Wednesday, October 9, 2013

100 TOP TIPS for wedding perfection

From the wedding of Iman and Karina - Studio Impressions Photography
As seen in Queensland Brides Spring 2010 
Compiled by Nicole Deuble and Natalie Corbett 

100 Top tips from QB and married couples for the best wedding ever ...

Planning Perfection
1. “Be prepared. Start planning early so you get what you want. Look at lots of magazines/ websites to get inspiration and ideas.” 
Sarah & Robin, married in Brisbane

2. Visit bridal and wedding expos/shows/websites for heaps of ideas and to meet potential photographers, designers, coordinators and more.

3. Ask around. Quiz friends and family about weddings they have recently attended. Who had the best flowers/music/venue/cake etc. Wedding guests tend to be very honest!

4. Make a budget and stick to it - or decide which parts you MUST stick to and which areas have some flexibility.

5. “Research, research and research, and read testimonials.” 
Tamara & Nathan, married in Brisbane

6. Draw up a timeline and checklist of when things must be booked, paid for, confirmed etc.

7. “Involve your partner and plan it together, as it brought us even closer together and we enjoyed the day immensely.” 
Simone & Rod, married at Kangaroo Point

8. BUDGET TIP: Consider a weekday wedding. They are almost always cheaper than a Saturday.

9. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from the people around you, you’ll probably find that they’ve been waiting for your call!

10. “Get a scrapbook together where you can glue in pictures and write down all your ideas that you have for the wedding. It is simple to go to that book and creates a great keepsake for the future generations.” 
Estelle & Stephen, married in Brisbane 

From the wedding of Steve and Kellie - Adore Photography

11. Ask questions - most brides have never planned a wedding before so can be forgiven for asking even the most basic questions.

12. Check the legalities. You’ll usually have to lodge your intention to marry at least one month in advance of your ceremony with the relevant government body such as the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

13. “If you want to do something do it, because it is that one day you get away with it. Also pay the money for a videographer – the day goes so fast and we couldn’t wait to re-live it through the video!” 
Stacey & Ashley, married on the Gold Coast.

14. Visit a bridal salon. Browse racks of dreamy gowns, knowing that yours could be amongst them, and meet the talented designer behind the label. Nothing beats the personal service, perfect fit and quality of a gown from a retailer you know and trust.

15. Consider booking mid-week appointments for dress fittings as these times are usually less busy and frantic.

16. Be open-minded. You may just find the dress/location/bouquet of your dreams is not always the one you expected.

17. Don’t bring an entourage to your dress fitting. Your mum or a trusted friend will provide all the ‘second opinions’ you’ll need.

18. Splurge on underwear. This is a time to really buy something amazing, so head to a specialist and make sure your choices not only look great but give you the support where you need it. And wear your lingerie to your last dress fitting to protect against the dreaded VPL.

19. Pick a theme. It will make your decorating choices easier and creates a cohesive, welcoming ambience for your guests.

20. “Think outside the box and do your research on everything! I loved looking at blogs such as for gorgeous ideas and styling and also, try not to get tied up and stressed out by small details and remember why you’re there in the first place!” 
Kristie & Ken, married on the Sunshine Coast 

Image from the wedding of Ryan and Natalie - Calli B Photography
21. Create a wedding website or blog to keep guests updated or to ask for input such as song choices. Great for last-minute updates too.

22. Be honest with your partner about what you like and don’t like but agree to compromise on at least one major decision to ensure the wedding reflects you both.

23. Organise wedding insurance - it covers accidents and unforeseen problems.

24. “If you can hire a professional coordinator it really takes a lot of the stress off you. I got what I wanted with minimal stress/worry.” 
Amanda & Grant, married in Grandchester, Country Queensland

25. Get everything in writing. This includes all contracts and agreements. They are your legal safeguard if something goes wrong.

