Essentials You Can’t Do Without When Planning Your Wedding

There are some things you simply needs when planning your wedding. A significant other is the main thing! However, there are many more that you may not immediately be aware of when you get engaged.

A great girl crew 

I chose just one of my friends to be my bridesmaid, as we’re having a smaller wedding. However, my other friends have stepped with offers to help and are currently in the stages of planning a huge hen do! 

Your gals aren’t just the people that will be with you on the big day. In fact, they are the ones that can support you all the way through the planning process, as well. From choosing your wedding dress to helping you DIY your decor to save some money. 

Of course, that means you really need to choose your maids wisely. Additionally, being very clear about how much of an involvement you want them to have in the preparation stages right at the beginning, can be a good idea. That way, they won’t be shocked when you ask them to take over some of the wedding or hen do responsibilities. 

Some professional input 

Another thing that you cannot do without when planning a wedding is a little professional help. In fact, you might find that people involved in weddings for a living will have a much better grasp of what you need for your special day. Whether it concerns your flowers, dress, or your photos. 

There are also luxury party planners out there that make it their business to organise weddings too. Our wedding planner has been so helpful and has brought up things to think about that I’d not even considered. In addition, it’s nice to have someone to simply take the pressure off and take the reins; you don’t want to be so frazzled by doing everything yourself that you can enjoy it when it comes around! 

Great communication skills 

Being able to communicate what you need to your loved ones, wedding planner, and vendors is essential when planning a wedding. Unfortunately, not everybody is naturally skilled at communication. Although even if you are more of an introvert, finding a line of communication that works best for you can be very helpful. 

For example, some people do much better over the telephone, while others prefer email. In fact, in this modern world where everyone has a smartphone in their pocket, communicating with those that have a role in your wedding electronically is probably the smartest option. 

I find that writing a good email, whether it’s to my wedding planner or photographers, bullet pointing each concern or area for discussion really helps to make sure everyone is on the same page.

A bit of time out

Sometimes, things can get just that little bit too overwhelming when planning your big day, especially if you have taken on the majority of the responsibility for getting it right. To that end, taking a step back and chilling out with your girls is usually the best approach. 

Trust me, the wedding anxiety can get all too real, sometimes!

In fact, if all the stationery samples are starting to look like the same colour, it’s time to crack open that wedding planning wine and get the girls over.  You can get everything off your chest, and should be as right as rain in no time! 

How To Make The Most Of Your Honeymoon

Couple on a beach at sunset

Source – CC0 Licence

Following the huge effort you put into wedding prep, the honeymoon can seem like an afterthought. It may feel so far away that you don’t even need to worry about it. 

Actually though, I think that the honeymoon is a crucial part of the entire experience. It’s likely going to be the biggest and most special trip you’ll ever go on with your favourite person. 

Whilst that sounds like a lot of pressure to make things perfect, it’s all about ensuring you both have a great time, it doesn’t need to be absolutely planned to the final detail like the wedding. I mean, I love a good list and itinerary, but this is your opportunity to relax after months of planning!

Here’s how to make the most of your honeymoon.

Balance the relaxation with exploration

Some couples like to go traversing mountains on their honeymoon, others want to lounge by the pool. However, you want to ensure there’s a decent balance. When you’re looking to make it something you will remember for the rest of your lives, you might want to document it some way, perhaps by getting a honeymoon photographer, or planning a few events during your honeymoon so that you haven’t wasted it completely by the pool. 

When we were in Thailand last year, we spent weeks exploring and trying to fit in as much as we could. However, we made sure we had a week or two at the end to literally just….be. Nothing planned except lying on the beach, reading books and choosing where to eat for dinner.

With all of the planning that you put in for the big day, you have absolutely earned the right to relax! Just make sure the balance is right.

Pick the right time

Your honeymoon doesn’t have to be right after the wedding. These days, some couples opt to go on a mini-moon which is a shorter trip, perhaps even a weekend away. This means that you can still plan a honeymoon for later on in the year or when your finances are back up to scratch when your wedding invoices are FINALLY paid off. 

In addition, if you have a place in mind for your honeymoon, please do some research and make sure you’re going at the right time of year! There’s no point in planning a huge trip around SE Asia if it’s Monsoon Season. Google is your friend.

Get eating

Not that you need to, but if you’d been dieting and putting in the gym work before the wedding, the honeymoon is an opportunity to let loose a little. Be brave and try all the local delicacies, no matter where you go. Additionally, let your hotel know ahead of time that it’s your honeymoon. You never know, they may upgrade you to a better room or give you a cheeky bottle of champagne. You won’t know if you don’t ask!

