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Mrs Lytton 2019

So I got proposed to up a mountain in the Lake District last month. Total surprise because I thought it was a few years away, but very very happy! (And the ring has since been resized by 4 and a half sizes so it actually fits on my ring finger - apparently women in the 1920s had skinny little fingers!)

It's going to be a traditional church wedding because we're really good friends with a vicar who wants to marry us, and we don't want the music restrictions that come with a civil ceremony (no sacred music allowed) as we have lots of friends who'll sing choral music for us. We also have a couple of friends who play the organ, sooo!

We're looking at September/October next year. He's voted for earlier, but there's a really nice price drop for most venues that comes with waiting until October...

Main constraint is my fiance's grandma will be nearly 102 by then, and can only travel for about an hour in a car, so we're limited by her location, which gives us a lot of Essex, across to the Hertfordshire border.

Other constraint is that we seem to have about 200 people on the first cut guest list. Argh! But we have our eye on a venue that has an open day in October, so fingers crossed. Probably going to cost a bomb, but never mind. My mum has some money put aside, his parents will probably match that, and I get an annual bonus in June each year, so we should be ok.

Dress shopping started today, with the dress I loved being NOTHING like the ones I thought would work on me! I took my sister with me, and I have another appointment with my mum somewhere else in a couple of weeks. I have got my something blue already though - my bonkers blue Converse! I have fairly major foot issues, so just need comfort, and no-one's really going to see them under my dress anyway.

Loving the planning so far, but we'll see how long that lasts!




  • Other thoughts as this seems as good a place to keep track of them as any!

    Venue - North Mymms Park?

    Church - St Mary's North Mymms?

    Bridesmaids - in navy, since best friend bridesmaid got married in navy and I'd love her to be able to wear the dress again. Plus the ring includes sapphires too, so that's basically the colour scheme.

    Flowers - white hydrangeas

    Processional - the wedding march from the Sound of Music. Not kidding. My mum came in to her wedding to it too. You just need to cut out the nuns singing "how do you solve a problem like Maria" and it's great!

    Photobooth, instead of guest book

    Balloons from Bubblegum Balloons because I think they're amazing and more modern than flowers

  • Thoughts on dress shopping...

    I had my first appointment on Saturday, at my local bridal shop with my sister for company. I've only booked 2 appointments, that one and one at Charlie Brear in London, because I'm intrigued with their sort of modular approach with quite plain dresses that you can add over-dresses, sleeves, over-skirts and things too. But that's still to come.

    I'd picked out a number of dresses in advance, and let the shop know 3 of the ones I really wanted to try on. Turns out I was basically totally wrong about everything!

    I have quite an athletic figure, with broad shoulders, muscly arms, not much waist but a good bum. I've also been to a LOT of black tie dos since I started uni 19 years ago, so I've had a lot of experience with formal dresses in general, and thought I knew what I was doing.

    It turned out that everything I picked was basically just a formal dress that happened to be white/ivory and none of them looked special enough on me at all. I'd been looking at things with a gently flowing skirt, nothing as severe as a mermaid. I really thought I didn't want something with a big, poofy skirt.

    Then the girl in the shop handed me her wildcard - the Nina (6581) by Stella York. It was everything I thought I hated - satin, cut outs, massive tulle skirt. And it was EVERYTHING when I put it on. OK, so maybe I'd have a layer or two of tulle taken out of the skirt to narrow it a little, but I really think it might be the one. Turns out the big skirt balances out my shoulders and I looked AWESOME.

    So I've been reflecting on why I got it all so wrong in advance, and also why it looked totally different on my to how it looks on the models. And I got here...

    Do I look like the models? No. Are my proportions the same as the models? No, not by a long way. Then it stands to reason that dresses will look very different on me to how they look on them. Phew.

    Also, I know how to shop for nice. I know how to shop for appropriate. I know how to shop for something to wear to a work awards dinner. I've never in my life shopped for absolute show stopping I'm-the-absolute-centre-of-attention-and-I-want-to-look-different-to-everyone-else's-wedding-photos before.

    Thank heavens the girl in my local bridal shop turned out to know what she was doing and got it spot on!

    Now I have a feeling I have to endure the swanky London appointment next week without finding anything better! But I still want to go for the sake of comparison. If the poofy skirted one really is the ONE, it will still be the one next week...

