Our romantic champagne and ivory wedding 1.7.17

Hi everyone, 

I have a been a lurker on here for a few months now and have loved reading everyone's planning threads so thought I would start my own. I knew I wanted a memory of planning my wedding, so I hope that people enjoy reading it and I would love for your input and suggestions. Lets start at the very beginning! 

How we met

Through an online dating website!

It was March 2010 and I had been a member of this dating website for one day when the future love of my life messaged me. Three days in, I asked for his personal email address and left the site. I had never had a date with someone I didn’t already know, so purposely scheduled our first date for an early dinner before my part-time evening job, back when I was a student. We met at a well-known pan-Asian restaurant chain, it was Easter time and he bought me a chocolate gorilla Easter egg. I then found out he is obsessed with chocolate (even more then me) and so felt guilty I didn’t bring him one. He had never been to said restaurant before and I recommended him a meal which he found too spicy but he handled it really well and didn’t tell me until weeks later! We got on really well, conversation was flowing and I found him very attractive.

Unfortunately, just after the first date was Easter holidays during which I was going to Berlin to visit a friend. So I went back to my hometown, and realised two days before my flight that I left my passport in my student house so headed back to collect it. This was the perfect opportunity for date number two, for which he took me to one of his favourite restaurants, a cute little Portuguese place. We got a taxi home and when I went to get out the taxi, I wanted to give him a kiss but was too shy!

I then headed to Berlin and we were in almost constant email contact. Unfortunately my flight was cancelled and I was in Berlin for 5 extra days due to the Icelandic volcano eruption! When I eventually got back, he came to meet me and unpack my car, including my pet fish tank! We then went for dinner and watched a film and the rest is history!

I was soon planning a move to London, and he immediately planned on coming with me. In fact, he got a job before I had finished my degree so ended up moving 9 months before I did. So we were long-distance for 9 months, and then moved in together. We soon got our beloved cat, Aura. And 2.5 years ago we got our little doggy, Zac. We have never been happier. 

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  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,202

    The proposal

    I, light-heartedly, had always said that if a man doesn’t propose within 5 years, then he can “sling his hook”. Well......five years came and went with no proposal haha, despite going to a very romantic restaurant. We had spoken about marriage quite a bit, and both our families asked us about it whenever they saw us, so the pressure was really on my man!

    I decided to shut my mouth about marriage and try and forget about it but nevertheless, every time we were doing something nice it would be in the back of my mind. On a random Saturday in June, we were having one of our pyjama days. I think I got out of bed the wrong side that morning and was a little irritable so was playing on the XBox (we are a little geeky like that, privately!) and getting frustrated with that. He had suggested that we go to the local pub for lunch as we didn’t have food, to which I reluctantly agreed (not intending on getting dressed that day). He dragged me off the sofa into the bedroom to get dressed, where my cat was sleeping on the bed. And as I always do, I sat on the bed to give her a stroke and felt something on her collar. I looked and saw it was sparkly and looked back at Ollie, who was down on one knee, with our doggy on the floor next to him and said “I thought it was about time I asked you to marry me?!”

    My jaw hit the floor from which point I don’t remember much, except saying “of course!”, us both taking the ring off Aura's collar, him putting it on my finger, and me jumping on the bed screaming.

    After examining the ring (with tear-filled eyes) and lots of hugs and kisses, my fiancé told me that for lunch he had actually booked us lunch in our closest Michelin star restaurant and that we needed to leave in 15 minutes. 15 minutes from PJs and bed head, to Michelin-Star just got engaged.....needless to say I didn’t look my best!

    Here is the ring. He picked it all by himself and it fit perfectly! He later told me that he had been carrying it around in his bag for just over a month, too nervous to pop the question. I honestly don’t believe he could have found a better way to do it, his miraculously managed to surprise the girl who couldn’t be surprised! And he did it surrounded by our favourite things, our home, our little family and pyjamas!

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    At lunch, we had champagne cocktails, a bottle of wine and Irish coffees. Then when we got home we sat in the garden with a pen and paper working out a guest list with a bottle of champagne which we finished. Needless to say we were rather drunk by that evening. I am a generally a tee total person!

