Wedding Planning

Planning your wedding can be either a fun or a really frustrating experience. It all depends on how you go about your preparation for the big day. To ensure all of the precious time you spend researching your wedding in South Africa is not in vain and that your plans come to fruition, My Wedding Wizard has prepared a list of do’s and don’ts.

No 1: Terms & Conditions, paperwork

Be sure that you do all the necessary paperwork and keep receipts of deposits that have been paid to your selected wedding suppliers. Make sure that you have, in writing, what each wedding supplier will do and for how much. It’s not necessary for detailed contracts, but make sure that you and the supplier know what is expected by when and by whom. You don’t need this kind of stress on your wedding day.

No 2: Order of Priority for bookings

When starting to plan your Wedding Day we suggest you first work out a critical Guest List – of those guests that must be there to celebrate your special day. Then you should decide on the format of your wedding celebration. For example, do you want a beach wedding, a formal reception on a wine farm, would you prefer a church or garden ceremony.

We are blessed in South Africa to have some of best wedding venues (and Suppliers) in the world. This will be the start of developing a Budget. Then decide on your Wedding Dress – there are many high quality suppliers who hand-make and design wedding dresses. One can also buy pre-made wedding dresses from companies like Bride & Co or Prenovias. It’s important to note that generally, you get what you pay for.

The same principle is true for Wedding Photographers, Videographers and in fact all categories including wedding cakes and floral design. We suggest you use Wedding Suppliers who have the required experience, they are much less likely to let you down – it’s a once off day that cannot be repeated. Look for Suppliers on My Wedding Wizard, as we can say with conviction that these Wedding Suppliers have the required experience to help make your Big Day successful.

It’s important that you book suppliers early so you get the one’s you want. Some of the most sought after suppliers who are limited in the number of weddings they can service in one day are: Bridal Gown Couturier, Reception Venue, Ceremony Venue, Independent Caterer, Marriage Celebrant, DJ, Videographers, Photographers, Wedding Decorator, Floral Design, Hair & Make-up Artist, Wedding Car / Transport and Live Bands / Music. Other suppliers to take particular note of are Bridal Gown retailers. Be sure that you place your order in advance, so that your size is available (if not currently in stock). You should also contact your Wedding Stationery supplier early and determine how long it will take to design your stationery and (if they provide the service) how long it will take to post all invitations.

No 3: Using the Internet to Select Wedding Suppliers

87% of Brides will start their research using the Internet. Wedding Websites are one of the most popular means of finding, selecting and contacting wedding suppliers you should also consider visiting one of the many wedding expos held around South Africa. Before you start requesting information from the suppliers listed on a website you should identify the categories of service providers you require for your wedding. By using My Wedding Wizard website, you can complete your wedding profile to ensure only the most relevant information is available to you. Please note that once you Login, My Wedding Wizard will send you a Username & Password which you should use each time you want to Login. Using My Wedding Wizard will save you many hours and your profile keeps all your correspondence in one place.

No 4: Check Wedding Supplier Credentials

Your wedding is a very important, one off event that cannot be repeated should something go wrong on the day, i.e. you can’t bring everyone back the next day to do it all over again. So, you must get it right – don’t be tempted to ‘go cheap’ and sacrifice quality product and service. Generally, you get what you pay for. Be careful if a Supplier appears much cheaper than others in a category. Ask for genuine examples of work. Ask each supplier, how long they have been servicing weddings, how many weddings do they service per year and get some recent bridal rating / references – available on My Wedding Wizard.

No 5: Listen & Learn

Experienced and respected wedding suppliers can provide you with amazing ideas for your wedding flowers and decorations. For example, after you have described what you are looking for, listen to the advice given and take it on board. Remember these people do this for a living and have the experience and expertise to be able to give you advice that will help to make selecting your potential bridal supplier easier.

