Diary of a bride-to-be – Part 5

Diary of a bride-to-be – Part 5

I said YES to the dress!!!

It’s been a seriously exciting few weeks here at Happy Ever After Towers.

A few weeks ago we booked our wedding photographer! The lovely Heather from Heather Stringer Photography will be documenting our day in her lovely, relaxed manner. We had a fab meeting and she was so excited listening to all our plans. I’ve known Heather since before I met Bruce and she has been cheering us on from the sidelines every step of the way so it was lovely to ask her to be involved on the day.

heather stringer wedding photography


We have also booked a videographer because there are going to be so many moments I just know we are likely to miss with all the excitement.

For ages now I have been waiting for the weekend of July 13th to come around

We booked into a couple of bridal boutiques on a date that worked for both me and the 2 mums, as I felt that was a nice way to make it special for them too. As time went on, my lovely friends have all been so eager to hear about the wedding and help in any way they can so what better way than to go dress shopping with me?



If you have read the rest of this series, you will know a bit more about my own magical journey but just in case you missed any of it, here are the links: (make yourselves comfy!)

I found my soulmate: 2 years ago this month

The Proposal: I used to think that love was just a fairytale

Diary of a bride-to-be part 1: A journey of discovery
Diary of a bride-to-be part 2: All about the guest list
Diary of a bride-to-be part 3: Announcing our wedding date
Diary of a bride-to-be part 4: Bridal party attire – and so much more

As the weeks evolved, we had a little change of plan and my lovely mum-in-law to be (I don’t really think of her as a ‘to-be’ already, our families just get on so well) so it was me, my mum and a couple of my closest girlfriends who came out with me for this exciting adventure.


I have been so so excited about looking at dresses properly

with a view to actually finding something that fit the bill perfectly. I had a pretty clear idea in my head, I don’t mind telling you, of the sort of dress that I wanted. Yet again, I can’t really say too much at this present moment, I am including pics that give nothing away at all about the dress I have chosen, just some sneak peeks of our day and the things we got up to along the way. We laughed a lot that day, there were a LOT of oohs and aahs, it was a bit like firework night.


Our first stop was the Bridal Suite in Woodthorpe – its not far from me at all, and I have known the owners Alix & Chloe for a while now, because of work, so it felt like a good choice for my first proper stop as I had seen a couple of dresses that took my fancy.

As we arrived it was exciting to see my name on the board outside the shop, eek this is real!!!

I wanted a boutique experience as part of my wedding planning, whether or not I decided to order one of their dresses I really wanted that spoilt feeling and I definitely got that.

The choices of dresses in their shop was wonderful, Alix had an idea from asking me a few questions about what I wanted in the sorts of styles I wanted to go for, so I picked out my first 5 (squeal moments seeing lots of sparkles and delicate details) and stepped into the changing area. It’s a very special feeling to know that the whole shop is your captive audience – when I say that I mean it is just me, my mum and friends and Alix.

You feel very special indeed as you step out of the cubicle to eager squeals. I loved every dress I tried on actually, they all made me feel like a princess (who doesn’t want to feel like that, really?) and the centre of attention (great if you like that sort of thing, I’m quite shy in real life but no one ever believes me when I say that) as you stand in front of the mirror and examine the detail and think about how it makes you feel.


When trying on dresses its important to see what it is that you like about it and what you don’t.

The most interesting thing about this first stop was that I didn’t look at the price tags at all. They have some absolutely stunning dresses from well known bridal designers including Essense of Australia and I really just wanted to see how these dresses made me feel. Again I can’t say too much about why I made the choices I made but it really was a case of get into one dress, coo over it a bit, swish around, move on to the next dress.

I think I had already realised that the particular type of dress I wasn’t looking for perhaps wasn’t going to be in this shop – and that is absolutely fine, there’s still 16 months until the big day, after all.

In total I tried on 8 dresses at the Bridal Suite, and took specific details for a couple of them that had got that something extra special. What I thought was really lovely was that Alix said enjoy your shopping day, whatever you do make sure you are picking what’s right for you, it’s okay if you don’t buy from us, it just has to be right.


excited face

No spoilers in this pic! sorry

That does help when you know sooo many wedding professionals like I do, it can be difficult choosing and booking or not booking, in some cases people you might have known for years. It isn’t always about not choosing them, it’s just a case of doing what works best and feels right. As it should be with every wedding thing you choose, in my opinion anyway.


