J and I got engaged a year ago today. We were in a pub in Oxford, celebrating eight years together, when he surprised the hell out of me with a Hula Hoop and a note in a ring box. A year ago tomorrow, we bought the ring.
...and the deal is that I have to pass this on to 15 other blogs that I love. These are below, but I have realised that many of my wedding blogger pals are now wed - they've done it! I love reading their blogs, but would love to hear from any more ladies like me too - still at the planning stage!
Here are my 15, in no particular order...
Adventures of a Dizzy Girl - musings and wisdom from the wintery North (Glasgow, to be precise) Anna and the Ring - everyone knows Anna - and she's just about to do the deed - any time now, in fact... A Los Angeles Love - brilliantness from across the Pond Ms Awsome Weds - these two ladies from across the pond blog about their recent celebration Wellies and Vogue - oh the pictures, the pictures! Blog about wedding and life in the countryside and all of it envy-inducing Peonies and Polaroids - wedding photographer's personal blog, with recent updates about having tiny twins. Beautiful Eat the Damn Cake - a contender for best blog ever, which essentially says: love yourself you clever little beautiful things, and enjoy some cake while you're at it Cake for Breakfast - Cloggins blogs about her recent wedding - read back and see her preparations Any other wedding - Fliss and Aisling blog about recent nuptuals and other things Henry Reigns - Kiara just got married! Congrats! Becca Loves - keep following this one, more exciting developments in the offing, I'm sure..! Another Damn Wedding - another just married lady, across the pond. Good stuff. Daydreams in Lace - a UK wedded lady! Lottie really loves - a wedding is coming up soon for Lottie...as ever, i'm hooked... A Cupcake Wedding - wonderful stuff about how a wedding came together Love My Dress - a blog that focuses on the beautiful and real and is run by a wonderful pillar of the wedding blog community, Annabel
I've just realised that I left a few things hanging on this blog for a while, such as this post about my weight and going on holiday. I'm sure you're not exactly desperate to know how it turned out, but I'm going to tell you anyway...
After a three week break, I lost 1.5lbs. Which was good. And then the next week, I gained 2lbs. And then I lost 2.5. So where does that put me? I think since before leaving for holiday, I am 2lbs lighter.
I have been plateauing, and I am currently in the throes of 'upping my game' (or 'downing it'?) on the diet front. despite having been to a chocolate tasting evening last night (obligatory for work, to be fair) and having our year's anniversary of getting engaged on Saturday (which we only remembered two days ago, rather amusingly).
I'm going to start posting diet updates every week again. It's not that I had been off the plan, rather that I had been pushing it to its very limits every week - something I had got away with before, but now there's a fair whack of weight gone, it seems I can get away with no longer.
So that's the diet. I've also now got hair and make up people, and probably a baker too for the cake sorted. I'm feeling pretty ok about this now. Surely there's not much else to do (apart from rings, dress and booze, right? Or have I forgotten something else?)
And then there is this post - the one where I thought I might quit blogging because I sort of freaked out about the pressure. Which was silly, because the only pressure being applied was by myself. Would my wedding look like x ,y or z? Would I have that carefree sylph-like stylishness that seems such an essential prerequisite? Would my tables be photogenic?
Then I thought again about some of the blog weddings. There are couples, jumping, Converse trainers, stylish place settings, symbolic hearts and chalkboards and all the rest. But where are the people? Where are the dancing kids and uncles? Where is the drunk father-in-law? Conspicuously absent from the photoshoot. I'm now thinking of these as photoshoots, rather than weddings.
Our wedding will look like what it looks like. I will just buy the things I like (J will like them too, he's very relaxed) and people will eat and get drunk and if the place does not look like one hell of a party has taken place at the end of the night, I will be disappointed.
If it looks nice on photos - great. If not, then as long as it looks great in my head and my memory, and those of everyone else, I will be happy.
...or find a hairdresser, or someone to do your make up, or anything, really, wedding related, if you don't want the traditional fruit cake brick, or helmet of wedding hair with ringlets poking out of it. If you want those, this list might not apply as those things appear easy to find.
1. Find someone online you like the look of - modern style, tasty looking cake (if we're talking cake), friendly, good reviews, nice pictures. This looks perfect.
