Thursday, 30 April 2009

DIY Details: Bunting

A sneak peek of my Elizabeth Anne Designs column this week...

...I did however find time to make a start on the bunting which we are using to decorate our marquee at the reception and thought you might like to see how it is turning out, as it is nowhere near finished. Clearly, we need much more than this!

I began by sending an e-mail to all the female family members and friends I could think of that might have hoarded scraps of fabric over the years and so far have received a bag of donations from my Mum, her sister, my Grandmothers, M’s Mum and other female friends. I also dug out my childhood material box and have utilised some of what I found in there too. The nice thing about this is that most of the fabric is offcuts of clothes or things people have made. In photo 3 you can see the remains of my Mum’s nightie that she wore when pregnant with me, a pink and white spotty dress I wore when I was little and the blue sprigged fabric which comprised my ‘wedding outfit’ as a child [a skirt and waistcoat which could be worn over a white blouse - it lasted for years as it could be let out - much more wear than a dress which I would have quickly outgrown]. The floral fabric under the number 6 is left over from a dress my Mum made for summer events, which she wore to my graduation. So a lot of history which I hope might spark some reminiscing at the wedding...

I will post the 'how-to' tomorrow if anyone is interested.

*With the usual apologies for the poor quality snaps from my BlackBerry. I really must get a better camera when I have some money.
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Wednesday, 29 April 2009

April Photo Challenge: My Favourite Snap this month

blossom 1
{Image from Author's personal collection}

This month's challenge was to take lots of photos and choose my favourite. I know that I have already posted this, but I think this is the one that I like the most.

My second favourite was this one of towels and tea towels drying on my new washing line in the sunshine. I did some more washing this afternoon and what a difference 3 weeks makes. All that brown twiggy stuff is in fact wisteria which is now very leafy and has long purple flowers hanging from it.

Washing on the Line
{Image from Author's personal collection}

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Things I did this weekend...

...while M was at his stag party.

  • Did 4 loads of washing and dried them on the line outside in the sunshine
  • Baked the worst birthday cake I have ever seen
  • Sat in a deckchair and managed to get ugly strap lines from a halter necked top whilst enjoying the gorgeous spring sunshine in the company of a family of blue-tits.
  • Hosted a birthday/qualification party including supper, champagne and cake.
  • Made it safely back to the parental abode despite hangover.
  • Spent £5 at the Christian Aid Spring Fete, buying 4 vintage brooches {3 for presents}, a vintage ring, 8 glass tea cups, 3 dvds and a cookery book for M.
  • Spent £5 in a charity shop on a fab vintage 80s dress complete with shoulder pads...
  • Drank 2 cups of tea in the sunshine with an old friend from gymnastics and her husband
  • Sat in another pub with an old school friend, again in the sunshine, this time on a river bank.
  • Spent the evening with my Mother discussing wedding things and then looking through old family albums with my sister choosing photographs for the wedding.
  • Went to church with Mum.
  • Went through timings for the wedding for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Counted plates. Discussed Mother-of-the-Bride's outfit. Exhausted all energy left in relation to wedding planning.
  • Went to tea in the countryside at my Grandparents house and greedily ate 2 scones and 2 pieces of delicious cake.
  • Started making bunting for the wedding.
  • Chatted with my old form teacher at school during her lunchtime, realising that it is 10 years ago this summer that I went to her wedding. She also was 27. Caught up with all the old news and school gossip.
  • Went to my old work, the first firm of solicitors where I worked as a paralegal during university vacations.
  • Train back to London and disastrous taxi journey to collect wedding dress. Only dress wasn't ready, doesn't fit and needs more altering. Began to hate dress.
  • Got home, cooked supper, realised no milk. Couldn't be bothered to go and buy milk. Slept.
  • Bought milk. Realised still have no job and that sitting around blogging is not going to help the situation. Blogged regardless.
  • Decided had better sort out house first. And then bunting. All household tasks to be finished today. Job hunting starts in earnest tomorrow.

