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!
Earlier this month I chatted a bit about having an eco-conscious Christmas & sustainable gift buying. I wanted to build on that with a bit about my goal for keeping my Christmas shopping as local as possible, and how it has gone this year!
*I live in a lovely market town with many super-cute independent shops. Not everyone is as fortunate to have so much on their doorstep, so this really is for the people who are able to shop locally! Everyone & their situations are different, and I’d never want to make anyone feel bad for not shopping locally this Christmas. So – as always – if you’re able to implement what I’m chatting about into your life, please do! But if you aren’t able to, then don’t feel like I’m preachin’ (’cause I ain’t!).*
Christmas Shopping Locally – How did it go?
So, y’all know I love shopping locally & using independent companies as much as possible. And with so much literally outside my front door, I thought it’d be a sin to not make the most of it this year!
I made a pact with myself that I would only shop in my highstreet shops this year (or as much as possible), and do you know what? I’ve done pretty bloomin’ well. All the gifts I’ve bought for my parents & brothers (apart from one little thing for my youngest brother) I bought in Tavistock. My other brother will be especially pleased about that as he’s very eco-conscious. I’ve also bought everything for our friends (and children of friends!) in Tavistock as well – yay!
Where I fell down was with presents for Euan – why are men so hard to buy for?! The shops we have in Tavistock are wonderful, but they do lack a bit when it comes to Euan’s taste. However, his entire stocking are gifts from shops on my highstreet, and I’d say 40% of his presents. That’s pretty good, right?!
The Importance of Shopping Locally
So why is it actually important to shop locally? There are many reasons, but these are the ones which resonate the most for me.
Firstly, the environment. In the grand scheme of things, Christmas shopping locally won’t make a huge impact on the crisis. But every little helps! Items in highstreet shops are already there. They have already been shipped, so you’re not adding to your carbon footprint by having things delivered! And if – like me – you live within walking distance of shops, that’s even better! No need to drive to get your Christmas shopping done.
Secondly, supporting local businesses. This is done by both shopping in their stores and shopping along the highstreet, even if that’s a chain. How? Well, a highstreet only thrives if it’s desirable. It’s only desirable if it has a wide range of shops, and shops that people have heard of. If we don’t shop in our highstreets (chains, independents, or otherwise) then shops will close – including the big ones! Highstreet chains are equally as important as independent shops, because without the chains you wouldn’t have the footfall for the independent shops!
In turn, that also means more jobs for the town. The more shops we have, the more employment there is. The more employment, the more people stay living here. The more people living here, the more money gets spent in the town… and so on. You get the picture anyway!
Lastly… It’s fun! And festive. Nothing gets me in the mood for Christmas more than a stroll down a christmassy highstreet, popping in & out of shops, and eventually stopping for a coffee (or maybe even something stronger…!).
Let me know if you did any local Christmas shopping this year! What is your favourite thing to do to get you in the festive mood?!
If you’re needing a bit of festive inspo to help get you in the mood, check out some of my previous posts…
Ahh the infamous Bridal Party. Often the most difficult thing couples face during their planning process – us included! So here’s a bit about where we’re up to, what’s been easy/difficult, and my top tips for choosing yours!
The Bridal Party – Where are we up to?
If you keep up to date with my Youtube channel, you may remember I made a video last year about my Bridesmaid & Bride Tribe boxes, (you can find the video here) and I touched on our bridal party decision making process then. But, I’ll fill you in a bit more on here.
So with Euan, it was most definitely an all-or-nothing approach. He could either have all of his close friends, plus my brothers and his brother-in-law (totalling 8!) or he could scale it back and just have family plus his best friend as his best man. After a lot of going back & forth, he decided to keep things simple (and therefore offend the least amount of people) by having my brother and his sister’s husband as ushers, his best man, and a musher (mini-usher) aka my youngest brother who will be 13 when we get married.
And then there was the bridesmaid decision! Don’t get me wrong, Euan found his decision hard, but I definitely found mine harder. I have a fabulous bunch of girlfriends from this area and I also have some wonderful childhood besties from where I grew up. However, I was even more adamant than Euan about having small numbers for my bridal party. Anyone else feel like they would just end up doing things to keep everyone else happy rather than themselves? And the thought of finding a dress that 6-7 young women will agree on surely makes your head spin? It certainly did for me.
I also started going down the round that I’m sure many of you are familiar with; the ‘well if I have them, then I really should have them too. And if I’ve got her, then I should definitely have her’…. And so on! My head could honestly have exploded.
In the end I went back to where I started and asked my cousin to be my maid of honour, and my childhood bestie and a very close friend from later years to be my bridesmaids. And I feel so good about my decision!
The Bridal Party – Extras!
