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From the moment that glittering diamond is slipped on your finger and you're basking in the glow of engagement, thoughts about your Big Day are not far from your mind.

Weddings are wonderful occasions and a day that brides and grooms want to be perfect – which can lead to a lot of stress emotionally, physically and financially.

Engaged couples have to deal with venues, flowers, music, food, photographers, dresses, entertainment…the list goes on.

But what if there was a way you could trade in the spreadsheets and lists for something much more straightforward?

If the term ''cashless wedding'' sounds like something you'd like then Wedding Wallet, a fancy new tech tool created by Justin Kearns, is IDEAL for you.

What is it?

It's a platform aimed at engaged couples which lets couples budget, plan and pay for their wedding in one place.

How does it work?

It connects you to vendors based your wedding date, location and budget.

You can also get cash gifts over the platform by sending a private link with friends and family on request.

Sounds fab, right?

How do you use it?

It couldn't be easier – just sign up to weddingwallet.ie on mobile or desktop  and create a manageable wedding budget for every element of the big day from the dress to the DJ.

What's so handy is that the vendors you're connected during via Wedding Wallet will ony be available on the date of their big day, reducing the already-stretched time that you have.

So, once the couples match with a vendor, they can ask directly for more details, receive a quote and then Wedding Wallet allows them to send the vendor the initial booking deposit, with the remaining amount due being paid in one payment before the big day or by creating a manageable instalment payment plan.

CEO Justin says, ''The average age of the Irish person getting married is 35 – and so the concept of online payment is second nature to them and is expected by this consumer.''

He continued, ''Getting married is one of the most important moments in a person’s life so it should be a fun, stress-free and manageable experience."

Basically, this platform takes the stress out of what can be one of the most stressful experiences of your life, meaning you'll have more time to enjoy the build-up.

And that sounds good to us.

To sign up to Wedding Wallet for free as a vendor or couple, visit weddingwallet.ie or @weddingwallet_ on social media.

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Do you have a mountain of dirty laundry sitting on your floor, dishes in the sink, work deadlines all over your diary and feel totally overwhelmed? Join the club.

Let’s face it, organising our lives can be hectic, tedious and downright exhausting. You’re only human, and we all need a little help sometimes.

Introducing Ireland’s first trained Professional Organiser

Sarah Reynolds is an expert in organisation and the owner of Dublin’s first professional de-cluttering and organising business- Organised Chaos.

Organised Chaos was established in 2010 during Sarah’s career sabbatical.

Having always been passionate about organising, she decided to follow this passion and develop her business idea which she had close to her heart for nearly fifteen years.

As the first trained Professional Organiser in Ireland, she experienced the business first hand under the personal guidance of America’s number one Professional Organiser, Julie Morgenstern in New York.

Sarah has been helping home owners and companies reach their full potential through effective organisation by transforming oppressive spaces into functional, productive and stylish places to live and work.

Sarah has some fabulous advice to help you go from feeling overwhelmed to calm and in control by tweaking just a few minor things in your daily routine.
 

-Make sure you have a great diary that you are up to date at all times, or else keep your lists of chores digitally online so you can’t lose them.

– Analyse all your tasks and pinpoint the ones that stress you out the most.

If you work out a plan to simplify your chores based on the level of importance, you’ll find that getting the worst one out of the way will allow your brain to think.

– By planning your menu for the coming week and doing only one big grocery shop per week, this will spare you so much frustration and uncertainty when you come back from work tired and hungry.

– If you’re working a full-time job, you can bet it will be difficult to find time to clean and tidy your whole house in a single mega-cleaning session.

We recommend tackling it one room or chore at a time, to make it easier on yourself.

-Have everything you need for the next day packed before you go to bed, to ensure you're not totally stressed in the morning rush. This way, you won't forget anything important for work.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sarah Reynolds (@organisedchaosireland) on

-Let’s face it, most of us spend silly amounts of time stuck in our cars on commutes to work or running errands.

Keep extra supplies in the car, like spare outfits for after those sweaty gym sessions or extra grocery bags, we guarantee you'll be glad you did it.

-Minimise distractions as much as possible. Turn off your phone, clear your head and focus on the task directly at hand without texts or noises pulling you away.

-Dirt and dust collects in cluttered places, and you can’t hoover over strewn clothes everywhere.

