Thursday, 31 July 2008

Confessions of a Fiancee (Part Two)

I eventually got round to thinking about an engagement announcement this week. I remembered seeing a friend's in the Telegraph a few months ago and as my Grandparents and M's parents take the Telegraph I thought that would be appropriate. I logged onto their website and noted that it said:

"To place a notice in the Daily Telegraph you can contact the team on: Tel: 020 7931 3000 Fax: 020 7931 3370 email: The deadline for wording is 2 p.m. on the day prior to publication and 4.30 p.m. for verbal confirmation.

Please note: if sending your notice by either fax or email you must add your name, address and daytime telephone number, as all our notices must be verbally confirmed prior to publication. All our notices must be verbally confirmed prior to publication."

Which sounded fine and it didn't mention costs so I naively assumed that it was free. So I e-mailed in our announcement and was rather surprised to receive a call from them this morning asking me to pay £189.41. Or £23.68 per line (4 or 5 words per line). I was extremely embarrassed to be asked for so much money for something I had assumed was free so I said I would check with my parents and come back to her. Which I haven't done but I did e-mail them registering my unease with such a method of extorting money from people.

In retrospect I should have realised an announcement would cost money but I suppose I simply assumed that if there were costs it would be mentioned on the 'information about notices' page. So we won't be having our announcement in the newspaper and we shall be spending the £189 on something more useful for the wedding. Like hiring a generator.


It's all in the details

No time for any blog posts this week, I have been too busy getting quotes. Marquees, hog roasts, caterers, for china and cutlery, for tables, tableclothes, DJs, generators. You name it, I think I have got a quote for it. Now all we have to do is choose someone. Easier said than done (except for the bar hire company who wanted £1,500 plus VAT and were going to charge the guests for their drinks. That decision was easy).

Monday, 28 July 2008

Going to the chapel


It was a little like playing an elongated game of fortunately, unfortunately this weekend...


Unfortunately my sister's laptop ate everything on the hard drive and it needed to be repaired; closest Apple shop to my parents - Southampton... but fortunately I had discovered that Southampton's Oxfam shop was one of only 10 Oxfam bridal shops across the UK and that they could fit me in for an appointment at 3pm


Unfortunately we got caught in a massive traffic jam on the M27 but fortunately we arrived only 5 minutes late so we still had enough time to browse properly and the owner didn't mind that we overran slightly


Unfortunately I didn't like any of the dresses on the size 8 or 10 rail or they didn't fit... but fortunately I chose to look through the 12 rail anyway as I found my dress


Unfortunately it will need taking in a teensy bit on the hips at the moment (but who knows next year) but fortunately I know someone that can do that for me and fortunately all the money from the dress will go to help someone less fortunate than me


And then the next day fortunately we were able to make a visit to our old university town to look at some potential venues (unfortunately we were stuck in the car for many hours on a gorgeous hot day)


fortunately the photographer was able to meet us in the town centre at her studio rather than her being out somewhere and fortunately we got on very well with her and fortunately my mother had brought her cheque book with her, so we have booked the fabulous KT. Fortunately, I cannot think of any unfortunately to match this...


unfortunately the chapel was closed and being a Sunday there was no porter in sight. Fortunately there were some small windows left open for ventilation so my mother was able to peer through the window, rather like a burglar casing the joint, only I don't think burglars mutter things like "so the choir would be sitting there" and "were you proposing to have a pedestal of flowers either side of the altar". At least I don't think they do.


unfortunately the venue we had hoped might worked was doomed from the off: it was harder to find that we remembered, access was via a narrow bridge, it was full of people, the manager could not be found and when he could be we realised he had misled us on the phone and the pub was neither for hire as he had indicated nor would he let us bring our own wine and champagne for a corkage fee. Instead he was proposing for us to hire an area of the grounds and we would have to serve their house wine with the meal. "would we have private use of the outside bar?" I queried, "well, yes" he responded evasively, "apart from the odd person who might try and get served quicker outside"... It quickly became obvious that this man would have been unable, as my Dad put it, to organise a "piss up in a brewery", which was apt as he did work for a brewery...


fortunately I remembered another venue deeper into the countryside who I had spoken to earlier in the week as our chosen date had become free. Unfortunately by the time we reached it the house was closed but fortunately we snuck up the driveway a little and managed to have a quick look without being caught. And it was gorgeous. Peaceful. Amazing views, beautiful grounds... We shall see.


Friday, 25 July 2008

Decoration Ideas

images by Punam Bean Photography from
I really like the idea of the tables being decorated with hand picked flowers in a selection of vintage vases and glasses. How wonderful to have an excuse to go round charity shops for the next year and build up a collection of beautiful glasses: they would last a lifetime. Not entirely sure how it fits with peacock feathers but I am sure we can work something out.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

You & Your Wedding

image by
I bought my first wedding magazine on Tuesday. It ended up sitting on the kitchen floor until this evening when I found myself at a loose end. It is the first night in that I have had for a very long time and I have spent it sitting on the sofa eyeing the wedding magazine whilst watching a DVD box set of All Creatures Great and Small which I borrowed from someone several months ago but haven't had a spare moment to watch.

