Wedding gift guide…

I absolutely love buying people gifts, whether it’s birthdays or Christmas or just a random “saw this and thought of you”. It fills me with so much joy handing a little prezzie over to someone and seeing their face light up.

Jon and I are so lucky to have such amazing people in our lives and it’s no surprise that we were inundated with offers of help for the wedding so to show our gratitude we decided to give some gifts.

Some people might find this a strange post do to but I have actually been approached by a couple of brides who have no idea what gifts to get for their wedding party and I know I struggled to come up with ideas so I’m hoping this might help some couples out.

As far as possible I will leave links to the items or something similar. I will not however detail the price and ask that if you received a gift from us you don’t follow the link haha!

Also a little FYI I was in charge of getting presents for people on my side and Jon was in charge of his side so I don’t have links or pictures for them (although I did get his mum a little something just from me.)

Mum (of the bride) Darren (step dad) and Rebecca (sister/bridesmaid) 

My mum was an absolute superstar during the whole wedding process. She listened to my continuous stream of wedding chat, calmed me down in times of dire stress and helped me out wherever she could. Both her and my stepdad gave us some money towards the wedding which really helped us out and Darren drove me and my bridesmaids to the venue in the morning.

I wanted to get them all something special that they would remember forever. My mum and I love a show and try to go at least once a year. I knew my sister wanted to see this and my step dad would love it so I got them all tickets to see the Lion King in London. They may have been sitting right at the back but its a memory they will always have. I got these on lastminute.com and obviously the prices on there vary.

Oh I’d also got Darren “stepfather of the bride” socks and my mum a “mother of the bride” tote bag and an embroidered handkerchief.

Bridesmaids

I literally could not have asked for better bridesmaids, from organising the most amazing hen do, to dealing with my meltdowns and spreadsheets, they were absolute troopers! I decided to get them a few little bits, some keep sakes and some practical so I’ll just list these below.

Tote bag

Engraved Champagne glass

Bracelet (that happened to just match the dresses perfectly!) (similar here)

Bride squad pjs

Make up bag of goodies – the make up bag was from Primark and the goodies were mainly from superdrug including hair clips, hair bands, deodorant, hand santizer etc. I put paracetemol in the older girls bags and hayfever tablets in my sisters but considering the state of her I should have put paracetemol in them all LOL.

Obviously I’d got my sister the Lion King tickets so for the older girls – to melt the stress of the wedding prep away – I got them Virgin Active spa day vouchers. If I remember correctly these included access to the gym, swim, steam and sauna as well as a facial and a massage. These were purchased from Buyagift.com (similar here)

Dad (of the bride) and Debbie (step mum)

We were very lucky to have these two contribute towards our beautiful venue which we couldn’t have had without them. So to say thank you we got them what they would enjoy best – A magnum bottle of prosecco! This was from cash and carry (shhh don’t rat me out!)

And of course dad got “father of the bride” socks.

Louise and Jodie (step sisters)

These two made my beautiful (and delicious) cake! I got Louise some Ferrero Roche and Jodie a bottle of barefoot rose (the best rose ever!!! I’m glad she agreed).

George (Nephew)

George filmed our day for us so to say thank you we got him a H&M voucher.

Tom (Maid of Honour’s boyfriend)

Tom provided us with all the lovely wood for the wedding! The cake base, the table centres, the sweet table stands. So to say a massive thank you to this beardy pirate we got him a bottle of Kraken rum!

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Mother of the Groom

Also a massive help in the wedding process, helping Jon especially with the parts he was in charge of. I think he may have had a meltdown without her!

Jon got her some perfume but to say a special thank you just from me I got her a bracelet with the engraving “Thank you for raising the man of my dreams”. (the pearl coloured one)

George (Jon’s brother)

George was a ring bearer and a great job he did too! Jon got him some cufflinks to wear on the day.

Mitch (Best man)

Mitch was the perfect best man, he did a great speech that people are still talking about and was so helpful on the day (especially during the photos.) I believe Jon also got him some cufflinks and some money.

Kerry

Kerry is a family friend of Jon’s mum and she saved the day in terms of our cake topper! I tried and failed so many times to make and buy what I wanted but it was Kerry who nailed it – I literally felt relief wash over me when I got the picture! We sent her some flowers.

And then of course there were the presents we got for each other.

Bride

Jon got me the most beautiful watch (gold and marble, so blogger!)

Groom

I made Jon a little wedding day hamper which consisted of an engraved hip flask, a little bottle of glenfiddich, some whiskey stones and a cigar.

I also framed this little happy engagement note for him which was the last thing his nan had written before passing away in the February.

So there we have it! There is a chance I’ve missed something but you get the gist. Some might argue this was a little excessive but hey I got a decent bonus and what better way to spend it than to show gratitude to those nearest and dearest to us!

Click the links to get to the websites we purchased from and I hope this provides you with some inspo! And obviously a lot of these can be used as gifts for anything, not just a wedding. Let me know if you get anything from the list!

Peace and Love xoxo

Wedding decorations…

The prospect of decorating our wedding venue was beyond exciting to me! I had such a clear vision, the tough part was making it come to life. Luckily Jon was happy for me to take charge on this front. We were also very lucky to have had such a beautiful venue that in all honesty, didn’t need much doing to it.

Theme wise we were going for a country, shabby chic vibe and although this may be cliché, there is definitely a reason it is used so much. It just works! This is such a classic/classy theme that will ensure your wedding looks absolutely stunning. It’s also possible to recreate very cheaply!

Most of the decorations for the wedding were either borrowed, or from Amazon! Amazon is your friend (although this was probably not appreciated by the post room in my office.) I also wanted to get crafty and make as much as possible but this kind of fell by the wayside – however if you plan your time well this is totally doable and something I would highly recommend!

It’s lovely to have contributions from friends and family to make everything way more personal to you.

Ok so I’m going to break the decorating down into sub sections – mainly to focus my own brain and make this post easier to write!

SWEET TABLE

Wood Slices – for a quote contact tom.crickmore@googlemail.com- These really made the sweet table come to life and give it a bit more depth. At varying heights it made the table look less flat. It also gave that country rustic vibe we were going for.

