Paris & Joe: The Venue Hunt- Lost Weekends, Indecision, and The One

Paris&Joe

Let’s talk wedding venues. Once engaged we quickly realised that booking the venue was top of the priority list. By Christmas, in fact. And so the venue hunt began and we were suddenly a couple obsessed with trawling the internet for “the one”. If there is something that you should know about me it is that I cannot make a decision. Coupled with the fact that when I am forced, in very rare circumstances, to actually make a decision, I will mull over said decision until I eventually change my mind again. You can imagine Joe’s dread over the thought of choosing the venue then.

The process was not exactly organised. I read of couples having a block of weeks booked up with a shortlist of carefully selected venues. Our way consisted of three months of random viewings across Kent with no real goal of actually booking something. We had no criteria set out – something I now realise should have been part of initial discussions. But I think even we didn’t know what we were looking for. The first venue we saw was St Augustines in Westgate on Sea. The chapel is deconsecrated and so a non-religious ceremony is permitted. As lovers of beautiful buildings but not religious in any way, St Augustines seemed like a strong choice on paper. I was surprised to find that as I stood at the end of the aisle looking toward Joe at the other end, a lump formed in my throat. The chapel was absolutely stunning but there was little flexibility to have only the ceremony there and the reception packages were both pricey and simply not us. We quickly realised a ballroom reception was the exact opposite of what we wanted.

Onwards we went.

From that point we investigated countless options, feeling an almost impossible need to beat each and every last venue we had seen. Options that we visited included The Great Barn at Rolvenden (barn, dry hire, countryside), the East Quay Venue at Whitstable (one of our favourite restaurants, beach location, quirky), The Gallivant at Rye (sandy beach – big pull, great food, boutique style), The Great Conservatory at Syon Park (EXPENSIVE). We briefly flirted with a wedding abroad and I spent a whole weekend researching lemon grove wedding packages in Italy. When we realised that most of our guests would be unable to come, that idea was shelved along with the idea of getting married at our engagement location in Grand Cayman. And with long journeys out of the question, I sadly cancelled the viewing we had arranged of Polhawn Fort in Cornwall.

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Clockwise from top left: The Lobster Shack, Whitstable; The Great Barn, Rolvenden; The Gallivant, Rye; St Augustine’s, Westgate-on-sea

Meanwhile, one of my bridesmaids who got engaged a few weeks after me had viewed a venue and then booked the very same venue on the spot without even a flicker of doubt. I started to wonder whether I would ever have that “the one” feeling. And so one sunshiney December afternoon we drove the hour distance through gorgeous Kentish countryside for our second viewing of the Great Barn at Rolvenden. With Joe playing air guitar on the barn’s stage I realised that maybe the right venue had been under our noses all along. All our venues had been unique, but the Great Barn was the only dry hire venue we had managed to find. There was the lure of the freedom the venue allowed. We could get creative and put our ideas and dreams into reality without limitation and the restrictions that packages can entail. Although we still hadn’t any hard and fast criteria for a venue, we knew how we wanted our day to play out and it felt like many venues didn’t fit with how we saw our day going. Dry hire removed this issue.

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Rocking out on the Great Barn stage

We spent the entire journey home excitedly discussing food, signature cocktails and entertainment. I had images of huge chalkboard signs with our drinks and food menus, hay bales in the orchard, homemade decorations packing out the vast barn and all of our friends partying the night away in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Within a few days we had emailed Joan at the Barn to confirm our date and pay the deposit – our venue was booked and all I could feel was relief. For me I felt that one of the hardest decisions had been made and a huge weight had been lifted. We had a date, a place and the wedding planning process could fully begin. I think Joe was just pleased we wouldn’t be spending any more weekends trekking to far- flung places across Kent!

So over to you, has anyone else found the venue hunt as hard as I did? It would be great to hear some of your own experiences of the finding “the one”.

Paris xx

Jennie & Andy: A Proposal and a Ring Story

jennie&andy

Hello again! Things are getting exciting around these parts, this past week our ideas seem to have started coming together, and we’ve narrowed down some of the details we really want. For the first time I can really see our day when I close my eyes, and Andy’s getting really into planning which is fantastic. But, before we get into the juicy wedding planning details, I’m going to go backwards a little bit and tell you a story; a story about a proposal and a ring. A story that takes place in Russia, about 900 miles from Moscow…

It was a freezing snowy day last November; I don’t think the temperature got above minus 15 all day. We’d spent the morning exploring beautiful onion-domed churches and sliding around on icy roads, bundled up in six layers in an attempt not to freeze. It only took me until lunch time to have had about enough of the feeling I was about to lose my fingers to the cold, and I’d started dropping hints about heading back to the hostel and hiding out in the warm.