Friday, 24 April 2009

T minus 50 days

{I know, I know, not a real count-down mile stone, but somehow, less than 50 days to go doesn't seem very long}

M left for his stag party this morning. He will be gone for 6 days. 3 days of stag party and then a further 3 having a mini-holiday with his best friend and Best Man.

M left at 4am and my sleep thereafter was rather disturbed. I dreamt that it was the morning of the wedding and we were on the way to the church. For some reason I saw people beforehand who tried to persuade me to wear a headband/tiara thing that someone else had worn for their wedding but I refused, wearing instead a wreath of peacock feathers.

And the flowers hadn't been made up into bouquets, so someone had to do it quickly, which was ok, but they were too small.

Then it was realised that we had forgotten to buy any wedding bands, and I even thought about how funny a post it would make on the blog, that we had to use someone else's rings. Funny as in 'if I don't laugh I will cry' I imagine, rather than the situation being humorous.

And then we were at the reception and there were barely any decorations on the table. I was upset because the wedding was 'ok' but without any of the details and decorations I had worked so hard on to take it from 'ok' to 'beautiful'.

And then the next day, I decided that as hardly any of the peonies had been used for bouquets and none at all at the reception, there were loads more that I could take on the honeymoon to decorate our yurt with. Only my mother had donated them to the owner of the house. So I marched in and removed them, shouting "these did not belong to my mother to give away. I paid for them and I did not want them given away"...

And then on the honeymoon there was an enormous flood which took loads and loads of documents into the water. And then people were trying to find all their company documents and also personal ones which were all in alphabetical order on the beach.

I woke up sad that M was not with me all weekend and terribly confused after the dream. And realised that a lot of the dream was true: I am somewhat of a control freak (i.e. not being able to have the bouquets how I envisaged them would make me annoyed) and prone to anger rather than laughter when things go wrong (personally rather than professionally - I would rather die than be angry or show emotion at work).

Perhaps this can all be summed up by the word pessimist. I am sure that I will have a great weekend whilst M is away; a pre-hen/someone's birthday/qualification party with my girl friends tonight, a weekend outside London with my Mum doing girl things and wedding diy projects [Dad is at the stag party, one sister is away, one is doing finals]. Then back to London on Monday for wedding dress collecting and an art exhibition preview party on the Tuesday. Yet this morning when I woke up all I felt was bereft that it was sunny and that M was away for ages and could not share it with me.

It also feels like the morning after the end of finals. That the wall has been scaled and now everything is over. Real life starts again. Yet, for me, this is the last of those milestones. Graduation from my first degree, my law conversion, my LPC and now from the Training Contract itself. Unemployment seems a marvellous idea when one has a job and is terribly busy, but one day in and it has rather lost it's appeal. Team this with M leaving for the stag do and I suppose it is not surprising that the only feeling which comes to mind is lost.

Yet, in fact, regardless of how I feel, there is plenty to do. There is a house to be cleaned, washing to be hung on the line, a birthday cake to bake, jobs to be searched for and wedding projects completed. There are things to be read and a garden to be sat in. The sun is shining and I need to lift my mood to match it.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

So this is it...

... one more day until I am qualified but unemployed. Depending on how the rest of this week pans out I will either be posting non-stop or I will be not posting, full stop. (Although I will be back soon*).

Until then, I leave you with this image:

{Image from Author's Personal Collection}

Girl shoe meets Boy shoe. Both came to live in our house having started their lives in their respective shoe halls in Selfridges. We bought M's yesterday. Mine we bought the week after we got engaged last summer.

And since I once promised some more shoe shots, but never got round to it:

{Image from Author's personal collection}

* If my irritating computer issues are solved that is.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

My Boy Writes: The Suit

See the original on Elizabeth Anne Designs...

Suits Collage
{Images top left: Liberty; top left middle: R. Soles; top right: Robyn Kessler;
Bottom left: Mick Jagger (Image by Getty, via Glamour);
bottom middle: Michael Caine (Image by mptvimages, via IMDB);
bottom right: Wayne Coyne (Image via Bona Fide Darling)}
"The aesthetic of our wedding is of primary importance to us. The feel we
are looking for is that of an English summer party with lounge suits and flowing
dresses. It will be relaxed and free-form and guests will be encouraged to wear
clothes they feel comfortable in although I think Rachel is keen for there to be
plenty of hats.