Sweet Jars – Amazon – I love these old style jars, super vintagey and cute. I also preferred them to be plastic as they were a lot lighter to move around and wouldn’t get smashed by the kids.

Sweet bags and scoop – Amazon – We did actually get some bags included in with the sweet jars but I got some extras just in case. It was so lovely to see people walking around with their little striped bags of goodies.

Extra scoops – Home Bargains

Crate – Que Sera – absolutely loved this crate, again it was used to make the table look less flat and boring. We strung fairy lights through it too.

Wire fairy lights – Primark

Flower fairy lights – B&M

Sweets – Cash and Carry (bookers) – I think we spent about £30 on sweets and we had a fair bit left over at the end (which I have enjoyed stuffing my face with.)

Birdcage – already owned

Bunting – hand made by my dad’s wife (click link for her page)

Flowers and jars – Florema – Elaine did such an amazing job on all of the flowers and we got so many great comments about them. They really did bring the place to life.

Table cloths – hired through venue – If I remember correctly the table cloths were £8 per table.

LOVE LADDER

Ladder including letters – for a hire quote contact tom.crickmore@googlemail.com – I was considering making one of these from an old ladder my step dad had BUT Jenna and Tom to the rescue with this beauty!

Flowers and jars – Florema

GUEST BOOK TABLE

Wood Slices – for a quote contact tom.crickmore@googlemail.com – These were actually left over but became the perfect piece that was missing from this table.

Flowers and jars – Florema

Guest book – Ebay – I can’t find the link to this but I’ve linked a search for “burlap guest book” with lots of similar items. I think I paid about £8 for this one but I saw one exactly the same for £20 so definitely shop around! OR make your own.

Type writer and “sign our guest book” print – borrowed from friend

Vintage suitcase – Que Sera – this shop in Ongar was such an amazing find! They have some beautiful one off bits in there and I would highly recommend checking them out if you’re close by.

Card bunting  – Amazon – You could definitely make this yourself but I went for the less stressful option.

“Our Story” – Frame from B&M, maps printed from computer, writing written on in a sharpie by my maid of honour. – I LOVE THIS! The maps are where we met, where we got engaged and where we got married.

Wooden photo clips – Amazon

Polaroids – photobox

Bunting – handmade by my dad’s wife (click link for her page)

Fairy lights – Primark

CAKE TABLE

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Cake – handmade by my stepsisters – So so tasty! I really wanted a naked cake and it went perfectly with our theme.

Flowers (including cake topper flowers) – Florema

Wooden cake base – for a quote contact tom.crickmore@googlemail.com

Bunting – handmade by my dad’s wife

LOVE letters – Ebay – These were great BUT they were so light and kept falling over… the E is now an F due to a little accident. (cant find exact ones but link takes you to ebay search of similar items)

Fairy lights – Primark

Chalk board – I actually got this for our engagement party and cannot remember where it was from but it would have been somewhere like B&M or Wilkinsons! It says “I love you like a fat kid loves cake”

Cake topper – Handmade by a friend. – I tried to make this myself and it was BEYOND stressful. I then went to Hobbycraft to get the one I was basing mine on… it was sold out everywhere! Thank god Kerry came to the rescue. (linked a similar one from hobbycraft)

MAIN TABLES

Wood slices – for a quote contact tom.crickmore@googlemail.com

Flowers – Florema

Printed bottles – Design De La Boutielle – Absolutely love these bottles! We had 3 designs, the rabbit, a dog and a duck and they were a real country gem.

Tables games – Amazon / B&M – got to keep everyone entertained! Not everyone loves to boogie as much as I do. (charity shops are also a great place to look for this kind of stuff)

Wooden photo clips – Amazon

Polaroids – photobox

Face mats – Amazon

Hessian and Lace Table runners – Chelmsford Market – I think the whole lot came to around £55 and we had quite a bit of lace left over. My mum did all the cutting and they looked absolutely fab on the day, shabby chic galore.

OUTSIDE TABLES

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Vintage books – A friend from work lent these (again check charity shops or I know Spittlefields market do things like this on their vintage/antique day)

Flowers in vintage teacups – Florema

PHOTOBOOTH

Props – Amazon / borrowed from a friend

Frame – handmade by my brothers girlfriend Lianne (link to her instagram – she’s a tattooist not a frame maker though I’m afraid lol)

I would have loved a proper photobooth but my lord are they pricey! So instead we created our own.

BAR


Birdcage – engagement gift

Flower fairy lights – B&M

Kilner Jars – Amazon

Dance floor rules – Amazon / frame from Chelmsford market

EXTRAS

 Lightbox – Wedding gift from maid of honor – LOVE THIS! It’s now in our bedroom and says “The Grants”

Wedding signs – Florema

Flowers and jars – Florema

Wooden photo clip – Amazon

Polaroid – Photobox

I hope this post has provided you with some inspo! Let me know if you have anymore questions regarding the decoration side of things 🙂

I absolutely LOVED dressing the venue up the morning of the wedding! More on this can be found in my “wedding day” post. Also hit me up if you want me to be your wedding planner cause clearly I’m totally qualified to do that now 😉

Peace and love xoxo

+apologies for the couple of blurry pics, these are the only ones I could find!

Our wedding day…

HEY GUYS I’M MARRIED!!!!

After months and months of planning and talking about it, it finally happened, I am a wife and I could not be happier!

I’m seriously struggling to find the words to describe the best day of my life in a way that gives it the justice it deserves and to be honest, I don’t think it’s possible. It’s one of those, had to be there moments, but I will give it my best shot!

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THE NIGHT BEFORE

So our wedding adventure started on the Sunday when I packed the car up with decorations, booze and bridesmaids. (And by this I mean packed up 3 cars – and me mum was there too, let’s not forget her, she’s a sensitive soul.) Off we went to Coggeshall, me and my little convoy, trying failing to keep up with each other and not get lost.

