Wedding Advice

how to make your wedding personal to you

 

P1080765

Risking sounding like a broken record I can’t believe how quickly this year is going! Everyone said the year of wedding planning would race by and they weren’t wrong! We had another meeting at our wedding venue Coombe Trenchard on Friday which was absolutely lovely! Its made us feel we are definitely on track and Sarah and Emily are so lovely and accommodating … you really feel like they want your wedding to be a true reflection of you as a couple and not like you are just another in a long train of couples who need to fit around them and how their wedding venue works. I know from speaking to so many brides and grooms over the years that this is not always the case so I feel very luck to have found such a wonderful venue. http://www.coombetrenchard.co.uk/

It got me thinking about how that is my favourite part of working with my couples who order stationery from me. Whether the stationery is one of my standard collections or a completely bespoke design I always try my best to make the invitations as personal to them and their wedding as possible. Its why I will never place any restrictions on wording or give couples a template they have to stick to … It’s just not what I think weddings are about!

So how do you make your wedding personal to you as possible ?

Ditch the rule book!

I think one of the main questions I get asked all the time when clients are planning their weddings is “is this how it’s normally done?”. To be fair I can understand. Planning a wedding is something most people will have never done before. You often have no idea about where to even start, let alone what you should and shouldn’t include. Its often much easier to say well if this is how it’s traditionally done lets go with that. But I think with every decision that you make with regards to your wedding you have to sit back for a minute and ask yourself is this something which is right for us as a couple? Several times during my wedding planning I’ve felt like I ‘should’ have something because I know somebody in the industry who does that thing. Ant has been brilliant though, as an industry outsider, for checking for a second and saying that’s not really us is it! So for everything a magazine ‘tells’ you you ‘should’ have take a minute to decide whether you want it. Don’t be swayed by tradition if its not who you are. We, for example, are not having adult bridesmaids or ushers and we are walking in to our ceremony together and spending the night before together. I’m not one for superstition.

Create a moodboard

Whether this be a physical board, scrapbook or a collection of images on Pinterest, spend some time before you really start planning to look at ideas that appeal to you both and what you love and loath about weddings. Don’t limit yourself to wedding images though! No-one wants to see another identikit Pinterest wedding! They want to see you and your personalities. So include in your moodboard things you love to do in your spare time, books you love, films you adore … what your passions are. You will often find that this naturally creates an idea of how you would like your wedding to look … sometimes it might even suggest a colour scheme you may not have realised you have to your life! We have started decorating our new house in a palette of navy’s and greys with pops of colour and so it seemed natural to include navy in our wedding scheme … a very pale pastel wedding would just not have been us.

Think about your friends and family

How do those closest to you see you as a couple ? You want your day to reflect who you are and how people see you. Asking friends and family for what they see as ‘your’ colour or personality might be really interesting and throw up things you may never have thought of. (Although obviously make sure they don’t think they can get too involved!) Its also lovely to think about what your friends and family like to do and how to incorporate things that they will find fun into the day as well. There is no point having a day which reflects you both completely if everyone of your guests is going to have a miserable time!

I really hope that gives you a starting point for your own wedding planning and how to make it personal to you. We’ve had so much fun planning our ideas that I hope everyone else enjoys it too!

Nikki x

 

Wedding nerves

wedding-nerves-planning

So yesterday I had my first attack of wedding nerves. I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last … I’m a fairly nervy and worrying sort of person by nature. The reason for the flip of the stomach and the butterflies ? I sent our wedding invitations to print! You’d think, being a wedding stationer, this would be the easiest and smoothest part of the whole wedding planning process … but apparently not! In actuality I’ve been quite stressed out by the pressure of designing my own invitations. I feel even more pressure to get them spot on … to make them really reflect me and Anthony as people and also, because of what I do, to make them something which will have the dreaded ‘wow factor’ when our guests open them. I hate that phrase ‘wow factor’ by the way … but you know what I mean.

So when I pressed send on the email to my printers my stomach did a little flip and I felt kind of nauseous. My mind has since been racing with visions of me getting them back from the printers and realising I’ve made 101 spelling mistakes or that I’ve put completely the wrong date for some unknown reason. I proof read them several times over and got Ant to do the same so I’m pretty sure this is not going to happen … but my worrying nature takes over in these instances and I become completely irrational.

I desperately don’t want to be like this for anything else to do with the wedding so I think I may have to find some ways of calming myself down slightly … perhaps I’ll take up yoga!

