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10 things you need for a fantastic vow renewal

Do you remember your wedding day fondly, and even yearn for a similar experience once again?

Most couples wait till a milestone anniversary to renew their vows. However, there is no need to wait that long. This article on the Huffington Post tells us that it is never too early nor too late to renew your vows. It also has a list of beautiful readings of interesting variety, from which every couple can find one they love. Take a look, and we are sure you will be enchanted by the very idea of having a vow renewal!

Vow renewals are usually done on a wedding anniversary day, as this date is significant to your relationship. If your anniversary is soon approaching, why don’t you think of renewing your vows to each other on this day? You can have a ceremony that is as big or as small as you wish. All that really matters is that it is just as special as your wedding day!

And for a fantastic vow renewal that will recreate the magic of your wedding day, there are some things you must have. So, what are they?

Here is our list of the 10 things you absolutely must have for an amazing vow renewal.

1.A gorgeous dress

Remember the anticipation and excitement of shopping for your wedding dress? Relive those memories when you pick an outfit for your vow renewal. If you still love your original wedding dress, consider this to be the right occasion to pull it out of the box. You may be lucky if it still fits you perfectly. Else, you can always have it altered.

However, if you prefer a different style, pick another elegant dress. Your vow renewal is the perfect occasion to shop for a dress that suits your current style and helps you look and feel beautiful. If you prefer a casual or even colorful dress, find one that meets your expectations. Depending on the style of the ceremony and your personal preferences, choose a dress that is right for you. This could be an evening dress or even a summer frock.

Unlike a wedding, there are no rules for what you should wear. If you want to include something other than the wedding dress from your wedding, wear your original wedding accessories.

2.A venue you love

This could be a church, the beach, a garden, hall or even your backyard. Or if you always wanted a destination wedding but couldn’t have it the first time, this is the opportunity for you to get away with your husband and live your dream.

We suggest that you make it a personal experience. A place that is meaningful to both you and your spouse would be best. If you aren’t sure of what you like, sit down together and brainstorm. Think of the budget you have. Then consider the various options available and what you both would like most. Finally shortlist your list of venues, and zero-in on the right one after considering all relevant factors.

3.Close friends and family

The best thing about a vow renewal is that you can share this experience with the people who matter most to you. Unlike a wedding, you need not worry about a detailed guest list or annoying anyone by excluding them from the event. It is after all a very personal and intimate celebration. Invite only those who you really want beside you on this occasion. This would mean close family and friends.

You may even like to designate roles in the ceremony to your children and grandchildren, if any. This would make it more special. Since there are no rules to follow, make it your day! You can plan a very intimate vow renewal ceremony with just you and your husband, if that is what you both prefer. Or if you prefer a big party, go all out and invite all the people you know to the event. Whether you have it on a grand-scale or a small-scale is entirely up to you.

4.A proper invitation

An invitation gives your vow renewal the importance it deserves. So, your guests will take it with due importance and try to participate in it.Irrespective of whether you will have a formal or informal vow renewal, you should draft a proper invitation for the function. This can be a regular invitation or one that you send by email.

As soon as you decide on the venue and the date, get around to drafting the invitation. While you may follow the traditional format of a wedding invitation, it would be nice to explore alternative options also. Consider adding a photo of you and your spouse, and nice wordings that reflect the tone of the event. You can find some sample wordings here. 

5.A pretty bouquet

The presence of flowers uplifts the ambiance of any setting. So, don’t forget your bouquet. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune or be as elaborate as your original wedding bouquet. You can pick one that is available at your local florist. Or make your own with your favorite flowers on the day of the vow renewal.

