Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Planning A Last Minute Wedding: Part 2

So Part 1 brought us up to 8 weeks before my wedding date. It covered finding last minute wedding dates at a venue, checking with the registrar, deciding on main colour schemes and designing invitations.

29/04/2017 - Invitations sent out

We then headed to Norfolk for a week family holiday, we bought all our invitations with us to send out, normally it would be cheaper to drive round and deliver most of them but as we were away, we really needed answers out ASAP. So we bought stamps and spent night one on holiday messaging everyone for their addresses. These were then written out and sent out the next day at Searles Holiday post box!

I made sure I had a list of people in my wedding planning book so I could monitor the responses. I put my e-mail address on the day invitations so people could e-mail me their menu choices. We also wrote 1/2/3 next to the choices to make it easier for people to respond with 1/3/2 for menu choices. 

03/05/2017 - I said YES to the dress

The day I was most looking forward to on holiday was our day trip into Norwich to go dress shopping! I discovered Wed2b online (maybe through Facebook advertising again!). It is the perfect choice for last minute wedding dress shopping as you buy directly from the store and take home the same day! The website is good for browsing for ideas of styles you like but please note that each store doesn't hold all styles in every size. You will also need to browse for a size up from your normal size for the dresses. 

Before I went, I found some ideas for what I liked online and screenshot them, this is handy as your bridal team can search for the name of the dresses! 

I knew I wanted a Princess style dress. I only plan on getting married once and if it's not an excuse to wear a big dress then I don't know what is. I also suit styles that flow from under the bust to hide my tire of a middle, so I knew I didn't want anything tight fitting down my waist or legs. I also struggle with my boobs, especially as I am still feeding Evie and therefore not my normal size, so I didn't want a strapless dress as I knew I would end up hiking it up all day, however I know that straps could be added on, so I didn't eliminate strapless from my searches. They all had a similar style to them though - I wanted to be a Princess. 

When you arrive at the store, you have a member of staff that will stay with you to assist. They ask you to find 4 dresses at a time to take in to try on. I had my mum, sister and one of my bridesmaids Sophie along for the hunt. They quickly got to work on searching for some of my shortlisted dresses. The 'Celeste' was my favourite but they didn't have it in the size I needed but did have it in the size below and above, so we took one of those in. We found a couple of the others on my list and choose one random one too. 

They have the most amazing changing rooms in the stores and it gives you a relaxed and lovely experience. Your bridal party sit outside and you go into the big changing room with the staff member to assist you. I had never tried on a wedding dress in my life and they can be hard work to get into! 

I tried my favourite choice from my online search and it wasn't quite what I expected. The sleeves felt itchy on me and I wasn't getting that 'yes' feeling. We decided we would get the bigger size up one and see if it made a difference to the fit feeling. I tried the other ones on and while they were all lovely, I was starting to think I wouldn't find the dress today. 

We went back out and I needed to find 3 more dresses to take in along with the larger size dress of the celeste style. I found 2 more I liked and then my sister said 'What about this one?' I had actually looked at this style online but wasn't sure if it was a bit too much but I said I'd try it on anyway, you know, for a laugh. 

It ended up being THE ONE. It was 'Electra' and I added in the gold belt to emphasise the waist. As soon as I was getting into it I had a huge smile on my face. I had that feeling, it's true what they say, you know when you've found your dress. It was all very exciting, everyone else loved it too and I felt like a Disney Princess - objective completed! We also ordered the bridesmaid dresses from in store - they were due to be in, in 2 weeks time. They only stock a dress in each size in the various different colours in store. Sophie tried on the size she needed in a different colour and we ordered from there. In the flesh the bridesmaid dress was a different colour to what it looked like online - I still loved it though, so we ordered.

Sophie capturing my 'Said YES to the dress face', trying not to let on how HEAVY that bag was! We took it back to the holiday lodge and hid it in the other room, we then had my grandparents take it home with them until the wedding.

I then sent Mart a text to say I had also sorted wedding transport...

We then celebrated with a Jamie's Italian lunch and a spot of shopping!

07/05/2017 - Centrepieces

Now if you know me (or know me through Instagram) then I will be known for entering a good competition. A while back I entered a Disney loop competition, now as well as being lucky to win a Disney garland with Evie's name on, I also discovered some other amazing Disney themed shops with beautiful creations. This is where I found Instagram page. Grace makes the most beautiful quality roses in jars (Beauty and the Beast Style) and can do various colour combos and they come in small or large jars. 

I'm a huge Disney fan, but we had already been to lots of weddings with Disney themes, so we wanted something different but I still wanted a nod towards Disney. We decided we would order a rose jar for each table to be our centrepiece. 

