Get them to the church on time – avoiding the dilemma of no-show guests

Ultimate snub or the reality of modern life – what is it with guests who don’t turn up to your wedding?

We all know that one person who never RSVP’s, always seems to arrive late or cancels at the last minute and invariably forgets to bring dessert to the dinner party, but what happens when it’s not a dinner party but your wedding day?

Perhaps surprisingly, considering how much time, planning and money is invested, not to mention how much notice is normally given, guests not turning up may be more common than you might think and they come in two distinct types – the last minute notifiers and the more insidious no-show(ers)!

It might seem inexcusably rude, not to mention costly, to receive a last minute cancellation but the simple truth is “life happens” and there will always be unavoidable, and understandable, situations that prevent guests getting to your big day. From the prosaic – perhaps sickness or serious injury close to the day – to the extreme – think volcanic ash clouds affecting airlines – there are multitudinous reasons why guests may have to pull out at the last minute. Whilst most people will endeavour top move mountains to be at your nuptial celebration, there are going to be occasions when you get that dreaded call a day out two out that throws your table plan into disarray and leaves you with the dilemma of offering an acquaintance a last minute invitation or seeing good food and money go to waste. The only upside is that those who cancel in this situation are probably as devastated as you and will try and make it up to you for a long time!

But what about “the others” – those who RSVP. the ones who chat excitedly about the big day with you at work in the lead up but mysteriously go missing on the big day, leaving an unexplained absence at a table and a hefty bill without even the courtesy of a phone call, text or email? Of course, it’s not just work colleagues who are guilty of the no-show – more often than not it is family or close friends who unforgivably do a bunk without an apology.

As Kate Moore, Wedding Coordinator at Hamilton Hotel says “It is so disappointing when guests don’t turn up, the couple spends so long planning everything about their special day to a tee and it is devastating when they have to pay for extra meals, furniture & decorations  for people who couldn’t make the effort to let their friends or family know they wouldn’t be attending.”

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So, is there anything you can do to avoid the nightmare scenario of empty seats at your reception? The honest truth is no, not really, but there are a few steps you can take to mitigate the likelihood of no-shows on the day.

1. Consider you guest list

It may sound obvious, but if you know people who are a little unreliable then it might be worth cutting them from the list early on, or perhaps have “ceremony only” invites that allow them to be part of the day but avoid expense in the event that they pull out. Children can be another big factor in last minute withdrawals, especially if you have insisted on a very definite “no-children” policy for your day, so think about how many friends and family have children and what the child-care implications and obligations for them will be. This is especially true for closer family who may have limited affordable options if the majority of the family are intent on attending the big day. The cost of attending can be a big aspect too – yes, you may be paying $250 per head for your guests, but if they have buy new outfits (who doesn’t?), drive for 2 hours to your dream venue, stay overnight at limited accommodation, as well as buy a suitable wedding present, a couple’s expenses could easily  exceed $1000. Whilst close friends and family will spend that the drop of a hat to share your special occasion, there might be some who will baulk at the costs and have doubts the closer the day that leave you with empty seats.

2. Be prepared and monitor RSVPs

The second step you can take to mitigate no-shows is through the invitation and RSVP. The more information your guests have early on, the more chance you have of filling every seat. If choosing a remote location or destination consider including a range of accommodation details and indicative pricing – the more research you do the less your guests will need to and they will be very appreciative! You should also indicate whether you are expecting gifts so be sure to include details of where to see your bridal register or let would-be guests know that there will be a wishing well on the night. You also need to set a realistic and sensible RSVP date and offer multiple ways to actually RSVP – and elderly aunt will appreciate a pre-paid envelope included whereas friends will extent to RSVP via email or possibly text! Your RSVP date should be determined by the cut-off time your venue has indicated for final numbers to be confirmed – making your RSVP date a week earlier than the venue’s should give plenty of time for even the slackest of responders to make a decision and let you know.

3. Friendly reminder

The final step you can take involves a little effort on your behalf, but will be worth it in the long run if you are worried about getting a bill for meals that were never eaten and quite simply is to touch base with everyone in the week before your wedding – a simple email out to the computer savvy with a happy (or quirky) reminder notice, or a quick phone call to the technophobes should allow you to allay any fears about attendance. It’s not rude, it’s not being a bridezilla, it’s just a polite and sensible precaution, especially if you are paying a high price per head for your reception. Contacting guests just before the day also puts the pressure on them to attend – they will feel decidedly more guilty backing out if they have heard from you a couple of days out from the wedding than they would if the last formal contact was the invitation. If anyone is game enough to back out at this point then at least you have a couple of days to find a last minute replacement – no one really wants to be a last-minute invitee, but if you have a list of possibles then someone will accept – just be very wary of inviting them +1.

