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‘Rustic chic’ in the South Downs - October 2020/2021



  • MrsH2020MrsH2020 Posts: 208 New bride
    @cluelessbride01 it's so tricky isn't it!? At the moment we have two in contention, one that J prefers (Electric Groove), which are great but slightly above budget and for only a four-man line-up, or my top choice (Party Up), which have a marginally less strong singer but are just about within budget for a six-piece, including a saxophonist which is my dream! I'm bad at making decisions at the best of times and booking a band without seeing them live first seems SO risky! But I guess we will have to - any tips from anyone on how to pick??

    Also, a quick rant, and I know others have had this: as well as music, we're starting to look into various things like florists and local hotels etc, just to get an idea of prices, and it is starting to drive me mad how often the date of our wedding is being questioned by suppliers. When I email and say it's on 8 October, more often than not they are coming back to say 'are you sure that's the right date - that's a Thursday...' or even if I state that it's a Thursday from the start, they're still questioning it. I had the impression that midweek weddings happen quite a bit nowadays, but even if not, surely it's obvious I would have checked the day of my wedding.  I'm trying not to let it make me feel even more nervous about it being on a Thursday, or letting it put me off certain suppliers...
  • MrsH2020MrsH2020 Posts: 208 New bride
    @charlybaker22 thank you!!
  • Have the bands you like got good reviews? Another thing putting me off the ones we looked at is that the reviews on their Facebook page are all via the agent so there's no way to verify if they're even real!

    I wouldn't let the supplier thing bother you, I think it's just because it is still not the norm to get married on a weekday even though it's more common now. It might be just to double check they have the right year, I've had to double check some of the emails I've sent as I always seem to put 2019 out of habit instead of 2020!
  • MrsH2020MrsH2020 Posts: 208 New bride
    Yes they both seem to have flawless reviews, but then again so do almost every band on the site, and this always makes me wonder how much to trust them...
    We have also come across a band called Motor City Revue, who don't seem to use an agency. They were on the supplier list from another venue we looked at and I did look into them initially and thought they'd be extortionate, but when I emailed them just out of interest it turns out we could just about afford them, and they do seem good. They do the odd gig too, although there isn't one for ages that we can get to, so it would mean waiting much longer than we wanted to to book. I'm not sure whether it's a bad idea to book a band direct rather than through an agency - I feel there's more that can go wrong... Or maybe I've just been on too many agency websites and now have this idea in my head!

    Thanks for the reassurance re the Thursday - I think if I was totally comfortable with it being on a weekday to start with it wouldn't bother me, just it's touching a slight nerve. But I'm trying to be positive about it!
  • I went to a wedding on a Thursday and it was perfect. Booked the Friday off to nurse my hangover. Trust me it will be fine xxx
  • MrsH2020MrsH2020 Posts: 208 New bride
    @5thJune2020 Thank you so much for the reassurance ! It was definitely the right decision for us, but I do still have a few wobbles about it.

  • MrsH2020MrsH2020 Posts: 208 New bride
    We've booked our photographer! I always thought that this would be a really hard decision for me as I'm so picky, especially with something as important as the photos, and when J reminded me that his second cousin (who I don't know) was a wedding photographer I felt a bit apprehensive as I didn't want to feel pressured into choosing him. But I did some research and realised that I really liked his photos and his style - he's very much a documentary style photographer who blends into the background and does mostly natural/candid shots, with around 10 formal group shots, which is all we would want anyway.
    J hates having his photo taken and it's become a running joke between us and our friends and family that he can't smile in posed pictures - literally the only one we have of us where he is properly smiling is the selfie we took on the mountain right after he proposed. So it was something I was a bit concerned about - I'm used to the fact that he doesn't tend to look very happy in pics and it genuinely doesn't bother me anymore, but I really do want him to look as though he's enjoying our wedding, and he reckons he will feel much more comfortable having the photos done by somebody he already knows (but doesn't know so well that it would be weird). 
    Anyway, we met this guy for coffee on Saturday and I just loved him straight away - he's super chilled out and seems very creative, and really made me feel at ease. He asked lots of questions and was really interested in our plans and he also sent me a full gallery of a wedding he has done at a similar venue to ours (rather than just the highlights pics which are in his portfolio online) and I loved all the pics. Because he's fairly young and based further from London, his 12-hour package, which includes a pre-wedding shoot, is quite a bit cheaper than some of the more local Sussex/London photographers we've looked at, and he's not going to charge us travel or accommodation which is so nice of him as he lives about 3.5hours away.
    So we're really chuffed, and it feels great to be able to tick a biggie off the list!
  • MrsH2020MrsH2020 Posts: 208 New bride
    We had our first planning meeting with the venue coordinator yesterday and suddenly everything feels very real! But it was great to chat through our plans as we have a lot of quite firm ideas already and it was nice that everything we had in mind seems very doable. It was lovely to see beautiful Upwaltham again too - it was pouring with rain but it still looked stunning :)

