Proposal Fun: Isaac’s live “lip dub proposal”

Just in case there’s anyone in the world who hasn’t seen this one yet, here’s a proposal story  to aspire to:

 

 

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Massive Gown Sale [pass it on!]

A week or so ago, one of the racks literally fell off the wall under the weight of too many gowns. [It was actually pretty funny: – very gracefully and in slow motion, the pole buckled, the gowns started to slide, and then the whole thing bent out in odd directions – gowns and hangers everywhere].

I MacGyvered it back onto the wall, better than before, and had a good hard look at what was hanging there. I’ve ruthlessly purged the racks, for an ‘off the rack’ sale.While I have NO desire to recreate a Running of the Brides, I’m determined to move these dresses –  I know there are new gowns due for the coming season which are going to have to hang SOMEwhere! The new rack is stronger, but I’m really not sure about the wall it’s bolted to.

I’ve spent most of this week sorting and re-pricing gowns. As I left this afternoon,  I did a quick count up, and there are over 50 gowns on  the sale rack, most still ‘brand new with tags’, all massively marked down. No wonder it took so long!

The majority of the gowns are sample gowns from lines which are now discontinued.  There are some left-overs of cancelled orders or duplicates from before my time, and a few are second-hand. All of them are in excellent condition, and priced to sell, many at over 50% off the recommended retail price.

Even better, there’s an impressive variation of styles and sizes, from size 8 to 18, genuine vintage lace through to 2011/12 styles. At these prices, it’s a case of ‘first in, best dressed’ for sure!

Gowns can be viewed anytime The Store is open, fittings are by appointment only – see you there!

 

You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful?

If I was to pick a theme song to describe the past couple of months [since bringing Beautiful Brides of Hope into the Wedding Whisperer’s Corner Store],

I’m blushing to admit that I’d be calling  on One Direction:

Everyone else in the room can see it,
Everyone else but you,
…You don’t know you’re beautiful,
If only you saw what I can see,
Right now I’m looking at you and I can’t believe,
You don’t know, oh oh,
You don’t know you’re beautiful

I’m amazed to discover how many women truly don’t know that they are beautiful.

How do I know? Because I get to be right there, in the moment when they look into the mirror at themself in a dress that fits them perfectly, that unguarded moment when they see themselves, and realise that they. are. beautiful.

What an awesome job! I honestly did not realise how much job satisfaction was going to come bundled with taking over Beautiful Brides of Hope. I’ve never really had any kind of aspiration to be a bridal gown fitter, and yet, here I am, working through dozens of fittings stacked back to back, and … I’m loving it!

I’m sure that some of the pleasure comes from my own unique approach to the job. I’ve been pretty deliberate about creating my own niche, firmly set on the idea that choosing a wedding gown should be special, exciting, and if at all possible, fun for the bride. There can be a huge amount of pressure placed on her, and while it’s my job to provide the best professional advice on designs and styles, I belive that it’s also my job to make the process, at the very least pleasant, if not actually pleasurable.

I figure that there are already plenty of bridal boutiques out there doing the hoity-toity thing, [and, if you know me at all, you’ll know that I couldn’t keep that reputation with a straight face for more than five minutes]. So, on that basis, here’s my down-to-earth advice for finding your perfect wedding gown:

No matter which salon you go to, call ahead and make an appointment. That way you’ll get the best possible attention from your fitter, and have the best opportunity to view the gowns without interruption.

If you can possibly manage without it, don’t wear make-up to your gown consultation. If it’s really a great dress, it will make you look good with or without make-up, plus you won’t have the hassle of trying not to smear foundation over the dresses.

If you have a strapless bra or bandeaux, bring it with you – it’s not so much for shape inside the gowns as for discretion while you’re climbing out of one dress and into another – if the dress fits properly, you rarely need a bra at all. Strapless is important for being able to see the gown without visual distractions. Do wear your best fitting bra for being measured in, though.  If you’re nervous about undressing in front of a stranger, take a deep breath and relax. We’re discreet and respectful – to be honest, it’s so completely normal, we don’t even notice any more! However if you do feel really uncomfortable, talk to your fitter about it,- it may be possible to have a friend or family member help you.

