Monday, 29 December 2008

Christmas Greetings

I know that I said that I was taking a wedding and blogging break for Christmas, and I still am, it's just that I finally caught sight of the letter my parents send at Christmas to all our family friends who live abroad and it included this blog link.

So, if you came here via my Parents' letter, welcome! I think it might have been oversold slightly so I hope you do not find the obsessing over small details too boring.

Back again in January...

Monday, 22 December 2008

Back soon... Happy Christmas

Although I am working up until 5pm Christmas Eve and back into the office on the 29th, I am taking a break from wedding related activities until the new year.

I need to have a rest and spend time with M and our families. It was a telling sign when we discussed spending time together in our marriage course and M suggested he would like it if I had some evenings off from the computer. So, for him, and for me, I am switching off for the Christmas period.

I turn 27 on 5 January. I will be back after that.

Happy Christmas or happy holidays. See you in 2009.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Hair Ideas (continued)

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Image by Ben Chrisman via A cup of Jo

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I think this is how I want my hair to look: elegant, sophisticated, slightly vintage. But will it work with blonde-ish hair and can I do it myself? Well, time will tell. When I have a run through of the make-up with my friend who is a make-up artist I might practice the hair too. Yes, I will try and take some photos... but whether I can post them is another matter.
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Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Hera

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Along time ago I studied Classics. But I had forgotten this: the Greek Goddess Hera, wife of Zeus, was the goddess of women and marriage. And her symbol/emblem? The peacock. My favourite Liberty print fabric (peacock feathers) is also called Hera. Why did I not put two and two together earlier?

I rather like this fitting imagery. I wonder if there is a way that I can incorporate this into the wedding...

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Monday, 15 December 2008

Etsy Shop

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If you felt like cheering me up, you could visit my etsy shop and favourite it...
I went to upload the photos of my new earrings and the lead to my camera was flat. We had friends over on Friday (I think one of them stood on it). New lead ordered. So, more earrings on their way.
I would also appreciate any feedback (but please, phrase things kindly, I am a little fragile at present...)
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Friday, 12 December 2008

The Marriage Course 7

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The Marriage Course 3
The Marriage Course 2
The Marriage Course 1

We attended the final marriage course session last night and I shall endeavour to post about sessions 4, 5 and 6 as soon as I can.

I am pleased that the course is over as I have found the constant analysing of our relationship a strain. Whereas at the start of the course, I smugly thought we had a great relationship, I now realise that there are a lot of aspects to work on. That doesn't mean that we have a bad relationship, far from it, just that there is room for improvement on many levels. I suspect that many of our areas which could be improved stem from my own issues. Without wishing to descend into either a prolonged and boring passage of naval gazing nor reveal too many personal details, I know that my tendency towards blueness doesn't help me or our relationship. I also made a decision to take loans to pay for law school and ultimately to qualify as a solicitor, which finally occurs in April 2009. I wouldn't change the decisions I made but I do find the repaying of those loans exceedingly onerous and one which doesn't help my sanity and stress levels. I am not saying that all our issues are mine, or that M is perfect, which of course he isn't. I just think that some of the problems start with my own issues.

That said, last night's session was on Love Languages. Again, a topic which should be fairly obvious but clearly can pass unnoticed. Essentially, there are many ways of expressing love towards your husband or wife: words, actions, time, touch, presents. All of us have a preferred way of receiving love and generally we express our love for our husband or wife using our preferred way of receiving love. Which is not necessarily the same way or husband or wife might prefer. Sounds obvious, but when you think about it a little more closely, reveals some interesting causes of issues which could so easily be solved. So for me, say, I might know I am loved when I am hugged. So I hug M a lot, whereas perhaps actions mean more to M, so he would rather I tidied up my clothes and returned my tea cups to the kitchen. Not that he doesn't appreciate my hugs, but if I choose to express my love with actions then it makes him feel more loved. Makes sense I think.

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Ps. For those of you interested in the etsy shop (which shamefully only has one pair of earrings in at the moment as I am waiting for the delivery of some more ear wires) you can click on the round orange etsy button further down this page and have a look. If anyone is an etsy user or seller, if you favourite my shop I shall come and have a look at your shop in return!

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Wednesday, 10 December 2008

The great plate search continues

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I can't believe we didn't think of it before, or, if we did, why we rejected it. Since we decided to collect our own crockery for the wedding we have been offered 6 items by a friend (thanks Rebecca!) and a set of 8 dinner plates and tea service items from a kind gentleman from Freecycle. My mother has also collected a bag of items from a charity shop in the town where she lives and I am winning 4 sets of 20 on e-bay!

I have also decided to make my own jewellery for the occasion and have been practising last night. One earring prompted M, on seeing it on the table this morning, to ask where I bought it. So I have opened an etsy shop to try and sell some of the ones which I like but won't be using. Interested? Drop me an e-mail or comment and I shall let you know the shop address.

The napkins and the umbrella arrived today. Proof that sometimes taking a gamble does pay off - they look better in real life than I thought they would. They are actually quite large and look far more expensive than the 20p each I paid for them (and that included P&P!). Any one else have any bargains to share?

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Tuesday, 9 December 2008

The great plate search and other things

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We bought a Christmas tree yesterday. As I threaded loops for 27 baubles from M's mother (to replace the ones that were stolen from our previous flat by the mean burglars of 15 December 2006) and hung them on the branches I realised that this was my last single Christmas. Next year we shall be married. Next year the annual argument over which tree to buy and how to get it home (M carried it) will be a married argument although we are both hoping marriage means we won't argue over how best to carry and then stand a tree. I suspect this is not true but I will try my best.

Our tree might be beautiful but it does have rather a curve to it. The base of the trunk is flat and standing upright in the dish of water. The top of the tree leans back by almost a foot, giving it the amusing sensation that it is just about to fall over, when in fact it is perfectly 'upright' and as steady as anything... I shall post some photos later tonight when I have mustered the strength to tie thread loops for the rest of the baubles.

