12 secrets to making your guests think your wedding was the best ever!

(Photography credit TaraLynn Lawton via Wedding Chicks)

"The best ever? Of course my wedding day is going to be a fabulous success for my guests," you say.

It's all about the guests

Obviously you and your other half are the centerpiece of the day. You're the ones getting married, after all.

But remember you've asked a lot of a whole group of people

  • They may have travelled a long way
  • Taken time off work
  • Had expensive air fares
  • Invested in new clothes
  • Splashed out on accommodation
  • Bought you a lovely gift
  • Organised childcare (and pet care)

So to make sure they have a fabulous time at your wedding, it's worth remembering some (if not all) of the following tips.

  1. Don't bore your guests whilst your photographs are being taken. Although it's a special time for you, try not to leave your guests standing outside, hungry and thirsty, whilst the photographer snaps away. Have a glass of Champagne waiting for them and a few canapes.
  2. Standing around in the cold or wet for 30 minutes or so outside the church or venue (or in blazing sun), waiting for transport to the reception, isn't that much fun. It also sets a tone and not the tone you want either.
  3. Going to a wedding alone and being a bit of a Bridget Jones can be very daunting, especially if you don't know anyone and have to face constant statements like: "Don't worry, it'll be your turn next." One way around this is to have a reception the night before to make introductions.
  4. If you're not going to have a load of singles at your wedding, then it's thoughtful to offer a plus one on the invitation.
  5. On the other hand, a singles table or two could be a massive success. Singles tend not to want to sit amongst married couples. And you never know who will hit it off with whom!
  6. Send your thank-you letters out promptly. It costs quite a bit of money to be a wedding guest nowaways, what with the travel to the venue, probably an overnight stay, an outfit, the bachelorette party and of the course, the wedding gift.
  7. Don't let the speeches go on and on. You may think it's absolutely hilarious for your father to regale your guests with stories of what you did as a child and the best man to relive his experiences with the bridegroom but you may see your guests getting restive. Short, sweet and entertaining is the best way.
  8. Don't hold back on food and wine. If you're getting married at midday and the event is going on until the small hours, you're going to have to feed your guests properly. That means a drinks reception, lunch, tea and dinner and that's obviously not going to come cheap.
  9. If you're having an evening wedding and want your guests to stay over, try and consider accommodation options to suit all budgets.
  10. Think about how your guests will get to the reception, especially if you're getting married in a city centre church where there is no (or very expensive) parking nearby. A popular option is to lay on a bus from the venue to the church and then back again afterwards, so that guests can leave their cars at the reception and not have to worry.
  11. Although theme weddings are all the rage, asking your guests to dress in fancy dress is asking a lot. If you are having a color theme, then however you could ask guests to give a nod to it by dressing using a particular color on an accessory, like a tie, scarf or shoes.
  12. Having a chill-out zone is always a good plan. If you're having dancing, some people may want to catch up and chat somewhere a bit quieter. So lay tea and coffee on somewhere (with wedding cake) that's away from the dance floor.

This wedding is going to make you think again about a boho wedding day

boho wedding ideas

You'll probably guess that the bride and groom are artistic, with plenty of creative ideas.

In fact, the bride was a fashion designer and the groom a fine artist. And doesn't it just show. Plenty of colorful, confident, inspirational touches to adapt for your own big day.

Thinking about boho weddings

  • Mismatched bridesmaids dresses are a must
  • Don't worry about different necklines and hemlines ... it's all part of the look
  • There's no rule that says the bride has to wear white or cream - a colored underskirt peeking out is very boho
  • Same with shoes ... no rule for white or cream shoes
  • A floral head garland channelling Lana Del Ray is very boho

Bridesmaids

The maids here are all wearing pink - so there's a bit of a theme going on. But it's not the same pink at all.

This bride's chosen hot pink, rose pink, blush and a dusky pink. Possibly the maids got to choose the shades themselves - and the style of their frocks.


And the boho bride?

I love the bride's dress. She's obviously the bride but it's pretty far away from a traditional white wedding dress and suits her to perfection. The delicate tapering lace on the bodice is spot on, and her decision to leave her hair au naturel just suits her look.

On the other hand, we love her satin headband as well, which you can see in some of these photographs.

