Bride-to-be Diary: Considering An Adult Only Guestlist

It’s almost time for our bride-to-be Cath to become a Mrs! :) Today she’s talking about the potential guestlist dilemma of inviting children to the big day…

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We’ve been making the final, final amendments to our ever-changing guest list, as the day gets scarily close!  When we first sat down and came up with a rough list of names and potential numbers all those months ago, it all seemed so straightforward.  I never realised it could become more political than a day at the White House!

One of our biggest dilemmas? Children.  It’s likely to be a decision facing many of you brides and grooms-to-be but for us, the choice was fairly straightforward: we wanted an adult only day.  We both imagined a chilled out day where we could relax with our friends who would be able to just enjoy the party.  I will also (possibly controversially!) admit that young children make me nervous – give me teenagers to deal with any day!  I really don’t want to offend anyone by writing this post so will state now that I have been to many, fantastic, family friendly weddings.  But it’s just not us.

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Also, with a tight guest list, inviting children would have meant that we would be further restricted on numbers.  It was hard enough slimming down a list which had inexplicably swollen over the past twelve months…every time I opened the spreadsheet another name seemed to have magically appeared!

However, an increasing number of our close friends have children and we were worried that our decision would upset them. Cue hours spent scouring the internet for advice.  Tell them early and be prepared they might get angry seemed the reoccurring philosophy.  So we braced ourselves for the backlash…and delayed.  The last thing we wanted to do was upset our friends.

Despite having planned to for months, it took us a while to summon up the courage to broach the subject with our friends.  And the outcome?  We should have had more faith in our friends!  They were great and very understanding – most had already decided, invite or no invite, they weren’t bringing them anyway as they fancied a chance to let their hair down before the family-packed festivities of Christmas kick in.  And those that knew us really well had already figured we’d be happier with an adult only day.

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Once that hurdle had been crossed, there were still other decisions to ponder.  Where do the work colleagues fall?  Which members of our various sports teams can be elevated to the day without offending those who stay on the evening list?  Who gets a plus-one and who has to come alone???  We don’t want a huge wedding and are capping numbers at 70 but, as many of you might be able to empathise with, up until a couple of weeks before we posted the invites, our guest list was still a little fluid.  Some potential invitees seemed to be doing a bizarre version of the hokey-cokey as they moved from the day to evening list and back again.  Repeatedly.

There are plenty of magazines and websites out there offering advice, normally reaffirming one rule: invite them all or none at all.  Great if you’re a recluse who’d prefer to hide out in your cold, dark cave all alone, but we wanted as many of our friends there to share our day as our budget will allow. But after the whole ‘children’ hurdle, I think this whole list cementing thing might actually be getting a little easier.  After all, as twee as it sounds, if they’re worth the invite, whether it be day or night, they’re nice enough to understand us.  Fingers crossed!!

Love

Cath x

Bride-to-be Diary: The Gift List Dilemma

Cath, our new bride-to-be is back with another wedding planning post :) Today it’s all about the gift list! What did you choose? Cash? Traditional registry or something different..?

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Hey there Cwtchettes!  So, here at wedding central our invites have finally gone out in the post, along with maps (complete with castle and dinosaurs!), RSVP cards…and gift list details.  Or two.  Not that we’re indecisive or anything!

From the traditional department store gift list, to charity donations, art collections, honeymoon funds and good old cash, the possibilities seemed endless. At least when we used to write to Father Christmas, he had an account with every shop!

As with lots of engaged couples, we’ve already well and truly set up home in our lovely (damp!) house and packed it with our own stuff.  We’ve collected every kitchen utensil and appliance we could possibly use, and a fair few we don’t.  As lovely as sparkly new stuff is, the traditional gift list isn’t really for us.

However, if there’s one thing we love, it’s a good holiday.  Perhaps that is why we had booked our honeymoon before I’d even started dress shopping.  I seriously can’t wait. We’ll be whisking ourselves off to New York for a fabulously festive five nights before stopping off in Iceland on the way home.  (Technically, it is on the way back to Blighty…)  We’ve booked onto a tour which takes in the south west coast before heading to Reykjavik for New Year’s Eve.  Think ice, fireworks and, fingers crossed (!), the northern lights.  This is one serious excuse to buy another pair of mittens and a snug new hat.  Or two.  Roll on half term and a mammoth shopping trip.  Anyway, I digress…

As you might have guessed, we were totally won over by the honeymoon gift list.  Quite a few of our friends have asked for money towards their adventures, but we loved the ideas of having something a little more concrete where friends could select the treats we experience.  So, after extensive research (or, hours spent searching the internet rather than cleaning the kitchen…) we’ve settled on the lovely folks at buyourhoneymoon.com.  Although there are free gift registries out there, we liked the fact this one doesn’t charge our friends to make a payment.  And the site looks pretty too.

