42 dresses later…

On Saturday. I found it. At last. A dress.

The One.

I honestly never thought I’d say that. I thought I’d end up with something that I liked, but I never thought I’d have that moment of saying, “Oh my God, it’s this one, this is The One!” but that is what I said, to my dear, long-suffering bridesmaid who popped out a baby only three weeks ago and had, despite my insistence I could go alone, insisted she come along to the appointment. I’m not sure who was more excited to be honest (that is what I love about her, her boundless enthusiasm and excitement knows no limits).

I actually had to ask The Wedding Shop to loan a sample of the dress from the designer. I had spotted the dress online a few weeks back but figured that surely I would be able to find something in the shops. I tried on a vast variety of wedding dresses from almost every shop in Colchester and had found a few very nice dresses. Without exception the dresses that I tried on were all beautiful in their own way, but I looked like someone else in them. At times I wondered if I was being too fussy. I wondered if I was being unrealistic. For a time I wondered if wedding dresses just didn’t suit me. Actually my problem was that my style just wasn’t in the shops and I knew deep down that was the case. I had foolishly imagined dress shopping was going to be so easy. I love dresses, so why wouldn’t it?

I feel I have to tell you at this point the profound effect House of Colour has had on this process. Had I not been so sure of my style I could have so easily been swayed, I think, by a very nice dress that someone else liked or even a very nice dress that I rather liked but that didn’t particularly like me. But I wasn’t swayed, I just kept on looking because I had The Knowledge.

Back in March 2010 I went to House of Colour to see a colour and image consultant, the wonderful Trudy Cooper. In short, the consultant helped me to understand what colours and shapes suited me and why, and which didn’t. Perhaps more importantly we also talked about personal style. I used to think that style was something other people had (you know, those painfully ‘stylish’ people who have Prada handbags and Miu Miu shoes). What I didn’t realise is that we all have our own style, and if we honour it we look like ourselves. We are naturally drawn to what we love and what suits us both in terms of colour and style, but often times what suits us isn’t in the shops, and we are so easily swayed by the media and by other people telling us what we should wear that we often end up quite discordant. So often what we dress ourselves in comes about due to a culmination of opinions from others, our own body hang ups and whatever the shops/the media are trying to tell us we ‘need’. I’m proud to say I’m no longer swayed by any of that. At the risk of sounding conceited, when it comes to what I wear, the only person’s opinion I care about is my own and I am more comfortable in my own skin than I’ve ever been. The knowledge I gleaned from my House of Colour consultant on those days of talking about style and colour were priceless. I have saved myself a fortune in wardrobe mistakes which would have invariably sat in my wardrobe making me feel guilty. Knowing my style and knowing what suits me was instrumental in finding a dress that I knew was perfect for me. Needless to say if you haven’t been to House of Colour, then I implore you to go. If you want to find out more beforehand then you can attend a free introductory evening. Contact your nearest consultant and they will tell you everything you need to know.

Whilst the hunt for a dress was exhausting and, at times, disheartening, I’m so glad I tried on so many dresses. I have no doubt in my mind that my dress is perfect for me. I can’t give you too many clues here about the dress, but what I will say is that whilst it still looks bridal, it is by far not your average wedding dress. When I tried it on it was such a profound experience. I felt incandescent, I felt beautiful, and I felt like me.

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Brief (but exciting!) update…

On Saturday I am going to The Wedding Shop to try on a dress I had them order in from the designer… I first went to them to try on dresses many months ago and had a lovely experience. To say I’m excited would be an understatement. I’ve literally been too excited to sleep some nights! Ridiculous I know. Hopefully it won’t be a massive disappointment on Saturday. It’s the dress I keep looking at, that ticks an awful lot of boxes in terms of it suiting me (in theory) and the one I’ve put off looking at because I thought I’d easily find something else in all the other millions of shops I’ve looked in… But after trying on over 37 dresses now I still haven’t found ‘The One’ or even ‘nearly The One’ so all my hopes, rightly or wrongly, are pinned on this dress… I don’t have a plan B yet, here’s hoping I won’t need one!

My wedding dress. Not.

My wedding dress. Not.

Perhaps rather bizarrely I’ve been having nightmares about the loos at The Barn Brasserie. I kept dreaming I couldn’t fit in the loo to go or that I had to go in the dodgy disabled loo that didn’t lock properly… All very strange. I decided it was about time I checked the loos out (I know I’m sad, I know I’m weird for worrying about these things!) and so husband-to-be and I went for a meal there last night which was absolutely delicious and I’m euphoric to say that the loos are possibly the nicest I’ve ever seen anywhere! And they are big – clearly designed for brides. Thank Jesus for that.

