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Traditional church wedding clashes with beer festival

I promised myself that I'd do one of these so here goes... hope someone reads it!

How we met.

FutureMrsFord had become sick of New Year's Eve being synonymous with an anti-climax and decided to shang-hai a group of like-minded individuals into spending it shut away in a holiday cottage in the Shropshire countryside playing silly games, going for walks, enjoying good food and better company. Unfortunately a few people had to pull out at the last minute meaning there was some additional space and one of her best mates invited a  few of her college friends to join the NYE celebrations. The evening began with a murder mystery - he was a gestapo officer, she a danish lady of questionable character (replete with compulsory ridiculous accents) it was a match made in heaven. As the evening progressed they attempted to lead others astray and in doing so had a great time. After MrFord left FutureMrsFord admitted that she quite liked him but she didn't think he was interested - her friends disagreed. In the car on their way back to Hereford MrFord & his friends were having a similar discussion. Thankfully their friends are less dense than they are!



  • The proposal:

    Fast forward to New Year's Eve 3 years later and after a few bumps along the way Jason & Meriel are living together and have invited some friends over to see the New Year in once again with good food and better company. Jason is doing something technological while Meriel desperately tries to finish off the food in the kitchen and have enough time to get changed & made up before people arrive. Up to her elbows in the finishing touches of many mini-tarts that she's already regretting making she hears Jason call her from the living room to come and check that what he's done is OK. Mindful of the time she snaps that she's sure it's fine and she doesn't have time to check! Jason is persistent and insists that it will only take a minute so she rinses her hands and somewhat reluctantly goes next door to find Jason on one knee with an open ring box in his hands. He pops the question... and she thinks he's joking! After the shock wears off she of course says yes and they have some rather exciting news to tell their guests when they arrive.

  • Snowy xSnowy x Posts: 1,100

    OMG, I'm hooked already! lol

  • MrsBeau2BMrsBeau2B Posts: 1,513

    Keep it coming..!! Considering doing one of these myself image

  • MrsJCMrsJC Posts: 2,204

    Love love love! Keep it coming, pleaseimage

  • Keep it coming!;0

  • This is going to be in no particular order so I'm just going to start.

    Before I go any further I should mention that although I have 6 bridesmaids most of them don't live anywhere near me so a lot of things have been sorted long-distance!

    The dress:

    One of my best mates (the one who introduced us) lives in Edinburgh & not long after we got engaged we were going up to visit her. Of course as soon as we'd arranged it she & I wanted to go dress shopping (or at least to have a look). She found a shop & booked us an appointment, my first wedding dress experience was booked!

    But then I mentioned it in passing to my mum and she said she'd hoped we'd go dress shopping together. She said how disappointed she'd be if I went shopping with C and fell in love with the first dress I tried on so she missed out. I couldn't believe how thoughtless I'd been but I was still desperate to look at dresses with C as I knew it would probably be my only chance to go wedding dress shopping with any of my best mates.

    We managed to book in to a bridal shop near me & mum came up the weekend before we went to Scotland. I tried on several lovely dresses and there was one that stood out but I definitely hadn't had that wow moment. Still I took down the name & looked back at it several times. That dress was by Justin Alexander and was a beautiful A-line lacey dress (sadly I can't find a picture atm - will see if I can find a pic later to post).

    So having at least partially satisfied my mother I went up to Scotland full of excitement. We went to the shop that my friend had booked and I was underwhelmed. There were 2 dresses in the whole shop that I was interested enough in to want to try on (and one of those 2 I was reasonably confident I wouldn't want because although it was stunning it was also not floor length & I wanted a full-length dress.) The ladies in the shop were quite pushy and not very helpful.

    I tried on the tea length dress that I'd seen in the window and been wowed by and it was just as lovely on as it was on the mannequin. I loved it but I still wanted a full-length dress. The other dress I wanted to try on was in the sample sale, it was a stunning dress in pale pink. I tried it on and I was smitten. It was by far the best dress I'd tried on so far.

    Again the lady who was "assisting" use became really pushy, insisting that as it was in the sample sale I should buy it then & there, she wouldn't let us take a photo to show anyone else. I like to think through even the smallest purchases, let alone something like this. Not to mention the fact that I was hundreds of miles from home & it was a very unusual dress. Needless to say I didn't buy it. But I had found my designer. It turned out that the only 2 dresses I'd wanted to try on were both by Ian Stuart. I knew I would be an Ian Stuart bride.



  • Aw thanks guys! I love reading these so hope mine will be as enjoyable to others. Plus who doesn't love looking at all the pretty pics?!

