Notice of Marriage Shenanigans

So, can you tell me if you are related to your fianc√©?”

Yesterday The Bloke and I went to the neighbouring town to declare our Notice of Marriage.

The process is essentially there to legally declare our intention to marry within the next twelve months. However, as simple as this initially sounded, I soon discovered that it would be a little more complicated than telling someone and getting a certificate.

We live in a small town on the outskirts of Birmingham. We’re getting married at a venue in Birmingham and because neither of us have a religious faith we have opted for a registrar from Birmingham Register Office to officiate the ceremony instead of a vicar. Continue reading

Why Children are Not Invited to Our Wedding

 

Why children aren't allowed at our wedding

It’s six months until my wedding day and while I have a few things still on my list to tackle, the large things are now booked and organised. Most of it (despite some of the horror stories I have heard over the years from friends and articles I have read online) has been an exciting experience. However, one thing that I found difficult was the guest list.

Why?

Because children are not invited to our wedding, including my own niece.

The Bloke and I don’t have children of our own. I have a very small family – mum, two sisters, one sister’s long-term boyfriend, a brother-in-law and a niece, who will be 10 months old on the day of the wedding. The Bloke’s family is considerably larger, but don’t have young children – the youngest are older teenagers, so it wasn’t a family issue to consider. However, my friends have lots of them. Continue reading

A Hen Party in Bristol

I found myself on a train up North to visit the family on Monday evening after just returning home from a two-day hen party (Bachelorette) extravaganza. I had blisters on my feet, a burn on my thumb, I’d had about six hours sleep thanks to a very hangry cat this morning who woke me up at 6am for his breakfast (and I had six hours the night before) and the hangover that I could once shake off in 24 hours in my 20’s was still going strong.

I’m not a huge fan of hen parties, but this one went really well. Four of us, including the hen, trekked to Bristol, where we were joined by nine others throughout the morning. We had been given strict instructions that there was to be no cliche items in tow – penis-shaped objects, L plates, cheap netted veils etc – but as she said nothing about other silly items I took the opportunity to put together a ‘Hen Party Survival Kit,’ complete with Disney plasters, water, chocolate, safety pins etc. We managed to start drinking (and spilling) the wine by 11am, so by the time we arrived I was already feeling a little on the squiffy side.

The afternoon was spent watching Joseph and His Technicolour Dreamcoat – something that I know well through playing the songs in various musical activities but hadn’t actually seen. It was…ok. It wasn’t for the lack of talent – the actress playing the narrator was incredible, Joe McElderry did a good job in the lead role (despite reminding me of a younger Michael Ball) and the supporting cast were all talented in their own right, but it just wasn’t my thing. I had more fun joining in the children’s vocal parts in the songs at the end – something that I don’t think the child sitting in front of me appreciated as she kept turning round and glaring at me. We went for a drink, where I discovered a cocktail that tasted like cola cube sweets, then went back to the hotel and got changed. I decided to risk it and curl my hair (previous attempts to do this have left me looking like some sort of drunken Shirley Temple), and was feeling all smug when it actually worked… until I burned the crap out of my thumb.

Plonker.

Our meal had been booked and the food pre-ordered several months ago, but when we arrived we were told by our poor waiter, James, that there had been changes to the menu and the whole order ended up being taken again. The Maid of Honour had thoughtfully decorated the room and the banter started pretty much as soon as we walked in:

Hen: What do you do, James?
James: I’m a student.
Hen: Studying what?
James: Physics and Astro-Physics
Hen: So, Science then…

That pretty much set the tone for the meal. The guy deserved a medal and credit to him, he gave as good as he got. Considering he was only 19 years old, he dealt with the group of rowdy women brilliantly and ended up making what turned out to be a three-hour event a cracking experience, throughly deserving the monster tip we gave him at the end…

And then… onto the club. I’d made the stupid decision to wear heels but thankfully the Hen had organised a private room complete with wine, spirits and mixers, and I found a spot on a large comfortable couch. It was like my dream scenario – Disoranno and lemonade on tap, my favourite cheesy songs from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, a bride-to-be who danced so much that we had to actually take it in turns to dance with her (depending on our music preferences) because none of us could keep up, and brilliant company. I sang, I danced, I talked utter nonsense and had a fantastic time.

Unfortunately, my feet didn’t, so the hobble back to the hotel was so painful that I looked like I’d had some sort of toilet-based accident, but it was totally worth it.

Her wedding is at the beginning of June, so it’s not long to go now. It feels like five minutes ago that she got engaged (Feb 2016) and if I know her as well as I think I do then it will be a wedding to remember!

