# Have a fancy dress theme
This wedding idea is not for everyone, but a fancy dress theme will definitely take your wedding to the next level and will no doubt make it a memorable event for your guests. Go all the way with themedwedding invitations, Save the Dates, and Thank You cards too.
# Make the night interactive with games
Games are a great way to get your guests involved and encourage them to mingle with each other. They are also ideal for entertaining your guests in-between formalities. Games such as giant Jenga, Backgammon, Ring Toss or giant Chess are popular options.
# Surprise performance
Plan a surprise performance for your guests. You can organise a flash mob, undercover entertainers or even include some surprise dance moves during your first dance!
# Give each table a name
Get creative and name each of your tables at the reception. You can name them anything from your favourite colours, to all the cities you and your spouse have visited or even different nicknames you have for your family and friends. Go a step further and create your own DIY table name signs.
# Choose awesome bomboniere
These days there are so many different types of bomboniere to choose from that it’s hard to choose something your guests won’t love. Items such as personalised candles, pot plants, mini perfumes and even yummy treats such as biscuits, chocolates, gourmet lollies, chocolate and popcorn never go astray. Or, if you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by awesome local produce you can give them little bottles of olive oil, handmade soaps, cheeses or homemade jam.
# DIY flower arrangement station
If you love fresh flowers and want to give your guests something to take home, organise a DIY flower station with a selection of flowers that suit your wedding styling and colour scheme. Over the course of the evening guests can mix and match and create their own take home bouquets, and the strong floral scent will be a lovely touch to your wedding reception.
# Choose an amazing location
Choose an incredible location that you and your guests will love. Whether it’s an amazing reception venue, rustic barn, or a even a mountain top, finding a special location that suits your taste and theme will help to make your wedding extra special.
# Special effects lighting
Set the mood and ambiance for your wedding reception with special effects and lighting. You can choose lighting to suit your wedding colour sheme, or a monogram of you and your new spouse’s initials projected onto the walls and dancefloor. Smoke machines can make for a dramatic first dance too.
# Guest transportation
Organise transport for your wedding guests from the ceremony location to the reception location. This can be anything from a double decker bus, to limos, kombi vans or even horse-drawn carriages.
# Screen a special video
Create a special video to show your wedding guests during the reception. It can be a montage of photos of yourself and your spouse as children, or photos of the milestones in your relationship. You could film a funny performance or re-enactment of the first time you met or even pre-record your speeches and thank you messages.
# Hire a food truck
Food trucks are becoming increasingly prominent at weddings, not just because they are a fun and interactive way to serve food, but there are so many food varieties! You can choose anything from a taco truck, to a burger truck or even a cocktail bar. The options are endless!
# Get social media savvy
Create extra special SnapChat geofilters for your big day, create a wedding hashtag for Instagram and encourage your guests to live tweet your wedding day too. This is a great way to get your guests involved and collect digital memories from their perspectives.
# Hire an awesome band or DJ
Great music will keep your guests on the dance floor all night long, and hiring an awesome band, DJ or musical performer who is able to read and engage the crowd will help to create a fantastic atmosphere at your wedding.
# Let your guests pick a song
Leave a section on your RSVP cards for your guests to write a song suggestion, and play all of the approved songs at your wedding. It’s a great way to fill your dancefloor and make your guests feel involved!
# Have a photo booth
Hire a photo booth and include some awesome props. Most photo booth companies will provide props and sometimes an attendant too, but including your own personalised props will add an extra special touch. You could include signs that have your wedding date and wedding hashtag on them and even provide cardboard masks of you and your spouses faces.
# Enter and exit in style
Plan an awesome entrance for when you enter the wedding reception. You could arrange to have a live band or dancers and performers come out with you as you enter, or maybe have some indoor fireworks for a theatrical effect.
Exit in style by providing all your guests with sparklers, roll out a red carpet an even organise outdoor sky fireworks if you want to go that extra step further.
# Include a fireworks display
Put on a show with an awesome fireworks display. Whether it’s indoors during your first dance or outside at the end of the evening, a fireworks display will add some spectacular visual drama to your wedding.
