Original Artisan Chocolate For Wedding Favours

Chocolate heartChocolate is a girl’s best friend especially when we’re talking weddings. So why not turn to chocolate to solve your wedding favour dilemma. Everyone loves chocolate and with a little research and creativity you can source chocolate wedding favours that are unique to you.

House of Chocolate moulded barHow about having special small chocolate bars personalised with your names actually moulded into the chocolate itself? Or chocolate hearts moulded with the date and your own design? This is a service offered by House of Chocolates which lends itself to endless flights of fancy.

Or commission some personalised Belgian chocolates from Moniki in Tulbagh.

Chocolate trufflePick from the mouthwatering selection of hand-made truffles and pralines at Huguenot fine chocolates in Franschhoek. Click on the link to see their whole selection in dark, milk or white chocolate and talk to them about personalised wrappings for your wedding favours.

Honest chocolate organic bonbons

Or try Honest Chocolate for their raw organic chocolates made from pure cocoa from Ecuador and free of dairy, artificial sweeteners and all that stuff. Just pure intense, dark chocolaty goodness.

One thing is for sure – you have a whole lot of tasting to do, to choose exactly the right chocolates for your wedding….another thing on the to do list, sigh!

Hot Weather Weddings – Essential Precautions

Summer weddings

With temperatures heading towards 40C in Cape Town, spare a thought for all those who planned a summer wedding this week. While beach weddings and sunshine go together, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. It’s hard to keep cool and fresh when just taking a few steps in your beautifully draped wedding dress and veil brings you out in a sweat. And what about your guests, sitting about in blazing sunshine waiting for the bride to arrive, risking sunburn and dehydration.

Planning your summer wedding during the cooler months can make it easy to overlook some simple ways of dealing with excessive heat. Sure you planned to have balmy summer weather, with a gentle cooling breeze, but take some simple precautions, just in case balmy escalates into heatwave.

Make sure the venue for both ceremony and reception has plenty of shade available. If not, hire an open sided marquee, a set of gazebos or even sets of wide beach umbrellas, to create shade wherever it is needed on the day. Building an arbour to shade the bridal couple during the ceremony itself not only looks wonderful in the wedding photos, but also makes sure the bride won’t faint from heat in the build up to her “I do”.

Talk to your venue about providing misters in strategic areas around the outdoor space. It’s amazing how much difference the fine spray of droplets makes to everyone’s sense of well-bring on a hot day. If your venue can’t provide them, talk to an equipment hire company – they are relatively inexpensive and can make a huge difference. If the weather turns out to be mild you don’t have to use them, but having them on stand-by will save the day if it turns out to be a scorcher.

Cold drinks
Having the champagne on ice goes without saying at a wedding, but what about water. Make sure your caterer or bar supplier is instructed to keep generous amount of bottled water on ice. Perhaps have jugs of iced water with slices of lime on hand for guests to help themselves, even before the ceremony while they are waiting for the bride to arrive.

Turn your wedding programs into fans, so that your guests can cool themselves gently in style. But also check with your venue whether they have  big standing fans available – if not book some from an equipment hire company – another way to save the day when it really is hot.

Depending on your venue, think about providing a paddling pool for kids to cool off. Let parents know to bring towels and a change of clothing if there are swimming opportunities for kids.

Photo by © Imagepointphoto | Dreamstime.com

DIY Wedding Photography

SLR camera for wedding photographyIs it possible to DIY your wedding photography? Well obviously the bride and groom can’t really take their own wedding photographs, but what about if you have a keen photographer in the family?

The first thing you have to ask yourself is how high are your expectations of your wedding photographs?

If you want gorgeous glossy pics of yourself looking glamorous, in perfect lighting conditions and a coffee table book set of pictures from the day, then go for a professional wedding photographer. It’s too much to ask of even the best amateur to come up with a perfect set of pictures. Wedding photography is an art that the professionals have spent years perfecting.

If however you are on a tight budget and are happy to get a nice set of pictures with perhaps a few lucky stunning shots among them, then do go the DIY route. There are several approaches you can take:

1. Ask several guests who you know have good cameras and know how to use them to act as the official wedding photographers. Appoint one person the photographer in chief and ask him or her to assign different positions to each of the other photographers. That way you’ll get lots of different angles of the ceremony and reception, and no one person is under too much pressure. You should have a good selection of photos to choose from. One person could have a long lens and concentrate on getting close ups, another wide-angle to get overall impressions of the whole scene and so on.

2. Do the above in a less formal manner – just ask everyone who attended your wedding to send you their best photos and put together a selection for your album.

3. If a member of the family is keen to take on the role of photographer and you like their photography, then make them the official photographer. If wedding photography is a new field for them, consider offering to send them on a specialist photography course to learn some of the tricks of the trade. A few hours of a one-on-one workshop with a professional photographer, should give them more confidence in the difficult parts of wedding photography, such as managing the group photos and shooting in low light conditions in the church or wedding venue. You can still request photos from the other guests to fill in the reportage shots of the day.

If you do decide to look into photography courses, choose one run by a professional photographer who has experience of wedding photography. It is quite a specific form of photography and it’s always best to learn from someone who has been there and doe that already!