Instead, in a move that seemed a little cruel at the time, Andy insisted we got in a taxi and drove out of town to the border between Asia and Europe. It was a remote place, edged by forest and just a few miles from the Ural Mountains, and on such a cold day, we were the only people there, a line on the snowy ground marking the place where continents meet.

We stood together on the Asian side of the border, getting ready to jump across into Europe. Then, taking me completely by surprise, Andy got down on one knee in the snow, said some beautiful words, and pulled out a little red box.

With the most enormous, ridiculous grin on my face, I said yes.

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Of course, I’m sure you’ll be wanting to know about the ring! I was never the type of girl who knew exactly what engagement ring she’d want. I’d always had strong ideas about rings I didn’t like, but I found it very hard to pick upon any I actually did like. In fact, the only ring I’d ever seen I would confidently say I’d be happy to have on my finger cost about the same as a small country manor! I have to give Andy full marks for bravery for picking out the ring himself, and I’m so glad he did. I know this is terribly gushy and cheesy, but somehow he managed to find the perfect ring for me, when even I didn’t know what my perfect ring was!

The ring itself is a beautiful delicate diamond covered band, with a single diamond in the centre. I have no idea how he managed to find it in Hong Kong, where the engagement ring style follows the principle of more being most definitely more. It’s delicate, dainty and so, so pretty. At first I was worried about it. Surely dainty, elegant rings are for dainty elegant ladies? I would never have thought that was me. I had fears of fat fingers highlighted against its slim band of white gold, and I was absolutely terrified I was going to break it! Now (sorry, soppiness again!) I can’t imagine anything else.

Post proposal, photo-ooth happiness.

Post proposal, photo-ooth happiness.

How he managed to get the ring and keep it a secret for over two months of travelling is beyond me! Our luggage was shared between us in two, rather grubby, dusty, held-together-with-safety-pins backpacks that had seen better days. To this day I have absolutely no idea where Andy was hiding it, or how he managed to smuggle it half way around South East Asia, right around China and the length of Russia. I’d seen those bags unpacked and repacked so many times yet never caught sight of this little red velvet box.

I guess sometimes its just best not to ask!

Jennie x

Sunday Utterings: 21 Questions

I thought I’d pop on and say Hello on this dreary and really rather chilly Sunday evening. It’s been nearly two years since the last Sunday Utterings after all. (Whaaaa?!) We all know by now that I have ‘issues’ with blogging often or even regularly. I used to beat myself up about it but I’m over that now. Life is just tooooo short. Sometimes I have a spare hour and find myself thinking ‘I should blog’, but then a clearer, calmer, lovelier voice a bit like Joanna Lumley’s comes in to my head saying ‘No darling. You work hard, you deserve to watch this repeat of Location Location Location. Have another biscuit’. So I do, and I don’t feel guilty (most of the time).

One of my favourite blogs to read is called A Safe Mooring. It’s written by a person called Kirsty who began blogging after she got married in 2011, and who is, quite frankly, a brilliant writer and makes me guffaw with laughter every time she puts fingers to keyboard. I discovered her way too late in her blogging career (like, last year) and girl-crushed on her for a while until something a little bit rubbish happened in her personal life and she stopped blogging so often. (And then something amazing happened and she had a baby, so I think it’s all good now.)

When she hadn’t blogged for a while she wrote this post: the answers to 21 random questions about herself. It was lifted from another blog which had been lifted from another blog which had probably been lifted from another blog…. you get the picture. Essentially, it seems like it’s quite a good bloggy-type post to write/answer when you’re struggling to formulate anything more interesting. So I thought I’d give it a go…

Question 1: How tall are you?

5’4″. It’s a good height, I’m happy with it.

Question 2: Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what?

I love to drum along to music using my hands and my thighs. I’m talking off-the-cuff, blow-your-mind rhythms. Paul loves it. (No really, he loves it and will quite often ask me to ‘do it again’ after a particularly mind-blowing riff.)

