Meet A Real Bride - by Hannah Graveling
Recently engaged bride tells us how she felt about planning her wedding
I asked Leslie, a good friend of mine who recently became engaged to her long-term boyfriend, Rob, to sit down with me and talk about the excitement of planning her wedding. She was very enthusiastic, if a little overwhelmed by the prospect, as many brides-to-be are. This is one of the reasons why some couples hire a wedding planner; to keep the excitement without having it dampened by the stress and worry of planning a major event alone.
When I spoke to Leslie, it was via Skype, with Rob wandering in and out of the room, bent on other tasks. It is sometimes easy to forget that people who are planning a wedding are actually trying to do so around their everyday lives, which can be quite enough to manage in the first place! A good wedding consultant will understand that you have other things going on in your lives and will attempt to work around your schedules where possible.
Why don’t you start by telling our readers about yourselves?
L: We met the first day of university, during the induction to our halls. And we’ve been together … how long?
R: (out of shot) Too long!
L: Ha! Lovely. It must be almost 4 years now… wow, really? We have lived together pretty much since we met, on and off depending on where we were working. We got engaged in September 2013, but our career plans have been changing since then and we’ve only just decided to set a date and started planning the wedding.
What is your wedding budget?
L: I don’t have one right now! I’m just gathering ideas still…
Your wedding is almost exactly a year away now isn’t it, so what stage of the planning are you at?
L: We’ve got the location for the ceremony and the ideas for pretty much everything else!
R: (from the hall) That’s news to me!
L: (calling off screen) Haha, no it’s not you’ve seen my Pinterest! Yeah, the chapel is booked and we’ve got a clear idea of the theme so it’s just putting them together now, but because of work I don’t really have time. I’m so tired when I get home, I can’t think about making arrangements. At least we’ve got an actual date now, that’s nice.
What is the most stressful part of the planning process so far?
L: Doing the guest list! It’s actually really stressful trying to decide who to include in the reception but not the ceremony, as it obviously has to be smaller. I want everyone who attends our vows to really want to be there!
What made you choose your particular ceremony venue?
L: We chose the Royal Holloway chapel because it’s beautiful and it’s the only churchy place that meant anything to either of us, and it’s not grey like other churches. Plus, we both studied at the university. I’ve always wanted to have a proper ceremony wedding with a priest in a church, that felt right, but that’s the only church that I know and love.
What are you most looking forward to on the day?
L: Getting married! Walking down the aisle! I might cry.
What if you fall over?
L: I’ll just laugh. I’m sure someone will help me up.
R: Not me.
L: So mean! I’ll be laughing. Then I’ll get up and leave! No don’t type that.
Who is supporting you the most in this process so far?
L: Probably friends. Rob’s been helpful. He gives me yes or nos, or “that’s nice”.
*Rob attacks the screen.*
L: I’m giving him choices by showing him things on Pinterest. Whether I listen to him or not is another matter! I’ve added him to the page and it’s private so everything will still be a surprise for everyone else, but he can see the ideas we have agreed on so far. Keeping it private is nice because I don’t want loads of people trying to have a say in it or butting in with their ideas- it should be ours, unique to us. Plus on Pinterest you can just endlessly search for stuff. When we booked the date I went a bit crazy with that…
What have you been researching?
L: I want a crazy cake. It has to be chocolate, taste amazing, maybe a lemon drizzle tier for Rob and I like different coloured layers like in this photo. (see cake photo.)
I can’t wait to do to the tasting as well, that’ll be nice to do as the two of us. The problem is I don’t really know what I want. Our theme is just a colour; it’s not based around either of us culturally, so the food choice is still wide open. I’m finding it hard to search online for caterers as well, since I don’t know companies in that area.
So what is Rob in charge of?
L: Suits. I’m not picking what he’s wearing. And food, of course, we’ll do that together. And actually, thinking about the cake- (calls offscreen)- Rob, what about two cakes- a normal one and a cheese-cake, like made of cheese?
R: yeah that sounds great!
L: I saw it online and thought “that’s great, let’s get it imported from France or something!”
What aspect of the planning might turn you into a Bridezilla?
L: The dress. I don’t know what else. I’ve got my dream dress in my head so it’s just finding it that’s hard. I spoke to my mum about getting it tailor made because she did that for hers. I don’t think I’d be happy with the dresses I’d try on because I’ve got such a clear idea of what I’m looking for. That, and the stress of making everyone happy of course. I’m going to cry a hell of a lot. A year of crying and organising. Happy crying though! Now if I see any wedding show on TV I get weepy. We were watching Modern Family with Rob’s guy friends and someone was getting married but I thought, “don’t cry, you’re surrounded by boys!”
It sounds like Leslie is already caught up in the thrill of planning their wedding, and despite himself, Rob clearly is too. As mentioned, Pinterest is a very useful tool for gathering inspiration, but it is important to remember that although you can get some great ideas there, everyone’s wedding day is unique and it’s great to personalize it to yourself as well. Rather than copying a cake straight off the internet, why don’t you ask your cake maker to give it a twist, maybe the same flower that you have on your dress, or swap the cake topper for a kooky one of your own?
Leslie also drew attention to the frustrations that sometimes arise from trying to plan your wedding in another area of the country. This is where a local wedding planner can really come in handy, as they will already know all the best vendors to suit your needs. However, if you want to plan it yourself, I would suggest finding a wedding directory, where approved local vendors come together to share industry knowledge. Find a caterer there and they will likely also know a florist, or marquee hire company to suit your style. If you find a vendor in any area that you click with, who understands your theme, feel free to ask them questions like these! You can make contacts in the strangest of places sometimes.
Good luck planning your own weddings and if you have questions or something is stressing you out, why don’t you contact one of the lovely wedding consultants on this website.