We were staying at a cottage near the wedding venue called Firmin’s Bakehouse. I’d found this little place online after being pointed in their direction by an AIRBNB host who could not take the booking. I had never actually seen it in real life (well not the inside anyway.) So it was a bit nerve racking wondering whether it would be fit for purpose.

IT WAS PERFECT! It was beyond perfect, exactly what I’d dreamed of. The décor, the location, the chickens (yep there was 2 and they were HUGE!)

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After we had dropped all our stuff to our heavenly cottage we headed to the Chapel Inn, a local pub literally on our doorstep. We had roast dinners and prosecco, we laughed, mum nearly cried – it was fab! (not mum nearly crying, just realised I sound really mean.) Then we trundled back to sit outside in the last of the days sun with more bubbles. The perfect setting to give my bridesmaids their gift bags!

I’d got these amazing bridesmaid bags from Etsy and filled them with little thank you presents for being such babes. They all got a bracelet from Accessorize which matched their dresses, a personalised champagne glass from Etsy, a make up bag from Primark filled with essentials for the day (deodorant, clips, dry shampoo etc), bride squad pj’s, and my sister’s had a matching silk dressing gown to the one’s we got for the hen do.

Jenna also got me this lightbox which I LOVE and now takes pride of place in my bedroom.

The rest of the evening was filled with snacks, more bubbles, face masks and laughter. I’m so happy I chose these girls to be my bridesmaids, they couldn’t have been more perfect for the job!

THE WEDDING MORNING

I woke up so early! In fact I don’t think I even slept. As lovely as our cottage was, it did happen to be situated next to a church which rings it’s bells every hour – not ideal.

I woke up SO CHILL! I laid there chatting to my sister for a while before jumping on my other bridesmaids exclaiming that I was getting married and I’d only woke them up half hour before I was supposed to.

Me and Jon had got each other gifts to open on the morning of the wedding and so obviously this was the first thing I did! I’d got him a box of goodies, a little bottle of whiskey, a personalised hip flask, some whiskey stones and a cigar. Jon got me a beautiful Rocha John Rocha watch and wrote me the cutest little note!

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The girls set up for breakfast but I couldn’t eat. I literally forced myself to have a cereal bar so that I could function.

As I got a pretty sweet deal in terms of the cost of our venue, we unfortunately had to set everything up the morning of the wedding (rather than the night before). So at 9am Jenna and I headed to Marks Hall to meet my big sister, my mum, stepdad, step sister, florist and wedding coordinator – all hands on deck.

In the months leading up to the wedding I must have drawn the plan for the venue about 10 times and what did I do on the day, yep I left it at the cottage. I mean it was fine for me, I knew exactly what I was doing. Everyone else on the other hand, they were a little lost and I found it really hard to delegate (control freak!?). But after a while we got into the swing of things and it all started to come together.

It is SO surreal watching something you’ve been planning for so long suddenly appear in front of your eyes and not only that but it looks EXACTLY like you wanted it to. I’m honestly getting emotional just thinking about it! All that hard work, all the late night pinteresting, the drawing of plans, the organising, it was suddenly real life!

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I’d like to point out that at this time I was still super chill, no bridezilla here. *insert sassy emoji*

By the time we got back to the cottage the make up artist had already arrived and Millie and Rebecca were looking so BEAUT! Then the photographer arrived and the hairdresser – cue ladies everywhere!

I absolutely love being pampered and revelled in the whole getting ready phase, sipping bucks fizz, listening to chilled songs (courtesy of Jaimie, the MUA) and soaking it all in.

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My hair and make up was ON POINT and I highly recommend both Jaimie (MUA) and Gemma (HAIR) for any events you have coming up!

Once we were all dolled up it was time to get dressed – this was the scary part as everyone wondered, will our dresses fit?!?!?! I’d been working so hard at the gym and I’d cut my calories way down, trying to eat as clean as possible. My dress fit like a glove! THANK GOD! All the stress, the wondering, the starving myself of cheese – it was finally totally worth it.

My mums dress on the other hand, although fit perfectly, would not do up! Now that was stressful. BUT Jenna to the rescue and once we got mum into her dress it was time for photos.

And what an amazing backdrop this place is!!!!

WAITING

After the photos mum and Stacey (the photographer) headed to the venue to get some shots of people arriving and of Jon with his Groomsmen. It was during this time that I started to freak out (literally writing this is making my heart jump), I still didn’t feel nervous and I didn’t know why it was happening but I thought I might throw up! Obviously subconsciously I was nervous but all I felt was sick… I paced back and forth along the length of the kitchen sipping my sisters water bottle and breathing big deep breaths. I had a packet of crisps, because food helps everything. Nothing helped… and then it was time to leave.

My stepdad was driving me and the bridesmaids there in Jenna’s Land Rover. We wacked on the radio and the aircon and I tried to calm down – making jokes, trying to pretend I wasn’t going to throw up all over my beautiful dress.

A rush of relief came over me as I got out of the car at the venue, I started to chill out again and catch my breath. I stood by a large wooden door, which my soon to be husband was standing behind and waited to go and speak to the registrar. It was a weird feeling knowing he was right there, we hadn’t seen each other since Saturday afternoon and hadn’t spoken all day. Finally it was my turn to go in, I met with the registrar and the lady in charge of the marriage licence – both really lovely! And then it was time to get hitched.

THE CEREMONY

The girls and I were ushered round the back of the venue and my dad came to meet me inside. We were to be married under an arch in the flower garden (thank god the weather was so beautiful) and we would be walking out of the coach house which led us straight down the aisle. I had picked Jason Mraz I wont give up as our song to walk out to and me and the girls had been practicing our timings the night before. (why is my heart beating so fast while I write this?!?! lol)

Basically there was a certain part of the song that I wanted to walk out to but it was like 2 minutes in, being a nice person I had pre-warned Jon of this (I didn’t want him to think I’d done a runner) but the rest of the guests were clueless. I sent the bridesmaids out at the first chorus and waited for my cue, I could see my family looking at me through the window like what are you doing?? Even my dad was like can we go yet?