Other boho bits and pieces to notice

  • Casually arranged flowers in jam jars
  • Asking the guests to take the flowers home with them
  • The groom's buttonhole
  • Homemade pies (ask your baking friends to make them for you if they want)
  • Handwritten notes wishing the couple well, placed on a pink (the color theme again) ribbon board
  • Giving your guests each a sapling tree to plant - very green

You can see this wedding in its entirety here on the Style Me Pretty blog, all photography by Mr Haack.

FREE 'Will You Be My Bridesmaid?' Cards

free will you be my bridesmaid card

Sending a girlfriend a 'Will You Be My Bridesmaid?' card is a special moment. We understand that. So now Dessy has created these free bridesmaid cards , in colors you choose, that you can download direct. (A little extra to help your budget stretch a bit further.)

We have 10 designs to choose from - featuring flowers, birds, bridesmaids ... and you can alternate the text and background in a choice of over 320 Pantone colors to suit your wedding theme.

It's just one of the ways in which we think about your wedding and bridesmaids (as well as creating some stunning designs for maids dresses in many, many different styles and colors.

Because we think no two brides are the same ... and so why should any two weddings be the same?

Which 'Will you be my bridesmaid?' card design will you choose?

Play around with different color schemes before you download to see which you like best. Planning a blush wedding day? Then choose a blush background and a contrasting pink text (or stick with traditional black).

When you're happy, just download your final design choice and print it off onto good stock card. Put in an envelope and present to your bridesmaids-to-be. (If you want to be super color co-ordinated, you could write the name and address in the same shade - or print it out that way from your computer.

For ideas on color theming your wedding, see the Pantone color swatches and color theme fans that we have available.

Budget friendly

Even if you're on a budget, you can attend to those little touches which will make your wedding stylish and choosing colors that work well together is an inexpensive (and effective way of doing this).

Just check out some of our posts on color wedding planning here - everything from mis-matched bridesmaid dresses to choosing cakes and flowers in the right shades. Enjoy!

Download your free 'Will you be my bridesmaid?' cards here.

The fine details to get sorted before your wedding day

With just days before your wedding, you'll be thinking about the big details. However, if you're super organised you won't forget the little details either - so here's our handy list to tick off.

Buying a card for your fiancé and the parents : Write a thoughtful card for your fiancé and both sets of parents which you can present at the rehearsal dinner or on your wedding day.

Wrapping and buying the gifts for your bridesmaids, your parents and fiancé Buy these well in advance, wrap and keep in a safe and secret place. Job done.

Scuffing up the soles of your shoes: GeMake sure you don't slip and slide down the aisle or on the dance floor. Scratch the soles of your shoes ahead of time. You should also walk around in your shoes indoors so that you wear your shoes in a little. That way they'll be comfortable on your big day.

Getting a manicure and pedicure: This is a great thing to do with bridesmaids a day or so before the wedding. It will be too busy on your wedding day.

Ordering food for the morning of the wedding for your bridesmaids and groomsmen: Your bridesmaids and groomsmen will want to be well fed before the wedding. A good breakfast or brunch will take care of this.

Confirming the itinerary with your bridesmaids for the wedding day: Keep on top of your bridesmaids and make sure all of their appointments for the wedding day are organised and that they know where they need to be at specific times before the wedding.

Write your wedding vows, if you are: Whether you write your vows days before the wedding or on the morning of, it's best to do this as ahead of time as possible.

Packing for your honeymoon: Before you know it, you will need to pack for your honeymoon. Make sure you have gone shopping for any clothing pieces and necessary vacation items you know you will need.

Taking care of all necessary vaccinations for your honeymoon: Make sure both you and your fiancé make necessary doctor appointments for vaccinations. Some immunisations can make you feel a little under the weather and need to be done a few weeks before you fly off. You might need to start a course of anti-malarials too.

Deciding where to take the pictures on your wedding day: Talk to your wedding photographer and scout the best locations for wedding pictures

Figuring out the transportation on the wedding day: Are you having special transportation on your wedding day like a limo or something like it? Confirm with the car service where they will pick up you, your parents, your bridesmaids and your groomsmen the day of the wedding.

Calling to confirm appointments for hair and makeup: Make sure your hair appointment and makeup appointments are confirmed for the day of your wedding.