Question 3: What’s your biggest blog-related pet peeve?

In the wedding blog world it’s images from a wedding day that are dropped in to a blog post in no particular order. Call me old fashioned, but when I’m reading about someone’s wedding, I like to follow the day from the beginning right through to the end.

Question 4: What’s your biggest non blog-related pet peeve?

Waiting to be served at a till when nothing seems to be happening ahead of you. I like to be served quickly and efficiently with a polite smile and minimum conversation.

Question 5: What’s your favourite song?

Currently, Uptown Funk. I cannot listen to it without imagining I’m on the Strictly Come Dancing final rocking out some kind of epic street-dance/tango/samba showdance.

But… This Woman’s Work by Kate Bush never fails to give me goosebumps.

Question 6: What’s your favourite Etsy shop that isn’t yours?

I don’t have a shop and I don’t have a favourite. Stupid question.

Question 7: What’s your favourite way to spend your free time when you’re alone? 

Shopping at Bluewater. Just me, my debit card and the entire population of north-west Kent.

Question 8: What’s your favourite junk food?

Pizza is my automatic answer but as I like it thin I don’t consider it a junk food. So I’d go McDonalds. A Big Tasty meal with still Fanta, even though they don’t do it anymore- sob!

Question 9: Do you have a pet or pets? If so what kind and what are their names?

Lenny the cat. My ginger joy.

lenny

He’s not this cute when he’s face-pawing me at 6 in the morning.

Question 10: What are your number one favourite fiction and non-fiction books?

When I was 13 I read The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans three times in a row and declared it my favourite book of all time. Horses, a love story and a seriously steamy sex scene- what more could a 13 year old girl want? I don’t read non-fiction other than blogs and house magazines…

Question 11: What’s your favourite beauty product?

I can’t choose one, I just can’t. The four I couldn’t live without are- in no particular order- Palmer’s Cocoa Butter (fragrance free), Vaseline Rosy Lips, Johnson’s Face Wipes (the pink ones) and Soap & Glory Hand Food.

Question 12: When were you last embarrassed? What happened?

26th (and 27th) December 2013. I got stupidly drunk at Boxing Day drinks with Paul’s family and spectacularly flashed my father in law when I spilt a drink over myself and fell backwards, legs akimbo. The next day I had to cancel visiting my own family because I had my head down the toilet.

Question 13: If you could only drink one beverage (besides water) for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I’d be very ill, but cranberry juice or lime and soda.

Question 14: What’s your favourite movie?

Strictly Ballroom. If I could never watch it again I would very possibly die of misery.

Question 15: What were you in high school: prom queen, nerd, cheerleader, jock, valedictorian, band geek, loner, artist, prep?

I’m not sure how these translate to english, but in terms of popularity I was somewhere in the middle. A drama geek who liked to get good grades and court the teachers, but just about managed to be liked/tolerated by the hard girls.

Question 16: If you could live anywhere in the world, where you would you live?

California. More specifically, San Francisco or San Diego. At least for a year anyway and then I’d really miss Sainsbury’s and normal people and I’d have to head back to suburbia.

SAM_0368

My happy place.

Question 17: PC or Mac?

I have a macbook and like it because it’s light and pretty and makes me feel cool.

Question 18: Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boy/girlfriend, spouse?

Paul had a beautiful bunch of flowers sent to me at work on V-Day (after heavily hinting that the gesture would go down well). And then I came home to find he’d put our new dining room light up which involved cutting chains and wiring in and all sorts. I married a good’un.

light

The light of love and wonder.

Question 19: Favourite celebrity?

I’m going to pretend this question was slightly different and answer with my favourite celebrity partnership which is Caroline Flack and Olly Murs. The Xtra Factor is nothing without them.

Question 20: What blogger do you secretly want to be best friends with?

I want to be best friends with Caroline Flack and Olly Murs, but the blogger I would most like to blog like is Kirsty from A Safe Mooring.

Question 21: What do you have hung on your wall that you adore?

Paul’s balls.

I jest! The real answer is the horse print by Marta Gottfried I have hung in my living room.

IMG_0389

If only my living room was always this tidy.

And bonus question 22: When are you going to start blogging properly again?