The Barn Brasserie

The Barn Brasserie

As well as trying on the dress I’ve been lusting after for months, I’m also going to see David on Saturday. My rings have come back from the engravers and I get to see the designs! I have to say I’m both excited and scared about seeing them. What if I don’t like them? Only time will tell… I will try and get photos!

After much designers angst I have at last finalised my ‘Save the Date’ design and have been liaising with the local printing company about getting them printed up. We’re looking at magnets and postcards at present. If postcards are much cheaper then we’ll go for those.

I went to Wivenhoe House today at lunchtime to take a look at all their lovely rooms (the suites and luxury suites are all decorated differently you see). I got a tour of the place and fell in love with one of the rooms (I can’t tell you too much here as it will be a surprise for husband-to-be). I have fired off an e-mail so hopefully we should be able to book it.

Wivenhoe House Hotel superior room

Wivenhoe House Hotel superior room

Exciting times!

Bridesmaids dresses

So, let’s cut to the chase. This is the kind of thing I have in mind:

Dessy bridesmaid dress

Dessy bridesmaid dress

I love a good long dress, me. I do also love:

Dessy bridesmaid dress (slightly different style)

Dessy bridesmaid dress (slightly different style)

I hope we all look as fabulous and together as this lot:

Grey bridesmaids

Grey bridesmaids

As for my lovely younger bridesmaid (she’ll be 12), I had something like this in mind:

Monsoon bridesmaid dress

With the pale grey dresses, I’m thinking that if my bridesmaids want to alter the dresses afterwards (dye them and/or make them shorter) they can, and they’ll get worn again that way.

I do have a bridesmaid-related dilemma though. Bridesmaid A has very recently had a baby and so isn’t able to try on dresses yet, I’m not sure when will be a good time for her. Bridesmaid A (another A!) is in a different county, was in a different country and will possibly be in a different country again soon. Bridesmaid S, mother of Bridesmaid G, works shifts and is rarely free the weekend. In short, getting my lovely ladies into dresses might be a challenge but I’m sure we’ll think of something… *gulps*

37 dresses and counting…

I’ve tried on over 37 dresses in over 7 different shops.

I have yet to find The One.

I haven’t even found one I can alter sufficiently to be The One. Yet.

All is not lost (although I’ll admit I was starting to get seriously depressed about it). I have found a dress I love online. It’s the one on my Pinterest board that I keep looking at and keep going back to. I know it will suit my shape. I love the style. I have e-mailed round a load of stockists to see who has it in stock… I will keep you posted. No photos, I’m afraid 😉 I will, however, show you a dress I cannot wear. I look like a deformed mermaid in it (due to my shape) and the sexy plunge is not a good look for me…

My dress. Not.

Wedding rings!

As you know, David White of White Designs is designing me a wedding ring to sit under my rather unusual engagement ring.

e-ring_small

My engagement ring

After discussions here’s what he has come up with so far:

Wedding band - first draft

Wedding band – first draft

Wedding ring - second draft

Wedding ring – second draft

The ring above the e-ring is to show where an eternity band could potentially sit.

I have to confess to being less-than-enamoured with the idea of including hearts in the design but he has promised to engrave several designs (on silver rings that will be identical, shape and size-wise, to the finished ring) with and without hearts, so we shall see! I can’t wait to see what he comes up with!

Vince still has his heart set on a meteorite ring. David warned us that we wouldn’t be able to resize the ring and that titanium is difficult to work with.

Meteorite ring made and sold by Jewelry by Johan on Etsy

David also raised concerns regarding rust so I’ve contacted the seller to ask about longevity, rust and sizing.

We’ve set a date!

Okay, I’m going to very briefly skim over the fact that I haven’t posted in a Very Long Time. We won’t worry ourselves with that. I’m sure you’re only really interested in what’s happened in that time! So here we go…

Here is the current situation as it stands!

