The first step in planning a wedding day of your dreams is to budget for the wedding. I always tell my brides to budget wisely and spend on things that are more long lasting, create experiences for the couple and the guests, and things that are absolute necessity.
If you are a bride on a budget, here is my advice for how you can avoid (or reduce) some of the costs of your wedding:
- The Venue.
- The venue to host the wedding party marks up to 48-50% of the the entire budget. Instead of looking for a 5* hotel, opt for a wedding hall. It will dramatically save you lots of money. Dubai itself has some amazing new wedding halls that host weddings and provide all the needed services (security, valet parking, bridal-room, etc).
- The Dress.
- If you want to save money on the dress of your dreams, ask the designer if you can rent it instead of buying the dress. If your designer doesn’t rent dresses, buy the dress and you can rent/sell it after the wedding because you will never, ever, wear it again. Ever. Oh but you get to keep & wear the shoes & jewelry again so spend well on it 😉
- My university professor of ‘Consumer Behavior’ course once said “people will forget the details, decorations, and everything else of a party, but they always remember the food!” and I can’t agree with him more. Instead of 10 fancy welcome drinks, 15 types of desserts, 20 types of teas and what not, spend a good amount on the main courses. I mean, not everyone will drink all 10 types of drinks & I’m not suggesting to reduce the cost for this one, but adjust the cost and really spend on things that everyone gets to enjoy such as the main dinner.
- Bouquet / Flowers.
- Brides, please note that I absolutely loveeeee centerpieces with real flowers because they look gorgeous in the photos but if you are on a budget, I highly suggest you choose centerpieces that don’t need too many real flowers.
- Also, the cost of your bouquet will be reduced if you ask your stage decorator to provide you with a bouquet. First, they know the theme/colors of the wedding & can make you a bouquet accordingly. Second, they get flowers in whole-sellers price and can help you save AED 2,000+ on a bridal bouquet. Third, you don’t have to wait for the bouquet to arrive or pick it up yourself as the decorator will be present at the venue and can deliver the bouquet to your bridal room.
- Live Band vs. DJ.
- Live bands are fun. No joke! If they are good, the can really take the party to the next level. Are they cost-friendly comparing to a good DJ? I’m assuming you answered this one yourself already 😀
- Wedding Stationary & Party Favors.
- Personally, I love invitation cards. But lets be real, do you really need thank you cards placed on the dinner plates or fancy tissue boxes? I’ve seen them lying around at the end of the wedding with the couples’ names on it and it breaks my heart. I suggest you pay attention to these little details when budgeting for the wedding.
- Choose party-favors that remind guests of your wedding day & something that they want to keep and use later on (mirrors, bakhoor, atr or perfume, book-marks, etc).
Brides, if you ever feel stuck while making the budget for the wedding, ask yourself these questions: “will this product/service benefit me or the guests after my wedding? Do I or the guests keep this as memories?” If the answers are NO, chances are you don’t need to spend too much on that product/service.
I really hope this blog post helps you save tons of money that you can use for your honeymoon and/or for your new house. Again, I hope you make budget wisely and spend on things & experiences that you and your wedding guests get to keep & cherish even after the wedding.
Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid,
It may sound simple if I say to “Practice your Dress” but if it was this simple, I wouldn’t be writing an entire blog post about it. Trust me on this one! 🙂
It is very usual that I come across brides who have trouble wearing the dress. They don’t know how the crinoline/jiboon is supposed to be worn. I’ve seen broken zippers and buttons, and what not. To make your wedding day stress-free, here are 5 tips to prepare and practice your dress beforehand.
- Practice wearing your dress at least 3-5 times before the wedding day to be comfortable with the fitting, buttons, zipper, lace, ribbons, etc.
- Know how to wear the dress with the crinoline (aka jiboon – the underskirt to make the ballgown fluffy).
- Try the dress with undergarments to make sure nothing shows & everything fits perfectly. Choose undergarments wisely (ex: strapless garments for strapless dress, etc).
- Wear the shoes/heels to practice walking in the dress. It will also help you be sure that the dress’s length is what you like.
- Last but not least, PLEASEEEEE try sitting in the dress to be 110% sure that it is possible!
Lovely Brides, I hope this blog post is helpful to you. May you shine in your dress like a rockstar princess!
Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid,
Hello lovely Brides-to-Be,
When I spoke at the Pre-Wedding Extravaganza event hosted by MyList.ae, I shared insights on how to prepare for the wedding, setting timelines, communication, and expectations.
Here is another installment of UnOfficial Bridesmaid‘s post, for those who weren’t able to attend the event, to help brides-to-be with the pre-wedding planning & how to set expectations for wedding vendors & for yourself!
1. Setting Time
- remind all the vendors of your wedding date and location.
