Monthly Archives: March 2011


Well, for saying that at the start of the month we hadn’t decided on the date of our wedding or the venues for our wedding, we’ve made a fair bit of progress. According to my gantt chart we should have the following under our belts by now:

  • date set
  • ceremony venue booked
  • reception venue booked
  • agreed guest list
  • look at catering options (if we choose a venue without internal catering)
  • make and send out ‘save the date’ cards
  • choose the best man and bridesmaid
  • think about my dress

And it seems we’re not doing too badly.  The date is set for 20 August 2011. That’s 22 weeks today, five months tomorrow or, according to my trusty count down clock on our official wedding website, 154 days. Both venues are booked – Hull City Hall and my parents’ house (more on that soon as I don’t think I’ve yet gone into that on this blog). We’ve agreed the guest list and sent out ‘save the date’ cards. We’ve booked the caterer after a bit of faffing and problem solving by my parents, and I’ve bought a dress.

I chose my bridesmaid in January. Yep, singular. Just the one – my sister. Primarily as it’s a small wedding, but also because I don’t feel the need for a big bridal party despite having some wonderful friends who, if we were having the full wedding works, I’d call up for bridesmaid service in a flash. Last week Jeffrey asked his friend Mike (also known as Tee) to be best man. Again, singular. No need for groomsmen here.

So that’s everything ticked off. And after a long and tiring day round Westfield London I can safely say we’re entirely and completely on top of our plan. Even ahead of it. We’ve done all that above, and more. And that makes me very happy.

Today we rather unexpectedly bought our rings. Both of them. Not matching, but both from Tiffany & Co. I collected my dress – alterations and all – and bought some wedding pants. And finally, Jeffrey bought his rather lovely Hugo Boss suit, had it pinned and is getting it altered ready for collection later in the week. So I’m pleased to say it feels like we’re flying.

Next task? The honeymoon…


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The Running of the Brides

Apparently Running of the Brides is a big deal. A few days a year,  Filene’s Basement holds Running of the Brides days across the US where brides-to-be go to “find their dream dress at a bargain price”. Some people camp out overnight to get through the doors first, whilst others prefer to take their time and arrive later. But everyone goes home with “a treasure trove of memories”.

Filene’s Basement dedicated Running of the Brides webpage helpfully provides us brides-to-be with some top tips to survive the day. My favourites are:

  • know what to expect
  • recruit a team and assign jobs
  • create team unity by wearing something matching – this will also help you find each other in the crowd of insanely annoying hysterical women (ok ok, I added a bit to that one)
  • dress smart
  • leave your handbag at home or pack light

Now, for those of you who need more clarification on what Running of the Brides entails, the BBC has kindly helped us out by featuring ROTB in Boston last week (but sadly the Beeb won’t let me embed this).

This kind of crap fills me with dread. Here’s why:

  • I don’t believe there’s a “dress of my dreams”
  • I don’t want to look at 3000 dresses
  • I couldn’t handle hoards of screaming, running women
  • I have no interest in grabbing “everything that we can get” to try on
  • Or fighting over “any single dress”
  • I like to know which way I should go
  • I don’t want to take lots of women for their opinion
  • I don’t have a Grandma to get the opinion of
  • I don’t want to try on 125 dresses and subsequently start “losing count”
  • I don’t want to “get extremely anxious or overwhelmed”
  • I don’t need my friends to squeal when I find “the dress”
  • I certainly don’t need to tell my friends to “squeal” when I find “the dress”
  • And I don’t need “the dress to add to my wonderful day of marrying my **chiché alert** ‘soulmate'”

I think I’ll make do with my quiet trip to House of Fraser thanks.


***addition – courtesy of my sister, Lisa, here’s the Friends episode where Monica, Phoebe and Rachel go to a Running of the Bride event***:

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Save the date

I’m often caught criticising the Royal Mail and their shoddy delivery services in North London, but it seems posting the ‘Save the Date’/’Reserver Dagen’ cards second class from Bethnal Green on Friday has paid off. Turns out my Mum and Dad received their postcard on Saturday, a whole 20 hours after it was posted. And the Danes received their cards today. Top marks Royal Mail. So I’m guessing I’m safe enough posting this blog post as most people should have received their cards by now.

Now I know I’ve banged on about not doing our wedding the way the British wedding culture seems to be set on us doing it, but I had to send ‘Save the Date’ cards, even if we had already text most people to tell them, to make sure that people who had to travel would know the date and could view our official wedding website for travel and hotel details.

