"You will always be my greatest adventure" - Up
After being with my boyfriend 6 ½ years, we finally said “I do” on Friday 12th August this year. Being a teacher myself, everything was planned down to the very last detail in order for our day to be a success – and I wouldn’t have had it any other way! Hopefully you will be able to pick up a few pieces of advice and guidance along the way that will help you with the planning of your own wedding and ensure you have the best day of your life so far!
On Saturday 17th January 2015, I woke up, made eggs and bacon on toast and a cuppa for my other half whose birthday was a day later. He was very eager to get (up which never happens!) and make the most of a chilly but sunny January day, by walking into town and grabbing lunch. So I got myself ready. His Mom popped over with some washing so I shut myself away in our room while getting ready. Little did I know, she had bought over a dozen roses for the biggest surprise of my life. As I exited our room into the lounge, I saw the roses, exclaiming “Why has your mom bought me those?” I was placed on the sofa and faced towards the TV. What was to come next was the most romantic moment of my life so far – a personalised poem, piece of music that meant a lot to us and collage of pictures, at which the end I heard the words “Will you marry me?”. After blubbering (lots!) and shaking (even more!), I said “Yes” and the planning of our amazing wedding began!
Firstly, we thought it was important to choose a venue. We had one very important rule when planning our wedding – the rule of 3. Do all the research, pick the top 3 and go from there! It worked wonders in every step of the planning which you will hear throughout this blog. So, with the rule of 3, we booked in to visit Redhouse Barn, Curradine Barns and Deer Park Hall in February 2015. Our first visit to Redhouse Barn was a dream – Jane, the owner took us through the venue as if it was our own wedding day. We thought it was too good to be true! An amazing brick built ceremony room, glass roofed bar area, outstanding renovated timbered barn for the wedding breakfast and evening reception and wonderful gardens to enjoy if the weather was nice. This really set the bar for our other venue visits, which, however lovely they were in their own way, for us, did not stand up to Redhouse Barn. Tick – Venue chosen.
Secondly – Photographer. Again, following our rule of 3, I had researched photographers in and around Worcester and contacted via email our top 3. When I read the ‘About Me’ second on Lee Webb’s website, he stood out as different. I remember the ‘I don’t impose limits on the amount of time I spend at a wedding or the number of photos I take’ quote and this is something I had not seen on any other photographer’s website. Many of them stated different prices based on 6, 8 or 12 hours, for example, and didn’t mention the number of photographs taken. As soon as we met Lee, we knew he was the photographer for us. Friendly, professional and very clearly loved his job. Tick – Photographer booked!
Our next challenge was Hair and Make Up. Personally, I believe this is worth paying for on your wedding day because you are the most photographed person and need to feel your best throughout the whole day and night. Again, I did my research and came up with 3 Hair and Make Up artists, however, this time round it was my Husband-To-Be who came up trumps! Ruth Hancox often worked at Redhouse Barn and was there on an open day that my partner took his Mom to as she hadn’t seen the venue. He arrived home with her business card and suggested how good she was – if he thought she looked good, and then I guessed she would do a good job of making me look good on our day! Tick – Hair and Make Up scheduled!
Save the Dates was next on our list. As I love anything crafty, I knew this was going to be a job for myself. I used the joys of Pinterest and google to find examples and visited Hobbycraft to collect goodies! I ordered silver scratch off circles from eBay and made a wallet sized save the date whereby guests had to scratch off the circles to reveal the date of our wedding. These went down a treat and guests were able to keep them in their purses or wallets to remind them of the date.
Right, we were ticking things off nicely and next came cakes! After lots of research – mention the word ‘wedding’ alongside ‘cakes’ = lots of money! I had lots of quotes for a plain, iced, 3 tier wedding cake for on average £250! When you can get cakes from Asda for a tenner – I couldn’t comprehend paying this much on a cake. My Sister, recommended a company on Facebook called ‘For the Sake of Cake’ based in Bromsgrove. They are 2 women who bake cakes that look fab and are very reasonably priced! We wanted to go for something different so suggested no icing, 3 different flavours and toppings – nothing was too much for them! We ended up choosing Vanilla cake with strawberry jam and buttercream, topped with strawberries; Chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream topped with chocolate covered cherries; and Coffee cake with a coffee buttercream topped with Ferrero Rocher – all for £150! Cake – well and truly ticked!
Thankfully, when it came to dress choosing – this came easy! My Sister-In –Law to be owned Bridal House of Torrisholme in Morecambe and was more than willing to help with the part of the wedding I was least looking forward to! Ladies out there who are not looking forward to trying on various dresses in front of your bridal party – you are not the only one! It was more of a nightmare idea for me (having already organised bridesmaid dresses, hair accessories, shoes, hair etc already just to avoid having to focus on myself!). Emma, my Sister-In-Law to be, knew what style I wanted and found a Diane Harbridge design with lots of lace, a bit of sparkle and sleeves a few months before. I knew it was the only dress I was going to have. My Bridesmaid and I travelled up to Morecambe in October, spent no more than 15 minutes trying on the dress. I knew it was the one. Dress – (Thankfully!) Ticked!
