Real Weddings: Our Graceful Bride, Vicky Marries Rob

Happy Friday Cwtchers!

Excited to show you all our gorgeous Real Wedding this week.  Not only is it beautiful, with stunning images by David Wickham, but its of our one and only Graceful Bride.

If you have been following her blog entries, then you know about everything that went into making this day so wonderful! And its not just about the shoes (although they are, of course, pretty spectacular!)

Without further ado, I shall hand over to the beautiful Victoria, to tell you all about her and Robs big day……

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Victoria and Rob

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What was your budget?

We had an initial budget of £20,000 with £18,000 being joint money and then a £2,000 budget of my money for my dress. I figured no one could tell me off for spending too much money on the dress and shoes if it was my own! We still managed to go over budget in the end though!

How would you describe your wedding theme?

I have these great ideas in my head which I’m then useless at explaining to people so I think that Wendy our florist was the only person to get my theme in the planning stages!

I was describing it as relaxed country elegance. I wanted everyone to just be chilled out and enjoy themselves. A church wedding but not too traditional, a country house for the reception but not too formal, everything had it own meaning. My aim was it to look like it was effortless, that the house was ours almost and we’d just used whatever was around to decorate with flowers cut from the garden that morning.

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Trouble is once you start saying to people about centrepieces with books and teapots everyone automatically thinks a vintage theme which wasn’t quite my aim! I hope people got it in the end, or at least a feel for what I was going for. Maybe I should have walked around saying relaxed country elegance a lot more!!

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Colour wise we decided to stay away from the traditional Autumn colours and go slightly different. Rob wanted to wear a navy suit and the hints of blush just seemed a perfect compliment to it.

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

I’m not sure I can pick just one part! Our wedding turned into a bit of a 4 day extravaganza and I loved it all.

We had a great few days beforehand with various golf, afternoon tea and dinners out and the Friday with my family setting everything up at the venue was just great fun. On the day itself we had such a relaxed morning getting ready and then walked to the church to try and stay calm!

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I don’t remember any finer points of the ceremony, only that we probably laughed too much and that atmosphere carried on for the rest of the day.

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If I was really pushed then one of the best bits for me was walking down the driveway to the church. The sun was shining, the mist had lifted over the mountains and I could hear the choir singing as we got closer. It was beautiful and I had no nerves going in to marry Rob after that!

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Tell us about your Wedding Dress

With me living in Essex, my Mum in Wales, one bridesmaid in Kent doing a PhD and the other working it Hertfordshire it was always going to be a bit of a mission to organise dress shopping.

In the end we managed to get everyone free for a run of 3 days and we crammed 5 dress shops in. I was really worried about how finding a dress would go, I’m tall and have curves and had no real idea of what would work on me. By the end of it all though I was beginning to think I was in the wrong job with all the consultants going nuts over getting to dress someone of my height and shape.

They put so many extra dresses on me that they wanted to see that I was so confused with what one to get! We found my actual dress in our second shop. Anna, the owner, was so brilliant and we’d been there for about 3 hours going through all her stunning dresses. Again it was a dress I hadn’t picked but towards the end of the appointment she said it was my dress and I had to try it on. We realised we were on to winner as all of us spent the first few moments in silence and Mum teared up (given we mostly giggle and mess around this was a huge difference).

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We still did all the other dress shops and came close to falling for another dress which was virtually the complete opposite (another you must try this one for me from the consultant) but after a week of thinking about it, it was the same one that kept coming back into my head. Turned out Anna had been right from the start!

Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?

I had no choice on my bridesmaids! About a week after my cousins met Rob I was being nagged into marrying him so they could be bridesmaids as they’d not been before! I don’t think I even officially asked them, unless you count letting them know we were engaged by sending them a picture of an awful 80’s style dress and threatening to put them in it! They were great though and put up with me texting random wedding things virtually weekly.

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Robs best man was his boss Paul. He may be his boss but he’s also his best friend, cricket captain and sort of big brother figure I suppose. Robs known him since he was a teenager and I swear they spend more time talking to each other than they do to me and Pauls partner Ann!

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Him and the ushers were also brilliant, especially as I left them all a huge list of things they needed to do on the day and they got on it with no complaint taking away any niggling stresses from us.

