Category Archives: Weddings

Top Tips to Save Money on your Wedding Day

Ways to save money on your Wedding

Chances are, there’s something you’re dreaming about for your wedding day that might be just a wee bit over-the-top: a statement flower wall that rivals Kim and Kanye’s crazy wall of blooms; not one, not two, but three stunning wedding gowns, à la Chrissy Teigen or Serena Williams; or, maybe just a diamond tiara worthy of a princess (I see you, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle). But here’s the thing: All that style is really, really expensive.

Here are some top tips and ideas to help the two of you save money! So you can afford the things that are really important to you for your big day.

Top wedding money saving tips by JB Moments Photography

Consider other days of the week

A Friday wedding will save you thousands on your wedding venue. Even better: A Sunday wedding. Often food and beverage minimums are lower, which is great for smaller parties.

Stationery Savings

Love the look of letterpress for your wedding invitation suite, but not the price? Splurge on it for the main invitation but choose less-expensive flat printing for insert cards.

If you like the look and feel of thicker paper stock, use two-ply for your invitations and make the rest of the insert cards one-ply only.

Skip the envelope liner. Using a colourful or otherwise untraditional outer envelope in lieu of an interior envelope liner means you could pay less per invitation—plus it’s a fun surprise when it shows up in your wedding guests’ mailboxes.

When it comes to your wedding invitation inserts, you can save a lot by having a single insert directing guests to your wedding website instead of multiple cards for your details & logistics, like transportation and details about the hotel room block you’ve set up for your guests.

One more way to save on your printing costs? Print just one ceremony program per couple, instead of one per guest.

Flowers for less

Florists can get discounts by ordering just three to five types of flowers in bulk. Create a chic, uniform centrepiece by grouping together monochromatic blooms in individual vases—for example, one of white hydrangeas, another of white tulips and another of white calla lilies.

Don’t underestimate the beauty of greenery in your bridal bouquet. It’s inexpensive and adds a lot of size and texture to arrangements.

You need only two or three large blooms with a little bit of filler to create bridesmaids’ bouquets that are minimalist cool—and cheaper apiece.

Skip the buttonholes, which can set you back £££. Encourage your partner and the gents in the bridal party to sport pocket squares instead.

Photography bills

Consider booking your photographer for six to eight hours instead of a full day, which is typically 10 to 12 hours. They’ll still capture all the important moments, but you’ll pay less. Many photographers (like myself 😉 ) offer half-day or smaller packages that offer savings.

To save on your wedding photography, you can always choose a less-expensive package that doesn’t include hard-copy prints and albums. Those can always be bought and/or printed later.

Instead of renting a photo booth for hundreds of pounds, create a Polaroid station with a few cameras, props and tons of film. It’s just as fun!

Transport costs

If you can plan your wedding day so that your ceremony and reception are at the same venue—or at two locations that are within walking distance of each other—you can save cash by eliminating the need for guest and wedding party transportation.

Cake cash

If you don’t really want a custom tiered cake with all the bells and whistles, choose a smaller display size and supplement with a statement-making dessert bar, or serve tray cake, which is much cheaper per slice. Some bakers will decorate ‘faux’ cakes for you and can serve cheaper tray cake after you’ve done the obligatory cutting!

Want the look of expensive sugar flowers, gold leaf or hand-painted accents? Ask your baker to decorate just the edges of the tiers to reduce the cost.

Or choose a simple buttercream or fondant cake, which is less per serving, and provide your own decorations. Fresh flowers, a personalized topper, colourful fruit… the possibilities are endless!

Money for munchies

Order late-night snacks or evening buffet for only 70 per cent of your headcount. Some guests may leave early, and others won’t want to eat.

Last but not least

Consider wedding insurance. Despite even the best-laid plans, sometimes events beyond your control can cause things to go wrong on your big day.

Illness, weather and business liquidations are all factors that could scupper your wedding day, so having the right affordable insurance policy could save you hundreds or even thousands of pounds if something unexpected did happen.

Wedding insurance policies are relatively inexpensive and can be tailored to fit your wedding plans so they are worth considering if you are spending a significant amount.

How to Virtually include Guests at your Wedding

Virtually including Wedding Guests

 

Life as we knew it has come to a screaming halt, with Covid-19 and government-enforced lockdown.  There are hopeful signs that we have reached the peak and that lockdown measures will soon start to be relaxed. But this will be phased and large gatherings will be the last to be allowed. The “new normal” still won’t be quite normal, and we have no idea how long this could last.

While of course, we would love for all of our nearest and dearest to be in attendance, it is unlikely that overseas guests are going to be able to travel for a while. You may also still want old and vulnerable guests to be self-isolating.

Wedding Photography - JB Moments Photography

Technology is going to be your best friend during these days of social distancing, and especially when it comes to planning a virtual wedding attendance. Below I’ll outline the steps you’ll need to take to plan a wedding on the internet, plus share the resources that will help you execute everything as simply as possible. Let’s dive in!

Step 1: Choose Your Platform

ZOOMING IN

Video conference software Zoom offers free and paid subscriptions. For free you can ‘meet’ for up to 40 minutes. For £11.99 per month, you can “meet” for up to 24 hours. That’s more than enough time for a ceremony and reception! With Zoom, attendees can set up Speaker View (probably ideal for your guests to view your ceremony) or Gallery View (you, as the couple, could have this displayed so you can see all of your guests’ reactions).

You can designate one guest to take screenshots of your attendees’ reactions throughout the ceremony to include in your wedding album. Your designated readings can still be made by your virtual guests of honour.

With Zoom, you can continue the party into the reception, allowing the virtual wedding party and parents to give speeches, having your first dance and even doing the cake cutting.

GOING LIVE! WITH FACEBOOK

Another free option is to utilise Facebook Live for your ceremony. Invite your guests to a private group, and create a private event for them to RSVP to. At the designated time, your guests can hop on to watch you say your “I do”s! Facebook can act as a virtual guest book, too, with guests posting their well-wishes in the days and weeks leading up to the ceremony. They can introduce themselves and “mingle” prior to the ceremony and continue with the sentiments well after. The video will live on in the group as long as the group continues to exist.

Not everyone is going to have Facebook, and you won’t be able to have the same “face to face” interaction as you may with video conferencing software, but the same basic ideas apply.

SKYPE

To include absent guests through Skype, you will need to ask someone who will be sitting in the front row to hold a laptop, iPad, or another device that has Skype on it. Make sure the ceremony location has wifi, and that you know the password. Test out the connection beforehand. Then, stream the ceremony live so that those connected through Skype can watch in real-time.

GOOGLE HANGOUTS

Google Hangouts is another option for live-streaming your ceremony to those who can not be physically present. As an alternative to streaming the ceremony, you could also set up a Google Hangout during the reception, so that the call can be a two-way conversation. Instead of having absent guests silently watching, as though they’re seeing a live video, they can actually talk and connect with other wedding guests, as well as the bride and groom.