We had loads of time before the second shop some 20 miles away was booked, deliberately allowing time for a spot of lunch and a regroup. I was determined not to eat much but just enough to keep me going, as I knew I would be trying on more dresses and didn’t want to struggle after lunch! I even bypassed pudding in favour of a coffee, I know, right?!

coffee break

A natter over lunch and second glance at the dresses we had already seen, trying to remember which was called what and the ones that were top of the list but it was already a bit of a haze. I had high hopes for the 2nd shop, I think maybe that’s why I didn’t pay as much attention to the names of the other gowns. As we pulled up in the small village of Ollerton, I had these nervous butterflies (much like when I first met Bruce actually), it was almost like I knew.

Wendy at All Things Bride and Beautiful welcomed us with open arms, she knew what it was I had in mind.

I am going to have to be careful what I say here but incredibly, the first dress she had picked out for me, I had that cliché moment – you know the one? ‘I don’t know about that’ … I truly did.

But as I got into it, something magical happened.

I just knew, this was the one. As with some of the best choices, the size wasn’t perfect. That’s not a problem Wendy explained, we can do all sorts after a first proper fitting and the tweaks that follow.

I could see me in the finished dress, it was there, in my head.

As I stepped out of the changing room, their faces were a picture… Ohhh wow!

They all agreed, apparently every dress in the first shop, I looked beautiful – but this one… this was me. I knew it as well.

yes to the dress weddings nottingham


I can’t really say more than that without spoilers but needless to say, the pictures within this blog don’t give anything away at all, they are just here to share the journey.

After the measurements were taken (according to Wendy I am just half an inch off the perfect hourglass figure, not bad for an old girl) and details confirmed, we took the ‘yes to the dress’ pics and made our plans to go home.


The feeling from saying Yes to the Dress are something I can’t describe.


There were tears – not just mine. I knew that dress was meant for me and I don’t think I expected to feel like I did, it’s absolutely magical. Since Saturday, I have had so many images in my head of me in this dress standing next to my handsome husband-to-be as we exchange vows and it feels more real than ever. I can’t wait for my first ‘proper’ fitting and seeing my actual dress which has been created just for me.

Oh and it was a steal too!

Since this happened on Saturday, a lot of things have made much more sense – I might even have picked out THE SHOES!!! eeek.

I will be back soon with more real wedding updates, I hope you enjoy.

Yours, a very happy bride-to-be indeed.

Much love,

Luxury Wedding Stationery Fuchsia Fairy Nottingham

Introducing Majestic – Super sparkle with a gorgeous sparkly heart and glittery fabulousness.

Introducing Majestic – Super sparkle with a gorgeous sparkly heart and glittery fabulousness.

I can’t wait to tell you how we arrived at this beautiful design.


I had a consultation with a very excited young couple, I think it was probably the longest appointment I have ever had. Gemma knew what she wanted, but needed me to help achieve her vision. It needed WOW, the cost wasn’t important, she would know when she saw it.

We began with an invite sample, it had some sparkle and a diamante gem Gemma had chosen. But she knew she could be honest with me, and it wasn’t enough. The sparkle wasn’t capturing what she wanted. Back to the drawing board we went.

It evolved over an afternoon – I remember it well. I sent Gemma many and varied ‘mocked’ images to see if any of them grabbed her – it’s not the way I usually do things but in this instance it was the easiest.
Many shades of silver and grey were tried, with differing sparkly embellishments until eventually we found ‘The One’.

Wedding Invitation Pocketfold Evening Silver Glitter Grey Embellishment Sparkles Majestic design Nottingham

Ohhh she was so excited, she even sent me a squeal voice clip of how eeek and in love with the design she was.

I put together a ‘proper’ sample, with their personalised details, wedding date and venue information. You could probably hear her for miles when she came to collect the invitations, she was so excited! She loved her invites so much, her fiancé Ben arranged for me to make Christmas card for her in the same design, such a lovely extra touch.


