Three Nights in Cornwall… Help!

The title kind of says it all.

I’m taking the May half term week off work and hoping to pack up the car (my husband included) and head down to Cornwall for three nights. What with a busy summer of weddings ahead of me this may be our only chance for a ‘just us’ break before two become three… gulp.

Paul doesn’t think he’s ever been to Cornwall. I know I have been a couple of times as a child but my memories are very hazy, so this will be like visiting for the first time. Now I know three nights isn’t long so I want to make sure we use our time well, whether that means a different stop every night or having a ‘base’ and travelling out from there. The bonus of being pregnant is that come the evening I will be able to drive us out and about, whereas our usual requisite is that we are in the hub of the bar/restaurant scene so that we can get suitably merry and stumble home.

Pretty Padstow

Pretty Padstow

Our only criteria is that we do one night in or close to Padstow. I’ve heard it’s beautiful and bustling and we’d both like to sample Rick Stein’s restaurant if possible. I also require one night in a more luxurious hotel with a spa. As I won’t be drinking I at least want to treat myself to a morning or afternoon of pampering. I’ve also been told by lots of people we should do St Ives… but I’m yet to find a hotel there I like the look of.

In terms of accommodation I would prefer to do hotels as opposed to a self-catering cottage, Air B&B or even guest houses. I love hotels but am a complete and utter hotel snob so do find booking the accommodation the most tricky part. Stylish, boutique, quirky, mod-cons… I like all of the above but we don’t have a bottomless budget. Say, £500 for three nights accommodation? I, of course, know of The Scarlet and would love to spend a night there but that would consume way over half the budget. I’ve also been looking at The Headland Hotel just outside Newquay. It was the outside location for the film The Witches and has been modernised inside with a fancy spa too… but is Newquay just full of stags and hens these days? I just don’t know.

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The Headland Hotel in Newquay

The other option is that we both like camping… but again, we’re camping snobs. We don’t like holiday parks, we prefer more ‘minimal’ camp sites that allow camp fires and are a little quieter… but not completely isolated. We could perhaps camp for two nights and then treat ourselves to one night at The Scarlet? Or do a pub stay in Padstow and then two nights at The Headland in Newquay with day trips to St Ives and beyond…? Note my extensive knowledge of the region is limited to the Padstow-Newquay-St Ives coastline… ahem. I know nothing about the south coast- are we missing a trick here? And then of course there’s the drive there and back. We’ll do the obligatory stop at Stonehenge, but coming from London- are there any other interesting detours to take?

This is where I’m hoping you might be able to help us…

Those of you who live in or around Cornwall, those who holiday there frequently, or those who just happened to have come back from a fab three night break… talk to me! What itinerary would you suggest? Any cool but affordable hotels or boutique B&Bs you’d recommend? What are the must-visit towns or attractions? Do I need to book NOW if we want to go to Rick Stein’s restaurant? Or is that totally passé these days and there’s a newer, better restaurant on the scene we should visit??

All recommendations and words of wisdom gratefully received. Now let’s talk Cornish holibobs!

Sama xx

A Happy Post About A Happy Thing

Hello Uttersons. Gosh, it has been a while since you’ve had a proper update from me, hasn’t it? Paris and Jennie have been holding the fort for me marvellously and I hope you’re enjoying their wedding stories thus far.

Life in the south-east London/north-west Kent suburbs is good. If you really must know the ins and outs of my private life, Paul has spent his easter holidays slaving away in the garden in preparation for a new fence going in in a couple of weeks. This has involved an insane amount of work, including taking a sledgehammer to a small, dilapidated concrete building at the back of the garden, felling trees, clearing weeds, roots and ugly bushes, and chopping up a ridiculous amount of wood. I’ve taken a sledgehammer to one brick and made many cups of tea for my little trooper. Fairs fair.