Step 2: Organize the Necessary Tech Gear

Tech is super key in planning your virtual wedding guests. At a minimum, you need a laptop, tablet or phone with a camera. If using a phone or tablet, you may also want to get a tripod to mount the mobile device to for steady, even viewing. Take your tech for a test run on whichever platform you intend to use so you can ensure quality will be up to the job.

Step 3: Coordinate with Any Suppliers

Make sure the venue is aware of your plans so they can help with set up. Also, make sure your photographer/videographer is in the loop so they don’t stand directly in front of the feed!

Step 4: Inform Your Guests

Include the meeting link to your scheduled Zoom or to your Facebook group, as well as the date and time. Now, because this is a little outside the box, you may also want to include instructions for your guests on how to turn on their video and ask them to remain muted during the ceremony.

Step 5: Get Prepared

You’ll definitely want to do a test run or two before the big day, to ensure your backdrop is even, you have the right angle for recording and all of the tech is running smoothly.

Can’t go live on the day?

If the location of your ceremony doesn’t have wifi and won’t support a hot spot, you could also ask a guest or a professional to film the ceremony, and upload it to Youtubeor Vimeo shortly after, once wifi is available!  This is a last resort option because you want your guests to enjoy themselves, not be worrying about uploading videos!

Wedding photography - JB Moments Photography

Wedding Plans – Postpone don’t Cancel

Postponing your Wedding due to C-19

This is the article I hoped I’d never have to write…but then someone ate something nasty in a live market in China and BAM here we are in full UK lockdown.

Couples I have spoken to that have already postponed feel that after the initial disappointment of the day they had been planning for not happening. The overwhelming emotion is a relief. Relief that they have taken back control and are no longer watching the news and wondering what if…

I have researched the heck out of the internet to bring you advice on all sorts of different scenarios so buckle up and keep reading.

Should I Postpone My Hen Do or Stag Do?

For the last three weeks, and possibly even for a month or two more. Boris Johnson has announced that we must only go out for essential items and limit all social contact outdoors to groups of two people or people from the same household only. This extreme measure is likely to be extended beyond the 3-week point. Even when these heavy restrictions have been lifted, we may still need to be following social distancing rules, which unfortunately rules out hen and stag dos.

If your hen or stag do is booked within the next two months and is taking place in the UK, Europe, the USA or any of the other countries currently on lockdown or with closed borders, I would recommend looking into postponing if possible. Even if borders are reopened and lockdown is lifted, restaurants and bars may still be restricted within the next couple of months.

While it’s best to try and postpone the trip, check your travel insurance policy to see if you are covered in the event of needing to cancel due to government restrictions to give yourself peace of mind.

If you’re determined to party (and let’s face it, we could all do with something to look forward to right now!) why not arrange a virtual celebration using the Houseparty app in the interim? You can play games, dance to the same music and catch-up over a gin, all from the comfort of your own home. Winning.

What is your best advice for couples thinking about cancelling or postponing their wedding?

Firstly, don’t be too hasty. The current climate is changing quickly so take some time and give yourself the space to make educated decisions. If your wedding is in the next couple of months, then you may feel the pressure is on to change your date and plans. If your wedding is towards the end of the summer into the autumn, then carry on enjoying wedding planning with one eye on the current situation.

What should couples consider before postponing their wedding?

If your wedding is fairly soon but falls outside of the current lockdown period, the below action plan is the best way to decide if you need to postpone.

Work out from your guest list the ‘must-have’ VIPs, whose attendance is essential to you on your big day. Out of those VIPs, how many are over 70, fall into the vulnerable categories or are having to travel from afar and therefore might not be able to come?

Would you need to postpone the wedding to have everyone there from that list? Contact your venue, what is their current policy on postponement and how much time do you have to make that decision?

Contact your wedding insurance company and see what the situation is if either you or your immediate family get ill or if the Government’s ban on social gatherings is extended.

Check all the terms and conditions and contracts that you have with all your suppliers and write a summary of each of their postponement and/or cancellation policies in one document.

What should the first step be when it comes to postponing?

Contact all your suppliers and make them aware that you will come back to them with a new date as soon as you can.

Think about your options

If your wedding falls outside of the lockdown period, you may have the choice to get legally married on your original date and then have a big party with all your loved ones on your first anniversary, next year.

If you can’t get married legally with your loved ones there, don’t worry. Celebrants are an amazing alternative and create beautiful meaningful ceremonies that they can involve everyone. They can be outside, there are no restrictions on what you say or sing and the service is completely personal to you both.

Did you know that you do not have to exchange rings in your legal civil ceremony? You could always save that for the ceremony with your celebrant later on.

Will all venues have the same policies and how should couples work with their venue?

All venues are working to different policies set by the powers that be. You may find that a family-run venue is more lenient than a large chain, or a venue that is used to dealing with corporate bookings may not change their stance for weddings even though the mental and financial cost has larger implications. They also have much larger overheads so they need to make sure this is still covered if a large number of their wedding bookings are postponed. Everyone is learning as they go and policies are changing each day, hour by hour.

If you are struggling to reach a compromise at all, reach out for extra support from a mediator or seek legal advice.

Look at your minimum numbers with your venue (or caterer) and make sure that is in line with your new guest list if you have had to change that at all.

Once you do have a potential new date with your venue, go back to your suppliers and start to look at which of those are available and happy to change the date. Wedding suppliers are all coming together to support each other and you, they are invested in your day and will be as fair as they can be to accommodate this forever changing and uncertain situation.

Don’t forget, once you have a new date, inform your wedding insurance company and check when you gave legal notice to get married as you may need to do it again.

What can couples do to make the process easier?

Check back on any orders you have made online – has everyone got the materials they need to deliver your product and on time? Have they needed materials from China or are they self-isolating and can’t get to the post office? Find out what the alternatives are.

Go back to your stationer and ask them to design (or do it yourself) a picture that you blast out to everyone on WhatsApp/social media/email with regular updates. One may say ‘We are looking to postpone our wedding, and will come back to you soon with a new date’ or ‘Our wedding will now be on 14th October 2020, more information to come soon’. Many suppliers are offering free designs for “Our plans have changed’ or ‘Save the New Dates’ (myself included so contact me if you’d like one).

Get a wedding website, if you don’t have one already. It makes it easy to create FAQs that all your guests can look at rather than have them keep asking you.

Look at ways to involve guests that can’t be there. Live stream your ceremony to relatives and friends who are at home. Ask your photographer and/or videographer to do a very quick edit on a small part of your day that you can send to non-attendees quickly.

Get an illustrator to come and capture the day, creating beautiful pieces of art that you can share with friends and family who can’t be there.

Should I Postpone My Destination Wedding?

Like honeymoons, this depends entirely on where and when your wedding is taking place. If you’re planning on getting married in Europe, including destinations such as Italy, Spain or France, in the next couple of months you will need to contact your venue, suppliers and/or wedding planner to figure out next steps. A wedding booked for the next month or so will likely need to be postponed as these countries are on lockdown.

