Romantic Wedding Hair

With the popularity of more relaxed, natural weddings, comes a need for romantic, soft hair. From gentle waves to loose up-dos adorned with flowers, here is a selection of our favourite romantic wedding hair looks.

You can find all of these styles and more on our Pinterest Board!

For super-soft, romantic tresses, here are some tips to make sure your hair is in perfect condition in time for your wedding:

1. Don’t wash your hair every day

Oils and additives in your shampoo, conditioner and hair products can damage your hair over time. Give your locks a chance to recover and wash every second day. Wash your hair the night before you get it styled, as it won’t be too silky and will be much more co-operative for your hair stylist!

2. Take it easy on the straightener!

Heat products such as straightening irons, curling tongs and even hairdryers can damage your hair, especially if you’re using them every day. Let your hair in its natural state for a couple of days in between use to allow it to recover from heat damage – you may even find your hair starts to grow faster once you do!

3. Find the right shampoo for you

Ask your hair dresser for advice on the best hair products for you. Whether you have fine, thin hair, unruly curls or a thick wavy mop like me, it’s important that you’re using the correct products. If you’re worried that your stylist will push their expensive salon products on you, explain your budget to them or ask a good chemist.

4. Trim regularly

If you want your hair to be in tip-top condition, and wish it would grow faster, regular trims are for you. Stylists recommend a visit every 6-8 weeks.

5. Watch your diet

A poor diet can affect your outer beauty as well as inner, so if you want glowing skin, flowing hair and strong nails, look at where you might be missing out on certain vitamins and nutrients in your diet. Calcium, vitamin E and Omega-3 are a good place to start, but always ask your pharmacist or nutritionist for advice first before you start taking supplements. Try to get them naturally in your diet firstly.

Wedding Speech Advice with Emma Coogan – Expression Coach

I wrote a few months back about overcoming nerves for speech making at a wedding; I’m not an expert but rather was simply drawing from years of experience in acting and public speaking. I was delighted to get in contact with Emma Coogan, an expression coach who runs the Emma Coogan School of Speech & Drama. Emma has kindly given us some of her top tips for making a wedding speech and how to express yourself in a way that will engage the audience while putting you at ease!

As an Expression Coach I work with clients all the time as they prepare to make a wedding speech.For starters, I like to focus on 6 main points. To help clients remember them I use the acronym SPOUSE.

Slow down: Slowing down allows you to speak clearly, to stay calm, to finish words and it allows you to add change and colour to your voice. When we speak, we are a little ahead of our listener, so slowing down allows them to keep up with our words. When we get nervous, we always speed up the rate of our speech, so when practicing, slow it down even more, to allow for that extra speed!

Pause: Pause is even more important than Slowing Down. Pausing allows you to take a breath, (or just a breather!), it allows the audience to absorb what you have said and it can be used to create effect. For example, you can use a pause to allow a particularly poignant moment to sink in, or you can use it to create suspense, for example on the punch line of a joke. Too often I’ve heard hilarious stories fall flat, not because the story wasn’t funny, but because the speaker did not “set up” the punch line, to allow the audience to anticipate it and to take in the joke. Make Pause your best man, I mean friend.

Wedding speech advice emma coogan speech and drama

Image via WeddingsOnline

Open Your Mouth: It sounds obvious, but many people simply don’t open their mouth when speaking and their words are literally being eaten! Bare in mind that nerves will cause tension in the body. One area that is especially affected by tension is the jaw. A tense jaw is a non-opening jaw. Alleviate this tension by spending a little time before yawning and massaging the hinges of the jaw.

Unite your words and your audience: You are sharing your thoughts, stories and feelings. By creating a connection with them, both you and your audience will benefit and you will both feel it. Do this physically by looking up and engaging your listeners. Ideally use eye contact as you look around the room, but if this is too much, just scan the room, but do look up. Mentally, move out of your own head and away from your nerves by thinking “I have some great stories to share and I want you to enjoy them.” This takes the emphasis off you and onto the stories you have to share.

