Queensland journalist Lisa Chant blames soapie Days Of Our Lives for her obsession with all things wedding.
It was 1987, and a classmate introduced her to the dramatic daytime soap, which was was the home of supercouples such as Bo and Hope and Kimberly and Shane.
But it was Patch and Kayla who caught her fancy as they battled everything from vengeful brothers to disability. So much so that when it came time for them to wed, she even threw a sickie (or two) to make sure she could tune it.
“Even today, I can still remember what a great moment it was when Kayla regained her voice just in time to says her vows.”
These days, Lisa can laugh about her onetime addiction – and the enormous gowns of the era – but it opened her eyes to the beauty of weddings. And so an obsession began.
Just a few years later, when she served as bridesmaid for a friend, she began madly researching what needed to be done and what could be done.
“I was obsessive about it,” she explains. “I read everything I could get my hands on – and I loved it all.”
Not surprisingly, the affair continued, through the weddings of friends and family. To date she’s had a hand in planning everything from a beautiful lighthouse wedding to a vow renewal in a park.
Now she’s poured all her experience and passion into Fabulous Weddings, a collection of more than 300 beautiful wedding inspirations.
“It’s basically my suggestions for hundreds of truly unique ways to personalise your wedding and it contains terrific ideas for everything from ceremonies and flowers to food and cake.
“It’s all about celebrating your day your way.”
Below is a list of 10 of Lisa’s favourite ideas for truly personalising your big day and, for more information – and a free chapter of the book – visit www.fabulousweddings.net.au.
So often, a bride’s walk up the aisle is illuminated by unwanted flashes from phones and digital cameras. Not only can it be disturbing in what should be a calm and joyous moment, it can leave the bride a little too starry-eyed. It is this global trend that might explain the growing popularity of ‘unplugged’ wedding ceremonies. Holding an unplugged ceremony simply means asking guests to put away their technology and just be present and enjoy the moment by giving their full attention to one of the most important moments of your life. After all, that’s why you invited them, right? And there’s plenty of time for photos later…
Double the fun
Who doesn’t love the first dance? Well here’s a question then – why restrict it to just a single dance? As many couples have very different musical tastes, you can capitalise on it being having two first songs – one dedicated to the groom, and one to the bride. Alternatively, you could split them into the first song and last song. As an added touch, ask your MC to explain their significance and why you picked them.
Involve the parents
Some people are traditionalists about the walk up the aisle, and that’s fantastic, but many women chaff a little at the idea of being giving away by their father (or parents) to their husband. So one nice way around it is to double up and have your celebrant ask not just “Who gives this woman?” but also “Who gives this man?” It’s also a nice way to give his parents their fair share of respect.
Guest books can be fun, especially the spontaneous notes that often accompany signatures, but for a full record of everyone who was part of your big day, a separate ceremony guest book is a wonderful idea. That way you can remember those people – for example work colleagues – who weren’t close enough to score an invite but still came along to wish you luck (and have a stickybeak!).
Share the load
A good MC is a thing of beauty, and can create an atmosphere of fun people will talk about for years to come. But there’s no doubt it’s a big job, so why not share the load and use one person from each side of the family? That also opens up great opportunities for spontaneous stories about both the bride and groom.
Make your wedding as educational as it is enjoyable, especially if there’s a lag between the ceremony and reception. You could hire a dance tutor to prepare them for the festivities to come, give them a ticket to a nearby museum or historical house, or just set up chairs with copies of books to read about subjects you both adore. Alternatively, you could just set up lots of games for them to try, such as croquet or giant Jenga.
For a visual treat, clash bouquets with your bridesmaids rather than choosing something complementary. For example, you could go for all white blooms while they carry a riot of rainbow shades, or vice versa.
Be mindful of your impact on the planet where possible by incorporating such touches as plants in urns rather than cut flowers. That way you can take them home afterwards and add them to your garden.
Instead of just typing or scribbling your vows on a piece of a paper, do up a beautifully designed document that you can later keep as a gorgeous souvenir of the most important words of the day.
Ask your florist to secretly insert a single loose flower into your bouquet. Then, when you reach the top of the aisle on your father’s arm, stop for a moment and hand the bloom to your mother. It’s a wonderful way to pay tribute to all her years of love and care – and also to make sure she plays a special role in the day.
Groom left speechless as his bride serenades him down the aisle