The Home vs Away Debate by Best Man Baz

Our Best Man contributor Baz from Best Man Beacon is debating the merits of getting married at home vs getting married abroad. It can be a difficult decision for some people so do read on…

Traditional Church Weddings versus eloping to an overseas paradise

This debate is as contentious as what’s best, ‘radiator undies’ in the winter months or getting a cwtch from your mum after you’ve fallen off of your BMX in your primary years? Let the deliberation commence.

Argument ‘for’ tying the knot off into the wide blue yonder

I’ve been a lucky sausage and attended a hat-trick of overseas weddings. I’ve toasted to the happy couples in Brisbane, Jamaica and Las Vegas. Being a Welsh man, the sun is as likely to be seen in the sky as much as a vegetarian is likely to be seen in an abattoir. Therefore a wedding in more tropical climates than in Abercwmnosun is a guaranteed people pleaser. “The sun isn’t everything” I hear you old fashioned partisan traditionalists say. Well, when you have a Mojito in one hand, you’re perched on a seat in a pool up to your waist at a ‘swim up pool side bar’ and scantily clad beauties are frolicking around you then I beg to differ. Jamaica’n me nostalgic mon…

Jamaica. Image Source

Jamaica. Image Source

Another winner is that a wedding abroad in my experience has been as relaxed as a melted Choc Ice. Particularly in Jamaica. Our airport transfer bus driver on arrival was more laid back than a broken deck-chair. He was the most chilled out man I’ve ever encountered. It was fair to say he hadn’t ‘shot the Sheriff’, however he had most definitely blazed up a ‘Fatty’ while driving the bus. A cliff top wedding overlooking the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean was one of the most stunning weddings I have ever experienced. Yea mon.

If I could personify the Oz wedding as a Sheila, it ‘banged like a dunny door’. It was epic. Once again I experienced an outdoor wedding, this time overlooking a pristine Golf Course near Brisbane. The traditional free bar was a humdinger and with my pastey complexion I stood out like a Bull Dog’s balls. As soon as the locals realised I wasn’t a ‘Pom’ they gave me a fair suck at the sauce bottle and many a bond were formed. This provided its own uniqueness. Another benefit of a wedding in foreign climes is that you can explore new and amazing sights. Home based weddings, as beautiful as they can be, can often blur into one another. A wedding abroad most certainly will not be forgotten.

Arguments ‘against’ flying the coop and keeping it gangsta in the hood

If you’re like me and you’re ideal temperature is 20 degrees Celsius, then being dolled up in your Penguin Suit while hotter than a mid-summer terracotta Otter in 30 plus degree heat isn’t the most comfortable of times. At least a home wedding provides a cooler climate so that you aren’t sweating like a Sumo Wrestler on a cross-trainer.

God's Country. Image Source

God’s Country. Image Source

It’s more inclusive to all. Apart from a wedding gift the guests don’t have to cough up an arm and a leg for a flight. Also, you don’t have to experience great aunty Gladys unkempt foliage in a bikini if you handle your nuptials in your shire.

In a nut shell

On a foreign encounter you can contain your guest list to a chosen tight knit squad, so uncle Plonker and aunty Wassock can fall by the wayside and chances are you will not need your umbrella-ella-ella.

Getting married in your shire will keep the traditionalists happy and you won’t have to guilt trip family or friends into spending top dollar on a jet away. Your ‘it’s insanity if it’s not Christianity’ relatives will be happy that you may choose to do the deed in the big man’s house. Mo wedding guests mo presents..

Real Wedding: Jemma & Jim’s Destination Wedding in Las Vegas

Cardiff dwelling couple Jemma & Jim got married in fabulous Las Vegas in April last year. As always we love to hear the reasons behind choosing a destination wedding and are so thrilled to be able to share these super cool images by Joey Allen with you! We asked Jemma a few questions about their big day. 043 - Hurray!