Eventually it was our time and we walked out of those double doors and down the aisle. I don’t think I noticed anything except Jon, I was SO HAPPY and SO in love. It sounds cheesy but it’s true. My dad basically ran me down the aisle almost dragging me down the steps we had to manoeuvre on the way and then there I was, face to face with my almost Husband!

The ceremony was great, neither of us messed up our lines, I felt so calm, I didn’t cry – it literally couldn’t have gone any better. I’ve recently watched it back and one of my personal highlights was the moment they ask if anyone objects, I turn around to survey our guests and when nobody say’s anything I turn back and say WINNING … *insert monkey covering face emoji*

So there we were, husband and wife. We kissed, signed the register, had some pictures and walked back down the aisle (to Stevie Wonder’s signed sealed delivered of course) greeted with a glass of bubbly each and time to mingle with our guests.

POST CEREMONY

Originally I had planned to go straight into photos and not give anyone anything to drink until they were finished – apparently this is really harsh!? Who knew hahaha.

Instead we took some time to say hello to our guests and thank them all for joining us, let them neck some drinks and then we started on the photo’s. I thought this would be super stressful but like everything else so far, it went without a hitch! (Thanks in a major part to Jon’s best man who was running back and forth into the venue grabbing the people we needed – most of whom, he had no idea of, so I was pretty impressed!)

It also helped that Stacey is just fab! So personable and friendly but also knows what she wants and how to get it! (Stacey was actually a guest at the wedding too and did all our photo’s for the day whilst occasionally having to breast feed and attend to her baby who was being looked after by her husband – I know right #girlboss!)

Our singer arrived around 5pm and set up outside, I grabbed her and her boyfriend some drinks and got lost in her beautiful voice! Seriously you need to see this girl sing. It was such a chilled vibe and so perfect for our day. (Check out Cat’s social media here) It was also really nice to have them stick around for a while after Cat had finished singing.

Then came the food. OH THE PIG! I only managed to have a small plate of meat but everyone was loving that succulent babe! If you’re looking for a hog (I mean who isn’t?!) Definitely check out David Long. It was a serious hit with the guests and went so well with our laid back vibe… no table plans, no stuffy sit down dinners, just grab some pig and carry on with your day!

At around 6pm Jon and I went off to have our oh so cute pictures, the ones you put on your lounge wall and show your kids in years to come. I promptly swiped a bottle of cava from the bar for the 3 min walk #classyweddinggoals. We decided to have our photos in this beautiful gated garden not far from the coach house (the grounds of this place are amazing and open to the public so definitely get yourself down there one day.) I’d visited the garden a few times before the wedding so I already had some ideas of my own but Stacey was great at figuring out what we should do and I’m sure you’ll agree they came out great!

Then all my “jobs” were done, get married – check, photo’s – check…. time to relax. Jon on the other hand, was not feeling the same as it was almost speech time!

Around 7pm after the singer had finished and the pig had been devoured we moved everyone inside so we could cut the cake. (We literally just stabbed it, no cake smooshing was ruining my face!) Then it was time for speeches.

My mum went first and gave a short but sweet speech welcoming Jon to our little family and telling tales of baby Laura. Next was Jenna, my made of honour, who reminisced about our dodgy teenage days, our 16 years of memories and her love for me…  (well what can I say haha!) she is a great public speaker so it went down a treat! Laughs, awww’s, the lot!Next up was Jon, now me and Jon had discussed his speech before and I told him it was customary for the groom to say lovely things about the bride… being totally unromantic and literally hating public displays of affection he promptly told me there was no way that was happening. Well that cheeky so and so lied and he said such lovely things, not only about me but my bridesmaids and our families – great job!! And then the best man’s speech, the one everyone is waiting for. Now Mitch had previously done a speech at a friend of ours wedding and (soz pal) but it was a bit crap. Thank god he pulled it out the bag for ours though! He reminisced about him and Jon and was super nice about me (having to put up with him and his ways for so long!) he even did an unintentional mic drop LOL.

Ok so I lied, the “jobs” weren’t totally done and I almost forgot the first dance ooops!!! We had chosen Rod Stewart’s Have I Told You Lately and it was the perfect classic love song! We swayed, we kissed and we sang to eachother, it was so lovely! (and a rarity as Jon hates to dance.) Then we called the others onto the dancefloor to join us for the rest of the song. Surrounded by all our friends and family dancing together into the evening.

And that was it, all the formalities were over and it was officially PARTY TIME! There was plenty of bubbles, multiple shots and ALOT of dancing. I think I lost my shoes within about 5 mins (and they were flats!) I literally had the best time – all my friends, family and new family in one place celebrating a love me and Jon have had for 9 years!!!! It was the most amazing end to the perfect day!

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POST WEDDING

Me and Jon got back to the cottage, my dress was filthy and ripped, Jon struggled to undo my mountain of buttons, we ate meats, pitta and hummus in bed and the rest is history!!

(alright, yes we did it – I know that’s what you’re all wondering you saucy devils (sorry mum hahaha!))

Next stop….. our mini-moon to Rome….

Peace and love xoxo

How do you cope with wedding blues?

This is more of a question post than an answer cause at the moment I’m not really sure!

I realise I’ve not yet written about the wedding but I can’t wrap my head around how I can possibly describe the most amazing day of my life in order to give it the justice it deserves! A post on our minimoon to Rome will also be on its way but today I need to talk about this post wedding limbo I’m in, I need to get it all out so I can move on from it – does that make sense?

Let me first get this straight, I’m in no way depressed about it and I’m still on such a massive high from the wedding, I couldn’t be happier right now about being married and the life we have ahead of us. I’m just a bit overwhelmed on the whole getting back to reality thing; catching up on work and washing and tidying, in a way that makes me want to pack up my bags and move me, my new husband and my cat to a desert island so we don’t have to deal with it.

Firstly I need to change my name and Lord Jesus let me tell you there is a whole host of things you won’t even think of that you need to change your name on! My banks already screwed it up on the name change front and ended up sending me 2 credit cards in my old name – not all bad I suppose! But yeah that’s a brain teaser!

Next getting back to work and trying to summon up some motivation when you have SO MUCH to do is a little daunting!