In other exciting news, we have decided to try and play the non-communicative supplier at her own game: purchase the crockery ourselves. Yes, instead of paying almost £800 to rent it, we have set ourselves a challenge. My mother, M's mother and I will attempt to collect 1/3 of the crockery each from charity shops and junk shops over the next few months. Given that the brief was "pretty, Grannie's tea party style floral crockery as opposed to something you would find in a church kitchen" I am unsure as to what we will get, but hopefully it will create the effect we desire. And afterwards, should we need to serve afternoon tea for 120, we will have all the crockery and napkins and tablecloths we need...

I also finally made an umbrella decision and ordered myself a peacock feathered one. We may be marrying in June but this is England. Although traditionally the rain only pours on the Glastonbury weekend (around about the 25th June) and the Wimbledon fortnight (last 2 weeks of June, usually), English summers are nothing if not unpredictable so I think it is best we are prepared for all weathers. Hence another recent purchase was a cashmere twinset with pearl fastenings (another bargain - £195 reduced to £25 at the Couture Gallery) just in case it is not only wet but freezing too.

I was thinking of ordering umbrellas for the bridesmaids too but having chosen bright dresses I think patterned umbrellas may well have been overkill. Also, we are attempting to do as much of the wedding as possible without buying things new or, if new, on sale. So far, aside from the umbrella, we have achieved it as my shoes were 75% off in the summer sale and the bridesmaids dresses were reduced by 50% that week too. Even our stationery was bought from Smythsons on a day when everything was reduced by 20%. Obviously somethings have to be new: I propose buying new underwear, for example, flowers really have to be 'new', and the stamp I commissioned for the invitations was also new, but in general, our ethical ethos is being applied across the whole wedding.

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Sunday, 7 December 2008

T Minus 6 Months

To be completely honest with you, I suffered a crisis of confidence this weekend. I have verged from being extremely happy to doubting everything right down to the jumper I wore for a night out. As you might have noticed from the few photos I have posted, I am pretty slim and have never had 'body' issues. I have however been suffering from image issues, feeling old and frumpy in whatever I wear, hating my hair and buying black framed glasses to hide behind.

I went to a dinner last night, with friends and friends of friends. The friends asked how the wedding planning was going and I didn't know how to answer. I didn't want to sound like a boring bridezilla and waffle on and on about napkins and so on, so I responded that we had planned the outline but were in the process of filling in the details. Which sounded even more boring to my ears than it must have been to hers. She changed the subject and I felt even more boring than I did before.

We spent some time going through the budgets for the wedding. My parents are putting in some money and M's parents have given us some money and M and I are putting in the rest. After having problems finding a suitable venue cheaply which would let us do our own wine and catering and allow us exclusive use of the premises for the weekend, we have ended up spending a third of our budget on the venue. This means every other decision is having to be made so carefully and it is starting to get exhausting. Perhaps this is just six-month-to-the-day worries.

I hope next week is better. And even if it isn't, I will try and stop moaning on!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

A little update

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Image by Robyn Kessler via Style me Pretty
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Do not worry, my cold hasn't got me yet. I might be existing solely on lemsips and mouth-ulcer gel but I haven't forgotten the wedding. It has in fact been a rather busy week: M's brother turned 30 (with two parties, one to co-host), I had a meeting with the fab H who is my wonderful gorgeous hen party elf with envy-inducing-long-eyelashes (more on that later), sister-in-law-to-be survived the "we are going to make one of you redundant and give the other a promotion to do both of your jobs" fiasco, we met my sister's AmericanBoy and took him on a late night rainy walking tour of London, an Italian friend came to stay with 2 days notice and we went to our marriage course. Oh yes, and I went to work.

Have been doing a little research into table linens. After much consideration we have decided to purchase the napkins and tablecloths rather than hire them so we can embellish and decorate the napkins ahead of time. The ribbon is chosen, the theme for the labels decided and now, tonight, I purchased 130 white napkins. Off e-bay. For 20p each. I do so hope they are not a disappointment.

I know the photo above doesn't bear any relation to the post but I do love the idea of the groom in skinny trousers and pointy boots. So hot. But does it work in June in England? That, I am not sure.

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Thursday, 27 November 2008

Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is not something we celebrate in England but I celebrated it when I lived in California all those years ago. But today, in honour of my American readers, I thought I would wish people Happy Thanksgiving and think about some of the things that I am grateful for. I have written about this before on Little Miss Rachel so I will not repeat them here. But I am counting my blessings today.
For those who are interested the photo above is of a charity ball I helped organise last year in aid of a neurological hospital in London. Our theme was Viva Las Vegas and we hosted a Thanksgiving style meal as part of the evening. And yes, one of those dancing couples is M and I.
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Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Sneak Peek: Car Ideas

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Image by Damian Hall Photography via here
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Monday, 24 November 2008

First Photos: Red Frame

Image by Ian Mitchinson Portraits of Redframe and her BB
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The wedding only happened on Saturday yet this morning Redframe posted the first photos of her wedding. That is some speedy work by the photographer. Whilst I myself am not a big fan of jeans at weddings, in this context they somehow seem to work. The style of photography again is not how I would do it myself but again it works for Redframe and BB. Doesn't the wedding look fun and exciting and capture the mood so well you feel as if you are there with them. And that dress? Looks fab Redframe. See here and here for more photos. What a gorgeous set of photos. Looking forward to hearing all the details when you are back from Bali. *sigh*.
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Sunday, 23 November 2008

First Photos: Lovely Morning


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Images by Michele M Waite of Kristina & Brock

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These are some of the first pictures of Kristina from Lovely Morning. She is nearing the end of her honeymoon and soon shall be back and posting about her wedding, which, if the first photos are to go by, was absolutely gorgeous. What ethereal light. And the dress (and shoes). And the flowers. I am in love with the flowers. More photos here and here.

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Saturday, 22 November 2008

Good Luck Red Frame


This is Redframe and her Beautiful Boy who are getting married today. Congratulations and look forward to reading about it once you're back from honeymoon, which I believe is to be in Bali.


