Couples often feel a little apologetic when friends or family members ask if they can sing with the wedding band on stage. However, in our humble opinion, the musical participation of loved ones and guests actually adds to the honesty and meaningfulness of your wedding. Why not celebrate the blessing that is the people you love while they celebrate yours. We are sure most wedding bands would agree!

So, how can your loved ones be a musical part of your wedding? Here are some memorable recent examples.

1. Planned Guest Performances

Do you have a niece or nephew who would jump on any opportunity to croon? Whether it is accompanied by your wedding band or sung to a backing track, the gift of music sung from the heart of your loved ones is invaluable.
Most wedding bands would be happy to accompany a guest singer given ample notice, to give them enough time to coordinate, exchange charts, or rehearse.

9-year old Anneke singing ‘My Heart Will Go On’ at Barrie and Matthew’s wedding, Photography by Sally Uphill

Barrie mentioned to us a month before the day that his 9 year old niece, Anneke would be singing a song for them. On the day, we helped her set up her backing track, microphone and microphone stand. She sang ‘My Heart Will Go On’ beautifully. It remains to us, one of the most precious, unforgettable moments of Barrie and Matthew’s wedding.

Barrie and Matthew’s wedding ceremony at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, Photography by Sally Uphill

2. Impromptu Guest Performances

No, we don’t always know when the request to perform will come. And neither will you! If anything, they make true heartfelt entertainment. On many occasions, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room after the performance!

Accompanying the groom’s father at Linton and Kay Gallery – Ben and Kim’s Wedding, Photography by Christine Lim

Ron, the groom Ben’s father came up and asked us to accompany him singing several 60’s classics to entertain the couple’s guests. We loved accompanying him as he crooned those big show-stopping numbers!

Accompanying for and sharing a duet with Diane, a family friend – Ben and Kim’s Wedding, Photography by Christine Lim

Then, the groom’s family friend and neighbour Diane, who had watched him grow up over the years also shared her love for the couple in song. In a conversation with her during our break, she shyly requested to join us on ‘The Glory of Love’ as a duet. It was truly glorious.

Of course, there is no way to prepare for impromptu requests (it wouldn’t be impromptu otherwise!). However, here are some basic housekeeping tips to ensure things go smoothly should you decide beforehand to include guests’ participation with your live band:

  1. Connect your crooning guest to the band so they can make direct arrangements where necessary.
  2. If you need a backing track to be played from the band’s sound system, inform the band what type of device you will be playing from, so they can be sure to have the right cables to connect your device to their sound system.
  3. Before the guests arrive, do a sound check with the sound system so that when it comes to the performance, the track is not too soft or too loud.
  4. Just before the performance, make sure the track is correctly cued up.

3. Choreograph a dance to perform with your closest loved ones.

This will dazzle your guests and is a wonderful way to make your entertainment inclusive and really get the dance floor started.

4. Take the time to carefully choose a “crowd pleasing” playlist with your band.

Communicate with your wedding band or DJ about compiling a playlist that will get the older guests on the dance floor. They love retro themed music that is upbeat and nostalgic. And don’t forget the current hits for the younger guests.

We hope this helped you consider the wonderful possibilities of inviting your loved ones to be a part of the entertainment on your wedding day! Or, relaxed you into expecting a surprise song or dance item!

Ms Zebra Says: Such a wonderful idea to get your guests involved! So many people react to music and it’s such a gift to be able to embrace talent and share a special memory together!

Polkadot + Moonbeam was formed in 2010 in Sydney, when Singaporean singer-songwriter Juliet Pang met Sydney-based wandering musician Didi Mudigdo. At the time, Juliet had been a successful recording artist for over ten years, while Didi had just returned from a four-year adventure of performing in Japan, China and Southeast Asia. Discovering their unique musical synergy when they first met in Sydney, they formed Polkadot + Moonbeam, and went on to perform acclaimed shows at jazz venues and festivals in Australia, Japan, China, Singapore and Malaysia.

Image by Nina Hamilton via Charlotte & Allan’s North West Tasmania Wedding

A little wedding dance preparation goes a long way. Especially If you’re not dancers, or perhaps like many, you think you’re the owner of two left fee. By learning just a few easy partner moves with a teacher, your potentially dreaded first dance will be transformed from awkward and boring to enchanting and extra special!

