Paris & Joe: Photos, Food & Invites

Paris&Joe

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

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Paris & Joe: The Dreaded Budget

Paris&Joe

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