I’m sitting here today updating my Weddings page on the site, and I cannot believe that it is nearly a year since my own special day, which happened on 29th June 2019. I’m so lucky to have married my best friend, and I’m pleased to report that married life has been a big adventure so far!
Myself and Jim own an entertainment company, so we approached the majority of our wedding planning with the same attitude as if we were arranging the biggest client event that we had ever been given. The only difference was that everything was our choice! I am so grateful that our work skills leant a hand with wedding planning though – and I admire those who don’t do event planning on a daily occurrence, who are able to put together their special days so perfectly!
Believe it or not, we selected our venue without even going to look at it. The Sussex Barn in Hellingly wasn’t having an open day until mid April – and since we were engaged in December, it was early January when we wanted to book our big day! We scoured the internet for various venues, but none seemed to excite us like the pictures on their website. We gave them a call, and they told us that they only had three dates left for 2019 – early May, late June or mid September. Well, we live in England, and this venue is 90% outdoor, so it was a no brainer for us that September was out of the question. I get cold really easily as well, so I didn’t want to be shivering on our big day (or wearing a coat!), and so, after a bit of debating and a cheeky hop over the fence by Jim to look at the outside of the building, we chose 29th June. It was so exciting to have a date! And the venue was perfect – we went to the open day and I was so, so happy to finally see the inside and make sure it was exactly like the photos (believe me, I had many nightmares in the lead up to that open day!)!
The Dress & The Suits
Our colour scheme was pink and blue – but with the boys in pink. Ladies, if I have one piece of advise, it’s to push and push and push until your groom sorts his suit. Jim kept putting it off and putting it off, and then we nearly ended up with a completely different colour scheme because he couldn’t find what he wanted! But he finally found the perfect pink suit for him and his ushers, and despite the shocked looks we got in the lead up to the day, they all looked fab in the pink! I won’t mention that they were all going shopping for a white shirt and brown shoes the day before the wedding…!
My dress experience was exciting – and sharing it with my very best girlfriends was the best experience ever. I initially thought I had found my dress when I tried on a magnificent ballgown with matching veil. It was HUGE and sparkly and wow. But, due to a series of events, I ended up going to another shop a few months later, and trying on another dress, which ended up being the one I went with. I loved my dress – and so did Jim. I’d say to any bride now, not to rush into buying the first dress they fall for. I’m glad I didn’t in the end, although at the time, it was a difficult moment to go through which meant going to the second shop. The place I got my dress from has closed down now, which is sad, but I loved my experience with them so much!
The Cake, The Music & Everything in Between…
Ok, so about our cake… Our wedding day was 29th June, and if you type that date into Google, and query the weather, you’ll see it was 31 degrees between midday and 6pm. I’m a firm believer that my mum sent the good weather our way – in fact, you’ll see that the wind direction changed between those times, and didn’t go that way for the rest of the month. The week before, I had been panic buying brollies! Well, we hadn’t thought that a buttercream covered cake might not withstand the heat… So a quick thinking husband put it back in the box before the wedding, and we enjoyed it the next day. The cupcakes were amazing on the day, everybody loved them and they all went, which is great – but the cake… Well, look at the photo and it says it all! It was a squidgy, sliding mush before I even got to the venue! It was delicious though, and the toppers were displayed with pride!
During the ceremony, we went with a steel drum band. I’m so used to singing myself at weddings, that I knew exactly what we needed – but I wanted something that was special, unique, and didn’t remind me of work! It was perfect! And as we walked back down the aisle as husband and wife, we had twelve confetti canons (which were great until we had to pick up the confetti the next day!) – the first one went off, and a gust of wind blew it all over the back of the barn, but once we got the hang of it, the photos were amazing!
We chose a DJ for our evening entertainment, because Jim is too particular about bands – and Oliver Caddy who was our chosen DJ was brilliant. Actually, during our first dance, the music cut out – you know like one of those moments where everyone thinks you’re about to bust a remix version, and it’s meant to be all “oh no! The music stopped, what shall we do?” and then you break out into MC Hammer? Well it stopped and… Nothing. We had nothing. So, we kept singing, and everyone joined in, and actually, it made it really funny and special that we were serenaded by our friends for our first dance!
I would say to anybody planning a wedding that they should think about their entertainment for the evening. We chose an inflatable Total Wipeout, and it went down a storm! Everyone had a go (yes, even me in my dress!) and we got some great photos of everyone laughing and having a great time!
And also, every little detail, those are the ones you’ll love – so if you want big letters with Mr & Mrs lighting up the room, even if your fiancé thinks they’re pointless, go for it!
Everything You Should Know
So, I could talk for days about my wedding (as you can see!) so I thought I’d try to sum everything up…
What I loved:
- Being so sure of our venue – although I don’t recommend booking anything without looking at it usually!
- Having to pick a different dress – I don’t love the circumstances, but I’m over the moon that it led me to my dress. And if you’re able to afford it, then £2,000 on your dream dress is totally worth it.
- Getting ready with my girls – we had a suite at a gorgeous hotel, and it was amazing and great fun to wake up with everyone there and get ready together!
- Keeping it simple – we had a BBQ & a jacket potato van for food, and they both went down a storm.
- Making it quirky – when Jim first started suggesting things, I was wary because I didn’t want the wedding to just be a glorified party with no special meaning. But in the end, the extras (like the Total Wipeout) made the day even more special.
- All the little extras – my bridesmaid Emma and I dressed the venue tables the day before, with little things like bride and groom shaped favour boxes, and signs pointing around the venue. She also helped me to decorate the arch we got married underneath, and it was perfect. There was so much that I bought which Jim wasn’t sure of – he thought they were a waste – but I loved everything and on the day, took everything in!
- Making it fun – it’s a celebration afterall, and we wanted a day which people would remember. Everyone still tells us that they loved our day!
What I didn’t need, but had anyway:
- Stress – a few days before the wedding, I was still hand making things. They were really simple, but it meant that I didn’t really relax.
- Eyelashes – I had lash extensions, which I loved, but I didn’t really need them because my makeup lady would have done them for free, and I got an irritation a few days later and had to take them all off anyway…
What I wish I had got:
- Bottled water – my father-in-law rushed out and bought loads on the morning of the wedding, because it was so hot, and we didn’t have a bar until the evening. We did have cocktails and water available, but it was nowhere near enough!
What I thought was most essential:
- Transport – I had the most gorgeous cars, paid for by my brother in law. Everyone tried to save money and thought it was a waste of £700 but to me, it was a special moment that I’d always imagined. I was so grateful when he said he would pay for the cars – not just for me, but for my bridesmaids too!
- Photographer – we paid £1,200 for John Scofield, because when we met him, Jim instantly loved him. Until that moment, Jim was happy to pay a college student to attempt the photos. We have the most wonderful pictures to treasure – it’s true that once the day is over, they’re the most important memory. We made a few into a book, and I cry when I look at it!
- Videographer – I booked and paid for The Film Co to video our day, without Jim knowing, because it was stupid expensive and I knew he would say no… But now, he watches our video, and our trailer, all the time. I hear him listening to the speeches over and over – and the trailer is something we could share with friends and family. Plus, my dad won’t admit it, but I saw him tear up when he watched it back!
Make it special…
My number one piece of advice is to make your own day special. If you have your heart set on something, then go with it – and don’t let anybody else tell you that you should do anything differently. A lot of people want to help, and they have the right intentions, but everyone has different visions, different dreams, and at the end of the day, it is your special day. Whatever you and your future partner want, go for it. Marriage is forever – you only get to do this once – and I can honestly say that 29th June 2019 was the very best day of my life.