Image by: Serendipity Diamonds

Image by: Serendipity Diamonds

Over the last 25 years or so, there has been between 2000 and 2500 Tons of gold mined per a year and over 50% of that gold goes towards making jewellery. The jewellery industry is a massive one and a lot of money changes hand each year in the purchase of both the raw materials for jewellery and also the finished product. So where does this gold come from and who mines it?

The Source of Gold

Although you can find gold throughout most of our planet, some countries have much more resources than others. The top ten gold producing countries are:

  1. China
6. Peru
    2. United States 7. Indonesia
     3. Australia 8. Canada
    4.  South Africa 9.Uzbekistan
    5. Russian Federation 10. Ghana

The majority of the gold that is mined each year is done by big corporations, but there are also many small and independent mining operations that exist all over the world. As with any industry, competing with the larger firms can be hard, so to help combat this, the Fairtrade movement was founded. It is good to learn more about the Fairtrade movement before buying your wedding rings, as you can source rings that come from ethical sources.

What is Fairtrade?

Fairtrade covers a lot of products that are produced by small independent sources and covers a wide variety of different products.

  • Gold
  • Bananas
  • Coffee
  • Cocoa
  • Tea

The idea is that the smaller producers can receive a fair price for the products that they produce, rather than have the larger retailers try to cut all of their profits so that they can gain more. When you purchase from a Fairtrade supplier you are helping to sustain the local economy and the workers will receive a fair wage for the work that they do. So when looking for a something blue wedding inspiration in the form of a gold and sapphire, you will want to make sure that the gold comes from a Fairtrade supplier. By doing this, it will allow you to feel at ease knowing that you are helping others, and letting the smaller and independent businesses compete against the conglomerates and corporations.

We all like to get things for as cheap as possible, but you need to remember that the people that often make and supply all of your favourite luxuries are often living in close to poverty conditions. Many large corporations will also force indigenous people from their land to make a new gold or diamond mine, which is not the case when you purchase Fairtrade gold.

The concept of Fairtrade includes sustainability which is why the producers of the goods that sell within the system own 50% of Fairtrade. The system provides a big incentive for producers which allows the owners of the firm to pay the workers a higher salary, often making them more productive if also offered other incentives. Money is pumped back directly into the local economy right where it is needed, at grass roots level and not into the back pocket of corporations!

Check out these 10 groomsmen gifts that your pals will actually use and love. Instead of wasting money on trinkets your boys won’t keep, invest in something usable and fun!

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Forget beach ready, it’s time to get wedding ready. While you may not be looking to change your looks dramatically, preparing for a wedding can be a fantastic excuse to get in shape, improve your diet, and feel so much better about yourself. Are you willing to do what it takes to make yourself perfect for your big day – by any means?

The Perfect Fit

Up to a year before the big day, consider the foods you eat and ask yourself this; how can I make this meal healthier? There are so many diets and meal plans out there, so find one that suits you as a couple. Drink plenty of water, limit caffeine and alcohol, and give up smoking. The sooner you realize that looking and feeling better is going to take such commitment, the better.

In terms of workout you don’t need to be embarking upon insanity, hitting the gym every day, or even promising to lose tens of pounds, but wouldn’t it be nice to fit into that wedding gown, or suit, a little more effortlessly? Taking up a new sport or activity, such as swimming, walking, hiking, or cycling, will help you to get fit, tone up, and lose a few pounds, as well as helping you to mentally prepare for the challenges of married life. Getting the right workout gear is absolutely vital here, and compression wear, like stockings, vests, shirts, and compression socks, will ensure that your body is supported whatever you decide to throw at it. If you’re not used to such exercise you will need to take extra care – no broken limbs before the big day, thank you!

Once you have your gown, or suit if you’re the groom, it’s essential to attend regular fittings, and you may even want to consider having alterations made to suit your personalities. These days it’s possible to personalize your wedding outfits in a number of ways, whether that means adding stitches, sewing on extra beads, or even dyeing fabric. It’s your wedding, your way.

Your Perfect Wedding Day: Mind, body, and Soul

Getting ready for your wedding is all about losing weight and looking good, right? Wrong. Saying, “I do” is a huge commitment, whilst preparing for marriage can take its toll on even the calmest person. If you want to have the best wedding day imaginable it’s essential to tackle stress, doubts, and moments of panic sooner, rather than later – and that goes for guests as well as the bride and groom. Activities such as yoga, Pilates, and meditation are great ways to take a moment to yourself, focus on what your wedding day could, and will be, and remind yourself of all the wonderful things that are coming up.

Remind yourselves, and members of the wedding party, to get plenty of sleep in the lead up to the big day, drink plenty of water, and keep meals small and simple to limit bloating. Looking good on your wedding day is as much about how you feel on the inside as it is the clothes you’re wearing; remember to breathe, taking a moment if you must before setting foot in the wedding venue.

Bachelor and bachelorette parties are another great way to reduce stress and unwind frayed nerves. Health spas are a fantastic venue for guys and gals, and will enable you to relax with your friends and family in plenty of time to stand at the altar with confidence – one can never underestimate the emotional healing potential of a sauna and hot tub.

And Finally…

When it comes to adding those finishing touches there are a few things you need to know. Brides, it is absolutely essential that you trial hair and make-up before the big day, allowing you to try out a few styles, ensuring you build a rapport with your stylist, and giving a hair or make up artist the opportunity to familiarize themselves with what you’d really like. Leaving everything until the big day itself would spell disaster – besides, wouldn’t it be nice to be pampered before your wedding day, too?

Other important details that shouldn’t be forgotten include buying the right underwear to slink into under your gown, perfectly manicured fingers for those ring shots, and a pedicure to be proud of, particularly if you’ve got open-toed shoes. While it’s tempting to go all out on your jewelry, remember this; you don’t want to be outshone on your big day, so keep the bling minimal.

Now, grooms, your personal care is also incredibly important. Make sure your hair is neatly cropped, beard is trimmed, and hands are well-moisturized prior to the day itself – there’s nothing worse than shaving rash or freshly cut, fluffy hair in wedding photos. Have you considered the kind of socks that will look good underneath your suit trousers, the cufflinks that you’ll be wearing, or the aftershave that will remind you and your new wife of your wedding day? It’s time to get started!

