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Do-it-yourself... or get your family and friends to help? Consider making your own veil (headband + tulle), making the ring pillow, arranging the flowers (maybe for the table centre pieces if not your bouquet), baking the cake, writing out the invitations or design them yourself using the computer, or make your own bomboniere bags.

Borrow - who has something you can borrow? cars? dress/es? venue? holiday home.. etc.

Wedding Dress. Consider getting a simple gown that can be dyed after the wedding and used as a cocktail/evening dress. Do you have to have a white dress? Consider having a stunning silver, black, pale blue or burgundy dress... or some other colour.. this can quickly become a cocktail/evening dress after the wedding. Also, some shoe repairers can cover/dye shoes to match your dress or, after your wedding, change the colour to something you're more likely to wear again.

Wedding Cake. The cake is remembered.. and in the wedding photos.. so consider having an extra tier or 2 of decorated foam.. foam is much cheaper than cake.. and no one will know once it is decorated up. Also consider having the cake as dessert at the reception - but check the price the reception venue will charge to cut and serve your cake. Also check when the reception venue will cut up your cake. Some will do it during the day and not during the reception - this might impact on any photos you wish to have with the cake.

Flowers can be expensive. Consider having a garden wedding, or have the flower girls blow bubbles during the ceremony. Another idea is to use potted flowers and put them down the aisle or use them as table centre pieces - you can either give these away as thankyou gifts, or take them home to plant in your garden. Alternatively, have a night/evening wedding lit by candles. Enquire as to whether or not there will be other weddings at your chosen venue on the same day.. you might be able to share the cost of flowers. Also enquire as to whether or not you can take your flowers from the ceremony venue to the reception venue - some ceremony venues will not allow you to remove your flowers.

At the Reception. Consider having canapés and cocktails instead of a sit down meal. Or, have the reception catered for by friends and family in lieu of gifts. On a similar line, consider having the guests pay for their meals instead of buying gifts - especially useful if you already have a fully stocked home!

Do you have to have a Saturday Wedding?Compare the costs of a Saturday wedding with one on Friday night or Sunday? Also compare the costs of a Wedding during Winter with one in Spring, Summer & Autumn.

Colour Scheme - submitted by Sarah

One of the first things to be done of course is to choose the theme or colour scheme for the wedding. My fiancée happens to be particularly conservative in this area whereas I like a bit of colour - I wasn't looking forward to choosing a colour scheme - I thought it would take a lot of negotiating. I mentioned to my fiancée that perhaps we needed to go to a fabric store and look at all the colours to choose a colour scheme we both liked. Immediate reaction from him was a glazing over of the eyes - I'm sure that's exactly what he wanted to do - spend hours in a fabric store looking at 3000 shades of blue, green, red etc etc.

In a moment of clarity I decided instead to nip down to the local hardware store instead and grabbed all the latest interior paint colour brochures. Perfect if you are looking for a modern feel to the wedding and the brochures are already organised in themes including corresponding contrasting and highlighting colours.

When I got home it took us less than 5 minutes to choose the perfect colour scheme. AND he loves it too - as soon as he saw the paint charts he became instantly involved - no glazed eyes!

Also, we now have paint cards in our colour that we can hand out to everyone from florists to cake decorators to the mother of the bride so that they are able to match everything they need exactly to the colour that we want.

MUCH more fun than sorting through reams of coloured fabric at a fabric store.

Wedding Dress

Before you purchase your dress, take it outside and make sure that it looks as fantastic outside as it does inside with the soft lights of the shop. 

Wedding Shoes - some shoe repairers can cover/dye shoes to match your dress or, after your wedding, change the colour to something you're more likely to wear again. Make sure they are comfortable. Wear them around the house before your wedding day to help reduce the likelihood of blisters or sore feet.

Bridesmaids - not all bridesmaids are the same shape and size. Consider buying matching material and having them each choose their own pattern to have made. This way they can choose something that is flattering and still look coordinated. Another option would be to set a style guide for your bridesmaids - ie long, black, spaghetti straps, and then coordinate with a coloured bow or neck scarf.


If using old or vintage cars - check the hinges of the doors for grease or oil. This does not look good on your new gown! Also, check that there is a covering over the wheels at the back, road dirt also is not a good look on your lovely gown.

Always handy to have a small container of talcum powder. Grease on bridesmaids, brides or flower girls, is best dealt with by sprinkling the talc on the spot, and leaving it there to absorb the grease and brush off a little later.

The Ceremony

Will you be escorted down the aisle by your Father? If not, consider being escorted by your Mother or meeting your groom half way.

Decoration - consider having potted plants down the aisle.. you could use these later in your garden.


