Simple, elegant and romantic.. our August 2019 wedding.

I have been lurking for almost a year now and been going back and forth on whether to start my own thread...

Well here it goes!


My fiancé M and I have been together for 3 and a bit years, we got engaged last December and have started full on planning mode since March.


How We Met

Our story of how we met isn't necessarily the classiest of situations, my friend and M's friend were 'friends with benefits' and on a night out my friend met M in a very intoxicated state and told him all about her crazy friend and how she wanted him to message me because she thought we'd go well together (clearly she has a sixth sense for these things, even when drunk.)

She proceeded to give M my name and number, and a few days later he plucked up the courage to send me a message on Facebook. After a couple of weeks we arranged to meet and the rest is history. We've been inseparable since.

See what I mean, not your standard cute scenario?!


The Proposal

M and I had spoken about marriage from quite early on in our relationship and we both knew it was something we wanted. I assumed that M was going to be the typical man and make me wait at least 5+ years, this didn't particularly bother me as I am only young and not in a rush. We arranged in May 2016 to go to New York just after Christmas and over new year. Obviously I was so excited to go but didn't think at any point before we went that he'd propose.

When we got to the airport we both got the dreaded pat down.. what did they think I was smuggling in my waistband?! Clearly I had indulged a bit more than I thought I had over Christmas!

At this point I did notice M looked petrified, I thought he was just weirdly scared of the stocky man patting him down. After he proposed, he said he was terrified as he had the ring in his hand luggage and thought they were going to take it out in front of me. Bless him!

Anyway, back to the proposal, on our second day (the 28th) we decided to visit Central Park and the zoo in the morning and then carry on with our other sight-seeing in the afternoon. M seemed a little quiet on our walk to the park but I put that down to tiredness, its a talent of mine to miss the obvious apparently. After our walk around the park we went into the zoo and I can honestly say I absolutely loved it there! I think it was due to my love for animals but I was honestly so happy walking around and unwittingly commented about how romantic it was to M. I think it was part awe of actually being in New York and how fabulous it all looked in winter.

M decided that this was the place he wanted to propose, apparently he could tell it was special for me. We were stood next to the sea lions, who doesn't want a sea lion at their proposal?! And M got something out of his pocket and then turned to me, cue romantic speech that brought me to tears and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. I was blubbing for about 5 minutes before I could manage to get a yes out.

It was honestly the best way he could have proposed, I've always been quite private and don't like attention but I think the proposal was 100% right for me. I've never had anything big or special like that just for me, I'm not saying that in a 'woe to be me' way.We spent the next few days in a happy loved up bubble exploring the Big Apple and I did FaceTime my family and M's while we were there. My family were ecstatic but didn't seem shocked and M's family were definitely shocked and it took them a few weeks to even say congratulations. They just didn't expect it. M told me that he had gone and spoken to my mum (I don't speak to my dad) and asked her permission to propose. It really meant a lot to me, that he made that effort.



  • As M had told my mum, naturally she told my two sisters and they had to keep it a secret for almost two months.


    We started planning in March and I feel like I've done quite well considering I still have 21 months to go.


    I'll post more of what I've planned and booked already soon.

  • We are 31 August 2019..will be following your thread.

  • Themes and Visions

    So, my initial thought for the wedding venue and theme was barn/rustic. However, since I live in the countryside and see barns and rural scenes everyday, I thought it wouldn’t seem ‘special’ enough... as ridiculous as that sounds!

    I still want to keep parts the more rustic side so that it’s inkeeping with the environment but M and I realised that we loved the idea of a simple, elegant and slightly vintage day. Our main priority is for it to be about the marriage and love we have for each other   I know that it’s what all brides and grooms want, but I feel sometimes that message can get lost in translation and it’s so easy to want to go extravagant. That being said, I am massively picky and even though it’s all about the meaning of the day - I don’t want everything to look like crap  

    Colour Themes

    It may seem strange to go to colour schemes next but as soon as planning time came, my wedding Pinterest board came out and all I could think about was colours. Most people would be thinking about venues, caterers, photographers etc.. Not me! I blame it on Pinterest! M isn’t massively into bright colours and I don’t like pastel shades so it was actually harder than I thought. At this point I had my mum banging on about grey tones because she saw some bridesmaids dresses she thought were nice - like I’m going to base my wedding around that. 