On the plus side – many of the decisions which cause angst to many couples and brides whilst wedding planning have seemed to pass us by. My whole outfit is sorted .. picking a dress was easy peasy. I found one I loved online, bought it, loved it and am having some small alterations to make it perfect. Job done. The venue decision was also relatively easy, and deciding on a guest list, because we are paying for it all ourselves took minutes as we aren’t having to invite long lost relatives or friends of our parents that we don’t know and don’t really want to be there!

Ooh and super excitingly we’ve booked our honeymoon! We actually weren’t going to bother as we have so much money to spend on our house renovations … but as we realised more and more how much hard work the next few months was going to be we decided we really needed a break after the wedding! So we’re off to Bali … I cannot wait! ( Almost looking forward to that more than the wedding now! … only kidding! )

Catch up with more of our wedding plans soon .. hopefully this is my first and last attack of wedding nerves!

Nikki x

 

Image credits : http://bridesmaidforhire.com/the-7-worst-wedding-planning-tips-you-should-avoid/

Information Cards – What to include in your wedding invitations?

Today I want to talk to you about information cards … not the most thrilling subject I know but something you are probably going to have to think about at some point if you are planning your wedding and planning on sending out invitations! We’re in exactly this position currently whilst planning our wedding for next year … I would kind of like to get our invitations out around September / October time so I’ve started to put together a design for our invitations and subsequently work on what information we need to give guests in our information cards.

wedding-information-cards

 

These days I have very few couples who order wedding invitations without needing to give their guests a whole raft of information which they need to know, and so information cards have become almost a must! Of course their is the option of putting all of this information on a wedding website and then just having a small line at the bottom of your invitation directing them to said website. However do bear in mind that some older guests might not be that internet savvy and some people are also just lazy and won’t bother looking! So I’m definitely going to send information cards in with my invitations as well as a website to direct guests to.

So then I’ve started thinking about what I need to include. Obviously I have a bit of a head start being a wedding stationer as I know what is normally included as the basics and what many of my clients have included as ‘extras’ … but of course every wedding is individual and so the information you need to provide to your guests is individual as well. The very least I would advise putting on an information card or website is :

  1. The full address of the venue including postcode ( there often won’t be room for this on the invitation )
  2. Brief Directions – this doesn’t need to be the full google maps directions, but an idea for guests as the last little bits of the route which might be complicated is always good. You’ll often find a shortened directions on your venues website so sometimes they will have done the work for you!
  3. Gifts – even if you don’t want any many guests will assume that you do and so some indication of whether you have a gift list, are accepting honeymoon contributions, charity contributions or if you really don’t want anything at all is a must.
  4. Accommodation – these days many people are not getting married in their home town where all their friends and relatives live so a few accommodation ideas is fantastic.

Then of course there are things which you might want to put on which aren’t necessarily essential but may really help your guests, depending on your venue of course …

  1. Taxi numbers – if guests will need to pre-book taxis in advance if they are not staying on site.
  2. Dress Code – you might not have one but it may be an idea at the very least to put ‘no jeans or trainers’ if you don’t want guests turning up in smart jeans and a shirt etc.
  3. Car Parking – if your venue has a specific place to park or any other parking restrictions then let your guests know.
  4. Map – as well as directions you may decide to include a useful little map to give guest a better idea of where the entrance to the venue is etc. I’m hand drawing a little map for my information cards and have done so for a few clients in the past.

I’ve now started to also write a list of things which are very specific to my venue as well. Our venue hasn’t got a cash machine on site and is pretty rural so I need to let my guest know to bring cash with them. You might want to let guest’s know about anything else you are inviting them to over the weekend … are you having a get together on the Friday night or breakfast or lunch on the Sunday if its a weekend wedding ?

If you haven’t put it on the invitation card it might be an idea to include in your information card a time you expect them to arrive before the ceremony. Normally the time on the invite will be the time the ceremony starts so if you want your guests to be there at least half an hour before you might want to mention this.

I’m also giving my guests a bit of advance warning that we will be having a ‘unplugged ceremony’ and we don’t want to anyone to be using cameras or phones during the ceremony. I would hate to walk down the isle and just see people’s phones in front of their faces rather than the people I love smiling. It makes me pretty upset even thinking about it – and I’m also sure that our photographer doesn’t want people’s phones / cameras / tablets in shot either!

Wow I’ve got quite a lot to finalise and think about for our information cards … hopefully this has given you a bit of a heads up as to what to include too! Just one last word though – bear in mind that you will often only get 1 double sided information card included as standard in a lot of invitation suites so go in realising that if you do add on any of this extra information you may well have to add on a little to the cost for an extra information card.

