Gift etiquette?

20Jul10

IB and I don’t want gifts from our guests. That might seem a bit rude, but our guests are spending considerable amounts of money just to come to the wedding and their attendance means far more to us than presents.

We also rent our flat furnished, we have everything we need and no storage space for anything else. Logistics are an issue – IB’s aunt recently got a whole room full of gifts at her wedding in Ireland. If a similar thing happens at our Ireland party, we will need to hire a truck to get the stuff home then find rented storage somewhere!

Both sets of families dislike gift lists and asking for money (and would probably ignore both requests!). We are also a little uncomfortable with the asking for money thing. (I was once at a wedding where the bride spent the next day at breakfast discussing how much cash people had given her in comparison to how much it cost her to feed them!)

We’re doing our wedding website just now and are a bit stumped on how to word the no gifts message.

If we say nothing, we will get gifts that we don’t have space for, or need. If we just say “We don’t want gifts”, people will probably buy something anyway. If we say “We live in a rented flat and really do have everything we need”, it sounds like we are sneakily asking for cash. I’m not a fan of the poems, but they are usually for couples who are requesting money anyway.

If someone put “no gifts please” on their wedding invitation, what would you think and do?

(I just re-read this post before publishing and I’m aware I come across as a bit of an ungrateful cow. It’s not that we wouldn’t appreciate gifts that people buy us, it’s just that we barely have room in our flat for ourselves, never mind gifts!)


Weekend re-cap

19Jul10

Last weekend, I was in the Lakes on Manchesterbride’s hen weekend. It was just the bride and the four bridesmaids so a good girly catch up with a few of my favourite people.

The god of Hen Weekend weather obviously ignored our prayers because it was torrential rain for most of the weekend (which very nearly resulted in my poor car being stranded in the middle of a huge puddle in a car park), but we didn’t let that stop us.

We sampled some of Ambleside’s finiest nightlife. Now, i’m a country girl so I know what to expect from a small town ‘nightclub’ but I think the 4 city girls were a bit surprised. Despite the cheesy music and sometimes dubious clientele a very good time was had! I defy anyone to be miserable with £1.50 tequila and a DJ playing the cheesiest rock ballads.

On Saturday, after possibly the nicest B and B breakfast I’ve ever sampled, we went for a cruise round the islands of Windermere. Not particularly eventful, but a nice way to spend an hour. We then returned to the B and B for a surprise champagne bedroom picnic (damn rain), after lots of sneaking around. We almost had to physically restrain the poor, starving bride because she was insistant on going to a local deli to buy food for lunch! I think she enjoyed the surprise though, despite the setting.

Saturday night we had dinner, tried frangelico for the first time then managed to track down a lovely little cocktail bar. We even managed to get the closing time rules relaxed after some mild flirting with the manager!

Sunday morning was spent mooching round some shops feeling a bit sorry for ourselves and then we all headed home. I didn’t drink much on Saturday night, but felt so ill that the journey took me nearly 6 hours with all the stops at service stations and my Papa’s house. I’m still feeling rotten today, so thinking that it might have a bit more to do with overindulging in shellfish (taking advantage of fish-hating IB not being there) than the glass of wine, single frangelico and 3 cocktails. Bleurgh.


Dress thoughts

19Jul10

In the entire time (post and pre-engagement!) that I have been looking at wedding dresses, I’ve never seen something that really fits the picture I have in my head of me on my wedding day.

I want informal and casual but with a big skirt. I want a splash of colour and straps that look like they are supposed to be there and haven’t just been tacked on as an after thought. I want floaty and innocent, but cute.

I don’t want grecian style which all the floaty dresses seem to be. And informal often gets translated as short, which doesn’t suit me and my determination to wear flat shoes.

I’ve previusly tried on three dresses, 2 which weren’t great and one that I loved. I loved it because it looked good, and fitted a few of the criteria, but since then I’ve been having niggly doubts that the fabric and style just wasn’t “me” enough. Nothing I’ve ever seen when trawling dress designer websites has really jumped out at me. Until last week, when I found a dress by Philippa Lepley. a bit of digging revealed that the dress costs around £5500. Excellent, I’ll take two.

