Wednesday, 14 August 2019

#PartyInspo: Sexy Hens Party Ideas that are Stripper-Free!

Has your bride-to-be strictly instructed you "no strippers"? That doesn't mean her big night can't be sexy and fun - check out our top ideas for a sexy and stripper-free hens night!

Eye Candy Without The Performance..
Many talented male performers also offer less raunchy services such as topless waiter services.
Your entertainer may offer a range of costume options, like wearing pants, hotpants, a g-string, or even a full nude (with or without an apron) - do base your decision on the tastes of your guests. Your entertainer will also appreciate you keeping an eye on guests' behaviour - if some ladies are getting a bit too handsy, pull them aside and let them know that they risk the performer leaving early if they don't dial it down!
You can contact us if you'd like to find out more about topless waiter services, but sometimes even these "tame" services won't suit the style of your bride, and that's totally fine...

Be the Eye Candy!
There's no rule that a hens has to involve male entertainers (or genital-shaped paraphernalia either), so why shouldn't you and your guests be the sexy ones?
Why not book a photographer for a fun photoshoot where your guests can get dolled up and pose like perfect pinups?
If your bride is into vintage style, perhaps a saucy burlesque lesson is the way to go - keeping it cute, but still sexy without being too raunchy. 
If your bride is a little on the wilder side, you can even book a lapdance lesson where you and your girls get to learn the seductive art of lapdance. Who knows when those skills may come in handy? We can help you out with all of these fun options, just get in touch!

Cheeky Options for Every Budget
There are plenty of ways to feel sexy and fabulous without being outwardly raunchy (a good idea if you don't know all of the bride's invited guests) - here are just a couple of fun and girly options that can range in price depending on your budget:
- Beach Babes day! Love trendy picnic-style hens parties - how about a beach version, with matching umbrellas, towels, and floaties? Turn up the naughtiness with a visit to a local Clothing Optional beach and even out those tan lines!
- Pamper Party: you can set this up yourself at home, DIY style, or you can opt to hire a few rooms at a resort. Lounge by the pool, get a massage, pamper with a mani/pedi, and celebrate all things flirty and girly!
- Temporary Tattoo Time: Have fun with cheeky temporary tattoos - you can even design and create your own. Plus, if you put them in a cheeky spot, nobody in the office will know, come Monday morning!
- Toys for Adults: Plenty of providers offer sexy party packages where you and your guests can check out a range of adult toys and even try some products out.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

#WeddingTalk: Awkward Wedding Conversations

Regardless of the size or style of your wedding, it's all too common for brides-to-be to find themselves in some difficult situations pre-wedding. Today we're tackling five common but awkward situations and how to handle them with grace.

Sometimes you have to tell your guests news they don’t want to hear – and when you do this, it needs to be loud and clear! Weddings are one event where you don’t want misunderstandings or miscommunications to take place – they can lead to everything from awkward moments to all-out family dramas. One great way to make your plans clear is on your wedding invitations – wording can be tricky though, and sometimes you need to back up your invitation wording with a heart-to-heart conversation. Check out our tips below on how to break that bad news to a wedding guest.

Bad News #1: No Plus Ones
There are  a few ways you can try to break this bad news – one is by addressing your invitations only to Mr So-and-So (no ‘and guest’), but even then, sometimes people just don’t get the hint. If you’re still looking for a subtle way to invite someone solo, make it clear on your RSVP cards (or your online RSVP site) with wording such as:
___ of 1 guest will attend
This may help your solo guest understand that they have only one spot allocated to the event.
If you’re worried people won’t get the message (and want to avoid an awkward phone call explaining the situation after your guest has RSVP'd for more than you’ve allocated), try some sensitive wording on your invitations:
“We regret that due to venue size only invited guests may attend” is usually a winner!
Finally – why not just be honest and upfront. Perhaps before you deliver an invitation you should have a brief chat with your guest and address the situation upfront “Uncle Jim, we love your current girlfriend Cindy, but we just aren’t able to have her join us for the wedding. We hope you’re still able to come along.” is honest, direct, and friendly!

Bad News #2: No kids
There are plenty of situations where kids just don’t need to attend a wedding or reception. Some couples choose to have their receptions in cool licensed (read: 18+) venues like bars or clubs, while others plan on partying late late late into the night. It’s not evil or wrong to exclude children from your wedding, it’s purely a personal choice.
You can make your choice clear when sending invitations to families – Mr & Mrs Smith pretty clearly excludes their clan of mini-Smiths, and again, you can use your RSVP card to make clear that you have allocated just 2 places instead of 6!
Tactful invitation wording helps too, as well as trying to accommodate your guests’ needs – perhaps you can invite kids to the ceremony but not the reception? Or vice versa? You could even include the names of some reputable babysitters, or information about your venue's in-room babysitting or creche on your wedding website too!

