Budgets may have shrunk for nuptuals but at least the wedding cakes are still standing tall.
According to overseas trends, wedding cakes are reaching skyscraper territory with 5 to 7 tiers proving to be the most popular instead of the traditional three.
But for brides on a budget, I recommend creating a smaller but more elaborately decorated cake for display and photography and have your caterers supply and cut up a slab cake that has just plain icing or fondant.
Regardless of the budget, wedding cakes are turning into works of art that not only show off the sugar crafter’s skills but also the taste and personality of the couple and that means using swathes of colour, not only in the decorating but also in the icing itself.
Tradition dictated that the top tier of the wedding cake was saved to serve at the christening of the couple’s first child, but since that rarely happens these days, couples are going back to wedding toppers as a keepsake of their wedding day and there are some quite stylish, as well as quite unusual types to choose from.
Regardless of your choice, do remember that your baker does need adequate time to build and prepare your masterpiece creation, so don’t leave the decision until the last minute. If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, then give your baker at least three months notice.
It has been a little while between updates, so a thousand apologies.
The team at House Of Distinction is in preparation for a big 2010 wedding season.
We’re also hitting the airwaves shortly with a radio campaign on Hot Tomato starting this coming week, so to be sure to listen out for us.
House Of Distinction was also in the Gold Coast Bulletin on Saturday with a fun little story about Groomzillas (yes, I know who you are, but we love you any way). So delighted by the story, a reporter from Today Tonight phoned, so who knows, House of Distinction might be on a television screen near you soon.
One of the lovely things about many wedding preparations is the desire by many brides to return to traditional etiquette.
While many might consider some social graces to be absurdly quaint, the fact of the matter is customs such as sending an RSVP and thank you cards means so much more than simply spending money on a piece of card and postage. Good manners acknowledges other people.
It shows that you respect and value the other person.
How awful it is to have your hospitality taken advantage of by someone who won’t make their intentions known with respect to planning your wedding. Equally poor form is the bride who does not acknowledge the time her guests have spent selecting a gift to mark her special day.
The rules of etiquette are designed to ensure that everyone could go about their business knowing they were not causing unintentional offense.
I am bemused to read the excuses many people make for not observing society niceties, yet the very same people yearn for the same consideration to be shown themselves.
It would be lovely to see an emphasis placed on good manners again, whether it be teaching young children to say please and thank you, to teen boys holding open doors and having young ladies acknowledge the courtesy.
If you are considering a return to good form, I would encourage you to make it a lifetime habit. From the book Traditional Weddings by Denise Greig:
A thoughtful, prompt note of thanks should be written for each wedding gift received. If possible, thank you notes should be sent before you set off on your honeymoon. Gifts that arrive near or after the wedding day should be acknowledged within a month after your honeymoon. Writing thank yous as soon as you receive the gifts make it easier for the wording to be enthusiastic and spontaneous. It will also help keep the task manageable.
Either use a notebook or set up a computer spreadsheet to make a note of gifts received.
I particularly like the idea of the spreadsheet because it can also be used to keep the list of invitees, RSVPs as well as assist with seating arrangements.
However, thank you notes should never be type written. Handwritten notes should thanks the sender for the named gift – even gifts you intend to return – and always include a personal message.
According to the latest trends from the United States, brides looking to make an impact are including a splash of colour in their wedding gown.
At one time, unless a bride decided to buck convention altogether, the only obvious bit of colour to be seen on a bridal gown was either silver or gold embroidery, pearlescent sequins or crystal beading.
Now a splash of colour on the gown – particularly a bold hue is becoming more popular.
Above is a showcase of some of the gowns that have caught our eye at House Of Distinction.
An unfortunate incident in Sydney highlights the importance of brides being especially vigilant regarding their wedding suppliers:
…as many as 40 Sydney brides dudded by the George St store Millani Bridal Boutique, now in voluntary administration, The Sunday Telegraph reports.
Brides, bridegrooms and their distressed families who attended a creditors meeting on Thursday were told not to expect to see their money or the dresses they had ordered.