  • The dress saga continued:

    I knew the dress I loved was Ian Stuart's Sundae but suddenly it turned out that it was being discontinued at the end of April! I found an Ian Stuart stockist near me & again my Mum came up to go dress shopping. I was a bit stupid though & didn't check whether they had a Sundae sample... and of course they didn't. I tried on several other Ian Stuart dresses including one which the pushy lady had told me not to try on because apparently my hips are too big to try on a dress which isn't A-line. Now as it happens an A-line dress does suit me much better than a fish-tail but the incredibly helpful lady in the shop where I live told me that one of the suggested adjustments for the dress was to make it A-line and that we could see the effect by lifting the waistline by hand.

    So now I was in love with 2 different Ian Stuart dresses, one of which was about to be discontinued!!!


  • So of course the next step was for me to go onto the Ian Stuart website & phone around loads of stockists to ask whether any of them had both dresses for me to try on.


    I will return to the story of the dress but I feel that at this point I need to go back to a few other aspects for reasons which will become clear.

  • Where:

    I have always been a regular church-goer. H2B is an atheist. I wasn't sure whether he'd be comfortable with a church wedding but I couldn't imagine anything but. Still I did start looking at other options.


    I grew up in Cornwall and had always imagined getting married in Menheniot Church (where I'd sung in the choir, been confirmed etc) and then having the reception at Cotehele, a national trust house within walking distance of the house I'd grown up in. It holds so many lovely memories for me and just feels like home. Not to mention it's a beautiful house in an even more stunning setting! Realistically that wasn't going to happen. My Mum had moved to Devon while I was at uni & I now live in the Midlands, the reality of organising a wedding in Cornwall, especially when the majority of guests would have to travel a long way to get there wasn't justifiable.




  • So I returned to where we'd met. At only an hour away Shropshire was a lot more accessible and the idea of getting married at the stunning Walcot Hall, where we'd had our first New Year together seemed like a great plan. There would be no way I'd get my church wedding though as neither of us had any connection with the area. But if H2B wasn't going to be comfortable with a church wedding anyway perhaps this was the perfect solution.


     BUT THEN... hubby told me that of course we'd have a church wedding. I must admit I was reeeeeally relieved! Although I would have had a civil ceremony for him I don't know how "real" it would feel for me if it wasn't in a church.

    It was a no-brainer that we'd get married at the church I attend most weeks & where I sing in the choir. So now we could truly get started on the reception venue hunt.