I had been doing research into wooden log cuts and small jars with wildflowers in, but it was all costing up and going to cost quite a bit to hire or buy the logs and then I would need to source the flowers etc. If I was learning anything from my last minute wedding planning it was simple can be beautiful and cost effective and easier.

So I messaged Grace and enquired whether she would be able to do me 6 jars in a short timeframe. She was fantastic and replied quickly to confirm she could make them and we finalised colours and sizing. I went for the large jars as they were to be my main centrepiece and I wanted to ensure they didn't get lost on the table space. I couldn't get a match for colour of rose to my bridesmaid dresses so I decided to go for a really nice pink that would match one of the chair bow colour choices with the venue. 

They were with me by the 23rd May!

09/05/2017 - The Favours! 

I suddenly got the inspiration for our favours when I was tidying up something in our room and found our Disney pins from our Paris trip.  When I was reading up about going to Disney, I had found a tip that a lot of people sell bundles of the pins on eBay and this is a much cheaper way of collecting the trading pins than buying them individually at Disney. We had found a trader and bought a bundle before we went to Disney and I had the idea that this could be our favours! They would go with my other idea for place cards/favours of the Polaroid pictures. 

[note a Pinterest pin I actually completed - make your own Micky cork board]

We found eBay seller pixiedust.66 who was selling bundles of 50 and 25 random Disney pins. We ordered 75 as we needed 56 but figured there might be a few ones not appropriate for use at a wedding. So we ordered these ready for delivery and they were one of our only secret surprises towards the end that people didn't know about. 

My other idea I really wanted to include to give my wedding that personal touch was photos. Now I have always been known for my photos, I just love them, I was always the one with the camera taking snaps. I had the idea that we would find an old photo of us with our guest and print them on polaroid style photos and use these along with the favours for people to locate their seats.

We set about at both our family homes to find a photo of us as a young child with a family member. It involved a few nights with a huge box full of family photos to find one for each person. It was hard because I couldn't ask the person themselves if they had any pictures as we wanted it to be a surprise for each person on the day to see what photo we had choose for them.

Once we had a photo for each person, I used the website Cheerz to print Retro Prints for 21p each. You are able to edit the writing under the photo, so I typed in everyones names to save a job the other side. They also do larger retro prints, we therefore decided to print one for each table. As I previously mentioned, we didn't want to do Disney named tables as this has been done many times before, therefore we thought we would use our trip to Paris for inspiration. Therefore every table was named after a place we visited in Paris, it would also link back to my idea for the seating plan display - but that comes later. 

This would be the finished product. What I'd learnt from other weddings is people bring small bags with them - if you want your favours to go home with your guests then make them small enough to pop in a clutch bag. 

10/05/2017 - Planning meeting

Woodhall invited us in for a planning meeting to go through the details of the wedding day and note down our requirements and make the plan a bit more solid. I was thankful for this as I was starting to get nervous that we were nearly a month away and I didn't really understand how the day would play out and what happens when. 

It was lovely visiting our venue again and made it all the more exciting again. We sat down and went through the day and worked out little details like were we going to stand and greet everyone after the wedding (no - too long for us!) and would we like bacon rolls for breakfast while we get ready (a big YES!). It felt good to have a plan written down for the day and also meant we could work out timings for getting ready.

Woodhall have a lovely 'secret room' for the bridal party. You can start getting ready in there from 9am and you are hidden away from everyone else. There is a bathroom and plenty of space for everyone and the most gorgeous big mirrors. The men would be allowed in from 11am and they were to get ready in the best mans room (It was a big no to getting ready in the honeymoon suite!) 

We also decided we would hire out the manor for our immediate family to stay after the wedding. It meant we would all get breakfast together and we could continue the celebrations for a bit longer! 

Deciding on our photo and video

Now this is where everyone differs with wedding planning. To me, having the right photos of my day meant everything. It would be the one thing I didn't want to stress about on the day and therefore I needed to find a photographer with likeminded style to what I would wish for my day. 

I started following Sharon Cudworth on Facebook after my stepdad told me his niece did photos. I had been following her for over a year so I had seen all of her beautiful work and knew I would love if she could photograph our wedding. I loved her natural style and the colouring of the photos. 

Now this is where a Monday wedding date comes in handy - your suppliers and services are more likely to be free on a Monday in the height of wedding season! They may even offer a discount for a last minute booking or a midweek booking. 

Luckily for us, Sharon was available that day and offered us a discount for a last minute booking. We met up to discuss what photos we wanted from our day and exchanged contracts. 