Soon! Now stop going on about it… In the meantime I have Paris and Jennie doing an awesome job for me :)

Sama xxx

Jennie & Andy: An Introduction

Oh my goodness, I’m really spoiling you this week with two posts. And it’s all because I’m introducing two beautiful ladies who you’re going to get to know very well indeed over the eighteen months or so! On Monday we met Paris, but today it’s all about Jennie, the second of my Uttering Brides.

Jennie and Andy have been on a real adventure for the last few years, and their globe-trotting is going to be at the heart of their wedding which I love the sound of. Jennie is also a scha-mayzing baker and writes a baking blog which you should all follow immediately. Seriously, this girl can bake, so I’m fully expecting a cake table heaving with delectable delights… no pressure, eh Jennie?!

This is going to be a super pretty and personal wedding story. Her Pinterest boards have already got me swooning. Shall we begin?

jennie&andy

Hello, I’m Jennie. A 27-year-old sort of teacher, moonlighting food blogger, and enthusiastic baker. Last November Andy, my bearded Hull City-supporting, malt whisky-loving boyfriend, got down (rather briefly!) on one knee in the Russian snow on the border between Asia and Europe, and pulled a ring out of his pocket.

Entirely unexpected as a place for a proposal but it turned out to be (frost bitten knee aside!) the perfect place for us. You see, up until the end of last summer we were living in Hong Kong. We met 6 years ago in Reading, where I was studying and Andy worked for a youth charity. Less than a year later, Andy was offered a job in Hong Kong and off he went, leaving me in England. Unluckily for him I refused to be left behind, and within a few months I’d followed him half way around the world to start a new life in Asia together.

We fell in love with our new found Eastern home, living for the towering bright lights, escapes to the beach, and copious amounts of fried rice; disappearing off around South East Asia at every possible opportunity. Last September though, we decided it was time to drag ourselves away, and head back to the UK, for a little while at least. We took the long way home, coming overland on dozens of trains, the odd motorbike, and more horrendously uncomfortable over-night bus rides than I care to remember. That continental border then, signifying the building of our relationship across Europe and Asia, was pretty special for us.

Anyway, enough of our story for now! Let’s get on to the important stuff – the wedding! After all the moving about, we’re going for something completely different for our wedding day. As close to home as you could possibly get, for me at least. On the 6th August 2016 we’ll be saying our vows in the gorgeous little church in the village where I grew up, then heading back to my Mum’s garden for the reception.

Uttering Bride Collage 3

All we’ve really got fixed on so far, except for the Church, is that Andy doesn’t have to wear a suit! The things that are really important to us though are the food, the drink and the atmosphere. We want to create a day that’s fun and relaxed, a day everyone really enjoys. A day full of personal touches and little details. I’ve got dreams of vintage tent marquees, jars of wild flowers, food trucks, hay-bales, strings of lights and lanterns in the trees. We want to bring our Asian life into the day in some way without making it a theme as such. Maps? Food? We’re not sure but its important that its there. Suggests very much welcome!

Uttering Bride Collage 2

We’ll be doing a lot of the day ourselves, utilising the talents of friends and family. Crossing my fingers my DIY dreams don’t turn into Pinterest disasters! My brother has already volunteered to make a bar, wooden signs to go around the garden, and potentially a dance floor. I’ve got my heart set on a cake table laden with delicious goodies baked by friends (cake, you’ll soon discover, is very important to me!), and Andy’s eyeing up brewing his own beer. My Mum even offered to knit my wedding dress…. we think (hope?!) she was joking! I’ve got a notion too, that I’ll no doubt regret in a year’s time, that I want to bake our wedding cake myself.

Uttering Bride Collage 1

So I guess now its time to start moving these ideas off my Pinterest boards and notebooks, and into reality! I’m really excited to be on this journey as an Uttering Bride, and I’m looking forward to sharing it all with you!

Jennie xx

Paris & Joe: A Big Hello

Good morning you lovely lot! It’s a brand new week and I’m a little bit excited to kick off with a brand new series for The Utter Blog. A few weeks ago I tentatively put out the feelers for an Uttering Bride to dust off her typing fingers, don her blogging cap and take us on her wedding planning journey, and I got some fab entries, I have to say. So fab, it was nigh on impossible to narrow it down to just one. I ummed and ahhed, I got some very important opinions and I went back and forth, but eventually it came down to two… And at two it’s stayed. That’s right- I now have TWO Uttering Brides. The next year and a half is going to be jam-packed full of wedding-y goodness and I cannot wait.

