And just like that, it’s officially one year until my wedding day – ONE WHOLE YEAR!

I feel like I’ve blinked and the past 4 months have just disappeared. I can’t quite get my head around how fast the time is flying by, but I’m loving every second of being engaged and planning a wedding, so much so that I’m going to be really sad when it comes to an end. Anyone want to hire me to plan theirs next?

I thought I would use today’s post to update you all on how the planning is going, what we’ve done so far, the good, the bad and all the things that are cropping up all over the place that I never even thought about.

The BIG News

I’ve finally found my dress! It’s something my Mum found online but I’ve tried it and I really like it, which is a massive weight off my shoulders as it was really starting to play on my mind that I hadn’t made any more appointments or been very proactive. I’ve mentioned before that the dress isn’t the most important thing to me, but I’m really happy with it which makes the decision even easier.

It’s similar to some of the high-street ones that I got, but also fits me in a different way which makes me feel much more comfortable. It’s going to need quite a lot of altering as I’m only 5’4 but I’m not going to think about that until later in the year.

I’ve also ordered some shoes off ASOS to go with it which arrived this week. I tried a couple of pairs, but I went with ones that had a slightly smaller heel as the last thing I want is my feet hurting on the big day.

The Good News

The main news to update you on is that we have booked our photographer and videographer.

We have gone with Sarah Horton Photography as her shots were so light and dreamy and she came very highly recommended, and Digital Filmmakers for the video. To me, the memories are probably the most important thing of the day, and as I am quite into photography myself through this blog, I really wanted to go with people that I know I can trust and who have a really good reputation, which both of these do.

Since being engaged we’ve also been to our fair share of wedding fairs (some great, some not so great) which have given us lots of inspiration for what we want on our big day. There are things that we didn’t even think about that we’ve been given information on (such as wedding insurance – a very big deal!) which has been a massive help amidst everything else we’ve been trying to do.

The Bad News

The main bad news I can think of is that the costs are really starting to mount up.

We’re trying to set aside a set amount each month to put towards the wedding, but there are always other things we end up spending the money on such as vet bills or house insurance. We’re lucky that the big things are out of the way, such as booking the venue, but the price of things is starting to add up.

The Exciting News

Although it’s still a year away, I’ve been finding myself checking the weather app at the moment to see what the temperature is in some of the places we’ve said would be nice to visit in April for our honeymoon, and I just hope there isn’t another Beast From The East next year as that would really throw a spanner in the works.

I’ve also been looking at potential places for my hen do (I know I shouldn’t but I am painfully organised and anal about things like this) which has been really enjoyable too. I’ve been speaking to a people from work about the ones they’ve been on too and trying to get ideas here and there.

The Crazy News

We will be starting to send our ‘Save The Dates’ out soon, which I’ll be designing with a friend from work, and I’m really excited to see the final product. I’ve seen a few different designs that I like so it’ll be interesting to try and put something together that reflects the rest of the day – it’s such early days that we’re only starting to look into colours now.

We’re also having our engagement shoot in the next couple of weeks, so I’ve been pinning lots of ideas for where we can go and some of the shots I’d like to get as I can already feel how awkward I’ll be in front of the camera and want to be as prepared as possible!

And last but not least, we are giving our notice of marriage this month, which means we can legally get married next year.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this wedding update and before we know it, I’m sure the big day will be here – how crazy!

If you have any wedding related blogs that you think I’d enjoy or Pinterest boards (my new obsession) then please send them my way as I’d love to have a little browse.

xx

When people ask me what the most important part of my wedding is, I think the majority are expecting me to say the dress – but to me, it is one of the lesser significant parts of the day.

I know to some girls, the dress is one of the best reasons about getting married, and I totally get that – it is probably the most important things you’ll ever wear and you’ll look like a complete angel, but to me, it is something I’m not too fussed about and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on.

One of the things that people said to me as soon as we got engaged was that getting the dress should be one of the first things I do as it determines a lot about the rest of the day – the flowers, the bridesmaid’s dresses and the less important groomsmen suits (I kid, I kid…)

And once I started looking on Pinterest, I got an idea of what I wanted so the only thing left to do was to start looking. I started asking a few friends who have been married where they would recommend and I did some research about these places online. I did find that because my budget wasn’t huge, a lot of the places I was looking at had starting prices which were a bit more than I was hoping to pay, but I thought the best thing to find something I liked and suited me would be to try some on in real life.