Your wedding day is going to be amongst the happiest, and most cherished, days of your time together as a couple, so make each moment in the lead up count; whether you’re honing and toning your body, preparing yourself mentally, or browsing magazines for fantastic wedding styles, achieving your perfect day by any means is going to involve a little work.

These 10 Stella York ball gowns will sweep the dance floor, glide down the aisle and have you feeling like the princess you’ve always dreamt of been gone your wedding day!

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Are you looking for a fresh, fun home decoration? Are you looking for an all-natural air freshener that is inexpensive to make but still smells wonderful? If so, then pomander balls may be your answer.

Pomander balls have been around for hundreds of years if not longer and are a Christmas tradition in many houses. They  do not have to be just for Christmas. Use them for weddings, birthdays and anywhere else you would give a gift. As a bonus, they are very easy to make and there is little mess. Before you know it, you will have many delightfully-scented pomander balls to use in closets as sachets, or to give as gifts or favors.

How to Make Pomander Balls
Making pomander balls is very simple. It requires only a few ingredients: a medium orange, one or two ounces of whole cloves per orange, and a piercing tool such as a paper piercer or ice pick. It is also a good idea to have some napkins on hand for the orange juice that will spurt out and some ribbon to hang the finished pomander balls. Crosstie the ribbon around the orange, making a nice bow at the top. Poke holes in your orange, spaced fairly far apart, with the piercing tool. Insert whole cloves into each hole.

They do not need to be close together as the orange will shrink as it dries. Set the orange somewhere safe and watch as it dries over the next week, creating a delicious smelling air freshener. As a bonus, pomander balls can be made with other types of spices as well as herbs or flowers and other fruit, as long as it can be easily pierced.

Flowers for Everyone has a great selection of flowers which would be amazing when used in a pomander ball and if you live in Australia you can enter their Love Cave Competition this Valentines.

Pomander Ball Gift Ideas
So, who can you give pomander balls to? The short answer is anyone. Your child’s teacher, your co-workers, your hair dresser and your friends would all appreciate pomander balls because they smell delightful and look beautiful. Pomander balls are a cost-effective and fun gift. Top wedding sites say that they make excellent wedding favors as well. Simply insert flowers of the bridal colors into the holes in the orange (or fruit of your choice) in lieu of cloves. This is a fun, funky way to celebrate the soon to be married couple.

Pomander balls are a fun, beautiful way to give a sweet-smelling gift to friends and family. They are compact, which means you can stash them almost anywhere from closets to countertops to inside your dresser drawer. They make excellent sachets, as well as often being hung on the mantle or from the branches of your Christmas trees. They are decorative enough to really make a statement, and they do not need maintenance of any kind. Simply set them in a bowl or hang them on a tree and your home will smell like Christmas all year round. When you gift a pomander ball to a friend, you share with them the present that keeps on giving!

Check out these 10 bridesmaids’ gifts that your gals will actually love! Don’t waste money on junk, instead invest in something they’ll adore. And these ideas will jumpstart your brainstorming for the perfect pick!

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Even your toes can hold a bit of traditional, bridal appeal as you walk down the aisle. From heels to flats to everything in between, check out these lace wedding shoes that will surely brighten up your day of ensemble and add a personal touch to the bride’s styling!

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These heart-shaped engagement rings are trending and we’re completely swooning over each one of them! Different styles and tones too, take a peek at how you could be adorning your ring figure in the near future!

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If you’re looking for wedding colors that will pop with uniqueness and a chic modern flavor, then why not try out royal blue and white? This contemporary duo will dress your big day with enough bridal styling and sleekness to do the event justice.

 

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Their wedding can be one of the most expensive single days a couple will ever spend together. With a venue, clothing, healthy and beauty, accessories, and finer details to consider, the costs soon add up. There is a positive aspect to this menacing cloud though, in the form of the Wedding Hack. Whether a couple decides to get married out of season, chooses to host its nuptials and reception at the same venue, or finds a location that needs very little in the way of dressing or lighting, such as an aquarium, zoo, or heritage site, a wedding need not cost a fortune.

Shopping for a bridal bargain
First thing’s first; the place a bride chooses to shop, and how savvy she’s prepared to be, can often determine the budget for her. The dress is often one of the most expensive single aspects of any wedding, but be prepared to buy off the rack, cheekily asking for discounts, and shopping at a high street store rather than a bridal boutique can all cut costs dramatically.

Online stores and discount sites, such as Groupon, should never be ignored by anybody planning a wedding, and often there are some amazing bargains to be found, particularly on bulk or wholesale items, including table decorations.

Budgeting is now considered cool, and a bride should never be concerned about looking for bargains. Make up, jewelry, accessories, and venue dressings often work out much cheaper when they’re bought online, and it can pay for couples to buy their own materials and indulge in a little DIY – that will add a little personal touch, too. Recycling old items to be used at a wedding is a great way of creating a vintage theme, as well as cutting costs. Birdcages, small items of furniture, and vases, for example, look exceptional when shown a little love.

In order to get the perfect wedding day on a budget a bride should think about what she would really like to have, and what she could do without. Chair covers and huge centerpieces, for example, aren’t always necessary, as simple bows and candles to light guests’ meals will create an intimate, yet stylish affair. Similarly, an expensive, bespoke guestbook could be replaced with plain postcards that are stuck in a scrapbook by hand, while friends’ talents could become really useful, and table decorations could double as favors; small vases and candle holders would be widely appreciated, and adored.

A photographer is one element of a wedding that shouldn’t be economized on too much. Although couples should conduct their research, get to know the person who will be capturing their big day on film, and ask for discounts, engagement shoots, and added extras before finalizing any booking. Regardless of what they’re booking a couple needs to be aware of hidden costs; an informed bride knows all of the fine print before she signs, and won’t be caught unawares by a sudden leap in fees, or the introduction of a new charge.

