Wedding Rant: Rules to abide by or don’t bother coming

I truly believe that you should make your wedding what you want it. This is my wedding rant brought on by a certain person hinting that they were wearing white to our wedding. I have always followed the no white at a wedding rule. I think its only fair. That include cream and other colours similar to white. I just won’t do it and think its tasteless. If you want your guests in jeans and white dresses then fine have them.

HOWEVER

If you have not said people can arrive at your wedding in white or jeans then never ever assume its going to be okay. I know you are paying to be there but weddings cost money so please take this opportunity to dress up not down.

My personal opinion

If you really want to wear white or jeans then don’t bother coming. If you can’t be bothered to make an effort for a day that means so much to the people that have invited you then why bother.

Now I am not saying that you can’t wear a nice cream/ white blazer or smart trousers etc not everyone has to wear a dress then that’s acceptable and if you are an evening guest then there really are no rules for dress code.

Accessories are also fine!

But

If you wear a white, cream ivory or champagne dress lacy or not then please don’t turn up to my wedding. I have seen so many women at weddings looking like a bride wannabe and it is always unmarried girls/women doing that.

Just make the effort

Its one day, their day, honour them and don’t wear white. As for denim I am going to say the same thing. Its one day, get your trousers out purlease.

The wedding couple go to the trouble of making/ designing an invite. Generally, there is a nod to the wedding colours on it. So if the invite is in, say white and pale green then the bridesmaids will be wearing pale green. If you don’t want to look like a bridesmaids, again don’t wear the colours.

I am not having a colour them so as long as its not white or denim I really don’t mind what you wear.

I don’t think you have a right to tell people what to wear but I do think these are just a given.

Sorry, you won’t change my mind!

Do I think that people are going to take away from me in my white dress?

Nope

Do I think that people are going to be confused who the bride is?

Absolutely not

But common curtesy is just that. I also don’t agree with cutting you nails out side your own home. Standing on the right of an escalator (there are signs people). People watching their phones without head phones. Tutting when people ask you to move your bag (it must be really tired to need a seat on its own?)

I just think that manner are manners.

And unspoken rules should be respected unless specified otherwise.

Wedding Fitness, Calorie Counting: Can I drink and diet?

I need to focus on my wedding fitness and calorie counting is helping. I know what you are thinking, I don’t have to diet for my wedding. I should just be happy in myself. My body isn’t terrible but I don’t like it.  Body confidence only works if you like what you see. I can’t convince myself that I look good because I don’t.

I don’t.

I thought I would share with you things I have changed. My drinking habits and how I have had to improve with my diet. Wedding fitness is not just for that one day, but the years after it.

I want to be healthy!

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Pints of Larger in Val D’ isere, Apres Ski

Drink

When the cooler months glisten at our doorstep I love a large glass of red in winter (204 calories). In warmer months it is a large glass of cold white wine in my hand (214 calories). But I don’t have one glass, nope, I will have three which is roughly 600 calories…. Your average intake for a woman in 2000! So 600 may not seem so bad but if like me you are a little overweight then those calories add up.

I am less active in the winter, I don’t run or walk as far. So those calories easily turn into pounds.

But I don’t just stick to wine, no.

Not sure there if there is anything better than sitting in a pub, next to fire, puppy at your feet big roast dinner on its way and a lovely pint of ale. You will find me with Doombar (203 calories) and Wandel (185) with a great big smile on myself.

Holborn Dining Rooms

Favourite Place in London, Holborn Dining Rooms they are all gin!

I like a drink,I like to eat. I don’t like moderation so much.

This doesn’t mean I drink all the time, just when I want to relax.

We have a wine rack, it is rather large. Gav bought it online, it is half a champagne rack and holds 60 bottles. It is completely full. We have wine bottles on the floor stacking up, when we have dinner parties we rarely touch it, which is crazy.

Do you do that, buy a new bottle rather than open one you already have?

If I meet up with my friends we will meet for drinks, we have dinner with food and then a few drinks before we hit the road.

If I am travelling by myself then I generally don’t drink too much. I like to have glasses of water when I drink so I stay hydrated. Not a fan of hangovers so I am also not some one who drinks right up until I go to sleep.

I like a drink and I am not going to change that

My friends like a drink too.

I had to cut back, because it is better for my skin and the number of calories are in alcohol is ridiculous.

My main weight is on my belly so that’s food and booze. My beer belly!

My drinking habits had to change… bye bye ale.

Not including holidays and festivals, I have had about 10 beers this year. Wine I have just monitored but prosecco is just a waste of calories!! 80 calories in that tiny glass!

Hello Gin

A single gin and tonic is 59 calories and because my dad taught me how to pour gin and tonic I have always had doubles which contains 112 calories as long as you use slim line tonic. This is one of the best drinks for calorie control. I can plan a few drinks or just burn off the calories.

My gin has gone from Bombay Sapphire to about 30 different gins. I love trying them I even organised a gin tour in London with my best friend and it was brilliant.