Most importantly, make sure that your honeymoon is about you and what makes the two of you happy. Don’t go for a two-week beach holiday to the Maldives if you know you’d prefer hiking up Kilimanjaro! 

We’re in the early stages of planning our honeymoon and have a super long list of destinations we’d like to go to. I think we’re going to be lucky enough to be going on a mini-moon straight after the wedding, and then going on a longer trip later on which gives us some flexibility on where we choose. 

Where are you going for your honeymoon?

Three Simple Ways to Make Your Wedding Kinder to the Environment

Pink flowers on a table set up for a wedding

Image Source: Pexels CC0 Licence

Even if you’re committed to reducing the environmental impact of your day-to-day life – by recycling, using paper straws, for example – you may find that a wedding could throw your sustainability goals off completely. 

However, if you plan far enough ahead, your wedding can be a series of small – and some not so small – opportunities to make sure you don’t do lasting harm to the environment. A sustainable wedding can’t be achieved and it’s an opportunity to stay true to your values.  

While you may not be able to manage eco-friendly everything, these tips will help you make your big day’s footprint as light as possible.

Go Biodegradable or Reusable

Planning a wedding offers several good opportunities to opt for biodegradable or reusable materials in place of more traditional or convenient options. For example, use recycled paper to make decorations, or get some inspiration for DIY wedding invitations from Pure Invitation to see how simple paper invitations can come to life. When it comes to table décor, go for sustainable glass whenever possible, like old jam jars, vases or tea-light holders collected from charity shops.

Revitalise The Confetti Toss

Another eco-friendly switch could be achieved for your confetti. The all-important confetti toss is one of those charming wedding traditions that serve no genuine purpose, but we all love it, don’t we? (Imagine your wedding photos without a snap of the confetti blizzard when you step out, having tied the knot?) 

But hang on: how is tossing polystyrene all over the place good for the planet? Opt for water-soluble or biodegradable confetti, or forgo the traditional look in favour of “living confetti”. You can use lavender, rose petals, or herbs, going for either fresh or dried, depending on the season.

Bride and groom having confetti throwing confetti at them

Image Source: Pexels CC0 Licence

Eco-Friendly Wedding Dress

We all know that the bride’s dress is the most important part of a wedding – it’s a huge factor in mine and something I’ve dreamed of for years. Previously, you may have had to go to the local bridal shop and chosen from there. Nowadays, in the age of online shopping and the ability to get whatever you want from anywhere, an eco-friendly dress isn’t too out of your reach.

Luckily, you’re not forced to choose between the dress that twelve-year-old you would have dreamt of, and a dress that blends with your environmental concerns. Sustainable wedding dresses are au fait now, or perhaps try a vintage dress (custom-made, of course) from an ethical wedding dress designer.

If you want your wedding to be true to your values in terms of environmental sustainability, these tips will set you create the eco-friendly wedding of your dreams. 

Just remember, don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t always manage to find an eco-friendly solution to a wedding-planning quandary. Just do your best – at the risk of sounding like Tesco’s, every little helps. Have a fantastic wedding!

How To Get As Many Photos As You Can From Your Big Day

Guests toasting with wine at a floral wedding table
Image by alessandro bonini from Pixabay

If, like me, you’re engaged to be married, you love photos and want to have as many as you can get on the big day, you can do this easily without having to give everyone a disposable camera. With a luxurious wedding venue and a few extra touches, you can create a beautiful setting that your guests will want to take photos of and create memories that will last a lifetime. Not only will you have all your professional snaps, but you’ll also get hundreds of fun and candid photos of all your friends and family.

We have gone with a great photographer who I heard of through word-of-mouth. Their images are quirky and different – none of the standing around awkwardly posing. We wanted something a little different, and candid is perfect for us.

Here are some other ways to get the best pictures of your day without breaking the bank.

Serve your drinks differently

Forget the norm when it comes to your drinks. Champagne flutes and cocktail glasses are all very well, but they are standardo. When it comes to weddings, there are some more creative ways to get your guests boozing. Remember the old tradition of tying tin cans onto the back of the happy couple’s car? You could give this tradition the nod to by serving signature wedding cocktails in tin cans. Not only will your drinks taste amazing, but people won’t be able to help themselves snapping selfies of them holding their drinks.