26. Read the fine print. There is no use having a contract if you don’t understand what it entails.

27. When comparing venues, don’t forget to add in extra costs of rental equipment and accessories. A venue which throws in tables, chairs, glasses, plates and bunting as part of the deal may end up being better value than one where these are all ‘added extras’.

28. Make sure you see the actual room where your reception will take place – and have this listed clearly on your contract.

29. Keep your cool. If you are having a summer wedding, check if your venue has air conditioning, fans or at least a breezy outdoor area.

30. Ask your photographer about including a photo slideshow at the reception for a special touch. Guests love it! 

Image from the wedding of Ben and Anna - Sugarblush Photography

31. Collect a file of other wedding photos you like the style of and ask your photographer to replicate the poses, angle, etc.

32. “Make sure you get that perfect photographer that you want because at the end of the day they are the one person who truly capture the day from start to finish; the pictures that will make you relive that Special Day!” 
Amy & Anthony, married in Brisbane

33. Book your make-up artist for the whole day if you want to look camera-ready all night long. The same goes for your photographer. Some people opt out of haven’t their photographer at the reception and you can really miss some magical moments.

34. Getting married on the beach? Make sure your hairstyle will stand up to the effects of wind, salt and surf.

35. Get hair and make-up to come to you, which saves time travelling and reduces stress levels. Hair and make-up can be done at the same time, while hair is setting, makeup can be done etc.

36. Speak with your bridesmaids (nicely) about their tanning habits in the days leading up to the wedding. An elegant strapless gown topped with a strong bikini tan line is not a good look.

37. Don’t trial a new spray tan colour or haircut the day before the wedding.

38. Prepare for presents. Unless you have clearly specified ‘no gifts’ guests will want to know in advance if you are having a wishing well, specified charity, gift registry or whether they should start hunting for their own gift.

39. Create a memorable invitation - guests will be less likely to forget to RSVP.

40. Provide a map with the invitation for guests, especially if the venues are in uncommon locations, or many guests are not from the local area - map from wedding venue to reception venue.

Image from the wedding of Carolyn and Aaron - Nick Murray Photography
41. As a personal reception touch, ask your guests to nominate their favourite songs with their RSVP. Add them to your playlist then send everyone home with a wedding CD.

42. Ensure there is wheelchair access or easy access such as ramps or lifts for elderly guests if required.

43. Test your wedding CD or iPod selection before the big day to ensure it works.

44. “When planning the wedding, try to consider your guests and make sure that they will have a good time, but ultimately the day is about you and your partner and it needs to be one that you will enjoy as well so put yourselves first every now and then!” 
Jessica & Ben, married in Brisbane

45. Discuss your vows. Some couples like to keep these as a surprise to one another while others prefer to be prepared. They are going to be emotional on the day either way so sometimes a ‘run-through’ is a sound idea.

46. Put together welcome baskets for out-of-town guests. Think maps, guide books, snacks and personal messages.

47. “Work off lists and set deadlines for each element of the wedding. It is a good idea to write everything down and organise a timetable for all those involved. That way everyone is on the same page for the day” 
Huong & Matthew, married in Brisbane

48. Consider a round table rather than a big long table for your bridal party. It can be more approachable and inclusive for your guests.

49. “Choose suppliers you can trust, this takes so much stress out of the planning. Incorporate some little details that will make your day truly unique and memorable for your guests, such as signature cocktails” 
Amelia & Glenn, married in the Whitsundays

50. Create a decadent dessert table or lolly bar. You don’t need to preclude your cake either, just add it to the selection of cupcakes, mini cheesecakes, lemon tarts and chocolate-dipped strawberries or oversized lolly jars full of old-fashioned favourites. 

Image from the wedding of Bradley and Lynsey - Studio Con Brio
51. If the view is your venue’s focal point, consider low-key room decorations which won’t detract from the stunning vistas.

52. Ask about extras. Are there extra fees for corkage, cake cutting, bringing your own decoration. etc. and are there charges if the party goes a bit longer than expected?