We all have ‘The Chair’ in our bedrooms that we throw every single item of clothing over after a long day, but its time for the chair to only be used for sitting.

-Throw out any clothes that you haven’t worn in over a year. If it’s been that long, the chances are that you won’t be wearing them anytime soon! Make more space in your closet, and donate anything you don’t need to charity shops.

-Prioritise your happiness and learn to say no.

Make time for yourself, practice mindfulness, yoga or meditation to add some much needed relaxation, or else keep some days free per month for date night.

-Make room in your life for your friends, and don’t forget to have some fun.

Nights out with your girlfriends are a rare luxury for busy mums, but everyone needs some friendship to ease the burdens of everyday life.

Arrange a shopping trip, cocktail evening or even just a coffee, and we promise you’ll feel rejuvenated. Sometimes you just need a good mate to vent to.
 

You can’t declutter your house, schedule or your mind without focusing on you.

Remember, if you can’t organise yourself, how can you expect to organise everyone else? Consistency is key, and balance is the goal.

Check out Sarah’s new book ‘Organised – Simple Tips to Declutter your House, your Schedule and your Mind’ for advice on how organisation can improve our home and family life, workplace productivity, time management and overall wellbeing.
 

Sarah has regular television and radio appearances, as well as contributing to renowned publications such as Image, The Irish Times, The Irish Independent and the Irish Tatler among others.

To contact her for speaking engagements, send her an email, and make sure to have a look at her website and blog here for some great tips

 

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For the vast majority of us, being asked to be bridesmaid is a major milestone in any friendship. And providing your BFF doesn't morph into a classic Bridezilla, the experience is a genuinely lovely one.

However, there exists one particular task which leaves many bridesmaids feeling more than a little panicked, and that's the Hen, or more specifically, the organisation of the Hen.

With Hens getting bigger and more extravagant with every passing year, it's no surprise many of us feel the pressure to lay on a serious celebration in honour of our soon-to-be married pal.

But what do you need to consider to ensure the celebration goes off without a hitch? We take a look…

1. The bride's taste

With most capital city awash with inflatable dolls and L-Plates on a Saturday night, it's no surprise that Hens have  a reputation for being… well.. samey.

But it's highly unlikely every bride-to-be feels the need to don a sash and shift an inflatable man, so don't fall into the trap of ticking those boxes because you feel you have to.

If your friend is a real outdoorsy girl, she may well appreciate an adventure activity over a mani/pedi appointment, while a music-lover may well prefer a sweaty gig over a Prosecco-fuelled lunch, so don't pigeonhole her just because it might make it easier for you to plan.

Every bride has their own style. and that extends to her Hen, and while it's a given that many Hens want an element of surprise, there is no harm asking her to rule out certain activities or events if you feel it will add to her day and alleviate your anxiety.

2. The gang's budget

Money can become a massive bone of contention when talk turns to Hen and wedding celebrations.

Not everyone earns the same or owes the same, so while some of the group may have very hefty disposable incomes, others may be pinching every penny in order to make ends meet.

Now, there is no doubt that most people are more than willing to go the extra mile for a friend on her Hen, it's important as chief organiser that you take people's financial concerns into account.

Allow the invitees to contribute to the idea sheet and encourage the circulation of money-off deals if suitable, because nobody wants their Hen soured with ill will due to one person's insistence that 10 bottle of Champagne is an absolute necessity.

3. The Wow factor

Every Hen night warrants a Wow factor, and this can range from the sentimental to extravagant, but either way it's a must.

Whether it comes in the form of a gift or a venue, the bride-to-be should have at least one stand-out memory from her celebrations that momentarily took her breath away.

If it's a gift you're considering, a photo book which documents her favourite experiences with friends and the journey she has gone on with her future husband will always go down well.

If you want the venue to stand out, why not opt for a one-of-a-kind venue like Dublin's Number 22? From cabaret and cocktails to cafe culture and character, this is the type of venue that has a presence all of its own, and will go a long way towards ensuring an unforgettable night for your woman of the hour.

 

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Behind the blue door at Number Twenty Two is a unique and exclusive venue that combines the Library bar, restaurant and theatre club. For more info click here

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Your bestie is tying the knot and has asked you to be maid of honour.

First of all, congratulations. It's a major deal and it means they cherish your friendship very much.

