A 12 Point Checklist for Planning a Last Minute Wedding

last minute wedding (Image by Steve Jurvetson)

Short notice, off the cuff weddings can be very romantic. You can't wait a moment longer - you want to get hitched IMMEDIATELY (or as least as soon as possible).

Ignore the pessimists

Now, you don't need to worry about all the pessimists who'll tell you that you'll never find a wedding venue that's free, that you haven't a hope of finding a bridal hairdresser to sort out your crowning glory, that every single florist and matrimonially expert photographer in a 100 mile radius is booked.

You see what you do is get married midweek -  which can avoid all the problems of eleventh hour marriage planning.

It can also make the whole ceremony much less expensive and there are some great last minute wedding deals to be had. Many hotels, car hire companies, caterers, bands and DJs offer considerable discounts for weekday weddings. Brides can benefit from a much less hurried service from hairdressers and make-up artists (who will probably be stacking up the bridal clients on a summer Saturday.) 


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Here's your 12-point checklist for planning a last minute wedding 

We've covered the bases, so you don't need to worry about forgetting anything.  

  1. Check potential dates with principal guests
  2. Ascertain the availability of a registrar or priest
  3. Book the venue
  4. Draw up a guest list and send invitations
  5. Brief your wedding co-ordinator or planner. They should be able to recommend key suppliers such as photographers, dressmakers, formal hire, florists, cake makers and local bands. They should also be able to advise on local hotels, B&Bs and taxi firms.
  6. Make a gift list
  7. Book your hairdresser and make-up artist
  8. Buy the rings
  9. Book the wedding night accommodation
  10. Plan menus and running orders with timings with your co-ordinator
  11. Choose a honeymoon
  12. Enjoy your batchelor/batchelorette parties, relax and revel in the day!

Which of these bridal shower entertainment ideas will you love best?

bridal shower ideas

If you've been asked to host a bridal shower or bachelorette party, scenes from the movie Bridesmaids or Batchelorette may be playing in an endless loop in your head (and maybe even giving you nightmares). 

Stop it. You aren't required to throw a hugely expensive party. Nor are you required to throw an all out debauched Vegas vacation. So breathe ....

A bridal shower is really quite low-key

In terms of entertainment, a bridal shower is actually a pretty low-key party to throw. The main entertainment is the opening of presents and you don't need, or want, to plan too much that will overshadow the gifts.

That being said, plenty of entertainers can complement a traditional shower, while giving it a modern, fun vibe. If your bride has a favorite singer, actor or politician then inviting a celebrity impersonator as a “guest” can really make the shower personal and fun for her. A caricature artist or silhouette artist can create portraits as party favors while the bride is opening presents. This gives those guests who are tired of oohing and ahhing over toasters something to do, without distracting from the bride.

If your shower needs an ice breaker activity consider an astrologer, fortune teller, or tarot card reader to do horoscopes or readings, as opposed to the traditional round of bridal bingo.

If you're planning a bachelorette party and want to save money by having the first few rounds of drinks at home, consider a karaoke machine to loosen up the guests, or a henna artist to explain some of the henna wedding rituals and decorate the guests in a way sure to get attention when you go out. However - henna is probably best avoided if the bachelorette party is close to the wedding, as it take a long time to fade and you probably don't want it noticeable in pictures!

Whatever you do for your bride, make sure to keep it within your budget and your bride's style. No one said being a bridesmaid meant going broke!

Takeaways from this

  • Hire a celebrity impersonator to mingle as a "guest"
  • A caricature artist would be fun and the drawings would work as favors
  • Maybe have an astrologer, fortune teller or tarot card reader
  • Karaoke machines are real ice breakers

Top: Bridal shower photo prop via Etsy

Middle: Bridal shower cookies via Etsy

Bottom: Bridal shower ideas via Pinterest 


5 Fun Things to Do with Your Bridesmaids Before the Wedding

5 Fun Things to Do with Your Bridesmaids Before the Wedding

You have the bachelorette party, the bridal shower and several appointments to the dress shop for the bridesmaid dresses with your girls, but have you and your bridesmaids spent a day or a even just a few hours doing something not necessarily wedding related?

