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Posts Tagged ‘tips’

How to cut your guest list and not alienate people

In guest list on June 22, 2009 at 9:05 pm
The biggest wedding headache; the guest list

Cutting your guest list is the single easiest way of cutting down wedding costs. It means a smaller venue and a leaner food and drink bill. And you could even get to fuss the people you invite more.

On the downside, you could end up alienating friends and creating family feuds which last for generations if you cut the guest list without being sensitive. Here’s how not to offend everyone you know…

Find a natural cut off point. Not every guest list finishes at an exact multiple of 50. If you’ve got 43 family and 23 close friends, then go for a guest list of either 43 or 66 rather than a round 50. Realsimple call it ‘creating tiers’.

Create blanket policies and stick to them. No one cousin will be offended at not being invited if you have a no cousins policy.

Bin anyone you haven’t seen for a year (unless they live abroad).

Scratch any would-be friends i.e. people you’re thinking of inviting because you’d like to be friends with them in the future.

If they didn’t invite you don’t invite them. If they didn’t invite you to their wedding you are totally off the hook. Unless their wedding was before you met them.

Don’t invite any work colleagues. It’s just not professional anyway to let them hear your Dad’s story about the big poo you did in public when you were a toddler. It won’t advance your career.

The biggest wedding headache – the guest list

Always refer to your wedding as “a small family affair”. This is a perfect white lie, and prevents either side from embarrassment.

A very small family affair

A very small family affair

Do block un-invites. If you don’t invite anyone from a whole social group, then there’ll be less awkward conversations.

Only invite people you’ve met. This means no ‘plus ones’ and if you haven’t met someone’s partner there’s no need to invite them. People you don’t know yet cant get offended about not being invited, surely.

Don’t invite people you don’t like. This rule isn’t really about not alienating people, it’s about making sure you and your guests enjoy themselves. If you wouldn’t want to sit next to them at dinner, probably none of the rest of your guests will.

Limit parents’ friends. Even if they’re paying for the wedding, their friends list needs to be kept in check.

Shrink the kids. NFI anyone under 18.

Stagger the invites. Naughty, but efficient.

Smaller weddings mean no wedding crashers. Yay.

Smaller weddings mean no wedding crashers. Yay.


With this outrageously over-priced ring, I thee wed

In Rings on April 24, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Ladies, a ring is a symbol of your love and commitment. It’s not an exact replica. A big rock does not mean he loves you more, neither is it physical proof of how valuable you are in this world. If you’ve chosen to marry the man you love rather than a balding billionaire, you may have to compromise a little in the one carat diamond stakes.

Hand made ring made by manipulating the silver while molten

Hand made ring made by manipulating the silver while molten

Best starting point is to dare to be different. If you insist on a platinum ring with a single solitaire diamond (brilliant cut, natch) and then a matching platinum wedding band, the Wedding Industrial Complex will make you pay big time. Diamonds are not the only stone; platinum is not the only metal.

Concrete rings surely must symbolise permanence. From 22designstudio

Concrete rings surely must symbolise permanence. From 22designstudio

Here’s some less eye-wateringly expensive, alternative ring choices:

1. Don’t wear one. My mother never wore one, and has managed being married for 34 years and counting. Indeed when I was a child, she once told me rings were symbols of slavery (she’s since denied this).

2. Yellow gold is very fashion forward. For some it’s the metal of grannies and gypsies, but it’s half the price of platinum, hardwearing and is making a come-back in the fashion world.

3. White gold. This is basically gold with a coating. You may need to get it re-coated at points, but it’s still cheaper than platinum.

4. Titanium. If you’re an active woman, or star frequently as one of the rollerblading, sports-loving extras in tampax adverts, you may want an unbreakable, unscratchable, lightweight, titanium ring. It also happens to be easy on the credit card.

Titanium. If it works in hip replacements, you know its forever.

Titanium. If it works in hip replacements, you know it's forever.

5. Go vintage. Portobello Market in London has a series of antique jewellery stalls which have hand-cut Victorian diamonds bigger than your iris for much less than a new diamond.

5. Use your engagement ring as a wedding ring as well. The ground will not open up and swallow you up if you have just one wedding band not two.

6. Try semi-precious stones. See my earlier post on this.

7. Choose an unusual cut or design. What your ring lacks in expense, it makes up for in imagination.Make it round, marquise, emerald, princess, radiant or pear.

8. Embrace flaws. A slightly yellow diamond or one with a tiny flaw goes down in the gemology ratings. If you want a big rock, just get a flawed one. No one will know, unless you’re in a habit of whipping out your gemology certificate and pointing at the clarity rating your stone has. Anyway, slightly coloured diamonds have more character.

The ancient art of bridal bartering

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2009 at 4:00 pm
wedding bartering

Used since the times of Neanderthal nuptials, bridal bartering is an ancient and oft-forgotten skill. However, in these times of fiscal hardship its making a swift come-back. Here’s a mini guide to becoming an Extreme Bridal Negotiator:

1. Work out your swappable skills. You’re skills don’t have to be wedding related; they just need to be something a wedding vendor might need. So if you’re an accountant, a builder or a hairdresser, you coudl be in luck.