I love this design, it’s got all the sparkle and none of the unnecessary ‘extra’ detail, like ribbon loops or embossed textures seen in some of my other designs.


It totally encapsulates what I am known for – less is more – and the simplicity of it allows the sparkle to really shine through. The fabulously smooth glittery surface (none of that sandpapery type finish here) adds a high-class elegant finish and the gorgeous diamante brings it all to life.

Majestic Invites Pocketfold HEart Embellishment Sparkles Rose Gold Dusky Pink Luxury Stationery Fuchsia Fairy Nottingham


I love it!

Diary of a bride-to-be – part 4

Diary of a bride-to-be – part 4

Suits chosen… Dresses tried on… Shoe shopping… Bridal party colours decided!

I’ve had a gorgeous few days with my Bestie recently – also to be my Best woman on the day. We’ve been best friends since the age of 5 when we very first met so she was the obvious choice for my number 1 girl.

Catch up time!

So much so that I’ve decided not to have any other bridesmaids.

It just doesn’t feel right to single any of my other girlfriends out as I’m lucky enough to have quite a few really good close friends and I can’t quite seem to justify having 5 or more bridesmaids (all of us over 40 as well). Maybe its because of my age (I don’t feel that old but it is 2nd time around) but it just feels a bit silly? What this does mean is I have my lovely best friend to confide all my hopes and dreams in and share all the things I want to keep secret from Bruce before the big day arrives.

I don’t like keeping secrets from him actually and am finding it quite hard to do but its for the right reasons, I know. So we have had a really fun couple of days planning bits and bobs to do with the big day itself and I wanted to share what we’ve sorted in the past fortnight, its all slowly taking shape which is just the perfect pace for us.



The suits

There has been a lot of browsing until now, just getting ideas and saving them but the past week before Helen’s visit we have really started taking action to move things forward a little bit. We went to a ‘wedding festival’ to find some alternative ideas for some of the things we are considering for our big day as we have a few different ideas. It was great to see so many creative ways of doing things and gave us a lot to talk about. Since then we  really started thinking about the bridal party attire and that of course needed some retail therapy! Luckily we both love shopping, so made a date to check out a place we had seen that did the colour suit Bruce wanted to find out more about, he tried on the style he liked and we found the perfect tie to fit in with the colours we are going for so it has started to feel like it will all work together which is brilliant. And he looks gorgeous,of course!


One particular shoe shop (no spoilers…) has the kind of shoes that stop me in my tracks and I decided a while ago my wedding day was the perfect day to treat myself – if not then, when?

So while Helen was here we made plans to head a little further out and find the nearest branch so I could try some on.

Ohhh there were so many different style, they didn’t all fit the same which is why I thought I would add a bit more about it – regardless of your shoe size I think it is so important to make sure you check the fit of your chosen shoes before going for it. I was so close to saying yes to a pair of shoes that I just slipped into and heard myself say ‘ohhh they feel like me’… but I soon realised they wouldn’t be good/comfortable enough to wear for the whole day and so was glad I didn’t just dive in and buy them right there and then (even though my lovely Bestie has said she wants to treat me as my something new!) so there is still a bit more research to do – however, I would say it gave me a lot to think about as they need to look good with the dress too. Talking of which…

The dress!!! (sorry, no pics for this part)

I’ve got to be very careful what I say here as its possible some of our wedding party (and of course Bruce, although he doesn’t want to know anything about my dress so there can be no spoilers)  may read this blog because they are all following the journey and I don’t want to give too much away… however, we did decide that Bestie week was the ideal opportunity to check out a couple of places with the idea in mind of seeing what styles of dresses work well for me and which ones can be ruled out.

First of all I was absolutely delighted that even though I have read many times that wedding dresses tend to come up a bit small I was fortunate enough to mostly be trying on dresses in my usual size – this may not be the case for everyone but it made me happy. As I think many brides do, I am intending to lose a few pounds in the coming months so I didn’t worry too much about that on this occasion. I selected a few dresses and the lovely staff at the bridal shop showed me to a fitting room where I was assigned an assistant to help me in and out of dresses and advise me. It was such a lovely positive experience and it didn’t seem to be the case (as I had expected) that specific styles looked absolutely hideous – everything I tried had something about it, which was a big surprise. I even had the chance to try a big pouffey princess style dress. I’m not going to say whether or not it worked for me, I need to maintain the element of surprise.. but it didn’t make me feel how I expected (does the word meringue mean anything to you? 🙂 )

The whole experience made me feel very girly and we continued the shopping experience the following day by checking out some bridesmaid dress ideas as well as trying different scents to see if I find anything I might want to wear as my perfume on the big day.

