The hopeless bride hooks you up

One thing that is crucial to the smooth running of any wedding is suppliers. Good suppliers can put the cherry on the cake of your perfect day and bad ones can add to an already extremely stressful time. Luckily for us we had amazing suppliers and all except one (long story) did nothing but reduce the stress leading up to our day.

I wanted to share the suppliers we used and would recommend to others, as trying to find quality, reliable and trustworthy suppliers can be a bit of a minefield. There was no real secret to how we ended up with such good suppliers, but if you’ve read my previous blogs you’ll know it did involve research, looking around and a hell of a lot of luck!

I’ve listed who we used below and put some photos showing their work at the bottom of the page. Whilst some suppliers may only be local to me in Buckinghamshire, a lot of them cover up and down the country and are willing to travel. Feel free to message/comment if you want any further information or details.

  • The Dresshandily for me my sister works in a beautiful wedding dress shop called Gowns and Garters in Northampton which made knowing where to go very simple. They had a lot of different designers and styles and you can see what they have on their website and Facebook pages
  • Wedding Stationery – Again luckily for me, my friend and colleague Laura is an amazing graphic designer who can take any idea and turn it into beautiful stationery. Laura designed our save the dates, invites, order of the day, wedding signs, table plan and thank you cards and they were all amazing. I’d recommend Laura for any kind of design work but see her talent for yourself on her website, Facebook and Instagram.
  • Wedding cake – we asked the lovely Jenny North based in Chinnor to make our cake and it was so good that there was none left at the end of the night!  You can find her website here. I found Jenny’s prices to be extremely reasonable and she was great at helping us to work out what we wanted
  • Cheese and Pork pie cake- One of the elements of the wedding that everybody commented on was our 6 tier cheese and pork pie cake. We had it alongside our sweet cake and served it in the evening with fruit and crackers. We found the West Country Cheese Company online and they deliver across the UK. Although in the madness I only got one small bite of cheddar, I’m assured by everyone else that it was delicious!
  • Bridal Hair – I found the brilliant Hair by Holly on Facebook looking at recommendations from other local people. Despite having three, yes THREE hair trial because I’m so indecisive, Holly was amazing and eventually I found my perfect hair style. Holly is so talented and lovely that I’ve even used her since to do my hair for a Great Gatsby themed party. You can find Holly on Facebook and Instagram. Oh and she has the prettiest hair colour, get ready for hair envy
  • Makeup – As I said in previous posts I was lucky enough to know Alex from Very Bettie so had no doubt in booking her for mine and my bridesmaids makeup. I was so happy with how everyone looked on the day and would recommend her to anyone. She also does hair and semi permanent makeup. You can find her website here and she is also on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Venue (Dorton House) – we loved our venue as it gave us the stately home wedding we’d always wedding but without the extreme price tag we’d seen in other locations. This is partly due to it being a school in term time and also not having accommodation for guests. If you’re not fussed about those two things it’s a stunning location with a great team of staff who work so hard to make your day perfect. You can visit their website here
  • Wedding cars – we had two cars hired for the day; one for the bride, father of the bride and bridesmaids and one for the Bride’s family. I got my dream campervan from triple white weddings and Chris the driver was so lovely. He made sure we got our bottle of champagne even after the rush of leaving the house and even took some photos for us. Click here to see their website. For my family’s car we used Allerston Taylor Regency Carriages to hire the most beautiful Austin Princess limousine. It was absolutely stunning and they loved travelling to the venue in it.
  • Videographer – As a colleague we knew we were in safe hands with Lee Charlton doing our wedding video. Despite being primarily a photographer Lee put so much effort in to researching our venue, the shots we liked and how we wanted the video to look. Id highly recommend Lee for any kind of photography not just weddings! Check out his website and Instagram for amazing photos!
  • Photographer – I don’t think I need to really sell Marcus Charter as a photographer the images below speak for themselves. Marcus and second photographer Chris were absolutely amazing and gave us photos to cherish forever. Visit his website to see some of his amazing work for major wedding goals!
  • Flowers – I absolutely loved all of our flowers. The best part of using Tricia Weber at The Flower Room is that I had no real idea of what I wanted and from telling her the colour scheme and my favourite flowers she produced the perfect bouquets, centrepieces and buttonholes for our day. Just take a look at her website and Instagram to see her incredible work.
  • Band – Well what can I say about our band? from our first dance until the last song the dance floor was packed. They let us create the set list so every song was something we all wanted to dance to. The atmosphere was incredible and they were the favourite part of the day for a lot of people. I cannot recommend ‘Bustin Loose’ enough they are the life and soul of any party! see their website, Facebook and Instagram.
  • Photobooth – I will be the first to admit I am a massive sucker for a photobooth so we really wanted to make sure we got a good one. We hit the jackpot with Gigglebooth because not only was it a great price being cheaper than others whilst being there for 5 yes 5 hours!! but they had so many other great features. Our guests were able to make key rings of their photos on the night to take with them and could stick their images in a guestbook with a message and we also got a DVD with all the photos (so no hiding the embarrassing ones as some had hoped!) To make things even better all the props for the night were brand new and we got to keep them!! so friends please be prepared for a homemade photobooth every time you come to our house! Check out their website Facebook (they have an overall UK page and localised ones, ours was the Essex and Hertfordshire branch), and Instagram.
  • Wedding favours – we decided to get personalised wedding candles as our favours from the little forest soap company (trust me they also do candles). The candles were so cute, smelled amazing and came in the cutest boxes to give to guests. Laura above sent over her artwork to be printed on the favours which meant the theme ran through our day. We went for the zesty lime sent and it is gorgeous, they are also paraffin free soy wax candles so no nasties in there! Check out their website and Facebook.
  • Confetti – I’ve mentioned this before but we got our confetti from Adam apple after seeing them originally on eBay (I think?) The prices were so competitive and the quality was amazing. Every guest had their own little pouch of confetti matching our colours with small stickers saying ‘throw me’ or ‘sprinkle me’ again in our wedding colour. The whole process of buying from adamapple was so good with cute packaging and great communication on their Instagram page. Oh and their products are 100% natural and biodegradable so perfect for many venues who don’t allow the paper stuff anymore. Check their website, Facebook and Instagram.

