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Archive for 2009|Yearly archive page

For a scented bridal party, try herbal bouquets

In Flowers on September 21, 2009 at 9:34 am
Handtied bouquet of white roses surrounded in sage

Handtied bouquet of white roses surrounded in sage

Here’s why you should opt for herbal bouquets:

1.  Instant wedding memories at every Sunday roast.

Imagine this. If you have herbal bouquets, then every time for the rest of your life tha you have a nice roast lamb stuffed with sage or a juicy roast chicken stuffed with rosemary and thyme, you’ll be transported back to dizzy wonderfulness of your wedding day.

2. Unbreakability.

Herbs are easy to play with if you’re doing a DIY bouquet, and set off roses nicely. However bad you are a floristry, they still wont wilt or snap.

3. You can make the boys buttonholes herbal too.

Leave your ushers smelling sweetly with rosemary and rose buttonholes like these:

Rose and rosemary buttonholes for the gents

Rose and rosemary buttonholes for the gents

4. Herbs symbolise all manner of positive things.

Rosemary symbolises remembrance, love, loyalty and fidelity. And apparently it can improve the memory.

Sage symbolises wisdom, long life and immortality.

Thyme symbolises activity, bravery, courage and strength.

Sedum symbolises welcome and traquility. Technically it is a herb,  not an edible one, but still a herb, and a good filler.

See more herb symbolism here.

5. Herbs are cheaper than flowers. Innit.

You can get a huge two-handed bunch of mixed herbs from New Covent Garden Market for a tenner (if you’re prepared to get up at 5am two days before your wedding).

Me with a small forest of herbs and mixed roses in my hands

Me with a small forest of herbs and mixed roses in my hands

So normally I don’t like to show my mug on my blog, but here’s a once-in-a-blogtime exception, so I can show you my bouquet. It’s a mix of pink tipped roses, hot pink roses with green tips, ivory roses and pink roses mixed with sage, thyme and rosemary. I felt like a walking bouquet garni (in a good way).

My best woman and flowergirls with a selection of the finest herbal bouquets

My best woman and flowergirls with a selection of the finest herbal bouquets

These are my lovely flowergirls and best woman – each has a different colour rose and a different type of herb (except the sedum, which is technically a herb, but not the sort you’d put in a dressing). The ribbons are all different colours, matching with their mismatching outfits. But more about this in subsequent posts…

Pimp your ushers

In groomsmen, ushers on September 4, 2009 at 11:40 am

The usher uniform can be terribly dull. Unless of course you do this…

Add braces (or suspenders, if you’re American).

Pimp your ushers with braces and monochromatic ties.

Pimp your ushers with braces and monochromatic ties.

Mix up smart and casual

Black suits. Black converse. Its a beautiful thing.

Black suits. Black converse. It's a beautiful thing.

Add a colourful twist. A bright handkerchief or maybe striped socks.

Striped socks to liven up formal suits. Now add jazzhands.

Striped socks to liven up formal suits. Now add jazzhands.

Go totally casual. But matching. So it’s like everyone’s just rolled out of bed and happened to fling on exactly the same thing.

These ushers are rocking the casual look.

These ushers are rocking the casual look.

Add random props. Like Stormtroopers masks. Why? Just because.

Star Wars Ushers. Obviously.

Star Wars Ushers. Obviously.

What to do with your wedding dress afterwards

In Dresses on August 30, 2009 at 4:55 pm

In cost-per-wear terms your wedding dress is likely to be by far the most expensive piece of clothing you’ll ever buy. And the likelihood is, you’ll never wear it again. Unless of course, your first marriage doesn’t work out and your next fiance is both frugal and unsentimental. Or, you do one of the following:

1. Trash it. This American tradition involves putting the dress back on and getting a photographer to shoot you destroying it on camera.

Run through forests, throw yourself in a river, roll in hay - whatever it takes for the perfect picture

Run through forests, throw yourself in a river, roll in hay - whatever it takes for the perfect picture

2. Donate it. Oxfam have a number of specialist bridal departments that can make a decent amount of charity cash for your dress.

3. Sell it. Try OnceWed, PreLoved or the all time favourite, Ebay.

4. Dye it. No, not yourself, you’ll inevitably cock it up. Get professional dyers to do it. Worst case scenario is a polyester lining that’s shrunk and hasn’t taken the colour properly and has puckered the seams of your lovely lace outer, plus lace and beading that’s still its original colour.

Only silk dyes properly, anything synthetic wont really work (polyester, acetate, polyester satin). Nor will beading or lace. 2BirdStone on Etsy dyes your crinoline to order if you fancy.

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Dye your wedding dress pale pink and have it shortened. Maybe it'll look a little like this Reiss dress...