53. Cater for the kids. If you are having little ones at your wedding then chances are they won’t like eating ‘grown up food’. Ask your caterer about a kid’s menu in advance.

54. Have a back-up plan. So whether it involves marquees or simply a stash of umbrellas, if inclement weather threatens you won’t go into a panic.

55. “If you are going to plan your wedding yourself, invest in a wedding planning software package. I used Marziplanner and it just made life so much easier having all my lists, budgeting and timelines in the same place.” 
Frances & Mitchell, married in Brisbane

56. Book a photo booth. It will keep your guests laughing all night and create some really relaxed shots.

57. “Make sure you have a detailed running sheet, including all supplier details, and provide a copy to each set of parents, bridal party and immediate family.” 
Clare & Paul, married in Brisbane

58. Encourage your guests to bring their own cameras as well for different perspectives on the day.

59. Enjoy your hens and bucks days/nights at least a week before the wedding. It may seem like common sense but a night of drinking and dancing is not necessarily the best way to wake up fresh and photogenic.

60. “We had a minibus pick us up from the ceremony. We had a packed esky on it and were able to chat and have fun as we drove around to all of the photo venues.” 
Toni & Damien, married in Townsville 

Image from the wedding of Tony and Amanda - Lauren Joy Photography
61. Make up an emergency kit which one of your bridesmaids should have at all times. Fill it with bandaids, panadol, a sewing kit, lipstick, allergy tablets, tampons and any other last-minute essentials.

62. Do a ‘dress rehearsal’ a couple of days before to ensure your bridesmaids and groomsmen still all fit into their outfits.

63. Write your speech before you get to the reception - not in the car on the way. Trying to ad lib on the biggest day of your life might just leave you tongue-tied.

64. Make sure everyone else who is making a speech is aware of the fact. You don’t want to spring this on someone at the last moment unless you enjoy listening to slightly embarrassed waffle.

65. “Get everything done way ahead of schedule so you can relax and enjoy the day. We stayed together in a luxury B&B the night before, and because everything was already done/packed/ organised, we got to wake up fresh, have a delicious and leisurely breakfast, and watch Scooby Doo the morning of the wedding.” 
Maggie & Matthew, married in Maleny

66. “Get a really good night's sleep and no matter what happens on the day - just relax and enjoy it!”
Tamara & Vojislav married in Brisbane

Wedding Day Bliss

67. “Give yourself plenty of time in the morning. The last few moments you have with your family and friends are so special and should not be frantic and rushed .” Brianna & Matthew, married in Maleny

68. Appoint a calm “go-to” person who has a copy of the itinerary for the day, contact numbers, etc. and give this person’s number to photographers/suppliers in case of emergencies/traffic/running late, et.

69. Make sure your make-up artist and hair stylist leave enough time to make you feel your beautiful best. Sometimes in the flurry to perfect your bridesmaids, you can get left with only minutes in the hands of the experts.

70. Think outside the box for your ride to the reception ... “We had a boat ride to our reception which allowed us 1/2 an hour to just enjoy what we had done in becoming husband and wife and I will treasure that moment forever.” 
Carly & Mark, married on the Gold Coast 

Image from the wedding of Brendan and Emma - Studio 60 Photography
71. Leave pretty printed paper fans on your seats for a spring or summer wedding. Your guests will keep their cool in style.

72. Allow at least one hour for arrivals and welcome drinks.

73. Keep your guests occupied. While you’re posing for photos, make sure your guests have somewhere to go and something to do whether it’s drinks and canapes, pool tables, a live band or magician.

74. “My advice would be to not get caught up in the little things or the things you cannot change - they’re not what makes your wedding day special. What makes the day wonderful is marrying the person you love and celebrating with friends and family, it’s not the fact that you got the right colour napkins or the right kind of flowers for your bouquet.” 
Katrina & Thomas, married in Toowoomba

75. Make a pact with your beloved not to fight about ANYTHING on the wedding day, no matter what.

76. Don’t open presents at the reception. This is a no-no as it’s time- consuming and could make guests embarrassed if their ‘modest’ gift is opened after a more elaborate offering.