    M and I have decided to go with dusky pink, dusky blue and ivory/white tones. Ideally keeping the pink in the flowers as I’m really not fond but think it works well.. and it’s all we could agree on. We’ll have flecks of deep green aswell to give it a more natural feel.

  • Here’s an example of the colour scheme...


    I think it will work well with what will hopefully be a sunny summers day. Not too dark that it looks out of place but also not too blinding!

  • The Venue Hunting

    As M and I live just outside of the New Forest and both love the rural settings. We decided to use the New Forest as our search area. We weren’t only going to look in this area but it’s where we both prefer to have our nuptials. 


    Part one: Balmer Lawn


    Balmer Lawn was the first venue we went to see, I had found it online and M had a look at thought it would be good to visit and meet with the coordinator.

    If I’m completely honest, I wasn’t sure when we first arrived as it had been a bit of a bastard to get there due to traffic and from the outside it didn’t look like the pretty building I imagined people to arrive at for my wedding. But I put these thoughts aside as I knew it was quite superficial of me to think that about the outside of a building. 

    The coordinator, Kate, was really lovely and helpful. She took us through a tour of the wedding suite and went through the finer details of packages, in house options etc. Although I had tried to put aside my thoughts of the dated front of the building, but it seemed to have carried on throughout the hotel. The grounds themselves looked a bit shabby. It probably didn’t help that we went on a murky day. The two wedding suites themselves were fine and in fair nick, but there was one that was too small for our number guests and the other was huge and I feel our wedding would have been drowned. It was spread over three large rooms and they didn’t flow from one to the other. I know it sounds picky, but I didn’t want people to be disappearing off into different rooms throughout the wedding and the evening do. 

    When the estimated prices were discussed, we were blown away at the cost as we didn’t feel we’d be getting enough for It. After the visit, M and I decided against this venue as it just wasn’t for us.

    The hunt continued...

  • Part two: Bartley Lodge Hotel

    Bartley Lodge Hotel is about half an hour or so from where M and I live and we found it when we were exploring the New Forest in the car, looking for wedding venues (sad, I know!)

    when we turned in and started following the winding driveway, I knew it was special. I just had that odd sensation when you know something’s right. We approached the front of the hotel and we both started beaming... This definitely had the WOW factor we had been looking for. At that point all we could do was drive round the back and look at the grounds from afar. It appeared to be perfect as it was just the right amount of elegance without being overly dramatic. 

    Both M and I were so keen to book to see the inside and speak to the coordinator, I emailed as soon as we got home. 

    Sophie, the coordinator, was so quick and efficient at getting back to me and booked us in for the following week. We were so impatient! 

    When the day finally arrived, my mother, M and I set off for the venue. I got the same feeling driving up as I had before and this time, I got to go in!

    The coordinator was so friendly and showed us the hotel and grounds. It was absolutely stunning! It’s just the right amount of grandeur for us. When we sat down and looked at the money aspect, it worked out as quite expensive but it did include the ceremony, wedding breakfeast, ice cream cart and canapés , DJ and Hog roast. We went home and had a think about it and decided that this was the venue for us! Even though it seemed expensive, it’s actually cut a fair amount of the cost as we don’t have to get out of house suppliers.

  • Part two: Bartley Lodge Hotel continued...

    After deciding that this was the venue for us, I contacted Sophie straight away and checked availability for both summer 2018 and 2019. She informed me that 2018 was booked from March to October (I had called in May this year.) We had expected this to be the case as it’s pretty standard to book a year and a half or two years ahead. M and I had decided we’d prefer a Saturday in  August and after looking at 2019 dates we decided to plump for the 10th. I phoned Sophie back and she confirmed that the date was free and provisionally booked us in and emailed us a contract to sign and return. Later that week we returned the contract and paid the deposit.


    It was settled M and I would be getting married at the venue on the 10th of August 2019 💍

  • Here are some photos of the venue...


    The front 




    The ceremony room



  • And a couple more..

    Baronial Hall - wedding breakfast and evening reception 



    The back 



    The photos really don‘t do the venue enough justice but this was all google could provide for me, so it’ll have to do for now.