Wedding speech advice emma coogan speech and drama

Image via Jose Villa

Spice It Up: Variety is the spice of life and a voice without variety is a boring voice. A simple way to add change to your voice is by changing the pitch (the height and depth) of your voice. Start off by raising your pitch for every new paragraph, or point that you make. This keeps your audience interested.

Enjoy Your Speech: Remember that you are surrounded by a supportive audience. As you stand up to speak, take a good, big exhalation (a sigh) and smile. Stay in the moment and consider the overall sentiment of your words and speech and it will be over in a flash. Maybe you’ll be relieved, maybe you’ll want to do it all over again, but either way you’ll have given it your best effort.

Thank you Emma for sharing this invaluable advice – I’m sure many of our readers will find it incredibly useful. You can also find Emma on facebook , twitter , YouTube and tumblr!

An Irish-American Affair: guest post from Guests to Garters

I’ve been under the weather this week; at five months pregnant, being struck down with an ear infection is not ideal! Aside from having to cope with a lot of pain (practice for the big day, I guess!) it has meant my energy levels are lower than ever and rest is so important. It has meant, however, that my beloved blog has been neglected. Luckily for me, the lovely Regina from Guests to Garters agreed to step in and be my guest blogger this week! Regina, who also lives in Galway, got married last year to an American guy. I asked her about the biggest issues they faced when planning a transatlantic wedding. I’ll be back to normal next week hopefully, but in the meantime you can enjoy Regina’s post and please do pay a visit to her Facebook page. — Caitriona xx

True Romance Weddings has written blog posts in the past on getting married in Ireland and the legalities of it (really useful knowledge to have by the way) but today I’m going to chat a bit about your wedding guests.

My husband is American while I grew up in the bog and the problems of planning a wedding here in Ireland when we were in separate countries were many, but the main concern for us was our overseas guests.  There were some major concerns for us with those guests, namely: elderly relatives travelling during winter, couples bringing the kids (adult only wedding) and accommodation for everyone.  Let’s dive in.

Invitations

So let’s start at the invites.  If there are overseas guests that you know for a fact won’t be able to make it to your wedding, for one reason or another, it can be very tempting to save on postage by not sending them an invite.  This is usually fine if it’s a friend who you can explain the situation to but for family members, especially older ones, this is the height of bad form when it comes to weddings.  There is an etiquette to wedding invites that, while slowly falling out of favour due to the internet and ease of communication, should really be adhered to for your older family members.  Aunts, uncles and close cousins should get an invite even if you know that they won’t be attending.

This was a big thing for us as all of my husband’s family is in the states and many of my relatives are also there.  We were told early on that his grandparents wouldn’t be able to travel over for our January wedding (weather was fine here but Chicago was a blizzard).  Considering that I was making all the invites from scratch it was a bit tempting not to send any but we did and those invites still have pride of place on their shelves so the gesture will definitely help your relationship with your in-laws.

travel themed wedding invitation overseas guests

Guests with young kids

The next thing for us was our “no kids” rule.  We wanted to give our friends and relatives a day off from being parents and this was fine for those who lived in Ireland.  But cousins coming from the states with small children were a worry.  I spent ages emailing my cousin trying to figure out an appropriate babysitter for their three year old son for our wedding, problem was anyone they knew here that they’d trust to babysit would be at the wedding.

So I suggest that if this is a problem for you set aside a portion of your budget for a wedding babysitter.  This is a relatively new service that’s popped up in the last few years but there are many out there to offer it now.  Just make sure the person(s) you hire are Garda vetted and have the correct insurance.  Also it’s a good idea to get references and have an approximate number of the kids that will be there on the day so that they know if they’ll need to get help (make sure you know who that help will be as well).

kids at wedding babysitters childminders

Accommodation

The biggest issue with overseas guests can be accommodation.  If they’re just hopping over from England for a long weekend it’s no big deal but with guests coming from the US or further it can be a bit hectic.  A long weekend from America to Ireland is a little crazy to me, but I suffer from pretty bad jetlag (my parents-in-law did this for our wedding; we were all mightily impressed with their ability to bogie down and ignore their jetlag).

There’s a couple of ways to handle this and showing that you’ve put thought into it will be appreciated and make them feel special.  Just remember that you are not their babysitter so you don’t have to organise all of their accommodation needs while they’re here.  The easiest, and most common thing, is to include a list of B&B’s and hotels around the area where your wedding is going to take place.  This works great for any guests who have to travel to your big day.