Bring a friend – someone whose opinion you trust, and that you know will be honest with you. But… only invite one or two people, not only because you’ll be spending a lot of time standing around half-dressed, but also because too many opinions can cause confusion and make your decision more difficult.

Don’t avoid a salon just because they charge a fitting fee. In my experience, if you’re not directly being charged for your gown consultation, it’s likely that the charge has been built into the cost of the gowns, anyway. The fitting fee gives you permission to try on gowns without any pressure to actually commit to buying anything, to try on as many gowns as necessary, to take as long as you like, all without feeling obligated in any way.

Help your fitter to help you – Let them know about anything that may impact on your gown choice – for example, if you’re pregnant, or have a tattoo that you want to accent, or to hide, if you’re self conscious about your stretch marks, or want to show off your cleavage, if you’re getting married in the Cathedral or in a cow-barn – the more they know about you, the better they can help find your gown!

Be honest about your budget limit. It’s no fun to fall in love with a gown that you cannot possibly afford. A good fitter will not show you gowns that are beyond what you’re willing or able to spend, but will help you find the perfect gown WITH the perfect price tag.

Trust your fitter, and be willing to try on many different styles to find the one that is perfect for you. Honestly, if I had a dollar for every time ‘The Gown’ has been a dress that the bride hated while it was still on the hanger… Different styles can make you look taller or shorter, curvier or thinner, but it’s impossible to tell until you’ve tried them on.

Trust yourself – If a dress makes you feel silly, self-conscious, or overshadowed, put it back on the rack.  Your perfect gown will make you feel beautiful, so your good bits look great, and hides your bad bits. The right dress will do all that, and more! And when you try it on, you’ll know […oh-oh, you will know you’re beautiful!]

How NOT to sabotage your own wedding…

[shamelessly adapted from something I saw on Pinterest]

1.  Never compare your wedding to anyone else’s. Especially if that someone else is a celebrity, or a fictional character.
2. Know that your friends and family are biased. Whether for or against your plans, their opinions and advice will be skewed by their own idea and expectations. Take what is useful to you, and move on.
3. Measure your success on how accurately your wedding day reflects your relationship, and honours your connections with your wider network of family and friends. Your guests will remember how they feel at your ceremony much more than how the venue is decorated, or which dessert you serve.
4. Dream big, but keep the fantasy grounded in reality. You simply don’t have unlimited time, money, or energy. Decide what are the most important components of your wedding day, and spend your resources bringing them to the fore. Don’t fight your budget constraints, work within them. It’s good practice for the rest of your life, if nothing else!
5. Know that success can never be measured in dollars. The things that you and your guests will treasure most are seldom things that can be bought with cold hard cash.
6. Trust that when you are building connections between the people you care most about, there is always enough. Compromise is not giving in if it honours the relationships you value.
7. Remember, this is actually not the best day of your life. It’s one of the really good ones, but not more important than each of the days of married life which will follow. Spend as much time working on those days as on your wedding day. Don’t throw away tomorrow in pursuit of one perfect day.
8. Don’t expect everyone to understand and applaud your choices. Do your best to educate them about the decisions you’re making and the reasons for them, but don’t expect wholehearted approval for every thing you have planned.
9. Whenever an aunt or neighbor or best friend offers their advice, listen, smile and nod. Then go and create your celebration authentically.
10. Be careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. The greater the emphasis on perfection, the less likely you are to achieve it. Aim for excellence, and be confident that you willget there.

What Do You Do When It Goes Wrong?

Inspired by a UK Telegraph article “Are these the worst wedding pictures ever?”

You may have seen a variety of terrible wedding photographs, courtesy of Tumblr, Failblog, and the like – the bride tossing her bouquet and falling out of the bodice of her gown is a typical example. These photos are in a different class altogether. Rather than being one lucky [or unlucky, depending on your viewpoint] shot, the photographer in this example simply took a series of terrible pictures. The technique, not the subject, was the problem.

I mean, what would you expect if I described a  candid photo of the couple chatting after the ceremony?

