It wasn't so long ago that weddings followed a cookie cutter template.
- You got married in a cream, ivory or white dress that was long, with a veil.
- You wore shoes to match.
- Your bridesmaids wore matching dresses.
- All the bouquets matched (although the bride's would be a bit different).
- Invitations were always black and white script on card.
- The wedding cake was always three tier (or more).
And so on ...
Image credits: Disney Weddings, Hester Lear on Pinterest
But thank goodness those days are gone and couples getting married now can express their personalities, rather than following a formula.
It's got nothing to do with budget either. If you're prepared to spend a bit of time and effort finding good ideas on wedding websites and Pinterest, you'll find plenty of inspiration and there's masses of wedding stuff you can do yourself.
Image credit: Brides Up North
So what's this got to do with your guests and seating plan?
Well, what we're saying is that you can also have a bit of fun with this most important part of your reception and make it real personal.
Image credit: Bodas.net
You could just hand it over to your caterers and have a standard board at the entrance to the reception ... but you might want to dress things up a little.
- Instead of calling tables 1, 2 and 3 - think of some creatively themed table names. They could be the names of your favorite authors, athletes, artists, makes of car or places. So if you and your other partner have done a lot of travelling, the tables could be named after places you've visited: France, Italy, Greece, Bahamas ... you get the idea.
- You could call them after your favorite Disney characters or favorite films ...
Image credit: June Bug Weddings on Pinterest
Here's a few ideas we've found on Pinterest to inspire you:
- Find some old keys in a yard store or flea market and handwrite the table number and guest name
- Find an old mirror and write up your seating plan in silver or gold pen (or ask a friend who's studied calligraphy to do it)
- Get old photographs of your friends and put them alongside the table numbers. That will make everyone laugh when they see the board, that's for sure. Maybe some photos from your High School Yearbook?
- Get some empty wine bottles, print up sticky labels with the guest names and paste them on the bottles. Fill with flowers. Voila and an instant table centerpiece too ..
Image credit: Want That Wedding on Pinterest
Image credits Etsy, @afloral
Interior designers have known for a while now that the way to make a space special is by using carefully chosen accent colors.
You can have a neutral background - then mix and match with standout shades to add a depth of interest.
And you know something? You can use exactly the same trick to personalise and style up your wedding day.
Today's brides often give a nod to the past whilst incorporating elements of contemporary styling into their big day to give things an on-trend twist.
Image credit Dessy Style 6777 in Vineyard Green
Here are some ideas for using color accents on your big day
- Use the same accent color throughout - say this year's Pantone Ultra Violet - for the groomsmen's vests and cravats, your shoes, the bridesmaids' dresses, your table settings, your flowers - but keep everything else white or cream.
- Have a brightly colored vehicle to take you to the reception from your ceremony.
- Have an all-white reception (if you're a bit of a traditionalist) - linen, napkins, chairs ... but use your flowers to give pops of color.
- Maybe a colorful tiara?
- Put your bridesmaids in white but give them brightly colored, dazzling bouquets - and they don't all have to be the same shades either. Mix blues, reds, oranges and yellows in different posies.
- Wear jewel-coloured wedding shoes with a traditional white wedding dress.
- Or if you don't want to stick to one accent colour, think about ombre effects - where you use a graduated version of the same colour. Maybe from the most delicate lilac shade down to a deep purple. You can do the same with pinks, reds, oranges and greens
Remember that if you introduce accent colors to a largely white wedding, you'll end up with better photographs and videos as it gives the photographer something to focus on.
Image credit @LauraBodnar, Dolce & Gabbana
Click below for the video. It'll be interesting to know what you think. We actually thought that it was interesting how little wedding dresses have changed - and how some trends have even come back.
The first dress - a Downton Abbey-style wedding gown dating from 1915 - actually showed the bride wearing a veil that was very similar to the one that Meghan Markle wore at the Royal Wedding recently, right down to the scalloped edges. Just shows that real style never goes out of fashion.
Next up was a flapper style dress from the roaring 1920s - the decade of dancing The Charleston. Actually 1920's style dresses have never really lost popularity and many couples today decide to have a 1920s-styled day. In particular, the veil style - slightly bunched up around the ears - is a favorite with vintage brides.
One of the most timeless dresses - give or take a few details - is the 1935 wedding dress. Based on a bias cut slip dress, it's overlaid with a long lace coat. Change the collar a little and you could wear it today. The buttoning at the front is exquisite. (Actually we LOVE the idea of having a long lace 'coat' over a slip dress. Perfect afternoon to eveningwear.
The 1940's style wedding looks a little dated - and today's brides tend to prefer a gown that is more fitted.