With dance confidence you’ll be excited rather than mortified to dance when it’s time for the your moment under the spotlight. You don’t need to waste your time watching YouTube to learn a ton of fancy choreographed steps. Plus, the more choreographed the dance, the more lessons, practice and preparation required. If you are beginners, well then as the saying goes, “less is more”.

The most important thing to remember is your first dance doesn’t have to have the “strictly ballroom” look. It fact, that can look awfully unnatural unless you are experienced dancers. And you don’t have to figure it all out yourselves. A great dance teacher should be able to give you the best advice to create a style that feels truly right for you.

Image by Christopher Robert via Kaela & Anoop’s Elegant City Wedding

You don’t have to sign up for a huge amount of dance lessons – that can be stressful! And who has the time when you are planning a wedding? So, talk to your teacher first and if you have any concerns, try one lesson and then take it from there.

10 Reasons Why Getting Dance Lessons is a Great Idea

  • Dance lessons are the perfect way to enjoy a fun time-out with your fiancé, especially with the overwhelming wedding planning preparations
  • Without dance lessons, you could risk feeling awkward and the ‘treading on toes’ issues – and your first dance won’t be as special as it could be
  • You’ll avoid the nervous and dreaded fear of having to dance with all eyes watching, no pressure!
  • You’ll both be able to dance together with confidence, and you’ll avoid the boring hug-sway shuffle
  • Investing in dance lessons are especially helpful for the Grooms confidence because they often have the bigger role of leading
  • If time is running out and/or you don’t want the stress of having to remember too many steps, go with the super easy approach of a simply-charming first dance
  • Your wedding dance will be an extra-special heartfelt experience. Adding an another layer of magic to your beautiful wedding day
  • Your guests will be delighted and definitely not bored
  • Your photos and videos will be more awesome
  • The memories will live on forever
  • You will have the benefits of knowing how to dance together on future occasions

Left image by Marie-Luise via Bonnie & Chris’ Beautiful Montsalvat Wedding: Right Image by Russell Stafford via Kayla & Josh’s Autumn Southern Highlands Wedding

5 Ideas to Spice Up Your First Dance

  • Your song will set the tone and style for your first dance, so choose the one that’s unique to your love story but don’t worry about the length of it. Your DJ can always fade out the song at an appropriate moment
  • If you’re beginners and don’t want too much fuss, then go for a slow ballad and learn a few simple steps, add in a twirl or two, then rinse and repeat
  • For brides that want the non-traditional approach to their wedding dance, choose a fun-whimsical melody or an upbeat song with lyrics that twinkle your heartstrings. Trust in your dance teacher to create some sassy moves that will suit you and your skills
  • The two-song first dance approach can be super fun for the more adventurous by starting out with a starry-eyed slow dance to your favourite love song, and then breaking out into some funky moves to shock and delight your guests. You don’t have to dance for six minutes. Two-three minutes in total should have the crowd on their feet, cheering you on!
  • Spice things up with a bridal lift and/or the famous show stopping bridal dip. But please do take care! You don’t want to risk a stumble at the crucial highlight finale! It’s best to get some professional advice to iron out any potential issues under the spotlight

Image by Jack Jones Photography via Fiona & Philippe’s Elegant Australian Country Wedding

Image by Dan Soderstrom Wedding via Jules and James’ Rustic and Fun Tanglewood Estate Wedding

Ms Zebra Says: A first dance is so romantic. Great advice to call in the professionals so you don’t go overboard or commit to a dance you won’t nail! 

About Jennifer Lynn: She is an experienced dance teacher, the founder of Your Bridal Dance and The Wedding Dance Academy, her virtual coaching platform. Jennifer’s passion is to transform nervous “two left feet beginners” into confident dancers so they can create an awesome wedding dance experience to add to their special day. Jennifer is honoured by ABIA (Australian Bridal Industry Academy) for her “continued service of excellence and contribution to the wedding industry”.

Vince Camuto Victoria Pumps from BHLDN

As your wedding day quickly approaches and the nerves kick in, it’s time to start thinking about your accessories and adding the final touches. Over-accessorising tends to be the biggest mistake brides make when selecting their jewellery. It’s important to remember that your accessories are not the statement piece, your beautiful gown is.