# Get creative with your guestbook
Many couples are opting for creative and interactive guestbooks, with some popular options being giant Jenga games in which guests can write their message on a block, ‘guestboxes’ which are recording booths that guests can use to record video messages, and even ‘anniversary pinatas’ which guests can fill with their messages, so you can break it open on your first wedding anniversary.
# Have a ‘build-it-yourself’ bar or lolly buffet
‘Build-it’yourself’ bars are a great way to serve lots of yummy food and entertain your guests throughout the evening. There are lots of different ‘build-it-yourself’ bar options such as a baked potato bar, an ice-cream bar, a lolly buffet, or even a taco bar.
# Write a special note in each place card
Make your place cards extra special by writing a personalised note on the back of each one. For guests who have traveled a long distance it can be a simple ‘thank you’ for making the trip, or maybe it’s an inside joke or a cheeky ‘you’re next!’
# Deciding too early
Once you become engaged it’s never too early to start shopping around for a wedding dress, however, don’t rush your decision too quickly. You’ll find that throughout the planning process your tastes and preferences will develop or even change completely. It would be unfortunate to purchase a wedding dress too early only to find something you like better a few months later. Try to avoid regret by not deciding on ‘the one’ too early.
# Taking too many people
Taking too many people with you when you go dress shopping can be overwhelming. While everyone may be trying to help by giving you their opinion, too many opinions at once can become stressful. This can often result in brides feeling overwhelmed and wanting to leave the appointment. Instead of showing up with your entire bridal party plus five extra family members, opt to just take one or two of your nearest and dearest with you.
# Not making an appointment
Most bridal boutiques are appointment only. Things are done this way so that the shop assistant can devote her time and energy to one bride at a time. Don’t risk being turned away because you didn’t make an appointment. It’s best to narrow down a list of all the boutiques you’d like to visit and call them all to make a booking.
When you make your appointment also mention to the shop assistant how many people will come along with you, as well as any shapes or styles you’d prefer to try on. That way the shop assistant can set aside some pre-selected gowns for you to try at the appointment.
# Not wearing the right underwear
If you want to wear a push-up bra, corset or spanx on your wedding day, be sure to wear it when you’re wedding dress shopping. By wearing the correct underwear you will be able to see how any potentialwedding dresses will fit and look on your wedding day.
When brides don’t wear their intended wedding day undergarments during dress shopping, they can overlook gowns that may have been a perfect fit had they been wearing the correct underwear. Avoid any missed opportunities by allowing yourself to see how exactly how a gown can fit your shape.
# Shopping for your future body
Forget about your wedding ‘goal weight’ and get a dress that fits your body now. It is much easier to make a dress smaller than it is to make it bigger. Brides who purchase gowns based on the assumption that they will fit into them on the big day, run the risk of having to make frantic alternations last minute. This is an extra, and sometimes costly, hassle that a bride does not need days before her wedding.
# Feeling pressured to buy because it’s on sale
Just because a dress is on sale doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Don’t be swayed by that 70 per cent discount tag if it’s not the dress of your dreams. However, it’s a huge bonus if it is!
# Forgetting about your budget
It can be easy to forget about your budget when trying on beautiful dresses, and many brides end up trying on gowns that are outside of their budget only to then fall in love with what they can’t afford. Before you set-foot into any boutique, know how much you want to spend and tell the shop assistant your budget. This way you will avoid any potential heartbreak or bankruptcy!
# Not being open-minded
Having a a princess ballgown-style wedding dress is not for everyone, nor is a fitted trumpet-style gown. However, you won’t know until you try. Be open-minded when shopping for your wedding dress because you may fall in love with a gown that you didn’t like until you tried it on.
# Rushing the process
Wedding dress shopping can take hours, so be sure to allocate enough time the day you go shopping. Each bridal boutique appointment will usually last an hour, so pre-plan your wedding dress shopping schedule in advance so you aren’t rushed. Being rushed will add extra pressure and make the experience stressful rather than enjoyable.
# Forgetting to bring your wedding shoes
If you have your wedding shoes already, or a similar pair, take them with you when you’re wedding dress shopping. Having the right shoes will allow you to see if any potential dresses will need alterations to the hemline of the skirt.
Beach weddings are a dream for many couples, they’re the perfect setting for kicking off your married life. But, while beach weddings can be utterly romantic and absolutely unforgettable, a little planning and forethought will ensure they’re not unforgettable for the wrong reasons.