And the flat, oh cripes the flat needs some love but I’ve taken to eating left over wedding cake in bed watching YouTube videos rather than actually doing anything about it!

And lastly the weight, I got down to a champion weight for the wedding and without wanting to sound big headed I looked bloody great in that dress, and I deserved to cause I worked really hard for it!! Now…. I’ve been enjoying the finer things in life, napping, Carbs, cheese! And lots of it so yeah I put on half a stone in 2 weeks but don’t tell anyone that part.

All of this that i’m feeling now though, is 1million times worth it and I would do it over and over again!!!! If only weddings were like Christmas! But yeah yesterday I was feeling like a total misog and I could not snap out of it! (It didn’t help that a woman working in new look decided to tell me she used to have awful skin too and used whatever it was to clear it up – cheers babe I love it when people basically call me a cretin on my lunch break). However, I have an air of change in me today (I think it’s the new top I got!) and I’m hoping that I can muster up all the motivation, smash out some amazing work and go home with some left over to sort out the flat!

Personally for me, I know that exercising again will spark all of this BUT I have so much stuff to do going to the gym on my break isn’t really the best use of my time right now. Also I’m sure you’ve all been in that position where you know exercise will help but, you cannot be bloody bothered!

So yep this is me, post wedding, learning to live in the normal world again! Any tips throw them my way please 🙂 also any desert island tickets would be fab, cheers pals!

Peace and love xoxo

PS I wrote this on the train this morning and between now and then I’ve been nailing life so the whole getting it on the blog and out my head thing seems to have worked! Thumbs up for blog therapy.

Getting wedding ready…

17 DAYS TO GO GUYS! Just in case you were wondering 🙂

I’m currently feeling like a shell of my former self, I am a hormonal, emotional, lethargic little bean and I need to get a grip!

Why am I feeling like this? Oh let me see… mother nature has reared her ugly head! My flat is an absolute tip (you know they say clean home, clean mind…. well currently I am the opposite with no real energy to do anything about it) and lastly I HAVEN’T HAD CHEESE FOR 12 DAYS!!

Who even am I?!?

Ok so I know giving up cheese is a bit drastic, and when I say a bit I mean catastrophic disaster leading me to be on the verge of a bitch fit 24/7! BUT I want to be beautiful on my wedding day so swings and roundabouts.

We all know dairy is not kind to the skin so I am trying to cut waaaaaaaaaaaay down in the hopes that I am basically the new gold snapchat filter on the day!

Please #prayforLaura at this difficult time….  although probably more necessary #prayforJon!

But in all seriousness I am truly trying to clean up my diet… It currently consists of a lot of chicken, salmon and spinach! Cutting down on anything processed, dairy or carby.

I did purchase the Nutribuddy 2 week kit but tbh I’m not great with taking things or having to use my brain for anything that is not wedding related right now. I have had the odd protein shake though (sometimes in the space of breakfast when I haven’t had time to get anything).

I’ve also been upping my gym game! My main classes at the moment are, bootybarre, burn 360 and body pump (well I did my first pump class yesterday and nearly died but I plan to carry on!) I’m also partial to a body attack class but my ankle has decided to swell up so that’s fab! Better keep to the lower impact options.

The above classes focus mainly on muscle tone/building with some cardio type sections (which are absolutely killer). Both burn 360 and pump incorporate weights, where bootybarre is about using your body weight and doing all these weird squat moves until you want to scream – sounds great right?! Body attack on the other hand  is running and jumping around like a lunatic, sweating out of places you never knew existed!

Ok I’m not really selling this to you am I?! These classes are actually really fun… well I think so anyway. Maybe I’m weirdly sadistic without realising but we all know that exercise releases endorphins and therefore makes you happy soooooooo there’s that.

I tell you what doesn’t make me happy…. this cute little bloat I’ve got going on the day before my final dress fitting.

Can we all just take a second to appreciate how hard being a girl is?!

Ok so I don’t really know where I’m going with this post?! Basically wedding prep physically is going well, emotionally – well that’s debatable!

All jokes aside I am SO BLOODY EXCITED! Only one full week left at work and then shit gets real! Only 17 more days as Miss Laura Butcher till I start a brand new life as Mrs Grant (which begins with me stuffing all the pizza, cheese and pasta into my face on our trip to Rome – Oh lord I can’t wait.)

Peace and Love xoxo

My Hen Weekend…

I literally don’t know how to start this post because I cannot even begin to describe to you what an amazing weekend I had!

My hen weekend was a complete surprise, I left the whole thing (apart from the guest list) in the trusty hands of my bridesmaids and boy did they do good! You know you’ve got some goodens when they just get you better than you even get yourself…. Everything was perfect! (Soz not soz for all the gushing in the post guys.)

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So all I knew about my weekend was that I was staying in London from Friday to Sunday and that I needed three outfits, I was given criteria to follow when buying them and drove my maid of honour mad sending her pics and asking her questions!

Thursday night I barely slept cause I was so freakin excited! It’s a strange thing, being excited for something you know nothing about, for all I knew I could be swimming with sharks. But I knew that I’d have my favourite people around me and we would be celebrating a love that I’ve had for 9 whole years and that in itself is good enough for me!

Ok so let’s get into the nitty gritty …. What did we actually do. Well Friday I was ushered onto the underground, still no idea where I was going until we got off at Camden. The girls has booked the cutest little Airbnb not far from the station as our base for the weekend. It had been adorned with goodies and looked so fab! We had matching kimonos, hen goodie bags, snacks and most importantly …. Prosecco! Jenna had also fashioned me a flower crown veil which I am SO IN LOVE WITH and want to wear forever more.

Friday night we kept things pretty chill, heading to Grand Union for dinner and cocktails (pornstars of course!) During the course of the evening we managed to spill an entire drink and have a bottle of ketchup explode all over us…. So pretty successful I’d say! Once we’d finished making a mess in Grand Union it was back to the flat for a slumber party, more snacks, more wine, face masks and kisstory – amazing!!