So those were our main suppliers who helped make our day so special. Having suppliers you know and trust is a massive part of any wedding day so using people you know are good can take a weight off your shoulders. As I said before feel free to ask questions or message me for more details about any of the above.

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The hopeless bride gets married… part 2

Just over five weeks after the wedding and I've been struggling to think how to write this post.  Its sounds cringey but I honestly don't think words could describe how much of an amazing day we had, or describe the countless special moments throughout the day.

I'll give it a go and try not to bore you for too long. Our wedding started normally with the usual chaos of bridesmaids arriving along with hair, makeup, flowers, photographer, videographer and family. It was a fairly calm morning with pastries, fizz and cake.

The wedding party gradually got their hair and makeup done and everyone picked up their flowers. The now infamous wedding spreadsheet was pored over and everyone got to know what they needed to do. On the other side of town by the time several bridesmaids had, had their hair done, the boys were just waking up and planning a McDonalds breakfast. It's safe to say their morning was a lot calmer and stress free than ours!

Time seemed to go fairly slowly throughout the morning, until Marcus our photographer pointed at his watch and I realised that my family's car should have left 20 minutes before and I was due to leave in five minutes but didn't even have my dress on! that was when the stress began. After that, the rest of the day was a blur from rushing to get ready, racing to the car and then getting stuck behind a tractor on the way to the venue. Meanwhile while my group were rushing around, James and all the guests were sat waiting for me completely oblivious of what was going on. Due to an error in communication apparently my entrance music was played twice before I got there, making James increasingly nervous.

The ceremony was beautiful and to my amazement I managed to not cry, I was too excited for the rest of the day to come. After, we walked out of the venue being showered in confetti and ready for our photos. In between sips of fizz and mouthfuls of canapés we got our group shots done and headed around the grounds for portrait shots. Luckily despite a horrendous forecast, the rain held out until after our photos giving us time to get all the images we had hoped for.