If your photos are going to be in a garden, be sure to put the Aeroguard and the Fly Spray in the boot of the car. Midges, small flies mosquitoes, all LOVE getting between the layers of tulle and are almost impossible to get them all out.

Always remember to have an esky with icy cold water and cups, and something very basic like cheese or vegemite sandwiches! Most of the wedding party have had such a busy day, that they have not stopped to have anything to eat. If you start straight onto the champagne without something substantial, by the time the photos are finished and you are on your way to the reception, your grand entrance is really spoiled if you are all tiddly!

The Reception

The Menu - when selecting your menu try to include a vegetarian option - or ask the caterer if they will have an alternative available upon request. For the Bride, carefully consider what you will eat - red tomato sauce from a pasta dish is not going to look nice as little red spots down the front of your dress.

Disposable Cameras -

processing the film from disposable cameras can be expensive and you can end up with a lot of useless photographs. Consider nominating some guests to take photographs during time frames eg from 8 - 9pm. These guests can then have a great time documenting their hour of your wedding.

Decoration - consider having potted plants as table centre pieces.. you could use these later in your garden.

Involve your Parents - have the band/DJ play your parent's song and invite them to dance.

Bomboniere - what to give? should you give anything? Bomboniere need not be expensive. Consider giving your cake, candles, sugared almonds, or flavoured coffee spoons.


When should I select them? It depends on how well you know the bridesmaids. It can be less stressful to select your maids closer to your wedding date eg 3 months before. This minimises the chances that one of them would become heavily pregnant by the time your wedding comes around and unable to fulfill her duties. If you have a falling out with one of your friends, then it's easier to not select them as a bridesmaid rather than to 'un-select' them. Lastly, the chances of major weight change and dresses not fitting can be minimised.

How to get great bridesmaids.

When you do ask your friends to be bridesmaids, let them know what you expect from them. Ie, do you expect them to accompany you to bridal expos, reception venues on your shortlist, wedding dress shopping, etc? Bridesmaids who work weekends, are casually employed, don't drive, or have children may not be able to commit to this.

It is also a good idea to let them know what you expect them to pay for. That way, if they don't have $600 to spend on a new dress, shoes, hair & makeup they can bow-out gracefully.

Who pays for what?

It is not unusual to have your bridesmaids pay for their own dress, and in most cases their shoes too. It is open to negotiation as to whether or not the bridesmaids will pay for their own hair and makeup. In most cases they will do their own makeup.

Bridesmaids do not generally pay for their jewellery. They either wear their own or it is a gift from the bride. Keep in mind the income of your maids when determining how much you want them to pay for.

How much should I expect them to spend? How about you ask them (separately) how much they think is reasonable to spend. Then, if you think that it's not quite enough you can suggest that in lieu of a gift, would it be possible for them to contribute a little more?

Determine if your dresses will be made or purchased off the rack. Keep in mind that you should be able to find great dresses from around $100 off the rack, and will probably spend $300+ having them made.

How can I get dresses they will like?

If you're having more than one bridesmaid, then expect it to be near impossible for all of them to absolutely love the style and colour if their dresses are exactly the same. Consider selecting some material and sending them off to get a dress made in a style that suits them. They shouldn't feel too annoyed then about spending their money as they get a dress they like, feel great in and are likely to wear again.

You could specify that the skirt should be below the knee, ankle length, straight, a-line - whatever, but they can choose the top ie strapless, one strap, spaghetti strap, square neck, round neck, etc. Some compromise could save trauma later on.

If you want uniformed style, then collect a few pictures and compile a shortlist. Then discuss the options with your bridesmaids. If they are involved in the consultation period as to how you'd like them to spend their money then there is likely to be less margin for tears as they helped pick out the style!

When selecting the colour be sensitive that in order for your bridesmaids to feel Ok about it all, they'll probably be wanting the colour to not date and be something they could wear again. So, reds, blues, etc would be fine. If you're a lover of burnt orange or lime green, then how about having a shoulder wrap in this colour? Or, use these colours in their bouquets & choose a dress colour that will accentuate the vividness of the flowers.

Sugared Almonds

General Significance: the almond has a bitter taste and the sugar coating is sweet representing the bitterness and sweetness of life. So, the sugared coating is added to ensure that the newly weds life is more sweet than bitter.

Also, whether it is 5 or 7 almonds, the significance of the odd number is that it is indivisible and so the newly weds should share everything and remain undivided.

Tradition also holds that if an unmarried woman puts the sugared almonds under her pillow she'll dream of her future husband.

Italians use 5 sugared almonds symbolising health, wealth, happiness, fertility & longevity. The Greeks add two more.

I hope you enjoyed this article, some of it I agree with, some I dont but in the end create a wedding that is right for you.

Jeff Hindmarsh Marriage Celebrant DJ and MC











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