Make sure you read and understand the photographers contract and what you are getting for the price you are paying and if there will be any added extras at the end. I always think its worth going with a photographer that will give you all the photos they have finalised rather than you having to pick and choose a set amount from your special day. 

Different photographers also offer added services like phonebooks at the end - this is personal choice for you, I personally can create and make my own photobook and didn't mind doing it, whereas other less creative people might wish for this to be included as they wouldn't have the time or patience to do it themselves. Decide between you as a couple what you want from the memories of your day.

To me, Photos came top above a cake or other fancy added extras on my wedding day. I would much rather spend more money on a photographer that I would be really happy with the outcome than spend hundreds of pounds on a cake that not everyone might get a slice of at the end of the night. That's personal preference though (and hey my cake still looked amazing and tasted great and it didn't break the bank!)

[Photo by Sharon Cudworth]

It's safe to say I was over the moon with the photos Sharon captured of our day - I'll share more in part 4 of the blog post. 

Sharon recommended to us that we make a small (10) list of formal photos we required of the day and the rest would be natural - this is to ensure that you don't spend half your day waiting to line up for photos. We had to stretch that number to a few more as both Mart and I have separated parents and therefore we doubled a few of the photos. We are also lucky enough to have all our grandparents alive and well and therefore it was important to us we had formal photos with all of them too. In order to fit this all in - we made the worthwhile decision to not have the children in the formal photos with our parents and grandparents. This meant with just adults to work with, the turnaround time could be quicker. We then had big family photos with each side of the family with the children included. This worked out well because try getting a 4 year old to smile for repeated photos is a hard one! 


Having video at weddings has not been as popular as back in the 90s but it certainly is making a comeback. Now it is less traditional in the sense that every moment of the day is filmed and now videographers are getting creative in the moments they capture and how the finished product is put together. 

I knew Josh Potter of J Andrew: Film and Photography from both my hometown and our university town. We did the same course at uni (Media Production) but were a few years apart, we met again through playing Ultimate Frisbee and over the last few years I have had Josh take family photos. 

Obviously Josh is going places with his degree in his career and I had been watching his wedding videos for some time. The way they were filmed and edited would make me cry at complete strangers wedding days and I just knew we wanted our special day captured in the same way. 

Now having video of your wedding is another personal choice but we wanted memories for the children (and us) of the day so we could relive it over and over. I can tell you now, the finished film was AMAZING and so so beautiful! I'll share it in part 4 so you'll have to hold out. 

The video included a 5 minute short for online sharing and then bluray of your ceremony, speeches and first dance. You can check out more of Josh's services on his website here

12/05/2017 - Flowers and Bridesmaid Dresses

Now I don't know a lot about flowers - being mostly allergic to them, I tend to stay and admire from a distance. As big hayfever suffers and now having a summer wedding - we didn't want too many flowers at our wedding. 

I contacted a couple of florists but they were fully booked. I then remembered a local florist - Emma's Florist - that my mum had got her wedding flowers from. We popped in to see them and I showed a couple ideas from Pinterest of what I liked and mentioned our colour scheme - pink and gold. I was going into it blind as I had no idea what our bouquets would look like on the day but they were simply gorgeous! 

[Photo by Sharon Cudworth]

I thought the prices were really reasonable and the service was great. We got the 3 bouquets, buttonholes for the men and feminine buttonholes for our mums and step mums. We had a top table flower display made and we also doubled this up for use on our registrar table during the ceremony. 

The lovely finishing touch they made was to add a Thistle to my dads buttonhole to go with his kilt. Adding a touch of my Scottish heritage into my wedding was a lovely addition, and my dad was impressed too!

[Photo by Sharon Cudworth]

Soph also picked up the bridesmaid dresses for me from Norwich and brought them to Ipswich. Both girls tried them on and they fitted great, they just needed a few adjustments in length. 

13/05/2017 - Lets talk about Cake!

We went round to see Laura to finalise the cake details, she had been busy! We decided we would use fake flowers for the top piece with the cake topper and decided on gold casing for the cupcakes. Laura showed us her clear cupcake holder display and we decided we would go with it to display the cakes. The gold drip on the top was misbehaving so instead of risk stress on the day, we decided we would just go with the white drip instead. 

15/05/2017 - Family Holiday no2

As with all last minute plans, you don't know they are happening until last minute! So of course all those other plans you have will just have to fit in around them. 

We had booked our little Butlins getaway back in March, we thought it would be nice to get away just the 4 of us and knew there would be lots on for Logan. Of course after you then plan a last minute wedding, the thought of going away for a week the month before for both time and cost is a little worrying but we made it a good week! Once the kids were asleep we got the wedding planning book out and worked on some to dos!

