrong with that, but don’t do it at dinner or lunch time. If you are planning just to have snacks or cheese and crackers, make sure that it is timed appropriately. Most people wont eat lunch or dinner before going to a wedding function if it is expected to go over lunch or dinner. If someone has their company requested for an afternoon tea, they will not be expecting a main meal. It’s then their own issue if they don’t eat lunch before they arrive. It’s just sad to hear that people say that they went to the McDonalds drive through after a wedding dinner as they were still hungry, especially when you know that the couple have spent a fortune on their venue and the meal for all of their guests. I know that I attended a wedding about 3 years ago at a beautiful function centre. I don’t remember what my meal was, but I remember it was lovely and I left feeling full and content. It isn’t that often that you remember exactly what you ate a bit down the track, but you do remember the wedding where the food was terrible and you had to make yourself some toast when you got home because you were so ravenous. Unless it is something that is really original and something that was brilliant. (see the blog about Courtney and Tim’s wedding, now that was some memorable food!)

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A badly spent budget

This ties in with the last one I guess. If you have spent thousands of dollars on the centrepieces for the tables that people are sitting at, but they only have 3 small portions of finger food. They may feel that the decorations were lovely but that they went home hungry. People won’t remember what they ate but they will remember if the food was good and filling. People will only remember that it was good, maybe skip some of the more expensive things that are overlooked and make sure people have enough to eat.  It isn’t always about the expensive sit down meal, but thinking of ways to get the best amount of quality for your budget.  When I had my wedding I decided that I wanted a sit down meal over finger food. That meant that money had to come from somewhere. We could have invited double the amount of people to our wedding if we had a finger food option, but I wanted better food for less people.  Some of the loveliest weddings that I have been to have had some outside the box options for catering. Marika and Joel had some amazing tapas served at their wedding and then had people come in and cook up huge delicious serves of paella.

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A reception that takes place HOURS after the ceremony

Again, I’m always one for using a professional photography, in the end that is one of the only things that you have left of your day, but a good photographer shouldn’t need numerous hours between the ceremony and the reception, if you want all kinds of fancy photography, in different locations maybe think about a first look photo shoot or talk to your photographer about the options on what you can fit into the time frame. One wedding that I attended had 3-4 hours in between the wedding and the ceremony. It is just very difficult to expect people to hang around or spend their time drinking at a pub close by, especially if they are from out of town and not too sure where to go or what to do.  A lot of the time your guests are dressed up and not really wanting to go and do a spot of shopping between.

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Being forced or pressured to dancing

This is something that I personally hate. I love watching the couple do their first dance together and understand that there are a lot of people who love to dance. That is wonderful. It’s when the MC or other guests at the wedding try to make you dance that it really makes me cross. I’m not against dancing and sometimes will love to get up and have a dance, but when the music is pumped so loud that you can’t speak to any of the other guests, this is really annoying as a guest.

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Having no place to sit

When it comes to your reception, even if you are having a finger food type affair, most people want to be able to sit so they can chat and enjoy other peoples company, it is difficult if there are a very limited number of chairs as most people will do the right thing and leave them for elderly guests or guests with special needs. The only other thing than having no where to sit is having to sit near people that you don’t get along with and that is a topic for a whole different blog post.

What is something that you really hate when attending a wedding?

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A very big thank you to Kirralee for the use of her stunning photos on the blog this week. Check out more of her work on her blog here and you can find her on facebook here.

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Cheese cakes

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A lot of couples are changing things up when it comes to wedding cakes. It is not unusual to have a cake made entirely out of cheese.  What a great way to put more of ‘you’ and your own personality into your wedding. If you’re not really into cake or for some reason you can’t eat it, it’s an especially good idea. Cheese cakes are making an appearance at more and more weddings.

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Which isn’t a bad thing if you are a lover of cheese like me. What a great idea to do if you are having your reception at a winery. The chosen cheeses could be paired with the wines that the winery offered. Lots of the cheese cakes that I have seen have all sorts of fruits that compliment the cheeses. They look lovely with all the figs, grapes and apples as well as flowers to decorate them.

