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 Traditions remain a key ingredient in today’s modern wedding. Although marriage is essentially about joining two people in a bond that unites their future, it is often the small ties to history that form our traditions. After all, ‘something old, something new’ has a good ring to it. No pun intended!

It’s always interesting to have a little background on the customs that will shape your big day; perhaps this insight could result in a little something extra special!


  • To the left: Out of tradition the bride stands to the left of her groom. In days of old this was to ensure that her groom’s right hand remained free to draw his sword in order to fight off any invading kidnappers or old suitors.

  • Sweet kiss: While you might have a preference for small and sweet, we all enjoy the large and elaborately tiered wedding cakes that take pride of place on many wedding tables. What most don’t know is that this classic stems from a game played between the bride and groom, where in they had to attempt to kiss over their highly stacked cake without knocking it over; to ensure future prosperity of course!

  • The bouquet: The bouquet is recognised as a symbol of luck. While these days it’s tossed into the hungry hands of the attending bachelorettes, it used to be that the wedding dress itself was the lucky charm. The bouquet became the more civilised version to ripping the poor bride’s dress to pieces.

  • Wedding ring: Once upon a time it was thought that your fourth finger on your left hand contained a vein that led directly to your heart, and thus it became the ring finger, as a symbol of love.

In our modern society we have so many religions and cultures, each with their own beautiful (or perhaps obscure) traditions. There are slight variations, such as peas thrown instead of rice, or a milk bath before the ceremony, but despite this the magic that is your wedding day remains universal. If it so happens to rain, why not borrow from the Hindu tradition, and accept the rain as a sign of good luck!

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Wedding traditions and customs

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Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue – don’t become a blue bride by forgetting something crucial on your big day – like the marriage licence! Having a wedding planning checklist will literally help you tick all the important boxes. Work on a spreadsheet in categories and brainstorm anything applicable. Give yourself six months to a year to finalise the many details that make this special occasion complete:
This is everything from your gorgeous gown, jewellery and shoes, plus all that’s underneath, to what the groom and bridesmaids will be wearing. Don’t neglect the little touches such as your going-away outfit and honeymoon clothes.

Such a central part of any wedding, you’ll want to remember bouquets, corsages, reception and ceremony pieces – including any detailing on chairs and/or pews! Inspire yourself with some of our breath-taking flower and décor ideas.

You’ll be surprised how much paperwork is involved. Apart from the obvious invitations and wedding programme, consider save the date cards, maps, and thank you notes. What about the announcement of the bachelor party…?

This is perhaps your biggest category. Everything around the meal needs to appear here (glasses, plates, napkins and so on) as well as specialist helpers like the caterer, DJ, and baker. Tick off décor, childcare and parking details. Oh, and don’t forget the limousine!

Gifts and favours
A tiny but important category. Have you got a special something for your fiancée, the attendants, and your guests?

This is where the marriage licence comes in! Also your hairdresser, mani or pedi (and for whom), make-up, wedding planner and hotels for guests.

It’s easy to overlook the unity candle and ring bearer pillow unless you list them, quite apart from more obvious aspects like the ushers and who is going to marry you (apart from the groom, we mean!)

Rehearsal dinner
It’s fun to have a special get-together afterwards, which often turns into a mini-reception. So compile a little list around venue – restaurant booking or caterer? You’ll need parking or drivers, and entertainment.

Break it down into stages and people: Ceremony and reception, bride and groom, bridesmaids and family. Do you need a special album?

Consider engagement and wedding rings, and any special engraving.


You’ve made it! Just remember those tickets, the rental car, and booking your romantic accommodation.
Lastly, but most important of all, tick off having fun!

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A special kind of checklist for your wedding planning

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Wedding flowers are not just a tradition to incorporate into your wedding. It is not about adding pockets of flowers and moving on to the next thing on the list. When incorporated properly, wedding flowers – along with your wedding dress – can capture the soul of the day like no other component to truly make your wedding unforgettable.


