Wedding Boutonnieres

Roses are the most popular flower for a boutonniere, but you shouldn’t feel as if they have to follow tradition. Any other flower with a woody stem or that last more than a day out of water can work, so experiment! I like thistle and heather for kilt-wearing grooms. Tulips and orchids work well too but I find that with all the hugging that happens on the day these tend to crush easily and look a bit ‘sad’ early in the day.

Choosing Boutonnieres

The colour of your boutonnieres can be chosen to either contrast or complement the colour of the groom’s outfit. For instance, a black morning suit with a burgundy cravat could be complemented by a burgundy boutonniere made from a tulip, calla lily or rose. Alternatively, you could arrange for boutonnieres to be made that mirror the flowers in the bride’s bouquets. 

Who Should Have Boutonnieres? 

It is common for the bridegroom, best man, ushers/groomsmen and fathers of the bride and bridegroom to all have boutonnieres. Some couples also like to make boutonnieres available to all who attend the wedding ceremony, but this will be dependent on your  budget and really is no longer a necessary expense. To mark him out as special, the bridegroom often has a slightly different boutonniere to the rest of the wedding party. It may be a different colour, or the florist may put on decorative beads, diamante, or an additional bloom.

How to Wear A Boutonnieres

The boutonniere is worn on the gentleman’s left lapel. It should be worn on the outside of the buttonhole, and not in it. It is common to secure it in place by using a pearl-headed pin from the back of the lapel. This can be done through the underside of the lapel so that the pin will then be invisible from the front.

Mini Champagne Tower Centre Pieces

Mini Champagne Tower Centre Pieces

This is a gorgeous center piece idea for wedding tables!  Have waiting staff fill the mini champagne towers simultaneously for the first toast.


Add a fun element to the wedding and elect one person from each table to pour at the time of the cake cutting – just don’t use the expensive champers!

Use the stacked glasses for mousse desserts

Fill with acrylic table sprinkles to reflect the light and colour theme.

Masi Wedding in the Masi Mara, Kenya

We sent our honeymoon testers Denise and Mark to have a Masi style wedding in Kenya!

Here’s their report:

When we arrived in Tipilikwani in the Masai Mara, the camp manager Evans told us that he had arranged for us to do a ceremony here at camp in traditional African robes.

Little did we know what he had planned. After our morning safari, three Masai men came to our tent to dress us. Jackson Naimoodu, a Masai dressed us and painted our faces with red ochre.

The outfits were muli-layered cloth in red and yellow, some with checked pattens and others plain. I had a purple skirt on underneath, and we were both laden with beaded belts and necklaces. Mark also wore a goat’s skin wrap over his robes.

A gourd was put down the back of my robes to signify the children that I would carry for my new husband, and Mark was given a horse hair swish and a short spear.

The Masai led us down the path to the garden behind the open air restaurant. There we were suprised to see an entire tribe of Masai, all dressed traditionally and waiting for us. Not knowing what to do, we were pretty nervous and overwhelmed by the spectacle.


The men and women lined up on different sides of the path, with us between them. Jackson led the way towards a big circle of chairs. We had to cross between some of the tribe elders, who blessed me before I joined Mark. They put grass in my shoes, and then took turns spitting it on my feet for good luck.

Thus blessed, I joined Mark inside the circle as everyone took their places in the circle around us. The three elders took seats in front of us, and Jackson as our best man beside us. John Ole Tome, the compere explained what was going on in English for us, and told us what we had to do.

The whole thing was so overwhelming and magical, especially when the Masai men did their traditional jumping ritual, then the whole group got up to dance and sing.

Finally there were speeches, where our compere thanked us profusely for being involved in their culture, and encouraged us to talk about the famous Masai tribe all around the world. We were so touched. We couldn’t believe that they would include us in such a traditional and beautiful ceremony and he was thanking us?

Luckily, Mark as the new husband made a lovely speech thanking everyone for suprising and including us.

Truly a memorable experience. The Masai are a very proud and beautiful tribe of people, with great traditions and culture, and we thank them for sharing this experience with us.


How To Perk Up A Wilting Bouquet

Keeping It Cool 

Most of the bouquets and other floral arrangements will come held in oasis or small plastic bags of water. These are designed to keep them moist and pert until the start of the wedding. 

If you get flowers that aren’t as perky, then you can run the ends of the bouquets under cold water as you cut the ends at an angle. This will help to create new channels for the water to flow through. Place the bouquets back into their original water and they should become straighter and livelier within an hour or so.

You may read in some books that you can use ice cubes in the water to help you make the flowers look better, but this only freezes the routes of water to the flower, and can cause even more harm to a sagging bouquet. If your bride decides to take outdoor pictures during preparation, take the bouquets out of the water and dry them off with a paper towel.

Once they are finished, you will want to put the flowers back into the water once more, to make sure that they get the most amount of water they can before the ceremony.



Indigenous Aboriginal Wedding

Our day trip to Kuranda and Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park was a fantastic day out and a very fitting end to the last official day of our Honeymoon Testers assignment!

We had a pick up from the Sea Temple in Palm Cove to the picuresque Freshwater railway station for a train trip through the region’s most beautiful scenery, past huge waterfalls and spectacular trees.

The trainline was opened in 1891, after removing 2.3 million metres of earth, creating 15 tunnels and 75 kilometres of track, by immigrants without modern equipment and with simple hand tools. It’s a feat of engineering and human determination. 