The magazine is worse than any normal monthly female magazine. I know now why I only read Vogue with occasional dips into Tatler or Country Living. Apparently I need to make a 'mood board' so that I can condense my theme and ideas into viable options. So says sister-in-law-to-be, fashion designer and recent bride. So I have been cutting out images that I like for inspiration. I have managed 3 dresses (one of them being the Temperly one below) and the image above of a car in addition to an article on Moroccan Honeymoons which I didn't pull out as it didn't tell me anything I don't already know. Still, nice to see our destination in a magazine I suppose.

Wedding Night Hotel thoughts

image by


How fabulous does this sound: a roll top bath freestanding in the bedroom with a separate wet room bathroom, a king sized bed with Egyptian cotton sheets and towels. Continental breakfast in bed the next morning. Just wonderful for exhausted newly weds...




all images by me

wedding dress ideas

{Images from Author's Personal Collection}
Still not decided whether this is the dress but every time I see it I like it more and more. Simple, elegant, nostalgic. In my mind's eye I would like a dress that evokes images of the opening credits of the Virgin Suicides. This is the closest dress to that I have seen so far...

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Dress Ideas I

{Dress by Temperley London via}
I love that this dress looks like a shell. Sadly it wouldn't show off my shoes so for that reason, not because it's too expensive, ahem, is the reason I shall carry on looking...

{Dress by Temperley London via}
What a fabulous feather head-dress

The Most Beautiful Confetti

On Monday M and I dropped in to see my parents on our way home from a festival and over supper started to discuss the aspects of the wedding that were important to us. I had already decided that my shoes were more important to me than my dress, which is why I chose to buy my shoes first and then find a dress which goes with them. Which is working so well at the moment since I cannot work out where to start looking for a dress, any dress. Except vintage shops of course, but I have not found anything perfect there yet. Anyway, my mother seemed to think that confetti was not an important aspect of the wedding, or at least not worth including in the budget. I disagree. When M and I step out of the chapel as a married couple, I would like to be showered with the most beautiful scented rose petals, even if I have to provide them myself. Wasteful? Perhaps, but they are natural, and for once in my life it would be nice to be just a little bit decadent. And then I saw these petals and the hat boxes that they come packaged in and I fell in love: petals for the day, the most gorgeous green box to keep. Did I mention that I have more than a bit of a thing for beautiful boxes and packaging?


Images from


Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Monday, 14 July 2008

Confessions of a fiancee (Part One)

I am a secret facebook wedding photo stalker. If any of my friends is tagged in a wedding album I look through the whole lot looking for ideas. Sadly, most of the notes I make are for the 'don't' list.

Making the list so far:-
  • Make sure that bridesmaid's dresses fit well and do not involve net underskirts, the colour pink, shiny fabrics or wellies.
  • Bouquets should be restricted in size for the bridesmaids and should not involve netting.
  • Grooms should refrain from wearing their jeans.
  • Brides should consider their rear view. Also their front view. Shiny dresses look vile in photographs especially inside using a flash.
  • Dresses which lace up the sides or backs are not for me.
  • Morning Suit is overrated. Very few people can pull it off.
  • Black hats look a little odd with a pale outfit.
  • Asymmetric hemlines on females in the wedding party are best left to the flower girl.
  • The bride's hair should be reminiscent of what she usually/actually looks like.
  • Tiaras are for flower girls unless they are real (the jewels not the flower girl)
  • White shoes get grass stains
  • Strapless dresses should not be too high or too structured but should fit properly

The Planning Continues

Last year I was involved in some of the organising of a wedding. I learnt a lot from that wedding which was a fabulous day enjoyed by all the guests, some of which can be translated to help M and I with our own wedding plans:-
  • The more planning that is done early on in the engagement the better, I think. Everything did come together in time for the big day but I think I would like to give ourselves a little more leeway.
  • It takes longer to organise a hen-party than you might think. Best get started early (at least in dreaming up the perfect thing to do). The more notice you give everyone, the more likely it is that everyone will be able to attend.
  • Making bridesmaids dresses takes a lot of time but the results are stunning.
  • Having vases on the top table instead of flower arrangements means that everyone has somewhere to put their bouquet and the effect is beautiful.
  • Elaborate flower arrangements in the church and the reception look gorgeous but they are possibly a cost which can be cut.
  • It is the smallest touches which can hold a day together. I am thinking co-ordinated stationery from invitations to thank-you letters, a theme running throughout the entire day, flowers or feathers and soaps in the loos, a hat line, tea available throughout the day, blankets and umbrellas available if it is cold and/or wet, cushions on seats for the Grannies and many more things I have yet to think about.
  • ushers are invaluable.
  • reception lines are a great idea. people should be told they are required to stand in one ahead of time.
  • the most important aspects of the day are making sure all parties arrive at the church and that the actual marriage happens and goes well & that everyone has an amazing party afterwards.
  • that the bride & groom leave the party before it descends into too much chaos, that everyone (especially the ushers) knows when they are departing and how and that people are there to wave them off.
  • that cleaning up is organised beforehand so no-one gets lumped with it unexpectedly.

