France, Mum, Food and Wedding Talk

My mum is my biggest cheerleader. She is impressed by pretty much everything I do which is great and much needed when you are feeling blue. France is one of my homes, her home. An army brat learns to make a home where ever they can!

This little blog is just about me and my mum, France, food and a bit of wedding talk. Hope you enjoy!

Lazy me

When I get to Jarnac I turn into loungy French me. I swan around the house drinking Kronenburg, nibbling of french bread and Port Salut. I am happy as Larry coming back home to France.

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We normally don’t stray to far from Jarnac as my breaks to see my mum are all about relaxation and family not travelling frantically about. We normally end up on the veranda, have big life talks or curled up at night on the sofa chatting nonsense.

Until my parents moved to France I didn’t think of it as a holiday destination which is crazy. I think for couples France is so romantic, chateaus, champagne and amazing food. France doesn’t have to cost a fortune and from Britain it is just a short flight.

Most people tend to go straight to Paris, the French Alps or the south of France and they miss out on all the beautiful cities and towns in between. If you want a relaxing, meandering, brocante filled long weekend then visit France.

I spent a long time on the lawn sipping passion fruit gin and tonics going through my mums floristry books. It so peaceful and beautiful.

All the weight gaining alcohol

This trip was a lovely lazy trip. We went to a vineyard and picked up Cognac Champagne which if you are ever in the area you must try. It is delicious and very rare even in the area. I bought all their stock they had left which was two bottles!

Yum.

My mother is kindly supplying our toasting Champagne from a local vineyard and we cant wait. It is light and not bitter at all, we had it at my brothers wedding in proper champagne glasses ( which I wont be having: tiniest gripe).

All the yummy food

Mum has been learning more french recipes and Eggs Mimosa  is definitely my new favourite. This was one of the best lunches of all time, light and refreshing and enough left overs that I could have it for tea the next day.

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We went to a few restaurants and had amazing steak at both! our aperitif was a lovely Cognac Schweppes.

Although my mum is a wee bit stressed about making my bouquet everything else she is really relaxed about. She cant wait. We had a slightly stressful conversation about the legal part of our ceremony which I am still annoyed about. Annoyed that I have a legal ceremony not the fact that she was talking about it.

It has kind of grown from two people to immediate family but hey, thats okay. It just means our super fancy meal at the Holborn Dining rooms will be at a great affordable London Pub instead.

My sister referenced Kate Winslet’s wedding and I said yes, just like that! Well we all know I love Marianne in Sense and Sensibility!

We also talked about Videographer’s and prices and my brother suggested that I stop focusing on creating these magical Youtube moments and just pay someone to capture the whole day. I think he was right and me and Gav discussed it and we are now just looking for someone to capture our day.

Nothing Fancy

Just withing our budget.

And that’s what I need to focus on. Not creating a stupid Pinterest wedding I need to create a beautiful wedding for me and Gav. A moment in time when our friends and family can drink and be merry.

That’s what we are focusing on, oh and our budget.

At this moment in time I would like to be under our budget not over it!

when I left France and my mum is was so hard. I had to say goodbye to so many of my family in such a short time. My mum is coming over to help with the invites and wedding planning but that’s not till the new year.

Till then it will just be Skype!

Bon voyage mon ami!

Wedding Planning; It’s all in the details

I know that my guests don’t really care that much about the details. They wont care that I have made all the table clothes and hand dyed all the napkins. They may think me brilliantly talented or absolutely stir crazy! But I love details at a wedding. Love them.

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To me, wedding planning, its all in the details

When my friends Sam and Keith got married they had a travel theme. Bunting was made out of maps as well as the boutonnieres. We had mini suitcases filled with boozy sweets as favours. The table was made up of travel books and tiny travel origami. It was all pretty perfect. The amount of effort they went to and yes, half the guests probably didn’t notice but I did. I loved it all!

Details are all about effort, creating a perfect space

I am not making everything because I am a control freak. I am doing it because it is going to save us an absolute fortune in renting and money. I can resell the napkins on as well as keep a set for us to use all the time. Table runners can also be resold, I am looking forward into curating this wedding.

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Plus, I am creative. A wedding day designed by you is a creative person’s dream.
I want it to be bright and colourful with nods to things we like.
I want our guests to eat and drink and be really for happy for us.
I also want it to be semi original (not going to happen) Pinterest has too many inspirations and at the end of the day I don’t want it look like everyone else’s.
It is easy to get lost in the details.

