Thursday, 29 March 2012

Chocolate Wedding Favors with a Difference

Wedding favours can be tricky to choose – you want something affordable, yet personal, something that your guests will appreciate that isn’t just another piece of clutter they’ll have to find room for. Chocolate ticks most of those boxes, but isn’t always very personal.

Now Chocomize have come up with these fun custom chocolate bars – you choose your own base chocolate and own combination of toppings. There are over 100 to choose from - from goji berries to edible gold leaf. Gold leaf has got to be the ultimate for decorating a wedding chocolate bar and these crystallized violets are also pretty cute...

There is a special section dedicated to wedding chocolate bars, for which you get a bulk discount... even better! You can even add an edible image to the actual chocolate bar itself with your wedding motif, names and date or a picture. Then of course the box can be personalized with a photo, special wedding design or a personal message to your guests.

If a chocolate bar doesn’t feel sophisticated enough for you check out the artisan chocolatiers in your area – perhaps a little personalized gold box containing two perfect heart truffles would be just right for you. Here are some ideas for chocolate wedding favours in South Africa, and artisan chocolates in the UK.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Wedding Caterers – Making Buffets Work

© Aleksey Kondratyuk |
More and more brides are moving away from the traditional sit-down wedding lunch or dinner and towards a more informal buffet meal. Some people see buffets as a cheap option but that often isn’t the case at all. Think gourmet dishes, beautifully presented, sushi, a wide variety of dishes to satisfy various dietary requirements, and you’ll see that a buffet can be as glamorous as you like... and as expensive as the dishes you choose!

One complaint about buffets at weddings is that guests might have to stand in line for ages waiting to serve themselves and older guests can find that tiring. So here are some suggestions on how to make buffets work in a wedding setting, so that everything runs smoothly.

1. Have serving staff to dish up
If you are offering hot dishes of various sorts, things work much better when your caterers serve the food, even at a buffet. They can  make sure that the plated presentation looks good, control portion sizes and make sure that the serving platters don’t look as if they have been ravaged by starving hoards.

2. Consider separate tables offering different foods
If you have guests with varied dietary requirements it can work well to have different food stations: for example a vegan table, a vegetarian table and a meat dishes table. Sign post them clearly and guests can help themselves without having to examine each dish closely.

3. Have serving staff usher one or two tables to the buffet at a time
The queues are often what put people off buffets, but these can easily be managed. Apooint a member of serving staff or even the MC to let each table know when it is their turn to serve themselves at the buffet. Things go much more smoothly when it is not crowded.

4. Have a platter of starters already at the tables
If you have large numbers of guests, it can take a while for everyone to get served. Those at teh last tables to get to the food may well be starving and irritable, especially if the drink is flowing freely. It can save the day if each table has a platter of starters at the table to nibble while they wait their turn at the buffet.

There are many other ways to make sure that the buffet is a success and your wedding caterers may well have their own suggestions to avoid it turning into a bun-fight.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Far Flung Weddings

Having your wedding abroad in some beautiful exotic location could be one of your dreams. But will it work for you?

There are several practical questions that may throw cold water over this lovely dream, but if the answer to most of them is ‘Yes’ then it could well work out well for you.

Do you want a small intimate wedding?
Flying a hundred guests out to a beautiful and remote tropical island for your wedding is only going to work if you are seriously loaded and have your own private jet or helicopter. The logistics of getting a number of guests to the right place at the right time is far easier if you are only inviting a handful of your closest family and friends.

Can your family and friends afford the time and money to travel?

It’s a lovely idea to invite friends and family to a wedding in a beautiful far-off place, and even lovelier if they can turn it into a well-deserved holiday. But if your parents or best friends can’t afford the tickets or have a hectic work schedule and can’t get time off, you might find several important people missing from your special celebration.

Are your family and friends already living in different places around the world?
If you have a brother in Australia, a sister in the US, friends in South Africa and parents in the UK it could be a great idea to pick a destination somewhere in the world that they can all fly to fairly easily. Meeting up for a family reunion and wedding in Bali could actually become a practical and economical solution rather than an extravagant gesture.

Are you happy for your wedding to be a simple affair without all the traditional extras?
Organising a wedding at home is complex enough, but organising a wedding long distance when you will only be arriving at the destination and meeting your suppliers  a few days before is much easier when you keep things as simple as possible. Concentrate on a simple ceremony, good food and wine and a beautiful location. Forget about wedding favours, elaborate decor and all the frills and furbelows.

