Getting your wedding invitations right – top 5 tips from an expert

We love working with other awesome wedding businesses in NZ to make sure you get the best advice possible for the wedding of your dreams. This month, we’re super excited to welcome Kelly from Creative Box to share a few of her gems:

INVITES – YOUR QUICK 5 TIPS

Hi there, this is Kelly from Creative Box, a New Zealand wedding stationery business. Our friends at Honeypot thought it might be handy if I put together 5 quick tips for planning your invitations…

  1. THE DETAILS: Ensure you have all the important details included on your invitations. These include: the wedding day, month, year and time, full ceremony and reception venue address, and RSVP details.

  2. THE NUMBERS: It’s likely that lots of your guests will be couples and they’ll only need one invitation between them. Therefore your invitation order maybe smaller than your actual guest list. Always include a couple of spares in your order too, just in case.

  3. PROOF PROOF PROOF: Honestly, proof it backwards if you have to, or get someone you trust with spelling and grammar to do a second proofread.

  4. POSTAGE: Keep your invitation and envelope size within the standard size and thickness so you don’t have to spend extra on postage.

  5. GIFT REGISTRY: As today’s couples typically have been living together for a while and have accumulated all the traditional wedding gifts well before their wedding day it is quite acceptable to ask for money towards a large purchase, or a holiday/honeymoon or house renovation. Though you may feel a bit awkward asking for money just let your guests know what their contribution will be going towards, so when they see your honeymoon photos or enjoy dinner on your new deck they know it’s thanks to them.

If you haven’t got your invites sorted yet, or need some help bedecking your wedding in gorgeously designed signage, Kelly’s your girl (just check out some of her gorgeous work below) – drop her a line at kelly@creativebox.co.nz

One year (and 6 months) of being married – a husband reflects!

The Honeypot blog tends to be a bit female-heavy on perspective, so we pulled in our resident guy, Shane to give his thoughts on what changed – and what didn’t – after getting married.

This blog was initially going to be “one year of being married” but since deadlines aren’t my friend, it’s now 18 months later. Whoops!

So here we go – a guy’s thoughts on marriage 18 months after our wedding:

Some things were very different

Calling Katie my “wife” was very odd. Being engaged for just under 18 months before the wedding, I barely had time to adjust to “fiancée” before upgrading to “wife”. So for about 3 months after the wedding, I said things like “my girl f—, fia—, wife(!) Katie…”. And don’t get me started on the number of forms I had to scribble on after ticking “de facto” instead of “married”…

Then there was the ring – I never wear jewellery, not even a watch, so suddenly wearing a ring was a big deal. I noticed it all the time. It made my hand heavy, it clicked and bumped things, it was strangling my finger. It’s less noticeable now but I still don’t often wear it around the house only put it on when I leave the house (like shoes) or when people come around (like pants).

Some things never change

Life goes on – bills needed to be paid, food needed to be bought, Netflix needed to be watched. After this big hype of the wedding and the honeymoon, where everything pretty much got put on hold, within a week everything else in our lives just went straight back to normal.

What’s more, Katie was still the same person – she didn’t suddenly become the “old ball and chain” (a cringeworthy phrase) or some homemaker housewife. She still left open olive jars on the kitchen bench and I still didn’t make the bed before going to work. We still laughed and argued about the same dumb things.

We suddenly had money again

Weddings are expensive. Most the money related matters leading up to the “big day” (and by that, I mean the day before the wedding when all the suppliers needed to be paid in full!) involved sticking to our budget and saving extra money where possible. But now, we’ve got money again! Suddenly payday meant there was disposable income!

I didn’t know what to do next

A weird feeling I had for a bit after the wedding was emptiness of purpose. We’d spent just over a year focusing all our time and energy on planning a wedding (and launching Honeypot!) that afterwards I didn’t really know what I was supposed to do. It was more that I could do a whole number of things but had taken a year hiatus from thinking about them.

Funnily enough, the practice we had budgeting, planning and saving for the wedding was very handy. We ended up applying for 2-year working visas and moving over to the UK for our OE.

