Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I suppose you could call it the 'Bridget Jones' Diary' (for the wedding industry); I've created it really as a way for me to vent about my upcoming nuptials without boring my nearest and dearest about things that, well, just aren't that important to them but are all I seem to think about now I'm a fully fledged member of the Engagement Club.

Monday, 28 November 2011

My Beautiful Boy Barney

I know this technically isn't wedding related but I couldn't not take the time out to dedicate a post to my beloved dog Barney.

Barney in mum's silk scarf

Firstly, I'll apologise for the quality of the photos but they were taken on my phone and if this post isn't grammatically correct - the following only took place less than 30 hours ago.

We had Barney, a black Labrador, since he was 8 weeks old.  He was stood in our kitchen waiting for me and my sister as a surprise from my mum, back when I was 12.  

He's been the most perfect dog (not that I'm biased).  He never chewed, never barked unless somebody came into the house who he didn't know and was hardly ever poorly, other than having a cough because he had a corn kernel stuck in his throat from running through the corn fields at the back of our house.  I'll be honest, we pampered him so much and so he turned out like his owners; a fussy eater and too laid back for his own good sometimes.  

Thursday, 10 November 2011

For Your Eyes Only - Review

Oh My Gosh. How Amazing was my experience at the For Your Eyes Only studio in Manchester? (yes that is amazing with a capital 'A'). Erm, very!

For your Eyes Only Portraits® is the brainchild of Alexandra Burns. She seriously deserves a big thank you for creating an opportunity for her clients to look and feel utterly fabulous. They have studios located in High Wycombe, Manchester, Essex and Taunton, Somerset. They are a team of all female photographers and makeup artists who use slimming and flattering photo techniques called FYEO® bodysculpting.

"The idea is that you visit one of our specialist black-out, private studios around the UK to be directed into flattering, skin smoothing poses to make you look HOT HOT HOT! You can accessorise your shoot with your own favourite outfits; lingerie, jewellery, shoes etcOur friendly studio is suitable for men, women and couples.Together we will create tastefully sexy, mysteriously arty portraits to capture your more private side. It's a fully body makeover!"

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Wedding Related Market Research - Please Take 5 Minutes to Help Out

It'd mean an awful lot if you'd take (probably not even) 5 minutes out of your busy schedules to complete this market research questionnaire for my wedding orientated friend!

Thank you in advance!

Click here to take survey

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The Planning So Far...

Just to keep you all updated.  We have (depending on how you want to look at it) one year, 5 months, 8 days, or 17 months or 74 weeks or 524 days left until our wedding (I only know this thanks to the Wedding Caddy app on my iPhone - I'm not that obsessive, honest).

Now, I'll admit it.  I'm an organisational freak. There are two things in life that I love (other than Mr S, my family, friends and my pooch).  1. A good moan about things, and 2. Lists.  I have lots of lists.  Lists of things to do today.  Lists with things to do short-term.  Lists for Christmas.  Lists for shopping.  Lists of wedding stuff to do (obviously), and to back them all up, a list of my lists.  I can't help it.  I was once known at my workplace to have surrounded my screen, pin boards and desk with post-it notes with lists on them.  My addiction is as such, so addictive, that now even Mr S writes lists.  Not to the extent that I do but still. Anyway, you get the point.  I love lists and being organised and efficient.

I know some people may think I am getting carried away with booking and planning the wedding at this 'early' stage, but, the way I see it is: -

a)  We get our first choice of various suppliers;
b)  I want to be in the situation that with 6 months to go before wedding, I will have everything sorted so we won't need to do much else therefore alleviating a lot of unnecessary pre-wedding month stress;
c)  We know exactly how much we now have to pay off and how much we need to save each month to do so;
d)  In respect of the above, because we have more months to save, the amount we put away in our savings account on a monthly basis is less than say having to find the money within 12 or 6 months.  I liken this theory to that of a mortgage.  People opt for a 35 year mortgage rather than a 20.  Why?  Because their monthly payments aren't as high;
e)  If I spent any more time looking through the minefield of what is the Wedding Industry trying to pick suppliers and my different options, I think I would literally explode;
f)  I get to tick lots of things off my 'wedding to-do list' and it makes me smile and I get an overwhelming sense of satisfaction when I see I'm getting through it.

Now tell me they are not perfectly good reasons to have started my planning and booking.

So, so far, we have booked/paid for/put our deposit on/decided on/have, our church,which is St Mary's in Marshchapel, Lincolnshire; our venue, the Habrough Boutique Hotel & Restaurant; our photographer, James Green; our wedding transport, Silver Spirit Wedding Cars; my wedding dress, a secret for now but was from Proposals Bridal; another secret is our entertainment but we have it booked; Mr S and the other men's morning suits are from 1860; our place cards are nearly complete; our guest list is as complete as it can be at this stage; hymns are chosen; honeymoon destination is chosen but can't be booked until 11 months before; I know what I'll be walking down the aisle to; the guest book is bought; I've planned a few surprises for Mr S;  our insurance is from E and L Insurance and yesterday, we picked out our wedding rings from Ernest Jones Jewellers.  Although, we haven't actually paid our deposit as Mr S wanted to be sensible and sleep on it.

