Planning the perfect Hen’s do

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It’s time to plan the hen’s night, the bride’s last “hoorah” and you want it to be perfect. You’ve been asked to be part of the bridal party and you have no idea where to start!….. well, actually you have an idea of how the night should be planned but there are so many things you need to consider. Firstly, it’s likely that you don’t know all of the bridesmaids as well as the bride does. Your idea of the perfect day might include a morning of pampering followed by a day at the races where someone else might think that a show-boat full of strippers followed by a cocktail bar might be the best way to go. And then, there are the guests to think about… how would the bride’s mother feel about “dick straws” in her drink?

No need to panic, we’ve been doing some research on how to pull off a hen’s do that accommodates the bride’s interests and considers the bridal party and your guests. Here are the top ways we think you should tackle organising the most awesome hen’s night out!

Get together with the bridal party – If you don’t know the other bridesmaids very well, organising the hens night is a great way to get to know each other. Suggest meeting up for lunch or dinner where you can brainstorm ideas. It’s really important that you all ask each other’s opinion and give each other a chance to contribute. It’s also good to ask the girls whether the bride has specifically mentioned anything in the past that you might be able to include in your plans. Make sure you take notes and don’t forget to exchange contact details. 

Ask the bride – There will be some other things that collectively, you aren’t sure about, especially when it comes the different guests that will be invited. You might be certain that the bride wants a stripper but do you know whether her aunty Doris will suffer a mild heart attack at the sight of a chiseled male torso? You can speak to the bride without giving anything away. For example, if you are planning male entertainment, would the full nude be too much for the crowd or would it be safer to split the evening into 2 sections? An earlier dinner for everyone and then a cheeky party for the crowd that would enjoy a bit of naughty-ness. It’s really important that you cater for all people so getting an idea from the bride is a great way help you plan the evening. 

Do your research – Once you and the other bridesmaids have had a chance to talk about some ideas and the bride has given you a little more direction, start doing your research. The bridal party should share the load and make some enquiries. The main objective is to gather quotes and availability as well as other important factors like operating hours, wheelchair access and flexibility on dietary requirements. Once everyone has made some phone calls and gathered information, catch up again to go through the options. 

Get the guest list from the bride – Understanding your estimated numbers is always important to figure out before you set a budget; if you know the total number of people expected to attend, then it’s likely that you’ll have an easier time allocating the cost per head. Ask the bride to provide you with a list of guests she would like to invite; encourage her to include people like her grandmother or the groom’s younger sister; this ensures that everyone feels they are included and are welcome to join the party. It also gives them the chance to decline the invite rather than not be invited at all. 

Take budget into account – There are a few things to consider when it comes to putting together a budget; is the bride also planning on any other events that may mean that guests would contribute money or gifts? i.e. kitchen tea, bridal shower or a bridal lunch. As a rule of thumb, most hens do’s place a budget of about $100 per head, this would include covering the cost of the bride as well, as usually, she’s expected not to pay anything on the night. This per head amount must only account for anything that the guests will be involved in. If the bridal party decide to do something intimate beforehand or organise accommodation, this should be covered by the bridesmaids and not by the guests who won’t be included in that part of the day. 

Leave some wriggle room in your schedule – You want everyone to have a great night out and feel relaxed during the party. Unfortunately things happen that are out of your control such as traffic, weather and general delays… we do like a good chat! Make sure that you leave enough time in the night’s schedule to ensure you’re not rushing around and feel like you’re herding cats; if you need people to arrive at a venue by 7pm, put 6.30pm on the invite so that the stragglers don’t miss anything. If you’re moving from one venue to another, allow time for transport over to the next place, it’s also a really good idea for one of the bridesmaids to head over a little earlier than the rest of the group to secure the booking if applicable. By leaving some room to move in your schedule you’ll ensure that everyone is having a great time and the bridal party can also enjoy the evening without feeling the stress of rushing.

Keep these 6 tips in mind and once you have these lined up and organised, the other details will fall into place such as any decorating you choose to do, collection of the funds to pay venues etc. The key thing to remember is to be relaxed about your approach. If you’re Maid of Honour, don’t feel like you need to take on all the responsibility, share the load and allow others to contribute.

Good luck and happy planning!

The POB team

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Let’s address the seamstress

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You have found it…. The most amazing dress that makes you feel like the only woman strutting around on the planet. It’s just the way you pictured it and it fits perfectly… you hardly need to adjust it, plus the sales assistant is a dream come true and is an expert on everything bridal….. LIES!!!! ALL LIES!!! However, there is no reason to panic… just have a clear mind.