Moving onto the 1950's dress. Today's brides styling a vintage style wedding day would just love to find a dress like this. A full skirt is overlaid in lace and lace is right back in style now. Really pretty. Did your great grandmother wear something similar?
In our view the most dated veil and headpiece is the one worn by the 1960s bride, with an oversized bow. The skirt has a tulip shape which you don't see so much now either but it's certainly a very romantic dress.
Moving onto the 1970s. If you're aiming for a boho-style day, then this is a dress we think you're going to love.
The 1980s style dress is certainly of its time, right down to the puff sleeves. Perhaps we'll leave things there.
The mid-1990s dress hasn't really dated much. You could wear that today and you'd look very chic. Again, you might want a more fitted gown but the off-the-shoulder look is right back in style.
Moving up to more recent times we have a strapless wedding dress - very popular with today's brides still and then a dress that is a nod to the gown worn by the Duchess of Cambridge at her 2011 wedding.
Wonder what the future holds for wedding dresses? What do you think?
(Image credit: Gossip Girl)
Now Meghan Markle is a naturally classy lady. She's well-groomed, well-put together, polite and charming.
But even Prince Harry's bride-to-be had to have some special lessons before she joined the British Royal family. There's a whole lot of stuff to learn when you're a Duchess. Things like when to curtsey to Queen Elizabeth, what color manicure is acceptable (it's neutral by the way), what not to eat and when not to eat ... and so on.
However, if you're a wedding guest then there are also some social skills you need to make sure you have. Because there are some things that absolutely must not be said at a wedding - or done.
Some people naturally have flawless manners. Others don't really have much etiquette at all and make faux pas constantly, embarassing those around them.
But when it comes down to weddings, it is important that everyone has etiquette - even if it is forced. However, regardless of how important this is, some people still tend to mess up and not say the right things when they should...or they say all the wrong things when they shouldn't.
Here's our list of the top 10 things you should never say to the bride, groom, or their families
- "I can't believe she finally is settling down! She's so wild. I never thought she would. Really, when you think of the time she...!" (And so on. Leave the bride's past in the past.)
- "You can't even tell she's pregnant!" (This may be a secret or the bride may want to keep her elderly relatives out of the loop. In any case, it's not your place to announce it.
- "Remember that time he/she was sooooo drunk......?" (Again, leave the past in the past.)
- "Oh...I thought you were going to go with the OTHER dress..." (This is almost guaranteed to make the bride feel a bit insecure and maybe not her best. NOT what you want her to be feeling. She's made her decision and your unhelpful comments are just that.)
- Well, he finally cleaned up nice...." (Tactless in the extreme.)
- "I came for the alcohol." (Not a classy comment for a guest to make.)
- "I'm scared to see them as parents..." (This doesn't make you sound like a kind person and doesn't show you in your best light.)
- "Good thing that first marriage didn't work out..." (Just unnecessary.)
- "Glad he finally grew up..." (Haven't you ever done things in your youth you regretted later? Cut him some slack.)
- "Why is she wearing a white dress again?" (You know something, it's really none of your business. It's HER choice.)
Maybe you've never spent a night away from one another ever. Maybe you can't bear to be parted.
Well, tradition dictates that the bride doesn't see her intended on the wedding day until she arrives for the ceremony and walks down the aisle towards him. (Which certainly ramps up the anticipation, excitement and atmosphere).
In fact, it's considered bad luck to see your partner before the wedding, something that many couples just don't want to risk.
Other reasons not to meet
There are other good reasons for not seeing your intended beforehand.
It takes away that moment when the groom sees his bride for the first time walking down the aisle, when he looks back and sees HER! (Remember Prince Harry's face when he saw Meghan Markle walking towards him).
And of course that particular moment is also a fantastic photo opportunity.
And reasons why you might want to
- Photographers sometimes prefer fresh pre-ceremony photos of the bride and groom (and getting these out of the way means you have more time to spend enjoying your reception)
- It will give you some quiet time together beforehand.
- You'll be more relaxed when you meet in front of the priest/celebrant
Why is there this tradition?
No one really knows. Some say it goes back to the days when arranged marriages between families were the way marriages happened. Seeing each other before the wedding day could cause the groom (not the bride of course) to change his mind, (we've come a long way since then).
The veil also plays a part in this tradition. The veil prevented the groom from seeing the bride and at (gasp!) the last minute calling the whole thing off.
Fast forward to modern times. This is really a decision that should be made by the bride and groom themselves. If you are both the superstitious and traditional types, then adhere to it. If you are a couple that doesn't care either way, then by all means see each other before you say 'I Do.'
Main image via Wedding Chicks.