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,957 New bride

    Just googled Nina - really unusual and so stunning!

  • Sian91Sian91 Posts: 829 New bride

    Love that dress- definitely worth trying everything and especially what shop assistants suggest. I’ll be interested to know what you think of Charlie Brear- I love the designs but never tried one!

  • I love the Nina!! I hope your second shop experience goes well though! Love the thread and as a fellow Herts bride im looking forward to seeing how it all goes! 

  • Ashley72Ashley72 Posts: 1,136 New bride

    I tried Nina on - it's gorgeous! I hope you enjoy your second shopping trip but it's lovely to go knowing you've seen one you love, hopefully it'll make it easier for you as you'll know what kind of wow feeling you're needing to beat!

  • MrsS85MrsS85 Posts: 688 New bride

    Look forward to reading more of your plans, Nina is a gorgeous dress, some a lovely combination of classic and drama, enjoy your next dress shopping trip.

  • First venue viewing...

    (I started writing this yesterday, and my laptop literally died. Terminally. So included in today's adventures (to follow) was a visit to PC World in Stevenage for a new laptop...!)

    It turns out I accidentally got totally emotionally involved in a venue without seeing it. It looked lovely on the website, but it's new to doing weddings and there wasn't much info available. But there's a lovely church nearby, and I'd been emailing the church warden to see if the organ actually worked and all sorts. (Music is super important to us, and is part of the reason for a church wedding. We NEED a good organ... we have a friend who's a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, and another who was the organ scholar at his Cambridge college, so it's safe to say there's going to be some tip top playing happening...)

    We finally got to see the venue on Friday evening, after leaving work slightly early to get there for a reasonable time. It was BEAUTIFUL. But the spaces were just totally wrong for our vision of our big day. I was absolutely gutted. I didn't know how to handle it, and was surprised how cross and disappointed I was with myself. I suppose I realised how different planning a wedding is from planning absolutely anything else. I also started realising what compromises I wasn't willing to make. As someone who has never had an idea of what her wedding would look like, this has been a bit of a shock to me. I was finding out fast what I did NOT want my wedding to look like!

    After retiring to a local pub for dinner, we decided to drive to another venue and accompanying church that was only 10 minutes down the road, just to see what we could see. The church looked good and solid with some nice stained glass, and what we could see of the venue looked nice. We decided that instead of going to church by the first venue today, we'd go to the other one.

    I contacted the second venue first thing Saturday morning, and managed to secure a viewing for Tuesday evening. I also got some information for another venue a bit further up the A1(M) that's on the maybe list.

    Today we set off for the morning service at the church by venue 2. Oh it was so nice! Everyone was friendly, the church was big enough for our crazy massive guest list, the acoustics were lovely, and the organ was good (even though the pipe organ has been replaced by an electric one). They read the banns for someone else's wedding this morning, and we spotted two other couples who looked like they were doing their regular attendance before their wedding. So I'm getting a bit over excited on the inside again... the other half is still reminding me (rightly) not to get emotionally invested.

    After church, we went round to the carpark that the venue used, and nosed around as far as we could - there were other people collecting bits and pieces from the wedding yesterday! I guess I'm going to have to say that the next venue under consideration is the Old Palace at Hatfield House. It looks great.

    We stopped for lunch at the restaurant in the courtyard next door (that you can get to without paying entry!) and had a good chat about the fact that a single-space venue was fine and that we didn't need a separate space for drinks and cake before we sit down for the meal. (We'll be having some guests who are service/drinks/cake only, but not having any evening-only guests. I worried that some might be sensitive about their partial invite. I'm ok with that now - it's discrete groups of people that we can talk to openly about it.) So obviously I'm really excited on the inside!

    While we're up that way, we took a drive up to Knebworth, which was the other venue on the list at the moment - the big barns looked pretty good. But the church nearby didn't seem big enough, and as we pulled into the car

  • Ugh, it's eaten the rest of the post without telling me...!

    ...and as we pulled into the car park we just knew it wasn't our venue. I can't put my finger on why, but it didn't feel right. Maybe it was because it was busy with children running to the café and on to visit the dinosaurs, but it just didn't feel how we wanted it to.

    So another venue off the list, and all my hopes pinned on Hatfield now (against the fiancé's very sensible advice).

