Your Wedding Experience – What to Prioritise

your wedding experience blog post lila bailey blog

Your wedding experience; the middle ground… So at the beginning of the month I chatted about wedding priorities from a guest’s point of view. And then chatted about the things that aren’t so important, both to you as a couple on your wedding day and to the guests. But there’s a whole other category I’m yet to explore. Your wedding experience. The things that really don’t matter much to guests on the day itself, but are actually crucial to your day and the memories which you’ll create.

Your wedding experience blog post ever after blog

Photo by Luna Weddings

The Photographer

On the day – unless the photographer is exceptionally useless (it happens) – guests probably won’t pay much attention to the photographer. And they won’t know whether they were worth their money or not. However, a photographer – the right photographer – is one of the most important parts of your wedding day, irrelevant to guest experience.

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Photo by Clare Kinchin

The photos captured on your wedding day are one of the only lasting memories you will have. As time passes, the emotion of the day I’m sure will never leave you, but the details of the day will. You might even forget what you looked like, what your bridesmaid wore, what the weather was like. The photos you have will last forever, and I cannot emphasise how important they are.

And behind the photos is a photographer. People underestimate the power of a good photographer, and the difference it makes. A good photographer isn’t just measured on their ability to edit photos, it’s about how they capture your day, how they manage your time, and how the cope with the unforeseen. Of course, it’s hard to know these things just based on their photographs. It’s good to speak to your already chosen suppliers or other industry professionals who may have worked with the photographers you’re considering and can give constructive and professional advice.

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Photo by Sam Docker

Another thing to consider is the style of photography you want. There are many, many good photographers around, but not all of them will be right for you as a couple. And always make sure you’ve looked through an entire portfolio of a wedding (preferably multiple weddings) so you know that their photos & editing style is consistent. That way you know they’re not just showing you a handful of their best images (as the rest could be dreadful!). If they’re reluctant to show you a whole wedding then that tells you everything you need to know.

 

The Wedding Dress (and other outfits)

Well, it just wouldn’t be a blog post of mine without mentioning the wedding dress (sorry, not sorry). Don’t get me wrong, guests will take a huge interest in your wedding dress. But, it won’t affect their experience of the day. Your wedding experience, however, is practically defined by your wedding dress (I would say I’m over exaggerating but I just can’t bring myself to…).

your wedding experience blog post ever after blog

Photo by Luna Weddings

And harking back to my post about your wedding not just being about one day, the wedding dress (and all the shopping that comes along with it) makes up such an integral part of your experience as a bride. It’s not essential to your guests experience, but it is absolutely (definitely, 100%) essential to yours. I don’t know about you but I would never go to an important event dressed in something I wasn’t totally comfortable with, and that rule is soo much more apparent for your own wedding day (obviously).

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Photo by Ben Selway

And of course the groom’s outfit is essential to his experience too. Although maybe not as important, he still needs to be happy, comfortable, and feeling like he looks a million dollars. (Because, naturally, you’re going to look like 2 million dollars…).

There is also the bridal posse to consider, too. Guaranteed the guests won’t really care what colour the usher’s ties are and whether the bridesmaids are wearing halter-neck or strapless. However, these outfits are still important to both you as a couple and the people wearing them. Time and consideration will go into each person’s attire, so it’s important that a decision everyone is happy with is made.

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Photo by Nick Walker

 

Your Wedding Experience

Those are just a few things that really will matter to you, both on the day and as time passes. But what will make your wedding experience the best ever is if you relax, stay calm, and just enjoy yourself. Whatever happens will happen, and as long as you have supportive friends & family and amazing suppliers, then it will be okay. Take some time out with your new spouse to just take in the day. That could be when you go off together for photos, or just a moment of holding hands amongst the noise & commotion. Whatever it is, just put that time aside for yourselves because all of this is really is just about you and your future together.

 

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Photo by Lucy Turnbull

The Bridal House of Cornwall – Local Wedding Dress Shopping Experience

the bridal house of cornwall wedding dress shopping experience lila bailey blog

On my hunt for the perfect wedding dress, I recently visited The Bridal House of Cornwall in Truro. Whilst Truro isn’t super local to me, it’s still not far. I actually travelled down by train and it was comfortable & easy.

The main reason for visiting The Bridal House of Cornwall was to treat one of my besties to a ‘wedding day out’ as I was going to ask her to be my bridesmaid (not that she knew that of course). I’m a tad fussy when it comes to bridal shops, and after my last experience I knew I didn’t want to just go ‘anywhere’. I wanted it to be really lovely. We were not disappointed!