However, accessories are an important and special feature that can be quite symbolic and add a unique and memorable touch to your outfit. Quite often brides will try to find jewellery alongside dress shopping but this can often end in uncertainty and confusion. It’s important to remember that your accessories will be dependent on the gown that you select for your special day.

The venue, dress-code, weather and hairstyle will also impact which accessory is best for you. If you decide to have your hair up in a gorgeous bun then a short-medium drop earring would look absolutely divine. For all you brides wanting to have your hair down, then consider a simple pearl stud. It’s a great way to accessorise whilst also eliminating the possibility of getting your hair tangled in the earring and we definitely don’t want that happening!!

Check out our top Winter suggestions. Happy accessorising!

Regal Capes
There’s no denying that one of the most popular trends for Fall/Winter 2019 has been the extravagant and much-loved bridal capes. Due to an increase in interest, the original floor-length cape has seen significant innovation and adaption over the past couple years, making it more versatile than ever before.

There are so many new variations on the market, providing a vast range of unique possibilities for accessorising. If you’ve selected a relatively plain gown, then a regal cape could be a fantastic alternative to accessorising instead of wearing jewellery or heavy embellished hair features. A beautiful silk chiffon that drapes from the shoulders, seamlessly to your fingertips can be a stunning feature to your overall bridal look.

To add a special touch to your custom-made cape, opt for a delicate French Chantilly lace or a corded lace design for more depth and definition. If your bridal gown showcases any beading or lace then perhaps consider just having a plain sheer silk chiffon or organza. A cape is also a great option for any bride wanting extra coverage over their arms, shoulders and back whilst also not having to commit to any overlays. It shows up beautifully in photographs and can be used as a stunning accessory for your bridal photoshoot.

Anne Barge Elle Capelet

Simple classic clutch
This season it’s all about practicality and functionality!! Quite often brides tend to ask where they should store their phone and lippy on their special day and a common response is…with your Maid of Honour of course! But fear no more bridal crew, this upcoming Winter trend is about to make your life a whole lot easier.

Beautiful marble and diamante studded clutches are all the craze and we absolutely love them! A simple unique clutch is the perfect accessory to hold all your little knick-knacks on the day of your wedding. A beautiful clutch can also add a unique and contemporary element to your photoshoot and can easily be carried around and placed under the bridal table.

For all you brides who want to avoid the hassle of carrying a bag around on your wedding day, then perhaps you could consider using this newly-loved trend for your engagement party or hens’ night. You could also consider getting personalised clutches for your bridal tribe, making it a wonderful and memorable item.

Rae of Light Iman Clutch from BHLDN

Pearl drop earrings

From puffy frocks, big bows, large floral headpieces and heavy dangling earrings; the 80’s and 90’s were a time of extravagance and over-accessorizing from head to toe. But this year it’s all about fresh and simplistic design with a contemporary twist.

One of 2019’s most popular trend is the simple pearl-drop earring. Consider wearing only one to two pieces of jewellery to ensure that it doesn’t detract any attention away from your face and your beautiful gown. It’s also important to remember that you will be wearing your wedding ring on the day and that in itself is a beautiful and unique accessory.

To create another special touch to complete your look, invest in a stunning pair of earrings. If you have any embellishment and beading on your gown then you can use that as a starting point for your research. If your gown showcases some pearls, then a pearl stud or pearl-drop earring would look divine. If you have clear beads, sequins or crystals then a clear-coloured diamante would tie in perfectly with the sparkle of your dress.

If your gown is heavily embellished, try and avoid heavy dangling earrings. A stud is always a safe and beautiful option if you’re uncertain or indecisive. For any brides who have opted for a plain, elegant styled gown, you could invest in a beautiful statement earring.

Image via Rosa Clara Marzo

Comfortable footwear
There’s no doubt that your wedding day will be one of the most magical and memorable moments of your life. It’s important to ensure that you will be comfortable and practical on your special day. Afterall, no one wants sore feet and stinging blisters.

Whilst many brides love the idea of wearing a stunning diamante embellished heel, it can cause multiple unforeseen issues. Quite often brides wearing heels will step on their train and gown causing tears and holes throughout the fabric. Along with this, heels can make it very difficult to dance and mingle. Remember, your wedding day will be long and exhausting and you will be on your feet throughout most of it, so investing in a comfortable pair of bridal shoes will be one of your greatest wardrobe decisions.