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Gin pamphlet I made for Becky’s Epic Gin Tour

I love gin but I don’t care for fancy tonics I am not a gin snob. Schweppes or generic brands are fine, I want to taste the gin! We have super expensive brands and also unusual ones we find in the supermarket on offer or on holiday.

I get a lot of gin for presents and I love it.

Except for the Ferdinand (Gavs Gin which is my absolute favourite) we just open a bottle and drink it. This picture of my gin trolley was when I first bought the trolley. Now I have so many gins they are on both trays and now on the floor under the wine rack.

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I think the most important thing about being healthy is not denying yourself the things you love but understandingwhat you are putting into your body.

When you find out how many calories are in a delicious premade pizza (2000) you start to realise that it really isn’t worth your daily intake.

I said previously that I am using Lose it App. I get to monitor everything. Although it sounds crazy to be like that I actually like it. Scanning in my food, seeing if I have gone over my calorie allowance. It also lets you set an achievable goal. You can adjust it if you want to be more proactive which is what I have done.

My daily allowance is 1376 calories a day.

You can break it up however you like they have suggestions etc. I also put my weight now and what I have lost. It tells me that in 4 months I will lose another stone.

I don’t drink during the week now. I wait till the weekend now and mainly only if we eat out or if it’s a special occasion.

My gin sits expectantly on its shelf, tonic chilling in the fridge with the limes.

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Dalloway Terrace, London

So can I diet and drink?

Absolutely. Moderation is key and not punishing yourself if you do go overboard. I don’t miss it, and I really enjoy my drinks at the weekend.

I am not 20 anymore, I can’t drink without hangovers and I can’t eat without gaining weight.

With exercise and portion control I can do this.

Looking after myself isn’t a chore but it is a challenge, hopefully someday soon it will be second nature.

I see women running, sweating and trying and I just want to high five them all!

If you are trying to lose weight you can do it!

We can do it

Dana

Will I be an emotional mess: Ugly crier

Since we have gotten engaged I am an emotional mess, plain and simple.

I cry pretty much every time I think about our wedding. From reading my blogs you may think that I am a mess all the time, what with waiting to get engaged. I appear to be crying constantly. I want to be able to control it or risk having photos of me, an ugly crier.

When I think about…

…My dad walking me down the aisle

…My mum seeing me in my dress

…Seeing Gavin for the first time

…. reciting our own vows

Writing this, tears are filling my eyes. (come on Dans grrr)

I don’t want to cry… is this a bride to be hormonal issue?

Do lots of brides feel this surge of emotion?

When my sister in-law got married we could see her getting overwhelmed. She looked so beautiful and was so happy but we could see the emotional tide surging against her. The photographer told her to take a big breath or she was going to miss it and get swept away with her very real emotions. She would miss the little bits, the joys the laughter she needed to focus. So she took a big breath and had pretty happy tears in her eyes for her first set of group photos.

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My brothers wedding

She looked stunning

I don’t want to miss my wedding because my face is all scrunched up and on a purely selfish not I don’t want to mess up my makeup.

So I am trying a few steps.

Pinching my fingers, tilting my head up and trying to smile through it.

Plus, I will be wearing waterproof mascara and hopefully as light a makeup as will make me look good.

The thing is this emotional nonsense means that is not just my wedding I cry at but adverts, old couples holding hands in the street, the news at ten drowns me in tears the Huffington post kills me. It seems I have changed to a weeping wreck from happy go lucky person.

I probably wont cry at all, I will be one of these brides that laugh at their partners as they weep. But it is still freaking me out.

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I, like most women am an ugly crier, blotchy , scrunched up face my eyes completely disappear and I generally resemble a butternut squash. Maybe my mantra should be Pumpkin face and then I can just focus on that. I do not want to become and emotional mess.

Its like Gav has flipped a switch in me and now I cry at everything.

I have been thinking about walking down the aisle and I think an upbeat song may get me through. I have 3 I am thinking about, two are romantic and one is upbeat but means a lot. Maybe I just need to stop focusing on guessing how I am going to react and just go with the flow.

I am British, I believe in pulling up your socks and just getting over it.

Try not to cry and just enjoy the day I have waited so long to enjoy.

If you have any tips on not crying then please let me know I would love to hear from you.

Dana

#Pumpkinface

 

Planning and Organising 3 Hen Dos

 

Have you ever tried to plan a hen do? A group of relative strangers who are all linked via one person. It is not easy.

The older you get the more difficult it is to plan things.

To organise x amount of people with different things going on in their lives, sometimes it is practically impossible.

I have about 6 Whatsapp groups where we all try and meet up. Most of the time it is a text from Jess saying are you still up for Saturday. I have completely forgotten that I had plans but then I just end up going.

I used to be worse!

Completely dysfunctional; I forgot everything. But this isn’t anything this is my hen do.

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Snow Boarding group!