In all honesty, my experience of finding the ‘perfect’ dress has been varied – I’m a bit of a rubbish bride really because this whole process hasn’t been the fairytale that everyone made it out to be. I had in my head that the whole thing would be just like you see on TV – glasses on champagne on arrival, all your bridesmaids and the tears flowing, but in reality, it’s a lot of standing round in just your knickers whilst a stranger dresses you (except the tears – my Mums a blubberer!)

I couldn’t rattle any wedding dress designers off without really having to think about it and I didn’t have something in mind that I’ve been dreaming of since I was a little girl but saying that, it has been fun trying on all these beautiful designs and I’ve got a better understanding of what suits me and what doesn’t.

I’ve decided to share my experiences with you for any brides to be out there, or anyone who is just curious about the whole process and to shed some light on the whole process.

1. The Sample Sale

One of my married friends tagged me in a post on Facebook at the start of the year to say that a local shop was having a sample sale that Saturday, so I booked myself an appointment straight away. My only thought when I heard the word sample sale was the scene in Friends when Rachel is found blowing the whistle – but it wasn’t like that at all!

We (me and my Mum) arrived about 10 minutes before my appointment on a very cold and rainy afternoon in January, and were seated and told about how the sale worked – there was only one of each dress and once it was gone it was gone – you couldn’t reserve anything or get it altered at the shop (which is a service they usually offer if you were to buy a full price one) so you basically had to pick one and take it away on the day.

I chose four dresses and a couple of separates and the owner of the shop came with me into the changing rooms. At first, I was a little apprehensive to just strip off in front of a stranger, but I realised that they see hundreds of women a month and there was nothing to be embarrassed about.

I tried on the ones I wouldn’t have usually picked first and showed my Mum (which is when the tears started) but none of the dresses felt right. I did find one that stood out the most, but I felt that the only reason I was close to buying it was because it was in the sale, so I refrained and we left empty handed – looking back though I am so happy I didn’t make the rash decision because I definitely would have changed my mind.

2. The Outlet

I went to a bridal outlet on a Saturday afternoon with my Mum and my Nan, and it was manic. Firstly it took them a good 10 minutes to open the door to me and another lady who were stood outside in the freezing temperatures so I knew it was going to be busy once we were in.

The outlet was split by size and type of dress, and because I knew roughly what I wanted by this point, I thought it would be easy to find, but it was crazy in there. You were given 5 tags and were allowed to put them on any dresses you wanted to try on: If the dress already had a tag on, you were still allowed to leave yours, but the girl who got in there first would have the preference.

There were 14 brides all in at the same time, and a two-hour wait for the changing rooms so we didn’t stay long. Unfortunately, none of the dresses was what I was looking for either as they were a little too poofy for me.

3. The Bridal Boutique

This boutique shop was by far my favourite. It was one I used to live around the corner from, and I’ve only ever heard really good things about it, so I felt I was in for a treat – I’ve also heard that girls from all over the country travel here to find their dresses, so I knew it had to be good.

There were completely different styles to what I’d tried on before, and some that were ‘build your own’ which was a concept I completely loved – you start with a basic white dress and can add layers of silk, sleeves, over the top bodices, belts, lace – all sorts, which means that every dress is completely different.

Although the dresses were a little out of my price range, my Mum encouraged me to go to see if I did find anything and also to try something new. This shop also had some great accessories in, and it has definitely given me some inspiration for my hair and veil.

4. High Street

When I was a bridesmaid last year for one of my close friends, we spent a lot of time searching the high street and online for our dresses before we found them on ASOS. With that in mind, I thought I would have a go looking for a wedding dress, and I found three that I liked.

They all came within the week, and there was one that was a clear favourite. I showed my friends from work and they all agreed that it was the nicest of the three but when I showed my Mum she noticed that the zip wasn’t sown in right and unfortunately it was the only one.

I ended up sending all three back, but I’m really glad I had that experience because it’s shown me that there are really lovely styles for a fraction of the price online, and the best thing is that you can buy them and send them back if they’re not right.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my experience so far, and I really hope it’s given you some insight if you are a bride to be or just wanted to know more about the different avenues of finding the perfect dress – fingers crossed!

xx

I’ve decided to dedicate one post a month to our wedding, plans, things I’ve enjoyed, things that have stressed me out and everything else in between. I feel as though I’m getting to that age now where a lot of my readers might be engaged, already married or just interested in the whole process, which is why I wanted to share my experiences on here with you.