What else? Well, wedding season is nearly upon us. It’s 6 weeks to my first Utterly Wow wedding of the year and I’m about to get very busy indeed. I’ve got some fantastic weddings and absolutely delightful clients this year, so I can’t wait to share the fruits of our labour once the season kicks off. One of my bridesmaids gets married next weekend, for which I’m returning the bridesmaid favour and I know it’s going to be an absolute corker of a day. And my little sister had a baby girl a couple of weeks ago, who is going to be one of the most beautiful creatures on the planet, I think.

But I’m beating around the bush. I do have other, more personally momentous news to share, you see.

I’m very, very, very thrilled to reveal that I am growing a teeny tiny being in my uterus. Yes, in my uterus, as opposed to my fallopian tube, which those of you who have been following the blog for a while will know is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

He knows.

He knows.

So, facts and figures. I’m just over 15 weeks pregnant, due 30th September allegedly, although I was put forward at my dating scan so I’m pretty sure it will be an October baby. Apparently it’s the size of a pear at the moment, which is just bizarre to get my head around seeing as my body hasn’t really started to change yet. I feel a vast array of things; disbelief that it’s actually happening, denial that it’s actually happening, fear that it won’t continue to happen, guilt that it’s happened. But of course the overwhelming feeling is happiness. Both Paul and I are very, very terrified happy.

I may well expand on these various points at some point, but for now, some notes. Have you got a cup of tea? This is going to be a long ting…

On conceiving…

Whilst I’m more than happy to share the ins and outs of my sex life with my closest friends (some would say too happy), I am aware that the majority of us are strangers and that this is a public space, so I’ll try and skirt delicately around the outside. Trying to conceive (or TTC as anyone who’s been on a pregnancy forum will know) wasn’t particularly fun. The first time it was quick. Like, stupidly quick. First-time lucky quick, if you know what I mean. After the ectopic I took comfort from the many, well-meaning people who said “well at least you know you can conceive”. We had to wait three months after surgery before starting again and so in May (handily coinciding with our one-year anniversary) I went straight in with the ovulation sticks, thinking if I could just get the timing right it would happen fairly quickly.

It took nine months in the end, which I know for many people is no time at all, but for us, or particularly for me, it felt like an incredibly long time. It was frustrating. Upsetting. Confusing. In October, and with no whiff of a positive, I started acupuncture in the hope I could force the egg to release from my left ovary, seeing as it’s my left fallopian tube that remains intact. In January of this year I made an appointment with my Doctor to get the ball rolling for endometriosis tests. Since the ectopic I’d been spotting before my period for anything from 1-6 days and my acupuncturist had suggested I should perhaps have some further tests. My doctor was very understanding and agreed to book me in for an ultrasound, saying as he handed over the booking form, “…and if you’re pregnant already, you can use this scan to see the baby instead”. We both laughed politely and then a week later I took a test on the day my period was due and finally got the words I was hoping for: Pregnant. 2-3 weeks.

We didn’t do anything particularly different in January, the month we conceived. It was the same month we’d conceived last year, so I had a particular date in mind that I felt we should… you know… for old times sake. So what if it was a week before I was supposed to ovulate? We continued doing what we needed to do that month and lo and behold, the science finally worked. Whilst I’ve no idea when the actual magic happened, the fact that the teeny tiny being inside me is measuring a week ahead of what my dates suggest does make me think that that particular date I’d had in mind was meant to be.

On the first 12 weeks…

Or you could say, the longest 12 weeks of your life. I don’t quite know how we’re in April now and summer is in the not-so-distant future. In February I thought it was going to be February FOR EVERBecause of the ectopic the EPU had told me to skip the doctor and come straight back to them when I did fall pregnant again. I called the day I found out and got booked in for a scan three weeks later. THREE WEEKS LATER?! I spent those weeks anxiously waiting/checking for blood and when none came we made our way to the hospital on our allocated date, walking the green mile down to the Early Pregnancy Unit that had become so familiar last year.

The first time round there had been agonising silence whilst she searched my uterus, tubes and ovaries for anything resembling a yolk sac, prodding my belly over and over again and asking if anything hurt. This time she’d barely inserted the probe (sorry, there’s no nice way to put that) before turning the screen to face me and pointing out what half resembled a Bassett’s jelly baby floating happily in my womb.

