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.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Alternative Bouquets

Unlike my last post (sorry, I did warn you about that), this is just a quick one to tell you about Love Bouquets.  The name of this company says it all.  I am actually a little bit in love with their bouquets.   Take a little look.

Absolutely gorgeous
'Perfectly Pearl' - £220*
And for your bridesmaids or flower girls....

Bridesmaids Posy - £35*

Or how about this if you're having a black and pink colour scheme...

Buttonhole - £10*

I love the idea that the bouquet can be kept forever and your bridesmaids, mothers of the bride and groom can all take away a keepsake of your special day.  To add to that, a gorgeous and lovely thought that one day, your bouquet could be passed down for future generations to use at their wedding - their something old and borrowed perhaps?

Personally, I've never been to a wedding that have had these types of bouquets and instead have opted for the tradition of using fresh flowers.  If I did attend a wedding where a Love Bouquet had made an appearance, I can guarantee it would be a talking point then and for many months afterwards. 

So if you're looking to add a bit of personality and want a break from the norm, I'd definitely recommend heading to the Love Bouquet website to see what they can do for you.  Sheila and Natalie (a mother and daughter in law - awww) are open to discussion (within reason I should imagine!) about different designs to make your day truly special. 

*  All prices stated are correct as on the http://www.lovebouquets.co.uk/ website on 31st July 2011.  Photos courtesy of the Love Bouquets website.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Another Rant Anyone?

I thought I'd start off with a warning.  This isn't going to be a short read, or influential or relevant to weddings at all really,  I'm just wanting to vent.  Again.  So are you sitting comfortably?  Then let me tell you about the series of events that happened to little 'ole me recently.  Well, Thursday night to be precise. 

It was my (soon to be) sister-in-law's birthday.  Mr S was working late so I said I would drop off her gift as soon as I left work.  I have been to their farm (she's married to a farmer) on countless occasions but as all country roads look the same to me, I'm never sure which roads I'm meant to follow.  After a courtesy-here's-the-directions-again-good-luck phone call from Mr S before I set off, I made my way through town and further out into the sticks.  Traffic thinned out, I was getting closer.  Then all of a sudden, from round a corner, a mahoosive tractor (a green one) towing an equally mahoosive wagon (in a matching green) was hurtling towards me.  He didn't slow down or anything and I had to swerve the car up on to the pavement to avoid being squished.  He didn't even care.  So I swore at him.  A lot.

Anyway, I carried on.  I was on the road I needed to turn right at the end of, however, 20 meters before my right turn which would have led me to the farm, a little man in a fluorescent orange jacket stuck a 'ROAD CLOSED' sign in front of me.  "But pleeeease?" I asked.  "No" said the little man.  So I turned down an even littler lane and followed a Tesco van who obviously didn't know where he was going either.  I know this because when we were 5-10 miles out in open countryside with only one lone house (you know, proper horror movie territory), he put his reverse lights on.  So I did the same.  He motioned for me to go first but I hadn't a clue where I was so politely smiled and waved him on in front of me.  I probably shouldn't have done in hindsight as the car was running on fumes.  I panicked and phoned Mr S.  "Well where are you?" "I don't know" I shrieked with a lump in my throat.  He tutted the 'God-you're such-a girl' tut.  The phone cut out as evidently, people who live in the middle of nowhere actually like to be cut off from the rest of the world and don't have any phone signals.  I sped up to try and find the Tesco van and managed to make my way back to a little village I know.  That's when Mr S phoned me again giving me more than a million directions all in one go.  I mean, how the heck am I meant to remember all of them when I'm lost?  In my panic stricken and angry/upset voice, I told him he had to stay on the phone and guide me to his sister's house whilst driving as I had told him I didn't know where I was going when I was on my own so this was all his fault.  Credit due.  He was fab.  Just like a sat nav but you could also have extra conversation and he checked I was still ok when pulling out of tricky junctions.  It did freak me out that he knew exactly where I was as I was driving (I had to check the car for hidden cameras and such like).  I drove past the farm, realised, started to do a 3-point-turn then realised a car was coming towards me.  Fast.  Turns out it was the in-laws.  I'd made it.  It was 40 minutes since I left work.  My shopping order was due to be delivered in 10 minutes. Turns out, my shopping was late anyway so it didn't matter too much. 