Why did you choose your venue?

In my head I had another venue that was perfect so only booked to look at some others for comparison. I’m so glad I did though as I had such a clash with the owner of where I wanted that I came away vowing never to set foot there ever again!

Peterstone Court on the other hand was just brilliant from start to finish. Not only is the house beautiful and the views just stunning, the staff really made it.

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Nothing felt like too much trouble for them, phone calls and emails were answered quickly and they always knew who you were on the phone to have a chat with. Absolutely everyone from the managers to the waiting staff were just lovely. Plus if I could kidnap the chef I would, we’ve never had a bad meal there and we’ve had a few now! Having taken over the place for the whole weekend we really did feel like the place was ours, I would so recommend it for anyone looking for a venue.

Tell us about your photographer

I got slightly obsessed with David our photographer, in a good way though, not a creepy one!

I don’t remember how I stumbled across his website but I’m so glad I did! Not only are his pictures beautiful, he really understood what we wanted with regards to the photos. I was slightly worried that him and his colleague Catherine wouldn’t come back after we all spent the church rehearsal in fits of laughter but they just went with it and joined in!

On the day itself David was great up with us whilst we were getting ready while Catherine got some lovely shots of all the stuff I was missing out on. For the rest of the afternoon I can honestly say I felt like I didn’t see them, in the nicest way possible of course! The pictures we got back I felt really captured the fun and relaxed vibe of the day, there’s some truly stunning ones of all our guests just enjoying themselves and I just love them all!

How did the proposal happen? 

I knew we’d get married as we’d spoken about it a lot and half my family had bets on when a proposal would happen yet he still managed to surprise us all by proposing on a random Saturday night. In a wonderfully romantic setting (ha!) of him in pyjamas after a bath, me in a blanket freezing cold and our collie in a panic after one of his episodes where he’d bashed his head on a radiator and was bleeding, he said he’d got me a gift. Sitting down I was given a Tiffany bag and did the obvious thing which was to start giggling! In my head I was thinking “oh my god he’s gonna propose, but then he said a gift so maybe it’s a bracelet, but who gets a bracelet from Tiffany after talking marriage” etc etc. I’m not even 100% sure if he got down on one knee or if I actually said the word yes, I just kept laughing!

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Luckily he knows me well enough to not get hurt by that reaction!! I think he’d been planning on being slightly more extravagant in his proposal but he’d text my Dad to sort of ask permission (think the gist of it was I’d like to ask Vicky to marry me, thought I’d see if that’s ok but I’m doing it even if you say no. I think Dad was pleased with that!) and after getting a nice text back from my Dad, who is a man of few words, he just decided to do it there and then!

Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?

Rob is great at making things, he’s transformed our garage into a full on man cave complete with bar! Me on the other hand, I have zero patience and if it’s not done to a perfect standard within 30 minutes then I’m just done with it, so we didn’t do a vast amount of DIY!

I am quite proud of our scrabble name places though, again, mostly made by Rob. Trying to keep the cost down we just bought some scrabble letter tiles from craft stores online and then made the rest. Rob made the holders from 2 different types of wood and then I did all the gluing.

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Rob also did a fair bit of printing, he made the table plan, order of service booklets and created personalised menu and information cards! My only other contribution to the DIY side of things was asking/forcing my family into making up the confetti cones and favour bags! They looked like they didn’t mind though!!

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What was your first dance & why?

Our first dance was Home by Michael Bublé as the lyrics mean a huge amount to us. Having spent 15 months living in Paris with Rob still in the UK and the constant feeling of wanting to be somewhere I wasn’t, the song kind of became our anthemn.

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I could never play it right through to the end until the day I left France! To lighten everything up we had Shut Up And Dance by Walk The Moon straight afterwards.

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I love that song and figured jumping around surrounded by people was a good antidote to the fear of dancing on our own getting emotional!

In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?

The only thing that we felt really let us down was our band. I thought I’d been clear enough with the list of songs that we definitely wanted played in the live sets and the sort of music for the DJ sets. However they seemed to think differently and it did ruin our evening slightly. They were so talented and having seen them before we thought would be perfect for our guests so my only advice to couples having a band is really reiterate to them your choices. Given that we’d been talking about Metallica, Foo Fighters etc, to have Mike Posner played instead really got me wound up!

