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.

Daydream

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.

Finances

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!)

xxx

 

I used to think that love was just a fairytale

I used to think that love was just a fairytale

A surprise marriage proposal for your favourite wedding stationer!

A week ago today, I joined your very special club. Make yourselves comfy, I have a gorgeous tale to tell about the evening my soulmate asked me to marry him, in front of about 100 people!

I still can’t believe it happened – I know if you had one of those memorable style proposals you will know what I mean, I just didn’t see it coming.

We are members of a Tuneless choir in West Bridgford, Nottingham. Their motto is ‘Sing like no-one’s listening’.

Last Thursday, to my surprise, Bruce and I were invited up to do that in front of everyone at choir – to a song that has so much meaning to us – ‘Suddenly’ by Billy Ocean.

I had thought he was up to something for a while, but didn’t dare to dream he was planning something like this. Up we went, and began belting out this song which reduces me to tears every single time we sing it together (usually at home in front of no-one!). I had warned them it was very rare I get through it without crying.

It will never sound the same again.

I held back the tears as I stood up there with my gorgeous soulmate, totally caught up in the moment and meant every word I sang.


He seemed to be a little less vocal than usual – I was just about to find out why.


As the song ended, we drew in for a kiss and I remember thinking to myself, they don’t need to see us snogging, quick peck let’s go and sit down. Ohhh, how wrong was I.

Down he steps off the little stage, drawing a ring box out of his pocket and getting down on one knee.

Ohhh my goodness, what?! Is this real? I had to be sure.

What seemed like hours (we both said everything went into serious slow motion) later, the whole room erupted – it went totally crazy, whoops and claps and cheers – a standing ovation in fact! Is this really what he meant to do? Of course he did, he is a proper romantic. After a moment or two I realised he was still crouching.

‘Can I get back up now? I’m still down here, have you got an answer?’

Would you do me the honour?

My answer was yes, a million times yes.

The crowd went wild. I had waited so long to hear him ask me to marry him, and it was so loud in that room I didn’t hear a thing!


Everyone at choir was absolutely delighted having shared in our story from very early on (we have been going there together since about 2 months after we met in July 2017 – read this post to find out how our love story began) and most especially as Nadine and Bernie who are the organisers were behind him the whole time. It had begun as an idea in Bruce’s head in December, and they had been plotting it between them for a few weeks.

I’m sorry if I have spoiled the ending, but here is a lovely video on YouTube of what happened that night – you can see from my face I was not expecting it. I know I am biased but it is well worth the watch.

I think he is a little bit relieved! Many thanks go to Nadine and Bernie for their Wedding Proposal Fairy Godmother skills.

I look forward to sharing some of your journey as a bride-to-be. Now that I am on the other side of it, I expect I will discover things I never realised myself, and will of course share all of those with you along the way.

If you have a proposal story you would like to share, I would love to invite you to comment on the bottom of this post and tell us what happened.

I will never forget this night as long as I live, and I can’t wait for the next part of the journey.

With much love and extra sparkles

Now also a blushing bride-to-be!

PS. Go on, I know you will be wondering… Will I be making my own wedding stationery? You bet!

How long is a piece of string Jacqui?

How long is a piece of string Jacqui?

A question I am always asked, but can never give a straight answer to.

Of course, I am not talking about string here.

What is the question I am asked the most at a wedding fayre?
It sounds so simple – how long does it take to make my invitations?
I honestly can not give a straightforward answer to this, do you know why?
There are sooo many factors involved, and it isn’t just about how long it takes to physically make the invitations, either (which is ALL done by me by the way).

I dedicate time to each of my couples when they book me

Every single one of my couples has a space allocated in my diary to allow enough time and care to be taken over their designs and orders.
One reason I cannot give a clear answer is because I need to know firstly when you will be looking to send your invites. Have a look at this post 
here to find out just how important your invites are!
There are 2 very important reasons why I need to know this: the 1st one is because as my diary books up there is not always much time to play with – and with summer being a popular time for couples getting married many want to send them around the same time! The 2nd one is because the couples who are already booked in will always take priority as they have been waiting patiently, perhaps for months sometimes for a year or more to see their beautiful invitations brought to life and as such are first in line, so to speak.

But isn’t it just printing & sticking pretty stuff on a card?

I’m tempted at this point to say ‘I wish’ but that would honestly not be the truth. I LOVE creating such miniature works of art when I get to work making invitations and other items of stationery. Even then, that is not ‘all’ that is involved. There is the time taken with couples to make sure that what they are requesting is exactly right for their big day. The time afterwards to prepare a quote and keep in contact with them about the creation of their invite sample. Not forgetting all of the other administrative work and preparation of the proofs for every single stage of the booking, this can take a couple of hours on its own sometimes. So it really is a labour of love.

Are you looking for a creation like no other, with intricate detail in the design?

I hope it goes without saying (but I will say it anyway) these designs are not quickly thrown together – so the style of design can greatly affect the amount of time needed to create it. With some of my designs less is definitely more, but with the finer handcrafted creations I have to clear my diary so I can fully focus on getting them exactly right – down to measuring each and every piece of ribbon used in the design!

 

I don’t work forwards from now, I work backwards!
By chatting to you in depth about your big day and getting a better idea when you need your invites ready to send, we can work out from that how long we have and where there is space in the diary to fit you in!

Don’t let this put you off asking!

I would hope that after reading this you have a clearer idea why sometimes there isn’t a straight answer to this question. There is absolutely nothing stopping you from asking me and I will give you an approximate idea based on the information discussed above, I am very approachable (I don’t bite!) and always happy to answer questions if you have any.
I would love you to ask any questions at the bottom of this post and see how we can work together on your special day.
Must go, sticking and gluing of pretty sparklies to do!
Love,
Jacqui xx
How do you prioritise your invites and stationery on your all-important to-do list?