Likewise, if you were planning to get hitched in the USA within the next month or so you will likely need to postpone as the country is currently on lockdown and the end date for these measures is unclear

If you’re getting married elsewhere, you will need to check the current FCO  (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) for UK nationals travelling to your destination and discuss whether or not you will need to postpone with your wedding planner or venue. It’s also key that you check in with your suppliers and ensure that they are able to make the new date once you have it approved by your venue.

Even if you postpone until later in the summer, some social distancing measures may still be in place and the elderly or more vulnerable may still need to limit travel and social contact. If that is the case, read up on how to live stream your wedding so that they can still feel involved from afar.

Finally, as soon as you have a postponement confirmed, you need to get in touch with your guests and inform them of your decision. Your guests will need plenty of notice so that they can get in touch with their own travel providers and accommodation and postpone or cancel their bookings. An announcement on a group email is the ideal way to do this or consider setting up a wedding website to keep guests informed.

Should I Postpone My Honeymoon?

This depends on where and when your honeymoon is taking place. The FCO  advises against all but essential travel. This is because of the fast progression of the situation with Coronavirus throughout the world and the short notice countries often give before closing borders. As the situation currently stands, if you leave the country you run the risk of not being able to return or having your trip severely disrupted.

Airlines have dramatically reduced the number of daily routes on offer and some countries have closed their borders altogether, making it impossible to travel there. Many countries across Europe are now on lockdown, meaning travel to and enjoying a holiday there will be impossible for the time being. The USA has also closed its borders to travellers from the UK and the rest of Europe for a temporary period of 30 days that may be reviewed and extended.

If your honeymoon falls within the next two months, I would strongly suggest that you get in touch with the company you booked through or your hotel and airline directly and find out the situation at your destination. If travel restrictions are in place, you will need to cancel or postpone the trip. If your trip has been cancelled due to a government decision to close borders or put the country into lockdown, your travel insurance should cover this but it’s always best to double-check your individual policy.

If your honeymoon is booked for the summer, you may still be able to go as planned but it will depend on the rules and restrictions still in place at your destination. I recommend keeping up to date with the daily updates from the International Air Transport Association and the FCO, and contacting your honeymoon provider for advice.

If you do need to postpone your honeymoon, many airlines such as BA and Virgin are offering date changes, often at no extra cost. Hotels should also be keen to help you change the date in case of a lockdown or closed borders rather than cancelling altogether. If you can postpone, you shouldn’t need to claim anything on your insurance as your trip will still be going ahead, just at a later date.

When Should I Postpone my Honeymoon Until?

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say. The European Union agreed to shut the borders of its states with immediate effect on 17th March for a period of 30 days, after which they will review the situation again. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland joined the EU in closing their borders during this period. So, if your honeymoon is taking place shortly after the lockdown period in one of these countries, the best thing you can do is closely follow announcements from the European Commission. It may be that lockdown periods will be extended or social distancing measures will still be in place, making it difficult to enjoy a honeymoon in one of these countries.

If you’re travelling to the USA, the situation is very similar and the country is currently prohibiting travel from the UK and Europe for a minimum period of 30 days. Updates can be found on the US Homeland Security website and I suggest following this closely to find out when you may be able to travel again.

If you’re honeymooning in Indonesia, you will need to follow the updates on the Indonesia Travel website as they’re currently restricting travellers from the UK and there is no clear suggestion of when this will end. The Guardian reported on 24th March that many Britons are stranded in Bali as many stopover destinations are not allowing travellers from Indonesia through and airlines have informed travellers that they may be stuck for a period of up to three months. So, if you’re planning on honeymooning in Indonesia, I recommend postponing any trips for at least three months or until travel restrictions at all stopover destinations have lifted.

The Maldivian government have banned all cruise ships from entering and docking in the Maldives for the foreseeable future. If you’re planning a cruise you will need to get in touch with your provider and find out when the restrictions are likely to be lifted and when they plan to reschedule the postponed trip. There have been cases of COVID-19 in the Maldives and the situation is likely to change quickly, so we recommend getting in touch with your airline or tour operator for the latest local advice. As it stands, you may still be able to travel to the Maldives within the next month and beyond but it will depend entirely on your honeymoon provider, airline and hotel. It’s also worth noting that the UK Government are currently recommending all but essential travel.

For all other countries, we recommend checking the latest individual updates from the FCO.

I know it’s frustrating not having a clear answer but hopefully, by following the advice of both the UK Government and the local authority at your destination closely, you will soon be able to select a new date for your honeymoon with confidence.

Could I Book a Mini-Moon in the UK Instead?

A UK-based mini-moon could be a solution for couples looking for a getaway in the interim, but it all depends on the UK Government’s restrictions changing over the next few weeks.

The UK is currently limiting all but essential travel and has closed all non-essential shops and facilities, including hotels and spas. This measure was put in place on 23rd March for a minimum period of three weeks, meaning that mini-moons cannot be booked for this period as we are all being advised to stay in our homes.

As it stands, we can’t be certain that even if the lockdown ends in three weeks that social distancing rules may still be in place, making it difficult for places like hotels, restaurants and spas to reopen. However, resources such as Airbnb could prove useful in providing a safe hideaway for couples wishing to escape together for a few days – it’s currently at the host’s discretion and properties are still available to book during the spring.

If you fancy a hotel stay or spa break, you’ll probably be best waiting until June onwards. Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated on 19th March that he hoped we would be able to “turn the tide” on the situation with COVID-19 in the UK after 12 weeks of social distancing measures.

If you’re unsure and would like more guidance, get in touch with the hotels or resorts you wish to mini-moon at and ask them for their advice on booking a trip.

But whatever happens, remember that this is all temporary and eventually you will get to marry the person you are in love with. It may not be on the day, month or even year you thought, but it will happen – and that is what is truly important.

To Have or to Have Not: Children at your Wedding

Adult only or Child-friendly wedding?

For every couple who coo over kids at weddings, there’s another couple that’s nervous kids might disrupt things. Neither group is wrong exactly. Asking children to be a part of your celebration (as participants, attendees, or both)—can definitely impact the big day. That’s why, before you finalise your guest list, you should consider whether or not you want to invite them.

Kids make having a flower girl and ring bearer possible. Involving them also means taking the weight off of parents to find a babysitter for their little ones on the day. Plus, there may be important children in your life—like nieces and nephews—that you want to share the occasion with. On the other hand, toddlers are known for tantrums, teens may grouch around with their “too-cool” attitudes, or your friends and family members might prefer a break from their younger entourage. As you can see, there’s a lot to think about!

No matter where you are on the love ’em to leave ’em spectrum, my latest blog below offers guidelines on how to stand by your intentions and avoid confusion and hurt feelings.

Wedding photographer - JB Moments Photography

Decide Early

Unlike decisions about menus or music, those related to children should be handled quickly to avoid awkward questions from parents who need to make plans.
Wedding photographer - JB Moments Photography

Is It Appropriate Not to Invite Kids?

Yes—especially if the wedding is in the evening or is very formal.  The no-kids rule works best when the majority of the families are local. As it means that parents can leave their children with familiar babysitters for the entire day or drop them off between the ceremony and reception. If you’re hosting a destination wedding, it’s harder to not invite kids.