Nicole Ritchie, lead stylist and co-owner of Beautiful Beach Weddings, has planned her fair share of beach and outdoor weddings, more than 125 in total.
Nicole’s Queensland-based company, which she runs with younger sister Justine, is a beach weddings and outdoor ceremonies specialist that is about to expand nationally.
“Walking down the aisle and being surrounded by people who care about you is always a very special moment, but doing it with sand between your toes and the warm sun shining down on your skin is truly special,” says Nicole, who should know. Her own wedding, in 2007, took place on a sweeping beach in Vanuatu and inspired the idea for Beautiful Beach Weddings. Sister Justine, too, was married on a beach in Hawaii.
“Beach weddings sounds absolutely perfect and they can be, but you need to plan ahead,” says Justine, who also styles beach weddings.
“Little things make all the difference, like providing guests with water or parasols or sunscreen, which is vital given they’ll be sitting in the sun a lot longer than the bridal couple!”
Nicole’s top tips for ensuring your beach wedding is as fabulous and disaster-free as possible include:
Provide water and parasols for guests
“Remember that your guests will be on the beach for a lot longer than you will be,” says Justine. “It’s lovely to provide them with water and some shade, so perhaps provide the water in lovely ice tubs.”
Parasols can be hired and are very popular with women. Most people will forget to put sunscreen on, so this gives them a bit of shade and have a bottle of sunscreen available just in case.
Shoes or bare feet?
Beach weddings lend themselves to going barefoot and, for a fun touch, both the bride and groom could opt to wear some fun thongs. Brides can opt to wear some beautiful foot jewellery that will add a little pizazz to your feet without requring heels, and you can always slip your shoes back on after your beach photos so you can dance the night away with your new hubby.
One fun tip is to provide a shoe bucket at the top of the beach for the guests to pop their shoes into. Then they too can enjoy the sand between their toes!.
“Chances are there may be a breeze on the beach during the ceremony, so try to avoid dressing your bridesmaids in short or whispy materials that are easily blown around.”
We have seen a few wedding where the dresses were lovely and flouncy, however a gust of wind and the bridesmaids bared all!” Ehem!
Check 1, 2, 3
There’s no point inviting guests to witness your big day if they can’t hear what’s going on and, out on a beach, especially on a breezy day, the potential for wind and the rolling sound of waves to, erm, drown out the goings-on are too high. Be sure to have your celebrant provide a good quality PA and microphone, even if there are only a few guests. “It’s amazing how much noise the nearby surf and water can make,” says Nicole.
Beaches are big and saying something like; Location, Bondi Beach won’t cut it. Be sure to include a map or very clear location instructions, such as a cross reference (eg. King Beach near the corner of Marine Parade and Dianne Street). Then, place a flag or some sort of unmistakable pointer at the closest point of entrance to help mark the spot and alert guests to the wedding’s location. “Whenever we style a wedding, we always mark the location with a giant, crisp white 5m bali flag,” says Nicole, “You can also use fun little blackboards and wedding signs with arrows to point the way.”
If you’re marrying on a public beach or in a park location, you will generally require local council approval to use the space.
Make sure you book the area and provide your stylist with a copy of the permit form. “Usually the general public are extremely accommodating if they know a wedding is being setup and will move,” says Nicole. “To liaise with people in the area is a job that your wedding stylist can take care of on the day – and it will avoid having that topless sunbather in the background of your wedding shots.”
Go with the Flow
Even the most organised bride or the most fabulous wedding stylist cannot control the weather, so make sure you have an indoor or undercover option available – just in case. Before the wedding, allocate a friend or family member who will let your guests know of any changes. This is best done via a bulk text messaging the morning of the wedding. You should make your weather call at least two hours prior to your ceremony’s start time.
This will allow you or your styling company time to move to an alternate location (which should be organised before the big day) – and gives them time to set it up and make it look beautiful.
Oh, and don’t forget to let your celebrant know too!
“Finally, the best thing you can do is relax and enjoy your special day! You’re surrounded by your family and friends who all love you, so, put those nerves aside and savour every moment,” says Nicole.