No 6: Personality versus Product

You will find that some wedding suppliers may not possess the greatest of customer management skills in handling what sometimes may be a very highly stressed bride. Don’t confuse this lack of communication skill with their ability to design the most stunning wedding products. While you should expect nothing short of perfection in all the products you order, communication skills may not be their strong point. However, you should always expect a wedding supplier to possess a minimum level of politeness, courtesy, respect, good manners and civility. If you find these qualities un-forthcoming, then you should re-consider your choice of wedding supplier.

No 7: Gone out of Business

The wedding marketplace is one that many business and individuals enter believing it to be a fairytale industry full of love, joy, happiness and the opportunity to build a profitable business. Make sure that when you book and pay a deposit to a supplier that you keep in contact with each one every 2 to 3 months to ensure all is well and everything is on track. There is nothing more disastrous and devastating for a bride only to find out a few weeks or days before the wedding that the supplier you booked 6 months ago is no longer in business and the phones are disconnected.

No 8: Price versus Value

A wedding is not a commodity that you can purchase like a car or home entertainment unit. You can’t just determine what model, size or style you want and then go to the market and haggle over the price. No two weddings are the same as each one is designed to your needs and your budget. Sometimes a bride makes the fatal mistake of selecting a supplier based on the cheapest price available, whilst this is understandable given budget restraints you cannot be sure a supplier will return value for money until after the wedding is all over. My Wedding Wizard has a variety of wedding suppliers from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, Game Reserves, Cape Winelands, Beach Weddings, in fact every location in and around South Africa – so please Login to the My Wedding Wizard, it’s there for you to use and find the best Wedding Suppliers in South Africa.

No 9: Rumours, Here-Say & Innuendo

On your journey down bridal pathway you will come across a wide variety of opinions and attitudes from wedding suppliers and online bridal chat rooms. You should take extreme care if you find a wedding supplier denigrating or criticizing another wedding supplier. Any supplier who has to denigrate other supplier’s standards in order to elevate their own should be viewed with caution as these types of suppliers will be the first to cast blame upon you should you wish to make a complaint against the level of their product or service . The same applies to online chat rooms where a bride can criticize a supplier without the supplier having the right of reply. You have heard of the term Bridezilla a name given to a bride who cannot be satisfied. If you come across a Bridezilla who cannot be satisfied on a web chat site and who has bad mouthed or denigrated one of your selected suppliers you should immediately alert your supplier. Often it’s a two way street.

No 10: Have your Say

The WeddingAdvizor Scorecard is generated by the suppliers who service your wedding. Once you have been through the process of selecting your suppliers and the big day has come and gone you will be invited to rate & comment on the product/service provided.  This is your opportunity to have your say by rating your wedding supplier. Doing so will enable you to praise those who have excelled in the design and delivery of your perfect day and admonish those who let you down. You will also be helping future brides to select the best suppliers for their own wedding knowing that you have been through the process and are fully qualified to determine who are the best wedding suppliers based on the only opinion that counts – yours. We at My Wedding Wizard look forward to your feedback.

Selecting & Planning your Wedding Photography - Get the Pictures You Want

Information below is courtesy of www.usabride.com
To create and preserve pictorial memories that last a lifetime, you need to be assertive and specific about your desires.

1. Do your homework

Spend time researching photographers, looking at their work, and meeting with them. Also check their references. Know who is going to be taking the pictures. These lists may help you organize:

* Questions to Ask Photographers

* List of Photos to Take
 Tip: List all the poses you want in the order they will probably occur. This makes it easier to check off which ones have been taken.

2. Assign your own “photographer’s assistant”

This person’s allegiance will be to you, not the photographer. Choose someone close to you who will know your family and friends and be able to point them out to the photographer. Give your photo assistant his or her own copy of your “list of must-have shots” to check off as each one is taken. This way the pressure is off you to stay on top of your photographer. Make sure your loved ones look fantastic in all your shots by having your photo assistant check smiles and fix hair, dresses, flowers, etc. A little preventative care can help ensure everyone (and everything) is preserved in your photo album looking their best.
3. Inform photographer of special events & important wedding guests

Throwing a surprise or two into your wedding or reception, this helps to keep a magical, spontaneous atmosphere. For example, some brides like to slip out of the reception to change dresses and return with a grand entrance to dance the night away. Be sure to let your photographer in on the secret! Otherwise, you may miss what can be the best candid photos of special moments in your wedding or reception.

