My horror wedding story

If you’ve read my previous posts you would’ve seen how much of an excited bride to be I was. I dreamed about my wedding day since I was twelve years old. Here is my story about how it all went wrong and what I learned. 

I’m gonna try and make this story as short as possible. …

Everyone knows this: you sit down and thing about your guest list. First you’ll think of the people that are closest to you and who you love the most. They are a definite and maybe even someone who this wedding can’t happen without. Sometimes it’s the parents and sometimes siblings. But really good friends can also go as number one. So that is easy. You will think of your top 10. Maybe 15. Then you continue. And sooner or later you will come across the people that you just cannot ‘not’ invite. 

For me it was two of my aunts. They had always been there for me and were always kind. Were. So naturally I had to include them. My fiancé was against it but agreed, for me. 

It started when I sent out the invites. I didn’t hear from them. Not even a text. Eventually I called and geez that was such an akward call. After we hung up I sent my cousin (who I also didn’t want to invite but felt like I had to) a message, asking if there was something wrong and telling them as friendly as I could that if they didn’t want to attend that would be ok. All I wanted was harmony and peace on my wedding day. No reply. It felt odd and I should’ve listed to my instincts once again but I brushed it off. 

The wedding week started with our arrival (we rented a little Tuscan villa for a week) and I thought that everyone would’ve been happy to see me. Well the greeting was average. Before the wedding we asked our guests to respect our wishes for a smoke free wedding and that smoking outside the house would be ok. That pissed my father in law off in sending me a rude message about how disrespectful that was. Good start aye? Harmony remember… then when we arrived my aunts greeted me as if someone tortured them to. Then my brother in law complained about his room. It was a mess but I kept my happy smile. I must’ve forgotten that the wedding was about me being happy…

I went to our room being so sad. I sat on the floor crying for half an hour. What did I do wrong? I tried my best to please everyone. I arranged rooms so everyone was happy. I thought about seating arrangements so everyone had someone to talk to. Hey I even budgeted and sent everyone a list of shops where to get affordable food. At this stage I didn’t feel like my wedding day was two days away. I felt like I was in a nightmare. You see it in movies where everyone talks at once and you try to fix things but it doesn’t work and the world starts spinning. 

So the wedding day was here. The morning was a lovely day. Then I got ready. The hair dresser was super friendly but I didn’t love my hair. I didn’t have a trial so I suppose it was my fault. But I was too afraid to tell her. I looked nice. But it wasn’t how I really imagined it. The bouquet – peonies my favourite – had the ugliest ribbon I had ever seen. I tried to fix it but I couldn’t get all of it off. It was alright. Again not how I imagined it. At that stage it didn’t matter. About twenty minutes before the ceremony was supposed to begin, it started raining. (A sign from above? Run away bride here is your chance….) but the ceremony was probably the best part of the entire day. I had never witnessed a more beautiful speech in my life. The Italian celebrant did so well. Only after the wedding I noticed that my aunts sat all the way at the very back. There were huge gaps between the chairs. It looked ridiculous in the video. Not one smile on their faces. As if it had been torture for them. I did get a congratulated hug. Kinda forced. But at least something. The day went on well considering that I didn’t think about the fact that it does rain in Tuscany. So we had to move the tables and chairs on the balcony a few times. This resulted in delays. Happens I suppose. Dinner was lovely. It did stretch a bit but I suppose that’s Italian culture. I didn’t mind. Then it rained again and we had to move the first dance indoors. All we had was a small common room. I wanted to dance with my husband under the stars in candle light so that kinda blew it. 

When the party started and we all slowly got into the dancing mood one of my aunts told me that if we didn’t dance to ‘our music’ we should play ‘adult music’ (whatever that means). That being said we didn’t hire a DJ. We created a playlist with all of our favourite songs. I’m a bit of an indie folk fan. But we also added some standard dancing songs. Wasn’t good enough for them. They went to bed. At that stage it didn’t bother me. So many things went wrong and their faces were off the entire day. 

The horror starts now. The next day we all got up at 9ish. My aunts were gone. They cleaned up the cups from the night before and went on a day trip. That wasn’t the problem. The musical started that evening. Something triggered a huge fight and sirens were screaming. Getting right into it: They blamed me for having organised a bad wedding. The service was bad and they had to clean up in the morning (by the way, no one asked them to). That (although I had been moved out of home for years living in our own apartment in a different country) I was a spoilt brat that my parents did everything and I nothing. Mind you we paid for our own wedding and organised it all by ourselves. Apparently it was my fault for my parents not living close to one of the aunts. I tell you the list goes on. It cut me so deeply. And what did I do??? I sat there trying to talk calmly and not flipping. I could’ve just told them to leave. I was about to when they told me that there didn’t even come to my wedding for me but for my parents. As if They would’ve not been safe without them. Ridiculous. Everyone heard the fight. All the other guests. My fiancés family. My friends. I was so embarrassed. And to this day I don’t know what I did wrong. 