Be Explicit on your Invites

Address your invites properly. The traditional way to indicate whether a child is invited is to include his or her name on the invitation. If your card will have both an outer and inner envelope, the child’s parents’ names should appear on the outer envelope, but on the inner, the name should be written beneath the parents’ names. (If you’re using just an outer envelope, of course, the child’s name should also be on it.) Even if the child is over age 18, he or she should receive a separate invitation, even if he or she’s still living at home. Resist the temptation to write Mr & Mrs Smith and Family as that can be vague and lead to confusion.
Wedding photographer - JB Moments Photography

Call All Guests with Children

After your invitation is sent (or better yet, before), make a call to your friends and family who have children to explain that your wedding is or isn’t child-friendly. If you’re willing to invite this person to your wedding, you should be willing to pick up the phone and have a conversation with him or her. This is an especially effective approach if you’re worried about a stubborn friend or flaky relative bringing children against your wishes.

Will, It Look Bad If You Invite Some Children and Not Others?

Opinions vary, so it’s best to choose a clear rule and stick to it. I suggest drawing the line at immediate family.  Most children who have wedding duties are close relatives, such as a niece or stepchild (but even these children don’t necessarily need to stay for the reception).

Wedding photographer - JB Moments Photography

If there are just a few children from different families, an age cut-off can work because older kids are more likely to behave. The more youngsters you have, the more their behaviour will change. If you’re inviting 150 guests, and you have only two little girls that are 10 and 6, it’s cute. But if you have 20 children that are 10 and older, you could end up with a playing field—and that might not be ideal

Considerations for a kid-friendly wedding day

Of course, if the two of you are ready to welcome families and children of all ages to join in your wedding day celebrations, you’ll need to take your youngest guests’ needs into consideration. Here are a few potential additions to plan for in advance:

  • Possibly hiring a children’s entertainer
    When it comes to entertainment options, you may want to think about the littlest wedding guests who will be present. For example, you could hire a children’s entertainer for an opening act before your wedding band kicks off. Doing so will help to wear out the little ones early on.
  • Tabletop activities during the reception
    Small children have notoriously short attention spans, which means that you need to give them something to do during the reception. One quick and easy solution is to give them some activities, such as puzzles or colouring sheets. You could put these out on the children’s place settings ahead of the event.
  • Options for a children’s menu
    You may have the fanciest, five-course menu planned for your wedding guests. But what about the kids at your wedding? Chances are that they’re not going to be fans of fine dining. Work with your catering team to create a plain and simple kid-friendly menu they can choose from.
  • Organised childcare
    One of the best ways to ensure that your youngest wedding guests are kept busy is to hire childcare to watch over the group of children, collectively. While this is an additional out-of-pocket cost, it’s also your best bet to ensure your wedding day is as stress-free as possible. Shop around to find the best local service for your needs.

Wedding photographer - JB Moments Photography

Dalmeny Kirk – Mary & John’s Wedding

Wedding Photography

Rain on your wedding day is good luck because it signifies that your marriage will last. As you know, a knot that becomes wet is extremely hard to untie – therefore, when you ‘tie the knot’ on a rainy day, your marriage is supposedly just as hard to unravel!

Storm Dennis

So rain on your wedding day is good luck, what about Storm Dennis? Yup the day that Mary and John tied the knot we were treated to a months worth of rain in one day and gale force winds! Not that Mary and John need any luck. They got together over 30 years ago and had always talked about marriage but just hadn’t gotten around to it. Then at Christmas, they surprised their families by announcing they had been secretly organising a February wedding for 6 months!

 Solid foundations

Wedding at Dalmeny Kirk by JB Moments Photography

The wedding ceremony was held at Dalmeny Kirk Scotlands oldest Norman Kirk. I nipped outside to grab a quick image before the bride arrived. Not my best composition but speed was of the essence to get back inside from the weather.

Wedding at Dalmeny Kirk by JB Moments Photography

On my way back inside I also spotted some snowdrops to capture, then I really had to get back inside!

Family affair

Mary and John’s wedding was an intimate affair involving their nearest and dearest.

Wedding at Dalmeny Kirk by JB Moments Photography

John’s brother Frank was his best man.

Wedding at Dalmeny Kirk by JB Moments Photography

One of Mary’s sons drove her to church and the other gave her away. Doesn’t she look beautiful? I love how she used John’s tartan for her shawl and she made her bouquet and that of her bridesmaid herself. Oh and her bridesmaid, John’s daughter. 🙂

A most romantic setting

Wedding at Dalmeny Kirk by JB Moments Photography

With Storm Dennis rattling all the doors and lashing down outside, the kirk really was a beautiful setting for John and Mary to exchange their vows and rings. The warm stone softly illuminated by candlelight added to the atmosphere.

Wedding at Dalmeny Kirk by JB Moments Photography

Outside for group photos?

Wedding at Dalmeny Kirk by JB Moments Photography

Hahahahahaha I don’t think so. We took all the group photos and bride and groom portraits inside. I always have an inside Plan B as being a wedding photographer in Scotland means that good weather is never guaranteed. Nobody wanted to go outside in that Storm!

Wedding at Dalmeny Kirk by JB Moments Photography

I always carry wedding umbrellas as well, as sometimes bride and groom portraits in the rain, can look stunning. But not in gale-force winds. I did cajole Mary and John to the entrance of the kirk so we could document the weather on their wedding day.

Wedding at Dalmeny Kirk by JB Moments Photography

I got a broken umbrella for my troubles!

On the shore

Mary and John held their wedding reception at The Boathouse in South Queensferry. Originally I had planned to get some images on the shore with the iconic bridges in the background but when I got to the venue I got this.

Wedding at The Boat House by JB Moments Photography

What you don’t get from this image is a sense of the howling wind and horizontal rain! Everyone was far better off inside the cosy restaurant, where they could still enjoy the beautiful views.

Wedding at The Boat House by JB Moments Photography

Mary and John were a super chilled, laid back couple who just wanted to enjoy the celebration with their family and close friends. And regardless of Storm Dennis, they did just that!

Congratulations Mr and Mrs Strachan.

 

Tips for choosing your Wedding Colour Scheme

Wedding Colour Schemes

Picking your wedding colours is sometimes easier said than done, but it’s an important step in your planning process. In addition to being an extension of your personal styles as a couple, a carefully chosen colour palette can make all the difference when creating a cohesive wedding look. It’s a good idea to start thinking about your wedding colours shortly after you’ve set a date and chosen a venue, but how should you begin? By considering your basic wedding details, such as season, location, and theme, you can start to narrow down the colours that will play into the look you want. Once you’ve decided on your colours, all of the other details will fall into place, from flowers and stationery to wedding party attire, table linens, and more.