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Friday, 21 November 2008

Flower Board

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image credits clockwise from top left: Love Life Images, Real Simple.com,
Wynn Photography, Jennifer Skog, Marie Labbancz, Carrie Patterson
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Still collating ideas about the flowers, which I still intend to construct myself. Although I still love the idea of white roses, I also adore the flowers top left. These have the added bonus of involving another colour other than white, so the flowers will stand out against my dress. No idea what they are though - any ideas?
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Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Photography Ideas

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Image by Kelli Nicole Photography

I found this photo when reading That Bride's blog and I loved the idea. Of course, one of the many things I left off yesterday's to-do list was to decide on ideas for photographs and compile a list of images that I would like taken by our photographer.
I also read yesterday in Cosmo Bride that feathers are very much 'on trend', so much so that they had a whole page of ideas including a peacock feathered cake - which I will try and find and upload at some point. Rather irritated that a wedding magazine has already featured my theme as 'on-trend' as there is nothing so passe about featuring something 'on-trend' at your own wedding.
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Monday, 17 November 2008

Are we nearly there yet?

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Images (clockwise from L): Dress by Debenhams, Shoes by Rupert Sanderson, Headdress by Boring Sydney via Etsy, the venue (by me), Peacock via Style Me Pretty, Shoes by Monsoon
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Well, we are getting there at least. I think I am happy about the way that the theme is progressing and complimenting itself. The colours seem to be working. Obviously, there is still a long way to go but we have 7 months still until the big day. I can't even remember what my original time frames were but my to-do list reads as follows:-
  • Choose readings and the people to read them, hymns and the ceremony itself. Finalise music to be played during the signing of the register. Draw up order of service draft. Agree with Vicar. Design order of service. Have printed.
  • My outfit: fill in the details but the main decisions have been made.
  • Check bridesmaids outfits fit them, check shoes fit them. Order jewellery and accessories.
  • Meet with crockery lady and decide which items are needed. Pay deposit.
  • Finish collecting glass tableware. Decide on table settings and layouts. Find napkins & tablecloths, source ribbons and labels. Make labels.
  • Source cheese for the cake. Finish cake toppers
  • Source guest book. Make photo display and decide on decorations for marquee
  • Make and send the invitations
  • Finish website
  • Decide on and book transport to and from church to reception. Book transport for guests between church and reception.
  • Taste and choose wine, champagne and beer. Sort out glasses.
  • Ensure groom purchases clothes for him and ushers and BestMan
  • Flowers and buttonholes
  • Decide on and book honeymoon
  • Design poster to advertise band and DJ. Hire PA system. Sort out transport for equipment.
  • Choose and purchase presents
  • Choose and purchase wedding bands
  • Pray I haven't left anything out...

Considering what this list looked like a few months ago I don't think we're doing too badly... These may be famous last words but for now, I feel vaguely in control just as long as I do not question my choices once they are made.

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Bridesmaids Dresses: A new direction

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Dress by Debenhams (but without the straps)

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Shoes by Monsoon

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The Westfield trip seemed to be a success. I spent as many hours there as I do at work each day, starting out on my own with very few other shoppers for company, was joined by my Mother after an hour so we picked out several dresses for my sister to try on. She duly arrived and tried things on and dress after dress was rejected.

The dress above was the last one that she tried. I wasn't sure about it on the hanger but I thought it worth a bash. I'm glad I did because on her it looked super flattering and very pretty. Turns out that her boobs in the Monsoon dress I picked first were less "I'm a bridesmaid" more "hello boys" which wasn't the look she, or I, wished her to wear on my wedding day. Turns out the dress above looks sexy and demure at the same time. It also looks a lot better on my little sister than it does on the model above. So, Debenhams, if you're reading, you need some new models. May I suggest my sister?

We then decided we should look for some shoes to match it, whilst the dress was with us. A good plan, as every time I picked up a shoe or sandal I thought would work and then held it up to the dress, it didn't. And then, in Monsoon, I saw the shoes above. I think they match rather than go for overkill.

BestFriend then arrived with my own wedding shoes, which I had forgotten and she had picked up on her way to join us. I took them out of the box and held them up against the bridesmaids dresses. And would you believe it, they match the blue ribbons on the dress exactly.

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Friday, 14 November 2008

The Marriage Course 3

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"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it" (Voltaire)

Apparently this is not how all married or to-be-married couples think (!) and so yesterdays session was entitled Resolving Conflict. It may have been that we managed to get home and have some supper together first, or that it was simply more interesting or maybe the course is having some effect, but yesterday's session seemed more interesting and helpful than the past 2.

According to the course, people generally behave in one of two ways at the first sign of conflict: that of a rhino (head down, charge at the other person) or that of a hedgehog (curl into a ball and withdraw, prickles out). Apparently the vast majority of couples split down into one of each type. And yes, M and I seem to be no exception to this. The trick to resolving conflict it seems is to assess which kind you are, what causes conflict, how you behave and then try and find a way of supporting each other and reducing inflammatory behaviour. Sounds obvious but I did find the process of assessing what causes conflict and working out how we behave during scenes of conflict (and then how our partner views our behaviour) helpful. M and I are lucky in that we talk a lot anyway and I was already aware of how I behave - despite having less success in changing it - so it did not come as too much of a surprise, but apparently it really does to some couples.

We also had to list things we appreciate about the other and it did surprise me to see that M listed my 'stubborn and determined' attitude as something he appreciated in me, despite me knowing that this, combined with low blood sugar, is almost always the trigger for my shouting. OK, I admit it, I am a rhino.

Last on my list of things I appreciate about M I listed this: "I love it when M brings me a cup of tea in bed". This morning I was woken up by M telling me it was time to get out of bed and that he had moved my phone (alarm clock) to the bedside table. And there, on the bedside table, in my favourite mug, was a cup of tea.

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Thursday, 13 November 2008

Marriage Preparation Course 2

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We actually attended this session last week but it seems to have taken me this long to find a moment to write about it.

This session was called The Art of Communication and, surprise surprise, covered the topics of communication, or talking and listening. Sounds obvious but a lot of people are good at talking and not so good at actually listening to what the other party in the conversation has to say in return. As the presenters showed, for some other people's chat is something to be endured before it is their turn to start speaking again.