The thing is after behaving like mad hyenas you’d expect them to depart. Nope. They stayed there for the rest of the week amusing themselves. Sitting at a different table. Drinking every night. Being loud and disturbing the others. It was a nightmare. Most of our guests didn’t pay attention. I did. It was my dream being shat on. 

On the last day when everyone departed, one of my aunts, her partner and my cousin left early in the morning. No one saw them. And the other one left just after I got up. Her husband walked down the stairs and she followed. She looked back, saw me, turned around and left. Not saying a word. 

It took me months to think of the few happy moments I had of my wedding week without crying. Everyone got over it pretty quickly. Even my husband. When you take them out of the equation it was a nice wedding. I cannot deny it but this memory with them is to this day putting this dark cloud over it in a way that I can truly say, it was not the best day of my life. 

And every time I photograph a wedding I get sad. It all comes up again. I will probably never really get over it. If I could do it again, I’d get married without guests. I’d elope. Just like my fiancé and I thought about in the very beginning. 

One day, maybe not too far from now, I will renew my vows and have the wedding of my dreams. 

Be kind to one another. 

VJ xx

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I’d rather be sick now, than in 8 weeks time…

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Oh have I been slack.

It’s been too long to think of an appropriate excuse of why I haven’t posted a blog in such a long time!

BUT in my defense I started a new job as an Interior Architecture Intern and have been working 60hrs a week with no time for myself. So the only time I could find is now – the time when I am home sick.

Well if we look at it from the bright side, I’m getting married in 8 weeks. First up I cannot even understand where the past 3 months went. But here I am. 8 weeks to go and I’m starting to get nervous because a few major things are still to be organised. And with all the time trouble I am hoping for a window where I can get it all done. Sooooo being sick is not really a bad thing. I get to sit in bed and make lists of what needs to be done to ensure I won’t forget anything. After all this is going to be my dream day.

I know ladies – we’ve heard it all before. ‘There is no such thing as the perfect wedding. Things will always end up getting messed up somehow…’ Well yes, but if I try then maybe a few things will not get messed up. I am well prepared for the upcoming disasters which I won’t be able to control. I am ok with that. But if I don’t forget my gold/white striped straws or candle sticks now, it is one less thing to worry about.

Alrighty then. Let’s get on with it.

Be kind to one another.

VJ xx

I’m getting there… baby steps

After years of critiquing myself, I think I’m finally on the right track. I’m starting to morph into the photographer I want to become.

When I first started photographing people I was 18 years old. My hair dresser was the first person to give me a chance. She saw my first landscape film series I shot in Southbank, Brisbane and immediately bought it. The first moment in my photographic journey I felt that my work was appreciated. Shortly after she hired me as her wedding photographer. I had never shot a portrait of a human before. Not to mention a wedding. But she believed in me and to my surprise loved her photos. Today I look at them and see things I could’ve done better. Yet I don’t regret a thing. Life is about learning by doing. Piece by piece, step by step. Thank you Lauren for believing in me. Thank you for letting my journey begin with you.

Now 7 years later I have shot almost 30 weddings, including my own. I took a bit of a break during my studies at university. In 2013 I came to Germany and started to shoot with my husband. Every couple gave me their trust and I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to grow. I love my work, but I also criticise it – understandably I am an artist after all. With every wedding I found something to improve on. Something that needed to be done better next time.

Last Saturday was one of my biggest improvements. Before I shot this wedding I coincidentally had a chat with a very talented photographer named Andreas Holm who told me to look at the moments between a pose, between a portrait and to capture the emotions of a moment. And I think this talk stuck with me. I tried my best and looking at the results I can see the difference in my work. Thank you Andreas. You were the first professional to give me constructive critique and with it I learned.

I love soft colours, romantic emotions and beauty captured in the moment. I love pastels and lace. That’s the photographer I want to be. When you think of me I want you to think of those things. Think of me as the romantic kind photographer who shows you your beauty. “In a world where you can be anything… be kind.”

I still have a lot to learn and it might take me a few tries. But baby steps will get me there.

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YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

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I understand how hard it can be to see all these lovely images of weddings on the internet. When it comes to your wedding finding a photographer has come up at least once. Finding and choosing the right photographer can sometimes be very challenging.

Let me tell you – I know.

Although my fiance and I are both wedding photographers we had quite a lot of difficulties finding a suitable photographer. Some might think that would make it easier. But it was on the contrary. We know how a photographer should work, what we should look out for and what traps you can fall into. Still, it was nearly impossible.