Choose a base colour

Your base colour will be the one that’s used most prominently throughout your wedding. The base colour can be anything from soft blush pink or peach to elegant navy blue, punchy yellow, or even dramatic jade green, depending on the overall vibe you want to create. Most importantly, it should be a colour you genuinely love! Once you have your base colour, the next step is to choose a handful of complementary “accent” colours — generally two or three of them. These accents will round out your wedding palette, adding dimension and variation to prevent the colours from being over-the-top matchy-matchy or kitschy. Your accents can be anything from bold, contrasting hues on the opposite side of the colour wheel, to neutral tones like grey, white, black, or beige. No base colour yet? Keep reading for more advice on how to pick your wedding colours from scratch.
Wedding photographer - JB Moments Photography

Think about your wedding season

While there’s nothing written in stone that says your wedding colours should match up with your wedding season, we can’t argue that some colours lend themselves naturally to certain times of the year. If you’re feeling stuck when choosing a colour palette, look to your wedding season for a bit of inspiration. Dark jewel tones, such as emerald green, plum purple, navy blue, and marsala red, for example, tend fit in better with cold weather surroundings, like changing foliage in the autumn or white snow in the winter. Bold and bright colours are generally more appropriate for a summer celebration, while pastel hues are traditionally associated with springtime weddings.

What about your Venue

Consider the colours of your chosen venue. Are there any particularly distinctive tones on any of the walls, carpets or furniture? If so, it’s worth working with that colour rather than against it, either incorporating it into your scheme or choosing complementary shades – there’s nothing worse than a room full of décor that clashes with the carpet!

If your venue offers more of a blank canvas – a barn, for example – then consider the amount of light and the size of the space available. Opt for light colours in a smaller venue to make it feel brighter. Darker colours can still be used, but be aware that they will create an intimate feel that might not suit every couple’s tastes.

Flowers

If your heart is set on a specific bloom and you really don’t want to swap, you might want to base your wedding colour scheme around the shades of your chosen flowers. So if blue hydrangeas or bold sunflowers are on your must-have list, make blue your accent colour throughout, paired with a complementary tone.

Wedding photographer - JB Moments Photography

Clothing

Likewise, if you’re desperate to choose a grey, gold, blush or pale blue gown or your partner only wants to wear hunter green, it’s probably worth adapting your colour palette to fit. Make sure your bridesmaids and groomsmen’s outfits work well with the scheme, too. After all, they all need to look good together for the photos!

Accessories

If you’re still struggling to pin down a wedding colour scheme, look to your accessories for inspiration. Have you chosen a statement handbag or pair of shoes? Gemstone jewellery? Take the colour of your accessory and let it influence the rest of your décor decisions, using it as your accent colour for a pretty palette.

Play up your palette with gradient

Can’t decide on a collection of colours that look good together? Keep it simple by sticking with one colour and opting for an ombré-inspired palette instead. You don’t need an assortment of different colours to create a gorgeous palette. For example, a wedding with three or four shades of blue (or whichever colour you like best!) can look just as beautiful as one with a rainbow of colours. This option is also excellent for creating a more modern, monochromatic look with your wedding decor.

 

What will your wedding colour scheme be?

Airth Castle – Audrey and Johnny’s Wedding

Wedding Photography

I Love Ewe

My sheep puns are so baaaaaaa-d (sorry, not sorry!) but I couldn’t resist. You see when Audrey Lamb and her Clydesdale Horses met Johnny and his sheep at the Royal Highland Show it was a match made in farming community heaven. So much so that Johnny proposed at the Highland Show a few years later. Audrey said, ‘Baby don’t herd me’. No, she didn’t – I’m going to stop horsing around now. Okay, I really am finished now!

Last wedding of the year

On the 30th December 2019, literally with one day of the year left to spare this wonderful couple tied the knot in the beautiful opulence of Airth Castle. I was delighted to have been chosen to capture the day for them as it was a day full of love and laughter with all their friends and family around them.

What an old romantic

The night before the wedding Johnny presented Audrey with a gift to wear on the day. A stunning pair of diamond earrings.

Wedding Photographer - JB Moments Photography

They were a lovely ‘something new’. Her something ‘old’ was her mum’s amazing veil.

An Irishman

Wedding at Airth Castle by JB Moments Photography

Johnny and his family are from Ireland and opted for waistcoats and tails as their wedding attire. His brother and his nephew were his best men whilst his other brother and friend were ushers. The one Scot did his bit and wore a kilt! Don’t they all look handsome?

The weather miraculously stayed dry when we needed it to. Whilst it threatened to rain most of the day it didn’t and stayed uncharacteristically mild for the time of year. Whilst I would have loved to take wedding images in the crisp white snow. the reality would have been more slushy and bad weather may have stopped guests from getting there.

 A lovely ceremony

The ceremony was held in the old castle in a gorgeous high ceilinged room in front of a stunning fireplace and ornate mirror.

Wedding at Airth Castle by JB Moments Photography

As  Audrey’s brother walked the beautiful bride down the aisle I think it all became very real and emotional for her.

Wedding at Airth Castle by JB Moments Photography

The minister soon helped to calm any nerves and had the couple (and the congregation) laughing and singing during the service.

Due to that big and beautiful mirror above the fireplace, I spent most of the service on my knees in order to make sure I wasn’t captured in the reflection! I did like the perspective it gave the images though.

Whilst the new Mr and Mrs Aiken signed the register with the bridal party Audrey’s cousin sang for the wedding guests. A very talented family (more on that later).

A full house

There were c. 100 guests during the day to celebrate the union between Audrey and Johnny. Sometimes this sort of group size brings me out in a cold sweat as the venue doesn’t always have a great space to capture the group photos in a pleasing way. For this wedding, I had no such issues. The steps outside the old castle are just perfect.

Wedding at Airth Castle by JB Moments Photography

Despite being mild for the time of year it was still too cold to keep everybody outside for long. When I had met Audrey at the venue for our pre-wedding consultation I had decided that one of the formal reception rooms would be perfect. Once I did a little rearranging of the furniture and lugged the wing-backed chairs over to the fireplace!

Wedding at Airth Castle by JB Moments Photography

I think the images have a slight royal wedding vibe! Love it 🙂

A new version of a classic

Also at the pre-wedding consultation, Audrey’s mum mentioned an image from her own wedding that she would love Audrey to recreate. She was stood at the top of the staircase and her beautiful veil was the star of the show. As Audrey was using her veil it would be nice to do it again.  We found a suitable staircase in the castle and I hope I’ve done it justice.

Wedding at Airth Castle by JB Moments Photography

Whilst we were wrangling the stairs we also made use of the top balcony for some bride and groom portraits.

Wedding at Airth Castle by JB Moments Photography

As I am mean I still got the bride and groom outside for some natural portraits and I just love the results.

Wedding at Airth Castle by JB Moments Photography

The speeches

Ohhh emmm geee the speeches! Full kudos has to go to Johhny’s brother for his best man speech. So much planning had gone into it. Shortly after he started his speech he claimed he couldn’t find his remaining notes. He dashed out of the room and a pre-made video started of him ‘allegedly’ running out of the venue into his car back to his house and various other places to the tune of the Benny Hill theme tune!!! I can’t share what he got up to in the video here (keeping it PG, folks) but everybody was in absolute stitches.