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Probably the same advice that everyone else gives! It’s your day so do things your way, don’t try and please everyone else as it’ll never work, you really can’t do it. The day does just go so try and take a moment to be just the 2 of you to have a breather, whether that’s with a photographer tailing you for some shots or just in another room having a quick sit down for 5 minutes!

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What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?

I don’t think we had any specific marriage advice. Both of our parents have been together a long time, as has most of our families so we’ve had plenty of examples of marriages over the years. Plus we’d been together a while, dealt with a long distance relationship, house buying and loss of a parent before we got to the wedding so we’d weathered a lot of storms! We knew what worked for us and always make sure we communicate, especially as with our jobs we can go days without seeing each other awake to have a proper conversation!

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What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

Now I love planning but planning a wedding over 18 months even took it out of me! Attempting that, work and life in general is hard! I suppose though my favourite bit was getting to see people more. We’d normally only get to Wales once or twice a year yet I was going virtually every month and my parents were having to come to Essex more often, same with getting to see my cousins more frequently. I’m sure they were all bored beyond belief having to listen to me going on and on but I enjoyed it! Also I loved dress shopping, I really wish I could do it again but then we’d probably end up having to renew our vows yearly as I’d keep buying them

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The Suppliers

Photographer: David Wickham 
Ceremony Venue: Llanhamlach Church
Reception Venue: Peterstone Court 
Bride’s Dress: Essense of Australia 
Bride’s Shoes: Harriet Wilde  Christian Louboutin
Bride’s Jewellery: Ivory & Co  Tiffany 
Groom’s Outfit: Anthony Formal Wear 
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Monsoon uk 
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Wanderlust Life 
Cake: Family friend
Flowers: Wendy Scotford  Friend of Faux
Hair: Lisa Bidwell 
Make Up: Alex Gallop 
Band: The Hot Shots 
Stationery: On the day – Rob, invites etc by Pretty Lane Weddings 
Caterers: Petersone Court 
Any Reception Decor/Props: Own various
Personalised cake topper: Feats Of Clay
Wedding favours: Blaenavon Cheddar Co  Wilkin & Sons Tiptree Chutney
Ushers ties: Mrs Bow Tie
Choir: Brecon Male Voice Choir
Confetti: Adamapple
Honeymoon: Destinology 

The Wedding Album

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Bride To Be Diaries: Our Graceful Bride Might Have Taken On Too Much

When I got married I had these massive plans for a big family meal the day be for and this lovely breakfast with the people from both our sides enjoying every minute together and continuing the celebration.

I got to a point where a friend sat me down and told me that I should only put my energy into the wedding day since she had gotten overwhelmed. I actually, for once, listened to her and left it.

Today our Graceful Bride tells us all how she might have taken on too much with her “wedding weekend.” Take it away Vicky.  b2b-graceful-banner

Our Graceful Bride

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Maybe we took on a bit too much….

So the wedding has been and gone and all I’m left with now are hundreds of photos and a list a mile long on who needs to know that I’m changing my name!

As fabulous as it was, a few days beforehand I was beginning to wonder if we’d taken on a bit too much. I mean who plans a wedding 225 miles away from where they live with 2 days of activities beforehand and a honeymoon straight afterwards!

Couple that with the fact Rob also had tonsillitis in the days leading up to the wedding and I’m quite surprised I didn’t just keel over somewhere!

Packing turned into a military operation and on the Tuesday before. I think I only sat down when I was in the car driving what felt like the length and breadth of Essex, all whilst trying to remind Rob when he needed to take his antibiotics!

With the dog off on his holiday, a car packed to the roof and a tired, disgruntled fiancé, we took on the M4 on a Wednesday evening, my many paged itinerary in hand and trying and get to my parents house with enough time to have a half decent nights sleep!file-23-11-2016-14-05-59file-23-11-2016-14-06-12

Thursday was family day, golf and afternoon tea at the Celtic Manor, Rob wrapped up in a good 4 layers with instructions not to overdo it, advice we should have taken in regards to eating as well I think!

