Hello, me again… It has been around 8 months since I’ve taken pen to paper (fingers to keyboard…) and written a blog post. To be honest, this year has been crazy (actually in a good way for the most part) and I haven’t felt like blogging much. But since the well-anticipated wedding did go ahead (despite the odds), I thought I’d come on and write about it.
Saturday the 12th of September, 2020. Our date. Set back in spring 2018, not knowing what would come along 2 whole years down the line. I thought I’d explain a little more about our journey from March – September of this year, the decisions we had to make, and how we managed to have the most magical wedding beyond our wildest dreams (cliche, but true).
March & April – The Optimistic Days
Through the early stages of the 2020 lockdown, I think we can all agree optimism was in the air and we truly had no idea how long this pandemic would last… In any case, Euan & I were very optimistic when it came to our wedding. I personally like to think of it as determined optimism. It would’ve been a lot easier to go down the route of considering postponement, but I was totally NOT willing to do this. As far as I was concerned, a lot could change in 6 months. And a lot did change (just not quite as much as we thought would). I actually semi-refused to even think about our wedding, because it really was so far away. Planning came to a halt and I focussed on other things. Namely, my expanding Arbonne business.
May & June – The Realistic Days
When May rolled around, I was still as determined as ever that we would be going ahead with our wedding on Saturday 12th of September, 2020 as originally planned. No matter what it might look like. In fact, I was pro-actively determined and emailed all of our suppliers letting them know we would still be going ahead no matter what, we were just keeping an eye on the situation as to what would actually be possible for us. There was one point during the lockdown, I can’t remember when exactly. But Northern Ireland were still allowing weddings when the rest of the UK wasn’t, and we said that if all else fails we will fly there to get married instead.
Towards the middle of June, things started to feel a little different. It was then only 3 months until our wedding, and the realisation that our day really probably wasn’t going to look how we thought it would, began to set in. I’m the sort of person who likes to face things, deal with them, and move on. And I did exactly this. I had around a 2-week period when I was – what I can only describe as – mourning the wedding I originally thought I would have. This sounds dramatic, but it wasn’t. Not really. I just had to go through a period of coming to terms with the 100+ people wedding I assumed would happen back when we got engaged, almost definitely was not going to happen. I did have a few crying episodes about it, but I think I would be a robot if I didn’t. At the end of the day, what felt right in our hearts was to get married. We felt ready – more than ready – to be married and start the next chapter of our lives. So, we mourned the wedding we thought we’d have and moved onto the next phase.
July & Early August – The ‘New Plan’ Days
My birthday falls in mid-July, and despite having come to terms with the current wedding situation, I wanted to wait until after my birthday until we made any final decisions. We were in touch with our guests and told them we would have a final update for them 6 weeks before our wedding. This is when we said we’d make the final decision, and also fell just before our hen & stag weekends. Which was perfect because it meant we got all the hard stuff out of the way beforehand, and could actually enjoy our weekends without worrying about having to deal with reducing our guestlist afterwards.
During July, we put plans together for different numbers of guests, depending on what the guidelines might be by the point of making a decision. In July, wedding ceremonies were allowed to go ahead but at that point not receptions. However, by the end of July we knew the Government would be changing the rules and so we started to set our hearts on a plan of 30 people. We started to plan for what a wedding of 30 people would look like, and – in all honesty – I was really quite excited. I think because I spent time actually processing my ‘old’ wedding and dealing with the emotions surrounding that, I could then move forward with my new one.
Reducing the guestlist was the hardest part of it all. We had to ask people not to bring their partners or the rest of their families, and had to leave a huge portion of our extended families & friends out. In the end, our guestlist roughly looked like immediate family, bridal party, god parents, and a few very close friends. It’s not a decision we ever would have been able to make if we weren’t forced to. I.e. there is no way we would’ve been able to reduce our guestlist to 30 if we had had the choice not to. However, I’m a firm believer in things happening for a reason. And I truly do believe our wedding was always meant to turn out the way it did. I know that sounds crazy because who could have predicted this year! But it really really did just feel right. And I honestly couldn’t imagine it being any different! Anyway, I’m getting side tracked!
