If you’d like to have a nose at what we achieved (my hubby and I) head on over to the blog of our incredible photographer Alex Beckett. I can’t recommend him enough (one of my bridesmaids booked him the day after our wedding for her wedding in 2013!)
So the wedding has been and gone, some 5months ago now! Everything got ontop of me and I stopped blogging. I hadn’t even checked on this little blog of mine til today and there’s been plenty of people dropping by. So sorry for not being around. I’m actually undertaking a new adventure and setting up my own business called Amy’s Button Box, specialising in running bespoke craft parties for ladies who want to celebrate in style with the people they love. So look in on my new adventure at www.amysbuttonbox.wordpress.com and if you’d like me to arrange a craft workshop party in your home get in touch! Xxx Amy C (was D) xxx
(providing Bespoke Craft Parties in Fleet, Hampshire and surrounding areas)
wowzers, nearly at the 100 day mark. Very exciting!
Been a very busy bee.
Made it down to Cornwall last week to finalise lots of items….
Stayed in the lovely Cornwall Hotel, Neil and I stayed there when we got engaged two years ago so it was nice to re-visit. Had a lovely time aside from the getting locked outside with the puppy at 3:30 in the morning and having to climb across the front of the hotel onto our balcony and knock on the window! Not even joking!
On the Tuesday I had my first real dress fitting! It was ace, my mum was there and I loved it. It was just the outer shell of the dress, in the most beautiful duchess satin and already it looked lovely. I was worried that as the dress has only existed in my mind (until now!) that I wouldn’t like the finished product or the style, but it is perfect and made me feel all fluttery inside. My next fitting is the big one, when it will be majorly assembled and will look most like the finished product, it’s in 6/7 weeks time! Even more exciting! My dress-maker is an absolute bloody genius! I have given the poor women the tiniest piece of lace 90cm in total and asked her to make me a top for my dress, she has come up with the most ingenious solution that I’ll be able to show you in full after the big day! Sorry!
After the fitting we were able to take my parents (first-timers to Cornwall!) to see the site of the Reception Marquee. Thankfully the sun was shining and my parents were able to see why we had chosen such a spectacular location. I was also reminded about how blustery it can get up on the North Coast of Cornwall! Might need to remind my guests too! Then it was on to our Ceremony Venue – Schooners, to meet with our very laid back venue manager. We sorted out the food and logistics for the day, the plan for the venue is to keep it simple with candles and white linen bunting. I’m also planning to ask one of my bridesmaids (who is dab hand at illustrations) if she can do some work on the chalkboards around the venue. When we showed my parents around I think they were able to understand why we had chosen a little beach bar as our Ceremony venue – the views are spectacular – uninterrupted coastal views! Then it was off to Chapel Porth for a Hedgehog ice-cream – basically a coronary heart attack in a cone – ice-cream cone, vanilla ice-cream slathered in clotted cream, rolled in broken up flapjack! Bliss!
Day two in Cornwall was just as busy! Sorted out a wedding band for Neil – we returned to the jewellers where we bought my engagement ring. It’s a tiny jewellers on Cathedral Lane, Truro. I’ll be polite and say that the lady behind the counter was a little cold in her response to our enquiry, luckily her friendlier husband stepped in before we walked out. So we have ordered and paid for Neil’s wedding band. I have decided to get mine from elsewhere but more on that later. Then it was onto looking at suits, Neil has decided hire is best for him so we went to Moss Bros, Truro. Found a lovely blue tails, with matching trousers, a cream waistcoat and purple tie for Neil, the Dad’s and the Best Man. Then Neil threw in a curve ball…..he thinks he might want to wear a Cornish Tartan kilt! Cue a mini-meltdown and then the realisation that this is Neil’s wedding too, we’re only doing this once, so if he want Cornish tartan, he can have Cornish tartan. That said have you seen it?! Mustard yellow, black, red and cornflower blue check! Doesn’t actually go with my carefully planned colour scheme of fuchsia, turquoise and purple! Last week I was stressed by this, now I am accepting! (Just)
Later that day we had Jamie of Beetham Foods our fabulous caterer came over to Neil’s parents and cooked for six of us the wedding menu to taste. We had bought along some wines – recommended by Majestic Wine Truro – who were very helpful and have offered us sale or return on any wine bought! We were worried that our simple BBQ style menu wouldn’t be special enough, we were wrong! Jamie is a genius and has worked wonders with our simple menu to create something really special, I can’t wait to taste it again soon – in 104 days time!