Saturday was the main event and after another night of no sleep (due to THE loudest freight trains ever) you’d think I’d have been tired. But how could I be tired??? I was beyond excited and that buzz kept me going till 4am! I’m getting ahead of myself here…. We got ready, took some obligatory selfies and jumped in an über to mareleybone, pulling up outside Brassiere 108 for afternoon tea with my nearest and dearest! We had a big long table filled with sandwiches, treats, scones and tea. I opted out of the alcohol as I didn’t want to peak too early (let’s just say me and day drinking have a sour history!) it was so lovely to spend time with my family and I did my best to try and spend time with everyone. It’s honestly such an amazing feeling when you sit in a room and think all of these people are here for me, they’re here cause they love me and want to wish me well! Heart warmth overload!!!

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After we had eaten we were moved to the bar area and I may have indulged in a rum cocktail but it was oh so delicious and I don’t regret a thing!

We said our goodbyes and headed back to the flat to get ready for round 2! My step sisters came with us and we met a friend on the way…. Everyone else was meeting us at the next mystery venue!

Sometimes I think I enjoy getting ready more than actually going out. I mean maybe not on this occasion but I love getting all dressed up with my friends having a drink and dancing around without the interruption of other people you don’t know and don’t care to know. (This is why I need me a house ASAP!)

Back in another uber and as we got closer I knew exactly where we were going…. Proud Camden!! A delicious evening of boobs and bums, what more could you ask for haha but seriously I LOVE burlesque, it’s such a classy, entertaining and impressive art and I would encourage anyone to give a show a go at least once! Proud was incredible, the host, the two girls and the burlesque boy – the perfect mix of comedy, sexy and sass! Not only this but dinner was like a unicorn threw up in my mouth… Totally dreamy! I went for asparagus in Parma ham, and lamb – oh the lamb (insert a million heart eye emojis). Again I was surrounded by a big long table of my closest friends all ready to help me celebrate and I couldn’t have been happier!

Once the show was over it was time to dance! This took shape in the cabaret section where the show was until the doors to the club opened. We were ushered into a large square room filled with house music and I got a little worried, it was not my scene at all!!! BUT bridesmaids to the rescue and I was grabbed and dragged out of there and into our own private stable!!!! Better music, no annoying people, waitress all night YEP, NAILED IT. Oh and our very own swing in the corner, I mean come on!!! I literally did not stop dancing! I honestly had the time of my life and I wish I could relive that day over and over! My girls did me so unbelievably proud (pardon the pun) and I don’t know how I can ever repay them or express my gratitude enough!!!

We danced literally until we were thrown out and then set upon a cheesy chip hunt. Turns out Camden doesn’t stay open very late on the food front so we ended up with a bag of roast potatoes, a block of cheese and a do it yourself attitude!!

Sunday arrived and no hangover for Laura! I mean could this weekend get any more perfect?! All packed up, we said goodbye to our little getaway flat and headed to the city for breakfast! The Folly is definitely somewhere you need to go, purely because it is stunning!! The food is also delicious but that totally comes in second to the interior!

And that was it, time to say our goodbyes and head back to reality, or for me …. Head into married life! I couldn’t appreciate my girls anymore if I tried and also my friends and family for just being totally awesome people and giving me a weekend I will never ever forget!!!!!

Only 5 weeks to go guys! Eeeeek!!!

Peace and love xoxo

Finding the dress || the wedding edition

The first thing a girl thinks about when she makes plans is, oh lord what on earth do I wear?? A simple dinner is stressful enough, especially if you aren’t familiar with the venue or the people going. So imagine what it’s like when someone asks you to marry them!! Not only do you have to plan an outfit, it’s an outfit that is going to be constantly judged, an outfit that could define your whole day! All eyes are on you and EVERYONE wants to see that dress.

Cool, no pressure!?

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I’m sure every girl has dreamt about her wedding day and the dress she wants for years and years (I know I have!) I had a photo saved on my phone for SO long of the dress I wanted but when it came round to it my taste had completely changed!
Now this post is going to be awkward to write cause obviously I don’t want to give anything away. I’ll probably do a part 2 after the wedding so I can explain myself better and show you pictures!

Anyway, what I’m saying is you will almost definitely go into that first dress shop experience knowing roughly what you’re looking for. I had a clear idea of what I thought would suit me and……… It didn’t at all!! In fact I’ve ended up with a dress in a style that I thought I hated! The women in the shop said this happens ALL the time! There is literally no way to predict what you’re going to like until you’re in those dresses.

Trying on a wedding dress is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before! No matter the style you really do feel like a princess! It’s such a beautiful and special occasion I don’t think I was really ready for it. My advice to you would be to soak it all in! Take loads of pictures and make sure you have someone there to share this moment with. My mum came to all my dress sessions with me and I loved having her there. Make sure whoever you take is not afraid to give constructive criticism but also understands that this is your thing and you ultimately have to make that big decision. You’ll be so caught up in the magic that you’ll probably love a lot of dresses you may not be so keen on when you come back down to earth so it’s definitely worth having a second opinion.

So how many places should you try?? This is completely up to your preference but I technically only tried two different places. The first shop I went to was amorae in ongar and I FELL IN LOVE with the most beautiful dress! However I did not fall in love with the cost and couldn’t justify spending £1300 on a dress, however beautiful it was. I am still totally in love with that dress but I’m glad I didn’t go for it, not just for the cost side of things but I don’t think it was appropriate for a mid August wedding – basically I’d have been a hot mess.

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The second time I tried on dresses was at the Olympia London wedding fair, I only tried on one here and i did really like it at the time. It was the style I had been thinking of so I think that clouded my judgement slightly. To make sure I was certain I decided to visit their actual store in London and try on some more dresses. Turns out I didn’t really love any of them so I left with nothing.

It is literally SO hard to make this kind of commitment! What if I find something I like better?? What if I end up hating it by the time the wedding comes??
So the final place I went, was back to amorae. I absolutely loved the girl who had served me before (Maria) and the dresses in there were just beautiful! I’d spotted that they were having a sample sale so thought I’d go check it out. And here is where I found the one!! Nothing like I’d imagined but stunning all the same!