    We were seeing my family (who aren’t local) the following weekend, and Ollie’s family in 3 weekends time, so we managed to keep the whole thing off social media and secret (except a small number of friends who we couldn’t avoid at work). Exactly one month later we announced it to the world on facebook and the real planning commenced 

  • That is a lovely story. My fiancé proposed to me at home with our cats and I love how small and intimate it was! (I was in a robe after a Shower and he was in his work gear!) Lovely story so far xx

  • lubeslubes Posts: 1,555

    i was about to say the same as mrsm - great proposal story! i too am another home proposal bride lol.

    looking forward to hearing about your plans - i am having a white theme. white/ivory...it's the same isn't it?! (sort of!) x

  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,202

    Aww thanks for your kind messages ladies - I was thinking hmmm no-one will read this! Yeah whenever people ask how he proposed I always say oh it is really boring and tell them the story and they all think it is actually really sweet - meant a lot to us and very personal! I'm just working on the first instalment of the actual wedding plans 

  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,202

    Being a wedding obsessive person, I thought I already had strong ideas as to what I wanted. However, when I started reading advice on wedding planning and browsing Pinterest I realised how many decisions are needed to be made in this process that I had never even considered! One thing I did know was that I wanted a champagne and ivory colour theme, a barn location and rustic theme decoration. Here are some of my favourite Pinterest inspirations:

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    Log slices to elevate table decorations - I am thinking a small ivory arrangements which I will do myself, in Jam jars, with tealight holders.

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    Placecard holders

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    Arrangements similar to this but solely ivory flowers

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    Inspiration for my bouquet

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    Bridesmaids bouquets

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    Gold table runners

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    Plenty of gold tealights

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    Table plan using vintage photoframes and ladder

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    Bridesmaid dresses - though I am only having two ;)

  • SammykateSammykate Posts: 3,298

    Love your proposal story! Although if we tried that with my cat I would have added 'long bleeding scratches on arms' to my outfit that day lol. We only tried to make her wear a collar once and let's just say we never attempted that again...

  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,202
    Sammykate wrote (see post):

    Love your proposal story! Although if we tried that with my cat I would have added 'long bleeding scratches on arms' to my outfit that day lol. We only tried to make her wear a collar once and let's just say we never attempted that again...

    Aww bless! Ours is very docile on that front but I did say to him after what would you have done if she had gone out in between him putting it on her and dragging me into the bedroom...! He shut her in there though - clever cookie!

  • Love your colour scheme!  I am thinking along similar lines for ours as well.  Looking forward to reading about the rest! x

  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,202

    Thanks Katie! Just preparing the next instalment! 

  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,202

    The Venue hunt

    So a girl from pilates who just got married had told me the venue was the hardest thing to decide on and I just thought “Oh I know what I want, it’ll be fine”. This was a mistake...

    My fiancé and I had already decided that we wanted to get married in the New Forest as we both spent a lot of time there as children as we have extended family there, it is convenient for both families and we have holidayed there together and love it. We are planning on eventually living there so it was the clear option.

    Key things that we wanted out of our venue were: a barn, in the forest setting. We wanted it to be able to hold our entire day including a civil ceremony licence, preferably with accommodation on site, for both us and our guests ideally.

    We spent two full weekends viewing a total of 13 venues. I didn’t anticipate so much variety of packages available. It seemed that nothing met all of our main criteria, and we were further confused by variations in price, location and variety of packages. We were soon debating whether we wanted a complete DIY setting (where nothing was included and we needed to source everything, from lighting and all decoration, to catering, a mobile bar and cleaner afterwards) or an all in package which even included DJ, stationary, flowers and photographer!

    We eventually narrowed it down to two of the venues we had seen and eventually decided on a venue which was not even built yet, but I just had “the feeling” that it was right. It promises to be a bright and airy barn, set in the grounds of a gorgeous manor hotel in the heart of the New Forest. The catering is a drawing factor, with the restaurant having 2 AA rosettes (we are massive foodies so this was a big plus), and the staff sold the venue as providing a bespoke to service to their clients. We were the very first couple to book to venue and so far the service has been spot-on. They are accommodating, patient and I can really tell that the customer always comes first. We are going to view the completed barn in March and I simply cannot wait! Here are some of the pics used for the designer’s inspiration and the designers drawing. 

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    The outside of the hotel

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    The outside of the hotel

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    The inspiration for the barn

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    The designers drawing

  • MetooMetoo Posts: 25

    Congratulations!  What a wonderful proposal and such a gorgeous ring! Very lucky lady. xx

    Fantastic choices, the Barn in the Forrest sounds wonderful and exciting, that'd be the one i'd pick if i wasn't married already. hahahahaha. Looks like you have the more important things almost taken care of, have you found a dress yet? 