- discuss timeline with the decorator, makeup artist & hair stylist, photographer, ballroom staff, DJ, etc. All of Them!
- make sure the checks/payments are made/cleared a week before the wedding.
- keep grace period for everyone. If the makeup artist told you she will be there by 4pm, don’t expect that your makeup is starting at 4pm. She needs time to arrive, parking, setup her stuff, and then she starts her work.
- set aside plentyyyyyyyyyyyy of time for the photoshoot.
- please make sure to discuss details with all appropriate vendors.
- ask questions & explain yours concerns so the vendors can answer them.
- if you have a certain concern about photography, like one side of your face better than the other, don’t like the curtain colors of the bridal suite, make sure you discuss it with your photographer.
- don’t assume you will receive things (projectors, screens, extra pages in the album, extra tables/chairs in the ballroom) that are not mentioned on contract. If you want/need something, discuss the details beforehand with the specific vendor.
3. Setting Expectations
- how you set expectations of the wedding vendors is what you will receive. If you are late for a meeting, the vendor might think it is okay for you if they are late. Set their expectations right.
- make sure to explain each vendor how important time is for you. If everything is going in a timely manner, you will enjoy your wedding to the fullest. I PROMISE!
I hope these tips help you plan a wedding of your dreams. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments section and I will be more than happy to answer them.
Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid,
Dear Brides & Photographer Friends,
This blog post is for both of you ❤ ❤
Lets chat about Wedding Timeline because it is not one of the mostttttttttt, but THE MOST important thing when planning a wedding (for brides) and setting expectations of the clients & getting things done (for photographers).
those who Fail to Plan,
Plan to Fail!
That’s exactly why I love talking to each bride and discuss their wedding timeline way in advance. This gives me insight of their plans, how the wedding day will unfold, & helps me not to miss any details.
While discussing the timeline, I always ask all the vendors’ names for credits, give tips and insights of the wedding to my brides and answer any questions/concerns they might have. I also make sure to let them know how much time I need for specific section of the photoshoot and to keep some grace time for prayers, late makeup artist, hairstylist, mishaps, etc.
Following are some of the questions I always ask my brides and write them down.
- Is the bride getting ready at a salon, the venue, bridal room, or hotel suite?
- helps me determine travel time to/from the ballroom.
- Who is the makeup artist, makeup start & finish time.
- Is the makeup artist doing makeup on family members or only the bride? This can make/break the entire timeline.
- Who is the hairstylist, hair start & finish time.
- Is the groom coming for the photoshoot before or after the ceremony?
- Brides, feel free to read my recommendation about first look – it is super useful, promise!
- Ballroom/kosha ready time.
- Expected number of guests. Expected arrival time.
- helps me plan how much time I have for the ballroom decorations’ photos.
- Bride’s entrance time.
- helps me know time for bride-groom’s photoshoot from her prep until her entrance.
- Any entertainment, singers, performers, Zaffa, belly-dancers, violinist, etc.
- anything the couple spend time/effort/money on must be documented.
- Groom’s entrance time.
- I also ask if the groom is coming in alone or with family/friends. Helps me choose the right lens in advance 😉
- Cake cutting & drink exchange times.
- Family photos time.
- Expected exit time.
I hope this post helps you plan the wedding day even better. If you have ANY questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’d be moreeeeee than happy to answer them.
Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid & PF (photographer friend) 😉
My darling Brides-To-Be,
Writing the last blog post about the 5 things brides forget on the wedding day, I thought a detailed post with a bride’s must haves is essential. Although you may buy Sephora’s Minimergency Kit that is ready to use but making one with things from your favorite brands is more fun (& useable).
Bridesmaids, it is a wonderful idea to make this emergency kit for your girlfriends 😉 Just saying….
Following are a handful things that you may need/want on the day of the wedding day and honeymoon.
- BreathMints/Chewing gum – to get your mouth ready for that first kiss.
- Tweezers – for stray hair and clamped lashes.
- Blotting Paper – to absorb the oil & remove shine.
- Face Mist – to refresh the makeup & calm the skin.
- Tissue Papers – to dab away happy tears.
- Safety & Bobby pins – always come in handy.
- Stain Remover – God forbid you need to use them.
- Adhesive band-aids – for small cuts/injuries.
- Earring backs – I lose them like a magician.
- Deodorant towelette – in case you are not carrying a deo.
- Nail polish remover pad – for girls who need to pray.
- Tooth paste & brush – are not included in most hotels’ toiletries.
- Lip balm – for chapped/dry lips.
- Nail filer – always carry one. Alwaysssss!
- Hair spray – to hold hair in place.
- Dental floss – for a picture perfect smile.
- Mending/Sewing kit – I had actually sew a bride’s ripped dress.
- Double-sided tape – for falling hemlines & plunging necklines.