Euan & I both have a close friend with a little one, which has been perfect because we’re involving them by having their children as our flower girl and page boy. Even more perfect is my friend has a daughter and his friend has a son – so we’ve got one of each! We’ve got another flower girl and page boy who are yet to be asked, so we’re keeping that close to our chests until we’ve had a chance to ask them.
And, back to my gals. Although I didn’t feel right having everyone as a bridesmaid, I still wanted my closest girls to be involved. So instead of bridesmaids, I’ve got them as part of my ‘Bride Tribe’. They can still help with all the fun parts of a wedding (the hen party planning, getting ready in the morning, etc) but without the whole bridesmaids dresses & walking down the aisle thing.
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The Bridal Party – What has been difficult?
I’ve pretty much already answered this one – the most difficult thing was actually making the decision. Some people are bound to find this easier than we did, but I do think it’s a tricky one for most people. Neither Euan nor I like upsetting people, but at the end of the day we had to do what was right for us.
Most of our friends were absolutely amazing about it and respect our decision (especially my girls, bless them!). It’s never smooth-sailing though and we did have a bit of trouble with someone, but we knew that would happen! Can’t win with everyone now can you?
The Bridal Party – What has been easy?
Choosing our flower girls & page boys was incredibly easy, and I cannot wait to see them all in their little outfits!
My 3 bridesmaids are yet to hang out together, but we’ve got a group chat and they’ve all been amazing on there. So supportive, excited, and genuinely full of love for me & Euan and our wedding, which makes life so much easier. We’re all meeting up in June to go bridesmaid dress shopping which is when the four of us will properly get to meet up together – and I know it’s going to be super.
The Bridal Party – Top Tips?
Okay so my top tips for The Bridal Party…
Choose people who genuinely love & support you and your fiancé. You want to be surrounded by people who want to be part of your day because they love you. Not because they don’t want to be left out!
Don’t choose someone your other half doesn’t get on with. You might feel super close to them, but if they don’t see eye to eye with your fiancé then you’re fighting a losing battle, and it won’t be pretty.
Find jobs or other roles for those who aren’t in your bridal party but who you don’t want to upset. There are somany things people can help with/be involved with when it comes to a wedding. And you might find they will prefer that to being in your bridal party anyway!
Make the decision for you, and make sure it’s the right one. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this is your day. People will get over not being in your bridal party, but you only get one shot at your wedding day. Each and every decision should be made because you want to make it, not because you feel like you have to keep everyone else happy.
So that’s our bridal party update! If you missed my last post about our wedding suppliers, you can find it here.
Today I’m chatting about our suppliers; where we are up to, any problems along the way, and what’s left to do!
Our Suppliers – Where are we up to?
I’d say I’m about 50% of the way through the planning process now. And I definitely prioritised certain suppliers because I know they get booked up fast!
So what suppliers have we booked? The following have been ticked off my list…
I’m also in the process of having my wedding dress made, and about to book hair & make-up. Phew!
As I’m fortunate enough to work with an abundance of amazing suppliers, I pretty much knew who I wanted and booked the first 6 almost immediately.
Our original wedding co-ordinator fell through, and at first I was pretty cross about it. But as it turned out I’m actually so glad! I went on a little hunt for wedding planners and found a wonderful lady on Instagram. I’m thrilled she’s now our wedding co-ordinator and I can’t wait for her to be part of our day!
Our Suppliers – What’s left to do?
Sounds like I’ve got it pretty sorted, right? Oh I wish! There’s still a lot to do… (not that I’m stressing or anything…!). So, what is actually left?
Bridesmaid & flower girl dresses
Bridal accessories (shoes etc for me & the girls)
Gents outfits (Kilts for Euan & his best man, suits for the ushers, and outfits for the page boys!)
Decor, all the decor!
Tables & chairs
Linen, cutlery, crockery, glassware… etc etc
Gifts for various people
No doubt I’m forgetting some crucial things… Some of the above are urgent, others not so much. But it all still needs doing! Luckily, our church is booked. So if all else fails, at least we are actually getting married (and I’ll have a dress to wear).
Our Suppliers – Any problems?
Apart from the original wedding co-ordinator, we’ve actually had it pretty smooth-sailing so far (touch wood!). I just want to start really getting the smaller details sorted and then I’ll feel loads better. Anyone who’s previously been a bride-to-be will know those awful wedding dreams (nightmares) where everything is going wrong, or the day is happening earlier than it should, etc etc. But luckily I’ve used those nightmares as planning motivation, so whatever went wrong in the dream I’ve then sorted in real life and they seem to go away! (Until I start worrying about the next thing).
Supplier Top Tips
Okay so top tips for choosing suppliers…
Ask another supplier’s advice. Obviously this requires having actually booked a supplier, but you get to know a lot about different suppliers when you work in the industry so it’s well worth asking around for recommendations.
