Hey!I’ve been addicted to this forum since my wedding planning begun and thought it is only fair I share my experience with you all.I will put this together by going through different elements of the day.Enjoy!
The Proposal!After being with Richard for 7 years, we decided to go on holiday to Disney World in Florida to mark our ‘Anniversary’. I kind of had an idea something was about to happen in regards to a proposal but I put it at the back of my mind because I didn’t want to be disappointed and it potentially ruining our holiday.Just after take-off, Richard said he was going to take some pictures of the plane for me (I’m a major plane spotter and love EVERYTHING about planes!) and thought nothing of it! I noticed he was taking his time and wondered where he’d got to, I was looking around for him from my seat but couldn’t see him so I just carried on reading the inflight magazine until I hear an announcement from the cabin crew “Please can a Miss Laura Taylor come to the front of the plane” I was thinking “Oh CRAP, what’s happened, what I have done?!“….. I walked sheepishly towards to the front of the plane to be greeted by a member of the cabin crew who told me to stay where I was….. he then took my hand and grabbed the microphone and said “Ladies & gentleman, we have a special announcement” He then gives the microphone to Richard (who is down on one knee!!) and says “Laura, will you marry me?” to my shock, I couldn’t answer him and left him in limbo for what felt like a lifetime until I realised I didn’t give him my answer, I then shouted “YES” and the entire plane cheered and applauded us back to our seats! I didn't have to foggiest clue he would ask me during the flight!! After returning home from Disney, we decided to save a deposit to buy our own house before we set a date for the wedding knowing that we wanted to move to Manchester (From Blackpool/Fleetwood) Fast forward 2 years to November 2013 and WE DID IT!!We wanted to settle in and put our own stamp on the house before even thinking about our wedding.
Planning! So at Christmas 2015, we both sat down and decided to set the date. We both knew that we didn’t want to wait a long time for a date and wanted to get married at St Anne’s Parish Church in St Anne’s. A few enquiries later and a meeting with the father of the church, we then had dates of availability. With the location of the church, we wanted the venue to be as close to the church and possible bearing in mind that the majority of our guests will be travelling from Fleetwood/Blackpool area and didn’t want the travelling to be more time consuming than it already is, so we started looking in St Anne’s/Lytham areas for a venue. After visiting many hotels along the sea front we discounted many of them due to room sizes, lighting, unprofessional behaviour and hygiene ratings. We then came across Clifton Arms Hotel in Lytham and thought PERFECT! We liked the rooms they had, the staff were attentive and professional, the food looked great…. Everything fit the bill. We asked for some available dates and said they have a slot on August 13th (The day after Richard’s birthday!) I got all giddy and wanted to book there and then until the receptionist said, “It’s Lytham’s 1940’s weekend and the town will be quite busy that weekend” I gasped and asked “is that the one where there will be a Spitfire on the green across from the hotel?” she smiled and said YES!..... I looked at Richard with that look of OMG, Please can we book now face and then walked out with a pencilled in booking!I was so so SO excited to be potentially having our wedding with a Spitfire outside and couldn’t stop thinking about the photographs we’d have sitting in it etc. During the next week or two, Richard kept saying to me, something doesn’t feel right with the venue and realised it was because it had no grounds for photographs (His hobby is photography so I knew how important this was to him) so we kept our options open and searched for a local venue that have grounds. We came across 3 and booked some appointments to view them.1st venue - Singleton Lodge (near Poulton) – Richard loved this venue and liked the fact there were Alpaca’s in the field next to the driveway entrance, he also liked the set up of the room and the grounds of the lodge. I on the other hand wasn’t keen at all, I hated the sizes of the room and didn’t like outside of the building as I thought it looked too ‘distressed’ for what I wanted however, I LOVED the bedrooms because each one was furnished with Laura Ashley furniture and wallpaper which was right up my street but this wasn’t enough for me to hold our wedding there.2nd venue – Mains Hall (around the corner from the 1st venue) – We both weren’t over joyed by this venue and was exactly what we didn’t want, the rooms were very dark and the grounds seemed too small.3rd venue – Bartle Hall (near Preston) – After attending an evening reception to our friend’s wedding there 5 years ago, we knew what Bartle Hall had to offer and was quite excited with the availability they had. We imagined having photographs in certain places around the grounds and our guests enjoying playing lawn games on the green – This was the PERFECT venue. They had a cancellation in September, we booked and paid a deposit there and then!We now have our wedding date….. Saturday 3rd September 2016
