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A Suffolk wedding - 2nd June 2018

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New bride

It's a bit last-minute, as I've only just signed up to this wonderful forum, but I thought I'd start a planning thread. It's good to have somewhere as an outlet to talk about it, as naturally there's certain aspects I'm wanting to keep a surprise from our guests. With only 2 months to go, the excitement is building!

How we met

We met at university in our final year studying Chemistry at York. We'd crossed paths a few times and I always considered my fiancé, Stephen, a pleasant enough person, but we hadn't spoken a great deal. A lot of people went off to do a year in industry, but we both decided to stay. One day, I was struggling to concentrate on studying at home, so I made the trip onto campus to use the computer room there, as I thought I wouldn't have so many distractions! Stephen sat at the computer next to me and we just started talking and realising we had a fair amount in common. He was looking to make some new friends as, like me, a lot of people he knew had left to complete a work placement. He asked me out for a drink and we ended up speaking on the phone every night over the Christmas holidays. My parents thought something was up, although we weren't 'officially' a couple at this point. We shared our first kiss a couple of weeks after term resumed and became boyfriend and girlfriend.

We've had a few challenges in our relationship - we had to be long-distance for four years whilst my fiancé finished his PhD, and our families are several hundred miles apart. His family live in Cumbria, whilst my family are down in Suffolk. I also suffer from anxiety and depression, which can put a strain on our relationship, as he is also not well (back problems that mean he's in immense pain a lot of the time). But, we've been together 11 years now and our relationship has grown stronger through the challenges we've faced, so it felt only natural to take the next step.

The proposal

I knew something was up when Stephen was taking me on a date involving a meal and a cinema trip, and said how anxious he was feeling - in his mum's words, he's normally 'so laid back, he's horizontal', so it was out of character for him. We went to see Beauty and the Beast - this had significance, as we went to see the musical way back in 2009, and he confessed that he wanted to pop the question then, but was too nervous. He knew I'd hate a public proposal, so we got in the front door, I sat on the sofa and he asked me then. I said yes without hesitation, cried happy tears and threw my arms around him. I'm not always good at hiding my emotions, and I suspect I'll need a plentiful supply of Kleenex at the wedding!

He didn't have a ring, as he wanted me to choose (he also didn't know my size!). We went ring shopping a few days later and I selected this:

It's an aquamarine with little diamonds around the border. I wanted something a little uncoventional and 'vintage' looking, so this fitted me perfectly. He was very romantic and took me to a secluded spot in the nearby Abbey Gardens, where he put the ring on my finger. I couldn't stop staring at it for the next few days!

The venue

I always liked the idea of a church wedding, as I have a religious background. Whilst I don't practice it much these days, I attended regularly when I was younger, was confirmed and played the organ in the church in my parents' home village. It's fair to say that it has a lot of nostalgia for me. The church weddings I've attended have been very atmospheric and emotional.

New bride

As you can see, the inside is quite small - we're having around 70 guests, so it will be pretty packed, but I'm hoping the familiarity will help my nerves on the day. I'm entering to 'Prelude in C' from 'The Well-Tempered Clavier' by J.S. Bach, leaving to 'Trumpet Tune in D' by Stanley and the register will be signed to an organ arrangement of the 'Adagio' from Mozart's Clarinet Concerto.

Our reception venue was chosen surprisingly quickly. We only looked around one! I always liked the idea of it being near the coast and I had my heart set on a country manor. The venue we settled on was Woodhall Manor in nearby Woodbridge:

Stephen's face lit up as soon as we looked around and we just had a really good feeling about the place. The gardens are so pretty, with the dovecote and floral arrangements making for lots of photo opportunities. We also liked the fact that the dance floor area and the room where we will have the wedding breakfast are separate - saves lots of shuffling tables around to make room later in the evening. There's also a quiet room if things get a bit too much for any of our guests. We were also sold on the sweetie table and photo booth on the first visit. We've booked a DJ for our evening entertainment and there will be theatre cooking later in the night, as we're having our main meal in the afternoon. We're currently working on a playlist - suggestions welcome, especially rock music! We're having a sparkler send-off, as it was a nice compromise after deciding we couldn't have fireworks as they're very expensive. I really want this to be set to 'Feeling Good' by Muse. We shall see. Our first dance song is looking likely to be 'Songbird' by Fleetwood Mac.

