Bridesmaids, Guestlists, and Registries, Oh My!

No ifs, ands, or buts, about it, wedding planning is stressful.

There are vendors to book, guest lists to write, and a million small details to sort out. The noise from wedding magazines and websites telling you how to make your wedding just like those ones on Pinterest can be deafening. They also conveniently leave out the seemingly limitless budgets for these extravagant affairs.

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Pete and I are doing our best to plan a wedding that feels like us (without spending a small fortune). I want the day to feel relaxed and not over the top since it’s really all about good food, good music, and good company. No one is going to remember whether we used the silver candlesticks or gold anyway.

I’ve been making a conscious effort not to sweat the small stuff, I don’t want to obsess over every tiny detail. Luckily, my bridesmaids are totally on board with this plan and the anticipated stress of picking out bridesmaids dresses was nonexistent. When presented with five dress options, they all magically liked the same one. #miraclesdohappen

While it feels like there are still a million things I should be doing to prep, being unemployed for my first few months in New Zealand was actually perfect. It gave me the time to research and book the big ticket items like a venue, celebrant, band, photographer, and florist. Once work started the wedding took a back seat as I settled into my new role. Six months later and with six months to go before, “I do’s,”  I’m feeling ready to get back in planning mode.

There’s just one hitch.

There seems to be this weird lull right now, where the big stuff’s done and it’s too soon to start sorting out details like seating arrangements and decor. With the wedding on my brain and not much planning to do, it’s got me thinking about some of the differences between weddings in New Zealand and the United States.

Guest Lists

One of the first things I noticed when we started planning was that the guest lists tend to be smaller in New Zealand. A lot of venues we looked at could fit 60-80 people at most and it was actually a bit challenging to find a venue that could accommodate our guest list of 100.

Bridal Parties

It makes sense then that bridal parties are also smaller here in New Zealand. I’ve been in several weddings back in the States where the bridal party nearly reached the double digits, with as many as nine bridesmaids there to support the bride on her special day. I thought my decision to have four bridesmaids was a modest one but I was wrong. In New Zealand, two to three bridesmaids seem to be normal and anything above that is considered a big affair.

Wedding Registries

In New Zealand, the words “wedding registry” may get people thinking about the book every couple signs on their wedding day, the legally binding part of the ceremony equivalent to signing the marriage certificate in the States. For a long time, gift registries were not really part of wedding culture here but that may be starting to shift as the wedding industry is becoming more of a global business.

When I’ve talked with friends about gift registries I’ve gotten mixed reactions. Some think it’s a bit tacky and rude while others are totally on board.

I could tell this was going to be a tricky area to navigate so we decided to register on Honeyfund. Instead of asking for things, we’re inviting people to help pitch in for our dream honeymoon. There offer different categories like accommodation, sightseeing, and dining. It’s a win-win because there’s no pressure to pick out a China set we’ll never use and no one has to worry about international shipping.


If you want some more details about planning a wedding in New Zealand, be sure to check out Prarie Girl Musings post here.

Just a heads up, this post wasn’t sponsored and all the opinions expressed are my own, thanks for checking out AwP!

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