Bad News #3: Reception-Only Invite
This isn’t necessarily bad news – for some people, the fun of a wedding is all in the party, not in the ceremony! Regardless of your guests’ outlook however, it can sometimes be a delicate issue to discuss: some guests are very sensitive to the idea of being invited to an event purely so they can give a gift. We know this isn’t the reason you’re inviting them, but you’ll still need to avoid the appearance of greed, as well as any feelings of being ‘left out’ of the ceremony. Try some clear but polite wording on your invitations such as:
“Bob and Jill invite you to join them at a reception celebrating their marriage…”
“You are invited to eat, drink, and be merry at a reception celebrating the marriage of…”
“Bob and Jill together with their parents invite you to celebrate their love and commitment at a reception following their private ceremony…”

More formal? “Mr & Mrs Smith and Mr & Mrs Johnson invite you to a reception celebrating the marriage of their children Bob and Jill…”
Some people also prefer to include a brief sentence on their invitations along the lines of “a private wedding will precede the reception” however it’s up to you if you feel this is necessary!

Bad News #4: Gadget-Free Ceremony
Again, this isn't really bad news, but it's something that some guests may not have encountered before. The “Unplugged” wedding is growing in popularity as more and more couples find themselves facing a sea of smart phones and cameras as they walk down the aisle instead of a sea of smiling faces! If you think it will be difficult to pry your friends and family away from their tablets, phones, or cameras, why not try these firm but friendly wordings for invitations, programs, lines for your celebrant to speak, or even signs at your reception:
“Welcome to our ‘unplugged wedding’ – we invite you to be fully present with us during the ceremony. Please switch off all phones and cameras.”
“John Smith Photography will be capturing our ceremony. We invite you to relax and enjoy our special day by switching your camera or phone off.”
“The bride and groom respectfully request that guests honour the sanctity of this moment by turning off phones and cameras.”

Or even:
“If you’d like to snap a photo of the bride and groom please do so now, as we ask that your cameras are switched off for the remainder of the ceremony.”

Remember that guests aren’t trying to disrupt or distract from your ceremony – they want to record your memories because they love you. It just takes a little firm but fair wording to ensure that their well-meaning recording habits don’t interfere with your special day!

Bad News #5: You’re Not Invited
Probably the hardest news to break – and for obvious reasons it’s not something you can explain with invitation wording. The bottom line for this one is that there’s a good chance you’ll hurt someone’s feelings, however if you explain gently to them why their feelings are being hurt, then they will see that it’s not for lack of love that they’ve been excluded. Most of the time there is a good honest reason for not inviting a friend or family member to your wedding (we are obviously not talking about estranged relationships here.. they shouldn’t require any explanations!).

Perhaps your venue lacks the space for a huge guest list, so you might explain to an uninvited colleague: “Our venue is pretty strict and only allows a certain number of guests to attend. We really have our heart set on it, so our guestlist has been restricted to very close family and friends – I hope you understand.”

Maybe you love the idea of a small and intimate wedding? For some people, this may be a totally foreign concept, so why not gently explain: “There are so many people we’d love to invite, but we made the decision to keep our wedding very small. It’s certainly nothing personal at all, but we are keeping it intimate with only some close family and friends attending.”

Are you paying for your wedding yourself? Then you’ll be very budget-conscious! Suddenly inviting your work colleague’s new girlfriend and her child is not your top priority! Why not explain “We’re paying for the wedding ourselves and really want to avoid going into debt over it. Unfortunately the limitations on our budget prevent us from inviting everyone we’d like to. I’m very sorry we can’t extend an invitation to you but I hope you understand.”

Have you had someone express interest in or excitement about attending your wedding, even though you weren’t actually planning on inviting them? It might be best to put a dampener on that straight away – a line such as “We can’t wait for our wedding either! But at the moment we’re still finalising our guest list, as we’re limited by (budget/venue/wedding size).” 

Chances are, no matter how delicately you word something, you’ll still cause some disappointment or hurt. Be as sensitive as you can and remember that people want to attend your wedding because they love you (hopefully not just for the free booze and food), so be aware that even if they cause you some grief as you try to come up with the words to say “no”, they’re coming from a good place.

Do you have some great tips for an awkward wedding conversation? Share them in the comments below!