When Jeffrey and I got engaged my sister Lisa suggested we have our own special font for all our wedding stationery needs. Lisa’s naturally creative (check out her craft blog) and wanted to get in to drawing fonts. She saw this as the perfect opportunity, so away she went. Here’s her first take which I then traced, scanned and altered in Adobe Illustrator thanks to some expert help from my workmate Lucia, and a three hour download time of Adobe’s CS5 suite trial with photos and songs being wiped off my laptop to make space.

I then had to have a crash course in Adobe In-Design, again courtesy of Lucia, so that I could make the font into save the date cards. Once the letters were in place Jeffrey and I played about with colours in Photoshop. Now, I understand that making your save the date cards is the time when you should be choosing your ‘theme’ and making sure these reflect that. Or, as I mentioned in an earlier post, if you’re um-ing and ah-ing about your colour theme you should opt for “neutral shades of ivory, silver or gold and then you can add splashes of colour later on with the table stationery. That way you can relax knowing that the important invites are posted before deciding on the colours for your big day”.

Well, we don’t really have a wedding theme, though I guess if we were to theme, as I’ve said before, “it would be ‘us’” – so I guess that means creative/British/Ghanaian/Danish. So it also means colour, amongst other things. Therefore we went a little bit crazy with the colours on the Save the Date cards (see below) and made the following, with printing courtesy of moo. Et voila, Save the Date cards are done. Next up, invitations. I just hope this time it doesn’t take me 4 nights work.


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Wedding dress shopping

Well, as the wedding is now set for 20 August 2011 and venues are sorted I guess the next thing to worry about had to be the wedding dress. I had been set on making my own dress, having made a few dresses over the past 2 years, and had bought a couple of potential patterns. I was even planning on going to Rolls and Rems fabric shop on Seven Sisters Road last weekend to buy some calico to make a test. But then it dawned on me that the wedding is a mere five and a half months away, and that there’s still a half finished dress sitting on my sewing box that was causing me grief the other week.

I still hoped I could make my dress, but decided to go and try on some dresses to see what style suited me and to hopefully get some inspiration. I managed to get an appointment at Angelica Bridal in Angel for Saturday – quite a feat I am led to believe. I had called one bridal shop (Mirror Mirror in Angel) which had some capital B Beautiful dresses but it turns out, in the world of wedding dress shopping, you can’t just ring up on a Monday and get an appointment for the following Saturday. Nope, instead try two months in advance. But luckily a cancellation for Saturday at Angelica swung an appointment in my favour.

So, on Saturday my friend Emma came round to us at 9.30am to drop off Stéphane for a play date with Jeffrey so that we could head off into Angel.

For those of you who have never been to a bridal shop, they are weird. I had to ring the doorbell, could only go in with an appointment, had to take off my shoes, browse the rails and books then strip down to my nude colour underwear for the woman to help me into the various dresses I had picked out. Apparently the average dress size they use for this is a 12-14 so out come the bulldog clips to pull the dress in in the event you’re smaller than that. Lord knows what they do if you’re bigger. Then you come out, parade in front of whoever it is you have with you, stand on a box and admire yourself and the dress for a good 5-10 minutes. This latter part is especially weird. Seeing yourself for the first time in a dress unlike anything you’ve ever seen yourself in before. The way you hold yourself completely changes. And you feel so grown up. And, I don’t care what any sceptics says, you do feel special in such a beautiful dress.

So, what of the dresses I tried on? Well, for a while I’d been thinking I’d love lace and/or silk, and was thinking I may be able to make myself a dress using these materials. But when I tried on the second dress (the first, and my favourite, I won’t share with you for obvious reasons) my mind was changed. It was made with satin and lace, had maybe three layers and was far too heavy. It rubbed like crazy and was altogether quite ageing. It turns out the shop assistant would never recommend lace for a summer wedding – there you are. A top tip for you!

The third dress I tried was one of Emma’s favourites, her other being the fourth. Here are both:

Now, don’t get me wrong, I really liked these, but there was something not right. The first was satin, the second chiffon. These felt lovely on, and I felt wonderful in them, but they felt just too structured. As our wedding is going to be a pretty relaxed and informal affair I felt these were too formal and restrictive. Plus the long satin train of the first just felt too heavy, and a train wasn’t really on my radar anyway.

So, it seemed I was leaning towards chiffon – nice and light and airy for a summer wedding. That led the assistant bringing out a beautiful Mark Lesley column empire line strapless number, which unfortunately I can’t find online to include here.