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I tried it on twice during my session and I just didn’t want to take it off. Because these were sample sale pieces they had to be paid for in full on the day and that was a big commitment for me to make. Maria turned to me and said if you took this dress off, went home to think about it and it got taken by someone else how would you feel? My heart sank! I was like NO THIS IS MY DRESS! And that’s how I knew. My mum got emosh, I was beaming…. This was it!!

You’re going to look beautiful on your wedding day no matter what cause you’ll be glowing with that giddy love feeling. But you want to feel sassy and confident too so make sure you think carefully about your dress choice.

I also urge you to think practically! What kind of venue to you have, what is going to happen throughout the day? You need to make sure you’re able to do all the things you want to do in your dress without being restricted.

Now I can’t lie to you, it’s difficult to sit down in mine but it’s possible, cause I tried! However I have no sit down meal at my wedding so this isn’t too much of an issue. I also danced around in it to make sure I could cause this girl will be on that dance floor all night!! I can’t have my dress bringing me down!

I am literally so excited to put this baby back on and I can’t wait to share the pictures with you 🙂

Let me know if you have any questions about buying your wedding dress, or I’d love to hear your experiences!

Peace and love xoxo

Wedding planning …

I’ve probably made light of my love for planning previously on the blog but if you missed it let me reiterate – I BLOODY LOVE TO PLAN! In fact it’s a bit of an obsession, like I have to plan or the world might implode… anyone else feel like this??

 

 Anyway, for someone who thrives on organising there are no four words more sweet to ones ear than “will you marry me.”

HELL YES I’LL PLAN MY PINTEREST WEDDING FOR REAL…….. I mean yes I love you, let’s spend eternity together.

So here are some tips for you little lovelies in regards to planning a wedding. For those of you who may not be so like-minded and the thought of such things fill you with absolute dread, I hope this is helpful!

Tip one is LISTS – lists coming out of your earholes! Get yourself a notebook dedicated to your wedding or one of those cute little wedding planners and jot down everything. Your ideas, your guest list, estimated cost, whatever comes into your head. (This is also a great excuse to buy out Paperchase cause HELLO cute stationary!)

 Now whilst I do use a notebook, my holy grail has to be my wedding spreadsheet. I created this on Microsoft Excel and it has made everything waaaay less stressful. Let me explain how it works…

 Tab one – wedding budget.

The table includes: Things to pay for, when they need paying, their estimated cost, actual cost, how much has been paid and who is responsible for paying.

I then have totals at the bottom including: total cost, donations, total for us, amount paid, amount left to pay. (All with fancy formulas so they fill themselves in automatically.)

And just to make it extra organised I’ve colour coded it (cause duh!): green is paid, blue is confirmed price, pink is not my problem (this is my favourite colour section haha)

 Tab two – the guest list.

I’ve split this into two sides one for me and one for Jon. I’ve then included everyone’s names, their relation to us and their role in the wedding (if any).

Then for more totals: Total people invited, total family, total under 18s and how many invites are needed.

Tab three – suppliers.

Names and contact details of all those involved in the wedding from caterers to photographers and hairdressers. I need to hand this info over to my venue at some point so it’s useful to have them all together.

 Tab four (yep I’m still going!) – honeymoon details.

Jon and I are flying to Rome the day after the wedding for a mini-moon so this tab includes the date, destination, flight cost and accommodation details of our romantic getaway. (I say romantic, I plan to stuff as much pasta, cheese and pizza into my face as humanly possible without throwing up…. literally cannot wait!)

Instead of gifts, we have asked our wedding party for donations towards a bigger honeymoon next year so this tab also includes details of the dream trip to Thailand – destinations, dates, possible accommodation and costs.

Tab five (It’s the last one I promise!) – the hen do.

Now I have no input towards my hen do whatsoever EXCEPT who’s invited. So here I have detailed all the names and phone numbers of those lucky ladies. I have also split them into two groups as there will be two separate activities, one being more family orientated.

 Aaaaaand breathe……I know this sounds a bit anal and crazy but I promise you it will make life so much easier!! Having everything all in one place is a real dream.

 Aside from this there is obviously the pinterest board. I would suggest making this private as you don’t want everyone to see your ideas before the wedding. There is no better feeling than seeing your guests faces when they see all the little details you’ve created and knowing it was 100% worth it. (I mean I’m totally speculating here but I guess it’d be pretty great?!)

 

 I’ll try do some mini posts on particular aspects of the wedding like finding a venue and picking a dress but for the mean time I will leave you with a list of things to consider for your wedding. Now this is my own personal list and obviously everyone is different so you may want to add or take away items, but I feel this serves as a good base. Mine got a lot longer as time went on but I also deducted unnecessary things along the way.

THE LIST

Registrar (not necessary for church weddings) – approx. £400 at the moment.

Notice of marriage (not sure if this is relevant to church weddings?) – £35 per person

Certificate of marriage – approx. £4, I know right what a rip off!

Venue (ceremony/reception if they are separate)

Food

Drinks

Stationary – save the dates/invites. (Also consider table plan, order of service, favours, place names – we aren’t having any of this)

Wedding cake

Flowers

Photographer

Videographer

Decorations (I’ve made a separate mini list of all the decorations we need)

DJ

Live Music (we are having a singer but think about whether you would like a band etc)

Dress

Suits

Rings

Bridesmaid dresses

Groomsmen suits

Hair (trials extra?)

Make up (trials extra?)

Nails

Lashes

Sunbeds (or spray tan)

Underwear (think about what type of underwear you will need for your dress not just what you like!)

Hair colouring

Accommodation

Hen do / stag do

If you have planned or are planning a wedding I’d love to hear how you kept/keep organised! Also let me know if any of this has helped you in any way 🙂 This kind of practice can be used for all sorts, not just wedding planning!

Peace and love xoxo

Wedding update: the trials 

So I really wanted to do a wedding series on here given that I’m getting married this year but it’s difficult cause I don’t want to give anything away to those who will be attending! This means I can’t include any pictures and I don’t know how I feel about that.

However, in spite of this I really want to share my journey with you as its happening, so I’m going to give it a go!