At the very beginning of August, around 6 weeks before our wedding, we contacted everyone on our guestlist (I had a spreadsheet and allocated guests for Euan, my mum, and my dad to contact. There’s no way I could’ve coped with speaking to everyone!). The support and understanding from those we couldn’t have as our final 30, and the joy from those we could, was overwhelming. In the best way. After the rollercoaster of a planning journey we had been on since March, it finally felt like we had some closure and could start getting excited for our big day. And that’s exactly what we did!
Late August & Early September – The Excitement Days
Hen & stag weekends completed, the guestlist finalised. Time to put the new plan into action and start getting excited! We invited all of our local friends to come to the church on our wedding day, and arranged for the church to have speakers in the church yard so our friends could hear our service. And my brother organised streaming the service on zoom for those who couldn’t be there in person. It was absolutely incredible. So many people tuned into zoom, and even more were there to greet me as I arrived at the church, and afterwards to throw confetti and see us as ‘just married’. I will forever treasure the memory of walking out of the church as a married couple and seeing SO MANY faces lining up either side of the path for our confetti throw. There were people from our town who we barely knew, but were just so happy to see a wedding going ahead. Truly it was one of the most magical moments of my life.
Getting side tracked again! (If you’re familiar with my Instagram stories that won’t surprise you… lol). Because we had smaller guest numbers, there were loads of finishing touches I was able to do that I wouldn’t have been able to do with larger numbers. I made our favour boxes bigger and included sweeties, homemade apple juice (my parents’ make it), and a tea light & holder with a personalised wedding sticker that I designed. We also did individual bottles of limoncello to go with pudding, and I created menus for everyone.
We also decided to add an extra two courses to our wedding breakfast (5 courses in total), to make more of the meal as the evening wasn’t going to be as long (we postponed our band for our big celebration next year). I decided we would also have a ‘cocktail hour’ instead of a bar after the meal – such a hit & I highly recommend. Especially for a smaller wedding!
With more space in the barn now that we had less guests, I could spread everyone out on the tables more and decided to also hire marble charger plates which finished off the place settings beautifully. I had so much fun putting together the finishing touches, especially so close to the day itself! I even hand-made all the signs and our table plan.
The Week Before
In the build up to our wedding, covid cases were rising in the UK and there were murmurs of tighter restrictions coming into force. You might remember that back in August, wedding receptions being allowed was pushed back by 2 weeks. I’d be lying if deep down I wasn’t shit scared that something would happen a matter of days before our wedding. And I wasn’t wrong… At around 10pm on the Tuesday before our wedding, I had a BBC notification pop up saying tighter restrictions were coming into force. The universe must have been on our side, though. The restrictions weren’t coming into force until Monday 14th September, two days after our wedding and the day after our post-wedding brunch (also with 30 people, such were the rules until the following day).
I cannot tell you how relieved I was. Not only because the restrictions missed our wedding weekend, but also because I knew they wouldn’t announce anything additional, so I could relax safely in the knowledge that nothing was going to stop my wedding now. With 4 days to go, I slept wonderfully every night after that. Everything was ready. We’d literally made the universe part for our wedding day. Magic was in the air. Time to get hitched!
7 months to go… eeek! So, as promised, I’m doing monthly planning update posts (have a read of last month’s post here). How is time passing so fast?! I blinked and now we’re on the 12th of Feb… So where am I up to with our wedding planning?
I set myself a couple of goals for things to get sorted last month, and I’ve done some (but not all…).
Last Month’s Agenda
With 8 months to go, I wanted to focus on the boys’ outfits and booking our mini-moon. And I’d say I achieved 60%… The good news is that we paid the deposits on the kilts and we booked our mini-moon (yay!!). The bad news is that we haven’t got any further with the suits. That being said, we’re off to Bristol on Monday to get those sorted. And I am determined to make a decision!!