Whether you’re the bride or the groom, you probably have squillions of questions about your upcoming wedding but, believe it or not, there are even more that you probably don’t even know about! Here are just a few of the questions many couples only think about on the big day, by which time, it’s too late to ask them:
# When do we cut the cake?
Many couples have the cake-cutting early in the reception. If you have elderly guests who don’t want to hang around all night, hold the cutting of the cake early in the reception. That way, those leaving earlycan receive their cake and leave with their treasured memento.
There is a standard, although not rigid, procedure in the cake cutting.
- Someone announces it will take place.
- The couple cut the lowest tier together, the groom’s hands over the bride’s hands.
- The groom cuts a piece of cake and feeds a small piece to his bride.
- The bride cuts a piece of cake and feeds a small piece to her groom.
# When do I remove my veil?
When you remove your veil is completely up to you. Some brides like to remove it after the ceremony. This means it won’t be in the way for photographers and particularly if you’re outdoors and there’s a breeze about. Some brides keep wearing their veil until the reception begins. Many have their first dance and then remove their veil. But when the moment arrives, having a trusted and talented bridesmaid to help is vital. Doing it yourself, or by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, could mean your gorgeous hairstyle takes a hit! After your veil is removed, have a safe and secure place in which to store it.
# Who lifts the bride’s veil?
As traditions change over the years, some things that were once taken for granted are no longer. Wearing a veil is a good example. Some brides simply dispense with it altogether. But many choose to wear one and so the question arises as to who lifts it? It can be the father of the bride just as he ‘gives away’ his daughter. The more common and traditional option involves the groom who lifts the veil just before that famous kiss.
# How does a bride use the bathroom?
There are several answers to this question with the most obvious being, carefully. The point, however, is that if you have a large and voluminous wedding dress, spending a penny may require an extra pair of hands – most definitely from the female side of the bridal party. We don’t need to dwell on the consequences of an unsuccessful trip to the loo. Obviously, a smaller or simpler wedding dress offers much more flexibility but in scouting parlance, be prepared. For a clever solution there is a product called the Bridal Buddy that may be worth investing in!
# Do I wear my engagement ring at the wedding?
Given the significance of the wedding band during your all-important wedding ceremony, many brides prefer to keep their ring fingers “clear” for the big moment.
Brides tend to either leave their engagement rings at home on the day or, more commonly, wear it on their right-hand ring finger until after the rings are exchanged during the ceremony.
Some slip it back on while signing the register or before they meet and greet guests or head off for photographs. Either way, the choice is yours.
# What happens to the engagement ring?
Different cultures have different traditions. Some Jewish weddings exchange stone-free wedding ringskeeping an old tradition. But many brides wear their engagement ring during the service but on their right hand. Some give their engagement ring to an aunt or grandmother for safekeeping. The time to again wear the engagement ring with your wedding ring is en route to the reception. Many brides follow the tradition of wearing the wedding band or ring closest to their heart with their engagement ring closer to the end of their finger.
# Do I have a receiving line or not?
You’ve probably been to a wedding where the bridal party has gathered at the entrance to greet each guest as they entered the reception venue. This is called a receiving line. While this is a nice way of making each guest feel welcome, it’s often left out of proceedings. Why? Well, with a large guest list it can take forever, and you can’t really spend time with the guests. So, what’s the alternative? Well, once the reception has started, simply wander around the room visiting each table and spend some quality time with your guests. Remember you’re there to eat too so don’t spend all day chatting. You are in a sense the host and hostess of the party. These days, many couples opt to allocate portions of the night table-hopping together. That way, they can still see every guest but can do it in their own time and at their own pace.
# Where do we stand for the ceremony?
Again different cultures have different traditions. When facing the altar or front of the wedding venue, the bride normally stands on the left and the groom on the right. It’s the opposite in Jewish ceremonies. Again, tradition suggests the bride’s family and friends sit on the left, i.e. behind the bride, with the groom’s family and friends on the right. If you want a better viewing position and there are fewer guests on one side, you might like to sneak across for a better seat!
# How do I ensure everyone is photographed at my wedding?
The secret is to make a list and ask your wedding photographer to check it off. Of course, you’ve hired your wedding photographer to get the best picture for you, and the best use of their time isn’t chasing people down, so, perhaps, you can ask a guest who can tag along with the photographer at a certain time and tick off the shot once it’s been taken. It can be a real shame if a friend from far away isn’t captured in your album, so it’s worth asking!