A great alternative to your typical stiletto heel, would be the classic ballet flat. The most flattering flat shoe would be one with a triangular pointed tip. The pointed tip is very elegant and dainty and can make your foot look slimmer. As bridal flats become more popular over this coming year, we can expect to see a lot of stunning options hit the market from simplistic satin finishes to pearl beaded and crystal embellished detailing. A great tip would be investing in some good quality and comfortable insoles that will ensure you can dance the night away.

Badgley Mischka Gigi Flats from BHLDN

Luxurious Faux Fur
As the weather begins to cool down you might want to consider investing in a gorgeous fur coat to keep you warm during the chilly weather. Quite often brides tend to forget about outer-garments such as throws, bolero’s and jackets to wear over their gown.

In 2018, many reputable luxury fashion labels decided to cut the use of real fur in the production of their collections. After this drastic faux fur movement, there has been significant demand for faux fur bridal coats. A soft ivory faux fur jacket can add a luxurious and glamorous touch to your bridal look; along with keeping you nice and warm.

Whether you’re having an outdoor wedding or needing a coat to keep you warm throughout your photo shoot, a fur jacket is a perfect accessory and a must-have staple for Winter brides. Finding the perfect fur coat to match your gown can be a difficult task. Having a custom-tailored coat will ensure that it fits you absolutely perfectly.

Monique L’huillier Fur Jacket

Jewelled Headbands
A big trend hitting the market this Winter is the crystal and embellished headband. Brides are drifting away from the typical jewelled crown and tiara and are now turning towards simpler and less heavily beaded headpieces.

A floral and leaf style headband can add the perfect touch of shimmer and glamour to your bridal look without being too overpowering. It’s also important to factor in practicality when selecting your accessories. A bridal crown can often be quite heavy to wear and has the risk of falling off if not correctly placed. Once the crown is sewn and woven into your styled hair, it means that you cannot take it off in comparison to a headband which can easily be attached and removed.

The satin sash on the headband can be sewn and braided into your hair or can be left out and worn as a featured bow. A narrow floral headband is a versatile accessory that can also be worn on many other occasions.

Charity Rhinestone Pearl Vine Hairband from Here Comes The Bride

Floral hairclips
This Winter we can expect to see a lot of gorgeous 3D floral designs from your bridal gown to shawls and draped capes. The popular trend has even made its way into the accessory market, with stunning 3D floral headbands, veils and now clips.

A clip is a beautiful and simple accessory that can make a great alternative for all you budget-conscious brides out there. Floral clips not only tend to be more affordable than your typical tiaras, crowns, headbands and combs but they are extremely easy and quick to use, saving you some time and hassle on the big day.

However, 3D floral clips are rare to find and whilst most bridal boutiques won’t stock them, you can definitely find them online in a range of various styles and designs. It is always advised to purchase any hair accessory from hair and bridal specialist websites as they tend to be long-lasting and better quality.

Raelynn Rhinestone Hair Flowers from Here Comes The Bride

Embellished belts
After the most recent Royal Weddings, simplistic design and plain satin gowns are all the rage. But this Fall/Winter is all about adding that special touch of glamour. A great way to add some sparkle to your gown is to opt for a stunning embellished belt. Your belt can be hand-embellished with clear diamante crystals or pure pearls which could tie in beautifully with your earrings or hair accessories.

When selecting a belt, think about what other accessories you will be wearing on your wedding day. If you choose to have a stunning headpiece and earrings, it is best to select a narrow and delicate belt. It’s important to not over-accessorize as too many accessories can run the risk of clashing and detracting away from your gown. A thicker belt is best suited for a plain gown with no lace as it adds a unique and special feature.

For all brides who have opted for a full, laced gown, a delicate and narrow belt around the waist is a great option to break it up and emphasise a slimmer waist. Be cautious of which belt you select and where you want it to sit as it can often cut you off and make you look shorter and curvier. In saying that, a belt is a perfect option for brides who don’t want to commit to having a bling feature on them the whole night.

Carol Hannah Peyton Sash from BHLDN

Ms Zebra Says: I’m loving all the different accessories – and agree that less is more! Choose the right pieces to complement your amazing dress.