Friday, 11 July 2008

What to wear?

On Wednesday we went to my favourite Vintage shop to try on some dresses and get some ideas. It's hard really to know where to start with a wedding dress. It is, I am told, the most important dress choice of my life. Get it wrong and I will be looking at bad photographs forever. I am also told, alright, I read it in the Shopaholic series, that "your dress chooses you". Hhhmm. Does it? Or does your budget just limit the choice? On the other hand, this is a dress that I will wear once. It seems unjustifiable, given that the cost per wear ratio is simply x:1, to spend a fortune.

So, I thought perhaps I would buy a vintage dress that I really like and then adapt and alter it to make a dress that I really love. We are not having a very formal wedding so it doesn't need to be too ostentatious but it does need to be bridal. White, off white, ivory, cream. It needs to be full length (I tried others but they scream "older lady at a registry office") and it needs to be simple but hang really well. It must look as good if not better from the back as the front, as for nearly an hour the congregation at the church will see my rear view only.

I found one option which I have reserved until someone can come in and see whether my alterations are possible. I do really like it. But it is pretty much the first occasion for dress shopping and I am worried that there may be better. So the search continues...

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Dress Ideas II

{Dresses from The Frock}
Although both of these are rather out of my price-range, I am considering having a vintage dress instead of getting one made. These dresses whilst very different have something very appealing about the way the fabric falls in pleats. I am rather into pleats at the moment. I am not sure whether it will translate into an actual dress but for the moment I am enjoying looking at them.

The Wedding Planning Commences...

Who knew that planning a wedding would be so complicated?! Obviously, being a girl, I have dreamt about the day the man who would become my husband would propose to me and the beautiful wedding that would follow. I have dreamt about it and formulated plans, colour schemes, ideas. Only I never had to think about practicality; how all the plans would fit together and more importantly, how much they would cost.

Yes, cost, the bug bear of my life and currently, the wedding. Add the word 'wedding' to anything and it seems to triple in price. Obviously on a Saturday in June there are limited reasons for wanting a marquee venue for 120 people. It doesn't take a genius to work out what is going on. What it might take though is a genius to work out how to incorporate all our plans and ideas into a budget that we, my parents and my future parents-in-law can afford.

Thankfully, M and I have pretty similiar ideas about what our wedding should be like. It took us about 10 minutes to agree on our ideal location followed by a week convincing the investors. We know what we would like in theory but finding the people to make it a reality is slower to come. Perhaps the most frustrating thing is finding out pricing - most companies wish to provide individual quotes which abstractly is fine but rather time consuming when you are looking for ideas. What we immediately want to know is roughly what their average quote is. Do they routinely charge over £1000 or is it more like £500. I don't really want to waste my time getting personalised quotes to find that it was never ever going to be within my budget at all.

Other observations regarding the wedding business this week relate to church weddings. I can see why people don't bother if they are happy with a civil/registry office wedding. Aside from the initial meeting with the vicar there are at least three wedding preparation sessions to attend (well intentioned I am sure, but after 6 and half years together we are already aware that people tend to like to give and receive affection in different ways...) and many many extra costs to pay. And that's after the realisation that you can marry in one of about 4 churches unless you have a 'special connection' and a licence from the Arch-Bishop, which is what we are relying on, a London wedding not been an attractive or affordable option. I know they don't want people entering into marriage thoughtlessly but surely the church as a whole should be making it easier not harder to have a church wedding.

Still, small rantings aside, I am so excited at being engaged and really looking forward to the wedding already. I keep looking at M seeing how much happier he looks and thinking "this man is going to be my husband. He really will be with me forever". And after that, wedding budgets don't seem to matter that much after all.

The Proposal

Rather annoyingly I forgot to charge my camera battery before we went. But I thought we were simply off for a weekends surfing so I was not unduly worried. How wrong I was.

I had finished surfing and after struggling out of my wet, sandy and now too small wetsuit I had simply pulled on a pair of shorts and a vest and a crew top. I was only going to be lying on the beach reading the paper, drying off in the sunshine, wasn't I? How wrong I was.

So there I was with wet-then-dried-in-plaits hair, no make-up, sandy clothes, no camera, mouth full of fish and chips, when M asked me to be his wife. And presented me with a gorgeous ring; sea-coloured (aquamarine and diamond), ethical, the perfect size.

The camera battery lasted for three photos.