 

The Bridal House of Cornwall – About the shop

If you know Truro at all then you’ll know what a gorgeous city it is. And The Bridal House of Cornwall, a stunning Georgian Mansion nestled in the heart of the city, was very in-keeping with that.

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They stock a range of designers, from the high-end glitz & glamour queen, Jenny Packham, to the more affordable Spanish brand, Rosa Clara. Plus a bit of everything in between! A personal favourite is London designer, Naomi Neoh, who uses incredible silks and laces to create ultimate elegant wedding dresses.

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The Bridal House of Cornwall Experience

There are two different options for your appointment. They offer a standard hour long appointment which is free of charge, or an ‘experience’ appointment which I highly recommend. My bridesmaid & I arrived early and were seated in the library and handed a glass of bubbles. The stylist was super friendly and chatty, and made us feel instantly welcome & comfortable.

The library is a gorgeous room. One wall is filled with shelves of shoes & jewellery, and another a bookcase design with vintage teacups and other adorable trinkets. My bridesmaid, Ruby, was in her element (which made me super happy because I wanted her to enjoy the day as much as me). We chatted some more to the stylist before she took us through to the showroom. In my opinion, they have the perfect number of dresses. Not so few that you can’t find any you like, but not so many that you get lost amongst them.

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Once we had chosen a handful of dresses, we were taken through to another room (honestly, this place is just fab) where I then tried on the gowns. There is a catwalk which you walk down and the stylist takes pictures for you to look through later. Before the appointment, the thought of a ‘catwalk’ seemed a bit daunting, but it’s not like that at all. The whole appointment was super relaxed and most importantly, fun.

We spent probably around an hour trying on dresses, and I enjoyed every second of it. As did Ruby! Once the dress-trying part was over, we went back into the library to look through the photos and select the ones we wanted to keep. And just when we thought the fun was over, we went back into the showroom where our stylist let us loose on the Photo Booth props and we had a mini photoshoot to document the day!

the bridal house of cornwall dress shopping ever after blog

 

It was honestly the most wonderful experience and I don’t think I’ll have another one like it. Although I didn’t find ‘the’ dress, that didn’t matter to me at all. It’s all these moments which make planning a wedding so exciting & memorable, and I’m so thankful to the team at The Bridal House of Cornwall for making such an important day that bit more special. 100% would recommend!

‘All this, just for one day’ – Let’s Discuss…

Okay, so as a bride-to-be how many times has ‘all this, just for one day’ been said to you? Have you even thought it yourself? I have already had so many people accost me with questions about it ‘just being for one day’. Well, people, I’m about to take you on a journey of discovery.

Newsflash! It’s not just about one day.

all this, just for one day blog post lila bailey weddings

Photo by Dan Ward

All this, just for one day? Part 1…

Firstly, it’s not ‘just a day’. It’s the foundation for your marriage. The day it all started. A celebration of your love. A chance for you to show the people around you how much they mean to you, how much you mean to them, and how much you (as a couple) mean to each other. It’s pretty symbolic.

Not to mention the family & friends reunion side of it. Tell me another instance where you get to sit in a room with all the most important people in your life. In one place. Altogether. For a happy occasion. You can’t? That’s because there isn’t one.

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Photo by Luna Weddings

All this, just for one day? Part 2…

Secondly, why wouldn’t you want an excuse to dress up in the best and most expensive clothing you can afford, drink amazing wine, eat wonderful food, and dance the night away? And whilst smiling the entire time! That sounds like the perfect day. What’s not to love?!

all this, just for one day blog post lila bailey weddings

Photo by Clare Kinchin

All this, just for one day? Part 3…

 

Seriously though, it really isn’t just about that one day. Thirdly, and most importantly, it’s about the journey.

It’s about that indescribable feeling of being proposed to, and the tears of excitement and happiness as you share the news with family & friends.

It’s about deciding who you want to stand beside you on the day, and watching their expression as you tell them.

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It’s about working with your partner and making decisions about your day which reflect you as a couple, and learning more about each other as you do so.

It’s about listening to and respecting your partner’s thoughts & visions for your day and coming to conclusions that you are both happy with.

It’s about wedding dress shopping with your mum and girl-friends, drinking bubbles and squealing for no particular reason, just because.

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It’s about the days out with you girls/boys and giving them a chance to show you how much you mean to them.

It’s about sharing your excitement with your parents, and watching how happy it makes them to see you so elevated.

It’s about all of those little things in the build up. All of the decisions you make because of the wedding. All the conversations you have and all the memories you make along the way.

all this, just for one day blog post lila bailey weddings

So, no, it’s not all for just one day.