Credit: Alison Leigh Photos. Floral dresses by Dessy Style After Six 6763
Did you know that not having the wedding filmed is top of a bride's regrets about her big day. So it's probably not something to save money on - after all, you want your grandkids to see how fabulous you both were as a young couple!
How To Avoid A Wedding Day Video Disaster
- If you can afford it, have your wedding filmed. Being able to see your ceremony, your first kiss and dance as a married couple are magical moments. And you only get one chance!
- Don't ask a relative or guest to shoot your video. They are guests and want to be busy enjoying themselves, rather than on duty capturing your big day. And they might miss those crucial moments!
- Know what style of wedding video you want - standard, static or fly on the wall documentary.
- Think about the elements of the wedding you want recorded; Bride getting ready; Groom getting ready; guests arriving; bridal party and bride arriving to the ceremony; the ceremony; drinks reception; newly weds entrance to reception; dinner and speeches; cutting the cake; first dance; party with guest dancing.
- Meet and discuss ideas with your videographer well in advance. Make sure they are sensitive and respectful of your needs.
- Good videographers are booked a long way ahead, so try to secure your choice as soon as possible.
- Make sure you know exactly what your video package includes,so that you avoid any hefty add-ons later.
- Prices will depend on the equipment the videographer uses and the number of crew coming along.
- Ask to see previous examples of the videographer's work and get recommendations from previous clients.
- Remember, you ultimately get what you pay for. So if something is cheap, then it probably will look it
Did you have a wedding video made of your big day? Which were your favourite shots and which do you think you could have done without? If you've any great wedding videos tips, please share them with us below by leaving a comment.
Blush pink? A soft blue? Florals? Neutrals?
Really, there's no one size fits all when it comes to deciding on the colors that should inspire your your big day. A lot will depend on the time of year you're getting married, the venue, the mood you want the day to have ... However, there are a few ground rules to consider when you're planning your wedding day colors so here's some food for thought. And if you need real inspiration, just look at the colors of nature for the season in which you're marrying and that will give you plenty to think about.
Marrying somewhere hot?
If you're having a destination wedding on a sandy beach somewhere or a place where the sky is going to be blue, blue, blue then we'd suggest that you go for the brightest of bright shades for your bridesmaids dresses, your accessories and your flowers. Hot pinks, turquoises, emerald greens, scarlets, bright sunshiny yellows all look fabulous - if the light is bright anything pale or pastel is going to look a bit washed out. Think of the tropical colors that are going to surround you and use them as your color palette.
A country garden wedding day
If you're having a rustic wedding in a beautiful country garden, then we'd suggest you go for pale pinks, blues, yellows, greens, whites and creams. This is one day when tropical brights will look out of place. Think about a classic herbaceous border filled with summer flowers like roses, delphiniums, lavender, peonies, and daisies and you'll get the look right. You could also consider a mocha wedding theme which would look very pretty and sophisticated.
A city slicker wedding
A monochrome wedding looks fabulous in a city and if you want to extend the theme really far, just ask your guests to dress in black and white. You can add an accent of colour by wearing red wedding shoes.
A wedding by the sea
This is where we would go for a navy and white theme, or maybe stone and white.
And if you're marrying in winter?
Winter weddings demand rich tones. We're thinking plums, forest greens, ruby reds, maybe a deep blue and of course a bright hollyberry red. Again, think about the wedding flowers that are likely to be in season and use them to denote your color scheme.
You might also find the Dessy Pantone tools invaluable when it comes to deciding on your colors and shades.
All bridesmaid dresses featured by Dessy.
Bateau, boat neck, off the shoulder, Bardot - whatever you prefer to call it, this neckline is having a real moment and we think we know the reason why.
It's probably Meghan Markle - now the Duchess of Sussex - who has done the most to popularise the style, having chosen a bateau neckline for her beautiful wedding dress.
Who should choose a boat neckline?
- It's great if you want to show off a slim neck and shoulders
- If you have a large tummy or bust it's flattering because it draws the eye upwards
- Good for pear and hourglass figures
- Off the shoulder - can sit on the shoulder or just below it
Remember to think about your underwear when you're choosing this style as visible bra straps are an absolute no starter. Choose a good strapless bra instead.
Bateau necklines look wonderful with a hat as they leave a clear neckline, allowing the dress to work with the hat and vice versa. In the case of your bridesmaids, you might want them to wear flower crowns or some sort of fascinator in their hair.
Talking of hair, a bateau neckline works best with an updo. It doesn't have to be super formal - a messy bun like Meghan's is a fantastic choice. Chandelier earrings also look amazing.
From left: Alfred Sung D686, After Six Style 6763
- If you leave locks long and flowing it will detract from the line of the dress - so put that hair up!