By Christmas of 2015, we pretty much had the majority of the wedding booked; Venue, Catering, Photographer, Suits, Dresses, Hair and Make Up, Cake and DJ (Revolution Event recommended of course!). Over Christmas, I made 60 invites (which were more of a mission than I thought so bear this in mind when making your own stationary – I even strained my thumb from too much double sided sticky tape!), which were sent out to guests in January, once the festivities had quietened down. There were only 2 aspects that were still troubling us: Flowers and Music.
Music – As a Music Teacher myself and my partner being a very naturally talented musician, this was always going to be a big part of the wedding. We knew we wanted a live musician – but where to start? There are thousands and thousands online. So we narrowed down our choices – guitarist and singer. Still, thousands of choices. Someone who does something a little different – this is when we found Guy Valarino. Guitarist – check, Singer – check, Modern covers – check, Put’s his own spin on music – Check. He was our guy (excuse the pun!)
And finally, Flowers. No idea. Where do you start? I went into a few shops in town and was told to “look through the book at the back of the store and let us know what you like”. What I really wanted was someone to have some real life flowers in front of me and say “do you like this?” “what about this with these?” and I was sad that this is not what I got. Until I met, Sue Etherington from The Flower Garden at a Wedding Fayre at The Guildhall. This is exactly what she did. Flowers – booked!
The next few months flew by. So many meetings it was hard to keep track of: The registrars, venue, photographer, bridal shop, cake. If you don’t already have an email folder entitled ‘Our Wedding’ by now, I would highly recommend it!
So, the day was finally upon us. Friday 12th August 2016, one of the hottest days of the summer and in a kimono and PJ trousers, my best friend (Bridesmaid) and I set off at 7.15am to Redhouse Barn, both of our tummy’s churning, nerves a plenty! When we arrived at the venue, we were greeted by the friendly faces of Ruth Hancox (Hair and makeup) and her colleague. We were slowly but surely settling into the morning and my Sister and Sister-In-Law arrived (both Bridesmaids) to join in the fun. We had pastries for breakfast and lots of cups of tea. Flowers arrived, cake arrived, parents arrived….just the groom and guests to go!
Before we knew it, my 3 Bridesmaids and I were walking to the ceremony room and I was about to get married! My Fiancé and I had composed the music for me to walk down the aisle so making sure I walked in at the right moment was crucial. Looking back on the day, this is one of my favourite parts of the day, when I wasn’t necessarily expecting it to be. The intimacy of getting married in front of those who love and support you – what a feeling! “You may kiss the Bride” and a round of applause meant we were married, we did it!
An afternoon filled with drinks, nibbles, chatting to friends and family (repeating myself several times. When you hear “Are you enjoying yourself” so may times, you can’t help it!), photographs, glorious sunshine and happiness. The wedding breakfast was phenomenal and all the guests were complimentary about our choices, my favorite being a ‘His and Hers’ dessert with 3 components. My Husband and I knew this was coming so looking around the room at guests switching their chocolate ice cream for strawberry ice cream or panacotta for crème brulee with their partners, was brilliant. A caring and loving speech from my Father, a funny and (surprisingly!) romantic speech from my Husband and a truly hilarious and memorable speech from the Best Man and the wedding breakfast soon came to an end. Guy Valarino (Singer and Guitarist) entertained day guests until the evening guests arrived and then it was a night on the dance floor for me while my Husband entertained evening guests.
Only one surprise left – We knew ‘Champagne Supanova’ was going to be our first dance song. It was both of our favorite songs. It had to be. However, a 7 minute track + A groom who doesn’t like dancing = not going to happen! We tried to find a shorter version, tried to get our musician to perform it (but logistics didn’t allow) so we were stumped. What did we do? We were brave and recorded our own cover where my Hubby recorded the Guitar, Bass and Drums while I sang. One of the scariest moments of the day (seeing as most of our family and friends had never heard us perform) but probably my favorite moment. We took to the dance floor, the guitar intro began and then my voice kicked in – surprised gasps, lots of “Oh my god – is it / isn’t it?” comments made our first dance the most personal moment of the day.
After not crying a tear during the whole day, when everyone got on the dancefloor at the end of the night (twinned with a few too many glasses of wine!) it all became a little bit too much and the emotion set in! We had had the most perfect wedding day – the ceremony, the guests, the food, the entertainment – and now 18 months of organisation and planning are all over! But was it all worth it – without a doubt! Would I do it all over again? No, because that one special day, 12th August 2016, will always be ‘Our Wedding Day’ and nothing can every top that.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.