    I'd asked for floor plans, and as well as sending them through, they also pointed out that they've just had a virtual tour filmed and it looks AMAZING -

    I never thought I wanted a big princess dress and a castle, but apparently that's exactly where my heart's gone! Fingers crossed the viewing tomorrow goes well and we manage to book a date!

    (Also thanks to everyone who's reading and replying! Will definitely feed back after Charlie Brear on Thursday. I'm a bit terrified of its swankiness, but they want my business so it's in their interest to be nice to me, right?!)

  • Sian91Sian91 Posts: 829 New bride

    Those floor plans are so helpful! Hope the viewing goes well, when you know you know :)

    I hope Charlie Brear is also great- the dresses are amazing!

  • WOW! I love your dress and the venue looks amazing! Hopefully your meetings go well! X

  • We knew. We have a date on hold while we check the church is also available (and will marry us!), and it's a whole 3-4 months EARLIER than anticipated.

    Many kinds of YAY! But also ohmigodweneedtodosavethedateslikenow! Now to panic about stationery some more...

  • Sian91Sian91 Posts: 829 New bride

    It will all be fine- breatheeeee!

    but yay for getting a date on hold! 

  • Turns out the church is not available on the same day as we have on hold with the reception venue. Sigh.

    We can either find another church quite nearby, or go for another date.

    We only found out this morning, so need some time to do the mental processing of all of the options. In the mean time, I'm off to Charlie Brear for posh dress trying on tonight!!

  • Hope the dress trying went well!! 

    Theres a few churches in that area im sure, fingers crossed you can find a suitable resolution x

  • Venue update

    After much late night discussion, and deciding we don't want to deal with transporting all the guests from a church that isn't walking distance away (we're talking 180!), we're down to 2 workable options...

    Ditch the church and have a civil ceremony in June; or have the church but on the next date the venue's available in mid-October.

    The venue have confirmed a civil ceremony would work (but we'd need to book the registrar) and we're waiting to hear if the church is available in October before we make the decision.

    Fingers crossed the church replies soon. The priest doesn't seem to be the best at email!

  • The Charlie Brear update...

    Overall, SWANKY!

    The design of the dresses is pretty clear from the website, and they're designed for slim brides. All the samples on the racks are 10 with a few 12s. My bridesmaid who was with me asked what happened when larger brides came in, and my (very lovely, former GB trampolining) sales assistant said there were a few larger samples out the back, but they honestly didn't get too many curvier brides just because of the nature of the dresses. I'm currently an 8-10, but thought the conversation about the designs being a bit "self-selecting" was quite interesting and worth sharing.

    One main thing about the designs is that there is basically zero scope for a bra. Some of the dresses could have cups sewn in, and maybe some boning added, but none of them are going to offer a lot of support!

    After my good experience with A-line dresses at my last appointment, I headed for those. And this is what I found...

    Arla (mainline 2019 collection) - deeper at the front on me than it looked in the pics. Maybe it's because I'm not as twig-like as the model, and have bigger boobs, but I would have had to have the front V sewn up a bit to make it decent! It was lovely and soft though.

    Pallas (mainline 2019 collection) - just not me. Satiny fabric, but looked more Grecian than I want to! Also wasn't convinced by the slit in the skirt.

    Harwood (iconics collection) - the folding of the fabric kind of made it look like there was a big napkin tucked in the front, although it was a nice shape. Definite no from me!

    Another dress with precarious straps that doesn't seem to be on the website. It had a nice sash to wrap around, but the minute I pretended to dance, the straps started to fall off. Not my dress.

  • Charlie Brear cont...

    Having exhausted the A-line dresses, with only a moderate like for the Arla, we moved on to a slinkier dress with the add ons, which is why I'd booked the appointment.

    The first dress we tried had a high neck at the front and a low back, but I felt a bit like I was being strangled. I tried it with a tulle overskirt (can't remember the name), but the trusted bridesmaid decided I looked too "my first ballet class". So off it came.

    We moved onto another slinky dress with a v-front and a low v back, but with some seaming including a waist seam. This was better. I liked it with the tulle skirt, but wanted to try some others.

    I think the next skirt I tried was the Merletti, which was full but soft. It was pretty good. I put a veil on and it did look pretty nice.

    Then they produced a sparkly overskirt which was AWESOME. And a sash to cover the waistband. It was pretty cool. But I still felt like the top half needed more structure to make me comfortable. The dresses are undoubtedly soft, and I'm just not sure that's what I want to feel fab in all day on my big day.