What was your budget?  We didn’t have a specific budget but we knew we didn’t want to spend loads of money on our wedding – we wanted something small and simple. Getting married in Las Vegas may not seem like a simple wedding, but we already had a Vegas – San Francisco road trip planned for my 30th birthday which we didn’t want to sacrifice in order to save for a wedding, so getting married whilst we were out there and turning the rest of the road trip into our honeymoon seemed the perfect plan! We were very lucky that most of our nearest and dearest were able to join us too. 044 - The Bus
I should point out that destination weddings aren’t necessarily a cheap option – if you get married abroad in a hotel, it is pretty much as expensive as most wedding venues in the UK. You might have fewer guests attending so costs are reduced there but when you factor in flights etc it all adds up. In Vegas you have options other than hotels, there are chapels everywhere and their prices are competitive – our ceremony cost around £900 and included limo transport from our hotel, flowers for me (24 roses) and my bridesmaids (8 roses each) and corsages, webcasting of the ceremony, a CD of photos from the ceremony, the dvd video of the ceremony, and a canvas print. We kept other costs down by having our wedding breakfast in a private room at one of the hotel buffets which didn’t incur a room cost, and we booked a large hotel suite as our accommodation and had our evening reception in there, buying in the drinks from supermarkets a couple of days before the wedding. 088 - Reception 103 - Reception

How would you describe your wedding theme? We didn’t really have a theme; other than being in Vegas we just wanted to keep things simple. Our wedding colours were red, pink and white – that’s about as far as our theme went! 052 - On The Bus106 - Photobooth

What was your favourite part of your wedding? Every single second of the day was amazing – everything went so perfectly to plan, I don’t think I can pick out one part. The best thing is that we were surrounded by our wonderful family and friends who made the amazing effort to be there – the 5 days that we were in Vegas were like one awesome group holiday! The minute we arrived we were meeting up with our guests who were already there for drinks and food. I had a Champagne afternoon tea with my ladies the day before the wedding and Jim went to a shooting range with the guys. Most people were staying in the same hotel as us, so they joined us for breakfast on the day of the wedding and hung out with us at our pool cabana the day after. It was all so much fun. 042 - The Entourage 050 - More Cheering On The Bus

Tell us about your Wedding Dress In keeping with the simplicity of our wedding I wanted a fairly understated dress and did not want to spend very much money on it. I knew I wanted a lace dress that was short, and there were quite a few options out there for me on the high street. The one I bought was the second one I tried on and cost a bargain £100. It was so comfortable to wear all day (and again at our home reception). I love it so much that I’m trying to work out ways of being able to get more wears out of it! 011 - The Dresses 014 - The Bow 016 - Getting Ready 018 - Getting Ready 032 - Ceremony 048 - On The Bus

Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? We weren’t sure that we were going to have bridesmaids or a best man – again we just wanted to keep things simple. But when I knew that both of my sisters were going to be able to make the trip out to Vegas I knew I wanted to have them as my bridesmaids and by my side all day. The same went for Jim and his best mate Charlie.  017 - Getting Ready109 - Photobooth003 - Best Man Gift039 - Bridesmaids & Best Man

Why did you choose your venue? Our Chapel – we fell in love with this place the moment we saw photos of it, the whole thing is made of California redwood, including the seating, and it is the oldest chapel on the Strip. It has so much charm and character compared to most of the other chapels in Vegas.  037 - The Chapel
Venue for the Wedding Breakfast – The Wynn hotel buffet is one of the top rated hotel buffets in Vegas and has a private room that doesn’t have a budget minimum or added cost for the room. The whole buffet restaurant is lavishly decorated so we didn’t need to add any of our own decorations in the room.  070 - Wedding Breakfast
Venue for the Reception – The Mirage hotel had the most suitable and affordable suites for our needs. They are bigger than most other hotel suites of a similar price and the layout was perfect for what we wanted for our party. We booked a suite with an additional adjoining bedroom so that we could go our separate ways after breakfast and get ready separately, but then open it all up for more space during the party. 004 - The Suite 118 - Reception 121 - Reception

How did the proposal happen?  Jim proposed to me on the evening of our 4 year anniversary – we were in London for a few days and he brought the ring along with him. He had it with him when we went out for our anniversary meal, but waited until we were back at our hotel room to pop the question – it took me completely by surprise but I immediately said yes! 001 - The Rings

What was your first dance & why? We danced to ‘It’s Always You’ by Chet Baker. When Jim proposed in London we’d been in our hotel room drinking wine listening to Chet Baker, I remember shortly after the proposal hearing the words of the song that was playing and it stayed with me, so when it came to picking a first dance that was the first thing I thought of.  095 - Dancing

