Thursday, September 11, 2008

5 things to avoid in your Best Man Speech.

I've stood up and delivered 3 best man speeches in my time. The first one I visited the loo 3 times during the meal, my stomach was flipping over, it was the hottest day of the year, and I was terrified.
After the speech the flow of compliments I received from the wedding guests, made me wonder what I had been worrying about. I'm not saying I'm an expert, but here are a few things to consider when you're standing up from a warm seat with a piece of paper in your right hand, and I'm not still talking about the loo. (You can add that one to your best man one liners)

Rushing your speech with your head down.

Bundles of nerves, adrenalin rushing, they creep down the line, from the bride's father to the groom, then down to the best man. You step into the spotlight, and read your script word from word like a verbal charging bull on a mission, barely looking up to even see if the wedding guests are paying any attention.
The trick is, that the best man speech is not solely about good content. You want everyone in the room to know he's your best mate, you've got stories to tell and they should listen. Deliver your speech with a little swagger in it.
The best way to avoid the head down, full steam ahead approach is to practice. In front of a mirror is good, pretend the wedding guests are there and read out loud.

Rude words, or vulgar suggestions.

Nothing better then a badly timed piece of vulgarity to ensure the wedding guests sit and see tumbleweeds blowing past. The truth is, your mates down the pub will of been pulling your leg about the wedding and your speech for some time. You probably came up with some great ideas for speech material whilst with your mates. But whatever you do, please don't make the mistake by thinking a good joke with your mates in the pub will go down well during your best man speech. You really don't want to spoil the wedding day for anyone, least of all the bride and groom.
The best way to avoid this, just ask yourself "Will the bride's mother laugh at this?" If you even think she may not, then best leave it out. Would your speech make a PG rating on a movie ? There'll be young people at the wedding too.

You're a professional stand up comedian.

No you're not. Well, maybe you are, but the likelihood is - you're not.
Don't go throwing in jokes in every paragraph. There is so much more to a best man speech then just cracking joke after joke. "Groom placed an ad in the local paper saying bride wanted, a week later he received several responses all saying the same.... you can have mine" - Mildly amusing, not really funny in a speech though, doubt it would raise a laugh from the wedding guests.
Witty stories, light hearted banter aimed at the groom, embarrassing childhood memories, these are received well by the wedding guests, and enjoyed by the bride and groom.
Avoid joke after joke and opt for sincerity, good humour and a large slice of affection for both the bride and groom.

Badly written speeches

Possibly you've not written anything out since your school exams. The wedding day will be the pinnacle of your duties as best man, don't spoil it by poor grammer in your speech. If you are nervous and fluff your way through it because it was badly written, this may lead to a few wedding guests to throw in the odd heckle, which if you haven't planned for may be your downfall on the day. On that note, get yourself a couple of good come back lines just in case of a heckler - "The chairs are pointing towards me for a reason mate" - "I thought the wall was well plastered, but you're worse"
Avoid bad grammar by getting a trusted friend to proof read your speech.

Don't mention ex-girlfriends

Save discussions of past conquests for the stag party, who cares about previous relationships on someone's wedding day - no one ! The wedding guests will sit there stony faced and the only one squirming with embarrassment will be you.
Number one rule for your best man speech, never, ever, even contemplate mentioning an ex-girlfriend.

Being someone's Best Man is a fun, enjoyable, wonderful occasion and an absolute honor. Ensure you keep it that way by avoiding the pitfalls outlined above - and enjoy the wedding day yourself too.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

10 top tips for successful wedding planning

Wedding Budget.
Only plan for the wedding you can afford. You've got to accept your budget, and always stick to your original plan when out shopping for wedding items. Ensure you create the perfect wedding for you, not for a celebrity magazine.

Get Organised.
Start planning and making wedding decisions as early as possible. This is the secret to stress free wedding planning. Venues, photographers, DJ's and all quality wedding services will accept advance bookings well before your wedding date.

Prioritise your plans.
First things first, last things last. You can't plan a wedding unless you've booked your date and venue - get these done first, and then start working on the rest. Think what is important to your wedding, are the favours more important then getting the right wedding DJ ? Probably not, so book the most important things first, leave the minor details until you're ready.

Consider family members.
Plan your wedding day with you in mind, but consider leaving some room for family input. Both sets of parents will have their ideas on who should be invited, especially if they are helping out with the wedding day costs.
Never fall out with anyone over a wedding, you'll regret it in the future.

Wedding guest list pitfalls.
When writing out your guest list, be sensitive to the thoughts and expectations of your fiancee. There will be people in their lives who are important to them and they'll want them at the wedding, possibly people you don't know very well. Negotiate and comprimise is the key to good wedding list planning.

Every bride and groom will have their jobs to do when it comes to the planning of their wedding. A great way to make family, best man & bridesmaids more involved in your big day is to delegate a few small areas of the wedding planning.

Choosing the Best Man & the bridesmaids.
Your best man doesn't just need to be good are organising the stag party, he'll have responsibilities on your wedding day too. If the first person who pops into your head as potential best man isn't reliable, take a step back and think again.
When it comes to the bridesmaids, ensure you choose girls who'll be just as excited at being your bridesmaid as you are at being the bride.

Hiring wedding services.

Word of mouth is the best form of advertising, if your friends recommend their wedding photographer or wedding DJ, then speak to them first. Never book any wedding service without seeing examples of their work first, ask to taste a sample of a wedding cake, or see a sample of a wedding DVD from the videographer. Try and avoid booking someone just because they are the cheapest, this is your special day, so if you budget well, you needn't cut corners.

Remain calm.

