Monthly Archives: August 2011

No more wedding planning

Well folks. That’s it. My wedding planning days are behind me. Jeffrey and I got married on 20th August this year. That’s an amazing 11 days ago. Crikey. I can’t believe it was quite so long ago, yet strangely it also seems ages ago.

Jeffrey and I traveled up to East Yorkshire in Jeffrey’s Mum’s car on the Sunday, me having taken a week off for the run up to the wedding. And it’s a good job too, the amount of stuff we had to take up with us and the amount left to do.

Here’s a run down of our week:

Monday 

We had hoped we could take a ride out to the coast  to enjoy some good August sunshine, but alas my shawl wasn’t yet complete, the weather wasn’t great, Jeffrey wasn’t feeling it and there was still so much to do, so a day at home knitting and writing was necessary. This was broken up with a trip to choose the marquee carpet – second hand I might add to save money (we went for honey beige) – and a visit to the Registrar to deliver our certificate for marriage so that all could go ahead on Saturday. A lovely trip to the local with friends Lizzi, Dave, Nat and Katie followed this and was a great distraction from wedding stuff, apart from for Jeff and Dave who were caught talking wedding more than the rest of us.

Tuesday

A major day – the marquee arrival and assembly. It was a snug fit and we started to realise just how big it was. Finally everything was starting to feel a little bit more real. But, we couldn’t sit and watch it go up, nor make tea for the workmen all day, we had to pay a visit to Hull City Hall where we were having our ceremony to deliver the music  for my entrance and our exit and make sure that everything was in order. Jeffrey and I realised that not having a church wedding can leave you feeling a little unprepared. No rehearsal for us. We simply received a transcript of the ceremony from the Registrar a few weeks before the wedding and had to rock up on the day to go through the wedding once and once only. Luckily this trip to Hull City Hall allowed me a lonely trial walk down the aisle (no Father on the arm this time) and clarification that the number of chairs in the room was greater than the number we were expecting – much to my relief.

We followed this up with a visit to everyone’s favourite Hobbycraft for last minute wedding supplies and to deliberate over what colour card and glue to go for. Oh weddings do force you in to some tough decisions.

Wednesday

Hair trial and another try of my dress one last time to finally be happy with it. You’ll probably know I was swaying back and forth on whether I liked my dress or not for some weeks before the wedding at one point even half expected to want to buy a new one when I got to Hull. But while my Mum, Lizzi and I were deciding that my dress was right, the boys (that’s my Dad, Jeffrey and nextdoor neighbour Brian) were becoming carpet fitters extraordinaire – fitting our honey beige carpet and vacuuming and sweeping like professionals. Watching all this activity brought on a migraine for me, so I quietly took a tablet and very steadily continued with my (still unfinished) shawl while the whole horde (Mum included) went off to the Danish Church to pick up (just a large van full of) essentials – tables, chairs, table cloths, cutlery and crockery, without which the reception wouldn’t have happened, or would have but at a cost of thousands (see here for a moan on wedding costs).

Thursday

Thursday brought the task of marquee decorating – hanging stuff, positioning all the stuff we’d made (more on that in another post), moving tables and realising how much extra space we had than originally expected, setting up  the sound system, deciding on the seating plan and table setting – for which my very good friend and previous partner in waitressing crime Lizzi came to help with. Then my Aunt from Denmark arrived, we ate Chinese and it was back out to the marquee for me and Jeff where I folded napkins, put out place cards and made sure the marquee was watertight – and worried only slightly about the weather ahead of us – as the August rain lashed down.

Friday

Then came Friday, the day before the wedding, and more arrivals – first my Uncle and Aunt from Denmark who arrived into Hull from Rotterdam at 7am, then Jeff’s Mum and two aunties (who were swiftly collected from Hull Paragon Station and delivered to Village Hotel), followed by Lisa and Leo who had landed only the day before after 3 weeks in the US, Jeffrey’s cousin Nana and her family, his sister Marcia and BK and OKBK, and finally the Simpe-Asante horde.

My friends Lizzi and Hannah came around for some cutting and sticking and cutlery and glass polishing to make sure the marquee was ship shape, while my Mum was busy baking in the kitchen. The day was rounded off with a pedicure courtesy of Lizzi and then a family meal at Crofters restaurant in Anlaby with the Danes.  My plans for an early night in my big lonely bed (Jeff was staying all alone in the Holiday Inn Express in Hull) were quashed when Jeff rang at 10.30 reminding me of the Ghanaian Nkate Cake that had made it’s way up from London with Marcia. His 11.15 delivery meant a later night than needed, but hey ho.

Saturday

Then it was Saturday. The big day. And boy, had Jeffrey made the right decision going to a hotel?! We still had lots to do – a final sweeping, flowers for the marquee, getting our hair done, stocking the bar, making sure everything necessary was done, and finally getting dressed before making our way to Hull City Hall.