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It could also be a great way to provide guests with nibbles while they are waiting between the ceremony and the reception. Not only does it look great it, it gives people a choice and can be easier than having someone handing out nibbles and canapés. A good solution if you are doing a bit of a do it yourself wedding. Or even an idea for a small celebration wedding. There are pages and pages of inspiration on the internet and pintrest has thousands. I found a great article with tips for creating your own cheese cake here.

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My best friend had a cheese wedding cake at her wedding. We celebrated the ceremony on a paddle steamer that took us to a winery for our lunch and on the way to the winery there was a fantastic cheese cake for people to enjoy. If you haven’t read it before you can read about Emily and Jules’ day by clicking here.

Have you been to a wedding where the couple chose to have a cheese cake? Would you happily forgo the standard cake for one?

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All images found on Pintrest.

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Ceremony only wedding

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I have read a little bit about ‘Ceremony Only’ weddings recently. This is different to having a guest list for those coming to both the reception and ceremony and then invitations for ceremony only. (Blog about this coming soon) Ceremony Only weddings are where a couple have just the ceremony and then everything is over. There is no reception. Nothing else afterwards. I haven’t actually conducted one of these myself but am really interested in some of the reasoning behind why people do it. I understand that weddings are expensive and I totally understand that it should be about the actual promises made to one another. I think that this is really what the whole thing is about. I’m not sure how I would feel about a ceremony only wedding myself. I think it depends on the reasoning why you are choosing to have just a ceremony only. I also wonder if some guests might think that you are having some sort of reception later but they are just not invited.

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Weddings can cost a lot of money. This isn’t news to anyone. I’m not sure, however, if having a ceremony only wedding is the answer to the cost issue. Some people believe that you ‘owe’ it to your guests to feed them after they witness you exchange your vows. What nonsense. How terrible, and what sort of friends do you have if they feel you owe them something for attending? Receptions can get totally out of control and some people are not interested in a big sit down meal event. It’s totally up to the individual. As a guest I wouldn’t be upset if a couple didn’t have a reception, though I think after all the excitement and the emotion of it all it’s nice to celebrate. I think this is the part of the whole ceremony only wedding that I can’t get past. I love a wedding and love the love that people feel for the couple. It just seems odd to me to have the ceremony and not have some time with all these people afterwards.

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I’m not saying that people shouldn’t do this if that is what they really want. I’m all for your day, your way, but I’ve been to some truly amazing weddings. My friends got married in their back yard, in their jeans, with some caterers brought in to cater some dinner and it was a lovely, intimate, beautiful wedding. No one there for a moment thought that it should have been done any other way.  I think the idea of a sunset wedding with champagne and cheese could be a perfect wedding for the right people too.

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Celebrating can cost as little or as much as you want. What is to stop people having just some cheese, crackers and champagne at the park or the beach where the ceremony is held. Alternatively you could book a restaurant and ask your guests to pay for their own meal instead of bringing a gift. You could have a coffee and cake affair. I think that anyone who comes to your wedding should be happy to witness you saying your vows and be happy with whatever you decide to do as far as a celebration goes. If you decided to have a bring your own picnic in the park type affair and people didn’t like it, I would suggest that maybe it is for the best if they didn’t come to the wedding anyway.

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What do you think about a ceremony only wedding? Have you been to one? Would you consider one?

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A huge shout out to the guys at Vision House Photography for the use of their photos on this weeks blog. Check out their facebook page by clicking here. Also head over to their website to see more about them.

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Stacey and Reece

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I met Stacey and Reece about 4 months before their wedding and the first time I met this lovely couple, I instantly liked them. They had their little girl Audrey with them, who is just super adorable. We chatted about their special day, I could tell just how in love they were and I hoped that they would choose me to be the celebrant for their wedding.

Reece and Stacey met when Stacey was working in retail, Reece kept going through her register at work and asked her out to lunch, Reece later proposed to her on the 12th of the 12 month in 2012, 10 years to the date since their first lunch together. Can you believe he made  Stacey wait 10 whole years? The proposal took place at one of their first holiday locations, where they went for a romantic picnic dinner.