    Look forward to reading more posts in the near future. Good Luck with the rest of the planning. xx

  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,202

    Hey Metoo - thanks for reading my ramblings!

    Yes I have a dress and a couple of other things sorted, these posts are yet to come! Ill try and get the dress installment done tonight! 

  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,202

    So the day after we booked the venue I thought to myself “Fantastic, we can now book the registrar”. Alas no.....I am starting to learn that nothing is simple in the process of planning a wedding. Of course they needed to know a time.

    I knew I wanted it to be an earlier wedding to take full advantage of my day, but I couldn't decide a time until I knew what time we wanted dinner. We have some family members who are very particular about what time they would like their dinner and then we also had to factor in that there would also be an evening meal and that this shouldn't be overly late.

    One thing I did know was that I wanted a long reception drinks as my family have spread to all four corners of the country and know I want plenty of relaxed time to chat with them, as well as some time alone with my new husband and time for photos.

    So we decided on the following timetable which we feel works for us best. Does anyone have any suggestions on this?

    12.30 – Ceremony

    13.00 – Reception drinks with string quartet, garden games

    13.30 – Canapés

    14.30 - String quartet finish and time for photos

    15.00 - Bride and Groom photo session and some time alone

    15.45 - Receiving line

    16.00 – Wedding breakfast

    17.30 (approx) - Speeches

    19:30 – First Dance and start of the evening music

    20:30 – Evening food

    22.00 – We leave

    23.00 – Bar closes and music finishes

    The only thing that concerned us was the long gap between finishing the speeches (approx 6pm) and our attempt to kick of the party with a first dance at 19.30. So our next task we planning entertainment for this time and for the evening.......

  • Kitten2014Kitten2014 Posts: 1,489

    Holy gorgeous venue - one of the prettiest inside AND out that I think I have seen on here to date! 

    I can't wait to hear about your dress - more, more! 

    I wouldn't be too concerned about the gap between the eating/ speeches and the start of the party/dancing. I've been married before, and I found that most people are very content to just eat and relax, have a few drinks and catch up on chit chat with family and friends, many that they haven't seen in a very long time. I would definitely have music playing, whether it's favorite tunes loaded onto a iPod, a pianist, a string quartet, or the like. Also, once you finish your meal, this is a GREAT opportunity for you and the husband to try to get around to a few tables and say your hellos. EVERYONE is going to want to speak with you and congratulate you; they will be more excited to do this than any other entertainment that you could possibly offer.

  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,202

    Aww thanks Kitten! 

    I can't wait to show you my dress! I will get writing soon! 

    That is very good to know about the evening as well :) Thanks. What you have said totally rings true for us as our family really are in all fours corners of the country so it will be a lovely family get-together for everyone. 

  • SammykateSammykate Posts: 3,298

    Keep in mind that with a 12.30 ceremony, guests will be arriving at 12 and possibly travelling before that, so nobody will have had lunch! So 4 seems a little late for the meal to me. Also as the meal can take up to 2 hours, that means you could be serving your evening food only 2.5 hours after your meal ends.

    I'm sure none of the above will make for a real problem, it's just that people might be getting pretty hungry come 4pm, unless your canapes are substantial! And you don't want the evening food to go to waste if everyone is still full from the meal.

     

  • I totally understand you wanting bride and groom time and photos,  but from a guests point of view that means they will get their food 45 mins later! I would serve canapés and welcome drinks at the same time to stop people getting too sloshed straight away and then do my couple photos after the meal? Perhaps arrnage some guests entertainment for then and have 45 mins? Most photographers suggest doing it then as the lighting is better too. I just think it is a long wait for food otherwise and people get grumpy. What are you serving as evening food? I don't think it needs to be huge as above ladies said, its 2:30 hours after breakfast gas stopped. And why are you leaving at 10? Don't you want to stay until the end?

  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,202

    Thanks for your inputs girls

    Sammykate - I was always considering having the meal at 3pm and still might change it (especially after you mentioned that the evening food is only 2.5 hours after the breakfast). The main reason I didn't do it was because then that will mean longer hanging around after the meal before the evening party. So I thought either way there is going to be hanging around. But as kitten pointed out above, I am sure my guests will just be pleased to have the family altogether and will be happy chatting amongst themselves. 

    MrsM - We are leaving at at 10pm as we think we will be zonked by then and just want time alone together. Plus I am pretty sure that the music needs to stop by 2300 and neither us nor our guests are are big drinkers/party people anyway. This time is flexible though so if we want to stay we will!. Good idea to serve the canapés at the same time! So you think do the bride and groom pics after the meal? So something like this? 