New bride

The dress

The dress shopping was also surprisingly painless. Initially, I just took my mum and admittedly felt a little overwhelmed at first, as there was such a large selection to choose from. The lady in the shop gave me 10 tags and I got to work selecting the dresses which caught my eye. The trouble is, I'm an indecisive soul, and I never got around to choosing the 10 before I made my way to the changing room. I always wanted an A-line ballgown, but I vowed to try different styles and retain an open mind. I tried on a strapless dress and a fishtail, but didn't feel confident in either of them. I also tried one on with a lot of sparkles, but the lady was very honest with me throughout and said that the dress was wearing me, rather than I was wearing the dress. After trying on 7-8 dresses, I fell in love with this Justin Alexander gown:

I love the detail around the illusion neckline, the long train and the plunging back (I'm more comfortable with that part of me being exposed than around the front). I decided to sleep on it, returned a week later with my maid of honour also in tow and she told me she loved it, so I said 'yes to the dress'.

I've actually got my fitting this Wednesday and I'm really nervous about it. I've been following Slimming World since January 2017, but after being measured for my dress, wedding planning stress got the better of me. I foolishly tried to please everyone (which never works, of course), I failed miserably and then comfort ate myself into oblivion, gaining nearly 2 stone. I had a 4 month break and resumed it in November. Since then, I've lost 1 stone 9lb, which is only a couple of pounds shy of my weight when I was measured. My plan was to lose weight and have the dress taken in, but I'm going to be attending my first fitting a few pounds heavier than I was last year. They have it on their notes that I'm doing Slimming World, so it's a bit embarrassing that I've been going around in circles, along with me being upset that I'm not the weight I want to be for the wedding, but fingers crossed it still fits. I'm very happy I chose a corset back now. It's going to need the length reducing a fair bit, as I'm a shorty!

New bride

Issa19union wrote (see post):

Its never too late for a planning thread Your ring is absolutely stunning, can't wait to see what you've planned!

Thank you . It's nice to see that someone is reading my rambling, lol! I'm still brainstorming ideas at this late stage - the table plan is next on the list!

New bride

As for the table plan, we really want to go for a 'musicals' theme. My other half and I are like chalk and cheese when it comes to taste in music, but musicals are one of the areas where we overlap. We thought about relating the table names to musicals we've seen together, which include:

Phantom of the Opera

Sister Act

The Lion King

Beauty and the Beast (obviously significant!)

Matilda

The Producers

West Side Story (this was the evening that S said 'I love you' for the first time)

School of Rock

Cats

following a plan along these lines:

I've also already bought an enchanted rose - I might put it by the guest book with the caption 'Be Our Guest':

New bride

Our cake topper also came the other day - the lady did such a good job of replicating my dress - I love it! The little ginger cat is our Ollie - we had to have him on the cake, as he's part of our family!

I also had my hair and make up trial before I sent the photos to the cake topper lady - I decided to go for a floral hairpiece, as it coordinates nicely with the dress. I went for a night out with some of my bridesmaids and a couple of other friends and it held all night. Especially good news, since I'm a serial hair-washer and can't stand the thought of not being able to wash it on the wedding morning. I was really happy with the results. One of my bridesmaids got emotional and cried upon seeing her hair, before giving the woman who did it a huge hug! It was a lovely day.

Things are certainly going to be busy the next couple of months. Stephen and I are going to a music festival the week before the wedding as a break and a bit of a treat, plus one of the groomsmen is a close friend of mine and is flying to the UK from Belgium, so I've bought him a ticket as a belated birthday present. I also have my hen party coming up on May 12th, but I have no idea what I'm doing, besides pottery painting in the morning. I've been assured there's no strippers, though!

Bridezilla

Yayyy loving your thread. Your dress is stunning as is your ring xxx

http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/forum/your-planning-threads/intimate-villa-cyprus-wedding---october-2018/432750.html

https://uk.pinterest.com/ruththomas1979/here-comes-the-bride/

Bridezilla

Such a pretty venue!  I love that photo with the huge floral arrangements and the petals everywhere, so pretty.