Making sure you and your fiancé both have valid passports for your honeymoon Double check well in advance whether your passports are still valid or close to expiring and whether you need to have visas for your destination.

Image credits clockwise from top left: Dessy Facebook page, Wedding Chicks, Dessy Facebook page, NailArtsPro via Wedding Chicks

What You'll Want to Keep After the Wedding Is Over

Obviously the most precious thing you'll have acquired on your wedding day is your new spouse.

However - there are some classic items that you will want to treasure forever and keep safely - maybe to hand on to future children and grandchildren?

Here's a list of what they could be.

Keepsakes for the bride


Your Dress: Some of you may think, well obviously. But there are brides out there that may donate their dress or are the types that enjoy "trashing the dress" after the wedding. If you aren't either of these types of brides, the best thing is to take your dress to a specialist dry cleaner and have it wrapped in special tissue paper in a special box. Then if a future daughter or grandaughter wants to wear it, it will be in beautiful order.


Your Beautiful Bouquet: You will have had many photographs taken of your bouquet but you may want to keep it to look at. Investigate having it pressed into a frame or put in a shadow box. You can also dry your wedding flowers.

Bulk Wedding Decorations: If items like your centerpieces don't belong to the florist and belong to you, you will want to keep them. Any keepsake items you may have had at the actual wedding should go home with you. If you don't want to keep them after the wedding, it may be a good idea to sell them. Hello e-Bay.

Wedding Day Accents: This includes your champagne flutes, your cake cutter and topper, your shoes. While many might say these are great items to sell, these were important pieces of your wedding day, some may have even been gifted to you from a close family member. For now, we suggest that you put them carefully away in a box - maybe for a future relation to use. They could become heirlooms.

Your Invitation: After the wedding, you will want to keep at least one invitation that you can have custom framed and in your home. It is a great keepsake item to have for the rest of your life. Also remember to have one in your photograph album.

The Top Tier of Your Wedding Cake: Have the top tier of your wedding cake frozen to be taken out again on your first anniversary. Some brides also like to use it as a christening cake.

Your Wedding Vows: Whether they were written on a napkin the morning of the wedding or typed on your computer months in advance, keep your wedding vows. While your wedding video will show what you and your husband what you said on your wedding day, having the actual vows is a nice item to keep. You might want to have them set down in beautiful callligraphy.

Your Guestbook: This is a good item to have after the wedding, because months down the road you will not remember who came or didn't come to a wedding. While certain people will stand out, you won't know. Photo booth guestbooks are a good way of doing this if you're the informal type.

Photo credits - From left: You are My True, Lasting Impressions by Design

50 wedding tips you really need to know about

(Twist wrap dresses by Dessy in blush pink.)

It's always easy to be wise after the event. Think to yourself: "Oh I wish I'd known that" and "Why didn't somebody tell me."

Well to help you in the run-up to your wedding day, we asked some past brides what they thought girls should know in the run up to their wedding. Here's what they told us.