19/05/17 - Decorations start arriving

So as mentioned in Part 1 - I ordered some wooden table names that came in plain wood. They arrived and I got to work on spraying them gold with a can I got from Hobbycraft. 

It was really quick and easy to do and they just needed one coat. Make sure you do it outside though! Fumes are high. 

It was great to see them all together, these were from Manta Makes.

I also bought the materials to make my favours come together. I got brown card packs from Hobbycraft and a stamp and ink pad. 

The stamping was repetitive but achieved the look I was going for! The little pegs were bought from Paperchase and £2 a packet. 

All there was left to do then was attach a Disney pin to each card and peg the polaroid photo on. I tried to match the Disney pins to certain people - for example - my cousin Chloe loves Stitch - so she just had to have the Stitch pin. 

I was very happy with the end result and the cost was very low as I made part of them on my own and it gave them a unique feel. Everyone loved them when they walked into the venue and spent ages looking at everyones photos and talking about what pins they had. 

When it came to the table numbers, I wasn't sure at first how to display them. I had picked up some clear glass jars in Wilko for £1 each and sprayed them gold too. At first I wanted to attach the photo of the Paris locations to the jar with the number but I couldn't work out an effective way to get them to stay together without breaking. 

I tried superglue to keep the table numbers in the jars but they still were hit and miss. In the end I got some of the same foliage that was in my flowers and popped them in the jars and stuck the numbers in the middle of them. 

21/05/2017 - Planning Showcase

Woodhall invited us to one of their planning showcase events - they will have all the extras set up and you can pick and choose what you want on your day and you get 10% off the cost. It was great to see the venue again and see the outside ceremony set up. We really hoped to have a good day weather wise to have ours outside. We would need it to be at least 14c and dry on the ground. We hoped it would make our wedding that bit different from all the others we had attended this year. 

We also choose things like the LOVE letters because I've always been a big fan of them and fairy lights and lighting for the garden area outside. It was strange to think next time we would be back here (in 35 days!) it would be for our wedding.

23/05/2017 - Centrepieces Arrive

My beautiful centrepieces arrived on the 23rd May and they were just perfect. I decided I would get some candles to go around them to add some soft lighting but other than that they didn't need anything extra to them and were ready to go. 

Around this time my poor Logi had tonsillitis and was off Preschool for a week. It was a lot harder sorting things out around two children so there was a slight break in organising things! We also had Martin's American family over to visit and we were still attempting to do our garden!

If only we could do our garden as quick as we did our wedding! It's been a work in progress since May 2016!

It seems appropriate to finish part 2 here, next up is our last minute hen and stag dos, the finishing touches, dress fittings and a birthday and another weekend away!

S x

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Planning A Last Minute Wedding: Part 1

So 2017 has been a big year for us. In January 2017 we welcomed our baby girl, Evie. In April 2017 we decided we were going to move our estimated wedding date forward from February 2018 to June 2017. 

It gave us about 10 weeks to organise and plan our wedding. A lot of people have said they don't know how I did it but this is the girl who did her university dissertation a month before it was due. I work best on a short deadline. The same goes if you give me 10 minutes notice before you drop round - amazing what motivation I have to clean in that time!

So this post will be in four parts! A little timeline of when I did things and how and of course sharing all the wonderful companies that helped it happen. 

The Deciding Factors.

When we got engaged in May 2016, it wasn't more of a case of when we wanted to get married, it was when can we afford to get married? We knew we were expecting a baby in January 2017, so we set our sights on 2018 for the Wedding. Summer dates were proving expensive and as we both suffer big time with hay fever, a winter or Autumn date seemed the safe bet. I did a little browsing of venues shortly after we were engaged. I got some price lists through (shock, horror!) and started following a few venues on Facebook and even went to a wedding show for some inspiration. I must admit at this point I wasn't feeling the push of motivation to get much sorted, I was busy nesting for my baby girl and we were slowly doing bits to the house. The wedding was put on the back burner. 

In April 2017 as I was browsing through Facebook, a sponsored post came up. Last minute wedding dates at Woodhall Manor. Now I had looked at this venue last year, it was perfect and it had a price tag to match to the point I didn't even follow up going to the open day because my dreams were already crushed when I got the price list. Curiosity got the better of me (and the advertising clearly worked) as I clicked on the link. Imagine my amazement when packages came up for £4,000.00 including 50 day guests and all food. I'll give you a hint, thats about £10k CHEAPER than the summer dates for this venue. I jokingly said to Mart - can you imagine if we booked a last minute wedding date?