5. Shorten it.
Extra short wedding dress

5. Turn it into throw cushions. Or a baby blanket, or a quilt.

Erica Mills, in California specialises into turning your dress into a Christening outfit

Erica Mills, in California specialises into turning your dress into a Christening outfit

7.
Preserve it. Get it dry cleaned pronto, before any stains have time to become part of the fabric. Then vacuum-pack it in a sealed carrier with acid-free tissue between the folds. Plastic can discolour fabric over time, so make sure you have tissue paper around the outside of the dress as well. Add moth repellant and keep it away from light for the next 30 years… until your daughters tell you they’re lesbians and even if they weren’t they’d never wear your dress anyway because it’s stained, moth-eaten and 30 years out of date.

You can even get special boxes with plastic windows to keep you dress in.

Wow. A special boxes with plastic windows to keep you dress in.

The coolest wedding signs since wedding signs were invented

In Decoration, DIY on July 28, 2009 at 11:33 pm
Courtesy of Ritzybee

Handpainted sign on wood - Courtesy of Ritzybee

Signs cost nothing but a lick of paint and a little bit of effort. Go crazy on signs, signage and anything vaguely arrow shaped to create drama and intrigue at your wedding. It’s a fact found in all good Wedding Encyclopaedias – cool signs at weddings = cool photos = cool memories of your wedding. See below for undisputable proof:

A boxing round card style cake cutting sign? That's so good I'm going to faint. On purpose.

A boxing round card style cake cutting sign? That's so good I'm going to faint. On purpose.

Get your bridesmaids to hold up signs letting guests know what stage of the wedding you’re at.

Utter brilliance. No need for cheesy grins when a sign explains your situation.

Utter brilliance. No need for cheesy grins when a sign explains your situation.

Whether on weathered wood or hanging from a tree or even both wedding signage looks best when it’s DIY.

A wooden sign? Hanging from a tree? Whats not to like?

A wooden sign? Hanging from a tree? What's not to like?

A wedding sign with personality - a rare thing.

A wedding sign with personality - a rare thing.

A classic wedding sign. No one would complain about this one.

A classic wedding sign. No one would complain about this one.

And a more controversial wedding sign.

And a more controversial wedding sign.

Age, feminism and bridesmaids

In Bridesmaids, flowergirls & pageboys on July 22, 2009 at 4:06 pm
Bridesmaids. Its just not dignified.

Bridesmaids. It's just not dignified. Hide your faces in shame.

Just say you’re a feminist. And your friends are in their thirties, maybe already married with kids. Just say one is an important civil servant, another a high flying career girl, another a life-saving highly qualified anaesthetist. Maybe being a frou-frou bridesmaid just seems a bit silly for them.

Yes bridesmaidy ladies. Hide your faces behind pixels. The suffragettes fought for this?

Yes bridesmaidy ladies. Hide your faces behind pixels. The suffragettes fought for this?

But how to show them you love them? How do you make them feel just a little special? The answer… Usherettes.

Usherettes

They’re like Bridesmaids Lite – so no matching dresses, no matching bouquets and no meetings to co-ordinate shoe colour. Just the honour of being Officially The Bride’s Top Few Friends.

So, all you ned to do is this –  just as you mark out ushers with a buttonhole, give your usherettes corsages. To make your life even easier – give silk corsage flowers rather than fresh flowers. Modern day genius.

Corsages by Bando

Corsages by Bando

There’s also spiritual bridesmaids. These are like bridesmaids in disguise. The beauty of this is that only you and your selected ones know about it, which means no one can get offended and you can have as many as you like. Phew.

I bet this bride had no friends at school.

I bet this bride had no friends at school.

Another canny trick is to make would-be bridesmaids readers. That way, they get to have their 15 minutes of Corinthians-inspired fame.

Or, finally, just have a maid of honour. Which, to be a bit more Equal Opportunities you can call her your Best Woman and get her to do a hilarious gag-heavy speech and then perv over the ushers.

The classic black dress/ multi-coloured shoe combo.
The classic black dress/ multi-coloured shoe combo in case you absolutely must have bridesmaids.

Wedding readings for the disaffected

In Readings on July 17, 2009 at 9:43 pm

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a bride-to-be with a wedding coming up will be in want of a non-schmoltzy wedding reading. Luckily, having scoured the whole literary universe from Austen to Chaucer and back, I’ve come up with a few. Enjoy.

First up, “I do , I will, I have” by Ogden Nash. This man produces melt-in-the-mouth rhymes, and though he can edge on the twee at times, this poem is cynical enough to work. It celebrates the endless disagreements of coupledom, ending with the lines:

So I hope husbands and wives will continue to debate and
combat over everything debatable and combatable,
Because I believe a little incompatibility is the spice of life,
particularly if he has income and she is pattable.