Also since my last update post, we have met with the vicar finalise our order of service. And I met with our florist last week to sort the flowers! We haven’t quite finalised the flowers yet, but the wheels are in motion. Which is the main thing!
I also finalised our wedding gift list, and sent the text for the invitations over to our stationer… It’s all starting to get very real!
7 Months to Go – The Agenda
Okay, so, 7 months to go. What am I focussing on this month? Well, the suits of course (I am not getting to 6 months having not sorted the suits, that’s for sure!!). We’re also choosing our wedding rings on Monday which is very exciting!
I spoke on Instagram last night about a wedding day ‘scent’, i.e. having a particular perfume that you’ve never worn before to splurge on for your wedding day. I also like the idea of having a candle burning with the same scent, so I’m thinking a trip to Jo Malone is needed! Since we are going to Bath on Monday anyway, I’m probably going to try and sort my wedding perfume in the Jo Malone store there. A busy day indeed – be sure to keep an eye on my Instagram page for updates!
That’s quite an agenda for one day, and there’s still the rest of the month! I’m aiming to get the invitations out before the 12th of March. Hopefully in my next post they too will be ticked off the list! Finalising flowers is also likely to happen this month, and I’m trying on my wedding dress calico for the second time at the end of Feb. Which means my actual wedding dress is going to be made very soon – omgggg!!
Any Other Updates
It feels like as I tick something off my list, something else gets added on! But that’s all part of it, right? I’ve delegated a few jobs to my parents’ because they’re keen to help (and there are a number of things I have no interest in sorting. Like planting the flowerbeds outside the barn, for example…).
Are you getting married soon? Where are you up to with your planning process? Let me know!
Since I am officially getting married THIS YEAR (it’s been almost 2 years since I’ve been able to say that haha) I thought I’d do some monthly planning updates. Starting with 8 months to go!
If you’ve been keeping up with my planning posts, you’ll know that most of the big stuff has been booked. But these next 8 months are still going to be filled with plenty of planning mayhem! Hopefully, if you’re getting married too, these posts will also be helpful!
Just a quick recap for anyone new to the blog! We’re getting married at our local church, and then having the reception at my parents’ house. The barn is currently being renovated (see instagram highlights!) which is stressful to say the least!
I’ve got a maid of honour and two other bridesmaids. Euan has a best man, 2 ushers and a musher (mini-usher – my brother who will be 13). We also have two flower girls and two page boys as well!
We have sorted all the suppliers, apart from live music for the reception. Save the dates have gone out to friends but we haven’t sent the formal invites yet. I have bought my wedding dress (yay!) and we sorted the bridesmaid dresses last month (phew!).
I’ll also link to some other wedding planning blog posts at the end of this one so you can catch-up!
8 Months to Go – On the Agenda this Month
To keep things as stress-free as possible, I’m focussing on one thing each month. This month is all about the boys’ outfits. We’ve chosen Euan’s kilt tartan, but we need to send the company his measurements, and the measurements of his best man & brother in law.
My brothers (his other usher and the musher) will be in tailcoats which we also still need to source, as will our youngest page boy. If you follow on Instagram stories you’ll know that I visited Mos Bros the other day. I did find a suit that I liked, but to be honest they’re incredibly expensive and I wasn’t in love with it. So, my search isn’t quite over just yet.
I also want to get our mini-moon to Venice booked this month (eek!). We booked our honeymoon to Mauritius in October, so at least that is sorted!
Other things we’ve got to sort…
Finalising the flowers
Live music for the reception
Buying our wedding rings
Venue signs & decor
Sending out the invites!
Sorting the pre-wedding meal and post-wedding brunch
Choosing our table wines
And I’m sure plenty else!
With 8 months to go, and the barn still not being finished, my stress levels are high. (I’m sure you can imagine!). We visited the barn today and it is actually coming along beautifully. The men are working in there every day now and a lot has been done even since Christmas. So it’s looking hopeful! Keep checking in with my Insta stories too as I’m sure I’ll be posting plenty on there.
