Wedding trends 2020: The reception

Wedding fever has taken off, and Stripes is loving every moment of it. For those planning to tie the knot in 2020, here are her predictions of what will be in.

Get your guests drinkingly to the table

Ditch the boring table seating cards and rather opt for a boozy alternative. Use shooters, cocktails, glass of bubbly or any other drink as your escort cards. Simply stick the guest’s name on a toothpick, swizzle stick or any other stick and place it in the drink. Guests can enjoy finding their table!

Colour for the win

Go for bold, eclectic or even clashing colours to make your reception not only stand out but be memorable. Vibrant colours can help guests feel at home, and can also be used to convey you and your partner’s personalities. Love Cherise pink, then go ahead! Pair it with canary yellow and neon green if that takes your fancy. Have fun!

The age of the bespoke cocktail

If you really want to impress your guests, hire in a mixologist. You can still have your normal bar, serving normal drinks and cocktails. And then you have THE mixology bar, serving creations that blurs the line between refreshment and entertainment. Mixologists make use of interesting ingredients and liquids, such as green tea, activated charcoal, jellies, etc. and are bound to give you that extra touch of drama.

Experiential favours

Luckily you don’t have to choose between giving a keyring or a bag of spices, there are so many other options for the couple who still want to give their guests a thank you gift. Favours that either invoke the scences or ask of the guest to get involved are all the rage. Think DIY perfume blending bars, make a terrarium, string a necklace, etc. Use your imagination and incorporate something, whether a hobby or a passion, into your wedding for the guests to take home.

Food boards

Communal eating is bigger than ever before. More and more couples are opting for shared starters and even main meals, with the food being served on large serving platters or wooden boards. Guests help themselves to tasty morsels such as cheese and cold meats, antipasti, bruschettas, even DIY pasta with various sauces. If you want a relaxed and laidback wedding, this is the trend for you.

Creative seating

You no longer have to choose between round or rectangular tables, 6 or 8 seaters. Go crazy with your seating plan. Think long tables that snake through an orchard or a variety of tables to create interest. Use square tables to all the guests can see each other, or one long table with the bridal couple on one end. Use what you have, and don’t fret if it is not all uniform.

Moon bouncing

Yes, you read right. Bouncing on a jumping castle as part of your reception is a thing. These jumping castles are specially designed to allow the BIGGER kids to jump to their heart’s delight, and most come in white to reinforce the wedding feel. If that sounds like you, then go ahead! Hire a moon bounce castle and make all your little girl/boy dreams come true.

DIY refreshments

Beer on tap, blend your own margaritas, g&t on tap, basically a drinks bar but with equipment. Get your favourite keg, or gin brand, and allow guests to pour for themselves. Less finicky than a cocktail bar, more rewarding than an ice tea station.

Modern blended with traditional

Want a super modern wedding with monochrome colours and clean lines but wish you could incorporate your Grandma’s crocheted runners or placemats? Now is your chance! Mix old and new and have fun!

Simplicity

Stripe’s favourite trend – keeping it simple. Less is often more, so if you want long vases with a single stem in them and a couple of candles then you go ahead and do you.

Those are Stripe’s predictions; if you have any to add, please leave a comment!

Wedding trends 2020: Cake

Stripes love her some wedding cake, so this topic is very close to her heart – as in her stomach! Luckily for her, 2020 is seeing a bigger move back to actual cake, something we have not experienced for a number of years. Sure, the cheese-tower and alternative “cakes” like pies and tarts are still big news, but more and more couples are opting for a more traditional selection of chocolate, vanilla and carrot. Yeah!

As part of this series of trends, here are Stripes’ other predictions when it comes to wedding cakes for 2020:

  • Mini cakes

Adventurous couples, or those who simply cannot make up their minds, are opting for a selection of mini cakes, all in different flavours. This trend is wonderful if you consider that they can have all the flavours they dreamt off without wasting cake. Mini cakes are much bigger than cupcakes, but also much smaller than a normal celebration cake.

  • Different shapes

Simple round cakes are so 2019. For 2020, couples are going for squares, hexagonals, geometric designs, even cakes that look like they have been sliced in half. The emphasis is on individualism, so live out your biggest cake fantasy!