Of course, the elation only lasted 24 hours before I started thinking of everything that could go wrong next. Paul would get quite upset with me for being so negative, actually, but I couldn’t help but scour the internet for statistics and tales of missed miscarriages. It didn’t help that I was and continue to be virtually symptom-free. I feel so grateful to have had no sickness what so ever, not even a dry heave. My boobs felt no more tender than they normally would if I gave them a hard squeeze. I wasn’t particularly tired. Bar the occasional ‘toilet issue’ and bleeding gum, I have felt completely and utterly normal, and whilst I can look back now and think how lucky I’ve been, at the time you can’t help but feel you’ve made the whole thing up.

I was nervous at the dating scan but had a bit of a ‘what will be, will be’ attitude by this point. Fortunately our being was still there, considerably bigger by this point and looking more human-like. There were no tears, just silence and awe as we lay in that darkened room, watching this thing that was supposedly inside me, convulsing away and moving it’s tiny limbs. It was a very, very special moment… and then I had to go to work and attempt to concentrate on other things. I hadn’t quite thought that through. Definitely wouldn’t recommend that.

On telling the world…

We had already let a few close friends and family members in on the secret during those first 12 weeks. I am a) too open for my own good, and b) known for being a total lush, so there were certain people it was just too impossible to hide it from. It felt good to have a small circle of people to talk about it with though- and these were all people that would have been told straight away if there had been bad news, so I wasn’t too concerned.

It’s been really lovely sharing the news with our wider circles over the last couple of weeks though. I’ve tried a variety of ways. ‘We’re having a baby” to the family. “I’m up the duff” to some friends. Or my personal favourite, “I’m with child”, said in mock-seriousness. To the majority of people though, it’s been the bog standard, “So…. (pause for effect)… I’m pregnant.” Cue whoops and hugs.

On what we want…

A baby? Just a healthy baby. Boy, girl, I really don’t mind. I’m more excited at the prospect of buying clothes and decorating the ‘nursery’ (I hate that word) for a girl, but boys are so damn cool and I do like the thought of a little man who at the age of 3, 16, 31 or 58 will think of me as the most brilliant/beautiful woman in the world. Well, you’d hope anyway. We’re not going to find out the sex.

Most days I still don’t actually believe it’s going to happen or fear that something will go wrong. I joined a forum fairly early on (which has it’s positives and negatives) and there are ladies out there who have already ordered buggies, bought 32 baby grows and have the moses basket by the bed ready and waiting. I don’t want to buy anything until I’ve had the 20-week scan, but we’ll see. Perhaps when my tummy starts to grow or I begin feeling movements I’ll feel compelled to buy the odd thing, but for now it’s window shopping only and business as usual. I have seven weddings to get through first!

So there we go. Some happy news and a half-decent explanation of why I haven’t been around so much the last couple of months. I would like to blog more about the pregnancy and the- touch wood- future baby if you’ll allow… But of course if you couldn’t give a hoot about babies or the like, Paris and Jennie will be on hand to talk all things wedding.

Have a lovely weekend all.

Sama xxx

Paris & Joe: The First Wedding Wobble!

Hello, hello, you collection of gorgeous people. Paris is back, and she has quite the wedding bombshell to drop. I’ve been racking my brains trying to think if I had any major wedding wobbles and I don’t think I did… other than the Miu-Whos of course. Anyone remember that saga?? I’ll let Paris take over from here, but if any of you have experienced a change of heart during your wedding planning experiences, then I’m sure both myself and Paris would love to hear!

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It feels like forever since my last blog. What with a week in France for my first ever ski trip (no broken bones, hooray!), and then the most hideous chest infection which took two weeks too long to shake, I admit I haven’t had much time to sit down and write. On top of all that, I have had my first Wedding Wobble. And what a wobble it has been!