In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? Not a thing!  024 - In the Limo046 - Cheering On The Bus057 - On The Strip 058 - Walking To The Bellagio 059 - Bellagio Fountains 083 - Casino

Do you have any advice for future couples? For couples thinking of getting married in the USA, get on theknot.com forums! They have state-specific sub forums and the Nevada one was full of Vegas brides and brides-to-be sharing tips, advice, and their reviews of vendors, it was invaluable. Also one of the men on the forum (there aren’t many!) has a website with loads of useful information too. Also, give people a good 12 months’ notice so that they can plan accordingly in terms of their travel costs and annual leave if they’re going to join you. Most of our guests worked our wedding into their own trips – some started in Vegas and went on elsewhere afterwards, others ended their holiday there after visiting places in California, and some had a week of pure Vegas!  082 - Casino

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? Spending time with Jim discussing plans and watching videos of possible venues, and locations for our honeymoon road trip, watching movies that feature Vegas and pointing out locations that we knew we were going to visit or that were going to be part of our wedding. 047 - Serenading Jim 050 - On The Bus 063 - Bellagio055 - Walking On The Strip

The Suppliers

Photographer: Joey Allen
Ceremony Venue: Little Church of the West, Las Vegas
Reception Venue: Wynn, Las Vegas; The Mirage, Las Vegas
Bride’s Shoes: Nine West
Bride’s Jewellery: Etsy
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Monsoon
Hair: Las Vegas Wedding Make-up
Make Up: Las Vegas Wedding Make-up
Stationery: Stationery design by Jimmu, Invites printed by Overnight Prints
Transport: Earth Limos

We had a ‘home reception’ when we got back from our honeymoon so we could celebrate with those who didn’t come to Vegas.
Venue: Novotel
Cakes: Cakes 2b Seen
Band: Capital City Ska
Balloon centrepieces: Rolfes the Florist

The Wedding Album

001 - The Rings 002 - The Boys Getting Ready 003 - Best Man Gift 004 - The Suite 005 - The Suite 006 - The Decorations 007 - The Decorations 008 - The Decorations 009 - The Favours 010 - The Photobooth Table 011 - The Dresses 012 - The Wedding Dress 013 - Getting Ready 014 - The Bow 015 - Getting Ready 016 - Getting Ready 017 - Getting Ready 018 - Getting Ready 019 - Gifts 020 - Gifts 021 - Bridal Party 022 - Mom and Daughter 023 - In The Limo 024 - In the Limo 025 - Arrival 026 - The Ceremony 027 - The Ceremony 028 Here Comes The Bride 029 - Here Comes The Bride 030 - Ceremony 031 - Ceremony 032 - Ceremony 033 - Married 034 - Married 035 - Married 036 - Married 037 - The Chapel 038 - Husband & Wife 039 - Bridesmaids & Best Man 040 - The Parents 041 - Waiting At The Sign 042 - The Entourage 043 - Hurray! 044 - The Bus 045 - J&J On The Bus 046 - Cheering On The Bus 047 - Serenading Jim 048 - On The Bus 049 - Cheering On The Bus 050 - More Cheering On The Bus 050 - On The Bus 051 - On The Bus 052 - On The Bus 053 - On The Bus 054 - On The Bus 055 - Walking On The Strip 056 - Mid Road Shot 057 - On The Strip 058 - Walking To The Bellagio 059 - Bellagio Fountains 060 - Bellagio Fountains 061 - Strolling 062 - Strolling 063 - Bellagio 064 - Bellagio 065 - Looking At The Paris 066 - Bouqet 067 - Walking To The Wynn 068 - In The Wynn 069 - Wedding Breakfast 070 - Wedding Breakfast 071 - Wedding Breakfast 072 - Wedding Breakfast 073 - Wedding Breakfast 074 - Wedding Breakfast 075 - Massive Limo 076 - In The Limo 077 - In The Limo 078 - In The Limo 079 - Outside Circus Circus 080 - Circus Circus 081 - Circus Circus 082 - Casino 083 - Casino 084 - Lift 085 - Lift 086 - Reception 087 - Reception 088 - Reception 089 - Speeches 090 - Speeches 091 - Speeches 092 - Speeches 093 - Speeches 094 - Speeches 095 - Dancing 096 - Dancing 097 - Dancing 098 - Dancing 099 - Dancing 100 - Reception 101 - Reception 102 - Reception 103 - Reception 104 - Reception 105 - Reception 106 - Photobooth 107 - Photobooth 108 - Photobooth 109 - Photobooth 110 - Photobooth 111 - Photobooth 112 - Reception 113 - Reception 114 - Reception 115 - Reception 116 - Reception 117 Reception 118 - Reception 119 - Reception 120 - Reception 121 - Reception 122 - Reception 123 - Reception