Next thing I'm emailing them to enquire what dates they have available. 

They came back with four dates, the last two being Thursday 22nd June and Monday 26th June 2017. It was suggested we check with the local registrar for their availability before proceeding with anything. We were also invited to an open day on the 19th April. 

We sat down - could we do it? We'd have to get a loan and we'd have to be on it with planning, but I was on maternity leave - we could do it, right?

17/04/2017 - Is everyone free?

One of the most important things in planning a last minute wedding is can everyone you need to be there make your date? We spent the Monday night messaging and ringing all our family to check no one was on holiday over these dates. By some miracle everyone was in the country! (If you knew how frequent our family went away on trips then you would realise the scale of miracle this was!) This of course created the buzz of oh my god, are you guys getting married! 

We MIGHT be. ahh. 

Next up was checking my two bridesmaids were available - I created a group chat on WhatsApp (highly recommended for modern age bridesmaid arrangements) and yes they were both available! 

The deciding factor on the date in the end was due to the fact my mum and sister had tickets to see Annie in London on the Thursday date! Monday 26th June it was then.

There was of course some grumble about it being a Monday date but I can tell you the key to a last minute wedding is a Monday date - suppliers are your friends! I will talk more about that later. 

18/04/2017 - Checking the legal bit

Next up - the registrar. VERY IMPORTANT. 

So it is important to note you need to make sure the registrar is available on your chosen date otherwise you won't be legally getting married that day. You can phone and reserve your booking and you pay the balance at least 6 weeks before your wedding date. 

Another important factor is you need to give a notice of marriage and this must be done at least 28 days before you are due to get married. The other factor is that even if you have more than 28 days to play with, you need to ensure your registry office has appointments available before your timeframe. We arranged in April and couldn't get a date until mid May to give notice. We cut it VERY fine indeed. You can read more about the rules HERE

We booked a time slot for 1pm on Monday 26th June 2017 and I spent the next 24 hours in panic mode that someone else was going to swoop in and steal my date from the venue. 

19/04/2017 - Booking the Venue

We gathered up the mother troops from both sides and we went along to the open evening after work. The venue was just as beautiful inside as it was on the outside and I spent the entire hour with a smile permanently fixed on my face. 

We sat down with the venue staff and confirmed we would love to book  one of their last minute dates. The deposit was paid and next thing we knew - we were going to get married in 10 weeks time!

These cards were gifted to me when I was engaged - they are from Milestone World and a great way to document (or work out!) the wedding planning process. We may have missed some of them out - I imagine they are usually used across one or two years!

20/04/2017 - Colour Schemes

Now the real fun begins, the planning! The only issue I had was all that I had imagined for a wedding (and pinned on Pinterest)was for a winter wedding and now I was having a middle of June wedding. I needed to rethink a lot of things. 

Originally I was going to have Burgundy or navy dresses for my bridesmaids but it seemed a bit out of season for my Summer Wedding.  The important thing was I needed to work out my colours and then I could get ordering the bridesmaid dresses and everything else that requires a theme. 

I had my two best friends as bridesmaids, as much as I would have loved to have all my girl cousins and my sister, it was going to cost too much and with just 50 day guests, I needed some people to be in the aisles and not all walking down it. I wanted a style to suit both of my bridesmaids so I went about browsing some different sites that sold bridesmaid dresses. What I learnt is that lots of high street shops now do dresses! The year before we got our dresses for my mums wedding from Quiz. Maria had already purchased our bridesmaid dresses for her October wedding from Dorothy Perkins. So I started off on these sites and jotted down a few ideas and what colours they were. This is where your group bridesmaid chat comes in handy as you can throw ideas into there and see what your BM think. The good thing about Quiz and DP is they have sizes that range from size 6 to 20/22, so often you can find a style that works for all your bridesmaids and they can wear the same colour. 

I also made a new Pinterest board - SUMMER wedding. I must have spent about two hours just going through summer wedding ideas and pinning things to give me inspiration. This website is so handy for keeping all your cluttered thoughts and bookmarks together. You can add your own links from sites you see and photos to the account to keep things together. 

22/04/2017 - Dresses and Rings

After a couple of days of searching and pinning, I discovered that the site I had planned to get my wedding dress (Wed2b) from also did Bridesmaid dresses. 

I loved the style, it would suit both of my friends and the colour was summery enough but not too different from my original ideas for my wedding. We were due to go to Norfolk for a family holiday at the end of April and so it was decided we would purchase both my dress and the bridesmaid dresses in the Norwich store while we were away. With a colour to work with the rest could start to fall into place.

