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.
Our Graceful Bride
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! Given 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’! They’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! 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. 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! 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!!
Awww I love that they made such an effort. Who says that your hen do can’t be a hen don’t!
So our beautiful Traditional Bride is married! She looked amazing and we can’t wait to show you her big day. Today she talks about how she did a bit of crazy honeymoon planning. Grab a cuppa and pop your feet up as I hand you over to Kathryn.
Our Traditional Bride
So the wedding is done and dusted. I’ve talked, laughed and cried about it so much and can’t wait for it to be published as one of Cwtch’s Real Weddings so I’m not going to go over it all again now, I’m going to tell you about the next amazing but stressful part of our wedding process. The Honeymoon.
Now I know a lot of you sensible people will have already budgeted for a honeymoon, perhaps you may have already booked it and started saving for it… if that’s you, well done, you’re doing the right thing!
I however, had a different approach. Every single last penny of our savings, wages, earnings and any cash we came across was ploughed directly into our big day. To us, we didn’t want to scrimp on a single detail on the day if we could help it, and our priority was the day itself. We had the bright idea of asking our beautiful family and friends to kindly gift us with some cash instead of traditional wedding presents, we live together and have all the toasters, plates and kettles we need in our life, and we just hoped that with these very kind donations, we would be able to snap up a “cheap late deal” on a honeymoon a day or 2 after the wedding and just jet off!
That did indeed happen… Eventually. Although it wasn’t particularly cheap. We couldn’t have been more grateful for the incredible generosity of our loved ones, and we had a fantastic honeymoon in beautiful sunny Cyprus but the fact of the matter was that we ended up paying for a holiday that we wouldn’t have chosen if we’d had more time! You see there doesn’t appear to be such a thing as a “cheap late deal” these days… unless you live near the London airports or want to go to Turkey, neither of which was a possibility for us!
Our wish-list went like this:
💎Flying from Bristol/Cardiff
💎On the beach
💎Nice resort, near a few pubs/restaurants but not too wild.
I exhausted onthebeach.com within 24 hours of the wedding and quickly realised we needed some help so spent the next 3 days in Thomson, Thomas Cook and eventually Travel House to finally get anything anywhere near what we wanted.
Rich and I are not massive on luxury, we wanted some guaranteed sunshine, a relaxing holiday together just to chill out and reflect on the manic couple of years we’d had and the lovely future ahead of us. But the truth of it was we had very little choice!
The right destinations just didn’t have the right flights, the right flights didn’t fly on the right dates, the right dates didn’t match our budget and what matched our budget were to completely different places!
It was hell. I really hadn’t thought this through, and was in such a panic, if we hadn’t booked time off work, I’d have said sod it, let’s leave it a few weeks, but we couldn’t.
My job isn’t so bad, they’re pretty flexible but Rich had booked 3 weeks off and simply couldn’t change it so we admitted defeat and took a holiday which ticked 2 of our boxes (well, almost 2… We conceded to dropping one night!)
What we actually got:
✅Flying from Birmingham
✅Nowhere near the bloody beach
✅Aiya Napa town centre
But before the holiday could begin, I had to get rid of the cats.
I love my weird, ungrateful pets a lot more than they even like me I think.
Being a responsible owner, I’d already pre-arranged their stay in a local cattery because I knew we would be going somewhere, but with everything going on, not to mention the last minute shopping trip where I spent a ridiculous amount of time searching the sale rails in New Look and Next for the last of the holiday gear the day before we departed, I’d simply forgotten I had to actually take them in.
The crazy little creatures won’t let Rich even touch them half the time, they don’t appear to like male humans (they are rescue cats and I have no idea of their background or previous treatment, only that they’re terrified of men. I could write blogs purely on the hell we endure with these psychotic animals on a daily basis but I’d be here all day.)
So I was happily cruising home from my shopping trip when I had a phone call from the hubby reminding me I had to take the fur-devils to the cattery by 5:00pm.
It was 4:35 and I was about 2 miles from home and a further 5 miles from the cattery. Cue the most horrific panic ever, you don’t know horror until your much-struggled-for honeymoon is under threat by 2 fluffy balls of indifference.
I booted it back to the house, grabbed the critters and rammed them in the cat cage, there was no time for tickles, treats and coaxing, I got clawed to bits in the process but with 10 minutes to spare, I was booting it back down the road, Lily and Lola yowling in the cage next to me as if it was their holiday at stake and I was literally, excuse the pun, having kittens!
The cattery opens 10am – 5pm, we were leaving at 6am the next day, too early to take them in in the morning and was stuck in rush hour traffic realising I was just not going to get them there in time.