So, useful tips inside a marriage or relationship but also useful thoughts to carry into everyday life. We discussed a number of issues surrounding communication but the most useful one, in my opinion, was the plenary when we looked at 'bad habits' such as jumping in and reassuring, giving advice, intellectualising, going off at a tangent, interrupting and so on and realising which ones we are guilty of and then taking steps to work out communication habits which prevent us from using these habits.

I won't go into what M and I discussed and agreed but what I will say is this: next time you are having a conversation, be it with your husband, fiance, boyfriend, friend, Mum or well, whoever, really listen to what they have to say. You might think you want to help them or tell them what to do, or interrupt with something you want to say or just to steer the conversation to a safer or more interesting topic. But try, for once, to really listen and you might be surprised at the result.

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Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Flowers (2)

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Supermarket carnations transformed into a wedding bouquet
Image from RealSimple.com
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This is one of the things I love about blogging, the sense of community, the sense of friendship. I posted about flowers and since then several readers have pointed out helpful things to me. Guilty Secret (who should be busy being married) indicated a nursery which sells roses for 1/10th the price of the independent florist. CeeCee told me that A cup of Jo featured a piece on doing wedding flowers with wraps bought from the supermarket.

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Bouquet of roses by Marie Labbancz

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The roses are much like how I imagine my bouquet to look, except with less ribbon (and it being blue) and without the diamante and pearl rosary, which I am sorry to say that despite allegedly being blessed by the Pope I feel it looks rather tacky. Or perhaps I am just not a diamante sort of girl. But I love the roses.

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Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Sorry to post this again but it turns out that this is actually a competition won by reader votes so if you did like this board and wanted to see the others and/or vote for it, you can do so by clicking here and leaving a comment!

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Monday, 10 November 2008

Flowers


Images by Real Flower Company except top right (by me) and the one underneath that which is Vera Wang.

Question: Why is it when you go to a florist and mention that you were recommended them by a caterer and that you are looking for flowers for your wedding but you want them as cut stems, not bouquets, they look at you as if you smell bad?


Our caterer recommended a florist. Although I am pretty sure that I will order the flowers on-line I thought I might have a look and see what a local independent florist could offer. I asked about cut stems. He could provide them for £2.50 a stem in wraps of 10 or 20 but became immediately scathing when it became apparent that I intended to parcel them up into bouquets and buttonholes myself.


Obviously I am not stupid. I will have a trial run with some roses from a supermarket and I shall attempt to make my bouquet and a buttonhole or two. If they look alright I shall order something from the online florist to check the service and will hope that everything goes alright on the night before. Clearly if the bouquets look terrible I will reassess my options. But I really don't see the need to spend £75-£100 on my bouquet when all I want is a bunch of roses tied with a ribbon...


Which is probably the answer to my question. Florist hears word 'wedding' and suddenly imagines all the profit they can make on the flowers. Which is not so much if I do it myself. Next time I will not mention the wedding. Probably for the best.

Please excuse the thing splashed across the photo board - until I find a better free option it has to stay
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Sunday, 9 November 2008

Sneak Peek...



Further details to come as and when they are sorted. Colour of ribbon to change and size of dress to be altered but you get the rough idea...

Back in London now so more to come during the week.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Style Me Pretty Little Black Dress Competition

I wrote a while ago about this competition - I don't think it was a competition as such now but hop over to Style Me Pretty to see my entry and all of the others. Some fab ideas if you are thinking of using the LBD theme for your bridesmaids.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Good Luck Guilty!

Tomorrow is the wedding day of Guilty & Baddie. Many many congratulations to them and hoping that their day goes according to plan.

Personally I cannot believe it is already their wedding day and it is November. Only 7 months to go now until my own.

Am off for the weekend now to visit the town of our wedding, catch up with our DJ, meet the Chaplain and visit my parents on the way home to try on my wedding dress again. Last night I bought the most gorgeous cashmere cream cardigan/jacket to wear over the dress in the evening in case it was cold. Reduced from £195 to £25 and it is absolutely adorable. I will share further details and maybe even some photos when I am back next week. We also attended session 2 of the marriage course, so expect an update on that and hopefully I will also get around to the postponed shoe post next week.

Have a good weekend, especially Guilty & Baddie...

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Thursday, 6 November 2008

Hen Party

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As far as wedding planning goes, we are getting there. Most of the big outline decisions have been made (venue, dress and so on) and it is just the sketching in of the details to bring the event to life which are needed. And most of them are in hand, so I am not worrying too much. We still have seven months to go.
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What is worrying me though is the hen party. Traditionally one or all of the bridesmaids would organise this event. My involvement would be limited to deciding who is to be invited and giving a broad outline of the type of party I would like. Sadly, in my case, this is not the case.
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Bridesmaids, as I've said before, are sisters A1 and A2 and sister-in-law-to-be. A1 lives in Australia, A2 is in her final year of university, SILTB is a busy bee in the fashion industry. No one has anytime for hen party planning (least of all me, but someone has to do it).
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I have invited 19 or 20 people. Some can make it for the Saturday only, some can come for 2 nights. I initially wanted to go abroad for a mini-holiday for some sun and relaxation but that plan didn't work. A2's exam dates came through so we moved the weekend to 2 weeks before the wedding.
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I decided we should stay in the UK. I decided I wanted a 20s themed afternoon tea. I found someone (more than someone, I will reveal details when deposits are paid etc, but she is a fab find) to do the tea party.
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I tried to find a house, or collection of cottages which will sleep 15. The one place I found is already booked. Some cottages will not cater for groups of 15 at 'that time of year', others will not do a short break in the school hols (my chosen weekend is the last weekend of half term). I am pretty flexible on requirements save that it must be in the Vale of Glamorgan (because of the afternoon tea). I do not know where to turn now.
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If anyone knows of a solution to this problem, I would be very grateful to hear it.
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Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Bridesmaids Dresses -The saga continues

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After all that, it looks like the Monsoon dresses may be a no go. I will not go into further details as I do not want to embarrass my bridesmaids, but something to do with the shape of the dress and the shape of the body and neither the two shall meet.