We then worked on things we could start getting ticked off and sorted straight away. We spent the first day off together in town visiting H Samuel. Luckily my sister worked here at the time and I admit did ALL the research for me regarding rings (including e-mailing me a A4 document (assignment!) on my options and her suggestions. We went in to see one of her colleagues and he assisted in letting us trying on the rings to decide which to purchase. Now this is where things can be as cheap or expensive as you wish to make them. Personally, Mart and I weren't too fussed on having expensive rings, we wanted good quality ones but we didn't need bling. We made a pretty quick decision and ordered them in. It is defiantly worth asking what would suit your engagement ring and matching the type of material it is made from. You are going to have to live with this decision for the rest of your lives! 

Next up was purchasing Evie's bridesmaid dress! Now I had imagined she would be about one when we got married and now she would just be 5 months. I however had already picked out the dress I wanted to purchase, I had seen it a few months before in Monsoon and fell in love with it. 

PS - It's currently in the sale! 

So it was decided we would have two colours - Pink and Gold. We popped into Coes to get an idea what sort of suits we wanted and the colour. We knew it would be hard to match the pink of the bridesmaid dresses, so it was decided the men and the children would be in gold and I'd have my two besties in pink. This worked really well to have a contrast and two colours to play with to match the other elements of the wedding. 

23/04/2017 - CAKE CAKE CAKE

Now another important factor to consider - the Cake! While pinning into the night I had gathered a few ideas up. 

I wanted simplicity and I knew I wanted cupcakes. My mum had done cupcakes at her wedding, as well as another friend and I was confident they go down easier than slices. If there is one thing I've learnt from my job in an office - people like food they can walk by and grab without feeling guilty (or having to make small talk with poor Janice about how sad it is she is leaving when all they wanted was an extra donut). 

So it was time to call upon my friend of 24 years and an excellent baker - Laura. Yes I know its last minute but pretty please could you make our wedding cake/cakes. Thankfully she was fully on board! We also knew they would taste amazing because she had done the cakes for my mums wedding the year before.

A quick snapshot of the Pinterest photos either side and she confirmed easily done and we arranged to discuss further in May. Brilliant, another decision made and another thing ticked off the list. We were whizzing through and it hadn't even been a week yet.

24/04/2017 - Decoration Planning

I seem to be targeted by Facebook advertising a lot (or I'm the perfect consumer) because I found my place names via Facebook too. Manta Makes came up showing wooden names and with 10% off your first order. The names worked out at £1.29 each and we thought they would be nice for people to take home with them. They come in plain wood and I bought a can of gold spray paint from Hobbycraft to spray them all after. We also bought our table numbers from here and I sprayed them also. They had a turn around of about 3 weeks so I'm glad I ordered these when I did. The only downside to last minute planning is some things might have longer turn around times, especially if they are handmade, therefore it is worth trying to purchase these things as soon as possible. 

25/04/2017 - Invitations

Pre-last minute wedding me would have spent weeks working out how I was going to design my invites and I had a whole Pinterest board on wedding invite ideas. However last minute wedding me had to make a fast and affordable decision as we were due to go away for a family holiday at the end of April and I needed the invites to arrive before then. 

It is also worth noting at this point we had to do the very difficult decision of the guest list. Our package contained 50 day guests with optional add ons. We worked our day list out to be 55 and paid the extra 5 heads. We had to stick to strictly family with just a handful of our close friends. We then added on evening guests  to contain a lot of our friends, however due to it being a school night and some of them not based in our home town, this number turned out to be an additional 30 in the end. 

I used two different companies for our evening and day invitations, this is based on deals I got regarding how many invites I was ordering to make it cost effective. 

The day invites were ordered from Optimalprint as they do lovely invite designs with matching menu enclosures as part of bundle deals. We got a money off deal that was being advertised at the time and our order of 30 invites came to £52.00 with a 2 day delivery turn around. 

I was really impressed with the quality of the invites and they looked just as nice for the fact I'd spent 30 minutes on them to if I had designed or made the invites and spent days on them. Time is money my friend!

Our evening invites were ordered from Truprint and again I had a 15% off code (most of the time if you sign up to any website you get a discount or an e-mail of a discount to look out for) we ordered 40 7x5 cards with the fastest delivery for £34.00. This would ensure we received both sets of our invitations before we left for our holiday on the 28th April. 

26/04/2017 - Toppers and planning

It was around this date I thought I needed to get myself a planning book to keep everything together. I already had a Paperchase scrap book at home and some stamp letters and paperclips. So I set about dividing the sections up to cover everything I needed to organise and plan and used the paperclips to bunch these sections together or attach any photos or sample ideas to give me inspiration. 