How do you prioritise your invites and stationery on your all-important to-do list?

How do you prioritise your invites and stationery on your all-important to-do list?

In recent weeks I have met with a lot of brides at various stages of planning their weddings. Many of you are at the very beginning, and this has got me thinking.
How do you decide when to organise your wedding stationery?

The truth is that its the one element of your day that sets the scene before any other!

Although it can be difficult to decide what to do first on your list, if you haven’t arranged this before the big important stuff, how is anyone meant to know anything about your special day?

Sending Save the Dates is a good idea if you are not getting married for 1, 2 or maybe even 3 years, but if you really want things to flow from start to finish, then you need to decide on a theme at the beginning.

You might be keen to send out Save the Dates just to buy yourself some time before deciding other important details and thats one way to begin – you could pick a neutral design that doesn’t give anything away (and won’t cause a problem if you change your mind about colours along the way, as can often happen!).


Here’s a quick guide on how to start planning your stationery:

  1. Pick something that is in keeping with you both as a couple – not just with your theme but something that represents you. Whether it be fun, quirky, elegant, not too fussy just make it something that your guests can relate to being all about you.
  2. Don’t cut corners! If you spend all your cash on a grand venue, stunning dress, and fancy cars leaving no money spare for your invites, sending out cheap looking or ‘fill in the blank’ cards will simply not set the scene for your guests. It doesn’t have to cost the earth but remember to leave enough in your budget.
  3. Once you have your venue booked check with them if any daytime stationery is included if you have chosen a package. They may even be able to recommend a stationer that will work with them to make everything flow on the day.
  4. It might be tempting to let Auntie Mabel have a go because she makes cards in her spare time, but unless you are confident that it is going to work and look good enough for your very special day, find a way to let her down gently. There’s sure to be something else she can help with if she’s creative. Home made is not the same as hand crafted!
  5. Fancy making them yourself? It can sound like a tempting option, and you might just be able to get away with it but the most important thing here is to make sure you use a reputable supplier. There’s nothing worse than gettng halfway through making invites only to find out the length of lace you bought was an end of reel and you haven’t got enough to finish the job!
  6. Please make sure you view samples of work before you decide to book. I’ve seen some shocking samples recently and on more than one occasion had to come to the rescue when things didn’t work out.

          ‘Good work ain’t cheap…. Cheap work ain’t good!’


Well that’s all from me for today, those naughty little elves have been sprinkling the wrong fairy dust and I haven’t stopped sneezing for 2 days so I’m off for a honey and lemon drink.

Whatever you do with your planning, make sure you relax and enjoy it 🙂

Lotsa love,

 

How is your seating plan looking?

How is your seating plan looking?

It’s May, the sun is out (and warm) at last!
I’m seeing and hearing from a lot of couples now who are ready to deal with…
***drum roll***

The Seating Plan!

Now I know there will be plenty of you who will feel very anxious about this, so I just wanted to share a few ideas to make it easier for you!

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Don’t stress!!!

First of all, I just want to say (easier to say than to do!) don’t panic about it.
The seating arrangements for your day don’t have to take on any formal set up – not if you don’t want them to.
I am often asked

‘Who is supposed to sit on the top table’?
The truth is nowadays with changing families, step parents, and far more couples who already have children getting married there is no ‘right’ way to do anything.
It’s YOUR day. So enjoy it.
If you are really struggling to work out who you reeeeally want to sit with you for your very first meal as husband and wife (the reason it is traditionally called a Wedding Breakfast’, then keep it simple. Traditionally 
The bride sits with her new husband to her left and her father to the right, with her new mum in law next to him. The mother of the bride then sits next to her new son in law, with his father next to her. You can then have other members of the bridal party if there is room, bridesmaids, or the best man and an usher but these are really down to personal preference.

A sweetheart table, with just the two of you is a lovely modern and rather romantic way to begin your lives together.

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So WHO is going to sit with WHOM?

There’s a nice easy way to plan this out.

1. Get a pad of post-it notes, and have to hand your completed guest list, after receiving all RSVPs.

2. Using a large sheet of paper/roll of lining paper or something equally large, sketch out roughly how many tables you can fit in your reception venue, or how many the wedding coordinator has advised you will need for your numbers (This varies from venue to venue but is usually a minimum of 8 guests per table and an absolute maximum of 12, depending on the size of the room!)

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Get writing!

3. Using each post-it, one per guest write out their names and start to place them on the tables you think they are likely to be sitting on, with the people you would like to sit them next to.

4. As you change your mind or it becomes apparent there are too many on one table, you can simply chop and change the notes around to work with what you feel will be the most comfortable on your big day. Remember that it is your day and if you would feel unhappy to have 85 year old Auntie Ethel sat next to your work friends, then move her.

The beauty of this is you can switch and swap to your hearts content without re writing or getting frustrated with your slow computer or whatever method may otherwise drive you up the wall!

Take your time with this! It is the one part of planning the day that could make or break the atmosphere, and you won’t feel relaxed if you are fretting that your distant relatives aren’t mixing with any of the other guests – nothing wrong with mixing things up a bit

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Remember…..

There’s no right or wrong here. It is a good thing to get so that it ‘feels’ right, but don’t make it something to cause you upset or anxiety, it isn’t really that big a deal. As long as you are together with the people you love on your special day and you have your new husband or wife by your side, what else is there?I hope you have found this helpful, would love to read your comments below if you would like to share them!

Many thanks, and happy planning!

Jacqui xx