Thanks to forward planning from the venue, we were still able to have our BBQ and enjoy seeing all our friends and family properly. One downside to having a fairly tight dress was that I could barely eat anything which if you know me, was a major frustration! luckily I had no problems drinking fizz throughout the day.

The speeches were amazing and really made the day extra special, I really felt for them having to stand up in front of everyone as I don't think I could have done it. Once the wedding breakfast was over, we all headed to the bar where the photobooth was ready and our ceremony room had been transformed into the dance floor for the evening.

From then on it was a flurry of welcoming new guests, talking to friends and family and occasionally actually seeing my new husband. When everyone told me the day goes in the blink of an eye they were not wrong and before I knew it, it was time to cut the cake and do the first dance which I had been dreading. We survived and even managed a small twirl without anyone falling over which I'm calling a win.

Then the band started and the fun began, the atmosphere was amazing and as we had chosen all the songs the band played, we loved every second of hearing our favourites surrounded by friends and family.

One downside to the horrendous weather was that in the evening we didn't manage to get our sparkler shot as planned, but honestly by the time we realised it wouldn't be possible, we were so happy and keen to be on the dance floor it really didn't matter. I would say for any brides to be out there, what seems like an essential in the lead up to the day, often won't feel like one on the day, so if things go wrong you probably won't care!

The band played their last song and no one wanted it to end. The lights came one, everyone grabbed cake and headed into the rain to go to our hotels.

That was over five weeks ago now and it all feels like it was a bit of a dream! We had the best day ever and it was totally worth all the planning and stress. Since then we have received our professional photos which are amazing memories of the day. I've put some of my favourites below and will do a post with all the suppliers I used very soon. But for now, all I can say is I guess I'm no longer the hopeless bride, I'm being Mrs Williams.

P.s. We are writing thank you cards as we speak but we want to make sure everyone has a personal message so it is taking longer than planned. I promise they are on the way – please don't hate us x

The hopeless bride gets married

When I reread the title, I have to pinch myself. We did it. We had the best day of our lives and I am now officially Mrs Williams. The whole day simultaneously feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago and still somewhat surreal.

Now that we are back from our mini moon, I wanted to share my thoughts on the wedding with you and go through my tips, do’s and don’ts and advice over a few posts before I move on to my next blogging project.

But first I thought I’d share with you the lead up to the big day, in the hope that as ever, it may be useful to anyone planning a wedding. With the wedding on a Saturday my last day at work was the Wednesday of that week. I wanted a few days off to get my nails done and leave time for any last minute panics and ‘oh shit we forgot about…’ moments.

On the Thursday I had booked to have a manicure, pedicure and a lash tint at around lunch time. I knew that at some point that day I would need to be at home to take delivery of our 6 tier cheese and pork pie cake (below) but given that the delivery time would be a one hour slot between 8am-8pm I thought what are the chances they would clash. Well of course they did. When I was at bridesmaid Emma’s house with the girls all trying on their altered dresses, I got the text from my friendly yodel driver Rowan to say my one hour delivery slot was 12.42-13.42 and when was my nail appointment????? 13.00-14.00. Fantastic. I didn’t panic, I thought surely I can move the delivery slot or change my nail appointment or worse comes worse, get someone to sit at the house and wait for the delivery. Half an hour later when my nail appointment and the delivery couldn’t be moved and every other person available was found to also be getting their nails done at the same time I did start to panic. My only choice was to select the ‘leave with a neighbour’ option online and hope a) someone was in and b) that they wouldn’t be fuming about having a stinky box of cheese in their house for a few hours.

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After nails, lashes and two trips each to B&M and Tesco (I kept forgetting things) I head home and sheepishly knocked at the neighbours. Luckily they had been in and thanks to the great vacuum packaging the cheese didn’t smell – thank god! (I’ll do a post on all of our suppliers soon including where we got the cheese/pork pie cake from)

James came home that night with the remaining Amazon Prime last minute purchases we made and we did a final check that we had everything, all suits were ironed and ready to go. We felt pretty much as ready as we could be

On Friday I was hit with the realisation that this was my last day as a single lady, the last day I’d be known as Victoria Warman. It sounds dramatic put like that but I had never really thought much about it before. At this stage I was feeling a mixture of being so excited I couldn’t wait to get to the day and pure, utter fear! James had the Friday off as well so our morning was spent finalising little bits and getting everything ready to take to the venue in the afternoon.