77. “Don’t stress on your wedding day. It poured down with rain on mine and it didn’t worry me! I loved it! I think it helped me calm down, weird as that may sound.” 
Kirsten and James, married in Mooloolaba

78. Check your posture. This may sound strange but you don’t want a photo album full of you hunched over your strapless gown.

79. “Oh, and don’t wear high heels on the beach!” 
Sara & Ash, married at Kingscliff

80. Make your bomboniere do double duty. Whether you choose homemade jam, miniature wine bottles, traditional almonds or mini photoframes, tag them with your guest’s name and table number. 

Image from the wedding of Peter and Melissa - Studio Con Brio
81. If a guest can’t make the reception due to distance or ill health, consider a video link up. We’ve seen this in action and it’s priceless!

82. “Drink plenty of water and don’t forget to eat!” 
Belinda & Joel, married in Port Douglas

83. “Ask your bridesmaid to pull you aside every now & then throughout the day so you can breathe, collect your thoughts and enjoy one of the best days of your life.” 
Katie & Tony, married in Brisbane

84. “This is your day above everyone else’s. You won’t please everyone so stick to your guns and pick a theme, place, etc ... you both will be pleased by the end of the fabulous day and that’s all that matters.” 
Melissa & Daniel, married in Mooloolaba

85. “If you’re a pregnant bride take a comfy pair of shoes to walk around in in between photo shoots as high heels are not an all- terrain shoe!” 
Shaye & Symon

86. Get up and dance. The bride and groom set the tone of the day so if you hit the dancefloor, chances are your guests will follow.

87. “Bring some spare shoes to your reception in case your heels are not as comfy as you'd hoped.” 
Chloe & Daniel, married on the Gold Coast

88. “If you can, also try to surprise each other in some way on the day. It may be a present or your secret vows to each other but, it makes the day extra special.” 
Brianna & Matthew, married in Maleny

89. “Just to enjoy your amazing day and for the two of you to spend a few minutes by yourselves to take it all in, as it goes by so quickly.” 
Chole & Andrew, married on the Gold Coast

90. Don’t be the first to leave. It’s usually poor form to sneak off before any of your guests but if you do want to hit the road, let everyone know so they can give you a big send off. 

Image from the wedding of Jessica and Thomas - Feather and Stone Photography
91. Make the feeling last. “We made a weekend of it and invited everyone to stay at the resort. We had a BBQ Friday night and a breakfast Sunday. It was great to have everyone together for the whole weekend.” 
Sara & Ash, married at Kingscliff

92. Throw your bouquet. Yes, girls still love to jostle for supremacy in this entertaining tradition.

93. Give your mum and dad a hug. You know why.

Post-reception plans

94. Have a post-reception plan for your guests. Let them know where the best local bars are if they want a nightcap or the nearest cab rank is if they want to head straight home. For more remote receptions, consider a mini bus to ferry people back to civilisation.

95. Save your bouquet after the big day - press it or have it freeze-dried and framed.

96. Preserve the top tier of the cake by placing it in an airtight container immediately after the cutting, then wrap that in foil and place in the freezer.

97. Before you jet off for your honeymoon check you have your passports, visas, insurance papers, and international driving permit.

98. Leave a copy of your itinerary and passport with a parent or trusted friend in case of emergencies.

99. Keep a Honeymoon Diary. Your notes can be as saucy or sweet as you like but you’ll love reading over it when you’ve grown old together.

100. Don’t forget your thank-you cards. Why not write them as postcards from your honeymoon destination because chances are you won’t be able to stop talking about the big day anyway!

Image from the wedding of Lance and Alissa - Jess Marks Photography
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