 

Previous Post

 

Where to Save Your Money – Wedding Priorities

where to save your money lila bailey blog

In my last post, I explored the 4 things worth spending the majority of your wedding budget on (you can find it here). In this post I’ll be chatting about where to save your money; all those little bits which can spiral out of control and actually no-one really notices on the day…

 

Where to save your money

1. Stationery. Don’t get me wrong, I love stationery. And because your stationery the first time your guests get to see a glimpse of your wedding day, it is a really important added touch. But it is an added touch, and whilst everyone needs to know where to be and when, there comes a point where all those stationery extras become a little unnecessary.

where to save your money wedding priorities blog post stationery

Photo by Clare Kinchin

 

2. The Guestbook. Again, having a guestbook is a lovely touch and a great way to get creative. But let’s be realistic for a second. You don’t need to spend muchon a guestbook. There are many different guest book ideas, none of which cost too much, so don’t try and overcomplicate things by coming up with some elaborate guestbook plan. Save your hard earned cash for putting towards one of the wedding priorities, because – let’s face it – your guests really aren’t going to notice or care about how much money/time/effort you put into the guestbook. They’ll be more interested in the booze – trust me.

where to save your money wedding priorities blog post stationery

Photo by Luna Weddings

 

3. The Wedding Favours. Personally, I adore the idea of wedding favours. Anything miniature and you’ve got me hooked. That was – however – until I was looking into having gin miniatures as wedding favours at my own wedding. I was going to end up spending £250 on essentially a large shot of gin per person, and for what? The idea is great, and the gin miniatures would’ve been super cute (for about half a minute). But is it worth £250? I’m not saying don’t bother with wedding favours at all, I think they are a lovely touch. Just be clever about it. Instead of spending £1.50 a head, trying spending 40p. Every little helps!

where to save your money wedding priorities blog post wedding favours

Photo by Freckle Photography

 

4. Those extra bits. The list of ‘extras’ you can add to your wedding day is honestly endless. Baskets of flip flops, sparklers, sweet stations, additional decor, the list goes on… And if your budget allows, then go for it. But if you’re trying to cut back on your spending then trust me, these things are not a priority. A lovely touch, don’t get me wrong, but should in no way be the focus of your time, energy, and money.

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Photo by Voyteck Photography

Wedding Priorities – What you Should Spend your Money on

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‘Wedding priorities’ is a really important topic, especially if you don’t want to end up spending a fortune. Planning a wedding is no small task, and it can be so easy to get carried away. I’ve recently done a bit of research into what guests actually notice at weddings, and what they don’t. Here’s what I found…

 

Wedding Priorities

  1. The Venue. It does make sense. After all, it doesn’t matter what ‘additions’ you have to your wedding day, if the venue isn’t right then that’s all that people are going to notice. There are loads of elements that make the venue ‘right’ for you, so it’s about deciding what kind of wedding you want and how the venue will reflect you as a couple. It’s also worth considering the time of year you want to get married and finding a venue that suits your chosen season.wedding day priorities blog post

Photo byDan Ward

2. The Ceremony. This is essentially the most important part of your day, and the bit that holds the most meaning. Guests have been waiting for possibly years for this moment, so it’s good to remember that they will actually enjoy it, even if you think it’s the boring part. What makes a ceremony boring is if it’s totally impersonal or it drags on for hours. Keep it around 30-40 minutes long, and include something personal. That might be a reading that means a lot to you, or maybe even writing your own vows. Either way, this is why everyone has ‘gathered here today’ so make the most of it.

wedding day priorities blog post

Photo by Dan Ward

3. The Food & Drink. Providing plenty of food and drink (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) is something that guests will always remember. If the food was scarce or rubbish (or both) then that’s what guests will come away with in the forefront of their minds. Likewise with the drinks (okay, maybe mainly alcohol – but the non-drinkers will sure remember if all they were offered was water!), if the alcohol runs out or the bar is very expensive, this will have a negative impact on the day as a whole. The last thing you want your friends & family to say is ‘lovely wedding but I left hungry and the drinks were overpriced’…

wedding day priorities blog post

Photo by Richard Murgatroyd

4. The Music. Whether you opt for a band or a DJ, make sure the tunes are fun and get people on the dance floor. You can’t beat mixing it up with some old-school classics as well as modern pop-hits. And if you are having a band, make sure you’ve either heard them live yourself or they come with excellent recommendations from someone you know or respect. Bands are not cheap, and you can be sure your guests will remember if your first dance was sung out of tune or they only played classic love ballads… Not exactly the crows pleasers you may have hoped for!

wedding day priorities blog post

Photo by Ben Selway

So those are the top 4 wedding priorities. Next up I’ll be exploring the less important elements of a wedding which sometimes get more attention than they deserve…

 

Check out my previous post!