A couple of weeks ago now I had one of THE best days ever! I’d booked the day off work and arranged for me and two of my bridesmaids to trial our hair and make up followed by  trying on our dresses so we could see what it’ll look like on the day! (Unfortunately one of my bridesmaids lives in Manchester so was unable to attend which sucked so much but we sent her pics and kept her updated throughout the day so she didn’t miss out on too much.)

My maid of honour stayed the night before and I woke her up bright and early Wednesday morning (by jumping on her cause how else do you wake people up when your excited?!) I showered and tanned and resisted the urge to put make up on (this was tough!)

Gemma, the hairdresser, arrived at 9.30 and I was up first, we’d already spoke about what I wanted and I’d sent a few pics so I left her to it (she’s the professional after all!) and oh boy I was not disappointed! I absolutely LOVED my hair, so different to what I expected but also totally perfect, basically – I’m a real life elsa 🙂 She then started on my friend Jenna (meanwhile mum and sister had arrived with copious amounts of naughty treats which I stuffed in my face, putting to the back of my mind the fact I had a dress to fit into later that day!) Jenna’s hair was also fab, very Audrey Hepburn and really suited her. My sister was up last and although I think she looked amazing she wasn’t comfortable with having her hair up so we have since opted out of having her hair done professionally. Some people might have had a hissy fit about such things, wanting everyone to be similar etc but what I want to achieve from my wedding day is that everyone is comfortable, relaxed and has fun! I do not want my sister standing in front of 130 people wanting the ground to swallow her up cause she feels wrong – so hair down it is!

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Next up was make up! I was super excited for the make up artist to turn up, like a kid on a sugar rush, I was desperate to put some slap on! (Obviously I’ve mentioned before about my acne and how conscious I am, I never feel comfortable in front of people I don’t know with a bare face) so naturally I went first. Oh and of course we popped the champagne at this point, it would have been rude not to 😉 Jamie used mainly MAC which was great as this is what I use; I therefore know that my skin won’t react badly to it. She was also using an airbrush machine which is bloody magical! Not only does it feel great going on and super light once it’s done it’s also cry proof (winner!) sweat proof, heat proof… Basically life proof so that’s perfect! Another great thing about airbrush is that you can layer it up as much as you need to, so depending on how my skin is on the day I know I’ll have a decent coverage.

Whilst we were having our make up done, my mum was so impressed she spontaneously decided to book herself in for the wedding day too! I absolutely love that this is happening because it means she gets some pampering too (she deffo deserves it).

Both girls looked absolutely stunning!!!! I was so so happy with how it came out (and they loved it to) it was the first time my sister had ever worn lashes (only being 13) and holy moly you forget what a difference it makes to a persons face!

 

So all dolled up we had a quick snack (or you know two pizzas) then headed off to amorae in ongar to meet up with my dress for the first time since I bought it in May last year! I’d also brought along my bridesmaid dresses, which are from ASOS, so we could see the finished picture all together. OH MY GOD I could have cried! Everything looked absolutely perfect 🙂 (well except for the fact that my dress had magically got a lot tighter since last time I tried it on… Oops! But don’t worry I’m working on that)

After the dresses me and Jenna went to the Kings Head for some food and celebratory drinks, we talked weddings, we cried, we laughed and we gushed about how much we love eachother over text on the way home (someone pass me a bucket).

 

But seriously, even the trial day felt special and it made me so so excited for the real thing. I keep imagining us all in the cottage getting ready in the morning and it fills my soppy little heart with joy! I’m so thankful to be sharing my day with such amazing people in my life – I honestly couldn’t wish for anything more.

If you are considering having trials yourself I would totally recommend doing it all in one day! It might sound a little hectic but it’s great to see everything together before hand to make sure it’s what you really want.

My last but not least bridesmaid Millie will be having her trials, along with my mum, at the end of May so I get to have that feeling all over again 🙂 literally can’t wait!

I’d love to hear stories about your trial day ladies!! Let me know in the comments 🙂

Peace and love xoxo

Miss to Mrs || The Name Change

  I was born with a feminist brain and the heart of a hopeless romantic and let me tell you straight off that the two don’t always get along!

At the moment, with the impending wedding my sassy sisters are in a complete debacle about the whole name change situation. On the one hand the hopeless romantic cannot wait to be a wife, to take the name of her one true love, to be a Mrs…. The Grants! On the other hand the feminist is dying inside, she is furiously shaking her fist at the hopeless romantic and screaming for her independence, clinging on to the name that she has built her life around for so many years, her reputation, everything about her is in this name.

So then who is right? They both make a good case! I am stuck in between this torturous pair on the regs and I wish they could just agree!

I will of course be changing my name regardless but there’s still that niggling feeling that I’m loosing something. I mean I am 100% devoted to my fiancé, I am ready to share my life with him forever but am I ready to loose the only identity I’ve ever known? Will I become a different person?

I can’t be the only one who thinks these things? And we shouldn’t feel guilty for thinking them (although sometimes I do!) It doesn’t mean you’re not committed, it doesn’t mean you’re any less ready or in love. I personally think it’s a completely normal process.
I am a pretty family oriented person, I love my family to bits and I am so proud to be a Butcher, I’ve been referred to solely by my last name by friends for so many years, I am known as a Butcher and I guess I’m just scared to lose that. Will people think different of me? Will I feel less like part of my family?

But on the other hand I get to make my own family, to share my name with my husband and to have children who are part of us and our name. I will be responsible for carrying on a family name which at the moment does not feel mine but one day it will!

I don’t see it as giving myself to someone else, I don’t see taking their name as a negative, I see it as a step I am happy to take to become that traditional, fairytale, family unit … To be the Grants!

 

Mrs Laura Grant will be with you in a few months and I can’t wait for you to meet her … She’s a bloody hoot I tell ya 😉

Having sadly laid both the original Grants to rest this past year I feel a sense of pride to be stepping into their shoes. Whilst they could never be replaced, I can only hope that we will live up to their 60+ years of marriage, the strong relationship they had and the amazing people that they were! I hope that they will be proud of what we have and I hope to do their name and their family justice.

Peace and Love xoxo