    We also checked out a lovely country pub nearby that has rooms we are considering booking out for my and J (in separate rooms), and our bridesmaids, groomsmen and partners. We have loads of time but I really want somewhere lovely to stay the night before and places in the South Downs seem to get booked up so far in advance! I’m struggling to work out the best logistics of it all though - I’m good friends with the ushers and their partners so we thought it’d be fun to all stay together and I just would make sure I don’t bump into J that morning, but then again would it be better to rent a cottage with just my bridesmaids? 
  • MrsH2020MrsH2020 Posts: 208 New bride
    I just realised writing that that I’ve given no mention to my bridesmaids yet! I had a good idea of who I would like before I got engaged but once it became real I realised there were a few girls I felt sad about leaving off the list.... I’m very very lucky to have a lot of close girl friends - all split into separate groups of three or four and it made it hard to select some and not others but if I’d had everyone I would have ended up with about 12! 
    Anyway, the way I chose the final five was to think about the people I couldn’t imagine not being a bridesmaid, rather than just those who I would like to be. I sent them all cards with a long handwritten message inside asking them to be bridesmaids and they loved it.
    They're all friends - I have a sister but she’s much older and although we’re close, we’re not as close as i am with these girl friends.
    My maid of honour was easy - my best best friend since I was 12. She lives in Japan now but we chat all the time and are just as close as we ever were - she was the first person I called when we got engaged, after our mums. 
    I actually have a very international set of bridesmaids as one other is Australian and lives in Sydney (we met when she spent a few years living here). The other three all live much closer to home however, which is nice, and I’m very lucky that they are all as excited about the wedding as I am and are already very engaged. 
  • A17A17 Posts: 4 New bride
    Ahhh following!  We looked at Upwaltham and Fitzleroi, but eventually went with Farbridge!
  • MrsH2020MrsH2020 Posts: 208 New bride
    edited June 2019
    Aww I kept wondering if we should have looked at Farbridge as it looks really beautiful - when are you getting married? 
  • MrsH2020MrsH2020 Posts: 208 New bride
    Eeeek I've bought my wedding shoes (ridiculously early I know!) I've thought for a while that I'd like to wear a pair of lacey white Toms from their bridal collection — I'm not a heels girl (I'm fairly tall at 5ft7 and have always been quite insecure about my height) plus I really want to feel comfortable for the whole day.
    I LOVE Toms shoes — I live in them during summer and own about eight pairs, so it feels a very 'me' choice. They're pretty and cute and not too expensive — I'm not really into shoes generally and don't like the idea of spending tons when they won't really be seen under my dress. I knew it would be sod's law that they'd sell out of my size or something, so I've got them now and stashed them deep in the wardrobe for the next 15 months!
    I was actually thinking how cool it would be to have all my bridesmaids in Toms too, but two of them are pretty tiny and would definitely want to wear heels...

  • A17A17 Posts: 4 New bride
    MrsH2020 said:
    Aww I kept wondering if we should have looked at Farbridge as it looks really beautiful - when are you getting married? 
    Ahh it was perfect for us but I did love the others too.  It was a toss up with Upwaltham, but Farbridge won out.  We're getting married in May next year.  So exciting as we booked this over a year now, so to be under 365 days is awesome (and scary -- how expensive are weddings?!)