The 50 pieces of wedding advice to take note of

  1. Having a videographer. Not having a wedding video is top of the list of brides regrets
  2. Remember to wear your wedding shoes in before the big day. On carpet at home, so they're comfortable
  3. If you're wearing high heels and you're usually in flats then get practising walking in them - so you glide, not stumble
  4. Make sure the ushers know what being an usher means. That is, showing people to their seats and handing over the order of service. Not standing chatting. People milling about, not sure where to sit is not how to make your guests feel welcome and relaxed
  5. Remember that there will be a few unforeseen glitches on your wedding day. So go with the flow and don't overstress about them. (Like the weather, a guest turning up wearing white, guests being late.)
  6. Offer a chill out room for young children to watch a DVD, play and snooze during the evening reception
  7. Have somewhere comfortable and quiet for guests to sit, chat and catch up after the reception - a must if you're planning on having noisy music! And the oldies really like it.
  8. Serve plenty of soft drinks and tea and coffee after the reception. Also plenty of water on the tables - jugs of tap water are quite acceptable
  9. Prebook taxis for the oldies and have a local taxi firm on standby
  10. Practise holding your bouquet at hip level - not at waist level. Looks much better in photographs that way
  11. You don't have to wear white or ivory shoes. A bright colour or a metallic can look fabulous (and you're likely to wear those shoes over and over again)
  12. Don't wear high heels at a beach wedding. DO have a pedicure. (Maybe for the groom too.)
  13. If your wedding gown is strapless, you could cover your shoulders with a lace shrug for the ceremony and then unveil a new look for the reception and evening party
  14. Ask your bridesmaids what style of dress they feel would flatter them. And then offer them suitable choices
  15. Some bridal registry companies let guests contribute to the cost of a honeymoon
  16. Check real wedding photography to see what style suits you. It might be reportage. It might be something more traditional. Give yourself time to research different photographers in your area
  17. Marry in winter or mid-week and you'll find your budget stretches further and you have more venue options
  18. How about wearing a colored petticoat peeping out from under your wedding dress?
  19. Investigate wedding dress sample sales if you're on a tight budget - you could find the designer dress of your dreams at a cut price
  20. Flowergirls don't have to hold bouquets. Maybe just baskets of confetti?
  21. Don't have a facial just before your wedding day because you'll risk a breakout. No later than 10 days before your wedding probably best
  22. Have a singles table at your wedding reception and see what happens. Mix everyone up. Don't lump the singles with the marrieds. That is very boring for them. They want to have a bit of a party. Flirt.
  23. Save money on transport and ask a relative or friend with an amazing car if they could drive you to the church and reception.
  24. Use a wedding budget planner on your phone to help you keep track of spending
  25. Set your wedding budget first before you do anything
  26. Your best friend might not be your best chief bridesmaid. You need somebody who is super efficient and organised
  27. Marry at lunchtime and have an evening party and you're going to have to feed guests at least twice - which can be expensive. Maybe consider a late afternoon wedding instead?
  28. Consider having a mini-moon after your wedding day and a more extended honeymoon later on
  29. Show your hairdresser snaps of the neckline of your wedding dress so you can be advised on the most flattering hairstyle
  30. Choose a neckline to suit your figure - strapless, one shoulder, sweetheart ... more tips here
  31. Think about your dress fabric and the time of year. Duchesse satin in winter. Light chiffons in warmer weather
  32. Bridesmaids can get chilly with bare shoulders. Drape a colour co-ordinate pashmina around them whilst they are waiting for photographs (they make a good bridesmaid gift too).
  33. You don't have to have a formal sit down dinner. Buffet style might suit you a lot better - with free seating for the guests
  34. Let men know the dress code. Lounge suits, morning suits or black tie. It's embarassing to turn up in the wrong clothes
  35. If your venue location is perfect but you find the inside of the room uninspiring, consider room draping to turn it into something spectacular
  36. Wedding wellies are the perfect way to go if you're having to walk to and from the car on a potentially wet wedding day
  37. Don't underestimate the amount of time a DIY wedding actually takes - really, how long will it take you to handcraft 150 invitations?
  38. Buy a good quality, plain iced supermarket tier cake - and then decorate it with fresh flowers to save money.
  39. Serve substantial canapes and you could may not have to offer a starter
  40. Give each of your bridesmaids, flowergirls and pageboys a framed photograph of you all together on your wedding day
  41. Ice cream vans and a dessert table work well at summer weddings held in marquees
  42. Choose wedding flowers that are in season rather than expensive exotic blooms that have to be flown in
  43. Let your bridesgroom get involved with the wedding planning - split up the tasks between you
  44. If your mother in law wants to help, then let her. Give her some jobs that you're happy to delegate to her
  45. Remember it's your wedding day and should follow the format you want (although if you're having financial help from parents they are allowed some say in it!)
  46. Marrying abroad (in Italy) can be a much less expensive to tie the knot and it would be just as super gorgeous.
  47. Save The Dates are essential in these busy times if you want most of the invited guests to be able to attend
  48. Bridesmaids don't have to wear the same style or dress or even the same colour. Choose co-ordinating colours or go for an ombre effect
  49. If you're having a first dance together then practise. You might even want to have some lessons
  50. You are marrying your soul mate. The One. Nothing else matters really.

Ombre Bridesmaids Dresses - and other ombre wedding delights

(Photo credits from top left: All bridesmaid frocks by Dessy; Drew Brashier Photography via Wedding Chicks; Christian Siriano wedding gown via Wedding Chicks)

Can't choose a wedding color?

