How to groom your groom’s planning skills

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Usually, when a groom gets involved in wedding planning, it consists of him grunting in your general direction when you’re explaining the colour scheme, cake, flowers, attire and everything else that you and you alone have to organise. The only time you seem to get his full attention, which often results in eyebrows raised so high they fly off the top of his head, is when the subject of budget and costs come up.

Let’s face it, most guys suck at getting involved in the wedding planning and that’s completely fine if they’ve agreed from the beginning that you will run the show. However it can get frustrating when your groom has said he wants to be involved and then demands an explanation as to why the flowers cost so much, or why you’ve decided to order 55 extra candles when he’s only been half listening to the details. Ladies, we know how stressful planning a wedding can be so if you’re not getting the help he originally agreed to or if he’s dragging the chain and you’re starting to hate the sound of your own voice, you might need to sit him down and have a chat.

To be fair, there are a lot of guys that are interested in getting involved in the planning and do a great job, others just aren’t interested in it and let their bride know that all the decisions are hers – we don’t intend on painting everyone with the same brush. This is for those of you that feel like you need some kind of engagement from your partner (and not just in the form of a ring) when it comes to your wedding day and feel like you’re just not getting anywhere. We urge you to leave this page open and lying around for your groom to read… or you can just shove it in face and force him to read it… whatever floats your boat!

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Listen up, Groomy!

If you don’t want to be involved in the wedding planning, that is completely fine; BUT you’re either in or you’re out, not in between. Don’t expect your bride to be a mind reader, if you tell her to choose everything and do whatever she wants, don’t then question every decision she makes or how much it costs. If you want to have more control or know more about what’s happening, get involved and get yourself across the details…. Don’t leave it to her to come to you, be proactive and discuss things beforehand.

You need to understand that whatever budget you are planning to is going to blow out by 10% to 20%… guaranteed. Most weddings go over budget, you know why? Because we’re usually all first timers and have no idea how much things are going to cost. Many brides might know exactly what they have always wanted for their wedding since the age of about 5 and ¾ but that doesn’t meant that they are an expert at knowing how much it’ll all cost. Work with your strengths, if you’re good at finding a good deal, help out by trying to find cheaper options or shopping around yourself; you could even re-adjust the budget to accommodate what you both really find important – amazing, YOU can re-adjust the budget… who would have thought?

At the end of the day, if you’ve said you’ll take on certain tasks, make sure you do them and avoid having her follow up over and over again or just end up doing it herself because she’s asked so many times it’s just easier. If you’d like to get involved but aren’t sure what to do, here are some areas that the groom traditionally takes care of. You are not limited to only these by the way….

  1. The suits – by your age, you should have an idea of what style suit you like or what you would like to wear. Sit down and talk to your fiancé about the colour scheme and style and do some research. It doesn’t require too much effort, just keep an eye out for sales or pop into a store if you’re passing by one. If you find a style you like but the price tag is out of budget, again, discuss this with your partner. By showing that you’re taking some interest in this, she’ll be more than happy to help out.
  1. The ride – Whether you’re a motor enthusiast or not, it makes sense for the groom to research and select the chariot. If you happen to be surfing the internet, do some research and find out what you like, what’s available and again, get an idea of the hourly fee. It’ll also help you in discussing with your bride how long you’ll need the car for and refer back to your budget. You’ll feel so much more on top of the money being spent if you get an understanding of how vendors charge. The more across the details you are, the more you’ll understand how it affects your bottom line.
  1. The happy snaps – This one should be pretty straight forward. We all know people who are married, start with asking your mates for referrals on their photographers and send some emails out to get an outline of packages.

See, that’s not that hard is it? Don’t forget, you want to make sure that you’re both getting the most amazing day possible without blowing the budget too much right? The best way you’ll make sure this doesn’t happen is to get yourself involved. No one is asking you attend every single shopping trip or choose which shade of cream best matches the serviettes (that’s what bridesmaids are for!!) but like we’ve said, if you’ve said you want to be involved, then do so…. Don’t do a half arsed job and then have a go at her for not “doing things properly”. She works too, she has a life too and she just wants everything to run smoothly so guys, be kind and lend a helping hand.

Good luck and happy planning

Purple Orchid Brides

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How to nail the role of “Maid of Honour”

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So what’s involved when you’ve been hired to run the show?

Congratulations! You have been asked to be a Maid of Honour and you have an exciting time ahead of you; the bride has chosen you as the most trusted and capable person in her life to take on the role of her second in command. You’re going to have a lot of fun helping plan the wedding and support the bride with the upcoming nuptials but you might not know where to start or where your responsibilities lie.