# Will I fit?
You will, no doubt, rehearse the big day using your dress and shoes. But have you thought about the spaces you’ll venture into on the day. There’s the car, the aisle, the bathroom and other places and spaces. If your wedding dress is large and billowy, make sure you’ll be safe to go where no bride has ever gone before!
# When should I cut and colour my hair before the wedding?
This really depends on your hair colour and how you plan to wear your hair on the big day. For brides that are brunette, a fresh colour can be applied one week or even two weeks before, whereas bottle blondes or redheads may prefer to have their roots coloured just a day or two before the wedding to ensure their colour is bright and fresh.
In regards to cutting your hair you don’t want to do anything drastic or completely different just before your wedding, so a quick trim should do the trick. In saying this, make sure that whatever you do to your hair it will work with the way you want to wear your hair on your wedding day.
If you plan to wear your hair up or are having it curled then your hairdresser will probably want you to have slightly dirty hair so that the style holds, so don’t wash it in the 48 hours prior to your wedding.
# Should I get my teeth whitened before my wedding?
If teeth whitening is something you have considered doing before your wedding, then it’s important that you consult a dentist before doing so.
There are a few options when it comes to teeth whitening. One method is called ‘in-chair,’ and is performed at the dental clinic by a professional dentist. The dentist will apply a strong bleach to your teeth over the course of four 15-minute cycles, and afterwards you should have instant results. This method will provide an instant white smile, however, it can be painful and costly.
Alternatively, the dentist can provide you wish a ‘take-home’ kit, in which you apply the bleach yourself at home once a day for half an hour. The ‘take-home’ kit includes a clear dental mould of your teeth which you fill with bleach before placing your teeth into the mould. This kit can be used multiple times before your big day to ensure you achieve a white smile over the course of a few weeks, as opposed to the hour long in-chair method. The ‘take-home’ option is generally cheaper than in-chair and less painful too.
If these options aren’t for you, you can also try natural teeth whitening by eating raw carrots and celery, or by rubbing strawberries on your teeth. Avoid coffee and red wine as these can stain the teeth.
# How can I make sure I don’t get spots on my wedding day?
Spots and blemishes can be triggered by stress, so it is not all that surprising that many brides end up with them on their wedding day. However, if you maintain a good skin care regimen in the months leading up to your wedding then your skin will be clearer and healthier which will minimize your risk of blemishes.
It is also important not to suddenly change the products you use otherwise you might find your skin has an adverse reaction. If you are planning to have a facial before the wedding do so at least a week in advance so that any redness has time to disappear. If you do end up with some spots don’t panic – your professional make-up artist will know how to disguise them.
# When should I get a spray tan?
Hopefully you’ve already had your spray tan colour trial at your chosen salon which means that you know exactly how your colour will look on your wedding day. Keeping that in mind you can book your spray tananywhere from three days before to the day before. Three days before is best if you are only after a very subtle glow, whereas if you prefer a darker tan, then the day before the wedding will be suffice.
# When should I wax before my wedding?
If you are going to wax any area of your body – especially your face – then you need to do so a few days before the wedding, rather than the day before or day of. Even if you are a regular waxer it is possible to still suddenly develop redness and/or swelling after being waxed. You certainly don’t want to be walking up the aisle with inflamed eyebrows!
# How can I make sure my make-up is going to be perfect?
In order to ensure you’re bridal make-up is flawless and to your liking, it is best to have a trial with your intended make-up artist before the big day. This allows her to trial different make-up looks on your face to determine what suits you best.
Once you have agreed on your wedding make-up, make sure that you book the same make-up artist for your wedding day. While most people have a similar interpretation of a ‘smokey eye,’ each individual make-up artist make execute the look in their own unique way. Take a camera to the session so you can see how the make-up photographs.
Another way to ensure your make-up is perfect on the day is to take good care of your skin leading up to the wedding. Regularly cleansing, toning and moisturising will create a smooth and supple canvas for the make-up to glide onto. Ultimately a good base means your make-up will sit nicely and last all day and night too.
