Wedding dress shopping… Help?!

It feels so lovely to be writing on this blog again after a bit of a break – of course I’ve been planning the wedding like mad, but work has been very busy recently. Including a cheeky week in Mallorca with the 2 gentlemen that I support, so it’s been a lovely but busy month!

So on Monday 5th October, my 3 bridesmaids and fiancée’s mum came with me dress shopping. I got to charlottes house and was greeted by this which was so so lovely..

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So dress shopping was surprising.. I absolutely loved every single thing I tried on to begin with 🙈 this made it much more confusing for me as I honestly thought I would be really fussy.

Shop 1- I picked a dress I liked the look of, it turned out to be the most expensive one in the shop (no surprise there!) I loved it, it was everything that I thought i wanted in a dress and it looked lovely. I tried on others in this shop and none of them quite compared to the first dress I tried on. However, it just didn’t give me the WOW that I was expecting?

Shop 2 – This was a good shop, because the woman that worked there obviously had a lot of experience in dress’ and seeing what suits the brides to be. She made me try on something I would never ever usually consider.. It was absolutely beautiful. The style 100% suited and flattered my figure. It had my bridesmaids in tears because we were all sure it was ‘the one’…. However, I felt amazing in it I really did, but something was niggling at me and to this day in still not sure what it is?

We then went for lunch, after a couple of hours eating & drinking wine I felt a bit tipsy!! Not the best idea for dress shopping 😂

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Shop 3 – This was a bit of a write off to be honest! Not only did the wine effect me, my bridesmaids had almost lost interest in the dress’ because they were sure I had found ‘the one’ and they expressed how none of them compared to the dress I found in shop 2. After a while of trying dress on after dress nothing felt quite right.

This has left me more clueless than before I started trying on dresses! I am struggling to 100% LOVE the dress that my bridesmaids loved. I know it looks amazing on, but it just feels like something isn’t right but I don’t know what? Am I being fussy? Am I overthinking it? Should I take my bridesmaids opinions because I know how much they love it? I just don’t know! I’m currently planning another day it with the bridesmaids to try & get a clearer idea of what I want.

Any advice from previous brides or bride to be’s would be most appreciated! Thank you for taking the time to read the blog 😘

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Money money money 

Haven’t posted for a while, main reason is that I have been so busy with work. Obviously the wedding is on my mind 24/7 with new ideas etc, but just haven’t had the time to really focus on it.   
Yesterday was exactly a year until the big day – Carl sent me these, with a beautiful message inside just because it was a year to go until i became Mrs Maxwell (he is such a sweetheart!) 

Today I booked our notice of marriage appointment for the first week of October, along with wedding dress shopping in the same week – so the ball really is rolling now and it’s getting more & more real. 

  
The only thing I feel slightly disheartened about (this is a bit of a rant..) is a conversation I had on the weekend, we went out for a lovely meal with friends and a few drinks. The couple we spent the evening with are getting married next June so a few months before ours. She asked the question “so how much are you paying towards your wedding?” I looked back at her confused as I didn’t quite understand the question – turns out her parents are paying half of the total & his parents are paying the other half for their wedding… I quickly responded “we are paying EVERY penny, nobody is helping us financially” she seemed a bit shocked and felt guilty for asking the question – I don’t resent her or them at all, if that is their personal situation then I am happy for them, they are very lucky and that’s great for them. 
It got me thinking, all of my friends that are married and are getting married have had a lot of help financially from their parents or family. Carl & I simply do not have family that are willing to contribute whatsoever to the wedding – of course you should expect it but it is the norm to have some help? Surely Carl & I aren’t the only couple that’s scraping the pennies together, getting in debt and working our arses off to become Mr & Mrs? It’s reminded me once again how much we have achieved as a couple and how made for eachother we are – we don’t and never will rely on anyone for anything, I can’t help but feel pride from everything we achieve together. 

Bridesmaids..

So we have our venue, we’ve booked our photographer, DJ and the bar is sorted.. Not bad for 8 weeks! As mentioned in my previous blog I’d planned my big day for years, so piecing it all together with my fiancé wasn’t a difficult task!