 

I am having a few: one in Madrid (my favourite city at the moment), A Hag do in London/France Skiing and another Hen in Essex. This way all mine and Gavin’s friends can attend the ones they are available for and can afford.

It sounds excessive but my sister lives in New Zealand so won’t be there until a week before the wedding. She is a bridesmaid so that’s why I am having an Essex Hen Do. Plus, the elders can attend that one.

Hen Dos are expensive

We are having a few, goodness knows how I am going to save for them.

I don’t really believe in your hens brunting all of the cost. I don’t mind them paying for drinks and the odd meal but not flights and accommodation.

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Becky’s Hen do Edinburgh

I have organised one hen do, been part of the creative side of my sister in Law and attended a fair few myself.

My best friend gave me a list of 44 people.

I was freaking out about what that many people could do and stay. Luckily it was a small group of us that went away and a larger group that attended the London hen do.

Still there were cross words, tears and I am pretty sure one hen never paid me. Guess that’s my fault for not being more organised.

One of the biggest issues is people not getting back to you. Dongle the organiser was a great help for picking the date but still I only had people’s emails to deal with.

Nightmare

My dyspraxia means that I tend to read an email and answer in a very straight forward way. Which can come across as abrupt, blunt sometimes rude. I don’t mean it. I read emails at face value, without a tone and certainly not between the lines. Some of the hens didn’t understand this.  I had to explain myself to them and as soon as I talked about my dyspraxia they understood my reply’s.

All in all, we had an amazing Hen do in Edinburgh, caught up with old friends, drunk lots of booze in our old haunts. Walked up Arthurs Seat! Had afternoon tea at the Dome (you have to do this) did some touristy bit too. Scotland rocks!

But I made a lot of mistakes.

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Abi’s Hen do Munich

So, with this info I am going to aid my organiser

Becky told me where she wanted her hen do one drunken night so when it was my turn, she asked me where I wanted to go. First place I thought of was Madrid.

Hot, sunny, beautiful Madrid. I loved it there and can’t wait to go back. Gav is off to Krakow which I also adore but there is something magical about Madrid.

Flights and accommodation can be sorted out for less than £200 so it would be the same price staying in the UK.

Things I learned from hen Dos I have been to

  • Organisation is Key
  • Let people pay for themselves
  • Respect people budgets
  • The hardest part is finding a free weekend
  • People don’t respond to people they barely know
  • There is a lot of pressure on the person organising
  • We are adults, let people be

 

Organisation is key

in planning a Hen do it doesn’t matter if you have 3 or 44 people leaving things to the last minute doesn’t work.

Let people pay for themselves

I get that sometimes people find it easier to pay on one credit card and then people can pay them back later. But that puts the stress on one bank account. I couldn’t afford to do that so why should other people.

Respect people budgets

We all have different pay check and budgets, respect that some people can’t afford everything. You invite them because you love don’t make them feel bad if you can’t afford it.

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Sam’s Hen Do, Penfest, yes those are dark clouds!

Finding a free weekend

I have set the date and given everyone 11 months’ notice. If they can’t make it I understand but almost a year should be plenty of notice especially for dates and also to save.

People don’t respond to people they barely know

I have also taken it upon myself to invite the guests on my Facebook account. I have done this so Becky doesn’t have the hard task of chasing everyone up. After collecting money, I found this the hardest. The yes/no’s the last-minute cant makes it’s made me book a place, then cancel it loosing my booking fee and paying for a cancellation.

The person organising is gold

Becky is just looking after one hen do. She is then organising with the girls to see do the final details that I am not allowed to know about she has two rules, no strippers and no penis anything!!! She is a super star but I know it will be work for her.

 

Sorry Becky.

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Sam loves Tennis, Penfest

We are adults, let people be

I mean it. If you can’t make, I totally understand. If you can’t afford it, I really do understand. If you just don’t fancy another hen do then don’t come. If people want to go to bed early, let them. If they don’t fancy dancing till 3am I don’t blame them.

 

My bed time is normally 10pm.

 

I am not getting involved in my hen do anymore. I will leave the planning to my bestest.

All I want is lovely wine, great food and my friends.

That’s it

A perfect hen do for me.

Have fun with your hen do and treasure those who are helping. They are gold.

Dana

Jess and Crispin’s Hag Do, Drink Shop Do

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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

Engaged: Heartbreak and The Long Wait

So I am engaged.

I am so happy. I wanted to share the journey and tears of getting here. I didn’t think it would but it has changed the dynamic of my relationship. I feel safe and secure and although it feels so old fashioned to say that, I do.

I feel like our relationship is fresh and new again.

I want this to be an honest blog, a super honest blog. I have been with my partner for 9 years. And after 4 years I did start to wonder if this is going anywhere. Broaching the subject of marriage often resulted in a shut down of communication and frustration on both sides.

Arguments, tears, often fuelled with alcohol (every relationship’s best friend).

heart beat
He felt pressured- I felt rejected.

Continue reading “Engaged: Heartbreak and The Long Wait”