    13.00 - receptions drinks, canapés, string quartet and garden games

    14.30 - Group photos

    15.00 - receiving line

    15.15 - Wedding breakfast

    16.45 - Speeches

    17.15 - Bride and groom shots 

    18.00 - Our evening entertainment as planned (we have something planned for 18.00-19..30 now which I will go into in a later post )

     

  • SammykateSammykate Posts: 3,298

    That seems like a better scheduale to me- as said above, there will always be waiting around at some point, but people would probably rather wait around full rather than hungry!

    I'm planning to split our bride and groom photos- half an hour in the gap before the meal, half an hour in the gap after. Then we aren't away from our guests for too long at any point, and we get different light for each set. Also I don't want to leave them all until after the meal in case I spill something on my dress...!

  • I think that is a better schedule :) we are doing something similar, it is a hard thing to get right! We are going for a midday wedding, but our church is 20 min drive from the venue and our priest does go on a but so we've had to be quite creative. With speeches, my fiancé and his Dad are doing quick speeches before the meal as this us the but my fiancé is most nervous about. He wants it out the way so he can relax. Then after the meal we are having my Dad's speech and the Best Men's so everyone is merry, fed and relaxed. We aren't offering much by the way of evening food, just the cake and cheese board,.chutneys, bread and a pork pie tower. We originally were going to go hog roast but caterers said it would be too much food. We are having very few evening guests so aren't worrying about it too much

  • Kitten2014Kitten2014 Posts: 1,489

    I would personally do at least some bride & groom photos before you eat. If you are serving your guests appetizers and drinks, it won't kill them if your photo session runs a little longer. I would personally rather be photographed before I eat to ensure my make-up and hair looks its best, I haven't spilled anything (or had someone else spill something) on my dress, my flowers look fresh and not wilted or crushed from the heat and from hugs, and I don't have anything stuck in my teeth ;)

    I've seen a bunch of other brides out there do it this way, where they do at least some B&G pics in the beginning, and then sneak off later to shoot a few more. That also builds in some private time, which, trust me, you will be hard-pressed to squeak in but will be grateful if you do. This also provides you with two unique lighting opportunities - and possibly two different weather ones too if it rains either early or late!

  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,202

    OK thank you so much for your advice ladies. I will mull over it and see if the H2B has any opinion (I wouldn't count on it haha!). Wah! Such a hard balance to achieve!

  • lubeslubes Posts: 1,555

    Hey!

    I haven't tuned in for a while. What a fab venue - it will definitely have the wow factor if it's lovely and new  Can't go wrong with a barn! I wish we had the option really (we do have one about 45 mins away, but we already know two couples who have been married there - awkward!).

    I feel your pain with your scheduling - it is such a hard thing to get right! I am the opposite and wondering if we haven't allocated long enough for everything! I think the other ladies have made good suggestions - the key is to not leave your guests hanging around for too long! I wouldn't worry about people going hungry before dinner. You have canapes and to be honest, when I go to weddings at around the time of yours, I just eat brunch! We have to take some responsibility as guests too lol x

     

  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,202

    Thanks for popping in again lubes! I do love a barn..... I had always wanted a barn as I was a wedding waitress when I was 16-19 years old and my favourite wedding venues were barns. Having said that, your venue is stunning and I accidentally found a Mill yesterday which is very close to my venue and am wishing I had found it before deciding on a venue. BUT....my wedding wobbles were soon put to bed when I saw my wedding venues facebook page.

    The gorgeous hotel whose grounds the barn is being built on is also undergoing major renovation inside, £1.7 million to be precise. Well, it was their grand opening at the weekend and the first pictures of the newly decorated inside were posted in a review of the hotel. It is STUNNING. Obviously our honeymoon suite and guest bedrooms are in the hotel, but other then that we weren't planning on spending much time in that building. But now I have seen the pictures, I am definitely going to ensure some pics are taken in there, and it is a fab wet weather option! 

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  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,202

    So dress shopping was probably the thing I was most excited about the whole wedding. I went with my mum and sister four weeks after our engagement. We weren’t planning on taking it seriously, it was just for fun as we knew that the wedding wouldn’t be for around two years...

    I had absolutely no idea what style I wanted to be honest. I am “that girl” who has been fantasising about her wedding since she was 5, and had always cooned over white dresses, but never thought about what style I would want! I knew I didn’t want too many rhinestones. This is because my theme is champagne but I feel it is quite a weak colour so I didn’t want any silver draw the eye away from the champagne. So I tried on a variety....here is a selection of my favourites!

