No plastic penises.

save the date cards, pic

Blog post 6, 24th Nov 2013.

Ok so, to summarise on the success of my wedding planning rules so far…

I still believe I am succeeding at resisting becoming BrideZilla. I am getting more organised, although still some way to go… I haven’t gone ahead with any ideas and got carried away yet either! And since we have half sorted the food I believe we are succeeding at rule no4 to consider our guests.

Save-the-date cards have been sent out to most people, we have to admit to being concerned over numbers, cost and being overwhelmed on the day, therefore have held off sending them out to everyone yet. I didn’t realise one is meant to tie these in with the theme of the wedding… Someone said to me “ah butterflies how lovely as a wedding theme”… “errrr no, actually I just picked these up in Paperchase and they have nothing to do with the wedding, I just thought they were pretty!”, Oops (our invitations will be themed.)

My Maid of Honour phoned me within the last week, and pointed out that I haven’t set a date for my hen do, that there is no list of invitees and that since I work away I may only be back in the county about 8 times before my wedding, eeek. She has a point. I’m so lucky to have someone organised, and someone to offer to research ideas for me, love her. As for ideas, I said strippers were out. Not least because I would like to be able to invite my mother and also future mother-in-law, but also because I’m 32 and it just doesn’t appeal. My other rule for the hen night (which my Maid of Honour agress with) is none of those headbands with plastic penises bouncing off them- to me they epitomise the tacky wedding. They are everything I hate about hen do expectations- the pink sash, the drinking games, scaring guys who subsequently run away and the matching t-shirts. I would like to think mine will be grown up and classy… however I can’t promise not to get drunk he he. Ideas so far include chocolate-making (but my mother is allergic), cocktail making, a yacht trip (although I get sea-sick), or a villa somewhere (we have since concluded this will be too expensive.)

Next to plan: The hen do! Invitation designs still need deciding and exact food choices have to be done. We need to decide on the colours. We need to ask one of Jon’s neices to be bridesmaid. And I need to start shopping for my wedding dress…

9 months yesterday until our wedding! 🙂

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Pies.

Blog post 5, 21st Oct 2013.

So since my last blog post we have decided our wedding caterers, which is progress.

Turns out that in Devon there are essentially only 2, so it shouldn’t have been too complicated. Being on a budget was our main issue- so many emails went backwards and forwards to the said two companies. Pies seemed to be our cheapest option from one caterer, which at one point I agreed to, until I woke up one morning a week later and realised I don’t actually want pies at my wedding. “So on the menu are some delicious pies, if you’re not keen on that there are also…. some pies”. There was no accompaniment, just pies. Odd wedding food option if you ask me. My fiancé thought it amusing that he had to take another woman to our Wedding Tasting since I am working away. They didn’t seem too bothered by this apparently.

Wedding planning is odd, it’s easy to get swept up in other people’s suggestions (such as the pies), and having not been married before (and not necessarily knowing what I want for a lot of it) I get rather annoyed at myself for not putting my foot down more often- “No thank you, I don’t want gold embossed, personalised paper napkins at my wedding”. That was one my partner and I did manage to turn down at a Wedding Fayre. We have been to a total of 2 Wedding Fayres. My understanding is that they are aimed at the brides, but to be honest I found the experience bewildering. On arriving at our first, the lady on the door said to me “You look like a rabbit in the headlights”, which is precisely how I felt! Jon told me when the womens’ squeals were too high that only dogs could hear them, he was done and we would be leaving.

Since then we have survived a 2nd Wedding Fayre too (we were much more military and organised, not talking to anyone we didn’t want to), and even found our photographer who I instantly liked.

I believe I am still succeeding at goals 1 and 5 to not become BrideZilla, and getting there with goal number 2 to be more organised. As for goal number 3 to include my partner in all decisions, I thought I was doing well until he said to me the other day “I would like to be involved in some part of our wedding planning, at some point”, so maybe not.

Make sure you know your future husband’s birthday.

Blog post 4, 1st Oct 2013.