I also received our beautiful cake topper from Capola Designs who I found via my friends post on Instagram. This came so quickly and beautiful quality and a great price (£13!) and fitted our theme perfectly. 

27/04/2017 - Seating Plan

This was hands down one of the hardest parts of my last minute wedding. It is actually really hard to please everyone while fitting into a certain number of seats around tables.

I found the easiest way to plan (due to the many changes you might have to make as your brain works it out)was to write all your guests names on sticky labels and draw some circles for your table arrangements. This way you can pick people up and place them down and shuffle them about until you are happy. When you are happy you can then type up a final list (print one for you, one for the venue) and its handy to put peoples meal orders next to them as well. 

Now Mart and I both have separated parents and this always makes things a little interesting at weddings. Everyone does it differently, but we wanted our parents and siblings to sit with us at the top table. We placed one of our own children between each parent to keep the peace and we placed our siblings on the end of the table each side to box them in. We figured this is the one day of our lives we could ask our parents to sit together again for us, I know this doesn't work with everyone but if you can play the 'but it's my wedding day' card then do it! 

We are extremely lucky to have all our grandparents earth side with us and therefore thought it would be lovely to sit them all together on one table. We ensured they got the table closest to the top table for the optimal sight and hearing spot. 

There are so many different ways to seat people and I can honestly say working it out is brain taxing but remember - it is YOUR day and don't start taking requests from people because you will end up stressing yourself out. It's for a maximum of 2 hours at the end of the day and people can get up between courses if they must. 

It all worked out fine on the day! 

So we were 10 days into our wedding plans by this point, I felt I had achieved a lot! What I haven't mentioned before is in this 10 weeks we also had the following - a week away in Norfolk with family to celebrate my mums 50th, a week away in Butlins for our little family holiday, Logan's 4th Birthday, a trip to Thomasland, a visit from America of Martin's family and an ongoing garden project.

Told you we don't do things by half right?

End of Part 1! 

Least we had a hot tub on holiday! 

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The One Where Dreams Really Do Come True

So a little backstory for you, Mart and I don't do things easy or tradition and we certainly don't hang about. Whether this is 'making up for lost time' or we're just so head over heals in love (sorry - too mushy?) that we don't even realise we are zooming through our life goals, but we've had a busy couple of years.

We started dating end of January 2015, became 'Facebook official' in the March, he moved in with me and Logan in the October and by the following May, our house purchase was due to complete. Now you know what they say - new house, new baby. Well on Friday 13th May (good for some!) we found out we were pregnant with 'Chubb', who would become our Evie Rose. A day later we left for Paris for a couple of days before heading to Disneyland Paris for my Christmas present.

Now as friends do, they speculated - was an engagement on the cards?  I was adamant it was a no because WE HAD JUST BOUGHT A HOUSE - I'd seen months worth of bank statements, he wasn't hiding anything! (Luckily I sort the admin out - my PayPal purchases for Instagram buys weren't even questioned)

So off we went to Paris, we had a lovely couple of days sightseeing, up the Eiffel Tower (just about - Mart is terrified of heights - he was never going to propose up there!), staying in a beautiful hotel, we even stuck our love lock on the bridge before we left Paris for Disney on the Monday morning. 

16/05/16 - what a aesthetically pleasing date. 

So we arrive at Disney and I cry when we arrive because I'm a little Princess at heart and it had been 10 years since I'd been to Disneyland. As an adult you appreciate everything more, I knew it had cost a lot for us to come and I was going to enjoy every minute of it! 

I was also three weeks pregnant and hormones everywhere. 

Now there were a few things this holiday that didn't make sense until after I knew there was a ring involved. One was when we were in Paris - now Mart is a pretty chilled guy, he doesn't get worked up about a lot of things (Unless he's on the road or it's ITFC losing) and therefore when I threw my toothbrush in his washbag as we were packing up, I didn't expect him to give me an integration as to why I had been in or near his washbag. I might have even said 'Chill, the brushes aren't touching!'. The second was when we left our hotel that afternoon to go into the Disney park - he asked, will we be coming back here later or are we out now for the day? 

Well we are out for the day of course, this girl doesn't stop for nothing! I'm going to see every minute of Disney. 

So we hit the shops, we hit some of the rides and at 10pm we found a spot to stand and watch the light show. So we've had a great day, just this morning we were in Paris throwing our keys in the river. Now we are standing by a Micky themed lamp post waiting for the fantastic light show. Love was in the air and I was feeling pretty lucky.