  • Interesting displays

Cake stands are so boring. 2020 couples are looking for other interesting ways to display their wedding cake, from suspending the cake from the ceiling to displaying it on a swing. We have seen floating cakes, swinging cakes, even cakes that hang upside down!

  • Non-traditional colours

A decade ago having a black cake would have been taboo. Today, that is just one of the colours that you could consider. In 2020, the cakes are leaning toward the dramatic, with lots of deep dark colours such as burgundy, black, maroon, etc. Your cake should fit in with your overall decor and theme, and with the resurgence of heavy fabrics such as velvet, of course cakes would follow suit. Another big trend? Metallic cakes! Bronze will be THE colour next year, taking the spot of the once-very popular rose gold. Cannot wait!

  • Interesting details

From geodes bursting out of the cake to geometric shapes, cakes are becoming more and more interesting. Now is your chance to work in any detail special to you as a couple, be it butterfly wings, mosaic or superhero logos. Your creativity is your only boundary!

  • Hand-painted cakes

Brush-stroke cakes, watercolour cakes, cakes that look like the design was quilted on – artisan cakes are all the rage!

  • Floral cakes, as in pressed or crystalised flowers

Decorate your cake with dainty pressed flowers, crystalised leaves and other botanicals, or even sugar flowers that look real enough to eat!

  • New flavours

This year has seen a huge movement away from the traditional flavours of vanilla, fruit and lemon, and instead has replaced them with flavours far more exciting and a little unexpected. In place of the British fruitcake is the equally British flavour of Earl Grey, which creates a delicate yet fragrant sponge that won’t overwhelm your guests. Other flavours that are popping up in wedding cakes around the world are pistachio, pink champagne and lime, which all add a beautiful flavour and pastel shade to a simple sponge.

  • Alternative cakes

From cheese cakes (cakes made out of *actual* cheese) to doughnut towers, cakecicles (yes, cake in the form of an ice cream!) taking a step away from a traditional wedding cake is more popular than ever.

  • Vegan cakes

Want to ensure your wedding cake is inclusive to guests with dietary and allergy restrictions? Get yourself a vegan wedding cake!

With that being said, we hope you have a sweet day! Had an interesting wedding cake or planning on having one? Please share!

Wedding trends 2020: Eco weddings

As consumers are becoming more and more aware off our natural environment’s plight, there is a massive shift towards more sustainable and responsible practices. And weddings are no exception. Stripes is so happy to hear this! All this wasting of natural resources and leaving the planet in a terrible state is playing with her lunch and you do not want a hangry zebra!

If you are getting married in 2020, consider incorporating a few (or all) of these ideas to help make your nuptials a bit more earth-conscious, and you a lot greener and happier.

  • Say no to disposables and single-use items

Ditch the straws, umbrellas and other decors usually reserved for after-ceremony drinks and special cocktails. Decorate your glasses with bamboo-skewered fruit sticks or the rim with salt/sugar. Opt for ceramic plates and bowls, real glass glasses and metal cutlery. Frankly, you can use whatever you like as long as it ticks the “this can be used again and again” box. Say no to paper serviettes, choosing cloth napkins, table cloths and runners instead. And ditch the balloons! If you want to have a flower wall, why not make a make-shift one with potted plants or go for a vertical garden?

  • Keep it local and seasonal

This applies to the food, the flowers, and even the drinks. Not only will you save money, you also help save the planet. Choose caterers and florists who support this honourable goal, and have the guts to say no when a suggestion does not prescribe to these requirements. It is your day after all.

  • Be smart with your decor

Choose decor that can be borrowed or hired, or at the least re-used in your home after the wedding. That goes for everything from table cloths to charger plates, centrepieces and lighting. If you just have to have those lanterns, arrange beforehand that a few select guests may take them home as a thank you gift – nobody wants to be left with 30 lanterns to store!