It all started while sharing a delicious dressed crab salad with Joe at our favourite Whitstable restaurant, the Lobster Shack. If you cast your mind back to my venue blog this restaurant was also a venue that we had considered. We tend to visit this place regularly in the summer, ever since Joe discovered it with some uni friends in his first year, and it does amazing fresh local fish dishes. This was an unusual wintry visit after a need for some shellfish to cure a particularly bad hangover.

So there I am, a mouth full of crab and enjoying the winter sunshine and the decorations left over from yesterday’s wedding (twigs wrapped with fairy lights and hanging jars – beautiful!) when Joe wonders out loud why we aren’t getting married here. And my immediate response?

“I don’t know.”

Cue Joe’s Dragons’ Den style pitch. It’s one of our favourite restaurants. We have lunched there for years. We will lunch there for years to come. It’s coastal. We are coastal. It’s old and rustic. It has a history. It feels right. For a person who struggles with indecisiveness this was turning out to be a less than relaxing lunch and the chance of curing my hangover was looking less and less likely!

My counter pitch went a little something like this:

You know that thing where you book something and pay money? Yeah, we have done that. The barn has a history. The barn is a blank canvas. And then I couldn’t think of much else. It turned out the barn didn’t have as much of an emotional tug on me as our little old lobster shack. Joe had planted a seed that began to grow and grow.

Since that lunch we revisited the barn. Joe didn’t play air guitar on the wonderful stage, which saddened me, and I felt like I was saying a final goodbye to the venue we had gotten so excited about only a few months before. When I really sat down and thought about it I knew in my heart that the Lobster Shack was “us”. Joe, as smug as ever, reminded me that when he first took me to the Lobster Shack he told me it would be where we married and that when we got engaged it was the first venue we saw together, on his request. In turn, I reminded him that he could have bloody well said all this approximately 3 months ago when we were booking a different venue.

The Lobster Shack, Whitstable

Our heart of hearts… the Lobster Shack, Whitstable

Not long after, we booked our second venue. And cancelled the first. Luckily, the barn had required a somewhat modest deposit compared to what was required to book the Lobster Shack so the budget hasn’t taken a massive beating.

For me, the barn will always be the one that got away. It feels right to be marrying at the Shack, I am happy with the decision and I have thrown myself into finding a place for my beloved floral arch. But oh the beams, and the high ceiling, and the orchard at the barn! Can’t I have two weddings??

Paris x

Jennie & Andy: Many, Many, Many Marquees…

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Our wedding venue itself was an easy decision for us. We wanted low key, friendly and relaxed. We wanted somewhere that means something to us; somewhere we’ll look back on sentimentally for years to come. My Mum has a big garden attached to the house I grew up in. Easy decision.

What’s now proving just a little bit harder is deciding what exactly we’re going to put in it. There are many, many beautiful Pinterest images of tables set out on lawns underneath nothing but the stars and strings of fairy lights. This, however, is England, and we must be a little more realistic than that. England likes to rain. England especially likes to rain on the one day of your entire life you’d really rather it didn’t. A marquee it is then.

But what kind of marquee?

A quick browse of the Internet reveals dozens of different choices of marquees, tents and structures, all ready to become mobile wedding venues. Tipi-style tents look like good fun, and I adore the sweeping billowing curves of a Sperry sailcloth tent. Or how about a yurt? We camped in a Mongolian Yurt while we were travelling so it’d be a great reminder of our adventures. An ex military tent is a tempting option, they have lots of character and vintage charm. I temporarily fell in love with Indian style Raj tents. They seem to bring a touch of classic elegance and romance, but is that really the feel we’re going for? We’ve looked at very modern stretch tents, and some that fit together like little space age pods. Considered everything from glamorous fully furnished rented luxury marquees to second hand tents we could buy off eBay.

Once you’ve decided upon a style, the decisions still aren’t over. Do we need a catering tent? What sort of floor do we want? Solid floor, coconut matting, or nothing at all? Do we want to hire lighting with the marquee, or are we going to sort that ourselves? Yes, we’re having our first encounter with the weight of decisions that come with a do-it-yourself wedding!