On Friday I visited Rust Jewellery to try on a wedding band that I had seen online – I can’t even remember how I came across them but they are beautiful. I had wanted to buy my ring from the same jewellers as my engagement ring but the one I have found and it is another small independent jeweller that I am supporting so I don’t feel too bad. I’m so excited about it!
So much more has happened in the past week, but it is late and I think this post is long enough for now!
“Don’t be afraid to be yourself and be original. Follow your instincts and believe you can achieve what you want. Also – remember why you are getting married and that everyone coming is going to be there to support you (it will keep you sane!).
We had about four months to plan it all which isn’t long especially when you’re also making four dresses – if you can, give yourself about six months to plan it all. Any longer and it could drive you mad with ideas and any less – you can feel a bit pressured.
Above all else, make sure you enjoy it all – it is a fantastic time!”
I’ve been thinking about my post yesterday.
I’ve been thinking about calling all those lovely little extras ‘fluff’.
I’ve been thinking that might offend many people and I wanted to explain.
Many of the people who look at this blog will be looking for ideas, ideas that will help make their wedding individual to them, they’re seeking inspiration and they’ll be seeking inspiration from many places.
I have done the same, I have trawled many a website, read and subscribed to many a blog. Wondered at all these incredibly creative, crafty people and their fantastic wedding days. Rather than just being an inspiration I’ve found that they’ve made me feel inadequate, like I’m not doing enough, I imagine there must be many a bride feeling the same.
By calling all those lovely, pretty extras ‘fluff’ I wanted to trivialise them in my own mind, to make them lose their stature so that I am able to enjoy the next few months of final preparations rather than getting stressed out about them when they don’t go just as I planned. I fear that people may be offended if they imagine that I am suggesting they are being superficial by considering and thinking about all these extra things that go into a wedding. I am not. I am having lots of pretty elements, I have spent months collecting glass cake stands, and vases, I’ve agonised for weeks over fabric choices for my Bridesmaids, I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money on Swarovski crystals for my headpiece and so on and so on. I am as consumed by all these lovely extra details as the next Bride, it’s a major day in anyone’s life and you want it to be ‘just so’, that’s only natural.
I’m just trying to reign in my inner-Bridezilla!
The wedding is fast approaching, I love every decision we have made, we have even said that if we won the Lotto we wouldn’t change a thing. Which I think is nice, we’ve planned our day our way, and for the most part people have been happy and supported our decisions.
The wedding is 119 days away! And I’ve been thinking recently about the mad merry-go-round that is wedding planning.
Neil proposed almost 2 years ago, we never wanted a long engagement, but somehow it happened. The day we got engaged we discussed a list of 3 ‘must have’s’ each. Neil’s were low-key: mini-sausages, Skinner’s Ale and to be allowed to wear flip-flops at some point during the day, all of them are happening. Mine, were expensive and tricky: mini-patiserrie from Maison Bertaux, Soho (we’re getting married in Cornwall), my hair to be done by my London-based hair-dresser (we’re getting married in Cornwall), and I can’t even remember the third! None of mine are happening and I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I don’t mind. We’re having a cake competition instead where guests will bring an entry and Neil and I will be judge’s, my hairdresser is teaching me to do the hairstyle and I might get her to teach one of my bridesmaids too (just in case!).
I have moments when I get caught up in all the ‘fluff’, thankfully I’ve only had one meltdown, I don’t want to turn into a Bridezilla! Whenever something isn’t going strictly to plan I think about my parents wedding. They married 29 years ago, they had very little money and came from modest backgrounds, they married in their local church, dad wore his No.1 Army Uniform, mum wore a dress that cost £70 from Debenhams (her eldest brother paid for it), they had their Reception in a local Social Club, the family made the buffet. Has their marriage been any less because they didn’t spend a small fortune on the day? In a word, no. Like all marriages they have taken the rough with the smooth, but the amount spent on the day has made no difference to the quality of the marriage.
If I were to have my time again I would by a dress from the High Street, I would ask friends to bring along a dish for the buffet, I would have the Reception in a small village hall, and I wouldn’t worry about all the ‘fluff”.
That said ‘Operation Fluff” is well on it’s way now, so I’m riding the wedding roller coaster, only thing is I’m not going to worry anymore if things don’t quite work out the way I originally planned. My marriage isn’t going to collapse if I’m missing ribbons off my napkins on my wedding day! And ultimately it’s the marriage that counts, the wedding is after all only one day.
