Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Bridal 101 #2

#2) Finding a venue
We were quite lucky really, as we knew even before we were engaged that we would love to marry in mount Stewart, we’d been on walks around the grounds loads of times over the years and walked up the hill to the Temple of The Winds one day whenever it just happened to be set up for a wedding and just thought it was gorgeous.
 Then Ross took me to Mt Stewart for a picnic for my birthday and we sat under a willow tree by the lake, feeding the ducks, looking out for little fish and dragonflies, and Ross got down on one nervous knee and proposed – Mount Stewart just seemed like such a special place to us and we couldn’t imagine marrying anywhere else!
A week later I requested information through the National trust website on hiring Mount Stewart as a venue, there was a lot of information, which seemed a little overwhelming but was needed!
We arranged to view the Temple and a wonderful girl showed us around, she was so passionate about the place and so friendly and open, it was a great help!
Mount Stewart suits us as a ceremony venue but we need somewhere else as a reception venue, this is where things got a little tricky!
I spent weeks looking online at all the different Hotel packages on offer, and there were some great deals, but as a crafty / DIY kinda girl I really wanted somewhere where I could have a bit more control over decor and how things are done.
A few of my friends were marrying last summer and could give me good advice on the packages they received, the deals some of them got seemed fantastic, but when I looked at the venues I just couldn’t see it being for us! Ross wasn’t as opinionated as me but agreed.
My mum works part time in the yacht club and suggested we take a look there, we met her one day when it was quiet and had a good nosey about... and loved it!
So we’ve just booked that too!
We’ve really been very lucky, we’ve only viewed two venues and loved and booked them both! Although hats not to say I didn’t shop around, I think I currently have 50-60 wedding package brochures downloaded on my laptop or in a pile under my desk!

My advice when looking at potential venues is;
·         Visit places that aren’t necessarily your first choice, it will give you a good idea of what the competition are offering, and something to compare other place to.
·         Ask to view venues while they are set up for a wedding, it can be hard to imagine a big empty space as anything else! Plus it may give you ideas of how you want/ don’t want things set up for your big day!
·         Print out as much info as you can before you view, do your homework and you’ll know the right questions to ask and what to expect.
·         Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – somewhere you’ve been dreaming of might just turn out to be unsuitable, make sure you won’t feel too disappointed if this happens!
·         Take notes, wedding and event co-ordinators show couples around all the time, you may only visit a place once – make sure you get all the info you can and get them to confirm what you write - it will mean you can show prices/ sizes/ offers  they quote if you decide to book!

This all started six months ago nearly and in the very early days of our engagement so a bit overwhelming and it wasn’t a great time to focus and take in a lot of info, now we are planning properly; we have booked Mount Stewart and the Yacht club, but not yet finalised the details, so I’m sure I’ve still a lot to learn!!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Bridal 101 #1

#1) That your wedding ring should be the made metal and carat as your engagement ring

This one the obnoxious jewellery salesman taught me. My engagement ring is 18ct yellow gold, a beautiful solitaire diamond and platinum feet. I didn’t know whether I wanted a yellow gold, white gold, or platinum wedding ring, I wanted to try lots on and see!

When I asked to try a white gold band the salesman stared at me in horror... apparently if your rings are not the same metal and carat, the stronger/ harder metal will wear down the other one over time. It may not seem a problem to you, especially if your rings are quite robust, but if one of the rings is finer and softer it could be worn by the other.

So; best practice is to have your wedding ring match your engagement ring in metal and carat.
My advice when looking at wedding ring is;
·         Shop around – don’t just look at fancy big brand names, look in smaller local stores too, it will give you a better idea of what is available and for what price.
·         Try lots on – rings look very different in a shop window than on your hand! Different metals look different against different skin tones, see what suits you.
·         Have clean hands and nice nails – might sound silly but we tried rings on for the first time on a whim, I had a note written on the back of my hand and chipped, flaky nail varnish... it made me feel a bit trampy!
·         Ask questions and don’t feel stupid not knowing your stuff – why would you know about wedding rings unless you’ve owned or sold them??! Just ask them!

Bridal 101 -Things I didn’t know but do now!