Wedding Hair – Choosing Your Stylist

Bridal hair with veilDeciding on a hair-style and make-up for your wedding is almost as complex a task as choosing your wedding dress. Should you have an elegant up-do, romantic flowing waves or curls, an intricate effect with ribbons or flowers braised into your hair? Your final decision will be based on your dress. Some dresses demand a sleek smooth up-do, while others suit a carefully orchestrated cascade of curls.

You should try out various styles with your hairstylist well before the wedding until you get exactly the look you are after. You may like to book trial appointments with a few different hairstylists to find one whose vision matches yours. Have photos taken after each session to help you decide which look you prefer.

If you have already chosen your hair and make-up stylist it’s a good idea to book her for your engagement photo shoot too, so that you have a chance to get to know her and she can also get a better feel of your natural style. Obviously an engagement shoot won’t require such elaborate styling as your wedding day, usually having a natural feel to it, but it does give an extra opportunity to discuss ideas, colours and styles, and the better you know your stylist the more comfortable you’ll feel with her on the big day.

Look out for hair and make-up stylists offering their services free for a pre-wedding trial or photo shoot – you could get lucky as there are some good offers around at the moment, but before you leap at any special offers, do check out their portfolio first and make sure that you are on the same page when it comes to styling preferences.

Check out SAWeddings for hair and make-up stylists in South Africa.

DIY wedding confetti idea

DIY wedding confettiI love this idea for DIY confetti. The idea is to use a heart shape craft punch and recycle all the cut offs and spare paper from your wedding decor into confetti. It looks wonderfully pretty and is a good green recycling idea… check out the article at SAWeddings for more detailed instructions.

However now I think of the practical aspects, I’m slightly daunted at the thought of it. Maybe it will be a little time consuming, unless you can get a whole bunch of heart punches and involve all your bridesmaids in the task.

Just think how long it would take to fill a jar, even a small jar. One evening of constant hole punching? Multiplied by how many guests?

There is also the other green issue to consider – how biodegradable will your finished confetti be. That all depends on what paper and decor elements you convert into hearts, so unless you are already using eco-friendly paper in all your decor you may have a problem with your venue allowing the use of your confetti, which would be enough to bring a bride to tears after all that effort spent producing all those lovely little hearts!

So perhaps it’s back to flower petal confetti for me, though I still love the heart punched confetti label on the re-purposed jar.

What DIY confetti ideas have you got in mind?

Wedding Invitations – Go For Graphic Design and Good Printing

wedding-invitationSo what if you want wedding invitations that reflect your own style – perhaps you don’t want ribbons, flowers and cupids, curly writing and flourishes? If you’ve googled wedding invitations that’s probably all you’ve come up with so far.

Or perhaps you’ve discovered the raft of alternative wedding invitation ideas that has people  vying for the most original wedding invitation format, sending out elaborate confections of 3D paper sculpture, puzzle cubes or invitations engraved on mirror glass?

How about something simple and graphic instead? There is something refreshing about a simple and elegant wedding invitation with great graphic design.

If you are going for a modern feel to your wedding or just timeless elegance, forget about the latest gimmick in invitation format and concentrate on a design that captures the style and feel of your wedding.  It can still be modern, funky, retro or classic – with design there are no limitations.

Get it printed on good quality card by professional printers who use vegetable based inks and strict environmental standards and you’ll have wedding invitations that tick all the boxes – stylish, elegant, green and functional. Plus they are more likely not to strain the budget than some of the over embellished invitations that we’ve seen recently. Great design, good printing, no frills and furbelows.

And no need to worry about the glass cracking in the post, or the recipient not figuring out the clever puzzle concept and turning up on the wrong day, or the wrong year!

Green Wedding Decor – Live Trees

trees-wedding-decorWilliam and Kate’s wedding has inspired all of us with the sheer amount of style they managed to create – style not always being what you’d associate with royal weddings – glitz yes, glamour yeah, but style can often be more elusive. For some it is the dress that will be remembered, and the chief bridesmaid’s dress too… but for me the truly memorable element was their commitment to a green ethos with their wedding decor. Seeing Westminster Abbey filled with live trees, rather than hothouse flowers  – the froth of green leaves and soaring branches dwarfed by the vastness of  the cathedral, and knowing that those trees would then be planted out to live on as a lasting memorial to the day, is really special.

If you are thinking of emulating the royal couple by including large trees as part of your wedding decor, go for it. They make a stunning focus either as an impromptu avenue to walk down to the altar or just a few trees grouped as a backdrop. Even just one large tree as a focal point, carefully draped in white fairy lights can make a beautiful and original centerpiece to your wedding decor.

There are a few points to remember if you are planning on adding large trees to your wedding plans.

Plan where and how the trees will be planted out after the wedding. Live trees are only a green option if they will be looked after and planted out properly after the event. Will you be having them planted in the garden of your future home? Your parents’ home? Or donating them to a tree planting project or a local community school? Who will take charge of the transporting and planting out of the trees when you are away on honeymoon?