With family meeting us there, we loaded up James’ car with everything for the wedding which turned out to be a massive amount, and set about telling people where to put things and what needed doing.

The decorating and putting up photo walls (below) took hardly any time with everyone getting stuck in. The afternoon was fun and a great chance for everyone to get excited and laugh at James, Brett and Chris trying to blow up inflatable flamingos (sounds random but there was a pool for use at the venue so we’d purchased these as a decoration)

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Meeting our wedding co-ordinator, we realised we had forgotten to think about a few things. We had bought lots of tealights to go on a shelf around the bar area but never considered that tealights get extremely hot and could scorch the wooden shelving. Lucky for us Jamie our wedding coordinator was so helpful and set about finding us a solution which he did with every hurdle we came across and every ‘oh my god I didn’t think about that’ which inevitably came up.

The only negative to the day was that we had one supplier delivering ‘LOVE’ letters, a post-box and a ladder for the table plan who was supposed to arrive between 2-3pm and by 4pm when we had finished doing everything they still had not turned up. Despite attempts at calling I was getting nothing but voicemail which did start to panic me. At the beginning this supplier had been great but closer to the wedding I struggled to get any communication from them having to resort to phoning, using Facebook, emails and website ‘contact us’ boxes to try and finalise the details. With this in mind I was extremely anxious that they were not going to turn up. Eventually I found a phone number for our delivery driver who sounded surprised at my panic at him not being there. It turns out him and his wife had just been given the delivery jobs for the day and nothing was ever mentioned about them being there between 2-3pm. When they turned up at 5.30 they were extremely apologetic but at least the stuff was there. Panic over.

With the venue looking as ready as it could be we headed home and I said goodbye to James for the last time before the wedding. That evening my whole family who had travelled to be there went for a meal together and it was amazing to think that everyone there had travelled far and wide just to join us on our day.

After the meal we all headed home exhausted and I was given a box organised by my lovely sister saffron. The box contained letters from my closest family and friends which was so amazing. Reading the letters from everyone made me feel so loved and also made me burst into tears I’m very lucky to have such incredible people in my life, that’s for sure!

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Well that’s it for the build up to the wedding day. I’ll leave it there for now and promise to write up the actual day itself very soon

To Be Continued…

The hopeless bride says goodbye…for now

I can’t believe that I’m writing what will be my last blog post before I get married! When I started writing my little blog over a year ago, I had no idea that I’d still be going right up until the wedding and that people would actually read it! So thank you to everyone that has read/shared/commented on my blog along the way, your support has meant so much to me and encouraged me to keep going in my little experiment. 

You may (or may not) be pleased to hear that I hope to continue to blog after the wedding, giving advice from the day, my do’s and don’ts etc. and then I hope to come up with something else to write about (suggestions very welcome!) 

But for now, today is my penultimate day as a single lady, I can’t quite believe how quickly the time has gone. Despite the fact that my week has been filled with the following: 

  • A sudden panic that we had no stand/board/accessory for either of our cakes or a knife to cut them with 
  • Sleepless nights over the weather (I hate things I can’t control) 
  • Writing more cards than I have ever done before 
  • Wrapping 
  • Tying flip flops 
  • Practicing a first dance, which for two awkward/normally drunk dancers is not an easy task 
  • Taking full advantage of Amazon prime (it is an essential for a wedding) 
  • Generally feeling more and more sick with nerves  

I am in fact so excited for the big day!

As every bridal blog has ever said, the last week is absolute chaos with your mind running a million miles an hour and problems coming up where you never thought possible. I am trying my best to take people’s advice and to not wish the time away as everyone says the day goes in a flash and you will forever want to relive it.. 

I’m currently focusing on remembering everything, completing important tasks like getting my nails done 😉 and trying not to nervous eat too much so that my dress doesn’t fit come Saturday. 