Faced with so much choice, just how on earth do you go about picking one? It’s not like visiting a hotel or a country house. You can’t walk in and look around. We’re working off measurements, floor plans, photos and imagination, and it’s not easy. I want someone to erect all these tents in my garden and let me walk in and have a wander around, let me imagine how the cake table will look, where exactly Andy can put up the bar, what it will look like at the end when the dance floor is full and my shoes are kicked off in a corner.

Vintage canvas tents from LPM Bohemia

Vintage canvas tents from LPM Bohemia

I think though, without finalising any details at all, we’ve found the style we want. I love the idea of a vintage tent. In my head everything looks a little bit like a 1940s village fete, all bunting and flags. They fit exactly with the idea in my head when we first starting planning a garden reception. These traditional tents from LPM Bohemia are speaking to me. I love the canvas walls, the guy ropes and the scalloping. I adore how pretty the flags look fluttering on top. I can just see bunting, or fairy lights, or something else pretty hanging inside. The measurements would fit into our space, the floor plans say they’ll seat about the number of people we think we’re going to invite. They’re the perfect shape for long trestle tables, we should be able to fit in the dance floor and, we think, even a stage. Guy ropes are a little bit of a risk (no one wants Granny taking a head first tumble over an unseen rope…) but they have so much more charm than the framed tent. I really, really don’t want the marquee to look like a pop up two-man tent we picked it up at the local camping shop. Yes, I think my heart is set on a traditional vintage tent.

I guess now we just need to commit to actually booking one!

Have you ever hired a marquee? Any ideas of what we should be looking for??

Jennie x

Jennie & Andy: The National Wedding Show- Yay or Nay?

Good morning all! I hope you had a lovely weekend. Down south it was lovely and sunny and spring-like- Paul and I are starting to venture back out in to our garden and doing a lot of thinking about how to bring it back to life after the long winter… including spending a flipping fortune on new fencing, yikes. But to the matter in hand… Jennie is back today with a ruddy brilliant post about her recent trip to the National Wedding Show. It’s a bit of a rite of passage for newly engaged folk, but is all the hype worth it? I wrote a little ditty on my opinion of wedding fairs a while back, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. What’s the best wedding fair you’ve been to and why, I wonder…?

jennie&andy

Last weekend I headed to London Olympia with my Mum and good friend Chantal to visit the National Wedding Show. I booked the tickets in a fit of excitement mostly because I was going to be a bride and that meant I could! After booking though I think we all had a touch of trepidation about the day. We’d heard stories of a packed out event, full of pushy sales people and the kind of tense atmosphere that comes when you pack thousands of women under one roof. So how did we find the event? Lets start with the good things:

  • The dresses. There are LOTS of dresses. Racks and racks of lace, satin and tulle. Miles of beading, embroidery and pearls. If you’re looking for dress inspiration, you’re bound to find something here. It was my first real chance to really get an idea of what wedding dresses are actually like, feel the fabrics, and see what they look like up close. I actually tried on my first wedding dress too – eek!
  • Goodie Bags! Call me shallow, but I do love a goodie bag. There’s something incredibly exciting to me about delving into a bag, not knowing what you’ll find, like taking home a party bag when you’re little. I am a real sucker for anything in miniature, even if that miniature thing is a sample-sized box of washing powder….
  • It’s an excellent excuse for a girl’s day out. We made a real day of it, going for afternoon tea afterwards at The Landmark Hotel (which, by the way, I’d highly recommend if you need ideas for wedding related celebrations. The food was incredible, and they even brought out a special congratulations cake for me). You’ll be faced with lots of little cake samples and shot sized cocktail samples to keep you going, and it’s a great place to try on hats and sparkly things. My Mum tried on some fabulous hats, and Chantal and I modelled some spectacularly blingy tiaras.
  • There are a lot of deals going on should be you be hunting down specifics. We’re not quite ready for any of this, but there were big discounts on photographers, wedding rings and dozens of wedding abroad packages.
  • If you time your day right you can catch lots of bridal workshops covering a range of bridal beauty tips from hair and make up, to how to walk in heels and how to avoid falling over on that walk down the aisle. The latter being something I didn’t realise I needed to be worrying about, but now causes me occasional shudders of dread!