  • Westwood Park has been booked for middle of May 2014 – yay!
  • The Barn Brasserie is booked as our reception venue! It was love at first sight, and affordable! Check out their reservations page for a great photo of the interior!
  • Photographer – booked! We have the wonderful Hannah MacGregor from Funky Photographers. I knew I wanted her as my photographer before I even got engaged! She’s that good. You should check out her website. She is Freaking Amazing. You will understand when you see her beautiful photos.
  • Harpist – yes we have booked a harpist for the ceremony and the drinks afterwards, the incredibly talented and incredibly accommodating Maria Beattie. I could not be more excited about it! I was at an open day at Fennes some time back when I first heard her and I literally thought ‘I’M HAVING THAT’. The sound was just the most beautiful thing. I cannot wait. She’s also been super accommodating by getting the sheet music for a deeply geeky song from a computer game we both love (‘Still Alive’ from Portal). She is completely and utterly freaking amazing, non?
  • Progress has been made with the wedding rings too! A separate post on that, too much to report here.
  • I have designed our wedding invitations (okay, I did several designs and I’ve FINALLY committed to one!) and I’m rather proud of myself actually, I absolutely love them. I don’t want to spoil the surprise so that’s all I can say here…
  • Evening entertainment is sorted! Two of our friends who will be invited to the wedding are magicians! And my extremely awesome and wonderful singing teacher has offered to sing in the evening (and she’s said she will get herself a pianist for the evening too!) I struggle to put into words just how grateful I am for this. I had been looking at wedding singers and no-one even comes close to her epic awesomeness. She has The. Most. Amazing. Voice. And I Absolutely. Cannot. Freaking. Wait. to listen to her on the day. I may even do an excitement wee.
  • We have decided on a colour scheme with the help of Trudy Cooper from House of Colour (okay, when I say ‘we’ I kinda mean ‘me’ ;-)) I have such a lot to say about House of Colour and Trudy’s awesomeness that I will need a separate post. Bridesmaids will be dove grey, groom will wear a grey suit with an Oxford blue cravat. Pink will be included too probably in flowers and stationery. I’m thinking of something quite neutral such as ivory for the chair bows at Westwood Park as silver won’t suit the room and Oxford blue will be too much.
  • I have tried on A LOT of wedding dresses. Over 37 at last count. I have yet to find The One. More on this later…
  • I have created a mood board on Pinterest. It’s helped so much to see the bigger picture of the day actually and I’m now completely addicted to Pinterest. Sadly for you, I’ve made a secret board and so only I can see it 😉 I promise I will share some more of what is on there at a later date.
  • A very lovely friend of ours has offered to do our wedding cake for us as a wedding present! How amazing is that? I don’t have much of an idea of what I want at the moment so I’m hoping she’ll be able to come up with ideas…

Okay, apologies for that wall of text! I will post more pictures in subsequent posts I promise. And I promise there will be subsequent posts!

Reviewing the situation – exciting news!

Back of Westwood Park

Following on from my last post, after some discussion the other half and I are (still) going to try for May 2014. Given the limited time we have to save, we have set ourselves a much more affordable budget of £10k.

Super exciting news – after considerable ponderance and investigative work we have found ourselves a stunning venue where we can have our ceremony: Westwood Park.
They will allow us to have just the ceremony and photos there for a very reasonable sum indeed! OH and I went for a look around Westwood Park a few weekends ago and I have to say… W.O.W. I got excited looking at the website, but Oh. Em. Gee it is truly stunning in the flesh. I had to try and contain myself when she was showing us around.

We are on the verge of booking it, just waiting for them to get back to me with possible dates. 😀

Once Westwood Park has been booked we will need to book a reception venue. The options we are considering (that are Colchester-based) are:

Wivenhoe House is lovely but very expensive, after some enquiries it became clear that it was outside of our budget but we will almost certainly stay there the night of our wedding. When they first opened after their refurb I was given a tour of the place and their feature rooms are stunning.

I went to Mimosa for lunch today and was very very pleasantly surprised by the venue, and I have to say the food was utterly wonderful (on a par with my favourite restaurant in the world, Mussi’s). It also has the bonus of having a grand piano and a small stage. I plan to have a singer in the evening and am very excited by the prospect of telling my singing teacher (who has very kindly offered her expert services!) that she will have a small stage and the option of a pianist!

I am currently waiting to hear back from Mimosa with regards to prices.

Weekend after next we will pay a visit to The Old Siege House (I haven’t been there in a while) to assess food and venue.

Exciting stuff! Once I’ve booked Westwood Park we can then book the photographer! There is only one photographer I’m interested in having: the amazing Hannah MacGregor of Funky Photographers.

Could I be making progress at last? I would dare not speak so soon! 🙂