Nikki x

Engagement Shoots – Why You Should Have One!

Following on from my posts over Christmas and the New Year about wedding photography http://knotsandkisses-co-uk.stackstaging.com/beta/how-to-choose-your-wedding-photographer/ I decided that it would be a good idea to get together with some of my photography friends and discuss Engagement Shoots and their importance before your wedding.

I bet a lot of you will have exactly the same reaction as my other half when I started speaking to him about having an engagement shoot before our wedding next year. The general line of response went … “Can’t think of anything worse”, “Hate having my photo taken”, “Really don’t see the point!”. To be honest with most of our wedding planning I’ve wanted everything to be very much a joint decision and wouldn’t dream of having something at the wedding if Ant wasn’t 100% behind it. But for me an Engagement Shoot was something to insist upon … more than anything for precisely the reason that neither of us really like having our photo taken!

Hopefully this post will help you understand some of the reasons why Engagement Shoots are actually really important and not just another added expense you could do without.

venetia norrington engagement shoot 4

image courtesy of Venetia Norrington Photography

For starters many photographers will offer an Engagement Shoot as part of their package – so its always worth asking in advance – but don’t think they are trying to rip you off if they do charge. Many of the best photographers are so in demand they really do need paying for their time … and on the other side of the spectrum many photographers who are just starting out can’t afford to give away their time for free. It really does depend on the photographer.

I personally wanted an Engagement Shoot because, although I know our wedding photographer pretty well from working on the photography for this website, I wanted us both to feel completely relaxed in her company. Your photographer should blend seamlessly into your wedding day and you shouldn’t be worrying at any point about them or what they are up to. To do this I think you need to feel really comfortable with them in advance.

There is also a bit of me that is doing it for vanity! I hate photos of myself. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of photos I have looked at of myself which I have liked and been pleased with. The Engagement Shoot is just as much so your photographer can get to know you and your best angles and how to make you look your best in photographs as it is for you to get to know them.

I also asked some of the professional wedding photographers and wedding planners I know why they thought Engagement Shoots were so important and what their top tips for these shoots were and this is what they said …

“I absolutely recommend that all couples should have an engagement shoot! Getting in some practice and getting to know your photographer is important  – you want to feel totally at ease and relaxed on the big day as it helps to eliminate any feelings of being ‘camera shy’. This is why I offer engagement or ‘pre wedding’ shoots in all of my wedding collections. It is also helpful for me as a photographer because I can see how the couple work together, what natural posing works and what doesn’t, but more than anything it’s another chance to get to know my couples and build on our friendship.

I also think this is the perfect way to celebrate your short time as an engaged couple. Particularly, when if you consider that the few months to few years when you are engaged to be married, is such a small window of time when compared to the rest of your life. Engagement photographs capture and preserve this feeling and excitement you both share during a time when you are preparing to marry your ‘one.’ These timeless and less formal photos are the perfect way to look back at the beginning of your love and life together.”

– Philippa Sian Photography – www.philippa-sian.co.uk

Emmaandchristian-4

image courtesy of Philippa Sian Photography

Emmaandchristian-7

image courtesy of Philippa Sian Photography

Venetia Norrington Photography www.venetianorrington.com gave me some fantastic top tips on what to think about when organising your Engagement Shoot with your photographer …

Chose a location you love or that’s linked to you as a couple.

Co-ordinate your hair and make-up trial to coincide with your shoot so you look your very best.

Think carefully about your wardrobe – we provide our clients with some inspired choices as part of our planning. No logos or motifs in our shoots! 

Have your engagement ring cleaned for the event – you want it to be as sparkly as possibly! 

Don’t forget, if you want to use props, get them! Again we work with clients to plan this and come up with a list between us.

venetia norrington engagement shoot 2

image courtesy of Venetia Norrington Photography

venetia norrington engagement shoot 5

image courtesy of Venetia Norrington Photography

and finally some more tips from wedding planner Claudia Montano  – www.claudiamontano.co.uk

Have your shoot somewhere that means something to you both… maybe somewhere you visit often, your favourite place to go for a walk, or even where you first met!

Wear something that is ‘you’. You want to wear something that you’re comfortable in, and something that you really love! You don’t have to over dress, just be yourself.

It can be a little awkward to pose in front of a camera, so ask your photographer to take some shots of you both as you walk around, or even whilst you’re sitting and having a casual chat. Natural shots make for some beautiful photographs.

I hope that really helps you with what Engagement Shoots are all about and whether you would like one for your wedding. I personally can’t wait for mine in May!