Wedding at Airth Castle by JB Moments Photography

The video ended with him running back into the room and then his son and daughter (who was also a bridesmaid) read out a poem they had written. Everyone was laughing so hard, including me – it was difficult to stop my camera shaking!

Wedding at Airth Castle by JB Moments Photography

It was also during the speeches that I learned that Audrey had come 2nd in the world sheep handling trials. Told you it was a talented family!

Let them eat cake and dance

With the evening guests arrived it was time to cut the stunning three-tier cake decorated with thistles.

Wedding at Airth Castle by JB Moments Photography

Then Audrey and Johnny’s first dance as husband and wife.

Wedding at Airth Castle by JB Moments Photography

This wedding was an absolute joy to capture. So much love, laughter and well wishes emanated from all their family and friends as well as the couple themselves. It was time for me to take my leave but the party looked set to run well into the small hours.

Congratulations Mr and Mrs Aiken.

Wedding at Airth Castle by JB Moments Photography

 

Wedding Stress Management: How To Reduce Stress While Planning Your Big Day

Wedding Stress

January Blues

Now that you’re back at work the excitement of your Christmas or New Year proposal can feel a distant memory and as you stare out the window at the dank, dismal weather all you can think of is ‘where do I start?’

Planning a wedding is incredibly exciting, but it can also be very stressful. On the surface, many brides and grooms try to hide the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling, and might even feel ashamed that they’re struggling to cope with stress during a period that should be the “happiest time of their life”.

But the truth is that every aspect of putting together an event as big as a wedding is a mammoth task in itself. It’s only natural that between worrying about your budget and how to make everyone happy, your mental health can fall down your list of priorities.

But if you begin dealing with your stress and finding tricks to help you manage, it is possible to enjoy the process of wedding planning and put the focus back on you, your relationship and your upcoming marriage.

Mental health charity Mind suggests the warning symptoms of stress that you should look out for and the best ways to reduce stress.

Stress Symptoms

An event as big as a wedding does require you to juggle lots of commitments and financial concerns so it’s natural to feel some stress, says Stephen Buckley, Head of Information at Mind.

“Being under pressure is a normal part of life and can be useful in small amounts. But if you become overwhelmed by stress, these feelings could start to be a problem.

“Stress in itself is not a mental health problem, but prolonged, unmanageable stress can lead to mental health problems like depression or anxiety,” he says.

The effects of stress can be emotional, mental and physical, and it won’t always be obvious that you’re suffering from stress so it’s important to know what to look out for.

“Unmanageable stress affects us all in different ways, but there are signs to look out for, such as feeling irritated, drinking or smoking excessively, finding it hard to sleep or struggling to concentrate.

“You may feel really upset and emotional, or feel like crying. You might also notice some physical signs, like headaches, upset stomach, or difficulty breathing. Severe stress can affect your blood pressure too,” Stephen says.

When the behaviour of a bride changes, she can often be dismissed as a “bridezilla”, but it could be time to step back and ask whether stress is becoming an issue for you. Behavioural changes include snapping at people; being tearful; constantly worrying, and you might find it harder to make decisions which can make you even more frustrated with yourself.

For a full list of symptoms, visit Mind’s website

How To Reduce Stress

Here are the best self-care tips to cope with stress and help protect your mental health during wedding planning (and if self-care sounds like a word you’d hate, I promise you won’t hate this sensible advice.

Spend Time With Your Support Network

Connecting with people is so important for our mental wellbeing. Don’t isolate yourself from friends or family in favour of your to-do list.

Brides, if you really can’t let go of the wedding preparations then get your bridesmaids around and do some décor crafting with them. It’ll tick one thing off your list and you get some good quality girl time too. Grooms, get your mates together for a kickabout, to play some video games or watch a match.

Family, however well-meaning, can be a big stressor during wedding planning. Get your parents or siblings over for a Sunday roast, ban the topic of weddings for a few hours and just catch-up. If they’re truly toxic to your health though, don’t feel bad about taking some time away for a while.

Go On A Digital Detox

If Pinterest has basically replaced your partner, take a social media detox. A number of studies have linked social media use with depression, anxiety, sleep problems and body image and body confidence issues. Whether it’s creating a wedding way beyond your budget on Pinterest or staring at the bodies of Victoria’s Secret models on Instagram, social media can be a great source of dissatisfaction and anxiety.

going on a digital detox

Try deleting the apps from your mobile so your access is limited to when you’re at your laptop. Alternatively made a rule where both of you put your phone to one side for a couple of hours to have dinner and watch an episode on Netflix. Your relationship will benefit as will your mental health.

Re-Discover Activities That Make You Happy

If every evening is spent with your Excel spreadsheets and your lunch break is spent calling suppliers, then you’re unlikely to be devoting as much time to the activities that used to make you happy and relaxed.

Whether it’s going for a walk, zoning out with an audiobook, painting, taking a bath, listening to music or even watching your favourite trashy TV show, make sure you get that ‘me time’ every day when you focus on no one else’s needs but your own

take a bath

Make A Done List

At the end of every day (or at least once a week), note down all the things you’ve completed that day and celebrate the small wins. To-do lists can send you into a panic and actually hinder your effectiveness, but an “I’ve done” list makes you feel proud and strengthens your motivation.

Evidence has shown the importance of writing it down too, not just keeping it inside your head. Read them and marvel at how amazing you are and all the things you’ve achieved (however small those tasks may seem). You got this!

Get Some Fresh Air

Stephen says that three big factors in managing your stress are “eating healthily, sleeping well and making time for exercise.”

Reaching for the nearest chocolate bar or glass of wine are often our go-to responses to stress, but emotional eating and drinking can make problems even worse. Focus instead on following a balanced diet and finding an exercise regime that works for you. This doesn’t have to be strenuous: the NHS recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week, and swimming, yoga or gentle walking are great places to start.

Evidence shows exercise can lower our risk of depression by 30%, improve sleep quality,  increase self-confidence and help us manage stress and anxiety. Grab one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen and sign up to a fitness class if having a buddy is more likely to get you moving. Just don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day!

If You’re On A Crash Diet, Stop!

We all want to look our best on our wedding day. But severely restricting your calorie intake will make you feel lethargic and irritable, give you headaches and bad breath, and could have some serious side effects on your mental health. According to the NHS, depriving your body of the nutrients it needs could lead to thinning hair and dull skin. Not ideal for your wedding photos!

On restricted calories, your body will go into starvation mode and your metabolic rate will plummet so you’ll actually find it harder to lose weight. The NHS suggests sensible weight loss is 1-2lbs a week, which equates to a healthy calorie deficit of 500-600 calories a day. For an average woman, that means eating 1,400-1,500 calories a day. Your body and mental health will thank you.

Establish A Sleep Routine

When you’re sleep-deprived, irritability and anger levels increase, while your ability to deal with stress decreases. It’s not always as easy as going to bed earlier. Often poor sleep leads to worrying, which leads to poor sleep, and so on in a vicious cycle.

establish a sleep routine

But it can be useful to establish a sleep routine: give yourself an hour before bed where you don’t look at any screens as the blue light can interfere with hormone production; establish a bedtime routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day; and find ways to help you relax such as taking a bath, meditating (YouTube has lots of sleep meditations you can follow) or trying some breathing exercises.