    <img src='data:image/jpeg;base64,/9j/4AAQSkZJRgABAQAAAQABAAD/2wCEAAkGBhQSEBUTExQWFBUWFxoaGBcXGRgaFxweFxgdFx0cHRwXHCceFx8jHRgZHy8gJCcpLCwsFx8xNTAqNSYrLCkBCQoKDgwOGg8PGiwkHCUpLCksLCwsLCwpLCkpLCksLCwsLCwsKSwsLCwsLCwsLCwsLCwsLCwsLCwsLCwsLCwsLP/AABEIALcBEwMBIgACEQEDEQH/xAAcAAACAwEBAQEAAAAAAAAAAAAFBgMEBwACAQj/xABPEAABAgMFBAYGBwcCAwUJAAABAhEAAyEEBRIxQQYiUWETcYGRobEHMkLB0fAUI1JicrLhM1OCkqLC8RUlJEOzc6PD0vI0NVRjZIOT0+L/xAAZAQADAQEBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACAwQBAAX/xAAtEQACAgICAAUDAwQDAAAAAAAAAQIRAyESMQQTIkFRMnGBYdHwI0KRwTNSsf/aAAwDAQACEQMRAD8ABWZQ4iDdomgyDUeqk9xB9xgLYUgoSoDNKT3gGCplAyTQeorQcDHkS7LRhuea6g2qNOsQl+mi1uqyyhomZMI/GsIH/TV3w07PyUlUss26zihy49kIvpSm4rxUl8XRy5aR2gzP/EjsSrJZ0/ooWdnJ7TW4jspX4xuuwM8LlzZRB30hQowqMCvdGDWEBE1CiwIUO4lj4GNn2EtuCehJBqFJejZOOeYg/EVaYuPRodyzMUtJOeEP1ih8RBBKYHXTRSxwWruUyx+aCzPC8SuJknTBW0N3GbIISWmJcoLtpk+jinKh0jCb6K1TFia+LKudVMe7E3ZH6ETakzCpIzSW7WB8iIQPSRsyFp+kS07w9cDmGCu9gepJ0MdKlLkinBPXBmR2i0MjCMyatnTyfXkO+hOkBIY1Uc+XLr8hnUwUmSSku2fhl4vFWbZyakN/n56/Jq0MlGykUlTO7DR/Img7BEhWAGoOID161HePeBEgQNX6tfnv6otWS6VrqlLDifnyjXJe5qg/YpIs+rAeHhEwl9Xh8IOS7g/eF+QZvL3COTdMtnwhuzTnpAeYmH5dC9Ms/b89URdGMjTr+fhDcrZ5BS6SUuOR8GEDrTc605pccR8NI1ZUC8QHRJfn5/HxMWZUv9ePW8fUyxp3EMf18YvyLKDWDcjowKySQa/559fEc4J3dazLIUD8j/HjFWbZjB7Z65ipQUoboLgcTTyoetoyUko2wVBuVI03ZGbMMkrmklRTQH2Rw6+PdpFS20JOkSS7b0EjEQ+p4ty56dsRz2VvaZ/pEM5WkHGNSbA9uokl/kV847ZezFSnb2X7VmmfKK9/TC3Bxl1lg3jB/ZGSc8OritGQlx40gl9IrxDpMTvTFPK58izBQSlCVTFElg6z0aK8cMskfihe2dm5pdTgh8QY6pz7vjHv0gXgJl5T95ghQlAmqPq0hBcabwVFG5J2CcyhhdJZqoLMqhzTllWHtPjQjFpoLTfWZuA5fNYrJs+Ivk6ifGLi5pd8Jp1cI8yJasKWD048o5dDpdl5TS7DMWof8uae/DJFetZjOlKLfaSMilwodYP6xoW00wouwtQlEoMa+vOWs+EuM2SrFkMJHDLu0h+JasmfZ4nLcPRQ45EdYiqpFaawTVYyS7OerziUXVulR0EO5JAOLYK6I846D6bKdAW5R0ZzO4MNXSVGVLy9UcTlTlB2zIVgIcGhHe/PnFD/AE5VnV0KqqTr1198ErAaM+sRt3tFG1plrZ0q+qoDnqdQRwjOtvbQf9QtBb22ppgSlHujR9nl7srrEZXtWom32rnPm+CyMoZiXqsDI9AZRepMaps1bzjlLxZKQo0zxVL98ZnKslXNPnwh/wBnpY6KXUh5fH7JI16o3xFOJmNGzWKaRaFpfMIP5kH8oj1trfP0awzFg4VqaWkjMGYcLjmA6uyIbJL+ulqJJxyiXc6KQR4LhV9M14sLJZ3otUxZ/gSEp8VqifBdM2STkhtuK29J0U0f82WCQNFJz/MofwiC1rkBSSCHBBBHIhoVNgbbisg0wTR3TB8VK7ocVikdFelo2TqRnV6+jRRJUiqDXmPn4xnl7WEomFAFXYR+jEzGQSzsDSMavOcibbJkxI3Q7PzP6GOyf0+NO7VleDI8lpgq6dn0pRiUApZ1NQOQ+OsX/opfnBGTZwpOeGulIinWYpzV
  • I'm loving this so far

    So pleased you've started a thread, thinking of doing one too, as I love reading other people's, and I'm going to really enjoy reading yours as we're date twins image

    Can't wait for more
  • One of the first people I'd told that I was engaged was a family friend who was our vicar when we'd lived in Cornwall. I'm so excited that he will be able to do our wedding ceremony and that my vicar up here is fine with that. But he & his family had never met H2B. So they invited us to stay with them, and off we went! 

    Now by coincidence there was an Ian Stuart stockist in the same town. In fact it was apparently the largest Ian Stuart stockist in the UK. Having been unable to find a shop anywhere near either me or Mum that had both the dresses I loved I rang up this shop since we would be going down anyway. And they had them both!!! It was obviously meant to be!

    So down to Cornwall we went & my Mum came down for the day and we went to look at dresses. They certainly didn't seem to be exagerating when they said they were the largest stockist of Ian Stuart. I was in heaven. There were SO MANY stunning Ian Stuart creations and so of course as well as the 2 dresses I'd specifically come to see I tried on... LOTS more dresses. I have no idea how many dresses I tried on that day. It was a lot.

    In the end it came down to 3 dresses. The original 2 dresses and one other. The other dress wasn't one I'd have seen anywhere else. It wasn't in any of the Ian Stuart collections. It was Ian Stuart though. He'd made 3 for the catwalk but then not put them into his actual collection. The lady in the shop (who wasn't pushy at all) seemed to know Ian Stuart very well. She explained the history of the 3 dresses. She'd had all 3: One had been sold and personalised, one had been destroyed when her shop had been flooded in the relatively recent flooding and this was the third. 