For the final word we’ll leave it to Leonie Clothier, owner of the prestigious Mirra Private Dining and Events in Brisbane who sums up things perfectly:

As far as I’m concerned, guests who are a ‘no-show’ at wedding receptions really have something to answer for. Unless there is a valid reason, the investment from the bride in groom in terms of both time and money, is disrespected with the guests not turning up. From a venue perspective, there are financial and layout ramifications. Food and beverage orders are placed based on the final numbers provided, with time and expense spent to prep the meals ready for service. The room is then set for a specific guest number so the impact from the missing guests on photography and table seating plan is also felt. If a guest is no longer able to attend the reception, the courteous thing to do is to provide notice to the bride and groom as soon as possible. This gives the couple the opportunity to invite new guests in their place. There are always family & friends who will accept a last minute invitation and only too willing to join the celebrations!”

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Image Credits:
Venue Hamilton Hotel | Photo Masterpieces Photography + Video | Gown When Freddie met Lilly | Hair Whisk Hair Ashgrove | Makeup Blissful Makeup | Sylist Celebrations by Alysia | Model Katz Models
Venue Mirra Private Dining and Events at Style Masters 2015

Real Life Wedding: Sarah and Peter

PeterSarah035-35A chance meeting at the dog park led to love for Sarah & Peter who married recently in a surprise wedding at Eaton’s Hill Hotel.
This fun loving couple soon realised they had much more in common than just a love of Staffy x Ridgeback dogs and, in a romantic moment in a spa in the Whitsundays, Peter took his chance and popped the question to a delighted Sarah.
Of course, that meant it was time to plan the perfect wedding day, however, Sarah quickly realised that the big dream wedding wasn’t going to be her thing and the couple decided to think about alternative options. As Sarah rightly says “it’s all about you and your fiancé making a promise to each other for life”. The couple made the bold decision to hold a surprise wedding at what they had planned to be their engagement party with just a handful of their closest family and friends and then hold a big party for everyone else a little down the track.
As you will see from the gorgeous photos from the talented team at Masterpieces Photography + Video, the day turned out to be a massive success, with everyone having an absolutely wonderful time at Eaton’s Hill Hotel. Whilst a few people were in on the surprise, Sarah and Peter did a great job in keeping the majority of guests guessing until the very last minute. Sarah even jokes “Pete and I caught an Uber to the hotel and told the driver we were getting married in an hour but even he didn’t believe us!”.
The couple plan to honeymoon at Caloundra in early spring and are holding a big party to celebrate their nuptials at the same time. Sarah’s advice for other brides-to-be is quite simple “get married exactly how you and your partner want to and don’t listen to anyone else”. Sensible words we think!

Marriage means to us

Spending the rest of your life running amuck with your best friend.

 

Wedding suppliers

Wedding Location: Eaton’s Hill Hotel Brisbane
Bridal Gown: Alfred Angelo
Bridal Shoes: Guess
Bridal Makeup & Hair: Bek Robinson Makeup and Hair
Stationery: Kristen Dangerfield
Flowers: One Stop Wedding Shop
Celebrant: Louise Thompson

Issue 7 out now

Style and Grace is the theme of this edition, with styled shoots that showcase the very epitome of elegant, modern Weddings.

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Ideal Bridal Experience

With it’s central Brisbane location at City Hall, close to some exceptional bridal shopping opportunities and great eateries around Queen Street, the Ideal Bride expo could be the perfect place to get your besties together for some serious planning.

City Hall certainly is a spectacular venue, with it’s cavernous circular chamber lending elegance and old world sophistication to any event. The Ideal Bride team are always welcoming and have invested in state of the art technology to assist your planning, starting with tablet driven registration forms and scannable tickets to enable you to register interest with exhibitors.

There were a wide range of suppliers to choose from, and a real mix of styles, from shabby chic to elegant modern.

Our main interest, of course, was the fashion parade, which kicked off very promptly and presented by the personable Courtney Thorpe, 2014 Miss World Australia. The show featured two of Brisbane’s well known wedding gown designers, Elizabeth de Varga and Jordana Regan, who have featured at MBFF in the past, as well as a several other labels, including JK Couture Designs, Hills in Hollywood and A Formal Affair, in front of a full audience.

The boys livened things up for the crowd with a little bit of personality showing though, but the most applause was reserved for the young children in flower-girl and page-boy outfits.

Fashion Parade Credits:
Fashion: JK Couture Design | Elizabeth de Varga Exclusive Fashions | Hills in Hollywood | A Formal Affair | Jordanna Regan Couture
Flower girls: JK Couture Design | Little Angels Couture | Hills in Hollywood | A Formal Affair
Menswear: Male Manor | Black Jacket Suiting
Page Boys: Little Angels Couture
Decorations: White Lace & Promises
Hair & Makeup: Velbella
Flowers: Grande Moments | Bejewelled Bridal
Host: 2014 Miss World Australia – Courtney Thorpe
Models: 2014 Miss World USA – Elizabeth Safrit and Katz Models

The Main Event – The QC Club Bridal Show MBFF

MBFF_Bridal_GW083It may not have had Jennifer Hawkins walking for Myer, but for us here at The Wedding Alley, this show was the big ticket item of the week. Brad’s stunning collection for Darb at The Brisbane Arcade Group Show had whetted our appetite and we were hungry for more from some of Brisbane’s very best couture designers.

