Kind Of A Downside Of Wedding Planning… For Me At Least…

I spend weeks after each wedding analysing the event in minute detail!

I have a file that I keep notes in- for myself and for future clients- to refer to when planning all kinds of different weddings.
Its for me to make sure I can avoid or leap over any possible hurdle, and make contingency plans that are easy on the venue and the bride, whilst at the same time not ruining the couple’s vision of their perfect day.

A postmortem of the event is productive and yields results and I can give constructive feedback to the venue and the service providers to aid them in the future, but I find I beat myself up a little over things I should have done differently… Woulda-coulda-shoulda and all that.

In essence, I don’t sleep well for a few days before the wedding as I go over my plans and schedule again and again, and then for several days after the wedding as well!

Its just as well I love what I do! Even if I am a guest at a wedding my inner coordinator comes out and I find myself wanting to straighten candles and all sorts of things!

Just call me co-ordi-zilla!

#GingerGooseWedding at River Place

After more than a year in planning, with both of them living in Cape Town for most of that year, Heidi and Shaun’s wedding was simply wonderful, and with a bride as beautiful and as happy as Heidi, it couldn’t possibly have been any other way.

In case you’re wondering, their wedding is hashtagged in social media as #GingerGooseWedding because Shaun is a ginger, and Heidi’s maiden name means she’s been called “Snowgoose” for at least as long as I’ve known her. They even had a special ginger and gooseberry jam made up as their wedding favour!

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Planning this wedding with Heidi was extra special for me as Heidi and I have been friends for a few years, and my husband and I were guests at the wedding so I got to the bridal shower as well. Seeing Heidi in her gown for the first time gave me goosebumps! She looked incredible!

Heidi and Shaun both wanted a relaxed, easy going vibe for their guests, and they decided on a picnic with an exquisite choral and seafoam colour scheme lending itself beautifully to the spring weather!
During her planning, Heidi had several Pinterest boards that she used to document her inspiration for her wedding, and when we spoke to potential suppliers for decor, make up, hair styling and clothing, she included links to her Pinterest boards so that everyone could see what she had in mind. It was really helpful and I think there may be a few new Pinterest users as a result. 

Heidi and Shaun carried a Scrabble theme throughout their wedding, from their engagement announcement and their save-the-date, to their wedding favours, and even the wedding cupcakes! And they very cleverly saved themselves a lot of money by using electronic invitations, only making up traditional invitations for special family members.
Heidi also sourced several items herself while on a business trip in the UK, like the suits worn by the groom and his entourage, the tutu worn by her little niece and her divine seafoam green, Chantilly lace covered, high heel shoes!

The search for the right venue was over quite quickly. It couldn’t be too too far away, it had to be pretty, have good food, be able to do a picnic wedding and of course- fit their budget. Heidi loved River Place the first time she saw it, and as soon as Shaun was in Gauteng again they went to see it together and that was it. They didn’t look at another venue!

There was only one person Heidi wanted to see about making her and her bridesmaids’ dresses and as always, Marieks’ work was beyond reproach! There is never a stitch out of place and I am sure you will agree that the bride and her entourage look incredible! 

Then we started talking to decor suppliers, hairstylists and make up artists. Scheduling appointments for Heidi for her dress fittings, meetings, make up and hair trials, decor mock ups and so on was tricky as she was only in Gauteng once a month for a week – and she had  lot of work to do in that week as well so it wasn’t easy for her to get time off. But we did it!

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The ceremony took place outside, with a backdrop of origami geese framing the couple as they said their vows. From there the guests went to a huge lawn next to the Hennops River, set with picnic blankets, scatter cushions, bean bag chairs, picnic baskets, vintage decor, and cocktails in mason jars!

Heidi changed out of her gorgeous lace high heels into a pair of seafoam green Converse sneakers so that she could be comfortable on the picnic lawn and then the newlyweds were seated on a couch – which was how they met – and all the family and group portraits took place on and around the couch.

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As usual, when I am running around on the wedding day, I didn’t get around to taking many pictures at all, but you must click through to photographer Jeanette Verster’s blog and Facebook page to see how she captured the day. 

Second Shooter: Nicole du Toit
Venue: River Place
Cake and cupcakes: The Cupcake Lady
Bride’s gown and bridesmaids dresses: Marietjie Oelofse Couture
Decor and flowers: Authentic Events
Bride’s hair: Lasting Reflections
Bride and bridesmaids make up: Godiva
Ginger and Gooseberry jam wedding favours: The Good Food Company

How To Plan A Kick-Ass Bridal Shower

Whilst merrily cruising Pinterest this weekend, I came across a number of pins about bridal shower ideas, games and decorations, and I have a number of tips and suggestions I’d like to share with you here.