Choose indigenous trees that will suit the place where they will eventually be planted. There are plenty of pretty indigenous trees to choose from. Ask the tree nursery for advice on which trees suit the conditions of the future planting site.

Think about the logistics of getting the trees into place before the wedding. Very large trees, such as those in Westminster Abbey, will probably need lifting equipment to position them. You may need special permission from your wedding venue to get access for this. If this isn’t possible, select trees of a more moderate size that can be carried in by hand. These can still be big enough to be dramatic and used to great effect. Again get advice from the tree nursery, as to the transport requirements for each size of tree before you order a whole forest!

Choose a local tree nursery that specializes in large trees and arrange transport, delivery and positioning with them.

When planning your tree wedding decor make sure there will be enough time to put it all in place. William and Kate’s trees were positioned in Westminster Abbey three days before the wedding. A wedding venue that has multiple weddings booked on the same day or weddings booked in all weekend may not look too kindly on huge trees being hauled in.

If you have a wedding planner talk over the idea with her and get her to work out the logistics for you, so you can go for the ultimate in green fairytale wedding decor!

Designer Wedding Dress Clearence Sale in Stellenbosch

designer-wedding-dressBrides-to be in and around Cape Town who have been dreaming of a Demetrios wedding dress or a wedding gown by Max Chaoul are in luck!

Lady Marmalaide in Stellenbosch has just announced a studio winter clearance sale with up to 50% discount and free fitting sessions. This will take place on the weekend of 27-28th August from 9am till 2pm. So if you’re after a designer wedding dress at a bargain price, get there early and make sure the fantasy becomes a reality!

Contact details and address for Lady Marmalaide’s wedding dress collection in Stellenbosch in the link.

Wedding Planners and DIY Weddings

Wedding Gazebo

© Lanae Christenson | Dreamstime.com

Are you thinking of a DIY wedding, but then wondering how you can keep it together on the day itself and still enjoy it all? Well there is an option that would work for you. Plan your wedding yourself and then hire a wedding planner just to coordinate the actual day for you.

DIY weddings aren’t for everyone. They involve a lot of hard work, clever budgeting and thinking of nothing else in all your free time for months before the big day. However if you enjoy planning, love details and are keeping your wedding fairly small then they can work well. But the bride can’t exactly run around with a clipboard instead of a bouquet, checking arrangements on the day. So this is where hiring a wedding coordinator for the day comes in.

Generally you will meet with your ‘day of’ wedding planner about a month before the wedding to go over your arrangements. She will be able to point out anything important you’ve missed in time for you to make any final adjustments to your plans. On the day she will have all the details, contact numbers and timings and will be able to oversee things, with or without clipboard, so that you don’t have to worry about whether the flowers have been delivered, if the wedding cars will be on time and so on. Of course the bride could ask a family member to take on the role of organizer for the day, but often entrusting it to a professional is easier and allows that touch of experienced wedding planner  polish to bring all your plans together beautifully, smooth out any wrinkles and make sure the bride can just focus on the essence of the day.

Check out the directory on SAWeddings, to find wedding planners in South Africa that offer both full wedding planning packages and the wedding coordination outlined here.

Beach Wedding Ideas and Themes

beach weddings

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos


Beach brides are seriously lucky ladies! There are so many gorgeous beach wedding ideas out there. Go girly with floaty fabrics or take the laid-back approach and get hitched in a pair of bridal flip flops. When it comes to theming, colours and decor, you have a ready-made backdrop. From the tropical palm trees and picture postcard blue skies of Sri Lanka to the dramatic black volcanic sands of the Canary Islands, or South Africa’s picturesque sandy beaches, there are some awesome settings to take advantage of.

Beach wedding ideas don’t necessarily have to involve the more obvious emblems.

Starfish, sand and shells instantly spring to mind but there are more to consider if you want to do something different.

Oysters and pearls are a good place to start. There are many different types of pearl, from Tahitian black to freshwater, golden and white South Sea. The beauty of incorporating pearls into your beach wedding ideas is the ability to fake it and get away with it! Fake pearls look fab and can be used on tables, in favour boxes and of course – round your neck.

Blues, greens, oranges and coral pinks are all traffic-stopping colours that evoke images of the beach, ocean and marine life. Beach wedding ideas don’t necessarily have to feature specific sea-themed decor. A strong colour scheme will do all the talking. I recently saw photos from a lovely beach wedding where the couple simply used blue and white draped fabric to create the look and sensation of rolling ocean waves.

Floating candles, freestanding lanterns and fairy lights can all be used to reflect the ocean. When it comes to budget busting beach wedding ideas, lighting is the way to go. For centrepieces, place mirrors underneath glass bowls and add floating candles. Line the entrance to your evening reception venue with lanterns. Strings of clear fairy lights are my all-time favourite cheap but chic wedding decor tools. They can be draped along ceilings to create the under-the-sea effect and cost next to nothing.

If you’re looking for beach venues in South Africa how about one of these for starters:

a private island with its own sandy beaches near Plettenberg Bay

a spa hotel overlooking the sea in Arniston

a beach hotel with views of Table Mountain

or browse more enticing wedding venues to find the right one for you.