Not knowing this, I made a mad dash home.  I was met with a big hug in the back garden by Mr S who had now returned home from work (conveniently). 

Now, I've got a bit of a problem with my neighbours.  Two elderly gentlemen on either side of us.  Whilst I'm reading a book, doing something of obvious importance, or even just sunbathing (a rare occurrence nevertheless), they shout to each other over the hedges.  Over me!  Then a few weeks ago, Mr S came home to find neighbour 1 stood in our garden at OUR fence talking to neighbour 2.  Mr S confronted him in a polite but serious tone.  This time, neighbour 1 kindly offered us some homemade jam that his wife had made that afternoon.  "Thanks" we both said in unison, quite stunned at the generosity.  "Oh that's ok, it's plum jam.  I came and picked your plums yesterday".  He picked OUR plums from OUR plum tree in OUR orchard.  How very dare he.  My blood started to simmer.  "As long as I have some left for my plum crumble I'm doing this weekend" I said in as stern a voice as I dared.  I walked to the bottom of the orchard.  He'd only stripped the whole tree of plums leaving about 5.  Then he continued to say how he'd picked neighbour 2 a punnet as well!!  Blood officially boiled.  I had to go inside otherwise I think I could have said some things a lady just shouldn't be heard saying.  What has the world come to when you can't trust your neighbours not to steal your plums?

Then we found a leak in the kitchen window (as the blind was wet).  I still don't know what to make of that situation.

Somebody sent me this in an email.  It fits perfectly.

The reason this horribly long story is on my wedding related blog is this.  "We'll just have to put the wedding off", Mr S said.  I cried.  He apologised and said he didn't mean it.  I still cried.  This meant I woke up with puffy eyes and a migraine.  Then while I was putting on makeup for work, an eyelash fell in my eye and hasn't been seen since.  Every so often, my right eye will cry.  I'm not sure if it's because the eyelash is still there or if I'm subconsciously crying about the events I've just shared with you.

I still haven't got my DIY book that I won from Any Other Wedding, which is also upsetting me.  However I did get both of my typewriters that I won on eBay.  One is absolutely disgusting and is crawling with species of I-don't-know-what, hence why it is still in the box and all original packaging.  My other one is beautiful, and made up for all the crappy past events.  Only just though. 

My new vintage typewriter - made the day worthwhile!

Thanks for listening.  *Breathes a big sigh of relief*. 

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

DIY Wedding Projects (No Laughing Please!)

These are a few of my DIY projects that I have thought of for my wedding or other people's weddings, obviously depending on theme etc.  I'll keep a log of my other projects as and when 'I DO' them (get it? I do? OK, jokes and speeches will probably not be on my to do list).
My first attempt at my own cake-topper.  It obviously needs work.

I found the most perfect cake topper that I must have, however, at £140, it's well out of my budget.  I thought I'd have a go at making one myself but rather than spend a chunk of money on polymer clay, I spent £3 on plasticine (hence the luminous hair, Tango style face, fluorescent pink body and questionable gown)  to have a few attempts at moulding and shaping.  I can't show you the final product as it is a surprise for the wedding day but you get the idea. 

All about the shabby-chic

Very easy to make however, I've tried 2 times since and haven't gotten on very well.  Quite theraputic to do on a good old grey English summers day.  Tut.

Plain or chocolate dipped shortbread biscuits.  Great for a dessert table or even favours.

I'm forever baking.  I love it.  Mr S is the Gordon Ramsey, I'm the Eric Lanlard.  It works well.  Perfect match!  To make 160 of these biscuits, I calculated it to cost me in the region of less than £4.  Bargain!!

If anyone else has any ideas or pictures they'd like to share, please click here to get in touch.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Any Other Wedding Plug!