2. Be cheeky. No asky, no getty. This couple managed to get a £12,000 wedding for £3,000…

The wedding car Dan and Gemma bartered for

The wedding car Dan and Gemma bartered their way to

3. Offer exposure on your blog if you have one. There are plenty of photographers who are willing to do free photos in exchange for online exposure.

4. Share flowers – if someone’s getting married earlier in the day in the same registry office, or if there’s a Friday wedding at your venue, maybe you should go halves on flowers? Fingers crossed your floral tastes will align.

5. Use swap sites – There’s Big Day Barter in the States, with the quite unique tagline “You’ve bought the garter, now’s time to barter”. Over here in middlingly grey England there’s Swapcycle for general swapping, and Freecycle for getting rid of stuff you don’t need.

Bridal beauty on the cheap

In Beauty, DIY on February 26, 2009 at 12:50 pm

There’s a burgeoning industry in pre-wedding beautifying. First, you’re advised to have 6 months of facials, then there’s teeth whitening and tanning,not to mention fitness trainers to shout you into a smaller dress size. Brides get whipped up into a frenzy of panicky weight loss and facial masques and suddenly pre-wedding beautifying is a small event in itself. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s how to beautify without those beastly costs:

1. Water is free. Hydrate til your pee is like liquid diamonds and your skin glows like an Evian models’.

2. Dry brushing is the secret to being cellulite free. OK, it’s a bit like self-flagellation, but it does wonders for those dimply thighs.

Brush in long strokes towards the heart and think of England.

Brush in long strokes towards the heart and think of England.

3. Expensive body exfoliators are a waste of money – get the cheapest you can buy, or just use salt granules.

4. DIY Intense Pulsed Light hair removal – For the price of a few trips to Madame Bikini Wax and a little bit of patience, you can actually get your hair removed forever. Boots has just introduced a DIY non-laser Intense Pulsed Light hair removal kit, called Smooth Skin, for an introductory price of £250. That’s a great deal cheaper than salon hair removal, which can cost thousands, and means those mortifying trips for Brazilians could soon be a thing of the past.

Boots Smooth Skin takes 6-12 weeks to de-fuzz you

Boots Smooth Skin takes 6-12 weeks to de-fuzz you

5. Awarded high street products – Superdrug Instant Radiance and Boots No 7 Protect and Perfect Beauty Serum are prize winners.

Even my mother recommends this

Even my mother recommends this

6. Sleep costs nothing. You’ll always look like poop if you’re tired.

7. Beauty schools – get all your beauty treatments done for a song, by nervous but enthusiastic students.

London Esthetique run a student salon in Margaret St, London W1.

£12 for Galvanic cellulite treatment?  Happy days for your orange peel.

£12 for Galvanic cellulite treatment? Happy days for your orange peel.

8. Shop around for beauty products. Otherwise, you just pay lazy tax. Jersey Beauty Company do tax-avoiding Dermlogica and Saint Tropez products. You can normally get a third off or more for any product on ebay (unused, obviously).

9. DIY Facials – According to You and Your Wedding, here’s how to do it:

Mix two teaspoons of fine oatmeal with enough natural yoghurt (for oily skin) or almond oil (for dry skin) to make a paste. Leave it on for 20 minutes then wash off.

10. DIY make up – No need for an expensive bridal make up lady, or the pre-wedding make-up trial. Learn how to do your make up better yourself. It’s cheaper, plus it’s a skill you can keep forever. You can get a free make-up advice in most department stores. If you ask the nice lady her advice, and don’t mention it’s a wedding she’ll surely help you out. Alternatively, teach yourself with Lauren Luke’s YouTube make up tutorials. There’s endless make-upstyles to choose from:

Lauren Luke’s Bridal Make up

Amazing wedding photography without the price tag

In DIY, Photography, Uncategorized on February 16, 2009 at 11:34 am

Here’s how to make your wedding photographs achingly beautiful on the cheap:

1. Rope in friends for an hour each. Nominate friends to take photos for different sections of the day. That way no one gets lumbered with all the responsibility, and they’re likely to concentrate for their section.

2. Make everyone jump. In every photo. All day. Even the elderly. Smiling is passe, jumping is very 2009. Do it, you know it makes sense.

Jump to it

Jump to it

3. Find a photography student to hire for the day. There’s a good chance they’ll be more talented than your average wedding photographer.

4. Disposable cameras are a handy addition, but not really something to be totally relied on.

5. Polaroid cameras are far better, though a bit pricier.



6. Get a photobooth. Or, make your own Helmut Newton style self portrait machine.

Hire a photo booth

Hire a photo booth

7. DIY super 8. Get a friend to do a super 8 film for you. It’s pretty easy to operate if you’re doing daytime filming, and even the most amateur operator can create a sense of wobbly nostalgia.

Super 8 films

Super 8 films

8. Sod it and get a decent photographer. Someone told me the one thing they regretted in their wedding was not getting a photographer, because all you’re left with are the memories.