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Lighthouse in August then Party in September!

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New bride

So, I'm getting married in a matter of weeks. Very. Very excited. 

Guess this won't be a "traditional" planning thread, as it's almost all done and I can't remember most of the details of when I did what, but then there wasn't too much to plan!!

 

So... The story. 

Me and Hubby-to-be got engaged after a very short relationship. In fact, we started really talking properly to each other on Good Friday last year. We worked together, and had said hello but a small comment on Facebook (on his side) and a bit of prosecco (on mine!) got the conversation flowing. There hasn't been a day since we haven't spoken .

He was everything I didn't want. We worked together. He lived miles away. (despite working at the same place, he mostly works at home) He is divorced .He has a daughter .He is 21 years older than me . And yet, I fell deeply in love. 

I had never wanted to get married, until I met H2B. So much so, one night, we were lying in bed having chatted for hours, and I asked him to marry me. He said yes instantly. We set the date there and then. 3rd August. One year to the day I asked him. (we had to check the time, as we realised it was 2am so technically the 3rd and not the 2nd as imagined!) .the next day he asked if I was sure .I said absolutely!

First things first .I declined the job offer I had just been made (which would have meant being even further away!) And set about planning to move to be with him!

Secondly, engagement rings. Yep .rings .I wasn't having one unless he was. So we had one each!

 this is his. 

 this is mine .

 

Next up. Deciding on the ceremony...

 

 

New bride

We didn't want a big "traditional" wedding .In fact, I didn't want most people to even know we were getting married. I loved the idea of an elopement, then a party .But knew our friends wouldn't be able to make a party at short notice. So... We decided not to tell people the date, and instead tell them it's in Summer. But invite them all to a big party a few weeks after so we had a few weeks to get used to being Mr and Mrs .

Looking for a venue was hard . A lot of "elopement" style places weren't set up for having a 13 year old in tow .So we decided to ask our best friend's to join us (with their 2 children) and have them as our witnesses. 

After a few more hours of searching for "small wedding venues" (and getting annoyed because small isn't 50-100 people to us!) And searching for "unusual wedding venues" we came across and kept coming across Nashpoint Lighthouse in South Wales And it was PERFECT .

An actual working lighthouse .seats 25 at most! 

It was a bit more expensive than we were thinking (£1000) but perfect .the there are even holiday cottages at the bottom of it that we are staying in. (again a bit more expensive than we were going to go, but worth every penny)

When we called, they said they already had a wedding on Saturday 4th, and don't often do Friday wedding if a Saturday one is booked in, but agreed to if we would hold the ceremony in the morning. 

Queue the quick call to book a registrar!! 11.30am they had a slot. The only one left of the day! All was working out...

(On a side note .how expensive are Registrars when you're not getting married at the registry office??!)

After a bit of upset from the future MIL, we extended our invites to include future MIL (sadly his dad is no longer with us) and my mum and dad .

There we drew the line .People couldn't understand why we weren't inviting siblings. But... I have 2 brothers (one married with 2 children, the other engaged). He had 2 brothers .One who sadly died of cancer in October. (who was married with a grown up child, but the wife isn't the child's mother) .and the other is married with a daughter .And who has since come out as Trans so is now his sister... Anyway, even just adding siblings and partners and children added 9-10 more people!! And given we originally wanted just me & him, even 8 guests was a lot!!

Anyway... Venue was booked. Registrar booked. Accommodation for us, my step-daughter and our parents booked! (We decided to book the Thurs/Fri in one cottage but added the Sat in the other so me and future hubby can have one night alone!)

So far, so good!!!

New bride

This is the lighthouse. The square building next to it are the holiday cottages!

This is the actual room we will be married in!

Wedding addict

I love the lighthouse! That's so beautiful!

We would have loved a really small and intimate ceremony, although a few more than your ideal, unfortunately my parents divorced a couple of years ago and my mum is still extremely upset and emotional so being in a concentrated environment won't work at all! So our wedding has become massive (for us anyway) and we'll be inviting about 100 people to try and dilute the situation as much as possible.