As with all aspects of a wedding, there are no rules. You make it the way you – and the bride – want it to be.

In all likelihood you are the maid of honour, and you may never have planned a kitchen tea before! Rule number one – DON’T PANIC! You can probably rope in the bride’s mom and the bridesmaids to help you with the party.

The most important thing to do, first and foremost, is to ASK the bride-to-be what kind of party she would like!
All too often I have seen brides have attention lavished on them at a champagne breakfast, smiling politely, whilst wishing they could have had the spa day or boot camp-themed blowout they really wanted.
If she’s not one for dressing up and party games, keep this in mind whilst you’re planning her party. And it is HER party. Keeping the guests happy is secondary to making sure the guest of honour has happy memories.
And if the bridal-couple-to-be would like a joint party, then do that! Arrange the kind of bash where men and women will be comfortable celebrating the coming nuptials.

So what is the difference between a kitchen tea, a bridal shower, a bachelorette, a pamper party and a hen party?
For any of these parties, the guest list should consist of the female wedding guests, and its very bad manners to invite someone to the shower if they are not on the guest list for the actual day.
Just as an aside, these parties traditionally exclude children mainly because the nature of the conversation and gifts can be of an adult nature, but as I already said – there are no rules.
A kitchen tea, bridal shower or wedding shower is essentially the same kind of party. They are usually held early in the day and the gifts consist of items the bride or couple will need in their new shared home, and this is most likely the party that you would invite the mom, mother-in-law-to-be, grandmothers and aunts to attend. You may not want to have kinky toys and underwear on display when granny darling is in attendance.
A bachelorette party or hen night is usually reserved for the younger wedding guests, or for the bridal party alone, and it can take place straight after the kitchen tea, or it can be arranged on a different day entirely. Its a girls’ night out kind of do, and the gifts often reflect this with sexy underwear and so on.

When it comes to surprising a bride-to-be with a party of any kind, think about what kind of person your bride-to-be is. Planning a wedding can be stressful, whether or not you have a wedding planner. If your bride-to-be is someone who has every moment of her wedding day scheduled to the minute, she may not enjoy a surprise party.
You can surprise her with a theme and decorations and gifts, but at least give her a heads’ up on the date so she can put on some make up and get dressed nicely. She is most likely going to be photographed after all and she will want to look her best.

With party games, there are loads of them that can make a shower fun for the guests and the guest of honour, like Don’t Say Wedding and Mad Libs, but remember that if you want to play games and hand out prizes- quizzes and crosswords and puzzles mean someone is going to have to sit and check them in order to pick a winner- missing out on the fun whilst they do. Games where the guest of honour can quickly choose a winner are best.

Keeping track of who brought what gift can be tricky. You can get someone to make notes as the gifts are opened – if you open them at the party at all – but if you’re getting the bride-to-be to guess who its from or what is inside this could get confusing.
The coolest shortcut I ever came up with was getting the guests to write down their gift’s contents in the guestbook along with their wishes and advice for the new bride or for the couple! That way there will be a proper record for her to look back on and write thank you notes with.

For the guests, there really is only so many times you can say “Ooohh…” and “Thats beautiful…” whilst your bride unwraps her gifts!
Try mixing it up!
This does mean you- as the organiser- may have to keep an eye on the proceedings and play the role of emcee, declaring it game time or  stopping the unwrapping process to get everyone to top up their refreshments. And even if you aren’t playing any games, taking a break to fill teacups and cake plates means people mingle a little and get to talk to the bride.
And if you’re not big on “public speaking” then perhaps ask someone to do it for you.

An ecstatic guest of honour and happy guests is the aim of the game!
Good food and mingling is a HUGE step in the right direction- get the balance right and you don’t need expensive party favours and decorations!

Rock The Frock!!

I am going to get to wear my wedding dress again!!

We’re having a “multi-bride trash the dress picnic”!

On Saturday November 26th, the fabulous Jeanette Verster will be the official photographer for myself and three other brides as we rock our wedding dresses on a picnic in the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden!

Picnic food, blankets, cushions… Its going to be so awesome!

If there are any photographers who would like to come and try their hand at photographing something different, you’re more than welcome to join us too! Leave a comment and I’ll send you more details of time and such.

I am so excited! This will be my third trash-the-dress shoot and the fifth time I’ll be wearing my wedding dress!

If anyone isn’t sure what “trash the dress” or “rock the frock” is, you can read about it here: Wikipedia

Good To Know

The majority of venues you visit will provide you with a list of preferred suppliers and service providers.

These suppliers and service providers however, are not necessarily the best in the business. They may also not have been vetted by your venue as reliable or efficient.

In many cases, the people on a venue’s “preferred supplier” list have paid to be there, so do not assume that a “preferred supplier” list contains your best options.