Previous Planning Posts…
If you’re new to the blog, here are my previous planning posts. Starting from when we first got engaged in 2018!
Here we are, 1 year to go until the wedding! I actually cannot believe how quickly time has flown since that magical morning on Dartmoor in April last year.
I’m feeling pretty bloomin’ buzzed for the wedding now. And I know I’ve done plenty of planning updates, but I thought I’d do a little ‘1 year to go’ overview.
Engaged to 1 year to go – What has changed?
Honestly? Almost nothing! I guess I’ve always kind of known what I wanted for my wedding. But, naturally, there have been one or two small changes…
You might remember from one of my previous posts that when we first got engaged we initially wanted to hire a marquee and have an unlimited amount of guests… Well, this never truly sat right with me. We were always going to use the barn for our drinks reception, and move to the marquee for the meal & evening reception (mainly due to the barn’s capacity, or lack of). Even that didn’t feel like ‘us’ though, so in the end we decided to just hold the whole wedding (minus the service, obvs) in the barn. It’s meant that we’ve had to be stricter with our guest numbers, but honestly that has been a blessing in disguise.
Another change was initially wanting to go on honeymoon the day after our wedding, but we found this left us with relatively limited options for where we could go. And also meant we may not be able to take quite as much time off from work as we’d like to. So instead we’ve decided to go on a ‘mini-moon’ the day after our wedding, go back to work for a couple of weeks, and then go on honeymoon (probably the first week in October).
Other than those two things, everything else is pretty much the same! One of the beauties of having a longer engagement has meant we’ve had more time to make our decisions, and therefore haven’t made any that we’ve come to regret.
12 months on the clock… What are my main worries?
With now only 1 year to go, my biggest worry is of course that the barn is not finished. But, it is getting there and mostly it’s just cosmetic jobs to do now (rather than structural) which won’t take nearly as long as the rest of it has done (finger crossed, anyway….!).
The most stressful thing on my planning agenda recently has been sorting the hire of items for the catering & tables etc. But I’m almost there with it now and I will feel a whole lot better when it’s done! Have any of you needed to hire items for your wedding? It’s definitely a tick in the ol’ hire-a-planner box, if that’s something you are deliberating over.
My third and final worry is the outfits for the bridal party (bridesmaids, ushers, littlies). We won’t be able to sort the bridesmaid dresses until December time (one of my bridesmaids is away until then), but I had a good look through some of the new bridesmaid collections at Harrogate this week and found some I loved. Hopefully the girls will be able to make a trip down in December and we can get bridesmaid dresses ticked off this list!
Then it’s the suits & kilts to worry about… but we’re getting there!
Making sure the wedding hasn’t consumed my life has been a big thing for me, and I’m pleasantly surprised about how little I think about it day-to-day. Mostly when I do think about it, it’s just excitement for the day itself! Nothing worse than being one of those brides who can think/talk about nothing else… Something to watch out for if you’re engaged yourself!
Whilst there are still bits to do, I’m mostly just going to enjoy this next year as much as possible. I’ve absolutely loved being engaged – it is truly the most magical time, isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited for the wedding, but I’m definitely going to make the most of my last year as a fiancée!
I’m soooooooo excited to share a few of our engagement shoot pics, taken by the amazing Emma (Freckle Photography). We had 12 preview images only a couple of days after the shoot itself (because Emma is amazing), and we’ll get the rest of them around the beginning of June – cannot wait!
Head over to my last post to learn more about engagement shoots… And enjoy the photos below!
All images are by Freckle Photography, and this shoot was part of our wedding photography package which we have paid for.