In today’s post, I wanted to share with you the story of how we got engaged. If you’re looking for a romantic, dreamy, fairytale, then, unfortunately, I cannot give you that: I can, however, give you the true story, that emulates the fact that life very rarely goes to plan. As the nosey person I am naturally, I really enjoy reading people’s stories, and I hope you enjoy mine.

Back before Christmas, Jordan planned a trip to France for us to have a pre-anniversary celebration. We arrived in Lille early afternoon on the Tuesday and spent the day wandering around and getting our bearings. We stopped at a few bars, sampling the local wine and beers before heading for cheese and mussels – how French! We spent some time exploring the Christmas markets and looking around the old town before heading back to our hotel.

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll remember that we did a trip to Belgium back in March, visiting Brussels and Bruges, but one of the places we didn’t manage to fit into the holiday was Ghent. After speaking to a couple at dinner about how easy it was to get there, we decided to spend our next afternoon there. They also recommended a restaurant for us back in Lille for dinner the next night, so we swung by on the way home to book a table and have something to look forward to.

I’ve been to Europe loads of times on holiday, and every time, I’ve been on some form of public transport with no problem at all, until this trip. We got to Ghent absolutely fine and spent a lovely afternoon discovering the shops, walking down the canals and eating our way around the markets.

We decided to get the 6.30pm train home, meaning that we would be back in France and at the restaurant to make our 8pm reservation. I wasn’t anxious at all about getting the train home, as the journey there was so seamless, but after the platform of the train changed and it was brought forward by a few minutes, I started to feel a little on edge.

The first half an hour of the journey went by incredibly quickly and I even nodded off for a bit, but I woke up just as we got into a station where we waited for 20 minutes. We weren’t too concerned at first seen as the train to Belgium had done something similar but after the longest wait at the station, we started to go backwards.

We both knew that something wasn’t right at this point, and went to find the conductor to see where we had gone wrong. He was incredibly helpful and told us that the train we were on had split into two separate trains (which apparently is quite common in Europe) and half had gone to Lille and the other half had gone further into Belgium – and we were on that half.

By this point, Jordan’s phone was dead and mine was on very low battery and I went into a full panic mode. The conductor told us we had to go back to the original station where the train split and wait for the next train back to Lille which was arriving on a different platform, 6 minutes later. It all sounded very doable, but I was really worried that we would miss it and couldn’t calm myself down.

It was another hour until we got to the station, and once we got there we asked everyone we could to make sure we were on the right platform. After a few minutes, our train turned up, and although it said Lille on the front, we asked the new conductor and a few other passengers to make sure we were on the right one – which we were.

After we got back to France, we had missed our reservation and we were exhausted so decided to get a takeaway pizza and a bottle of wine and head back to the hotel to watch TV and sleep. Little did I know what was about to happen next.

Once we got back to the hotel, Jordan was being slightly jittery and spilt wine all over the table whilst he was pouring it. I didn’t think anything of it and headed to the bathroom to take my makeup off. I realised I’d left my cotton wool pads in the room and asked him to pass me them, and the next thing I knew, he was on one knee, holding a ring.

After such a draining evening, my emotions sky-rocketed and I jumped into his arms as he asked me to marry him and burst into tears. It wasn’t the proposal he was hoping for (apparently it would have been in a cute little park on the walk back from dinner) but the fact that he couldn’t wait any longer to ask me, made it even more special – and who can say they spent their engagement night eating pizza and drinking wine in bed?

I was really close to ringing my mum that night, but it was late and I wanted to tell her face to face the next day when we were home, and it felt nice having our little secret for a while. The next day I couldn’t stop smiling and had to keep checking down at my hand to make sure I hadn’t dreamt it. We had a lovely last day wandering around the old town and even got some champagne to have on the Eurostar home to celebrate.

And the rest is history.

Reading the story back now it all seems incredibly dramatic, and although the evening put me on the verge of a panic attack, the outcome made me the happiest girl in the world.

I hope you enjoyed reading our engagement story and are looking forward to the rest of the wedding content that you’ll be getting over the next few months.

xx