This is unashamedly based on what we enjoy wearing and allows me to not
wear a tie and try to look as much like Wayne Coyne (of Flaming Lips fame) as
possible. So… my suit will be black, 3 piece, really quite tight and the jacket
will be shortish and 3 buttoned in a roughly late 60’s style. Other inspirations
include 60’s and 70’s rockers (Mick Jagger especially) and of course Michael
Caine. On my feet will be brown boots in some sort of cowboy style and my shirt
will be bright and on theme (maybe peacock blue).

Both mine and Rachel’s outfits are recycled in some way, hers from
Oxfam and mine is a suit that used to belong to my uncle (in the 70’s). He wore
it to my brother’s christening according it even more significance. I think a
new pair of shoes are in order, perhaps from R

It’s really nice to indulge one’s vanity occasionally and pleasingly in
this case everybody seems to think that it is an entirely reasonable way to be. "

Saturday, 18 April 2009

EAD: The Invitations

From Elizabeth Anne Designs:

They were only 2 weeks late with 2 months to go until the wedding but this weekend we finally finished and sent the invitations.

We wanted our invitations to be beautiful but practical. Much as we love letter pressed designs and intricate professional designs, we knew that our reasonably small budget couldn’t buy everything that we wanted. So we chose to spend money on beautiful and high quality cards and envelopes but cut the costs as the design elements were done by family members (although he is a Graphic Designer so we knew we were in safe hands) and we did the printing ourselves using M’s parents’ home printer.

Yes, the invitations do set the tone/theme of the wedding but this doesn’t mean that they have to be professionally made. The theme of our wedding is peacocks so I think this comes across through the invitations as the peacock motif ties each part together. The tone of our wedding is intended to be a semi-formal family gathering with lots of diy elements yet not at the expense of some luxury and details. I think (hope!) that this comes across as well.

Each envelope contained the invitation (4), a response card (6) and map (3) and was then hand addressed (1) and sealed with our peacock motif stamp (2) on the back. They were posted at the weekend so should begin arriving at our guests addresses today onwards.

Cost breakdown:

  • Peacock Stamp from Baby Jewels - $21.00
  • Black ink pad - £2.50
  • 75 cream wove Smythson plain envelopes - £25.00 (bought with 20% discount)
  • 100 cream wove Smythson correspondence cards - £16.00 (bought with 20% discount)
  • Turquoise card - £4.00
  • Guillotine* - £9.00
  • Plus use of a printer and ink cartridge and 75 sheets white A4 paper which M’s parents already owned and did not charge us for.

So, excluding postage costs we spent £71.50 ($105) {so £1 ($1.50) per invitation} which I don’t think is too bad. And, if I say so myself, if you ignore the fact that there is no texture to the printing, they look professionally printed. I am so pleased we decided to use good quality paper and envelopes as that really reduces the home-made aspect.

Yet getting the invitations designed and finished ourselves wasn’t an easy task. It required lots of organisation and re-thinking of ideas until we settled on a design and method of printing which was workable. We had almost given up as the cards wouldn’t print landscape until I realised that they would print portrait and sister-in-law-to-be came to the rescue in pointing out how easy it was to rotate a pdf image clockwise, so it printed vertically but read horizontally. It gave M and I an opportunity to be creative and really work together as a team to get the invitations from an idea to a reality, far more so than if we had paid for a finished product. Overall, we were really pleased with the result; I hope our guests are too.

* By far one of the best equipment purchases we made. No more rulers whose edges are not straight and knives with blades that aren’t sharp. Plus, I can use it for card making in the future, perhaps even for our thank you cards (utilising the peacock stamp to continue our motif through to the end).

Friday, 17 April 2009

Fit for a bouquet...

{blossom 1, originally uploaded by rachel-catherine}

M came home last night with this beautiful branch of blossom which he had 'found' on our road. It smells divine and looks gorgeous in a glass on my bedside table.