Keep it elegant and classic, and it will suit the occasion better. Another idea is to create a miniature replica of your original wedding bouquet. Share the pictures of your wedding day with your florist, and she will tell you if it is possible. Add a sentimental note to this accessory by adopting one of the following ideas:

  • Tie the lace from your original wedding dress or veil around the handle
  • Decorate it with a photo locket of your family
  • If there are friends or family members who have departed after your wedding, remember them by including their picture in the bouquet

You may even have saved and preserved your original wedding bouquet. If it is in good condition, you can use it as such or give it a small boost. Or you can add a few flowers from the original bouquet into this one. If you haven’t preserved your wedding bouquet, but like the idea, take a look at this article for all you need to know to do it for your vow renewal. 

6.Excellent food

You do not have to serve a feast as grand as your wedding meal. Nonetheless, ensure that you serve excellent food at the event. If it is a daytime affair, consider a brunch buffet. If you have an evening ceremony, have a buffet or plated meal based on the venue and event style. Considering that the number of people in your party will be far fewer than at a wedding, you can have a more intimate setting.

Don’t forget to consider the décor and table arrangement. Do it in style, so it adds to the grandeur and importance of the occasion. If there are family dishes that are a favorite, add them into the menu. Or give your guests a gourmet experience by choosing from international cuisines. Also, serve some signature drinks to add to the fun. There are some ideas for interesting drinks in this previous post. Make the menu just as special as the event, and it will be remembered fondly by all your guests.

7.A special cake

There is no rule that you should have cake at your vow renewal. However, the cake cutting is a wedding ritual that you can repeat with fanfare. For a small ceremony, the cake can double up as dessert. Choose a cake that reflects the theme and décor of the event. You can also pick a gourmet cake that is specially designed and decorated for the occasion.

If you had a big wedding cake, you can create a miniature version of it. Finally, if you aren’t fond of cake, have a unique dessert instead. Here are some ideas for attractive alternatives to cake. Plan the cake design according to the weather and the venue where the function will be held. If it is an outdoor event, keep the cake refrigerated till it is time to cut and serve.

8.A good photographer

Your vow renewal is all about celebrating memories and making new ones. In that way, it is a milestone celebration. Invest in a good photographer for covering the occasion. With friends and family involved, it is a good idea to book a professional who can capture the events of the day. However, if you have a friend or relative who is great at taking pictures of people, put him in charge of the photography.

Since the event will be more casual than a wedding, there will be ample opportunities for candid clicks. As long as your photographer is able to capture all these light moments as well as cover the event, it doesn’t matter who it is. Ultimately, your aim is to have a good collection of photos that you can browse through later and pass on to your family.

9.Photos that tell your story

You can add a personal and unique touch to your vow renewal by including photos of your time together. There are many ways in which you can bring this element into the function. It could be using photo posters or collages throughout the venue. Or you could do a digital version that displays a running sequence of pictures.

It could even be photos in your invitation. Another place where photos can be displayed is at the welcome area of the venue. Don’t forget to add your wedding photos into the décor. This will be a beautiful conversation piece. Also add photos of the best times you have had together. Include milestones like the birth of your children, your new home or pictures of family celebrations and your guests are sure to love it. You can also create a memory timeline of the different events in your milestone. This will be helpful especially for guests who you made friends with later in your marriage.

10.A plan for the ceremony

Weddings usually follow a set pattern. There is an officiant who tells you what to do and you simply follow his instructions. However, vow renewals needn’t be so formal. You can choose your sequence of events, add or remove steps from the wedding format or come up with your own ideas.

This flexibility gives you the freedom to plan the ceremony as you choose. Nonetheless, it is important that you have a definite plan in mind and not come up with one at the time. Consider whether you want to walk down the aisle yourself or have someone escort you. After you say your vows, will you be exchanging rings. Would you like to have someone do a reading for both of you? Plan what happens during the ceremony and it will be easier to organize.

Vow renewals are special occasions that give you the chance to reaffirm your lifetime commitment to each other. It is also a fun occasion for family and close friends to get together and celebrate you as a couple. Hence, it is a joyous event, and you should definitely do it at least once during your marriage.

