Okay, enough of autumn (for now). Let’s get back to some wedding stuff! Corks & candles – what on earth do I mean? Basically, Euan, my dad, and I have all been saving wine & champagne corks for literally years. We have so many now, it’s beyond a joke… And naturally we’ve just got to incorporate them into our wedding, right?! I have many fabulous ideas of how we’re going to use them (and I’m sure I will not get around to doing them all…) but here is quite a simple corks & candles idea I came up with and thought I’d share…
Corks & Candles – The How To
You may have watched my insta stories from earlier on today (if you didn’t have a watch now. I’ve also saved them to my highlights if you’re reading this after the 24hrs is up!). That’ll show you a little video clip of me putting them together, but here is the written version…
A loooaaaddd of corks (I used red wine corks for the smaller vase and champagne/prosecco corks for the larger vase)
Cylinder shaped vases (I got mine from Ikea – links below)
Pillar candles (again, mine are from Ikea but you can get them from lots of different places)
Something for the candles to sit on (this isn’t necessary, but I think it’s a good idea)
The How To:
Place your candle into the middle of the cylinder
Strategically place the corks around the candle so they are unmovable, but still look nice (much easier with red wine corks than champagne corks!)
Take a pic, and tag me in it!
Haha – it really is suuuuper simple. And I think they look great! Especially if you’re into wine. We’re using ours for general decor around the barn, but if you’re having round tables they would make a fantastic centrepiece. And why not add a bit of foliage around the outside to bring it even more to life?
*Disclaimer* I am slightly worried about them catching on fire, but Euan assures me they won’t… Anyway, I think I’ll soak them all in water beforehand just to be sure. And if they do catch light, hopefully it’ll be contained in the vase…….!!
If you fancy creating these corks & candles decor pieces, here are the links to items I bought. But, we saved the corks ourselves so you’d better get drinking!!
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.
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.
Start writing or type / to choose a block
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!
First thing’s first, the venue… If you’ve been keeping up to date with my Instagram stories over the past 6 months or so, you’ll know that our wedding venue is somewhat unique, beautiful, and – so far – incredibly stressful! I’ve never been one for the ‘easy option’ and my wedding has been not exception…
The Venue – Where are we up to?
For those of you who don’t know, we’ve chosen to have our wedding reception at my parents’ house in a stunning, old, (and currently semi-derelict) barn. (We’re getting married at a church in Tavistock).
The barn (when completed will be named ‘Chapel Barn’) has always been an incredibly special place. My parents have had plans to do it up for the past 10 years (since we moved to Devon) and they finally started by doing the roof back in 2017.
In April 2018 Euan popped the question and after initially deliberating over whether to use the barn, or to have a marquee in one of the fields, we decided on the barn. Which meant there was a timescale for the project and things needed to start moving pretty quickly!
The floor needed digging out completely (it used to be home to 3 giant corn mills!) so that was the first job. Then it was underfloor heating and re-laying the floor. That started in October and is the only thing that has been completed *sigh*.
We’ve had the windows & doors made, which have arrived in a less than perfect condition *sigh* so need to be sorted asap. Then they can be put in and we can finally get the second floor in! Then stairs need to go in and that’ll be the worst of the structural stuff done. Until that point, my blood pressure will remain pretty high…
The Venue – What has been difficult?
At the moment, the most difficult thing has been waiting for it all to get done. Mainly because until it’s finished, it’s hard for us to decide exactly where everything is going to take place! I’ve got a pretty good idea in my head of logistically how it’s all going to work, but until I’ve seen it in the flesh it’s really hard to be 100% certain.
The other thing which has been slightly hard is the size of the barn. It only seats around 100 people comfortably, and our ideal guest-list is more like 150… But, we knew this was the case when we chose the barn over the marquee (and was actually one of my reasons for choosing the barn… but more on that later).
The Venue – Best Bits?
My absolute favourite thing about the venue being the barn is that it’s so incredibly special & personal to us. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve worked for wedding venues, or because I’ve always thought of my family home as the perfect place to celebrate my wedding. Either way, I’m so grateful to be lucky enough to have this amazing barn to use!
I also love that I’m completely starting from scratch. Whilst it would be so (so so so so) much easier to get married at an existing wedding venue where everything you need is provided already, I cannot express how much I’m loving the challenge of putting it altogether myself. I am a wedding planner after all, so it makes sense!
Recently I’ve been looking into tablecloths and comparing prices, as well as all the fun bits like table decor and signs. It’s not an easy journey but fully worth it!
The Venue – Top Tips?
Okay, so top tips for your venue search…
Don’t pay too much – you’d be amazed at how many venues totally overcharge for the ‘privilege’ of using their space. At some point I’ll do a blog with a breakdown of venue costs etc so you can see what you should be spending.
Decide what is most important to you a find a venue which fits your needs. There are hundreds (and hundreds) of venues out there, so don’t compromise on the things that matter. Everyone will have different priorities, and that’s okay! So figure out what yours are before you start your venue search. The perfect one will be out there, I promise!
Make sure everything you need is included, not extra. Sometimes a deal will seem too good to be true, which means it probably is!
Wet weather!! If your venue is perfect in the rain, then it’ll be extra perfect in the sun. This is the UK, and good weather is a luxury, not a guarantee. Hope for good weather always, but go for a venue that is prepared for the worst.
Most importantly… fall in love with it! You only get one shot, and feeling comfortable and happy with your decision is a total priority. You can absolutely fall in love with a venue as much as I’ve fallen in love with our barn, if not more!
So that’s the venue. Next up I’ll be sharing our suppliers, how we (I) found them, and some top tips for choosing yours!
If you want to see more from the barn, head on over to my Instagram page (@lilabaileyweddings) and have a watch of my ‘Barn Renovation’ highlight.
Check out my last post for a bit about my past year of engagement…