So you see, nearly all of our 'main' things are in place.  Other than the bridesmaids' dresses (and this has only been put off because one of my bridesmaids is pregnant), flowers (as I'm waiting to have a look at a supplier's work at a wedding I'll be going to soon) and cake (I've not decided on a final design yet but I'm nearly there!), it's really just the nitty gritty things that need sorting out.  To be honest, when I look at my nitty gritty list, a slight sense of panic and anxiety overcomes me.  The list is just so long and I can't get anything ticked off it yet which secretly makes me want to rip the list into little pieces.

I'm concentrating on looking out for shoes and accessories at the minute.  I've also just finished a few mock designs of different invitation styles.  I just need to show Mr S so we can make a decision on which we prefer, then I can start sourcing the materials to get them made!  

Am I too organised (as in freakishly?), or am I sensible?  Leave me a comment, I'd love to know your opinions or tips!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Magician Anyone?

I'm very excited to have Mr Mark Waddington guest posting on my blog today.  Personally, I'm already sold on the idea but if you're still not sure on whether or not to hire a magician for your wedding, read on...

Reasons to hire a wedding Magician

When you are sorting everything out for your wedding day, hiring a close up magician doesn’t really come at the top of the list of priorities. You need to sort out your wedding cake, the photographer, the dresses etc. But, when you decide you do want to hire some kind of entertainment, there are many good reasons for booking a mix and mingle magician:

Keep Your Guests Entertained!

The most obvious reason for hiring any kind entertainment is for them to entertain people! At a wedding, there are undoubtedly a few periods of time which are quite long and drawn out for your guests. One of the times where you really need to provide entertainment for your guests (and is often forgotten about to be honest!) is during the photograph period. As the happy couple, yourself and your partner will be really busy getting them perfect shots for the wedding album which will leave you little time to go round and chat to your guests, so that will just leave your guests at the bar waiting around to either see you or wait for their call for photographs. By hiring a magician for this time slot, it will keep your guests entertained whilst they wait to take a more active role in the day! Typically the photograph period would last 90 minute to 2 hours, and is usually tied in with the drinks reception.

Another time during the wedding day where entertainment for your guests is crucial is at that point between the wedding breakfast and the evening reception. Some guests may want to go back to their hotel room for a bit, but yet again, more often than not your guests will just be left in the bar waiting for the next part of the wedding proceedings. Put a magician in at that point where it’s a bit more relaxed and a bit more informal and it will go down an absolute treat. It also shows to your guests that you have really thought about them. This period of time also can last about 90 minutes, so if you are considering hiring a magician for this period of time, why not book him for about 2 hours (depending on how many guests you have of course!) so then they can entertain guests that have been invited to the evening reception too!

Bring Your Guests Together

At a wedding, two different families are being brought together in the bond of matrimony, and the chances are that the majority of them will have never met one and other before the wedding! By hiring a mix and mingle magician, the two families will have something to talk about amongst themselves (y’know, like how good the magician was, and scratching their heads in unison over the perplexity of the situation that happened literally inches away from them, that sort of thing) and as a result the bridge will have been crossed and conversation amongst them will be so much easier for the rest of the day. This also reinforces why it is good to have a magician during the photographs, as this is the first chance during the wedding that guests have an opportunity to mix with each other, making it a perfect time to throw something in to get the conversation going!

Make It Easier For Your Guests

Weddings last all day, and by keeping things fresh and different for them, it will keep them interested, keep their energy up and give them something to remember the day by! A magician gives your guests a common talking point for the day (“ooooh, did you see the magician? He was dead good, and my wasn’t he attractive…” – you get the idea) and that extra something to remember your big day by. Of course they will remember your wedding day for what it is, but they will have something extra to remember, and years down the line when reminiscing about the whole occasion the subject of the magician will crop up again

Stand Out From The Crowd

Having a wedding magician is still a relatively new concept. There is on average 300,000 weddings a year in the UK alone, and I perform at probably about 70 weddings in a year, it is still a very different thing to do and you will be safe in the knowledge that you were probably the first one in your group of friends that has hired a magician for the wedding! (But obviously, all your friends will want to book the magician when they see just how much fun they can be, so make sure you tell your friends who you booked, then you can be safe in the knowledge that you were the trend setter!) Brides want something a bit different for their wedding day, so why not have a magician for that purpose!