Here’s a big one! The infamous guest list. Everyone’s favourite and dreaded task, all rolled into one. If you’ve found this part easy then you have no idea how lucky you are. If you’re struggling with the guest list, then grab a cuppa and make yourself comfortable…
The Guest List – A Journey (Part 1)
When Euan & I got engaged, the guest list was the first thing we did. Not only that but we were weirdly excited to write it. Looking back, I actually cannot for the life of me think why. Lol! If I were to guess, I’d say it’s because once the guest list is written it all starts to feel super real/exciting. Anyway, it’s safe to say the excitement dwindled slightly…
The easiest way to explain is I think we got a tad carried away. And I think that’s pretty normal. One of the things I’m most grateful for is deciding to have a longer engagement because these decisions you make in the excitement of being newly engaged are more often the wrong ones to have made. And if you’ve not got huge amounts of time until the wedding you just run with them and regret it later. Luckily for us we had loooaaaads of time (still do!) to make decisions (and more importantly, go back on them).
Anyway, initially we had a guest list approaching 150 people. No, just no. Don’t get me wrong, if that’s the route you want to go down then by all means do it! But it was not what I wanted. To be able to fit 150 people, we would’ve needed a marquee in the field. Which is 1. a huge expense that in our case could be avoided, and 2. I’m just personally not a fan of marquees.
The Guest List – A Journey (Part 2)
The dilemma was the barn vs the marquee. The barn’s capacity is max. 100 people, so that would mean cutting our guest list by 50 people. Or going for the marquee and being able to invite 150 people. But, anyone who has thrown a wedding will know that the likelihood of your entire guest list actually coming to the wedding is pretty small. The stats are roughly 25% of your guest list will not end up there on the day. We ran off the basis that 25 of our 150 people would not end up coming (which is less than 25%) which meant that we’d be hiring a marquee for the sake of 25 people, possibly less… Madness, right?!
(Maths: 150 guests less 25 non-attending leaves 125. Barn capacity = 100. So the difference between barn capacity (100) and people likely to attend (125) is 25 people).
I knew in my heart that I wanted the barn for our wedding reception, and when we worked out the figures I put my foot down. There was no way I was comfortable with hiring a marquee for the sake of a handful of people. So, the guest list culling commenced. And it actually wasn’t as difficult as we thought it would be, especially as a lot of people could be switched to the evening without it being a big deal.
The Guest List – Where are we up to?
We have now managed to get our 150 down to approx. 114 day guests, including babies. We’re predicting that possibly 10 people won’t come, and 4 of those 14 are babies/toddlers – perfect! What it does mean is our evening guest list is slightly bigger, but that’s great!
The downside is that we don’t have room for children (apart from babies and very close friends/bridal party). And we also don’t have room for plus 1s. But to be honest the expectation of being able to bring a plus one these days is pretty non-existent. Everyone understands that weddings are expensive, and couples can’t be expected to provide for someone they don’t know!
The only tricky thing is the line between who counts as a plus one and who counts as being invited in their own right. To combat that, we’re just making it perfectly clear on the invites who is invited and who isn’t!
The Guest List – Top Tips?
Firstly, it’s important to establish who is paying for the wedding. As the couple, if you are footing the entire bill, then I really don’t think parents should get a say. If one or other of your parents are paying for the wedding then it’s only fair that said parents should get at least small say. If you’re paying for most of the wedding, but parents are contributing it’s important to establish from the get-go what their contribution entails. It’s not an easy topic to approach, and I’ll talk more about this another time.
Don’t be afraid to say no. As you’ve probably discovered by now, my favourite saying is ‘it’s your wedding’. If you don’t have room for plus ones, or you don’t know them well enough, just.say.no. Likewise if you’d rather not have children, just.say.no. There is – of course – a way of saying these things, and always be flexible for certain circumstances. But in all truth on your wedding day you should be surrounded only by people who you genuinely want there.
Don’t be put off by the thought of a guest list cull – it’s actually quite refreshing! If your venue has max numbers that are smaller than your ideal guest list, don’t write it off straight away. Sometimes having to cut your guest list is actually a blessing in disguise.
So that’s the guest list! I hope you’re enjoying these blog posts, please do leave feedback if you’d like to! And you can also sign up to my mailing list where I’ll send you a cheeky little email when there’s a new blog post. Sign up here.