So, back to the drawing board again. Some more ideas have turned up as has a plot to visit Westfield in Holland Park and see what can be found there... Stay tuned, if you can stand the excitement!
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Images (L-R): Dresses by Oliver Bonas, Oasis, Warehouse, Monsoon & Oliver Bonas.

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Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Please Vote!

Rachel says it better than I can (as it is lunchtime and I am on a course)

"Dear American readers, If you are lucky enough to have a vote in the US elections, please use it. Even though the lines may be long, the system chaotic, the weather bad, your feet sore, the pollsters telling you that you don't need to, he'll win anyway...please vote. Thank you. Really, thank you. And I hope that you have a great day."

Friday, 31 October 2008

Make-up and veil trial...

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Veil, make-up and eye-lashes by me
Image by the BestMan's girlfriend
Inspiration: Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
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Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Bridesmaid Dress Ideas (continued)

Dress by Monsoon (images on mannequin by them, others by me)
Shoes by Aldo
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Thank you all for your kind words of support regarding the bridesmaids dresses. I have decided that out of all the dresses I have seen on the high street this one above by Monsoon is my favourite and have made plans for the bridesmaids in this country to try it on asap. I went last night and tried it on myself - they didn't have an 8, hence it looks a bit big - but I loved the way it looked and felt.

The ribbon tie at the halterneck echoes the ribbons that I have planned to tie around our bouquets and I think that the dress is close enough in colour to my shoes that it will look deliberate and not coincidental.

And perhaps not with those silver shoes but similar ones, so as to echo the shape of my shoes and to be the opposite colouring pairing to my outfit. And I am making them each a peacock feather headpiece to wear in their hair.

Now, just as long as they fit them all and they have the right sizes available, I think we might finally be moving forwards!

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Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Honeymoon Daydreams

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Image from US Vogue June 2008 via A Desert Fete via This is Glamorous

This is what I am hoping the first week of our honeymoon will look like...
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Monday, 27 October 2008

Bridesmaid Dress Ideas: The High Street

Images (clockwise from left)
Dresses by Oli, Whistles, Topshop, Monsoon & Topshop
Shoes by Dune
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By far and away my biggest challenge so far has been finding a solution to my bridesmaids outfits. For a bride with a large budget, not so much of a challenge. There are plenty of places where you can buy some beautiful and admittedly, some less than beautiful, dresses. But I do not want to spend hundreds per dress. We have a budget and from that budget the church and our reception venue were where we chose to spend. This means that there is a lower budget in other areas: not a problem, just somewhat of a challenge.
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I am having three adult bridesmaids - my two sisters and my sister-in-law-to-be. All three are quite tall (all taller than me) and all of them are curvier than me. I would like them to wear blue or green or a peacock-y colour and the dress must be fairly simple (as my own is). The budget I have at present is £50 per dress. I may be able to find more but I would be pleased if I didn't have to.
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I have posted before some designer options which I very much like but clearly they are way over budget. So I have instead scoured the high street and these dresses are the best that I can come up with. And yes, some of these are over budget too. Much as I like the colour of the Whistles dress, I do not think it works: it is too short and too tailored and I do not think it will complement my dress. Unfortunately the Oli one on the left is sold out, as I think it is the nicest shape of the whole lot.
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The Monsoon one on the right is very close to the colour shoes I am going to be wearing and will match the ribbons I hope to tie round the bouquets* (I don't care whether it is supposed to be bad luck, I am looking forward to doing my own flowers...).
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Shoes wise I think I am going to leave the girls to pick their own. I cannot decide if they too should wear blue, or whether they should be the exact opposite to me and wear white/silver shoes with a blue dress. I love these Dune ones (full marks to anyone who recognises which recent bride wore these herself but in a different colour) but I think they are too high - I don't want the bridesmaids overshadowing me too much!
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Of course, the other option is to make the dresses, based on a pattern of a dress of my choice. Given that one sister can make her own clothes and sister-in-law-to-be is a fashion designer, perhaps that would be the obvious choice. But I saw how stressful that process was last year when I helped make my own bridesmaid dress for sister-in-law-to-be's wedding and I just don't know if I can willingly do that to myself. We shall see...

*which will be, I think, white roses like my own bouquet but a smaller bunch with shorter stems.

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Saturday, 25 October 2008

Marriage Preparation Course 1

Because we live in one place and are getting married in another, we had to think creatively about our marriage course. We have ended up doing it in two parts: the first, a course for couples, is held at our local church. The second, the actual preparation part, we are doing with our chaplain at the church where we are getting married.

We attended the first session this week and I was more nervous than I thought I would be. Yes, parts of it are annoying, but both M and I agreed that there were a couple of useful things we could take away. This session was based on the foundations of marriage and whether we were in agreement about the state of our relationship at present. We both scored roughly the same which was pleasing, as it showed neither of us thought more or less than the other about things.

The course emphasised the very real need to spend time as a couple and to schedule this every week. (It suggested actually writing this in the diary, but that is not for us). I think M and I are lucky as we do have plenty of time to spend with each other: we live together yet have no children, so outside of our work commitments the rest of our time is either spent together, with friends or, occasionally, on our own. I know that sounds obvious, but what I mean is that our default position is to spend time together, rather than other things taking priority and spending time together being shunted down the list.

I used to be obsessed about us spending time together. Before we lived together I spent 7 months in a house share with two people I didn't know. They sold it to me as a house share, but when I moved in they had just returned from their honeymoon and my role in the house was more akin to lodger. M on the other hand was living with his best friend. Despite the fact that they lived together, every week they reserved one night for them to hang out together. I used to find that every week I was fighting for attention with all his other commitments and my favourite whine was that I never got to spend any time with him. But then we moved in together and slowly I have learnt that I do not need to be obsessed about this any more. In fact, in recent months, I have been able to let go of this obsession entirely and bingo we have started to spend one or more evenings a week together. Now all I have to do is stop obsessively using the computer every evening and the time might actually qualify as time together as per the Marriage Course guidelines (discovering how much of this you have together is our homework this week...)

