August 2020 Wedding - eeeek!

Hi everyone! 

I'm so excited to be starting a planning thread! My fiance and I have been together for 10 years (since we were 14 and 15!) and he finally proposed in May 2018. Prior to the proposal I had been secret frequenter of the You and Your Wedding forum and the Rock My Wedding website so it feels amazing to be able to start a planning thread with a ring on my finger! I thought that it would be nice to have something to look back on that documents our wedding planning  journey as well as a place to get advice from fellow brides.

We waited a few months to get the planning process underway but now we have a date, a venue and a photographer which is all very exciting. I'm currently off work recovering from a tonsillectomy (boo!) so I thought I could use my time wisely and write some posts to document our planning process so far while laying on the sofa eating ice cream!

Here it goes...

Posts

  • How we met...

    So our story starts like this...

    It's Year 7 of secondary school and my best friend and I are walking to school when I spot one of our other friends walking to school with R. He's in the year above, tall, blonde and handsome. I learn from our mutual friend that his name is *** and continue to admire him from afar for the next 3 years!

    Fast forward to October 2008. I'm 14 and it's the age of MSN and MySpace. For some reason, I feel inclined to look him up on MySpace and comment on one of his photos. He comments back on one of mine with the most romantic (ha!) of questions - 'u got msn?' Of course, I responded with yes and the rest is history! We chat on and off for a couple of months and one evening in December 08 my friend persuades me to invite R to my house via - you guessed it - msn! He turns up 30 minutes later, wearing an Ekko tracksuit and a Dappy hat (thankfully his dress sense has improved considerably since then!), not expecting to encounter my mum and nan having a chat on the driveway! Awkward encounter numero 1 dealt with, he came in, we chatted and had our first kiss in my porch. Three days later, he walked me home from school and had dinner with my family. That night, 19th December 2008, we mutually decided (while watching Love Actually!),that we would like to be boyfriend and girlfriend. 

    Today it's the 13th February 2019 and  I am writing our wedding planning thread! So many people told us that it wouldn't last but it has and I always knew it would. When you know, you know - right? We've grown up together. We survived going to different sixth forms. We survived living hundreds of miles apart for 3 long years while studying at different universities. We survived living in a teeny tiny, but extortionate, mice-infested flat in London when we first moved in together! All because we love each other. Now, we've bought our first house, we're engaged and I'm so excited to be his wife!!
  • Cecilia13Cecilia13 Posts: 368 New bride
    Yay a new thread! 
    What a lovely story :) can't wait to read everything!
  • Aw thats such a sweet story! Cant wait to read about your plans!
  • GinAndBlingGinAndBling Posts: 1,074 New bride
    Yay new thread! Such a lovely story. 
    Our planning thread: We're completely winging it.

    My weightloss thread: Diet denial! 
  • The Proposal

    The boy did so well!

    My birthday is on the 1st June but on the 31st May 2018 I walked downstairs to find a beautiful bouquet of flowers sat on our dining room table with a card. I must admit that I panicked slightly and thought he might have had a brain bypass and forgotten my birthday! Thankfully, he had the best birthday surprise planned!

    The card explained that we were going to celebrate my birthday a day early as we were travelling back to our hometown on my actual birthday to celebrate my brother's 18 birthday (his birthday is actually on the 31st!). He told me that I needed to dress up as we were going out for the day. Cue panic  as I had no idea what to wear and R was not being very forthcoming with information on what we would be doing! Luckily, I decided on a nice jumpsuit and heels I could walk in!