A more personal approach might be to look up what’s happening in the country around the time of your wedding; festivals, concerts, plays or parades that your guests might find interesting.  Encourage them to make it a holiday and include the basics of what’s on offer while they’re here so that if they want they can avail of that too.

If you really want to go the extra mile try customising these lists to each person you send an invite to.  If they’re a film buff and you’re getting married late June/early July why not include some info on the Galway Film Fleadh (July 8th – 13th).  Or maybe they are a jazz lover and you’re getting married in autumn, include some details about that years Cork Jazz Festival (late October).

weekend itinerary for wedding guests wedding blog

So there are just three of the main concerns with overseas wedding guests.  Hope it helps if you’re in the same boat I was in and trying to figure it out.  Pop over to Guests to Garters Facebook page to see some more wedding tips and inspiration.

A New Ireland – Guide to Getting Married

The people of Ireland nervously went to the polls on Friday the 22nd of May. That was the day that they would decide the future for same-sex couples who want to have the choice to get married. After months of heated campaigning from both sides, rumours were rife that it was too close to call; that the ‘no’ vote would win out because so many people were undeclared during polls. Saturday morning came, and the first thing I did upon waking was to check Twitter. ‘Early signs indicate a Yes to marriage equality’ was the first headline to catch my eye. As the day progressed, county after county declared a winning yes vote, and by early evening, we finally received the official announcement. A resounding YES to marriage equality had been given by the Irish people, with 1.2 million votes in favour of the referendum, ousting the con by almost half a million votes. It was the largest turnout in Irish voter history for a referendum, and a testament to the tireless campaigns over the past few months for people to get out and use their vote, and to use it for good.

There were quite a few proposals on Saturday night among the revelry, and so today I want to talk about the legal side of getting married in Ireland. This applies to both opposite- and same-sex couples, so don’t feel left out! This guide should give you a good insight into the process of applying for a marriage licence, and how to go about registering.

Whether you choose to have a religious, civil or secular ceremony, you will firstly need to notify your local Registration Office of your intention to marry. This must be done at least 3 months before your wedding date. If you intend to have a civil ceremony, this will be performed by a registered solemnizer from the HSE and you can make this arrangement at the same time as registering your intention to marry; however bear in mind that there are limited time slots available, a limited number of solemnizers that can perform the ceremony and it is only available Monday-Friday during office hours. Therefore if you are hoping to have a Friday afternoon ceremony in high-season (April-October), you will need to give much more notice than three months to get your preferred time slot and date.

Types of wedding ceremonies, how to get married in Ireland wedding blog

In order to register your marriage, you and your partner must be of consenting age (over 18, although exceptions can be made by applying to and successfully making a case at the Circuit Family Court or the High Court) and free to marry each other, i.e. not already married to someone else. You must produce proof of identity in the form of a valid passport and birth certificate. If one or both of you was born outside of Ireland, you must produce your birth certificate from your country of birth (this must feature the seal of that embassy). If you or your partner are divorced, you must provide official proof of this; likewise if you are widowed you must produce the death certificate of your former spouse and original marriage certificate. A €200 registration fee is also required. At this point you will also be required to advise the office of your intended date of marriage, what type of ceremony you intend to have, the names and dates of birth of two witnesses and the contact details for the ceremony provider, e.g. priest or humanist solemnizer.

Types of wedding ceremonies, how to get married in Ireland wedding blog

If you have chosen to go with a religious, i.e. church, or secular or humanist ceremony, you must make arrangements with the ceremony providers in your own time. This may incur additional fees. If you have chosen either of these routes, you may be booking your wedding date a year or two in advance – you do not have to register with the HSE until at least three months beforehand in this case, although it is worth getting this out of the way as you will be busy with other wedding plans at this point.

Types of wedding ceremonies, how to get married in Ireland wedding blog same sex marriage

Should you be living abroad and intending to get married in Ireland, it is possible to notify the HSE by post of your intention to marry. You will need to provide copies of the above mentioned documents, the registration fee, and you must also arrange to meet with the HSE in person at least 5 days before your wedding to produce necessary documentation. Postal notification may also be given when you are not living in the intended jurisdiction of the HSE where you are getting married; i.e. if you live in Dublin but plan to marry in Tipperary.