As I said earlier I will be writing up all about my day with some photos once the madness has died down and I can’t wait to share our day with you all. But for now, all I can say is thank you for joining me on this adventure and for following the hopeless bride!

 

The hopeless bride gets sh*t done

With less than two weeks to the big day, it seems our lives revolve around the wedding. I honestly don’t know how anyone does this for a living because it is so all consuming I’d never be able to keep it anywhere near 9-5.

As there are too many things to write individual blog posts on, I thought I’d give you a quick update on what we’ve been up to.

Confetti

When we first started thinking about wedding photos, I knew straight away that I wanted a confetti shot. So rather than rely on/hope that everyone brings confetti, we decided to order some of our own to make the perfect photo. Similar to every other part of the planning process, I was amazed at how expensive it was. Some companies quoted more than £100 to cater for enough confetti for 60 people! I avoided the mainstream websites and actually looked on eBay. There were quite a few shops selling similar looking natural petal confetti for a fraction of the price. We ordered some ‘slow fall English country garden’ mix from a company called http://www.adamapple.co.uk and I was so happy with the results. So one ‘wedmin’ evening was spent filling cute little bags with confetti and adding ‘throw me’ and ‘sprinkle me’ stickers. One final touch was that I added some rose petals that I had kept and dried from the night we got engaged, to be thrown with the confetti on our wedding day.

Cake boxes

I never considered cake boxes but apparently people used to post slices of cake to those who couldn’t make the wedding!!! seriously?? I wouldn’t trust cake in the post now, let alone 20 years ago when this was happening. Anyway, we’re not doing that, but we did think that guests may want to take some cake home as we will have plenty of it to spare. With the cheese and pork pie cake also providing over 7kg of food, we wanted to give guests the option of taking some home with them. I ordered ‘standard’ wedding cake boxes and thought that was a job well done. When they arrived they are what I can only describe as, match box size. Even though several people have assured me this is normal and cake slices are small at weddings, I can’t believe it! surely no one would bother to take home a piece of cake/cheese/pie that small?! it wouldn’t even last the taxi ride home for me. But everyone else said its fine so instead of worrying, we spent another ‘wedmin’ night folding the boxes. They will either turn out to be ok, or we will be starting up our own matchbox company later this year, so watch this space.

Stationery

Once again my talented friend Laura has been hard at work creating amazing designs for our wedding stationery. Without giving too much away for the guests who will be coming, we’ve had some amazing ‘order of the day’ cards made, some signs for outside the venue so we hopefully don’t lose anyone and all the table numbers and seating plan made. Being blessed with a graphic designer as a friend has meant that we have been able to keep the same theme/design/logo throughout the whole process which I love. The designs really add a flow to the day and tie everything together. As ever we’ve used http://www.printed.com to have everything printed and from order to delivery it took three days! this isn’t an #ad or #spon in anyway, I just think they’re a great site and would really recommend them for any bride to be  looking for a cheaper alternative to wedding stationery.

Shopping

It is amazing the amount of little bits and bobs that in the past 18 months have been on a mental ‘buy nearer the time’ list. Well we can’t get much nearer the time so we decided we needed to actually buy everything. This shopping list has had everything from gift bags, lighters and twine to sand on it. Yes the things you need to buy to finalise a wedding are so random and often left me thinking what on earth are we doing. We still aren’t quite done yet but unless I have forgotten a lot (apologies in advance if I have) we are really close to being ready for the big day!

It seems so surreal to be less than two weeks away from getting married. After starting this blog over a year ago, to now being almost ready to walk down the aisle has gone in a flash. These last few weeks will be mental but I’m sure the hard work will pay off come the 29th July.

The hopeless bride gets a surprise

Hi everyone, it’s been a while since my last post. With less than four weeks to go, the wedding planning and prep has hit its peak and not a day goes by without doing something (mainly paying people).

Now I was going to bore you  with the details of my pre wedding life and evenings spent making cake boxes, but I’d much rather tell you something much more fun and save the boring stuff for another post.