I absolutely LOVE this wedding! Am suffering from destination envy! Are any of you lovely cwtchers planning a destination wedding? Drop a comment in the box to tell us where and why :) xx

Real Wedding: Charlotte and Wayne’s Beautiful Castle wedding in Tuscany

Today, Welsh couple Charlotte & Wayne share their beautiful Tuscany Castle wedding with us.  All images by our very own Maria Farrelly Photography. 

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What was your budget? 

We were very lucky and grateful to be given money towards our wedding by my parents and had a budget in mind of around £10k. We knew the average UK wedding cost around £23k so didn’t want to spend anywhere near this and was one of the reasons we opted for a wedding abroad. We kept a spreadsheet that proved very useful when calculating estimated costs and actual costs. It’s worth setting one up so that you can note down everything you think you are going to need for the wedding. There will be more than you think!!

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How would you describe your wedding theme?

I would say our theme centred around the venue which was a beautiful castle set in the Tuscan countryside. I love lace and pearls so wanted to incorporate these into the theme also. My dress had an old vintage feel and we used hessian and lace to decorate the table and table plan. The tables were named after places we had been on our travels. I knew with the wedding being in Italy we couldn’t have too much detail but in fact the setting and venue made a perfect backdrop for the wedding. Wayne drove over with a few bits that added our personal touch to the day. We bought our guests funky sunglasses as favours and made fans for the ceremony which went down well as it was boiling!

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What was your favourite part of your wedding?

It is really hard to choose one part of the day as the whole experience was amazing from getting ready with friends to walking down the isle and feeling all emotional at the thought of what was about to happen. I loved having all our family and friends in the same place for 3 days so I think that was my favorite thing. The day before the wedding we spent sunbathing and drinking by the pool and the following day we arranged a pizza and lazagne party for our guests over where we were staying.

Italy_wedding_Tuscany029Italy_wedding_Tuscany056Italy_wedding_Tuscany088Italy_wedding_Tuscany013Tell us about your Wedding Dress

As soon as we were engaged I was itching to go dress shopping but opted for a wedding fayre in the CIA to start things off. I ended up trying a dress on there and then and loved it but decided to go to a few shops and try on a few different styles. I knew I wanted lace in the dress and for it to be long. I found my dress in High Society in Cowbridge. It is a stunning shop full of beautiful dresses and the lady who was looking after me really knew her stuff when choosing a selection of dresses to try. Once it was on I just knew it was the one. People always said to me your will just know when you find THE ONE but I didn’t really believe them. Its true I felt like a princess and knew it was the dress for me. Italy_wedding_Tuscany019Italy_wedding_Tuscany021

I met Ashley from ‘With love from Bobbin’ at another wedding fayre and fell in love with her head pieces. After a few meetings we decided on colours and materials and she handmade me the most precious headpiece that formed a special part of my look for the day. I am going to pass it down through the generations as it is versatile and can be added to or changed to suit different looks.

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How did you choose your photographer?

I always knew I wanted Maria Farrelly to photograph my wedding so the fact that I was getting married abroad didn’t change this! I love her style of shooting and her creativity and having our wedding in a castle in the middle of Tuscany meant we would have beautiful images to look back on in years to come. If you love a photographer don’t look at the price tag, look at what you will get at the end of it. You can always cut back on other things as I believe your images are one of the most important elements of a wedding as they are the lasting memories you will look at forever.

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Italy_wedding_Tuscany080Maria is friendly and assertive so will defiantly get the images you want on the day. She will also capture those funky dance floor moments when you don’t think anyone is looking!!

Italy_wedding_Tuscany153Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?