Well, that is just a handful of reasons to book a professional magician for your big day. When you have decided you want to book a magician, you need to make sure you book the right one or, one that actually is what he or she says he is! (Make sure if they say they are a professional magician, that they are actually a professional and they don’t just do magic to earn a bit of money on the side – don’t be afraid to check their credentials and ask for references). The right professional magician for you might be me. Have a look at my website Yorkshire Wedding Magician 

If you would like a few reasons as to why Mark is ideal for you, then take a look here: 

-          About the author –
Mark Waddington is a professional close up magician based in Yorkshire. He travels all over the UK performing magic at various functions and weddings, with in excess of 140 bookings a year, but specialises in providing wedding entertainment. You can find out all about Mark by visiting his website Yorkshire Wedding Magician

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Exciting News!

I know, I know.  I've neglected my pink pages of blogginess for a while but I've had so much going on in my non-wedding world, it seems to have taken its toll on my ability to find any spare time to update you. 

Anyway.  My exciting news that I'd like to share with you all is that (insert big fanfare noise here) I've finally chosen my wedding dress! Decision made, deposit paid.  Bish, bash, and indeed, bosh.

About a month and a bit ago, I'd asked one of my local bridal shops to order in a specific Maggie Sottero gown that I'd seen grace the pages of many a bridal magazine, and, me being the sensible soul that I am, decided that before I put my deposit down, I needed to try it on first.  It was the Maggie Sottero Isadora Marie.  An absolutely stunning gown.  I actually can't fault it and would be jealous of any bride who has this as their dress.  But, I just felt like it wasn't as timeless, classic, elegant as the one I have chosen for me.

Isadora Marie
My dress is the first dress I'd picked out.  I love how 'me' it is and know that Mr S will love it too.  This is the dress I've had in my mind all along and as I stood there, looking in the ivory, carved wooden mirror, and a tear pricked at my eye, I knew right then, it was The One.  This was the decision that the other brides to be and their friends/sisters/mums had chipped in with too while watching me prance around the bridal shop floor.  I won't lie, having all the people in the shop look and compliment me was such a good feeling.  Who doesn't like to be told how beautiful, elegant and timeless they look?

As I got dressed back into my jeans, coat and scarf, I felt frumpy, cold and sad (it was a very cold day). I'm one of those annoying 'cold people'; you know, the ones that still wear tights in summer and have a jumper and slippers on at night time even when it's still 20'c outside and the one who asks her colleagues to put the heating on even when they're sat there in a summery top and turning their desk fans on.  I hadn't noticed until then that in my dress, I hadn't even felt the cold.  I'm hoping this will still be the case come April, otherwise I may have to find a way of strapping a hot water bottle under my dress as a mini central heating system.  I'm not even kidding.

I sat down to fill in the paperwork with the assistant when I noticed the final price was higher than the actual price of the dress (which, may I add, was only £35 about budget which came as a nice surprise as I thought it would be a lot more).  I didn't even take into account the alterations charge, the 'ordering in' charge (I'm still not sure what that is) and the price of the hoop that I'll need.  

As you know, I'm on a budget and charging £65 for a hoop because they don't hire them any more, is ridiculous.  I'm very aware that you need a decent quality hoop for your dress so that it looks and fits right under your gown but seriously, £65?  I'm planning on looking for one similar on eBay, which I've found for a modest £15.99.  In the words of Mr Tesco, every little helps.  

My bridal shop was running a promotion and have generously given me a £100 voucher to be spent on any accessories I'd like, such as a veil, shoes, jewellery that they have to offer.  The veil they gave me to try on with my gown cost an equally ridiculous £129.99.  So really, if I wanted it and used my voucher, it would only cost me £29.99.  I think I'll probably search for one on eBay, Preloved or Sell My Wedding and use my voucher on a statement piece of jewellery or hairpiece.   I have found a pair of shoes on Chockers Shoes which are lush and only £35 so feel like using the voucher against a pair of £70 shoes would be wasteful.  I'm aware I'm probably coming across as tight-fisted but I'll never wear ivory shoes again and my dress is floor length.  I'm trying to be savvy!

Mr S has been very inquisitive, asking what my dress is like.  Of course, I haven't told him anything about it but if I look like the image in his head;

"it'll be straight across (at the neckline), long, skinny-fit with a small puddle-shaped bit at the back.  Oh, and have a net thingy on your head".  

I think he meant veil.  I'm glad we're not on Don't Tell The Bride, that's for sure!  

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

I'm Still Here!

Just a quick note to apologise to those who have been returning to my blog expecting to find new posts.  I've just recently been on holiday and now I'm ill with some sort of cold/virus thing that has pretty much knocked me for 6.

Expect business as usual very soon!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Bridezillas, Please Take Note!

