This weeks Wedding Wednesday is coming as a double whammy! There was quite a lot of stuff happening last week which meant I couldn’t put the attention into my blog and I didn’t want to post half heartedly so this week I am giving you last weeks and this weeks in one… it works because it’s about the planning and prep for the big day! – Grab a cuppa and a slice of cake, this is a long one!
1 year, 6 months and 13 days (560 days in total and yes, once i’d booked the venue I did a count down) since getting engaged was my turn to have ‘the big day’. Here’s how the lead up to the day unfolded.
We decided to plan our own wedding. I had gained a fair bit of knowledge from when I helped to plan a relatives wedding (the reception venue offered me a job as a wedding planner and co-ordinator!) – I have since helped to plan one of my friends wedding and it was a joy to do.
Saying that, we had a heck of a lot of help from friends and family and the wedding simply wouldn’t have happened without their support and guidance. I spent a whole chunk of planning in hospital and it seemed like every visit from my mum, came with a new wedding magazine to look at. This was the start of a lovely friendship with one of my nurses. She spent her breaks browsing the magazines with me and gave me the idea to window shop online whilst I was help up in a hospital bed.
Choosing the date.
This was fairly simple. We needed to have a realistic time frame to get the day planned so we weren’t in a rush. We didn’t want a long engagement so we were thinking of sometime in 2013. With my new career and Dan’s work holiday system, the most realistic time was to have our wedding during school holidays and Dan’s work shut down. We were reluctant to have a summer wedding because of families wanting a holiday and obviously prices tend to creep up as the weather gets better. Easter holidays seemed the better option time wise and incidentally as it happens, spring is my favourite season.
We went to see the vicar from my family church (which is also the church where Dan was baptised). It’s safe to say our family know the vicar quite well. He happened to have 6th April 2013 free in his Diary so that was that… a date was booked!
The wedding party.
Maid of Honour was always going to be my twin sister. I asked her almost as soon as we announced our engagement. No one knows me better than her and she can definitely squash and inner bridezilla in me (there weren’t any big moments of that to my knowledge haha)
Bridesmaids -Here’s the truth about this. It was possibly the hardest decision I faced in the early days. Once we announced our engagement there was almost an expectation to reveal who I was going to ask to be my bridesmaids. I remember having a very long chat with my mum about this. I had a huge dilemma of who I should ask and who I wanted to ask. I had some ideas but really didn’t want to face the politics of choosing one/some without the other/s so to speak. Mum is really good with this sort of thing. She knows how certain scenarios will play out so she explained some different ideas. One was to have just my sister. Another was to have my closest friends and my sister and the other was to stick to just family but mum said I should have a think about it and not rush to a decision.
Me being me, I made my choice that night. As our wedding was the coming together of two families, I wanted both to be a big part of our day. I decided to ask the youngest girls from both sides to be my bridesmaids. From Dan’s side, his twin cousins. Ironic that they are twins and the youngest in his family as Rebecca and I were the youngest in our family until our cousins had children. Some would say it was just meant to be! Then on my side I asked my cousins little girl to be my flower girl. She was adopted into the family and this was my little way of letting her know that she is a special part of our family. She just happened to be the youngest at the time.
Page Boys. Sticking with the same idea from the youngest in the family, I asked my other cousins little boy to be my page boy.
My sister was pregnant until 8 weeks before the big day so we always had in mind that I’d have a diddy bridesmaid or page boy. It turned out that we got another page boy. Talk about last minute decisions! haha
Groomsmen. Dan knew straight away that he was going to ask my brother and his brothers to be the groomsmen. He toyed with having his uncle too. It took a little longer to decide on who he was having as his best man. This turned out to be one of his old school friends.
The guest list.
Easy! We knew we wanted all of the family and closest friends. The number of relatives was never an issue for us. It’s all or none! We both believe that a wedding is not just about two people becoming one but it’s about two families merging as one big unit who will support us in married life. We wanted to share our day with people who have supported us, loved us and would enjoy seeing us become Mr and Mrs. The only thing we struggled with was deciding which friends were going to be invited all day and those who would be invited as evening guests. We managed this by having our closest (not as in distance), those that had further to travel and longest friends for the day and then work friends, close (as in distance) friends, and a very special nurse who I had for the whole time I was in hospital and helped me select some things for the wedding.
The wedding fayres.
