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Getting nowhere planning wedding and it's starting to depress me.

(35 Posts)
MrsPennyapple Wed 13-Feb-13 15:17:22

Hi everyone, am hoping someone can give me some clue where to start.

We're getting married in May (2013), registry office followed by buffet in a country pub, all fairly informal. The ceremony is late in the day so we're only having one reception for everyone, not afternoon & evening receptions. We are trying to keep costs down as much as possible, DP's parents are paying for the food, so that's taken care of. We have approx £1500 - £2000 to spend.


1) My dress. I am pg, will be approx 5 months by wedding date, so no idea how big my bump will be. I always look washed out in pale colours so am looking for something in a fairly bright colour, ideally a raspberry pink or teal but am open to suggestions. I'd also like it to be knee-length or just below, and preferably not strapless. I like those that are v-neck front and back. I cannot find ANYTHING. Am I being too fussy? How do you choose a dress when you have no clue what size you'll be? At this rate I'm just going to buy something that "will do" and then hate my wedding pics forever.

2) Table decorations There will be a fair few children, of all ages, so candles are out. I don't want goldfish bowls and tiny scattered crystals. There is not going to be a table plan, everyone can sit where they like. I don't know whether to do buckets of crayons and paper, or something similar. I thought maybe board games on the tables, what does anyone think of this idea?

3) Photos Where will we have photos taken? Outside the registry office is not very picturesque. Not sure whether to pay for professional pics or not, DP hates his photo being taken, and although he'd tolerate it, it would show in the pics.

4) Transport Not a clue.

5) Everything else I keep thinking of more things we need to do / think about / decide on, and it's stressing me out no end. I keep thinking I'm making this a bigger deal than it needs to be. Plenty of people get married with less time than we've got, and manage to make it a lovely day. Please someone talk some sense into me. Or at least tell me what else I need to arrange that I haven't thought of. I'm not having any bridesmaids as there are three or four people I could choose, none of whom know each other, and they all live hundreds of miles away.

MrsPennyapple Wed 13-Feb-13 15:19:32

Oh, and just to complicate things, my dress would pretty much have to be bought online, as there are no department stores here. There are bridal shops, but I'm assuming that will bump up the price by a few hundred pounds stright off.

pebspop Wed 13-Feb-13 15:25:38

can you find a dressmaker who will make a dress for you. don't say it's for a wedding as that will probably bump the price up. they should be able to fit the dress to your changing shape.

I would get professional photos as they are good for remembering your day. i look at my now and again and love them. my dh didn't like getting his pic taken and you can really tell in the first few. luckily he got more relaxed and the ones taken later in the day are really nice.

Don't really have any advice on the other stuff just try to enjoy it!!

lilibet Wed 13-Feb-13 15:32:03

Table centre pieces - when my bil got married last year in the middle of every table was a large beautifully wrapped present in the colour scheme of the wedding. The speeches were before the meal and everyone was told to open their boxes and inside were things that were tailored for the children (plasticine, colouring books, jigsaws, puzzle books etc) and a couple of disposable cameras. It was a really good idea and soemthing that can be done well in advance.

MrsPennyapple Wed 13-Feb-13 15:53:48

There is a dress maker not too far away that I've heard good things about, I'm not sure what notice she needs, I'll give her a call.

Plasticine is a good idea, I can see the adults getting plenty of fun out of that too.

I'm not sure how much decoration is normal for the reception venue, should I be sourcing garlands and whatnot, or is just table decoration enough?

BikeRunSki Wed 13-Feb-13 16:01:12

Right, calm down, we have been sent home from work early cos of snow and I have an unexpected child free 2 hours smile. Let Auntie Bike sort this out...

1 - Dress - Is this the kind of style you want ? I know it's the wrong colour (although lovely for a wedding dress]], but is this this style? Is it your first baby and are you slimish to start with? At 5 months you'd probably still be able to fit a normal dress if it is not too fitted and have a full floaty skirt. If you don't want white, no need to go for a wedding specific dress. For knee length you need to search "cocktail dress". Cheap New Look/Monsoon type accessories are fine too, since you'll probably only use them once.

Since you'll be pg, consider flat shoes. Silver ballet flats?

2 - Table decorations - Yes, yes, yes to stuff for kids. I have been to a few weddings with kids (before mine and once with one of mine) - good ideas have seemed to be - small toys at each child's place (digger, dinosaur, snowglobe, scribble board, little lego kit; sticker book; not some that an be "done" once quickly like a small jigsaw); colouring stuff in pots on the table, kids food already at their places when the meal starts (even if sandwhiches and crisps to be going on with); kids drinks in bottle like Fruit Shoots so they don't get spilt; seperate table for older kids (7+ ish), childminder for little ones (who may want to sleep or run around); kids seated close together and near side door/French windows etc to garden; room showing DVDs for older kids, usher or someone going to check and change disc every so often.

Other table decs - maybe weighted ballons, lolly trees? - maybe depend on age of kids; topiary trees; growing herbs (could double up as favours). TBH we didn't have anything - DH is v hayfevery and autistic nephew terrified of balloons, and I feel the same way as you about horrid "table glitter".

