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Posts Tagged ‘wedding’

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…


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.

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.


Alternative wedding readings (no Corinthians, promise) Part I

In Readings on June 27, 2009 at 12:41 pm

Hoping to avoid identi-kit wedding readings? Here are a few less obvious selections, courtesy of my marvelously well read sister-in-law-to-be. And no, 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 is not included. Hopefully they avoid patronising lecturing on how to have a good marriage, and don’t mention that sickening word ‘joy’ too much.
First, up is a twentieth century American poet, Ogden Nash.

The versifier extraordinaire, Ogden Nash

The versifier extraordinaire, Ogden Nash

My Dream by Ogden Nash

This is my dream,
It is my own dream,
I dreamt it.
I dreamt that my hair was kempt.
Then I dreamt that my true love unkempt it.

The next extract is by an American contemporary novelist, Richard Bausch and it positions love as all about the little moments and domestic trivia.

Richard Bausch

Richard Bausch

The Last Good Time by Richard Bausch

There was a lovely time, long ago, too private to tell anyone, or too ordinary. It had nothing to do with anything, really: it was almost embarrassingly humble. One December night, unable to sleep, he had glanced out the bedroom window to discover that it had snowed. He woke his wife and made her come to the window, and the surprise of it delighted her as it had delighted him.

They dressed and bundled the baby up and took a walk, and watched the dawn arrive, and when they returned to the house, he took the day off. They played with the baby, cooked dinner, and baked bread. They listened to the baby playing in his playpen, and they talked idly about anything that came into their minds, and that evening, late, they lay whispering to each other about what a beautiful day it had been.

He thought about all this on his way down to the grocery store. The memory of it came through him like a breath, and then he was savoring it, basking in its warmth. And he thought that this is what love really meant: this very ordinary memory. That love was easy and plentiful as grass, and as still, as calm somehow.

Next up, Charles Darwin‘s memorandum on marriage. Used to jotting down daily notes on animal breeding, he scrawled rambling thoughts about career and prospects on two scraps of paper, one with columns headed “Marry” and “Not Marry”. Brilliantly practical.

Darwins two columns: Not marry? Marry?

Darwin's two columns: Not marry? Marry?

Notes on Marriage by Charles Darwin

Not Marry?
Freedom to go where one liked
choice of Society and little of it.
Conversation of clever men at clubs
Not forced to visit relatives, and to bend in every trifle
to have the expense and anxiety of children –
perhaps quarrelling –
Loss of time –
cannot read in the Evenings –
fatness and idleness –
anxiety and responsibility –
less money for books
if many children forced to gain one’s bread (But then it is very bad for one’s health to work too much).
Perhaps my wife won’t like London, then the sentence is banishment and degradation with indolent, idle fool.

Children – (if it please God) –
constant companion, who will feel interested in one
(a friend in old age) –
object to be beloved and played with – better than a dog anyhow
Home, and someone to take care of house
Charms of Music and female Chit Chat –
These things good for ones health but terrible loss of time
My God, it is unthinkable to think of spending
one’s whole life, like a neuter bee, working, working, and nothing after all
No, no won’t do
Imagine living all one’s days solitarily in smoky
dirty London House –
Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa
with good fire, and books and music perhaps – compare this vision with
dingy reality.
Marry! Marry! Marry!

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.

Supersize your wedding flowers

In Flowers on June 6, 2009 at 8:10 pm
Supersize your wedding flowers

Supersize your wedding flowers

Your budget may be sorrowfully paltry, but you flowers don’t have to be. Avoid your centre pieces looking sparse and your bouquets looking sad by choosing the right flowers.

Use Hydrangeas for bulk. They can be a little tricky in bouquets as the stems need to be kept short to stop them wilting, but for centre pieces they really work. A single stem is the size of about four roses, so despite being about £4 a stem they can work out fairly cheaply. They come in pink, blue, green, purple, aqua and white mainly, are in season from spring to autumn, and can even be dried if you really need them in your bouquet. Plus, there’s half a chance you’ll know someone who has an enormous bush of them, so you might even be able to snip them for free.

Add hydrangeas for bulk.

Use hydrangeas for bulk.

Fill with baby’s breath. Florists everywhere use baby’s breath (gypsophilia) to bulk up bouquets.