The “kids” discussion

Apparently there’s a social script that suddenly starts running when you get married (and don’t already have progeny) and it dances around the innocent query of a particular time frame. Most people navigate the “so… kids..?” questions subtly enough, but there others who are (a) more bothersome (siblings), (b) have less shame (parents), or (c) aren’t good at nonchalant (grandparents).

My current response is we’re getting a puppy first.

So the wedding was a big, stressful, exciting, one-off event but 18 months later? A lot of stuff changed, a lot of stuff stayed the same. Some things happened and some things didn’t happen. All in all, it feels a lot like just getting on and living life. Just now it’s with my wife beside me instead of my girlfriend!

The Fine Print: Legal Requirements for a NZ Wedding

With all the planning, advice and decisions surrounding a wedding, sometimes we forget that there are certain legal requirements for any ceremony. I heard a story recently about a couple living in Australia who planned to marry in New Zealand. They, unfortunately, assumed their Australian celebrant friend could officiate at their wedding, and since this isn’t the case had postpone their ceremony at the last minute and go to a registry office! To help you avoid this scenario, I enlisted the help of our fabulous celebrant Desiree Mason. Whether you’re having a traditional church wedding or getting married on top of a mountain(!), all New Zealand weddings must include the following:

An officiant

In New Zealand, there are two legal ways to get married – through a registered celebrant like Desiree, or through the registry office. Wedding celebrants can be secular or religious (e.g. a pastor), as long as they are registered in New Zealand. Desiree must ensure that her registration is updated regularly.

A marriage license

This must be obtained at least three days before the planned ceremony. If you have a great celebrant like Desiree, they will probably ask you to organise it earlier so they can fill in the details in advance. You can download the application form here. You will need to know some details of the ceremony in order to complete the form, such as the location, date and celebrant. After sending the form off, you will be posted a marriage license and two versions of the “Copy of Particulars of Marriage,” all of which should be sent to your celebrant. According to Desiree, her obligations include: “formally identifying the couple on the marriage licence as the people that I am marrying, sighting the licence before the ceremony to ensure that the details are correct and holding the ceremony at one of the places named on the licence.”

A wedding ceremony

Your ceremony can include almost anything you like, but there are some “must-haves”. Desiree says as a celebrant, “I need to use the couple’s full names at least once in the ceremony and ensure that the couple says ‘I (full name) take you (partner’s name) to be my legal wife/husband’ sometime during the ceremony”. There must be two witnesses to the ceremony who must not be intoxicated and are able to understand what is happening. If the witnesses do not speak English, then an interpreter is required. The interpreter needs to sign a statutory declaration before the ceremony saying that they will interpret what is said accurately.

Signing the wedding registry (not the Honeypot kind!)

This usually happens straight after the ceremony, and involves the couple and witnesses signing the two versions of the “Copy of Particulars” at the ceremony. According to Desiree, the couple must use their pre-wedding signatures. The celebrant will send off one copy to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages within 10 days of the ceremony, and the second copy will be given to the couple.

Of course, a good celebrant’s role includes far more than the minimum legal requirements. When we got married, Desiree’s planning advice was invaluable and she works really hard to understand the couple on a personal level. Keep an eye out later in the year when we’ll be profiling Desiree as part of a “Wedding Expert” blog series. Until then, happy wedding planning!

How to get in shape for your wedding – the groom’s guide

Following our last blog on bridal fitness, we caught up with Damian Rabaud from Alpha Genesis for his groom’s guide to looking awesome in a tux for your big day. 

Tailor your body to help your tailor

The key to a groom looking great in their tux starts in the fit of the tailoring. Strong lines (the fit of the tux) should fit nicely across the shoulders and taper into the waist line. However, meet your tailor half way by having those features to begin with – that way the tailoring will enhance them even more.

How? You’ll need to build up that classic V-taper in your upper body by developing your traps (upper back), medial delts (the sides of the shoulders), and your lats (the sides of the back).