If you are interested in an Engagement Shoot then make sure you check back at 1pm today as I’ve got a very special offer to share with you from Venetia Norrington Photography!

Nikki x

 

 

How to choose your wedding photographer

One of the most important things in your wedding will be your wedding photography. Yes the venue is probably the biggest expense and the dress and details will complete the look, but the photos are going to be what’s left when all that is just memories and the day is over. So how do you choose your wedding photographer ? There are so many wedding photographers out there it can be a bit of a minefield when you are first starting to look! Obviously personal recommendations are great but I think, after working with wedding photographers and in the industry for 6 years now, the most important thing is that your photography really reflects who you are as a couple.

your-wedding-photographer-clare-kinchin

image by Clare Kinchin Photography

There are lots of different styles of photography to choose from … Reportage, Fine Art, Traditional … so it’s really important to find one which is right for you.

Because of this I decided to ask a couple of my favourite photographers what they felt were the really important things to remember when choosing a wedding photographer …

First up Clare Kinchin Photography http://clarekinchinphotography.co.uk ( who just happened to do all the wonderful photography on this website! ) has some great tips …

  1. Establish your style first of all and then look for a photographer that best reflects you.
  2. Don’t book Uncle Bob….its got disaster written all over it!
  3. Like your photographer, you are going spend most of the day with this person, you need to like them.
  4. Don’t choose your photographer based purely on price. Look for photographers that you love and then
    take a look at the prices. You get what you pay for.
  5. Ask how long your photographer has been shooting weddings, experience experience experience is so
    important. A good professional photographer will still be able to create beautiful images even if its raining
    and you are inside with no natural light….lets face it, rain is a big possibility even in the summer.
  6. A pre-wedding or engagement shoot is a really great way of getting to know your photographer and
    being able to relax in front of the camera before the big day. You never know you might enjoy it!
  7. Remember you are the ingredients, make time to have some beautiful iconic images taken. Its actually
    quite nice to have some time out with each other.
  8. Let go….there might be a few little glitches on the day but don’t let them spoil your wedding, stressed out
    brides usually look stressed out in their photographers. The most important thing is that you are getting
    married to each other.
  9. Don’t procrastinate…if you like a photographers work…book them as soon as you can. Dates get
    booked out so quickly usually 18 months before the big day.
  10. Take a good look through a photographers website, I think a website speak volumes and reflects
    instantly the artistic flair and style of your photographer.
  11. Look closely at the products, have you seen them before, does your friend have the exact same product
    that is dropped into templates or will your photographer design you something bespoke so no one else
    will have the same as you.
  12. Finally….just have fun, you look incredible, your marrying Mr/Mrs wonderful, be gorgeous, be flirty and
    and work it baby!
your-wedding-photographer-bowtie-and-belle

image from Bowtie and Belle Photography

I also asked the lovely guys at Bowtie and Belle Fine Art Photography www.BowtieandBellePhotography.co.uk for their tips …

  1. Style – before meeting, have a thorough browse through their website. Look at the style of the photographer and make sure it fits with how you want your wedding to be captured.
  2. Coverage – you don’t want a clock watcher! Discuss the packages on offer and choose what suits you best and fits in with your wedding. Make sure your wedding photographer accommodates your needs as a couple. Its teamwork.
  3. Look for a connection – make sure you get on with your photographer. Meeting before your big day; be it for a pre-wedding photoshoot, skype call or for a chat over a cup of tea and cake – it’s so important to make sure you get on well. The biggest day of your life doesn’t have to be as stressful as everyone makes it out to be and if you get on well with your photographers your day will be more relaxed, comfortable and fun!
  4. And lastly, go with your heart. Your photography is the one of the most important considerations – it’s a lasting memory and you want it to stand the test of time for you to cherish for years to come. 
Cornish wedding Pengenna manor

image by Liberty Pearl Photography

The lovely Amber from Liberty Pearl Photography http://libertypearlphotography.com/ also gave me this insight …

“Ask do you have photos of entire weddings that I can see?
Request to see the images from a few complete weddings, instead of just a sampling of several events. This way, you can better judge the photographer’s work and see how they photograph the entire spectrum of a wedding―the bride and groom getting ready, the ceremony, the reception, and the portraits. Asking to see a few weddings also shows consistency in their quality and style.”

A massive thank you to the photographers who contributed insights for this post … I hope you find it really helpful when choosing your wedding photographer.