Planning

I use my bullet journal, I have lists upon lists in it. It has a time line, budgets, ideas, sizes, savings, due dates. You name it. My life is in that planner. I have a lot of lists of things I cam going to make and things I am going to source.
Which means I have a lot to do, a lot to make.
I am going to continue to put a lot of effort in the details because it is what I am interested in.
When I read wedding blogs I scour over the tables, what flowers they have used. How full the table is, what are the favours? I look at the table numbers and how everything is arranged. To me there are never enough photos of the little bits.

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Promises to myself

It really is my favourite bit and I know that I sound a little crazy. Weddings where the tables are jam packed full of details fill me with such pleasure.

So, at the end of the day I will make a few promises to myself.
• I will have a cut off date when the details have to stop
• I will buy if it is cheaper
• I will not worry if people don’t notice it
• I will try not to overwhelm our wedding with details!!!
• I will not stress if some of my projects don’t turn out right and I can’t use them

Well we will see if I can keep my promises to myself.
If you are doing a lot of DIY, Good Luck.

We can do this!

Generic Wedding Saving Blog tips and are they helpful?

As I have been dreaming of a wedding for years I have read hundreds of blogs on helpful  tips wedding advice. Where to spend your money and where to splurge.

I would have considered myself an expert until I started planning my own wedding.
Then I realised that so much of their wedding tips to save money are just too generic.
My biggest gripe with other blogs is when you are looking for ways to save money on your wedding and they suggest you elope.

THAT IS NOT HELPFUL WHEN PLANNING A WEDDING!

This has got to be the most useless advice ever. They may as well say don’t do it! An elopement is not the same as a wedding with friends and family. If you don’t want to spend money, deal with family stress, making your own wedding invites, then why are you reading a blog on money saving tips for your big wedding day?
I am not saying elopements don’t take money and time to plan. An intimate wedding for two is still a wedding but they are not the same as a wedding day.
Seriously bloggers!!! If you planning on having a reception when you get back then you are still spending money on a wedding and it can still be as stressful. So an elopement is not helpful advice thank you very much!

Money

Let’s talk money and weddings. I don’t think you should ever plan anything above your budget. Why would you spend more than you can afford? Modern day weddings are not all carriages and huge white dresses.

Setting your budget is important but so is doing your research!

If you had to strip everything away including guests then who and what would remain?
This is the most important question for you as a couple. What do you want. What do you not care about. What can you sacrifice so you have what you want and will it be worth it. It is your day, not your family’s or your friends, do this one for yourself. They love you and know you they will get it.
The problem with generic advice is your wedding is not generic. It is personal. Even if you want to recreate someone else wedding ideas it will still not be generic as it will be you and your wedding party.

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Blog tip 1: When to get married

Often the response is to get married in off peak season as it is always cheapest.
Yes, they are right, winter months are cheaper but the wedding industry is really pushing us and increasing our winter wedding to ridiculous costs.

October is now considered late season not off season. Expensive is always going to be expensive.
These bloggers are suggesting ways to save money but at who’s expense? Getting married on a Tuesday means your guests have to get take two days holiday off to attend you event. It may be cheaper for you but not for them.
There are other options…..
Either get married within 6 months and grab all the last-minute bargains including venues. Leaving it last minute may get the opposite, you may get overcharged for a few things as well. Cancelled booking etc means that deals spring up all over the place.
You need to be highly organise but I am telling you can do it.
Or get married in two years and save up towards it. I didn’t think I could save as much as I have but I am determined to be debt free after the wedding.

Blog tip 2: Cut down on your guests

Well yes that is an obvious one, but sometimes you really do have a big family or group of friends. We are planning around 110 people. If you think about it that’s 55 people each…. 20 of mine are family members then I am inviting 15 of my closest friends and their partners.
That isn’t that many people.
The majority of their partners are my friends and I have known them for years. We won’t have anyone there who’s names we don’t remember after a couple of drinks. This is the benefit of getting married after a decade. Our lives are entwined. His friends are mine.
We aren’t having children except for the wedding party. This is helping with costs but also we don’t really want children there.

It’s our choice: we are child free.
Cutting down your wedding guest list will save you money. As long as you have the people around you who mean the most to you, who have always been there for you then they are who matter.
Weddings cost so much money!!!! You can’t invite everyone you know but is telling you to limit your numbers that helpful?

Not sure… I guess so. Just don’t go crazy.