Whether you choose to dress as a bride in white for the occasion or prefer something different, you can find your outfit at Best for Bride. For bridal gowns that are modern, classic, contemporary, unusual and trendy, visit this page for our bridal dress collections. If you prefer to pick your dress from our evening gowns and dresses for special occasions, this is the link to our collection. For any further assistance you may need regarding placing your order, you may get in touch with our Best for Bride team or visit any of our stores.

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Biggest mistakes to avoid when planning a wedding

Wedding planning involves so many details that it can be compared to a big, complex project formed of many smaller ones. Once you begin planning your wedding, you will have to make several decisions and choices. These include plans for a sensible budget, meeting deadlines and getting everything done right. So, it is no surprise that your chances for mistakes along the way are high. While some of these can be rectified quickly, others may cost you dearly in terms of time and money.

Unless you have planned a wedding before, it isn’t going to be easy. However, forewarned is forearmed! Here is a compilation of the biggest mistakes we have seen brides make when planning their wedding. Keep them in mind and you can avoid similar issues.

Not setting the budget first

Never overlook the importance of planning your wedding budget first. Wedding expenses can quickly eat into your bank balance. Unless you have a allocated a fixed amount to each aspect, you can quickly go overboard with your expenses. With a little planning, you can choose the venue, catering and wedding dress so that it stays within budget. Since you have more options in these areas, you have the flexibility of choosing them based on your available funds.

However, smaller aspects can quickly add up to a big amount. This article on The Bridal Guide will help you understand what these costs are. Unfortunately, you cannot be too thrifty with these. Plan the budget before you do anything else, and you will have better control over your wedding decisions. You can allocate funds to the bigger expenses after setting aside the amount for the inevitable smaller expenses.

Not hiring a planner till it is too late

Some brides can stand the stress of wedding planning. While these brides can efficiently handle wedding planning tasks, it isn’t as easy for others. We believe the majority of brides quickly buckle under the pressure and lose sleep over wedding planning. It is sad that the rest of their engagement is usually ruined by all the planning. And in the end, it is likely that these brides end up dissatisfied with the overall experience.

If you belong to the latter group, realize it early and seek the services of a planner. If you are already pressed for time, have a demanding job or simply can’t take the stress of wedding planning, don’t wait till it is too late. Wedding planners are experts at negotiating deals with venue managers and vendors. So, don’t wait till you book the venue or hire vendors to hire your planner.

Becoming overwhelmed with inspiration

The internet is a maze of wedding planning inspiration. There are so many wonderful ideas on the wedding scene that it can become a problem when you have to choose. Pinterest-addicts are usually the first to become overwhelmed and confused with this information overload. Don’t be surprised if you lose sense of time or get side-tracked when searching for ideas.

Instead, understand what will work for your wedding and what you can afford to have. Use ideas you see online as inspiration and incorporate only those that actually make sense. Stop once you find what you were looking for and get on with other tasks.

Not prioritizing the guest experience

Your wedding is not just about the two of you. Remember that many of guests take great pains to come and participate in your big celebration. Appreciate their efforts and make plans to engage them and feel comfortable.

The guest experience is greatly affected by the number of people there. Nobody really enjoys a crowded affair. So, think twice about incorporating everyone you know into the guest list. YOu shouldn’t regret having a mediocre party when you could plan one much better. So, include those who really need to be there at your wedding, and plan a wonderful event that all can enjoy.

Going shopping before you know what you want

Wedding shopping for your dress, favors or even accessories shouldn’t be undertaken without prior research. You may be tempted to just do a trial run. However, there is a good chance of your liking something at that time. You may feel it is right and go ahead with the purchase.

Sadly, such impulse buys may turn out to be a decision you later regret. First plan the important aspects of the wedding like the venue, wedding style and time. Then research your options in each area for what would be appropriate. Look for sensible choices that are suitable for your wedding. Only then should you proceed with wedding shopping.

Sharing insufficient or too much information

It is best to keep your wedding planning details under wraps at least till it is finalized. This will help to avoid confusion if you change your ideas along the way. Reveal only what is necessary. Nevertheless, do not skimp on supplying necessary information to your guests. They will appreciate any additional help you can provide on certain aspects, like how to find their way to the venue.