My friends mean the world to me, and they are my family. I don’t have family of my own for several reasons half of my family are ignorant idiots who are too wrapped up in their new lives with their new family, and the other half of my family are very complicated, and after years of falling out we’ve decided to go our separate ways as we just can’t get on. I’m 24 years old with no family, some people would think I’d struggle, but I don’t. This is my life and I am strong and independent for this reason exactly and I’m happy and content with this! Hence why my fiancé, and best friends / bridesmaids are very important to me. 

I have decided to have 3 bridesmaids, the OCD side of me wanted 2 for photo purposes.. But there is no way that I could choose between these 3 friends. I trust these girls with my life and I couldn’t imagine them not being a huge part of my special day.

Charlotte – we’ve know each other since we were 11 years old, and become inseparable at the age of 13 years, we went through ‘an alternative stage’ (full blown goths!) we drank too much, mixed with older boys and were total rebels but that’s what made our friendship so strong. 11 years later and we are still just as strong, she is married with 2 children, I had the honour to be bridesmaid for her big day and I am a proud godparent for her little one.
  

Sophie – Just like Charlotte we met at 11 years old and become inseparable at the age of 13 and went through a goth stage. Sophie & I spent every minute of every day together, went to school together, went to each other’s houses after school, every single weekend together. 11 years later and we are just as close, she travels here, there and everywhere but always returns home and never feels like a day has passed since we’ve seen each other. 
  

Lucy – Lucy is my newest best friend! I met her in 2011 when I started at Little Hens Nursery, she befriended me in my first day and we’ve never looked back, working in the same room, I was team leader and she was my deputy, we were the dream team! We spent most evenings and weekends together, drinking and dancing in Bournemouth town, I’ve had some amazing times with this girl, and again trust her with my life. 

  
The next big step to me was asking my best friends to be my bridesmaids. It was very important that I got this out the way, because I’m constantly talking about their dresses, duties etc, and hadn’t officially asked them! I decided to ask all 3 of the lovely ladies out for dinner, I gave them all a card & a bracelet with the word ‘bridesmaid’ inscribed. 

   
    
   

We had the most lovely evening, eating pizza, drinking wine & cocktails. The first time all 4 of us have gone out together. They all said yes, and now we can really get planning and these girls can help me plan the most amazing day of my life! 

The venue..

The venue…
I’m not going to lie when I want something, I usually get it or work very hard to get it! Needless to say the moment Carl asked me to marry him my mind went on overdrive, we immediately went out & bought magazines and the planning commenced! 
 I’ve dreamt of getting married for years, that is why when I actually got engaged I had years of ideas behind me and I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted, the next step was to share those ideas with Carl and come to agreements & start planning! The first major thing to think about for me is the venue, this would be why we got engaged on Friday 5th June, and we were viewing our first potential venue on Saturday 13th June. Wasting no time at all! We had 2 potential venues in mind, both for different reasons, this was our first potential venue, Salterns Harbourside Hotel, Poole, Dorset.

  
  
  

This hotel is very sentimental for us, and holds some beautiful memories. Carl bought me here on our first date, this is the place where I just knew.. I fell head over heels and we spent the most amazing evening eating & drinking at this beautiful hotel. Since then we’ve popped in for dinner & drinks regularly. Carl also surprised me last year with booking dinner & a room at the hotel, no celebration, he just decided to treat me. Obviously we’d never viewed it with a wedding in mind. The venue is lovely, and it has the potential to marry outside that looks over the harbour. (If the weather holds out..) The venue looks amazing, and the price is very reasonable. The only negative I would say is everything is set, and I think it will be difficult to personalise your wedding and make it your own. My head was definitely telling me to go for this venue, due to the price, the sentiment and the potential to get married outside (however, we are in England it is difficult to avoid the rain no matter what month you choose!)

The next venue we viewed is Sopley Mill, Christchurch, Dorset.

   
   
This venue has been my ‘dream venue’ for the last 2 years after seeing photos online, it is an 18th century water mill and has been converted for it to be solely a wedding venue, it’s very rustic and still has many outstanding features of the mill. Carl & I walked into Sopley Mill and honestly words couldn’t describe the feeling it was just beautiful, perfect and we could totally see our big day happening here. However, the price was a lot more, due to the mill being solely exclusive to your wedding day, and you hire the whole of the building out. You also have to piece together every bit of the wedding as Sopley Mill is a total blank canvas, only offering the venue. More money, and a lot more work – it was a matter of shall we go with our hearts or our heads? 
Our hearts won.. Sopley Mill is just the most beautiful place we’d ever stepped into, let alone one day get married there. We both immediately said yes to the venue whilst looking around, we both fell head over heels in love with the venue and it is definitely the perfect venue for us. I am so thrilled that I have the opportunity to piece together our wedding, it’s going to take a lot of work & dedication but I have been dreaming of this day for so so long that it needs to be the best day possible.