Just a quickie to urge all Brides to Be to visit one of my favourite wedding blogs; Any Other Wedding.  Clare, Anna and Aisling have, on many an occasion, had me in stitches with their quick wit and dry sense of humour which as you may have noticed, is right up my street.

From teaching us all how to honeymoon to naming me winner of their 'One of Kind Handmade Weddings' by Laura Maffeo and Colleen Mullaney' book (I haven't received it yet but I'm far too excited.  Seriously, even Mr S has told me to "chill out, it's only a book".  What does he know anyway (he'll definitely know about it come the Big Day when EVERYTHING will be handmade.  Check out my next post which will feature just a few things that I've made so far...and that's without the book!

My Prize!  Handmade Weddings by Laura Maffeo & Colleen Mullaney
A must for all Brides on a budget.

After being approached by a gypsy last week and saying "no" when she asked me to buy a lucky charm from her, I was told by most people (especially my grandma who was more than mortified with me) that I was destined for a lifetime of bad luck.  So that afternoon I entered AOW 's giveaway to try and prove everyone wrong.....TADAAA!*insert fanfare noises here* I'm living proof that saying "no" to a gypsy does not equal an eternity of bad luck and misery.

Thank you ladies for my fantabulous prize and for making me smile on what was a horrible grey morning!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Vintage Chic Wedding Pieces

Oh. My. Gosh.  Look at these fab bits from Melody Maison.  Absolutely stunning decorations to add to your wedding day.  I love these candelabras and lanterns.  I will definitely be speaking to my wedding venue & co-ordinator to get these on my "need" list!

Would look lovely hung from trees for beautiful photo opportunity

Or how about these, just a teeny tiny sample of what's to offer at http://www.melodymaison.co.uk/  Go look.  Now!

Cream birdcage - filled with flowers or candles; would make a lovely centrepiece
Hung on the wall behind the happy couple at the wedding breakfast to capture the ambiance
Chic, delicate pink rose garland

Five Minute Freak Out

OK, so I know I’ve got quite a while to go until THE day (one year, 8 months and 12 days to be precise – and can I just point out that I only know that thanks to my free wedding countdown app on my iPhone), but I’m seriously freaking out about my dress.  I spend far too long gazing through bridal gown shop windows, thumbing through magazines and searching the minefield also known as the internet, to try and pick out what will suit me and my style.  I STILL have no idea.  I have friends who are or who have already been married and are showing me their pictures and every time I see their dress, or any dress for that matter, I find myself saying “yeah, I think I’ll get something just like that”.  I reckon that for the amount of times I’ve done that, I’d have in the region of 892 dresses by now.   How the heck am I meant to know where to start? 
If you’ve not realised by now that this is one of my slight Bridezilla/rant/freak out/stress posts, consider yourself told or warned.  Whichever is most appropriate.
I’ve been told that when I find The One, I’ll just know.  But what if it doesn’t happen?  I can never settle for one.  Of anything.  Cakes, cocktails, chocolate bars (and not those puny little bars either.  The big family size ones – easily demolished in one sitting).  Take for example, my new shoe website I found and kindly told you about a few posts back – Chockers Shoes.  Mr S said he’d treat me to some seeing as though I put up with his constant need to go fishing every weekend.  I found 4 pairs.  Narrowed it down to 2.  Then 3.  Then 2 again.  I can’t pick just one pair.  “Just pick one and have done with it” he said.  “But I can’t.  Can I not just have them both?”  If there was ever a look of ‘you’re pushing it beyond belief’, I think that was the one he gave me.  Now I have no shoes. 
Anyway, I digress to share personal sadness.  Back to the dress saga.  I’ve looked on websites that tell you what dress style to wear for your shape and what’s on the catwalk, but to be honest, as long as I like it, I don’t care if it’s from a season of 10 years ago or if it’s designer or not.  I quite want to feel like a princess, but not in a little girl kind of way.  Would a meringue be too much?  My mum, teamed with one of her best friends commented that they saw me in a sleek, figure hugging, elegant number.  I don’t.  All I know is that I don’t want any kind of material that ‘shines’ and I don’t want a veil, unless it’s below my elbows or longer.  And even then, I’m not overly keen.  But would I not look bride-like if I just had decorative pins in my hair?  Oh, and I definitely, definitely don’t want a tiara.  That is one thing I can guarantee will not be on my person on my day. 
'Meringue' style c/o www.florasdresses.com