    Looking forward to hearing more of yours! :)
  • MrsH2020MrsH2020 Posts: 208 New bride
    We've booked our band! This has definitely been the hardest decision to make so far (other than the venue/date fiasco!) and music is a real priority for us, so we wanted to get it right. I'm a terrible shop-around type person and I always worry that I might miss out on the best option (I'm that person who goes to 20 different shops to look at the same thing, then buys the first one I saw). So I got quotes for SO many bands, and finally narrowed it down to two. We knew both would probably be excellent, but in the end we went with the one that is marginally more expensive but seemed to offer more for the money. They are also the band we really trusted to get everyone dancing, which ultimately is what it's all about, and just felt very 'us' even though they aren't exactly the sort of band we had started off looking for. They are called Brando, and I'm so excited about them!
  • MrsH2020MrsH2020 Posts: 208 New bride
    Eek the planning for my hen do has begun - a whole year in advance! Anyone else really struggle with relinquishing control here? I trust my bridesmaids but I’m a bit of an organiser and I love planning trips and weekends away so not planning this one feels weird. I gave the girls a detailed brief before I exited the WhatsApp group, with some strict don’ts and some vague ideas I’ve already had of things I would enjoy. I reckon they’ll mostly stick to it but definitely throw in a curveball somewhere...  
  • I totally understand where you are coming from with the hen do. I'm so used to being the one who has to organise everything that it felt weird letting go! What made matters ever worse (though now I see the funny side) was that I was convinced that nothing was being organised as there was radio silence from everyone. I kept asking my MOH who is not only my best friend but also my colleague and she kept saying sorry I've not started it but don't worry. What I didn't know was actually it was all going on in the background and 2 weeks before hand they decided to let me know as she could see me getting really worried. She did it in such a lovely way though by pretending it had been delivered and when I opened the box it was full of confetti and a poem saying its this weekend and to be prepared. Anyway mine is this weekend and still don't know whats happening but I'm much more relaxed knowing its happening.

    In the end you just have to trust your friends and know they will have your back - though I think its only natural to have a wee panic.

    Good luck! x 
  • MrsH2020MrsH2020 Posts: 208 New bride
    Ahh good to know other people feel the same way! That's such a great surprise, but I'm not sure I'd cope if I thought nothing had been sorted two weeks before! Hope you have an amazing time on your hen this weekend :)
  • MrsH2020MrsH2020 Posts: 208 New bride
    We've taken a bit of a break from wedding planning recently so I've been quiet on here, but last week I went dress shopping! It's very early as there is still over a year to go, but my best friend who lives abroad was staying for a week, and I really wanted her to come with me to look at dresses, at least the first time. We had a really lovely day - Bucks fizz breakfast with my mum, a nice lunch between shops and prosecco afterwards.
    We went to a 'proper' bridal boutique and Wed2Be - I really struggle with the idea of paying so much money for something I'll only wear once, so I want to keep the cost below £1,000, including alterations if possible! Luckily, the two I liked the most at the first boutique were both sale samples, so just within budget, but one was too big and the other too small and I am finding it really hard to imagine them with all the alterations done. I've also heard that it's not ideal to try to alter a dress up as it weakens the seams, but I'm not sure how much truth there is in this... anyone else had their dress altered to become bigger?
    I'd looked at lots of Wedb2Be dresses online but wasn't sure if my local store would have any that I had liked. They actually did have one, that was in my size too! It has long lace sleeves, which I always thought I wanted, but actually now I've tried a few on I have changed my mind as I think they would get hot and annoying come the evening, even in October! I know I could have the sleeves taken off, but it's made me wonder whether I should just keep looking... I know that any dress I buy will need some altering but the three I loved from this first day of shopping all need a substantial amount, including some minor repairs to the lace train on one of the samples.
    As I still have so much time, I'm planning to visit one more shop, and maybe a different Wed2Be, to try on some more!
  • MrsH2020MrsH2020 Posts: 208 New bride
    Phew, just getting my head back in the wedding game after probably the most manic week away for work I've ever had, culminating in a 18hr work day on BH Monday.. BUT now I'm excited to start thinking about the wedding again. Just before I went away I booked a beautiful airbnb cottage near our venue for myself and my MOH to stay in the night before the wedding, and we will be joined by the other bridesmaids to get ready there on the morning. It looks so perfect and I'm really excited. J and I will stay in the bridal suite at the venue the night of the wedding, then because we're planning a big family lunch/get-together/afterparty the following day we will probably stay there the night after that as well.
    I'm definitely finding the logistics of where everyone will stay quite challenging as it is such a rural area and although there is a ton of lovely airbnbs and pub hotels etc, nothing is within walking distance and it's not cheap! I should add that I am talking about bridal party and family here, not other guests - they can definitely sort themselves out. Neither of our families are local so will all need somewhere and in my people pleasing way I want to make sure everything is easy and perfect for them as they have all travelled a few hours.
    Anyway, I've booked my family (mum, siblings and their partners/families) into a fabulous big house about 15mins from the venue. Between us all we live in three different countries and it's very rare that we all get together so this is going to be very very special.
  • MrsH2020MrsH2020 Posts: 208 New bride
    This is where we'll be getting ready the morning of the wedding. I thought I was getting ahead of myself booking it over a year in advance but then saw that it was booked out for the whole week afterwards so maybe not! I'm super excited for the wedding morning with my girls and my mum and really want to try to make it special.

