Paris & Joe: It’s All In The Detail

I cannot believe that it has been three months since I last blogged, the time seems to have flown by!

The past three months have been packed full of busy, exciting things. One of the biggest things is that we sent our invites out and have now received our RSVPs back (with some gentle reminders to those guests who didn’t clock the “Kindly respond by 3rd May” part of the invite). I was completely over the moon with the finished result. In the end I found a warm teal green and textured ribbon which I glue gunned into a makeshift belly band and tied twine around with a little tag to hold the various cards together. My favourite part has to be the RSVP card, which is double sided and designed from scratch by me, Joe and Helen (the graphic designer). I loved having a song choice and wine choice – because how many times have you been at a wedding and seen the unwanted bottle of red lingering on the tables until you’re drunk enough to give it a go?

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Invites!

We have 92 guests coming plus ourselves and 4 suppliers which brings us neatly under the 100 we were hoping to cater for. Thankfully the entire world didn’t opt for lobster as a main course, the worry of which had caused many a sleepless night, so I am pleased to say that we haven’t had to remortgage just to feed our families and friends on the big day. Phew.

The second biggest thing is that I have had my hen do! And it was just spectacular. Nine of my pals from school and I jetted off to Iceland for two nights of pure shenanigans. With an average 3 hours sleep per night we spent most of the weekend in delirious, sleep-deprived laughter. It never got fully dark while we were there so leaving a bar at 4am and putting on your sunglasses was pretty bizarre! The Blue Lagoon was a welcome break from sitting at a desk and the constant flow of cocktails, prosecco, double macchiatos and fab food helped to ease all of the stress from the last 18 months. It’s amazing what a weekend laughing with your friends can do for your stress levels!

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My girls.

Having booked all the big essential wedding things very early on (venue, photographer etc), I think I had become a bit complacent about all the other bits and bobs. It always felt too early to start crafting or I thought I would have too much time to change my mind if I started to buy decorations. So when we hit the 4 month mark it was inevitable really that there would be a panic.

I have mentioned before that a couple of my friends are engaged at the moment and planning their own weddings. I was visiting one of them at the time and she is getting married in mid-November. She started showing me her veil, bridesmaid head pieces, dresses, flower girl dress, centre pieces… the list goes on. And every item I thought, “oh yeah, I need to do that soon”, until a knot of dread started to form in my stomach. As big and full as my Pinterest wedding boards are (yes, boards plural), I hadn’t purchased a single decorative thing. Or bridesmaid thing. Or groom thing.

It’s not that I hadn’t looked. Many an evening has been spent researching, showing Joe things on the internet and essentially agreeing on all the things we would like. But it is always followed by, “Oh, but we don’t need to buy those now”. Well actually, we do!

So now I am going to bore you with pictures of some of the bits and pieces that I panic bought at 6:30am one Saturday morning while Joe scuttled off to gym, sensing that this was not something he wanted to witness…

There was no rhyme or reason to the purchases as it was all very impulsive but once they started to arrive in the post I felt back on top of the wedmin and all was right again. I am particularly fond of the mint green chevron straws and they are the first thing I show people when they visit – nobody seems quite as enthused about them as I am.

The best thing though is the faux-coral cake topper. I love it more than anything and cannot wait to have it in our bathroom after the wedding as a lovely reminder of our cake! While on the subject of cake, the cake is being made by Joe’s cousins (one of which is his best man) and the inspiration is below, provided by Pinterest of course. They are going to jazz it up with some meringue kisses and he sent me a picture of the practice run for these recently which is beyond exciting. Joe is most opinionated on the cake and declared that we will have a passionfruit and mango layer, white chocolate and raspberry layer and a coconut and lime layer. I don’t mind as long as I get to be chief cake tester.

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Bridesmaid dresses from No 1 Jenny Packham at Debenhams- unfortunately no longer available!

I have also bought bridesmaid dresses. By which I mean, my mum found them, ordered them and begged me to get my bridesmaids’ opinions before I made her take them back. The bridesmaids loved them and now they are staying. I had originally bought pleated cream skirts and was looking for a structured, embellished cream top to go with them to which my mum told me I might as well give them frilly socks and have a Grease themed wedding… Cheers mum! All in all, I weighed up the free dresses, which my bridesmaids and my mum love, against saying no out of principle and decided it just wasn’t worth the hassle. And annoyingly, I have since grown to love them.