So a few weeks ago I finished work on a Monday and went round to my mum’s where she told me to pack an overnight bag and a swimming costume because we were going away! Completely baffled and worrying about work presentations, I packed a bag and found out that my family had in fact booked time off with my boss without me knowing!

Tuesday morning, with no clue what was going on, my mum picked me up and we drive for what felt like forever. We finally arrived in Cambridge, picked up my sister and headed to a hotel and met my other sister and two aunts.

Lucky for us it was a beautiful day as we headed into central Cambridge and to a beautiful hotel spa. All 6 of us relaxed in the jacuzzi overlooking tourists punting on the river and then were treated to a beautiful facial and neck massage. All relaxed, we headed to the 5th floor of the hotel to have champagne afternoon tea with beautiful views of the city. To top things off we then headed to the rooftop bar for sangria and Pimms.

Following all that booze, we wandered round Cambridge for a bit before doing the sensible thing and heading to another bar, this time by the river called Puntyard. After a few drinks we discovered that the bar sold Chapel Down, one of my favourite sparkling wines that is made in England. Several bottles later and we were ordering food to soak up all the booze which, also happened to be delicious.

After a great night’s sleep (booze/food coma) we all woke up in need of a serious breakfast so headed back to the centre to Cote Brasserie for some eggs and lots and lots of tea. My mum and aunts haven’t got wedding outfits sorted so we then decided to hit the shops and make the most of the summer sales. There are so many amazing shops in Cambridge and nearly everyone bought at least something. John Lewis was a particular favourite with my two aunts buying three dresses each with jackets/shoes etc

Shopped out, we had to head home and back to reality 😦 but I’m so grateful to the girls for organising such an amazing surprise hen do that was great fun. I will be sad when the wedding is over and there won’t be any excuses to get together so often.

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The hopeless bride gets organised

We are seriously in the final countdown to the wedding now (50 days!!!) so we’re now at the stage when all the little details need to be finalised.

In a bid to be efficient and make the most of the short time we have left, I booked to have my hair trial and first dress fitting on the same day. Not wanting to blow my own trumpet but this seemed like a good way to do it so that I could see what my chosen hairstyle looked like with the dress.

So the lovely Holly (Here on Instagram and here on Facebook) came to the house armed with a wagon of hair products and lots of great ideas. As ever, I had no real clue of what I wanted and more importantly what would go with my dress. Without giving too much away, I chose a style of dress that was different to what I was expecting but liked the hairstyles that would have matched that dress. Confused? yes me too.

Holly was really helpful and very patient when with every look  I’d try to tweak it or see what slight alternatives looked like. After a few looks and a lot of hairspray, we found something that everyone agreed on.

After a quick snack (priorities) we hit the road and went to the bridal shop my lovely sister Saffron works at in Thrapston (www.gownsandgarters.com)  to try my dress on again. It had been a whole year since I had seen it and the doubt that I would no longer like it had really crept in. Once in the dress I was really happy and remembered exactly why I liked it the first time round. Luckily for me, once my wedding shoes were on, no alterations to the length or fit were needed, what a result!

Then came the best bit of trying all veils and hairpieces and accessories that you can add to your look followed by the familiar indecisiveness that has come with every element of this wedding planning process.

After a lot of reassurance from my mum, my sister and Julie who owns the shop, I was happy with my look and felt a lot better after having tried everything on together.

So there we have it, two more things hopefully ticked off. Apologies for the lack of photos I can’t give too much away 🙂

The hopeless bride goes to Lisbon

Amongst all the wedding stress, one lovely benefit of being a bride to be is that you get to have a hen do with your family and friends. *Disclaimer this will be a long one so get a cup of tea and settle in!*

I always wanted to have a hen do abroad and after asking, everyone was keen to do the same. As a complete control freak I wanted to play a hands on role in planning the hen, as going abroad with no idea what was happening would stress me out and stop me enjoying it! I also knew that I didn’t want the normal ‘willy fest’ of inflatable penises, willy straws and flashing headbands (much to my friend Kirsty’s disappointment) so I needed to make sure none of that was sneaking into the suitcases.