“The best thing at my wedding was the butterflies…the look of surprise and delight from my guests & the children’s faces were priceless…and it was all captured on film!” –Paula, wedding date: May 28, 2013. Mix it up

Have your photographer take different kinds of shots. Unusual angles or fuzzy focus can add interest to traditional photographs. Zoom in so close on the wedding cake you can see the texture, or photograph the bride and grooms hands as they talk at the reception table.

In addition, candid photos are often taken by guests at the reception tables. These provide a delightful complement to the more formal compositions of a professional wedding photographer.
When it comes time to place your photos in a wedding album, arrange them so their varying size and style will add visual interest to each page

5. To colour or not to colour?

Many of today’s brides are having their photographer snap both color and black and white photos - This can a lovely vintage wedding feel.

Black and white images provide a classic, timeless look. This traditional approach focuses in on your faces and expressions of love without the flashy distractions of color.

Color adds a liveliness and reality to photos and can preserve a more accurate record of how your day really appeared. After all, you don’t want to have spent all that time anguishing over your wedding colors for nothing! Get the best of both worlds by combining the two approaches.

6. You (usually) get what you pay for

“PAY MORE FOR BETTER PICTURES, you’ll kick yourself later if you don’t. We paid more, but they turned out great!”
–Erin, wedding date: July 8, 2012
This does not mean you cannot save money on your photography budget, just remember not to cut corners on the quality of images. Once your wedding day is over, you will be left with your memories and your photographs. Make sure you have the best.

Tips for ‘Working Brides’ – how to manage your time..

How to plan a wedding and work a full time job:

1. Make a plan for your lunch hour the night before or even better – plan them out a week in advance. Schedule in phone calls to vendors, errands, short shopping trips, work on your “to-do lists”, reply/send emails to vendors, wedding attendants or family members.

2. Bring your lunch to work. This will save you at least 20 minutes from standing in line to buy your lunch. And, an extra benefit – it will save you money too! Login to My Wedding Wizard regularly to make sure you keep in touch with your wedding vendors.

3. Delegate as much as you can! You’ve got TWO full-time jobs now, so enlist the help of everyone you can.

4. Keep the “wedding planning updates” with co-workers to a minimum. You don’t want your manager to think you’re spending more time talking about your wedding and less time working.

5. Save up those holidays. You’ll need them for your honeymoon and a few days before the wedding.

6. If you need a vendor to call you back at work, ask them to return your call at a designated time, like between 1:00-2:00pm. This will help you better separate work and wedding planning.

7. Use My Wedding Wizard messaging as much as possible. This greatly reduces phone tag AND reduces the chance that your caterer will call you about menu choices when your boss is in your office.

8. When work gets busy and wedding planning kicks into high gear, your biggest defense is to stay organized. Find a system that works for you and STICK WITH IT!

9. If you begin to fall behind in your work load, try coming into work an hour earlier (before most people arrive). Many times you can accomplish more in one hour of “quiet time” than you can all day.

A demanding job and full scale wedding – two things than can easily lead to MEGA STRESS! You need to find something that relaxes you and reduces your stress level. Exercise is usually the best weapon against stress. Plan your lunch hour to go to the gym or take a brisk walk plus you might even lose that little bit of extra weight so your wedding dress looks even better.

If you say you don’t have time to exercise or do something to take care of yourself, then you definitely NEED to make the time. There have been many brides that think they can “do it all” and by the time the wedding comes, they have run themselves so ragged that they are sick on their wedding day. Don’t let that happen to you!