What makes the story even more dismaying is the allegation that the business owner was still taking orders up until a couple of weeks of administrators moving in on the company.
While it is natural for brides to be to feel excited by their upcoming nuptuals and feel flattered by the attention afforded them by sales staff, it can sometimes come at the expense of being consumer savvy.
This again points to another advantage of using a wedding planner to co-ordinate the details of your wedding.
An experienced wedding planner stays in touch with industry and is quick to hear if a particular supplier is having difficulties. They will also know and be able to recommend the most reliable suppliers that will leave planning your big day a stress-free affair.
What could be more romantic than being married in a gorgeous century old stone church in the English countryside?
How about getting married in a correct-to-the-very-last-detail replica of said English country church located on the 21st and 22nd floors of a hotel in Osaka.
At least the weather will always be fine – something which cannot be guaranteed for the original!
If every bride likes to consider herself to be a princess or a supermodel for the day, then she must also be prepared for the flurry of amateur paparazzi.
While it is nice to have lots of photographs from family and friends to supplement the official wedding album, it can be rather dismaying to have spent a small fortune on hiring a first rate photographer to capture the event only to have the professional photographs ruined by the cadre of clickers leaping in front of the lens.
This is not to mention what I consider to be poor manners. If one is a guest, invited to witness the wedding of two of ones nearest and dearest, then spending the entire service like a coiled jack-in-a-box ready to leap up any second and block the view of other guests is not really giving the occasion the gravity and solemnity it deserves.
If a bride and groom are concerned that their vows might be subject to the seizure-inducing strobe of multiple flashes from massed cameras, then they would do well to ask their ushers or their wedding planner to brief the guests before the arrival of the bride that only the professional photographer will take shots during the service and that anyone with a camera will be welcome to take their own afterwards.
Digital photography makes this very easy, unlike the days of film where every shot had to be planned with military precision. One wedding I recall many years ago had some lovely photos taken and when the bride and groom returned from their honeymoon to view the album they were delighted until they noticed one thing – of the many dozens of photographs taken on the day, there was not one of the bride and groom alone.
Four weeks after the wedding the bride and groom devoted half a day getting ready and returning to the church to take what arguably should have been the most important photograph of all.
Still, that was minor compared to what happened to a British couple on their big day, the wedding photographer they selected and paid £1,450 to, effectively ‘ruined’ their day:
Marc and Sylvia Day were presented with a disc full of pictures from the big day with heads chopped off, inattentive guests and random close-ups of vehicles.
The cutting of the cake was missed and of the 400 images they were sent, only 22 met with their approval…
…In a further insult to the occasion, Gareth Bowers, of Fresh Images photography, misspelled their names on thank you cards, bearing a variety of the pictures, which read: “Thank you Slyvia and Mark”.
Not surprisingly, the judge awarded in their favour.
House of Distinction only uses photographers that we can wholeheartedly recommend from our experience and research. However, if a bride wishes to make the selection on her own, our advice is to ask for contact details for at least three brides and ask them about their experience.
We also recommend that brides supply a shot list the photographer in the weeks leading up to the event and, if she is very prescriptive even including an exercise book of bridal photographs sourced from the Internet or from magazines to illustrate the type of image she would like.
A demographic shift has seen the dominance of the non-church, non-religious wedding with a report today noting that 63% of all couples in Victoria opting for a civil celebrant rather than a minister of religion.
Janine Kupfer, 38, married her second husband Marcus at the Spring St landmark on Valentine’s Day, with 29 other couples.
“I didn’t want all the fuss, that’s why I didn’t want the church to do it,” she said.
“I am not religious and it would be hypocritical to get married in a church when I have never been.”
Fair comment, and I’ve attended many lovely weddings where there is no mention of religion but it brings to mind an interesting point hinted at by Relationships Australia (Victoria) spokeswoman Ingrid Sturmey.
“The idea of a god blessing their relationship isn’t relevant to them,” she said.
“People are saying ‘it is up to us, we are committing to each other and not to God’.”
However one advantage that couples married by religious ministers have is their insistence on pre-marriage counselling – a protocol often missed by those who decide on a secular ceremony.