    We got the train into central London and had a beautiful champagne afternoon tea at The Dorchester - very fancy indeed! Afterwards, we went for a few drinks at a lovely little bar and then R revealed that he had a final surprise in store - dinner at the Shard. When we arrived, I could tell that R was a bit disappointed as we didn't have a table by the window (you can't book one). As luck would have it, another couple (with probably the best seats in the restaurant) were just paying the bill and the waiter agreed to move us to their table when they left. I first started to get a little suspicious when R seemed not to mind about ordering an £80 bottle of wine - he's normally a 'Well, can't we just get a glass each and then have some more at home' kind of guy! It was only an ordinary birthday after all and he was pulling out all the stops! During the main course, he was quite quiet and was eating VERY slowly which is so unlike him. Then, when we had finished, he took my hand and did a little speech about how much he loved me and how much we have achieved together. My heart was racing as I wondered if he was going to do what I thought he was going to do! Then, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I cried and said yes and then cried even more when I saw how beautiful the ring was! He'd had it made and obviously listened to all my hints over the years about pear-shaped diamonds as well as remembering my ring size from when I worked in a jewellers aged 18! Everyone in the restaurant was cheering and clapping and we got a glass of champagne each. I didn't think that he would do it in a public place but I didn't mind at all on the day - it was nice that so many people were happy for us. Although, perhaps it would have been better if fewer people had seen my ugly crying!! We told our parents over the phone although his parents, my dad and stepdad already knew it was going to happen - my mum couldn't believe that all of this had gone on without her knowledge! The next day, we travelled back to our hometown and got to tell my grandparents and our siblings face-to-face which was really lovely.

    Officially, the BEST birthday ever!!
  • Aww thats so sweet he really pulled out all the stops!! Can we see a ring pic? <3
  • Aww thats so sweet he really pulled out all the stops!! Can we see a ring pic? <3


    Of course! I love it sooo much! 
  • MrsA-NToBeMrsA-NToBe Posts: 143 New bride
    Ah love your story... I remember the nights spent on MSN! and what a lovely proposal! Looking forward to reading more :)
  • LondonBride2020LondonBride2020 Posts: 16 New bride
    edited 15 February
    Ah love your story... I remember the nights spent on MSN! and what a lovely proposal! Looking forward to reading more :)
    Awww thanks! Oh yes...getting home from school and then spending all evening talking to the people that you'd just spent the last 6 hours with! 
  • Ohh its gorgeous!!! Serious heart eyes!
  • LondonBride2020LondonBride2020 Posts: 16 New bride
    edited 15 February
    A Summer 2020 Wedding

    I'm a teacher so I knew that our wedding needed to be in the summer holidays in order for me to have time off to prepare beforehand and for us to be able to go on honeymoon afterwards. With the proposal taking place at the end of May 2018, I knew that summer 2019 might be a bit tight as many places/suppliers would already be booked and we'd be quite restricted by dates - we really needed to get married at the end of July/early August to go on honeymoon after the wedding.  I also wanted plenty of time to plan without getting too stressed as I'm an anxious person who is a nightmare when it comes to making decisions!  So Summer 2020 it was!
  • LondonBride2020LondonBride2020 Posts: 16 New bride
    edited 15 February
    Venues

    This was certainly a tricky one! 

    We knew that we wanted to get married in London from the beginning- we live here and it's only about an hour away from our hometown so we knew that people would travel to be there. We've both got big families so most of our day guest list (around 100) is taken up with family and our closest friends. We knew that we wanted lots of our friends from London, who we couldn't invite to the day, to come to our evening do so it needed to be somewhere that was easy for them to get to and wouldn't cost them too much in travel/accommodation. 

    R was adamant that he didn't want a religious service and I wasn't really that bothered either way - I think churches are pretty  and I love a good hymn but I'm not overly religious and we don't go to church. So with a civil ceremony in mind, we decided that ideally we wanted everything in one place to save a bit of money. However, we did toy with the idea of having the (civil) ceremony at the Asylum Chapel in Peckham because it's just so bloody beautiful but decided against it in the end because of costs and the time that we'd spend transporting people across London.

    Not my photo!