Read the whole poem here, or watch a (slightly dodgy) reading of it below:

Next up is The Promise by Eileen Rafter. This is one of those odd poems that seems to have crept somehow into The Virtual Book of Wedding Readings and is by a totally unknown poet – it sounds like she’s actually a physician who  made the final of some Australian poetry competition. Despite this, the poem is quite cute, whilst expressing the woman’s practical objections to marriage on the basis they’ll probably break their promises and because she might learn to “ignore/ Dirty socks or damp towels strewn all over the floor.”

The affordable honeymoon in Kenya

In Honeymoon on July 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm
Avoiding the beaten track in Diani Beach, Kenya

Avoiding the beaten track in Diani Beach, Kenya

“Darling, what about Kenya for the honeymoon? There’s white sand beaches, coral reefs, safaris, elephants, snorkelling…”

“Sure, sweetpea, but how can we afford it?”

Well, for a start, you can cut costs by avoiding tour operators. ‘Tailor-made’ holidays tend to follow the same pattern anyway – white sand beaches on the Indian Ocean, followed by a safari on the rolling grasslands of the Masai Mara and maybe a visit to Mount Kilamanjaro. Simply copy a honeymoon itinerary like this one yourself.

To remove the costs of the middle man, simply book your hotel direct. Asha Cottages, a boutique eco-hotel on the white sands of Diani beach resort on the Indian Ocean, just 30 miles from Mombasa, is offering 20% off for honeymooners who mention The Credit Crunch Bride. Yippeee! [Offer now ended]

at Asha Cottages – the  sea-front, family-run boutique eco-hotel on Diani Beach, Kenya.”]For our readers, get a 20% discount at Asha Cottages, a beautiful, family-run boutique eco-hotel on Diani Beach, Kenya.Then, get the hotel’s advice on activities and good excursions – their knowledge is probably going to be as good if not better than any tour operators. If you’re lucky, they might even book your safari trips for you,  like the good people of Asha Cottages.

View of the Indian Ocean from one of the five cottages of Asha Cottages

View of the Indian Ocean from one of the five cottages of Asha Cottages

Go off the beaten track. Avoid the hordes of the North Coast and Malindi (and the inflated prices that come with them). And for your safari what about trying the more low key Shimba Hills National Reserve rather than the Maasai Mara, Samburu, Tsavo East etc. It has more bio-diversity, elephants and antelopes than Eden itself.

No trip to Kenya is complete with a quick safari trip

No trip to Kenya is complete with a quick safari trip

Love The Lonely Planet for Kenya.  It may be the backpacker’s bible, but it can also be a honeymooner’s friend. Here’s their top picks for Kenya:

1. Amboseli National Park – Elephants and Kilimanjaro, Kenya’s most famous picture-postcard views.

2.Lake Nakuru National Park – Fluorescent flamingo-fringed shores, ragged cliffs and more wildlife than you can shake a stick at.

3. Hell’s Gate National Park – Gorgeous gorges, steaming hills and the chance to mingle with the wonderful wildlife on foot.

4. Tsavo National Park Kenya’s largest national park, famed for its wild, wild wildlife

5 Mombasa Old Town – The coast’s focal port, with an earthy old quarter and the mighty Fort Jesus

The rare Colubus monkey - often found hanging out in the gardens of Asha Cottages.

The rare Colubus monkey - often found hanging out in the gardens of Asha Cottages.

Love TripAdvisor too. This website, made of user reviews, is the place to find out about if the toilets were dirty or the service slow. Don’t book any hotel, spa or safari without checking this first.

Massage and pampering is compulsory even on a honeymoon on a budget

Massage and pampering are compulsory even on a honeymoon on a budget.

Recycled wedding dresses? How terribly eco.

In Dresses on July 12, 2009 at 6:34 pm
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Deconstruct old clothes and turn them into catwalk pieces

Cover off “something borrowed” by walking down the aisle in a recycled wedding dress. It will keep your carbon footprint light and fluffy and your wallet with a few pennies left in it.

For East Londoners, Junky Styling are specialists at creating something new from recycled clothing. They can either scour second hand shops and jumble sales for you to find beautiful pieces of lace to make your dream eco-dress or alter and re-fashion a piece of clothing you bring in. Run by Annika Sanders and Kerry Seager and a team of designers on Brick Lane, they’re immensely creative and admirably unpretentious. They’re not wedding specialists, but sometimes that can be a good thing. Here’s some they made earlier…

A little bit of rouging and a buttoned off-shoulder cowl neck

Recycled wedding dress by Junky Styling. Groom, bride's own.

Recycled wedding dress by Junky Styling. Groom, bride's own.

Layers of vintage lace add interest to a simple silhouette

 Vintage lace gets a make-over

Vintage lace gets a make-over

Shortening an old wedding dress gives instant modernity.

Take a wedding dress, then shorten, add ruffles, and voila. Your wedding dress = pimped.

