As most people are these days, I am a trawler of the internet and as I have succumbed to this horrible virus in the last week or so, my intake of Twitter/Snapchat/Instagram etc etc has gone up considerably. As such, I came across a few people on Twitter talking about how stressful their wedding preparations were and how much pressure they felt under to include certain people or traditions or even colours!!! So I thought I would share with you how we managed to get engaged in November and get married in February without a crossed word and nothing but lovely, good natured weddingness!
Firstly, to put things into context a little bit, what I am about to share with you occurred late 2011 and early 2012 and at this point M and I had been together 8 years and were living together.
So, lets first of all talk quickly about our engagement, which occurred on Formby Beach whilst we were walking our dog Peggy. As we walked along, M put his arm around me and said “Will you Marry Me?” and I looked at him and said “Yes”… Awwwwwww I hear you say and well yes, it was lovely, but we had already talked about getting married on and off for the previous year and a couple of nights before our dog walk, we had talked seriously about it. To be honest, we had more or less decided that we would get married sooner rather than later. But we will come back to that.
After we got engaged, we knew how lovely it would be to tell people, but I also knew how stressful a wedding could be with everyone’s potential expectations. Also, my lovely M isn’t a fan of a fuss and so we had to organise a wedding that suited US and we knew we would enjoy.
I have heard all too many brides tell me how they were pressured into including random barely recognisable relatives in the bridal party and HAVING to have a certain song or food or person or dance move included or else *insert relatives name* will be offended. My feeling is, is that all the people and their opinions can “jog on” as I always kept in mind, that this would be the day we would be formally recognising the love that we have together and it would be legally bound and that was all that mattered.
Always, always always, arrange your wedding in the way that you want. People will try and tell you what they think should happen and pile on the pressure around their ideal view of how the day should go. But ultimately, it’s YOUR ceremony, yours and your partner’s – so be firm and just do YOUR thing. So how did WE achieve that?? Simple. We just got engaged, booked everything and THEN INVITED PEOPLE TO THE WEDDING! So we didn’t so much tell people we had got engaged, more just told people we were getting married and that they were invited.
As we got engaged over the weekend, on Monday, I spent the day ringing around different places making arrangements and booking things. There were a couple of quite fundamental decisions that we made that shaped how the whole wedding journey played out.
The first decision we made, was to keep it small, the second decision we made, was to pay for it ourselves and the the final decision was to do it asap. We decided to keep it to just immediate family, my Auntie & Uncle and M’s God mother and father – a total wedding party of 17 adults (including us) and 2 children. No cousins, no neighbours, no work mates, just the people that really mattered to us.
We decided to also pay for it ourselves as then no-one else would have any right to put pressure on us to do things a certain way, just because they had paid for things. Now I understand, this isn’t possible for everyone, but for us it was godsend.
We also decided to do it very quickly for a couple of reasons, firstly, why wait? I was 37 and M was 38 and after 8 years together, we knew exactly what we wanted. Also, and this bit is a little sad, my Gran had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and I knew that if we didn’t do it with a certain time period, she wouldn’t see me get married. (She passed away 12 weeks after the big day).
So this is what we did and how we moved things from 0 to wedding in 16 weeks.
- We arranged everything on a Monday afternoon and visited all our relatives the same Monday night to tell them we were getting married. It was one of the best nights of my life. Such joy.
- I designed the wedding invitations myself on Vistaprint and also managed to do wedding breakfast place cards too. Only downside of this, is that Vistaprint spammed me for months afterwards, despite my efforts to unsubscribe!
- I ordered a few wedding dresses online and had them delivered, trying them on at home. I eventually wore an “off the peg” dress from Debenhams. Actually, this is the only thing I would change. With hindsight, I denied myself the experience of trying on dresses in a wedding shop.
- We didn’t have any bridesmaids.
- We got married at St Helens Register office, which whilst it isn’t in a picturesque location, it’s very nice inside.
- We didn’t hire a car, my dad drove me the 3 miles from home to the register office. This worked out great as the pictures that we had taken inside the car look just a good as if we had had the most expensive rolls royce.
- Both mine and M’s families did want to pay for something, so M’s mum bought our wedding cake and my mum bought the wedding flowers.
- Photographer – we were lucky with this, as one of M’s work colleagues was also a p/t photographer and gave us a really good deal.
- Wedding Cake – entirely our own design and not at all formal. We used one of the layers as the dessert course, save us some money at the wedding breakfast.
Fruit layer on the bottom & chocolate on top (which we ate on the day)
- Flowers – my mum paid for my bouquet, guest and groom flowers, and a special slide for my hair with flowers on it.
- Wedding Breakfast – after we were officially married, all our party went to favourite Italian restaurant in Stockton Heath and we had a meal, just picked from the ordinary menu. The restaurant let our cake person go early and decorate the table, set the placecards, sprinkle glitter and other little bits, including the cake, which was placed in the centre of the table.
- Cars – I did want the cars to look a little special and I bought some fancy floral decorations from Amazon >> here <<
Then after the wedding breakfast it was about 5pm or so and M & I went home and watched our boxset of Greys Anatomy – I’m not kidding or providing any more NSFW details!!!!
The day after we got married, we went on honeymoon to one of my favourite places in the world, The Lake District. We stayed at a country house hotel for 3 nights called Armathwaite Hall and we took Peggy Dog with us. As we sat down to dinner on the first night, the wait said “Let me get your chair Mrs Lysons” and I said “Oh my god, that’s the first time anyone has called me that, we got married yesterday” and he replied in his thick Eastern European accent. “Well it is my honour”.
My other big tip which I would urge anyone organising their wedding to bear in mind, is try to let go of “Perfect”. My theory is that most people’s stress when organising anything, is that they get an idea in their mind of how things should go and what things should look like. But know this. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to control everything and even the person with the tightest grip, can’t stop it raining or stop the invited toddler, running circles around the bride and groom as they pledge their troth. On our wedding day, one of registrars didn’t turn up and one of the guests very nearly had to stand in!
Keep in mind that it isn’t just a wedding, but a marriage and it’s more important you mean what you say when you say it, that who watches you or whether the colour of the napkins co-ordinate with the carpet in the entrance hall! Yes we had a small wedding and this of course, wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste, but I am not saying have a small wedding. I am saying have the wedding you want and make it very clear from the off, the decisions that none negotiable.
You don’t have to be mean, just clear and firm. Without going into too much detail, there was a reason that I organised first and invited second. I know for a fact, that without this strategy, I wouldn’t have been able to invite Auntie A as she doesn’t talk to Auntie M and then of course, if cousin F comes, then we will have to invited cousin S and then of course… blah blah blah… so NOOOO none of that. Just the people I love, joining me on a day I loved, marrying the man I love.
Because, that’s whole point of a wedding and a marriage isn’t it… LOVE. XXX