Try this superset to build the V-Taper:

Groom workout - V-Taper Super Set

Keep it simple to slim down

There’s no tailoring for your face, so if you want to further enhance those elegant lines of your tux, a strong jaw line is a must! So it’s time to trim some body fat.

Every morning, set a timer for 10min, with the timer set to go off every minute (there’s plenty of free interval timers available for your smart phone for free). Every time the timer goes off, change exercises. When you’re done, write down the amount of reps you managed to do in the minute – and try to beat it the next day.

Try this fat trimming set:

Groom Workout - Fat Trim Super Set

 

Be patient

It takes time to get results – so keep it simple, start early and be patient! It’s about building it up over time, not quick results (and with wedding planning normally taking well over a year, you’ve got the time!)

Alpha Genesis is a personal training gym located in Dairy Flat on Auckland’s North Shore. Set up specifically to cater to you as an individual, the private environment allows them to get to know every client as a person. They’re committed to tailoring your work out to fit your goals, whether that be just entering into the world of fitness, or a battle hardened gym goer looking to be pushed further. Sign up for a free consultation so you can bring out your Alpha and become the best you can possibly be.

 

Getting in shape for your wedding day – the bridal edition

It seems to be just part of the process to lose weight for your wedding – but how can you do it in a way that doesn’t make wedding planning even more stressful, and doesn’t lead to you putting on the “newlywed ten” straight after the big day?

Owner of 101 Fitness, Melissa-Anne Smit, shares her top tips for getting in shape – and staying in shape.

Make small changes, not huge ones

When you’re planning a wedding, there’s already so much going on that it can be overwhelming. Start early so that you can make small lifestyle changes instead of feeling pressured to lose ten kilos in three months, and be patient with yourself – it does take time!

Don’t overdo it

One of the biggest mistakes that people make is over-training – working out every single day and never allowing their bodies to recover. Doing too much actually makes your body retain fat, so make sure you give yourself rest days in between big workouts for your body to rebuild. Recovery allows the body to replenish energy stores and optimise protein synthesis (the process of increasing the protein content of muscle cells, preventing muscle breakdown and increasing muscle size), enabling the truly positive effects of the workout to take place.

Find a solution to fit your personality

Before I got married, I thought that taking up running would be the best way to get in shape for the wedding day – and while it helped towards that, I hated absolutely every moment of it and gave it up the second Jay and I were married. If you want to get in shape without hating it – and keep up your good habits post wedding – it’s essential that you find a solution to fit your personality. Whether it’s long walks, dancing, weight training, or anything active you can think of – just go for something that you enjoy (or at the very least don’t hate!)

Pay attention to your muscles

Burning fat is not just about cardio. Sure, cardio may burn more calories than muscle building while you’re doing it – but your muscles will continue to burn calories 24/7. 500-1000 grams of extra muscle won’t make you look bulky, but will burn 10,000 calories more per month – and besides, toned looks so much better than flabby.

Up your liquid content – and not just water

Whether it’s your engagement party, having a few wines when planning the wedding with your girlfriends, or just being out for drinks on a Friday with the team from work, alcohol sure does dehydrate you. Whenever you have even just one drink, make sure you’re rehydrating yourself – and not just with water. Up your liquid content by making sure you’re eating watery foods, like spinach, zucchini, and potato – try having a hashbrown the next morning to rehydrate (but make sure you toast it instead of frying it)!

Always eat something small before events

Have you ever gone to the supermarket hungry? How did that turn out? Same deal applies when you show up to a party with a growling stomach and your mouth watering – you’ll make a bunch of unhealthy choices because everything looks “so good”. Make sure you eat something small – preferably protein – before you head off to any event or social opportunity.

Have an accountability partner

Whether it’s your fiancé, your maid of honour, or your mum – get someone to hold you accountable for whatever you say you’re going to do, whether it’s cutting down on sugar, going to the gym three times a week or popping out for a run each day before work. Even better, work out with them – you won’t want to let each other down and you may find that you end up getting better results if you’re a little competitive. That’s why we offer two on one personal training – it’s a fantastic way for you and your partner to get in shape together while still getting the personal touch.