  • Consider the menu

Steering more towards a vegetarian menu will not only save you money but keep your earth impact a bit lower. If a vegetarian menu just won’t cut it, then at least keep the menu simple. Restrict it to a single starter, main course and wedding cake as dessert. This will keep your waste down. To further lower food waste, consider a plated meal with only one protein. Guests waste less food when plated versus having a buffet meal where they can dish as much as their eyes and plates will allow.

  • Keep it close to home – choose your location with intent

By choosing a venue that is close for most of the guests you cut down on travel, which saves fuel-miles. You can also encourage guests who live close to each other to carpool. Further, pick a venue that has the ceremony and reception areas on the same property, which again means guests do not have to travel extensively.

  • Rethink your florals and avoid floral foam (oasis)

When picking out your flowers, choose local and seasonal blooms and substitute with as much greenery and foliage as possible. Luckily for you, one of the floral trends for 2020 is using potted plants and dried grasses as part of your decor! If you do decide to go for fresh blooms, ask your florist to place them in glass bottles or vases and not the floral foam commonly used. These oases are single-use items that cannot be broken down in a landfill nor can they be recycled.

  • Forego the gifts for a worthy cause

Instead of receiving wedding gifts (how many fondue pots can you have?) and setting up a gift registry, rather ask your guests to make a donation to a worthy cause, in your name. You can also do the reverse, where instead of you giving the guests favours you make a donation to a cause.

  • Go plastic-free

Ask the venue if they use black plastic bin bags, your caterers if they use glad wrap, etc. and if they will be open to the idea of not using those items for your wedding. Give them viable alternatives. For the ceremony, leave the plastic containers of soap for bubbles, straws, or any other plastic item that either won’t be missed or can easily be substituted with something else.

  • Re-use and repurpose

Incorporate things that you already have as part of your decor. This will make the day more special and more sentimental in any case. Furthermore, choose items that can be used afterwards, such as your wedding shoes – choose shoes that you can wear again. Even your dress – choose a dress that you can either sell afterwards (if you don’t hire it to begin with) or repurpose for something else. Some brides turn their wedding dress into scatter pillows or clothes for their first child.

  • Vintage is a game-changer

Not only for dresses and other clothes, but even for things like table cloths, cutlery and crockery, decor, etc. By buying second hand and loving as if new, you keep these items out of the landfill. You give them new meaning and purpose by incorporating them into your love story.

  • Recycle and dispose of smartly

Encourage the venue and your guests to recycle, even during the wedding. Place special bins for glass, tin, wet waste, etc. and make sure there are clear signs explaining the difference. Ask your caterer to not throw food waste away, but rather donate it to a worthy cause such as shelters, old-age homes or soup kitchens.

  • Keep your numbers small

The fewer guests you have the less money you give out, the less environmental impact you have. So keep your guest list small, your pocket and planet will thank you.

  • The bridal party

Firstly, keep your bridal party small. Secondly, allow them to choose their own clothes. You can give guidelines such as style and colour, but then leave it up to them. In this way they can choose things that they will wear again, meaning less waste. Keep the hair and makeup look natural and effort-free, meaning less makeup and product. And for the makeup and product – choose local, natural and organic as far as possible!

  • Keep it digital

Your save-the-date, invite, thank you card, gift registry, and more. All can be done digitally, with even more bells and whistles than if you had your stationery printed. If you do want to print stationery, do so on recycled paper or even support companies such as Growing Paper who prints on paper containing seeds – so you can plant the paper and grow a garden!

  • Hire instead of buying

Dresses, decor, cutlery, crockery, glassware. If you can hire it instead of buying then do so! Most often it will work out a fraction of the cost, and you don’t have to wonder what you will do with the items afterwards.

  • Use candles instead of electricity

Opt for natural soy-based candles instead of harsh electrical lights. If you do go for conventional lighting, choose eco-friendly bulbs and only turn on the lights once it is dark.

  • Rethink confetti

Choose more natural options such as dried veld flowers, local seeds or even small shapes cut out of dried leaves. Using things such as rice and popcorn can be detrimental to wildlife, so if you are getting married somewhere where birds or other wildlife will have access, stick to less harmful options.