  • So I have taken a few weeks away form wedding dresses but I'm off shopping again tomorrow with my mum - I feel as though this time I'll be going with more of an eye to buy. I did call the last shop we went to about the sample dress I loved, and it's still there! So I will bear it in mind tomorrow, and may go back to try it again if I don't find anything I love more.

  • We went to a friend's wedding at the weekend, which was lovely. It was outdoors on a cliff overlooking the sea and the weather was perfect - they were so lucky. Makes me glad ours is mostly indoors though - I know I will worry about the October weather even though I can't do anything about it, and if we were relying on lots of it being outside that would just make it so stressful|!
    There were quite a few takeaways from that wedding - good and less good! Firstly, I learned that we absolutely can't have Prosecco at ours - I drank Prosecco all day, and a lot of it, and I had the worst hangover - the headache sort that just doesn't seem to be nearly as bad from champagne or other sparkling wines. But also, it made me wonder whether fizz of any kind for the toast is needed - I would probably have stayed on (safer) red wine if I hadn't been topped up with Prosecco again for the toast, when I would have happily toasted with wine. Any thoughts on this? Our speeches will be after the main course, so even though it's tradition, I'm wondering whether people actually want another glass of fizz after they've got stuck into the wine...
    Also, our friends didn't have a seating plan for their long tables - and it was slightly chaotic! We're part of a big friendship group and all wanted to sit together so we could catch up as we don't see each other often, and trying to bag 12 places together was hard. We will definitely be having a seating plan.
    It also made me realise that having carriages at midnight is absolutely fine. I had had a few wobbles that maybe everyone would want to party for longer, but at the weekend I was exhausted and ready to go home at 11.30, and so was everyone else! Their wedding started later than ours will too, so I think that with most people having been at the venue since 12.30pm, everyone will be more than happy for it to finish by midnight.
  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,957 New bride
    Good luck with the dress shopping!

    I'm not fond of prosecco, I'll drink it for a toast but wouldn't want lots of it, so we had Pimms as our welcome drinks with the canapes. We did have prosecco for our toast but the choice was that or champagne with a supplement, and since we don't like either we just went with the default prosecco. I don't think you NEED a toast drink necessarily though, whenever I'm at weddings the men all give their prosecco to their wives, C always gives me his as he drinks lager or spirits with mixers.

    I think seating plans are a must for a plated meal, especially if you only have the same amounts of seats as people, or you are always going to end up with stragglers not being able to fit together. Crazy idea.

    We had the option to extend to 1am for a fee but stuck with midnight and it was fine, lots of people left by 11/11.30 anyway as we are all in our mid thirties now and not as sprightly as we once were. If we had paid to extend it would have been a waste to be honest.
  • @MrsCToBee ahh Pimms sounds lovely! I think if ours was in summer we might have the same... I thought about winter Pimms, but it's a bit too sweet for me. Plus I just absolutely LOVE champagne!

    Dress shopping went well, but now I'm stuck between four lovely dresses! I'm totally overthinking it but I want to narrow it down to two of them to go and re-try. I have pics of each so I may post them later when I have more time as I would love some opinions!
  • Ooh how exciting to be spoilt for choice with four dresses that you like - are they similar shapes/silhouettes?
  • Yes they are all fairly similar - lace, A-line and non-strapless were all must-haves for me and although I tried on a few dresses that didn't fit this criteria, I realised I wasn't going to change my mind! I was so worried I wouldn't find anything I liked and now I'm having the opposite problem, which is definitely the better one. I'll pop some pics up at lunchtime :)
  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,957 New bride
    Aaah would love to see them!
  • CoffeeDogAddictCoffeeDogAddict Posts: 1,431 New bride
    edited September 2019
    Me too!! I'd love to see  :)
  • Argh I said I would post yesterday lunchtime and I totally forgot. Ok here goes - I'll post the front and back of each dress and then a pic of it on the model as obviously none of them really fit me properly. Any thoughts welcome!
    Dress 1 (this was a sample sale dress and was slightly small. I do have the option of paying for another store to get it in for my to try on and buy 'properly')
  • Dress 2
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