So first up to introduce herself is Paris, who I have to admit I am terribly biased towards as she may or may not be getting married at the same barn venue as me. Ahem. Clearly this is a woman with good taste. But, marvellous venue choice aside, Paris’ email to me exuded enthusiasm and warmth, and her Pinterest board was right up my street. You’ll be hearing a lot more from this lovely lady over the next seventeen months, so I hope you’ll join me in giving her a very warm welcome to The Utter Blog. I’ll be popping up in my usual irregular way, don’t you worry, but I have to say I’m very, very, VERY happy to have a wedding story (or two!) to follow again. Make sure you pop back later in the week for my second Uttering Bride’s Big Hello.

Paris, it’s over to you…

Paris&Joe

As I push open the sliding doors and take my first steps on to our balcony, it isn’t the clear moonlit sky and sound of the waves that I notice. No, I am noticing that all of the previously well arranged balcony furniture has now been hastily rearranged in a haphazard pile at one corner of the balcony. Why? My boyfriend of seven years is just about to propose. But before we get to the nitty gritty proposal details, a little about the bride and groom to be. I’m Paris and I’m a 25 year old paralegal and trainee-solicitor-to-be by day, and risotto extraordinaire, book devourer and keen yoga lover by night. Baked cheese is my weakness (any variety, I am not fussy) and cinnamon is my nemesis – are you noticing a food theme? I first met my now fiancé, Joe, when we were 12 and he was giving one of my friends a rather slobbery kiss outside my Saturday dance class. Needless to say, I was less than enamoured. But six years on he had finally won me round and after a heap of pirate impressions on our first date to see Pirates Of The Caribbean we became inseparable. Joe works in marketing and is a complete technology and comic book nerd, the most disorganized person I have ever met, and truly and genuinely hilarious. IMG-20150204-WA0000 So why do I want to be an Uttering Bride? Weddings seem to come with a stigma attached that you will spend the entire planning process stressed and frazzled, being pulled from one meeting to the next and will finally breathe a big sigh of relief that it is all over once the big day arrives. I don’t want that to be my planning experience and hope that, by being a part of The Utter Blog, I can enjoy the process and gain the valuable input of other planning brides or newlyweds. Reading Sama’s blogs inspired me to get creative with my wedding planning and I can’t wait to share my wedding successes and failures with The Utter Blog followers. I have so many plans and ideas already and here is a little of what I think you can expect from my wedding (please don’t hold me to any of it!):

  • Plenty of colour! You will see from my mood boards that a colour scheme is yet to be decided but that either way I want the theme to be bright and fun. It is so tempting to go “pastel” in a countryside wedding but I want to move away from that and go a bit more vibrant.
  • Flowers galore. I absolutely love flowers, fresh or fake, and they will be a big feature at the wedding. My step mum owns a florist and has very very kindly agreed to do our flowers so we won’t be restrained by the cost. I am spending most of my time dreaming of floral arches at the moment (thanks Pinterest!).
  • Handmade touches. I plan to customise a lot of the wedding myself. I have already roped a bridesmaid into helping make table runners and Joe has been sizing up a homemade bar. Along with invites, centre pieces, all stationary, guestbook, table plan, hair pieces, signs and countless other things I am yet to think of, I am sure we have one hell of a task on our hands. I can’t guarantee that my homemade plans will end in success but we will give it a go all the same!

IMG-20150204-WA0002IMG-20150204-WA0001With a dry hire venue already booked, the challenge of wedding planning is ready and waiting – so Uttersons, are you with me? The count down to 3rd September 2016 has begun.

Paris xx

The Uttering Bride: Could It Be You?

So, January is well underway. The weather is cold and damp, the traffic is awful, and all across the land resolutions are being attempted… and in many cases broken.