When you have your make-up done for your wedding, what you want is to simply amp up your usual look a little. You want to look like yourself, so don’t stray too far from your usual colours and style. It’s all about accentuating your own natural beauty so that you are the best version of yourself. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you feel like your make-up artist is moving too far out of your comfort zone. You should arrange for a trial session around 6 weeks before your make up so that you can see what it looks like.
This is completely up to you. However, you may notice on your wedding day that guests will glance at your new wedding ring, and your wedding photographer will most likely take extreme close ups of your hands too. Most brides opt for a pre-wedding manicure to create an overall polished appearance on their wedding day, and to help enhance the beauty of their engagement and wedding rings. It’s best to book your manicure one to two days before the wedding so your nails looks fresh.
# Be happy
Again researchers constantly tell us that, for the most part, married folk are far happier for longer periods of time than single people.
# Improve your life
Marriage offers many challenges. Being in love is great but adapting to your partner teaches you all sorts of things such as patience, understanding, kindness and perseverance. Being married can make you a better human being.
# You make more money
Yep, it’s true! Marriage means you have the chance to share your expenses and pool your resources and incomes. So, you’ll have fewer costs and a greater revenue. From a business point of view, marriage is a brilliant economic move.
# Improve your longevity
Study after study tell us that married people live longer than their unmarried counterparts and that they’re happier, however, most recently, a Harvard study showed that married people were far more likely than unmarried people to detect cancer in its earlier stages – and, therefore, seek treatment.
# Share your worries
We all go through stress with work, relationships, finance, etc. Being married means you have someone to share your difficulties with, to talk things over with and to make plans for a recovery. You have a built-in buddy.
# Silent communication
It’s great to know what someone is thinking without them saying a word. You get that when you’re married. It can be a reprimand or an invitation or any other matter. It’s a language unique to a married couple.
# Build that family tree
Though marriage isn’t the only way to start a family, it is the traditional way to do so – and to carry on the family name.
# You gain new friends
Your partner’s friends can become your friends. Each partner will bring their own friends to the relationship and, just as you share other parts of your life, you’ll also share an grown your circle of friends.
# You’ll never go on another awkward date
Having a life-partner means you’ll know their likes and dislikes. Whenever you go out together, you’ll feel confident. You know their favourite meals and drinks. You know their reading and movie likes. You’ve got the best date possible waiting for you at home.
# Your sex life is more rewarding
Many married couples say that their sex life takes on a new and deeper meaning. Sex is more intimate (for a while at least)!
# Let them start a confetti party
# Set a storytelling time
Most adults find it difficult to get through wedding speeches, so spare a thought for the little ones who don’t have our skills of diplomacy – and tend to sleep, moan or, embarrassingly, shout out things like ‘Mummy, when is that man going to stop talking?’ when they go on a little too long. You can avoid such fiascos by ensuring they’re kept quiet by inviting them to a storytelling session that happens to coincide with the speeches. What child will ever refuse a good fairytale?
# Kids-only corner
Like us big folks, children like having alone time alone with their friends, too. So, give them the pleasure of having some some adult-free time and provide an area at your reception venue filled with mats, pillows and toys for an adorable kiddie corner.
# Paper everything
If you don’t want to have a separate kids’ table, create a separate table setting for your little guests. Using disposable (even recyclable) paper saves you or your caterer time cleaning up and, frankly, it’s just a little delightful. Oh, and if you want to take this idea to the next level, use blank paper that children can draw on as the base place mat. Now, that’s one awesome children’s wedding activity!
# Crayons, crayons, crayons
Prepare a colorful loot bag filled with art and crafts materials for your little guests. Not only will it keep them entertained, it will also let their imaginations run wild. Add a personal touch by putting their name on each bundle.
# Cupcake decorating station
Isn’t this pretty – and clever, too? Combine dessert and art in one with this super cute DIY cupcakepalette. Fill a plastic paint palette with sprinkles of all sorts and colours and have kids decorate their own cupcakes. Genius, we say!
# Give them tasks
Make kids feel important by giving them things to do in the ceremony and at the reception. Express to them how important their role is and they’ll do it with pride – and be well behaved in the process. This approach has the added bonus of helping teach kids how to be responsible.