Is this something you have thought about? Its one thing that can be bought and no problem if you change shape or anything before the wedding… which was nice and easy to decide too so that has gone on my wish list for a little later in the year, another tick on the list.

We did buy something towards the wedding day attire but I won’t say any more than that at the moment…

Its all taking shape beautifully

We have Best Woman and all the male party members outfit colours decided, and a little bit of a theme thrown in. My dress dreams are taking shape and I can really see what our day is starting to look like. Its so lovely and I’m enjoying every minute. I hope your wedding planning journey is just as enjoyable and if you have anything you need to share please do feel free to pop a comment on this post or get in touch.

Much love,
Jacqui xx

(and Bruce)

Diary of a bride-to-be – part 3

Diary of a bride-to-be – part 3

We have announced our wedding date!!!

We booked our wedding provisionally, several weeks ago – but were ‘sitting on it’ as we wanted to announce it properly, rather than just randomly let it sneak into conversation.

We threw a lovely engagement party on Easter weekend. It’s so important to us to share the loveliest parts of our journey with those who have supported us, and those who were able to join the celebrations did so with happy hearts. I mean, you could really feel the love in the room.

We held the party at Tipsy T in Nottingham, its very special to us because we began our first date there, and it’s also where I meet my lovely couples when planning their wedding stationery with them – so the staff know me really well.

It was the first chance for us to catch up with a few people we’ve not seen since before the proposal – but I had completely lost my voice!


As you can imagine, this was a bit frustrating to say the least, a chance to gossip with the girls and chat with family and friends and I could barely speak. I didn’t let it spoil the evening though, just enjoyed spending time with those who are genuinely happy for our happiness and very much looking forward to the wedding.

So there it is, November 21st 2020

the day we become husband and wife – for real. I have to keep saying it because I still can’t quite believe it.

We have sent out most of our save the dates now, a little further ahead than we needed to really as it isn’t peak season or anything but once we announced it at the party it seemed right to share it with others who we have added to the guest list too.

Here’s how we arrived at the decision to invite, or not to invite certain people…


We have just over 18 months until our big day, it’s a bit mind boggling because we are still figuring out how to pay for what we want, but we are slowly deciding which suppliers we want for various parts of the day and in the meantime we have fun decisions to make like the little details of the ceremony, what song I want to walk down the aisle to, what we will have for our first dance, what we want the room to look like for the wedding breakfast – we have lots of ideas, we could probably have 5 different themes without thinking too hard but that is never going to look right so we are having to rein in some of our ideas (just to give you some idea, ! had about 9 different designs for our Save the dates before settling on the one that felt right… the dilemma of being a wedding stationer with access to lots of pretties!)



Our cake, which encapsulated our Batman/Wonderwoman theme, as well as the tuneless choir involvement in our proposal (and of course the song we sang shortly before he popped the question)


When deciding songs for our wedding – from very early on, when I knew he was the one – I always pictured us dancing to one particular song that had so much meaning to us, because of the lyrics. Since the engagement a lot of things have really fallen into place and much of our wedding feels it will be completely different to how I pictured it – but they are all choices that feel right, so I know they must be. This also includes the song I have chosen to walk down the aisle to – although we are not getting married in a church, I still picture myself taking those last steps before I become his wife and every time I well up.

It’s real, and it’s happening next year! Eeeek.

I’m still ploughing through gorgeous images of my wedding stationery collections at the moment, so I had better get a wriggle on, hope you have a wonderful day!

Much love,
Jacqui and Bruce xx

Diary of a bride-to-be – part 2

Diary of a bride-to-be – part 2

It’s 7 weeks since the proposal. I watched the video again this morning. Still so many happy tears, I feel so lucky.