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Blog tip 3: Don’t use real flowers use fake

Okay, hmm, unless you don’t like flowers then why not use them? You don’t have to have a fancy bouquet with diamonds in the roses. Just have a great big bunch of your favourite flowers.
You can buy little potted plants that decorate the table and double as favours.
Use in season flowers bought direct from a flower wholesaler or market trader. Just let them know what you are after and turn up the day before to buy them. Ask a crafty friend to put them together just don’t have massive expectations for them to be the dreamlike Instagram worthy creations. Gypsophila, white carnations or hydrangea heads can look really effortlessly chic and can be whipped together quickly. Don’t forget super market flowers!!
Keeping your flowers simple is key to an elegant look.
Boutonnieres are £12 a pop (yes really!) these are simple to make but don’t attempt unless you are crafty or have someone to guide you. Youtube can teach you quickly and you can practice with your garden flowers. These really don’t need to made from fresh flowers. These can also be super personal too, think geeky toys, pin badges.
Paper flowers are so simple you could learn to make them in 10 minutes and perfect in an hour!
My awesome friend Jess didn’t have flowers she had cool gourds on the table and her bouquet was a gorgeous designer clutch bag that she wanted. I loved her priorities she wasn’t a fan of flowers so she didn’t have them.

 

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Blog tip 4: Make your own invites

Before I start on the cost of invites I can tell you that I am hand making my own. They will be 3D colourful and have separate bits to them. They will cost me approximately £200 including stamps and the order of services. It will take me a good couple of months to design, send to the printers and put together.
I am also going to say that the invite sets the tone to the wedding. The dress code, colours and organisation. Pour as much into onto those bits of card or you will forever have people calling you with times, presents wedding colours, you name it they will ask for it.
You spending hours attaching Swarovski crystals on your invites will mean nothing to them. A bride who has been there and any crafty friends you have will appreciate your effort. They may comment that the will look lovely but, in the end, they are heading for the recycling bin of destiny.
(disclaimer I actually love an invite, I keep them all as a memento of the day but also because I just love stationery)
My advice to you is this, if you are making them then keep it simple. I know I am not but I have a year to make them. Your guests just want information they will regard a fancy invite with the same eye as a printed invite. Plus printed invites are not what they used to be.
Guests want to see the love, they want to laugh with you and have a little happy cry.
As long as they are fed and watered they rest is not important.

Blog tip 5: You need a Spreadsheet

Okay I would agree with this. Making sure you track your money is vital to your savings. But you don’t have to use the bloggers. Make your own it takes about ten minutes to knock one up or just go on excel templates. They are prepared for you. You can cut out the bits that you don’t want.
Paying for someone’s spreadsheet is ludicrous.
The first thing I did when I started asking for quotes was set up a joint email address separate to our personal accounts. This means that I don’t get in updated with quote in my personal email, now GDPR has kicked in this is less of an issue however. If you are getting a lot of quotes you have them all in one place. I love it.

Blog tip 6: Wedding apps and making your own wedding websites

For carbon footprint conscientious brides with tech savvy guests this is great.
For the rest of us I am going to say no.
Go on any blogging forum and you will hear of upset brides that are in tears or disappointed because they keep getting calls from confused family members who don’t go online. Save yourself the stress, put it on website if you want one but print out a paper version for your older family members.

They are going to call you anyway.
As for wedding apps I have tried 3 and I don’t find them personal at all. Yes you can adapt them and change bits but honestly my excel spread sheet has times and dates when thing need or have been paid. They liked to send me updated of when I needed things completed by but I don’t like there timelines. I have a wedding Bullet journal.
I am old school but everything is in there.

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When booking anything for your wedding, the sooner the better.
I have 15 months to go, I have venue, photographer and entertainment booked. Flowers are being done by my mum and bridesmaid…. The rest we are working on.

Blogging tip 7: Wedding trends for 2000 and blah blah

Blah blah is about right. Fasted way to date your wedding is to follow all the bridal trends there are. Just do want you want within your means. Calligraphers are amazing. It is a true art, but can you read it? Can you? Neat handwriting is better than scrolls of words, again most things written on paper are going straight to the Recycling Bin of Destiny.
Welcome signs are beautiful (I love them and will hopefully be making one) but do you need it nope- cut costs. Orders of the day are useful but after the ceremony nobody looks at them. No one. This I don’t generally keep.
Succulents ( I am addicted to) geodes, geometric metallics and acrylic signage, I love them all and Pinterest is guilty of putting them on my wedding feed. But these are a trend and we are being led by them. I love them and think they all look beautiful but follow what you love not what is in fashion.