# Involve them in adult activities
While adults raise up their bubblies, have your little guests join in with their own celebratory drink: milk with a side of bikkies. Flavoured milk is even better!
Regardless of the size of wedding, the work that will go into preparing the farm for visitors is likely to be significant, from ensuring the house and gardens are ready to receive visitors and perhaps even accommodating them or arranging accommodation and/or lifts in surrounding areas.
Of course, after the wedding, there’ll be the big clean up operation and, possibly, items requiring repair – depending on how genteel your guests will be and how much of a party you’re throwing!
Naturally, offering to pay for the clean-up etc would be nice, but with regards to gifts, one of the best presents I once heard of was a tree and a flower bed.
Find out what flowers or trees are special to your friend and arrange to have them planted at the farm somewhere. It’s a lovely and thoughtful present that will bring a smile to her lips every time she sees the tree. She’ll have the joy of watching it grow and she’ll remember you, your wedding and your friendship! And when you visit, you’ll remember her kindness and the very special part she’s played in your life. Similarly, if you choose a flower bed, every year when it blooms, she’ll be reminded of your friendship.
Oh, and you’re both helping the environment.
If you’re after something more conventional, why not send her (and her partner, if she has one) on a trip somewhere, perhaps a bed and breakfast for the night, so someone else can give her the care, attention and pampering she’s lavishing on you!
Depending on the style of her farm, perhaps you could get the name of the farm and the number carved onto a wooden sign or something similar.
You know your friend best, so if these don’t suit or appeal, think about her passions and hobbies. If she’s a theatre fan, she’d probably love tickets to the newest show in town or, if she’s a sports fan, tickets to
Regardless of what option you go with, don’t focus on the size or cost of the thank you gift. It is, after all, the thought that counts.
There is no right or wrong answer to that question,” says Maria Mendonca from Sydney-based cake makers Casa Del who, during their 17 years in business, have created more than 5000 wedding cakes. “There are just too many variables on the couple’s side, including whether you’ll be serving guests seconds or not – and, then, so many size and tier options and combinations on your wedding cake maker’s side.”
Though Maria suggests the only way to ensure you’re 100 per cent certain of your options – and what the final result will look (and taste) like – is to visit your cake maker in person, there are some basic guidelines you can follow.
Maria says that “every cake maker has different standard tier sizes but, generally, they’re measures in inches and described in tiers.”
So, a 6 X 9 X 12 (pronounced 6 by 9 by 12) refers to a three tiered cake (as there are three numbers), the top tier measuring 6 inches wide, the second tier measuring 9 inches wide and the third one measuring 12 inches wide.
“Our standard tier height is 3 inches high, but for some vendors it may be 4 inches high, so be sure to ask your cake maker what their standard cake height is,” adds Maria who says the 6 X 9 X 12 cake isCasa Del’s most ordered three-tier wedding cake and serves about 200 finger-size slices.
For other vendors, a basic three-tier cake could be, for example, 8 X 8 X 12.
Another option is to stick with three tiers, but vary the width and height of the tiers because, says Maria “many couples want a cake that looks tall and slim rather than short and fat.
As such, Maria suggests a 5 X 7 X 10 cake at a height of four inches per tier.
“The trend, at the moment is to make the tiers higher and more narrow. That way, the cake looks a lot taller, it will have more impact in the venue and it will also have a lot more ‘wow’ factor.
“It will cost about the same and serves about the same number of people, but the slices are longer and the cake, as a whole, looks a a lot bigger.”
Maria says Casa Del’s most popular two-tier cake is a 7 X 10, two-tier cake with tiers 4 inches in height. It serves about 140 pieces.
So, taking all that into consideration, here are Maria’s suggestions for what size wedding cake you should order according to how many guests you have – and what portion size you will be serving them.
Most wedding cakes are served in sizes of one or two fingers.
# How long have you (or your DJs) been performing at weddings?
The aim of this question is to figure out, 1) if they’ve had any wedding experience, which is vital since DJing at a wedding is vastly different from DJing, say, at a 21st; and 2) you need to know if your DJ is a hobbyist or a professional who does this full time. This question will determine whether your potential DJ has only ever worked at mates’ birthdays or if they’ve actually performed live at a wedding. Always ask for testimonials. The best DJs will happily provide them as they won’t have anything to hide.