To help you out, we’ve listed what the Maid of Honour is traditionally responsible for leading up to the wedding, during the wedding and even after the wedding. It might be helpful to sit down with your bride and discuss what she would like to you be involved in, being armed with the below information will give her confidence in you as well as cement her decision that you were are the right woman for the job!

Pre Wedding:

The MOH generally lends a helping hand and ear to the bride. As the wedding day approaches, emotions will run high so you might need to take the bride’s hand and remind her that you and the other bridesmaids are there for her and that everything will be ok… breathe and sip on some wine if it helps.

You’ll need to accompany the bride when dress shopping and fittings; most bridal shops require an advanced booking so offer your help to contact bridal stores that the bride is interested in visiting to make some bookings. This also applies to any vendors or suppliers the bride needs to contact, offer a helping hand and she’ll tell you what needs done; don’t forget to delegate to the other bridesmaids to help you out.

Lead the bridal party. As MOH, you will be the main conduit between the bride and the bridesmaids. First off, it’s a good idea to organise a coffee, lunch or dinner date with the bridal party in the early stages to meet and exchange contact details if you don’t already know them. This is also a good time for the bride to explain what everyone’s role will be i.e. the MOH will be the main contact and give guidance on what needs to be done.

Ask the bride to provide you with a list of all the vendors and suppliers she has booked with, this way if anything goes wrong or needs to be addressed, you can help take care of it for her. Also, get the details of any registries and be the point person, in case guests have any questions, you can direct them.

Host or co-host the bridal shower / kitchen tea. Generally the bridal shower / kitchen tea is hosted by the MOH, you and the bridesmaids should run the show here and let the bride enjoy herself unless she wants to be involved.

Plan the Hens party. Get the bridesmaids involved in planning the day / night and take into consideration the older generations in the bride and groom’s families. Just because they’re older and may not want to party, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve an invitation; allow them to decline rather than assume they won’t want to come. Many people also opt for a low key brunch or high tea in addition to the hens night to accommodate for mothers, aunts, grandmothers and even under age family members so that everyone gets to enjoy a celebration with the bride.

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The Big Day

Get prepared and dressed with the bride, bridesmaids and the bride’s mother. Enjoy the morning before the day gets crazy and keep the bride calm and relaxed. To help with this, make sure you are well versed in the day’s schedule from ceremony, photos and reception to help the day run smoothly. It’s also a great idea to prepare an emergency kit containing everything that could help resolve any kind of wardrobe malfunction and don’t forget to have all vendor’s contact information near by!

During the ceremony, attend to the bride’s train and veil when she arrives at the alter making sure that it looks perfect for the photos. Hold her bouquet whilst she exchanges her vows and sign the register as her witness.

At the reception, help bustle the bride’s train and veil before dancing, this includes going to bathroom too! These days many MOH’s also give a speech or a toast after the Best Man; it is up to you and the bride as to whether you would like to, it could be a nice touch. Make sure the bride eats and drinks, she will be famished and pulled in every direction so you may need to force feed her while she makes her way around the room…. joking of course! Lastly, help out with any last minute details at the end of the night, this includes making sure that the gifts are transported safely.

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Post Wedding

Your job is almost done but before you breathe a sigh of relief and put your feet up, you could help out with returning any attire that was hired and needs to be returned, ensure that the gifts have arrived at their destination safely and finally, remind the newlyweds to send out their thank you notes.

This may sound exhausting and quite a big responsibility but we truly believe that the more organised you are, the better and more seamless your job will be. If the bride to be isn’t very good at making decisions or delegating tasks, help her; that’s what you’re there to do. We can’t stress enough how important it is to communicate and coordinate the bridal party so that everybody knows what’s happening and what needs to be done; this will remove any “she said, she said” from the equation and help all of you have a lovely and happy time leading up to the wedding and especially on the day.

Good luck and happy planning!

Purple Orchid Brides

Shontayne & Adam Ward

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Photo: Stills of Grace Photography

Meet Shontayne Ward; She married the love of her life, Adam in June 2014 in a magical, rustic wedding at Belgenny Farm, west of Sydney. The wedding looked like a winter fairytail fit with romantic lighting, baby’s breath florals and a classic Kombi filled with love. Their perfect day did face it’s challenges though, because half way through their planning, Shontayne and Adam needed to seriously reconsider their budget. They were blessed with the news that they were having a baby and just eight weeks before their wedding, Shontayne gave birth…. to twins!
 
Shontayne shares how she had to re-evaluate her wedding budget and make some difficult decisions about her dream day and gives us some tips on how to pull off an amazing wedding whist managing a tight budget.