Sleek, elegant dress c/o www.johanna-hehir.com

Or something in between? c/o www.londonweddingdresses.com

So you see a little bit of my problem?  I’m too indecisive.  If budget allowed, I’d be all celeb-like and have about 10 different dress changes throughout the day.  That would solve this problem at least.  Then I’ll have to choose my wedding shoes (*look-of-fear-equating-in-crinkled-forehead*). 
That’s a whole other post.  Till next time....

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Wedding Etiquette....The Dos & Don'ts

Etiquette (noun) - A set of rules or customs which control accepted behaviour in particular social groups or social situations. The simple rule to remember about wedding etiquette is never do or say anything that has even the slightest potential to offend".

If you're interested (of course you are), visit County Bride and their guide on all things to do with wedding etiquette, customs, traditions, who pays for what and the roles and duties that are assigned to the different wedding party members.

"Possibly the most important day in a woman's life is her wedding day. A day where, as the bride, she is rightfully the 'star of the show'".

Any website that rightfully suggests the above is indeed a website to take note from.  They obviously know their stuff! 

I'll introduce another lady whose website I think is worth a look when it comes to wedding etiquette; Valerie Tall.  She has 25 years of experience behind her and is mainly stationed in Brigg, Lincolnshire.  'The Wedding Shed' can be found within the grounds of The White Heather Hotel at Caenby Corner, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire.   To view her website and check out the range of things she has to offer (gifts, suppliers, stationery, wedding consultancy and venue styling) please Click Here

Valerie Tall Wedding Studio

Bridal Bubble....Burst

Whilst trying not to be one of those Brides that sit there happily in their own little Bridal Bubble, sheltered from the rest of the world, I have recently had to come to terms with the fact that I am, indeed, one of them. 

Everyone that knows me knows how strongly I feel about the following.  I actually believe that I was a former Royal (or equivalent to) in my previous life.  I just wasn’t put on this earth to work.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a full time job and would not leave work (unless I actually needed to), but no job ever sits well with me.  I used to work part time (18 hours a week to be precise) and I loved it.  Everyone told me I’d get too bored and I’d be practically begging to go back to work full time.  Erm, no.  Far from it.  If it weren’t for my love of lots of new, shiney, beautiful things, I’d still be in that job!
Yesterday I was busy at work.  I had to get my brain to focus on the job in hand.  I burst my Bridal Bubble and was back in the real world.  After ten minutes, I’d heard the muttering and mumbling (to put it nicely) of a colleague having a bad day (I think they hate work as much as me but haven’t mastered how to hide it like I try to).  After an hour, I’d been shouted at by a client.  Sorry, I forgot I was meant to be a psychic Mrs X.  I did really know who you were and where you were calling from without you telling me, I just thought it would help pass the time to play a guessing game with you.  Honest.  Somehow, this was MY fault.  By 11.30 am, I’d been called a horrible name which I’d rather not disclose and after repeating myself about 9 times, as Mrs Y wasn’t listening, and was told I was absolutely disgusting subsequently resulting in Mrs Y putting the phone down.  

I’ll tell you now, if that’s what happens when I come out my Bubble, I’m not coming out any time soon!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes

I really fancy keeping this website my dirty little secret and not telling you about it so I can reap the compliments and lustful looks from other women (not at me but at my shoes - this may become more clear if you keep reading). 

Chockers Shoes is my new most favourite website.  I am completely smitten *lovely sigh*.   It does the most fabulous shoes, handbags, jewellery and other accessories.  the thing that grabs me most is the affordability.  It's extremely easy on the purse as well as the eyes!  Wedding budget (and personal budget) has been spent up this month so I've spent the last half an hour explaining how I need the 'English Garden' shoes in my life.  He wasn't having any of it....until he saw them himself and has treated me!  Big fat smooch definitely coming his way.