    Benjamin Roberts 2504LU

    The very first dress I tried on. I loved the tulle, and the full skirt and the lace embellishments. I wasn't sure of the princess neckline due to my small assets....!

    Sweetheart 6072

    Oh my gosh I loved this dress and it caused me a lot of heartache. It was made a chiffon and I just loved the way it falls and moves. I actually put a hoop on under it to make it this full size. I thought the neckline was soo flattering for my bust but was worried I am getting married in the height of summer and would I be too hot with my chest covered (i get hot easily, and was hot in it in the shop). Some of my friends also said it was "old-lady-like" being covered on top. 

    Sweetheart 6074

    I didn't like the organza material of this dress, but I loved the "strapless scoop" neckline. As I said, I wasn't keen on princess, and thought straight cut was too, well, straight.This was perfect.

    The final one was more fitted and despite looking amazing on (especially my J-Lo bum), I couldn't move so immediately ruled out this style for practical reasons!

  • SammykateSammykate Posts: 3,298

    Ahh I'm looking forward to seeing the dress you chose eventually! I quite like the high neck one on you but agree it might get too hot in summer!

  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,202

    Thanks Sammykate! looking at the pics again I do feel little bit sad I don't have that dress, but mine is even better! Next instalment coming up...

  • lubeslubes Posts: 1,555

    I love that second dress - it is really flattering. I am very excited to see the final dress if you look that good already  !

  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,202

    Over the next 3 months I went twice more, with two different friends. However, despite our most military style intentions, it wasn’t overly productive in trying to narrow down a style. By now I had tried on about 25-30 dresses and my obsession with finding “my” dress started to kick in.... So I decided that I would go to a local shop on my own as maybe this would help me identify what I liked about each dress rather than, as much as I love them, what my companions thought....

    First, I tried on this lush chiffon dress which reminded me of the lovely chiffon dress I tried on in the first shop!

    Amanda Wyatt Promise

    I loved it for all the same reasons but still wanted my full skirt!

    With the full skirted dresses, the assistants (helpfully) explained to me that a dropped waist would actually flatter me more as the structure from a wedding dress would essentially “smooth out” my love handles. I tried on a lovely dress called Grace, she was a princess cut (which to my surprise looked great on my (tiny) bust as it made me look tiny all over), and pinched in at the waist, the dropped waist made my love handles completely disappear, then a massive tulle skirt with a train. She had minimal silver “bling” and plenty of lace decoration. I absolutely loved it and was never closer to putting a deposit down on a dress but really wanted my mum to see it. The shop said they weren't able to take a picture of me (and as I was alone there was no chance for a sneaky one) but said there was a picture on their website and they gave me the designer name and told me how to search for it. When I got home, I went on the website and did what they said but it wasn't there. What I did see was that this designer was on their list of “designers that don’t have websites”. Despite my best Google detective ability, I couldn't find a trace of this designer anywhere so I sent an email to the shop owner who sent back an extremely rude and not in the slightest bit understanding email (littered with unprofessional spelling, grammar and typing mistakes) saying that this designer doesn't publish any pictures of their dresses whatsoever and that I would need to come with my mum, despite me telling her that my mum lives 3 hours away and it is not that simple... Emails went back and forth but to cut a long story short, I came away feeling really deflated that I found this lovely dress but even if my mum had managed to come up, I wouldn't have felt right giving this horrible woman my money.

    To cheer myself up I decided to look through all the pictures that were taken on that first shopping trip with my mum and sister. BAD IDEA. This did not cheer me up. However, it did make me realise that lovely Grace was very similar to a dress that I had tried on in the very first shop, so I decided to email them, check it was still available (which it was!) and planned to go in when I was in the area visiting my mum. Unfortunately this wasn't for a good few months so I decided to continue my search on pinterest/google. This is where I found my obsession with Sophia Tolli . She appeared to do lots of tulle dress with dropped waists so I found a store local to me and off I went. I went alone again, as I felt this was most productive. 

    I had a list of dropped waist tulle dresses and the staff knew exactly the dresses I listed but only had one of them, which happened to be my favourite and in the sample sale:

    Sophia Tolli Geraldine

    I tried it on and loved it! However, I couldn’t commit as I was still thinking about the chiffon style of dresses. So I got home and searched in internet for hours trying to find a designers who did chiffon dresses, with full skirts.....

  • This is so exciting!!!  More more more!!!

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