Buy Our Honeymoon

It’s been great fun putting together the list of experiences, from tickets to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall on Christmas Day, to tuxedo strawberries (just because you can!), to husky dog sledding in Iceland.  I’d probably admit I’m just as excited about the trip as I am the wedding (is that wrong?!).  Putting the webpage together over the past few weeks has also been amazing fun, especially as you while away the week uploading lots of pics to accompany each present and personalise everything to your heart’s content (and daydream about holidays a little bit more! ).  Remember writing that letter to Father Christmas?  Triple the anticipation and you’re just about there.  Except you don’t get to post it in the fire…

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However, having seen a few of our already-married friends drown in a zillion different sets of wine glasses, we know buying an experience isn’t for everyone, and that some guests will prefer to buy something physical.  Hence the second list. As lovely as wine glasses are (being the bearer of much needed wine on a Friday evening) we only have so much cupboard space.  So it’s a mini list of loveliness from John Lewis with a tiny selection of more practical (but still pretty) gifts.

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Now we’ve finally nailed down our choices , we will now be counting down the days, hours and minutes until we finally get to get hitched and fly off on our festive adventure like a child awaiting that rustling in the chimney.

Yet when we say we don’t need a gift off our friends and family, we really mean it.  Half the fun was always trawling down the aisles at Toys ‘R’ Us, adding item after item to the never-ending list of possibilities the Big Father C never had any intention of buying as they were a) too noisy b) would make too much mess or c)would require dressing at 6.30 on a Saturday morning (and yes, my dad has never forgiven Cindy or Barbie for their fashion favourite: tights).

Anyway, I digress.  Again.  So- traditional, honeymoon or cash?  What are you fellow brides and grooms-to-be planning?

Love

Cath x

Bride-to-be Diary: Picking The Bridesmaids Outfits

It’s time for another post from our new bride-to-be: Cath! :) You can find a little more about her and her wedding plans on her ‘meet the team‘ page – she’ll be here in the run up to her wedding talking about all the dilemmas and planning decisions that she’ll be making along the way :) Today she’s talking about picking an outfit for her bridesmaids :)

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There’s nothing like a day out with the ‘maids for getting you all excited by the impending wedding day.  Less than two months to go and it’s actually the first time I’ve managed to get all my lovely bridesmaids in the same continent, let alone the same city, so this weekend was doubly exciting for me.  Reading this, you’ll now be expecting me to have a whole host of lovely ladies to keep me company during my journey down the aisle.  But no, it’s just the two: little sis, Caroline, and best pal, Ceri.   It just happens that one of them has spent the last year and a half living in New Zealand while the other has recently fled Cardiff for deepest, darkest Woking.

Working those shoes

Having maids spanning both hemispheres did make shopping for their dresses a little more tricky and meant we played it safe with styles to ensure it looks fab on both of them.  Traditional it is; at least with a standard bridesmaid’s dress, you can guarantee it will look great rather than one of them worrying about appearing too broad/tall/ridiculous (insert any other paranoia).  It also meant that my best mate had to contend with all my indecisiveness on her own!  Thanks, Ceri.

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So, with Caroline back and Ceri winging her way down the M4, Saturday was the one and only chance I had to deck them out from head to foot in accessories.  Think fur, feathers and Christmassy sparkle.  I’ll admit, I never realised there’d be such an array of cream fur shrugs to choose from.  Thankfully, Caroline and Ceri were more than happy to model them all.  Except the ostrich feathers…there was a definite refusal there!  I think Caroline was worried she’d look more like Emu than a glamorous right-hand-girl.  Actually, hats off to Ceri- she’d model ANYTHING.  She clearly rocks the Christmas look.

I did say feathers...

It was also nice to have a day about someone else for a change!  As much as I love this whole ‘bride-to-be deal’, it’s kind of nice to have a day off and dress someone else.  Although there was a slight tinge of jealousy where shoes were involved.  Teal suede and matching sparkle- I love them.  My own shoes (which are most definitely my Emmy shaped treat to myself) had better live up to expectations!

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More than anything, the shopping trip was a good excuse to spend some time with my two favourite female chums and gossip and giggle our way through a Saturday.  Not that I needed reminding, but it made it clear why I’d picked these two to accompany me down the aisle.