    I asked about price, and the dress was £1,000-and-something which was less than I thought. But the overskirt was more. Plus the sash. Plus the veil. It came in a smidge under £3k, excluding alterations and I'd want to having boning and cups put in the top which would cost more...

    The Nina by Stella York had ALL the structure I wanted and is a fraction of the cost. It also made me feel totally badass. So I think I found my dress in the first shop I went to after all, but I'm super glad I did Charlie Brear to see some different things and the next step up the price curve! I've booked to go back to my local bridal shop in a few weeks to show my parents and get the order in. Woo hoo!

  • image

    The best Charlie Brear, but not my winner.

    (Shows up sideways on my phone, sorry...)

  • Aww im glad it went well, and it has helped you to make a decision on the other dress too! 

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,957 New bride

    That dress isn't a patch on the Stella York! 

  • Genuinely thought I'd put my better ring pic in here, then referenced it in another thread then realised I hadn't. Duh.

    So here it is. 1920s, pave diamond and sapphire in platinum with diamonds on the shoulders. I ADORE it. It sits wonderfully flat to my finger, so it doesn't get caught on things, and the band is so slim that it doesn't get in the way in the gym.

    I mean, I had to have it sized up by 4 and a half sizes, but it's perfect for us.


  • omg i love your ring!! where did your fiance get it? I love antiques!
    cs2thecox wrote (see post):

    Genuinely thought I'd put my better ring pic in here, then referenced it in another thread then realised I hadn't. Duh.

    So here it is. 1920s, pave diamond and sapphire in platinum with diamonds on the shoulders. I ADORE it. It sits wonderfully flat to my finger, so it doesn't get caught on things, and the band is so slim that it doesn't get in the way in the gym.

    I mean, I had to have it sized up by 4 and a half sizes, but it's perfect for us.



  • The stationery saga may be over!

    We thought we wanted classic. I ordered a sample. It was lovely, but we were bored by it.

    We thought we wanted graphic, but lots of things looked a bit too novelty.

    We know we want consistency with our save the dates, invites, information cards, orders of service, menus, table plan etc so we need somewhere that can do all that.

    Then I found Project Pretty and ordered some samples. I ordered the Millie, Adventure and Bella, since you can get 3 different samples on one postage charge, and the quality is gorgeous across the board. Most excitingly of all so far, they can change the colours of designs FOR FREE! That seems to be SUPER rare!

    So we're (well, me!) pretty certain we're going for their Millie collection but printed in navy rather than black, to go with our colour theme (navy and silver - based on the ring!) and also to make it look just a smidge less severe. Feels like at least a little bit of progress while we try and wrangle dates for the church plus venue.

  • Cupcakes2019 wrote (see post):
    omg i love your ring!! where did your fiance get it? I love antiques!
    cs2thecox wrote (see post):

    Genuinely thought I'd put my better ring pic in here, then referenced it in another thread then realised I hadn't. Duh.

    So here it is. 1920s, pave diamond and sapphire in platinum with diamonds on the shoulders. I ADORE it. It sits wonderfully flat to my finger, so it doesn't get caught on things, and the band is so slim that it doesn't get in the way in the gym.

    I mean, I had to have it sized up by 4 and a half sizes, but it's perfect for us.




    It was from Andrew Ullman on Hatton Garden -

  • That ring is bloody gorgeous!! Such an unusual and striking choice! 

  • We have also gone with the Bella stationary from Project Pretty as our colour theme is blue, silver and white! We loved them (we got the invites, infocards,  RSVP slips and belly bands, as well as the place names). 

    We are also getting the table plan and thank you cards from the same range


    The stars, venue and church have aligned and it's 8th June 2019. Eeeeek! Also meant I get the onsite B&B for the wedding night, including lovely bridal suite. There's a wedding party booked in the night before, so I may have to get ready somewhere else, but I can work with that. Now the real planning has to swing in to action!

    Church - St Etheldreda's, Hatfield

    Reception venue - The Old Palace, Hatfield -

    The lovely B&B -

    Band quote is in progress, balloon enquiry is underway, next stop flowers I think! (Dress is being ordered on 6th October.)

  • Congratulations!!!! So pleased you were able to get it to all work together!! 

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,957 New bride

    Yay, really pleased you got it sorted :)

    Your venue looks spectacular!

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