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Archive for the ‘Wedding Planning’ Category

Well, blog posts from me are rare these days but my betrothed and I have plans for a new blog to work on together after the wedding. It’s just too busy beforehand but we are looking forward to it afterwards when we have more time. He will share his photography and I will continue to ramble on about things I find interesting whenever I can. This blog has been wonderful in order to increase my confidence with writing and I will be sad to put it to bed but thankful to be able to share the new blog – I don’t think I’ll hide behind an anonymous title anymore. That’s a big step!

In terms of wedding planning, there is a lot to update upon! We have 39 days to go (and only 26 office days for me!) and we are almost there. The waters seem calm at the moment…

One major change has happened and that’s my number of bridesmaids reducing from 4 to 3. My lovely pregnant bridesmaid has sadly had some complications and is on bed rest from now (26 weeks) and will either be unable to get out of bed or will be with a premature baby who will have to stay in hospital until full term. So, after discussions with her and her husband, we all decided the pressure would be off for her to simply say that she wouldn’t be a bridesmaid. Otherwise, knowing her kindness, she will spend her time thinking of different ways to be there. All I want for her is a healthy baby and a healthy stress free mummy. She needs to do what is best and I support her all the way.

Everything else has progressed with little stress apart from my brother failing to show up for a dress fitting but that’s a different story and he assures me he’ll sort it out. If I report that we had no ushers at our wedding, you’ll know what happened!!

My two biggest planning jobs for this week are to find underwear and shoes. I have my first dress fitting on 1st August and I have little time left for this shopping trip! I haven’t been able to find shoes I’ve liked yet so I think the time is right to try local Rachel Simpson and her fabulous shoes.

Wish me luck!

Bx

I was worried about my hen party but I should never have doubted my friends. They planned and executed the perfect weekend.

It began by 11 girls arriving at my house on the Friday night, each carrying a sleeping bag so I didn’t have to wash lots of bedding after they’d left and, most importantly, carrying wine. We ordered the biggest order of Chinese Take-Away that I’d ever seen and chatted and chatted and chatted. Half way through the meal, one of my friends stood up and announced that she was thrilled to welcome Prince Charming. Everyone smiled, I panicked. Cue Prince Charming walking into my lounge carrying roses (and the sweet and sour sauce missed from our earlier order and delivered to Prince Charming by a confused delivery guy) and I immediately said “please don’t take your clothes off!”. He promised he wouldn’t and when everyone else stopped laughing, he began to sing “I know you” from Sleeping Beauty. Lucky me (and lucky him), I had spotted my friend’s sister and also how nervous this guy looked and realised it was just a poor lad being called upon for a favour so I told him he didn’t have to sing and gave him a beer. He looked so relieved, posed for photos and sat with us until the conversation turned uncomfortably girlie and departed.

Me and the girls chatted into the night and caught up on old times like we had never been apart. Just as good friends do.

The next morning, my very domesticated and pregnant bridesmaid showed herself for the maternal, domestic goddess that she is and made everyone a cooked breakfast. We giggled about “boobs over breakfast” as she hadn’t realised how ample her chest had become and ended up using a clothes peg to pin her top together as she cooked.

Some girls had to leave so we said our goodbyes and those that remained were piled into cars and we all headed off to paint pottery. It was lovely to have us all together but the service at the pottery cafe left a lot to be desired and I looked up at one point to see everyone looking frantic, painting their items knowing we didn’t have much time and we would probably be thrown out!

After pottery painting, we returned home and all prepared a wonderful afternoon tea whilst singing along to Dirty Dancing. We ate lovely food and drank a lot of Pimms whilst more girls arrived.

That evening, we merrily got our best dresses on and headed to a very fancy hotel in Birmingham City Centre to a private dining room where we had a gorgeous two course meal followed by cupcakes made by one of my bridesmaids and decorated with a heart shaped photo of me and my betrothed. I was treated to a ‘Mr & Mrs Quiz’ and asked to wear a tiara.

Following the decadent private dining experience (with champagne and our own waiter) we went to a Gin Parlour and enjoyed gin cocktails before some ladies headed home and a few of us went dancing into the early hours.