A few years ago, during a therapy session I was receiving for a bout of depression I was suffering with, I described myself as a ‘recovering perfectionist’, I came up with the phrase whilst writing in my journal and reflecting on my ways, it describes me perfectly. I guess what it means is that I am a perfectionist but I try consciously not to let it rule my day to day life.
If I am honest, it’s my perfectionism that stopped me from pursuing a career in Theatre Design which is what I originally trained in, I found the whole process of designing for the theatre so incredibly stressful that when I first graduated I couldn’t accept any work that came my way, I was too scared of failing.
As a Newly Qualified Teacher I struggled for the first couple of years until I realised that all the work would never be done and it would definitely never be done to the standard I wanted, so the important thing was to prioritise the work that needed to be done and do it as best I could in the time available without working myself into the ground, I think I’ve mostly succeeded but I still have moments when I push myself too hard, but I think most people do.
It is my perfectionist tendencies that prevent me from really pursuing a more actively creative and crafty lifestyle. I think the creative process is fabulous but as a perfectionist I find the process challenging to say the least, creativity does not, I believe, go hand in hand with perfectionism. I might be wrong? I am envious of those people who can really pursue their creative passions without self-censoring. And yes I know, I just need to get over it!
Anyway, I find it very hard to quash my perfectionist tendencies, in many aspects of day to day life I tend to manage it but I am finding it hard with this wedding malarkey. I am desperate not to turn into Bridezilla, but small things just seem to keep going wrong and I’m finding it hard to deal with. My perfectionist tendencies seem to get worse whenever what I am doing will be seen (or in my mind, be judged) by others, and our wedding will be seen by all those who are nearest and dearest to me. Whilst I know that they won’t be there judging me, a part of me (that is often very powerful at times) believes that they will. I myself have described all the extra things that we are including in our wedding day as ‘fluff’ and as such I KNOW that they are not important, that mistakes will be over-looked or won’t even be noticed, etc but I still find it tough.
Knowing is one thing, feeling and believing often another.
Well, what have I done to ‘fix’ this? I had a good old moan to the lovely ladies I have met through the RMW Real Brides competition and as per usual they were incredibly supportive and kind. I have spoken to my Neil and I have taken a step back from all the wedding stuff for a couple of days to spend a bit of quality time with my Neil and put the real reason for our marriage to the fore-front of my mind.
Any other ‘recovering perfectionists’ out there? How do you ‘quash’ your tendencies? What’s your trigger?
Anyone else having to step back from all the wedding ‘fluff’ to gain a bit of perspective?
So I decided to make my own headband/tiara…..
I saw a beautiful one in a local bridal shop Tilly Mint, but it had a £400 price tag, I thought to myself “I could do that” and so off I went to buy some beautiful crystals from Beadworks in Covent Garden and a headband from Claire’s Accessories, originally it had little pearl beads on so I took it apart and removed the pearl beads. I spent a day on the sofa in front of the telly and ended up with a half finished product….
But I think the colours are too ‘cold’ so I’ve bought some warmer coloured crystals and some gold wire to hopefully ‘warm’ it up. I’ll keep you posted…..
On a side note, if I weren’t having my dress made I think I probably would have bought my dress from Tilly Mint, the staff were SO helpful and lovely and kind. And the inside of the shop is just delish! (Also, my mum used to call me Tilly Mint when I was a little girl so it’d be kind of sweet!)
Now, Bridesmaids and their dresses……
It was all sorted, then it wasn’t now I think it is again. Here’s the story….
I started with 3 bridesmaids, now I have 4 fabulous girlies to help me on the day…
Initially I toyed with the idea of a 1950s style pencil dress a la Vivien of Holloway…
But my Bridesmaids were worried it would draw too much attention to the hips, and I was worried that they’d feel constricted in a fitted dress.
Then I thought about 50s style full circle dresses…
But I didn’t want our wedding to start looking 50s themed, please don’t get me wrong, I love the 50s vibe, it’s just not the look I’m going for with our wedding.
Then I saw a Jason Wu dress, that looked like the perfect compromise in terms of shape…
I loved it, the Bridesmaids loved it….done!
Then the hard part….the fabric!