Here are some ideas that may be a good way to not only say thank you to your bridesmaids, but also give you guys a chance to have some fun! 


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1. Book some concert tickets: What kind of music do all you girls love? Do you fancy seeing Taylor Swift strutting her stuff or Justin Bieber? Book some tickets for you and the girls to see somebody live. 


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2. Watch some live sport: Of course, this depends on the season in which you're marrying. You could go to a ball game, watch some basketball, or head for the sun to watch some golf. It's a great way to bond and you'll enjoy seeing your heroes and heroines up close. 

3. A Day of Pampering: While this can easily be a good bachelorette party idea, this is also a good plan for few hours of relaxing bliss. Treat your girls to get their nails done the day before the wedding, or maybe a few hours at a spa for massages and facials. This is a memorable and peaceful way to spend time with your bridesmaids.


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4. Go camping and hiking; Are you and all your girls a bunch that doesn't mind spending a couple days with Mother Nature? Go camping! And really go camping, disconnect from the world and really enjoy each other's company. Toasted marshmallows round the firepit, late night discussions by firelight. Perfection! 


5. Learn to do something new; Book a group lesson for you all. There are some great private group cookery lessons - you could learn to cook vegetarian, Italian, Vietnamese, some new dishes for a barbecue, or how to bake different types of bread. Or you could book a wine tasting event or maybe a crafting event - or flower arranging. 

Any of these ideas are good for bachelorette parties, so if you're the maid of honor trying to figure out what you should do with the bride for her bachelorette party, consider some of these suggestions!

9 tips that will help you choose the right wedding photographer

choosing right wedding photographer

You don't get a second chance with your wedding photographs. It's a one-time only show. So getting the right individual to capture those precious images for all time is crucial. 

But how can you find the right photographer who's going to get it just right? We've asked around a few recently married brides who have come up with the following tips. 

  1. If you are getting married at a hotel, don't feel pressured to use the in-house photographer. They are usually not the very best so you could end up disappointed.
  2. Check the photographer's website, any blogs they may have, and any social media sites. Check their reviews.
  3. Meet with the photographer in person. This is very important. You need to know that you can establish a rapport and communication with them. It will give you a chance to look at more of their work and see if working with them will be easy. 
  4. Meet with more than one potential photographer, so you can compare styles, prices and packages. 
  5. Make sure each potential photographer has your wedding date available before you commit to them.
  6. Make sure the photographer you meet with will be the same person who will be shooting your wedding.  You don't want a different person turning up on your wedding day who has a completely different style.
  7. When interviewing potential photographers, look to see if they actually can do what you want them to do in terms of style and the overall look of your wedding.
  8. Look at a variety of images from the photographer. When one of my relatives got married, she saw only the photographer's best work and on her wedding day she received less than the best from the photographer she chose.
  9.  Can you afford the photographer you have chosen? Be clear with what you can and cannot afford. Make sure you are clear about what you want and what you will be getting with the budget you have.


Image credit: The Wedding Chicks


Wedding updos that will make you say YES!

wedding hair updos

Updos can get a bit of a bad rap... They don't have to be a 90's mop of tendrils perched atop your head like a bird's nest. No, not at all. Wedding hair updos are going through a bit of a revolution and it's in large part due to Hollywood heavy hitters who have modernised this hair style. Just look at the recent line up of Oscars hopefuls and you'll see what we mean. 

We've picked out some of the most chic and stylish updos so that you can browse through them for both yourself - and maybe your bridesmaids

Updos are fairly weather proof

In spring and summer the weather can be unpredictable. If it's humid or there is rain about, your beautifully shiny locks could suffer from the dreaded 'frizz' effect.  Wedding updos are a simple way to ensure to avoid this and ensure you look your best during the ceremony and long after, whatever is going on with the weather.

Some stars who have recently popped up on the red carpet with perfected looks include Jessica Alba, Beyonce and Alexa Chung among others. Whether it is a loose chignon or an over-sized French twist, these looks are sure fire winners.