After a hangover busting brunch the next day, all of the ladies left and it was quiet in the house. I was left with a beautiful ‘And they lived happily ever after’ sign and a promise that all of the photos would be put together in an album with messages from all of my girls.

My puppy was returned to me that afternoon by my Dad and me and the pooch spent the afternoon sleeping off a wonderful weekend.

Just perfect.

Bx

So, there are just 112 days to go until our wedding and I’ve just spent a couple of hours getting on top of our wedding budget. We had set one out a while ago and we’ve been saving hard and spending bit by bit but I hadn’t actually sat down and set it all out in an all singing, all dancing spreadsheet. I have to do accounts as part of my job so I’ve been putting the wedding spreadsheet off for ages! It’s the last thing I want to do after a day at work!!

I feel quite satisfied that the spreadsheet worked out and didn’t result in any scary surprises. We seem to be on target with bringing the money in but we have overspent on some things and I fear that we have under budgeted on other things. I’m not sure whether we will get cars and a band for the budget we have set, but hey, that’s part of the fun!

We have met some fabulous suppliers and deposits have been paid to secure them for our big day. Don’t underestimate how helpful they can be! If it wasn’t for the wonderful ladies of Ava Event Styling, I probably wouldn’t have a clue about how the day would actually look! Now, I can stop stressing about colours, table decorations, flowers and cakes as I know it is all in good hands and I am so excited to see what they come up with!

I was nearly there with the bridesmaid dresses and about to make the purchase when my best bud announced she was pregnant! Obviously, I’m thrilled, but it has made me reconsider the dress purchase. She will be 7 months pregnant on the wedding day so I need to wait a little while longer to see how big she will be! So, the decision on the dresses is still to be made…!

So, thankfully all is on track with very little stress, well….apart from the venue issue. But that’s for another post!!!

Bx

I was feeling inspired to write after finally having a quiet half an hour to catch up on some blogs and I realised that I haven’t written anything since March! So, I thought that it might be best to start by catching up on April.

April is my favourite month of the year. Firstly, it’s Easter and that means lots of chocolate and secondly, it’s my birthday month. Enough said.

Some big things happened in April:

  • I turned 31 (eek)
  • We finally painted the kitchen and lounge after living in our house for over a year
  • We paid deposits for the cake, flowers & decorations
  • We paid deposits for the wedding stationery
  • We paid deposits for make up
  • We adopted a PUPPY!

Being a bride to be, I should be sharing all of the details of the wedding related achievements but that’ll have to wait because if you adopt a puppy, your whole energy and focus is on him!

His name is Oscar and he’s a cross Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Bischon. This means he’s very cute. He’s got a lot of character and a lot of energy!

Meet Oscar.

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Oscar. Photo taken by me on my iPhone.

Isn’t he gorgeous?

Bx

I read over some old posts this morning. It was lovely to re-live some of the wedding planning adventures I’ve had so far. Goodness me, I moaned about the bridesmaid dresses a lot! So glad they’ve been found now and I have a colour!

So, I posted about the venue issues we had here and we were faced with a decision whether to change the venue with just 6 months to go. I had a number of Twitter conversations and my thanks go out to all of those in Twitterland who helped me by making suggestions, referring me to venues and just listening and saying lovely, calming things to me. I really, really appreciate your advice.

We started to look around at different venues online. There are so many beautiful venues out there – even more than I’d found when we started looking for venues two years ago! I almost think it would be worth new brides-to-be joining Twitter for a few months before beginning their planning as all of the information and contacts you need can be found on there!!

So, what I have always known but I didn’t fully appreciate was just how expensive venues can be. To an extent, the expense is justified. It’s a crucial part of the day – testament to this is the fact that once it was booked, we hardly had to think about anything in relation to the day and how it will run. You know where people are going, where they’ll park, where they’ll stay, eat and drink. You have a wedding planner to help organise suppliers (although this isn’t always obvious), guests, timings for cake cutting, speeches – all the extra bits that you don’t want to have think about on the day but that you want to run seamlessly. But, for all this, you pay a hire charge most of the time and also a per-head charge that is likely to be more than you would ever pay for yourself to go for a meal. Still, this is a special day, hopefully a one-off and so you justify it.