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When I asked Reece and Stacey about some of the stand out qualities they saw in the each other, it was obvious just how in love they are. Reece mentioned that Stacey is caring, thoughtful, never selfish, and she makes him laugh when she pronounces some words funnily. Reece loves seeing Stacey interacting and happy with their daughter Audrey. Reece feels that Stacey is the only one who truly gets him. Stacey said that she loves how Reece is funny, caring and loving, and that he is always willing to help others at the drop of a hat. Reece makes her laugh when he sings and dances around the house. She loves him even with the excessive amounts of milk that he drinks, and she listens and supports his ideas even if sometimes they seem far fetched, she also loves that he is affectionate, and that the birth of Audrey has brought them closer as a couple.

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Stacey and Reece were married on the last day of winter, at Killara Estate Winery. Their wedding was stunning, the view of the vineyard was breathtaking with the mountains in the background.  Stacey decorated the room that the reception was to be held in.  Stacey looked absolutely amazing in her vintage themed gown and hairstyle. (It’s always so exciting getting to see the bride, I know everyone loves that moment, when we get to see the bride for the first time.)  She was accompanied by her sister and friend, one of her bridesmaids ended up not being able to be there, as her waters broke the night before the wedding. But we had talked about the possibility of this happening at the rehearsal, and there isn’t a better excuse to not be in a wedding, than bringing a little person into the world. The girls all entered the beautiful ceremony area via a stunning wooden door and came down a red carpet. Little Audrey was the first to come through the doors. One of my favourite parts of the ceremony was after Reece and Stacey exchanged rings, they also presented Audrey with a necklace, to represent the promises that they made to her on the day, and to let her know that whatever life puts in Audrey’s way, that they will always be there for her, ready to catch her should she fall, need reassurance or just to know that she is loved.
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Again I feel really privileged to get to be a part of peoples special day and lucky to get to know such fun and loving people. It was so lovely getting to know Stacey, Reece and fantastic little Audrey.  It is really amazing for me to watch people that I have just gotten to know, become husband a wife, what a joy!
They had a lovely old truck and cars that they used in their photos, along with the stunning location, they got lots of  stunning photos. Thanks to Ramy from Ateia Photography for letting me use photos from Stacey and Reece’s perfect day. Check out Ateia Photography’s website here and like them on facebook, click here to go to the facebook page.  Also if you are out in the Seville area you should go and see Killara Estate, click here to see their website too.
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Common wedding regrets

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Are there things that you regret not doing or having on your special day? I thought I would put this post together for those who are getting married, to think about. Also for those who are married, so that they know they are not the only ones who have regrets about their wedding days.

There are lots of things that you need to consider when planning your wedding and lots of  decisions that have to be made, compromises and priorities have to be worked out. There are so many people that need to be considered in the decision making process too; take your time and make sure that you think everything through. Not everything will be the right decision every time, but do make sure you give them due thought.

Also there is a big difference between things that you regret and things that you would do differently after a number of years. There are a lot of things that I would do a little differently (hairstyles, music, guest lists) but there are not a lot of things that I really regret. So don’t get too stressed out about things that you might regret, but keep some of other people’s regrets in mind and it might just help you avoid regrets of your own and only have things you wished you did a little differently.

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Some of the common things  that  I hear from people and the feedback that I received on my facebook page, (click here to go to my facebook page.) and people messaged me about were these:

Regret #1: Inviting people that you really don’t want there.

This is a really special day, and in most cases an intimate, lovely, loving moment that you and your partner are sharing. You’re pouring out your heart and making promises to one another, it makes sense that you would only have the people that are nearest and dearest to you there to witness this right? Well, maybe not.  You will have all those really special and wonderful people there, but then there are always people that you feel like you have to invite, or all of the people that your families want you to invite. The list sometimes includes people that you feel that you have to invite, if you invite W&X then Y&Z really have to come, as they are part of the same friends circle. Or you can’t invite only 3 out of your 5 cousins. It can be a problem and it can create tension between you, as the couple getting married and family members and friends.(and sometimes between you and your partner!).