We’ve chosen Thursday 8th September 2016 for our big day at Sopley Mill, this is when I will have the honour to be Mrs Maxwell.. It’s all go from here! 

The engagement..

On Friday 5th June 2015, Carl told me to pack an overnight bag as he was going to surprise me for my birthday. I turned 24 the day after, so it wasn’t a shock that Carl decided to surprise me for my birthday, as he has a heart of gold, he’d never let me go without and is so romantic in that respect. 

So we drove nearly 2 hours to Bath, Carl took me to a beautiful restaurant called Ponte Vecchio, the views were absolutely stunning as it next to Pulteney Bridge and overlooks the river Avon. We got a lovely table on the balcony, and the sun was shining bright. Needless to say we had a lovely meal, wine, cocktails and time just chatting and being together. 

   
 
We then went onto my next surprise, 40 minutes of driving and I did my usual nagging, and asking a million questions trying to figure out where we were going – Carl kept strong and didn’t spill the beans. That is when we pulled up to this..

   
Thornbury castle.. I was totally blown away by such a grand gesture! We arrived, and checked in to be told we’d had a complimentary upgrade (can’t complain!) We had the Henry VIII room and it was absolutely stunning, topped off with complimentary sherry. 

   
 Again I had no expectations or idea of what was just about to happen, Carl does tend to spoil me and I genuinely whole heartedly believed this was just to celebrate my birthday. We’d been in the room for about 10 minutes when Carl asked me several times to open my presents – I refused as it wasn’t officially my birthday until the next day (total role reversal to usual!) Carl finally twisted my arm, I sat down on the sofa and he quickly gave me my card. I opened the card and the words read “Happy Birthday to my fiancé” I looked up confused & shocked – fiance!? As I looked up Carl was down on one knee, I couldn’t process the beautiful words that he used when he asked me to marry him, my mind was mush, I just cried.. & cried.. cried & cried some more.. Of course I said yes this man is my soul mate, and I will spend the rest of my days proving this to him. I honestly have never been so genuinely surprised in my life, as I literally am a detective and can normally sniff out a surprise! But this time Carl exceeded and manage to purchase my ring, guess my size (which was somehow correct!?) and plan all of this without me having a clue.. I have nothing but respect for him being able to pull that off! 

Here’s a few photos of our evening together at Thornbury Castle, everything about the evening was amazing and so grand, Carl ordered a bottle of champagne and we enjoyed it in the double jacuzzi bath before enjoying a 3 course feast in the amazing restaurant. Safe to say everything was beyond perfect. What a lucky lady I am! 

   
    
 

Introduction..

imageHi there! This is the first time I have ever done anything like this, so I’m currently unaware of whether I’ll get any views at all.. Furthermore it is such a special time in my life, and I feel it will be a good idea to jot everything down, and even if nobody sees this then that’s fine at least I can look back, and read about this ongoing journey, and hopefully it will fill me with the joy and happiness that I feel right now.

Carl & I have been together nearly 3 years – it was love at first sight, and we really are one of those cringe worthy couples that just adore the bones of eachother and everything just works, and always feels right. I had no doubts in my mind about our future, I knew that we’d grow old together. We have very similar values and principles, neither of us have everything handed to us on a plate by family or loved ones. We totally 100% provide for ourselves by working hard, and being financially responsible. We’ve had some amazing holidays – Australia last year, and Thailand the year before, that was sheer hard work and saving up! Hence why a wedding has always been slightly doubtful in my mind, because it would be difficult to fund a wedding without any help (well to have the kind of wedding that I’ve always dreamt of since being a little girl!) 

However, this blog will be all about our engagement story, and the journey of the engagement, planning, and the wedding so it just goes to shows my gorgeous husband to be has pulled out all the stops to ensure that I get my dream wedding after all. I will keep you posted about further events & will write a new blog post about the engagement, how & when he did it and including some photos! Thanks, Siân 🙂 x