As I snapped a couple of photographs with my BlackBerry, I realised it reminded me a little of peony. And then I wondered, for a spring wedding, would it be possible to carry a branch of blossom instead of a bouquet?

{blossom 2, originally uploaded by rachel-catherine}

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

The Groom: Suit and Boots (Part II)

We have been back and forth about My Boy's suit for the wedding but we may have found the answer last weekend. I know I said here that we thought perhaps not black but...

The suit in question is a bespoke suit that used to belong to M's uncle, which the uncle in question wore once only - to M's brother's christening. It is a black, 3 button, 3 piece which has slight 1970s shaping (the most obvious being the slight boot cut to the trousers) and with a little tweaking here and there {how fortunate we are that M's brother's wife is a fashion designer who understands tailoring} it should fit M perfectly.

So not exactly what we were initially thinking but vintage, recycled and with a bit of family history too.
Thankfully it's lapels are not quite as wide as this:
Mick Jagger

{Image by Getty, via Glamour}

Indeed, it looks perhaps a little more like this. Which is quite funny since Wayne Coyne is M's style icon for his wedding attire.

Wayne Coyne

{Image via Bona Fide Darling}

And while we had been thinking that a white shirt would go well under a blue suit, a white shirt under a black suit looks like funeral attire.

{Image by Liberty}

And then all we need to do is find him some boots to wear with it...

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Companies/Wedding Vendors to Avoid Part II

Name: The English Tea Party

Situation: After reading about The English Tea Party company in a local magazine and then viewing their website I thought I had found the solution to our vintage crockery problem. I e-mailed Victoria Moy, the owner, and eventually received a response with a quote. And then the e-mails stopped. I chased. We called her telephone and it wouldn't even let us leave a voice mail. Eventually we sent an e-mail saying we would take our business elsewhere. We received a response stating she had been out of the country. We tried to set up an appointment with her but no response. Then 3 months later I sent one last chasing e-mail to which we received an e-mail from Margaret asking us what we still required. No apologies for the delay.

Reason to avoid: No customer service what so ever. Unreliable. Rarely responds to e-mails. Telephone not answered and no facility to leave a voicemail. Website out of date.

Time frame: First e-mail sent in September 2008. Initial response received September 2008. No response until end October 2008. 2 e-mails exchanged end Oct/start November 2008. No response received until February 2009.

Companies/Wedding Vendors to Avoid Part I

Seeing as people often take recommendations for companies to use for their weddings from blogs, I thought I would start some lists.


Name: The Handcrafted Card Company

Situation: We found and ordered a tag which we paid for using their online payment system. M entered his name and company all on one line (for delivery) but their system curtailed it so that only his name was on the delivery note. The payment was taken and they claim the package was sent out. It did not arrive. Investigation with the company revealed it had been sent out to M but no mention of his company. The package could not be found. {Up until this point, we were ready to accept this as a computer glitch}.

We contacted the company who rudely informed us that it was our fault for not filling in their form adequately and that if the package was still missing after 15 days they would report it lost and they would get a refund and then we could purchase the product again.

Reason to avoid: Poor customer service. As it was their system which curtailed the address we expected them to accept some responsibility. Considering it was only worth £10 we thought they should have sent us another one, addressed correctly, and then claimed themselves for the missing package after the 15 days. After all, it is unlikely that we would be telling them we hadn't received it if we had, as who needs 2 identical hole punches.

Time frame: Item ordered on 25 March 2009. First contacted them on 2 April 2009 to report problem. Still not sorted out yet no refund on 14 April 2009. 20 days and counting.

With apologies to Marie, as she found this company...

If you have any more companies you would like adding to this list, drop me an e-mail...

The Invitations (Part Five)

{All images from Author's personal collection}

After an epic story, we finally reach the final chapter...

The invitations are finished. And the ones we have addresses for have been posted. Hip hip hooray!

We managed the final push over the Easter Weekend with the aide of a decent home printer, a guillotine* and a team of M, my Mother-In-Law-to-be and my Grandmother-In-Law-to-be.