Living in Swansea, I have no close friends and neighbours nearby to help me or take them in the next day for me, my family are all in Ammanford and I couldn’t believe that I’d left it so damn late!! I’d had all day!!
So a hysterically tearful phone call to said cattery resulted with a member of staff huffily agreeing to wait for our arrival (which was eventually 5:30pm!) and that was it, the kitties were safely deposited! Hating me, but safe and looked after.
And off we went, a whole week after the wedding!We had an amazing time. We drove the long trek to Birmingham and got tipsy in the airport, as you do, our flight was delayed and we arrived late in the night but the hotel was stunning, a massive refurbished 1-bed apartment overlooking the pool!
We ate out every day and night in gorgeous little Cypriot restaurants, walked miles and miles exploring bars and shops, we sipped cocktails and partied a bit too hard in the Ayia Napa strip a couple of nights, and spent a fortune on taxis to the next town to go to the actual beach, we met lovely friends, caught a fabulous tan, and enjoyed every second of our honeymoon BUT never would I ever leave it that late to book again!
The cheap late deals are a thing of the past, unless you don’t mind where you go or your goal posts are totally moveable, book in advance!
And your pets. Don’t forget them either!I know how crazy it gets after the wedding. We had a 6 day gap between the wedding and the honeymoon so I can relate to the craziness, the total exhaustion and the need to just want to go x
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.
Our Graceful Bride Gives Thanks
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!!)
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.
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!
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.
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!!!
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.
Wedding crafting seems to be a right of passage these days when organising your big day but it can become a total nightmare! Today our Crafty Bride Katie has a whole heap of crafting advise. Over to you Katie.
The Crafty Bride Kate’s Crafting Advise
I thought I’d share with you all my wedding craft mishap that happened to me this week! For those of you that don’t know me, I like to consider myself to be a true crafter, I love nothing better than strolling around Hobby craft, making bespoke gifts for my friends birthdays, and perusing on the Pinterest app. If there’s anything to be made, rather than paying top dollar for someone in Taiwan to mass produce it, I’d much rather roll up my sleeves and make one myself, now with 10 months to go until the wedding I’ve now stupidly surrounded myself with what feels like a never ending cycle of unfinished wedding projects, I will now finally admit … even I have bitten off more than I can chew!
As I type this I am currently sitting in my craft room (aka my tip of a Back bedroom!) surrounded by, 5 unfinished wooden gift boxes for my bridesmaids, 3 half painted wooden initials, 1 half sketched “Finger Print Tree”, 5 mock ups of our order of service awaiting my decision, 4 half decorated confetti cone holders, 100 unfinished wedding invitations, 500 Tiffany blue embellishment buttons (for what purpose even I have forgotten!), 300 recently varnished vintage key pendants ready to be applied to a nonexistent seating plan, and finally 1 wedding mood board (of which half the content upon it I have changed my mind on!) … all I’m missing now is a Partridge in a Pear tree!
None the less after having throwing a huge wobbler and downing a glass of wine (…. or two) I have now regrouped my thoughts and developed an action plan to get them all sorted.
On reflection of this I thought I’d devise a “What NOT To Do Guide” with a few hints and tips for getting crafty with your wedding DIY projects … So to avoid any wobblers and mini breakdowns along the way follow my easy guide….
Firstly Ask Yourself….
Do you have the right skills to make the craft you want?
Be open and honest with yourself; don’t embark on an oil painting if you struggle to draw stick men! Confide in an honest family member or friend that isn’t afraid of telling you straight if your craft piece is not looking up to par! My Mum has defiantly saved me making these mistakes on many occasions! It’s nothing to be ashamed of if you’re crafting skills are not on par with Picasso, but I’d much rather not have the craft piece in my wedding than make it myself and have my guests thinking to themselves on the day “OMG what was she thinking that looks awful!” … Or “OMG did a 3 year old help her make that?”
Do I have the time to make it?
It’s all well and good making 100 wedding crafts yourself, but do you realistically have the time to do it? Try and set a goal, Make a check list and go through them one by one, try and do it during your spare time, and do it at a time and place where you can focus 100% and not be interrupted.
Does the craft fit in with your wedding budget?
There’s no point making something yourself, if buying the completed craft in the first place will cost less than the materials to make it! The only exception to this rule I would say is; if you need somthing personalised and bespoke to your needs, for example; my wedding theme is an odd colour (Tiffany Blue), so the majority of my little touches for the wedding, I have to make myself to get the right colour, If you can buy what you need/want and its cheap enough on its own, Don’t make it just for the sake of it and make more work for yourself.
The Pinterest App can be your best friend and your worst enemy!