Never get upset if someone lets you down, it's their lose. Don't distance anyone who wants to help with the wedding, you'll need them later on.

Weddings blah blah blah.

Sometimes it will seem like all you ever talk about is wedding plans, ensure you have some time away from it. Have weekends where you don't plan anything, and don't talk about it. By all means be excited about your wedding, just don't bore all your friends by non-stop talk about it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Do you let your "husband to be" do any wedding planning ?

Some of you have probably seen BBC3's series of "Don't tell the Bride".
The show is a take on the old scenario of would you let your husband-to-be and his mates plan your wedding? Ridiculous of course...!?!

Six brave brides did just that in return for what they hoped to be a dream wedding. The husbands to be were given a budget and just 3 weeks to plan everything from the guest list to the colour and theme of the wedding, the bridesmaid dresses and even the bride's wedding dress.
The couple are barred from seeing one another until the day of the wedding.

Sound like your worst ever nightmare ? So, what would you allow your groom-to-be plan for your wedding day, which of the long list of wedding services do you hand over to him to free up some of your time and reduce stress - the flowers maybe ? No ? Perhaps the booking of the venue ? Not unless you want a pub meal in front of a football screen.

Some guys these days are a lot more hands on when it comes to wedding planning, they'll visit the wedding fayres and will chat with their mates about the forthcoming big day. Other guys, will just say that the wedding is "for women". Either way, you'll want to get your groom to be involved in the wedding planning at least for some areas.

The obvious place to start would be the wedding suit hire, there's no need for the bride to be there for that. Some brides will of been planning their wedding day in their mind since they were at school, the girls will know exactly what colour the bridesmaids are in, what colour the theme of the wedding is too. This means the bride to be can safely pack the groom and his mates off down to the wedding suit hire company, telling him what style jacket she likes, and what colour the waistcoats and ties need to be !
Note to brides, make sure you call the shop immediately after the guys have left and inquire about their choice. Amend if necessary.

Another wedding plan that the girls could burden on the guys is the wedding DJ, guys love to think they could be a DJ, and think they could find a classic DJ from a washed up old waster.
Let the groom contact an few DJ's, discuss what sort of music they play at weddings and picture themselves spinning around the dancefloor to a few classic wedding tunes. Once they're happy they've found the perfect disco man, then allow him to make a deposit and secure his services.
Once your groom has paid up and made the booking, see what info you can find out about the DJ yourself and cancel if necessary. If you do allow the booking to proceed, and the wedding DJ turns out to be a turkey who fails to get a single wedding guest up and boogie - revert to the old "Well, you booked him" blame culture.

The only other thing the groom is capable of organising is his speech. Brides; you'll even need to discuss the best man speech, and make sure that his best man one liners are up to scratch - no rude or insulting comments allowed girls.

At the moment we can't think of anything else wedding related that the groom to be should be trusted with when it comes to leaving him on his own.
The rest girls, is up to you to organise, so if you want to achieve the best wedding day ever - the future rests firmly on your shoulders !

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Avoid the wedding credit crunch !

You can't pick up a paper or magazine at the moment without reading about the "credit crunch".
This leads us to wonder about the effects this credit crunch is having on people's wedding day plans.
Depending on what magazine or publication you read, the average cost of a wedding in the U.K. is something between a staggering £12,000 and an eye-watering £25,000 !
So, can engaged couples remain on track and spend that kind of cash on their perfect wedding day ?

The key to avoiding bankruptcy when planning your wedding day is using a proper wedding budget. Make a full list of everything you want for your wedding day, and we mean a full list. Ensure there is no room at all for last minute add-ons. Plan everything from the dress to the wedding DJ, even down to the last wedding favors or cake-stand hire.

Once you have a comprehensive list of what you both want on your wedding day, then start planning the costs. You'll be able to receive quotes from all of the major wedding services that you'll be using. Speak with the wedding venue, caterers, DJ or band, car hire company, dress makers, suit hire, cake maker, photographer and videographer - get a written quotation from them and ensure you are fully aware of what you are getting for your money.

We're not suggesting any of these wedding services will attempt to rip you off, far from it. But take a couple of examples -

Wedding Venue A - cost of exclusive hire for the day £1,000
Wedding Venue B - cost of exclusive hire for the day £3,000

Wedding Photographer A - £300
Wedding Photographer B - £1,000

At first glance, of course the financial options seem to stand out like a sore thumb.
What we are recommending is that you ensure to ask your wedding service what you get for your cash.
Wedding Venue A may look like it saves you £2,000 of your wedding budget, but ask what you get for your money, do you receive any catering, a wedding DJ, any drinks, tablecloth hire, cake stand ? All these things add up to a small fortune. It may be that Wedding Venue B offers a full package of everything included, and this may save your wedding budget in the long run.

With the example of the wedding photographers, again, ask what the package consists of. You don't want to find yourself in the position of having to buy all your individual wedding photos from photographer A, he may be cheaper because you're only actually getting 20 wedding photos, the rest you'd have to pay for individually if you want copies ?

The same goes for the car hire, or videographer - ask them when they turn up, when they leave, is there an hourly charge etc.

Careful planning of your wedding budget to ensure you get everything you want for your perfect day, and at a price you're comfortable with doesn't mean cutting corners.
Work out your finances and don't book extravagant things just because you feel your wedding guests would expect this.

We all know you can have a fantastic wedding day to remember, even if your budget is £1,000.
Don't let the credit crunch spoil your wedding planning, and certainly don't let your budget run into wild amounts that you simply can't afford.
This is to be the happiest day of your life, so don't walk up the aisle thinking your wedding day is ruining the next few years paying it off !!

Happy wedding planning !