Forget the other flowers and just go with Baby's Breath

Forget the other flowers and just go with Baby's Breath

Shrink your vases. It’s the same principle as dieters use when they eat off smaller plates – the smaller the vase, the bigger the flowers look. Go Lilliputian if you so wish.

Apothecary bottles make ranunculus look giant

Apothecary bottles make ranunculus look giant

Big up the foliage. Bear grass, pittosporum, eucalyptus or even ivy can help supersize your flowers.

Weddings Save Or Splurge

Ivy only displays in wine bottles

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.

Lighting your way to a chic wedding venue

In Decoration on April 23, 2009 at 6:00 am

It’s the interior designer’s most famous secret – you can turn any interior into a haven of chic with some decent mood lighting. Turn even the most grim of village halls into welcoming place with some clever lighting. Here’s how:

1. Sack off overhead lighting. It makes everyone look ugly and no one wants to feel like they’re in a Topshop changing room.

2. Fairy lights work wonders. Make your own DIY flower fairy lights here.

Cherry blossom fairy lights could replace flowers at tables for evening weddings

Cherry blossom fairy lights could replace flowers at tables for evening weddings

3. Tea lights are cheap as chips and far less calorific. Hang them in jam jars outside for a higgedly piggedly country knees-up effect.

Cute AND wind-proof? Whatever next.

Cute AND wind-proof? Whatever next.

If wind is an issue, you could even go for LED fairy lights and make pretty covers for them, like this.

Make your own tea light covers (involves putting glued thread in the microwave)

Make your own tea light covers (involves putting glued thread in the microwave)

4. Church candles at every table create a feeling of opulence. Find them at online bulk discount stores like Candles on the web, Covent Garden Candles or for the Americans, Barn Loft Candles, though watch out you get decent ones not spluttery ones with wicks which burn too fast. Read the Independent article on church candles here.

Pillar candles at different heights. And a birdcage. It's lighting nirvana.

Pillar candles at different heights. And a birdcage. It's lighting nirvana.

5. Paper lanterns create soft, warm lighting, and are financially-friendly, easy to put up and even easier to take down afterwards.

Pack the ceiling with paper lanterns for a many mooned feel.

Pack the ceiling with paper lanterns for a many mooned feel.

6. Sparklers are a perfect end-of-the-night treat and create cutelicious photos.

One, two, three, aaaaaaaaaaaah.

Wedding websites without the rip off

In Wedding websites on April 19, 2009 at 9:31 am
Wedshare wedding websites
Wedshare wedding websites

The loveliest, most heart-warming thing about the World Wide Webulator is that it is basically free. Millions of people run free blogs and create websites using free web builders. Strangely though, the Wedding Industrial Complex still manages to convince couples to pay to set up a wedding website, when non-wedding websites can be created for zilch.

On the other hand, wedding websites can cut down the amount of info you need to put in your invites, can simplify rsvps and allow you to update your guests on last minute changes. It’s basically a sliding scale of hassle vs. price.

Here’s four decent options:

1. If you’re going to go for a wedding website provider, WedSimple is your best bet. It’s probably the best on the market – It’s easy to use, the webdesigns aren’t bad and it’s not badly priced. It’s $10/ £7 a month or $80/£56 for an unlimited package. However, your URL (website name) will include the words ‘wedsimple’ in it, which you may not fancy.

Sample of on of the 70 designs available on Wedsimple
Sample of one of the 70 designs available on Wedsimple

2. If you don’t want to pay a penny you could set up a simple blog totally free with Blogger. Change the settings so that post dates and times are not displayed, then your guests simply scroll down to see all the information. In this instance has a great post on how to set up a DIY Blogger website.

Example Blogger Wedding blog
Example Blogger Wedding blog

If you don’t want a Blogger URL (i.e. you can just buy your own custom URL and put a redirect on your Blogger blog (i.e. This normally costs about £10-20 with someone like Names.

3. A third way is to use a normal website builder and provider. This is generally far cheaper and you get more flexible designs. The best for someone new to building websites is squarespace. It’s a one stop website shop with templates which designers wouldn’t sniff at.

Squarespace templates
Squarespace templates

4. And finally, you could make your life really easy  by just emailing a beautiful pdf invite and a web link. No need for paper invites at all…