I was actually pleasantly surprised at the cost of these dresses. I had seen some ballpark quotes elsewhere ranging from £1.5k upwards so was glad to hear I had chosen some of the cheapest in the shop – ranging from £699 for my favourite, to £899 for the chiffon number above. But, with the wedding being less than 6 months away the designer feels the need to add a 15 per cent “rush cut charge” on the dress, with the bridal shop adding on a final £180-£220 for alteration costs. That would take my favourite up to nigh on a grand! When we’re reluctant to spend more than £6k on the whole wedding day that just seemed a little excessive. But the thought of making my own dress was really starting to make me worry so it seemed it may be the only way to go.

Then on Sunday my sister and I took a trip to the very massive Westfield which, I might add, is so much better for shopping than the West End. Not too many crowds, all the shops in one place, and no cold wind or rain (or annoying tourists/visiting shoppers) to negotiate. Et voila, we found a dress. Sadly not one of the beautiful Biba bridal dresses I tried on (left), but still in House of Fraser of all places. And at a fraction of the price of those I tried on on Saturday. And with great service – we ended up in the personal shopper lounge, with drinks, the personal shopper and as many nice dresses as I wanted to try on, not just a paltry five like in the bridal shops. Plus, I get alterations for free, not by paying an extra £180-220. Which means more money for Jeff’s suit (which he’ll wear many more times), and more dosh for a honeymoon or my Tiffany platinum wedding band to match my engagement ring.

So bosh. Dress done. But I’m not going to share it with you. You’ll just have to wait. Except now, after my trip to Westfield to get the dress pinned for alterations, I’m second guessing my choice. The next must buy item is control underwear, then maybe I’ll feel better.

And I guess in the meantime next on the list to sort is the honeymoon…

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If I had a shed load of cash…

Well, I’ve been looking at wedding dresses. But more on that later in the week. First I wanted to share a few dresses that, if I had a shed load of cash to waste on a wedding and dress, I’d be more than tempted to try on.

First up would most certainly be Vera Wang. And Maybe I’d stop there and not bother to go to any other designers. She designs so many beautiful dresses that I just find myself looking at in awe. My favourites are Erica, Lana and Farrah (the first three below).

If I did make it past Vera Wang I’d head to look at Temperley’s Aurelea and Ramona; Belita, Berkley and Minerva from Jenny Packham; Balcony from Lela Rose; and finally Gemma from Marchesa.

But, alas, I don’t have several thousand pounds to spend on a wedding dress, so these are only mine in my wildest dreams. But they are beautiful to look at.






























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We’ve bitten the bullet

Yep, that’s right. We have finally found something that suits us. And this has meant we have set the date. After all that to-ing and fro-ing, it looks like we’re getting married on Saturday 20th August this year. Now this summer had been our original plan when we got engaged, but as we were struggling to find venues in London that we liked and that weren’t extortionately priced – see posts here and here for more on that – we put the wedding provisionally back to Easter 2011.

But, in February, on trips to Denmark and to Hull, we started contemplating different venue options in Hull/ the East Riding and decided if we could get a ceremony venue and the immediate family was free we’d run with it.

This means that as of today we have 169 days to go. Luckily we’re going for a relatively relaxed and small wedding up in East Yorkshire (where I come from), so hopefully there shouldn’t be too much stuff to fill those 169 days with. But to me it feels like, if you have 12 months to organise a wedding, it takes 12 months to organise a wedding, whether it needs to or not.

So, tonight, after spending the last 3 nights grappling with Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop, I have put the finishing touches to the font my sister designed for us, and have created and ordered our ‘save the date’ cards, the most fussy part of our wedding I think. And I’ve made a wedding website for those we’re inviting to get more information on travel and hotels, so I’m feeling fairly organised.

I’ll give you a taster of them soon enough. In the meantime I’m heading out to try on wedding dresses tomorrow with my friend Emma and will no doubt have something to say about that tomorrow.

In the meantime, here’s where we’re having our ceremony – the lovely Hull City Hall. I’ll share the reception venue details with you soon enough…

About Hull City Hall

Hull City Hall is a Civic Building in Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It is a Grade II listed building, built in Baroque Revival style by Hull’s City architect JH Hirst 1903-09, and was restored c.1950 following war damage, and altered in 1986 and 1989.

Located in Queen Victoria Square in the city centre, Hull City Hall is home to a grand central hall which plays host to a varied programme of concerts as well as civic functions such as graduation ceremonies for the University of Hull (I graduated here and put on my robes in the Mortimer Suite where the wedding will be held).


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