  • Venue Number 1

    Before we'd even got engaged, I'd had my heart set on getting married in the Chainstore at Trinity Buoy Wharf. It's basically a warehouse with a lighthouse attached, right on the Thames with the MOST amazing views of the city. It's dry hire and beautiful when dressed. The photos you get there are also pretty epic - I mean it's a lighthouse for goodness sake! We went on an 'unofficial' visit one beautiful summer's day last year and we both loved it.  We then went back a couple of weeks later to meet with their lovely wedding co-ordinator - this time in the pouring rain. At that point, I started to have a few doubts... I know that weather doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, but it really hit home to me how different our wedding would be there if the weather was, well, shit. If you have your wedding there, you do everything in one big room, unless you want to spend A LOT more money on hiring their different rooms on the estate. If it's sunny, this is fine as everyone goes outside for the drinks reception and they turn around the room for your wedding breakfast. However, if it rains, they section the room off into 3 areas with drapes. You have your ceremony in the middle and then move into bar area while they set up for the wedding breakfast behind the drape and then eventually drop it (difficult to picture I know - I'm probably not describing it very well!). The long and short of it was that the drapes were basically essential, as obviously you can never guarantee the weather, and cost £1000 each!! And we needed two of them!! When worked out the cost it was just not doable. I'd naively thought that dry hire might be cheaper than a package deal (dreams of doing a pre-Brexit booze cruise to France etc) but the quotes I was getting from caterers were ridiculous. That, added on to the cost for the venue hire (4.5K - even on a Thursday!), bar hire, alcohol, decorating such a large space, my ridiculous pipe dream of getting everyone to the ceremony on a boat(!) and all of the compulsory extras (£19.50 an hour per security guard - we needed 2, £650 for their fairy lights and the bloody drapes) meant that it was sadly just not in budget. 

  • LondonBride2020LondonBride2020 Posts: 16 New bride
    edited 15 February
    Venue Number 2

    So, having sadly said goodbye to my dream of Trinity Buoy Wharf, we started to hunt for other venues. I absolutely love the Rock My Wedding website and one day I stumbled across the Devonshire Terrace. It's basically a bar/restaurant with an outdoor terrace covered by an atrium. You can get married outside on the terrace and have your drinks reception and wedding breakfast out there too. It meant that we could have an outdoorsy element to the wedding without worrying about the weather - yay! The bar/restaurant was really well decorated and I knew it would make for an excellent party space in the evening. The food had great reviews and it had a late licence which was something that we were looking for. 

    We went to visit it in August and met with their wedding coordinator. The packages seemed good value for money in comparison to others that I'd seen and were within our budget. I also liked that we could select a 3 starters, mains and desserts and allow our guests to choose what they wanted to eat. The atrium was great but I could sense that R wasn't as keen on it as I was - he didn't feel that it was wedding-y enough. We went away to think about it and I started back at work so things stalled a little bit on the wedmin front. We eventually went back to look at with my mum in October half term. She is quite creative and has a good eye for this kind of thing so I thought that she might be able to help R envisage how it could look on the day and, well, back me up a little bit! However, although she didn't say at the time that she didn't like it, I could tell while we were there that she wasn't sure either. With risk of sounding a bit like a bridezilla, by this point I was getting a bit stressed as I just wanted to book it as I knew that it could look beautiful! However, I'm glad that I didn't...

    There are lots of businesses based around the square where the Devonshire Terrace is located - the atrium covers the whole square. Most of them are closed at the weekend with the exception of 1 restaurant that doesn't open until 6pm. It's located in a part of the City which is pretty quiet at weekends and the wedding coordinator had reassured me that they only ever have a few people walk through the square on a Saturday. With that in mind, we'd been thinking that a wedding there would be pretty private and we didn't need to worry too much that it wasn't totally exclusive. However, a few weeks after our second visit, the wedding coordinator informed me that the square had been taken over by a new landlord and that they had plans to change things for 2020. The landlords couldn't tell her what the plans were apart from that they could be anything from a sculpture (fine) to a pop-up bar or food stalls open to the public - in the middle of our venue! The only time they could guarantee no noise/privacy was for the ceremony. We just couldn't take that risk so decided not to pursue it any further. I felt really sorry for the wedding coordinators as they then had to break this news to couples who had already booked their 2020 weddings with them and it was totally out of their control! 

    Not my photo!

  • Lucky Number 3!

    So with Devonshire Terrace off the cards, I started to feel a bit panicked about booking a venue as I knew that our preferred date of Saturday 1st August 2020 would be a popular one. We spent hours searching online and I sent off numerous requests for information - why don't all venues put info about their packages on their website, surely it would save them plenty of time?! Also, it's pretty soul-destroying when you find somewhere that you like, wait for an email back and then realise that it's totally out of budget. On one occasion,  I emailed a venue with a beautiful roof terrace only to find that they had a minimum spend of 70K - yes, £70,000! We certainly managed to laugh about that one - I obviously have expensive taste! 