I’ve failed at my first one which is to only eat chocolate at weekends and during my time of the month (needs must) thanks to a very tempting box of M&S chocs I was given post-Christmas. But I am only having 1 or 2 each evening which is definitely less chocolate than I was consuming in December, or indeed throughout the whole of 2014. My other resolutions (as if writing them down will make them unbreakable) include:

  • To take a weekly dance class. (I’m thinking Latin and Ballroom so I can emulate my girl crush and fantasy BFF, Caroline Flack.)
  • To cap my weekend drinking at a bottle of wine. (I can happily go all week without alcohol but I binge at the weekends and the hangovers are just getting worse).
  • To eat less sugar generally. (I knew it already but sugar really is the devil. For productivity, energy, fertility, happiness… And whilst I’m not going to drastically change my diet to the extent that I no longer have the odd bowl of Start in the morning, or my Sunday hangover cure of a San Pellegrino Limonata, I am trying to avoid the obvious bad stuff- cakes, biscuits, white bread etc.)

Continuing along this vein, Paul is also on a bit of a New Year health kick and the Hemsley household has had a very wholesome start to the year, I must say. There have been squat and plank evenings in front of the telly, a switch to wholewheat pasta and brown bread (not such a new thing for me but Paul is a white food addict), evening jogging (again, Paul, not me), and more exotic-looking, dark green vegetables than I’ve ever seen or eaten in my whole life. Long may it last! (Well, until tonight when we’re treating our good selves to a Friday night kebab, YES.)

Anyway, back to the matter in hand.

SP-0218 copy

As I was squatting away the other night I was thinking about the blog and my goals for it in 2015 (Paul was doing the counting), and I came to the conclusion that what The Utter Blog is lacking is its raison d’être, its essence, the driving force that started it all… Uttersons, we need a wedding.

Operation Amazing Wedding was the thing that got me writing and you reading. It was, in effect, a 17-month long story with a beginning, a middle and a very happy end. Through blogging my wedding planning journey I rediscovered a love of writing, made a whole host of social media friends and followers, gained the courage and confidence to launch my business, made (very small) waves within the industry, and even got some great deals with my wedding suppliers. There is NOTHING I regret about blogging my wedding. To be quite frank, it changed my life.

But I’m an old, married hen now. My focus has changed from being a regularly blogging bride-to-be to an occasionally blogging wedding planner, wife and home-maker-come-interior-designer. (I say that last one with my tongue firmly implanted in my right cheek.) But my goodness I’m missing a wedding. Aren’t you?

So The Utter Blog is recruiting. Now I have to state first-off that this is not a job in a monetary sense. What most jobs will pay in money, The Utter Blog will pay in gratitude, love and respect (*makes heart shape with her fingers*). And whilst I can’t guarantee that writing for The Utter Blog will change your life, I can guarantee that for every new follower you gain, every tweet you receive and every encouraging comment you get for your blog posts, your wedding planning journey will just get more and more enjoyable.

So what am I looking for?

  1. Well, ideally you will be very recently engaged, or just at the beginning of the wedding planning process. (Whilst it won’t go against you if you already have your venue or a couple of suppliers booked, I do want to follow the whole shebang where possible.)
  2. I’m in it for the long haul, so ideally you’ll be getting married in 2016, or the end of 2015.
  3. I’m a sucker for a blank canvas venue, so whether you’re getting married in a barn, warehouse, marquee, campsite, museum, studio or any other dry hire venue, I want to hear from you.
  4. It’s all in the detail- you don’t have to be super-crafty, but the overall aesthetic and styling of your wedding has to be important to you.
  5. You’ve got to love writing and be prepared to share. And if you can make me laugh, all the better.

And what do I want from you?

Your story. Regular posts.

It’s really that simple. You can blog twice in a week or once in a month, I really don’t mind as long as we get to follow you from the beginning right through to the wedding day itself. Posts can be short and sweet, or long and long and musing. If you find your perfect wedding shoe and want to shout about it- brilliant. If you decide to make your own version of said perfect wedding shoe and care to share your DIY prowess- even better. If later down the line you realise your DIY wedding shoes are a painful abomination and you need to spend an extortionate amount on a designer pair instead- PERFECT.

Need some more blogging inspiration? Have an Operation Amazing Wedding montage…

montage1

Clockwise from top left: 1. Finding the venue / 2. Bridesmaid dress shopping / 3. Pimping up jam jars / 4. The dresses that got away / 5. Wedding day / 6. Make-up trials and very bad hair

Ok, so you want to be my Uttering Bride- how do you apply?