As if we’d not had enough to eat and drink then we had a large family meal at our favourite restaurant in Newport, complete with gifts from the staff as we’ve been going there for over 20 years.

It was lovely to share our place with family that haven’t been in a long time and for Robs side of the family to experience it.

After a rather giggly church rehearsal on Friday morning (slightly concerned the photographers wouldn’t come back at one point) we said goodbye to each other and went our separate ways for the day.

Rob headed back to Celtic Manor for more golf and a meal with his friends, I put my parents, cousins and aunt and uncle to work at Peterstone Court.file-23-11-2016-14-06-23file-23-11-2016-14-06-36

With the most glorious weather we spent most of the time sat outside, looking at the view whilst putting together confetti cones and favour bags, it really was one of the best afternoons!

My friends timed their arrival amazingly well, just after everything had been finished setting up, so we took over the local pub for the evening, adults in one room, kids in the other (I say kids, apart from Charlie who’s an actual child the rest of us were aged between 20 and 35!!)

Needless to say by that point I was pretty exhausted and didn’t get much past 10.30pm!

We did something on the Saturday but I’ll leave that for another post….

By the Sunday I’d also come down with a cold so had the fun task of trying to tidy up, check out and get into a highly decorated car to move everything back to Essex, as well and trying to squeeze my mum in the back somewhere as she was coming to dog sit.

By the time we picked up Bailey he had to sit on my lap as there was no ounce of space available, (highly uncomfortable given he’s a rather large labradoodle!)

We arrived back to a welcome from the neighbours and a house decorated with balloons and banners before having a grand total of about 12 hours there before we headed off to Gatwick for the honeymoon.file-23-11-2016-14-06-50file-23-11-2016-14-07-01

A week in the sun (and a few cheeky champagnes and whiskeys on the flight) were just what we needed though and both of us were soon feeling better!

Just about got us refreshed enough to come back home and head off to Wales again a few days later for another wedding, different outfits though this time!!file-23-11-2016-14-07-11file-23-11-2016-14-07-20

Hands up who is ever so slightly jealous of that honeymoon. I can’t wait to share with you Vicky’s wedding. make sure you keep your eyes peeled for it.

Bride To Be Diaries: Our Graceful Bride’s Hen Don’t

My hen do was one of the best weekends of my life. My sister did an amazing job and when it came time for me to return the favour I found it so much pressure make it as special as my one was. Today Our Graceful Bride tells us all about her hen do. Take it away Vicky. 

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Our Graceful Bride

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Hen Don’t

Before anyone gets too concerned, this isn’t a post on what not to do at a hen party! I didn’t want a hen do, a lot of my friends are male.
I have friends spread all over Europe so organising something seemed impossible, the thought of dressing up in tacky outfits and going to get drunk at numerous clubs fills me with dread and don’t get me started on my feelings on male strippers!
I really wasn’t fussed on the whole thing. This all changed after a rather boozy meal in East London one night (burgers in donuts is a thing, who knew!) when my friends from uni decided, in their cocktail infused state, that we should do something.
Seen as most of them are guys we felt it couldn’t be named a hen do, hence the birth of the hen don’t! file-07-11-2016-10-39-36Given that I’d also participated in a cocktail or 2 I then did the unthinkable, I gave them full control to organise the whole thing, I’d have no involvement!
I assumed it would either be forgotten about when everyone sobered up or we’d just do a variation on our usual meal out in London. I was wrong, very very wrong!
Months of Facebook groups and WhatsApp conversations I wasn’t allowed to be part of ensued whilst they enjoyed my panic! I was allowed my cousins and friend Nikki to join me the night before to help me pack (needless to say the giant clock and snorkelling gear didn’t go in, I did have bug spray though!) but I was still completely in the dark.
So Saturday morning, I’m banished and locked in the kitchen having to listen to everyone giggling away and Rob just saying “I don’t get it” numerous times before the giggling turned to fits of laughter as the boys arrive, an arrival that brought out half our neighbours! Jones Jet had landed (otherwise known as a mini van hired from the airport) and with it a fully fancy dressed ‘crew’! file-07-11-2016-10-38-50file-07-11-2016-10-39-17They’d really gone for it, I was presented with a boarding card before being ushered into the van and away, marshalled out of the drive with some glow sticks whilst listening to fake safety announcements they’d created.We had a variety of comedy in flight magazines, airline blankets, pillows and vanity sets and a full tray of breakfast!file-07-11-2016-10-39-02 An ’emergency landing’ into Reading service station finally revealed that we were going to Bristol, where I was also presented with a t shirt and relatively tasteful bride to be banner I was forced to wear.file-07-11-2016-10-39-26 Many hours later we pulled up outside an actual hotel complete with swimming pool and spa (they’d had me convinced for a while that we were going camping) and promptly decided to make use of them! With a night that then continued on with a meal in a steak restaurant, an exclusive cocktail bar where we were joined by some of my other friends who live in Bristol, a bar and finally a crappy club they really did outdo themselves!file-07-11-2016-10-39-46file-07-11-2016-10-40-00 I spent most of the weekend in absolute amazement that a) they loved me enough to plan the weekend and b) that they actually had really good organisational skills when left to their own devices! Trouble is though I’m never going to plan anything ever again now I know they can do it! So I’m now a full advocate for the hen don’t (should probably copyright that!) everyone should have one and I have the numbers of a couple of good planners!!file-07-11-2016-10-40-11
Awww I love that they made such an effort. Who says that your hen do can’t be a hen don’t!