  • Other venues we considered...

    Although we only went to view two. We did have a look at a few others online and visited them without booking a specific appointment. Here’s a short list of other venues we looked at.

    Burley Manor - stunning and gorgeous, however sadly definitely out of budget for us so we didn’t book to see the coordinator as we knew it wasn’t in reach for us.

    Master Builder’s at Bucklers Hard - again, it’s a stunning venue but out of budget.

    Forest Lodge Hotel - appeared quite run down and didn’t find the options or packages very appealing. 

  • Lexi90Lexi90 Posts: 971

    So excited to read your thread, I am getting married at Burley Manor, so close to your venue. Bartley Lodge is a lovely choice, I looked around it with my friend for her wedding. I’m sure you will have a fantastic day there! 

  • Lexi90 thank you! I’m excited... just under two years to go 😂 Burley Manor is gorgeous! You must be over the moon

  • The Ring

    In all the excitment of starting the thread, I forgot to post a bling picture! (I apologise now for my tatty nail polish... didn’t think to redo it)



  • The Dress...

    Disclaimer: I am 100% aware of how crazy and early this post is.

    My mother, middle sister and I decided in April that we wanted to have a look and wedding dresses and I should try some on so that when the time came I knew what suited me and what I feel most comfortable and confident in.

    We decided to check out Wed2B in Southampton first as we hadn't thought to book any appointments (school boy error - I know) and they take walk ins. I must say that it all felt a bit more real when I was stood surrounded by wedding dresses!  

    I was told I could pick 4 dresses off the rack and then try those and return to get more dresses after if there was still ones I wanted to try on. Of course, I ended up doing about ten trips in total. I tried on a variety of styles, including fishtail, strapless, a line and Grecian style. Before the trip, I thought I would love a fishtail style dress and for the first round I pretty much only had them in my loot. However, after trying some on I realised that it was definitely not a style that suited me, I am way too insecure about my body to have something tight fitting. After that, I tried on some strapless and Grecian style dresses. The strapless were pretty but I knew I'd spend the whole day worrying about a nip slip and I wanted something more modest for my wedding day as usually my chest bursts out of my outfits. Not necessarily through choice - they seem to have a mind of their own. In the third round, my mum had spotted a dress on the mannequin and kept on to me to try it on, even though it was everything I said I didn't like. It was an A-line, satin dress with some sparkles on the top - not what I had imagined.

    In the end I relented and tried it on - just to keep her satisfied. When I had it on and looked in the mirror... I absolutely loved it! I knew it was the one, It felt so timeless and elegant and I felt like a bride. A part of me knew I should look at more dresses just in case and I wasn't planning to buy that day. But after try on a dozen more dresses, none of them even came close and I felt a bit deflated in them. I knew deep down that nothing would top THE dress, and the shopping assistant informed me that they were having a switch around and it wasn't clear whether I'd be able to get the dress again, I don't know if this is a sales tactic but it worked on me.

    I couldn't walk away know that my wedding dress was in the shop and I wouldn't necessarily be able to find it again. I decided to go for it! When you know, you know. My mum kindly paid for it as she said she always wanted to buy her daughters' wedding dresses. She's so so sweet!

    So in April 2017 - 2 years and 4 months before my wedding day - the wedding dress had been purchased!

    It's now safely stored at my grandparents - away from peaking eyes! I know M wouldn't want to ruin the surprise but I know how curious he would be and I don't want to risk it.

    I am still unsure whether to post a photo of the dress - I'm still paranoid with just under 2 years to go that someone I know will pop up on here. Maybe in the future.





  • MrsS85MrsS85 Posts: 688 New bride

    Loving reading your thread, Your venue sounds lovely, Well done finding your dress so soon - one big thing ticked off the list!


  • Bridesmaids


    Even before we got engaged I knew I only wanted 2 bridesmaids - my two closest friends.

    However, I've ended up with 5 bridesmaids and potentially 2 flower girls...its ridiculous!

    Firstly, I asked my two best friends who I had always intended on having as my bridesmaids and they were over the moon and very excited. I didn't do the whole gift box thing, more because I accidently blurted it out because I just wanted to ask them already. We were out for a meal at a pub near us and it came naturally.