Once you have provided all documentation and the registrar is satisfied that you have no impediment to marriage, you will be issued with a marriage registration form (MRF). This form should be given to the person who performs your marriage ceremony in advance. If for any reason your wedding does not take place on the date stated on the MRF, e.g. due to illness or bereavement or other extenuating circumstances, the ceremony must take place within 6 months of that date, otherwise a new MRF will be required.

Top Wedding Stationery Tips

This is a piece I did recently for Weddingdates.ie, offering some handy tips and advice for planning your wedding invitations.

You’ve spent months planning the perfect wedding day, and now the time has come to actually invite people. Depending on your budget, you may decide to have your invitation suite designed by a stationery company, or you might choose to D.I.Y. As a stationery designer, I have seen all types of couples coming to me for help, from the ones who are super prepared and are ordering their invitations 6 months in advance, to those who tried the D.I.Y. route and failed miserably, and even those who left it til the very last minute to arrange.

True Romance Weddings

If you are thinking of going down the D.I.Y. route, I have to offer a caveat. Many people think that making their invitations themselves will be quicker, cheaper and easier on the whole. Unless you are an artist/graphic designer/crafting expert, or have a friend or family member who will be very generous, this will take time, and money! You need to take into account the time it will take to come up with an idea (this could be hours trawling through Pinterest), searching through websites or art shops to gather materials and then hours upon hours of printing, cutting and sticking. When you are initially gathering materials to try out, you might end up spending an awful lot of money on things you’ll never use. If you are trying to fit in making your invitations around a job, family and other wedding planning duties, you may be too tired to focus on the make-and-do, and end up with a costly mistake – like one bride who printed 200 cards with “Wedding Invation” on the front!

True Romance Weddings

If you choose to go with a stationery designer or printing company, don’t leave this until the last minute. As a rule of thumb, I would recommend people book their invitations at least 4-6 months before the wedding. Work backwards from your wedding date – if you are sending your invites out 8 weeks before the wedding, you will need 2-3 weeks prior to that in order to address them. Most designers will have a minimum notice period for ordering so that they can get the materials required – this could be 4 weeks or more depending on how busy they are. Bear in mind also if your wedding is not long after Christmas – there are postage restrictions in place for a number of days and many suppliers close down for the two weeks over Christmas.

True Romance Weddings

I’m often asked about the importance of ‘save the dates’. This is a ‘mini’ invitation that couples can send to guests well in advance of the wedding (often 6 months to a year beforehand) which outlines the date and the area the wedding will take place in. This is a big trend in the U.S.A. and is slowly trickling in to Ireland and the U.K. If you’re concerned about your budget, I would say you don’t necessarily need to send save-the-dates, but if you have family or friends travelling from abroad it is a great idea to give them extra notice so that they can secure flights and accommodation. Meanwhile, for the formal invitation, 6-8 weeks notice is plenty of time, but if you are getting married over special occasions such as Easter, Christmas or bank holidays, it may be worth sending out 8-10 weeks beforehand.

Finally, some tips to remember before you send out your invitations.

  • Number your RSVPS to avoid confusion – many people forget to actually write their names on the reply before sending it back to you, so by keeping a numbered list of your invitees and marking each reply card lightly in pencil, you’ll know exactly who’s coming.
  • Speaking of RSVPS, make it easy – include a reply card with your invitation or give the option of replying by email or text. Try to avoid a situation where you are trying to call everyone to get an answer three days before your wedding!
  • Triple and quadruple check your proof, and have someone else check too – your stationer should provide you with a digital proof to sign off on all text and spelling before going to print.
  • Order extra – especially useful when you’ve messed up someone’s name or spilled something, and if you have additions to the guest list at the last minute. A good rule of thumb is to order an extra 10%.

Finalist in the 2015 Social Media Awards!