Health and beauty on a budget
Of course, health and beauty play a huge part in the lead up to any wedding, and they can be an expensive business; after all, once a bride has paid for any number of gym sessions or classes to tone areas she is not happy with, sampled make up and booked a stylist, and shopped for accessories, there can be very little left in the pot. Well, that’s the story sold by plenty of vendors, anyway. The truth is that getting ready for their wedding needn’t be the most stressful, or expensive, thing a future bride ever encounters, and there really isn’t any need for expensive diet plans, or fancy gym equipment that will never see the light of day again.

Take Spanx for example, or the Genie Hourglass body shaper, which is sold by online retailers, including ‘As Seen on TV’. Such garments are designed to mold around a woman’s curves, accentuate her shape, and nip her so-called problem areas into shape, without the need for the aforementioned diets and lifestyle changes. There’s so much to remember in the lead up to a wedding, and a bride should feel comfortable and, most importantly, at home in her own skin. Sure, she could lose a few pounds, tone up, or aim to feel a little brighter in herself, but only if that’s what she really wants; the only person a bride is in competition with is herself. Besides, cheating a little is often the least-stressful, and most cost-effective way of preparing for marriage – ergo, completely fine AND within budget.

When it comes to hair and make-up, brides should think along the same lines; is a fancy up-do and a face covered in orange foundation really them? A simple, yet elegant look can be created using a few basic, yet magical ingredients, and many brides find that a friend or family member is just as happy to pamper them on the morning of their wedding as a paid stylist would be – plus they’ll save themselves a tidy sum. The sort of hairstyle a bride chooses will depend upon her gown, the type of veil she’d like to wear, and the theme of the wedding but, again, not all styles are dependent upon a professional. It is possible to look amazing, and for very little, these days.

So, there they are. Just a few of the ways that a bride (and her groom) can have the perfect wedding day on a budget, and without many of the stressful extras that couples often feel obliged to have. Sometimes, the most perfect wedding days are the simplest.

From top to bottom these blushing pink wedding cakes will be the center of the party. Embellished with florals and textures or with a super modern and sleek style, check out these 10 completely perfect and pink designs!

 

 

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Sending your wedding guests home with a little “thank you” is a must. They’ve supported your relationship and traveled from far and wide to celebrate, so a token of your appreciation shows the utmost thought. We encourage you to look to the season when your wedding falls to inspire wedding favors that your guests will love.

If a winter wonderland wedding is in your future, here are 10 favors your guests will cherish and use again.

GET COZY: An embroidered throw will fill your guests with warm fuzzies of your big day for movies to come.

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DIY FIRE STARTER: Who doesn’t need help getting a fire to flame?

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S’MORE LOVE, PLEASE: Universally beloved, you can’t go wrong with a make-your-own-s’mores kit.

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SOMETHING TO SIP FROM: Hang a variety of mugs and allow guests to choose one that tickles their fancy.

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KEEP ‘EM TOASTY: A pair of inexpensive mittens is a sweet send-off.

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NO COLD FEET HERE: People can always use more socks. Get creative, and choose fun ones!

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HAND WARMERS: These will come in handy at a cold football game or walk on a brisk day.

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MINI X-MAS TREE: The gift that keeps on giving.

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CUTE, CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS: Simple and DIY-friendly, ornaments in your color scheme make for a fun goodie.

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THE PERFECT BLEND: Guests will think of the happy couple with each brew.

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photo credit: ^ Missi ^ via photopin cc

Of all the things to worry about when planning a wedding, most grooms don’t really considerselecting the wedding party to be one of them. Unfortunately, this process can often be a lot more difficult than we anticipate. If you’ve got brothers, cousins, college buddies, and elementary school best friends all jockeying to be in your wedding party, you’ve got a tough decision coming your way but keeping these guidelines in mind can be a lifesaver.

Choosing the Best Man
If you’ve got several guys in mind for the sought after position of best man, you’re probably unsure of how to proceed. There are many facets to keep in mind when picking the guy who will keep the ring safe until you say I do, so run through and consider the guy that fits them all.

The Fiancé Factor
When choosing your best man, keep your fiancé in mind. This is half her day as well, so choose someone you know she gets along with and would love to have toasting you in front of all of your friends and family.

A Family Function
If not appointing your brother to the role of best man would ruffle feathers, it might be in your best interest to pick your bro and keep the peace in the family. If he’s not the responsible sort, you can always delegate the various responsibilities to your friends and other groomsmen. This is a very honorary role, and if you’re worried about appearances it’s best to go with the flow for a day you can all enjoy.

Consider the Toast
The best man is going to be toasting you in front of all of your loved ones—don’t pick someone who will turn the speech into a roast. Your best man should be someone who possesses a palpable measure of taste, who won’t go into drunken tirades about that spring break trip back in college, or make inappropriate remarks about how he never thought you would settle down.

The Girl Best Friend
If your best friend is a girl, you can shirk tradition and select her as the best man. Many modern weddings have seen co-ed mixing; men standing on the bride’s side, and women standing on the groom’s. However, this is only acceptable should your wife-to-be deem it so and be truly comfortable with it. If she’s not, then move on and choose someone else—there’s no need to add
any more stress to the day.

The Location Tie Breaker
If there’s a geographical barrier between you and your closest guy friend, this can serve as a tie breaker. You’ll want to choose someone who’s close enough to help you out with the various planning duties (think bachelor party, suit rentals, etc.).

The Groomsmen
Finding your groomsmen is a little less stressful, as it’s more of a numbers game.

Brothers
If you’ve got multiple brothers or your bride to be is very close to hers, you may want to include them in your groomsmen party. This cuts down on the picking process, and since you’re all going to be family anyways, you might as well start the bonding early.

Make it Match
You’re going to want the same number of groomsmen that your betrothed has bridesmaids. Since they will also accompany a bridesmaid the entire evening, from the aisle walk to the reception entrance to wedding party seating, make sure you match accordingly—don’t sit your self-proclaimed dog of a best friend next to your bride’s younger sister.

Consider the Duties
It might help you to consider exactly what your groomsmen will be tasked with on the big day. The general responsibilities of groomsmen include greeting and seating guests, helping plan your bachelor party, and completing any behind the scenes work that needs doing (unloading supplies for the ceremony and reception, facilitating present tables, etc.).