When it comes to choosing your gown, it’s likely that you will face some frustrating, stressful and even nail-bitingly scary moments. If you’re limited to shopping on weekends, you’ll face packed out stores and come face to face with other sweaty, red face brides to be who are trying on 15 different styles in one day. Don’t panic, you will look perfect on your wedding day and the dress will be the perfect one for you, but there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping, purchasing and especially alerting your wedding gown.

Choosing your gown

Many people will tell you to keep an open mind and try different styles of dresses and that’s great, you must keep an open mind towards everything that has to do with your wedding. Don’t however, let the sales assistant force you into the latest trend or something that you really don’t like; you’ve been trying on dresses your entire life and you’ve probably figured out which styles suit your body shape. Use that knowledge and try to stick to what you know would be most flattering. That doesn’t mean that you need to stick to the same style as all your dresses in your closet, but you know what feels good; trust your gut and your style. If you feel like you’ve walked into a store will pushy sales people, leave. There are hundreds of retailers to choose from.

Beware of empty promises

Just because she sells dresses, does not make her an expert. This is a big lesson…. The lady at the store is most likely not a dress maker or a seamstress but will have a good idea of how to guide you in terms of selecting the style of dress you’ve told her you like. These people are salespeople, and in many cases may tell you what you want to hear; be careful not to be too trusting when she tells you that the dress you order can be tailored to fit exactly how you want it to. Many brides have been disappointed to find that certain alterations won’t be made to the dress when they go in for their first fitting (note that we said “won’t”, not “cant”).

If this happens, don’t stress, there is always a solution. The thing is, bridal stores will have contracts with seamstresses to make minor alterations for their customers. They are however expected to stay loyal to the designer and are less likely to make alterations to your dress based on your body shape and your style. It’s extremely important to remember that this is not your only option. If you would like some small changes made to your dress that sit outside the design of the dress itself and you don’t feel like you’re being listened to, DO NOT let her touch your dress, take your dress to another professional to make the alterations for you. We guarantee that whatever you need done to your dress can be done and an independent dress maker will ensure that the dress fits you and look great on you.

Stretch it out

If you can, try to have your final fitting as close as possible to your big day. It completely makes sense to have the dress sorted and in your wardrobe well in advance, however many brides do lose a couple of kilos in the last weeks leading up to the wedding due to all the anticipation, so if your seamstress can manage it, try to have your gown ready one week before, just to make sure that it fits like a glove on the day.

The truth is, you will face some bumps along the way when planning your wedding but stay level headed and remember that there is a solution for everything! If you’ve decided to get your dress made from scratch, make sure you research the designer and check all reviews on their work. Ask to see a portfolio if they have one and also ask them how they work with different body types. These people are professionals and are very creative so make sure your discussion with them is as detailed as possible.

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Good luck and happy planning

Purple Orchid Brides

Alternatives to the traditional bridal registry

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The wedding gifts, even in 2015, how exactly do you ask your friends and family for the type of gifts you would like to be given for your wedding? We all find this part a little awkward, whether you and your fiancé ask for cash or organise a traditional bridal registry, the truth is that your guests want to spend their money wisely, so actually telling them what you want is helpful. What some may not realise though, is that there are different kinds of options when it comes to registries for your wedding gifts. If you have lived together for a while and don’t need new household items or if you think the “wishing well” option isn’t for you, you could ask your guests to contribute to something a little more unique. Here are a few of our favourites.

Travel Registry – With kind contributions from your guests, a honeymoon register can help you have the honeymoon of a lifetime. They allow you to personalise your registry by selecting experiences, adventures and splurges to your holiday. It also allows your guests to see where the money goes and feel more involved in the gift giving process. Travelregistry.com.au is an Australian site that allows you to create your personal gift registry where your family and friends are able to log in and purchase tickets, accommodation, romantic dinners and other exiting experiences for you to enjoy together.

Not Another Toaster – Many couples live together before getting married and may not have the need for new home wares, towels and sheets. However, you may just want a new dinner set, a massage for two and a cool piece of artwork. www.notanothertoaster.com allows you to create a registry that contains a wide range of products that you could really use; they even have options for your guests to contribute to your home loan or purchase items to help you complete a renovation, perfect for couples who need a little bit of everything!

Wedding Cellars – www.weddingcellars.com.au is a unique gift registry option for couples that love wine and would like to share their gifts with friends and family throughout the years to come. You’re able to choose a selection of wines that will mature as years pass and you can enjoy together and with friends when they’re just right. We love that they also offer special wines for specific milestones in your life allowing you to save that special bottle for your 10th wedding anniversary, your son’s 21st or your daughter’s graduation.