    Then two more..

    My sisters were adamant that they should be bridesmaids and seemed really put out at the thought of not being one - I understand but I still think its a little OTT. So I had to include them as my mum was joining on the bandwagon as well and I couldn't be bothered with the aggro and I knew every time the wedding came up, so would the bridesmaid issue. So I'll have to grin and bare it.


    Why not make it five...

    M and I realised we didn't actually have any of his family in the wedding party and as I had my two sisters, we didn't really feel this was fair. M has an older sister and we decided to make both sides feel included, it would be nice to ask her to be a bridesmaid. By this point I sort of stopped caring about how many bridesmaids I have and just wanted to make sure that both family's felt included.

    As for the two flower girls, my cousin has two daughters who will be nine and five, I thought they would have fun being flower girls but I actually haven't asked them yet. It seemed silly to ask them so early as they'll get impatient. But now I'm thinking to not have them as flower girls, I know it may sound mean. I do love them ridiculous amounts but as I already have five adults following me up the aisle.. would two little people make it look even more dramatic?

    If any ladies have any thoughts or advice about the two flower girls it would be much appreciated.




  • Sorry I’ve been quiets - hit a lull with the planning atm and busy with other things! Hopefully have some updates soon

  • The Photographer...

    The next item on our list was to book the photographer. Since we’re getting married on a Saturday in August, we figured it’d be smart to get it booked quickly as it‘s peak time for weddings. 

    I actually found this quite difficult initially as I didn’t really know what you’re supposed to look for in a photographer. A woman I went to school with does wedding photography and a lot of the people I know that have gotten married have used her. Her photos are so so lovely but I felt a little awkward at the thought of her doing the romantic photos of me and M. So I crossed her off my list as I just really would struggle with that.

    We just started trawling the internet for ones in our area and it all seemed like an endless task and overwhelming. My mum then sent me a link to a photographer‘s website that had captured a colleagues wedding. M and I looked through the portfolio and gallery on the website and it was the only one we’d seen that fully grabbed our attention. I emailed him and arranged a meeting. David came to our home and answered any questions we had and gave us the overall info as well as some stuff about himself. We felt relaxed around him straight away and that was a massive deciding factor (as well as the gorgeous photos) and actually signed on the dotted line that evening and paid the deposit!

    Here‘s the link to his website:


  • Also, when do you guys recommend starting to collect decorative bits? I was thinking of holding out until this August. I figure tastes change and if we change our mind on anything, we’ll have wasted money. 

  • AwhelenqtAwhelenqt Posts: 856 New bride

    August 2019 here too!

    I'm already collecting jars, and making paper cranes! We have a 'storage' room (aka spare room thats rarely used by guests) so I'll box things up and keep them in there. Makes me feel much better that it'll all be done and I'll have a lot more things to stress over closer to the time without all this as well! I mean worse case, I can sell them if my tastes change and then get things I like more. Still a year and a half to plan!

  • Awhelenqt - that’s true, I think I’ll start picking things up if they’re a decent price etc. As you said, selling on is an option 😊

  • I'm May 2019 and I'm going to start getting bits if and when I see them to try and spread the cost I think. Plus as I want quite summery bits if I leave it too late all the Christmas stuff will be in the shops and I won't be able to find much. Maybe thats just an excuse though! Do you go a really solid idea about how you want the decor? I change my mind about the details every other day at the minute so I'm going to start with bits I know I'll definitely use like some form of table plan and focus on that to start with. So focus on one bit at a time.

    With regards to the flower girls, realise you asked a little while ago but know how you feel. I've got 4 bridesmaids, and then a flower girl and a paige boy, and mum of the paige boy who is also a bridesmaid is now pregnant! So that will be anther mini member! I'm just going with it though as I like wedding pics with a big bridal party haha, how shallow am I! 

  • BTL - I have a pretty solid idea for the decor, like minimal and elegant with a lot of flowers (one of my BMs is a florist so I’m getting a cracking deal.) I think I’ll start getting stuff as and when. I do have a spare bedroom so I’ll probably just use it as a guest room/wedding room 😊 I’ve sort of pushing the crazy bridesmaid situation out of my mind. Two littlies won’t be too much more and it’ll mean a lot to them. It’s the only think at the wedding that may look over the top but hey ho!