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Friday, 24 October 2008

Style Me Pretty Little Black Dress Competition

{Image Credits (L-R)
Eudoxia Dress by Ted Baker
Embellished Heeled Shoes by Giuseppe Zanotti via Net a Porter
Black Aves Tea Cup and Saucer by Royal Crown Derby via Liberty
Black and White Wedding Cake by Iced-Online
Portia Mini Bridal Combs by Glitznglory via Etsy
Vintage lace mantle card with ivory ribbon by Two by Two Weddings}

Style Me Pretty is asking it's readers to come up with their own image board styling a little black dress with a co-ordinating palette. Here is my attempt, although I don't think I have got the sizing quite right as I don't know how to make it at least 600 pixels wide...

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Thursday, 23 October 2008

HeadPiece Ideas

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Daphne HeadPiece by Sweetsnlo via Etsy

I was thinking I would make something to wear in my hair, but maybe I will just wear this instead! I am finding it impossible to reach a decision, about anything...

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Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Photo of the Day

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Hop over to Little Miss Rachel for the others. Back soon with more wedding based posts but after the weekend I should think, as we are off to Yorkshire for my Grandmother's 80th birthday. What a week!

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Image by me

Monday, 20 October 2008

Wedding Vendors

I eventually heard back from the wedding vendor who I had been having problems contacting, although I don't know what to believe.

In the absence of hearing from her, I contacted another vendor who I know works with her on occasion and they said she was still in business and they would see what they could find out for me. I got an answer-machine message from them on Saturday to say that her computer system had gone down so she wouldn't have received my e-mails and she had also been on holiday.

I then finally received an e-mail from her, in response to my e-mails, saying she had been abroad for a few weeks and her out of office response had obviously not activated.

So, having made the decision to find another vendor, and failing, I now wonder if I should give her another chance or get out now...

Oh, and it is my cousin's boyfriend's funeral tomorrow so there will be a pause in posting, as I do not really feel like writing about weddings at present. Back soon though, I promise.

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Thursday, 16 October 2008

More Bridesmaid Dress Ideas

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Satin Long Dress by Oli
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I know, this search for a green or blue bridesmaids dress which doesn't cost the earth is getting tedious. This is the best I can come up with available in this country for under £100...

And news flash - one of the bridesmaids "loves it"!

News flash 2 - Out of Stock and discontinued...!

Back to the drawing board then.

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Wednesday, 15 October 2008

For the Groom - Tie



Images by Toybreaker via Etsy


I have written about what I am going to wear, but what about the groom? Well, he would like to keep his outfit somewhat of a secret (although, if he wants it to be a proper secret he should not be using my e-bay account to watch things!) but I am putting my foot down. His shoes, socks, suit and so on can be a surprise for the day, but I need to know the colour and I need to know what tie he is wearing. (He needs to match the bridesmaids, although that is another story altogether).


Last week I bought him a dark green silk tie from e-bay. It is by Liberty and has a jacquard print of peacock feathers. It is beautiful and cost the grand sum of £2.45. I would love him to wear it but for that to happen we need to find two more matching ones (or the same but different colours) for BestMan and HeadUsher. I will be doing my best, but then I found the silk screen printed ties on Etsy...
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Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Hair Ideas

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Vintage Pearl Labrinth Headdress




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This is very similiar to the headband (and is by the same designer) that I liked so much at the wedding show. No, she hasn't sent through any photos but I finally managed to get the website to work properly. Gorgeous, isn't it. Would absolutely fit with my vintage theme and eco-credentials as the pearls are recycled 1940s ones...
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Close up of the Vintage Pearl Labrinth Headdress
by
MillionDesign

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Wedding Vendors

I wrote before about a wedding vendor that I was having potential problems with. I listened to your advice, I e-mailed them again, I got M to call them and finally today, after three weeks without hearing anything from them, I was forced to send them an e-mail detailing my disappointment and requesting that they contacted me either way as if they couldn't help me I needed to make alternative arrangements.

I am really sad that I have had to do this but three weeks without response is, to my mind, unacceptable. There is no 'out-of-office' response to the e-mails (which might explain an absence or a delay) and there is no recorded message which sheds any light on the situation either.

All I can do is hope that they come back to me. And soon, as if we are giving up on the idea, I need time to find something equally fantastic to take its place.

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Designer Wedding Show (again)

Designer Wedding Show - Reasons for Being Disappointed:-

  1. The people manning the stands were, by and large, rude. With one or two exceptions they seemed uninterested and unhelpful. I wanted to ask questions about orders of service covers, but once the stationery people heard that was all I was after, they couldn't care less. Price lists were presented and backs were turned.
  2. Cost - I know it was the designer show but that still doesn't mean I want to spend £600 on a net tulle veil. Not even silk tulle, net.
  3. I was offered a teeth whitening brochure.
  4. The one stand I found where I seriously liked her headpieces and veils and was stood there wearing said headpiece and veil, and she wouldn't let me take a photo to remind myself what I looked like. The headpiece cost almost £300 and yet she refused to let me have an image of myself in it. An image which I would have uploaded to my computer and gazed at, because it was so beautiful, and possibly convinced myself that the money was worth it. Now all I can think about is how she wouldn't let me take the photo. (Nor did she send me an e-mailed image which is what she promised she would do instead).
  5. Realising how self obsessed some brides are, and some women too. M overheard one girl saying to another "well, you've got everything sorted now, all you need is a boyfriend".
  6. Realising how brides-to-be can be made to feel so inadequate if they don't have every last whatever for the wedding. Really, who needs cards printed up with the names of your bridesmaids-to-be, to ask them if they will be your bridesmaid?

Designer Wedding Show - Reasons for Being Pleased:-

  1. Walking around the show, we realised how much of the planning we have already done and how happy we are with the way we are doing things. Sure, the Amanda Wakeley lady might have made a face like I was a bad smell when I said that I bought my own Amanda Wakeley gown from Oxfam, but I am pleased with where I purchased it. Sure, the invitations lady looked at me horrified when I said we were handwriting our invitations, but we are pleased with our choice. And yes, the florist might have snapped at me that making my own bouquet was bad luck (but I think she was more annoyed that she told me all about New Covent Garden Flower Market and how cheap the flowers were, and how easy it was to make a simple bouquet of roses and was then forced to admit she charged £75 for her own, whereon she asked who was doing my flowers, I said I was, she realised her tactical errors and thought rudeness was the way out of the situation).
  2. Knowing that we are pleased with our choice of photographer.
  3. The afternoon tea we ate together was very tasty.
  4. Not having paid for the tickets - they were free due to an offer in the Telegraph.