Wedding Dress Shopping Experience Part 2…

all this, just for one day blog post lila bailey weddings

So you’ve heard about the wonderful experience, now for the not-so-wonderful… (if you missed my last post then catch up here before reading this one).

 

The Experience…

The bridal stylist sat us down, and at first was quite pleasant and talked us through what I would be doing during our appointment. However, quite quickly our ‘welcome chat’ became a little patronising and almost felt like a dictation of what I will and won’t feel when I put a wedding dress on. I was asked about my wedding and my vision for the day, and I explained in quite substantial detail about what I pictured for the wedding and the dress. I mentioned fabrics and necklines, as well as the overall ‘feel’ of the dress. An error of mine was failing to mention that I was in the wedding industry and had worked with wedding dresses before, plus I had visited the Harrogate Bridal Show every year of my childhood and teens, so my understanding of the wedding industry – in particular wedding dresses – was quite vast. I wonder if this would have made a difference to the way I was treated (not that of course it should have done). Very bluntly, I was asked what my budget for the dress was. I don’t like to discuss money, and despite my bridesmaids being family or as good as, I didn’t feel entirely comfortable talking about my wedding budget in that environment. I gave the stylist a starting figure but said I was aware I will probably be spending more and was okay with that. I explained there was flexibility in my overall wedding budget to spend a little more on a wedding dress if I decided to. She retorted with an incredibly blunt ‘well our dresses start at X which is almost double your budget’ and gave me a look as if to say ‘so what on earth are you still doing sat there’. I replied explaining I’m open to expanding my budget for the right dress, but unfortunately she had already made her (uninformed and incorrect) assumptions about me and frankly wasn’t interested.

Nevertheless, we powered on and went through the collection of lovely dresses, picking out ones in styles I knew I liked from the previous appointment. I selected one dress which was made of a very interesting fabric, and I was curious to try it on as I’d never seen anything like it. Instead of taking that one to the dressing room, the stylist picked another one and ushered me behind the curtain. Once we were in the dressing room, the stylist said ‘the dress you picked out is not in your price range so I’d advise you to not try it on’ I was slightly shocked by her audacity and replied ‘oh that’s okay, I’m really open to trying anything on’ and she looked at me coldly and said ‘we’re talking £12,000plus for this particular dress so I don’t think you should try it’. Her boldness was honestly outstanding.

wedding dress shopping experience part 2

(A Suzanne Neville dress)

The appointment only continued to get worse. I was told to put on these enormous platform heels, which I was fine with. What I was not fine with, however, was stepping into these (rather large) dresses without even a hand to hold onto for support. Keeping in mind (as many of you will know from dress shopping yourselves) you’re not wearing an awful lot when in the dressing room, and for someone to watch you struggle into a dress whilst wearing giant heels (and not a lot else) is nothing short of terribly embarrassing. I cannot tell you how anxious I started to feel as the appointment went on. The stylist made it perfectly clear that she was completely disinterested in the appointment, and if the yawning wasn’t enough, she kept disappearing to have whispered conversations with her colleague behind the front desk.

I tried on a dress which was absolutely gorgeous and one I really liked, as did my mum and my bridesmaids. The stylist, however, had other ideas. She hauled me back into the dressing room where she put me in a dress which was wonderful, but just not me. It was very much ‘of the times’, and definitely stylish in a designer sense, but not the timeless wedding dress I was looking for.

wedding dress shopping experience part 2

(Disclaimer – this is not the dress she put me in, but you get the idea…)

As I came out of the changing room she exclaimed ‘this is the dress!’ to my posse of wedding-dress-groupies and started to ramble on about how the last dress was ‘too old’ for me (despite it being strapless with a modern skirt) and how I should be looking for something ‘young & fun’. Without giving anything away, I have certainly not been looking at dresses that are ‘too old’ for me. In fact, quite the opposite. Despite what the stylist (with a blinding complex) thought.

wedding dress shopping experience part 2

(Another Suzanne Neville dress)

It was at this point where 3 other people entered the shop, one of which being a man. At first, I didn’t mind because I assumed they would be taken downstairs. The women were, the man however was invited to sit on a chair right outside my dressing room. If I wasn’t feeling uncomfortable enough by now, this certainly sealed the deal. I might add too that my dressing room was opposite a floor-to-ceiling mirror and the stylist was not discreet with the curtain. Need I say more?

