Monthly Archives: May 2017

Your ultimate engagement party checklist

Your partner likes it and has put a ring on it, so now it’s time to celebrate your engagement! Here’s our engagement party checklist to ensure you’ve got everything covered:

This is the party before the main event and your chance to share your amazing news with your friends and family. The beauty of the engagement party is that it can be as laid-back or as formal as you want it to be.

Although traditionally, one of your parents will host an engagement party, there’s no reason why you can’t take the reins and host an affair that is uniquely you. Here’s the ultimate engagement party checklist to ensure nothing is left forgotten.

Venue

Once you know who is hosting the affair, a venue might come naturally. It could be yours or your parents’ back yard or a nearby park or beach. Alternatively, you could look to nearby venues that hire out function rooms, or simply book a section of your favourite restaurant or bar. It can be as formal or informal as you choose – it’s all about celebrations so keep it light and fun.

Invites

This can trip up a lot of couples as there are some etiquette concerns around whether your engagement party guest list should mirror your wedding one. Your engagement party is traditionally for immediate family and close friends to celebrate, so you seriously don’t have to invite dozens (or hundreds) or people. However, you should ensure that those family and friends you do invite to the engagement party will ultimately make it onto your wedding invitations list and join you on the big day as well.

Outfits

This is a fun affair, but if you want to stand out and feel vibrant, absolutely hit the shops to find a little something that is special for the occasion. There is no need for a ball gown (unless you are having a formal engagement party), so look for something elegant and chic!

Themes

If you’d like to add an extra air of festivity to the night, consider introducing a theme that everyone can embrace by dressing up, or just choose something fun to use for décor and centerpieces. There are absolutely no rules. Anything from superheroes or tropical, to black tie or an era like the 70s or 80s goes!

Photo booth

Jumping into a small space with a group of people is not usually something that appeals to a lot of people, but when there are memories to be made and photos to keep forever, everyone will give a photo booth a go. The beauty with photo booths is that they can be installed anywhere. So even if you are having a smallish backyard event, this will add a bit of extra spice to the party.

Photographer

Unless your partner master planned your engagement and had someone on hand to take photos of the proposal, chances are you haven’t had a professional photographer capture your newly-engaged glow, so when your nearest and dearest are gathering to celebrate, now is the perfect time to get one on board to capture the fun and excitement of your engagement party.

Our favourite Byron Bay weddings

Planning a wedding in sunny Byron Bay and stuck for inspiration? Here are 5 of our favourite Byron Bay weddings featured in our Real Weddings section, complete with what suppliers the newlyweds used so you can create something just as incredible for your big day!

Lena and Lincoln

Captured by Blue Tulip Imaging, Lena and Lincoln exchanged vows before 108 family and friends at their wedding held at Fig Tree Restaurant, where Tom Francis gave an acoustic rendition of Empire of the Sun’s Walking on a Dream for the ceremony.

As a nod to Lena’s heritage, the pair incorporated Jewish traditions in their ceremony, including Lena circling Lincoln, and kicking off the reception celebrations with a high-energy chair and circle dance.

“Our wedding was a romantic celebration of our love, set to the beautiful backdrop of Byron Bay,” Lena says. “We partied non-stop and everyone, especially our guests, didn’t stop smiling!”

Lena’s gorgeous bridal makeup and hair was created by Aurum Bride.

The couple sourced their wedding invitations from Deciduous Press, and Coast 58 Weddings provided retro Kombi wheels for the Byron Bay wedding.

Casey and Sean

Captured by Figtree Wedding Photography, Pilbara heavy haulage train drivers Casey and Sean held their Byron Bay wedding in Ewingsdale, NSW.

The pair entrusted their wedding suppliers to ‘embrace their creative side’, particularly event planners Sugar and Spice Events. “I had complete faith in the team and our wedding surpassed all my expectations,” praises Casey.

“We danced, sang, laughed, and happy-cried our way through the night with our closest family and friends,” she recalls. “Our weddings was a true reflection of ourselves and the way we like to celebrate – loudly with a great band!”

Casey and Sean meticulously planned their day with their guests’ in mind, even down to facing the marquee west so they could enjoy the sunset over the hills during cocktail hour!

Decinda from Sugar and Spice Events describes, “We planned every single glorious detail, from the magnificent suspended garden with gold and crystal chandeliers, to a sparkling bridal table clad with gold sequins, long banquet tables set with towering centrepieces and sporadic candles to make room for a feasting banquet and glamorous gold cutlery with vintage French-inspired crockery and glass chargers.”

Katie and Adam

Captured by Simon J Coulson Photography,  Katie and Adam’s eclectic wedding held at Graciosa in Bangalow, NSW included 70 guests from all over the world. The couple exchanged vows under the breathtaking bamboo arch on the property at Graciosa that overlooks the Byron Bay Hinterland.

“When do you ever get the change to see everyone together in the same place in such good spirits?” says Katie.

She says the day was a huge success thanks to their amazing vendors and suppliers, as well as some DIY efforts from the groom. “Adam spent most weekends building bench seating and altars, being very hands-on and doing things ourselves was extremely important to us.”