# What plans do you have in place if something goes wrong on the night?
Hopefully, you’ll never have to find out, but ask the DJ what would happen if, say, they were unable to make your event due to illness or an accident, or if a speaker were to blow up? Do they have back-up DJs and equipment that can be called in a the last minute?
# Exactly what does your price cover?
Ask about deposits and whether meetings, equipment, lighting, MC duties, music and GST are all inclusive? Find out exactly what you are paying for and what is included, but also what isn’t included in your final price. A truly professional DJ will be crystal clear about what is on offer and he/she will not be hesitant to put it in writing.
# What kind of equipment do you use/provide?
While many of today’s DJs have gone digital and will often use a laptop with a digital music collection as their primary tool, be sure to ask what other equipment they will be bringing. Branded gear isn’t always the best indicator of a DJ’s skill set, but if they’re using equipment by trusted brands, you know they’ve made a serious investment in their equipment – and careers. The same goes for lighting. Be sure to ask what lighting (if any) they provide. DJs who use LED lighting equipment are generally at the top end of the scale, but that’s not always true as some DJs do not provide lighting equipment, while others like to focus purely on the music, not lighting.
# Who will be my DJ on the day and can I meet them?
Regardless of whether you hire an individual or a DJ Company, always insist on meeting the DJ who will be performing at your event. This is, after all, the person who will be responsible for ensuring you and your guest have a great time and if, for whatever reason, you don’t “fit” with them, it is vital to learn this BEFORE your big day. If choosing a DJ company, a meeting two or three months prior to the event is enough time to meet them. If you meet them any earlier, the DJ may not be able to commit so far in advance, but opting to meet any later could leave it too late to change DJs if you are unhappy, especially during the peak summer months.
# Will you sign a contract?
The DJ industry is made up of such a variety of people that this answer will vary markedly, Some prospective DJs will be happy to sign one, others will flat out refuse. While you can’t necessarily judge a DJ’s skill or experience by the fact they are or they are not willing to sign a contract, the fact is the ones who are willing to sign a contract offer more peace of mind. A contract, which will generally be provided by the DJ, in a legally-binding document that not only ensure the DJ will turn up on the day, but that you will pay them for their services. The contract should also clearly lists any exclusions, terms and conditions and cancellation policies. And remember to read it before you sign. Even a contract that hasn’t been read is enforcible once it is signed.
# Can guests make a request?
Allowing guests to make requests always makes for a bit of fun, and most DJs will be happy to oblige, however leave it to their discretion. The last thing you want is to have a pumping dance number slowed down by a soppy love song that only they like, or, worse still, something with offensive lyrics that may annoy or shock other guests. “There is nothing worse than watching a dance floor empty because one couple or one person wants to hear their favourite song,” says David “and most of the time, they don’t even get up and dance to it!”
Requests are generally fine, but leave it in the DJ’s discretion.
# What if we do or do not want certain songs played?
When it comes to the choice of music, you are the boss, so whatever you want played – or not played – your DJ should agree to. However, while you know your tastes and, hopefully, those of your guests, keep in mind that professional DJs do this sort of thing week in and week out, and probably know a whole lot more about firing up a wedding crowd than you do.
You definitely have the final say, but be smart and at least heed your DJ’s advice.
# Will you MC the night as well?
Experienced DJs will have no trouble MCing your night, however be sure to check that your DJ on the night is willing – and capable – of doing so. MCing involves the ability to fire up, inspire and instruct the crowd, and if your DJ doesn’t have the right personality for the task, you’ll need to discover that well before signing on the dotted line. Don’t forget to ask how many weddings they have been an MC for. After all, you don’t want your wedding to be their first!
A truly experienced DJ will go through lots of seemingly little details, but they will make a huge difference on the day. They should ask about details such as name pronunciations and running times, and familiarise themselves with your story etc.
Even if you have an MC and, particularly, if they’re a guest, let the DJ take over after the formalities are done. That way your guest also gets to have some fun on the night!
David says that while some DJs will charge extra for DJing, most, including his own DJs do not.
A good DJ, as with any good wedding supplier, will not want to add to the stress of a wedding and should be a dream to deal with!