Thursday, 3 March 2016

#PartyInspo: Alternative Desserts for Hens and Weddings

At Hens Party Australia, we like to bend the rules! Whether it's swapping out wedding cake for doughnuts, midnight milk and cookies, or a delicious dessert buffet, here are our favourite tips for Sweet Tooth tragics just like us.

It's time to talk S U G A R !  We've collected some fabulous inspiration from around the internet for some unique ideas to incorporate into your next event, whether it be the hens party or the wedding itself. Why not stop here though, check out Pinterest and YouTube for a huge selection of ideas you can either DIY or book through a caterer.

Midnight Milk and Cookies
Guests partying late into the night? We love the recent trend of providing late night comfort food at just the right moment.
With some couples sending out mini cheeseburgers and fries to help soak up the booze, why not try a sweeter idea?
Check out these gorgeous milk and cookies, or why not try ice cream cones, hot fudge sundaes, or even milkshakes. Yes the food is simple, but with so many cute presentation ideas, there are so many options to try.

Bye Bye Cake!
Over the traditional wedding cake options? Why not try some alternatives - we've seen gorgeous cupcake towers, but how about tiered doughnuts?
You don't even have to do away with the traditional cake topper, because you can still have a cake on top of your tower.
With plenty of options for gluten free guests too, why not look into these cute alternatives to a traditional wedding cake?

Are you having a high tea, daytime celebration, or perhaps just want to spread those brunchtime vibes?
Another option that can be easily customised for gluten free guests, mini pancake stacks are delicious and easy to serve.
Why not amp it up with a DIY pancake buffet - guests can serve with their favourite toppings and flavours to cater to their personal tastes.

Chocoholics Unite!
Almost everyone loves chocolate - so embrace it! In most cities you can book yourself a chocolate-making workshop (what a great idea for a hens party), where you and your guests produce your own truffles or chocolate blocks. You can hire a chocolate fountain, or even make your own fondue - social and sweet. Plus... vegan chocolate is increasingly available and totally delicious!

Not just for Christmas
Another great activity that's social and sweet is decorating your own cookies! Hens party guests can decorate gingerbread cookies to look like the bride and groom, design a gingerbread wedding dress, and more. Plus, you can even carry the cookie theme over to your big day - cookies can be decorated with each guest's name and used as place settings at the wedding!

Step Right Up...
We love reinforcing a theme - if you're having a circus-themed hens or wedding, why not add candied popcorn, lollipops or other sweet treats to the menu?
Popcorn and other treats can also match a baseball themed party, or a movie-themed celebration!

Friday, 30 January 2015

#WeddingTalk: 6 Tasks to Delegate!

Is your bride-to-be a Type A kinda gal? Don't let her get snowed under! We've listed our Top 6 Tasks that are easy to delegate and will save couples time and stress.

Wedding planning can be a real nightmare but it can also be lots of fun. For many people it’s exciting to have creative control over such an important day, but inevitably there comes a point when even the most organised and in-control bride or groom-to-be realises that there are just so many different tasks to worry about that it’s a little too much for one person to handle. 

You’ll hear this all the time on your wedding planning journey: Delegate, delegate, delegate! It seems simple but it can be hard for some of us to let go of the reigns and hand control over to someone else. Here are five tasks that we think are safe to delegate (to the right person):

1. Music: Have you got a partner who’s not pulling their weight? Why not try to work to their interests? If your partner is a music buff, give them the task of sorting out music for your reception (and even your ceremony). For different couples, this means different things. Some people are taking up the new trend of an “iPod DJ” at their reception – basically an iPod or Spotify playlist that runs throughout the night. Others choose a live band, while others hire a professional DJ, which comes with its own benefits. Sometimes the best solution for couples is a combination of the three options! Either way, making an iPod playlist or contacting/hiring/paying musicians or a DJ is a relatively simple task that can be easily fixed if you’re not happy with the result. If you’re going down the iPod route, why not give your partner a list of “must-haves”, a timeline of how the reception will run (so they know when to have high-energy numbers and when to slow down), and see what they come up with. You can always ask for changes to be made, but making a playlist is a pretty time-consuming task – a good way to keep your partner busy while you work on other tasks!

 2. Collecting Addresses: These days it’s rare for us to have the postal addresses for all our friends and family. It can be a bit of a task getting in touch with them all and then keeping track of their details, so why not delegate this to a trusted friend or family member. You can even delegate different areas to different people – so a bridesmaid may contact all the old high school friends, a brother-in-law all the groom’s family, and an aunt contact all the bride’s family, etc. You can ask them all to send the addresses to you in one format, or even better, take advantage of online-based systems such as Google Docs and share one spreadsheet with them all so they can update it as they get responses. 