Take a wedding dress, then shorten, add ruffles, and voila. Your wedding dress = pimped.

And if you’re really really on a budget, you can always fashion a wedding dress out of old white T-shirts…

A few T-shirts, some sewing skillz and by golly, that's your wedding dress sorted.

A few T-shirts, some sewing skillz and by golly, that's your wedding dress sorted.

Click here to see instructions

Click here to see instructions

Alternative wedding readings (no Corinthians, promise) – Part II

In Readings on July 7, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Beginning with something light, here’s the infamous song from The Wedding Singer. An immensely practical and domesticated avowal of love and good intentions…

I wanna Grow Old With You from The Wedding Singer

I wanna make you smile
whenever you’re sad
carry you around when your arthritis is bad
all I wanna do, is grow old with you

I’ll get you medicine when your tummy aches
Build you a fire if the furnace breaks
So, it could be so nice growing old with you,….

I’ll miss you
Kiss you
Give you my coat when you are cold
Need you
Feed you
Even let you hold the remote control.

So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink
Put you to bed when you’ve had too much to drink
Oh I could be the man that grows old with you
I wanna grow old with you.

Next up, the ravings of a lunatic/ the words of a man who truly understands the power of love. This could be the one for you, if you’re not too worried about following the learnings of a man who spent the last couple of years of his life swaying between furiously painting or being furiously crazy before topping himself.

Rest from Work (after Millet) by Vincent Van Gogh in his St Remy days

Rest from Work (after Millet) by Vincent Van Gogh in his St Remy days

Letters of Vincent van Gogh

It may well seem to you that the sun is shining more brightly and that everything has taken on a new charm. That, at any rate, is the inevitable consequence of true love, I believe, and it is a wonderful thing. And I also believe that those who hold that no one thinks clearly when in love are wrong, for it is at just that time that one thinks very clearly indeed and is more energetic than one was before. And love is something eternal, it may change in aspect but not in essence. And there is the same difference between someone who is in love and what he was like before as there is between a lamp that is lit and one that is not. The lamp was there all the time and it was a good lamp, but now it is giving light as well and that is its true function. And one has more peace of mind about many things and so is more likely to do better work . . .

For a bit of seventeenth century poetry, try Abraham Cowley...

For a bit of seventeenth century poetry, try Abraham Cowley...

And now for something a little more old-fashioned…

Abraham Cowley

Go bid the needle: his dear north forsake;
to which with trembling reverence, it doth bend.
Go bid the stones: a journey upwards make.
Go bid the ambitious flames: no more to ascend.
And, when these false to their own motions prove,
Then shall I cease, thee alone to love.

You, who men’s fortunes in their faces read;
to find out mine, look not, alas, on me;
but mark her face and all the features heed;
for only there is writ my destiny.
Or, if stars show it, gaze not on the skies;
but study the astrology of her eyes.

If thou find there kind and propitious rays,
what Mars and Saturn threaten, I’ll not fear.
Per chance the fate of mortal man
is writ in heaven, but O, my heaven is here.
What can men learn from stars they scarce can see.
Two great lights rule the world;
and her two, me.

.

A wedding cake made of cheese?

In cake on July 3, 2009 at 9:31 pm
A wedding cake with a difference

A wedding cake with a difference

Say no to the  white icing hegemony. Reject the conservativism of the sponge. Turn your back on marzipan.  Have a cake cutting ceremony without cake…

Bring on The Cake of Cheeses.

With a cake of cheeses you can have the drama of tiers without the associated overload of sugar.

The Haldon cake of cheese from The Cheese Shed - £199

The Haldon cake of cheese from The Cheese Shed - £199

Decorate your cake of cheese with flowers, ivy, fresh figs, cake toppers or even cherry tomatoes. You can go to town on decoration, because a cake of cheese could never be seen as twee.

Go  for black and white cheese reels for ultimate drama.

Go for black and white cheese reels for ultimate drama.

Plan on needing about a kilogram of cheese per 10 guests. It seems to work out at £20 for 10 guests, from looking at cakes from The House of Cheese, Fine Cheese and The Cheese Shed.

Decorate in olives and other cheese-friendly edibles.

Decorate in olives, grapes and other cheese-friendly edibles.

Five rounds of cheese looks pretty impressive. Start with something harder and less expensive for the base – like a nice Cheddar. Stick mainly to harder cheeses if you want to avoid a squished, stinky cheese mound. Then have soft goat’s cheese at the top.

Mix up your Wensleydales with your camemberts for lots of texture

Mix up your Wensleydales with your Camemberts for interesting textures

Then all you need are some crackers and a selection of chutneys and you’re ready to go.

You could even source local cheeses if you want to lower your carbon wedding footprint, like this lady.

And the best bit of all – you get to use the gag

“You may now cut the cheese…”

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