Learn To Say No

To that party or work meeting or volunteer project. Your time and energy are precious and it isn’t selfish to set boundaries, establish your needs and focus on the things that bring you joy. Don’t push people away, but don’t feel obliged to go to that dinner party.

learn to say no

To say no without the guilt, avoid feeling like you have to be “nice” and give a firm but polite no with a simple reason, like you’re already busy, not a list of excuses.

Write Down Your Worries

If you suffer from anxiety, then it can be really hard to stop worrying, but there are ways to help you control your anxiety.

Some people find that setting aside a specific time to focus on their worries can help, as can writing down what you’re worried about and keeping those thoughts in once place like a notebook.

Share Your Workload

The sheer number of things to do during wedding planning can be overwhelming but there are some practical ways to help. Firstly, break your list down into manageable tasks. Secondly, remember it doesn’t all have to fall on you and your partner’s shoulders!

Enlist trusted bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents and friends and delegate. In the final few weeks before the wedding, good tasks to allocate out include packing up items to take to the venue, confirming supplier arrangements (put someone very trusted in charge of this) and any wedding DIY tasks. On the day, have them meeting, greeting and directing suppliers, managing guests and keeping the day on schedule

share your workload

If you have the budget, consider bringing in a wedding planner. There’s a lot of misconceptions over cost and how involved they need to be, but most have a mixture of packages and their involvement is up to you.

Be Open

Planning a wedding should be a joint process so be open with your partner if you’re struggling. Your wedding isn’t about cute table settings; it’s about making a commitment to that person to share your futures together and your health is so much more important.

Stephen at Mind emphasises how crucial speaking to your partner, family or friends can be for reducing stress. “It’s very important to open up about how you feel to someone you trust. Bottling things up only increases the pressure on you,” he warns.

You might be worrying so much that you begin to worry whether it’s cold feet. If that happens take some time out to reconnect with your partner and remember why you’re marrying them. And reassure them that you freaking out isn’t about not wanting to marry, because that’s probably stressing them out too!

Be Kind To Yourself

Forgive yourself when you make a mistake or don’t finish your tasks for that day. Nobody’s perfect and extra pressure on yourself doesn’t help. Be realistic and remember that it’s OK to need a longer engagement and it’s OK to not have every quirky bit of DIY décor you’ve seen on Pinterest. You are not a terrible bride, don’t beat yourself up.

For more information and advice, contact Mind or your local GP.

How to make sure you get the perfect Wedding Cake for you.

Wedding Cake

Whether a wedding cake is the least of your worries or high on the “must-obsess-over” list, my guide to getting the perfect cake has got you covered. From budgeting to picking out your flavours, I’m going to answer all of your questions—before you even have any! Including, what if I don’t like cake….

1. Don’t choose a cake until you’ve made your major wedding style decisions.

You might want a cake that’s compatible with the look of your venue, the season, your wedding gown, the flower arrangements and the menu. Arrive at your cake consultation prepared—you don’t need to have a complete sketch in hand, but knowledge of basic terms will make it easier on everyone. And if you’re looking for a custom design, bring along inspiration, like a swatch of lace from your dress or the colour of your bridesmaid’s dresses

2. Do have a budget in mind.

Wedding cake is usually priced by how many servings. The cost can vary, but it generally ranges from £200 – £1000 (and beyond). It’s easy to be wooed by blood orange filling and a multi-flavour cake when you’re making decisions with a sugar buzz, but having a handle on your budget—and knowing what will affect it—will allow you to prioritise your choices. For instance, more flavours equals more money; the more complicated the flavour, the bigger the price tag; handmade sugar flowers will add £££s to every slice; and fondant icing is generally more expensive than buttercream. Don’t forget to look at places like Waitrose and M&S too as their wedding cakes to order can be cost-effective.

Wedding photographer - JB Moments Photography
Can you believe this gorgeous cake is from M&S?

3. Do match the cake height to your space.

Generally, three tiers will serve 50 to 100, and you’ll likely need five layers for 200 or more guests. Your cake should fit the space too—if your reception is in a grand ballroom, consider increasing the cake’s stature with columns between the tiers or opting for a faux Styrofoam layer (no one will know!) to add height

Wedding photographer - JB Moments Photography

4. Don’t choose the flavour based on what everyone else wants.

Besides being a showpiece, your cake should taste amazing too. When you meet with prospective bakers, taste lots of flavours. Don’t be afraid to stray from vanilla and chocolate. And don’t forget to sample fillings too—many bakers are working with complex flavourings, like guava and mango or hazelnut and mocha

Wedding photographer - JB Moments Photography
Cupcakes for miles

5. Do get the facts on icing.

Buttercream or fondant? Buttercream is often much more delicious. But if you love the smooth, almost surreal-like look of fondant, consider frosting the cake in buttercream first and then adding a layer of fondant over the entire confection. Whatever type of icing you choose, stick to colours your guests will want to eat. If your wedding hues are blue and green, opt for a white cake with subtle green-frosted accents. Naked cakes are becoming more and more popular too and can look stunning.

Wedding photographer - JB Moments Photography
Look away now! This cake is naked!

6. Don’t forget to consider the weather.

If you’re having an outdoor wedding in a hot climate, stay away from whipped cream, meringue and buttercream (they melt). Ask your baker about summer icing options or opt for a fondant-covered cake, which holds up much better against the heat.

7. Do budget for extra details.

When it comes to decoration, adornment costs run the gamut. The most inexpensive option is fresh fruits or flowers that, in some instances, can be applied by your florist for a minimal fee. On the high end are delicate gum-paste or sugar-paste flowers, which are constructed by hand, one petal at a time. But here’s the bottom line: All add-ons—including marzipan fruits, chocolate-moulded flowers and lace points—will raise the rate.

Wedding photographer - JB Moments Photography
Hand-painted cake (and yes the tartan is icing!)

8. Don’t forget to top it off.

There are many beautiful and unique ways to top your cake. If you have an heirloom piece—especially a fine porcelain antique—work with your baker to integrate it into the cake’s design. It can double as your “something old.” Other alternatives include a bouquet of sugar flowers, a cascade of icing ribbons or even a sugar block carved to reveal your new monogram. Look to your locale as well. A cluster of coral can look stunning for a beachside celebration, or try a fondant snowflake for a winter wedding. Or don’t use one at all—some designs look great without a topper.
Wedding photographer - JB Moments Photography

9. Do have a detailed delivery plan.

Cake delivery takes coordination (and usually a refrigerated van), so give yourself peace of mind and opt to have your cake delivered. Complex cakes may not necessarily arrive in final form, so allow time and space for assembly. And make sure that once the masterpiece is delivered, it has a place at the venue (especially if it requires refrigeration). Bottom line: Discuss all the delivery details with your baker before signing the contract.