I know I’m not a fan of having ‘Uncle Joe’ as your photographer, but even the most well-meaning amateur could probably pull together a few decent shots. And have the brains to delete the out-takes.
In fact, when I first saw these photos, I thought perhaps the photographer had somehow accidentally [or for a joke] given the couple the out-takes, and had another disc full of great photos to follow them up with.

Apparently not. The entire wedding album consists of poorly posed shots, [such as or this example: the happy couple and their family…]

or, poor technique, as seen here.

I’m no photographer, but even if this shot was in focus, is there really no better line of sight? Those fire extinguishers feature in quite a few of the photos.

Allt his is without raising the issure that the photographer refused to work with a flash, citing epilepsy as their excuse.

I’m sorry, what?

If you can’t work with flashing lights, then maybe you shouldn’t be charging people for wedding photography? Or you should at least be using a decent tripod, and specialised low light gear?

Meh. More pics in the gallery here.

Here’s an interesting thing, though. While I have not seen anything approaching this level of incompetence [thank goodness!] I do get to hear feedback from couples who’ve experienced less than stellar service from their service providers.

After sympathising with their disappointment, my first question is always ‘Have you told [the vendor] how you’re feeling?’ and so often, the answer is not only that the couple haven’t said anything, but also, that they don’t intend to.

Which is just crazy.

For starters, the wedding professionals I work with value negative feedback. Why? Because it helps them to do their job better next time. Their default assumption is that they’ve done a good job, so while hearing about it from you is a pleasant confirmation, and a nice esteem boost, what they also want to hear about is the times when they’ve missed the mark. How will they know that the cake was dry, or their advertising implies something they don’t intend, or that they have terrible BO, if no-one ever actually says anything?

I’ve heard all sorts of reasoning, from “It’s a bit  awkward” through to “It’s too late to do anything about it now, anyway”. And most of it is true. You can’t get back the honeymoon spent in the bathroom because the caterer’s food wasn’t properly chilled. You can’t retake the photo of your Dad’s tears as he gave you away. You can’t negate that the sound system failed and no-ne heard your vows… there are a million things that can be repaired, but not completely replaced. So why bother saying anything?

A couple of reasons. The first is that  if you don’t believe you received the full value of what you paid for, you’re entitled to complain, and to ask for reparations or a refund. There are plenty of laws and precedents to back that up. Money doesn’t solve many problems, but I don’t believe you should have to pay for your problems, either.

Secondly, even if you can’t take back what happened to you, perhaps you can prevent it happening to someone else. In particular, if the problem is greater than simply ‘it was less awesome than we’d expected’, if there is real technical failure, or incompetence, or outright shady behaviour.

If you suspect that you’ve been scammed, or that there is more than human error involved, or if you’ve complained to the company or individual and gotten anything less than an apology and a sincere attempt to resolve the issue, you should consider taking the matter further. ‘Trial by media’ is never going to be my favourite option – by taking their story to the newspapers, the couple in the original article have pretty much guaranteed that these photographers will not work in the industry again, but that’s a pretty drastic step, and I hope not the first, or even the top five possible solutions.

Many of the larger scale wedding vendors will have the backing of a national body, with a formal complaints procedure etc. But, some of the smaller specialist businesses may not have the budget or the formal qualifications required. However, there’s always a way – for example, just this week  a  local photographer asked if I’d be willing to be a mediator if the situation ever arose. It’s this kind of proactive, customer focus that marks Boutique Photography out as truly professional:

Quote\\If, for any reason, you’re unhappy with what you’ve received, please tell me, and give me the chance to put it right.
If it makes you feel better, think of it as helping me grow my craft!
I encourage you to discuss things with me first, however if you feel uncomfortable talking to me, or feel something’s unresolved, Ang Pearson, The Wedding Whisperer, has offered to act as a go-between.
Please feel free to contact her to discuss any issues you may have with my work.  //Quote

How’s that for integrity?!

Long story short: Do your homework before hand. Shop around for a bargain, but be aware that the best deal isn’t always the one with the cheapest price tag! Get to know the people you’re hiring, so that you can have total confidence in them on the day. If, after al that,  things go wrong, make sure you talk to the people involved first. If you don’t get a satisfactory solution, ask someone else to step in.