I think we visited them all in our local area at least once. As soon as we saw one advertised we would put it in the diary. I actually really enjoyed these most of the time. What I didn’t really enjoy was the desperation of some stall holders and the barrage of crap emails that came through. It seemed like signing in to every event meant the e-mail address got passed on to every tom dick and harry in the wedding world! I would definitely recommend setting up a new ‘wedding only’ email account just for wedding fayres. If there is something you are definitely interested in then give the stall holder your personal email address and set up a wedding file so you can find the interesting stuff easily.
I loved looking at all different styles of venue and décor. We went everywhere from National Trust properties to fields… empty fields looking for the kind of thing we wanted *rolls eyes*. It had to host a lot of people because just our families combined equals a lot of people. It was about 120 people before we even added friends onto the list! The obvious answer for us was a hotel as we had a lot of relatives and friends travelling to be with us on our wedding day. I had been to one of my friends wedding in a hotel and the next morning felt like an extension of their big day at breakfast time. I mean, you spend a lot of money on getting the perfect day, why not get the next morning thrown in too?
It took us a while to decide on the venue. We were given a ‘too good to be true’ offer on our chosen venue, not as in price but in what it would offer us due to the amount of people invited and basically hiring out the biggest hall the place had. Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! I mean, we booked this place with all of it’s promises but not many of the promises were kept by the venue due to the ‘change in co-ordinator’ – that’s a whole other blog post.
It was whilst we were at a wedding fayre that we got talking about colours and ‘themes.’ Everything had to have a bloody theme so it seems! I just wanted our ‘theme’ to be ‘us’ if I’m honest. I didn’t want to have the regimented rules and regulations that apparently go with having a ‘themed do.’
When I say things were meant to be, I honestly believe it (keep reading to find out all of the meant to be moments)! We discussed our favourite colours when we were at school (because that’s where we first met). Dan’s was yellow and mine was blue. Dan had a say on the shade of blue because he really didn’t want the day to look football themed so midnight navy blue with yellow. At one of the fayres there was a table set up in a vibrant yellow and blue theme. This just seemed perfect. I had only really seen pastel yellows before this fayre and straight away it gave me a burst of ideas! – I repeated ‘Daffodil yellow’ everywhere I went – and that became a ‘thing’. Dan loves yellow, I love daffodils. I got my something blue!
Something else we did ourselves. Well, with a lot of help from my parents. Designing, embossing, foil blocking, printing and chopping was all done at Mum and Dads house. It was lovely to do something with Dan too. He is used to doing precision work and has a real skill for creating an efficient production line! With our invites we put a save the date card and our request for money as a gift if people wished to give us something. (With the hope to furnish our home and buy items that will be passed down through generations). We continued the design from the invites onto place names and menu cards, orders of service and table plan.
At one of the first fayres we went to we bumped into someone who went to our school. He’s a professional photographer and had not long set up his own company so it again seemed meant to be that we hired him to capture our big day (and engagement photoshoot). It help (a smidge) that we knew Mark because neither of us were that comfortable at being the other side of the camera if we weren’t in control. – This did result in some really awful pics but I cant really blame the photographer for that! We were both more nervous of the camera than of getting married. Silly, I know!
As I mentioned in the Wedding Wednesday – part 1: The engagement post, I was given my mums wedding ring. I wanted Dan to have a ring that matched mine so Dan got an 18carat yellow gold wedding band too.
My mum had already offered to make and decorate our wedding cake from the family recipe. I got inspiration for what I wanted from the wedding fayres and bought my topper from one of the exhibitors. In between the layers are family heirlooms that have been on every wedding cake since my grand parents wedding.
I loved looking for bridesmaids dresses for our wedding. I asked the girls to try everything from huge prom dresses to cocktail style dresses and eventually decided on having a rather plain but elegant style. They were Veromia dresses purchased from All Things Bride and Beautiful in Ollerton. It was a familiar place and for the same dresses that we had seen elsewhere, they did the best price. My little bridesmaid had a lace cream dress from monsoon.