However, with the title comes a lot of responsibility, and if you feel like you haven't a notion where to begin, this list will guide you along the way.

From the moment she's engaged, to the Big Day, this is what will be expected of you in the run up to the wedding.

The Planning

The bride will no doubt have a million things on her mind, so your maid of honour duties will start by helping her in the planning process.

Make lists of everything you'll need for the day (and day after, etc), and start to wrangle up the other bridesmaids to make sure they're on board with everything.

You're basically in charge of the bridal party, and you can ease the bride's mind by setting up dates to go dress shopping and making sure all of her bridesmaids are available for fittings, make-up consultations and everything in between.

Also, be prepared to be a consultant for the next few months. There's no doubt your bestie will have a ton of ideas, so be prepared to consult on everything from colour schemes to food.

Image result for wedding planning

 

The Hen

Even though it's the bride's hen party, Hitched.ie notes that this is really your moment to shine.

You will take the lead on planning the hen party, but make sure to include the other bridemaid's ideas too. And obviously, consult with the bride. There's no point planning a huge overnight trip if all the bride wants is a day in the local spa.

Once everyone is settled on the type of party they want, then it's time to really start grinding. You'll need to make sure everyone has the date secured and be aware of everyone's budget.

And don't be afraid to delegate. Someone can confirm dinner, another can create party games, and someone else can organise the draaanks.

Image result for hen party

 

The Run Up

As the Big Day approaches, it's your job to make sure the bridesmaids are all certain of the dates, times and arrangements (final dress fitting, make-up, etc).

You also need to think of any useful things to have on hand on the day such as umbrellas, plasters, small cans of hairspray and deodorant (yes, it'll be your job to carry these around in case the bride gets too sweaty or her feet start to hurt – the joys!).

If anything has been hired for the reception, ask the bride and groom if you can pick them up as we're sure the bride will be running around like a headless chicken the day before.

Woman Wearing White Wedding Gown Inside White Car

 

The Big Day

As hithced.ie explains, you will need to be on TOP form on the day of the wedding. You will need to make sure everything runs smoothly the morning of (make-up artist turns up, the flowers are on time, everyone is present) and before the ceremony.

The bride will no doubt ask you to help her get ready too. Don't dare touch the dress without washing your hands first! You should also have a good breakfast that morning, because believe us, with all the running around you're going to do, you're going to be hungry before the ceremony even ends.

When you arrive at the church, make sure the bride is picture perfect before she walks down the aisle. Her make-up, hair and veil are all perfectly intact. Don't forget that during the ceremony you will need to hold the bride's bouquet, so have your hands free.

As the day goes on, just look out for small things. Your BFF basically needs to be camera-ready all day, so fix lipstick smudges and mascara stains (because let's be real, there will probably be tears).

And last but not least, have fun! You have been waiting for this day just as much as the bride, so take it all in and have an absolute ball.

Image result for maid of honour

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There is nothing tougher to break than the Dublin housing market right now, but some relief could be on the horizon. 

Plans for the development of more than 1,000 homes in Dublin will be available for public consultation from Monday.

The development plans focus on lands off the South Circular Road, which are made up of various industrial sites. 

The lands are made up of the former Players Wills cigarette factory, the former Bailey Gibson packaging plant and St Teresa’s Gardens, a Dublin City Council flat complex at the back of the two factories.

Planning permission for the urban quarter was secured back in 2008, but the area and factories have been left unrenovated for the past decade. 

Almost all of the new homes will be apartments, with additional children's play areas, parks and sports areas proposed. 

Dublin City Council told The Irish Times that it expects planning applications to be made to An Bord Pleanála in the coming months.

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Your boyfriend has just popped the question – so, what next?

Well, before you go and change your Facebook status from “in a relationship” to “engaged”, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Don’t invite everyone
Don’t tell every Tom, Dick and Harry that they’ll totally be invited to the wedding – remember, you can’t un-invite them.

Don’t tell your bridesmaids that you’ll pay for everything
These are the kinds of things you need to discuss with your future hubby first.

Don’t tell your mum that she can help with all the planning
While you may be on cloud nine now, you won’t be when your mum starts pressuring you to invite certain people.

Don’t buy the first dress you see
The best part about planning for a wedding is trying on the dresses.

Don’t forget about your partner’s family
They are going to be a part of your future life and you won’t want to start off on the wrong foot.

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