 We tried on wedding rings the day we set our date, not really seriously – just looking, and I found the salesman in one shop a bit condescending, he seemed surprised I didn’t know anything about wedding rings... Why would I?? I’m not a jeweller and I’ve not been married yet! Huh! Anyway, this and a few other similar experiences inspired me to compile a little advice log of things I’ve learnt in the process of wedding planning.
Unless you’ve helped a friend plan a wedding or work in the bridal industry, why would you already know these things!
So, as and when I pick up these little snippits of 'Bridal Knowledge' I'll share them and collect them all up in the Bridal 101 page!

Hope you find all this helpful, please share any hints/ tips you might have too!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Big step!

We've paid our deposit! :D

This morning was the first sunny morning in weeeeks, and we drove to mount stewart, met our wedding coordinator and paid our deposit! So it's official! Amazing.

Favorite boots on for taking a big step!

Cold but sunny on Strangford Lough

Then we came home and had scones with jam and cream. So happy :)

Yummy scones :)

Pea and Carrot Artwork

Check out this beautiful artwork created for us by our good friend Laura!

Aren't they incredible?! Laura has her own freelance website coming soon. but in the meantime find out more about her and her beautiful work here.

Thanks Laura!


Off to Mt. S to pay our deposit this morning! It's all very real now! Eeeeep! :)

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Monday, 7 January 2013

Big News!



We've set a date!!

On Friday we heard back from the club, giving us their permission to have our reception with them and my mum went ahead and put down our names for the date we wanted.

If you are married you may remember back to the moment you first heard your wedding date confirmed; did you feel a bit dizzy and floaty like me?? It was a funny feeling!

I had a text message from my mum while I was in work letting me know and I tried to call Ross four times before my brain clicked into gear and I remembered he was in work and couldn’t answer his phone...

 this was followed by several 'CALL ME ASAP' texts from me, while my heart was beating faster than normal and images of August breezes rustling the trees in Mt. Stewart were clogging up my mind!

Finally he called and I told him our wedding date and he sounded as shell shocked as I felt, and in his usual sensible manner said 'We better get saving!'

That evening before we met his family for dinner we tried on a few wedding rings, we've been thinking about making our own but we wanted to see how different shapes, styles and metal felt, I saw a couple I really liked - I’ll dedicate a post to rings soon!

Now we just have to finalise bookings with both venues and pay the deposits and that that bit sorted.... just a million other things to do now! I spent nearly the whole weekend on pinterest making a wedding inspiration board :)

How exciting!

If you are a bride to be or just thinking about weddings and you haven’t set your date yet, you have this to look forward to! :)

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Damask Roses and Bumble Bees

My Granny's Wedding Dress

When I describe my granny Muriel's wedding dress it sounds so romantic, like a made up story of my perfect dress, possibly because my granny has been a major influence in my life, her stories are my memories and many of her tastes are mine too.

Muriel Brown married John (Jack) Ellis on 16th March 1957, when she was 20, he was 27, he gave her mother the money to take Muriel to buy whatever wedding dress she wanted.

 My granny says 'there were several high fashion shops in Belfast in those days.' the one she chose was Renee Meneely's on Donegall Square.

The dress

 The dress she chose was ivory brocade with a pattern of damask roses with little bumble bees perched on the petals.


 It was a sleeveless, ankle length gown with a matching high collared jacket.

She wore flowers in her hair and
carried carnations decorated with a golden horse shoe for luck.


Muriel and her sisters Betty, Joan and Hazel.

The bridesmaids, my great aunties, wore pale mediterranean blue with anemone flowers in their hair.

The ceremony took place at the Belmont Presbetarian Church and was follwed by a small reception at Cranthorpe House which is now the Park Avenue Hotel, which we considered for our reception as it has some fantastic packages, however something a wee bit closer to home suited us better.

The very happy couple received telegrams from friends and family across the globe addressed to them with their new, shared surname.
 Including this funny one from Jacks brother in law in Canada.



What a beautiful romantic day!




Hopefully ours will be just as lovely :)

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

It suddenly feels a whole lot closer...

Two days ago, if someome asked when we were getting married we said 'Oh not til' 2014!' now, today if they ask we say 'Next year!' - wow, that makes things seem a little scary!

While we were partying on NYE at a 1920's style party at our house, our wedding suddenly shot a whole year closer!

And as well as that, it's suddenly the month that we have to pick our date and pay our deposit! :O