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Invitations

You can definitely save time and money on this one. There are hundreds of options for lovely printed invitations available although we did find that they were often of the same style, ie gold and silver filigree writing with lots of ribbons, bells, champagne flutes etc. As we were getting married with such short notice we had to distribute invitations quickly. We decided to buy notecards with a retro-look print – tied in well with our Palm Springs theme – and printed off the invitation inserts on a PC and glued them into the cards.

A great place to look for blank notecards is Target. They stock a good range in funky designs for a really reasonable price. The invitation wording was to the point including basics such as venue, date, time and a brief day-plan. The day-plan was useful because it gave guests a little bit of understanding about how the day would be structured as we wanted guests to feel free to wander off and explore Palm Springs in the late afternoon after the barbecue stuff had finished and before the evening party started.
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The Officiant

When we searched for someone to perform the ceremony, the officiant, we found that quite often his or her services came packaged with other goodies – or not so goodie, depending on your point of view. Don’t know about you, but the prospect of getting married in front of a golden lectern in the shade of a silk flower encrusted arch with a copy of the wedding certificate printed on tea-stained faux parchment paper was just TOO cheesy. But with further research it seemed almost impossible to find one that didn’t come without these additional baubles and it hiked the price as well!

We spoke to several potential Officiants and, as nice as they all were, not one of them answered the brief. After much agonising, we discovered that anyone (in the state of California, at least) could become an Officiant if they were an American citizen. Bingo. We asked one of our best friends if he would do the deed – and he agreed!! So if you have a friend who is happy and confident to speak out loud in public then rope them in. We did, and it is what made our day really special. (Don’t forget to apply for your marriage licence in advance of the wedding day.)

Read more on A simple Californian wedding – Tips 3 & 4…

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Traditions and Wedding Group

We were not interested in getting caught up in the traditions and formalities of the big wedding thing. Our main priority for the wedding was to create an occasion that was informal, relaxing and fun. The dress code was casual Californian style and we didn’t have formal bridesmaids although our four nieces present on the day all looked lovely. As my husband has two brothers they automatically took up the role of best men and we chose music we happened to like for the very short walk up the "aisle"! Speeches happened spontaneously throughout the course of the day and there was a barbecue instead of a sit-down meal and no wedding cake! It almost sounds too simple but it was great.
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How difficult could it be? All we wanted was a simple, intimate wedding in the US for thirty or so people and yet it proved a challenging task. Admittedly, we did decide to get married leaving ourselves only one month to make all the arrangements, which included flying various family members across the Atlantic from the UK.

"Hmm, you asked for it then," I hear you say, but let’s look at the alternative. We could have got married in England (we were due back there for Christmas in six weeks’ time, anyway) but wouldn’t a wedding in sunny California be a bit more memorable and enjoyable for everyone instead of a wet afternoon in Worthing Register Office?
Read more on Ten top tips for a simple Californian wedding…

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There’s a remarkable number of men who want to marry a Thai woman. Maybe it’s not so surprising when you consider that Thai ladies are widely reckoned to be among the most beautiful in the world. The complications arise when the newly-weds want to visit the groom’s home country.

With some countries, the procedure’s straightforward. But with many, a long process has to be entered into to prove that the marriage is genuine and hasn’t simply been undertaken so that the Thai lady can obtain a visa for her new husband’s country. Hard to imagine why she might want to do that – Thailand’s warm, the cost of living’s cheap, Thai food is readily available all over the country, and her family are there. Europe and North America are cold in winter, expensive, have relatively bland cuisine and few opportunities to buy Thai food – and it can get desperately lonely for an isolated Thai wife.

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