Despite me taking the time at the beginning of the appointment to explain exactly what my wedding vision was, the stylist had paid no attention whatsoever. She kept describing my wedding as ‘rustic’ when I’d said nothing of the sort. Again, forming her own opinions based on the smallest amount of information. At one point she put me in a dress which I instantly hated and said ‘I’m not feeling this at all’ and instead of getting me out of the dress and into something I liked, she left me standing in it and went to chat to her colleague (again). I was stood awkwardly in a dress which didn’t make me feel good for over 5 minutes, trying to make positive comments about it until she got back and put me in something else. It all started to become very frustrating, and I quickly wished we had never come. What started off as the perfect day was turning into a nightmare. By this point I was feeling so completely rubbish that I didn’t even want to smile when in a dress I liked because I thought if I showed any emotion at all I might burst into tears.

wedding dress shopping experience part 2

Whilst all of this was happening, none of us knew how we were all feeling about the appointment. I wanted nothing more than to turn round to my mum and girls and say ‘I’m hating this. I feel so uncomfortable and I’m not having a good time’ but I never had the chance. Even when the stylist left us, she was always in earshot. And because I thought maybe it was just me who was picking up on this awful vibe and atmosphere, I didn’t want to start being rude in case the others thought I was being completely overdramatic (no bridezilla moment I can assure you!). As it turned out, we had all felt exactly the same during the appointment, and we were also all unsure of how each other was feeling at the time. I must have a pretty good pokerface because none of them had any idea I was feeling so miserable! If I could turn back time, I would definitely be far less polite and actually tell her she was making me feel awful. Or failing that, maybe just have given up altogether and left. But, I can’t go back in time so I just have to live with the experience and learn from it. After all, a wedding isn’t just about the day itself, it’s all the moments during the buildup and the things we experience during that time.

wedding dress shopping experience part 2

It was also incredibly interesting to be on the other side of an appointment like that, and it made me realise where the business I used to work in was going so wrong. Whilst we were told to act professional and give the opening spiel to each bride who walked through the door, actually this comes across very negatively and isn’t at all what brides want. Not brides like me, anyway! I much preferred my genuine, down to earth, and relaxing experience at Suzanne Neville where I was made to feel like a princess and my tastes, opinions, and visions were listened to and respected. That’s what a wedding dress appointment should be like.

Suzanne Neville – Dress Shopping Experience Part 1

suzanne neville wedding dress shopping experience

Possibly the most exciting part of being a bride-to-be is the dress shopping experience. This is especially true for me as I have such an enormous love and passion for wedding dresses, which is why I knew I wanted to visit the London flagship stores of a select few designers. I grew up near London so had often walked past these flagship stores and dreamed about the day it would be me inside. Plus any 90s babies out there will remember the film ‘The Parent Trap’ and how Annie & Hallie’s mother was a London wedding dress designer (mum goals), and the scene in her flagship store was possibly the greatest scene of the 90s… (well, for me anyway).

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So, back in May, I told my bridesmaids about the two designers I wanted to visit in London and we got the weekend organised. To say I was excited was an understatement; I was practically bouncing off the walls when we arrived on Sunday and couldn’t sleep that night. Having already worked in bridal fashion, I’m quite clued up on what I want and also know the process is possibly going to be harder for me because of that exact reason.

Before working at Ever After, I worked at a bridal shop in Plymouth, and before that one in Exeter. Partner that with growing up in the wedding industry, I’ve started my wedding dress shopping journey in quite a unique position. I worked in bridal fashion for 2 years and in that time also studied both beginner and advanced pattern cutting, so my love for wedding dress goes a lot deeper than just ‘loving them’. From working in bridal shops I also know what it takes to create an enjoyable appointment, and that it’s the stylist’s job to make the bride feel comfortable, welcome, and special. Dictating to someone what they should be wearing will never work. You have to watch them in the dresses they select and go from there. As a stylist, it’s your job to listen to the bride’s wedding dress vision, and use your knowledge of the dresses in your store to find the perfect one for her. Any good stylist will be able to look at a woman’s figure and know what will look best on her, but at the same time not be discouraging if she’s choosing shapes that aren’t right for her. Instead it’s important to gently suggest silhouettes and bodices etc and work with her from there. At the end of the day, what the bride chooses is up to her. And even if you think she’d look better in something else, your main priority is making her feel as happy as possible, whatever she is wearing.