But, by complete chance, I then discovered a dress maker in Glasgow who does a very similar dress which can be amended and customised to suit. As I had a half day on Friday, I made a last minute appointment and tried on the sample dress and it is perfect. Exactly what i had in my head.

However, the dress maker is very popular and June next year is already almost full. So, I need to make a decision quickly. While I’m almost certain that this is the route I want to take, I also want to exhaust all other options just to be on the safe side. So, this weekend my Mum is coming to Glasgow and we’re planning to hit as many dress shops as are physically possible, plus she’s coming with me to see the custom dress.

Eeek, so exciting! (and the dress will be completely made to measure, which takes off a little of the diet pressure!)

P.S I’ve decided not to reveal too much about the dress on here. It’s really unfair on poor IB and once I’ve chosen a dress I don’t want friends or family to know anything about it. However, I might one day reveal a few more details privately to regular readers!


So, money. Something plenty of people don’t like talking about.

I’ve not been so keen on discussing money in the past, because I never had any. Since leaving University7 years ago, I’ve been trying to rid myself of student loans and credit cards, not helped by being made redundant three years ago. One thing I didn’t want to do was start our married life together with my debts hanging over us. So, last week, I finally paid off the last of my debts earlier than expected. Boy, it feels good.

IB and I are paying for the vast majority of this wedding ourselves. My parents are helping with my dress, because they WANT to. I want to let them. We’re also saving for the wedding so our plans are realistic and based on what we can save and in what time period. Yes, it would have been lovely to plan the wedding from engagement to altar in less than a year, but we couldn’t save enough for what we want in that time.

But budget planning has been my absolute least favourite part of this whole process. Stretching the budget for one thing means cutting it for another and that is HARD. Especially when we’re booking things at different times and don’t yet know how much some suppliers will cost.

We’re making compromises, but they’ll be worth it or unnoticeable. What is going to be REALLY worth it is starting our life together with nothing to worry about but having fun on our honeymoon after 18 months of saving!


Posh picnicking

10Jul10

Manchester bride gets married in 4 weeks. Next weekend is her sort-of hen weekend in the Lake District. Just the bride and 4 bridesmaids, so nothing too OTT. We’re staying in a little B and B and having a generally chiled out weekend.

One plan though is to have a surprise posh picnic in a park near the B and B. I’m thinking smoked salmon, champagne and truffles. Plus hummous, cheese, bread, olives, salad, pate, fancy ham, strawberries, whoopie pies and mini-chocolate tarts. Yum.

Planning this one has been left up to me. I’m fine on the food front, but I want to make it special. Any suggestions?

I’d thought about buying a cheap gazebo and making some bunting. Or doing some Alice in Wonderland style “eat me” and “drink me” labels for the goodies. Whatever I do has to be portable as I’ll be carrying all the stuff half a mile, but I can’t decide on anything to pull it all together that won’t be too tacky.

Help required from all you lovely and talented bloggers!


IB and I live in Glasgow, obviously. We’re getting married in Glasgow, but neither of our families live in the city. Which posed a bit of a where to stay problem.

I would absolutely love to be getting ready in my parents house, and then travelling to the ceremony. But I’m not sure I’d be looking my bridal best after a 2 hour car journey. So we had to find somewhere in Glasgow.

I didn’t fancy a hotel – I don’t like the idea of us all being spread across several rooms and I wanted us to have our own space to spread out in and relax. I also wanted us to spend the night before doing all the family things we do (like playing board games until I win because I won’t let anyone go to bed until I do) and squeezing into a hotel room wouldn’t be the same.

Our flat isn’t big enough, and I’d get stressed about hiding all the clutter so it didn’t show up in the getting ready photos.

So, I’ve booked the Glasgow House, IB and I actually used to live round the corner from it, and I always wanted to peek inside. It’s huge. Loads of space for photos and for girls rushing round. Enough space for all my family, somewhere comfortable to spend the night before and perfectly located. Plus, my parents, siblings and grandparents will stay there on the night of the wedding.

Have a look, it’s so lovely I think I want to live there. Could someone lend me a few hundred thousand pounds?


I have been so lax with blogging lately, reading and commenting. Life has just got in the way, work has been manic and I rarely get online properly at the moment. So, this weekend I’m dedicating myself to pre-writing a few posts and properly catching up with everyone’s blogs.

