Don’t know where to start? Start by choosing your ceremony and reception venues.. these will set the date if you don’t already have one in mind. Also leave plenty of time to organise your dress… it will take time to find one you like, that is in your budget, and have it made/altered, etc.
Use the businesses on Wedding SA – they are all professionals, and will do their very best to give you all the assistance you could possibly desire. Also join us on Facebook or Instagram and to share your comments, success stories, disasters, suggestions, ideas, experience, questions, etc with other brides and grooms to be or send your enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to find what you are searching for.
When you are organising your wedding day – make sure you get everything in writing – right down to the size of the cake, number and type of flowers in the table centre piece, times for limousine pickups, number of photos of a certain size in a particular album, etc. This way both parties know exactly what is required and to be delivered. After all, you only have one chance to get it right.
The Wedding SA Guest List is there to help you keep track of guest numbers as well as gifts received and thank yous sent.
To help you keep your finances in order, we have created a Wedding SA Budget Planner.
We have all heard of Murphy’s Law… so the Wedding SA Emergency Kit is there to ensure that nothing goes wrong on your day!
Wedding SA Organiser
- Guest List
- Seating Planner.
Do-it-yourself… or get your family and friends to help? Consider making your own veil (headband + tulle), making the ring pillow, arranging the flowers (maybe for the table centre pieces if not your bouquet), baking the cake, writing out the invitations or design them yourself using the computer, or make your own bomboniere bags.
Borrow. Who has something you can borrow? cars? dress/es? venue? holiday home.. etc.
Wedding dress. Consider getting a simple gown that can be dyed after the wedding and used as a cocktail/evening dress. Do you have to have a white dress? Consider having a stunning silver, black, pale blue or burgundy dress… or some other colour.. this can quickly become a cocktail/evening dress after the wedding. Also, some shoe repairers can cover/dye shoes to match your dress or, after your wedding, change the colour to something you’re more likely to wear again.
Wedding cake. The cake is remembered.. and in the wedding photos.. so consider having an extra tier or 2 of decorated foam.. foam is much cheaper than cake.. and no one will know once it is decorated up. Also consider having the cake as dessert at the reception – but check the price the reception venue will charge to cut and serve your cake. Also check when the reception venue will cut up your cake. Some will do it during the day and not during the reception – this might impact on any photos you wish to have with the cake.
Flowers can be expensive. Consider having a garden wedding, or have the flower girls blow bubbles during the ceremony. Another idea is to use potted flowers and put them down the aisle or use them as table centre pieces – you can either give these away as thank-you gifts, or take them home to plant in your garden. Alternatively, have a night/evening wedding lit by candles. Enquire as to whether or not there will be other weddings at your chosen venue on the same day.. you might be able to share the cost of flowers. Also enquire as to whether or not you can take your flowers from the ceremony venue to the reception venue – some ceremony venues will not allow you to remove your flowers.
Reception. Consider having canapes and cocktails instead of a sit down meal. Or, have the reception catered for by friends and family in lieu of gifts. On a similar line, consider having the guests pay for their meals instead of buying gifts – especially useful if you already have a fully stocked home!
Do you have to have a Saturday Wedding? Compare the costs of a Saturday wedding with one on Friday night or Sunday? Also compare the costs of a Wedding during Winter with one in Spring, Summer and Autumn.
Engagement Party. Traditionally the brides parents will host the engagement party. However, it is now common place for the engaged couple to host their own party.
Bridesmaids. Traditionally bridesmaids will pay for their own dress, shoes and accessories. In such cases, the bride should give a gift.
Absent loved ones. To remember and acknowledge loved ones in your ceremony, one suggestion is to place a long stemmed rose on the alter/signature table with a note explaining it’s significance in the order of service. A photograph or candle would also be appropriate.
Cutting the guest list. There is no need to invite your photographer, videographer or celebrant to your reception. However, if you are expecting your photographer or videographer to stay until the conclusion of the reception, then it would be appropriate to arrange a meal and drink for them with the kitchen. If your celebrant is a family friend then it is appropriate to invite them also.
Thank you cards. Traditionally, thank you cards should be sent within 3 months of your wedding. However, within 6 weeks is usually seen as best.
Before you purchase your dress, take it outside and make sure that it looks as fantastic outside as it does inside with the soft lights of the shop.
Wedding Shoes. Some shoe repairers can cover/dye shoes to match your dress or, after your wedding, change the colour to something you’re more likely to wear again. Make sure they are comfortable. Wear them around the house before your wedding day to help reduce the likelihood of blisters or sore feet.
Bridesmaids. Not all bridesmaids are the same shape and size. Consider buying matching material and having them each choose their own pattern to have made. This way they can choose something that is flattering and still look coordinated. Another option would be to set a style guide for your bridesmaids – ie long, black, spaghetti straps, and then coordinate with a coloured bow or neck scarf.
When should I select them? It depends on how well you know the bridesmaids. It can be less stressful to select your maids closer to your wedding date eg 3 months before. This minimises the chances that one of them would become heavily pregnant by the time your wedding comes around and unable to fulfil her duties. If you have a falling out with one of your friends, then it’s easier to not select them as a bridesmaid rather than to ‘un-select’ them. Lastly, the chances of major weight change and dresses not fitting can be minimised.