101 Fitness is a special training concept based on high-intensity training for just 25 minutes once or twice a week. Personal training to fit into your schedule – they’ll have you looking toned and fit for your big day. And as a special offer for Honeypotters, come try two sessions for $29 and bring your groom or maid of honour for free! Call 09 940 7744 or email info@101fitness.co.nz to book (just mention this article!)

How to make your bicultural wedding special for both your families

Given that we live in such a multicultural society, it’s unsurprising that many couples are from different backgrounds and cultures. That’s why Honeypot co-founder Katie has put together her top tips for making a bicultural wedding a joy for all.

Shane and I got married in March last year. One of the aspects of our wedding I often get asked about is how we balanced and celebrated our two cultures; while we are both Kiwis, Shane’s family is Chinese Malaysian and mine is Pakeha. So let’s break it down – what are the top four things you need to consider when planning a bicultural wedding?

Managing and communicating expectations

It may sound obvious, but the real key to managing family expectations is communication. Early in our planning, we sat down with Shane’s family to discuss the cultural aspects. Shane, who has lived in NZ almost his entire life, would be the first to admit he was completely clueless about Chinese weddings!

One of our discussions got a little heated as Shane’s mum was certain we should do the tea ceremony (an important part of any Chinese wedding) the same day as our reception. The conversation went round and round, with us saying there just wasn’t time. Eventually we realised that my mother-in-law was assuming there wouldn’t be any other ceremony, since we weren’t getting married in a church. We had always planned to have an outdoor ceremony with a celebrant, but hadn’t communicated this at all!

Be prepared to compromise

I’m sure many couples planning weddings have needed to reach compromises between families, and bicultural weddings are no different. However, we are very lucky to have families who get along well and were happy to mix things up!


Chinese tea ceremony weddingFor us, the best compromise was to have two celebrations – this allowed us to have the western-style wedding we had planned, and then a tea ceremony and Chinese dinner with our families two days later. Thankfully Shane’s family did most of the planning for the Chinese dinner, leaving us time to plan the main event.

Having the two separate events meant everyone felt they were included and had a part to play. Shane’s relatives from Malaysia were invaluable at the tea ceremony, showing us the correct way to serve tea and explaining the meaning to my own family.

Don’t see it as a challenge – there are some serious benefits!

Bicultural weddings have their challenges, but the benefits far outweigh them! I think embracing both cultures helped to bring our families together in a meaningful way. Plus, who can complain about two parties (or getting to wear two dresses, amiright ladies)?!

My advice for multicultural couples

I’m sure there are plenty of other couples in a similar situation to us – maybe you also come from different cultures, or religions, or backgrounds. Whatever the case, my recommendation would be to have an honest discussion with your families about expectations early on in your planning. Like us, you may be surprised how much you or your partner will learn!

Our solution may not work for everyone, but there’s other ways to include both cultures. You could have two celebrants (or ministers, priests etc.), or ask a member from each family to do a reading of their choice. When it comes to choosing food, drink and music, make sure you have a few options to suit both cultures.

Last of all, enjoy yourself! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your partner to conform to other’s expectations – work out the compromise that works best for you and your loved ones so you can all have a great time!

Thing I wish I’d known before my wedding (or: confessions of a not-so bridezilla)

This week, Honeypot co-founder (and married nearly a year woman) Katie decided to look back on her 2016 wedding and give a few insights into what she wished she had known before getting married – hopefully it may help a few of our soon-to-be brides!

When we decided on this blog topic, I picked up a pen and paper. My first bullet point was EVERYTHING! The fact is, Shane and I have attended very few weddings prior to getting hitched, as we were among the first of our friends to get married. Early on we decided this was a positive, as we didn’t have any expectations to live up to. We were the wedding guinea pigs!

I certainly don’t consider myself to be a wedding expert – then or now. But I thought I’d share some words of wisdom that might have saved me a few grey hairs!