WOW, you have absolutely gorgeous hair (esp the colour) that style is so becoming - I'm completely jealous!

Can't wait to hear more about your plans :)

New bride

^^ Thank you! I always feel more confident when I've had my hair blow-dried curly, so I wanted to wear it down, but thought that half up-half down was a nice compromise, so it wasn't blowing everywhere, as it's windy near the river!

I thought I'd write a brief update, as I haven't posted here in a while. My fiancé and I are massive Harry Potter nerds, so it made sense for me to order some decals for my wedding shoes in keeping with this theme. Professor Snape is also one of my favourite characters, and this one of my fondest quotes:

Talking of shoes, I don't think I've shown them to you yet, so here they are!

New bride

The other major task I've been working on is thank-you presents for the wedding party. I'll post some more pictures later, but here's a few of the gifts I've purchased. I have personalised bags for my bridesmaids, flower girl and page boy:

For the bridesmaids, I bought some little pocket mirrors, that I thought might be welcome on the day:

I also bought my bridesmaids a bangle each, with a knot motif on it, in a pretty display box that says 'Thank you for helping us tie the knot', as well as 'Wedding Day'-scented Yankee candles (I'll post pictures of the bracelets later).

For my page boy, I ordered this cute, ceramic money box from a lady on Etsy, whilst for my flower girl, I purchased a heart-shaped trinket box with her name and the wedding date engraved on it.

My fiancé's ushers and best man have personalised cufflinks (again, I'll post pictures later when I have more time).

Things are starting to come together now!

Bridezilla

Are your shoes the wide fit Rainbow club ones? Was looking at them today as have very wide feet, and I'm thinking I'll be more stable on a slightly thicker heel!

My planning thread: http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/forum/your-planning-threads/town-centre-barn-wedding---august-2019/452338.html

New bride

Indeed they are!

I ordered them in a 4 and a half and a 5, to ensure that I got the fit I wanted, and they are really comfortable. There's also lots of good reviews online. I find that really high heels render me a cripple after a while, so I went for a mid-height heel instead. The inside is also padded for extra comfort, and hopefully minimal blisters! I've worn them around the house a bit, and they fit a treat. My feet are very wide at a G width, but I find that these shoes have more than enough give in them.

Bridezilla

Brilliant, thanks for replying FMM!

My planning thread: http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/forum/your-planning-threads/town-centre-barn-wedding---august-2019/452338.html

Bridezilla

Hey!!

I found your thread :) Your shoes are gorgeous!! And I love the decals.

You're hair looks beautiful, are you wearing a veil? Also love your dress. 

Really enjoyed reading and looking forward to more :)

New bride

Hi there! Glad you are enjoying reading!

I am wearing a veil - in part because I felt it completed the look when I tried one on with my dress and partly because I'm not a very confident person, so I thought it would be nice to have the option of wearing it over my face as I enter the church if my nerves get the better of me on the day.

 

New bride

A lot has happened since I last posted. It's getting pretty manic now, and I'm starting to become overwhelmed with the sheer amount of appointments and work there is left to do. Having said that, I'm excited for the day, if incredibly nervous, and I'm hoping it all comes together.

Our engagement shoot

On Saturday, we met up with our photographer, Nicky, for a pre-wedding shoot, in order to alleviate any anxiety on the day, as I guess most of us aren't used to a camera lens of that size in close proximity to our faces! We thought we'd got lucky, as it was a really sunny day, but apparently cloudy conditions are best for good photos, so in order to get some decent lighting, we drove to some woodland in nearby Edwardstone. She took us on a circular walk, which involved some open farmland at the halfway point - it was very pretty on such a fine day.