My bridesmaids were my three best friends, Catrin, Rhian and Beth, and my sister Liz and sister in law Lisa. I also had 4 flower girls my nieces Kelsie, Hollie and Amiee and my friends little girl Dela. They did an amazing job on the day and leading up to the wedding. I had complete faith in them and always knew I wanted them there as my bridesmaids on our big day. All our friends own Pandora bracelets so I decided to get personalized charms for the girls and little bracelets for the flower girls. Italy_wedding_Tuscany051Italy_wedding_Tuscany093

Wayne couldn’t choose which of his friends to be the best man so had his two closest friends Tim and Richard. They did a fab job of organizing wayne on the day and gave him a fun filled stag doo. The speeches are always a favorite of mine at weddings and they didn’t disappoint. Ushers were my brother-in-law Chris and nephew Kyle. Italy_wedding_Tuscany015Italy_wedding_Tuscany017

Why did you choose your venue?

We knew we wanted to get married abroad as we wanted the warm weather and choose Italy as it’s not too far away from home and the food is delicious. We didnt have a particular area in mind but knew we wanted an old building were we would have exclusive use for the day. We also wanted a place big enough so that all our family and friends could stay in the same place.

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It was quite challenging and we spent hours on the internet trying to find the perfect venue. We stumbled across Castello di Modanella and knew it was the perfect venue to hold our wedding. It was a castle set in the Tuscan hills around 1 hour from Florence and had acres of land with accommodation to host all our guests. Italy_wedding_Tuscany040Italy_wedding_Tuscany041A year before the wedding we took a trip to Italy to visit the venue and knew we had made the right decision after meeting the staff and experiencing it in person.

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How did the proposal happen? 

Wayne proposed to me whilst we were on holiday in Turkey. We were singing our song on karaoke and he just got down on one knee half way through the song. I was so shocked I just kept telling him to get up and didn’t really realise what was happening!! I was in shock for ages after but so happy. We had been together for a while and he never really wanted to get married but knew I always did so was very sweet that he wanted to make me happy. I think he secretly enjoyed it all and has changed his perception of marriage.Italy_wedding_Tuscany130

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

We created most of our decor including table plan, jars as favours, flags for table names and one of my favourite items we made were the fans for the ceremony. 1552

I had seen the design online and wanted to personalise something for our wedding that included lyrics from songs we both liked. My friend created the design using text I provided and I sent to print on thick card. The finish wasn’t right so I bought a corner cutter which made a huge difference and would defiantly recommend using one for similar items. I then used spray mount and giant lollipop sticks to finish.

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I also decorated jars for the female guests with hessian material, string and coloured fabric and used the same material to create table numbers and table plan that tied everything together.

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What was your first dance & why?

Our first dance was to the song Soul Sister by Train as this is the song Wayne proposed to me and we both love it.

Our first dance was amazing!! We had bought sparklers for our guests as the reception and dance floor was outside and wanted them all to be lit once the song started and everyone standing around the dance floor. It was so nice to be able to see everyone’s faces and they looked like they were having so much fun with the sparklers they went down really well. I would defiantly advise getting them for a wedding abroad.

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

We took a glass bottle and paper for people to write messages down and put in the bottle and the plan was to smash it on our 1st wedding anniversary and read all the messages. We didn’t announce this so people didn’t know to do this so only received one or two messages.

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Remember to enjoy your day and take time to spend with your husband/wife on the day as it goes so fast.

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There is a lot to do before and during your wedding so ask people around you to help don’t try and take it all on yourself. When you’re putting your guest list together, don’t feel obliged to invite people just because they are related to you or you’re worried about hurting their feelings. If you haven’t seen or spoken to them in 6 months then ask yourself if you really want them there.

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

I think every girl has always dreamed of planning their wedding day and I loved every minute. I organise visits and events for my day job but its so different when your arranging something you feel passionate about.Italy_wedding_Tuscany151There were so many elements to think about and plan but when it all comes together on the day it is so worth all the hard work. It was very important for us to show our guests a good time and ensure everyone was smiling on the day. I think it fair to say we achieved that and people still talk about it now when we meet up.

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Wedding Suppliers:

Photographer:                       Maria Farrelly Photography
Ceremony Venue:                 Castello Di Modanella
Reception Venue:                 Castello di Modanella
Bride’s Dress:                        Carmen So Sassi-Sassi Halford
Bride’s Shoes:                       Queen Bee, Penarth
Bride’s Headpiece:               With love from Bobbin 
Bride’s Jewellery:                 Family
Groom’s Outfit:                      Next
Bridesmaid’s Dresses:         Monsoon
Bridesmaid’s Accessories:  Accessorize
Flowers:                                  Nadia Stiatti Fiori
Hair:                                        Friends
Make Up:                                Katie Reid – Skin Deep beauty and laser clinic 
DJ:                                            Enzo – The Italian Wedding Band
Stationery:                              Design- Anna Bowler, friend and graphic designer

The Wedding Album
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If you would like us to consider featuring your wedding on Cwtch The Bride, send 20 low resolution images and a short description of your big day to Charlie@cwtchthebride.com 

Bride to Be Diary: Victoria Learns to Delegate!