But more on the actual wedding day can come in another post. In the meantime here are a few marquee prep photos for you to enjoy.

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Wedding learning and butterflies

Well, it’s been quite some time since I last blogged. Over a month, to be precise. So I must apologise for my tardiness in getting a new blog post out to you, before I write a brief update of where we’re at in wedding planning and how I’m feeling about the big day that is fast approaching.

Because we’re now in to single figure countdown. That’s nine days, people. NINE. One week and two days. Or less than 216 hours if that’s how you like to look at things. This makes me feel somewhat apprehensive, slightly nervous and very excited.

Now I’ve learnt a fair bit about weddings over our 8-month engagement, so I thought it apt to share my learning so far – my three point analysis of wedding planning, preparing for marriage, etc.

  1. Weddings take up far too much head space. As much as you can try to keep the wedding small, and try not to think about it too often, it’s inevitable that you can very easily end up feeling like all you’re doing is wedding. We’ve been living wedding for the past few weeks now, and it’s getting incredibly tiring. And even more boring – for me, and I’m almost certain those around me.
  2. Keeping the engagement short is best. I’ve never really understood long engagements where couples get engaged just to be engaged. That seems to feel like a half-hearted commitment to marry to me. So when Jeffrey and I got engaged we didn’t even consider not starting to plan our wedding straight away. Maybe it would have been nice just to enjoy being engaged, but it felt like once we’d taken the plunge, deciding to get married, it was right to get on with it.  And am I glad?! 8 months of wedding planning has been quite enough, thank you. Had we had the 15 months we’d originally anticipated it would have been filled with pointless wedding crap and we’d no doubt have ended up spending more than we wanted.
  3. The wedding doesn’t really matter. It’s about the commitment. About coming together to start married life. It’s about the marriage. Not the dress, the colour of napkins or the ribbons on the chairs. And, while we’re planning the wedding and I may have got somewhat caught up in it, my reasoning for number 3 is this. Whatever happens, and unless someone doesn’t show up or someone declares an impediment, the outcome is the same. You end up married, which was the goal in the first place. My evidence? The very popular BBC3 programme Don’t Tell The Bride. Besides the key shared experiences of all couples taking part in the programme – where the bride does nothing while the groom experiences fun and stress with his Best Man as they try to organise the wedding of the bride’s dreams and end up inevitably messing up along the way – there’s one other common thread. Whatever wedding the Groom pulls together, even if he ends up choosing the wrong venue, the wrong style dress and doesn’t book the all important make-up artist, the bride loves it all. You know why? Because at the end of the 2 weeks of stress and anguish for both, the couple get  hitched. And who can’t be happy at that?

Point 3 is my most recent discovery. Ok, so I have known this all along, but as I said earlier it’s incredibly easy to get caught up in wedding planning and making sure everything’s just right. But with just nine (eeeeeek) days left till our wedding I’m starting to realise this more and more. Some ideas I had of decorations and things to make went out of the window weeks ago. As the weather is in it’s hit and miss stage, I’m semi-laughing at the face that if it rains and I get wet my dress may well turn incredibly see-through. And if it’s chucking it down? Well, I’m just going to insist people go and buy colourful umbrellas for photos – no black please folks.

So what’s making me slightly nervous and apprehensive? It’s two things mainly. And these feeling first reared their head 3 weeks ago at our friends Ben and Karen’s wedding in Market Bosworth, Leicestershire. Waiting in the church for Karen to arrive, my senses were on high-alert. I was incredibly nervous, a feeling I’ve never experienced at a wedding before. When they said their vows I was pretty emotional (ok, I admit I am often an emotional wreck at lovey dovey stuff, but this felt different).

But I don’t feel nervous about getting married, more having to do it in front of 57 people. I know many women look forward to their wedding day, the day when they can be a princess and the centre of attention. But this I’m dreading. The idea of 114 eyes on me trying to hold myself together on the biggest day of my life is giving me butterflies.

The second thing making me slightly apprehensive is the name change. I’ve commented on my decision to double-barrell my name with Jeffrey’s for reasons you can read here. But today, when I said goodbye to a colleague before I’m off on leave, she asked what my new name will be. And all I’ll say is that I felt so glad to not be letting go of my name completely. Adding Jeffrey’s surname on to the end of mine feels strange enough (though I am glad to be doing so), without me having to abandon mine completely.

The wedding of Simon and Kaleigh (above) on Don’t Tell The Bride almost never happened as Simon chose to hold the wedding in Las Vegas and failed to fly out some of Kaleigh’s closest family. After many tears and promises from Kaleigh that the wedding was off, they ended up marring and Kaleigh loved the day.

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