You unexpectedly but joyously fell pregnant in the midst of planning your wedding, did you consider postponing?

Absolutely! I had not one, but 2 positive pregnancy tests in my hand (just to be sure!) when I woke Adam up to tell him I was pregnant. Of course, after months of trying, then not trying, we both cried with happiness. We were in complete shock and after doing quick calculations, we realised I would give birth close to our planned wedding date.
In November 2012, we fell in love with Belgenny Farm! We wanted our wedding to be in March 2014 but the first available Saturday was June 7th! So we booked it in. Thank goodness! Otherwise I would have been 8 months pregnant with twins, being rolled down the aisle in slippers.  We realised that by postponing, we would not be getting married for a really long time. So, in true Shontayne fashion, I went full steam ahead with our plans.

The news would have put a few things in perspective, what did you need to re-evaluate for the big day?

Our surprise pregnancy was a blessing but naturally, I started to stress. I was on a contract at work which meant I would have to take maternity leave without any pay, while having to pay bills and still save for our dream wedding.
We immediately had to look at what was important to us, then we started to cut our budget.

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Photo: Stills of Grace Photography

I love this photo. I think mine and Adam’s faces say it all really! So much love and admiration.
Scarlett Evelyn & Adeleine June were 8 weeks old.

How did you prioritise the bridal tasks given that your priorities had shifted?

Our number 1 priority was working out how much money we would need for me to be able to stay off work without pay with the girls. We didn’t want to be shoving them in childcare at 2 months old!
Once we had this figure, we focused on what was the most important aspects of the wedding.

We then looked at our big ticket items on the list and looked at where we could save.
 
My Dress: I found out I was pregnant, 4 days after I had paid a deposit on a $7000 Couture gown. That had to go. Funnily enough, I purchased the original dress that I wanted from Grace Loves Lace for $1500.

Flowers: I decided to make the bouquet, flowers for the church and reception myself. Yes, I hauled my sleep-deprived self to Sydney Flower markets at 5am the day before the wedding. We saved around $1800 by doing this.

The Reception:  We had to cull the guest list by about 25 people which saved us $3300. Yes, it was so very hard, but having to send the girls to childcare 2 months earlier than I wanted to would be harder.

Church & Reception Styling: I wanted a stylist to style the wedding but we were looking at about $5000. By designing it all myself, purchasing 80% of the items needed, purchasing the flowers and asking the stylist to come in and put it all together, we saved $2700!
 
So with those cut backs alone, we saved approximately $13,300!

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Photo: Stills of Grace Photography

This was my original dream dress by the magical designers, Grace Loves Lace.
My head piece was actually my Mothers! I had it remade by Amy from Teeki Designs.

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Photo: Stills of Grace Photography

I wanted to create a warm, romantic, rustic feel for our wedding, which suited us and the reception venue. We filled the room with fairy lights, baby’s breathe and even sandalwood scented candles! It was magical.

What advice would you give to brides who face a challenge in the midst of planning their wedding and need to re-assess their plans?

Sit down.
Have a glass of wine (if you’re not pregnant of course!).
Re-evaluate your priorities with your husband-to-be.
Write a list.
Nothing is as bad as it seems at first.

If you could re-live the day, is there anything you would do differently?

No way! I was a sleep-deprived wreck leading up to it and on the day. Even had Adam asked me if I was going to remember to show up! I was a mess. But I enjoyed every single minute of it. I don’t remember not smiling during any part of the day. 

What is the biggest piece of advice you would give a bride to be planning their special day with a limited budget?

I have a few pieces of advice!
 
Prioritise what is important to you and your husband-to-be. And stick to it!
This is your wedding. Your one magical day that you have been waiting for your whole life.
 
Work out your budget.
If you can’t afford to invite your cousin’s, sister’s, brother’s, uncle, don’t! They will understand. If you can’t afford a couture gown, there are plenty of other amazing dresses you can wear and you WILL feel like a princess the moment you put your dress on. I promise.
 
Breathe and have FUN!
Not just on the day, but leading up to it. Wedding planning will be stressful, if you let it be! Don’t forget to nurture your relationship with you husband-to-be while planning it. Not all conversations have to be about the wedding. Enjoy each other, every day!

Shon & Adam

Photo: Stills of Grace Photography

People have always said they can see the love that Adam and I have for each other and I think on our wedding day, our love exploded.

Shontayne is not only a devoted mother and wife, she carries a career and continues to dream big. She has her own blog http://www.beingshontayne.com where she candidly documents her experiences as a new mum to two adorable little girls as well as a cheeky little cat called Ziggy!

Good luck and happy planning!
Purple Orchid Brides