In wedding related news, it’s less than a year to go. Woohoo. And as flights from Ireland to Glasgow go on sale on the 3oth July, we really wanted to get our save the dates designed, ordered and posted. However, we couldn’t agree on a font or design. If I heard “I’m not that gone on that font” one more time, there may not have been a wedding.

But, finally, I cracked it. I pinned IB down to a decision and bought it before either of us could change our minds.

Tah-daaaaaahhhh! Here it is, with fake names obviously.

We’ve ordered 100 postcards in that design, with further wedding details on the back. Vistaprint, less than £15. Bargain. I’ve also ordered some little purple stickers saying “Flights from Ireland to Glasgow now available” for the back of all the ones going to guests in Ireland. I can’t wait for them to get here.

We’ve also put our wedding website address on them, so the pressure is on to actually get that finished.


If there is any wedding related question guaranteed to really get my goat at the moment, it is this.

“Oh, you’re getting married? What’s your theme?”

(Said in that matter of fact way, as though there is a wedding therefore there must be a theme. Like when someone has a baby and you ask what the name is. But not the same, because babies HAVE to have names, whereas weddings do not have to have themes).

Please don’t think I’m anti-theme. I just don’t understand why people want to know the theme over the good stuff, like the date!

Anyway, we don’t have a theme as such. Deciding and implementing a theme properly is probably more stress than I can handle. I couldn’t bear it if it was a half-arsed theme so would throw myself into it and get all flustered.

But, I was recently talking to someone who works in the Wedding Industry (and has potentially been brainwashed) and when I admitted there was no theme she was shocked. I think I could have told her that I kick puppies for fun and she’d have been less upset. So I thought about what we could call our “theme”.  Are you ready?

We’re hopefully having a country-in-the-city, homemade, fun, beerfest wedding full to the brim of fun, giggling and bouncing. Will that do?

Is anyone having a theme? Was it deliberate or did it just sort of happen?


Flathunting

19Jun10

So, IB and I are flat hunting. Actually, that’s not true. I’m flat hunting, IB is tolerating it and viewing properties under duress.

We rent just now (as IB is on a temporary contract and we don’t know where we’ll be in 2 years) and while our flat is big and nicely furnished, we’re bursting out of it. There is little storage and I have a lot of “stuff”. More importantly, the kitchen is teeny-weeny, with just one small cupboard for food.

The problem is we got lucky when we found this flat. The furniture that came with it is high-quality (king sized beds and gorgeous big leather sofas) and the rooms are big. And it’s not too expensive. Flats on the market at a similar price are a bit skanky.

Last night, we viewed a terraced house (houses for non-millionaires are rare in the West End and this one even had a small patio) and it was gross. Mostly cosmetic, but the furniture was also filthy and old. They still wanted over £600 a month for it. Crazy-ass price for a house that had skid-marks in the toilet. Landlords – if you are going to charge a premium for property, it’s advisable to clean it. The poor letting agent seemed a bit embarrassed.

Anyway, watch this space. I predict we’ll still be here this time next year, but even more frustrated because the flat will also be full of wedding bits and pieces!


oops

17Jun10

Oopsy-daisy, I appear to have accidentally bought a pair of wedding shoes.

I’ve known the exact shoes I wanted for ages (ok, I admit it, pre-proposal) but assumed that I’d have to get them hand made or change my requirements. I wanted a purple version of Dorothy’s red shoes from Wizard of Oz.

Buy today I was going through my monthly routine of visiting shoe websites and typing “Purple” into the search box when these little beauties popped up. Pretty Shoes.

(IB, I am SO sorry. I know these links are just teasing you. I don’t mind if you peek, it’s up to you.)

And today is late night shopping, so I rushed off to town to find them. 2 shops later (by the way, House of Fraser on Sale day = unpleasant. Shoes are not supposed to be thrown on the floor) and there they were.

I know they are not the typical bridal shoe. I know that some people will make the cat’s bum face* when they see them. But, anyone who knows me will say that they are SO me. And they totally are!

*I know it’s terrible, but I quite like getting the the cat’s bum face and raised eyebrow treatment. It makes me giggle. “Purple? Purple, flat shoes? You can’t wear those”.