Wednesday, 4 February 2015

My Rockin' Wedding Plans: 7 Months To Go

I've bought a dress, booked a band, and literally have a shed full of prosecco.  What more do you really need for a wedding?!

I'm not going to go into too much detail of my plans on this blog in advance of the wedding, because friends and family do read it and I would like to maintain some degree of surprise for them.  I do intend to do a thorough report after the day though of everything we did, including costs, because one thing that I found frustrating from reading 'real bride budgets' was that they were very vague, omitting crucial details such as number of guests!  It would sound wonderful that they'd done a lavish wedding for £1,000 and then you'd find out that they only had 10 guests.

Here's a quick run through of where we've got to with the planning, and I've tried to state what I'm doing and what the groom is doing, because we're very much doing this together.

Ceremony and reception venues are booked.  I've also booked my hotel for the night before the wedding, which is 5 minutes away from the ceremony venue (just in case - best to be close I thought, in case there are any transport dramas!).  We are very lucky in that the registry office is located in a wonderfully grand building, which you might not believe is cheaper than getting married in the function room of some hotel!  Yes, you read that correctly.  Before that, the registry office used to be located in a mediocre brick building that's now a Subway.

For the reception we have hired a Grade II listed church hall.  It's small enough to feel intimate but large enough to pack in a lot of people, and comes complete with a stage, so it will be perfect for the musical entertainment we have planned.

Bride and groom's outfits
I've got a dress, he's got a suit.  I don't have any shoes yet, or accessories, but I'm working on that, and I will need to get the dress hemmed as it's super long, even on my tall frame.  Yes, it's LONG!  Ha!  How many of you thought that I would go for a '50s tea length one?  I will be doing my own hair and makeup, so I will need to set time aside to practice over the upcoming months.

We are very, very excited about our photographer.  It's sort of a secret for now, but I will tell you more in a separate post!.

We've made an epic list, but haven't set the invites out yet.  We didn't do a big announcement, it's not on social media, and we didn't do that American thing of having an "engagement shoot".  I told all of my friends individually so that they could get the date in their diaries, but I don't think that my husband-to-be has done that (so if any of his friends are reading this now - surprise!  We're getting married!!).  My husband-to-be is in full charge of the invitations, he has some creative plans, so I might help out with the wording and check he's got the date and time on it, but other than that will leave him to it.  I've started one of those wedding websites too so that we can direct guests to that for all the travel and accommodation details.

Our church hall reception has no kitchen facilities, so we will have to get outside caterers in (tips for South Wales caterers gladly accepted!).  We'll be putting on a bar ourselves though, so will be obtaining a licence, stocking it ourselves, hiring glasses and bar staff (another area the groom-to-be is in charge of).  There is a LOT to think about when you're arranging all of this yourselves rather than have a venue take care of it for you, but we wanted to make the bar affordable for both ourselves and our guests.  Weddings are expensive enough for people to attend, without having to pay hotel prices at the bar.

The groom is a musician, so we have a large circle of musician friends, and this is another area that he is completely in charge of.  He's booked a band, is trying to get a DJ, and no doubt there will be other contributors to the entertainment, including the groom himself of course!

Wedding Cake
We were going to make a cake ourselves, because if you've ever made a Christmas cake, it's really not that hard to do a basic fruit cake and wack some white icing on it.  But then one of my sisters kindly offered to get us a cake as a wedding present, as her neighbour apparently makes to-die-for cakes, so we decided to take her up on it.

Because we have large families, I am having 5 bridesmaids and 2 flower girls on the day.  I know this must seem excessive, but we both have nieces that we want to be part of the day so we could never have chosen between them.  The bridesmaid dresses have been purchased, and they're all on the hunt for accessories.  I'll wait a while to get the flowergirl dresses as they are both small children and will probably grow taller over the next few months.

I've asked my Dad to start growing some!  I'm not sure whether we'll end up using these to decorate the venue or if they will contribute to a bridal bouquet, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.  I've also started drying vast quantities of petals to make confetti with.  I just use up the flowers from the garden, or if I am lucky enough to get a bunch of cut flowers as a present then the petals from that get dried too.  It's really easy and I've already obtained quite a pile of petals.

