See each other on the wedding morning
It’s an age-old tradition it seems for the groom and bride to not see each other before the wedding ceremony. Now this for us, might have posed a problem, as we were getting married in Gauteng, travelling from Cape Town, and so were both staying at the venue the night before. We thought problem it be not, and decided instead to research the idea and its origins.
We found that the idea stems from a time, quite some time ago, where arranged marriages were all the rage, and fathers of brides-to-be worried if their daughter’s attractiveness would not be to the groom’s liking, in which case he may call off the wedding and bring SHAME to the bride’s family. Yikes, talk about pressure.
Lucky for us this wasn’t our case (;)) and as we’d already seen each other in many a shade, we decided to relax the tradition for the morning. We still kept the dress a surprise till I walked down the aisle, but Gerrit and I enjoyed breakfast together in the morning, did final touches for name seating in the reception venue and hung around together while I got my make-up & hair done. We both found that we felt a lot more relaxed leading up to the ceremony, and there was still a surprise when I walked down the aisle in my wedding dress.
Our choices for confetti are far wider than flower petals or paper. Often venues may not like the idea of paper confetti due to environmental reasons, which we are totally behind.
We decided to use bubble confetti which we purchased in little white tubes that could be given to guests to play with to their hearts content. We haven’t seen the pictures yet, but based on our photographers word, they were “very effective”.
We walked through the sea of bubbles smiling and giggling, and we found the guests doing the same, which was a wonderful way to share in the joy of the moment.
If you do decide to go with the bubble option, we suggest testing the consistency of the bubbles and how they adhere to your clothes. Our bubbles were a bit strong and so we had to spend some time clearing up bubble remains from our attire, which in the midst of giggles and smiles didn’t seem so bad, but if you want to avoid this, learn from us and test before deciding on which bubble formula you use.
Some other ideas for confetti we’ve experienced are feathers, herbs like lavender or greenery like ivy & pennygum (left: photo credit: our aunt Ria) which we used on the aisle runner. We also thought for a night time wedding to perhaps consider sparklers, not for people to joyfully throw at the newlyweds (oh please no), but to shine on them as they walk out – it can be a fabulous photographic opportunity.
Use your favourite plushy or something of meaning for a ring cushion
Gerrit and I have a particular soft toy, which was a gift Gerrit gave me while we were dating after a story I had told him, that has some particular meaning to us. We had on occasion taken this plushy with us on adventures, and decided we wanted to incorporate him into our wedding celebration.
When we first told our officiant about our idea, big grins on our faces, he couldn’t help but giggle and the guests seem to have the same reaction as our dear godchild Diego came down the aisle holding unicorn with the rings on it. Ok, getting Diego to walk down the aisle was a challenge (lol), and when he almost ran out the side with unicorn it was quite hilarious (no script on that one). We were glad we added unicorn in the way we did, as it made our ceremony uniquely ours, brought forth moments of genuine presence and was a joy which we’ll always remember.
Substitute for flower/garter toss
Yes, you guessed right we researched the significance of this tradition too. The superstitions underlying this one, are quite perturbing. Once upon a time people believed that owning a part of the bride’s dress or accessories bestowed good fortune, and so, apparently, people would literally tear at the bride’s dress to get a piece of it, so enter the flower bouquet – a beautiful accessory you could give away without losing pieces of your dress. Hooray! The garter on the other hand was a sign of consummation of the marriage (a requirement for a marriage to be legal), and was used as evidence of such at one point.
We wanted to do something different with this part of the celebrations, without the awkward cringe of singling out the singles or activities that didn’t have meaning to us, we wanted something that resonated with us.
When we entered the hall, Gerrit removed my garter, which flowed really well, allowing us to proceed with the evening’s schedule without having to interrupt the celebrations later to remove the garter. Once the dance floor was opened we had an anniversary dance. In this activity all the married couples join on the dance floor, slowly the MC sends off married couples married less than x months, x years, etc, leaving the longest married couple on the dance floor. This couple received the bouquet and garter (wrapped around the base) – double the good fortune.
We loved this idea, honouring the commitment of a life together, and our guests did too, there was laughter and the longest married couple left dancing happily on the floor. The one thing we did miss though, is that some people might not be able to dance or participate due to illness or other factors, and so they might be the longest married, but weren’t on the dance floor. We’d advise if you know that about your guests, even if they aren’t able to participate in the game, that perhaps you have a gift for them, and honour them with a mention at the end of the dance.
Change dress for first dance
It’s a difficult decision choosing your wedding dress, whether to go with something layered in fabric or fitted, a ball gown or sheath dress? You want something that will leave you feeling wonderful and something you can easily dance and move in, and then after all the logical deduction you realise you may find something you just love. I found such a dress, and it was different to what I had originally expected, wistfully flowing with layers of fabric. I knew this dress would make dancing a challenge, limiting the space for foot and leg connection which is important in the style of Kizomba dancing Gerrit and I love to do. This is when I considered getting another simple dancing dress and change into that before the first dance. I found my perfect little number at YDE’s next sale, modified it a bit with some lace from my wedding dress (which was the lace from my mother’s veil – over 40 years old) and it was perfect. Just before the wedding dance I quickly popped out to change and then could happily dance the night away. Some ladies came up to me and said – that’s a great idea, I love it, I should have totally done that on my wedding day.
Matching bride & groom shoes
Gerrit and I, both being creative, love spurring each other's ideas on, so one day when I jokingly said why don’t we shweshwe our shoes and make matching shoes for the wedding, he was all for it. We both love the fabric and I had recently made a watch strap for him in similar fabric. It was pretty easy to do, as is explained in our DIY wedding ideas blog post, and was something unique that we had fun making, and enjoyed on our wedding day.