Dress!With only 7 months to go until the big day, I didn’t have one ounce of panic or nerves as I knew I could pull this off as I am a VERY organised person!The first thing I got was my DRESS…. Like I said, I knew exactly what I wanted in regards to the entire wedding and my dress was one of them. “A princess ball gown with lace sleeves to cover my arms but not a big puffy one” I kept saying to my mum. I have loved Maggie Sottero and Mori Lee dresses for years and knew my dress would be made by either one of those designers.Here is a example to what I wanted…. After trying it on, I was so disheartened as I felt bigger than I actually was in them and the style just didn’t suit me, I was devastated because I loved the dresses but not on ME! So, after trying on around 5 or 6 more, the lady in the bridal shop came to me with a dress I really didn’t want..….a Mermaid/fishtail style dress. After refusing to try it on I begrudgingly went to the fitting room and tried it on…… I walked out of the fitting room nearly in floods of tears because I LOVED IT! It had all the key elements I wanted within my ideas.1, Lace trim2, Button up back3, Sweetheart necklineThis dress had it all – I purchased it there and then and was so so happy!Here it is – Migley and Sottero by Maggie Sottero – Lovia
Veil!I have never liked the feel of veils but LOVED the way they complimented wedding dresses, with that in mind I knew I didn’t want one that covered my face, I wanted one which sat right at the back of my head so I couldn’t see or feel it and knew I wanted it to be Cathedral length. Whilst I was trying on dresses I saw a gorgeous veil hung up which looked stunning and was exactly what I was looking for. I tried it on with my dress and instantly fell in love with it. The price tag however was well out of my budget as it was £300. It was then my Mum (who made her own wedding dress!!) offered to make me that exact veil for me with added sparkle as a gift. – I couldn’t believe how amazing it turned out and I was overwhelmed that my very own Mum made it for me. It got so many compliments on the day. I will always be grateful to my mum for doing this for me, it took her hours to make!Here it is, my gorgeous veil….
Bridesmaids Dresses!These were the most stressful part of the entire wedding planning process!Because I chose such an awkward colour scheme, I was unable to find the exact colour of dresses for my three Bridesmaids. After searching for months and months in EVERY high street shop, I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I came across a website who specialise in bridal dresses but was unsure whether the colour orange they stocked was the correct one, so I ordered a swatch just to put my mind at rest. After receiving the swatch, I discovered it was a perfect match to the ribbon I was using throughout my stationary. I was keen to get these ordered so after taking all the measurements from my Bridesmaids, I ordered them and patiently waited for their arrival. The website was called JJ's House - www.jjshouse.co.ukThey arrived and were PERFECT!! A few alternations on each dress later, I had my 3 perfect bridesmaid dresses!
I also treated each of my Bridesmaids to hair slides to wear with their dresses.
I loved the fact they all matched
Invites!With time pressing on, I was really keen to get the invites sent out. In regards to colour we have always said we are having orange and wanted a “Wardrobe” style invite tied with a ribbon so the recipient would have to untie the ribbon to read it.After a lot of help from my friend who works for a digital design company she helped design my invites. I was so very grateful that she did this for us as this enabled me to use the flowers within my other stationary.The card I used was 120gsm plain Ivory card purchased from Rymans - www.ryman.co.uk/ryman-prestige-ultra-smooth-paper-a4-120gsm-100-sheets The ribbon I used was purchased from Ebay but can be found in most haberdashery stores - www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3501-Berisfords-Double-Satin-Ribbon-60-COLOURS-Full-Roll-25mm-x-20m-/381519721427 We chose the peony design from the website www.shutterstock.com and the font we used is called “Feel Script” from www.dafont.com Here are my invites
Flowers!There was always something I wanted to splurge on and Flowers was one of them. I felt these played an important role to the wedding and wanted these to be perfect!After researching different florists I was never happy with what they had to offer as I was VERY fussy. I wanted orange and white/ivory in my flowers but more orange ones than white/ivory and then a smaller bunch for the Bridesmaids but the colours flipped. I also wanted no gaps between each flower, no sticky up bits, minimal greenery and the stems completely covered. It wasn’t until I remembered my friend’s flowers at her wedding at Bartle Hall 5 years ago that I realised how beautiful hers looked and how much “wow factor” they created with their guests. I later found out she went with Flower Design. I was instantly sold! Luckily they had availability on our date so I paid a deposit straight away.I had in church candelabras at the front which were transported by Flower Design to Bartle Hall and were used as centre pieces on the tables. The little posies which were pew ends at the church were used along the top table surrounded with all the bridal bouquets.I was that happy I cried!! - They couldn’t of been more perfect!!http://www.flowerdesign.co.uk/