In the beginning when trying to decide where to go I got in touch with a hen do planning website that offers to organise everything from the flights to the activities on the hen. Whilst I wasn’t sure I wanted them to plan everything, they had a great survey to fill out with what you enjoy doing, what you don’t enjoy, the kind of activities you like and then it gave you the best locations for you to visit. My survey came back with Barcelona and Lisbon as the two options. I’ve already visited Barcelona so I decided to research Lisbon and see what it was like. Luckily for me I wasn’t alone, I had my lovely sister Saffron ready to help me get everything organised and I couldn’t have done it without her. She worked so hard and made the trip absolutely amazing for everyone!

Everything I found about Lisbon sounded great. The architecture looked beautiful, the food sounded amazing (very important for me!) and there was lots to do. Even better was that flights were cheap and the airbnb options looked amazing. We quickly got the flights and accommodation booked and started to look at what to do when we got there.

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We wanted it to be a mixture of sightseeing, fun and relaxing, so we needed to come up with a few different options. For the first day after an early morning flight we knew that everyone would be tired so we planned a trip to the beach in Carcavelos. When we got there it was beautiful and so nice to sunbathe and dip our toes in the albeit freezing Atlantic.

For the evening we decided to go to the chicken restaurant that Nando’s was supposedly based on. Whether that’s true or not I don’t know, but I can say that the chicken was delicious and at €7.50 for half a spit roast chicken it was such a bargain. if you’re ever in Lisbon definitely try Bonjardim!

On the second day we left the apartment to go and try what has been described everywhere as THE place to try traditional custard tarts – Pasteis de Belem. The restaurant did not disappoint, we were served fresh custard tarts still warm from the oven which was a perfect start to the day.

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Throughout the day we visited landmarks and then went to the amazing Timeout food market. The place is a massive hall where the best restaurants as nominated by Timeout magazine have little stalls around the edge of the market where you can buy lots of small plates and try the most delicious food. I had local  prawns grilled and served with garlic rice and the most amazing tomato and chorizo mussels – so so so good!

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In the afternoon we had two tuks tuks pick us up and do the best city tour possible. We saw all the sites, the best views, tried local lemonade and a traditional sour cherry liqueur called Ginja. That night we went to the local supermarket and picked up enough cheese, cured meats, salads and bread to feed half of Lisbon and had a lovely meal at the apartment before heading out to try a few bars. Unfortunately we had been recommended by everyone online and even a taxi driver, that the Topo rooftop bar at the shopping centre was the best bar in the city. When we got there it was dirty, dingy and we were met at the lift by an incredibly rude man in a tracksuit who insulted us before joining the crowd at the bar, so not surprisingly we left and found a great bar with local people doing the most incredible salsa dancing under pretty fairy lights.

The next day all feeling a bit tired/hung-over, we headed to the San Jorge castle to see the amazing views. Our trip wasn’t completely cultural as our main reason for visiting that part of Lisbon was the incredible wine bar at the base of the castle where we had booked a wine tasting and lunch. Now normally at wine tastings you get a small drop of wine to taste and a canapé if you’re lucky. This was definitely not like that. We tried three different wines and after trying each wine they left the bottles on the table for us to finish. We also had the most delicious antipasti platter to soak up the booze (it didn’t do a very good job.) The wine bar was amazing and we had such fun. After drunkenly walking down from the castle we visited the Rua d’augusta arch for more panoramic views of the city. To finish an brilliant day, we went to Lisboa A noite for more delicious food and then had a few drinks out (willy straw free.)

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On our last day we had a lovely breakfast at the apartment before going to Parque Eduardo VII which to be honest, was pretty disappointing and not what I had imagined. It’s more of a strip of grass with a maze pattern of bushes going down it (unless we just missed the rest of it which is quite possible) we then ended up back at Rossio square full of lovely shops ready for our lunch at Restaurant Carmo. Having clearly not indulged enough, most of us ate massive steaks and chips before going up the Santa Justa elevator, which is basically a big lift to a platform with lovely views of the city. A quick ice cream and one final sangria for the road and it was time to head back to the apartment before heading home.