I am so excited to share our new Bride-to-be Victoria‘s first proper post with you! Please give Victoria a warm welcome to Cwtch the Bride, lend an attentive ear (or should that be eye as it’s written?!) and do comment!   New Bride To Be Diary

I can’t quite believe it’s November…. similarly I can’t quite believe Dan and I have just celebrated our 5 year anniversary and actually eek it’s now approx 9 months until our wedding next August! So whilst Cardiff is looking all wintery and people are cosying up in coffee shops, wandering around the Christmas markets and drinking mulled wine, I’m generally finding myself unashamedly swept up in all things weddingy but as an organisation freak and creative type I’m loving it! 9 months is indeed a long time really, I mean that’s an entire pregnancy, you can learn to drive in that time, complete nearly a whole school year etc, but actually to me, my focus on the wedding has had to sharpen because of circumstances.

Dan has had to move away for work, until the end of March- not exactly ideal the year before our wedding but needs must; however the realisation that the production line for making personal touches has halted and has now been halved means that I’m having to be super- duper organised whilst I’m also aware that my ‘control freak’ tendencies could possibly start to escape and run wild….! I wouldn’t class myself as a ‘Bridezilla’- I would say I’m enthusiastic, passionate and that I have a clear vision……and at the moment I am calm. I have the opposite problem of being a Bridezilla I think- this is because I am totally internalising everything that I’m thinking/planning and any offerings of help from very kind, supportive friends are simply being batted away because I ‘have to do everything myself’ like I’m in quality control?!

Having a fiancé in Munich means that I’m taking over the reins …..it really has turned into one international affair- me in the UK, Dan in Germany and the venue in France- a complete test of my organisational skills but a challenge I’m willing to accept.

I read a magazine recently that posed the question of ‘just how much has the groom-to-be been involved with the planning of the BIG day?’  This gave me a real light bulb moment- it’s OUR wedding, therefore WE should ensure it’s all that WE want it to be….so cue excessive text messages about seating plans, Facetime conversations where I am showing him my drawings of things I’d like to make, as well as smiling proudly like a 5 year old who has managed to colour in the lines, holding up the outcomes themselves, so that he can really feel that he’s involved.

Facetime moment

Facetime moment

Honestly thank god for technology-  the situation I’m wanting to avoid is for the rare weekends we do see each other to be entirely monopolised by speaking to the jeweller/ researching honeymoons/ deciding on who sits next to whom at the wedding breakfast- so the idea of a continuous small stream of wedding related conversation suits better- that way, there’s more time for cuddles, cake and in the most recent case, fireworks and a christening when he comes home.

Bonfire Night Stroll

Bonfire Night Stroll

Dan's most recent visit home- all dressed up for his Godson's christening

Dan’s most recent visit home- all dressed up for his Godson’s christening

Dan always says “I trust you and your taste and what you want to do”, (a response which is resultant of him not having an ounce of creative vision combined with the fact he’s a lovely, supportive person who wants me to just have the day I’ve always wanted!) but at the same time I don’t want him rocking up to our wedding and to experience things like a guest! (This echoes childhood memories of Christmas day where I’d open up a present from my parents, love it, hug my mum and then go and show my Dad only for him to say “that’s nice, who’s that from?”…..”ERM….you?!” I definitely don’t want the essence of this scenario to be regurgitated…..so the moral of the story is that I definitely feel it imperative for Dan to be totally in the loop, and he wants to be.)

Despite this though sometimes I just don’t help myself- priding myself on my efficiency, it’s all too easy to just send emails to the venue about styling the place, confirm ring designs with the jeweller and make choices about how the name place settings will look and to then just tell him/show him after because I know he won’t mind/will be happy with the decisions. (Well all apart from one- there’s a complete embargo on any Celine Dion song for the entire duration of the stay…his only firm request?!)