If you don’t know where to start but have a friend who’s been married or – even better – works in the industry, then ask their advice.
If in doubt, trust your instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t rush into making a decision. Take your time and trust what you feel!
With photographers, make sure they send you a link to galleries of more than one full wedding. And if they don’t, just ask. It’s important that photography is consistent across not one wedding as a whole, but multiple weddings too. And if they’re reluctant to send you a gallery then that answers your question for you!
With florists, make sure their ‘style’ is in keeping with what you want from your wedding. They may be very talented, but just not your cup of tea. And you want your day to feel like yours so don’t be afraid of going for someone different who suits your style more.
Feel comfortable. With any supplier, but especially those who are going to be there on the day, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable. Yes, recommendations are super important but if you don’t feel comfortable with someone who has been recommended to you, keep searching until you find someone you do feel comfortable with. This is your day.
Take a look at my previous post to find out more about our venue. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram if you don’t already!
Aka the most wonderful place in all of the lands – plural. I’m not joking, The Bishop’s Palace is genuinely magical. I’m not sure if it’s the gorgeous towering medieval buildings, the incredibly beautiful gardens, the community spirit, or all 3! But I L-O-V-E it there. On one of my first days, a colleague said to me ‘it really gets in your blood’ and that has since resonated so much with me. It’s true – it honestly does get in your blood.
The Bishop’s Palace is run by a trust, meaning it’s a non-profit organisation. Any money they do make goes straight back into the trust to preserve the buildings & gardens and make it increasingly desirable and accessible to be enjoyed by all. And it’s so amazing to work for a company who runs on that basis. Plus, I have a huge number of amazing colleagues across many different departments, and we’re all left to get on with our work to the best of our abilities. No micro-management or lack of belief in our abilities (which, as you may know, is something I have had the displeasure of experiencing previously).
Obviously, people have to make money. But I feel that when making money out of people’s weddings becomes the focus of the business you may as well be working for an enormous corporate chain. Turning every wedding into a business development opportunity, for me, loses all meaning of what the wedding industry is about. And, as a bride-to-be I have actually rejected suppliers for my own wedding on that basis. Anyway, slightly off topic there. But my point is that at The Bishop’s Palace, your wedding is contributing to the preservation of an 800 year-old site, and I think it’s magical!
What I do
Now onto the fun stuff, what do I do all day? Well, as the Wedding & Venue Manager, I’m the face of the wedding and private hire department at The Bishop’s Palace. I deal with all incoming enquiries, and have a system in place for following up with enquiries and generating show-rounds. I’m also the person who conducts all of the show-rounds and (hopefully!) turns them into bookings.
A lot of my time is spent on the business development side of things. My first couple of months were spent focussing on a small re-brand of the wedding department to bring it up to a higher standard. I’ve also been accumulating previous wedding images, and over the next few weeks I’ll be submitting those to various blogs & magazines to get featured. I’ve created a specific ‘wedding’ Instagram for The Bishop’s Palace (@bishopspalaceweddings – go & give it a follow!) to keep the wedding department separate from the huge amounts of other things that go on at the Palace.
As the manager, I’m also responsible for all wedding & events staff. Making sure they’re working the hours they need to, approving holiday, managing office hours vs function hours, and keeping everyone happy! We have a weekly team meeting in which I have to give a brief overview of private events that are happening at the Palace, and once a month we have a management & trustee meeting for which I have to prepare a management report and be present at and contribute to the meeting (which usually lasts most of the morning).
Alongside all of that, there are various meetings with other team members (chefs for example) and meeting with local suppliers to build professional relationships. The list goes on! But that’s the bulk of it. And I couldn’t be anymore thrilled that this is my life!
I’ve had a lot of questions about how I’m finding the travelling, how long does it take, etc. To be honest, it’s really not that bad. It takes me 2 hours almost on the dot and it’s a really easy & pleasant drive. I’m only there 2 days a week (usually Mondays & Thursdays), so only doing the journey twice which makes it very do-able. I think if it was 3 days or more I would definitely struggle, but it’s not, so, yay!
During the drive I mostly listen to podcasts which is actually a wonderful use of my time. The times of day that I’m travelling are also, in my opinion, ‘lost’ times of day anyway. In the morning, I would just be in bed for a bit longer and have more time to get ready. And between 5pm-7pm all I’d do is probably cook dinner and maybe do some chores or go to the gym. Euan has dinner covered on those evenings and chores & gym can be done on another day!
And that, is that!
So, there you have it! That’s what I get up to on most Mondays & Thursdays. If you want to know anything else, just drop me a line. And please do consider The Bishop’s Palace as your wedding venue if you’re getting married!