- Pain reliever – for head/stomach aches.
- Lipstick – Ladies, don’t ever underestimate the power of lipstick 😉
Here is a bonus tip – if you are a hijabi (mohajibba), a few hair-ties and a nude-color scarf will definitely come in handy!
I hope the list helps you prepare your emergency kit. For any questions/concerns or to add something to the list, feel free to leave a comment.
Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid,
Words can never explain how much I love my brides. To the moon & beyond…
While my brides have proven to be very organized and amazing planners, I’ve seen a constant pattern of things that most brides tend to forget on the wedding day. Although it is never intentional and totally understandable as the wedding planning is not a piece of cake, but a little reminder is always nice.
Here is a list of 5 things that most brides forget & my two cents about those things. May this post helps you plan your dream wedding day even better, inshaAllah.
- Have the groom’s wedding ring with you.
You’ll need all two/three for the detail photos so make sure the groom’s ring is with you on the day of the wedding.
- Wedding invitation card.
Invitation cards/suite/stationary often tends to get lost years after the wedding. Have them incorporated within the photos. Also, invitation cards provide great ring shots with bride & groom’s names/logos.
- Hangers/mannequin for the dress.
Make sure the hanger is not colorful/flashy to take the attention away from the dress. Also, the hanger should be able to bear the weight of the dress & its hook should be TWIST-ABLE! If you are getting a mannequin, check if the dress fits on it properly and the base is stable.
- Emergency kit.
A sewing kit, bobby pins, safety pins, Tide pen (stain-remover), tissues, face-mist, small scissors, double-sided tape, mini deodorant, nail-filer – are just a few things you might need on the wedding day.
- Eat!!! Pleaseeeeeeeee.
OMG! There is nothing more frightening than watching a malnourished bride faint on a wedding day. I HAVE SEEN IT!!! Not only it is terrifying, it sucks out all the fun and also reduces so much time for photos. Make sure to eat well before the makeup starts.
The ONLY thing I actually wish the brides forget on their wedding day is worrying! Don’t get caught up in the midst of tiny imperfections, a loose thread, a missing flower from the bouquet, etc. Try to enjoy your day to the fullest despite of the small stuff.
May you have an UNFORGETTABLE wedding day, ameen.
Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid,
She had tons of questions…
Being the first one amongst her siblings to get married, she was lost in all the wedding planning process. As I was answering her questions, a past bride of mine came in to meet me. I asked her to join in and the conversation went to a whole new level.
I sat back and watched both of these amazing girls. It was like watching an amateur meeting an experienced one. The crazy idea popped into my head and I asked the bride-to-be if she’d be interested in meeting my other past & future brides to help her plan the wedding. She agreed in a heartbeat. Before leaving, she turned back and said thank you several times to my past bride and myself for being the reason that so much of her stress was reduced.
In that moment, I felt like I was the missing link! I decided that I haddddddd to take a step forward & plan a friendly get-together for my future brides-to-be. To help them connect the dots, help each other with the tiring wedding planning, bring and share ideas to plan and have the best day of their lives.
With that being said, I feel sooooo very nervous & super excited at the same time because I actually did take the step…..the venue has been booked, invitations have been sent, and I can’t wait to see what this small step will result into…
Cheers to a step forward!
The Missing Link,
Congrats on saying YES to the proposal…
If you are planning your first party (milcha/engagement) to announce being officially together, this post is perfect for you!
After documenting countless engagement parties, I jot down a quick list to give brides some thought provoking ideas to think about while planning their first day as husband & wife.
- It is OKAY to be nervous! It is the first time you are being professionally photographed together as a couple. A little nervousness is okay but don’t let it hold you back from enjoying the party.
- Be on time. This is very important. Discuss the timeline with your makeup artist, hairstylist, and of course your photographer. Make sure everything is running smoothly and you are ready on time to make the most of your investments.
- Confidence is the key. The first 20 minutes of photo-session will be awkward. It is normal. Don’t let your nervousness make you more nervous. Make sure to smile a lot & enjoy your time with him. When you are confident, it shows in the images.
- Prepare the groom. If you are planning on having him put jewelry on you, make sure to tell him to practice. If he knows how to open and close the jewelry pieces, it’ll be easy for him to do and will result in more natural photos.
- Set priorities. Having props with sentimental value for both you and the groom is awesome but having 10+ props & expecting the photographer to take photos of each one might not be a great idea. You & your husband are the stars of the night. You are the priority. Don’t get lost in the props game.
- Relax & trust your photographer. You probably chose your photographer after much consideration and for a reason (hopefully their personality is your #1 priority). Trust them. Allow them to be creative & you’ll have an awesome photo session.
I hope these tips help you and result in the best of photos ❤
If you have some tips for the future brides-to-be, I’m all ears. Share them in the comments below.