So that is my 3 month round up! Have or did any of you leave it late to sort out the finer details? Surely I can’t be the only one…!

Paris x

Paris & Joe: Photos, Food & Invites

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My oh my it has been a busy few months in our household. From engagement photos, food tastings, invite designing, calligraphy classes, Hen Do bombshells and being a bridesmaid it has felt like I have had hardly any time to sit down and write. So I call this my January to March roundup…

From the moment that we got engaged and started taking horrendous selfies to capture our newly-engaged happiness, I knew that I wanted to do an engagement shoot. Generally it takes me a good 10 shots before I look like a normal sane human being in a selfie, and sometimes even then it does not happen (apologies to Joe for the 11 consecutive selfies taken outside the Colloseum in Rome, zero of which feature me with both eyes open, looking at the camera and not appearing to be on the verge of some kind of seizure). I wanted something that looked a bit more natural where we could just do our coupley thang.

So in January we headed over to Ramsgate beach with our lovely photographer Rebecca Douglas. We spent a good hour and a half walking and chatting and doing a few natural poses. It was absolutely painless and we ended up with some really fab pictures – although I am laughing like an idiot in 99.9% of them. Still, an upgrade on the Colloseum shots, eh?

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Beautiful images by Rebecca Douglas Photography

At the end of January we went to a tasting at the Lobster Shack, which was great fun. We were served mini portions of all the starters, mains and desserts, as well as helping ourselves from big bowls of the salads and pastas that come as part of the BBQ, hog roast and buffet options. They had laid out how all the dishes would be presented on the day and served a heap of yummy canapés. My personal low point was pretending not to have already tried the duck and mango filo pastries, twice, in order to have another portion.

The food was completely delicious, particularly the seafood options. Crisp, fluffy batter, homemade mayonnaises, fresh local fish. The highlight of my night was Joe trying a Bloody Mary oyster shot – his first ever oyster and immediately chased down with a good glug of beer. His expression kept me amused all evening.

Prior to the tasting we had pretty much decided on an old school boxed option of fish, lobster, sausage or stuffed pepper ‘n’ chips. Possibly a starter, possibly not. And a HUGE dessert table filled with cakes and donuts. Basically, a mountain of comfort food.  With only 7 months to go until the wedding, there is no longer room for big movement in the budget. Which is where the food dilemma begins. We started to ask ourselves: can we have a BBQ? Will Grandma really want to queue up for a burger? Could we have the boxed option and starters? Do we really like the starters? Could we serve plated fish and chips and not have the lobster as an option? Should we not have canapés? I feel like we came away with more questions than answers!

Eventually we decided on a two course plated option with oyster canapés. The cake and donut dessert table would just have to wait until the evening to make its appearance. My mum was disappointed enough with our lack of starter option that she offered to pay for the upgrade, and we weren’t going to turn down an offer like that! So three courses and oyster canapés it is.

The final week of January brought a Brighton Hen Do for my lovely friend and bridesmaid, Sophie, in which we were taught the Beyonce Single Ladies routine and I discovered my inner Sascha Fierce, strutting around with serious sass… at least in my head. Her wedding two weeks later was just brilliant, featuring ten bridesmaids in floor length black gowns and some seriously chic décor. Did I mention she planned it all in four months?

And finally, for the past three months we have been designing our invites, which have now been sent off to print! Yay! I am so grateful that we were introduced to Sophie’s sister who is a graphic designer and has managed to turn our stationery dreams into reality for a fraction of the prices we had previously been quoted. Unlike our bold and bright save the dates, I have gone for much more neutral colours for the invites, and of course they feature a fitting seaside stripe and our lobster logo. The only thing to do now is decide on the perfect shade of green for the twine or ribbon to tie them together. Having already spent more than an acceptable amount of lunch breaks in the local haberdashery, it may not be as easy as it looks. Teal, turquoise, emerald… too many greens!