Congratulations Anna & Christian

I'd like to wish a massive congratulations and lot of luck and happiness to Anna and Christian Willoughby on their wedding day (16th July 2011).  I'd also like to thank her for making me part of her special day by asking me to do her bridal makeup.  Even though I'm biased, she looked absolutely stunning and I got so caught up in the day that I found myself telling the photographer what shots to take (can you tell that I've been planning my photos and picking out good shots from the million websites I've trawled through?). 

Mr and Mrs Willoughby opted for a stylish black and white themed civil wedding at The Brackenborough Arms in Louth, Lincolnshire.  I can vouch for the sponge wedding cake filled with jam and buttercream which was lush - I wish I'd sneaked more than one piece out in my handbag (I didn't by the way Anna in case you're reading this - honest!). 

The 3 bridesmaids, which included Anna and Christian's daughter Shelby, looked pretty as a picture and mother of the bride also looked fabulous, and quite right too.

They make such a lovely couple and amazing parents to Shelby and newborn Sonny.  As you can see from the picture below, they are the epitome of gorgeousness and envy!

I can't wait to see the photographer's shots that I'd suggested.  I'll be telling my photographer the exact same thing!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

The Cupcakery

Just another quick one to send you in the direction of The Cupcakery.  It's a little business based in Holton-le-Clay, Lincolnshire.  Their cupcakes are to die for! I especially like the idea of the 99' Flake cupcakes which would be the perfect novelty cakes to keep the little ones happy or for a patriotic English themed wedding. 

To see more cupcake designs and flavours that they offer, click here 

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Feminine Favours

Look what I've found!  These will compliment a vintage themed wedding perfectly.  At £5 for a pack of 10, it'd be a crime not to lust after these!

Lace Favour Bags

Website Worth Mentioning For DIY Brides

I stumbled upon the website (ok, ok, I was trawling the web for DIY ideas as I'm already going over my budget *looks down in slight shame*),  Dress It Yourself.  It gives brides on a budget some fab ideas on how to shave £££'s off their big day and they have different themes to shop by including vintage, country garden, and romance to name a few. I've had a few ideas myself.  I especially love love love this cake kit.

For this cake, you could order a plain iced cake from Marks & Spencer, for example, http://www.marksandspencer.com/Marks-and-Spencer-Romantic-Pearl/dp/B00170PCUK?ie=UTF8&ref=sr_1_7&nodeId=80083031&sr=1-7&qid=1310770150.  NB.  The cake comes as a plain iced cake to be decorated yourself.  From £179 for 3 tiers, plus £15 for the Dress It Yourself Cake Kit, you can have a lush wedding cake for a fraction of the price of what some cake companies charge.

I proudly printed off my design and showed the H2B.  "Look babe,I'm saving us money", I beamed at him.  Unfortunately he was more interested in organising things for his upcoming fishing trip.  "Well, gills, fins and slime won't look as pretty in a dress, and enjoying cake, as much as I will", I muttered under my breath albeit loud enough for him to hear.  I swear, he stopped for a second to think that one over.... 

Monday, 11 July 2011

James Green - Photographer Review

When I looked at James' portfolio, he shone out from the rest.  I did, of course, out of pure bridal obsessiveness, look at other websites too but my mind always turned back to Mr Green. 

His signature reportage style really captures the essence and the ambiance of the day.  Not only does he do weddings, but he also offers studio, portraiture, location and boudoir sessions too. 

Contact was first established via email through his website http://www.jamesgreenstudio.com/index.php.
I got a swift response and an initial consultation was planned.  To say I was excited is a slight understatement.  I stated from day one that I wanted my church, venue and photographer booked imminently and after that, much to my H2B's delight, I'd chill out for a while on the whole planning shenanigans (I had my fingers crossed behind my back by the way).

We sat and waited, and waited until my fiance, who was slightly (*replace slightly with extremely*) less enthusiastic, decided to phone and see where James was.  Now I know this doesn't bode well or look professional or give a good first impression but he fully admitted that he had forgotten about our meeting.  "He obviously isn't eager for the work" I thought to myself - "and we're in a recession!" 