I have a bad memory, in fact a very bad memory. My excuse is that my partner didn’t know how to spell my middle name until 2 years into our relationship, it’s Clare (no ‘i’). But the truth is that it’s taken me 4 years to remember his birthday. With iPhones and apps nowadays there’s actually no need to remember anybody’s birthday any more. However one gets caught out whilst sat at their ‘intention of marriage’ interview when one is asked their partner’s DOB. The embarrassment of having to actually look it up on my mobile phone has inspired me from now on to never forget his birthday again.

To be fair, things like that don’t really surprise us any more- as this is coming from the couple that celebrated (presents, cutsey texts, meal out, etc) their getting together anniversary on the wrong date for the first two years. We then did the calculations and worked out we were about a week out.

Ah well, once we are married will have a new date to forget!

So we have both given notice of our intention to marry, all sounds very formal. Islington Town Hall is beautiful, and I got excited about my own wedding by a bride arriving at the Town Hall in a beautiful wedding dress, just as I was leaving. Her father (a man whom I assume was her father) looked so proud and happy. I had tears in my eyes, I’m such a sucker for a happy moment and seemingly a lot more emotional in recent months- I now cry at everything. Someone said to me “It’s okay, it’s the engagement”, anyone would think there are hormones flying around in an engagement as I now can’t be relied upon to be rational and non emotional for anything.

photo 1 photo 2

“Buy a dress and rock up”.

Blog post 3, Sep 2013.

Wedding planning is immense, there’s so much to consider. I’m starting to think we should’ve gone to a registry office! I thought I would just “buy a dress and rock up”- I genuinely thought that- I told Jon and a few friends who found this rather naive. I’m still succeeding at rules 1 & 5, but I think failing at no 2. It’s now 8 months since we got engaged. Jon proposed on Christmas Day last year, I really wasn’t expecting it. My exact response was “really?”- Looking back, what was he going to say… “Ha not really!!”- Would’ve been a cruel joke.

I did have suspicions however, for our trip to Paris on Boxing Day. So many people had asked me if I thought he was going to propose that I grown to believe it. I had visions of waiting in anticipation every time he put his hand in his pocket, or got something out of a bag, or paused somewhere romantic. It could have been a long 5 days.

I had no idea there are so many things to consider with wedding planning, and that people are so critical of others’ weddings. It’s like the X Factor for weddings. Perhaps it doesn’t help that I get carried away with ideas, I saw in a magazine one bride arriving on an elephant, I thought this plausible in Devon in the UK. My fiancé did not.

My Maid of Honour asked me if I saw this on TV, very funny:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EwhkzVVapQo&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DEwhkzVVapQo

My favourite line is that the best thing about being married is… “not having to do any wedding planning”. I’m beginning to see the merits to that attitude now.

Lists, post-its, spreadsheets, colour-coding and categorising.

Blog post 2, Aug 2013.

Since my last blog I have continued to succeed at goals 1 & 5 (to not become Bridezilla), but still failing at goal no 2 to be organised about the wedding planning.

We have however, booked a venue for our wedding- very exciting. I listed every venue I could POSSIBLY FIND, in the 3 counties of Devon, Dorset and Somerset (excluding those that were ridiculously expensive). I then made Jon do the same, just in case I had missed any (much to his annoyance).

I LOVE lists. I love making lists, looking at the lists I’ve made, planning what lists I will write, finding different way to write lists (iPhone, paper, post-it notes, notebooks), ticking things off my lists, colour-coding my lists, categorising my lists and so on… So wedding planning should come easily to me. Jon tells me I spend too much time writing lists and not enough time actually doing the things on the lists. This is possibly true, but don’t tell him I said so. My Maid of Honour is similarly organised, so the process of wedding planning should come easily to us. I asked her over lunch one day if she would be Maid of Honour and she admitted that she expected me to ask her and who else could it possibly be. We met through a mutual friend when we were the only 2 single people left on the planet (ie all our friends were coupled-up, we were recently out of relationships and there seemed to be no decent men available.)

We then spent several months dating, going out and making lists of all the things we would do with our new-found freedom. I look back on that time with fond memories, you don’t appreciate the positives of that lifestyle until you meet someone. We now laugh at the fact that I met Jon through a friend of mine and then I set her up with that friend- Turns out our men were right under our noses all along!