I’m sharing with you today the latest important decision-making part of our planning – I know that as a bride-to-be yourself you will have experienced this…

The Guest List!

When you first begin planning, you tend to think ‘oh, well I don’t need to decide on everyone I am going to invite yet’. I know I did.

But then I realised, if you don’t know how many people you’re inviting, how can you decide where will be big enough, or will it be too much?

As a second-time around bride, it seems to be thought that we wouldn’t want as much fuss, it would be a simple affair. We do, after all just want to be married. That’s so true, but we also know that this one day will be a long overdue celebration of our much sought-after happy ending and we have been through a lot to get here.

So why wouldn’t we want to share that with those who have supported us all the way?

It feels like it is a celebration of the journey, a brand new beginning and time to really pat ourselves on the back for making it to our real-life happy ever after.
This may sound a little deep and meaningful but that’s who we are.



But how do you decide who makes the cut?

For years now I have been training my brain to not use the word ‘should’. We ‘should’ invite so and so, because they will be upset if we don’t. We can’t invite them if we don’t invite their siblings/children/parents… I don’t think we should invite so and so because they always kick off. It’s so hard though isn’t it?

It’s SO important to remember that it is your day.

about the 2 of you. You need to feel good around those who you invite, and not be feeling as though it wouldn’t make a difference if they are there or not. Those kind of guests will be the ones who probably won’t make it.

As we worked our way through the ‘first draft’ of a guest list, the numbers got higher and higher. We already have a venue in mind, and it isn’t going to allow endless numbers of people to join us for the ceremony and wedding breakfast. Not to mention how many people we need to think about feeding afterwards. We both know that we want to share our day with those who will genuinely be delighted that we have chosen them to be there, so it isn’t easy, and this is one of the things that can cause the most stress when planning a wedding. We don’t want months and months of worrying over who we might upset so we are going with what feels good.


Told you my nickname was Wonderwoman!

(and if you didn’t know, he is a brilliant mix of Batman and Superman, his full name is Bruce Kent!)

Just to get things going we are having a small engagement party next week, sooo looking forward to that as we are all about celebrating the good things – I hope you have made time to celebrate every little part of the journey too? It will make it so much more enjoyable.

During the past few weeks we have had some lovely time together just ‘being’, enjoying the moment, not forgetting a very memorable trip to Brussels to see Bruce’s favourite artist Amy Macdonald. We love her music, it has become part of our story and we also had a fantastic break away, much needed.

We also enjoyed Singalonga The Greatest Showman at the Concert Hall on Monday night, a Christmas gift from my eldest son. We love this film (doesn’t everyone?) and it was a really feel good kind of a night! Love a bit of singing.

My next diary blog will be about the little details we have been working on while there seems a long time ahead of us… I can’t wait to share with you how we arrived at the songs we have decided to have as part of our ceremony, it’s been a lovely enjoyable time to daydream about the moment we become husband and wife. More on that very soon!

If you are new to the blog and haven’t seen the others in the series here is the first diary entry

Much love,
Jacqui and Bruce xx

Diary of a bride-to-be – part 1

Diary of a bride-to-be – part 1

Since my fiancé Bruce proposed a few weeks ago (I am still pinching myself, I bet you know what I mean!) I have been on a journey of discovery.

I have been working in the wedding industry for many years

but in recent weeks my eyes have opened to exactly how the wedding planning journey feels, and I thought it would be a good time to share some of that with you, with a few words of advice, so you understand that I truly know where you are coming from.


Enjoy the moment

It took me a while to get my head around the idea that we are actually planning our wedding – I dreamed about it for such a long time, and although I didn’t think it was going to happen when it did, 1 week after Valentine’s day, I was ready for Bruce to ask me to marry him so I just wanted to take a little time to absorb that he had actually done it! I still can’t quite believe it now, 5 weeks later. It was particularly memorable, you can read all about it here ‘I used to think that love was just a fairytale’.

Once it had filtered through a little, we began talking about dates and ideas. We set aside some uninterrupted time away (it happened to be Bruce’s birthday weekend) to start making plans and allow us to really think about the kind of day we want.

Here we are enjoying the sunshine and celebrating on a trip away.