Our stop was to the beautiful and leafy town of Kuranda, home to quirky and original markets, art galleries, bush walks and animal parks such as the Australian Venom Zoo, BatReach, BirdWorld, the Butterfly Sanctuary, Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve and the Koala Gardens. We had 1.5 hours to explore the town and get some yummy juice and macadamia brownies!

Now came a very exciting part! The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is an amazing experience gliding high above Australia’s World Heritage listed tropical rainforest in specially constructed gondola cabins. 

It took about 7 years to get permission to build the Skyrail in the rainforest and only one year to build it. To completely protect the ground, it was constructed from the air by helicopter! 

There are several stops along the way for photo-ops, including the Red Peak and Barron Falls lookouts and the state-of-the-art Rainforest Interpretation information centre. It’s truly a wondrous experience, not scary at all and one of the most unique views in the world!

The final stop was next to the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park for a full experience day of indigenous Australian culture, where you are guided through demonstrations and shows in a seamless trip throughout the whole park to touch, taste, smell and experience everything.

You can learn from a Tjapukai warrior how traditional tools and weapons, as well as bush medicine were used 40,000 years ago by the Aboriginal people. Be entertained in the outdoor theatre by the beautiful river, featuring a live performance celebrating traditional Tjapukai corroborees and song and souvenir photographs afterwards with the dancers.

We tried out the boomerang demonstration, which was hilarious as everyone had to hide out in a netted tent together as newbies find it hard to control where their boomerang goes! My first attempt was pathetic but my second was pretty good. Mark however, was a natural as well as being a perfect shot in the spear demonstration, he actually hit the kangaroo dummy right between the eyes!

We finished the afternoon with a live multi-media show in the Creation theatre, which was a spectacular mix of live dancers and 3D technology and then a rousing didgeridoo demonstration. There’s also a beautiful gift shop, so you can take home your own authentic piece of Aboriginal artwork or a didgeridoo.

It was one of the best experience centres I’ve been to, everything is top-class and absolutely fascinating. It’s probably one of the best organised places I’ve seen as well. It really annoys me when places aren’t well designed, but Tjapukai is just beautifully managed, which makes for a relaxed and informative visit.

We were also lucky to have a wedding ceremony by the river with the dancers in order to set our new Guinness World Record for Most Married Couple! It was a fantastic and moving end to our Honeymoon Tester’s assignment and a perfect way to set a new record!

Thank you to Down Under Tours for the fantastic all-inclusive Kuranda and Tjapukai day trip. We were staying at the nearby Sea Temple, see review here, who looked after us very well. Thanks also to Tourism Queensland for organising the great itinerary of our time in Port Douglas.

Tropical North Queensland is a magical place for either a destination wedding or honeymoon. It will be an unforgettable experience. Runaway Bride and Groom can help you organise everything from the flight to every detail of the wedding. Find out more.

The Honeymoon Testers Recommend

Down Under Tours: We enjoyed the full inclusive Kuranda tour (you can do any of these separately) which cost AU$203-219 each and included; hostess escort, hotel pick-up and return, Kuranda Scenic Rail to Kuranda, free time, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, buffet lunch at Tjapukai Restaurant, entry to Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, which includes indigenous guiding, all theatres, the famous Tjapukai Dancers, boomerang/spear throwing and bush medicine demonstrations. Find out more.

Stay: Sea Temple and Spa

Rainforest: Daintree Tours with Down Under Tours

Snorkelling: Quicksilver Cruises Low Isles Tour

See native animals: Wildlife Habitat

Evening Cruise: Sailaway Port Douglas


Weddings in France

Getting Married in France

What makes France different from Ireland is that in France only civil weddings are legally recognised. Religious ceremonies have no legal standing. If you want to marry in a French church then you will also have to go through a civil ceremony at another venue. A lot of couples consider having a civil marriage at home and then a religious wedding in France.

However, if your heart is set on France as the country you want to start your married life in well this is what you need to know: At least one of the partners to be married must reside in the place where the wedding will take place for at least 40 days immediately prior to the wedding.

One or both of you must reside in the departement (district) or the arrondissement (if in Paris) for at least 30 days prior to the marriage. Following these 30 days, French law requires the publication of the marriage banns at the Mairie (Town Hall) for 10 days. Thus 40 days is the minimum period of residence before a civil ceremony can take place. Non French nationals must provide the following before the banns can be published:

1. A pre-marital certificate, which is obtained at the Mairie (town hall) where the wedding will take place.
2. A certified birth certificate issued less than six months prior to the date of the marriage
3. A passport (carte de séjour)
4. A certificate of residence (provided by your embassy)
5. A prenuptial certificate of health (certificat d’examen médical prénuptial) issued less than two months prior to the date of the marriage by a medical doctor after: serological tests for syphilis, irregular anti-bodies, rubella and toxoplasma. It is possible to have these tests done in France.
6. If you have married previously, a certified copy of the death certificate of the deceased spouse or a certified copy of the final divorce decree
7. A notarised “Affidavit of Law” (Certificat de Coutume), drawn up by a solicitor in the state of residence of the parties, stating that: the person is free to marry, and the marriage performed in France will be recognized as valid in the home country.
8. A personal certificate of celibacy (provided by your embassy)
9. The documents must be translated into French. The translations and the original document must be verified by the French Consulate General (vérification de traduction).
10. Foreign documents must be legalized prior to being given to the French authorities. Obtaining an Apostille can legalize documents.
11. On arrival in France, you should contact the Mairie to see if any other documents are required. A minimum of four weeks may be needed to complete the necessary documentation and to reserve the wedding date and location.