Unique Nigerian wedding traditions

In Nigeria, a wedding is much more than the celebration of joining the lives of two people into one. It is when two entire families join together as one and a Nigerian wedding is an all-out affair that is full of bright colours, toe-tapping music, and ancient traditions. Because we love wedding traditions from all around the world, here is what we discovered about Nigerian weddings:

There are more than 300 tribes in Nigeria, each with their own variations on the prominent wedding traditions, but the most well-known tribes are Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo, so we’ll focus on their unique wedding traditions here.

As with many cultures, couples observe tradition long before the wedding day arrives. When it comes to Nigerian wedding traditions, this kicks off with the Introduction Ceremony, where both families come together for perhaps the first time. They exchange gifts with one another and the bride’s family will present the potential groom with a list for what he will need to give to the family in order for them to accept an engagement.

Time to go shopping

In Igbo tribes, the bride’s family present the potential groom with a dowry list that he must fulfill in order to get their blessing to marry. The list often includes, but is not limited to, clothes, food, white goods, and huge items like a new car. Some families also require hard-to-find items like an alligator tooth.

A bride’s dowry will become more expensive if she has gone to university and holds a degree or doctorate. This has resulted in many potential marriages failing at the first hurdle as the groom was unable to afford the family’s requirements.

Women from the bride’s family will assess the items presented by the groom to ensure they exactly match the list he was given, or that he has provided monetary compensation for the items he hasn’t included. Only when the women are satisfied will the engagement be allowed to proceed.

Seniority matters

If you have an older sibling, you have to cross your fingers that your brother or sister doesn’t want to live the life of a bachelor indefinitely.

Nigerian wedding tradition says that men, in particular, are not allowed to be married until their older brothers are.

In Igbo families, all marriages should follow in order of seniority. Younger siblings have to postpone their weddings with the one they love until their older siblings have married, or choose to proceed without the blessing of their family.

If it is a woman who has to wait for an older sister to marry, a potential groom could simply choose to move on rather than wait.

Toughen up

In the Hausa tribe, men who wish to get married have to prove their love for their bride in the most painful way possible – by enduring 100 lashes.

The tradition dictates that is the man winces, cries, or shows in any way that he is in pain, the wedding cannot go ahead.

Twice the fun

Nigerian couples often have two weddings, with a cultural wedding followed by a religious ceremony that is often more western in nature. These ceremonies are held days and sometimes weeks apart.

While some brides opt to wear a white wedding dress for their religious ceremony, couples are increasingly returning to their cultural roots and wearing stunning, bright outfits in their tribal colours, the colours of their soon-to-be spouse, or creating a mixture of the two.

Traditional Igbo wedding attire includes a lace blouse, a bright kaftan-like skirt, matching or contrasting coral beads and head tie.

When brides wear their traditional attire, their makeup and accessories are equally as bright and bold. Couples who attempt a more western-style wedding ceremony will often ditch the white wedding gown after the ceremony and get glammed-up in their traditional dress for the reception.

No guest list headaches

When it comes to Nigerian weddings, everyone is invited, so trying to regulate the guest list is a headache Nigerian couples won’t have to endure.

Wedding hosts simply prepare for the largest number of guests possible when it comes to catering, seating, food, and bonbonniere as an intended guest list of 250 could easily double or triple as the word gets out. After all, who wants to miss out on the opportunity to celebrate?

Matchy-matchy

“Aso-Ebi” translates to “Family Clothes” in the language of Yoruba and this is exactly what you will find when attending a Nigerian wedding.

The couple will decide which colours and fabrics they would like their guests to wear on their wedding day and the respective families will go all out to create outfits that meet the requirements.

This makes it easy to distinguish who belongs to the each of the couple’s families at a glance, and long-time friends who are not on the bridal party often choose to join in with the aso-ebi as well.

What to say in the perfect maid

While the spotlight will be shining on the bride on her wedding day, there is one moment where you, as the maid of honour, will get to revel in a bit of a special moment – the all-important speech.

Public speaking is not everyone’s idea of a great time, but this is your moment to share your special connection with the new bride with all of her guests and express how happy you are that she has found her true love.

There is no one-size fits all approach to speech writing, but there are a few key things to touch on in order for you to deliver the perfect maid of honour speech.

Who are you?

Although you have been standing by the bride’s side all day, not everyone will know who you are, so take a brief moment at the start of your speech to give a quick run-down of who you are and how you know the bride.

Be mindful not to use too many I’s and me’s in your speech, the perfect maid of honour speech is not about the maid of honour! It is about the two people everyone is here to celebrate. Once you are done with your brief introduction, make sure the focus of the remainder of your speech is on the newlyweds.

What you love about the bride

There are probably many reasons why your friendship has stood the test of time, think about what some of her qualities are that you admire and what it is about the bride that makes you smile.

Try not to fall into generic statements about her beauty, how funny she is, and how she’s “the best”. While she may be all of those things, you should be able to dig a little deeper.

Become a storyteller and share an experience you had together that continues to resonate with you to this day. It could be how she flew halfway across the country to comfort you after a break-up or loss of a family member, or how she has always had this sixth sense that allows her to tell when something has got you down – no matter how hard you try to mask it.

The love story

While chances are the majority of the wedding guests will know at least a few details about how the bride met her everything, none of them would have heard it through your point of view before, so share it!

A big no-no is comparing her partner to any previous plonkers that didn’t cut it in the long run for one reason or another. They don’t need to rate a mention at all on this most special of days, so save these tales for the bachelorette party.