Each envelope contained one of each of images 3, 4 and 6 {with apologies for the crude de-personalisation} and was hand addressed and sealed with a peacock stamp.

We expect that they will start arriving on Thursday and Friday of this week so we should hopefully have a better idea of numbers soon. Now we just need to finalise a wedding list and hand it to my mother for monitoring.

*Highly recommended. One of the best £9 we have spent recently. Instead of hours spent with rulers that are never straight and knives which are never sharp enough, cutting up the response cards was easy-peasy.

Monday, 13 April 2009

T minus 2 months

Doesn't time fly. In only 2 months this girl will marry her boy. And only 2 weeks until his stag party and 6 weeks to her hen party.

Looking at the to-do-list from a month ago, it doesn't seem like much progress has been made, although it must have been, as the past month has been surprisingly busy.

In fact, the to-do-list still reads:

*Choose readings
*Finalise music to be played during the signing of the register.
*Finalise order of service and have printed.
*Collect bride's dress from the alterations lady. Make accessories & veil.
*Make bridesmaids' jewellery (components ordered & have arrived). Finish off their presents.
*Finish collecting crockery including tea trays and vases. Purchase cutlery and water jugs.
*Make labels for the napkins. Make seating chart. Assemble table decorations from peacock feathers (ordered) and wine bottles (collected). Order match boxes.
*Taste cheese for the cake. Finish cake toppers.
*Fill in details in guestbook and arrange for someone to ensure people sign it. Finish selecting brides photos (groom's photos already selected). Make photo display.
*Collect material from family and friends and make into bunting to decorate marquee.
*Book transport for guests between church and reception.
*Taste and choose wine, champagne and beer. Sort out glasses.
*Ensure groom alters suit and purchases suit and shoes.
*Ensure groom purchases ties for ushers and BestMan.
*Flowers and buttonholes (all decisions made, just need to place final order).
*Design poster to advertise band and DJ. Ensure logistics for PA system and equipment are in place.
*Purchase presents for wedding party.
*Choose and purchase wedding bands.
*Book hair cuts (both bride and groom) and general bride grooming including manicure and waxing.

Is it me or does it seem like there is still rather a lot to do...

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Saturday, 11 April 2009

My Boy Writes: The Honeymoon

Easter weekend and we are away but click over here to see the original version of M's thoughts about our honeymoon...

"Of all the aspects of our wedding I have taken responsibility for, it is the honeymoon that I have thought about the most.

I started off thinking that I should surprise Rachel, whip her in a romantic whirlwind of indulgence and new experiences without preparing her for any of it. This kind of trip still really appeals to me but the trip itself ideally needs to be spontaneous, an event in itself.

I came to the conclusion that the honeymoon should be simple and relaxing (I’m sure we will need it after the big day) and focused on us and our history rather than new experiences. I also wanted Rach to be involved in the planning and knew she had plenty of ideas. So, we are off to our spiritual home, Cornwall to stay in a yurt and then in a cute whitewashed cottage in a small old fashioned fishing village. We will surf, paint, eat and drink incredibly well and just spend the time with each other.

As Rachel noted in her ‘Honeymoon Sneak Peak’ we were pretty wide ranging in our aspirations: Morocco, Thailand, Fiji, Greece, Northumberland and many other exotic locations were considered. The two key words were beauty and relaxation. We had an incredible visit to Morocco a couple of years ago and were blown away by the richness of the culture and the excitement of exploring Marrakesh, the Atlas Mountains, The Sahara and ultimately relaxing in ‘surfy’ Essaouira. We also met a great new friend out in the desert. We were very tempted to embrace the cliché of our generation and visit Thailand and Fiji, partying on the beach charged up on local “whisky”. Maybe we would discover a hidden beach or something! Greece really appealed in terms of lifestyle and almost guaranteed sun while Northumberland has always held a magic appeal for me, just look at those sunrises! The weather of course is not exactly guaranteed.