2. Get a quote for what you want.
3. Freak the freak out. What??? That is SO MUCH money - I can't pay that!
4. Shop around.
5. Shop around.
6. Shop around.
7. Become increasingly despondent. All you can find are bakers who charge through the roof for what you definitely don't want. All the hairdressers can show you are pictures of ladies with solid and very flammable-looking hair piled onto their heads , sometimes with a strand teased out and fixed into a ringlet that will last the honeymoon. All the make up ladies show rows of happy brides and bridesmaids looking like they've been sprayed orange. All of these cost between 20 quid less or 150 pounds more (generally more) than the nice person you originally got in touch with.
8. Panic. What if the first person, whose quote now looks staggeringly, jaw-droppingly reasonable - and with no risk of solid piles of hair, or an orange face, or a fruit brick-cake - has been booked?
9. Email and essentially, crawl back. Feel embarrassed about how nice they are about it.
10. Repeat for pretty much everything you have to book. I have so far done this for hair, make up and a cake. Well done me.
So, my wedding mojo returned! It actually reappeared a couple of days before the wedding fair, when I got a couple of ideas from blogs - some lovely wooden place holders (see above) and then some hair ideas. I found myself ringing J to ask his opinion. And that's when it struck me...
If I like this, I can actually do it. This will really actually appear at our wedding - which is now just a few months away.
See, while I always wanted to get married, a wedding never crossed my mind. I came into this with no ideas whatsoever. Just a small guidance from J, who when asked what he wanted in a wedding, replied: "Hogroast. Beer - ale. Good music" and I thought: 'well, it'll probably be on a farm, then, if he wants a hogroast'. I'm love big country houses but never had a strong desire to get married in one. I like farms. That's all we had.
God knows how I have formed anything thus far. I just keep clipping out pictures and saving links and have this vague idea that somehow, it will just work itself out. I hope it does...
That noise I made in the subject line was me shrugging. Wedding? Pfft.
Since returning from holiday, I've remembered that the cake maker cancelled. The other day, my hairdresser cancelled (you may remember what a struggle it was to find someone free on that day for under a corking 300 quid).
And what have I done about all this? Pfft. Nowt. I got another hairdresser's number. Haven't called it. I got some replies to emails I sent to cakemakers back when I had motivation. Not followed them up. I realised with a shock that I am meant to be sending invitations out in 8 weeks, and that I had a mad plan to make them. I did manage to muster up the energy to ask a friend (who once made invitations for a living) if she could maybe tell me what to do at some point in the next month.
I am going to the Vintage Wedding Fair on Sunday accompanied by another betrothed friend, all bar two of the best ladies (who LOVE this sort of thing) and some other ladies, while all the menfolk visit the nearby pub (I feel there may be many grooms in that pub that day - it'll be like a creche for husbands-in-training). I am worried that they will all be more excited than me, but also hopeful that this could potentially solve the wedding and cake dilemmas and help me get my wedding mojo back.
According to the wisdom of ages, it's 'all in the timing'. It's a useful little phrase, but one that is entirely useless, unless you know what 'the timing' is.
Luckily, when you get engaged, there are plenty of people willing to tell you the right time to do everything. But you know where this is going. Most of them tell you to chill out, as if booking a hairdresser with more than a year to go makes you an obsessed Bridezilla.
When we decided on a time to get married, there were plenty of people in shock that we'd got just over a year and a half to wait. Therefore the refrain of 'you've got AAAGES' was heard time and again. And I came to believe it myself. Friends had got married nine months after getting engaged. It could be done.
Forgive me if you know all this, or if you just don't care. I wanted to seem laid back, unflustered. So I waited.
It was something of a shock, therefore, when I tried to start booking people at what I'd been told was a reasonable length of time from the wedding (around a year to go) that many people were booked up (especially the cheap ones) and had been for months. Damn. And when I mentioned to people that I was having trouble finding a hairdresser who didn't want to charge me £250 to do something to my hair, they expressed the same sentiment: " Really? But you've got AGES to go!"
Similarly, when I had to change the registry office location, I had to literally beg the registrar to squeeze us in. Genuinely beg. There was nothing for us, and this was with 14 months to go. That's what happens when you get married in a rural location. Not many registry offices in the vicinity.
That was when I decided to stop listening to most people, unless they'd done this themselves. You are planning a big party - probably the biggest you'll ever throw. This is no time for creating stress. This is no time to be procrastinating over whether you're bothering a hairdresser 'too soon'. They don't care - they like to get bookings. It's good for business. Ditto everyone else you will deal with. Save it up because everyone tells you to and you will generate yourself a whole heap of stress.
Oh, and halfway through writing this post and as if to prove my point, the hairdresser I had triumphantly booked before I went on hols called to say she's decided to take a longer maternity leave and so had to cancel. Damn.