I think this is the time you have to really let loose, don’t hold back, write down every idea you have had, however it sounds, whether it be larger than life, small and intimate, or crazy themed stuff… really go for it. You don’t have to entertain all these ideas, but properly explore between you what it is that you want from this one special day. I was about to say you will only do it once, but I won’t lie, this is second time around for both of us. This has only made us think even more carefully about how we want to feel on the day – we are both sure that we want to do things differently to the first time, to keep a clear picture of our wedding day and totally embrace it, together. I think that getting married when you are a bit older (we are in our early forties) and have a different outlook on life than the younger days gives you a different set of expectations. We have both grown massively in character and strength in recent years and this is going to make all the difference to the sort of day that we are planning.

Deciding the date

I have always known there would be something about our wedding date that takes us back to when we met, it was a truly magical time (another epic blog post happened just after that, I really was completely in the moment!). Without giving too much away (as we haven’t announced our date yet) it just gives a little nod towards significant dates that mean a lot to both of us. When choosing a date, we talked about any other factors that might influence it, such as dates we wanted to avoid (neither of us want to marry in the months we did before), our children’s birthdays and that sort of thing, those are all special to them and we can choose not to mix any of that up (also means more dates in the diary for celebrations in later years! We do love a party). We talked about times of the year that we either prefer or don’t like much, for whatever reason. If you are booking your wedding on a date that means something to you, as many do, take your time to get this right and once you have decided, you will know.


Reality check time. No-one has an endless pot of money, we haven’t been saving up for our wedding (because we hadn’t talked very much about doing it pre-proposal) but we do want to have the sort of day we will always remember. We have really had to think hard about what’s important to us to spend any money on that we can put towards our day, no doubt we will be working extra hard between now and the big day to get together extra pennies and avoid the stress of how much it is going to cost (life can be stressful enough, this isn’t meant to cause stress), but we are not working with an enormous budget. I have seen weddings come together for £2.5k and I have seen weddings cost over £20k. We know how much we want to spend for our day and once that’s decided it’s easier to begin looking at the sort of places that can make that achievable.

Choosing a venue

This has been the biggest surprise so far, for me.

At the point of writing this, we haven’t yet confirmed our wedding venue, it was a completely open book when we started looking. I didn’t even know where to start, even though as I said I have worked in the industry for years. I had always thought I knew the kind of wedding I would want, and where I would want it when the time came, but as we started to talk about ideas, I actually realised that it didn’t matter as much to me where we did it. I am lucky enough to be marrying the man of my dreams, that is what’s important. We have so many ideas for what we want from our wedding day, and none of it is really about the where. Our carefully chosen guests will be there to share this happy time with us, I honestly do feel like we could do that in a school hall or just about anywhere because it’s how we feel that’s important. I thought it would be about what looked best in the photos – but truthfully I know that I will be feeling so happy on the day to be realising my dreams that our choice of venue isn’t going to make it or break it. It may not be the same for everyone but that is how it has worked out for us. We have looked at a few different types of place and each one had a certain kind of feel to it, right or wrong for our day. Take note of how a place makes you feel because you will remember that when you look back on your day in years to come.

Announce it.

I have already designed about 9 different Save the dates for us to send out in my spare time this week, I have so many ideas about how we want to tell people about our plans. I don’t just want it to happen in a passing conversation.

As we tick each thing off our decision making list, we have made sure to pat ourselves on the back. We want to do all of this so ‘properly’, that as yet we have barely begun to share our ideas of the date or venue with our closest friends or family. When we do confirm the venue we want, we will, of course be sending out Save the Dates, as it’s a while away. I want to do little cards to ask people we want involved with the ceremony in some way, and we have an engagement party in a few weeks too. It’s so exciting!!!

I’m not saying you have to do all or any of these things, but it’s a whole brand new journey we are going on together and we are embracing it. Just because we have both married before doesn’t take anything away from what we want this time around, if anything I think it just makes us more determined to be sure we are doing it right. It’s our story, it’s our time and it will be our day – our way.
As our journey evolves I will keep you updated with the different things we have discovered along the way,

I hope you enjoy reading.

Much love,

Jacqui (and Bruce, he is sure to contribute to this diary at some point soon!)