Nikki x

What to ask your wedding photographer

So I’ve been thinking recently about what sort of things I would want to know if I was getting married that I would have no idea about if I wasn’t a member of the craziness that is the wedding industry! Oh and yes I am one of the few people you will find in the wedding industry who isn’t married and didn’t start their business because of their own wedding .. I just bloody love weddings and stationery! Anyway … I think one of the main things I would want to know is about wedding photography. It is after all quite a substantial part of a lot of people’s wedding budget so its something you would definitely want to make sure you get right. There’s only one chance to get the wedding photographs you dream of and then you are stuck with them for the rest of your life so I personally think its really important that you get someone professional and get a good job done because these are the memories you are going to have forever.

So you’ve got a meeting lined up with a wedding photographer to discuss your wedding … but what the heck do you ask them!?! I mean I love photography and have quite an extensive background in the wedding industry but I’m not sure even I would know where to start with what the really important things are to clarify with a photographer before booking them for my wedding. What is the information you should let your photographer know once you’ve booked them, and what things are going to make it as easy as possible for them to get the best photos possible of your wedding?

Bowtie and Belle Photography-3

image by Bowtie and Belle Photography

So I was in a room with quite a lot of pro wedding photographers recently and it got me to thinking … I know all these people, why not take the opportunity to get their top hints and tips and then I can pass them on to readers of the blog who might be looking at having a first meeting with their wedding photographer and just have no idea what to ask!

So here it is .. what to ask your wedding photographer from the people who really know! …

“Once your plans are beginning to fall into place, it’s the all-important timeline. Work with your photographer to discuss the key aspects of the day so that they can advise on the best time to work in any formal photos and shots of you both as newly-weds. You’ll appreciate that half an hour where you can take a breath and spend some time together.

Have a good think about formal photo requirements. So many of our couples have said that they’ve been to weddings in the past and have hardly seen the bride and groom due to the hours spent taking formal photos. We recommend no more than 8 variations – leaving you plenty of time to chat among your friends and family and to enjoy the celebrations!”

– Bowtie and Belle Fine Art Photography www.BowtieandBellePhotography.co.uk

Bowtie and Belle Photography-2 (4)

Image by Bowtie and Belle Photography

“Your wedding photographer will almost certainly schedule a meeting whether that’s over a coffee, at your venue, or over Skype. This is normally a final catch up before the big day to go through your timeline and any special requirements to ensure that they are fully prepared. For example, is there a surprise planned or a tiny detail thats important to be photographed? If there is you should certainly let them know so they can be in the right place at the right time. Are there any family members that may not be best stood next to each other in your formal photographs? All these sorts of things really matter to help your photographer truly understand your day and prepare accordingly. 

If you are concerned about any timings, your photographer will have the knowledge and experience to help you plan your day. Your photographer isn’t just there to take photographs, they become an integral part of the organisation of the day, can help things run smoothly, solve problems and ultimately make you feel completely at ease.”

– Philippa Sian Photography www.philippa-sian.co.uk

bride-and-groom-dancing-phillippa-sian-wedding-photographer

Image by Philippa Sian Photography

bride-and-groom-shot

Image by Philippa Sian Photography

“In my opinion, have the best possible timeline for the day. I usually ask to the couple to send me some ideas from Pinterest for their couple shoot, send me the 5 most important people for them that will be at their wedding, and I always try to get to know who they are. I like to ask about the groups photoshoot. I like to photograph groups for a while, not too much time and have my head free for the inspiration. For that, I always ask the Bride & Groom to do a small list of 3-4 groups shoots and some friend/family to prepare the people after the ceremony to do the photo-groups. It is not the most “artistic”time as you can guess, but, you know what? I get happy couples …”

– Jesús Caballero Photography www.jesuscaballero.com

“Ask how long your photographer has been shooting weddings, experience experience experience is so important. A good professional photographer will still be able to create beautiful images even if its raining and you are inside with no natural light….lets face it, rain is a big possibility even in the summer.

– Clare Kinchin Photography http://www.clarekinchinphotography.co.uk/

“Can I meet you before the wedding? You should always meet the photographer before your wedding day, they may shoot amazing photos but could be very loud, bossy and completely take over your wedding day. If you can’t meet them then definitely speak on the phone, this helps get to know the photographer and see if you like their personality. 

What type of cameras do you use, and will you have any backups in case something breaks or doesn’t work? If you want the best pictures, hire someone who uses the latest top-quality equipment. A true professional will arrive at the wedding prepared with more than one camera and lens. Also checked they are insured in case they damage a memory cards/films. 