Don’t Forget the Gifts
Once you’ve got the team drafted up, make sure you’ve got the gifts covered as well. Customized collar stays will ensure the boys look dapper while you say your vows, and personalized beer growlers will really get the party started while you’re getting ready for the walk down the aisle.

When you’re hunting for your tuxedo squad to stand behind you on the most important day of your life, consider the above and make your wedding day as smooth as possible.

 

Rich, luscious and festive, we are majorly crushing on the color cranberry (and cranberries, themselves) for wintertime wedding decor.

A deep shade of red, like cranberry, can act as the neutral color in your inspiration palette (so long, gray, black and white!), pairing perfectly with colors like sage green, dusty blue, silver and rose gold.

And why not incorporate the color’s namesake into the design elements? Cranberries, with their bold color and gleam, look abundant and beautiful cascading down a table runner, floating in a cocktail or hiding stems in floral centerpieces. Also, a few sprigs of cranberries tacked in bouquets and boutineers add color and texture.

These sweet snapshots show you what cranberry’s all about.

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Gold, silver, copper, bronze, rose gold — metallics are majorly trending in fashion, design and wedding decor. While there are numerous ways to incorporate the brilliant hues into your big day with different materials, accents, fabrics and more, we think one of the most stunning spots to metallicize is your wedding cake — it is one of the main focal points of the big day, after all.

Whether through intricate embellishments, painted fondant or a layered foil effect, metallic tiers are mesmerizing.

Go ahead, get lost in these shiny confections.

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Planning a wedding can be stressful and we’re all bound to make mistakes. However, be careful because a few too many mistakes will stand out in the bigger picture, especially when it comes to your wedding photography because so many can go awry on the day of the wedding.

How to Avoid the Most Common Wedding Photography Mistakes

Waiting too long to book your photographer – Aim to hire your wedding photographer at least a year in advance because they book up fast, especially if it’s wedding season. Otherwise, you might end up with an amateur photographer, and you don’t want that. Instead, begin interviewing photographers a year before your wedding – that is if you have that much time to prepare. Wedding photography in Melbourne by Scott Morton has one of the best portfolios. If you want, you can start your search here.

Not discussing your schedule with your photographer-While it’s admirable that your wedding timeline is planned out weeks in advance, you need to be flexible with it and discuss certain aspects of it with your photographer. Taking photos near dusk provides lots of natural, glowy light, but if you try that midday on a sunny day, it’ll be too bright so you need to plan accordingly for your outdoor photos.

Allowing your family or friends to get in the way – Every wedding has a few well-intentioned family members who want to follow the photographer and the action and take their, “unofficial” wedding photos. However, they almost always get in the way and their flash may ruin some important shots, so kindly tell your guests to stay out of the way of the professionals.

Forgetting to get assistance organising people for pictures – If you don’t have a wedding coordinator, this is where your close friends could be useful as they probably know everyone needed in the pertinent pictures and can round them up when needed.

Rushing through the shots-We know you want as many pictures as possible to capture your wedding day, but it’s an experienced photographer’s job to know how to do time management and make sure that you get all the shots you need at each location, without mincing quality.

Skipping the “First Look” – This can be because you were brought up with the idea that tradition matters most and couples shouldn’t see each other before the wedding. However, wedding photographers find it so romantic to capture the first look of awe and love that grooms often have as they see their bride for the very first time. This allows couples some private time, and you don’t have to rush through the photos between the ceremony and the reception. Contact us if you’ve decided to try a Meet the Bride shoot with Scott Morton.

The majority of wedding photography mistakes happen because of misunderstandings in communication. Try to hire a photographer that you feel at ease with and whose style meshes with yours and these problems are less likely.

Image by Wayne Barkley via Flickr

Image by Wayne Barkley via Flickr

When it comes to choosing a venue for your wedding day, it sometimes is hard to match a location with the images that you have had in mind for your big day. Sometimes you will have to compromise as we cannot always afford the fairytale wedding. However, that does not mean that you cannot have a magical day when you exchange nuptials with your loved one.

A Perfect Beach Wedding
An excellent location in Melbourne to host your big event is on one of the many fantastic beaches that are around. The Brighton Savoy’s beach wedding venues in Melbourne is extremely popular due to its superb location, as well as exceptional services that they offer. If you are going to have your event at a beach, then make sure that the hotel will also have contingency plans in case the weather turns bad. Choosing the best season is also important if you are looking to have an open air event.

Splendid Facilities Available
You may wish not to tempt fate and decide to have your wedding party inside, which will mean you do not have to worry about what weather Mother Nature has in store for your big day. Most of the better venues will offer a variety of wedding packages, and can cater for all different types of budgets. You will also find that venues will usually have a dedicated wedding planner that can help to transform their facilities into the perfect location to celebrate your wedding. You can quickly find more information about all of your potential venues by looking at their websites, or contacting them directly either through email or by telephone. Then you will have all of the information that you require, to choose the most suitable location for your special day.

What Do Other People Think?
Once you have spoken to each venue regarding the facilities and packages that they offer, you will then need to make a decision as to which one to choose. Before you do so, it is a good idea to do some further research on each place, and this can be done quickly using the internet. You will want to look for reviews and testimonials about the specific locations, and take on board what other people have experienced when hosting a similar event. Some people are never happy, though, so you do need to take some of the reviews with a grain of salt.

Armed with all of this information you should now be ready to sit down and discuss the best options with your partner. Taking into account not only the location, cost, and also available facilities, but also the atmosphere of the place and the service offered by the staff, you can choose the perfect location for your wedding. Ultimately, it does not matter where you are, as long as you get to spend you day with your betrothed and share the occasion with all of your friends and family.

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If you’re planning your wedding, chances are you have some idea of the kind of honeymoon you’d like. Perhaps you’re dreaming of golden sands, azure waves, and hammocks that rock gently in the breeze; or maybe city tours, cocktails on the terrace, and historical sites are more your style. If you and your significant other share a love of travel and adventure, why not consider something a little bit different for your first vacation as a married couple? The world is your oyster, as they say, so it’s time to see it together; the natural world is an incredible place.