Blogging tip 8: Don’t have wedding favours

Ooh I am stuck. Not sure about this one. I didn’t want them. Gav does. So, I went into design mode and have created the box for the favours to go in. All I need to sort out is what to put in them.
Favours are hit and miss. I think my favourite ones are edible or drinkable ones. Port yummy, pick-a-mix great but are they necessary absolutely not! I don’t mind if people forgo the wedding favour. Nor should you. Let’s just say you pay £1 a favour, then you have to put them in box or container, then you need some ribbon to tie round it. It all adds up.

Un less it is edible guess where it is heading………

Common sense

Planning above your means is futile
Modern day weddings happen the other was around now. Peoples priorities have changed. Buying a house is the biggest commitment you can make to each other before marriage.
Let’s face it 25k is becoming half a deposit for a house. A few years ago, it was your whole deposit.
Times are changing and everything is rising in price.
Do what you want! Making is cheaper but your time isn’t. Weigh up what you want to spend on what and try to keep to that budget.
So as a practical person, having a house is actually more important than have a big fancy wedding. Luckily, I don’t want a big fancy wedding, I just want my friends and family to help me celebrate me and Gav and our relationship.
It is still costing more than I would like but because we are making a lot, we are saving thousands of pounds.
As I am being honest even if I was rich I would still have the wedding we are planning. I just wouldn’t be making all the bits I am.
Time is precious.
You are not generic.
Dana

Wedding flower diary’s: The limited flower knowledge out there!

I love floral arrangements, the colours the smell and hopefully my wedding will be filled with flowers. I want them to be bright and colourful and I am not limiting my colour choices.

It will be whatever they have in stock the day before we get married.

I am still undecided about throwing the bouquet because my mother will be making it. Also, I have caught 3 bouquets (all with my future husband) and was embarrassed at two bouquet tosses, another story.

Sadly there is such limited flower knowledge even online

I truly am the luckiest girl in the world, my mum and best friend are both florists but even if they weren’t I would still be doing it myself. I am not into fussy roses and perfect displays.

So, I am constantly asking my mum for flowers, emailing her bouquets I like only to have the email reply saying sorry darling they are not in bloom then!

I am after a meadow flower look, think Marianne’s flowers from Mr Willoughby.

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Sense and Sensibility 1995

I have been to a lot of weddings

Intimate, elaborate, DIY, personal. I am not a fan of round tables because if you have ever been stuck next to someone you have nothing in common with or worse don’t like, you are stuck with them for 2 hours.

Now a trestle table you have the option of 5 people, 5, that is definitely my cup of tea.

My good friend recently got married and her table setting was the stuff of dreams it was gorgeous (Pictured below) and perfect but I had to ask for one flower arrangement to be removed because I couldn’t see my partner in front of me. It also meant that he could then see the top table and the speeches.

In my head the table settings will be fun and organic. And nothing will be above 30 centimetres so people can see each other and talk.

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I wanted Peonies, every bride wants peonies but they are an elusive flower that only blooms for 5 minutes in June (lucky June Brides).

Then I wanted anenomies along with another favourite of mine which are ranunculus but they are not in bloom till November but I may get lucky. I love poppies and September is poppy season so hopefully I can have some brightly coloured oriental poppies.

If you are a DIY bride you start to become a bit of an expert at flowers

However, nowhere, NO WHERE have I found a complete list, I want photographs. I want a comprehensive list of wedding flowers for a September wedding.

I know this is where a knowledgeable florist will come in helpful but I have my mum for reference and I want to save money.

In this modern world I do find this infuriating – I have read a few blogs and sites only to find out its American which has a totally different climate depending on where they are. So, I have to start from scratch.

I am arming my bridesmaids with the task of taking pictures of as many flowers as they can in September.

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In my head I see soft pinks and corals, gorgeously soft greens, yellows, cornflower blues, delicate purples, soft oranges and of course white with pretty gypsophila all over it.

I also find it frustrating that Septembers flowers have to be rich reds, deep burgundies mustard yellow and oranges. Now I know we are at the start of autumn but in this country, September can be the best part of the summer.

We want bright colours to help celebrate our day.

If like me you are struggling to find your perfect flowers with all the limited knowledge out there then please hold tight, help is on the way. Until I find exactly what we want I am collecting a series of flowers that will bloom in September.

So, for all you DIY brides and grooms I will create a summer/ autumn flower guide to aid you in your wedding planning.

Have fun planning

Dana