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Sunday, 12 October 2008

Designer Wedding Show

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Temperley London Veil (Image by M)
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Popped down to the Designer Wedding Show this afternoon to have a look for some ideas. Rather unimpressed by the whole thing really; a few good ideas but mostly filled with people trying to interest you in things you didn't want.

There was one thing which I did very much like though, and she is supposed to be sending me some images. If she does, I will post them, as they are an unusual but lovely idea.

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Friday, 10 October 2008

At the moment, I can't remember where I found these but I will update the credit later on. I love the light, so gorgeous, so peaceful, so American. Will be back with the shoe post soon but not today. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Rupert Sanderson

I was hoping to write this post tonight and mention the talk I went to on Tuesday night, An audience with Rupert Sanderson. I was going to take some photographs of the shoes and post some that I took at the event. Sadly I heard late this afternoon that my cousin's boyfriend had died, unexpectedly, and it rather shocked me. Despite never meeting him I feel terribly sad, especially as there is no real explanation for this sudden, tragic, turn of events. I also feel extremely guilty that I am upset, for him, for my cousin, for her family. So I am not really feeling like writing about shoes tonight. I hope you understand, and I will write it just as soon as I can.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Emily London: Couture Milliner

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When I first started looking for my wedding dress I thought I would wear a vintage gown so I went straight to my favourite vintage shop (and old neighbour in my beloved Primrose Hill): Shikasuki. As you know by now, I didn't end up buying a vintage gown but I did fall in love with the millinery on exhibition there... hats by Emily-London. Emily offered to make me a hat/headpiece for my wedding which I could commission to include peacock feathers and I am seriously considering taking her up on the option. That or commissioning a hat to go with my going-away dress which I could wear to the many weddings we are attending later in the summer.
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Oyster apostrophe with feathers and diamant├ęs
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I wanted to share with you some of her designs - I have chosen some of my favourites - but she also does custom made commissions (see the butterflies below) and hires vintage pieces for weddings as well. Enjoy.
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Chocolate lace beret with metallic flower and quills

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In fact, Emily says: "Having a bespoke hat or headpiece privately commissioned, particularly for your wedding day, is a wonderfully enjoyable process from the initial concept to the final stitch. It is a delightful and original way to have a unique and special piece designed and made exclusively for you. As a milliner, private commissions are my most enjoyable pieces to make. They enable me creatively to interpret the client's concept and then engage with her throughout the making process so that the end result goes beyond even her first hopes and expectations. The feeling of a customer taking her hat or headpiece away, knowing that she absolutely adores it and that it will be privately treasured forever, brings with it for me a wonderful sense of pride and creative energy".
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Chocolate brown felt twist with pheasant feather
(A/W 08 preview)

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So, if you are interested in having a hat or headpiece made for your wedding, or to wear to someone else's wedding, or to Ascot, or just because you fancy a gorgeous hat, get in touch with Emily by e-mailing her at the address on her website.

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Vintage white fur hat. Available to hire.

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Hackle and stripped coque feathers with velvet flower

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butterflies custom made commission
(photo by Ian Kelsall)
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Claret twist pillbox with velvet spray

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All images by Emily-London with the exception of the butterflies which is by Ian Kelsall




Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Things to cheer me up at lunchtime...

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Image by Duttson Rocks

Stones and set chosen by my boy in conjunction with Neil Duttson

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Save the Date


image by me
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So, with 8 months left until the wedding we have sent our save the date e-mails (see above, without the blue crosses, obviously) and have attended our formal, family, engagement party. It went really well and all sides of the family present got on very well, which was somewhat of a relief.

8 months is a long time, but what a lot there is left to do. Aside from booking a venue and photographer we have yet to physically book a marquee, caterers (although we have decided who), crockery, tables and so on, transport, bridesmaid dresses, groom's attire, honeymoon, wedding night accommodation... the list is endless and I must stop now before I descend into panic.

Actually, the thing that is panicking me most at the moment is my hen party. I have two sisters and one sister-in-law-to-be. All three are my bridesmaids. One is in Australia, one is in her final year of university, one is a full time fashion designer. All are very busy. Having researched some places I know we need to book asap as many places are already booked for April and May next year. We had an idea. That idea will not work - wrong time for one, too expensive for some, my teaching friends can only come for 2 nights - so it is back to the drawing board. I am starting to wonder if I even want a hen party.

The stag party, of course, is hugely popular, everyone said yes to the proposed date and it is well under way to being organised. This makes me more stressed than ever.

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Monday, 6 October 2008

I've Been Pseudo Tagged...

...by Peonies, who extended the tagging to anyone that cared to join in.



Today I have:-



1. Gone to work and done lots of it;

2. Worn new shoes;

3. Gone to a powerplating class; and

4. Bought and watched Sex and the City the film.



To do:-



1. Sort out meeting with vendor of Whatevertheyares - she is now not answering the telephone either;

2. Backlog of laundry, some of which is left over from the sailing holiday. Was forced to put the heating on yesterday evening to get things dry - some clothes were still damp despite being washed at the start of last week. It's not good for the clothes, the house or my sanity...;

3. Thank you letters to friends and family for the engagement presents we received at the weekend;

4. Write a new to-do list, one that doesn't make me feel like I am about to explode.



Guilty Pleasures:-



1. Reading Vogue or Tatler stood up in the kitchen with a cup of tea;

2. Designer shoes from e-bay (top quality shoes at Topshop prices);

3. Sex and the City;

4. Facebooking stalking other peoples weddings (usually at lunchtime).



Random Facts:-



1. I am finding it hard not to wear my wedding shoes - I have had to hide them;

2. I would rather go barefoot than wear odd socks;

3. If I am early it is a surprise to everyone including myself;

4. My favourite drink is a cup of tea. Unless champagne is on offer.



I tag:-



1. CeeCee

2. Posies and Pearls

3. Red Frame

4. Baby, picture this

Friday, 3 October 2008

Posies & Pearls

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News flash...! Hannah or The Cwtch has a new blog! Already a favourite vendor of mine, Hannah makes the most beautiful vintage inspired cakes and Posies and Pearls is her scrapbook behind her business - Iced Online. A few weeks ago I posted an inspiration board full of her cakes and I am so delighted that she has decided to share her inspiration with the world too - and what a fab name. It conjures up for me images of 1940s weddings - and guess what? That is what she is writing about at the moment...
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Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Autumn to Spring