Wedding Updos: Styles That You Will Say \I Do\ To! - Bridesmaid Guide

So, if you find yourself looking for inspiration - whether it be a braid or a bun - look no further that a recent red carpet! And here's a little bit of a tip - go ahead and take a (little) risk. After all, how awesome does Jessica Biel look with her Rapunzel-style braid? Braids are right there right now. 

wedding updos
Left to Right: Beyonce, Hayden Panettiere, Jessica Biel and Diana Agron

Go talk to your hairstylist and see what they recommend. If your hair isn't so long, there are still ways you can get an updo, with the use of hair extensions. 

Take a photograph of your wedding dress with you so your stylist can see the neckline. If there's a lot of detail, they may suggest something very simple as an updo. If your dress is plain, then your updo could feature braids and accessories. 

You'll also need to consider your earrings if you're planning on an updo - they can be either chandelier style or simple studs. Experiment to see what will look best. 

10 photos to take of your bridesmaids that they'll LOVE (and so will you)

must-have photos of bridesmaids

Okay, so you know which photos YOU want taken of your wedding day. 

  • The Dress
  • Arriving at the ceremony
  • Walking down the aisle as a newly married couple
  • Cute flowergirls

And so on ...

But what about your bridesmaids? You might be thinking of the typical group shot with the wedding party before or after the ceremony but there are a few other scenarios that will make more memorable and original pictures. 

Here are 10 to be thinking about ...

1. The view from the back: A shot of your bridesmaids linking arms from behind. It's all over Pinterest and offers a more casual yet intimate feel of the bride and her bridesmaids. Plus, if your girls have great detail at the back of the bridesmaid dresses you've picked out, you get to show it off. 

2. Before the wedding: Pictures of the girls helping the bride, or getting ready if the bridesmaids are getting ready all together. Little details also include close ups of the hair, the face and details of the dresses.

3. Fun and crazy poses of bridesmaids: Girls just want to have fun! And they are when it comes to taking pictures, whether it's crazy group shots where each girl is making a different face or doing a different pose, it's all about having fun.

4. Details of your girls' shoes: If your girls are wearing pretty shoes, multi-colors of different styles, then a group shoe shot looks fabulous and saves the moment.

5. Down the aisle shots: Another popular photo are the girls standing alongside the bride. This isn't new, but you will find photographers shooting specific details like a facial expression or they will take an overview shot to include the bride, the groom and the bridesmaids looking on.

7. Pictures between pictures: While prepping the bridesmaids and the bride for the formal photos, photographers should take inbetween shots, of the girls laughing and talking amongst themselves or with the bride. This also provides a more intimate look and feel of what the day was like for everyone.

8. Hairstyles: Your girls will be looking their best and their hair is probably looking incredible. So make sure they get a memory of it to savour. 

9. The seating plan for their table: Get your photographer to take a close-up of the seating plan for their particular table. And a photograph of the table itself when they are all sitting down.

10. You and your squad: You and your bridesmaids may have known one another a long time and been through a lot together. So make sure you also get that one traditional shot of the group to treasure. No bridegroom. No guests. Just you girls.

All photos taken from Dessy Facebook page


10 ways to create the perfect pastel wedding day

pastel wedding days

There's something about a rustic wedding that's particularly suited to soft, muted pastels.

Why? Well, in the countryside in the height of summer the light can be mistier, more diffuse and it seems to suit gentler hues much better then bright strident colors (which do however look fabulous at beach weddings).

Thinking about going down the pastel wedding path ... read on 

  1. Pastels to use; soft blues, blush pinks, apricots, pale lemon, apple green, lilacs
  2. Think of flowers like soft sweet peas, ranuculus, the palest roses, peonies, duck egg blue, soft greys
  3. You can use the palest succulents too in the softest greens for contrast
  4. Men can wear suits in the softest greys or a baby blue or maybe a pink?
  5. Think chiffons for your bridesmaid dresses - giving pastels a dreamy floatiness that is very romantic
  6. If the weather is fine and likely to stay that way, take a tip from the wedding shown above and put comfortable seating out of doors for a bohemian, artsy mood
  7. Of course, if you're going for pastels, you don't have to dress your maids all in the same shade. Pastels are easy to mix and match up - you could go for a sort of faded rainbow look if you wanted. Heather, limeade and blush would all work well together and there are many different Dessy styles in these shades (which you can find here). 
  8. If you do want to have the same color, then add a different accent by choosing different designs of dresses in the same colour for your maids (again, this is easy to do with Dessy). If you're having flowergirls, you could just add a pastel sash. Or if it's a little chilly, a soft pastel wrap for your bridesmaids. 
  9. Pale pink rosebud boutonnieres work well with a pastel wedding theme
  10. The bridegroom can wear pastels too. If a pink suit is a little too much, then look at the seersucker men's suits at Dessy for warm weather inspiration. 