In light of recent events, (those of you on Twitter may already be accustomed to my woes) I thought it may be appropriate to write a Jerry Springer ‘Last Word’ kind of post.

You see, weddings are THE occasion that celebrates the love and devotion between two people who are happy to commit and spend the rest of their lives together.  Naturally, the two people will want their nearest and dearest to witness their commitment to each other when they express their vows to one another, be it, in the eyes of God or during a civil ceremony.

Traditionally, this is all that happened at a wedding.  It was once enough for two people in love to ask their friends and families to come together for one day to celebrate, be happy for the couple involved and cease the opportunity for the families to unite. 

These were the times before us, the times when a bride wore white because she actually deserved to and the husband traditionally carried their new wife over the threshold.  Heck, if you actually lived with your spouse prior to marriage then you had a quiet wedding and no fanfare at all! The big shindig, booze up and frolics on the hen and stag all came about at a later date (of which, I think we can all agree, are pleased about).

My point is, your wedding day is truly about getting married to the man (or woman) that you love and have willingly vowed to spend your life with.  Please don’t allow yourself, your sister, daughter, mum, cousin, aunt or whoever it is you know that is getting to be a bit of a Bridezilla, to think that the highlight and most important part of the day will be something which in essence, is a bit trivial in the cold light of day; the seating arrangements, the food choice, whether the cake has 2 tiers or 10, or the entertainment for your guests.  In fairness, your guests will be happy for you with whatever you choose and appreciate the fact that you have invited them to attend, witness and celebrate with you on one of the most special days of both of your lives.  

Getting over-emotional at the fact your cousin’s, best friend’s auntie had the same band as you is, to me, pretty bloody stupid.  So what if your next door neighbour wants the same colour scheme as what you’ve planned?  Who cares (apart from maybe you) that your invitations resemble the tiniest bit to the one you’ve just received for your other half’s sister’s friends wedding?

Another thing I think is key; don't be in competition with somebody else you know who is planning their day.  That is exactly what is it.  Their day.  Yours is completely separate and where the phrase "different strokes for different folks" is extremely important to remember. 

Your friend may love the idea of having a carnival or circus themed wedding, filled with fun and featuring bright colours and things to entertain in every direction you look.  This, on the other hand, may be your idea of hell.  And vice versa.  Do you see my point yet?  Do you? 

I'm not trying to put a dampner on anyone's day (honestly, I'm not).  It is, afterall, one of, if not THE most important day of your lives.  It's just that after going through this scenario over the last couple of weeks, with it heightening in the last few days, I've pondered over what is the meaning of marriage and how scarily huge the wedding industry is and how we can all get sucked in to thinking, what fundamentally is a jolly good knees up, is the most significant part of the day.  It isn't.

Please just take a step back from the Wedding Bubble you have surrounded yourself in for the past few months.  Remember that life is still carrying on as normal and will continue to do so after the event.  Most importantly, remember that this day is about you and your partner, standing in front of each other and your loved ones (who will continue to love both of you no matter what centrepiece you’ve chosen), to hear you vow to love and to cherish, from this day forward.

Love is all you need.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

So, What Am I Meant To Be Doing?

I've complied a list; a directory, if you will, of what the people involved in your wedding, are meant to do.  I've made out that this is a guide for you, the lovely readers, but it's actually me trying to be a bit sneaky and Bridezillaish and make sure the people in my wedding will read this post and follow instruction!

I've sourced the best sites and links to establish what your bridesmaids, best man, ushers....(etc etc) are supposed to take care of and their other various duties.

So here goes...

Chief Bridesmaid/Maid or Matron of Honour:


Best Man:


Mother of the Bride:

Father of the Bride:

Page Boys & Flower Girls:

Other Attendees/Guests:

The Groom:
 Other than to actually show up(!)....

Whichever role or responsibility you may have, now you know your duty, be prepared to be greeted by one happy, appreciative Bride(zilla).

Thank you to all mentioned websites and blogs for sharing their must needed advice and knowledge.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Bridal Party Gifts....Traditional or Unconventional?

Photography by James Green Studio

I've a way off my big day, just over 18 months to be honest. But my thoughts turned to my bridesmaids. Well, not just my bridesmaids but bridesmaids in general.

When I was a bridesmaid, I received a beautiful topaz and diamond necklace and I know people who have received flowers, champagne and jewellery as a token of appreciation but are they still an acceptable gift nowadays or are your right-hand girls (or boys) expecting something a little more unique?

Even though I am a bride on a budget, I still want to thank everyone who is helping me now, and will have helped come April 2013, make our day extra special.

Christmases, birthdays and in general, I am an easy person to buy a gift for. I'm grateful, appreciative and love to receive chocolate (not least because I'm a raving chocoholic), flowers, yes, even the £2 a bunch kind from the local supermarket, a gift voucher or cash. I know some people are of the opinion that a gift voucher is a bit of a cop out as it doesn't show any thought, as is the cash giving option, but I shall bore you with an example.