What happens if it rains?
Unfortunately in the UK, this does tend to happen quite frequently, so make sure your photographer has a plan for it and should discuss a “plan B” with you before the big day. Most photographers carry a couple of very handy large umbrellas and modern cameras can withstand a lot of rain – basically it shouldn’t stop you having stunning pictures. But if you don’t fancy braving the rain your photographer should be flexible and they can take the group photos and bride and groom portraits later in the day when the rain has stopped, rather than inside the venue. 

How many photos do I receive? and are they in colour or black and white? You would be surprised how many people forget to ask this, some brides assume their package includes all the photos from the day. Some photographers only give 100 images from a 10 hour wedding and you have to pay extra for each image above this. I always give 500-800 images in colour and black and white so you receive over 1000 images in total.”

– Liberty Pearl Photography http://libertypearlphotography.com/

I really hope this helps you have with any questions you might be having about your wedding photography. I’ll be working on another post for the new year on ‘How to choose your wedding photographer’ so be sure to check back then.

Nikki x

 

Wedding Guest List – How to avoid the drama

Wedding Guest Lists Image by Philippa Sian Photography

image credit Philippa Sian Photography http://www.philippa-sian.co.uk/

If there is one thing I’ve learnt in my 6 years of running Knots & Kisses it’s that the guest lists are invariably the most stressful thing about organising a wedding! Now I’m not a wedding planner but I can’t begin to count the times I have had clients apologise for not getting back to me with the names they want printing on their invitations because they have been struggling with finalising the guest list, and don’t get me started on people who don’t RSVP and leave couples high and dry weeks before the wedding when their caterers, venue and me are all pressuring them for final numbers for reception stationery and food!

So where do you start with trying to decide on a guest list for your wedding?

I think the first thing that inevitably causes problems and is the main thing to think about is who is paying for the wedding ?

If you are going down the traditional route and the Bride’s parents are paying for the whole thing then you may have to consider that they may feel they are entitled to have a fair amount of say over the guest list. They may even want to invite one or two friends of their own that you may have not seen for a very long time or even feel that close to. Hopefully in most cases there will a fairly honest discussion between you all at the very start as to what they feel they are ‘entitled’ to. I would say though that if they are paying in full it’s probably worth being as understanding as possible over the guest list.

When it gets a little less clear is when parents and the couple are all contributing to the wedding, and therefore how much say they will have. I think, again, it’s really worth sitting down and having a full and frank discussion about this at the very start of the wedding planning process so everyone knows what their expectations are and whether these fit into your vision of your day.

Make a decision early on about the ideal number of people you would like to invite. If you have a very specific venue in mind from the start then this will obviously influence how many people you can fit in and make deciding on a guest list number much easier. Alternatively you may prefer to put together your guest list first. Make sure you have a list of those people it is essential are there, another list of those people you would like to invite if there is room, plus a list for possible evening guests. Once you have all this you can then look at venues knowing exactly how many people you are looking to accommodate and cater for.

The next thing which often causes problems and headaches for couples planning their guest list is Plus Ones! If there is one question I have read on more forums than any other with regards to weddings its ” do I have to offer everyone a plus one?”. The answer quite simply is no! Unless your budget is limitless … in which case lucky you! … you are going to need to set some rules and have a cut off point when it comes to plus ones. My general rule of thumb would be that you only offer a plus one when you have met the partner in question and they are in a serious relationship. Now I’m not going to set a time limit on what constitutes ‘serious’. Many people say when the relationship is over 6 months, but people do fall in love and move in together immediately on occasion. Only you can judge whether or not your friend or family member is in a serious relationship or not. But if you feel they are and you have met the person then you may want to consider adding them to your invite list. When it comes to single friends or family members then you need to ask yourself whether they know anyone else at your wedding? If the answer is yes and you have a limited budget then as far as I’m concerned a plus one isn’t needed. If the answer is no then it seems only fair to give them a plus one so they don’t feel awkward and like Billy No Mates for the entire day!

On a small side note to this I’m afraid you are probably going to get a few guests who assume they have a plus one when they don’t! Be firm and just explain that you can’t give everyone a plus one due to restricted numbers and/or budget.

When it comes to inviting colleagues from work this is a tough call. If you work within a small team or section of a larger company, those closest to you are probably going to hear a lot about your wedding planning, so it may feel awkward not to invite them. I generally think this is where evening invitations come in to play. Its much easier to give out a few extra evening invitations to be polite without it adding drastically to your budget and people feel much more at ease declining an evening invitation to a wedding if they know it really is just out of politeness. Of course if you are very good friends with people from work then absolutely invite them to the whole day!