My dress also came from there. I really didn’t enjoy shopping for my dress if I am honest. I had this idea how it would be and maybe it’s just me but the movies make it seem far nicer than it is in real life. I had a rough idea of what I wanted on my dress. I wanted it to have some lace (because I’m from Nottinghamshire and lacework is something that my Grandma used to talk to me about) and not too much sparkle (which is odd for someone who loves sparkle). After trawling the county for the perfect dress, I found one that I liked and felt comfortable in (which is always a bonus as I am my worst enemy and critic at times). This dress was pretty much all lace, it sucked me in at the right places and looked quite flattering. I decided to sleep on it and booked a second appointment to try it on. If I still liked it I would have it. THEN… between looking at it the first time and the date that was booked, Dan and I went to another fayre. I will never forget this day. There was a catwalk of the bridal gowns and just out of curiosity I asked Dan to say which ones he liked and which ones he didn’t like so I had a rough idea of what he’d want his bride to wear (I know, I know save me the ‘it’s your choice’ lecture). Anyway, the very dress I had tried on and had booked to pretty much buy came on the catwalk… ‘I don’t like that one bit’ came from my husband to be. I felt utterly crushed (mainly because I had to go back and try ill fitting dresses on and have strangers faff with me again). I couldn’t let Dan know that I was going for that look and I couldn’t really tell everyone Dan hated the dress. So, I tootled off back to the dress shop. There it was hung up waiting for me to slip on (which was more of a wriggle than a slip). I walked out with a look everyone could tell… ‘there’s something about it I’m not sure about’. I had at least 5 women telling me how lovely it was and how I should have my hair, shoving veils into my head and I was just getting more and more anxious. I ended up folding and saying Dan had seen the dress on the catwalk and hated it. As much as they tried to tell me it would look different on me I just knew that if he saw me walking down the aisle in that dress, he would remember what he had said about it and I didn’t want him to feel bad. So with that one ditched, it was back to square one. The owner of the shop said that a dress had come in, not been priced and put on display as yet but it had some lace on and I’d either love it or hate it. When I saw it in the bag, she was right. I hated it! It was so far removed from what I had looked at but then I tried it on. I had the bride moment. You know, when you see the girl get in the dress and well up?! I was that girl! It fit in every way. Wouldn’t need altering and it was way, way more flattering than the other dress. It had enough lace on to tell but was plain enough to be elegant. When they took my measurements to order the dress in, it wasn’t adding up to the dress I was stood in (that fit in every way). If they had ordered the size by the measurements, the dress would have needed quite a bit of altering. But THAT dress fit like a glove! I asked if they would let me have that one and my wish was granted. The Alfred Angelo sapphire style 867 dress was mine along with a sparkly cathedral veil. It was a discounted price (only because it was classed as faulty due to the measurement issue… they would have had to send it back had I not bought it)! So, Dan hating the other dress ended up being a huge blessing. The sapphire dress was the very top of my budget which meant I would have gone without a veil or tiara. Because it was reduced I managed to get everything including shoes! (The name of the dress, Sapphire was another of those ‘meant to be’ moments! My birth stone which is a deep blue – this ‘theme’ thing seriously took a hold!)
These were hired from Greenwoods. Dan had the main choice on the suits and I have to say they were really lovely. All of the men looked smart in their Navy blue suits. my tiny nephew had the most adorable little three piece suit with a baby grow underneath which said ‘little best man’ and other page boy had a suit. Both were from Olivers in Meadowhall.
So, with the dresses, the suits, the rings and the stationary sorted, the next thing was the flowers.
I bought all of the flowers from a little local florist. Forget Me Notts in Ollerton. They have done a whole array of different events for my family. I only needed to sort the bouquets, button holes and corsages.
Again, I went in with ‘daffodil yellow and midnight blue’ being the first request. There was this whole ‘thing’ that everyone seemed to do at the wedding fayres. Everyone seemed to suck in air as if it was through a straw and told me that it would be ‘very difficult’ to have as daffodils are hollow stemmed. There were only two people that told me it was possible. Forget Me Notts and another lady who I didn’t get the name of. I explained that my request was for a single little golden daffodil and lily of the valley in my bouquet that I wanted to be quite full and form a tear drop shape (as I had read this was a flattering shape to have with a fairly plain dress and also holds a multitude of sins). For all of the others, I just wanted a hand tied posy to compliment my bouquet.
That’s where ‘the little golden daffodil’ came from to for the name of my page. The secret is out! I was so passionate about having that little flower to symbolise so many things.