I'm one of those people who isn't naturally photogenic - I tend to have a more natural smile that comes out when I'm relaxed, and what Stephen calls a 'camera smile', where my mouth is always shut and I look much more uneasy! In the end, Stephen kept cracking jokes to try and make me laugh, and tickling my side periodically! It worked, and we ended up with some nice shots. The photography package we bought includes postcards with our favourite image on, which will be given to our guests on the day as a keepsake. Since we cut it so fine, we had to make a decision quickly, and went for the first photo. I may get some of the others printed out as well to put in our album:

10 days to go now - eek!

New bride

Hen party report

The Saturday before last, it was my 'last night of freedom' as a Miss, and my maid of honour and bridesmaids certainly made sure I had a good send off! It took place in Bury St. Edmunds, one of my favourite towns in Suffolk.

I'm definitely an introvert, albeit one that likes a small social group. In the end, there were 7 of us in total, so quite a nice size. I'm an only child, so I didn't have any sisters I could invite, and my mum is 72 and was really not keen on the idea of coming along. As for Stephen's side of the family, it was hard for them to make the journey, as my brother-in-law's girlfriend recently gave birth to our nephew, Anthony, so life is very hectic for them as well. Because they live in Cumbria, it's about 6 and a half hours' journey on a good day, and more like 9 on a bad day.

The only thing I knew was that we were going to start at a pottery painting café. I've been there before and it's very relaxing, so it was a good way to kick off things. My maid of honour is much more of a party animal than me, so I knew it was only going to get louder from then onwards, though I think my other two bridesmaids reined her in a bit! We had a great time - a lovely touch was that one of my arty friends painted a plate for me and everyone signed it with a little message. It was very thoughtful and a lovely keepsake that I shall treasure:

I thought we all did really well (bar one of my friends managing to rinse her paintbrush in her Coke instead of her water, which resulted in lots of laughter) - it's amazing how fun it is, even if you're not artistically inclined. It's very easy to pick up. I painted a cat - here are all our finished pieces:

Obligatory group photo:

My maid of honour is going to pick them up tomorrow, as they've now been glazed - I can't wait to see the finished results!

We then went for a little wander, which took us near The Snug, one of my favourite cocktail bars, but we didn't go inside. Instead, we headed towards what looked like a fancy dress shop, and I was convinced some sort of humilation was imminent! Luckily, I got away with a veil and 'Bride to Be' sash, so nothing too extreme. I explicitly told her no L-plates! We were all also wearing flower garlands that were left over from a classic car event that my father helped organise a year or so ago. We got a few comments from passers-by, including an old man that said 'What's the occasion, ladies?' and we all got a bit giggly! Our attire was also kind of ironic, considering it rained practically non-stop all day!

It didn't spoil our fun, though! Off we went to The Snug after that, where I had a delicious Oreo and Baileys cocktail, and one with peach schnapps and Malibu. Bye bye wedding diet, but I felt I deserved a couple of days off. My maid of honour then brought out a deck of Cards Against Humanity. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but it was great fun and it felt kind of naughty playing it in public. I probably can't post some of our answers here, but it's funny how it's often either the most conservative people, or the newest members of the group that end up being the dark horses!

New bride

There weren't too many people in the bar at the time, as it was still quite early, but there was another hen party. They were having a cocktail making class, and were allowed behind the bar, so I chatted to the fellow bride-to-be. It turned out she had the same wedding date as me, which was really cool, and she asked if she could have one of our flower garlands, and I got a friend to take a photo of us together.

After that, we went to Harriet's for afternoon tea and prosecco, which was delicious. The highlight was the top tier, which had a selection of macaroons and a Rolo cheesecake!

The afternoon consisted of a pub crawl, including a visit to The Nutshell, allegedly one of the smallest pubs in the UK. It was a struggle to fit all of us inside (yes, it really is that small!), but we managed and it was kind of hilarious. The positive side of a such a small place is there's a very welcoming atmosphere and the bartender was very chatty. I get the impression that he is used to a lot of hen parties going in there, the reason being that my maid of honour wanted a stripper, but I wasn't keen, and she was telling him this story, as she was quite tipsy at this point. His reply was 'I'll charge you extra if you want that'! I think we were all quite glad to go into that pub as he was kind of fit! It also made for some interesting photos of us all huddled in the window seat, and outside with our two brollies between us (thank goodness for having the foresight to pack a spare!):