Main image credits from top left to right: Ruffled blog,  Dessy real bridesmaids on Facebook, pink suit from Asosbuttonholes via Laura Murray photography,  Jenny Packham bridesmaid dress at Dessy in blush, Dessy real bridesmaids on Facebook, central bicycle photograph via Ruffled Blog



30 things to avoid doing on your wedding day at all costs ...

It's easy to be wise after the event. Read our tips and you'll be wise before your wedding day, and make it your best day ever. 

  1. Wearing sticky lip gloss. Your veil will stick to your face when there is the slightest breath AND it will smudge and mark the veil. 
  2. Taking ages to have your wedding photographs taken and leaving your guests outside the ceremony, getting bored (and wet and cold if the weather is bad).
  3. Forgetting to give your photographer a list of photographs you want taken (and people you want to be in them).
  4. Walking on soft, wet ground in high heels. You'll stick in the ground and you'll mark your precious heels.
  5. Not having a wrap to wear outside in winter. Blue lips on a bride are not a good look and you don't want to be brewing pneumonia for your honeymoon.
  6. Putting singles on a table full of marrieds. Boring, lonely and depressing for all the singletons. Have a singles table or tables instead and see what happens!
  7. Scrimping on the food. If you're marrying early afternoon and dancing until midnight, you're going to have to feed your guests twice. Better to have an evening wedding and evening party rather than carry on too long with hungry guests (who will probably leave anyway).
  8. Having very long poetry readings at the ceremony - keep them short.
  9. Being a control freak and not allowing your other half to get involved in the wedding planning.
  10. Drinking too much champagne whilst you're getting dressed in the morning. Stick to water. You'll keep a clear head and won't get dehydrated (or need the bathroom at an inconvenient moment). 
  11. Not going to the bathroom before putting on your dress.
  12. Forgetting to give your maid of honor a bag with back-up essentials - tissues, lipstick, mascara, foundation, painkillers.
  13. Not having umbrellas available when rain is forecast.
  14. Not serving enough soft drinks.
  15. Not having a photograph taken of your beautiful reception room before the guests arrive.
  16. Not having a close-up photograph taken of your table centerpieces.
  17. Not having a first dance together.
  18. Serving shellfish. Just no. 
  19. Leaving people nowhere quiet to sit when the dancing starts (they'll start to leave, particularly if they can't hear to talk above the music)
  20. Not having some quiet time together with your brand new spouse.
  21. Getting stressed because some guests don't show up/turn up late.
  22. Worrying whether everything will all go to plan - let it go.
  23. Using new eye makeup and mascara you haven't tried out - you might have an allergic reaction.
  24. Not having a receiving line - old-fashioned maybe - but a good way to know you've greeted all your guests.
  25. Not having breakfast. Fainting isn't the way to go. 
  26. Not eating anything at the reception because you forget - you're going to need your energy. Plus which, you chose all that delicious food anyway. 
  27. Not scratching the leather soles of your new shoes (you will slip on carpet and tiled floors if you don't).
  28. Not tasting a piece of your wedding cake.
  29. Not being mindful - today is it. Stop thinking about yesterday or tomorrow - enjoy the moment.
  30. Forgetting the most important thing - which is that you're marrying the love of your life.

Main image via Beautyholics Anonymous 


How to style a Great Gatsby wedding theme

Love vintage style? 

Love Art Deco? The glamor of the 1920's? Want to learn to dance the Charleston? 

Want a fabulous, unforgettable wedding theme? 

Then a Great Gatsby-styled wedding day could be super cute and perfect for you.  

The music

We think a live band if at all possible. In the 1920s it was all about the Charleston and Jazz.  