Cheaters never prosper

There’s so much more to planning a wedding than simply picking a theme, downloading internet pictures of wedding venue flowers and cloning them. Things such as the height of the roof, wall colours and textures, flooring, backgrounds and setting can affect your wedding décor flowers, and all need to be considered. Copy-paste and easy routes tend to fall short.


Add a personal touch

It is your wedding. At the end of the day, flowers can add such a personal connection. They speak about who you are. Know yourself and let the flowers compliment you as a couple. Hidden discreetly in your bouquet of flowers or the wedding table flowers, you can master arrangements to incorporate the following:
• Miniature soccer/rugby ball pendants (whatever his hobby, show hubby you’re his number one fan)
• Flowers that are national emblems (especially if you have a rich ethnic/international heritage)
• Tiny heartfelt lockets with pictures of deceased parents (so their memory can be part of your special day)


Cost-cutting flower power (seasonal flowers)

Using seasonal flowers can help you stretch your budget. Experts can advise on a wide assortment of local flowers in bloom and help you find creative solutions on how to arrange them. You just need to be willing to be open-minded and let your imagination go beyond the “typical” wedding flowers.


Think beyond a bed of roses

There’s more to flowers for wedding receptions than roses. A whole garden awaits your individuality. Just ask the flower specialists. If roses are your dream, you can still incorporate them in your arrangements – after all, roses are beyond beautiful – but you will have more insight on how to use them like never before.

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Wedding flowers like never before

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The importance of wedding favours is very often overlooked – unfortunately. A couple’s wedding day is undoubtedly the most important day of their lives and while there is a multitude of other things to think about, if you skimp on the wedding keepsakes, you’re probably going to regret it.


A wedding keepsake is a special favour designed to serve as a reminder of the day that your family and friends shared with you. Exchanging vows with your loved one is certainly a day to remember! By choosing the right wedding keepsake, you are evoking memories around your ceremony and the special day that you chose to share with them. At the same time, selecting a wedding favour that doesn’t convey who you are or is simply not representative of your wedding, could be a waste of money.
So what’s the trick to choosing a keepsake that will actually be kept and cherished? Choose something that will be useful to your guests after the wedding day.


Some great wedding keepsake ideas include:

  • Polaroid cameras on all the tables so that guests can take their own photos to take home with them
  • Fridge magnets
  • Engraved keepsake items such as champagne / shot glasses, coasters and similar
  • Personalised wine stoppers
  • Personalised candles / candle holders
  • Gift boxes filled with snacks and treats
  • Wedding gift boxes with good-luck charms inside
  • CDs or flash drives featuring music / photos from the wedding or lead up to the wedding

Below are 5 tips on how to choose the right wedding keepsakes:


  • Play up your theme – try to keep your wedding keepsake closely related to the theme of your wedding.
  • Keep it simple and local. Don’t spend too much time and attention on looking for keepsakes that aren’t locally available. If you’re going to include treats, have them locally sourced or made.
  • Keep it seasonal. This makes it a little easier to think of wedding favours. If it’s a spring wedding, include some seeds for flowers / veggies. If it’s summer, perhaps a cocktail mix or glass. Think out of the box.


These are just a few ideas and tips to help you along the way. If you want more information, advice and tips on choosing the ideal wedding keepsakes, come and have a cup of coffee with us at The Wedding Specialist. We would love to assist you with this exciting part of the wedding planning process!

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Wedding Keepsakes

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Karen Tran and international floral designer was in South African at the end of last year. She conducts a Master Class flora design to industry professional wanting to up-skill themselves.

Khali and the team from her various companies ( The Wedding Specialist, The Crazy Lemon & The SA School of Weddings) was involved in all the last minute organisation of the Master Class, Gala Dinner and  Networking conference hosted in Cape Town.

The team loved being involved in making this event possible.