In 3 simple steps:

1. Email me at sama@utterlywow.co.uk ands tell me about yourself and a bit about your wedding story so far. You may want to tell me how you got engaged, or how you found your venue, or simply why you’re so looking forward to being wed. Ultimately I need to know that you meet the criteria above, so be sure to mention where and when you are getting or hope to be getting married.

2. Please include a link to your wedding Pinterest board, or if you’re not on Pinterest, send me a few images of the kind of wedding aesthetic that’s inspiring you. I want to see what rocks your wedding world.

3. If you can also give me an indication of how regularly you would like to blog, that would be great. Lordy knows it’s time consuming, so I’m not going to choose someone simply because they say they will be able to blog the most regularly. I’d like to know what you reasonably feel you can commit to.

There are no right or wrong answers and I’m not going to put it to a public vote. At the moment I think I’m just after one Uttering Bride and it will simply come down to who I feel the most drawn to and who’s wedding journey I want to follow! (Not to mention the fact that I may only get two applicants.) But if I’m inundated with wonderfulness and simply can’t choose, maybe I’ll have a couple of Uttering Brides. We shall see.

Fancy sharing your story and gaining a whole host of new friends along the way? Please send your emails through by Friday 23rd January and I shall pick a bride-to-be shortly after.

Oh I’m excited! What do you think Uttersons? Are we ready for another Operation Amazing Wedding?

Sama xxx

2014, You Were… Challenging

Dear 2014,

I tried Interesting, Unpredictable, Up & Down… but I think Challenging sums you up best. We all knew you had big boots to fill after the scha-mazing year that was 2013, but I remember starting the year with renewed vigour following The Survey of Dreams in which I asked my readers to send as many compliments my way as they could (which they did, because they’re good like that). I posted four times back in January. FOUR TIMES! I must have been taking something.

Then of course, you decided to drop trow and take an enormous dump on my head in the form of a small medical drama. Life was kind of put on hold throughout February and March, but I’m pretty bad-ass when it comes to being knocked, so I was soon back on my feet and ploughing my energies in to what was set to be a busy, vibrant, non-stop spring/summer.

There was a house move! A 1-year anniversary! A 3oth birthday! A trip to Ibiza! Seven superlative Utterly Wow weddings! To say I was knackered come September is an understatement. I attended a couple of weddings as a guest (bliss!), I read house magazines, I ate. In fact I enjoyed taking time out so much, I’ve struggled to get my proactive mojo back if I’m completely honest. The autumn months have been all about getting my head down and working hard at the boutique and at home where we’ve been cracking on with small DIY and decorating jobs. I’m very pleased (and slightly aghast) to say that I’m very nearly full for wedding bookings next year. Christmas is two sleeps away and I have a whole five days off work in which we will be visiting various family groups, playing a ridiculous amount of games much to Paul’s horror, and eating (and drinking) to excess. I’m looking forward to it immensely.

So life is pretty good, if a little repetitive. The event back in February did cast a shadow over the year as a whole, 2014, I have to admit. You’ve been fantastic in some ways but taxing in others, and I’m not going to miss you. Soz.

I hope 2015 has a little something up it’s sleeve for me. I kind of feel like life is on hold until it does, if you know what I mean. But until then there is much to look forward to. I have two close friends set to marry in 2015 (one of which I am bridesmaid for and have a FIT dress to wear), another magnificently busy Utterly Wow season, and Paul and I celebrate a whole DECADE of being in luuurve (bleurgh). We might do New York, we might do Paris, I’m not sure. Either way I’ve demanded that this is the year he will pull his finger out and whisk me away somewhere- which, surprisingly he nodded like a defeated man and said ‘It’s time’ to. (Spending money, holidays and surprises are just not words you associate with my husband.)

So I’m not making any resolutions. I’m not going to promise to blog more or drink less, although I would like to do both. I AM going to get my mojo back though- I can feel the distant waters beginning to bubble and swell- and I have a personal Utterly Wow-related goal that I would like to have achieved by the end of the year. I’m going to continue spending my hard-earned cash on pretty things for the house and updating you with my room-by-room progress. And I’m going to start dancing again. Because I’ve been saying it for years and because Caroline Flack has inspired me.

So I shall see you on the other side, darling Uttersons. I hope your last days of 2014 are filled with festive cheer, warm, fuzzy feelings and endless rounds of charades.

Have a Caroline Flack epic showdance on me.

Much love,

Sama xxx