  • Don’t trash the dress

And Stripes last piece of green advice? Don’t do a trash the dress shoot. Rather sell/donate your dress to someone who will get just as much value out of it as you did.

Those are Stripes’ tips, hope you find them useful!

Wedding trends 2020: Decor

Stripes is loving this series about wedding trends for 2020. Seems she loves the guessing game 😉 To continue the series, today we will focus on the decor trends that are predicted to go big in 2020. Of course, we are only listing the ones that Stripes find fascinating.

Colour:

Although the much anticipated Pantone colour of the year has not yet been revealed, experts are predicting it will be somewhere in the green category. This comes as no surprise to Stripes, who has been seeing a steady incline in the number of green weddings we have been doing over the last few months. The green that is in the lead? Neo mint. According to Italianbark.com, neo mint can be described as “a fresh tone of green that has a cool futuristic feel thought to be fit for the new decade ahead; in fact, it is a colour chosen to harmonize science and technology with nature.” But don’t let that stop you! And also, gone are the days of only having two or three colours in your wedding pallet. 2020 is all about creating the right atmosphere and if you need 20 colours to do that, then go for it!

Walls and murals:

The “Insta-wall” is showing no decline in popularity, with more and more couples opting for a balloon focus wall. And yes, murals are making an appearance, with anything from historical backdrops to specially designed and painted artworks taking centre stage. If you want to focus on plants and florals, keep the botanical trend in mind, using mostly foilage and potted plants to create your desired look and effect.

Indoor will move outdoor:

The trend that is set to blow most guests’ minds will be this one. In the coming year, Stripes is predicting that more and more couples will opt for an outdoor reception that looks like an indoor reception, just without the walls and roof. That means whole rooms will be set up outside as if they are inside. Think long dining tables, sofas with coffee tables, lamps, etc. All placed under the stars or strung fairy lights. Not a marquis or tent in sight.

Centrepieces:

Throw out all your “old” ideas about which colour or texture is associated with weddings – next year you can go wild in terms of colour, texture, patterns and objects. It is predicted that fruit will make an appearance as part of centrepieces – think lemons down the table, or apples in vases (for the green?). The textures that are reported to be in high demand are velvet, tapestry and other thick heavy material, and floral patterns.

Lighting:

Last but not least, Stripes is predicting that there will be a greater move towards mood lighting. Couples will also incorporate interesting light sources as part of their decor, from standing lamps next to the tables to neon signs and even spotlights. If you want to create a magical atmosphere, incorporate soft lighting such as fairy lights, desk lamps, and lots of candles. Just remember, if you use candles – always go for the non-drip variety!

There you have it, Stripes run down of her predictions for decor in 2020. If you have any more to add, please leave her a comment!

Wedding trends 2020: Food

2020 seems to be the year of the individualist and Stripes couldn’t be happier. What is not to love – you can plan and execute a wedding day as unique and special as your love. You just need a touch of daring, a pinch of creativity and a dash of self-confidence and you can pull off the wedding that will be talked about for years to come. For all the right reasons!
Wedding food trends are no exception. The overall look and feel seem to be leaning towards casual and relaxed fare with a lot of personalisation. According to Stripes, the trends that you should be on the lookout for are:

1. Brunch is all the rage

In the last couple of years, there has been a shift towards earlier weddings, with the brunch wedding taking the crown. The benefits are many, from saving money on the cash bar to serving waffles as part of your menu (win-win!), having a brunch wedding means you get to spend a few extra hours enjoying your day, and if you plan it right, an extra night for your honeymoon. 

2. Think fresh and organic

More and more couples are opting to forego heavy starters, settling rather on light green salads made from fresh and organic ingredients that are locally sourced. This ties in with the green trend, with caterers serving free-range, pasture-fed, wild-caught foods as opposed to the factory-farmed alternatives. 

3. Involved eats

Skip the passed platters of canapés and rather go for smaller food bars that allow guests to build their own bite/meal. Think oyster bar where the chef shucks them in front of you or a taco bar where the chef chops up the ingredients as he is making the tacos. 