For our engagement, we received cash - not that we actually expected anything so it did come as a lovely surprise! Some people apologised, actually apologised for "just giving money". I don't understand why. With the money we received, we clubbed it together to buy a clay chimenea for our back garden and a large plant pot to rehouse our Devil's Ivy (which is currently taking over our hallway now it has more room to grow. Come see for yourself, seriously, it's like walking through a jungle before heading upstairs to bed). We'd wanted a chimenea for ages but it's one of those items that you sometimes don't have the spare cash to go out and buy for yourself. We also have a gift voucher for one of my favourite shops - Swags & Tails in Waltham, near Grimsby, Lincolnshire. They get new deliveries of different items every 3-4 weeks and we've yet to choose something to spend it on but I can't wait! Finally, me and Mr S have been saying for about a year now that we'd like a wood-burning fire but we've never gotten round to it for various reasons; time and lack of funds being just two but very main reasons. As a belated engagement gift, and when we get round to actually looking, we're having a contribution to our wood-burner.

So there you go, our loved ones who "just gave money" or a gift voucher have indeed made us very happy as we have things we couldn't have afforded to go and get ourselves and we're more than grateful for that.

Photography by James Green Studio
The point of that little ramble is to make brides think; do we buy our bridal party's 'thank you' gifts with something traditional, that maybe we would be happy receiving ourselves? Something like a bouquet of flowers, or a nice piece of jewellery that can maybe be worn on the day of the wedding? How about a gift voucher for them to book themselves in to receive a long needed relaxing massage, facial or pedicure. After all, they don't have a luxurious honeymoon planned to de-stress after the months of planning like us!

Or, do we try and tailor make their gifts to suit their personalities? You can even get things engraved with names and dates. Maybe one of your girls is like me and is a chocolate fiend. You could buy a basket or box, line it with tissue paper (colour to match your colour scheme to tie it in with the wedding day) and fill it with chocolatey goodness.

Same applies to wine lovers, cheese lovers, makeup or beauty babes, health freaks - you could use fruit, a voucher for a personal trainer session etc.

If one of your bridesmaids is usually a little bit short of cash, why not treat them to something you know they'd love but would never splash out on themselves. Maybe a lush pair of shoes, or a designer handbag, obviously depending on your budget.

How about a Pandora (or other charm bracelet manufacturer) bead or charm? It combines being traditional - the gift of a piece of jewellery - but also being able to personalise your gift with the type of charm or bead you choose for her.

Depending on when you hold your wedding, bridesmaids standing around all day in the summer months may appreciate a pretty fan, or for those bridesmaids you have wearing maybe strapless or spaghetti-strap dresses in the winter or cooler months, a wrap or bolero may be a nice and appreciated touch.

In all fairness, I do think that being asked to be a bridesmaid is supposed to be an honour and although I may be sounding a bit Bridezilla here, I'm actually just turning the tables and thinking about if it was me being a bridesmaid for someone else. I'd not expect a gift. Especially if the bride hasn't asked for the maids to pay for anything themselves. But to be perfectly honest, I think the idea of 'thank you' gifts can spiral out of control. If your bridesmaids are the type that expect you to spend an arm and a leg and aren't quite accustomed to the concept of a 'token of appreciation', especially if she knows you're on a budget, then maybe you should re-think whether that person is the right person for the job; the one who really knows you and will be there to support you through those smiles, memories and laughter and again through the tears, tantrums and late DIY nights!

If you have any other ideas or have been a bridesmaid who received an amazing (or not so amazing) gift, leave a comment to let me know! Same applies to all brides out there; what did you, or what are you going to be giving your girls?

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Sass & Belle

One of my colleagues' sisters got married last week and kindly notified me about the wonderfulness of Sass & Belle. 

Sass & Belle offer giftware, vintage gifts and home decorations not to mention a whole section dedicated to wedding decorations!  If that hasn't caught your attention enough to go check out their website, their prices are exceptionally reasonable too, even for us brides on a budget.

Rose Garland, approx 180cm in length.
Available in cream, light pink and vintage pink - £8.95

These would look gorgeous draped over doorways, bannisters, around your cake or entwined around candelabras or birdcage centrepieces.

Birds Nest Hanging Tealight Holder - £6.95

Suspended by a 45cm chain with a hook at the end, hung around your venue or in the trees, would create a romantic, county garden feel to your wedding and can be used in your back garden after the event at a post-wedding BBQ!

Large cream vintage wire heart - 51 x 56cm - £9.95
Also comes in small - £4.95
I love the idea of using these as a DIY table plan.  You can display names and tables on the large heart or group several of the small ones on a board and use each heart to represent each table.