Zambia, Africa
There’s a good chance you’ll have seen pictures of the breathtaking ‘Devil’s Pool’ on social media, so why not explore Zambia’s Victoria Falls for yourself? As if the torrents of water weren’t spectacular enough, thousands of years of weathering have left rock pools along the falls’ edge; you will feel as though you’re swimming to the edge of the earth. Zambia is also a fantastic destination for those that enjoy navigating white water rapids, exploring miles of National Parks, enjoying a safari and getting up close and personal with nature.

Fiji
Do you enjoy diving, and long for crystal clear waters and more fish than you can count? Fiji is often heralded as a diver’s paradise and it isn’t hard to see why; an entire ocean to explore, hot white sands, and swaying palm trees await you in this heaven on earth. One of the best things about a honeymoon in Fiji is that it offers a bit of everything. You can relax by the beach, take a gentle stroll in the sea’s swell and enjoy cocktails as the sun sets, but you can also dive right into adventure. Snorkel in the shallows, take a boat around the islands or romp through the forest – discover your own paradise.

Finland
If you’re fans of the chillier things in life, a honeymoon in Finland may just be your thing. What’s more romantic than an evening snuggled in front of a roaring fire, taking a sleigh ride through the forest, or marveling at the Northern Lights together? A world of adventure awaits you in the snowy peaks of Finland including dog sledding, snowmobile safaris, whale watching, stargazing, and trekking through the snow, as well as quaint wooden lodges and igloos that you’ll fall in love with.

Staying Closer to Home
Planning a wedding can be an expensive business, and a lavish ceremony and reception for friends and family can seriously limit your honeymoon budget, but it is still possible to have an amazing post-wedding break. Going abroad for your honeymoon isn’t obligatory, and you can have a great time very close to home – just think about all of those places that you’ve never been to.

Imagine the scene: breathtaking mountain scenery, opportunities to hike, bike, and horseback ride, cool crisp air and heaps of snow that’s ready and waiting for skiing and boarding. Welcome to Aspen, Colorado – your gateway to the Rocky Mountains.

For a different type of vacation, you could try magical Las Vegas – Sin City – a metropolis that never sleeps. Just outside its neon Strip is a whole desert for you to explore, including the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam. You won’t be disappointed.

Bluegreen Resorts is your ticket to such amazing honeymoon destinations, and each of them is located within the US or very close to its shores. Whether you want to explore the bustling heart of New York City, head to Big Bear Lake, California, for some alpine air and adrenaline-fueled sports, or submerge yourself in the wetland wonderlands of Florida, Bluegreen Resorts can help you to plan your dream honeymoon. They arrange vacations in some of our nation’s most beautiful and enthralling places. Take some of the pressure off and let the experts help you with the arrangements of your trip.

Married life isn’t about standing still, but heading for that next thrill; it is an adventure, a journey, a new chapter in your lives as a couple. Choosing to spend the rest of your life with one person, and dedicating yourself to them from that moment on, is an incredibly special commitment. It stands to reason that you should celebrate such a union with an equally adventurous honeymoon, to set out and see the world as two individuals, finally joined in matrimony. Go on – explore the world together and never look back.

Look no further than above your head to find one of the hottest wedding trends of the year: hanging decor. Wreaths, stems, greenery, florals, lanterns, dream catchers, twinkle lights — you name it, they hang it. We love the departure from typical centerpieces and design elements for something a little more out of the ordinary. And hanging decor achieves a look that is whimsical, unexpected and utterly dreamy. Swoon.

Note: If your heart is set on hanging decor, make sure you choose a venue that will allow you to do so (i.e. with several trees, a tent, etc.).

Check out these beautiful hanging decor designs.

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4c3cf3b0-6b8a-11e5-b27d-4f0a713e9d43_ht_therapy_dog_wedding_03_mm_151005_4x3_992Justin Lansford was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division in eastern Afghanistan in early 2012 when he struck an IED that flipped his truck. His wounds resulted in the amputation of his left leg.

Once home, Justin was paired with Gabe, a golden retriever who had recently graduated from the Warrior Canine Connection – a nonprofit that puts wounded warriors in connection with support dogs.

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They grew so close that Lansford had Gabe stand by his side as best man at his wedding to longtime girlfriend, Carol Balmes. The couple has been together since high school.

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We’ll soon be welcoming in a New Year and that means some new (and old) trends will surface in the wedding world, especially when it comes to the fashion. Today, we’ve rounded up 6 trends to spot and the gorgeous gowns that represent them!

Enhanced Floral Appliques

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The trend lies in more than just floral appliqués, but ones with a 3-D life. These accents provide texture, interest and uniqueness creating a couture look and feel to any design.

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Off-the-Shoulder

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Whether it’s on a cocktail length, floral appliqué-covered reception or destination gown or on a full-length design, off-the-shoulder necklines are in and they’re quite romantic too. They add a vintage essence and very feminine feel to all silhouettes.

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Color

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Color is still in, especially those blushing tones that provide an elegance and fairy-tale storyline. And we love how so many of these gowns are mixing these unique 2016 wedding trends into one showstopping design.

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Plunging Neckline

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Deep, plunging necklines and keyholes are another top trending wedding gown accent for the upcoming season. Sexy but done in a sweet sophistication, these deep V’s fit right into modern fashion.

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Overlays

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Tulle and chiffon overlays are also calling all 2016 brides. They create volume, drama and an elegance as you walk down the aisle. We love the innovation behind these looks!

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Feathers

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One of the most surprising trends are feathers! Who knew these eclectic accents could look as beautiful as they do on these runway pieces? From skirts to the bodice, this texture is full of youth and fun.

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via Brides

weddingsPlanning your big day should be fun and exciting. There will be times; it has to be said, that you will also find it stressful, no doubting shedding a few tears along the way.

However, all of the negatives will be forgotten, as you dance the night away, glowing with pride that your big day has gone without a hitch – and just as you wanted it too. It might also be the springboard into a new career as many people have gone on find out with NCC Home Learning’s Wedding Planner Diploma.

But, as you stand at the start of your marriage organising journey, what best hints and tips for planning a wedding in 2016?