I had a chat with my friend’s other half last week (who I was lucky enough to be Bridesmaid for in the summer!) and he mentioned that weddings are “the bride’s day”- which to an extent is true in the sense that we’re the ones that would have fantasised about the occasion from such a young age where we probably clip clopped around in our mum’s heels with a net curtain on our head (aka a veil)…..yet now I’m embarking on a wedding and marriage, it’s important that I feel that Dan is equally excited and for it to be “his day” too.

As a massive generalisation I know that the napkin rings don’t matter to the groom and that the colour of the bridesmaid’s shoes really don’t feature on their radar but for me now, it’s about differentiating between key things Dan NEEDS to be a part of, and things that he can simply be shown/told about after I’ve done/sorted it! Haha! So what does everyone think….? What KEY things do you feel should be organised/decided upon together and which other little bits and bobs can be made/organised singularly…..?

For me- the venue is way up there at the top of the ‘joint decision’ list! Dan and I had spoken about ‘getting married one day’ several years back and so after the proposal, we immediately just reverted back to those loose conversations we’d had about a wedding in France and we focussed on that- for us there were no other options to explore! The internet really is the most amazing tool! I googled various venues in different regions of France to my heart’s content, I created a short list which I then showed Dan and together we settled on two to go and view.

Fun at the Eurotunnel services

Fun at the Eurotunnel services

After one very interesting road trip which involved a dodgy sat nav, copious baguettes and one or two ‘heated debates’ about directions and French toll booth etiquette (don’t ask!), we visited a venue in the Charente region in the South West of France.

Road trip banter

Road trip banter

We were completely blown away as it really seemed to cement our joint vision- so we decided to choose our wedding date and committed to the venue there and then, making a bold decision to not even visit the second venue we had lined up! In retrospect Dan was the driving force behind this and was proactive in making us make a decision- I’m not entirely sure whether it’s because he wanted to be able to have more free time in which to browse the biggest French supermarket I’ve ever seen to stock up on local delicacies but he simply looked at me and stated, “what has this place not got that we want?”…..and for once, (rare occasion!) I was speechless because mentally I was thinking “excellent accommodation for everyone on one site, check. Glorious views complete with sunflower fields, check. Pool, check. Excellent reviews, check.” So that was that. We drove home feeling very happy and like the first piece of the puzzle had just been laid.

One of the gorgeous views from the venue- albeit in a stormy September

One of the gorgeous views from the venue- albeit in a stormy September

And so here we are, over a year since that very first decision had been cemented and things just snowballed after that…..! Who to invite, who to ask to be bridesmaids, how to choose a dress, which dresses and what colour to choose for bridesmaids, what cake and well, you all know the rest!

I digress…..essentially anyone planning a wedding knows that they face an intensive period where you’re going to have to make more decisions than you’ve probably ever made before….! I’ve been chilled about it all so far and a friend posed the question “how are you seeming to make this planning period painless, enjoyable and memorable rather than stressful!?.” A tough one to answer but if I have any advice based on my experiences so far I would say-

  1. Involve the groom and decide on things together- although as previously stated, this is something that as an independent visionary and control freak, I seem to be struggling with at times- especially as he’s in Germany now!
  2. Be organised! Get email files for venue, florist, jewellers, you name it- that way it’s easy to track communications (well certainly for a destination wedding).
  3. Use Pinterest (I dread to think how many hours I’ve spent ‘pinning’ images of fantastic ideas- very useful in fuelling creative ventures and sparking how to personalise the big day.
  4. Plan big! Not in a metaphorical sense but in a literal sense- don’t get me wrong, I love a list more than your average Joe, but having a note book where I was flicking back and forth was spinning me out! In order to get a clear vision of what needed to get done, I resorted to sticking a ridiculous amount of paper together (a la Don’t Tell the Bride style- although a LOT more structured I like to think!) and broke the wedding down into categories. What now resides on my dining room table is a plan complete with colour coded sections (eg Ceremony area, Gifts, Courtyard etc) complete with drawings, tick boxes (admittedly many of them being minus the ticks at the moment….!) as well as symbols to indicate whose responsibility it is to ensure these tasks are completed (Me or Dan, although the abundance of ‘stars’ which is my symbol is what has prompted me to reflect on how resourceful I am being (or not!), trusting Dan and those kind relatives and as I mentioned previously, friends, who are offering to help out.