So what do you do? This is something that you as a couple have to decide, depending on how strongly you feel about this. I personally didn’t have too many people that I didn’t want at my wedding. This did cause some fights with people and I did have one relative call me and tell me that I  shouldn’t have the wedding I wanted because they wanted to share my special day. Funnily enough, I told them they could come to the church and a BBQ the next day if they wanted to be there, but no, they wouldn’t come if they couldn’t go to the reception. There are always people that you wished you had invited, but at the time we invited all the close and important people in our lives. We also chose a venue that was limited to 50 people, that way there wasn’t any room to move on numbers, no last minute feeling bad and adding extras to the list. Of course there were some people that missed out, that I would have liked there, but I was also very adamant that I wanted a quality wedding rather than a quantity wedding. I wanted it to be wonderful and special rather than serve yourself wedding in a tin shed, or a bring a plate wedding. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this style of wedding, it just wasn’t my dream wedding.

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Regret #2: Not going on your honeymoon soon after your wedding.

A few people have messaged me about this point. Some people choose to delay their honeymoon for various reasons and it is a very personal choice, I have blogged previously about honeymoon decisions, you can read that blog here. Sometimes financial and work obligations make going on a honeymoon straight away impossible for some people, but some of those I spoke to said that when you wait too long to go on your honeymoon, it just feels like a holiday and is separated too much from the wedding itself. Some of them suggested that if you are going to have your long honeymoon trip later down the track, maybe just have a few days away somewhere and enjoy just spending some time alone, and winding down from all that is involved with  making your day one of the best of your lives. It is nice to be able to go back and talk about all of the wonderful things that happened on the day, and realise that it’s not often that you get to have all the people in your life that mean the most to you all in one place at one time.  I have heard of couples getting married on a Saturday and then returning to work on the Monday and feeling quite let down and that it took a lot of the loveliness away from the wedding day.

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Regret #3: Doing too much DYI.

DYI is great! IF you love it and IF you are good at it. It can save you money and it can add a lovely personal touch to your day. But this can cause more trouble than it is worth, sometimes the money that you thought that you would save can end up back firing on you or costing you more in time and sanity than it is worth. Sometimes countless hours on the computer and time spent on getting the invitations right, plus ink, plus posting odd sized envelopes can outweigh ordering them online.

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Regret #4: Having family members or friends do things that you should pay someone for.

This is another part of the DYI thing, having your Nanna make all the bridesmaids dresses, and they turn out a certain way, it can be frustrating and difficult to bring this up, if it’s not what you had envisioned or planned. What if the person is normally wonderful, but is having a bad day? Just because someone is a fantastic landscape photographer, it doesn’t mean that they will do your wedding photography justice. (Sorry to all of you who read my blog each week, but you know how I feel about how important wedding photos are, or you can check previous blogs about this here and here.).

There are ways around it if your friends or family are over zealous about helping out, you can tell them that you would rather they just relax and enjoy the day, than put that stress onto them. Or beat them to it, and bring up the issue with them before they can tell you that they expect to be able to make the cake for you. Sometimes it really is best to pay professionals for certain parts of the wedding day. Sometimes the cost outweighs the headache and potential family feuds.

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Regret #5: Choosing the dress too early.

This can be a real issue for some of those brides that are super organised and choose their dress as soon as they are engaged; remember,  that styles change, your tastes change and your body shape can change.  Unless it is the dream dress that you have had in your mind since you were 7 years old, try on a lot of different styles and some that you might not normally wear to see what looks the best. I personally wouldn’t be looking into getting the dress until your reception centre is booked and the ball is rolling on all the other parts of the wedding.

Is there anything else that you can think of that you or someone close to you regrets about their wedding day?

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Thanks to the guys at Vision House Photography for the photos from this weeks blog, check out their website and their facebook page too!

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