3. Addressing, stamping and sending: When it comes time to send your save-the-dates or invitations, pick a couple of friends with nice handwriting, have them come over and turn your envelope-stuffing session into a party! Turn the boring and repetitive task of sending out communications into something fun with a movie, some bubbles, and a big of gossip! If your best friend doesn’t have the best handwriting, they can stuff, seal and stamp the envelopes instead! This is another task that is time consuming but is easy to delegate and take some weight off your shoulders. 
4. Returning hired items: Did you hire a cake stand from your baker, vases from your florist, or other items? Some couples go away on honeymoon the day after their wedding, and even if you don’t, why start your honeymoon period (which should be about just you and your new spouse) by running errands all over town to drop off hired items before they’re overdue? Allocate one supplier to each member of your bridal party, and give them a deadline (for example, the cake tier may need to be returned two days after – choose someone who lives near the bakery!). You’ll find that by giving each person one small responsibility, they will really rise to the occasion and take their responsibility seriously – it’s much more effective than dumping all your tasks on one maid of honour or best man.

5. The Bachelor/ette Party: This is probably a no-brainer, as usually it’s the responsibility of the bridal party to organise the hens or bucks events, however we’ve noticed a rising trend in brides taking care of their own hens party plans! Sometimes this is just because it suits the bride-to-be more, or because she has a very specific vision of what she wants, but sometimes we hear brides complain that their bridal parties are unorganised or flaky. At the end of the day, the hens or bucks party is not your main priority – the wedding (and your marriage) are, so it makes no sense to spend all your time worrying about your bachelor or bachelorette party to the detriment of your wedding planning tasks. 
If you’re in the position where your bridal party are letting you down, consider getting them all together and pulling rank, be honest: “I’m a little concerned that it’s taken this long to get the plans together – do you think that I should ask someone else to organise it for you?”. This may seem a little harsh, but no one will be calling you a bridezilla if your friends agree that yes, it has taken a while for them to get their act together. It may spur them into action and help give them the boost they need to really pull together and work as a team to organise a fantastic party for you! 
If not, you can always stick to your guns and work with an event planning business to put together the event yourself. You may not find one business that will organise the entire thing for you (it can be a risk for businesses as so often they may not be able to get a true sense of your vision for the event), but you may find one or two businesses who will be able to provide everything you need. You may need to organise a venue yourself, and they may provide catering or a DJ; and perhaps you’d like some entertainment – you can find a business who will provide a stripper, or even a lapdance instructor (turn the tables on the traditional hens party!), or someone who can just come and play all those standard hens party games you love but are too busy to put together yourself! There are endless possibilities, but if you give someone a clear idea of what you like, you can get away with delegating the organisation of this fun night to your friends, or even to a business. 

6. Calming you down: The final one is the most important! So often, married couples say that their wedding days flashed past so quickly they can barely remember any of the details. It’s such a shame that after putting all this work into planning your special day, you should forget to stop and take it all in while it’s happening! Ask a trusted friend or family member to pull you aside every now and then and remind you to stop and smell the roses, or to step in and take over if they see you getting distracted by how the day is running. You’ll find that they’re more than willing to help out, and won’t mind keeping an eye on the time or on your vendors for you so that you can slow down and enjoy your special day.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

What's Burlesque all about?

You've heard about the growing trend, and you've seen the Burlesque Hens Night Package advertised at Hens Party Perth... Maybe you've seen films like Moulin Rouge and Burlesque and you're a little curious about how you can be a part of it? Join us on a glamorous journey, perfect for your hens party, birthday celebration, or next girl's night!

Where did Burlesque start?
Burlesque has existed in a range of forms for hundreds of years - with roots stemming from literary or political parody, Burlesque evolved during the Victorian era and over the years it slowly became associated more and more with the striptease performance we are familiar with today.
Your Hens Party Perth hostess will give you and your guests some fascinating information about Burlesque's roots, as well as some of its most popular stars today - including style icon Dita von Teese, the incredible Dirty Martini, and even Australia's own Imogen Kelly. Your hostess is a professional Burlesque artist herself - it's the perfect opportunity to ask her questions about what it's like to perform!

What's a Burlesque name?
Your hostess will discuss 'Burlesque names' with you and your guests. A performer's name is a vital part of establishing their onstage persona, which can be very different to their real-life personality! Burlesque is all about expressing yourself, telling a story, and teasing the audience - a saucy or funny Burlesque name can help establish what kind of performer you are, whether it be cheeky, flirty, sexy, funny, or just plain tantalising. You and your guests may choose your own Burlesque names for the night - you might just be surprised at what you come up with!