The long, simple catwalk and well paced timing was ideally suited to showcase some truly spectacular collections with a show that engaged all the senses.The lighting of the show accentuated the embellishments and bling of each piece and being front row, in the middle of the catwalk, enabled me to feel surrounded by the gowns and appreciate their sensual textures.  Collections ranged from eclectic mixes through to classic elegance and on to magnificent themed segments. The layering of fabrics was a common theme, as was the use of stronger and more coarse laces that suit today’s confident brides. Next season’s colours made subtle appearances in some collections, with stylish and dramatic headpieces also a big feature.

Elizabeth De Varga

It was wonderful to see Tammie Nitschke back on the runway at MBFF and her collection emphasised her romantic, beautifully embellished style. The gown reveal was a big wow factor. Full bodied skirts were unclipped to reveal options for every bride including a gown with a short lace skirt, a sophisticated pant suit and the most fun being a short, sexy playsuit.

Jordanna Regan Couture

Showcasing a dramatic, form-fitting, diverse range of sensual gowns for the modern bride, Jordana created a fascinating segment. A dusky, off white gown, with incredible floral ruffles from thigh to floor that appeared to move almost of it’s own accord was our particular favourite.

Brides Desire by Wendy Sullivan

Elegant designs in classic shapes created with sumptuous fabrics were the hallmark of this collection from Brisbane bridal couture royalty. Beautiful layering of lace with sequin embellishment was again a feature, with stylish matching headpieces providing an added touch of elegance to each piece.

Alter Ego

A first time showing, Daniel’s gowns had a sleek, sexy silhouette with beautiful detailing. He showcased a sophisticated range of styles married with diverse range of exciting headpieces.

Jack Sullivan

Modern, sexy shapes, softened by beautiful layering of lace textures were a feature of this cohesive and confident collection. The subtle use of sequins and lace within the layers of fabric added another dimension to these beautiful and sophisticated gowns.

Paul Hunt

Having already exhibited on opening night, Paul included a small collection in the main bridal show. A complete re-imaginging of the bridal gown, Paul displayed a dramatic range of unique styles that would suit alternative brides, along with a pair of ultra feminine gowns that beautifully incorporated the black and white season trend.

George Wu

A dramatic change of tone heralded the arrival of George’s stunning themed collection. With the cavernous venue amplifying the cathedral sound, the first model out walked in a slow, pious way that created a near religious atmosphere. The collection that followed, inspired by the early christianity of ancient Rome, was simply sublime. Pure white toga necklines, gowns adorned with ancient roman Pegasus motifs and beautiful toga rope detailing created a true spectacle. The use of simple white laurel-wreath headpieces and crucifix inspired jewellery enhanced the experience and reinforced George’s already stellar reputation.

Thanks to Lindsay Bennett and the team at Mercedes Fashion Festival Brisbane for making the 10 year one of the every best. We’re missing it already, and can’t wait until next year.

Credits:
Photos @mpvdave from Masterpieces Photography + Video
Makeup Napoleon Perdis
Hair Schwarzkopf

My Sweet Valentina

OMG! What a night! Gorgeous bridal gowns, bridesmaids dresses, and dapper suits strutting the catwalk. The runway was styled beautifully, bedecked in flowers and with fantastic chalkboard signs creating a visual fest from every angle. Exciting promo films being projected onto the wall and large screen TVs added to the impressive ambience of the Spring Valentina Collection Launch for When Freddie Met Lilly.
One of our favourite models, Hayley Wilson, the reigning Miss World Australia Queensland and new Channel 7 lotto presenter, MC’d the evening with fun and grace. Of course Hayley looked absolutely stunning, wearing a glamourous gown by When Freddie Met Lilly.
The sexy effortless style that we have come to expect from Vanessa Hoe’s designs have now been given a new twist with addition of lace – sometimes just a simple little detail, other times complete gowns, and then the final gown, which had a stunning sheer lace bodice, was a true show stopper.
With champagne flowing, and delicious canapes on offer, this was an evening not to be missed.
Evening Credits:
Headpieces by The Little Pack of 5
Make up by Blissful Makeup
Hair by Whisk Makeup
Chalkboard Signs by LaPapeterie
Flowers by Francesca’s Flowers
Photography and Films by Masterpieces Photography + Video
Catering by Zen Catering
Have an event coming up that our brides might like to hear about?