If there are out-of-town guests, you can share information regarding hotels near the venue. Also don’t forget to provide any other relevant information that will make their trip easier to plan. Do the same with vendors. Share as much information as is necessary to let them do their job well.

Pondering too long over a plan

While it is necessary to take your time to make important decisions, don’t delay your choices for too long. Everything is time-bound and most wedding planning decisions involve related tasks. This is why we suggest you set up a wedding planning timeline right at the beginning. Make your wedding plans as per this timeline, and you will know if you fall behind.

When choosing vendors, make your decisions quickly and efficiently. Good vendors tend to get booked quickly during wedding seasons. If you delay your decision, the vendor you like may get booked by another couple. You may then end up having to look for another service provider.

Worrying too much about the little details

There are many big and small decisions to make in a wedding. Although every one of them is important, you should prioritize each depending on their significance in the wedding. Remember that it is nearly impossible to get every single big and small detail perfect. Be open to accepting small imperfections and compromise where necessary. This will make your life a lot easier and reduce your wedding planning stress.

Spend more time on the more important factors and dedicate time and resources to making these perfect. Don’t obsess over the finer details of the smaller elements. Go with what you think is the best possible option and it will all fall into place.

Not paying enough attention to your vendor contracts

We don’t not even want to mention how risky it is to book a vendor without first signing a contract. Now, when there is a contract, it is important you understand everything on it. If there are gray areas, make sure you clarify your doubts before signing it. Read every single contract from end to end. Check whether it comprehensively covers every relevant aspect.

There should be clauses and Plan B suggestions in case of last minute cancellations or emergencies. Include details on all additional charges in the plan. Also add whatever you think hasn’t been explicitly mentioned. This will help to eliminate cause conflicts later.

Trying to appease everyone

The very word “wedding” is enough to have people flocking to you with ideas, suggestions and offers to help. Deal with this situation cautiously. Family and friends may have good intentions, but don’t let anyone take over your wedding. You shouldn’t have to bow to a choice or move with plans you aren’t convinced about, because someone said so.

Remember that this is your wedding day and you should have the last say. Although you can welcome suggestions and opinions, let everyone know that the final decision will be yours. You do not have to do everything as per tradition, unless you are agreeable to it. On your special day, you should be able to enjoy and not regret it later. Stay away from trying to satisfy everyone. This is simply impossible.

Not letting the small mistakes go

As long as you do not have enough experience at wedding planning, mistakes are bound to happen. You cannot plan everything to the last detail and expect everyone to stick to plan. There may be issues with vendors, guests who cancel at the last minute and bridesmaids who show their true colors. Set yourself up to deal with such disappointments and don’t be too harsh on yourself.

On your wedding day, simply focus on the great things that happen. Don’t mull over mistakes or spoil your mood wishing things happened differently. Enjoy the moment as it will never return. Stress on the things that went wrong and you will be making a big mistake missing out on your actual wedding experience.

Expecting the worst

Things may and do go wrong at weddings. While you can try to avoid them as much as is possible, there is no guarantee everything will progress as per plan. However, this doesn’t mean you should only expect the worst. Research and plan your decisions carefully. This alone will reduce the likelihood of errors. Leave the rest to happen as it will.

Simply worrying about what may or may not go wrong will not help in any way. All that it does is add to your stress and spoil the fun of your engagement. Be optimistic and handle issues with confidence. Believe in your abilities to find a solution to any problem, and you will come up with the best possible solution.

Making plans without thinking it through

Dreaming up a wedding is fun, but doing it right can be tough. Before you set your mind on something different and unique, think it through. Consider the funds you have, the practicality of the situation and all the other aspects that will determine the success of your plan.

If you have a destination wedding in mind, make sure you check the legal aspects before you go ahead with plans. Similarly, when picking your wedding dress, try to first understand what would be practical in your venue. Also set your budget before you go shopping.