But I am not here to tell you about our journey of finding someone to photograph our wedding. I would like to talk about all the things a non-professional needs to understand when looking for or hiring a photographer.

1) First up. Who are you? What style is your wedding and what feel do you wish for it to have? Not every photographer works the same way. Some use flash and others don’t. Some work on edit a lot and others keep it natural. Whatever you like most is what has to be reflected in a photographers portfolio. Do not ask any photographer to recapture someone else’s work. Chances are what the portfolio portrays is probably close to what you’re going to get.

2) Don’t get fooled by expensive equipment. Skills is a major factor. So don’t get fooled. A student photographer with a start up DSLR can be just as talented and create beautiful images of your day. Sometimes giving them a chance might also save you some pennies. Point is, just because the camera cost $10k doesn’t mean the photographer is always worth what you are looking for. You should be convinced by his/her images, rather than the equipment.

3) Set your budget – but do not under budget, and stick to it. Chances are you need to spend a bit of money on your photographer. But if you look at it from the long term investment point of view, it’s one of the only things that will last for a lifetime. Just make sure you know what you can spend and what is a definite no. Realistically speaking around $1500-$3000 is normal. Why, is another story. Under or over can be possible depending on the photographer and their packages

4) So once you’ve found someone: Set up a meeting to get to know each other. You will be surprised how fast you will find out whether you and your chosen photographer get along. This is important. You want harmony and most of all – you want to love your photos. The photographer will do his/her work, but you will have those images on your walls for a lifetime. If the chemistry ain’t good, find someone else. Tell them what you want before you sign a contract. It’s takes two to tango. The photographer can’t read your mind. If you are not specific, chances are he or she will do what they think will suit you best. If you want more portraits than family photos, all images as prints as well as digitally, have the option to choose your images etc. tell them.

5) Read your contract before you sign it and ask if you don’t understand something. If you don’t ask the photographer will assume that you’ve understood everything. This way you will avoid misunderstandings after your wedding and there are no do-overs.

6) Tell your photographer what kind of photos you want and show them your schedule. He/she will have enough experience to work out what is possible and how to schedule the sessions correctly. (e.g. if you love 5 different locations, 1 hour of shooting time will not be enough.)

7) It might take some time before you receive your edited images. Wedding seasons are stressful and quality takes time. Prepare to wait between 4-8 weeks for your photos to get to you.

8) Relax and don’t be a micro controlling bride. Enjoy your day and let your photographer do their work. Trust in the experience and your day will be perfect.

I hope this little guideline helped you. Please let me know if you have questions or concerns.

Til’ then, be kind to one another.

VJ xx

How to be a stress free & happy bride!

Hello and welcome to another wedding blog Saturday!

Today I would like to share a few tricks to keep you as relaxed and stress free as possible.

Wedding planning is tough. You want it all to be perfect but know you cannot do it all by yourself. Avoid stressing out by reminding yourself that it is a happy day and the most important thing is a happy bride!

Here are a few tips to keep you relaxed during your stressful planning period:

1) Take a relaxing bath. Don’t underestimate the power of a hot bath. Put on some nice music, light some candles and think of absolutely nothing. Keeping your mind clear and focusing on yourself and the actual moment is the key to releasing stress.

2) If you feel like you’ve had a rough day and nothing can cheer you up sit in a comfortable position and think of romantic moments of you and your future husband. How you’ve met or what makes you smile. That’s what it is all about. Never forget that.

3) Write things down. I’ve been wanting to do this for months and I wish I had started earlier! Get yourself a journal and write down your wedding planning experience. What are you feeling? How is it all going? Once you’ve written down your troubles you will feel relieved. Also write down the things that made you happy and the successful moments. After your wedding is over you will be able to reread these moments and realise that most things weren’t stressful at all!

4) Go on dates with your fiance. These are the last few months you will have as an unmarried couple. Enjoy them! Rather than being sad or troubled about things that might not work out you should be happy. You’ve found the love of your life! 

5) Don’t listen to what others have to say. If people are negative or want to put your ideas down then shake it off! You cannot please everyone and your taste might be different to theirs. Just because they would do things differently doesn’t make your wedding any less good. We are all unique. Do what suits you best. 

6) Talk about it. A problem shared is a problem halved. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or show your emotions. Your family and friends love you and will help you if you let them. If you feel like you need professional advice, hire a wedding planner. This way you and your family can sit back, relax and enjoy your special day!

‘Til then be kind to one another.

VJ xx

Images: Pinterst

Top Weddings #3: DIY & Budget

Hi everyone and welcome to wedding blog Saturday!

Today I would like to talk about DIY & budget weddings. Rose McGowan’s wedding (remember the three witches from ‘Charmed’ – she played Paige) has always been in my top list. It is different and creative.