What are some Burlesque essentials?
The bride-to-be or birthday girl will receive a special gift bag filled with some of the essential props and accessories needed to be a burlesque starlet for the night! Don't worry though, your guests won't miss out.. during the dance lesson portion of your Burlesque Hens Night Package, your guests will receive their very own Burlesque prop to use!
Things like feather boas, lacey garters and luxurious gloves all help to make you and your guests feel extra glamorous as you shake and shimmy your way through a classic bump'n'grind routine - complete with sexy vintage music!
You may want to add to the glamorous atmosphere with your own props and decorations - things like shimmering pearl necklaces (you can cheat with some affordable options from your local discount store!), glamorous feather headpieces or fascinators (maybe even white for the bride-to-be!), fishnet stockings, frilly tutus or knickers, and of course glittering sequins!

If you're having your party at a private home, why not decorate the space with more feather boas, luxurious lace (you can pick some up at a fabric store, or even an op shop), glitter and sequins, or even posters of vintage burlesque stars and pin-ups!

What should we wear?
Your hostess will provide some props and accessories for you and your guests to wear while dancing, but you can always team them up with your own costume! Why not wear some sexy fishnet stockings and heels? Hot tip - heels with ankle straps can give that extra bit of support while you dance! Many guests like to get in the vintage glamor feel with frilly tutus or skirts - even frilly knickers or bloomers are great to dance in! You can purchase affordable vintage-style corsets from lingerie stores - plastic boned corsets are very flexible and easy to dance in.
If you're not so sure you'd like to dress up that way, why not try a cute vintage dress or 1950's circle skirt and fitted blouse? You can team your outfit up with vintage hair (there are plenty of online tutorials for styles like pin and victory curls, as well as cat-eye eyeliner), plus, you may even get to hear styling tips and tricks first hand from your hostess!

What music should we choose?
You are required to provide a stereo for your hostess to use during the evening - she'll bring along a playlist packed full of classic bump'n'grind tunes, however before or after your party package, you may choose to play your own vintage-inspired tunes! Browse iTunes for some vintage inspiration, or choose cheeky classics from Cab Calloway or Henry Mancini, or maybe even something more soulful like Peggy Lee's Fever

What sort of moves will we learn?
All Hens Party Perth packages are suitable for complete beginners - whether you've never tried Burlesque before, or even if you've never even danced at all! You'll learn an easy bump'n'grind routine (you can always ask us for something trickier!) incoporating all sorts classic moves, including everything from the essential 'burlesque walk', to the shimmy and the glove peel!
Burlesque dancing is relatively low-impact, so it's suitable for all sorts of ages and body types - it's a fun chance to experiment with expressing your sensuality and emotion, so you can be as theatrical and dramatic as you like!

Who is this party package suitable for?
Not only is Burlesque dancing fun and achievable for all sorts of body types, but this package is suitable for a range of ages too!
The Burlesque Hens Night Package is a great option for those who want to have a cheeky or sexy night with friends, but who don't want to go as sexy as the Boudoir (Lapdance) Package (which is restricted to 18+). It's also a good option for those who have a few guests who aren't yet 18, or even guests who are older but still want to have some cheeky fun! Burlesque is sexy, but not so sexy that you can't include your younger or older relatives and friends.

I love Burlesque! Where can I find out more?
There is growing interest in Burlesque all throughout Australia, and Perth is no exception! Hens Party Perth's hostesses don't just host hens nights, they regularly perform at shows around Perth, and some even teach lessons in Burlesque!
You can catch Burlesque events regularly around Perth, and our friends at Lady Velvet Cabaret even offer short and long classes in Burlesque dancing and Pinup modelling! You can join a six-week Pinup Bootcamp course or the Burlesque Starlet course (Starlet graduates are eligible for the Advanced Burlesque class!). Lady Velvet Cabaret also runs ongoing classes in Cabaret or Modern Burlesque, for those who are interested in a more modern style of dance (think sexy group choreography like the Pussycat Dolls!).
At the end of your course, you can even choose to participate in a Graduation Show - a real life cabaret show!

How can I book my Burlesque Hens Party?
It's simple! Email us today at, or fill in an easy contact form on our website. Scroll down to find information such as cost, requirements and terms & conditions!

We can't wait to join you at your special celebration - whether it's a girls night, birthday party, or hens celebration! Contact us today to find out more about the Burlesque package, or any other Hens Party Perth packages that interest you!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

#PartyInspo: Decorating on a Budget

It's #PartyInspo time! Today we're sharing five top tips for cheap or even free party decorations that look a million bucks. 

