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!
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.
Possibly every bride’s favourite thing about their wedding… the wedding dress. Because of my background of wedding dresses galore, I always knew this might be one of my hardest tasks. But, I was prepared for that and it’s not stopped me from enjoying the journey!
Wedding Dress – Where I’m up to (Part 1)
So I have indeed found my dress. Well, sort of!
I’ve always thought I’d design my own wedding dress. I think growing up around wedding dress designers gave me that inspiration. But whatever it was, when it came to actually shopping for my dress it only became more apparent that I really did want to create my own dress.
I’m lucky enough to know Alan & Marguerite, aka the wedding dress designers ‘Alan Hannah’, from working in the industry. British made wedding dresses (or anything for that matter) are – in my opinion – a must, so who better to go to than a company who designs & makes their dresses in London? Before I got in contact with Alan Hannah I thought I’d find a shop or two stocking their dresses so I could try a couple on. This meant I could go to Alan Hannah with a good idea of the fabrics & fit etc of their dresses, and go from there (I could get quite technical but I won’t bore you, for now…).
Wedding Dress – Where I’m up to (Part 2)
During my search, I found ‘Olivia Hooper’ located about 1hr 45mins from me. This was perfect, and I loved the look of the shop so my mum & I went on a girlie day trip one Saturday. And wow, what an amazing turn of fate! Naomi took my appointment and she totally got what I was trying to say. After a good few hours, we had sketched the dress design I had in my head and made a rough appointment for getting my measurements done in the new year. Naomi has worked with Alan & Marguerite for 25 years so she knew they’d be able to create my dress from scratch, just like I had always dreamed!
I’ve now had my measurements taken and my design will be coming to life at the Alan Hannah HQ over the next month or two. I’ll have two calico fittings (basically mock-up drafts of the dress, but in a basic fabric), before the real thing gets made early next year. Eeek! Because I’ve never actually seen my dress in the flesh it’s quite a scary process, but I have sooooo much faith in Naomi & Sarah at Olivia Hooper, and the whole team at Alan Hannah, so I know it’s going to be okay.
Wedding Dress – Shops to visit?
I trekked to a lot of bridal shops (despite never intending to do so!), but it was surprisingly hard to find shops that are actually worth going to. Everyone is different, and will be looking for a different type of dress and/or experience. However, if you do want a lovely trip to a gorgeous bridal shop then below are my recommendations!
Pirouette, Exeter – one of the shops I’ve previously worked in. And it is lovely. A stunning medieval building filled with beautiful dresses from 3-4 different designers. It’s an intimate shop so don’t bring many people with you!
Ellie Rose, Bath– I had the most fabulous appointment at this magic little shop. Super close to the Royal Crescent, and stocking New York designers (including Hayley Paige). Highly recommend!
The Bridal House of Cornwall, Truro – the definition of an experience. I had the best day at this bridal shop, partly because it was the day I asked my bestie to be my bridesmaid. But also because it’s such a wonderful shop with lovely staff who were so enthusiastic & helpful. Plus you get to have a little photo sesh at the end! What’s not to love?!
Olivia Hooper, Wedmore – and of course, the bridal shop to end all bridal shops. Olivia Hopper! A perfect & pristine bridal shop with only the best of British Bridal Designers. Expertise is invaluable, which is what makes this shop even more amazing. I would recommend no shop more than this one
Wedding Dress Shopping – Top Tips?
Oh how I could go on (and on, and on) about wedding dresses and all the advice I’d give. But I won’t. Instead I’ve picked a handful of my top, top tips!
Do your research, but don’t limit yourself. Easy, right? What I mean is search for designers/dresses and find a limited few that you like. Because if you have no idea at all it’s going to be a hard process for both you and the bridal shops you visit! Having said that, still keep an open mind because you never know what you might actually fall in love with.
Don’t try on too many dresses. The worst thing you can do is try on so many dresses that your mind starts to explode. By all mean try on different styles, but once you know what you like don’t waste time trying on things you know you won’t fall in love with.
Don’t take a huge entourage. I know everyone wants to be involved, and the thought of having everyone squealing around you might seem super cute. It’s not. In fact, it’s usually unhelpful and dampens your experience. I only ever took 1-2 people with me and it was the best decision I made! A lot of bridal shops are catching onto that now and don’t let you bring too many people. So don’t be alarmed if that happens, it’s for your own good.
Following on from that, listen to your bridal stylist. Especially if they really do know what they’re doing. These women see brides-to-be trying on dresses every day, so they know how it works. They know what shapes, necklines, and fabrics will best suit your body. And at the end of the day they’re there to help you find the dress of your dreams, so don’t dismiss what they have to say.
I honestly could go on for hours about wedding dress shopping tips, but I think I’d say those are my 4 main ones. If you’re struggling with your dress and want some advice, by all means give me a buzz or comment below!
If you got this far, well done you! That was a long post. You can find my last post about our bridal party here. And super excitingly you can now sign up to my mailing list – yay! 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.
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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.