4. Trucks are still big with street food taking over

The food truck trend is continuing strong, but for 2020 it is moving squarely into the street food arena. No more fancy food served from a truck, next year emphasis will be on casual and messy grub. Burgers with loaded fries, cheezy pizzas and beer floats are all clambering for your attention. 

5. Themed menus centred around an ingredient

Think a whole menu built around olive oil. Or a food bar serving only food that contains cheese. Or a bacon-themed brunch menu. Pick an ingredient and get creative! Another idea is to build your menu around your drink of choice. So if you love gin, serve 3 or 4 types and pair each with a plate. 

6. Skip the traditional cake

Forget the layer-cake and cupcake towers. Hello, stacks of pies, large cookies or brownies, cheese wheels with dripping chocolate or cutie pies stacked in a pile. Serve what you love to eat and don’t get caught up in the traditional. 

7. Late-night snacks

Serve sliders, hot dogs or any other small snack-sized food an hour or two after dessert. This will give your guests the needed energy to keep on dancing into the small hours of the morning. And will minimize hangovers the next day… 

8. Grazing tables are THE thing

Grazing tables are basically a table groaning under small Savoury bites, fresh bread, cheeses, cold meats, etc. Basically, anything that guests can eat without a plate and that won’t spoil if it stands at room temperature for a few hours. What makes this trend awesome is the fact that you can start the grazing table at starters and then continuously add bites as you move trough main course. Then finish by adding more sweet cheeses, sugared fruit and sweet bites. 

9. Pay homage to your hometown or country of origin

Your wedding day gives you the perfect excuse to serve that dish that reminds you of home. Whether that is a wedding cake consisting of milk tart or incorporating a braai into your mains, pick a dish or dishes that will transport you to where you grew up. 

10. Vegan is big

Nothing seems to stop this trend, with couples now even choosing to have an entirely vegan wedding – even if they themselves aren’t even vegan! If you want to incorporate this trend then opt to have an entire course veganified or serve a few dishes that are vegan worthy. 

11. Go green

The sustainability trend is picking up speed with couples requestion as minimal plastic use, waste and imported food as possible. Rather they are choosing locally sourced ingredients served in reusable crockery, saying no to straws, disposables and any other thing that causes environmental harm. 

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12. Family style is creeping in

Serving food directly on the table for guests to dish for themselves is the happy medium between buffet and plated. This trend is going to be huge as it taps into a few important things: couples can serve fancier or more complicated dishes without worrying about loss of quality, they have better portion control so less waste, comfort food is best enjoyed this way and guests can interact. So if you are getting married anytime soon, consider incorporating this trend. 


With these trends, Stripes is sure that you will be able to put together a menu so delectable and delicious that you will definitely win the wedding of the century, never mind of the year. 

Wedding trends 2020: Florals

Stripes love this topic the most, probably for the same reason that we love talking about food… With that being said, she is ecstatic that the main predicted trend for 2020 seems to be natural. As in, more relaxed, informal and left a bit rough around the edges. Couples are leaning more towards greenery and foliage, with sustainability being one of the keywords. She knows that #localislekker and is so happy that more and more people are coming to this realisation!

This year saw lots of dusty, muted blush tones. Next year the emphasis will be on hot pinks, from fuchsia to magenta. Anything to make a statement!

Her other predicted trends when it comes to all things botanical:

Sustainable and local:

More and more couples are choosing florists that use locally grown seasonal blooms, wildflowers or dried flowers. Some couples are even going one step further and opting to grow their own flowers, or simply incorporating already existing gardens into their big day.

Living plants:

Incorporating living plants and shrubs into your wedding decor is a smart and more affordable way of getting the lush, green look. These plants can then be used in your home afterwards or gifted to friends and family as a way of saying thank you. By using bigger plants and even trees you can create height and interesting focus points on your tables as well as the rest of the reception area.

Personalisation is key:

More and more brides are opting for florals that mean something to them, whether that is sunflowers that remind them of the fields they played in as kids or hanging branches to create a willow-tree effect. Another interesting trend is to hide objects either in their bouquet or as part of the bouquet, for example, fastening the bouquet with a special brooch or incorporating your Dad’s favourite tie. Creativity seems to be the only barrier.