Photographers & Videographers!Like I mentioned earlier, Richard is a huge fan of photography and I knew this aspect of the wedding was crucially important to him (and me!) so, I left him to research some photographers and videographers.He came back with Lawson Photography which we’ve both been a fan of for a long time but we simply couldn’t afford to hire them so we decided to search for somebody who has Lawson’s style but within our budget, this took us a lengthy amount of time due to people either being booked up or were too much out of our budget. We later found Kelly Clarke who fitted the bill perfectly! A few emails later and a meeting in person, we booked her there and then!Here is her website: http://kellyclarke.co.uk/Choosing a videographer was really disheartening as we were struggling to find exactly what we wanted. We wanted a full length video (1-2 hours long) with the full ceremony and speeches filmed along with “guest book” messages.We were beginning to think we were out of league, that we were looking for something that doesn’t exist etc.We then found Northwest Wedding Videos and liked what we saw, who offered everything we wanted. Again, a few emails later and a meeting in person, we booked there and then! Here is their website: http://www.northwestweddingvideos.co.uk/
Cars!The cars were a massive thing for me, I have always dreamt of having a vintage cream Rolls Royce since I was a little girl and was the one thing I wasn't going to settle on… I was having THAT car!After doing so much research on cars, I found there wasn’t many places to choose from that had the one I wanted. I was beginning to tear my hair out until I came across a company called ‘Magnolia Classics’ who are based in Southport – they had THE car and called them immediately. To my surprise, they were available! You can imagine how happy I was, I was smiling like the Cheshire cat for weeks! I decided to hire an additional car for my Bridesmaids and parents too.Here is their website: http://www.magnoliaclassics.co.uk/Here are my cars
Order of Service!Again, I wanted these to be handmade by myself using the same material and design I used on my invites.I defiantly wanted a booklet style order of service as I liked the thought guests were reading a story of our day. I also wanted to use images from our pre-wedding shoot we had with our photographer a few weeks before the wedding so I used these at the very front of the booklet and at the very back. Like all of my stationary, I made these in Microsoft Word by using a booklet setting in the ‘Page Layout’ section. These were fairly easy to create. We found some of the settings varied with different printers so it’s always good to print out a sample before doing the final prints.I then had a family member bind these together to create the booklet effect and added ribbon along the spine of the book to make it look more eye catching.Our Order of Service booklets:
Memoriam! We wanted to remember the people who couldn’t be there at our wedding by lighting a candle for the loved ones that have passed. For Richard’s birthday last year, my parents bought him a lovely candle display which fitted perfectly with the wedding. I then sourced a vintage chrome easel and made an ‘In Memoriam’ sign explaining why the candle was lit.We had a lot of lovely compliments about this and a few teary eyes while reading the verse.
Guest Book!We had an unusual guest book as I never wanted just a ‘book’ I wanted something a bit different so I decided to create a “Message in a Bottle” where guests wrote their thoughts, wishes & advice on a piece of card a popped it into the bottle. I created A6 sized note-lets and a sign explaining what to do. I then displayed the sign on an easel. We will open the bottle on our first Wedding anniversary and read the lovely wishes people have made us.This is now crammed full of wishes ready for us to open!
Post box!Again, I wanted something unusual and didn’t want a typical “post box” and wanted the cards to be stored neatly. After researching many websites, I discovered a lovely vintage idea with wicker baskets. I knew I had one at home with a handle and experimented decorating it. I added lace to the handle with some ribbon and “Mr & Mrs” ceramic bunting, I then made a sign asking people what to do which was displayed on another easel.It worked! All the cards were stored in the basket all neat and tidy!
Table plan!Since attending my friend’s wedding at Bartle Hall, I always admired the table plan set up she had. She displayed it within picture frames surrounded by wedding photographs of family members. I thought it was such a lovely idea and a great talking point with guests.I then set myself a mission to buy as many frames from car boot sales and charity shops as I could so then I had a decent selection to choose from. Doing it this way allowed me to revise the table plan at last minute with guests who couldn’t attend due to illness etc.I filled the rest of the frames with wedding photos of our family and added 3 additional smaller frames with a picture of my parents dog Lulu (just so she was a part of our big day!) one of me as a baby and one of Richard too.