On reflection however, Cornwall seems such an obvious choice. We love the culture, the beauty, the variation, most of the people. There is great food, some local wine, surf, some really under-rated beaches and hopefully some sun. We will be able to visit our old haunts, included the little town in which we got engaged and eat and stay in all the places we couldn’t quite justify before. We have images of cooking fresh fish (which hopefully we have caught) on our barbecue on the beach. Most of all, we will be able to sit and watch 14 Cornish sunsets contemplating our life together."

Friday, 10 April 2009


{Image by Beth Helmstetter via Style Me Pretty}

A summer garden party style wedding should not be complete without containers such as these.

I wonder whether such things are possible to find in the UK?

Thursday, 9 April 2009

If I have just one regret...

{Images by Doug McGoldrick}

I'm not really one for regrets, especially as far as the wedding is concerned, but...

If I had just one it would be that I don't know any beautiful little girls whom I could ask to be a flower girl. As the eldest of three daughters my sisters are 24 and 21. Too young to have children old enough to be flower girls. And none of my friends have children. And all of my cousins are too old.

Most of the time I don't even think about it. But then I saw these photographs...

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

In favour of favours?

If anyone of the countless wedding magazines I have flicked through in Borders, or the wedding websites which send me e-mails with prize draws are to be believed, favours are an incredibly important part of our wedding.

According to my fellow columnist on Elizabeth Anne Designs, Amanda, "favors are definitely one of the traditional elements of the modern wedding. Typically, good favors [meaning anything truly worth your time, effort and money] fall into one of three categories: edible, fun, or sentimental". She does go onto to say that the favours have to be right, that it can be better to have no favours than the wrong ones and that it can sometimes be better to a budget in a different way to look after ones guests.

Now, with no disrespect intended to Amanda, I am not sure favours are a traditional element of a wedding, modern or otherwise. Yet much like party bags at small children's birthdays, favours seem to be something that all magazine and wedding industry crones make brides feel are a necessity and dress it up as 'traditional' to sell it just that little bit more.

Clearly a wedding without guests would defeat the point (unless you opted for no guests, but then I suppose you wouldn't be thinking about this sort of issue anyway) so we will be very grateful for any guests who are able to give up a precious June weekend to celebrate this day with us. Not just grateful, pleased. Yet I don't feel our thanks to them should be in the form of a small present on the table, or handed out at some point during the reception.

Our thanks to our guests comes in the form of the planning that has gone into the day, the inclusion of family and friends in the preparation for and then the actual day. In serving local, free-range produce, cooked mainly in situ and served in a relaxed fashion. In not making them adhere to a specific dress code; in asking them only to pay for their travel and accommodation costs rather than having a cash bar and then in organising their taxis afterwards. And writing each guest a handwritten thank you card afterwards. Which I hope will mean more than a jar of jam, however tasty, or a small personalised present.

Which is not to say I wouldn't appreciate a thoughtfully chosen favour at a wedding at which I was a guest; I very much enjoyed the fine chocolates which were on the tables at the last wedding I attended (and enjoyed the bonding experience in helping to compile them). I am just saying that they are not for us and our wedding.

What we will be doing though is making a charity donation on behalf of our guests. I have been investigating various options and hope to Build a Bog and provide a village with some clean water. As a soon to be unemployed person, and a poorly paid one before that, we haven't really been in a position to give money in a meaningful way to charity before. So we are very pleased that by saving some money in our budget by doing a lot of the things for the wedding ourselves we have been able to free up some money to donate to charity (as well as the money from my wedding dress, the vast majority of the crockery and the bridesmaids sandals).

I suppose perhaps what I am trying to say, yet again, is that each wedding should be organised to suit the couple in question and that nothing should make them feel their wedding is less than adequate if she/they do not have favours (or what ever else it is, favours are only one such example).

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Honeymoon Sneak Peek (Two)

{Image via Owners Direct}

After the wedding, a night in a hotel in our old University town where once we used to have drinks and attend the odd bash, at which we have always wanted to stay. And then a family brunch, before leaving for Cornwall.

And then two weeks, the first in this 'romantic' fisherman's cottage in a beautiful harbour; the second in a yurt in a meadow.