You assume your vendors understand you perfectly

Whether it is your makeup and hair artist, or your caterer, give clear-cut descriptions for what you want. Don’t just assume that they have understood or you may be in for a nasty surprise later. Whenever possible, share pictures that depict exactly what you have in mind. Ask them to repeat or illustrate what you shared with them.

If there is any confusion, it is best to get it out of the way as early as possible. While it isn’t a good idea to micromanage your vendors, don’t leave everything to them entirely. Keep tabs on their progress and inspect at the right time to find out if things proceed as per your expectations. Find all you must know about your vendor contracts on this article at the Martha Stewart Website.

Planning a wedding is a momentous task. It is not easy whether you have a year to plan or just few weeks. Unless you hire a wedding planner to handle the lion’s share of tasks, you will have to dedicate considerable time and effort to doing it right. Approach the task in a systematic and organized fashion, and it will be easier to carry out.

While you busy yourself with wedding planning, don’t forget to research and choose the right dress for the occasion. Take a close look at our inventory of wedding dress collections and you should be able to find dresses that meet your expectations. For more details, visit our bridal dress gallery at Best for Bride.

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Pointers on how to dress as a guest for a gay wedding

We all have that set of friends who host the best parties for the rest of us throughout the year. They make for a wonderful gay couple. They are the ones who help us through times when the other couples in the circle go through their own issues. They have the most infectious smiles and the tightest hugs when we need them most. We cheered for them and partied with them when the government passed the laws allowing them to be married, after a long struggle. We have all laughed and cried along with them. We have seen their bond grow only stronger with time.

The world is becoming much better and richer for lots of countries that have embraced marriage equality, isn’t it? And we all know there’s still lots of work to be done before genuine equality is achieved. As if weddings weren’t good enough, we now have gay weddings to be a part of! They are a little different from straight weddings and are fun-filled, given the untraditional and unique themes they have. Gay weddings are filled with love like any other wedding on the planet. However, the emotions run particularly high when a couple is finally united after fighting a struggle together. These weddings don’t have gendered roles and have a lot of space for creativity, energy and pure joy.

And one fine day our gay friends decide to be together, they decide to get married! Now you want to be the perfect wedding guest but you don’t know how to be. Perhaps you haven’t yet been to a gay wedding. What to expect?

Being a guest at a gay wedding – though extremely fun-filled – is not always an easy task to pull off. If you are a guest at a gay wedding, consider yourself fortunate for the fun time awaiting you. But you have multiple things to think about: your attire and the perfect gift for the gay couple, to name a couple of things. Always make sure you acquaint yourself with the culture and etiquettes revolving around the gay community. This will make you more confident at the wedding and make sure you don’t create any awkwardness for the gay couple.

This particular article is focused on what to wear to a gay wedding as a guest. Wedding attire makes for a very crucial aspect of any gay wedding. This is why it demands a complete Blog to itself.

Here are some pointers on how to dress as a guest to a gay wedding:

1.      Shoes

As the saying goes, shoes can make or break an outfit. They play a very big role in every attire. Though basic, they are the most neglected aspect when people choose to dress up. Always remember that gay individuals are typically the most fashionable among the lot. They have an eye for detail. The “typical” couple would invite the best of their friends from their tribe, making up for a hilarious yet observant and discerning gay gang. You don’t want the coolest gang at the wedding to judge you on your shoes, do you? Besides, gay weddings are known to play the best of sound tracks to encourage their guests to leave their inhibitions and shake a leg. This is what makes it so important to select a pair of shoes that are trending and are extremely comfortable. Investing in a good quality shoe that pairs well with your attire, is an extremely wise choice. Remember don’t buy a brand new pair of shoes before the big event, as you’ll be on your feet for a number of hours. You want to be comfortable. You don’t need to spend a fortune on the latest pair of Jimmy Choos or Zegna boots. A great fitting pair of Oxfords, or a nice fitted heel will speak volumes and your feet will thank you. Try and buy something in a neutral colour tone so you can wear them again. Whilst a pair of shoes can make an outfit, wearing the wrong shoes with the outfit is a no-no, too.  However, these rules can be broken – for example, a suit can be dressed down with a canvas belt and a pair of Converse sneakers. Or match your suit with a great pair of loafers that have a no sock look – you can get invisible appearance socks or at least give your feet a spray with some deodorant to keep them fresh all day