Anyway, less about that and more about Suzanne Neville…

Suzanne Neville

suzanne neville wedding dress blog post

The first designer we visited was Suzanne Neville. Because my parents also work in the wedding industry, they remember Suzanne at her very first time exhibiting at Harrogate and have watched her grow into the designer she is now. So my mum was especially excited to visit her store and see what wonderful dresses she has crafted. I was slightly nervous when we arrived at the store, but as soon as we were introduced to our stylist for the appointment, Harriet, I immediately felt better.

Suzanne Neville creates some absolutely stunning gowns, and is known for her corseted bodices and elegant silhouettes. What draws me most to her designs are their timeless elegance, and how she isn’t too ‘OTT’ or bold with her designs, yet still manages to be modern and creative. She combines traditional pattern cutting with contemporary touches; even as small as just a lower cut beneath the arms. Personally, I love the traditional structure of a wedding dress (e.g. the corseted bodices) because it feels like nothing you’ve worn before or probably will ever again. And if a dress is made properly and fits you correctly then it will always be comfortable. If it’s not then it either doesn’t fit right or has been poorly made.

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suzanne neville wedding dress blog post

 

The Experience

The shop itself is in Knightsbridge (which is one of the wealthiest areas in London) and only just down the road from Harrods, so I was expecting to feel quite intimidated. However, the store is located on a modest street which itself is very charming and not too intimidating at all. The building is quaint and has character, including a spiral staircase down to the loos and additional dress storage. The room we were in was carpeted and felt so comfortable and inviting. The shelves were stocked with beautiful headpieces and footwear, and the dresses were all accessible and kept in wonderful condition. The changing room was the perfect size; not so small that you felt cramped whilst getting changed, but not so big that you felt exposed and uncomfortable.

suzanne neville wedding dress blog post

Harriet was a dream. She listened to my hopes for the ‘perfect’ wedding dress and did everything she could to help make the vision in my head a reality in the store. I was quite fussy about a few elements of the fit, and Harriet kept finding me dresses until I said ‘this is exactly the fit I mean’. We worked through different necklines by adding jackets or taking away straps, and she even dug out a dress from a collection years ago just so I could sample that particular fabric. I felt like she not only listened to what I had to say, but she cared and genuinely wanted to help me find my perfect wedding dress. She also understood how important the dress is to me (partly because her job is working with wedding dresses as mine used to be, so she totally got where I was coming from). I went into that appointment worried I might never find the perfect wedding dress, and came out genuinely believing that I could find it in there.

Unfortunately, the second appointment could not have been more opposite. For the sake of professionalism, I won’t mention where we went next. It was honestly a heartbreaking experience, not just for me but also for my mum and bridesmaids who came with me. We walked into the shop and I was naturally intimidated by it’s grandeur. It was elaborate and beautiful, and probably exactly how you would picture the ‘perfect’ wedding dress shop. But looks aren’t everything. We were offered champagne, again, a lovey touch which in theory should enhance the experience. But sometimes a bad experience just cannot be enhanced… But more on that in my next post! Stay tuned.

Being Engaged and all it entails…

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Being engaged is one of the most magical & special periods of life. The endless words of happiness and excitement from family & friends. And the promise of a beautiful wedding and an even more beautiful future with the one you love. But, it’s not always just a love bubble or clouds of happiness. How do I know? Because I’m right here with you.

I’ve been engaged for almost 2 months and it has been absolutely wonderful, for the most part. We’ve had our friends over to celebrate, special dinners with family, and loads of exciting conversations. On the flip side, though, there has been a lot of stress and many arguments…

being engaged blog post ever after blog

Photo by Richard Murgatroyd

We’re in those early stages of being engaged where you get the ‘big’ things decided, whilst leaving the details for later. Often this is the hardest part of the engagement because even the most decisive people will come up against decisions that they just don’t know how to make. And whatever you do, someone will always be offended.

 

The Guest List

Oh yes, the guest list. Anyone who is or has been engaged will no doubt be squirming reading that word. I’m squirming writing it! Before I got engaged I seriously underestimated the guest list problem. Like, seriously. Both myself & Euan couldn’t understand why people found it so difficult. That was, of course, until we were doing it for ourselves. I’m going to be honest here, we still currently have absolutely no idea what to do. Yep, the people who thought they’d know within the first day exactly who they’d invite and how many people they’d have, have no idea what to do.

being engaged blog post ever after blog

Photo by Richard Murgatroyd

There are a number of politics involved with wedding guests and unfortunately (even though we’d quite like to) we can’t avoid that. And we’ve just got to come to terms with it. Something we’ve found to have a huge impact on the guest list is the fact that we’re having the wedding at my parents house and they are therefore ‘hosting’ the wedding. The advantage of an unconnected-to-your-family venue is that the venue is hosting the wedding, therefore the discretion is yours. Whilst we are so lucky my parents have the space to host our wedding, it does mean that the venue is essentially theirs and there are a number of people who will be offended in this scenario who may not have been if we had opted for a proper wedding venue (far, far away…).

being engaged blog post ever after blog

Photo by Freckly Photography

On the flip side, though, we are incredibly lucky to have so many people in our lives want to be invited. Whilst this does make guest culling hard, it’s also important we look at the positives and take it as a huge compliment. There are worse things than having too many people on your guest list, right?