In usual Drew-Wooldridge time keeping, I had hoped and failed to get the invites sent out on the 6 month count down. The new mental deadline is the 3rd April but I am not holding my breath. AND YES, WE HAVE PASSED THE 6 MONTH COUNT DOWN! Where has eighteen months of engagement gone?! I hope the last 6 months do not go quite as quickly as I am starting to worry that I could run out of time… does anyone else feel this disorganised??

Paris x

Paris & Joe: Bridal Shoes & Something Blue

 

Before launching in to this absolute corker of a post from Paris, I just want to thank everyone who read/shared/said nice things about my last excerpt from The Frank Diaries. There was me thinking the general reaction would be Jeez, cheer up love, you’ve just had a baby, and instead I got an outpouring of love and understanding and sisterhood and, most surprisingly, thanks. It wasn’t necessarily a difficult admission for me to share- let’s face it, I’m an open book when it comes to personal thoughts and feelings- but I totally get now that it’s a subject that other new mums may not find so easy to talk about. So I am truly humbled that my ramblings touched so many people.

Anyway, on to more exciting things… WEDDING SHOES. This week’s post from Paris might be my favourite so far or hers. Enjoy!

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If I thought that I could breathe a big sigh of relief after I had bought my wedding dress and reclaim my brain for thoughts other than wedding fashion, I was wrong. In the very same appointment that I bought my dress I was given the homework that any bride-to-be wants… shoes. Oh and underwear, but that is far more boring.

So this post is all about shoes. I would not normally consider myself a “shoe girl”. I have so few pairs of work shoes that it hasn’t been unknown for me to be dashing off to a last minute event, realising that all my suitable pairs are locked in the office and I am faced with the prospect of UGGS and a pencil skirt (great look, obviously).

Which brings me on to my next important point, being comfortable. If I’m not doing my daily commute in my pixie ankle boots (yep, still with the pencil skirt) I am usually chilling in some kind of converse type shoe or better yet, slippers. I don’t know how many pairs of slippers Joe has thrown away over the years, he is amazed that I have any left.

So with these being my shoe criteria it was clear to me that I didn’t want a massively high heel. As much as I grappled with the idea of adding some much needed length to my ridiculously short legs, I knew that I would be limping down the aisle, which wouldn’t be ideal. So I started ticking the “mid-heel” box.

I wanted something unusual but while the other brides-to-be I know head towards an overload of glitter I knew that wouldn’t be possible for me and my already super glitzy dress. Last year I went through a phase of rather loving the bright pointy court shoes that seemed to be floating around. I bought a pale yellow suede pair and wore them to a wedding, where they were immediately ruined traipsing through a muddy field. I probably should have known better with it being a December wedding and no amount of dry brushing or wet mopping could get them clean. One good thing did come from the ruined shoes though, I decided that I wanted suede shoes for my wedding and preferably in yellow or blue.

So that was the plan and I went on a Pinterest rampage collecting images of shoes from Kate Spade, Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo and Vivienne Westwood such as these:

They didn’t all match the brief but each pair had something a bit different. However, try finding anything on Pinterest in the real world! I was having serious shoe difficulties.

And my difficulties were about to get a million times worse, specifically, mum-level worse. She was not happy about my shoe dreams and was not afraid to make this known.

Now I do have to feel a little sorry for my poor Ma as she hasn’t really had much luck with my wedding. It has felt like I have broken her heart at every turn, whether it be not getting married in a church, not having a strapless princess dress and let us not even breathe about the time when I said I wanted to stay with Joe the night before (I believe Sama did this and I haven’t ruled it out just yet, sorry mum). The guest list couldn’t accommodate everybody my mum wanted and remember when I nearly bought my dress in champagne? Luckily for me I am about as eazy breezy about it as I can be but my mum’s instant dislike of less-than-bridal shoes did start a bit of a shoe wobble. And that’s when I fell in love with these beauties:

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Charlotte Olympia, Desiree. The pom-poms. THE POM-POMS! My heart sank at the £550 price tag as I tentatively asked Joe whilst hiding behind my computer screen:

“Joe… what’s my wedding shoe budget?” (This was a loaded question, the budget is my area of expertise.)