#1 Examine your abilities with a critical eye

Beginning with a negative may not be what you expect but, we think it is important to point out that event and wedding planning is not easy. Depending on the size of your wedding, it can take many, many hours of labour searching for the smallest thing. And, when things do not go according to plan, it can send you into a meltdown of gargantuan proportions.

So, the lesson for 2016 – some things you will be able to do, and others it may be best to seek the help of others. And this may mean paying a wedding planner or other professionals.

#2 Guest lists…

Wedding planning and wedding guest list execution is all about limits, numbers and pound signs. You may have a whopping budget, but this does not mean you want to spend it on feeding 500 people, 75% of whom you’re barely know.

Be realistic about the budget that you have and the size of the guest list it will comfortably accommodate.

#3 Get organised and stay up to date

Weddings have a habit of tottering along nicely until a few weeks before the big day and then it snowballs, crashes and heaves to a point where everything seems to have become a big mess. But it all appears to go without a hitch, and everyone had a great time including po-faced aunty Mildred.

Being organised and staying organised is key to the planning process going smoothly. Make a list of what needs doing, when and by whom. Simple things, like running a live spreadsheet of RSVPs for the day and evening dos are the perfect way of staying on top.

Have the thank you notes ready too!

#4 Spreadsheets and files

You probably never thought you would turn into a bridezilla but let us assure you at this point that by having spreadsheets and files, you have not turned into one. It just means you are organised, with all the information, booking confirmations, contact details and so on, in one handy place.

As you would expect, there are also loads of wedding planning apps, including keeping your eye on the weather.

#5 Embrace limitations

Party and wedding planning is strewn with casualties who, years after their big day, are still paying the debt they incurred by having everything and anything they wanted. In a world that is full of extravagances, it can be easy to go overboard.

You may want to think through want you want and then prioritise these because, the hard fact is that you will not be able to have it all – and thank goodness, in many ways, as this means that you will end up spending your hard earned cash on what you want.

#6 Cast off superstitions and traditions… if that is what you want to do

Weddings are full of superstitions and traditions that can either be welcomed or, just a waste of time. The whole thing about not seeing your groom before the altar is a bit long in the tooth and thus many couples are now taking the opportunity to get ready together, walk in together and just basically be together, which is what marriage is all about.

Sometimes ringing the changes is as good as following tradition, and so if that is what you want to do, then go ahead and do it. Marriages and partnerships rise and fall on hard work, perseverance and love – not whether your groom caught a glimpse of you in your wedding dress before the ceremony.

#7 And finally…

HAVE FUN! Weddings and civil ceremonies are about two people taking the plunge and declaring their love to the world. It is about promising to carry on looking after each other, and making your lives better, together.

So, have fun planning your wedding and have a good time at your wedding… and who knows, you might find yourself planning someone else’s wedding as a wedding planner?

2015 was chalked full of celebrities weddings, which means we saw a lot of gorgeous gowns that left of swooning, gushing and dreaming. Take a trip down memory lane with us as we share some of our favorite celebrity wedding gowns of 2015!

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Weddings are designed to celebrate the everlasting bonds of love and matrimony. From traditional to contemporary ceremonies, having the right photographer is essential in capturing all those special memories. This includes the cake cutting ceremony, along with the reception and the ever popular couple’s first dance. If looking for professional services in your area, wedding photographers Sydney is a phone call away. With years of extensive industry experience, these experts have the tools and expertise to capture all your special moments. From digital SLR and wireless cameras to the latest in video equipment, local professionals utilize cutting-edge and innovative devices that guarantee crisp visuals and imagery across the board.

Wedding Photography Services

Wedding photographers offer a full suite of services for weddings, proms, receptions, and social gatherings. This includes studio portraits of the couple, along with family and guest photos in exterior or interior settings. They also feature convenient social media uploads, as well as imagery for online wedding registries and albums. With full DVD/CD and multimedia packages, newlyweds can truly rely on Sydney photographers and video experts for the best and most affordable services. Wedding photography services also include:

  • Black and white – color – dual color photos of the wedding, reception, and after-hours parties.
  • Complete multimedia packages – CD/DVD, social media and blog posts, wedding registries, baby showers.
  • Family and guest photos – wedding couple photos – backdrops with scenic and picturesque imagery that effectively capture the tone of the event.
  • Limousine arrival photos – floral arrangement images – lavish and elegant décor photo shoots.
  • Cost-affordable photography, videography and music/entertainment services for the entire wedding.
  • Professional lighting systems – screens – karaoke for receptions – full DJ and live band/entertainment services (this is usually with companies that offer complete wedding photo and entertainment services for weddings, corporate gatherings, and social events.

Finding the Right Photographer

Finding the right wedding photographers Sydney does not have to be difficult. Simply check the internet for a myriad of area photography and video experts. It is also imperative to review client testimonials and industry ratings – which helps make a worthwhile and informed hiring decision. If pressed for time, check the social media platform and networks as well. These usually feature online gallery showcases of previous wedding and event photos and images. This too is a great way to review the services, rates and special facilitations that local photographers offer to new and existing clients. Clients can also speak to wedding party members, loved ones and friends for more referrals and tips on locating cost-affordable imagery experts in their area.

MMG Photo Cinema

When it comes to professional wedding photographers, MMG Photo Cinema continues to lead the pack. As an industry leader in video and photo services, they have serviced the Greater Sydney Area with spectacular results over the years. From weddings and Bar Mitzvahs to Christenings and more, they have the experience and knowledge to effectively capture all those priceless moments. With the latest in photography and video equipment, the MMG Studio is heralded for being on the pulse of modern and contemporary imagery. Simply contact them today for more information on wedding photo and video packages. You can also check out their extensive online blog or showroom for captivating and compelling photos of previous weddings and social receptions.

If looking for affordable wedding photographers in Sydney, MMG is the way to go.

Bridal Beauty Tips & Advice

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. It is a day that you will remember for the rest of your life. Because your wedding day is so important, everything should be perfect. This includes your hair and makeup. Most women know enough about hair and makeup to get ready for a typical day. When it comes to looking perfect on your wedding day, you may not have the skills to create an unforgettable look. This is where a professional in bridal hair & makeup can help. A professional has the knowledge and experience to give you the look that you have always imagined having on your wedding day. Before you hire someone, there are a few tips that you should follow.