How to get great bridesmaids. When you do ask your friends to be bridesmaids, let them know what you expect from them. Ie, do you expect them to accompany you to bridal expos, reception venues on your shortlist, wedding dress shopping, etc? Bridesmaids who work weekends, are casually employed, don’t drive, or have children may not be able to commit to this. It is also a good idea to let them know what you expect them to pay for. That way, if they don’t have $600 to spend on a new dress, shoes, hair and makeup they can bow-out gracefully.
Who pays for what? It is not unusual to have your bridesmaids pay for their own dress, and in most cases their shoes too. It is open to negotiation as to whether or not the bridesmaids will pay for their own hair and makeup. In most cases they will do their own makeup.
Bridesmaids do not generally pay for their jewellery. They either wear their own or it is a gift from the bride. Keep in mind the income of your maids when determining how much you want them to pay for.
How much should I expect them to spend? How about you ask them (separately) how much they think is reasonable to spend. Then, if you think that it’s not quite enough you can suggest that in lieu of a gift, would it be possible for them to contribute a little more?
Determine if your dresses will be made or purchased off the rack. Keep in mind that you should be able to find great dresses from around $100 off the rack, and will probably spend $300+ having them made.
How can I get dresses they will like? If you’re having more than one bridesmaid, then expect it to be near impossible for all of them to absolutely love the style and colour if their dresses are exactly the same. Consider selecting some material and sending them off to get a dress made in a style that suits them. They shouldn’t feel too annoyed then about spending their money as they get a dress they like, feel great in and are likely to wear again. You could specify that the skirt should be below the knee, ankle length, straight, a-line – whatever, but they can choose the top ie strapless, one strap, spaghetti strap, square neck, round neck, etc. Some compromise could save trauma later on.
If you want uniformed style, then collect a few pictures and compile a shortlist. Then discuss the options with your bridesmaids. If they are involved in the consultation period as to how you’d like them to spend their money then there is likely to be less margin for tears as they helped pick out the style!
When selecting the colour be sensitive that in order for your bridesmaids to feel OK about it all, they’ll probably be wanting the colour to not date and be something they could wear again. So, reds, blues, etc would be fine. If you’re a lover of burnt orange or lime green, then how about having a shoulder wrap in this colour? Or, use these colours in their bouquets and choose a dress colour that will accentuate the vividness of the flowers.
If using old or vintage cars – check the hinges of the doors for grease or oil. This does not look good on your new gown! Also, check that there is a covering over the wheels at the back, road dirt also is not a good look on your lovely gown.
Always handy to have a small container of talcum powder. Grease on bridesmaids, brides or flower girls, is best dealt with by sprinkling the talc on the spot, and leaving it there to absorb the grease and brush off a little later.
If your photos are going to be in a garden, be sure to put the Aeroguard and the fly spray in the boot of the car. Midges, small flies mosquitoes, all LOVE getting between the layers of tulle and are almost impossible to get them all out.
Always remember to have an esky with icy cold water and cups, and something very basic like cheese or vegemite sandwiches! Most of the wedding party have had such a busy day, that they have not stopped to have anything to eat. If you start straight onto the champagne without something substantial, by the time the photos are finished and you are on your way to the reception, your grand entrance is really spoiled if you are all tiddly!
Pack an emergency kit and give it to a family member to take care of on the day.
- Paracetamol or other tablets for a headache.
- Bandaids for blisters from new shoes.
- Tissues – just in case of tears!
- Spare stockings – especially if the bride or bridesmaids do not have full length dresses.
- Needle, thread and safety pins if the worst happens.
- Bobby pins if your hair needs securing.
- Lippy and compact for touch ups.
- Medicine if any of the wedding party suffer from hay fever – especially if any of the day is outdoors (perfume can also trigger the sniffles for sufferers).
- Always handy to have a small container of talcum powder. Grease on bridesmaids, brides or flower girls, is best dealt with by sprinkling the talc on the spot, and leaving it there to absorb the grease and brush off a little later.
Will you be escorted down the aisle by your Father? If not, consider being escorted by your Mother or meeting your groom half way.
Decoration. Consider having potted plants down the aisle.. you could use these later in your garden.
Menu. When selecting your menu try to include a vegetarian option – or ask the caterer if they will have an alternative available upon request. For the Bride, carefully consider what you will eat – red tomato sauce from a pasta dish is not going to look nice as little red spots down the front of your dress.
Decoration. Consider having potted plants as table centre pieces.. you could use these later in your garden.
Involve your Parents. Have the band/DJ play your parent’s song and invite them to dance.
Bomboniere. What to give? Should you give anything? Bomboniere need not be expensive. Consider giving your cake, candles, or sugared almonds.
Sugared Almonds. The almond has a bitter taste and the sugar coating is sweet representing the bitterness and sweetness of life. So, the sugared coating is added to ensure that the newly weds life is more sweet than bitter. Also, whether it is 5 or 7 almonds, the significance of the odd number is that it is indivisible and so the newly weds should share everything and remain undivided. Tradition also holds that if an unmarried woman puts the sugared almonds under her pillow she’ll dream of her future husband. Italians use 5 sugared almonds symbolising health, wealth, happiness, fertility and longevity. The Greeks add two more.