So that just really leaves the question of people who invited you to their wedding but you don’t really want at yours! Everyone is bound to have a couple of these sorts of issues lurking in the background. You were invited to their wedding but have since lost touch and don’t really see each other anymore. Here I would say honestly don’t feel pressurised to invite them to your wedding! It will be fairly obvious to them why they are not invited if you really have lost touch and to be honest if you have lost touch does it really matter if they are offended if you don’t invite them!

I hope this has covered many of the issues you may be having if you’re at the guest list stage of planning your wedding or preempts a few if you haven’t started yet.

Nikki x

How to say no to children at your wedding!

saying-no-to-children-at-weddings-chris-scuffins-photography

Image via bride magazine website article http://www.weddingsite.co.uk/articles/why-your-wedding-photographer-should-be-your-friend#.ViZcitWrR9M by Chris Scuffins Photography

 

Ok this might be for some a little bit of a controversial topic so I’m going to start this blog post off by clarifying a few things about me.

I don’t hate children! This is a common misnomer about women who have don’t have or don’t want children. I have a niece and nephew who I adore and I have several friends who have children and we often invite whole families down to Devon for an annual BBQ party – and all of the children are invited – it wouldn’t be the same without them. I miss my niece and nephew when I haven’t spent time with them for a while – they live about 4 hours away so it’s difficult to know I will only see them a 5 or 6 times a year and that I will inevitably miss some of their growing up.

However I’m not a maternal person. I have no intention of ever having children of my own. My other half is fine with this. ( His mother isn’t but that’s a different story! ). I fully admit that, no matter how much I adore my niece and nephew and my friend’s children and would never not want to spend the time with them, after about an hour I’ve often had enough of the raised voices and squealing, of the constant pestering.  The kids often then spend the rest of the time with my other half whilst I have a cup of tea and a chat with the adults in the room … he is amazing with kids!

I don’t like babies. There I’ve said it … I will never want to hold your newborn, I’m sorry. I will start to like them when they become toddlers and have something of a personality, but until then they freak me out a bit. Most women I understand will read this and think I’m weird and unnatural but I have learnt to accept that.

So what I’m saying is that I can fully understand both sides of the argument when it comes to whether or not to invite children to your wedding. I personally would put up with small annoyances because I can’t imagine not having my friends children at my wedding – but I can also fully understand why these small annoyances would ruin your day.

I can see that for some people the idea of screaming children interrupting their ceremony or running around whilst they are saying their vows is just not acceptable for their idea of their perfect day.

I can also fully understand that for some people not inviting the children of their family and friends would be akin to cutting off their right leg!

So, how to say no to children at your wedding! If you don’t want children at your wedding how do you go about dealing with this without causing massive family rifts!?

Well for starters I think you need to properly sit down and assess your family and your feelings on the children issue and decide whether not having children at your wedding is a more overriding issue to you than the possible upset it might cause – and whether your friends and family are the type of people to get incredibly upset over this type of thing.

Have you considered possibly having some sort of ‘creche’ available during the ceremony. This may be a compromise where by you can have the quiet elegant ceremony you dream of and yet still allow children to be there for the rest of the day. This may also alleviate any issues with parents who won’t or can’t leave their children with babysitters for the whole day and evening.

If money allows you could also have some sort of child’s entertainment or separate room to keep kids occupied during the rest of the day and evening, and hopefully this might stop some of the parents leaving early to get their kids to bed which can happen. Perhaps you could also consider a separate kids table if you are having a sit down meal.

If this isn’t for you then you should definitely make sure that the fact that your guest’s children are not invited is very clear on your wedding invitations when you send them out.

Of course ‘No Children’ plastered across the bottom of your information card probably isn’t the best way forward. I would generally advise being clear when you address your invitations that they are addressed specifically to the adult’s names only. You can then also include a line at the bottom of the invitation or information card saying…

 “We hope you can appreciate that due to various constraints our wedding will be adults only. We hope you will enjoy the opportunity to have a night off and let your hair down!”

Or

“Unfortunately due to number restrictions we have been unable to extend our invitations to include any children.
For those of you with children, we hope you understand and will still be able to attend and share our day with us”

I’d also definitely suggest giving those people that you think might have issues a quick ring to say that you are really sorry we couldn’t invite ‘x and y’ but you are limited on numbers, have venue constraints etc.

You can also of course just decide to invite certain children. In which case something along the lines of “Unfortunately due to number restrictions we are only able to invite the children of immediate family only”. 

I really hope that this blog post strikes a chord with some of you who may be having issues with this whilst planning your own wedding and helps with some ideas .