I felt cheated with the issues we had because we are paying a hire charge and then a more than substantial price per head for the meal, bubbles for first drink and toasts and also wine for the table together with various extras that we get on the day. We had squared all of this in our budget and, whilst it was the biggest shock of all to add up the total cost for 150 guests, we’ve saved and it’s all good. When all of this with the venue happened, I started to look around and places wanted five thousand pounds and upwards for a hire charge. I know it’s for exclusivity and there are lovely benefits with it etc etc etc but finding an extra five thousand pounds when the price per-head is still high and you still have many thousands to find on top of that is just too much. Too much for some pockets though I guess. I mean, some people arrange their wedding with a budget of just five thousand!

Some weddings are totally worth it. They’re what dreams are made of but you have to consider how much you are willing and able to spend on just one day. At least, that’s what we looked at. Now, our wedding isn’t going to be cheap by any stretch of the imagination. When we look at the total spend for our wedding, we cannot believe that we have been able to pull together such a lot of money – with sacrifice sure – but we managed it. Still, though, it’s infuriating that it’s not enough when you start looking around at other venues. We’re ok with this. We have decided that we are not going to spend even more on the wedding than we’re spending as what we already have planned is just perfect for us. We have plenty that we would like to spend that money on in our marriage and we don’t want to get into debt.

What I found most shocking is that by not finding an extra £5,000 for a venue, I began to feel like I had been a bit cheap and I had almost ‘got what I deserved’ with the venue. You know, pay peanuts and get monkeys? But that’s not the case. The venue is beautiful, the reputation for the food is amazing, so far (apart from the obvious major glitch) the service has been lovely. The rooms are great, the grounds are great. We are paying more per head than we would ever pay for ourselves and that’s great because it’s our wedding day and we want to show the people we love a great time.

So we’ve decided to stay with our original venue. The most important thing is that we get married to each other and in front of friends and family we love. We don’t have the time or the energy to look elsewhere or to consider getting an empty venue and decorating/bringing in caterers ourselves. Most of all we have decided that any further money to be spent will be spent on starting our lives together as a married couple and not just to hire a venue for the day.

We will try to fill the new 30 rooms with our guests so that the exclusivity aspect is sorted. We made our own mistake by not seeing the potential for the contract with the venue to go wrong. Silly really, when I’m a lawyer. But when you’re newly engaged and excitedly falling in love with venues when planning your big day, you can’t always see the possibilities. I mean, I asked about going into administration/cancellation policies/insurance if the place burnt down but I didn’t ask about plans for extension! Tut!

The venue is important. It is. There’s no arguing with that. But if you have a budget, stick with it and don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re not doing or spending enough on your wedding. It’s easy to get carried away. Try not to. If whatever you are doing is right for you and your betrothed, stick with it and ignore outside pressures. At the end of the day, it’s about the two of you and as long as you get married, that’s all that counts. Everything else is just decoration.

Bx

Those who have seen my earlier post know that we received a letter from our reception venue in January letting us know that they were ‘enhancing’ the hotel. They were adding 30 new rooms and redesigning the lobby and other parts of the hotel. We should rest assured that the building work would be completed before our big day in August and that our wedding would not be affected.

We went to see the hotel today and I have pretty much wanted to cry ever since. I am hugely disappointed. I know things could be worse. After the fright we had on Tuesday, having changes made to our wedding venue pales in comparison to what could have been. We have our health and we are getting married. Retaining perspective is essential but it doesn’t stop it making me feel really sad!

We decided on the venue when we stood to the side of the hotel and looked over the lovely big lawns and woodland in the distance. We loved the hotel. It had traditional features but was decorated with a modern finish. With just 17 bedrooms, it was perfectly intimate. Our biggest love though was the outdoor space and the feeling that it would be only us there. Being off the beaten track a bit, no one would just walk past or anything like that so it would just be our guests. The outdoor space was our favourite feature, standing on the lawns and feeling like there was nothing around us. We even made a feature of it on our Save the Date website – our main picture is of the lawns with the hotel in the background. Just what we wanted.