- The other name for this neckline is a 'Sabrina' after the Audrey Hepburn film in which the heroine wears just such a style.
- It's supremely elegant and timeless, so it will look good in your wedding photographs for a long time to come.
However, as you know, it's always best to choose bridesmaids dresses that flatter your girls - so if one of your maids is self conscious about her waist or has a larger bustline, then a bateau neckline probably isn't for her. Ask her what she'd like to wear and browse through some alternative styles.
Your wedding day is one day when all eyes are going to be on you. And you'll also have a lot of photographs taken to remind you of how you looked then.
As a result, most brides embark on a strict diet/fitness regime in the run-up to the big event. But what's the best way to go about this?
Even if you just follow the simple advice below, you'll be making improvements to your overall health and fitness, setting up better habits for a lifetime.
- Start your fitness and health campaign six months before your wedding day. Really this shouldn't be a campaign you'll drop after the marriage - you need to implement many of these changes for the rest of your life so that it's a healthy one.
- Carbs aren't the enemy. It's poor quality carbs you should be avoiding - white bread, biscuits, fries, sugar, white rice, cakes. Decide to stick to healthy carbs - brown rice, wholemeal freshly made pasta, sweet potatoes. If you're trying to lose weight, don't eat carbs after 6pm and never after 10pm. You need some carbs first thing in the morning to kick start your metabolism and give you energy.
- Avoid alcohol in the run up to your wedding day. You need to give your liver a chance to reset itself which takes about a month. Also alcohol contains many toxins which are fat soluble - with the result that these toxins mix with existing fat which then becomes difficult to lose as the body doesn't want to expose itself to the toxins that are stored within it, hence 'stubborn' fat around the tummy!
- Keeping away from the alcohol will help you to lose weight faster and has many health benefits.
- Drink water rather than juice (which contains 25% sugars)
- If you're not used to exercising, start off with some light movements. Don't overdo it straight away. Slow and steady wins the race here - build up your activity and your stamina.
- Aim to lose a maximum of 2lbs a week and a minimum of 1lb a week.
- Pilates is great for building up your strength and re-engaging out-of-condition muscles.
- Small things will make a difference. Walking upstairs instead of taking the lift. Walking to work if you can or at least some of the way. Cutting out candy, cakes, cookies, milky drinks. Increasing the amount of exercise you do and eating more healthily. This is a good rule for life in any case, so try to set in place some good habits that you'll keep up for the rest of your life.
- It's important that you find exercise you enjoy or you won't stick to it. Okay, go to a spinning class three times a week. It's great exercise but if you don't enjoy it, you won't stick to it long term. Far better to find something you love doing that you'll want to keep at - that's why I think classes and clubs are good. Maybe you want to take up cycling. Take up ballroom dancing "Dancing with the Stars" style.
- Exercise classes are great because they're structured and disciplined. The gym is good for focusing on certain areas but remember that after 4-6 weeks of doing the same training in the gym your body stops adapting to exercise so your results will stall.
- Don't smoke. If you smoke you undo most of the good effects of your exercising and put masses of toxins in your body. You'll be setting yourself up for long term health problems besides prematurely ageing your skin, risking eye problems, teeth staining, bad breath - need I go on?
Main image features Bridesmaid Twist Dresses by Dessy.
Trends in weddings come and go but flowers will always have their place with a bride.
Here are some of the floral wedding trends that are having a bit of moment. Scroll through and see which of these ideas appeals to you.
Greenery. If you're on a bit of a budget then this is the way to go. Greenery-inspired wedding decorations are everywhere and they look fabulous. Think long swatches of green branches and trailing leaves - comes in less expensive than flowers (and also wilts less in hot weather).
One of the keynotes at the Royal Wedding in May were the beautiful floral arches at St George's Chapel Windsor. White roses and greenery welcomed the bride as she walked over the threshold and it's said that white roses were one of Princess Diana's favourite flowers.
Floral arches look set to become even more popular as a result. They certainly provide the wow factor at a wedding venue and make the perfect backdrop for wedding photography.
Don't forget the fourth wall. Ceilings are being celebrated and decorated as never before. Think of the space as like an extra canvas at your wedding. Adorn your marquee up above with strings of flowers or have a chandelier with flowers dipping down over your guest tables.
Wedding bouquets are getting smaller. Meghan had a handtied bouquet at her wedding that was minimal and discreet. If you want to to add an extra accent, ask your florist to tie it with a trailing ribbon.
Living walls. Consider having a 'living wall' at your reception created entirely from flowers. It would look spectacular behind the bride and groom table. Or maybe at the entrance to your reception for photo opportunities. Or as a backdrop to your wedding cake table. Or a bar? Or a chill-out area.