  • Save the dates...

    Wedding stationery and invitations are so hard... why?!

    M and I have been looking at save the dates to send out this July/August. I figured it’d be a good time to send them as it’ll give people a warning as it’s during school holidays and I don’t want to wait until I send the invitations, only to find people have already booked holidays etc and can’t make it. I know this can still be the case anyway, but if I were a guest, I’d appreciate the heads up!

    Save the dates are so hard because I want them to be similar and if not the same design as the invitations so there’s some continuity in the stuff we send guests. If I send out mismatched STD and invitation, people will think it’s going to be a really unorganised day.

    Heres the ones that I like so far, they’re on eBay and I can get 60 for £17, so it’s a great deal.


    They’re hammered thick white paper and a good gsm so they’d feel good quality (it’s so weird the little things you think about when it comes to weddings.) I think I could add some nice ribbon and make them look nicer. Is that too much effort for a save the date?

  • Save the Dates Continued

    M and I have found a new plan! We’re going to try and DIY the save the dates. We found a fairly simple design on eBay and intend to make our own version. Here’s the design we like:


    This way it ties in with our ‘simple and elegant‘ theme and we can use the template to form the invitations themselves. It’s important to us that they match and everything flows. With the save the dates, we’ll keep them as they are and not fancy them up. However, with the invitations, we‘ll likely use ribbon that matches our colour theme to keep the different pieces of paper together.

    We’re going to head to Hobby Craft next weekend and check out what the have!

  • Music (aisle, first dance etc)

    Music is such an important part of the day, it just helps build the atmosphere and reflects the whole theme of the day.

    For walking up the aisle, I have my heart set on a string quartet version of All I Ask of You from The Phantom of the Opera. It‘s my all time favourite musical (and I absolutely love them, it’s actually rather crazy.) I just absolutely love the whole meaning and sound of the song, it speaks to my soul. We can’t actually afford to hire a string quartet so I’ll need to work out how I can use one of the YouTube recordings - if anyone has any tips for that, please let me know!

    The thought of walking down the aisle to that song makes me well up, it’s just perfect. Its the right amount of sophistication and romance. 


    For the first dance, M and I have spoken about Everything by Michael Buble. It’s ‘our song’, the only reservation I have about this is how upbeat it is. Frankly, I love an upbeat song and personally would like it as first dance but it feels like we would need a choreographed routine. But I’m not sure that either of us would be comfortable doing an all out routine. I used to dance so I’m not bothered about people watching but it would feel like another thing to worry about on the day and my H2B isn’t the most confident when it comes to public displays. So first dance music is still all up in the air.


  • Is there any other brides to be wondering how on earth they're going to afford everything?

    I'm not too worried about the little bits but I'm worried about affording the bulk wedding venue amount. Any tips?

  • Kelly224Kelly224 Posts: 962 New bride

    We are paying our venue monthly.  We did book it with 22 months to go so we were able to spread it over a good length of time.  We decided what extras we wanted to pay for, canapés etc. and then they let us set up a payment plan.  We will have a final balance to pay 3 weeks before the wedding which will be for the extra guests that we've added on but it's massively helped us.  The venue also did an incentive scheme which was a percentage of money back if you paid monthly (no idea why that's an incentive for them!) but means we get £360 on the day which will put behind the bar.

    Worth asking your venue if you can pay monthly? or if they won't let you then you could always divide your balance you will owe to the venue by the months you have left and then put that amount of money away each month?

  • britbirdbritbird Posts: 1,486 New bride

    We sat down at the start and put together a budget.  We agreed that we could exceed that budget , but we had to have every penny we needed before we booked it.  This means we have around 27k at the moment sitting in savings, which is basically everything we still have to pay out.  I know that is a large amount, but it could still work with smaller amounts.  Anything extra we have to make sure that we have paid all our bills at the end of the month, put the right amount into our long term savings, and then it is considered "surplus" and could be spent on wedding stuff if we wanted.  Maybe having an account that is just for wedding, and adding to it every month, and then sweeping your account as well for extra on a monthly basis?

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