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Why We Chose to Save Money by Having a Destination Wedding

You'd be forgiven for wondering why someone who doesn't tan, craves the shade, and has blood that's crack for mosquitoes would choose to get married in the Caribbean. But of all the decisions my fiancé and I have had to make when it comes to this wedding, I think the decision to have the ceremony in Antigua was the easiest one to make.

My other half doesn't like being the center of attention, so we always knew our wedding would be small. Having it abroad makes that easy, especially given our venue only allows 20 people at a wedding.

picture: simple wedding dresses

We'll also have been together for seven years by the time we tie the knot. This wedding is not a big public display of commitment (buying a home together two years ago did that). We're marrying for various reasons, some sentimental and some practical, but the most important thing for both of us is that the day itself is about us and it's as relaxed, simple, and fuss-free as possible. I have a tendency to stress and worry if things aren't perfect, so anything that can be done to inject a bit of calm into proceedings is a good thing. I'm putting a lot of faith in that "don't worry, be happy" attitude of island life.

But the big thing for us was cost. Weddings are expensive. Honeymoons are expensive. But amazingly, if you put the two together, you can actually save a lot of money. A destination wedding cuts out the need to suddenly pay more than it's worth to feed and water the hundred or so people you will inevitably have on your list. We are having a party in our hometown of London upon our return, and even keeping the numbers down as much as we could, we're looking at over 100 guests — once your cousins and friends start having kids, the numbers spiral out of control very quickly! Even though we both have good jobs, neither of us has been saving for years for a dream wedding. There is genuinely no way we would be able to have a more traditional wedding in London with all the people we want to invite. As it is, our party (which includes a BBQ meal and drinks) is looking like it'll cost almost the same as the entire Antigua trip. But even so, by marrying abroad, we've managed to keep our budget significantly below the average cost of a UK wedding, and we still get an amazing honeymoon and the chance to celebrate with all our friends in the more informal, relaxed way we want.

Of course, there are some things you have to consider when you make this decision. People will be disappointed. We are very lucky that our immediate families are able to afford to fly out and join us in the Caribbean — something we did take into consideration when booking. But we also had to be selfish and risk letting people down. We have grandparents who can't travel. We picked a hotel that doesn't allow children, and some of our closest friends have young kids. I think if we weren't having a celebration at home too, we'd be disappointing some of the most important people in our lives. But I also know that true friends and true loved ones understand that a marriage is not about a wedding, it's about what comes after.

I'm also pretty sure after shelling out for dozens of big weddings over the years, many of our friends are just happy all they have to do is show up at 4 p.m. for party food and Prosecco. No gifts, no long religious ceremonies, no staged photos. Just all our favorite people and a big excuse to party!

Finally, if you really want to know why we chose to marry in Antigua, you just have to look at it. The 365 virtually empty beaches, the tropical blue waters, the lush foliage, the brilliant people, the amazing food, the bottomless pit of rum cocktails . . . it's a slice of heaven, and I can't wait to get married with my toes in the sand!

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03:28 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Planning for the big celebration

The Champagne has been toasted. The ring fits. And the excitement of your recent engagement has subsided just long enough for you to think about the vast work that lies before you. It’s time to get down to the business of planning a wedding. One concern you may have repeatedly throughout this process is what you can get away with doing yourself and which jobs warrant hiring a professional.

Chiffon Purple Casual Bridesmaid Dresses BNNAD1093
picture: wedding dresses

Your wedding budget will more than likely take one of its biggest hits from hiring a photographer—so much so that it may feel quite alluring to want to hire a friend who claims he is handy with a camera instead. However, more than any other expense of your wedding, this is perhaps the one place where it certainly pays to hire a professional. Wedding photographers are trained and skilled in how to capture the most picturesque of moments: the first kiss, the bouquet toss and the giving away of the bride, among others. Professionals understand best how to manipulate light, as well as work with shadows and varying weather conditions, to provide the clearest and most beautiful depictions of your special moments. When all is said and done, these photographs will be one of the only physical remnants of the love felt that day, so it’s vital that they be done correctly.

Perhaps one of the most nerve-wracking questions any bride may ask herself is, “What if no one dances?” When you hire a DJ to take care of your music, you are hiring not only someone to hit the play button but also someone to help set the tone of the soundtrack of your wedding day. You are also investing in someone who is experienced in entertaining a roomful of guests. Most DJs act as master of ceremonies, as well, and work to keep guests excited and interested in the various wedding events. Though it may seem as if an iPod can suffice, it’s important to keep in mind how difficult it may be to gather a group of nervous guests onto a dance floor without the encouragement from a proper emcee. Therefore, it may prove worth the price to hire a professional DJ when it comes to the enjoyment of your guests and your stress level.