And it's only 9 weeks away.

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Monday, 6 April 2009

The Flowers (part two)

{Image Credits: 1 - Michael Carr Photography; 2 -Vogueflowers;
3 - Generation Photo; 4 -Ribbon Studio}

The peonies are now an inch tall. I know because the man at the farm e-mailed to tell me. That's not a service you get from a florist. (actually, you might, as I wouldn't know. I've never ordered flowers from a florist before. But I suspect that this is not a service that they offer).

The florist tape arrived on Saturday. Two rolls; one for me to make the bouquets, one for M's Mum when she does the buttonholes. How's that for organisation? (sick leave gives you plenty of time to think, not always recommended).

These images here are the best I can find to help me make the bouquets. I can tell that I want to make sure that most of the peonies are open as I think they look a little better that way than the tightly closed buds in image 2 and 4.

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Saturday, 4 April 2009

Wedding Cake?

{Images 1, 3, 4 & 5 by Iced-Online; 2 and 6 by The Lavender Bakery}

If this girl and her boy were going to have a wedding cake, they may have chosen one of these beautiful options. All of which look fab and all of which certainly would have tasted delicious.

But this girl and her boy weren't fans of doing things for their wedding just because tradition dictated that they should. They had opted for lots of traditional things certainly, but not this one.

It wasn't that they weren't fans of cake, per se, because this girl loved making cakes and her boy loved eating them. It was just that they didn't feel it was very *them* to spend over £500 on some cake.

When they first got engaged, they thought they would have pavlovas. They thought it would be nice to ask their friends and family to make some and serve them as pudding. But that idea was vetoed.

So they thought they would do without.

Yet they still wanted the tradition of cutting the cake so they decided to have a pile of cheeses as a cake instead. Local cheeses, round truckles. A larger one on the bottom, smallest one on top (obviously). A ribbon round the bottom, some flowers on the cheese, cake toppers on top.

{Image from House of Cheese}

A little like that perhaps, only sourced from local farms and with less grapes. Or table flowers.

And for those that desperately want wedding cake, because don't forget, there might be guests there that expect that sort of thing, there will be homemade fruitcakes, iced in white, one by each mother, decorated one with an R and one with an M and sat next to each other.

So, a little more homemade, a little more us. Because we always have a cheese board at a party.

But if we were to have an 'actual' cake, we would have one like the ones in the top photo of some sort. Maybe a combination of them all. They are all so beautiful.

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Friday, 3 April 2009

The Invitations (Part Four)

{Images from Author's Personal Collection; Designs by Alex}

In what is now the fourth in a hopefully only five part series, the invitation story progresses.

Beautiful though they are, I see no need for secrecy. If you are a guest and happen to be reading this... does that happen?... then your invitation is nearly with you.

The designs have been finished. Stamps bought*. Maps are almost ready.

Just need to print and collate, address and post and then the only part left will be for people to open them and respond.

*We saved a whole £3 by buying them before 6 April 2009. Gotta make budget savings where you can people.

A dress for my hen party

{Image by VolenskaVintage}

I may have been sofa bound but I have managed to do a few things. Like buy myself a dress for the hen party.

{Image by VolenskaVintage}

We are having a 1920s themed vintage tea party. I couldn't find anything I liked which was truly 20s within my budget and I didn't want to wear a high street version.

So I decided to find something vintage which reflected the flapper theme which I could dress up *retro* with pearls and a headband and so on, but which I would actually wear again.

I can picture this over some skinny jeans and a shrunken fitted black blazer.

Plus, it's my favourite colour. And was £13. Including postage.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Sunshine in London

Sunshine in London, originally uploaded by rachel-catherine.

It might only be April but it was warm enough to take a break from the sofa and wedding planning and sit in the garden on a deck chair. But just look at that furrowed brow. Better do something about that before the wedding...

No-one will notice...