Play games

It’s always a good idea to have entertainment at weddings for the times when your guests are waiting for you to have your photos taken. Games are a great option for you to get everyone having fun, as well as providing something else for people to take photos of. If you have space in your venue, then you can get huge garden games now fairly cheaply, and of course, you don’t have to be having a garden party to use them. My friends recently had a game of ‘Mr and Mrs’ which was excellent fun whilst we were waiting for dinner!

Go with a theme

Creating a theme for your wedding can create some excellent photo opportunities. Dependent on the theme, you can go the whole hog and have guests arrive in specific outfits or costumes. Ancient Greece is a beautiful theme for a wedding; it’s romantic, classy, elegant, and straightforward to do. Using plenty of grapes and gold strewn throughout your venue, you could even dress your ushers up like Spartans. God, could you imagine if I got the football boys to do that, they’d lose their minds with excitement!

You could also opt for something a little more ‘out there’ and choose a movie-inspired theme. A Harry Potter themed wedding is very popular, and I’ve seen people recently jumping on the bandwagon with Joker themed weddings! Something like the Great Gatsby could work, as not only does it combine one of the most memorable books and films, but it also includes all of the glitz and glamour of the 1920s. Just imagine the over-the-top vintage jewelry, the embellished ball gowns, and all the bling from your decorations.

Create a wedding hashtag

What better way to get everyone posting about your wedding than having everyone having a wedding hashtag to include in their social media posts? You can get really creative with your hashtag – I’ve seen some excellent ones. We’re definitely going to have one, but it’s pretty bog-standard at the moment. Do you have any ideas for me?

Read more about our wedding here.

INTERVIEW: Tom, Founder of Ricky.com

Ricky Rabbit ProductA few weeks ago, I was having a browse online (okay – procrastinating, not writing) and I came across an article on the Metro website which caught my eye. The title was ‘Man sold home and lives with parents so he can sell rechargeable sex toys‘.

To me, it sounded like a clickbait Daily Mail style title. Well, it worked because I clicked it. Reading though, what I could see was an inspiring story of entrepreneurship and business acumen, not to mention lifting the lid and taboo on female masturbation (and having fun with it too).

Unfortunately, the Metro decided to paint this man and his business, I feel, as a slight joke. I’m not going to link it but feel free to search it.

The article read tongue-in-cheek and really struck a chord with me – I felt it was awfully unfair and that a lot more could have been done with the message behind it all. In addition, I wondered if the article would have been written in the same way, had the founder been a woman?

And don’t worry, I’m not being a pussy – I told them. I also got in touch with Tom, the founder of Ricky.com to see if he’d like the chance for him and his business to be presented in a fairer way. Luckily, he said yes.

What’s your backstory?

Since leaving school at 16 I’ve enjoyed working for myself, dabbling in a few different business ventures, trying to find what works and what doesn’t. I started off doing vlogs for my Bebo profile (back in the days when Facebook wasn’t really a thing) and once the videos picked up some decent traffic I was offered the chance to produce and present my own series for the site. I did enjoy some success with this business making videos for Bebo, Channel 4 and MTV. With Channel 4 I was lucky enough to make my own online spin-off show for Big Brother (Series 9).

Without a doubt my most successful idea was a hook-up site called Shag at Uni that I launched back in 2013. The idea came off the back of another dating site I had called Date at Uni and I thought why not try something a bit more risqué and frank? I was blown away by how popular the site became in such a short space of time and it quickly surpassed the membership numbers I had on all of my other sites.

I was fortunate enough to buy my own house, a few nice holidays and enjoy my independence with the financial success of Shag at Uni. It definitely built my confidence up in business but also as a person. It taught me a lot about life and to stay humble – I’ve never taken this good fortune for granted.

How was Ricky born?

The initial success I enjoyed with Shag at Uni did begin to tail off once Tinder properly penetrated the UK scene. Tinder was and still is a well-funded machine that I wasn’t prepared to go up against so I wanted to explore new opportunities and find a new idea for me to get stuck into. I was watching a documentary on TV about the early days of LoveHoney and what a success the two founders have made of their business and it really inspired me. I already knew the UK public loved sex, so it totally made sense that sex toys were also on the rise! This was around three years ago that I had this seed planted in my head. 

I did a lot of online research into the industry and decided to book myself an economy ticket to China to go and learn about the production process. That initial trip was a massive eye-opener and I quickly learnt it wasn’t going to be as simple as buying some stock and listing it on a site. I needed to spend more time researching what Ricky’s USP would be and how I was going to ensure my toys were better and how my business would be a success. 