Matrimoney – If you’ve considered your options and decided that cash contributions would be the most preferable way to go, www.matrimoney.com.au is a great alternative to the traditional wishing well you see at many wedding receptions. You create a registry and provide the details to your guests for them to contribute whatever sum they choose as a gift. What we love most, is that they also offer a variable interest rate on the money deposited into your registry (3% as at 27 June 2015)!

Karma Currency – If you have everything you could possibly wish for and in your heart, all you want is to give to people in need then this is the registry for you! www.karmacurrency.com.au allows you to create your own charity registry to a range of organisations that mean the most to you. You simply add a list of donations to the charities you want and your guests will select and make the payment. On top of that, all donations above $2 are tax deductible.

So whatever your heart’s desire, there is a registry out there for you and don’t forget that your family and friends will be more than happy to contribute to whatever it is that will help your life together more enjoyable so don’t be shy to be creative.

Good luck and happy planning

Purple Orchid Brides

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You’re engaged! Now what?

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Congratulations! You are about to embark on an amazing journey; planning your wedding day is going to be amazing.

Preparing for your future with your one and only is an incredible time of your life and planning your special day will be exciting but also a little overwhelming. For most of us, we only plan on getting married once so we’re all rookies at planning the most important day of our lives. Brace yourself for A LOT of opinions from the “experts”; some advice will be really helpful, others, not so much but it’s up to you to make sure what you take on board and don’t. The number one thing you need to remember is that it is your day…. So plan it how you want it.

I’m in the middle of planning my own wedding and I’ve found that by setting up a clear game plan from the very start, I’ve been able to have a really organised and stress-free lead up to my big day … so far…

To help my fellow bride’s to be, I’ve decided to start a blog about what I’ve found has worked in my favour and what I’ve found challenging. I plan to guide and assist in every way possible so that you can all have an amazing wedding day for everyone involved. At the end of the day you want your guests to say how wonderful it was, and not thank the heavens that it’s over!

To start you off, here are my top 3 tips to commence the planning process, ready, set, Go!!

1. Crunch your numbers: And I don’t mean budget, not yet. Many blogs will tell you that you’ll need to set your budget first but until you know a rough size of the guest list and size of your bridal party, you won’t be able to effectively plan your budget. I would also recommend discussing the guest list with your parents and in-laws to be; many of us face the burden of having to invite distant cousins and relatives because our parents say we need to. This is where you may need to have the discussion about whether your parents pay for their guests; having these discussions early will help you plan your budget and make decisions on other areas of the wedding. Another thing to consider is whether you will be inviting children or not; this will help you plan your reception budget as well.

Agree on your bridal party. These days many are opting for smaller bridal parties but if you come from a large family and each have a handful of nieces and nephews, you will need to agree with your fiancé as to who will be asked to be involved in your big day. Remember, you can have people involved in other ways like reading at the ceremony or helping set up.

Decide on the time of year you’ll have your special day; deciding on a date will also help with the budget as you will know how long you have to pay everything off. Winter weddings are generally cheaper with many reception houses offering winter packages whereas Spring is “wedding season” so you’ll be expected to see prices go up around this time of year. It might also be worth discussing with your fiancé whether you want to have your wedding locally or have a destination wedding. You would need to consider travelling and accommodation costs as part of your budget; on the flip-side though, you could be saving on the number of guests attending if you choose to have your wedding out of town as some people may need to decline their attendance… food for thought.

 2. Plan your budget: Once you’ve agreed on the approx. number of guests and the total number in your bridal party, sit down with your partner and start crunching numbers being as detailed as possible. You know how many guests you’re expecting so this will allow you to think about how much the reception will cost.

Once you’ve agreed on a budget, add $5,000 to $10,000 to it… seriously.

3. Pick a theme: This part is my (and most bride’s) favourite part and where Pinterest will be your best friend. If you don’t have a Pinterest account, I suggest creating one and start searching for inspiration. If you want to keep your inspiration private, don’t worry, you can make your boards private as to not give away your plans for the big day.

It’s also best to pick and theme and stick to it as much as possible; indecision will turn you into Bridezilla!

You now have your approximate guest list, your bridal party, your budget and the time of year for your wedding. Having a clear outline of what you’re able to work with will help you make firmer decisions on reception locations, your suppliers and allow you to isolate those businesses that cater for your needs.

I hope that these tips help you get started on your wedding plans and helps you feel like you have some control. In my next post, I’ll share how I chose to allocate my budget and where I think it’s important to splurge vs. tighten the grip.

Good luck and happy planning!

Purple Orchid Brides