My top ten tips for Brides to be, from a Newlywed.

  
Congratulations if you have recently started planning a wedding. We set the date for our wedding in February 2014, after being engaged for seven and a half years (I know, cobwebs were beginning to form around my engagement ring). We chose to get married in July 2015 – ten years since we first got together. I was really excited and couldn’t wait to plan our special day in my own way. Most of our friends aren’t married, and we hadn’t really been to many weddings. My husband and I met when we were young teenagers, but we knew instantly that we would stay together. Marriage and children was something that we just knew would happen, there was no discussion as such because it just felt right (I’ll pass over the sick bucket!). I think it was down to this natural knowing that we weren’t in a hurry to tie the knot and enjoyed our first few years together embracing life.

Anyway, when it came to the big day, I didn’t seek much advice about wedding planning and kinda just winged it really if I’m honest, but I’ve picked up a few tips along the way!

  

  

  1. Get yourself a notebook for all of your crazy ideas and lists of things you need to do. I used mine for literally everything guest lists, table plans, who our magician was… Everything. It practically became an extra limb.
  2. Don’t settle. If you have a great idea that you would like to incorporate – do it! For me it was our invitations. We had huge cardboard boxes filled with heart shaped helium balloons, glitter, tissue paper, sequins and a formal invitation. People looked at me like I was mad when I suggested it, but everybody was completely blown away when they received them. I would have been really disappointed if we didn’t do it!
  3. Shop around and book early to secure the best deal. Weddings are really expensive, so make sure you get lots of quotes and see if any companies are willing to make a deal. Our magician and photobooth were from the same company, meaning that we could strike a deal and save a few quid!    
  4. Really enjoy the planning process. We had dance rehearsals every other week and bridesmaid meetings every month where we would chat about life and the wedding in gorgeous restaurants whilst stuffing our faces. I loved our monthly meet ups!  
  5. Be honest with your make up artist. I never wear foundation, so when my face was caked in the stuff during my trial, I felt like a drag queen who had just been pied. Not a confident bride. On the day I made sure to tell her that I just wanted eye make up and I felt like my usual self, which was great!    
  6. Have a back up wedding dress. I bought my ‘big’ dress around nine months before the big day, but when I was having it taken up I wore it for longer than I had in the shop and found it really hot and felt faint. I really panicked about feeling like that on the day, so I bought two other dresses as back ups. On the day I felt fine in the dress, but it really got in the way (literally everyone stepped on it), so I changed into a dress I picked up from Asos for around £95. It worked perfectly and I felt like I wasn’t so restricted. I also had two pairs of shoes – some DKNY heels and some sandals from Accessorise!    
  7. Use your bridesmaids! They are there to help and I’m sure that they are really eager, so get them involved. If there’s a task that you feel one of them would excel in, ask them!   
  8. Have a real good think about photographs, who you would like to be photographed with and where. The photographer should take lead, but they might not know you are really close to Aunt Betsy, so won’t necessarily suggest it.
  9. Really consider a videographer. We weren’t going to have one because they are quite expensive and I thought we will have photos and other people will film anyway. A week beforehand, my Mum pretty much insisted on us having one and luckily we managed to find a company who could squeeze us in. I’m so glad they did because they captured lots of things that I missed, guests arriving, Phil waiting. It’s so lovely to have it to watch back.  
  10. Remember it’s your day and all about you. Just enjoy it, embrace it and make it your own. Don’t worry about other people, it’s not their day.

  
L x

    Life in the country…

      
    One of my aspirations for this year is to be more active. I wouldn’t class myself as a couch potato, and I often have days where I’m so busy I don’t get a chance to sit down until ten in the evening, but I’m not really big on exercise. I have rare occasions where I feel like going for a run or something equally as crazy, but generally there are other things that I would be rather doing than pounding the pavement and feeling like I’m going to die. I drive to most places purely down to saving time and convenience, but I really love going for long walks. So I think that this may be the key to keeping active. 

    We recently signed up to become members of the National Trust and they have some lovely sites all across the country. They are always beautifully maintained and their manor homes are so opulent. I feel like making a commitment to become a member of the National Trust has encouraged me to search out new places to go for a mooch around and I intend to visit many National Trust sites this year. Since we became members, we have visited both Waddesdon Manor and the Ashridge Estate twice. The great thing is that many of their sites are dog friendly, so we can bundle Holly in the car and take her with us.

      
    The other brilliant thing about it is that we spend quality time together, making memories and having a chat. It’s really lovely to soak up the precious moments where we aren’t in a hurry to go anywhere and can just be together. Life is both unpredictable and short, so we need to make the most of it.

    Some of the National Trust places are free too, like the Ashridge Estate, so it makes for a very cheap day out even if you aren’t a member.

      
    We quite like to venture out into the countryside a bit, leaving the big lights of London behind us with its cluttered streets and polluted air. I’m sure that it is a case of ‘the grass is always greener’ (literally), but there’s something magical about escaping to the country and we always dream about living in one of the quaint villages that we drive through on our way to our destination with its cosy pubs and community feel.

       
     
    The four of us spent a couple of hours enveloped in nature, feeling the squelch of mud beneath our boots and looking at tree formations (I know this sounds ridiculously boring, but nature is a wonderful thing, honest!). We laughed as we struggled to catch our breath climbing up steep hills, our wellies losing their grip in the muddy terrain. The air was fresh and it was blissfully peaceful.

       
     
    It was so refreshing to leave ordinary life behind and just embrace not just time together, but time itself with our only worry being that we would get lost and forget our way back to the car (which thankfully didn’t happen).

    I can’t wait to get out and about exploring this year, especially when the weather brightens up!

      

    Are there any places that you like to visit?

    L X