Like most people, I have a wedding Pinterest account currently holding over 6000 pins mostly containing fab wedding ideas! Most of which I will never have the funds/time/skill to make! (A girl can dream though!). Be aware of Pintrocities! (This is a slang term where ambitious Pinterest ideas/crafts can turn into something ugly!) I myself have had my own “Pintrocity moment” where I followed a “Heat-less beach curls” tutorial, the result of which turned me into Diana Ross tribute act over night! – Heed my warning; follow the step by step instruction, if it looks too fiddly for your unskilled hands, save yourself the time/stress and don’t bother!
DO NOT start another Craft project until you finish the current one!
Simple one really, but it’s easier said than done! I know I’ve been there! Some crafts can be more enjoyable than others, but persevere with the task in hand, it will make the next task even more enjoyable knowing that the previous task is all completed! Just make sure to be strict with yourself, do not deviate from your list!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
No woman is an island! Don’t be afraid to get some help from friends and family, any excuse to have your bridesmaids over for a gossip (get an assembly line going!), just make sure that the wine isn’t flowing too much whilst you do your crafts! That has disaster written all over it!
HAVE FUN WITH IT!
Crafting is meant to be fun and enjoyable experience, if it’s causing you to pull your hair out then it’s probably not worth doing, it’s pointless adding more stress to what already can be a stressful time for us Brides to be!.
I hope my hints and tips have been helpful for someone, all the best with your crafting, wither you buy it or DIY it; I hope everything turns out fab for you all.
Katie, this is wonderful! So many good tips and advice, as well as admitting to those little faux pars! Brilliant, thank you so so much for sharing xx
Today we have a a post from Our Traditional Bride that I think we can all relate to, the pre wedding emotions. Over to Kath to tell us all about your Mega Emotions!
Our Traditional Bride
I’ve come across another surprise in the wedding planning process… Mega Emotion.
If I thought my monthly visit from Mother Nature made me a little emotional, my ovaries have got nothing on this wedding! I’m literally whimpering like a baby over everything.
Take this morning for example… Driving to work bleary eyed and despondent about the working day ahead, and a bit of Adele comes on. Now Adele is amazing, don’t get me wrong, but I have none of her albums and her songs are not featuring in my wedding (OUR wedding… I need to get used to that with just 5 weeks to go!!) and yet there I was, hello-ing from the other side, with tears streaming down my face as I sit stationery at the roadworks imagining Rich and I behind a flattering black and white filter, reaching out for each other across a windy moore… What’s the deal with that?
Had my first official dress fitting last week, it was perfect… Not an alteration or tweak in sight (or budget!) thank god! My friend whatsapp’d me a photo of me in my gown… and when I get home, I spent a full 10 minutes sniffling into my pillow as I admire how lovely I look and accept the fact that my wedding day is probably the most beautiful I have ever, or will ever look!
And then there’s the tv programmes… Don’t Tell The Bride… BLUB. Say Yes To The Dress… snot everywhere. And it’s not just the wedding programmes, hell, I’ll have a good sob at Made In Chelsea when they do that awkward staring thing.
And don’t get me started on the First Dances. I’m having a daddy-daughter dance (lump in throat as I’m writing this!) before he hands me to my husband for our official first dance (sob) and when my mum told me my dad had been scouring YouTube to find the perfect song for us, and proceeded to play his choice to me, well…. I had a good cry into my pasta bake, and my dad (who is a tall, strong, classic Welsh Patriach) had to walk out in to the kitchen to dab his eyes. Which then set my Liverpudlian Mumatron off.
Seriously? What kind of sorcery is this?
It’s a wedding, the best day of my life (sorry, OUR life) so why on earth is everybody crying!?
This is crazy!! I can actually THINK myself to tears right now. In fact I just did a little bit!! Sat here glancing over at The Manfriend, and looking at his cute frowny face and little eyelashes and sexy stubble and knowing he’s mine forever more…. aaaaand I’m gone.
I mean, on an actual organisational note, I’m nearly there. In fact, I’m more than there. I have nothing to cry about. My spreadsheets are bursting at the seams, my vendors are all messaged and up to date, my planner from the Oxwich Bay, the lovely Jess, is putting up with my midnight emails and constant harassing with the patience of a saint, and I’ve actually had numerous thoughts about quitting the 9-5 and jumping headfirst into becoming a full time wedding co-ordinator, because believe me when I say, I’ve GOT this shizzle in the bag!
I’m off to bed now, because that last 2 minutes of Dan and Kate having a heart to heart on TOWIE has just finished me off!xxx
If you missed the this lovely ladies last post click here. Our Traditional bride is now a married lady so keep your eyes peeled for her real wedding feature.