Favours!These were easiest decision we made. I always wanted delicate favour boxes filled with something (Obviously!) but I didn’t know what to fill them with. I thought maybe some personalised chocolates or something homemade. It wasn’t until I was shopping at my local outlet mall I came across a Yankee Candle shop who were selling off their ‘Votive’ candles for 50p each and had an idea…… what if I fill each box with a candle and attach a label on top and utilise it as a place name too?And here we are… our favours……
I purchased the favour boxes from Home Bargains (of all places!) and got 10 boxes in each pack that cost 99p
I used this candle inside
A good friend at work offered to make them all up for me as time was pressing on, This was a great help and couldn’t thank her enough…….she did FAB!
Each favour cost a total of 70p which included the ribbon and place name tag.
I only had one child at the wedding who was my 8 year old Nephew. I knew he wouldn't appreciate a favour box with a candle inside, so, I purchased a small box of Lego from Tesco for £4. I wrapped some ribbon around it and attached a tag on it with his name on.
Let's just say, he was a happy bunny!
Gift for my Groom!I thought about this long and hard and since we started planning the wedding I knew this was a must!I purchased a gift box and filled it with:A pocket watchDavidoff Cool Water Eau Au toilette 2 Cigars (for him and his best man!)“The Husband” ladybird bookMiniature bottle of Southern ComfortI lined the top of the box with a liner which we used to line the envelopes for our invites and attached the chorus of 'our song' on the top. I also made him a card using the same font I used on all of our stationary and wrote a poem inside. I treated him to some cuff links a few days before the wedding and he chose these!......
The cigars went down a treat!!!
Entertainment!Richard always wanted a band….. I was never too keen on the idea. I had worries about it being too loud for our guests (especially the older ones!) and feared it would separate our guests into the other rooms. After long discussions and putting a list together of pro’s & con’s, Richard convinced me this would pull off! So, we researched a few bands and really liked “The Rush” but after enquiring, they turned out way above our budget! After going back to the drawing board, we found a band called “Breaker” who sounded good and were doing a live set in a local pub of ours and thought… perfect! We’ll go and see them perform live which will hopefully shine a light on my worries……… it did and booked them a few days later!Throughout the night all we received from guests were really positive comments and congratulated us on finding a good band! PHEW! This put my mind at rest! The boy did good convincing me!We nearly booked a magician to perform after the wedding breakfast until just before the band started but we decided not to do it due to financial reasons.
Cake!This was really simple as I wanted the actual cake itself to be simple but have a really quirky cake topper. As Traditional as I am, I really didn’t want a bride & groom cake topper but didn’t actually know what I wanted in its place which was very frustrating! So, with that mind, I started searching for inspiration on this forum and on other websites such as Etsy etc. Richard and I absolutely adore Giraffes and wanted to incorporate them into the wedding but had no idea how. I then saw this on Etsy.....
After recovering from rolling on the floor in complete laughter, I said to Richard “How cool would this be on top of our cake?!” He HATED this idea and said it looks tacky which broke my heart because I thought it was ‘very us’ and would be a talking point. After weeks and weeks of convincing him, he agreed. This is our cake topper….
With my Mum making my veil, I asked her to make a replica of mine for the female giraffe and a little bow tie for the male giraffe.On the veil, she put the same pearls that was used on mine and attached them on her head to make a head dress. My mum is so talented and cannot thank her enough for making this for us!The cake itself was made by a friend of a friend who works for a baking company. She adores making wedding cakes and after speaking to her and showing me some samples, I knew she was the perfect person to bake our cake!I showed her a few examples of what we wanted in regards to decoration. Like I said earlier, I wanted something very simple with orange ribbon decorated around each tier. I originally wanted a 3 tier cake with each tier separated but figured this was too old fashioned and quickly went off the idea so we decided to still have a 3 tier cake but not separated. The flavours we had were:Bottom tier – Madeira spongeMiddle tier – Chocolate Top tier – Fruit
We decided to have the top tier frozen so we can make a Christening cake for our first child.