So I'm very envious of your beautiful situation in the lighthouse. I'm sure it will be just stunning!

Cecilia x

My planning thread : http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/forum/your-planning-threads/relaxed-summer-wedding-in-the-chilterns/454084.html

Bridezilla

Ooh this sounds gorgeous and so exciting! Your story is so sweet - we also have a fairly big age gap of 15 years! Look forward to hearing more of your plans!

New bride

Next stop. The party... So, we wanted a party to celebrate, looked at dates and found that Saturday 1st September was ideal .End of the summer holidays, so most people will be back off hols .(but also I will still be off, as a school receptionist I might get loads of time off but it is fixed and decided for me!!) .Problem was, trying to find a venue .we searched all over North Somerset (we live in Worle, in Weston-Super-Mare) and found nothing we liked .we had almost given up and started to look in the Midlands (where I am from, where we met, where half our friends live) when we wandered into the pub just up the road... Yes, they said, we have a room you can use, seats up to 80 people. £50 for the night. And you can bring in your own food. PERFECT! 

Now, we hadn't wanted to do our own food initially but catering was so expensive for what we were going to get, we thought why not .Especially as it is just a party and not our actual wedding day!

Fast forward until a few months ago, we pop in to check a few things. And arggghhhh the managers have changed. Luckily, they had us in the diary .they still had our deposit .(which apparently was not the case for all the other parties booked in). Only downside, we couldn't do our own catering anymore. Big panic from me! We hadn't budgeted for someone else doing the catering... Luckily, their price was the cheapest one we had been given .And so we are getting a cold buffet (making sure there is pizza for H2B) for £6.50 a head . And the people who have the pub now are SUPER nice .

Venues booked for both wedding and party... Next was invites (and THE dress!)

 

New bride

Invites for the wedding were easy. I found blank inside cards in Tesco that happened to have a lighthouse on the front. Bingo. I didn't even think to take a picture! £4.50 and 3 invites delivered by hand. 

Invites for the party were harder .It's almost impossible to find wedding party invites, that don't imply you've got married that day! So I decided to make them .my years of art and design education had to come in handy at some point in life...

This is what we ended up with... 

 

I just used cream paper, stuck onto dark blue card with double sided tape and joined them together with book binding screws that I bought off eBay . A look of print cartridges and paper cutting later they were stuffed into normal long think white envelopes and as much as we could hand delivered to save money! My mum and dad even drove round to deliver a few for us!

New bride

Next thing on my list? The dress... Now, I've never wanted a big white dress. The thought of it makes me feel a bit shuddery and a bit sick .I had my heart set on a dark green skirt, maybe a white silk wrap top .I could picture it, or so I thought .

I started googling .I imagined it would be easy, I knew what I wanted. I didn't realise how easy! I stumbled across Ariella .I had seen some dresses on a website (maybe Debenhams, maybe HoF, maybe John Lewis, I can't remember now) they were beautiful but not quite right. So I looked on their own website. And there was this dress. Not green at the bottom.but yellow and gold .not white on top but black. And the one .I knew it .but I kept avoiding it. After all, it was only October .I had been engaged 2 months, and only just started my new job. 

Then I kept looking .And kept coming back to it. I showed H2B .and he loved it. And yes, I know, most people keep it a secret .but I am not most people!!!

 

Then, end of November I think it was, I was looking at it again, realised they had reduced the price .And that the only size left was mine .It was a sign .I ordered it .It arrived 2/3 days later .I put it on. And I cried. It was GORGEOUS .it had pockets!! It fitted!! It was the most beautiful dress I had layed my eyes on. And it wasn't white .

This is it...

Suitable for my wedding . suitable for my party. Suitable to wear afterwards for grand events (that I am hoping I will go to one day!) And best of all? £160 .

I have known friends spend that on a veil that just got burnt by fag ends all evening!!