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Then there are the not so good bits:

  • There are, it is true, so many dresses to choose from. But, if you’re dreaming of a beautiful experience trying on your dresses I’m afraid you’re unlikely to find it here. You’re taken into a barely curtained off area to get into your dress. Piles of clothes are scattered all over the floor, and everywhere you turn women are being hoisted in and out of dresses. There’s a lot of bridal flesh on show, be prepared to see a lot of strangers in their knickers. I was yanked into the dress (which on closer inspection was rather marked with the various shades of foundation worn by the women who’d come before me) by a woman affectionalty known as ‘Tarzan’, which, needless to say, didn’t do wonders for my body confidence. You’ll show your dress find to your Mum and your maids in amongst a host of other girls in wedding dresses. The first wedding dress I’d worn in front of my Mum and not even a slightly moist eye.
  • It gets BUSY. I mean really busy. The morning was fine and we had plenty of space to browse, but by early afternoon it was become overwhelmingly heaving. There were long queues at every stall, and it was starting to get rather hot and uncomfortable.
  • A lot of the stands are rather similar, and after a while things begin to get repetitive. This isn’t the place to pick up inspiration for something a little different. There is a vintage area, but its small, and you won’t be picking up very many tips for DIY.
  • VIP tickets, aside from giving us all a lovely new set of nail varnishes, isn’t really worth the extra money. You’ll still only get a seat for the catwalk show if you get yourself to the VIP area 40 minutes before the show, and the bare minerals make over was booked out for the day even when we went in at 10am.

What did I get out of the day? Well I’ve learnt that putting cider into champagne flute does not make it a cheap bubbles option, and that having a veil on my head makes me feel very odd indeed. I came away with a shoulder-aching haul of catalogues, business cards and fliers, most of which on closer inspection at home turned out to be completely useless, and an intense sugar buzz from all the samples of cake and booze. On a more positive note, I brought away with me the names of a couple of photographers whose style I liked, and a better idea of the kinds of wedding stationary available.

My Mum and I.

Me, Mum… and our heaving goody bags!

I’d like to try a smaller, more local wedding fair, or maybe one of the vintage fairs that are touring the country. Does anyone have any experience of those? Were they inspiring? Did you get anything out of the day? The National Show was fun, but did feel a little soulless.

So would I recommend the National Wedding Show? Well, yes, but know what you’re getting into. It’s a fun day out if you’re starting out with your planning and still in the first throws of wedding planning excitement. Go early, wear something light, take a sturdy shoulder bag and book yourself something relaxing for afterwards.

Tell me about your experiences of wedding fairs and shows. Are there any you’d recommend visiting?

Jennie x

The Portrait Project

I worked with Claudia Rose Carter on a beautiful wedding last year and think she’s a brilliant photographer. She completely and utterly has her own photographic style; it’s not your typical clean and shiny wedding photography, it’s a bit more interesting that. A little bit edgy, a little bit arty, a little bit moody and evocative… and very gorgeous indeed.

So when she put a call out on her Facebook page for willing subjects to come and be a part of a personal project she was about to embark on, I’d shot my hand up and volunteered probably a little too quickly than is deemed cool.

Hence I found myself in Claudia and her partner’s lovely home in Essex one chilly afternoon in February. We drank several cups of tea and waxed lyrical about various things industry related until it was time to pick up camera and take a few shots. I let Claudia very much direct me- it was her project after all- and although there were a few cries of “I don’t know what to do with my arms”, or “Shall I smile? I feel like I ought to smile”, it was actually very calming just to gaze out the window, not over think things, and let Claudia snap whatever she saw.