“I don’t know. What was you thinking?”

“Well, what do you think is expensive?”

“Hmm, what do you think is expensive?”

I was getting nowhere fast so I showed him the shoes. He liked them, I was bolstered. I told him the price and his response was a big fat laugh but I took it on the chin knowing that, having found them in the “bridal” section, my mum would absolutely love them and Joe was no match for her.

My mum hated them. And I think that is when I properly had that wedding realisation that all the wedding mags bang on about – you can’t please everybody, so just please yourself.

So when a few weeks later my bridesmaid, Sophie, whatsapped me these lovely blue suede numbers I knew that I had to have them and I didn’t care what anyone else thought.

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My blue suede beauties!

The Tallulah shoes from Hobbs were a complete steal at £65 after being 50% off and they are blue, suede, a bit pointy and sooo comfy. I keep strutting around the flat in them and practicing my aisle walk, which will involve absolutely zero limping. And do you want to know the best bit? My mum loves them. The irony.

So brides-to-be tell me all about your wedding shoe woes? Are we thinking traditional or something a bit different?

Paris x

Paris & Joe: Tales From The Production Line

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I hate to say it but I have really let the “wedmin” slip this month. As much as I envisaged having the Save the Dates made and sent out for the one-year-until-the-wedding countdown, it just hasn’t happened that way. The good news is that we did finally get around to making the ruddy things. The bad news is that I still have around 25 of them sitting on my shelf ready to be sent/hand delivered. I could give a thousand excuses including work, friends and moving, but in reality the wedding had just slowly slipped down the priority list. However, I did absolutely ADORE making the Save the Dates and I am so pleased with the finished result. There is something so satisfying about setting up a crafty production line and churning out card after pretty card.

So here is the final version:

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Not quite the postcard style I had planned and the one and only reason for this is cost! Turns out that Save the Date post cards (or any post cards for that matter) are blooming expensive. We took a trip to Whitstable to find some vintage style Whitstable postcards, thinking we would use these and then stamp our message on the back. I fell in love with some screen printed corrugated postcards in a little artists shop, but at £2.50 a pop Joe dragged me away to be consoled with cod and chips. Then, one lunchtime I was browsing through Paperchase when I came across some really pretty foiled cards in all sorts of bright and whacky patterns. So Paperchase came to the rescue with their lovely embellished numbers and at £4 for 8 cards, all was well in the world again.

The English Stamp Company provided our lovely lobster stamp and Save the Date stamp, and I really cannot recommend them enough. I know that Jenny also used them for her Save the Dates and they are just so helpful and the stamps arrived within a few days. I also purchased some gold embossing powder and an embossing gun from them, which gives that raised finish. After continuing to fail miserably at getting the stamping juuuuust right (did I mention that crafts turn Joe into some kind of mental person?) I was demoted from stamping duties to permanently sit with the embossing gun, which is essentially a teeny tiny hairdryer.

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All in all it took three and a half people (my flower girl Belle popped along for the ride), 6 hours and approximately £80 to make 50 x Save the Dates. People have been wondering whether the cards are a hint to the colour scheme but I am sorry to disappoint, although I suppose they do fit with the “bright” theme. The colour scheme is still up in the air with no sign of coming down just yet and I am quite happy with that. I like to change my mind and the closer to the wedding that I actually make a final decision the better, I say.

I have been rather decisive about hair and makeup however! Originally I wanted to do my own makeup as I hate that trowelled on look that I see on so many brides at the moment. I know every bride says they want to look “natural” but I really do! Then I had my makeup done as a bridesmaid for my dad’s wedding last week and I absolutely loved it and it’s always nice to feel a bit pampered too. Two days later I booked both the hairdresser and makeup artist and ta-dah! another thing can be ticked off the list.

Bridesmaid-ing.

Bridesmaid-ing.

Speaking of ticking things of the list I may have ticked another teeny tiny thing off the list last week… the dress! But I think I will save that for next time.