Cream wooden 'Mr & Mrs' - £5.95
20 x 8cm
Split into 3 separate pieces, can be displayed however you like!  Also would make a fabulous gift for the newlyweds.

DIY brides take note of their crafts and sewing section.  Lace, ribbon, buttons and pompoms that will be perfect to create invites, RSVPs and menus etc.

* All pictures and prices are correct at 25/08/11 on the Sass & Belle website.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Wedding Dress Dilemma - Part II

So, to carry on from the last saga you may have read about my wedding dress dilemma (if not, you can read it here). 

My second visit to try on dresses was with my mum and Mr S' mum; 'the Two Mums' if you will.  It's important to me that they see my choices and I hear their opinions.  For some reason, I was so nervous.  The kind of nervous when you feel sick, your hands are clammy and you have butterflies and a bit of a dry mouth.  I don't even know why.  If anyone has any suggestions or explanation as to why, please comment.  I think I'd maybe convinced myself that it was THE day I'd put down my deposit on the dress I'd become Mrs S in.  The dress I'd be wearing when I walked down the aisle a single girl and to walk back up the aisle a married woman (insert squeal of excitement here). 

I met the Two Mums at Proposals.  I hadn't told them which dresses I liked, I wanted to try a few on and for them to see for themselves and form an opinion.  The first dress I tried on was my Maggie Sottero gown.  I absolutely love this dress.  Does it make me sound weird if I say that even though it was maybe 2 sizes too big, it fitted like a glove?  Well, anyway, it did.

The next was my Opulence by Natalie M dress.  I stood in the middle of the shop.  Beaming smile.  "Ok, you can look now!" I said.  My mum's eyes opened really wide.  Not in a good way.  My smile faded.  She got up and started to walk around me.  I stood stiff like a child getting told off by their parent.  She started pawing at the skirt and fixing the train.  

"What's wrong with it?" I said in a tone that sounded a bit too aggressive.  "Nothing.  I'm just surprised you've picked something like this.  I do like it though now I've had a proper look at it".  She paused. "Yeah, it's nice.  I love this part".  Phew.

We left it there and I led them to Pronuptia.  Like I mentioned in Part I, I tried one of my favourites on and immediately knew that it wasn't The One. 

My mum has always had an image in her mind of me wearing something slim fitting, maybe a fishtail and a modest train.  Something maybe a little bit like this...

Justin Alexander - 8478

However, I can exclusively reveal that my dress will not look like that. 

Anyway, I tried on a dress similar, just for the benefit of my mum.  As soon as I walked out of the changing rooms, she pulled a face.  Worse than the one previously described.  To clarify, we're all now clear that the above type of dress is not an option for me.

As I unwillingly put my boring work clothes back on, I pulled out a Justin Alexander dress and announced that I'd wanted to try that one on the last time I was there.  I'd asked for it to be put in the changing room for me and when the assistant was about to tighten everything into place, I'd asked how much it was, to which she'd replied a figure that was above my budget.  I immediately told her I wanted to take it off.  Why would I want to torture myself by trying it on, to fall in love with it, to not be able to afford it?  So I didn't get to see it in all its glory.  Not that time anyway.

"Well, why don't you just try it on and see", said the Two Mums.  So I did.

It was beautiful.  Amazing.  I felt beautiful and amazing in it too.  But it was short lived as the feeling was tainted with the fact that I couldn't afford it.  I felt so disappointed.

In the car on the way home, the Two Mums were trying their best to pick out imaginary faults with the dress to make me feel a bit better.  I did love them for that but at the same time, you all know what its like when you really want something and you can't have it.  You don't listen to anyone else.  You want it, and that's that.

Plus with the added cost of a veil/headband/tiara, it just mounts up.  I never knew a head piece could cost so much.  How embarrassingly naive of me.

I got home, just as my grocery shopping van pulled up.  That poor woman who had to come and drop my shopping off.  Little did she realise she'd double up as a therapist for the next 10 minutes while I ranted and offloaded my disappointment on to her.  She did try and plug her photography skills to me but after realising I'd just rambled on and on to a complete stranger, I had to very politely decline her offer as I have already booked James Green

The phone rang.  It was Mr S' mum.  Apparently she'd told Mr S' dad the story of that afternoon and he'd very generously said he would put the extra money towards the dress if it's what I really wanted.  I was so grateful.  I mean really, he didn't need to do that at all but he did. 

It's a curse and a blessing to have such a sensible head on my shoulders.  On one hand, I could have the dress I loved but on the other hand, would I be walking down the aisle thinking "I can't believe how much this dress cost to only be wearing it for 12 hours max". 

I've since slept on it and as time has passed, one of my 'original' dresses have still stuck in my mind and I don't feel so disappointed with the expensive dress. 

I've decided to book appointments to go try them all on again.  I think of one in particular and it makes me smile.  I'm taking the Two Mums with me again.  I've booked a whole day off work so I won't be rushing around before closing time (as previously), and I've decided to go to another shop, just to look.

Although saying that, I'm pleased (and surprised at myself) that I'm not in the frame of mind that I have to visit every single wedding dress shop in the area in case I'm 'missing out', but as I have the whole day off work to be all wedding-y, I thought I'd take the opportunity to visit another shop.  What harm can it do?  Other than confuse me even more.  Brilliant.

So that's my story so far.  I'm continuing this whole saga next Thursday.  Maybe in the meantime, I can take note of Kim Kardashian's wedding dress.  I know I can't afford Vera Wang but a girl can dream can't she?

Kim Kardashian's wedding dress as anticipated by Madame Tussuad's

Click here to see the full story of Kim Kardashian's wedding dress as reported by the Daily Mail Online.

Wishing Kim and Kris a long, happy marriage, full of love, laughs and happy memories.  Good luck!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Wedding Dress Dilemma - Part I

Ok ladies (and gents?), The Time has come (N.B. 'The Time' has already been and gone but for the purposes of this particular blog - just roll with it).  'The Time' being for my first ever wedding dress shopping experience.  Eeeeeeek!

Well it happened last Friday.  Just to put you in the picture should you have not read my post Five Minute Freak Out, I hadn't a clue what sort of dress I wanted.  I didn't know what colour I wanted, (p.s. who knew there were THAT many shades of white and ivory?), I didn't know what style, what material, which designer that ticks my boxes (as I don't actually have any boxes), whether I wanted a train, whether I wanted sparkle, whether I wanted to be elegant, glamorous, fun, relaxed, sophisticated....I could go on but you get the gist.   The only thing I knew for sure was that I didn't want anything in my hair, especially not a tiara.  I don't think I'm a tiara kind of girl.  Don't get me wrong, I think they look beautiful on other brides, just not me. 

As I was saying, it happened last Friday.  It was a grey, cloudy but horrendously muggy afternoon.  I think it was maybe 24 'c (degrees).  Basically, it wasn't the best afternoon to go trying on big, heavy gowns.  But yes, I still did.  I'd arranged to meet up with one of my friends.  I pressed the doorbell of Proposals Bridal.  Excited but nervous.  The lady there buzzed us in and after a brief chat, I was left to look around the rails of luxurious, dreamy, exquisite dresses. 

I started looking.  'Ummed' and 'ahhhed', got distracted by something shiny, cooed over pretty hair pieces, went back to the rails, got distracted by the amazing shoes, realised I needed a dress first and so again, went back to the rails.  I picked out 4 - one of each designer the shop stocked, apparently.  Unbeknown to me, they were all quite similar, and nothing like what I'd imagine I would have picked.  It seemed to be quite a subconscious decision but I went with it and tried them on. 

The first I tried was a Natalie M (Opulence Collection).  It was magical.  Stunning.  I couldn't even look myself in the long, cream and beautifully carved mirror as I heard myself shriek "oh my God...I look like an actual bride".  The dream now fast becoming a reality.  Overwhelmed, is I think the right way to describe how I felt.  

Now, just for the record, the pictures I'm using are for illustration only.  I'm not going to give away the style, shape, colour etc of the dress I liked as I have people who will be coming to the wedding who read this, so being a bit secretive about it!  As you can see, Natalie M's gowns are absolutely beautiful.

Natalie M - Opulence, 2011 Collection - 'Carnation'

Natalie M - Opulence, 2011 Collection - 'Fluer'  

The next I tried on was a Maggie Sottero.  Again, absolutely stunning.  I could tell that it was going to be a tough decision already and I'd only tried two on!

All brides should visit the Maggie Sottero website.  I challenge anyone to not want to try at least one of those fabulous designs on.

As I was saying, the third and fourth dresses I can't even remember.  That's how I know they aren't MY dress. 

After that, we went and had cream tea with scones at a local little bistro as we had a bit of time to spare before my next appointment.  For those that are interested, it was yummy.

Next we went to Pronuptia.  (Pronuptia are sponsors of The Lincs Wedding Show held on 4th September 2011).

I was attended to by Maria, who was absolutely lovely!  Just because they were there, hanging on the rail, teasing me, I HAD to try on one of the new Disney Collection by Alfred Angelo.

Alfred Angelo - Disney Collection - 'Belle'

Alfred Angelo - Disney Collection - 'Ariel'

I cooed over a specific one of the Disney collection for a long while before declaring it too over budget.  I'm not telling you which one just yet though. 

I did try on an amazingly elegant gown by Sincerity.  After trying this on, it was in my Top 2.  And, I found out that it was in the sale too at a fabulously bargainous price.  However, I have since been back to try it on again and near enough immediately knew it wasn't 'The One'.

Sincerity Bridal - 3542
I decided that enough was enough for one day.  Overcome with a lot of different emotions, I'd go home and sleep on the days events before coming to any decision.  I was excited, in a stupidly happy mood and couldn't wait to ring my mum and tell her what I'd seen.  I felt so loved up and was like a puppy, eagerly waiting for my fiance to get home from work.  If only, it was the same story when I had my second visit a week later......

I do have a Wedding Dress Dilemma - Part II, but you'll just have to wait until then.  Till next time.  x

* Images courtesy of their respective designer's websites. 

Monday, 8 August 2011

Meringue Wedding Dress Boutique

Meringue Wedding Dress Boutique

Meet Meringue.  Not the whipped egg-white kind but an oh-so-cute wedding dress boutique in the city of Lincoln.  They offer exclusive custom made wedding dresses and veils from their very own workshop.

I personally haven't come across another wedding dress shop who can offer a bespoke service such as them.  They encourage brides to visit the boutique or get in touch with an idea or design to create a truly gorgeous gown for your special day.

Their philosophy is quite simple...

"A beautiful dress and immaculate service... something we believe every bride deserves for her big day. Our truly special experience allows the dedicated time & support required to create the perfect wedding gown".

Every bride wants to feel special, and by the sounds of it, the Meringue Boutique will do exactly that.  And more!

Apart from being dedicated, creative, stylish and having a gorgeous looking boutique showcasing amazing gowns, check this out for a claim to fame -  Mr Leon Lloyd, an ex rugby international, and his wife Lisa, chose Meringue to design and create her beautiful candy pink silk and chiffon dress (see below) when she and her husband were guests at Zara and Mike's Royal Wedding in Edinburgh on Saturday 30th July.  Impressive!

                                                    Guests arrive for the Royal wedding of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall at Canongate Kirk on July 30, 2011 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips will marry England rugby player Mike Tindall today at Canongate Kirk. Many royals are expected to attend including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

To give you another little look at what they have to offer, I urge you to go and visit their website Meringue to see more divine designs and to get in touch with those that can create your dream gown for your dream day.

'Angel Bloom' - a favourite of mine!

*  Photos courtesy of Love Meringue website

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Real Brides Q & A


I'm looking for some real brides and brides-to-be to be to answer a quick few questions about their big day.  Things like, venue location, dress designer, fruit cake or sponge cake....You get the gist.  Just a bit of fun.

Get in touch via Twitter xxChloeWxx, leave me a comment on this post or drop me an email by clicking here and I'll give you a few quick-fire questions which will then appear for all other brides to see!  See below for my example...

Name: Chloe W
Date of Wedding: 6th April 2013
FiancĂ©(e) Name:  Mr S
Budget:  £0-5000,  £5001-10,000, £10,001- 15,000 , £15,001 – 20,000, More than £20,0001
Church/Civil Ceremony: Church – St Mary’s, Mashchapel, Lincolnshire
Reception:  Habrough Hotel, Habrough, Lincolnshire,
Number of Guests:  approx. 60 day, 130 night.
Insured:  Yes.  E & L Insurance.
Wedding Dress Designer:  TBA – Will be decided on Thursday!
Groom’s Attire:  Not even managed to get him to look at a picture of one yet.  Still looking!          
Number of Bridesmaids:  2
Number of Flower Girls/Page Boys:  2 page boys.                                 
Fruit Cake or Sponge Cake:  Sponge cake
Cake by:  Not ordered yet – still looking!
Photographer:  James Green Studio – James Green Studio
DJ or Band:  DJ but if budget stretched would hire a band also.
Veil, Hairpiece, Flower or Other:  TBA
Shoes:  Will be heels.  Have my eye on a few but will decide after chosen  dress!
Something Old, New, Borrowed, Blue?:  My new will be my dress, the others, well, I’m open to offers from nearest and dearest!
Transport to/from Reception:  Still looking!
Sweetie Bar, yes or no?:  I like them but may not have one at my own wedding
Colour Scheme/Theme:  Ivory as a base – English Country Garden.
Are you having entertainment?:  Not sure just yet.
First Dance Song:  TBC
Stationery designed and made by:  Me.  I’ll be making it all myself.
Honeymoon:  Maldives
Any top tips to share?:  Shop around and try not to  pay the first price you’re quoted if you can help it - always try to negotiate.   Also, make the most of friends and family with a talent!
Websites, suppliers or blogs worth a mention:  See the side of my blog page for blogs I follow and ‘My Wedding Suppliers’ page on my blog for, you guessed it, my wedding suppliers!  www.yourchurchwedding.org is an interesting read for those having a church wedding.