 1. Canned light
Cheap, cheerful and easy! Grab yourself a clean empty can and a drill (electric is easier but hand drills are good too). You can be fancy and try shapes and patterns, or you can keep it simple and go for a random pattern of holes – either way, you’ll get a great effect, especially if you place your can somewhere near a wall. The great thing about this project is that you don’t need to get involved in any complex electronics – it’s as simple as filling your can with string lights, or even candles (do watch out, as your can will heat up!).

 2. Paper puffs
We’ve all seen the coffee filter pom poms made famous by domestic divas like Martha Stewart – but they can be a lot of work, especially if you want a colour other than the standard white filter paper. Why not try this cute paper pom pom project? You can purchase paper in any colour you like and fold a few sheets into a simple concertina. Add a ribbon (don’t forget to do this first or you won’t be able to hang your puff) and then it’s as easy as a few snips with a pair of scissors! There are plenty of great tutorials available on YouTube, so get clicking, and get inspired!

 3. Get creative with balloons
Balloons have so much more potential than we give them credit for! Sure, you can go standard helium balloons, but that takes extra time, cash, and organisation. Why not cheat a little, all it takes is some creativity and some blu tac! You can fake the effects of helium by simply sticking the top of your balloons to the ceiling (another tip – play with the lengths of your ribbons and size of your balloons for a cool effect). Alternatively, you could break the mould and hang yours upside down! Try sticking the ends of the ribbons to the ceiling for a funky teardrop effect – almost like a big colourful chandelier!

 4. Backdrops
As photobooths grown in popularity, photobooth backdrops continue to amaze us with their creativity! We’ve seen backdrops made out of leftover invitations for the wedding or party, hand printed fabric backdrops, and more! We love these cute ideas:
Feathers – you can dip your feathers in paint or glitter for an extra-cool effect.
Ribbons, string, or fabric strips – easy to hang from a tension rod, rope, or even PVC pipe frame (you can rig one up in an afternoon).
Records – funk, funky and vintage. You can hang real records, or make simple ones out of coloured card, or you could stick your records straight on the wall behind your photobooth!

 5. Mason jars, so many mason jars
We know that mason jars have been a huge trend over the past year or so – but why not think outside the box a little? Mason jars can be used for more than just vases, so why not try out some creative ideas:
Candle holders – pop a candle in a mason jar and it makes for a cute way to add light to your table or venue. Kick it up a notch by rolling your jar in glitter, or filling it with sand for a beach theme. You can leave your jars on tables for simple lighting, but you can also wrap them up with twine or ribbon and hang them too!
Paint your jars - pour some enamel or plain house paint inside your jars, seal them up, and roll them around so your paint spreads all over the jar. Once it’s dry, you have yourself some cute colourful vases which are cheap and easy enough to have match a range of colour schemes!
Glow stick lights – this one’s an oldie but a goodie.. Cut open a couple of glow sticks and shake the the liquid on the inside of your jars – you’ve made some little glow worm-inspired jars! Obviously you’ll have to make sure you don’t re-use your jars for food or drink, but every now and then you’ll have to top up your glow-juice when it fades.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

#WeddingTalk: 10 Wedding Rules You CAN Break!

Over being told what you can and can't do at your own wedding? So are we! If you're feeling trapped or confused about the expectations of traditional friends and family, we're here to help. We break down 10 wedding "Rules" that we think are perfectly fine to break! 

1. The Guest List 
The era where every long-lost cousin and their boyfriend or girlfriend simply must be invited to your wedding is over! As times change, the thinking about weddings is starting to shift from “an event that’s all about the family” to “an event that’s all about the bride and groom”. With ever-increasing costs associated with wedding planning, small and intimate weddings are becoming more popular – especially now that many brides and grooms are footing the bill for their nuptials themselves. There will always be someone who thinks that their way is the best way, so it can be really difficult to break the news of no plus ones, or even no invitation at all, to certain members of your family - remember that it’s just one day, and it’s the only one you and your partner will have! If anyone has a real problem with the size of the guest list, it might be worth considering why they have such an issue with your vision in the first place – is it genuine care for your special day, or is the source of their concern a little more selfish? With thought and care, you’ll find a way to word your potentially unpopular rules about no kids, no plus ones, or nobody who doesn’t know both the bride and the groom (check out our article on breaking bad news to guests here), and as long as you’re truly committed to your guest list rules, chances are you’ll be rewarded with the perfect wedding for you. 