It took lots of trips to the fabric shops on Goldhawk Road, London (an amazing treasure trove of fabric shops, selling fabric at reasonable prices) & lots of samples from my dressmaker and I finally found a great bold, colourful floral….
…fabulous but I thought it would be too much for 4 dresses, I decided to use it for my Chief Bridesmaid’s dress and so the search began for a fabric to match the floral. More trips to Goldhawk Road and more samples from my dressmaker, found a lovely silk in the perfect colour, but with a not so lovely price-tag. Cue another (stressful!) trip to Goldhawk Road, after visiting EVERY fabric shop on Goldhawk Road I finally set upon a lovely purple fabric and bargained the man down to £5 per metre. Phew!
Then there was the dressmaker saga. Well, not so much a saga, as a lack of foresight leading to complications, leading to the need for a new dressmaker.
My wedding dress dressmaker, Annie Wallwork of Ann’s Couture was originally going to make them, it made sense, she is fabulous, so of course she was the natural choice. However she lives in Cornwall, my Bridesmaids live in London, my Chief Bridesmaid lives in Germany this equaled a pain in the neck getting them all together anyway, never mind shipping them all down to Cornwall for a weekend, this would have been fine had it not been for the RIDICULOUS train prices! £100 return from London to Truro! PER PERSON!
Cue a couple of hours spent on-line for nice, purple Bridesmaids dresses that don’t cost the earth, apparently purple is not ‘in’ this season, not yet anyway.
Then…a brainwave! My fabulous friend Miss Miri who works mainly in costume for the Theatre and who is a dab hand with the dewing machine…. a few emails later and I have a new dressmaker for the girls, who can do the fittings at my house! Emails sent to the girls with provisional fitting dates…everyone is free…dates in diary…phew!
- If you want a simple life, stick to a white wedding dress…every colour goes with white so you have a lovely wide colour palette to work from.
- Buy your dresses from the High Street, have an open mind.
We arrived at our lovely venue, our coats were taken, and we quenched our thirst with a lovely glass of lemonade that was sporting a Rock My Wedding Hen Party stirrer!
We all said hello, it was a strange experience, strange because we have been chatting to one another on-line, almost daily, for months, but we had never actually met. We had discussed all sorts of things from what we were wearing to problems we’d encountered with friends and family with regards to the wedding. It was great to finally meet and put a ‘person’ to the little Facebook face we’d been chatting to!
Charlotte, Adam and Kim had laid on a feast of events!
There was jewellery making….I made a lovely little hairpin (completely inspired by the fabulous hairband made by the fabulous Amanda Champness - Rock My Wedding’s DIY Bride.) Leading the jewellery making experience was the lovely Samantha Neville from mamfiibridal.co.uk (an Award Winning Surrey based bridal shop), she had laid out all these boxes of crystals and diamante and we were allowed to pick and choose as many items as we liked and could make anything from headbands to earrings, bracelets, hairpins etc. Sam was also good enough to give me some advice on the crystal hairpiece I’m making (more on that hopefully this weekend!), she even gave me a few diamante pieces to add into my little project! Definitely a real sweetie who loves what she does.
There was a bit of decoupage, we were each given a cardboard letter – they’d even gone to the extent of us all having the first letter of our name! And there was a table full of glue, paint, paper and fabric, and we had free reign! Inspired by my love of brown paper (I have a whole Board dedicated to the subject over on Pinterest) I decided to just add a few bits of beautiful beaded lace to my letter A.
Then we had little sandwiches and cakes – the vanilla buttercream cupcake was to die for!
Then the fabulous and eccentric Sev Hubert from The Hepburn Collection did our hair and the lovely Mariam Jensen did our make up and lashes! I wish I had taken some photos now, I am sure there will be some on RMW soon.
It was the most perfect afternoon! Crafting, cake, cocktails and lots and lots of guilt-free wedding talk!
I wish I had written this post sooner after the event, I feel like I have missed some vital details but this week has been crazy busy and this is the best I’ve been able to do.
My own Hen Party is in early April, and I have NO IDEA what will be taking place! I have been given a weekend to keep clear and that is it! I have emailed them with what I’d like to do and a list of people, but whether that’s what we’ll do I have no idea, I know they’ve had their own plans all along. Little bit nervous if I am honest, I do trust my girlies, but truth be told I am a bit of a control freak!
Are you planning your own hen do or have you handed over responsibility to your Bridesmaids?
What would your dream Hen Do look like?