- The flower of spring, representative of ‘new life’ which we were entering together
- Because if we had an April shower on our wedding day, I would be holding the sunshine in my hands
- Because it’s a flower of hope. When I moved to do my undergrad, the first thing that I saw was the garden of hope. Basically a large patch of land that was just full of beautiful daffodils. We had all worn them to support the Macmillan cancer charity at my Grandad’s funeral so I basically used it to have all of my grandparents with me. My rays of sunshine!
I think that from everything that we planned, these flowers were my favourite choice. If I could just fill my house with the posies and bouquet every day, I would!
The button holes and corsages complimented too too.
We are so lucky to have a friend who sang with Cantamus girls choir. I used to perform with her in a concert band and became really good friends with her. I asked if she would mind singing at our wedding. Her response was golden and without hesitation she said ‘yes’! I always knew I wanted her to sing in the church ceremony.
Our next singer was Mark Atkinson. We met him at another wedding and he is a good friend of my uncle. We went to see him at a couple of gigs and have been to see him since. He is utterly amazing and he sang at the reception and for our first dance.
We had a DJ for the evening too, We probably could have done without the DJ because Mark was a total hit with everyone and would have done the whole night with the set price he gave (and that included travelling down from cumbria!)
Readings in the ceremony and hymns.
We asked my brother to read a poem and Dan’s Dad to do a reading from the bible in the church service. We also decided to have a couple of hymns. All of the service deets will be in my next post.
The Car was from Cottam Carriages. We happened to follow the car when going for one of the bridesmaid fittings. I always wanted an open top car since being a little girl and having rides in the fleet that my dad drove to help his friend out for weddings. I used to love the open topped ‘babe’ the most so I wanted my own ‘babe’ style car. Whilst ours was very different, it was great fun to be in! And was driven by a qualified nurse so was another ‘meant to be’ moment as I had had some heft hospital trips right up to a couple of days before the wedding!
Now, to arrange the room décor. We had a room planner included in the price of the wedding. We met her at one of the wedding fayres… She wasn’t the most organised or best adverts for the venue to be honest. She started off by telling us that we couldn’t have daffodil centre pieces because she only uses artificial flowers. – erm no love, you will do daffodils! Fresh daffodils! The florist on the table next to this woman was very much on my wavelength with this! She told the room lady that it was absolutely possible so I felt like this was a win for me but I have never heard so much grumbling about a single blinking flower! It ended up that she basically didn’t know what she was doing with fresh flowers and probably ordered pre made fake ones from china or something. Please note that this is one of the reasons I wont name the venue that I got married… I don’t particularly want to give them much publicity! My in laws were a huge support for us having the venue look how we wanted it to. There were A LOT of tables to decorate.
The food and wine selections. Well, this was fun! We went to a sample evening where we selected the food and wine. We went for the mid range (in price) and negotiated with the venue so that our guest could choose their own in advance and then us contact them with numbers. I mean, a set meal might work for a lot of weddings but ours just wouldn’t. I know this because every Christmas our family (all of us) have a gathering and there’s always something that someone wont like or want to swap even with an extensive festive menu. We had a chicken dish selction, a pork selection and a vegetarian selection. Obviously there was a children’s menu too and three choices of desserts (which I stupidly had a huge typo on for every single place setting! well, at least it went with the beach ‘theme’. Each table would have two bottles of wine and champagne to toast.
Even though I did a spread sheet, gave numbers in advance AND triple checked with the venue, they provided one whole table with the wrong food. As in not even on our menu! – Maybe I should have checked for a fourth time! I dunno!
The favour bags were all my mother-in-laws doing. She came up with the idea of a mixed bag of seaside treats with the theme being yellow and blue (sand and sea). We put little ice cream cone sweets in, some colourful sugar blocks and I made some chocolate mint love heart lolly pops which doubled up as after dinner mints. I crocheted little yellow and blue love hearts to decorate the bags which was a hit with everyone! Imagine how shattered my hands were after crocheting approximately 400 little hearts! – the seaside idea fed into naming our tables. We named all of the sea sides that we have been to since we started dating. Apart from one, the top table. This was a secret nod to where we were going on honeymoon.
The honeymoon – this was all left to my parents and Dan! Will reveal that in another post.
I hope you have enjoyed this long post and especially the photos from various people at our wedding, including a couple from the photographer.
I should be back to schedule now so please pop by on Saturday morning where there will be another long one, filling you in on my last two weekends! – more adventures and fun.
For now, take care. Han x