2. Seating Plans
Many married couples will tell you that working out the seating plan for their wedding was the most nail-biting planning task that they faced. There are family members who may not be on good terms, step-parents, biological parents, couples, single people, colleagues or friends who may not know anyone… it’s a veritable minefield of potential faux pas and social encounters of the awkward kind. Well put down your colour-coded spreadsheets and peel those post-it notes off your kitchen table, because wedding receptions don’t have to be the stuffy sit-down affairs they once were! We’ve seen some weddings with just a few long banquet tables (think the Great Hall in Harry Potter), and other weddings with ‘stand-up buffets’, where guests grab a plate, help themselves, and find a spot in a lounge-like reception area (or stand) and eat while they chat. Some couples are letting guests seat themselves, while many are embracing the cocktail reception party and the relaxed atmosphere it brings with it. The cocktail reception is exploding in popularity, and whilst it doesn’t mean a three-course meal, if you select a great venue or caterer, they can provide amazing food and drinks that will not only impress your guests, but fill them up too! The lack of a structured seating plan and tables also frees up much-needed space (so you can invite more people, often at less cost), and gives the atmosphere of a classy yet informal celebration. 

3. The 8 Hour Day
Your special day is something you want to remember forever, and it can be pretty exhausting too! Getting ready early, photos, the ceremony, photos, more photos, reception… by the end of the day you may be exhausted, but your guests might be too! Don’t be afraid to stray from the “standard” timeline of events – if you’re not superstitious, why not have your photos done before the ceremony, so there’s no need to do them afterwards? If you don't want to spoil the surprise for the groom, you can even shave time off by having the bridal party and the groomsmen do photos separately before the ceremony, and then take the remaining snaps all together afterwards. For guests, the wait after the ceremony finishes before they can go to the reception can be long and agonizingly boring – sometimes guests can’t travel home and just need to find somewhere to kill time for four hours in their formal clothing, carrying a wedding gift around!
Sometimes your ceremony venue may have very different restrictions to your reception venue, and you may not even have the space to invite all your guests to both. Generally, the polite thing to do is to invite guests to both, or just to the reception – guests may feel left out if they’re invited to your ceremony only, and feel obliged to bring gifts and get caught up in the emotion of your day, only to be going home afterwards while many guests get to go on to party afterwards. It can also be quite clear that it’s cheaper to invite guests to the ceremony only and not to the reception, so it may appear that they are “not worth” the money (which, even if it’s true, is not a nice message to send). Many couples get around this by having an ‘afternoon tea’ style reception immediately after their ceremony, giving all guests the chance to celebrate with the bride and groom, before they slip off for their photos (also giving your reception-going guests something to fill the time between the two receptions). Whatever your strategy, don’t feel obliged to stay within the boundaries of tradition – it may even save you some money to try an afternoon ceremony instead of a morning one, or an earlier reception rather than a later one! 

4. The Toss
Not too keen on the idea of throwing your beautiful bouquet into the air towards a mob of hungry-eyed women? Or on the idea of forking out for a second bouquet just to (literally) throw it away? How about the idea of having a male guest hunt around under your dress for an old-fashioned undergarment? If they’re not for you – break the rules and ditch them! Plenty of couples are deciding to do away with any of the traditional bouquet or garter tossing, and in the grand scheme of things, it’s barely raising an eyebrow with more conservative guests. After all the fun and celebration of the wedding reception, it often doesn’t even cross anyone’s mind that one or two traditions were left out. 

5. Cake
Let’s face it, cake isn’t for everyone. Are you feeling the pressure to have a towering white frosted monstrosity that doesn’t suit you or your partner’s personality? Why not deviate from the norm and try something different. Recently we’ve been seeing fantastic snaps from weddings featuring cupcakes, doughnuts, cake pops, fairy cakes, miniature cheesecakes (one per guest), even pies, or chocolate fountains! Some couples are opting for milk and cookies, midnight snacks, and even comfort food like fries served late at night when guests have been partying hard. At the end of the day, we believe that your wedding day is all about you and your new spouse, so why not make the cake (or not) a reflection of you too? Check out our #WeddingTalk tips for some cake-free options, and get some inspiration! 