As I ploughed more money and time into development I wanted to have a hands-on approach to the entire process. It took me a while (and many trips to China) to decide which were the right factories for me, the style of my product range and I had to learn about the quality control process & the conformities I needed to obey.

I love the website – it is quirky, fun and a bit more ‘real’ than the kind of ‘cloak of mystery’ larger websites may use – why did you choose to do it that way?

Thank you so much! It would’ve been a hell of a lot easier for me to spend less time and money and build a standard-look site that listed thousands of sex toys for sale. I don’t think this kind of approach would have had any longevity or real chance of making its mark alongside the likes of LoveHoney or Bondara. 

Rather than be the Amazon of sex toys, Ricky is a site that procures a selection of fun and exciting toys to an exceptionally high quality. I wanted Ricky’s offering to be colourful and feel great. I’ve bypassed the cheap tat and also the overpriced stuff.

Tom with Chinese Biz Partner in Shanghai China

Why are you such a strong advocate for women’s pleasure?

It’s many women’s norm that they’ve never done it alone (reserving masturbation for something they do with their partner during intimacy) and many others struggle to climax. Sex toys aren’t going to be a 100% fix for everyone but I’ve found it fascinating that so many women do enjoy better masturbation with one and if a vibrator can really enhance so many women’s experience isn’t it worth shouting about? 

It probably sounds a bit simplistic but I just want to build a business on this concept and be absolutely brazen and shameless in promoting this message if it helps more women to enjoy their body more on the daily! Everyone deserves to enjoy masturbation and I am absolutely passionate in promoting this against any kind of stigma.

Do you think there’s a taboo around this type of thing?

100% there is. Many people are too embarrassed to talk about masturbation and need to fluff it up with words like ’self-care’ or ‘pleasure’. Btw that’s totally OK and I certainly appreciate that we don’t all need to shout about it loudly like I do (I’m promoting a sex toy business, so it’s my prerogative to do it!) 

Aside from product I also wanted the message of Ricky to make a real difference. The topic of masturbation (particularly female masturbation) is still taboo and sex toys are still being marketed by some of the other players in this market as ’naughty’ or ’secretive fun’ and I just want to bash this down. I want to use my character Ricky Rabbit to invite women & men to feel more confident and comfortable to buy a sex toy and hopefully even talk about it more.

What does your day-to-day look like right now?

It’s absolutely madness! I’ve worked so hard for years on the product development side of the business (which is still ongoing) and now I’m juggling the mix of marketing and fulfilling customer orders. There’s only myself and two part-time members of staff handling this crazy venture. So I’m doing many late nights and weekends to try and get everything done. 

On a typical day I’ll wake up at about 7am and get into the office an hour later after having had something quick to eat. I’ll start by responding to any unanswered emails whilst also checking through what new products are coming onto the market. Although Ricky has just launched I’m very mindful to keep my finger on the pulse to keep our offering fresh and updated.

I’ll spend most of the morning working on our marketing campaigns that are being trialled and tested to boost the brand awareness. I’ll also help with anything my two teammates might need help with (in these early days I’m also still learning things on the job).

The afternoon is spent mostly packing and shipping the orders that have come through on the website whilst also trying to keep on top of our social channels (instagram and twitter). I’m not actually a massive fan of social media, I’d prefer a quiet and off-the-grid kind of life, so this new venture has propelled me back into the selfie life ha!

Do you have a bestseller at the moment?

Yes! By far our runaway hit is the Ricky Deluxe Bullet Vibrator.  We’ve nearly sold a quarter of our entire inventory which is phenomenal considering how new we are to the scene. I’m blown away by the popularity of it and of course so relieved that public have the same love for it as I first did when I developed the toy. I think it’s popular due to its classic look and its compact and cute appearance. Its low price point is another plus!

Ricky Deluxe Bullet Vibrators

Where do you hope to see Ricky in a few year’s time?

I’m powering full steam ahead to hopefully be up there with LoveHoney and Bondara etc. I’d like to be recognised as one of the big sex toy retailers in the UK with a proper care for its customer base.

With so much of my money and time tied-up in the business of course I am hoping for financial success, but no matter how big or small Ricky.com becomes, I have learnt one thing early on: I really value the customers that choose to shop with me. It’s a really rewarding feeling when they pick Ricky over the hundreds of sites online and I want to go above and beyond to give them a personal service and tell them how much I appreciate their support.

If you like, you can follow Tom / Ricky.com on Instagram and Twitter. See more of my interviews here.