Milk maids all this shopping is thirsty work

For me, choosing my bridesmaids was a relatively straightforward process.  I can be a little prone to panicking if something goes wrong when it’s all getting a bit stressful (and my mum is fussing about little details!- sorry Mum!) so my girls need to know me well and be able to keep me smiling.  My little (I still claim the right to call her that, despite her extra 3 inches!) sister was the obvious choice and first name down on the list.  We’ve always been close and I missed her loads when she was away on her travels.  When it came to friends, Ceri was also a cert.  Having been close pals since meeting in the sixth form, and her general insanities mean we’re always laughing.  Admittedly, sometimes at rather than with.

My choice of a small line-up was also affected by who Mike would choose for his entourage.  He spent some time contemplating his usher crisis- pick just his brother or the whole circle of friends.  Being one of a group of five who have been close since school, and having already been an usher for three of them, it would be difficult to decide who made the cut, but four ushers at quite a small wedding seemed a little extreme.  In the end, we decided to opt for a smaller group: he will have his best man and one usher, while I’ll stick to just two bridesmaids.

So, the next time we three shall meet again (sorry- I’m a bit of a Shakespeare geek, I had to get him in somewhere!), will be next week.  At my hen weekend.  Let’s hope that continues to underline what wonderful girls they be…Caroline, Ceri: are you reading this?!

Love

Cath x

Bride-to-be Diary: Introducing…Cath!

We’re thrilled to introduce our new bride-to-be: Cath! :) You can find a little more about her and her wedding plans on her ‘meet the team‘ page – she’ll be here in the run up to her wedding talking about all the dilemmas and planning decisions that she’ll be making along the way :)

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Hey there Cwtchettes (and maybe the odd Cwtcher), my name’s Cath and I’m excited to say that I’ll be your new, wintery, bride-to-be.  Being a lover of all things warm and snugly, I was thrilled when Mike, my hubby-to-be, got just as excited about the idea of a Christmas wedding so we’ll be taking the trip down the (potentially icy) aisle on 21st December in Cardiff.

So, with three months to go (!) and the clock ticking, there are still a whole host of decisions to be made as we attempt to pin down the details for our big day.   To feather or not to feather, that is the question.  Or perhaps the most pressing question should be which rings to buy (thanks for the useful post on that, Hannah!)…or what on earth we’re going to do about table decorations. Argh!!!

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Having been catapulted, rather unexpectedly, into wedding planning in August 2012, it’s fair to say I was more than a little excitable.  Within moments of touching down in Heathrow I already seemed to be submerged in a sea of magazines, blog posts and pretty pictures.  Actually, before we’d even left Alaska, shared our news with friends and family, or even had a good night’s kip after the excitement of getting engaged twelve hours earlier, we were both already scheming away and pretty much had the music choices for the day sussed, along with two potential dates for the big day.

But then an off-hand comment from Andy, Mike’s best mate and future best man, brought us back to earth with a bump.“Of course, it’s just another party to us.”  He has a way with words, does our Andy!

It was probably the first time it hit us that what he said was true: many of our friends were all weddinged out.  Which also meant, to a certain extent, we were too.  We’d all been there and seen that.  And that.  Oh, and that too.  How were we going to ensure our wedding was not “just another party” or a pick-and-mix of every other lovely wedding we’ve attended?!  All you brides-to-be who check in avidly on a Friday for the Real Weddings post will probably know what I mean; everyone else has had all the great ideas!

As our planning continued, it became increasingly clear many of our ideas were pillaged from weddings we’d been to.   Ever since we’d heard a string quartet play “Live and Let Die” at one of Mike’s mate’s weddings, we’d been looking for an excuse to hire one to do the same (with an added dose of Foofighters…and Aerosmith- Mike’s guilty (?) pleasure).  And then there was the matter of the band.  Having introduced my best bud to a friend’s wedding band during a night out at a local pub, she was sold.  As soon as she was engaged, Session was booked.  But then Cam is my friend and I loved the idea of having someone I knew (with the benefit of an awesome voice!) playing at my wedding, so we were going to have to copy that too.  The list of other people’s ideas was seemingly endless!

In the end, we’ve decided to make the day as quintessentially us as possible, even if that does mean appropriating a few things from others (at least it only leave the something, old, new and blue to tick off!).   Our rule: it needs a connection.  Now even the wines for the wedding breakfast have a story (including the white wine on top table- sorry folks, couldn’t afford it for all the tables!- which was actually made by my sister while she was working on a vineyard in New Zealand last year).

I’m now a little more convinced our wedding won’t simply be a carbon copy of everyone else’s.  We just have to hope that all our, hopefully not too random, ideas gel together seamlessly.  Maybe pick-and-mix isn’t so bad after all…I mean, jelly rings and cola bottles do make a good combo!

Love

Cath x