 

Bridesmaids, Ushers, and all that stuff

Okay, this one I have to say we’ve completely tucked away in a little cupboard somewhere (for now). I know a decision has to be made at some point, but luckily we’ve left ourselves plenty of time. Do you ask your whole group of girls to be bridesmaids, or just one or two and risk offending the others? Do you pay for the usher’s suits or expect them to? Honestly? I don’t know. Neither of us know exactly who to have, or how to involve people we don’t choose. And it is really really hard! Like I said before, someone will always be offended. We’re still learning how to come to terms with that, and I daresay we’ll get there. As for the bridesmaids & ushers, I’ll keep you updated…

being engaged blog post ever after blog

Photo by Luna Weddings

 

Being Engaged and enjoying it

Both of us have to keep reminding each other to just enjoy being engaged. Weddings are so difficult, and nothing prepares you for them (not even organising other people’s, trust me!). Whoever you are & whatever your situation, the same problems will crop up with each and every wedding and it’s about managing them the best you can. Being decisive is good, but so is being understanding and accepting. And relaxing. I’m terrible at relaxing, and so far have completely failed at having a relaxed engagement. But I’m trying, and that’s the main thing.

being engaged blog post ever after

Photo by Richard Murgatroyd 

The guest list and the bridesmaids/ushers are (so far) the only things we’ve found difficult. So it’s not all bad! A church wedding has always been on the agenda for both of us so no qualms there. And working with the abundance of incredible suppliers that I do, choosing the photographer, florist, and videographer has been the easiest part so far! Not everyone will find the suppliers as easy as we have, but not everyone will find choosing bridesmaids & ushers as difficult as we have. Just keep focused on the reason you’re having this wedding in the first place; your marriage. Your future, your lives together, your love. Notice a pattern? You. And everything else will fall into place (well that’s my philosophy anyway, so let’s hope I’m right!).

being engaged blog post ever after blog

Photo by Lucy Turnbull

No doubt there will be many more developments throughout this engagement, and many more excuses for some blog posts!

Your Wedding Day at Ever After – How it Works

your wedding day at ever after lila bailey blog

The summer wedding season 2018 is upon us, so I thought it’s about time I explain a little more about what I do & how your wedding day at Ever After will work. Every venue will work in different ways, which is why it’s important to find a venue which works for you and your day…

 

The Day Before

You will have access to the venue from 2pm the day before your wedding (either Friday for a Saturday wedding, or Tuesday for a Wednesday wedding… obvs!). We will have spent the morning getting the venue ready for your arrival, and once you arrive the place is yours! Make yourselves at home in the cottage, or have an explore with your spouse-to-be (why not take your photographer along too…?!).

your wedding day at ever after

Photo: Richard Murgatroyd

Either myself (Bethany) or Nicola will have a brief sit-down with you to go through the final running of your day, and take any bits off your hands (such as place names & favours) ready for setup the next day. Any last minute questions or worries you have can be chatted through then, so that you’ve got the rest of your afternoon & evening to relax and enjoy!

 

Your Wedding Day – Setup

Ever After’s team will usually arrive from 9am and start setting up for your big day! You, of course, will be relaxing, eating breakfast, having your hair & make-up done, and laughing with your bridesmaids. Lifting a finger is a no-go for the bride on the morning of the wedding; leave it to us.

your wedding day at ever after

Photo: Richard Murgatroyd

We’ll have everything ready at least 30 minutes, if not an hour, before guests are due to arrive.

 

Your Wedding Day – The Timeline of Events

Below is a link to our suggested timeline of events for the big day. This is a guideline based on the timings we believe to work the best, but as it is your day, the timings are entirely up to you.