For this installment of UnOfficial BridesMaid, I am bringing you advice from none other than actual brides of mine. They have been through the wedding planning process and give some incredibly useful tips based on their personal experiences.
I asked them for their best advice to help you with the wedding planning and this is what they have to say…..
- A Checklist is a must!!! ~Afra
- Budget wisely. ~Sara Rouab
- Plan ahead this way you will not get worried about thigs popping up all of a sudden on wedding day! ~ Aysha
- Invest in PHOTOGRAPHY and lower the budget for other things as photos r the only thing that the bride gets to keep as a memory from her wedding day. ~ Maram
- Relax and enjoy every single moment. Stressing out will make things worse and hard to get. ~ Reem AlHosani
- Run! ~ Amna (lol. Amna, you are hilarious).
- 1. Do. Not. Panic !
2. Let your first priority on your wedding day be to having fun with your groom and family. Forget about the formalities.
3. Eliminate sources of distraction and don’t let others interfere.
4. The last few weeks before the wedding should be about relaxing, spa days and just day dreaming…..no stress….no staying up late! And drink lots of water.
5. Practice! Try on your shoes, dress, veil and practice moving in them. ~ Meera
- Once you know the wedding date:
1. Find your perfect wedding gown
2. Book your photographer, makeup artist & hairstylist immediately.
3. Pamper yourself.
4. Relax! everything will be ok! ~ Hind
- The first process is to search the good makeup artist. And then go to the super hero (RIMA) ~ Mahra (I swear, I didn’t pay her to say that :D)
- 1. Finish everything about your wedding 1 week before the wedding , keep the last week for RELAXING !
2. Write every small thing and take the list to the venue so you won’t forget anything.
3. Keep extra money in your handbag for last minute things.
4. Keep the room clean, where you will be getting ready.
5. Try to stay alone in your room till you finish everything (makeup, photography, etc). ~ Moza
- No matter what happens, you should be calm, happy and confident. Don’t stress your self over few decoration or makeup mistakes. Don’t be sad nor cry over silly things. People should think of the meaning of this day not the over look – Meera AlNuaimi
So brides-to-be, plan ahead of time to avoid any mishaps, relax and everything will be great! Look at the bigger picture, go with the flow, and enjoy your day to the fullest. May this day be the better than what you have planned it to be.
Your unofficial bridesmaid,
Although I’ve been blogging for years, writing this one makes me feel like a newbie as it is my first blog giving out tips to the future brides-to-be. I’m not a wedding planner or any guru but after couple of years of meeting and working with lots of brides, I feel comfortable to post these tips. This post is merely to assist the brides-to-be with the wedding planning. Because these are the tips magazines might not give.
Future Brides, are you ready???
Here are the 5 tips to help you with the wedding planning.
- Services over Products. Once you have the date confirmed, book service based vendors first. Venue, makeup artist, hairstylist, and of course the photographer! These are the people who tend to get booked by another bride. Dress, shoes, cake, party favors can be bought/ordered later from variety of retailers but once a service based vendor is booked, you might not get them for your wedding.
- Personality over Perception. Plan ahead so you have enough time to meet vendors in person. Especially those who are providing services. Your makeup artist, hairstylist, and photographer are the people you’ll be spending most time with on your wedding day. Just because one vendor is famous doesn’t mean they will gel along with you on the wedding day. Personality matters a lot. Choose wisely!
- Quality over Quantity. Let me ask you this…is it better to choose a yucky 7 tier huge but dry cake for lower price instead of a delicious 3 tier cake from an awesome baker? Of course not! Instead of hiring a low-priced amateur vendor who is giving you free this and that, it is better to hire a professional. Remember, it is once in a lifetime day.
- Comfort over Crisis. In the last fitting of your dress, make sure you sit down in it. Trust me on that one! I had a bride who wore a gorgeous fish-tale dress customized just for her. It fit her so0o0o0 perfectly and she looked jaw-dropping beautiful but once she reached the stage, she couldn’t sit down. I still cringe thinking about that day. Opt for a comfortable to move in dress and shoes, easy to carry hair, and manageable bouquet so you can enjoy the party.
- Reality over Fantasy. Every bride dreams of a perfect day. And they totally should. But brides get too easily depressed by late schedules, screaming bridesmaids, wrong color of bouquet, uninvited guests, etc. Things are bound to happen. Girls, please don’t let anything or anyone ruin the day for you. No matter what happens, you are the star of the night. Surround yourself with positive people, overcome the stress, take the spotlight and shine like a star.
I hope these tips help you perceive & approach the wedding planning process in new light. I pray that your wedding is even more glorious than your plans. If you have any questions/concerns, please send me an email on email@example.com. If you have tips, feel free to leave them in the comment box to help others.
~ Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid – Rima