    Having spent AGES trying on dresses, some of them several times I was finally taking off the last dress (not that I wanted to!) when suddenly I was told to put it back on.

    I'd been telling every bridal shop I went to that I wanted to wear a white top hat (I'd seen it in the Lindsay Lohan film The Parent Trap when I was younger & I LOVE hats so much). While I'd been getting changed my mum & the owner of the dress shop had been out the front & had suddenly noticed amongst her extensive collection of hats one that they thought might be perfect. It wasn't white and it wasn't quite a full size top-hat but like a Victorian riding hat. 

    I tried the hat on with the dress. Although we didn't buy either there & then I think that was when the decision was made.

    The only pics I have of my dress are of me in it & it does need adjusting (since it was made to be worn on the catwalk & I'm not a model so please excuse the fact that it's too small!





  • MrsJCMrsJC Posts: 2,204

    Ooh! I do love the hat! I couldn't quite imagine it until I scrolled down to the pictures, but it's really coolimage

  • Thanks FutureMrsJC! I love hats so much, couldn't not wear one on my wedding day. Think H2B will be q surprised heehee!
    Glad you're enjoying it ExcitedB2b2013, yey for date twins! Less than 6 months now! Eeeee! 

  • So...

    The dress was sorted, the church was sorted, the vicar was sorted!

    Now we needed to think about our venue. We'd talked about what we wanted our wedding to be like. We wanted it to be memorable, a bit out of the ordinary, and lots of fun. 

    I studied German at uni & love all things German. We'd broken up for a while (mainly because I was living abroad - and also because he was stupid & couldn't work out what he wanted) and while we weren't together he'd gone to Oktoberfest with some friends. While there he'd sent me a VERY drunken text, telling me how much I meant to him and that hindsight is "50:50". He loved the party atmosphere of Oktoberfest, I've sadly not been but have wanted to for a long time & I do love German beer (and other german festivals)... after some discussion we decided that that was what we wanted for our wedding.

    We... and by we I mean my Mum & I (H2B by this point had informed me that he had "kickstarted the project" & was therefore "project manager") looked at a lot of options online. Q a few had to be discounted because they were too small or too expensive. In the end one saturday H2B, his Mum, me & my Mum went to visit 2 venues. The first one was a bit too far away really but I was in love with it. It was a stunning ruined Castle and I just couldn't think of a more romantic venue. The downsides were the distance from the church, and the fact that we'd almost certainly need to hire a marquee, which I knew wasn't cheap because I'd looked into the possibility of hiring one to put on H2Bs Grandparents' farm. But it wouldn't be *as* expensive as it did have toilets & electricity, which would have been 2 of the biggest expenses for a marquee on the farm. Plus I reasoned that for such a breathtaking venue people would be prepared to travel that bit further between church & reception. So we went to see it.




  • It was beautiful. Even in the middle of winter it was stunning.

    We also went to see a lovely little manor house with 2 barns which can be used for functions. They offer the use of the music room and gardens for a drinks reception & then you move on to the barns for the meal etc. 



  • I confess that I was really disappointed with the castle. It was beautiful & I'm sure there could have been some fabulous photos. But I felt that as the marquee would be inside the castle walls that the marquee would overwhelm the ruins and it would lose a lot of its impact. Even in August I couldn't risk not having a marquee, if nothing else I didn't think I'd cope with the stress in the run-up!

    Not only that (and this was the real deal-breaker for me) it was between 2 REALLY busy roads. The traffic noise was really noticeable, and it would only be worse on a saturday in august! I found it so off-putting. It was the first thing you noticed when you got out of the car and I continued to notice it the whole time I was there. This was not the place for us. And in some ways that was a relief because in reality I knew it was too far away & would end up becoming very expensive etc but if I hadn't fallen out of love with it I felt I'd be wanting it for ages.

    The second place on the other hand we fell for. It was perfect. We could turn it into our beer hall, the woman we spoke to was enthusiastic about our ideas.

    We had our venue! Yey!

  • Bridesmaids:

    I didn't find bridesmaids an easy task. I have 2 teenage half-sisters who would of course be bridesmaids, I wanted to ask H2Bs sister, I have 3 really close friends who I lived with at uni one of whom was the friend who introduced us. There's a girl I was really close with throughout school and kept really well in touch with most of the way through uni. I'd always assumed she'd be my bridesmaid but since she'd got a serious boyfriend near the end of uni we'd started to lose touch. There was another girl who I met on my gap year and have stayed very close with despite never living anywhere near each other. In the end I didn't ask the final girl because I know she's not a particularly girly girl, I know she won't take it personally and I'm hoping she'll do a reading for me. The school friend was the hardest. I got in touch with her without making it in any way wedding related just saying let's meet for a catch-up, wherever & whenever you want. We booked a time & place... and at very short notice she cancelled on me. So we rearranged (again at my suggestion). And she cancelled again at very short notice. I was really hurt tbh. We still haven't met up. Needless to say she's not going to be a bridesmaid but she will be invited to the wedding. So that left me with 6. Even though that seemed like a lot I couldn't bear to get rid of any of them, so six it was.