I was really excited to get an email notification from the Social Media Awards this afternoon announcing the finalists for the competition as True Romance Weddings had already made it to the semi-finals for Best Blog of an SME. Lo and behold, when I opened the link for the list of finalists, there we are! I’m so excited to be a finalist among the real kings and queens of social media in Ireland, and it’s great to know that the blog is still going from strength to strength after winning at the Blog Awards last autumn. The awards ceremony takes place in Dublin on June 3rd; it’s going to be a busy week for me as it’s my other half’s brother’s wedding that weekend but I’ll make it work! Stay posted for any updates…

Social Media Awards sockies 2015 finalist badge

Inviting Kids to your Wedding

The issue of whether or not to invite children to your wedding has always been a big debate. There are many couples who feel it is not an issue at all or feel they have no choice as they have siblings and close friends with kids. Others feel very strongly that it should be an adults-only event, and so begins the struggle to get the message out to their guests without causing offence. If you choose to have a child-friendly wedding, here are some tips to help make your day run as smoothly as possible while keeping it fun for guests of all ages.

Make it clear on the invitation

First things first; if you plan to have an adult-only wedding, or keep it to immediate family members’ kids only, then make this clear from the invitation. You might also be happy to have kids at your ceremony but not the evening event. Be specific with who you address the invite to; and don’t be afraid to include a note or a little poem to let guests know that it will be a child-free event. For example:

Please celebrate with us

at an adults-only reception

immediately following the ceremony

Please respect our wishes for a child free reception

In order to allow all guests, including parents, an evening of relaxation we have chosen for our wedding day to be an adult only occasion. We hope this advance notice means you are still able to share our big day and will enjoy having the evening off!

Children at the ceremony, we’d love them on the scene. Reception time, however, is an adult’s only theme.

How to word wedding invitation no kids adults only

Image via Finkle

Seating Arrangements

This is a big question that I am often asked. Should you seat children with their parents, or all together at one kids table? There are merits to both. If some of your guests have small kids (under the age of three), then I recommend seating them with their parents – this can be the safest place for them in the event of a tantrum! For slightly older kids (up to early teens), set aside a table for them. This will make it easier for the waiting staff to serve them first and you can place kids gift bags or colouring sets at each setting to keep them occupied during the long meal and speeches. If there are a lot of kids attending, it may be worth hiring a childcare provider to manage them throughout the meal, and to entertain before and after. Make the kids feel special with individual place settings, a paper tablecloth that they can draw on to their heart’s content, bubbles and goody bags filled with sweet treats, comic books, photo props and toys. Beware of anything small and sharp though, not to mind the choking hazard but if it goes astray it will no doubt be stepped on by an unsuspecting guest who has slipped off their heels for dancing!

Meals & Sweet Treats

Ensure your venue or caterer offers a kids menu option. In general, a kids menu will be suitable for children up to the age of 12 – think chicken nuggets, burgers, pasta and ice cream. This will be at a reduced price; so bear in mind if you have some slightly older kids or teenagers and are trying to save money, but be aware that they are smaller portion sizes and may not be suitable for a 15 or 16 year old. Discuss this option with your venue to see if there is the potential to offer a half-portion of the main adults’ meal, without the wine of course, at a reduced rate. A candy buffet or ice cream cart is a fantastic way to keep kids occupied too, but keep it hidden until after the meal so that appetites haven’t been ruined.

Kids ideas for wedding candy buffet table

Image via Mariage Original

Entertainment

Some kids can be the life and soul of the party, and are often some of the last to leave the dancefloor (probably all the energy from the candy buffet!). However, it is worth looking at other options to keep them entertained during the meal and after party. Ask your venue if there is an area where you can set up movies and popcorn, games and arts and crafts. There are also great wedding-specific childcare providers who will provide anything from regular babysitting duties right through to full-on entertainment for the kids, looking after them during the ceremony, meal and providing activities for the kids to do afterwards. This is especially useful if you or members of your bridal party have small children and want to have the opportunity to enjoy every moment of your wedding without worrying about a crying child or “I’m bored” face.

Kids ideas for wedding kids cave

Image via Offbeat Bride

*WARNING* Many of the above tips will more than likely appeal to adults as well! Don’t be surprised if the candy buffet is commandeered by your adult guests too…