Cravats & Hankies!We hired the men’s suits from Moss Bro’s which came complete with cravats and hankies. They had a few colours to choose from and found that their ‘burnt orange’ colour didn’t match our orange colour and figured if we were to go with their colour, this would really bug me as they wouldn’t match the colour of everything else. We later found a guy in Manchester who made bespoke cravats & hankies in a variety of colours and asked for some samples in orange and discovered he had the EXACT colour we wanted. Here they are……I was so pleased we did this. This originally wasn’t within our budget but spending a little bit extra money made a big difference as I was so happy everything matched! Here is their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/StushMCR/
Sweet Table!A sweet table was always going to happen as I just love kids sweets! I am a massive fan of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland and after visiting my friend (who is also a massive Disney fan!) said to me, “I’m surprised your entire wedding doesn’t have an Alice in Wonderland theme, why don’t you have your sweet table themed?” This got me very excited ad immediately started coming up with ideas on how to decorate the table and the jars I’d be using. I made bunting out of playing cards. I threaded each card through ribbon I found at my local haberdashery shop and decorated each jar with ribbon and lace. I also incorporated some more playing cards, making quirky bow ties. I couldn’t believe my luck when I found “Queen of Hearts” ribbon. This fitted the bill perfectly. I saw a fairy door in a shop called ‘The Works’ which you decorate yourself. I decided to purchase one and experimented different ways to decorate it. I attached Cheshire cat on the top of the door and Alice stood next to it. I also made arrows using the Disney font on www.dafont.co.uk I printed these on to card and found an arrow template on google images and cut around each sign to make the arrows. I attached these using blue tack onto a wooden kitchen roll holder and placed the red queen underneath for more decoration. I placed a White Rabbit plush onto the table too.
I got all the figurines from the Disney Store, the jars from car boots sales, charity shops and the pound shop. The sweets were purchased from Amazon, Home Bargains, Aldi, Asda and Tesco.The sweets I used were:Liquorice Allsorts – AldiKids mix – AldiHaribo Tangfastics – AsdaHaribo Marshmallows – AsdaMini Jammie Dodgers - AsdaMidget Gems – TescoMint Imperials – Home BargainsWhite Mice – Home BargainsJazzles – Home BargainsSwizzles kids mix – Home BargainsCoconut Mushrooms – Home BargainsStrawberry Bon Bons – Home BargainsHaribo Jelly Babies – Home BargainsHaribo Heart Throbs – AmazonHaribo Jelly Beans - AmazonBubblegum Bottles – Amazon
Costings!Dress - £1295Shoes - £22Accessories (Bride Only) - £48Hair & Make-up (Bride only) - £145Venue, food and chair covers - £4262Church with choir, organist and bells - £855Suit hire - £356Photographer - £1650Videographer - £1500Band - £575Flowers - £1244Cars - £650Rings - £774Bridesmaid dresses and hair pieces - £374Bespoke cravats & hankies - £100Cake - £135Invites - £33Order of Service £31Thank you cards - £18Menus - £6Table numbers - £12Message in a Bottle - £9Order of Day - £4Cards basket - £7Memoriam - £8Favours - £36Sweet table - £88Table plan - £12Garden games - £195 – (Giant connect four cost £168 alone)Mr & Mrs letters, pictures on fireplaces and candles - £18
Total = £14,462.00
What a lovely wedding, Thanks for taking the time to do the report and the costings. Your dress is beautiful and I love your Alice in Wonderland sweet table.
I bought these before I got my dress! I've never been into shoes so I knew it wouldn't be hard choosing some. I went to Monsoon as I knew they have a stunning bridal range. To my excitement, they had a sale on and managed to get my shoes for £15!!
I decided to buy an additional flat pair for dancing in the evening, I got these from BHS for £7!!
Richard wasn't really bothered about shoes neither but he did want one thing and that was for them to be shiny!
We went in a few shops and with us not really setting a budget on them and with the potential fact he may not wear them again, we didn't want to spend too much money on them.
We ended up going in to Primark and I found some shoes that fitted the bill perfectly, he tried them on and liked them instantly. They had £25 on the ticket which were reduced to £15 and thought what a bargain!..... we went to the till to pay and they scanned at £5!!!!! - we couldn't believe our luck!
I originally wanted t create my own and print them in A5 and display them on the tables on easels but I decided to have picture frames instead!I purchased some from B&M's and placed a liner inside like I did with our invite envelopes and then put wooden numbers inside them.The numbers were from Hobby Craft which I painted in metallic gold.
These worked well.....nobody got lost anyway
MrsS85 wrote (see post):
What a lovely wedding, Thanks for taking the time to do the report and the costings. Your dress is beautiful and I love your Alice in Wonderland sweet table.
Thank you! I was so happy how things worked out! it just proves you can plan a gorgeous wedding in a matter of months!
Beautiful! I love the flowers especially. Congratulations!