I like the final images the more and more I look at them. At first glance my natural instinct was to self critique and recoil in horror, but taking myself out of the equation I can see they are beautiful images. Very simple, very real, very raw. I like the use of light and shade, and the double exposure. I like how everything is a little bit off centre and imperfect. I like how I just look like me, flyaway hair, smile lines, lack of jaw-line and all.

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All images by Claudia Rose Carter

Here’s a little bit from Claudia:

“I started the portrait project as an inspiration to step away from my wedding photography and be able to bring in new inspiration to the way that I shoot. My style on a wedding day is predominately photo journalistic, however I’ve always loved portraits and that aspiration to capture that one moment in frame. I’m shooting the whole thing on a Mamiya 645 medium format camera and, increasingly, only black and white film.”

You can follow The Portrait Project on Claudia’s blog. I was the first to take part (I told you- incredibly eager and uncool), but I’m so looking forward to seeing more.

What do you think?

Sama xxx

 

Paris & Joe: The Dress Search Begins!

Paris&Joe

I have officially died and gone to wedding dress heaven. Last weekend my best friend and Maid of Honour, Stacie, came with me to my first ever wedding dress appointment. Now, I realise that this may be just a tad premature being that the wedding is still eighteen months away, but I have been chomping at the bit to go to this particular boutique ever since I got engaged. It is the boutique that Stacie and I both walk past every time we go shopping in that city. We look in and swoon at the dresses, the brides and the oh-so-glamorous décor of the place. Being appointment only, we have only ever pressed our noses to the window and dreamt of the day that we will one day be part of the exclusive gang that get to actually go inside.

Well, that day has come.

My love obsession with this boutique was intensified when I realised that they stock a particular Pinterest dress that I had only gone and pinned about a hundred times. With that in mind, in the week leading up to the appointment we were like school children again, bubbling with anticipation. I think Joe found me unbearable.  There was one catch to this visit. My wedding dress budget currently stands at a fairly generous £2,000. The dresses in this boutique are not £2,000. The compromise? I have agreed to buy my dress second hand. Now hold that thought…

Inside the boutique.

Inside the boutique.

The experience in the boutique was everything I could have wanted and more. We were the only ones in the boutique and just pawing through the rails of beautifully detailed dresses was brilliant enough, let alone actually trying some on. I was allowed to pick five, which was probably for the best considering that I think I loved them all. Stacie chose one of the five, a lacey Lusan Mandongus number with a sweetheart neckline. We both agreed that it would be criminal not to try on the biggest, puffiest dress in the shop and so a rather large Allure dress was added to the rail. I then selected two Jenny Packhams, which later turned to three, and another Lusan Mandongus.

Dress inspiration

Dress inspiration

Wearing my most attractive nude underwear, the assistant carefully buttoned, zipped and tied me into the dresses. Getting into the Allure was downright hilarious as my feet could literally not find the floor for all the frothy tulle. Standing on one leg in heels, I genuinely thought me and the assistant would come tumbling through the curtain at any moment. Alas, the Allure was not meant to be as I could barely move. And as lovely as the Lusan Mandongus dresses were, I just didn’t feel I had the teeny tiny waist required for such tight fishtail dresses. I was sad to put them to one side.

Then in stepped Jenny Packham to save the day. Oh my goodness those dresses are wonderful. I don’t think I have ever felt so glamorous! One of the dresses I tried was covered in tiny sparkly beads from head to toe. It was beautiful. Wearing one of the shops pairs of bridal shoes I walked toward the mirror and then took a rather large step back, despite having just been told that the one rule of wedding dresses is to never, ever step back. There was one downside to being the only ones in the shop – the audible crunch echoed as my shoe came down on the beads of a £3,000 dress. The dress crunched and so did my dreams of buying second hand as I realised that I was not the first or last to stand on a Jenny Packham (especially not after a few wines). Could I really be happy with a dress that was most likely damaged?

I heart Jenny Packham

I heart Jenny Packham

And so I learned three things from my first dress trying experience. 1. The dress will be a Packham. 2. My Excel spreadsheet is going to hate me. But not as much as Joe will. 3. I need to find a new favourite boutique.

Paris x