Let’s hope that my feet recover before then…

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How to Make a Beautiful Wedding Centrepiece Using Mason Jars

Wedding centrepiece cetnerpiece mason jarsFor the first few months after getting engaged, I threw myself into wedding planning. I’ve never been particularly into crafts, but I found myself maniacally scouring Pinterest for ideas, hoping to gain some inspiration for all sorts of things. In particular, I wanted to find different styles of centrepieces, with my criteria being that it had to be simple to make and cost effective. Eventually, I planned a theme and colour scheme, and from that I then amalgamated lots of different ideas to create something that was exactly what I was looking for. I showed The Bloke what I had come up with, and thankfully he liked them as much as I did.

You will need: Continue reading

The Wedding Planning Begins…

WeddingActually, if I’m being honest, that’s a complete fabrication. The Bloke and I got engaged in May (after an unbelievable proposal overlooking a 13th Century Scottish castle, and yes, I’m never going to get bored of saying that), and by June I had pretty much decided on what was going to happen on the big day. The Bloke laughed at my initial proclamation that I wasn’t going to do anything until the summer and he was right to do so – I started thinking of ideas the very next day.

Now, when I say ‘I,’ I of course mean ‘we,’ but with me having more free time than The Bloke does I’ve been able to immerse myself in Pinterest for ideas and fill out the necessary paperwork. He’s got used to coming home only to be greeted by my phone being shoved in his face with the question “Now, what do you think of this?” and to his credit he has given me his honest opinion and offered his own suggestions along the way.

I’ve never wanted a big, fancy wedding. I’ve been to a number of them, all which were fabulous and unique with loads of fantastic things to do, but as cliche as it sounds I’ve always liked the idea of a small ceremony and a lack of pomp and circumstance. We get married, we eat, then we get our dancing shoes on and have a great time with people that mean the most to us. I am determined that The Bloke and I get the chance to spend the day together, as one of the biggest regrets that my family and friends say they have about their own weddings is that they were so concerned about everyone else having a good time that they forgot to enjoy it themselves. Continue reading

Bridezilla

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I’m not going to even start looking at anything until the summer holidays.’

This was what I said about a week ago when one of my friends asked me whether The Bloke and I had set a date.

What a load of nonsense – if I could go back and slap myself, I would. I blame Pinterest – I created a secret board five days ago when I had a sleepless night and I’ve already got about 150 pins of ideas that I like.

It’s only been eight days since The Bloke popped the question, and I’ve got the whole thing planned. For me, I’ve always wanted a small, inexpensive wedding day, with the important part being the ceremony itself, followed by an amazing honeymoon to remember, which we know we can ask for help with from our guests instead of setting up a registry. I’m not one of those brides who has dreamed of walking down the aisle in a designer gown, particularly when it’s only going to be worn once and then shoved in a box in the wardrobe. I’m not bothered about tradition or pomp and circumstance. It’s about us.

Despite this, I know where and when it will happen (I’ve already spoken to the venue to check that they are available and will cater for what we want) the dress I’ll be wearing, invitations, colour scheme, flowers, bridesmaids dresses (I’ve asked my sisters – which is amazing because this is not something I would have done two years ago), favors, cake… Money is going to be tight, and we’re paying for it ourselves, so I’ve already found ways to save on the cost by mentally calling in some favours with some creative and crafty friends. Continue reading

A Wedding… at the Zoo!

imageI’ve seen a number of wonderful and unusual things in my thirty-four years, but a bride and groom, dressed in their full wedding outfits while feeding fish to a group of excitable penguins is certainly a first.

The Bloke and I attended the wedding of Mary and Sven yesterday – Mary is our friend and former colleague, and over the years we’ve managed to keep in touch. Their story is truly a modern day romance – Mary is from the UK, Sven is from Belgium and they met online playing ‘World of Warcraft.’ Awesome.

I suppose the title of the post is slightly misleading – the actual ceremony took place at a little church near the zoo, but after the ‘I Do’s’ had been said and the hymns had been sung, we took ourselves off to the reception area of the zoo, where we became a little tourist attraction in our own right as we posed for photographs in the glorious sunshine, right across from the orangutan enclosure. There was a little bit of time before the meal and speeches started, so we were given wristbands and told that we could go and spend some time in the main zoo area. I decided to wear trousers and changed into flat shoes after the main ceremony – it had rained heavily that morning and the ground was still rather soggy, but I wasn’t envious of lots of the ladies were in their dresses and heels.

So, off we went – the wedding party and guests all wandered round in their finest, prompting some rather amused glances from the general public as we attempted to negotiate our way through the mud while trying to remain as clean as possible. Continue reading

A Wedding in the Cotswolds

I’ve never been married, but after attending many over the years as a guest or as part of a string quartet, I have a decent idea of the sort of wedding I would like.

Picture this: a Christmas theme, held in a beautiful hotel in the countryside, with lots of candlelight, a simple ceremony and beautiful food, celebrated with a small group of our closest family and friends.