Summer in the 1930s house
Rose petals dry well to make petal confetti

I've had so many kind offers from friends and family to help us decorate the reception venue the day before the wedding.  A colleague has offered to lend me some decorations, and as for the rest, we have an impressive selection already at home (from years of being magpies), and continue to pick up bits as we see them.  Just last week I picked up a wooden sign for 40p, when I know they retail for at least a fiver!  There's also a trend for vintage suitcases, rustic logs and that kind of thing, which you can hire for around £30 a piece - whereas we get them for free out of skips...

mr and mrs blocks
Bargain wooden block decorations from the charity shop, £1!

There are other things that are further down the list, like wedding rings, transport and a hotel for our wedding night.  And small but irksome things, like the need to find 15 white tablecloths...

I have to say that when writing this post I had a slight panic, because I thought that the wedding being in September would make it 9 months away, but then I worked out that it's only 7 months away, which gave me a few flutters.

So much to do, so little time to be a bridezilla.


  1. Oooh the reception venue sounds great and just what I'm looking for. I want to do it all for about 3k so need to call in lots of favours and do the food and cake myself. I want something affordable for me and my friends with a real party and celebratory feel. I've told blogger people but haven't told my family and friends haha. I want to make it all low key and avoid people pressuring me to do things so keeping it quiet for now.
    If you need any help making decorations let me know. I'm pretty good with some old books, scissors and glue :)

    1. It's absolutely doable if you have lots of help I reckon! We've got quite large numbers so we can't do the food ourselves, but we are certainly calling in some favours and doing things a bit differently. Thanks so much for the offer of help, you're very sweet. I think for small venues that are affordable you have to go out of Cardiff, there are loads in the Vale and there's a handy brochure online that describes them all here:

      Have you set a date? Let me know if you want to meet up for a coffee one lunchtime and we can talk weddings!! xx

    2. No date yet, just weighing up budgets, wanting to buy a house first but not wait too long. It's giving me a headache. Thanks for the list. Coffee lunch date with you is always a good idea :) xx

  2. You are so hat-doffingly on the ball, dear gal. Way to go - and likewise, major kudos for planning a wonderful wedding on a realistic budget. I will never, ever see the appeal of going massively into debt or otherwise spending well beyond your means on a wedding.

    I hope that things continue to go positively with every aspect of your planning.

    ♥ Jessica

  3. Yes, budget weddings are completely do-able. We did our wedding, a church blessing and honeymoon for less than £1500. I did the food, a family member of Andy's did the cake and my dress was made for me as a wedding gift.
    Good luck with the planning :)

    1. That's really impressive Melanie! It's great to hear a budget success story x

  4. I feel very special now knowing who your photographer is already ;) inside information! Smug indeed... I'm so impressed with how you're approaching everything, it's really inspiring and I can't wait to see the results (no, really, September is far too far away)... exciting!! xx

  5. As someone who also got married in that rather grand registry office (how lucky are we?!), I would recommend checking out Spiro's Catering. They were fab! Have fun with the rest of the organising!

    1. We are VERY lucky Sian! Thanks for the tip, Spiros do look amazing but unfortunately they charge corkage if you supply your own booze, which would blow our budget!! Thanks for visiting x

  6. Ooo it's all coming along well! I can't wait to see the final results, it seems you've got some fantastic ideas!

  7. It sounds like you've got everything well in hand, and it's wonderful that you've been able to find budget options that aren't, pardon my language, total shit. I can't wait to see how it all comes together! And of course the dress, because that's basically the best part of getting married. Besides the whole "love" thing, anyway.
    And wedding websites = the best thing ever. The last couple of weddings that I've been to have had them, and they came in really handy when we realized on the way that we'd lost the actual invites and weren't actually sure where the venue was...

  8. Planning a wedding is exciting, I wish I could do it all over again. What a beautiful site for the registry office, you are so lucky. Can't wait to see more in the build up to your big day. xxx

  9. Wow, it sounds like you've really put in loads of work. It's going to look tremendous!

    You can't beat a really nice venue. It takes so much of the pressure to decorate off you. That registry office is superb.

  10. Sounds as though it is going to be a fabulous celebration, and you are well on with the preparations, so well done to you and your intended! xxx

  11. So exciting! I think a long gown will look so elegant on you! I can't wait to see what you picked out! :)

  12. Excellent work! You certainly know how to sniff out a good bargain :)


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