    My little sisters live in Norfolk with my Dad, my 3 uni friends live in Scotland (as already mentioned), Vienna & Florence. H2Bs sis at least lives close by!

  • Bridesmaids' dresses:

    I knew it wasn't going to be easy to find one dress that would suit 6 girls with very different figures, not to mention 2 teenagers who are too old & too big to wear child bm dresses but not old enough to wear some of the more grown-up dresses around. Add to that that there was no way we could afford to spend over £100/ dress for 6 girls! So I trawled the internet.

    We'd decided that our colours were going to be teal & fuschia. I wanted floor-length  teal dresses with a fuschia sash. For a reasonable price. That 6 different girls would be comfortable & happy wearing. I set up a facebook group, I looked at loads of dresses on a variety of websites and posted loads of photos on the facebook group. I managed to go to a shop with my sisters & get them to try some on (I had a pretty good idea what would suit the others & so did they but my sisters were the ones I was relatively clueless about). Initially I fancied chiffon but then I changed my mind to taffeta, and then back to chiffon. I ordered some fabric samples from a website in China. The samples were nice but by the time I'd factored in P&P and probably getting my sisters' custom-made to their measurements it wouldn't actually work out that cheaply... and it was a risk.

    I happened to look on the house of fraser website in their sale and came across some teal dresses. They weren't floor length but they were taffeta, they were lovely & they were £45 inc P&P. My Mum was able to see some in real and confirmed that they were also very nice in real. I posted a pic, asked the girls for their approval & their measurements and we acted quickly (in case they sold out of any sizes) and the dresses were sent to the girls. They each took a photo which they sent to me & I breathed a sigh of relief. They all looked stunning! YEEEEEY!



  • MrsJCMrsJC Posts: 2,204

    Oh, I love those dresses! They are gorgeous. I have BM dress envyimage

    And your venue looks so beautiful. I must admit, I was hoping you had chosen it as I was reading the descriptions, it sounds so lovely.

  • Gem83Gem83 Posts: 868

    Yay!!! cant wait for more!

  • Thanks FutureMrsJC. I do love our venue, it is absolutely perfect... I suspect my bias towards it may have come across when I was writing heehee!

    I am so thrilled with the BM dresses, not to mention proud of their bargainousness!

  • Aw thanks Gem_83! More on the way now!

  • Yay! Local B2B image Looking forward to your updates image
  • Thanks Whatgraciedid it was your thread that inspired me to finally do this!

  • Hahaha I think it's the first time I've ever been an inspiration image I love your venue, we would have gone to look at that and the castle if they hadn't been too far out.
  • So as I mentioned we're aiming for a German Oktoberfest/ Beerhall feel. We figured that a big part of the atmosphere comes from the music so I got searching for an Oom-pah band!!!! There aren't many but we managed to find one in Birmingham so of course we booked them. They're going to play while we eat and also do some audience participation stuff after the speeches. We're going to do our first dance to them too! I'm currently trying to teach H2B to Viennese Waltz!!!

    We're also going to be doing a lot of decorating ourselves. We've decided to go for long trestle tables which won't have table cloths and we're making tin can lanterns.

    We didn't want anything too elaborate on the tables because it just wouldn't work with the beer hall feel.


  • Also on the tables will be the favours. I'm so excited about these & haven't told any of our guests (which is somewhat miraculous because I seem to just tell everyone everything about the wedding!) We're making Lebkuchen hearts. Lebkuchen is German gingerbread & you see the hearts at Christmas markets but also at Oktoberfest. We're making them ourselves & Mum & I have done some experimenting to get the recipe perfect (there are so many variations!) and we've even practised doing the writing - turns out I'm not too bad which I didn't expect! They're not going to be that big so we're just going to have J & M written on them.


  • In terms of food we decided we didn't want the traditional three course meal because it doesn't fit with the theme. We wanted meat & lots of it! So we decided on a barbecue. But I really hated the idea of our guests having to queue up so we're having it served in platters on the table. There's going to be a selection of meats, salads etc put onto each table and then people will serve themselves from the platters. They've said they can do some German breads including pretzels too image And the best part - they've said that we can provide Lederhosen & Dirndl outfits for the servers to wear!

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