Written by Louise Holt Last updated: September 11, 2006
The wedding fayre
Feeling in the wedding mood and wanting to make the most of the time that Michelle was visiting, we went along the following day to a local wedding show. It was here that mild panic started to set in ‐ at least one person from each stand asked me what I had organised so far and unfortunately they all thought that I was joking when I rather sheepishly replied “Um, well, I have my groom ……and this is my chief bridesmaid!” Word of advice, don’t let these people (unintentionally) scare you. My cynical side wondered if it was just a sales technique ‐ panicking me into booking them there and then! Bearing this vague possibility in mind, my Mum, Michelle and I just looked at the whole event as an information gathering exercise and I’m sure that with all the leaflets we picked up, we must be at least partly responsible for the rainforest destruction!! We found that by the end of it we had fixed smiles on our faces, as the reality of what everything can cost really started to hit home! I know I’ve heard somewhere if you have to ask how much it costs, you can’t afford it, possibly some truth in that, although not everything is a ridiculous price!
Once you let any sales pitches roll over your head, the people at these shows are actually very valuable sources of information ‐ this will quite likely be the first wedding that you have organised, but they really have ‘seen it all before!’ My advice would be to talk to everyone (not usually a problem for me!) Even if you don’t think you are interested in what they are selling, take the information with you; you never know when it may come in handy later on.
Using all the information that I had been able to gather so far, I wrote a list in the order that I felt things would be booked up and tried to give priority to those people and services that could only do one wedding a day, i.e. the reception venue and photographer.
I’m using the Confetti online planner to try and keep all my ‘to‐do’ lists together. I’ve found I’m turning into the ‘Queen of Post‐It Notes’ with every bit of information I see or am told, scribbled on a little bit of paper and then put ‘in a safe place’ for later.
At the wedding show, I also put my name down on practically every mailing list going and sent off for loads of information advertised in magazines and on the internet. Pretty soon I was totally inundated with leaflets, letters, brochures and notes! So although I’d laughed at my Mum a few weeks earlier for doing this, I bought a file with separate sections for each subject before I went mad and just chucked it all out! (no doubt you’re reading this and thinking ‘geek’, but just you wait!!)
Before I could start making any serious enquiries, we needed to set a date for the wedding. We both decided that we would prefer a summer wedding as neither of us like particularly like the cold and as my Mum is a school teacher I really wanted to have the wedding in the school summer holidays so that she could be around to help with last minute things. Even though Saturday is the most expensive day to get married, we still chose it to try and make sure that as many people could come as possible, as a lot of our guests have quite a distance to travel. With all this in mind we chose Saturday 31st July 2004.
Read Gill’s diary next month to see how her wedding planning is going and to pick up some handy tips along the way.
And so the madness begins…!
Finally off the crutches and raring to go with the wedding plans, but where on earth to start?! During the six months between getting engaged (and the foot breaking incident) and starting to get organised, I’d visited so many websites and looked at loads of books and magazines, but I have to admit, I hadn’t really taken much of the information in. I’m not exactly renowned for my organisational skills or forward planning but I’m determined that this will be different! Faced with such a huge amount of things to organise, I tried to create some sort of priority system.
In search of the dress
As my chief bridesmaid, Michelle, was visiting from Ireland for a weekend, I thought that would be the perfect time to kick-start plans. My first plan was to go and try on some wedding dresses. Having never done this before, I presumed that it was all pretty similar to your average shopping trip. Big mistake! First of all, you can’t just wander into the shop and start trying on dresses – in the majority of shops, especially on a Saturday, you need to make appointments. Although it sounds so obvious now, at the time it never occurred to me.
Since the dresses are generally quite large and expensive, you will probably be given (not asked if you would like) help to get changed. As a result of this, you need to bear in mind that you will almost constantly be in a state of undress in front of the assistant, so underwear must be carefully chosen! If, like me, you are in the throws of a well-intentioned pre-nuptial diet, but are not quite the toned, tanned beauty that you are aiming for, the floor to ceiling mirrors may give you a nasty shock! (Maybe a nice sensible pair of Bridget Jones style knickers and a whiter than white strapless bra should be invested in, but guaranteed, you won’t remember you should be wearing them until you are in the shop!) Even with the limited number of dresses that I’d tried on, it had become really obvious how I was going to pick which ones to put on my ‘favourites’ list – to get on the list they have to make my Mum cry (or at least well-up a bit – sorry to mention it Mum!!)
The only downfall with all this great wedding dress shopping is getting too used to being fussed over and actually looking, at the very least, OK in everything that you try on. So, beware – the next time I went shopping (to buy a pair of jeans) I was gutted with the results (or lack of) because I’d got too used to feeling great in the wedding dresses!!
So lesson number one learnt – book appointments to try on dresses and remember what to wear (and what not to wear) underneath!