Love pink - but then again you love blue too. But you can't decide whether to go for a light shade or something darker.

Then think about using ombre - which is graduated colors of the same shade.

(Photo credit: Lauren Feddersen Photography via Wedding Chicks)

Ombre lets you play around with different hues

You'll know how important it is to take your individual bridesmaids' complexions into account when you're deciding on dresses.

But maybe one maid suits a light pink and the other suits something much darker. For example, some girls will suit a vibrant pink. Others a slightly subtler rose shade.

With ombre you can have the wedding color theme that you're after - as these photographs show.

And you can also choose different styles of bridesmaid dresses so that you're flattering each girl's figure to best effect.

(Photo credit: Drew Brashier Photography via Wedding Chicks)

A wall of different shades of flower

We love the way this bride above had a cascade of ombre flowers tumbling down the wall behind her. What a great photo opportunity.

And think about how the ombre theme can work through to other aspects of your big day. Your stationery. Your flowers. Your tables. You can also use it for wedding cake.

With your cake, you could opt for graduated icing. Or you could have a tiered cake with the colors going from light to dark - so the lightest on the top tier and the darkest at the bottom.

Ombre is a very adaptable way of color theming and if you'd like to see how colors work together, it's a good idea to invest in our Pantone colour fan - which will let you mix and match shades to see what works for you?

You can also get in touch with Dessy and order fabric swatches in different colors and fabrics to see how the light falls (hold the material up to your bridesmaid's face to see how it works with their coloring).

Bridesmaid dresses above by Dessy: Styles and colors: 2906 Carnation, 2908 blush, 2905 carnation, 2882 blush, 2928 blush, 6678 carnation, 2896 blush. Pantone color fan from Dessy.

Elegant, Sophisticated, Flattering ... Bridesmaid Dresses Your Maids Will Be Wearing To Parties Long After Your Wedding Day

Your besties are very important to you - which is why you've asked them to be your bridesmaids and share in your wedding day.

So you're hardly going to make them wear dresses that don't flatter - ask your curvy girlfriend to squeeze into a bias cut number that's going to do her no favors. Or your less well-endowed friend to wear a strapless number that quite frankly makes her chest look like an empty envelope.

Oh no. You're a real friend, not a bridezilla and you're going to let them choose dresses that really flatter and suit them - maybe just tie in your wedding theme with colors but leave the style, necklines and length up to them

Bridesmaids Dresses For Partying

Now why don't you go one step further and suggest some dresses that your bridesmaids love SO much, they are going to be dying to wear them again and again after your big day and celebrations are over. Dresses that look so good, they're going to be on full show at the next party season.

In which case you need to look at frocks like the ones above that don't shout 'bridesmaid dress'.

Think about the occasions they could be worn for in future. Dessy's floral print frocks come in a number of different styles - spaghetti straps and strapless and various different colorways. Perfect for afternoon parties or summer evenings.

Then if you go for a dark, deep color in a rich fabric, you'll get more of an evening dress look. Add a diamante detail at the waist or on the shoulder for some glitzy glamor. Here you need to think about colors like black, midnight blue, forest green, berry shades, aubergine ...

Mind you, talking about glitzy glamor, you should check out Dessy's new sequinned separates in rose gold, and five other colorways, as well as dazzling dresses.

(Top image credits clockwise from top: Style JY Jenny Yoo style JY533, styles 4503 (left) and 4514 (right).


Why you should enjoy wearing your bridesmaid dress again and again

(All these photos feature on Dessy Facebook - join us here)

One way a bride can be certain that she found the perfect frocks for her maids is if they love them so much they can't wait to wear them again.

And why shouldn't they?

If a bridesmaid dress flatters the individual, making the best of their figure, complexion - in short having that magic factor that makes a girl feel beautiful - then it's a real shame not to put on a dress again that makes you feel that way.

Nowadays bridesmaids gowns like Dessy's are worlds away from the frumpy, badly fitting wedding attendant outfits of old.

So if you loved your bridesmaid dress, here are a few ideas to turn it into a wardrobe staple that you can count on to make you feel good every time you wear it.

Ring the changes and alter it

If you had a long bridesmaid dress, trim it and make it into a cocktail dress for your next formal event. If it was a strapless dress you can add straps in the fabric that's being cut away, or go online to somewhere like Rouleaux and find some fancy diamante ribbon.