James does only take on a limited number of weddings per year so he can spend the time and dedication on his clients, which, is an aspect I very much appreciate and respect, being one of those clients, and gives a sense of exclusivity. 

Our actual meeting was good.  He was friendly, laid back and seemed interested in us as a couple.  I was very honest with him and told him the shots I liked and what I didn't like and he promised that his focus would be on us all day.  After all, we are the ones paying him, and I want to remember how goddess-like, classy and elegant I look and not Uncle Fred trying graciously to scoff a canape or putting up the 'bunny ears' behind the newly acquired mother-in-law (*cringing with embarassment at the mere thought*). 

We looked at his portfolio samples and he brought a range of albums and different finishes we could choose from and asked about our ceremony and venue.  Just to mention, James will travel worldwide and has recetly done weddings in Italy - fancy!

He left us with a booking form and the different packages he offers.  As soon as he left I was happy that I'd chosen him as our shutterbug.  I think it's very important to have trust in your photographer as really, your photos are (in my eyes) crucial. What else are you going to bore your grandchildren with?

After booking, James emailed me; 
"I'm glad you picked me and I know you have picked the best.  Epic, stunning documentation of your amazing day in photos is certain!"

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Sell My Wedding - Review

Let me introduce you to www.sellmywedding.co.uk

Becca isn't asking the Brides (or Grooms) that get cold feet to try and sell their own big day rather than lose all their deposits; no, it's a fab new website for Brides to Be and the Brides that Have Been to buy and sell their wedding centrepieces, dresses, hats, jewellery, services and much much more.  It's Ebay but for those of us that are overly wedding orientated! 

As it's a brand new website, there are a few empty categories to choose from at the moment but I highly recommend the Sell My Wedding site to browse for a bargain or two or alternatively, once your Big Day has been and gone (and you can bare to part with your memorabilia), sell it on to other B2B in preparation for their day.  Let's face it, times are hard at the moment and so any excuse to grab a bargain and we're there.  I think when Becca gets this established, it'll be a huge success and I for one will be regularly checking back to see if I can get any treasures for my wedding.

Good luck & well done Becca!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Venue Hunt Over - The Next Step

Ok, so because me and my other half we're arguing over the 2 shortlisted venues, we booked to have a look around a 'mutual venue', i.e. a venue that neither of us had an opinion on or knew anything about so that we could compare it to our 2 shortlisted.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I wasn't too thrilled at the thought of looking around somewhere new but, both of us actually really loved it!  We are due to go for a taste session of the menu in just over a weeks time and if that goes well, we'll be putting our deposit down there and then. 

I still prefer my first choice but this new place ticks more boxes on keeping everyone happy so I'm very prepared to compromise.  The wedding co-ordinator was lovely too.  She got excited with me and even presented me with a table number holder she thought would fit in with my scheme and it was the exact ones I'd been looking at on the web - coincidence?  fate? Meant to be I think!

This new venue decorates the whole place including flowers, has a pianist to play through the wedding breakfast and can allow us to offer our guests a menu choice with no extra cost.  Add to that the convenience of hotel rooms for our family and friends to stay over should they wish.  We also asked for a few minor adjustments on the first quote that was provided and we've managed to save nearly £2000!  I'll share some tips in another post.

I'm very happy with our new found venue! Hurrah!

Now all I need is wedding insurance and because everything is taken care of by the wedding co-ordinator at our venue, I don't need to do anything else now for another 6 months, which will be to book the honeymoon.  The fiance had the say in this so we will be jetting off to the luxurious, white sand, crystal blue waters of the Maldives - a fine choice I must say. 

My sister has just recently gotten engaged too.  She is waiting 3-4 years before they get hitched but she is starting her planning now.  I am (or will be by that time) Matron of Honour which equates to more planning, stress and comforting her when the tears start, which, lets face it, is inevitable. 

Then in 7 months, it'll be time to start looking for The Dress....