Ever After suggested timings for your day copy

We will setup, serve, and clear away all arrival drinks. Myself and Nicola will get the ushers to guide guests to their seats for the ceremony, and co-ordinate you & your bridesmaids entrances. We’ll be there to give you 30 minute, 10 minute, and 5 minute warnings, and make sure you look absolutely perfect for your walk down the aisle.

your wedding day at ever after

Photo: Freckle Photography

Following your ceremony, guests will be guided down onto the lawns for the drinks reception(weather permitting). Our waitresses will again serve guests with their drinks and make sure they never have an empty glass! This is usually the best time for you & your new husband to sneak off for those all-important couple shots.

your wedding day at ever after

Photo: Freckle Photography

When it’s time for the wedding breakfast, our team will help get guests seated and co-ordinate your entrance to the marquee (including telling the best man or trusted usher what to say to introduce you!). The catering team will take care of you throughout the meal, whilst behind-the-scenes, myself, Nicola, and Steven will add the necessary finishing touches for your evening reception.

evening reception decor ever after's candlelight

When it’s time for tea & coffee, the whole EA team will clear the marquee and set it up ready for the evening, before co-ordinating your cake cutting and first dance. The evening festivities will then begin and you can relax in the knowledge that your wedding day has been perfect!

your wedding day at ever after

Photo: Ben Selway

 

Manchester Gin – Wedding Ginspiration

manchester gin wedding ginspiration lila bailey blog

Where has the time gone?! It seems like an absolute age ago that I did a ginspiration blog post. There has been loads happening recently, but there are plenty of gin blogs coming your way! Today, it’s all about Manchester Gin.

 

Manchester Gin

A contemporary style gin using hand-foraged Orange, Lemon and the Northern favourites Dandelion & Burdock Root. It all began one cold February evening in 2013 – the typical dark and rainy night you come to expect from Manchester – when Seb and Jen first crossed paths in a basement night spot in the centre of their beloved city.

machester gin creators ever after blog

“Manchester is a city of industrial heritage and the Mancunian work ethic has been a point of pride since the industrial revolution, when the men and women in the factories that lined the city were coined “Worker Bees”. It’s since this time that Manchester adopted the bee as it’s motif, and we couldn’t make a gin without paying homage to it. Our bee is a modern interpretation of the traditional Manchester symbol, reflecting the modern style of gin we produce. Next time you’re in the city, look out for the bee on bins, signs, buildings and even in bars and restaurants.”

Jen & Seb have created 4 different gins, under the umbrella of ‘Manchester Gin’; Signature, Raspberry Infused, Wild Spirit, and Overboard. They also created a ‘Distillers Cut’ version, exclusive to Craft Gin Clubmembers as a celebration of their progression over the past 2 years. The Distillers Cut is the gin that Euan & I tried…

chestier gin ever after blog ginspiration

Tasting Notes

Along with the gin, we were given one of the new ‘up-market’ schweppes tonic bottles to try with the gin. Sorry, schweppes, but I was not a fan. I think the tonic itself was okay but it hid all the flavours of the gin. Initially, we tried the gin with a slice of apple (as recomended by Craft Gin Club) and the schweppes tonic. I found the drink completely underwhelming with no real flavour hitting me at all. Euan felt there were a fair few flavours in the gin, but nothing was overpowering enough to pick out.

manchester gin ever after blog

That was, however, before we tried the gin with fever tree tonic & a wedge of lime. Oh, wow! A completely different drink altogether. I absolutely loved the gin this time, like seriously loved it. The bitter taste I got from the previous drink was non-existent and it was full of exciting flavours. Finished off perfectly with a sweet aftertaste. I would 100% recommend this gin, but not with the original tonic & garnish combination…

manchester gin ever after blog

Euan said the gin had a flavoursome kick and he could easily pick out the elderberries. He agreed about the sweet aftertaste, and an initially crisp flavour.

 

Conclusion & Cocktails

This tasting was a really interesting (albeit unintentional) experiment. It just goes to show what a difference the choice of tonic and/or garnish can make to a gin. And something that is super important to get right! I think the schweppes tonic does have a place in the gin industry, but absolutely not for Manchester gin. I’d be interested in giving it a second chance and trying it with a more ‘traditional’ or less flavoursome gin as I think it could definitely enhance a slightly blander gin.

manchester gin ever after blog

 

Craft Gin Club’s Cocktail Suggestion – Gimlet

machester gin ever after blog

Ingredients

  • 35ml Manchester Gin, Distillers cut
  • 35ml lime cordial
  • 15ml fresh lime juice
  • Twist of lime peel to garnish

Method

Shake all three ingredients with ice and double strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a slice of lime.

 

For more ginspiration, or to refresh your memory on all things ‘gin’, take a look at my previous ginspiration blog posts…

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