2.      Accessories

Accessories can make or break your stance at gay weddings. I remember some wedding guests just because of the bright yellow clutch they were holding or because of the shiny bow they had paired well with their blue suit. If you are someone who wants to look their best at a gay wedding but doesn’t want to spend a lot, this is your playground. Be smart by investing in any good accessory that you can pair differently. It could be an eye-catching watch, a great bag, a fetching bow tie, subtle but gorgeous lapel pin, or just classy earrings. When done right a good accessory can steal the attention your slightly dull dress doesn’t need. While men can choose from a fabulous leather bag, a stand-out watch etc. Women have many different accessories to choose from. It could be a watch, a hairpin, a clutch, an earring or a statement neckpiece. Always make sure to check which styles are trending at the present and which colours will go with your ensemble.

3.      Finally, your attire or ensemble

Gay weddings are all about drama. But not to the extent where you steal the limelight away from the stars of the day, the couple. This is one of the many basic wedding etiquettes for guests at every kind of wedding. There’s a fine line between being plain bland and being overly dramatic. It’s certainly tricky but you’ve got to do this right to fit in perfectly at the wedding party of your life, don’t you? The outfit needs to be the centre of all your focus and can’t go wrong. You don’t want to be the odd-person out in a party full of good looking and well-dressed people. Gay people are renowned for always being in line with the latest trends. You can always check which trends did well during the last fashion week and which colours were predominant. A velvety violet suit is a serious no-no for a summer wedding at the beach. It will make you and the guests feel extremely uncomfortable; whereas pastels are hard to go wrong with. As a woman, you can choose to wear a simple & elegant dress or a good pair of shirt & smart pants. Remember, gay weddings don’t stick to gendered lines, so go have fun!

Always remember not to overdo or you’ll be remembered as the guy who wore the same suit as the couple or the girl who wore the fluorescent see-through one piece. It’s always wise to check with a gay friend or simply run your plans through the couple before their big day.

Now, on the clothes – this can be a pitfall for many men. You want to dress comfortably and be dressed as if it was effortless. If you’re dressed fussily you will tend to feel self-conscious and not comfortable.  This will carry with you all day – for example, if you’re tugging at a poorly -fitted shirt. You need to first find out the dress code: is it formal., and you don’t have formal wear? If so, hiring is a great option as you’ll be able to find a suit that not only fits your shape but also is cost effective.

Is it neat casual? Then a great pair of Chinos and perhaps a linen jacket with a pair of loafers or again the Converse sneakers will work perfectly – always a comfy look and you will be feeling cool, calm and collected all day. The best advice I can give is “don’t overdo it; be yourself”.  You’re the guest. You’ve been invited as you mean something to the couple. They want you to enjoy the day; much more than they will be caring about what colour socks you have on or how high your stilettos are!

Author Bio – Australia’s Bronte Price is the first ever certified gay celebrant from the continent that now boasts of marriage equality. He is also the co-founder of an Equality Network that caters any LGBT wedding needs by creating a better experience through wedding suppliers. As a member of the GLOBE (Gay and Lesbian Organization for Business and Enterprise), he works tirelessly to empower the LGBT community. His website Gay Celebrant Melbourne is a stunning example of his dedication for celebrancy that unites the power of love. Apart from that, his fiancée Clint and their four-legged fur baby – Bingo are Bronte’s quintessential lifelines. He is also passionate for volunteering as a newsreader at Joy 94.9 and spending time in his organic backyards comes a close second.