Bride To Be Diaries: Graceful Bride Gives Thanks

There is an I in wedding but more importantly there is a WE. When you start planning our big day, you make a plan to do all of these crafts and DIYs. You quickly realise that you will need help. If you don’t you will end up stressing yourself out and you will lose the enjoyment of the whole wedding process. Well the beautiful Graceful Bride gives thanks to those who have helped out. Take it away Vicky.

B2B Graceful BannerOur Graceful Bride Gives Thanks

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I’ve hijacked this post slightly as it doesn’t have a lot to do with wedding planning and is more of a public thank you to the people who have supported me throughout this journey. I’m a bit of a control freak, I like things done early and done right so I find it very hard to allow other people to help. Obviously when it comes to weddings you see and hear time and time again that you should get people involved, delegate tasks, that people want to help. This is hard for me though so I probably didn’t do it enough!
So firstly I want to thank family with a huge thank you going to my mum. Her and my dads wedding was taken over by my grandma so she vowed never to do the same which meant a lot of having to ask her to come to things and her going on about if I really wanted her there! She came to all the venues with me, all the dress shops, got dad up to Essex for a suit fitting, has put up with who knows how many phone calls over 18 months, allowed the spare room to be filled with boxes of stuff and made a financial contribution as well. Thank you to my dad for pretty much the same thing, that and occasionally pausing a car program on tv to talk about important stuff like nail varnish colour! I won’t be able to ever say thank you enough to you both or tell you how much I love you (if you’re not crying by now mum then I want an explanation!!)
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Thank you to Robs mum and sister for all the invaluable advice during what was a tough year for both. The many cups of tea and Diet Coke (which I’m suspecting was now kept for me!) were always appreciated whenever we appeared on the doorstep with 5 minutes warning, generally with overly excitable dog in tow! The incredibly generous financial contribution as well means so much so huge love and thanks for that.
To my cousins, my bridesmaids. I didn’t have much of a choice on who to ask given that from as soon as I met Rob I was told to hurry up and marry him so they could be bridesmaids! Personally I think you’ve had it easy and I’ve not been too bridezilla but thank you for allowing me to talk weddings at you virtually weekly for over a year! With shift work, jobs and a PhD it’s been a mission to get together easily but thank you for trying whenever you could. file-13-10-2016-11-38-55
Thank you to Robs best man Paul and his partner Ann for all their help. Ann especially who virtually organised every activity we wanted to try and do in the week leading up to the wedding. It looked like a nightmare and seeing the many emails and phone calls it took I’m very glad you sorted it all for me! And Paul, who is probably on the opposite end of the organisation spectrum to me, for pulling together a stag for Rob in pretty much a week!file-13-10-2016-11-39-11
My wonderful uni friends! Not really wanting a hen do as most of my friends are male and spread throughout Europe they gave me a hen don’t! Quite frankly I’m still amazed at the thought they put into the whole thing and the organisation it must have taken. They made me feel so loved for the weekend and allowed me to have time where wedding planning was not first and foremost on my mind for over 24 hours which is quite a feat! Big love to you all. file-13-10-2016-11-39-54file-13-10-2016-11-39-43
To all our guests, the fact that you’re all giving up your time to come to Wales is really humbling. So much love and thanks to you all for wanting to spend the day with us.
Finally thank you to Rob, I’m sure I’ve been a pain in the butt plenty of times (I still maintain I could have been a lot worse!). You are my rock, you keep me sane (mostly) and I don’t know what I’d be without you. Thank you for wanting to marry me, you can’t back out now lol!!!
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Awww….I love this. I know I couldn’t have planned any of my big day without the help of my family and friends. If you missed the last post from our Graceful Bride click here