Scents:

Not only are flowers picked based on their interesting colours, textures and sizes (all big considerations for next year!) but also on how they smell. More and more brides are opting for a signature scent for their big day, whether that is vanilla through scented candles or jasmine from fresh flowers. Choose blooms that smell nice to make your day even more special.

Pops of florals:

Expect blooms to show up everywhere – from frozen ice to decorating the canapes to flower wreaths specially made for the bridal party. Edible flowers will also make a major comeback, with them even forming part of the ingredients and not just garnish.

Free-form bouquets and centrepieces:

Gone are the days of structured and formal arrangements. For 2020, the emphasis will be on free-form, loose and unstructured with bouquets resembling a bunch of flowers that were simply bunched together. There will be less planned balance and more spontaneous designs.

Creating illusions:

Since more and more couples don’t have extra money to throw around, florists and planners have had to become more and more creative to make a small budget look like a fairytale. One of their favourite and most successful, tricks are to use a lot of small vases and glass containers, some with single blooms or long-stemmed flowers and others simply with tealight candles in to fill up the centre of the table. The glass reflects the light which creates a beautiful look and ambience, especially at night.

Over-emphasised bouquets:

Bouquets are becoming bigger and bolder, or at the other side of the extreme, small and petit. When it comes to this trend it seems size does matter, whether that is stylishly small or statement big. Whatever you want, you will be able to get away with it!

Grasses and dried flowers:

More and more brides will opt for a harvest look with anything from sheaves of wheat to dried hops, veld grasses or even dried fruits. Especially fitting for autumn or winter weddings, although this trend can be incorporated year-round.

Hoop bouquets:

In keeping with the minimalist trend, brides are starting to gravitate towards smaller, lighter bouquets with fewer blooms. Hello hoop bouquet!

Unusual blooms and other botanicals:

The last trend that Stripes is very excited about is the use of unusual blooms and other botanicals such as vegetables and fruit as part of your flower arrangements. The hottest trend in Europe? Using mushrooms! So Stripes guesses that succulents are out and fungi are in?

Stripes will leave the deciding and planning to you, but she would like to know what do you think about these predicted trends?

Wedding trends 2020: The dress

Stripes has noticed that the bookings for 2020 have started, and with that a lot of questions about the upcoming trends. She doesn’t understand the preoccupation with trends, why can’t couples just do what feels right to them? Luckily for Stripes, the biggest trend for 2020? INDIVIDUALITY! At long last next year’s celebrations will be less about tradition and more about creating a celebration that speaks of you and your partner.

2020 wedding trends - the dress. Laughing Chefs.co.za wedding planners and caterers

First up: The dress 

The 2020 wedding season is predicted to feature a staggering number of over-the-top trends. From puffy sleeves and princess skirts to feathers, suits and gloves, if you are getting married in 2020 you have a wide range of looks to choose from. Some of the biggest trends that we are anticipating next year are:

Dresses with volume

Think puffy sleeves, wide skirts and long veils, these dresses are chosen for their impact and statement. The princess dress is making a comeback, but this time around with edgier details such as fringes, leather jackets and boots. The aim is to take a look and make it your own.

Coloured dresses

Although the use of colour in a wedding dress has lost its shock appeal (due to coloured wedding dresses making more and more of an appearance) it has in no way diminished the popularity. For 2020, the colours that are making a zing are macaron shades (think pistachio, caramel, butter yellow, etc.), ginger (something between blush and beige) and accents of black.

Interesting necklines

The two most popular necklines (or our prediction in any case) will be halter necks and bateau (boot), both thanks to the Markle-effect. This trend is highly inspired by the Duchess’ style and own wedding dress, where she emphasised simplicity, clean lines and comfort.

The new bridal suit

The two-piece is at long last making its well-deserved way into the wedding dress style books. When opting for a suit, ensure that it is tailored or else you will simply look frumpy or boxy.

Feathers

Fabulous and frivolous, feathers are the hottest decoration that you can use to zoosh up your dress. Think skirts, interesting sleeves or hemlines, or even headpieces – you only have creativity dictating how far you will take this trend.