A post shared by V V Rouleaux (@vvrouleaux) on

If you want to change the overall look of the dress you could add a sash (if your waist is something you particularly want to show off). Try something with a little sparkle or a classic satin sash. (You might need to practice your bow-tying technique here).

Just some of the decorative sashes offered by Dessy

Accessorise and accessorise

Add a new statement necklace. A pair of slinky shoes. Maybe a shawl or shrug.

Too pretty to be worn just the once. These dresses are VERSATILE! From left, style Jenny You JY533, After Six Bridesmaid Style 6751. Oh and they come in different colors too.

How can you, the bride help?

We've said it before but it's just so important that the bride chooses bridesmaids dresses to suit her girls. Mismatched bridesmaid frocks can work well here, as they allow for different necklines, differing waist detail, different sleeve length and different bodices. No two girls are the same, so why should they really dress the same?

You can mismatch the bridesmaids dresses in style but opt for the same color. Or you could mismatch the frocks and go for a graduation in color. That would be very stylish.

One thing is for certain though. If your maids want to wear their dresses again after the wedding, then they've paid you the biggest compliment going.

9 things flower girls and pageboys wish brides knew

It's such a sweet picture and just what you want to be happening at your wedding service. A flower girl scattering petals in front of you as you walk up the aisle. A young ringbearer carrying that all important cushion.

Flower girls and pageboys sweetly holding hands throughout the service, looking adorable, listening and not making a noise at all.

Is this the reality of it all?

Well, this vision is probably due to rom coms.

Because in real life the sweet flower girl might have a fit of shyness and refuse to walk down the aisle at all, let alone scatter rose petals. And then the pageboy might start kicking her in the shins whilst you're saying your vows.

So don't overestimate how well they are going to behave and how much of a role they will be able to play in the service. Here's the inside track on what you need to know.

    1. Don't give a young flower girl too important a job and always have an understudy. If your chosen little one does come over all shy, make sure there's an older girl on standby to take over her role. And practise, practise, practise - if she's practised sprinkling petals around and posing for photographs or holding your train, she's less likely to be overcome with timidity on your big day.
    2. Think about what you're giving your young ringbearer to wear. Whilst Kate Middleton got away with knee breeches and decorative jackets for hers (as did her sister Pippa Middleton at her recent wedding), your own ringbearer might feel far too self-conscious to wear kit like that. Instead why not dress him like one of the groomsmen in tails or black tie - complete with a matching tie or cravat (or a bow tie if you prefer).
    3. Don't get them involved in the wedding photographs for too long. Try and get the images with the young attendants done first - they'll be desperate to run off and let off a bit of energy, particularly if they're on a candy sugar rush.
    4. Don't put your young attendants on the top table, even if you'd like to keep them on show a bit longer. Sort a children's table - in fact one for boys and one for girls would work best and don't mix up ages too much - 12 year olds might not enjoy being with six year olds! On the other hand teenagers will probably get on better together than on tables with the oldies! (To a teenager, anyone over 25 is really, really old by the way).
    5. A children's entertainer is worth his or her weight in gold - organise one whilst the speeches are going on.
    6. Think about the ages of the children you're asking to be flower girls and pageboys. I think that a boy over the age of 10 is a bit too old to be a pageboy - but ask him. You could always ask him to be an usher and hand out the service sheets instead. The same goes for flower girls - after a certain age a girl is definitely a bridesmaid - and you might like to put her in a dress that suits that in-between age for bridesmaids.
    7. Don't forget to give your young attendants a gift (and I think a framed photograph of you all on your big day would also be lovely). Ask the boy's parents what they think he'd like and consider giving a young flowergirl an appropriate piece of jewellery - maybe a pearl bracelet?
    8. Little children grow FAST! So don't buy their wedding outfits six months beforehand. Three months is a better idea - in fact, it's always a good plan to leave it as late as possible to allow for growth spurts!
    9. Have the flower girls and pageboys you want. It's your big day so ignore hints, pleas and demands from family and friends. You need children who will do a great job - not ones who've been foisted upon you.

A chill-out room for the youngsters is a great idea. Your young attendants will have been on show for a big part of the day and they need to relax too.

Image credit: Rebecca Yale photography via The Wedding Chicks