Mart turns to me and says - tomorrow we'll have to get an even better spot right in front of the castle. I'm like oh yes but Wednesday night because tomorrow we are booked into the Wild West dinner. He looks somewhat panicked and announces he thinks he needs the toilet before the show starts in half an hour. He tells me he'll be right back and says he will take his wallet with him because he might get a brownie too and off he dashes.

So I'm chilling by myself and it's getting more crowded. I check my phone and I have 2% battery (standard!) and the time is 10:20. I text Mart to say 1- He better hurry up! and 2-I have hardly any battery so he won't be able to contact me. He texts me back that there is a long queue in the toilets (the mens?! really!) and he will be there soon. It gets to 10:29 and my phone dies and I'm thinking oh god, what if they have stopped more people getting into this part of the park? I'm about to watch the light show by myself. 

Suddenly he appears beside me, he looks sweaty in the cold evening and he hasn't got his jumper on, it's over his arm in some servant style hold. The light show begins and I give him the eyes like - never leave me again by myself. 

I cry three more times during the light show because I'm a pregnant Princess and they played be my guest. I was videoing it on my DSLR to preserve the memory but I felt pretty neglecting of my partner standing next to me. I switch my camera to my left hand and try to grab his hand to hold (multi tasking at it's best), but he faffs about and while I've got eyes on the castle while trying to locate his hand and not feel up a stranger, he shifts his jacket to the other side and holds my hand. 

The light show finishes and the lamp post we are standing next to has its rope moved and Mart asks if we can step up onto the curb because his leg was hurting. I'm currently half talking about how amazing the show was and half complaining I'm cold when Mart suggests we find someone to take a photo of us outside the castle. Now anyone that knows me will know I RARELY turn down a photo opportunity, especially if I wasn't the one to peer pressure Mart into it, HOWEVER I'm cold, we've been awake for hours, people are rushing to leave the park, my phone is dead and I know my DSLR will come out blurry so I say 'nah I'm ok'. 

At this point Mart drops to the floor, I'm not sure if he's fainted at me declining a photo or his lace is untied when he suddenly produces a ring box in front of me. The light from the lamp post illuminates it and it feels like the people are swarms of fish going around us but not bumping into us. 

I'm not sure of his exact words but I think he opened with 'BABE...' and will you marry me was in there somewhere. I was stunned in actual shock and what felt like 5 minutes of silence I'm sure was only a moment but I'm suddenly putting the ring on my finger (and questioning if I actually answered Yes out loud?) and I'm hugging him and people are still swarming around us.

AMAZING. dream come true. at DISNEY. 

Next thing I ask if I can actually put the ring back in the box because it's too big for me (thanks to my sister, the jeweller who thinks I have fat fingers)and I'm terrified I'm going to lose it. 

(I'm SO glad I had my nails done before we went!)

We get back to our hotel and Mart tells me how he ran down Main Street, through Disney village to our hotel (New York - 2nd hotel in from the park, still a fair walk) and up to our room to grab the ring. He then had to run all the way back and queue at security to get checked to get back into the park. They don't allow reentry after 10:30 so when he put the ring box down on the baggage check, security told him to go go go! (He's not at the height of any fitness bless him) and he just managed to get back in the park. He then had to battle the crowds to get back to our place. He also tells me he stashed it in his washbag while we were in Paris and that was why he went into panic that I'd been in there. 

We text pictures to our family & friends and apparently EVERYONE else knew apart from me what the plan was. Turns out my dad told my brother, who told my sister, who told my cousin, who told the world etc. My work friends saw him walking back from town with the H Samuel bag months back and have been questioning every romantic outing we've had since then and Mart's mum had been keeping a hold of the ring. He'd bought it in January and therefore missed the mortgage bank statements and I clearly aren't as observant as I thought I was. 

So there we had it, our baby and a ring all in the happiest place on earth. 

The next day we went back to our lamppost and we had that photo! Turns out Mart thought it would be cute to have someone take a photo of him proposing and while it WOULD have been had I be in a cute dress with my Minnie ears on - I was actually wearing two hoodies and looking quite rough! 

We also hunted around for someone to take this photo for us - we found a Disney employee, the first photo he took he chopped off the top the castle - he returned a moment later to say he didn't realise it was quite an important photo and he'd retake it (good because I wasn't satisfied haha)and we used this photo when we got home from Paris to tell our family we were expecting!

So that's the backstory! This was going to be part 1 of how I planned my last minute wedding but I've gone on a bit (reliving the memories) and so the engagement has snagged itself it's own post! 

I know a few people have got engaged in Disney - if you have, please message me and tell me your story/where it was! I love hearing them.

S x