All the best for your plans!

 

 

 

 

The Wedding Whisperer on Pinterest

If you haven’t yet discovered Pinterest, let me take you by the hand and show you around!

Over here is where you can see my Pinterest boards, full of images and ideas I’ve found all around the internet, collected into one place. Categorising them into ‘boards’ means I can group that random stuff in meaningful ways – If you look at the board named “Refit Inspiration and Dreaming”, you’ll see why I love it so very much.

We’re in the process of refitting The Corner Store [more about that as it happens, watch this space!] and this Pinterest board has provided a great way to pull together all the different ideas I’ve had, whether that’s been things I already have to work with, images I’ve gone googling for, or even bits and pieces I’ve found on other people’s Pinboards.

After a quick glance over that board, I bet you’re already figuring out that Pinterest has such great potential as a wedding theme board tool, idea repository, and source for ideas.

The most-best thing about it is, not only can you grab the image that inspires you, you also get the link from whichever site you found it at – no more re-googling for that thing you can only half remember. Suddenly all those DIY options can be assessed side by side, the idea you loved six months ago keeping as current as the latest hot trend. Add the Pinterest mobile app, and you have a themeboard you can fit into your pocket. Add SnapBucket to Pinterest, you can even store images of real life things you spot on your wedding planning recce – a photo of your guy in his suit and tie to match colours with the florist, a quick shot of the table setting, or seating arrangements, now easily compared to the magazine images online.

I reckon you could even create your gift registry wish list, with images of things you like so that guests can match your style, but still choose the gift, and where they buy it from!

Get yourself on board, and then come back and show me what you’re dreaming about!

Happy pinning,

Wishing Wells (and why they shouldn’t just be ‘somewhere to put the money’)

If you’ve been playing along at home, you’ll know that The Wedding Whisperer decorated some of the Porta-Loos at this years Relay for Life in Nelson. I’d tossed in a wishing well, because it seemed to fit the visual theme, and once it was there, it seemed logical to add a sign inviting Relay-ers to make a wish and drop it in the well.

That little ‘throw-away’ action prompted this post.

Without anything further being said or done to promote the idea, a steady stream of people came, wrote out their wish and put it in the well. Some came back and made more wishes as the event progressed.

They varied from a quick, almost furtive scribble and drop, to communal chats and consensus over the exact wording, which ranged covered the range from the pragmatic “I wish the wind would quit” and generic “Peace to all” to the heartfelt “I wish I had a pony and mum and dad were back together again”. Extravagant wishes – [Justin Bieber, anyone?]’ made with the same fervency as  ‘I wish my cat Tigger would come back and live with us”, and “I wish I had a warmer jacket”

And always, the underlying wishes of Relay for Life: I wish that no-ne would die of cancer. I wish that my mother will get better. I wish that my baby is Resting in Peace. I wish my mum could know I made the netball team. I wish you were here. I wish they will find a cure. I wish I could see my granddad again. I wish I can be here for the next Relay for Life.

Reading through the wishes this morning, after I had unpacked the car, was an extremely moving experience. I’ll be taking the wishes in to the Cancer Society later today, and hope they can find an appropriate way to share them.

Wishing wells are one of the newer traditions associated with weddings – essentially a pretty place for guests to put their envelope gifts and cards. I’ve always thought it was the perfect excuse to invite guests to also write a few lines of good will or advice, or whatever, for the couple. A guest book used to serve that function, but so often it simply becomes just another list of guests names. By actively inviting your guests to make a wish or a blessing for you, you create an opportunity for them to share their heart with you. Sure you’ll get some nonsense “I hope you didn’t buy your bed from Farmers- they stand behind everything they sell!” but I guarantee you’ll also get some thought-provoking and moving responses, with messages you’ll treasure for years to come.

Reading through the giant pile of wishes accumulated during the Relay, I’m even more convinced that this is a tradition that deserves to be adopted and embraced. I feel so strongly about it, that I’m getting cards printed up to include with each of our wishing well hire kits.

 

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