Nikki x

Wedding Stationery Advice – Save the Dates

wedding-save-the-date-cards-advice

I’m often asked by clients and couples on wedding forums about Save the Date cards – I guess it is a relatively new concept in the UK, getting more and more popular over the last 10 years. It is definitely more of a usual thing to do in the States. I have had discussions with people who don’t see the point of Save the Dates, and I agree they aren’t needed for everyone, so here are my tips for Save the Dates …

Why to send Save the Dates

I would advise sending Save the Dates if you fall into any or all of the following situations …

  1. You have booked a date for your wedding which falls on a popular holiday or a bank holiday or during the summer holidays when people may be booking to go away up to a year in advance.
  2. You have a large proportion of guests coming from abroad or quite a distance within your own country. These people may need to book an entire week or weekend off rather than just an afternoon or day and it is best to give them as much warning as possible to book flights and/or accommodation.
  3. You are getting married on a weekday. As weekday weddings become more and more popular in order to save costs your guests will almost certainly have to book time off work and with the advised date to send out your actual invitations being approximately 2-3 months prior to the wedding this may not leave them enough time to book a date off. I have several friends who due to the nature of their work are asked to book in their holiday dates at the beginning of the year.

When to send out Save the Dates

The general advice I would give is to send out Save the Dates 9 months to a year prior to you wedding. This gives guests enough warning if they have to book flights or time off work but not so much warning that they are likely to forget about your wedding altogether! Honestly this happens! Your wedding may be the most important thing going on in your life but it certainly isn’t in other people’s and people really are likely to forget and lose the Save the Date card if you send them out too early!

Who to send Save the Dates to

Often the main reason I hear for people not sending Save the Dates is the cost – totally understandable – weddings can be an expensive business. So perhaps consider just sending Save the Dates to those people who you know will be travelling from afar and need to book transport and accommodation or those who you know will need more advance warning to book holiday.

Perhaps limit who you send to those people who you really want to be able to make it to the wedding. Its a horrible thing to say but that old friend of your Mum’s who you don’t speak to ever and who isn’t going to speak to anyone else on your guest list isn’t really going to know if she doesn’t get sent one. But be careful! If there is any chance at all that they are going to find out via facebook or through a friend of a friend etc. that they didn’t recieve one its probably best to play safe!

Advice for guests

I’ve also had long discussions with friends who have received a Save the Date from a couple getting married and aren’t sure whether or not this is something they need to reply to. The answer is no – there is no need to reply to a Save the Date card. The couple are just letting you know in advance of their intention to get married on this date so you can book holiday off if necessary. I would say the only reason to reply at this stage is if you definitely already know you have plans that date and will not be attending – that way the couple won’t waste money on buying an invitation for you when there is no need. Other than that there is no commitment on either side at this stage – it is entirely possibly that the couple’s plans may have changed by the time they come to send out their invitations. As a guest you should also be understanding if this also means that for any reason, possibly financial or medical, that the couple do not end up sending you an actual invitation. It doesn’t happen very often but if they have suffered any loss of finances they may not be able to have as large a wedding as they had first planned and will have to cut down on numbers. Etiquette wise I would say to couples getting married that if this does happen to you it is polite to drop a quick message to those you will no longer be inviting but have sent a Save the Date, just explaining the situation and apologising for any inconvenience and hope they understand.

I hope all this helps with any questions you might have regarding Save the Dates!

Nikki x

Beautiful Wedding Photography

Today I want to finish the week by sharing with you some of my favourite wedding photography and photographers.
There is a lot about at the moment about spending a good amount on your photography as these will be the memories you will keep forever. Its incredibly easy to decide to go with the cheapest option with your photographer … many have done this and have been horrified with the results. Many will book the cheapest option and luck out with a really great photographer who just happens to be starting out and looking to build a portfolio.
I am not going to start preaching about whether you should spend £1000s on your wedding photography. Do what’s right for you and your budget .. if a really beautiful album full of gorgeous memories of your day is important to you though then make sure you choose wisely. The best advice I can give is go with the photographer who’s style you like the best and not who has the biggest/smallest asking price. This way you’ll generally end up with something you love!

Speaking of things I love …. here are some of my favourite wedding photography images to get you inspired! You may have noticed that I favour a really relaxed style of photography .. I’m not a fan of big group photos or overly staged shots … what I really love is a close up of the Bride & Groom looking totally in love on their wedding day.

 
Photgraphy by http://laurababb.co.uk
 

 
Photography by http://tinoandpip.co.uk
 
 
Photography by POP photography
 
 
Photography by Paige Lowe Photography
 
 
Photography by Jacqui McSweeney