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Funnily enough, this was the advice I was given the most, and yet I still ignored! I was never a “bridezilla” (if anything, Shane was definitely a groomzilla at times!), but there were a few things I stressed about unnecessarily. For example, things like getting the wedding favours perfect. I spent AGES trying to decide what to do, ordering the containers, printing and cutting our messages – yet the guests were far more interested in the candy bar!

Book your florist early

We were pretty organised when it came to booking our venue, accommodation and photographer. But for some reason, we left it until 3 months before the wedding to book a florist. We quickly discovered that every florist we approached was booked out since we were getting married in the popular Easter weekend. Luckily for us, I happened upon the facebook page of Twig and Twine and found out they were available. It turned out to be the best last minute decision ever, but we could have saved some stress by organising this earlier!

Don’t stress over seating arrangements

Many people told us that seating arrangements can be challenging, and they were right! We had everything planned, but then received a few last minute RSVPs which meant we had to start over again. Our families both had specific ideas of how they thought it should go, which led to inevitable stress and late nights. Looking back, no one seemed too bothered by where they were seated, so long as they knew a few people around them. After all, they’re only there for dinner before heading to the dance floor!

Don’t rely on taxis

Our wedding was a magical, perfect and stress-free day. That is, until right at the end when our taxis failed to show up. I had booked in advance two minivans to take the bridal party and families back to our accommodation, but after 15 minutes of arguments over the phone with the taxi company, it was clear they weren’t coming. We were extremely lucky that the wedding venue was able to book us taxis through a different company, otherwise we would have been stranded in the middle of the Waitakere bush.

The fact is, our wedding was so fabulous that I can’t really regret anything about the day – but I’m sure the process could have been less stressful at times. I hope these pieces of advice come in handy and you have a wonderful, stress-free and above all FUN wedding!

Note: Thanks to the amazing Samantha Donaldson for our gorgeous wedding photos, including this one!

Your go-to wedding planning timeline

Here at Honeypot, we know how overwhelming wedding planning can be. If you’ve never been involved in one before, it can be hard to know when you need to be booking wedding venues, finding a florist, looking for a dress or figuring out what to do for a wedding registry (hint: we’d suggest a honeymoon registry with Honeypot, but we might be a little biased…)

That’s why we’ve put together our handy wedding planning timeline – your basic guide to when we’d recommend doing each of your main wedding related tasks. Of course, you can stick to any timeline you like – but it doesn’t hurt to know what other people are doing (and with Katie and Shane having just gotten married in March, they’ve lived and breathed this timeline!)

So without further ado, here’s your go-to wedding planning timeline:

wedding-timeline

 

What to ask the wedding venue

Wedding planning can be scary – that’s why we’ve gotten recent bride Katie to put together her thoughts on how to make wedding planning easy and fun. First up – questions to ask the venue!

When you start looking at venues, the process can be daunting and overwhelming. While most venues provide comprehensive info on details such as menu, drinks lists and prices, other information is more difficult to come by. Here are just a few of the things you could be asking:

1. What are our option/s for wet weather?

If you have an outdoor ceremony, the risk of rain is unfortunately something you need to consider. Some venues offer outdoor marquees or covered areas, while others may require you to use the same area for both ceremony and reception.

2. What is the minimum and maximum capacity of the venue?

Venues vary greatly in size, from small 30-person venues to large venues which can fit hundreds of guests. This means you will need a rough idea of you guest numbers before you book your venue. Sit down beforehand and write a draft guest list before approaching venues – it may not be completely accurate but at least it will give you an idea.

3. Any unusual rules or regulations that we’ll need to comply with? 

You might be surprised by some of the rules set by venues or the areas they are situated in. For example, some venues in protected areas have noise restrictions – not great if you’re wanting to party into the wee hours of the morning!

4. Is the venue well-equipped for people with disabilities?

This may not apply, but consider any older relatives or friends with disabilities who may require a walker or wheelchair. Check whether the staff are available to help with seating and making sure all your guests are comfortable.

5. What are the options for younger guests?

If you’re planning to invite children to your wedding, keep them in mind when looking at venues. They may offer kiddie meals or special chairs for children.