Bride To Be Diaries: Our Graceful Bride Talks Readings

 Today we are handing the blog over to our Graceful Bride talks readings. Take it away Vicky.B2B Graceful Banner

 Our Graceful Bride

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Wedding Readings


I had another post all ready and waiting to go but ended up changing my mind to write this in a fit of annoyance and procrastination. I’m currently sitting in a Gatwick hotel with a lovely view over a nondescript roundabout in Crawley and really should be re-reading the Air Asia accident report before finishing my biannual simulator check tomorrow but instead I’m doing the one thing that seems to take up most of my time at the moment, wedding readings! That and flicking through wedding magazines but that’s beside the point, I need the occasional break! File 29-06-2016, 12 15 16See we have a problem, in one weeks time we’re meeting up with the vicar to discuss the order of service for the wedding day and we have nothing! It’s not from lack of trying, I’ve had millions of tabs open for weeks on end full of ideas, my Pinterest really should warrant a new board for them (favourites currently being filed under table plans/signs which annoys the organisational side of me!) but I still don’t know. I think Rob half wants us to write our own for people to read out and whereas he is quite wordy and good at that, I’m not.File 29-06-2016, 12 14 10 Case points being cards for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries etc, his full of lovely heartfelt passages, mine going along the lines of this: To Rob, happy birthday/Christmas/anniversary, lots of love, Vicky. On the other hand I read, a lot, so have so many favourite passages from books and poems that I’d love to have included. Whereas they all mean something to me and I have a connection with them, Rob finds he doesn’t and that he can’t find one that describes the feelings he wants to get across. So we’re struggling. Reading from Phillip Pullman’s Amber Spyglass (one of my all time favourite books), deemed too morbid by my mum. Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, too wordy. Edward Monkton’s Lovely Love Story, done by our friends last year. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Us Two (the Winnie the Pooh one), The Velveteen Rabbit, Shakespeare, Bronte etc etc seem to just be done time and time again so just don’t feel special to me personally.File 29-06-2016, 12 15 01
Photo Credit: Edward Monkton
Then you look at poetry, I love some of Pablo Neruda’s but they’re probably a bit risqué. Do you go down the funny route of Pam Ayres and others, do you look to the classics, the choice feels never ending! And don’t even get me started on the biblical side of it! We’re getting married in church so have to have at least one religious reading but so many of them I just don’t like! We’re off to snowdonia for a few days between me finishing down here and seeing the vicar so my current plan is to just drive ourselves nuts reading out as many as I can possibly find in the hope that something clicks, I’m thinking to start in the car on the long drive up as there’s no way to escape then!!File 29-06-2016, 12 14 51
Photo Credit: Timothy Boomer
Some time later….
So after a week of discussions in various parts of Wales, (reading out bible passages sitting on Tan-y-Bwlch railway station getting some odd looks being a personal fave!) and we got there! I think we’ve got a good mix to cover all bases and our vicar seems happy which is good, trouble now though is we’ve ended up with 3 rather than our original plan of 2 so we need to find someone else willing to get up and talk!File 29-06-2016, 12 14 30
 I remember the problems that I had with deciding on which readings to have. Thanks you Graceful Bride for your insight. ~ Kate