In 2006 the Journal of Family Psychology published a study by research psychologist Scott Stanley who surveyed 3000 couples and found:
… couples who participated in pre-marital counseling were, on average, 31% less likely to divorce in any given year of their marriage than couples who did not benefit from this counseling…
…They were also more likely than un-counseled couples to report higher marital satisfaction, lower marital conflict and greater levels of commitment.
So if you decide to have a non-religious ceremony, do consider attending some pre-marriage courses or counselling.
Don’t forget – a wedding lasts for just one day but your marriage should last a life time.
Even celebrities have wedding challenges:
Madonna – the court case over unauthorised use of her wedding photographs lasted longer than her marriage to Guy Ritchie.
Mark Philippoussis – the one-time tennis champ is hoping to ace some cash by selling the rights to his wedding to celebrity magazines.
Sponge Bob Square Pants – the children’s cartoon favourite is getting married. Yes, really.
Ronn Moss – marries for the second time; has had plenty of experience on The Bold And The Beautiful day time soap.
Lara Bingle and Michael Clarke – are in no hurry to set a wedding date.
Earlier this week we discussed vexed question of whether to allow children at a wedding.
Today we’ll discuss an issue that is much more fraught with challenges that could very well ruin a bride’s special day – responsibility for the behaviour of children at a wedding reception.
It would be easy to simply say that the parents are responsible for the behaviour and this is indeed true but there will be times when children are out of the watchful eyes of their parents, particularly if there are separate children’s activities during the reception when the adults are seated the associated formality and for a meal.
At this point, an adult associated with the wedding party usually supervises the children’s activities.
So if, as former US First Lady and current Secretary of State says, it takes a village to raise a child, then does the adult attendant have a responsibility to discipline a child not their own if that child is unruly or doing something that potentially endangers themselves and others?
Once the answer would be a simple, unambiguous yes. The supervising adult would have the child’s best interests at heart and the parent would understand this and stand by the other adult’s judgement.
Today the answer is a lot less clear cut.
Psychologists acknowledge that once people could be guaranteed of sharing the same set of social values and general discipline styles. Today the ‘smack or not to smack’ issue is frequently debated.
Even simply speaking to a child who is not behaving well can lead to angry words between parents.
All of which puts an additional burden on the bride who considers herself not only the guest of honour but also the host which obliges her to try to make peace between the participants.
At House of Distinction we recommend that the role of assisting with the management of children at a wedding reception should fall to the wedding planner. As a third party, their involvement is generally less fraught with the emotional issues of whether third cousin Dan really ought to have yelled at little Maddisyn, especially after he’s had a drink or two.
Experienced wedding planners also know how to speak to people of various personality types with tact and discretion – a skill absolutely essential for successfully managing all the elements that make up a wedding day.
So what do the experts believe ought to be done in the area of disciplining other people’s children?
According to Education.com:
As you would with your own child, first make sure the child is not acting out for a reason that can be easily fixed, such as hunger or sleepiness.
Don’t get caught up in the little things. You’re not in charge of other children’s entire etiquette education, so don’t make a big deal if they forget to say thank you one time, eat in a sloppy manner, or act a little bit more rambunctiously than your children normally do. You will be serving as a good role model for your child when it comes to being tolerant of a range of behavior in others.
Even if you are really having trouble with a child, refrain from threats of punishment, especially those that you cannot follow through on. Instead, tell the child that you really want him to have a good afternoon, and ask if you need to call his parents to see if they have any ideas about how to help him make better choices about his behavior.
Is it worth the bother at a wedding or any other occasion? The answer is, of course, yes:
Creating and perpetuating a culture that deprives kids of constructive, useful feedback from authority figures other than their doting mothers and fathers robs them of opportunities to learn to interact positively with other adults. What we have to remember is that child rearing, though wonderfully rewarding, is also difficult and challenging. None of us has the foolproof formula. Admitting this and accepting the aid — and watchful eyes — of other parents can help us all breathe a collective sigh of relief. And that’s not all we gain.