For the creative and penny-pinching brides, there are a few areas in your wedding that you can tackle yourself. Nearly anyone can become ordained to officiate a wedding. Having a close friend or family member officiate your wedding is a wonderful opportunity to not only save you money but also add a personal touch to your ceremony. Yes, you will have a few more tasks to wrangle than you would if you hired a professional wedding officiant, but many people say it’s worth it. First, becoming ordained to officiate a wedding can be done both easily and cheaply online through various organizations, many of which are nondenominational and some of which are attributed to specific religions. It’s important to look into any further legalities of your place of residence (or where you choose to get married) to ensure that the marriage is done legally. Offbeat Bride makes a great point regarding this vital part of the officiating process: “If you are doing research online regarding marriage law, only trust sources that are the legitimate website of the government in question.” You will also be responsible for writing the ceremony. However, this does give you the ability to make the tone of your ceremony much more personalized. Lastly, you will need to make sure to work with your DJ to provide appropriate amplification for the officiant. With a bit more legwork, the payoff can be enormous, with a customized ceremony that reflects who you and your spouse are, at a fraction of the cost that comes with hiring a professional.

Many brides daydream about the beautiful flowers that will adorn their wedding day. If you are organized enough and have a very willing bridal party, doing your own flowers may work. But it’s important to think ahead. Focus on flowers that will be in bloom during the season in which your wedding will take place.

However, keep in mind that if you are restricted by what you can spend, many florists and other vendors will be willing to discuss offering services within your specific budget.

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03:04 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Steph Grant Talks About Life As A Photographer For LGBT Weddings

This stunning collection of photos belongs to Steph Grant, a photographer who dedicated much of 2014 to documenting the weddings of LGBT couples.

Throughout the past year, Grant traveled all over the country in order to photograph the big day of a number of queer couples. The photos are absolutely beautiful and The Huffington Post chatted with Grant last week about her experiences.

The Huffington Post: What have your experiences been like as a photographer for LGBT weddings?

Steph Grant: My experiences have been mind blowing, to say the least! When I set out on this journey to photograph LGBT weddings exclusively in 2014 I had no idea how much of an adventure it would be. As much as I absolutely love my straight weddings and corporate clients I was excited to take this on. With all of my weddings being out-of-state my constant craving to travel and wander around has been met countless times. In 2014 alone photography has taken me to NYC, Philly, CA, Aruba, Canada, Nicaragua, Connecticut, Arizona and Hawaii, to name a few locations. More importantly, it’s an incredible feeling to be able to relate to my clients on so many levels -- not just as a wedding photographer but also something deeper. Being able to have conversations about our coming out stories, our families and experiences in life, I feel, makes it that much more meaningful. That is what my career is all about: connection, telling stories with my images and promoting love… one happy couple at a time.

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What is the whole experience of wedding photography about for you?

As an LGBT wedding photographer my goal is to have the world look at my images of happy and in love couples and absolutely forget any previous stereotypes of the LGBT community they might have living in their hearts and minds. There is just no need for negativity like that. In 2015, I know I will continue to meet clients who appreciate not only the importance of art but also the importance of feeling comfortable with your wedding photographer. It is so rewarding to have strangers say that as they were looking through my wedding stories they felt like they were actually attending the wedding. Like they had a front row seat and could feel the couple's love for each other.

What do you want the world to understand through your work as an LGBT wedding photographer?

A few things, actually:

1. Don’t hide who you are to make others feel comfortable. I spent a majority of my life doing just that and I feel like I wasted some crucial years worrying about what others thought of me -- it paralyzed me from reaching my full potential. There is only one you. Once you embrace that and find something you are passionate about the possibilities are endless. You can change the world and make a difference.

2. Have real conversations with your kids, friends, family etc. about loving other human beings and treating them as equals. It’s never a nice feeling to be “tolerated” or hear “i love you, but…”

3. You should never take being able to get married for granted. There’s something to say about finding “the one,” wanting to spend the rest of your life with them and not being able to get married to them. It really is a tragedy but I am so proud of the progress we have made in the US this past year. Things are looking up!

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03:10 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)