It turns out, one of my oldest and dearest friends, Charlotte and her partner John, clearly have similar tastes, and The Bloke and I have just returned from one of the most stunning weddings we have ever attended. Continue reading

A Wedding To Remember

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My youngest sister got married the other day. To say that we haven’t had the best relationship is an understatement, but the impending event has thankfully almost forced us to build some bridges over the last few months. I was anxious – I had only met her husband twice briefly since their relationship began and was feeling completely out of my comfort zone, but after months of stressing about imaginary scenarios and potential altercations I decided to simply buck up and get on with it.

I play in a string quartet and as a result have participated in hundreds of weddings over the years, but this one was organised better than any I have ever seen, to the point where the military could have learned a thing or two. By the time mum and I arrived at my sister’s house everything was almost finished – the hairdresser had done all the girls hair and was waiting for us, the bridesmaids were ready, the flowers and photographer had arrived and all my sister had to do was put on her dress, which was stunning. I lent her our grandmother’s eternity ring – she passed away a few years before my sister was born and this is the only thing that we have left of them. I had bought a beautiful new dress that flattered my figure and hid my various lumps and bumps. However, what I hadn’t taken into account were the tights that I had bought to wear underneath. Despite the fact that I had picked a size that I assumed would be more than comfortable, upon taking them out of the packet I realised they would be more suitable for an eight year old child, and the subsequent battle to squeeze myself into them has now made me consider a potential career change and become a contortionist. After much wrangling, sweating and swearing I emerged victorious, only to discover that I couldn’t breathe. I decided to keep them on as the dress looked beautiful – and who needs oxygen when a dress looks that good???

I sat through the service with my other sister’s new boyfriend, who I had met for the first time that day. I was impressed – he’s a lovely bloke who obviously dotes on my sister, he has a great job and was flying out the following morning to Madagascar, where he is spending six weeks doing marine biology (as you do), and I was really pleased with the effort that he made with the family, who can be extremely overwhelming for newcomers.

The service was lovely. I took the opportunity to take some photographs as my mum started to walk my sister down the aisle (who looked absolutely stunning) but then I turned my attention to the groom. The expression on his face was just wonderful – while I can’t claim to know him at all, by all accounts he’s a nice man, and that one look showed me everything I needed to know – he loves her, and she was so happy it almost appeared that she had to stop herself from grabbing him and jumping up and down there and then. The photographs afterwards were done quickly (again, with almost military precision) and the bridal party and groomsmen jumped into a minibus to go to the reception.

This was the part I had been dreading for the last eighteen months.

It was being held at a small venue where my sisters and I grew up. We spent our childhood walking the dog and playing in the fields surrounding it, referring to it as ‘The White House’ because of the colour of the building, and I haven’t been there since 2002. Circumstances meant that my mother moved away from the family home when I was at University, and so I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye – it’s been something that has plagued me ever since. Upon arrival it was the strangest feeling – everything was so familiar and instantly brought back a million memories. I broke down, just as the bride and groom were arriving in their beautiful Rolls Royce. Being the classy person that I am, I went and hid in a large patch of shrubbery and smoked a few cigarettes in my dress and heels until I had calmed down so they wouldn’t see me.

I got over myself and went inside. The reception was full of people that I hadn’t seen in years, namely my sister’s school friends and their families. It was surreal – the once rather loud children that I knew were now beautiful adults, with careers and some had families of their own.

It was one of the best receptions I have ever attended. The decor, the food, the atmosphere and the speeches were brilliant, and my sister had even organised a photo booth and a ferris wheel of sweets (candy for you non-Brits) for the guests. My sister and her new husband moved around the room and welcomed everyone, and I took the opportunity to get to know my new family-in-law a little. I was particularly enamoured with the groom’s nieces, who at the ages of 12 and 9 were two of the most intelligent and well-mannered little girls I’d ever met.

By 10.30pm I had eaten and drank my own body weight to the point where my dress had appeared to have shrunk, my feet hurt and I was tired, so my mother and I left. I had a huge sense of relief – relief that it had gone so well for them, that I had a lovely time, and relief that I could get out of my stupid tights, change into my jammies and actually breathe again.

It was certainly a day to remember, and it’s taught me a few things:

1. I need to stop worrying about potential scenarios and start living in the present a little more.

2. I need to move on and start getting to know the sister that I have now rather than the one I knew.

3. I need to stop underestimating exactly how large my bottom is when I am purchasing tights in the future.

I hope they had a good day and that they’re happy, and if the way that they looked at each other throughout the day is symbolic of the rest of their lives, I know they’re going to have a wonderful time…

What about you guys? Have you any funny wedding stories that you want to share?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog