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.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Venue Hunting - The Pros and Cons

So, two months after the engagement and we still haven’t decided on a venue. It was almost a done deal last night but we thought it would be better to ask the opinions of our nearest and dearest – bad idea.  This has now resulted in us going to look at a brand new venue (after previously visiting the 4 that we shortlisted) to see if it can beat the two that we narrowed it down to. I must admit that I feel very disappointed and fed up with the whole thing now but I’m going to go with an open mind because the fiancĂ© wants to look, it's not just my day and, it may just be a hidden gem that will blow the other 2 out of the water (wishful thinking maybe?).
I’ve now got to the stage where I have said “we’ll get married in the church and then that’s it. No wedding breakfast and no evening reception either”. Drastic maybe but personally, I think a lot of people forget the whole idea of the day. It’s meant to be about the two of you getting married, not having a party for everyone else. So my advice is to prioritise; do you want to spend a big amount of money on one day for everyone else, or compromise and settle for maybe a more intimate affair with less guests, or alternatively, more guests but at a less expensive cost. Do you have the opinion that as it’s your one special day, it would be appropriate to spend a great whack of your hard earned wages? I was of that opinion, but then, after all the planning, excitement and the end of the honeymoon comes round, and you’re both back home watching tv in the rain, could you face the thought of what you could have bought for that amount of money for your new life as a married couple?

My dream venue is coming in at about 10% more expensive than my second choice. My dream venue will only cater for 55 guests maximum. My second choice will cater for 80. Our guest list is 57. My dream venue has no onsite accommodation for us or our guests but has hotels and B&Bs a mile or so up the road. My second choice has an onsite hotel. Saying this, we would like to go on honeymoon the next day so would having somewhere to stay over to have breakfast with family in the morning really be necessary?

I am a Bride on a Budget.  Therefore, I know that if I want my dream venue, I'll have to compromise on other things to save costs.  So what if my dress may not be designer?  I can guarantee nobody will be routing around the back of my dress to try and take a look at my label.  One of my favourite things to do is bake.  I can easily bake my own cake but just pay for somebody to ice the design for me.  See, when needs must, with a little bit of brainstorming and although you may not think it at first, there are ways around paying "wedding prices".

By "wedding prices", I mean the companies who see you coming a mile off when looking for a quote.  Ring around venues, cake designers etc and ask them for a quote.  Never ever book anything there and then (like I was prepared to).  Sleep on your decision, and if you're patient enough, like me, you'll get over your initial excitement and think about your options rationally.  Then go back to your shortlisted suppliers and try to negotiate on their price.  If they aren't prepared to listen, they don't deserve your custom or your money.

I think that sums up this section.  Wait.  Be rational.  Think things through.  Learn to negotiate and don't panic.....it'll get booked when the time is right.  If your first choice is still available on the date you want it a month or two after your first enquiry, it's obviously meant to be!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

The Engagement

My first blog. Where to start? I'm a twenty something, down to earth, usually chilled out kind of girl. I say usually as that is how I used to be. You know, before the lovely boyfriend decided I was The One and whisked me away to the Lake District to propose. It was perfect. He'd asked permission of both my parents, took both mums with him to pick the ring, then rented out a little wooden rowboat on Lake Windermere and managed to even get down on one knee (albeit very carefully) in said boat to produce an even moreso perfect ring so shiny and sparkly which also fitted perfectly , on the only perfectly warm, sunny day of our trip. Not forgetting that this was followed by a posh meal, room upgrade and complimentary champagne from the hotel we were staying at (thank you to The Waterhead Hotel, Ambleside for their hospitality - would definitely recommend it).
I would have put money on it that I wouldn't have cried when he popped the question but I did. Twice. For the rest of the weekend, I was floating on air, as I should think, all those that have been in a similar situation to me, do.
It's nearly 2 months since we've been engaged now. Just to warn you, if you've just recently become engaged, the next few months will be very overwhelming. I had no idea. And, like I said, I usually describe myself as being quite laid back and chilled out, but I'm really fighting the urge to be Bridezilla.
We've set a date for the wedding. It's just under 2 years from now and since day one, all I've said I wanted sorting is the church, venue and photographer. I am a bit of a freak for liking things organised and in lists. I remember saying "once I have those sorted, I'll not mention the wedding again until after Christmas" (we're now in June). I've already bought mirrors for my centrepieces to stand on, table gems, table trivia and my favours. Ok, ok, I got a bit carried away with the excitement but I'm over it now.
I've trawled the internet and magazines for hours to look for potential venues, booked to go see them, narrowed them down to a shorter short-list and are trying to choose between 2. Our vicar inconveniently(!) decided to go on holiday for 2 weeks before giving me a decision on whether our date was available to him and when I'd managed to get hold of the church warden, she told me that as it was nearly 2 years away there was "no rush". Our venue's wedding coordinators didn't seem to appreciate that answer either.....