The dress code

To really make this style of wedding work, it would be best to guide your guests on what to wear. Put 'Great Gatsby style' as your dress code and see what happens. You're probably going to see plenty of Daisy and Gatsby lookalikes. 

The 1920s was a very elegant era and the flapper style of dress suits many different shapes of women. And what man doesn't look good in a tuxedo

Your colors

Black and gold work really well for this wedding theme. Although you could also have silver and black if you prefer. 

On your tables, have centrepieces of white and black fluffy ostrich feathers

Have black charger plates and gold cutlery

Make sure your invitations and place settings are printed in classic Art Deco style. 

Entertaining your guests

  • Have some paparazzi dressed as old-style journalist hacks, taking photographs as your guests arrive (and make sure there's a red carpet. 
  • (By the way, make sure you arrive in a vintage car.)
  • You could have a speakeasy bar for your guests for serving drinks. 
  • Then maybe some blackjack tables in a corner. 
  • Have a photobooth with dress up clothes. We're thinking feather boas, long strings of pearls, 1920s style flapper hats, trilbys for the men, some sharp double breasted jackets. 
  • On a wall you can have some old black and white movies playing (without the sound). We're thinking Some Like It Hot? 


The drinks

Cocktails ruled supreme in the 1920s so a cocktail bar, complete with a barperson and a cocktail shaker, is a must if you want to get the mood just right. 

This is a theme that's going to razzle dazzle you. 

Main image credits clockwise from top left: Art Deco earrings by Dessy, Deco invitation via Zazzle, Place setting via Pinterest, Tuxedo by Dessy, Art Deco wedding cake by The Pastry Studio , Wedding Chicks, Wedding Chicks, Pinterest. 




Is this the mother of the bride role model of all time?

You're an elegant, sophisticated lady and it's your daughter's big day. (And you're wondering how did she grow up so fast?)

Which is just wonderful. Except you're thinking. WHAT ON EARTH AM I GOING TO WEAR?

Well, don't panic. There are some wonderful mother of the bride role models out there who in our opinion got the big day absolutely right and dressed the part to perfection.



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We salute you Carole Middleton!

Carole Middleton (mother of Duchess Kate and sister Pippa Middleton). Okay, so she may have a larger bank balance than the average mother of the bride but that doesn't necessarily give someone taste and style (although in her case she has both in spades and in fact, as a role model for how the older woman looks, we don't think she puts a foot wrong really).



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Carole got a number of things right on her daughters' wedding days, namely:

  • She avoided layers of shiny silk
  • She didn't have a complicated hair-do
  • She didn't go overboard on the make-up (bright red lipstick etc.)
  • She looked comfortable and true to herself. Sure, she's in great shape but she will have enhanced her good points and disguised the bad.
  • She gets tailoring. Her outfits fitted her beautifully. Her jackets fitted her like a glove, the skirts were just the right length and fit - not too loose, not too tight.
  • She forgot about on trend fashion. Carole went for classic styling, so these wedding pictures aren't going to date any time soon.
  • She embraced pastels. She wore pale blue for one wedding and pale pink for another. Both shades flattered her skin tone completely.

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Rules for the mother of the bride

  • Don't wear white or cream (yes we know, it's obvious, but you'd be surprised ...)
  • Don't wear a plunging neckline at an afternoon wedding (change into evening dress for an evening party)
  • Don't allow yourself to be pigeon holed into a 'mother of the bride' outfit. Have a look at movie stars of a similar age and see what they're wearing. Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep tend to get it right.
  • If you think you look better in trousers, then wear them. Just make sure they're tailored and worn with a well cut jacket.
  • Don't wear an over-large hat - people will want to see your face in the pictures.
  • If you're buying off-the-peg, then consider having your outfit altered. A good dressmaker or seamstress will alter a standard fit to fit you perfectly and it's well worth spending the money on a few alterations.
  • If you're not happy to show your upper arms, then consider a dress with lace sleeves - which will flatter and disguise. Bracelet length sleeves are usually the most flattering.

Department stores are good places to shop because they have a vast and varied selection. However, a boutique might be more personal and have limited designs (so you don't run the risk of someone else wearing the same outfit!)

Alternatively, you might like to check out the new Jenny Packham range of dresses at Dessy, which feature lace and are super elegant.



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