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The trip was brilliant and so much fun with great company. The city is beautiful and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Although not technically wedding planning, for me it has been the best bit so far. So there it is, my hen do. If you’ve made it this far well done for sticking it out, you’re a trooper.

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The hopeless bride invites.. part 2

A long time ago I wrote about the process of making the save the dates for our wedding (here)

Not so long ago, I realised we really needed to hurry up and actually make the proper invites. The design part I wasn’t so worried about as we had already done a lot of the initial work with the save the dates and knew we wanted something to match.

The wording however was a different matter. When faced with a blank document I suddenly realised that I’d never paid enough attention to the invites I had seen, to know what was written on them and I didn’t know where to start.

Online there were so many different templates and styles of formal/informal/jokey/quirky wedding invites and it was hard to know what style suited us and our wedding. I knew that we probably didn’t want anything too formal, the ones starting with,

‘Mr and Mrs…… cordially invite you to the marriage of their daughter’ first of all coming from a split family the wording would have ended up on three lines and caused a lot of confusion and secondly we would never say things like that. I didn’t feel like our wedding was going to be quirky/different enough to go with the invites that included things like,

‘I am totally fun and awesome and can’t wait to get drunk at your wedding/I am completely lame and will have to miss the best day ever.’ Whilst there is nothing wrong with this style it definitely doesn’t suit us.

So in the end I just decided to write it how I would say it and keep it fairly straight forward. I should probably put a *disclaimer* at this point that whilst we have sent out most of our invites there are a few left for people I know I’m seeing soon so we haven’t forgotten you!

Anyway, once the text was done that was when my lovely friend and colleague Laura came in to help sort out the design. As I know nothing about graphic design Laura was great for answering questions about what we could/couldn’t do, what papers look nice with different colours and a million other things. So basically in order to create everything, I faffed around taking ages to write some text (something I do for a living) which should have been easy and then Laura did the rest. She is seriously talented and delivered invites that were better than I could have imagined. Laura will very soon be starting up her own website/business so if you’d like to talk about invites, branding, party invites or just anything that needs designing, she’s your girl and you can email her at Ljacreativedesigns@gmail.com 

Once again we used http://www.printed.com to get the invites printed which is such a cheap and easy way to get customisable printing, I’d really recommend it. Then once they had arrived and I’d done a little happy dance around my lounge, we started to put them together.

James was roped in to to create a conveyor belt of sorting, tying, sealing and adding stickers to create the finished product which I think looks great , (although I am massively biased).

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The hopeless bride gets creative

One thing, or should I say one more thing that I totally never thought about as part of the wedding planning process was decorating.

You hire a venue, you book flowers, you choose favours but you also have to actually buy things to decorate the place. I hadn’t realised this. I definitely did realise this, when we visited the venue when it was completely empty of furniture and ‘show decorations’ and then I thought what the hell are we going to do?

I struggle enough decorating my house, let alone a venue I have visited a handful of times that will feature several different rooms. I am also hopeless at sticking to a theme or style. Everything I decorate seems to become a mismatch of items that sometimes work and sometimes definitely don’t.

So I started to look at Google and Pinterest which, if you’ve read my previous posts you will know, that is a big mistake. Whilst they can both be very helpful,  they are also really bad for making you feel as though you are drowning in possibilities and options.

As ever I had a lot of questions, including:

  • how much should we buy? and what do we do with it after?
  • how do we find decorations that look good together?
  • would anyone notice if we didn’t buy anything and we called it minimalist chic?

So when research didn’t give me much guidance I chose the only other option; buy random stuff and hope for the best.

So far I’ve bought sparklers for outside with a little sign, strings of pearl beads for the tables, printed photos to decorate the corridor between two rooms and that’s it, with three months to go that’s seriously all we’ve got. We’re planning to buy lots of candles, some lanterns, maybe some ribbon and anything else IKEA has to offer and hoping that it forms what looks like a well put together venue.

So if you’re coming to the day please try not to look confused at the combination of things decorating the venue, just smile and maybe throw in comments of ‘wow I just love how you’ve decorated the place’ when I’m in earshot.

keep calm there’s only three months to go – eeeek!