2 dresses

Why have only one dress when you can have two? Many brides are opting for a second (or even a third) dress to attend the reception with. This trend is probably based on practicality – many of the trendy dresses are uncomfortable if not impossible to sit in, let alone dance. So the brides change out of their breath-taking gown into something a bit more comfortable, but in no way less fashionable.

These are our predictions for 2020, let us know what you think!

21 Ideas for a frugal (not cheap) wedding on a budget

Getting married but worried about your small(ish) budget? Want to cut costs without looking cheap? Here are Stripe’s tips for planning a wedding on a frugal budget:

21 Tips to plan your wedding on a budget

1. Keep your guest list small – intimate is better!

2. Use the expertise of the people close to you – it can be their wedding gift to you

3. Consider a ceremony at your own, your parents or another close friend/family’s house, or have it outdoors

4. Be smart with the food

5. Be creative with your flowers and decor

6. Have a small bridal party, and skip their gifts

7. Go digital

8. Dance from a playlist

9. Skip the cash bar

10. Where possible, hire trainees instead of professionals

11. Contact the local university

12. Buy pre-loved

13. Tap into your local community

14. Buy dresses off the rack – and on sale.

15. Rent tuxedos as a group, or simply wear matching suits.

16. Choose affordable wedding rings.

17. Plan a simple honeymoon, not an ostentatious one.

18. Involve your closest friends and family in the preparations.

19. Try not to mention the ‘w-word’ at first when hiring a vendor.

20. Plan, plan, plan.

21. Don’t stress.

Good luck (and congratulations)!

How to plan a zero waste kitchen tea

Someone close to you is getting married, and you have the honour of planning the bridal shower. Yeah! Or is it? You really want it to be special, but cringe at the idea of having to chuck bags and bags full of waste at the end of the day, never mind the single-use plastic utensils and décor that usually take centre stage at such events. We also cringe at the idea, so let us help you with a few suggestions so that you can attempt to host a zero waste bridal shower.

Here we go!

1. Go digital

If the crowd will allow, consider sending out digital invitations, as well as making use of digital channels to send out reminders, the gift registry and any other arrangements. There are numerous apps and programs that you can use for this if you are not deft enough to design and distribute by yourself. Look at evite.com, sendo and paperlesspost.com for digital solutions.

2. Recycled paper, or growing paper

If you have to use paper, use recycled or a product like Growing Paper – their paper is handmade and contain seeds so you plant the paper afterwards. At least it is not ending up on the landfill. For recycled paper, have a look at Papersmith. They have an extensive range of earth-friendly paper, including rock paper!

3. Have a mindful registry

Encourage the couple to list only items that they need, or really want. And even then, find the most earth-friendly option. Where possible, and if acceptable to the couple, you can suggest gentle pre-loved items, or even ask for digital gift cards, money, or even experiences to be gifted instead of things the couple will never use, end up having doubles (or more) or throw away. For more zero waste gift ideas, read my post on eco-friendly gifting here and zero waste kitchen ideas here. Also, zero waste easy swaps for incase you would like to gift some of these essentials.

4. Ask for unwrapped gifts, or give alternative solutions

If there are physical items on the registry, and if you know there will be guests who will insist on giving the bride something, ask them to rather not wrap the gifts. If that feels too impersonal, you can suggest alternatives, such as the Japanese art of cloth wrapping called Furoshiki – guests can wrap gifts in kitchen towels, blankets, handkerchiefs, serviettes or other pieces of material. Guests can also use containers such as baskets (just skip the cellophane), cast-iron pots etc.

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5. Skip re-usable, use the real deal or if not possible, go for compostable

For the cutlery, crockery, serving ware and glassware, as far as possible stick to actual plates, knives, glasses, etc. If you do not have enough, you can ask a few select guests to bring some with or even hire in. if none of these is an option, and you have to make use of disposables, then at least by disposables that are compostable. They are not that more expensive, and you get an amazing variety. Green Home started this particular movement in South Africa, go check them out.