    We'd been looking at a lot of warehouse-y venues as well as some restaurants/bars but I had this nagging feeling that I wasn't quite cool enough to pull that off. Both of our families and friends had been quite surprised that we (me in particular) didn't want a stately home type wedding but I just didn't fancy it! Every one I looked had swirly carpets or ever so slightly creepy portraits hanging from the walls or tonnes of restrictions - or all 3! So that kind of venue was off the cards too! All I wanted was somewhere with a bit of atmosphere, pretty enough for pictures, located in Central London with good food and a late license, preferably within budget - was that too much to ask!?!

    Eventually, I found the one - Banking Hall. It's totally different to the other two venues we looked at - I'm pretty sure that I don't have a 'type'! It's an old Lloyds bank turned Art Deco inspired venue right next to Bank station - you couldn't really get more central if you tried! Apparently some of the scenes from the new Mary Poppins Film were shot there which is quite exciting! There are two rooms - the hall and then the Counting Room upstairs.The hall itself is beautiful - loads of marble and a fantastic staircase!  We visited for the first time in December and when I walked down the stairs I felt a little buzz of excitement and I knew it was the one! R really liked it too which was a result! The wedding coordinator is amazing and answered all of my questions. The food sounds fab and the package was just about doable for our budget. They are licensed until 1am but we have got the option to extend this by an hour if we want to. We booked it on New Year's Day for 1st August 2020 - what a way to start the New Year! 
  • Your venue looks amazing! The hall is absolutely beautiful! 
  • Cecilia13Cecilia13 Posts: 368 New bride
    I love your venue!
    That's such a shame about Devonshire Terrace, I've played at some really lovely weddings there and thought it was a particularly nice place because it was so quiet, that isn't good news :(. I LOVE Peckham Asylum but it's expensive and conplecely the wrong side of London for us. One day I will have a music recording/video session there, I'm determined!
    But your choice in the end is the best one :) it's gorgeous and will look so spectacular.
    Also, beautiful ring 😍
  • Cecilia13 said:
    I love your venue!
    That's such a shame about Devonshire Terrace, I've played at some really lovely weddings there and thought it was a particularly nice place because it was so quiet, that isn't good news :(. I LOVE Peckham Asylum but it's expensive and conplecely the wrong side of London for us. One day I will have a music recording/video session there, I'm determined!
    But your choice in the end is the best one :) it's gorgeous and will look so spectacular.
    Also, beautiful ring 😍
    Thank you! I know - I was a bit gutted to be honest. However, I do think it worked out for the best in the end as R definitely likes Banking Hall better, as do I. We’re taking our mums to see it on Monday so hopefully they will like it as much as we do! 

    The Asylum is wonderful but it was in the wrong part of London for us too - never mind! Hope you manage to do a video there one day - that would be amazing! 
  • LondonBride2020LondonBride2020 Posts: 16 New bride
    edited 17 February
    Wedding Party

    My bridesmaids were easy choices really:  my best friend from school, my best friend from university and my little sister. I had to ask them fairly early on in the planning process as my best friend from school has just set off to go travelling for 10 months so I wanted to ask her in person before she left. I bought some personalised 'Will you be my bridesmaid?' cards from Etsy and invited all 3 of them out for lunch in London. They hadn't met before so I thought it would be nice for us to get together before they have to organise the hen do or shop for dresses etc.  I let them think that they were only meeting me for lunch to try and keep my 'proposal' a surprise but I'm pretty sure that they had an inkling that I was going to ask them anyway! In the end, it was just the three of us as unfortunately my little sister couldn't make it. We had a really lovely time and my best friends got on so well with each other which was a result!  I asked my little sister when we went back to our hometown for Christmas and she was so excited bless her.  We're also going to have two little flower girls - my cousin's little girl who will be 5 and my friend's little girl who will be 3 days away from being 3 on the big day! R is going to have his two big brothers as best men and my brothers as ushers. He's not asked them yet but is planning to in the next few months. 


  • How cute is this Valentine's card from our wedding coordinator?! So looking forward to showing our mums around the venue tomorrow!
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