But let’s rewind a bit…

Times have always been tough. I don’t believe that there has ever been an economy where absolutely everyone was treated equally and no one had hard times. Everyone is different and life’s circumstances have varied over centuries. One thing however will always stay the same. We all want love.

When we’ve found it and a wedding date has been set, budget plans are in order. Rule number one is and will always be: set your budget. Know how much you want to spend and stick to it. You can get carried away quite easily and your total bill will be up the roof in no time. Try to include everything you can think of. From the socks for the suit right through to your honeymoon. There is no point in trying to cut your number, by deducting things you won’t need on your actual day. Although you might be able to reuse a few items you still have to buy them up front.

So think about your overall package and then try to sort them by importance. Do you want an expensive dress? Then you may have to cut down on something else, such as your car or other transportation. If you want a really fancy dinner, then maybe hire a DJ instead of the string quartet. Get the point? Here are a few tips to differentiate between important and not so important things:

1) Your dress. Don’t sell yourself short on your dress. It’s the one thing that everyone, even the curious guys across the street, will look at. And they will judge it! I’m not saying that you should go all out and spend 10k on a Vera Wang. There are plenty of budget options. You don’t have to buy a designer dress. There is nothing from with dresses from last season which might be on sale. If you have a long engagement, shop around, you’ve got plenty of time. Another option would be to get one custom made. You will get exactly what you want and if you choose your fabrics right, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

2) The opposite to your dress is your underwear. Yes you will need something to match your dress, but please don’t let your bra straps show. Pick something simple. This way you can always wear it again. If you want to buy something special for your husband, get a nice set of lingerie for after the wedding. 😉

3) Cake & flowers vs. photography. You’ve eaten your cake and your flowers have wilted just a day after your wedding. Your photos however will last a life time. Think about what is more important to you here. There are so many great cake inspirations out there but the cake is not the most important thing. If you want to safe a bit of money, get a smaller cake or something as simple as cupcakes. Same goes with your flowers. There is nothing wrong with putting together the centre pieces or your bouquet yourself. You can also reuse your ceremony flowers. Just put them on the dinner tables after. But please don’t cheapen out on your photos. Aunt Helen might have a DSLR, but her having a fancy camera doesn’t automatically make her a good photographer. Your family members and guests are there to celebrate and not to work. If you can’t afford a professional, hire a student photographer or someone who is just starting out and wants to increase their portfolio. They will appreciate you giving them a chance and who knows they might give you your dream photos!

There are so many options and fun DIY projects. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. There is nothing from with being creative. If Rose McGowan can be part of her big day and do things differently, so can you! She didn’t have a fancy hairstyle or a five tier wedding cake. She even did her own makeup!

Remember, you don’t have to explain yourself. It’s your day. Have fun and enjoy every moment of it!

Wedding planning, tips, budget weddings, do it yourself projects, diy

Wedding planning, tips, budget weddings, do it yourself projects, diy

“…My advice would be to have fun and get your hands dirty. Ask for things that are unique to you and your intended. The florists (who were awesome) had never done a Chuppah or bouquet like my design. The string trio had never done a processional song like mine. Creative challenges are a good thing. People will rise to the occasion. Don’t be afraid to trust your own taste and to challenge what doesn’t feel right. You don’t have to do what others do. Leave the typical wedding greatest hits to others. Be imaginative creating your world, because on that day it is YOUR world. A world of magic and love and inclusiveness and beauty and FUN!”

Click here for Rose’s fabulous and unique wedding Part One. And here for Part Two.

‘Til then be kind to one another.

VJ xx

Images: Callaway Gable | Green Wedding Shoes

Top Weddings #1: Glam

Hi everyone and welcome to wedding blog Saturday!

There are so many great wedding photos and blogs out there, so I thought I’ll start with sharing them with you. If you’re like me, you probably keep finding all these great inspirations online. So it’s time to put them into the top weddings!

Let’s start with the glam wedding. Tanya & Kasper. One word: wow.

This couple got married last year in South Africa in a beautiful estate. It is one of my most viewed weddings since I got engaged. It is so simple, yet luxurious and elegant. A true gem! And the fantastic thing about it is: they married with only 30 guests. All I have to say is: Thank you Tanya & Kasper for sharing your photos with the world.

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Now enjoy the magic of this gorgeous video!


Location: La Residence Estate in Franschoek
Photographer: RenscheMari
Film: Vision on Fire
Coordinator: Val de Vie
Cake: Kanya Hunt
Stationary:
 Secret Diary Designs
Hair:
Jeanette Genis
Make-up:
Algria
Dress:
Kobus Dippenaar
Flowers & Decor:
N Concepts & Designs


I will post more inspiring weddings for you soon, so keep an eye out for them.

VJ xx