1 October: Autumn is here. To be honest it's felt autumnal for a while; that orangey, rather American light, which illuminates the branches of the trees in grains of amber sunlight; that slightly crisp chill to the morning air; the sense of new starts and back to school. I sat on a wall last week for a snatched lunch break in the afternoon sun and brown leaves drifted down from the tree above, landing all around me.

October is I think the most colourful month: the warmth of summer still just about remembered in the oranges and yellows and reds of the leaves, the cosiness of November coming more sharply into focus. Halloween, Bonfire Night, house parties and family birthdays.

And after autumn will come winter. The dying months of autumn will leave the dead of winter. But my spirit will not be dead and buried. No, for there is Christmas, Sunday roasts and chilled walks, mulled wine and spiced apple juice to drink in pubs, there will be carols to sing and board games to play. And after Christmas comes my birthday, celebrated with friends in London and then with family in the French Alps a couple of weeks later.

In February comes our anniversary, this time seven years. No seven year itch for us, instead marriage, a mere four months after. February should also bring the return of my long-lost beautiful sister A1, tanned and healthy from an Australian year, sewing machine at the ready to help her somewhat stressed older yet smaller sister with all the sewing that she still hasn't done.

And then to March, that long and beastly month, with cold rains and lazy winds before yielding to April, Easter, of daffodils, of trips northwards to Yorkshire and Shropshire. Of planning, of making, of cleaning and organising. My spring cleaning next year will be a watershed: I shall neatly shake out and fold up my single self and pack it away into boxes, carefully wrapped in tissue paper, to be opened and looked at by future children and grandchildren and in times of remembrance, by myself on a future lonely night. I shall store it on the top shelf of the wardrobe that we do not yet own and instead try on for size the life labelled wife.

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Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Engagement Party

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Image by Sedona Bride/Katrina Wallace Photography
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Some friends of good friends got married a couple of weeks ago. This isn't them. But I just loved the light in this photo that I had to post it as I would like a photo much like this of me and my boy (with less dramatic scenery, obviously, being England)

The photos of our friends wedding have started to trickle into sight, on mantlepieces and facebook, despite the bride and groom still being on honeymoon. By all accounts it was a wonderful, fantastic wedding and indeed seeing so many people I know as guests gave my looking through the photos extra meaning.

What it also did is make me nervous.

It is our engagement party this weekend, the formal one. I.e not the one where we invited friends round to our flat for drinks and a barbeque the weekend after we got engaged. This one is held by my mother-in-law-to-be, with champagne and guests and The Meeting of The Parents. Yes, after almost seven years, our respective parents still have not met. There will also be the meeting of the BestMan and Bride's Parents and various other relatives on both sides. It also means that there is only 1 week and 8 months until the wedding and 7 months until the hen and stag parties.

I must not panic. I must write lists.
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Monday, 29 September 2008

Wedding Vendors

At what point do you suppose you don't use a potential vendor? One vendor is causing me some anxiety and we haven't even handed over any money. They didn't respond to my initial e-mail so three days later I called. Appropriate excuses were proffered and accepted and it was indicated that a quote would be e-mailed and that a meeting would be set up for us to visit. No quote arrived so I e-mailed to jog the memory and one did arrive later that day, only 10 days after the initial e-mail. So far, not too worried.

I then e-mailed about 10 days later to say that we were still considering the quote but would like to arrange the meeting to see - the whatever they offer* - in person and so we could discuss our needs more thoroughly and suggested some dates. So far, I have heard nothing, not even a 'sorry, we're working through our e-mails' e-mail or out of office response. Nothing, nada, zip.

See, the thing is, I really like the 'whatever they offer' that they do offer but I am worried that if this is their attitude to potential clients that they will be worse post deposit. So do I e-mail again and threaten/suggest that if they do not respond more quickly I will take my business elsewhere (and suffer the consequences if they make me follow that through) or do I wait, or what. Organising is stressful enough without having to hand-hold vendors. I thought they were supposed to make my life easier?

Answers on a postcard please...

*i.e. I know what they offer I just want to be anonymous about them at present.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

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Image by Nordstrom
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Sigh. Why is it that all the bridesmaid dresses I like are from American websites. Why does it seem impossible to find plain-ish decently coloured dresses which are not around £300. These dresses are silk and $168 with free shipping (to US addresses I suspect). That makes them about £90 each.

Please shout though if you have seen something just as fab for sale in the UK. I will love you forever if someone helps me! (and please, nothing from Coast).

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Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Necklace

Image by Boodles
India Blue necklace
A vibrant black opal set in wispy feathers of platinum and diamonds
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I know I said that I wasn't going to wear a necklace, but if I did, I think it would have to be this one...
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Monday, 22 September 2008

Save The Date & Hen Party Planning

At last, we are moving forward with the hen party plans. A decision has - roughly - been made and initial e-mails sent out to all my nearest and dearest girlfriends. Those who are invited now know this and we can start sorting out where we are going. I am actually quite looking forward to it now and everyone seems very enthusiastic about the idea.

Save-the-date e-mails are also ready to leave my inbox and wing their way around the country (and in one or two cases, world) just as soon as we have finished compiling the definitive guest list and contact list. The website with all the details on is well in hand and I have made a start in sorting out the accommodation list to, so I feel almost in control... almost...

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

More bridesmaids ideas

Well, if we're holding the wedding in England, in June, it's bound to rain. Perhaps I should get the bridesmaids one of these each...



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Or what about one of these?



Image from http://www.prezziesplus.co.uk/

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