Flower collage

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The Wedding Specialist steps in to Assist at Karen Tran Workshop

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Choosing a Wedding Planner


He asked and you said yes! While the first flushes of joy are still tingling through your veins, you begin to plan your special day – visiting wedding websites, browsing through countless magazines, making endless lists of possible venues, food, guests… until you can’t think straight anymore. Now might be the time to think about hiring a professional wedding planner to handle it all.


Hiring a wedding planner could be the answer to enjoying a stress-free wedding day as they take care of your every need, from arranging the venue and flowers to making sure everything runs smoothly. There are many levels of involvement when it comes to your wedding day and choosing a wedding planner can depend on how much of a role you want them to play. You can choose to go with a full-service wedding planner, who will arrange every detail from start to finish; you could just opt to have assistance with the wedding day management of the venue and vendors while you do the rest; or you can decide on a wedding day coordinator, who will pull it all together just before the wedding.


While hiring a professional wedding planner might seem like an unnecessary additional cost, in the long run it is likely to end up saving you money, and will also allow you to enjoy a stress-free wedding day, which is invaluable! From organising the wedding venue, deciding on décor and flower arrangements, choosing wedding stationery and guest gifts and coordinating the big day to run smoothly and efficiently, a wedding planner will allow you to concentrate on enjoying what undoubtedly will be one of the best days of your life.


Questions to ask your wedding planner:
1. Availability – are you available on the date of my wedding?
2. The cost of the average wedding you plan and your fee structure.
3. What services do you offer on the day? Full service event design and planning / day of co-ordination / a la carte planning etc?
4. Do you have any other weddings planned on the same day?
5. Do you handle professional services, contracts and payment processing?


The Wedding Specialist is a Johannesburg-based wedding planning company run by Khali Collins; founder of the first and only industry endorsed SA School of Weddings, and offers a full range of services to turn a stressful day into your special day. Whether you are looking for a full service wedding planner to take care of all your needs on the day or simply an event co-ordinator to make sure it all runs smoothly, The Wedding Specialist promises to take care of it all.

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Choosing a Wedding Planner

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This Beautiful crisp clean classic looking wedding came to life when all the candles were lit. The venue was pure romantic bliss.

Flowers and Decor By: The Wedding Specialist

Photography By: Tyme Photograohy

Venue: Memoire 

Co-ordination By: Zavion Kotze

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Beautiful White Wedding

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 Luzanne and Chad’s Wedding – Memoire

Luzanne and Chad had a beautiful intimate wedding at Memoire this past Sunday. The wedding was in shades of pink with lots of beautiful intimate detail.

The Ceremony was filled with pink king proteas embellished with hearts and petals. The reception has a clean crisp look to it with a crystal finish.

We had the honour or working with Alet & Wilme from In Abundance Photography and they have supplied us with these beautiful images.

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Luzanne and Chad’s Wedding – Memoire

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Marc & Nicole’s elegant city chic wedding was a true extension of their personality.

Venue: Turbine Hall
Photographer: Quintin Mills
Video: Hauke Digital
Flowers & Decor: Khali Collins – The Wedding Specialist Team
Co-ordination: Khali Collins – The Wedding Specialist

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Nicole & Marc’s Wedding – Turbine Hall

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Kathy was one of most favourite brides and we loved every minute of doing their wedding.  The Wedding Specialist team kept Kathy sane while her Wedding Planner Zavion Kotze was away with the filming of Survivor South Africa.


We are honoured to be able to feature Kathy & Darren’s wedding snippet video done by Silent Video Productions.


Wedding Venue: Memoire www.memoire.co.za


Photographer: Christopher Munton www.chrismunton.co.za


Wedding Planner: Zavion Kotze www.zavionkotzeeventscompany.com


Flowers, Decor & Stationery: The Wedding Specialist team www.theweddingspecialist.co.za


Click here view the video:Kathy & Darren’s Wedding at Memoire

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Kathy & Darren’s Wedding at Memoire

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