6. Favours
Bonbonierre, or wedding favours, are the little gifts or sweets that guests receive to take home from your wedding. There’s a chance some of you didn’t even know they exist, because recently we’ve seen a downward trend in the inclusion of favours at weddings. The standard used to be a little organza bag of sugar-coated almonds, but we’ve seen some fantastic twists on the tradition, including bottle openers, coozis (or stubbie olders), candles, tiny sculptures, keychains, local produce such as honey or jam, flowers or seeds, and more. The possibilities are endless, but at the end of the day, for some brides and grooms favours are just another cost to factor in. If you’re looking at $3 per piece items and have 100 guests, your favours could take a hefty chunk out of your budget! We think that many guests are happy enough to receive your hospitality and won’t miss any little trinkets that will soon get lost or thrown away anyway! 

7. Toasts & Speeches
Now we’re not saying you need to give up speeches entirely, they are often the most moving part of a reception, but did you know they come with “rules” too? Traditionally the speeches begin with toasts – first, a toast to the bride and groom made by the host (the person who pays for the wedding – traditionally the bride’s father, but that’s not always the case these days!), then a response by the groom and a toast to the bridal party, then a response on behalf of the bridal party by the best man, then a toast to the bride’s parents by the best man or a friend of the bride’s party, then a response by the bride’s father, then a toast to the groom’s parents by the father of the bride or a friend of the groom’s family, then a response by the groom’s father, and finally a reading of telegrams (emails etc from people who could not attend). 
Think about it – that’s a lot of toasting! Even the ‘short and sweet’ yet traditional version runs like this: host welcomes and toasts bride and groom, groom responds and toasts bridesmaids, best man responds on behalf of bridal party and reads any messages. Notice a pattern? The bride doesn’t get to speak for herself at any point in most traditional toasts – a perfect reason to break the rules! The bride has usually worked hard to plan and even pay for the wedding, so don’t be afraid to throw traditional toasts out the window. Structure things the way you want them to be done – maybe a speech from both sets of parents, from the best man, the maid of honour, and then the couple? If someone special to you has a real problem with public speaking, there’s no need to force them and make everyone uncomfortable – be flexible, be sensitive, and have no regrets! 

8. Even Bridal Party Sizes
While we’re talking about rules to break, why not tackle what is for many people the big one: having even numbers of bridesmaids and groomsmen. Some couples obsess over this issue and have to come up with inconvenient solutions such as not including a very special person in their bridal party, or including someone who shouldn’t really be there. There’s no need to have even numbers on both sides – in fact there are plenty of awesome pictures of weddings on the web with uneven bridal parties that are inspirational! A good photographer will have strategies in place for photographing uneven numbers of bridesmaids and groomsmen, and there’s no reason you can’t have a single bridesmaid (maybe the maid of honour) walk down the aisle on her own, or two bridesmaids together, etc. Why not consider some creative solutions before you force yourself to make a decision you regret simply because of symmetry? 

9. Matching Dresses, Matching Genders
While we’re on bridal parties, why not reconsider a few traditions that may not have special meaning to you – why follow traditions just for the sake of it? If you have bridesmaids of different shapes and colouring, there’s a good chance they won’t all suit the same dress. In fact, they may not even like the same dress, or have the cash to spend on it! Mismatched bridesmaid dresses are a big hit these days – many brides give their gals a swatch or colour and tell them to run wild and pick their own! This is a great no-pressure option for some bridesmaids who may not be able to afford an expensive dress for one day but who you still want by your side as you tie the knot. But hang on, what if your bestie isn’t even the same gender as yourself, or perhaps you have a girlfriend who never even wears dresses? If uneven and mismatched bridal parties are fine, then why restrict yourself to girls on one side and guys on the other? “Bridesmen” and “Groomsgirls” are growing in popularity, as couples realise that rather than force their personalities into the wedding mould, they can change and shape their wedding days to suit themselves! Chances are that your friends and family, no matter how conservative, will appreciate your efforts at including those who are special to you, no matter what, and if they do have a problem with it – it’s your wedding! 

10. Your wedding day is not about you

This sounds like an odd tradition, but it’s more of a state of mind – traditionally, the wedding day was a celebration for families. The day that two families were joined together (often with social or financial motivations) was celebrated more than the union between two people. These days, we marry for love, and brides and grooms are adults who often have lived together for years before tying the knot. It’s taken a while for our thinking to catch up to this new way of life, and we are left with a bunch of traditions that we don’t necessarily understand or care for. Perhaps the most important way you can break even one traditional rule at your wedding, is to shift your thinking so that you have your wedding your way. If you’ve always dreamed of a matching bridal party and a big white wedding cake, then by all means, go for it! If you feel uneasy about one or two parts of the traditional wedding celebration, then consider whether you’d be better off without – you may be surprised at how people react! If you truly believe in the decisions you’re making, then your close friends and family should embrace them and help to celebrate the love between you and your future spouse.