Call me ignorant, call me English, but I don't know what WIC stands for. It is mentioned frequently in a disparaging way so I know that *it is bad* but I don't know exactly what it means. Every time I read the term, I think of Wicca, the witches of the wedding world. Wedding Industry Crones perhaps. Commercial witches who tell brides that 'you only get one wedding' so you'd better get it right. This isn't just *a* party, it is *the* party against which you will always be judged. Forget what you want, this is about what you *should* want.

Thank goodness for blogging then. For intelligent, well articulated girls from all countries and demographics and cultures, united by one thought: bride doesn't equal sheep. Or that is my thought. Others put it a little differently.

Cate says of venues "you're having a party there, not buying the place".

says (and we have argued fiercely about the ins and outs of some things, but she is still fab) "that we're people, not just brides". She says a lot more too, but I don't want to paraphrase her too much here...

Peonies says "it's not about the details", which takes a lot to remember sometimes.

{And there is many more besides, those are just the quotes I could remember off-hand}

These are the things which are keeping me sane when the following takes place.

The Scene: 12.30am Peacockfeathers and M lay in bed. M reads. Peacockfeathers is lying there with her sleep mask on and a lavender bag handy, waiting for M to finish reading and to put the blxxdy light out.

P: So you sent the ribbon order off then baby?

M: Hmmm. Yes.

P: And you took a photocopy of the order form?

M: Hmmm. No.

P: Ok. {what, but I asked him to...} Let's hope they send the right thing.

M: I should think they will. We'll sort it out if they don't.

P: Ok. Did you order 4mm ribbon. Do you think 4mm ribbon will be ok? Do you think it will work with the size of tag we ordered. Do you think we should have gone with narrower ribbon?

M: Rachel. The ribbon will be fine. Go to sleep. Let me read. No wonder it takes me weeks to read anything. Be quiet. No-one will notice.


And he is right. It is something I have said many times before. No-one will notice. And if they do, who is going to mention it on the day?

So, brides aren't sheep. And no-one will notice.

I think I need to get better and stop thinking so much.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The passing of time

I have 74 days left of my single independent life. As I recover from my operation and carry out our usual spring cleaning I shall pack away my girlhood with my winter jumpers, to be opened again as memories some time in the future. When I go to bed on the night before the wedding I shall hang up 'girlfriend' in my wardrobe and re-emerge after the honeymoon in an outfit labeled 'wife'.

Same Rachel. Different label. Or will I? With the passing of time and the ticking off important milestones along the way, surely our identity evolves? I am clearly not the same person that I was at 18, a new-born-deer of an adult, with shaky legs, a passion for rock music and a determinism to find myself at university. Or the confident graduate who emerged three years later with a BA, a ticket to a London Law School and who thought getting a job would be as easy as getting into university. Or the slightly more jaded 23 year old who graduated from law school, having gone from comfortably towards the top of her class to the-only-one-who-didn't-get-an-Oxbridge-first.

Our wedding day will be my first milestone, aside from my first period and the day I lost my virginity, that is about me, not my career or education. I can remember the latter well, thankfully, yet barely the former. What I do remember is feeling older, like I had reached a new stage of life. Which, I suppose I had. I don't remember particularly questioning my identity then, like I do now, although I suppose at 13 and 18 life is all about questioning one's identity, so perhaps the thoughts didn't really stand out.

I certainly didn't worry then about life passing me by, that in all the worrying about growing old I wasn't pausing to enjoy the journey itself. Growing old worries me now; not the aging per se (although I am certainly aware that time is not kind, even to skinny minnies like myself) but that I have lived over a quarter of my life. And all I have achieved are academic and career related goals. 2 degrees. Qualified Solicitor. Achievements certainly, but not something I will look back on fondly in the twilight of my life. Or maybe I will. Be glad that I used my freedom from ties and responsibilities to gain a good education. I don't know. That is my confusion.

I am used defining myself but I have never before defined myself as 'wife'. Obviously. But 'wife' is something my mother is. Will I become my Mother? Or will that only happen if we have children ourselves? And Mrs B. is M's mother. And yet, in 74 days, it will also be me. The new generation of Bs. I will have to carve out my own role, my own definition. And so will M. Together.