Best of all? I didn't know but my Dad had told my Mum that they would buy my dress . needless to say, he was also thrilled with the price!!

New bride

I asked H2B about his suit. He said he wanted to wear the one in his wardrobe. He'd only worn it once, when me and him went out for dinner to celebrate our engagement .So it felt right to him . And he looks incredibly handsome in it .he has treated himself to a new shirt and tie and a new pair of shoes though... 

Step-daughter was given free reign in what she wanted to wear .After much deliberation and a shopping trip in Exeter she picked a peach colour dress from H&M short and strappy .we got some white sandals for her from Debenhams. And a head dress thing from Claire's accessories .I also picked her up a white lace cover up from New Look .

It was more important to us that she was comfortable and happy than her needing to be in a bridesmaids dress . Also, she can wear all of it again. Added bonus!!

All the rest of our guests are choosing their own outfits. No colour stipulations .No rules at all!

Clothing all sorted. 

I got myself a rose gold pair of heels from I saw it first. And also a pair of flat gold sandals from Dune. Not decided which I'm wearing yet. (definitely flats for the party!!)

To complete my outfit, I bought a pair of detachable pearl/diamante straps off eBay .and a cream fascinator from my local charity shop. 

 

New bride

We needed somewhere to eat after the ceremony. We headed to Google, looked for restaurants near by. And kept stumbling across the same one. Arboreal in Cowbridge. It does Mediterranean food, cooked in a wood oven .We popped in when we visited the lighthouse and the atmosphere was amazing .The food looked amazing And we fell in love .We booked a table for 10, left with menus and a happy feeling. 

We've since emailed them with our choices and couldn't be happier .they are doing us a mezze board to share for the table as a starter, then a sharing platter of sides to go with our chosen mains . desserts will be decided on the day .Not including drinks, we reckon it'll be £40 a head (maybe less, depending on numbers of desserts!) .so a snip of the cost of most wedding breakfasts we have seen coated up!!

If we fancy it, after the meal, there is a gorgeous pub down the road for a tipple before heading home. The plan being we will be back in our cottage at a reasonable time and not so drunk we can't enjoy our wedding night!!!

For straight after the ceremony at the lighthouse, we are ordering 2 canapé platters from Tesco. With a couple of bottles of prosecco, with some nice non-alcoholic drinks too (3 children and 2 non-drinkers to cater for!). 

New bride

Venue sorted .clothing sorted. Guests sorted . Registrar sorted. Meal sorted. Accommodation sorted . Dog booked into kennels. 

The wedding itself was done. Planned. Sorted. 

Then, remembered about gifts for our guests!!

Thankfully, as we know them all well, this was easy!

Mini gift set of gin and mini gift set of whisky for our witnesses . (Gin one from Lidl, whisky one from Tesco)

Make up bags with their initials on for the three girls. (£6 in Matalan)

Personalized mugs for the parents. Can't remember which website they were from which is annoying as they were fabulous. They say "mother of the bride" (or the relevant!) With our date and venue On one side, then on the other, a short message of thanks from us. 

None of them big gifts, but none of them will expect them, and as we have had financial contributions from our parents, we felt it would be strange to buy them a bigger gift as they would've essentially be paying for them!!

It was these financial gifts which led me to getting flowers....

New bride

I didn't want flowers . My mum has Terrible hayfever. I hated the idea of spending lots of money on real flowers that would just be thrown away and I just couldn't picture them .Until I read a bridal magazine and saw an article about artificial flowers. This made me realise I could have the yellow and grey I wouldve had... So I looked at prices .Far too much. 

So I looked a buying just the flowers .and came across Country Baskets .we went, bought the stems for my bouquet. The stems for a mini bouquet for the step-daughter. And a buttonhole each for H2B and all the guests, with the tape and ribbon etc for £41 .I don't have a picture of it all made up, but there will be one taken!

I had a few leftover so I incorporated them into our gift wrapping .This also included some lovely tags .A couple of quid off Amazon. 

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