Paris xx

Paris & Joe: One Year (and Three Days) To Go

Morning Uttersons! Paris has a short but sweet wedding update for us today, but before I hand over I just wanted to pop on to share the news that I am ON MATERNITY LEAVE. Holy cheeseballs! With my last wedding of the summer completed a week ago, and my last day at the boutique on Saturday, I am now a free woman. Well, until the baby comes and enslaves me once again of course.  With this point being on my long distance forecast since finding out I was pregnant seven months ago, I can’t quite believe I’m here, but it is a very lovely feeling indeed. Paul is insanely jealous of course. Despite him having had the last six weeks off for the school holidays, he’s very bitter he has to go back to work just as I finish a whole month before my due date. Decadent Dennis indeed. 

I shall be blogging as regularly as I can. There is much to catch up on- pregnancy, his nursery, the wondrous weddings I’ve been involved in this summer… I need and want to reconnect with this blog o’ mine, so do stay tuned. 

In the meantime, shall we hear from Paris?

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Things on the wedding front have gone a bit quiet again, mainly because we are attending so many that we have no time to even think of our own. An upside of attending so many weddings while planning one yourself is you get to see what works, what doesn’t, things you had never even thought of and experience the whole thing as a guest. The downside is all those reunions inevitably leading to our guest list growing by another sixteen people. I don’t think it can take another wedding!

On top of all our weekend shenanigans the rest of our lives are pretty hectic right now. I will be changing position in a few weeks time and moving offices and Joe has just found out that he will be becoming a police recruit! If two job changes wasn’t enough we are also smack bang in the middle of the flat buying process. I am lucky in that one of my close colleagues is running our file but this has also meant that all the one million things we have already done and will need to do have fallen firmly on my shoulders. I feel like this would be a suitable time to add in that I have fallen off the Slimming World band wagon – oh and the gym too… I am completely unashamed to admit that today I have eaten two kitkat chunkies. Consecutively.

One thing that gives absolutely no responsibility to me and all the responsibility to somebody else is my hen, which is why I am both super excited and super terrified about it. It is a running joke being me and Joe that when it comes to neuroticism, I’m at the top end of that scale. I like to think I am chilled (and with lots of things I am) but when it comes to organising it’s my way or the highway. Luckily for me and everyone else involved my Maid of Honour (Stacie) is my best friend of thirteen years and the yin to my yang so I have absolutely no qualms about passing over the reins. Maybe. Kind of. Well maybe I can help a little?

Iceland or Valencia for the Hen, perhaps..?

Iceland or Valencia for the Hen, perhaps..?

Over the past few months we have gone from a foreign hen do, a city hen do, a beach hen do to no hen do and back again (depending on my stress levels and whim at the time). Given my now notorious decision making skills we have both decided that Stace will do the whole thing and I will know nothing, god bless her. That said, it hasn’t stopped me relentlessly pinning her hen do related ideas at every opportunity. To say this woman is a gem is an understatement.

Save The Date inspiration

Save The Date inspiration

In other wedding related news we are quickly approaching the one-year mark. I hadn’t really considered save the dates until Joe brought it up. Quite a few of his relatives and friends live around the country and abroad so it makes sense to give these guys a heads up. Not wanting to sell a kidney just to let our loved ones know we are tying the knot, we decided that a postcard style save the date with a bit of yarn and some rubber stamps was a good way to go.  Post to follow with all the production line antics that Joe has planned (I’m just supplying the wine).

Paris x

Paris & Joe: To Videographer or Not To Videographer?

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The past month has been seriously productive and we have now booked videographers and a band! We had many a deliberation on whether or not to have a videographer. The cons were the cost and that Joe thought our wedding would end up having more “paparazzi” than guests. (Not one to be dramatic, clearly.) I loved the idea of being able to re-live the day in movement rather than just through stills, and I also loved the thought of having some guest messages captured a few beers in when the party was in full swing. Many a friend told us that not having a videographer was their biggest regret but we still sat on the fence. It was so hard to find wedding videos that didn’t make me cringe – be it the music or the cheesy couple shots – so we actually only found two that we loved. We eventually bit the bullet and met with Ignite Films at a Café Nero and immediately hit it off, chatting about our jobs, relationship and wedding plans. Just like the photographer, we left the meeting without a doubt in our minds that these were the chaps for us. And I say chaps because there are two of them! Which is great because I will get a peek at Joe’s pre-wedding prep, which I already imagine will consist of booze, booze and more booze. God help the registrar.