6. What is the bathroom situation?

While this is definitely not the most romantic aspect of the venue, it can be very important! Believe it or not, some guests we have spoken have pointed out a lack of bathrooms as one of the major drawbacks of previous weddings.

7. What additional services are included in the venue price? 

When comparing venues, many couples look to the hire fee and food and drink costs. While this is a good starting point, it’s really important to consider what else a venue is offering. Some venues include centrepieces, decorations, canapés and even entertainment in their hire fee, while others require the couple to provide or hire these separately.

 8. What are the payment options? 

Payment options vary greatly between venues. Some will require large deposits to secure a booking, which may not be within your initial budget.

What’s most important is that you’re not afraid to ask! When picking a venue, it needs to work for you and your needs – so asking what you might think are silly questions could be the difference between worrying about little things on the day and having a stress-free wedding.

 

6 ways to make your wedding special for your guests

In the lead up to wedding season, you’re probably stressing a little about how much is left to do before your big day. While you’re busy planning anyway, you might as well make sure you’ve had a think about what your wedding will be like for your guests. After all, your wedding is all about you – but who doesn’t want to make their special day special for all their loved ones as well?

Here, Honeypot co-founder (and first guest to hit the dance floor) Verity gives her top tips for making your wedding fun for your guests:

Make sure they can get to and from the wedding

There’s nothing worse than going to an open bar wedding and only being able to have one drink because you’re driving. Have a think about whether there’s public transport easily accessible to your venue, or if it’s really far out, whether you need to organise group transport to and from the wedding. You don’t necessarily have to be the one who pays for it, but it means guests can kick back and have an awesome time without having to stress about transport.

Look out for those with intolerances or allergies

It might be frustrating when someone says they’re gluten free, dairy free, egg free and nut free, but for those with intolerances, allergies, or conditions like coeliac disease, weddings can be a really tough time with everyone else eating delicious things around them (believe me, I know!)

Ask on your invitations/RSVPs whether anyone has any food intolerances, and try to ensure that you have an option for them. Most venues or caterers can easily sort this with advance warning, and it will make them feel much more included.

Keep speeches short and inclusive

We all know the horror of a long, drunken best man’s speech – and for the majority of guests who don’t understand the inside jokes or find the best man funny, it can seriously take the fun out of a wedding. Ask everyone giving a speech to keep it short and as inclusive as possible; stories that are funny or sweet regardless of whether someone was there or not are the best. Finally, try to keep all the speeches under half an hour total.

Think about your playlist

You might love heavy metal, but that doesn’t mean Uncle Jim or Cousin Polly loves head banging in quite the same way. Let your playlist reflect your personal tastes, but have a think about what will appeal to the most people as well, so that everyone can have a good time. A good spread of well-known songs is usually a winner (although if you include Puppy Love, your DJ might be labelled the worst DJ ever – hello Love Actually reference!)

Look out for your older guests

Your wedding might be the biggest party of your life, but for your grandparents or other older guests, it can be a really tiring day. Think about how they can be most comfortable – seat them away from loud speakers, make sure they’ve got a seat at times when everyone else may be standing (such as during cocktails), and if needed, organise transport for them to leave the reception a little earlier if needed.

Think about how much it’s costing them

We all know that weddings cost a lot for the happy couple – but have a think about how much it’s costing your guests as well. If it’s a destination wedding, give your loved ones plenty of advance notice so they can save for flights and accommodation, and accept that some people won’t be able to make it.

Even a local wedding can cost guests a few hundred dollars between their outfit, transport, gift, and childcare if needed. Many 20 and 30 somethings end up attending several weddings a year, so make sure yours isn’t the one that breaks the bank for them. Creating a Honeypot registry for your honeymoon or gifts means they can give as much or as little as they want for a gift – they can even keep their amount anonymous if they choose.

Most of all though, remember that your guests just want to celebrate your special day with both of you – so make it fun for everyone and you’re sure to all have an absolutely fantastic day.