Now the new building which houses the 30 new bedrooms runs alongside the lawns where we first stood and made our decision. The traditional lobby area will be replaced by a large, all glass entrance and the back of the hotel no longer looks as beautiful as there will be a curved glass fronted restaurant area which looks out onto the lawns. To retain privacy for the wedding party, they have planted conifers down the centre of the lawn, halving the amount of space we have. When you look out of the marquee, instead of there being a lovely, open, wide view of the lawns, there is now a new pathway, trees, and other shrubs and bushes all over the lawns where they’ve made it look more manicured. There’s also a big circle ready for some kind of fountain/statue straight outside the marquee. Everything feels cluttered and overlooked by the new bedrooms.

No more lawn games, no more exclusivity, no more photos with a beautiful old house in the background.

After explaining how disappointed we were that they would wait until now to tell us about these changes (and subtly dropping into the conversation that I am a lawyer!) we were told that we still had a choice. We do not have to make the next payment, which is 50%, to give us more time to consider things. If we feel that the venue is no longer for us, we will have the deposit refunded and they would even try to help us find an alternative venue. They apologised for the way they handled things.

Credit where credit is due, they handled the meeting today well. We have the freedom to make a choice without losing our deposit. However, with 6 months to go, are we really going to be able to find an alternative venue?

We don’t  know what to do at the moment but I know we will make the best of whatever happens. I think I am going to look for alternative venues just in case something wonderful turns up. Otherwise, we’ll have to stay with this venue. I’m going to try to be positive about it but it’s just heartbreaking that they’ve changed the very things we fell in love with. Damn them.

Bx

I have had a wonderful day today. I arrived in Lichfield for 9am for my measurements to be taken for my dress. The temperature was -5 degrees and my cold still hadn’t fully left me but I warmed up as soon as I stepped into the shop. The welcome from the ladies was wonderful, it’s like we’ve been friends for years. An immediate catch up was had over a cuppa before we got down to the all important measuring (who knew you needed ‘point to point’ measurements taken!).

I didn’t realise that I had the opportunity to put on The Dress whilst I was there but they’d put aside an hour for me in case I had wanted to. I jumped at the chance, of course! Having lost 12lbs I was delighted to put the dress on and to feel more comfortable around the waist in it. I felt gorgeous. I swished and swooshed around whilst the ladies brought the veil I was considering and various headpieces for me to try on. The owner of the shop had offered me 50% off my choice of veil and I pretty much decided whilst there which veil I wanted. I can’t begin to explain the feeling of putting a veil on. You feel gorgeous in your wedding dress but adding the veil is something else. Saying you feel ‘like a bride’ is too obvious and too silly but it’s true. There’s something about it that takes you back to when you were a little girl and you ran around with a pillow case on your head pretending you were getting married.

I wasn’t ready to make a decision about the headpiece today because, although I have an idea of how I want my hair, it’s a little too early to decide so I’m going to wait a little longer. The one headpiece was absolutely stunning but it was £250! I know my dress is expensive but I just don’t feel I can justify that amount of money on a headband! Another was less expensive and just as stunning and would actually suit earrings I already own so could be a winner.

My mom came with me today and after fun with The Dress, we went for coffee and nattered for ages. We talked about plans for the wedding that other people don’t really ask about. It was all about the church and I told her about a book that I read whilst at University and there is a passage in there about love that I have always adored and I want as a reading at the wedding. I also read her a poem I have found which I’m going to ask someone to read from me to G. When I looked up from reading the poem to her, she had tears in her eyes! It was a lovely moment.

We then went hat shopping and my mom tried on all different types of hats and enjoyed being treated as the very special mother of the bride that she is.

We have our differences and our insecurities mean that we often misinterpret some things that we say to each other but today was a fabulous day. We shared our thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreams about the wedding and my future with G and it was just perfect.

Nothing like a girlie day, is there?

Bx


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