    The ultimate plan!

    The ultimate plan!

Delegating has never been one of my strong points, but it’s definitely something I really need to focus on and try to embrace if I’m to retain my mental wellbeing- so actually those star symbols may  need revising and disseminating! On the upside- that means that I get to add another symbol to the plan and go colour crazy again, as well as write another list!

I have made some slight progress with accepting help in the last week though as my sister and Maid of Honour extraordinaire came to visit last weekend and we had a little wedding sess which involved us staying in our pjs  and painting a few bits and bobs! Admittedly she was being supervised and I was there the whole time, haha but it’s progress all the same?!

Supervised sisterly painting session!

Supervised sisterly painting session!

I hopefully repaid her in kind by having afternoon tea in Pettigrew tea rooms….(definitely a MUST for EVERYONE who loves tea and cake!) All I can say is watch this space…..can I be more relaxed at letting people be involved……. that is the question?!

Afternoon tea- payback for painting duties

Afternoon tea- payback for painting duties

Has anyone else been faced with the same challenges? Until next time.

Victoria

x

Reading this is giving me such deja-vu! Are any readers also empathising strongly here? Leave a comment in the box! We will be back in a couple of weeks with the first post from our other super lovely Bride-to-be Claire, can’t wait!

Honeymoon Inspiration from The Destination Bride

Earlier this year we introduced Destination Bride Jemma. Jemma loves to travel and working for Kuoni she really is an expert on all things destination. Her beautiful wedding in Italy proves that! Jemma is here today to offer some valuable advice on planning your honeymoon. 

Jemma on her wedding day in Sorrento. Image by Maria Farrelly Photgraphy

Jemma on her wedding day in Sorrento. Image by Maria Farrelly Photography

Honeymoon Inspiration

Planning a honeymoon can be just as important as planning a wedding, traditionally it was a couple’s first holiday together, today there are so many different styles of honeymoon and a whole host of places you can visit.

Traditional Honeymoon

This would be a typical beach break flying just after the wedding; some couples are looking for time to relax and quality time together giving them time to reflect recent events.  Typical elements couples are looking for are, luxury, white sand beaches, spa treatments and an exotic destination.

Places that would offer this experience would be The Maldives, Caribbean Islands, Mauritius and The South Pacific.

The Maldives

Maxi Moon

Some couples take the opportunity of a honeymoon and take an extended trip somewhere; this is usually somewhere completely different to where they have been before and somewhere to really have an adventure

Examples of this would be Driving Route 66, Travelling Australia/New Zealand, walking Machu Picchu

The Inca Trail. Image Source

The Inca Trail. Image Source

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Mini Moon

This is sometimes an option for a couple who are only able to take a short amount of time off, due to financial or work commitments.  This is also an option for people who are having another belated honeymoon.  There are lots of wonderful places that you can visit in a short time.  I chose the beautiful city of Monte Carlo, other examples are The Italian Lakes, Paris, Venice, Rome, Morocco, New York the list goes on…

Me in Monte Carlo

Me in Monte Carlo

Monaco

Monaco

FamilyMoon

With lots of couples choosing to have a family before they get married, taking children on a honeymoon is becoming more and more popular.  It’s an opportunity to take a luxury holiday but spend quality time as a family.  Lots of 5 star resorts offer children’s activities whilst Mum & Dad can have some time by themselves.

Which ever option you decide to go for, a honeymoon will be special regardless of budget or destination.  Here are my top tips to consider when booking a honeymoon

1 – Be realistic, as much as travelling first class to the other end of the world sounds amazing, try and set a budget there is nothing worse than setting yourself a large financial commitment when you are in the middle of planning a wedding. Lots of people now have belated honeymoons giving themselves more time to save.

2 – Be mindful of the weather, if you are having a summer wedding and want a honeymoon straight after, lots of places around the world have a rainy season.  Be prepared to be flexible on your destination or even postponing the trip if you want the best weather.

3 – Choose itinerary that encompasses all your interests and passions, and at a pace that suits you.  There is no point in choosing a New York City break if you want something quiet and relaxing, there is a destination for everyone and every interest.

We’d love to know where you are going on honeymoon! Leave a comment in the box below and let us know where you have planned. Also if you have any questions about honeymoons then Jemma is the perfect person to ask…