So Jon and I viewed a few wedding venues, including one rather unsettling experience where the lady was very what I would call ‘raaaa’- talking about the London properties she used to own, name dropping about who got married there and generally telling us how everyone thinks the venue is worth more than it costs to hire. At about £13k over budget we eventually left and actually found ourselves considering it, we later come to our senses and decided it’s not for us, we don’t need 30 acres. The chapel was beautiful and I had tears in my eyes it was so stunning.

We finally settled on the first venue we originally discussed (!) which is perfect for us.

Jon has chosen his best man, we have started to discuss some initial ideas of things we definitely do and don’t want, and we have the registrar booked. I’m not happy about a stranger marrying us, we don’t even get to to meet them beforehand- I find that very odd.

Next to plan: a photographer and think about invitation designs.

My wedding planning rules to myself.

Blog post 1, July 2013.

My wedding planning rules to myself:

1. Don’t become Bridezilla.

2. Be organised.

3. Make sure it isn’t just what I want, but what we both want.

4. Don’t leave my guests either bored or hungry on the day.

5. Don’t become Bridezilla.

So far I’ve succeeded at numbers 1, 3 (I believe, you’d need to ask my fiance!) and 5.

I’ve been concerned that succeeding at no 2 would lead to failure of no’s 1 & 5, as far as it may take over my life! However, it’s now been 7 months since getting engaged and thus far we have organised very little.

It’s not that I’m not excited, it’s just that I can’t get ‘into it’. It still all seems very surreal, I can’t believe I’m actually getting married!

So Jon and I got together Christmas 2009. I was 28, he was 32. I had decided one week before meeting him, that I was happy being single. I believe you meet someone special when you’re not looking… It wasn’t exactly a fairy-tale story of boy meets girl, they fall in love and live happily ever after. Ours was….

Boy meets girl at a Haloween party, boy flirts with girl then confesses he has a girlfriend. Girl is upset as she liked boy. Girl gets a little drunk (which she doesn’t normally do as she’s aware of the threatening hangover the next day) and on her way to the shed to get more beer falls over. Not a ladylike slip but a skiing accident style, arms and legs everywhere. Result = complete and utter embarrassment. Boy, being a gentleman, didn’t laugh but helped her up.

Several months later boy contacts girl on Facebook (this is seemingly what modern dating has become) and asks her out. Girl hasn’t changed her status from ‘engaged’ to ‘single’ as several months before that was accurate (I was avoiding all the “ahhh what happened?” comments.) Girl and boy both then spend the whole first date wondering “does he still have a girlfriend?” And “is she engaged to someone else?”

We later clarified that we were both single.. then fell in love and lived happily ever after right? Nope! Way too simple. We did then get together, agreed it was exclusive and I have genuinely lovely memories of those following months, falling for him. I love the bit at the beginning of a relationship when it all lies ahead of you, the butterflies and excitement, and the unknown. Jon is thoughtful, patient, intelligent and grounded. We moved in together after we’d been dating for just over a year. I love living with Jon but hadn’t anticipated that his (adorable but) small house wouldn’t have anywhere near enough room for all my shoes. There were no doors to slam in an argument, the bathroom was off the lounge and it was cold. Loved that house, with its original features such as wood beams, blocked up windows due to the 19th century window tax and the original fireplace (until the shower caught fire one day whilst I was in it, and we had to move out for 3 months). It really has put a dampener in my thing for firemen I tell you). We’re not the luckiest of couples!

We have also spent a lot of time apart- I went to New Zealand and Australia for 4 months, spent 3 months working in the UAE, and now live in London 158 miles away from our home in Devon.

So that’s a bit about us. Not the most romantic of starts to a relationship. But three and a half years on we are engaged and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

I decided to write a blog about my wedding planning experience, from a female perspective (which is the perspective all wedding planning seems to be from), as the months go by. Why? I like the idea of writing a diary but never have the commitment to see it through. How will this end? Hopefully in a lovely wedding and a happy marriage!