So now go ahead and plan your wedding abroad,  but make sure you give everyone plenty of notice to book time off work, organise tickets and so on.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

What To Ask Potential Wedding Planners

© Lars Christensen |
 Are you dreaming of a big wedding, something special, individual, stylish and distinctive? You are probably going to need a professional wedding planner to make your dreams come true and it’s best to choose your wedding planner at the very beginning of the planning process... yes before you’ve even set the date! This way she (or he, but wedding planners do have a tendency to be she’s!) can help you form your own style and theme for every detail and give you the very best value for money.

While it may seem a little daunting to be entrusting everything to a stranger, bear in mind that she won’t be a stranger for long. By the wedding day itself, she’ll feel more like a best friend. So choosing a wedding planner is an important first step in a vital relationship. While it is important to choose someone that you click with, it is also essential to know that the wedding planner you choose is experienced and professional. You also need to establish the business nitty gritty right from the start, so that you can relax and enjoy the process.

Here is a great list of questions to ask when interviewing potential wedding planners. It covers all the obvious questions as well as many not so obvious. It should put you well on the road to choosing the right wedding planner for you.

To find wedding planners in your area, ask friends who married recently for referrals, check out your local wedding directory online, look at weddings featured on some of the best wedding blogs. In South Africa check out the listings on SAWeddings for a selection of wedding planners, wedding coordinators and events organisers. Make a shortlist of those that you think suit your style and get interviewing!

Friday, 12 August 2011

What is ‘Day Of’ Wedding Planning?

© Lanae Christenson | 

When you hear the phrase ‘day of’ wedding planning or wedding coordination, all it means is booking a professional for the day of your wedding to coordinate  everything and make sure it runs smoothly.

In this case you will have done all the planning, choosing and booking of the suppliers for the wedding. You will have negotiated contracts and put the whole thing together. But on the big day you want to be able to relax and forget about the details, so you hand over to a wedding planner just for the day itself.

This is a good option if you have a limited budget, know exactly what you want and are confident that you will have enough time and organizational skills to do the planning yourself. You can’t expect the day of wedding planner to magically fill in gaping holes in your arrangements or to transform mediocre caterers into gastronomic wonders, so you have to be sure of putting a strong team together and thinking of everything before you hand over.

Usually you will meet with your wedding coordinator about a month before the wedding and go through all the arrangements. You will hand over all the details, including contact numbers of all the suppliers and service providers. During this meeting you will also be able to make sure that nothing has been overlooked and then make any last minute arrangements necessary.

Your wedding planner will then coordinate everything on the day, make sure that things go smoothly, field any emergencies and generally oversee things, so that you can relax and let go of the planning role.

If you are looking for wedding planners in South Africa who offer this service, check out the directory at SA Weddings as a starting point.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Co-ordinating the wedding flowers – the practical planning

So you’ve chosen your wedding flowers, matched the colours exactly to your overall scheme, planned bouquets and buttonholes as well as the table centrepieces and church arrangements. Can you cross wedding flowers off your to do list?

Well there are still as few practical considerations to plan:

You florist will need access to the ceremony and reception venues early in the day to install all the flower arrangements you have discussed. You will need to check with both venues whether there will be any other events booked in before your wedding. What time will your florist be able to have access. Where will the keys be available from. Make sure that the florist has contact numbers for both venues, so he or she can double check arrangements before ht day. This will save you any last minute hassles.

What time on the day will you need your bouquets and buttonholes delivered? Will there be a photography shoot before the ceremony? In which case you will need them early enough for that. Don’t ask for them too early however, especially in summer. As soon as they are sitting around exposed to heat and sunlight they are in danger of wilting, so guesstimate the timing right, in consultation with your florist.

And one last thing: you may well have the bouquets sitting in cool water to keep them fresh before the ceremony. Remember to dry the stems thoroughly before they are handed out to the bridesmaids and the bride. The last thing you want is for dresses to have water drip marks all down them just before you walk down the aisle!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Tossing the Bouquet - Wedding Flowers Planning

Traditional has it that the bride tosses her bouquet before the end of the wedding and the girl who catches it will be the next to marry. Whether or not you believe in the old superstitions, it’s a fun thing to do making for great photos too, as all your girlfriends leap to be the ones to grab the bouquet.

Maybe though you’ve got plans for preserving your bouquet, as a permanent memento? Or perhaps you just want to enjoy it a little longer without it getting thrown and spoilt? Very often, if you order a grand and complex bouquet your florist will be happy to make a smaller and simpler tossing bouquet at a small extra charge, using the same types of flowers, just fewer in number and with less of the expensive blooms and more fillers. THen you can happily toss this one into the crowd and hang on to your special bridal bouquet.

Another idea would be to have a few extra loose blooms ordered with the bouquet and throw out several single stem roses for example so that all your girlfriends get the chance to catch one. It may not be as traditional, but why not create some new modern traditions!