10. Do give your cake the spotlight.

Your cake will likely be on display before it’s cut and consumed. You should have a designated, well-lit table that allows the best presentation possible. Make sure you speak to your venue about this.

Wedding photographer - JB Moments Photography

11. Don’t let freezer burn happen.

Even if you take the most painstaking packaging measures, eating the top tier of your cake on your first anniversary sounds far better than it tastes. Think about indulging on your two-week or one-month anniversary, and treat yourself to a fresh cake in the same flavour when you’ve hit the one-year mark. If you must adhere to tradition, tightly wrap the cake in plastic wrap, then place it in an airtight container.

12. Don’t forget to eat your cake (seriously!).

Couples often don’t get a chance to eat their own wedding cake on the day. Ask your caterer/venue to save some extra for you. Share it with your new spouse post-wedding for a late-night snack or the next day for brekkie!

13. What about allergies?

If you or your spouse are dairy intolerant, gluten-free or vegan then treat your guests to a cake from a baker that specialise in that type of cake. Chances are they won’t even be able to tell.

 

Spotlight on Suppliers - Daisy Bakes
Vegan and Dairy-free by Daisy Bakes,  Dundee

14. What if we don’t like cake?

Well, it’s your day so don’t have a cake to please everyone else! How about a dessert table instead? Or if you don’t have a  sweet tooth at all why not consider a Pork Pie ‘cake’ or ‘cake’ made from wheels of cheese…the possibilities are endless!

Dessert Table – not my image
Cheese wedding ‘cake’ – not my image
Pork pie wedding ‘cake’ – not my image

I don’t know about you, but all this talk of cake has made me peckish. I’m off to raid the fridge!

Can a White Wedding ever be Green?

Eco Weddings

By the time the confetti settles the average UK wedding has produced a third of a metric tonne of solid waste and 14.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide in just one day! By comparison, annual carbon emissions per person in the UK are about 9.1 tonnes (Source: www.dothegreenthing.com).

As we become ever more focussed on saving our planets finite resources can you still have your perfect day but with a conscience? This latest article is in no way meant to preach at you, or make you feel guilty for any choices that you are considering but rather offer some eco-friendly alternatives – many of which will save you money as well!

Ways to go Plastic Free or Less Plastic

  1. Favours – consider the environmental impact of plastic packaging, and instead opt for recyclable card and paper. Often favours end up left on tables at the end of the evening so opt instead to donate to a charity you care about or give guests wildflower seeds to sow in their gardens and promote bees (for more low-cost sustainable favour ideas click here).
  2. Wedding gifts -If you want to cut down on a pile of presents and avoid plastic packaging, explore other gift ideas instead. Ask for eco-friendly gifts when you tie the knot. How about asking for vouchers so you can choose your own home and garden products? If you’ve got everything you need, why not ask guests to donate to a charity that means a lot to you. If you do opt for a wedding list, make sure you only ask for things you really need and will use.
  3. Invites – Make sure you search for wedding invite companies that only use recycled paper. Even better, don’t use paper invites at all. Choose an online invitation company to send e-invites. If you have additional information for guests, you could set up a wedding website and your e-invite could direct them to it.
  4. Photos – Make sure you get the images you want to display printed, framed, etc but opt for the remainder to be stored digitally.
  5. Confetti – Chose biodegradable confetti or alternative options like birdseed. You can see more suggestions here.
  6. Flip-flops, toiletry baskets, etc – these have become an increasing trend and whilst they are a thoughtful offering to your guests most adults will bring ‘dancing shoes’ or kick off their heels and pack their essentials in their bags! Most couples end up with loads of these items left over and flip-flops especially are a huge issue for landfill. Save money and the planet and leave out of your wedding.
  7. Venue choice – check that your venue doesn’t use plastic straws, buffet cutlery etc, or ask them if they would consider switching to a greener alternative.

Animal Welfare

  1. Using animals as part of your ceremony? Owls bringing rings, Wedding Llamas, Dove releases? No-one is saying don’t do these things and they can make a wedding truly memorable. But, make sure you have seen the companies animal licenses and checked out the business premises. For every reputable business owner that cares about their animals, there is a shady individual just looking to make a quick buck. Dove releases, in particular, seem vulnerable to this. Do your homework.
  2. Ensure caterers are using animal welfare certified meat and fish.

Organic and Ethically Sourced

  1. Engagement and wedding rings – Try hunting for a unique wedding ring in antique shops or at the end-of-year shows for jewellery design students. Or search online for suppliers of recycled gold or Fairtrade silver. For advice on buying conflict-free diamonds, see The Kimberley Process FAQs .
  2. Wedding Food – Source your food from a supplier that uses local, seasonal and organic food or ask your caterer to do this for you. Food from local farm shops or markets is less likely to come packaged in unnecessary plastic.
  3. Wedding Cake – Ask your wedding cake maker or local baker to use organic, local ingredients in your cake. If you’re going for a fruity wedding cake, ask for seasonal, British fruits rather than imported carbon-guzzling options. You could even try dairy-free wedding cake recipes that will be suitable for vegans and better for the planet. Or, if you don’t want to end up wasting food by having a wedding cake that will only get half-eaten, try something different. Like an organic cheeseboard ‘cake’ with local fruit instead, or individual wedding cupcakes for your guests.
  4. Flowers – opt for seasonal flowers that are grown in the UK and don’t come with air miles to import. You can check out seasonal flowers here.

Other ways you could make your Wedding Environmentally Friendly

  1. Hire your Wedding Dress – One of the biggest costs at a wedding is the wedding dress. It can cost hundreds or thousands of pounds and will never get worn again. One way around this is to choose a style of wedding dress that could be worn again for another function. Or consider hiring your outfit – ideal for bride, groom, ushers and children. For bridesmaids and page boys, make bridesmaids dresses and suits green by buying something they can wear afterwards for parties. Or check out vintage and retro shops. Alternatively, search online for quality used outfits from Ebay  or specialist sites such as The Dressmarket . Or you can buy wedding dresses, wedding shoes and accessories from one of Oxfam’s bridal wear shops . You could also consider borrowing from a friend. After the big day, why not consider recycling your wedding dress or accessories? There are several charities that want used wedding dresses for terminally ill brides. By donating anything from jewellery and tiaras to clutch bags and bridesmaid dresses, you could also support other charities.
  2. Wedding Transport – Looking for the perfect wedding location? Find a venue close to home to cut down on transport. And don’t invest in hiring a gas-guzzling wedding limousine for your wedding car. Instead, make a statement by turning up to your wedding in an electric car or horse-drawn carriage. If you don’t have the ceremony and reception at the same venue, encourage guests to share rides to the reception or provide a coach or bus. If possible, include public transport details in your invitations, to encourage guests to consider leaving the car at home – and enjoy a few drinks too.
  3. Honeymoon – One of the biggest environmental impacts your wedding can have is a long-haul honeymoon. If you don’t want to worry about adding to climate change when you tie the knot, think about romantic destinations you can visit for your honeymoon that won’t clock up the air miles.