We booked the band through Alive Network which I would completely recommend doing. Not only do you know instantly which bands are available on your date, you also get a handy quote based on your date and location so a quick search allows you to find something perfect for your budget. Plus, most of the bands do a video introducing themselves and the music that they play which lets you get a feel for who they are. After a week on Alive Network I think I have heard enough renditions of Mr Brightside to last a lifetime! But we finally whittled it down to Teenage Kicks – a three piece from Brighton who couldn’t have designed a better playlist for us if they tried. They provide a free DJ service between sets and learn your choice of first dance song so I am pretty pleased with our choice.

In general wedding planning news, I am realllllllllly struggling to choose a colour scheme. The mezzanine level where we will actually get married is simple and I have decided to have all white/cream with possibly a hint of gold. I’m picturing paper lanterns, festoon lighting and a beautiful floral arch built from all kinds of white and cream flowers – I recently found out that my front running flower, the anemone, wont be in season which I was super gutted about. But downstairs where all the good stuff happens I want a frenzy of colour with a proper party feel. It really boils down to two schemes – reds, oranges and pinks, or turquoises, purples and blues. I am feeling slightly more swayed toward the former because the flowers in those colours are just amazing, but I am sure this battle will rumble on for a good few months. I am already planning cream bridesmaid dresses so that I don’t have to commit to a colour scheme until the last minute – some good forward thinking if you ask me!

The perfect arch, and a gratuitous shot of our awesome venue.

The perfect arch, and a gratuitous shot of our awesome venue.

Spicy vs tropical brights?!

Spicy vs tropical brights?!

So there you have it, a few more things crossed off the list and I am starting to see what our wedding day will look like. Let me know if any of you also deliberated over a videographer and what decision you eventually came to. And any opinions on the colour scheme would be great too!

Paris x

Paris & Joe: The Dreaded Budget

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Since the changing of the venue it really has been all wedding systems go in the Joe and Paris household. The budget seems to go through a weekly adjustment and Joe’s face has begun to take on a look of horror when I utter the words, “Can we talk about the wedding budget?”. Luckily for him, the budget has been seriously downsized in the last Budget Meetings (yes, I feel like George Osborne holding his little red box) as we begin to have the first feelings of – are we really spending this much on a single day?

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The obligatory George Osborne shot.

Honestly, in this week alone we have gone from a three course sit down meal with welcome drinks a-flowing and plentiful canapés, to shove the lot of them, they’re getting a hog roast and that’s it. And back again. Given that there is a £4,000 difference in these two catering choices you can understand the dilemma. We need to find a middle ground.

Some choices, though, have been finalised. We have a photographer! Booking the right photographer was high on our to-do list and I am sooo pleased that we have secured someone so soon. Contrary to what my Instagram might tell you, Joe and I aren’t huge fans of photographs of ourselves. In the 7 years we have been together we have less than an album of photos to throw together so it was really important to me to find someone who (a) wouldn’t make us feel like we were 5 again, posing in some awkward family photo and (b) someone who would capture all the unposed, fun and natural moments as they unravelled. Enter Rebecca Douglas.

Now, I was never going to be a “hand on his shoulder, one hip popped, lovingly look into his eyes” type of girl. When I found Rebecca’s website I immediately fell in love with how she had managed to inject an energy and vibrancy into the images without taking away the weddingy, lovey elements. The brides looked comfortable, beautiful. The couples shots are natural. Plus I’m a sucker for a wedding day pet shot. Dogs in bow ties anyone?

After all three of us laughed our way through a 40 minute Skype call, there was no doubt in our minds that Rebecca was the best person for the job. I am so impressed by how much input she has already given to our day – from videographer advice to just simply being excited about our plans. She also makes a cracking cup of tea and operates an open-door policy at her offices in Ashford, which she may well regret in the run up to my wedding as I work a mere 5 minutes walk away.

So there you have it, another week of wedding planning done and some serious progress being made. I checked my wedding app this morning and the count down says 16 months and 22 days away. For all you ladies who did it in 12 months, I take my hat off!

Paris x