Ask About Their Education and Skills

It is a good idea to question the hair and makeup professional about what type of education they have when it comes to doing hair and makeup. You want to find someone who has been taught how to use makeup to bring out your best features and cover up your worst ones. You also want someone who knows how to do up-do’s, and who can style hair around their veil or headpiece. Many artists who specialize in wedding hair & makeup will have a book with photos of brides that they have recently worked for. It is a good idea to ask for their book so that you can see what they are capable of.

Hire Someone Who Will Do a Trial Run

Many brides do not know exactly what they want when it comes to their hair and makeup on their wedding day. If you are unsure, it is a good idea to hire someone who will do a trial run before the actual wedding date. The trial run will give you a chance to try out different looks so that you will know what is going to look best on your big day.

Hire Someone Who You Click With

On your wedding day, you will likely be nervous. During this time, it is best to be around people who you feel comfortable with. Since you are going to be spending a great deal of time with the person that you have hired to do your hair and makeup, it is important that you feel comfortable with them. If you hire someone that you click with, you will have someone there to talk to and possibly help calm you down before you walk down the aisle.

Do They Do More Than Hair and Makeup?

It is a good idea to hire someone who does more than just hair and makeup. Many people who do hair and makeup are also professional problem solvers. It will be helpful to have someone who can be calm and helpful through any wedding emergency that occurs.

Do They Use Professional Products?

You want to hire someone who uses professional products. Wedding days can be stressful, which can cause you to sweat. The same is true if you are getting married on a hot day or if you spend the night dancing. It is important that the person that you hire uses high-quality products so that your hair stays in place and your makeup doesn’t run down your face. Before you hire someone, make sure that the products in their kit were not purchased in the $.99 cent bin at the pharmacy.

If you want to look your best on your big day, you should consider hiring a professional from Sapphire Hair and Makeup.

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When this bride’s father stopped the ceremony to pull in her stepfather to help him walk her down the aisle, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Todd Bachman, biological father of the blushing bride, decided that he wanted to thank the other important man in her life for helping raise Brittany, her stepfather Todd Cendrosky (yes, these men not only share love for this young lady but they also share a first name!).

Delia D Blackburn Photography caught the moment on camera and you can see how touched the stepfather is that his personal love for the bride hasn’t gone unnoticed or unappreciated by her birth dad.

 

 

 

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“It was one of the most compassionate gestures toward a stepparent I’ve ever seen,” Blackburn told The Huffington Post. “The bride was in tears and overcome with emotion.”

In an interview with local news station WKYC-TV, the stepdad said he was totally taken aback by Bachman’s kind gesture.

“[He] came and grabbed my hand and said: ‘You worked as hard as I have. You’ll help us walk our daughter down the aisle,'” Cendrosky recalled. “I got weak in the knees and lost it. Nothing better in my life, the most impactful moment in my life.”

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In the same interview with WKYC-TV, Bachman admitted he and Cendrosky hadn’t always gotten along. But extending the honor at the wedding just made sense.
“For me to thank him for all the years of helping raise our daughter wouldn’t be enough,” Bachman said. “There is no better way to thank somebody than to assist me walking her down the aisle.”

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information and photos via Huffington Post

With all the holiday decor making its yearly appearance, one specific item in particular is tickling our fancy: wreaths. Square, heart-shaped, oval or circular — no matter the shape, we’ll take ’em any way for a wedding day. And bonus, these are DIY-friendly.

Wreaths are a fun way to display florals and greenery without using the typical vase arrangement.

Hang them on the doors of the church, behind your reception chairs, under your cake stand or over your dessert table — the options are endless. It’s also picture-perfect to attach a saying to the wreath and use it as a prop in photos (see below).

Did we mention the symbolism of a wreath? With no beginning and no end, it’s the ideal symbol of your endless circle of love. Aw. 

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It’s magical, mystical and the epitome of romance. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. 

If a winter fête is in your future, why not go all out and hold your big event in a snow-laden land? Think cabins, lodges and ski resorts — ah, yes. 

We seriously swoon for a wedding set against a snowy backdrop. Bring out the warm cocktails, steaming soups and sleigh rides! Also, capturing wedding snapshots amongst snowflakes = some pretty dang photogenic photos. Don’t believe us? Check out these winter wedding wonderlands.

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When you’ve got bouts of kids at your wedding, you’re going to want to have some spots created just for them to keep busy with. From tables set up with activities to small corners filled with entertaining games, think about your smallest guests too when planning your wedding! Let’s have a look at 10 great ideas!

via Pinterest

We can’t help ourselves. ‘Tis the Christmas season, after all.

If you’re a fanatic for all the festivities of the Christmas season, why not throw your wedding date into the mix? Some people think a winter wedding with halls decked is corny — which it can be; however, when executed tastefully, it makes for pure magic and whimsey. The smell of pine, glowing twinkle lights, sparkly ornaments and overflowing egg nog — have the warm fuzzies yet? Talk about the ultimate holiday party.

Also, a great upside to having a holiday wedding is the opportunity to save a little cash. Chances are your venue already owns basic decorations (twinkle lights, trees), so you can probably get off with little to no cost using those items. Additionally, if you’ve got a year lead time on your big day, snag your decor essentials at post-holiday sales, and you’ll save some big bucks from your valuable budget.

Now, check out this merry inspiration chock-full of holiday cheer.

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These couture Tarek Sinno gowns will leave you breathless and have you dream of wearing them as you walk down the aisle. From the bridal collection to the evening wear, each of these designs are truly something special. Check them out!

Without a doubt, the photos of the first look, first dance, first cake slice and first kiss as husband and wife are the ones we await with baited breath. However, when you’re compiling your shot list for the photographer, don’t forget to include several shots of pre-wedding prep.

We know photographers are pricey, and you’re probably trying to debate whether you want them to stay later into the evening or come earlier in the day. We say earlier, earlier, earlier. There is a certain magic to capturing the excitement and anticipation before the bride and groom see each other. You’ll never experience anything quite like it again.

For the purpose of this post, we focused on before-wedding bridal shots of one particular bride — hair, makeup, gift exchange, putting on the dress, etc. Too cute to handle, right?