6. Think about the décor, and use what you already have

You do not need tons of décor. Use what you have, and be smart about it. For the most part, you will need a table cloth or runner (depending on the type of table. For beautiful wooden tables nothing is necessary), a centrepiece and maybe something to complete each place setting. If you are using actual plates and cutlery and glasses, you are already 20 steps closer to making the event look stylish, chic and expensive, without any décor! Keep all your glass bottles and use them as vases, cut and paint the cardboard inner found in toilet rolls to make centrepieces or napkin rings, use framed photographs as part of the theme, basically, anything can work if you do it with flair, stick with a theme and have a bit of fun.

7. Go back to nature

If possible, have the event outdoors. Although not necessarily a cost-saving option, it does help to elevate the mood. People feel happier when outside. You can consider a picnic or a high tea under the trees. There can be a cost-saving element if you consider you do not have to have lighting, aircon or fans, and that if you have a picnic there is also no extra costs for tables and chairs. If you can’t have it outside, then bring outside in by including a lot of plants, natural light and a cool breeze.

8. Stick with a theme

Pick a theme, and then start asking around if people maybe have things that will fit into the theme, that you can borrow for the event. Great themes to consider include Gatsby (think feathers and pearls), breakfast at Tiffany’s (lots of baby blue and more feathers and pearls), Alice in Wonderland (miss-match teacups, funny signs, and bright colours), and rustic (tin cans, veld flowers, burlap and succulents).

9. Plant-based eats and treats

Although the jury is still out whether veganism or even vegetarianism is actually better for the planet or not, you can still do your part to decrease the consumption of meat. For the bridal shower, serve plant-based, or at least vegetarian eats and treats. Think quiche, gourmet salads, pasta bakes, or even sandwiches. For a more out-there shower, you can even do pizzas! Be creative and have fun when designing the menu.

10. Cloth is the answer

Do not even consider paper serviettes or those horrible vinyl/plastic table cloths. Not only do they look tacky, but they are also super wasteful. Use cloth table cloths, serviettes and runners. If you do not have your own, and you cannot borrow from someone you know, then hire them in. It costs a fraction of the cost (unless you can make it yourself) and you are helping to extend the useful life of these items.

11. The flower question

The environmentally-friendly option would be to choose bulbs, succulents or other clippings that will grow again if you place them in water or plant them. The next best thing would be to use branches and soft twigs to braid wreaths and other décor pieces such as napkin rings or even placemats. If you really want to have flowers, then gift them afterwards. Either the guests can take them home, or drop them off at your local nursing home, hospital or other institution where some happiness and sunshine will be much appreciated.

12. Drinks

For wines and sparkling wines, choose organic earth-friendly brands. In South Africa, we are blessed with a large selection of wonderful wines, made intentionally and ethically. For any other drinks, steer clear of anything in plastic – glass is best. And skip the straws! Even paper ones are wasteful.

Although none of these tips is ground-breaking, most people will not even consider that there might be an alternative to their habitual bad practices. Just remember, for some of the guests it might sound foreign – they either have no knowledge about how damaging their consumption patterns are or in some sad cases, they simply do not care. So approach the whole situation delicately and gently. Explain where necessary, but for the most part, do not make a scene. Give the arrangements through as if it is the most natural thing in the world, and hopefully, the guests will fall in line.

If you have any other ideas, tips or solutions, please share!

Winter wedding trends 2019

The winter is upon us, and with the change of season, we always note a decline in weddings. Although we know it is because of the cold, we cannot help but wonder why more brides are not interested in a winter wedding. Even in South Africa, with our lack of snow, you can still create a magical wonderland. And in Stripe’s opinion, nothing is sexier than a form-fitting long sleeve dress with a faux-fur wrap or long cape. To prove her point, she has created a Pinterest board to give you some inspiration, visit the board here

For the colour palette, she would recommend you focus on warm colours – think berries, gems, and forest colours. Deep green, cherry red, sunshine yellow, and so forth. Focus on lots of candles in the venue, and serve soups with freshly baked loaves of bread.

For more inspiration, visit her Pinterest board for Winter wedding trends 2019 here

Winter weddings can be beautiful, romantic and memorable. So if you want to get married in the winter, go for it!