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Silver Wedding Dresses

By Araceli Vizcaino-S, Azazie

Each year, over two million brides say their “I Do’s,” which means roughly two million wedding parties have gone through the tried-and-true process of planning the affair, figuring out which bridesmaid trends look good and which don’t.

Well we’re here to save you some time by sharing what we’d like you to leave behind in the New Year:

“More Is More” Rule

Whether or not you’re of the camp that “less is more,” ultimately bridesmaids never want to outshine the bride. Having an outlandish bridesmaid dress will surely detract from the bride herself. Stay away from the ball gowns, the layers of ruffles, and crisscrossing fabrics screaming for attention. There were occasions called homecoming, prom, or quinceañera Classic with a twist should never be about the “twist,” so be sensible.

Hot Pink

Pink is officially the new black as well as the the ultimate girly go-to, and we’re seeing blush bridesmaid dresses among the most popular colors for weddings. But hot pink straddles a fine line between Bridesmaids and Barbie. The stark highlighter color is just too bold for a wedding, and can even run, dare I say, on the tacky side.

So even if the bride is Elle Woods incarnate, consider having deep pink accents, or changing the marker on the RGB scale when it comes to choosing dresses, to veer away from a fashion faux pas. As another queen of pink would say, “Stop trying to make fetch happen.”

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If it’s a wedding in Hawaii, it’s a little too predictable to have your bridesmaids wear orchid leis and seashells in their hair. For a garden wedding, you don’t have to do flower crowns—think outside the box, or little ways in which you can communicate the theme or setting of your wedding with hints. The understated details will go a long way.

Long, Cream Dresses

Even if the wedding dress is much more upscale than the long bridesmaid dresses, choosing cream is still just plain risky. There is one bride, not six, and when the wedding party stands together it’ll be too easy for the bride to blend in. Nude-colored bridesmaid dresses are a tough call, as sometimes beading and details can differentiate, but if anything, go with short dresses if you’re choosing a cleaner, lighter color.

Once an idea for a head-to-toe bridesmaid looks passes the above tests with soaring colors, it’s time to officially run with it!

Araceli Vizcaino-S is the Community Manager for Azazie, an online bridal boutique that specializes in a made-to-measure dress experience. At Azazie, dresses are designed in-house and wedding parties are provided with custom fitting for over 200 styles and 57 colors of bridesmaid dresses, wedding gowns, mother-of-the-bride dresses, as well as a wide selection of bridal accessories. 

When we think of wintertime, one iconic pattern comes to mind: tartan. Tartan table cloths, throws, napkins and now, wedding decor. Warm, vibrant and colorful, tartan was originally produced from wool, but has since extended to different materials like paper, plastic and even fondant (talk about talent!).

Whether your family has Scottish roots, or you’re just a particular fan of the criss-crossed colorful bands, tartan makes for a warm winter design that adds major character to your big day.

Check out these tartan takes on wedding decor for a total treat.

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Planning a wedding, while exciting, can also be extremely stressful and overwhelming. There are so many things to consider, ranging from catering service to entertainment and beyond. Many people hire DJs to provide entertainment and music for their big day. If you want to hire a great DJ for your wedding, you should be very careful and diligent. The last thing you want to do is hire an inexperienced DJ who has no idea how to make your wedding the fun, enjoyable and memorable experience it’s supposed to be. Sophia from Hiresquare has recently been through the process of hiring a DJ for her wedding and shares some tips with us.

Get a Referral From Friends

Ask reliable people you know for strong recommendations. Chances are you know a few people who have had or who have been to weddings before. If they’ve had DJs work their weddings or seen a great DJ at somebody else’s wedding, ask them how their experiences were. If they rave about their DJs, get their contact information. When you’re planning a wedding and want everything to go smoothly, nothing beats the confidence of a personal recommendation. If possible, try to ask for recommendations from people who have similar musical preferences to you. Although many wedding DJs spin all kinds of tunes, some have their own niches, whether classic rock, modern pop, R&B or anything else.

Meet Face To Face

You should always make an appointment to meet the DJ face-to-face before agreeing to hire him or her for your wedding. Meeting someone in person can give you a good idea about his or her work style. You want to make sure in advance that the wedding DJ you hire is responsible and professional, after all. A meeting can provide you with some helpful clues, too. If the DJ shows up to your meeting early or on time and is polite and accommodating, then you know you’ve probably got someone great on your hands. If he or she is late, flaky and seemingly off in outer space for the duration of your entire meeting, then you know to probably look elsewhere. When you meet prospective DJs, you should find out about their experience levels, too. Find out how long they’ve been in the business. Find out the average number of weddings they work annually, as well. Knowledge truly is power! It is important that you feel confident and get a good feel for the person.

Have Examples Ready Of The Type of Music You Would Like To Hear

Discuss the type of music you want to be played at your wedding. Don’t forget, it is YOUR wedding, and thus you should be able to request what you want. If you don’t be clear about what you want, chances are the DJ will go off and play his own favorite tunes. Give the DJ examples of songs that you would like to hear so he/she knows what you are after and whether this is the type of music he/she will and can play. You can also ask the DJ to come up with some examples/provide a playlist of his own to get an idea of their portfolio. Also deliberate whether it is possible for the audience to requests songs once the party has started.

Can I Use The Mic?

Enquire if the DJ has a mic you can use. Quite often somebody has a speech prepared and wants to address the audience. If a DJ has a mic that you can use, this could save someone a lot of shouting. It is advisable to make sure there is a certain time slot where people can get up and use the mic and discuss this with the DJ so he/she is made aware of this.

Make a Formal Arrangement

If you meet a potential wedding DJ and determine that he or she is a contender, you should take the opportunity to ask about important details such as written contracts. The last thing you want, is get a no-show at the day of your wedding or unpleasant payment surprises. If a DJ has a written contract available, that’s often a good indication that he’s a consummate professional. It’s also often a good indication that he’s dependable and honest. Discuss terms of payments. It is okay to make a small down payment upfront, to give the DJ some security that you are serious to go ahead with him/her, but don’t pay the full fee until the service has been delivered.