We didn't do a table plan either. It was fine.

3 - Photos - if you are going to a country pub do them there. If it is crappy weather go inside. Give your DH a couple of drinks to relax. Get them done professionally to be sure of getting something decent. IT is chaos organising wedding photos on the day, a professional will keep on top of this and get your DH smiling. Everyone will want to take their own pics too, ask them for any nice snapshots too. I'm a decent amateur photograher and have done a friend's wedding pics. It was very stressful and I was worried about them being OK, was running around all day and didn't relax at all! Not fair on guests! And make sure the guests are under strict instruction not to "publish" pics for 48 hours or something. My cousin's DW went ballistic that there were pics of her on FB before they'd even left the church.

4 - Transport - guests usually make their own way from wedding to reception. Don't worry about it. I would be pleasantly surprised if transport was laid on, but if you are ending up in a country pub, that's probably where every one will want to end up / stop over etc. I wouldn't expect transport at all.

5 - Everything else - Get together a list of accomodation and taxis near the reception to send out with invitations.

Make your own invitations - we designed ours, and a local printer printed them up for us onto nice card for about £20 for 80ish. Much easier than grappling with card in a moody home printer.

Music - we got music students from local uni to do 45 mins x 3. Was v cheap compared to "professionals".

Shoes - break them in before hand

Bridesmaid - I had a Best Woman. My best friend from uni. It was nice to have her to help me with hair, nails, run errands for me on the day. Hold my handbag in pics.

Hair, nails, make up - do your own. You know what suits you best. I hated my wedding make up and wiped it off and did my own about 30 mins before the wedding.

Button holes ? - Anyone hayfevery? Get them silk button holes.

Flowers - Buy your own boouquet, chop the stems and wrap and load of ribbon round them. We didn't have any other flowers because of the hayfever issue. The register office and restaurant had their own anyway.

Music - CD for register office, what's your first dance?, what'll you do for background music ? Are pub licenced to play music?


poppy283 Wed 13-Feb-13 16:06:54

On my phone so can't link but google 'etsy CoralieBeatrix' and look at the dresses in her shop. Beautiful and versatile.

We're getting married in July and after the big things are booked I just gave myself 2or 3 things per month to sort out. Get a file and keep everything together.

Table decs - I've bought some old OS maps of our hometown and a heart stamper, and will scatter the results on the tables. Look on pinterest or etsy for more ideas.

Don't know about photos, we're just going to ask guests to take pics and email them. Perhaps you could take a detour to a local beauty spot for pics between ceremony and meal?

TheBeanAndTheBee Wed 13-Feb-13 16:20:02

I also think it is worth paying for a professional photographer if your budget will stretch. It's so worth it. Lots of people suggest disposable cameras at weddings - I think this is the biggest waste of money ever (speaking from personal experience!) People's digital cameras are way better quality, no one will remember to turn the flash on and it will cost a fortune to get them developed.

If you can't afford a photographer make sure that all your guests know that you're relying on them to take pictures, so that people make an extra effort to take lots of pics.

Don't bother with a cake, no one eats it, unless its for desert at your meal.

Table decs, wouldn't spend lots of money on that, no-one will remember. If you're having a bouquet you can use that to go on the table.

Dress - I'd stick this as a separate request on Style and Beauty. We love a dress challenge over there!

Hope something in this helps! Don't panic, you've still got lots of time. We had three months from booking to the actual wedding and it was fine.

TheBeanAndTheBee Wed 13-Feb-13 16:23:11

Oh and I had a best woman and she was AMAZING!! Helped me so much beforehand and on the day. Couldn't have done it without her. Highly recommend roping in at least one friend!

MrsPennyapple Wed 13-Feb-13 16:25:08

Thanks Auntie Bike that's very comprehensive! smile

1) Dress - yes, that's the sort of thing. It'll be DC2, I'm reasonably slim (5'7 and 9st 4lb pre-pg). I have been googling cocktail dresses, evening dresses etc, but have only really looked at maternity. Maybe I should look at normal dresses too (and lay off the cake a bit). I didn't know knee-length came under the heading of cocktail dresses though.

2) Table decorations - I think kids stuff is the way to go then. Will start looking for some suitable bits and pieces. The weighted balloons are a good idea. I also thought about those really long balloons that you blow up and let go of. Always good to get people laughing. I like the growing herbs idea as well.

3) Pics - I wouldn't ask a friend to take wedding pics. I don't want my friends to feel they have to "work" at my wedding, and I don't want anyone stressing (except me, obvs). I thought about getting a pro to just do a few, just to be sure of getting some nice ones. Good tip about asking people not to publish them. (Especially my friend who put pics of one-day-old DD on fb before I was even out of hospital. Grr.)

4) Transport - I meant for me and DP to get to the registry office and then the reception.

I am making the invitations myself, as well as the cake. (I make a mean fruit cake, never iced one though, better practise.) I was thinking of providing something else for those that don't like fruit cake, but frankly, they can like it or lump it! Can't please everyone.

Music will be done by the pub landlord smile I'll have to think about the first dance etc. I did wonder if I was supposed to supply music for the reg office.

Shoes - I do like pretty shoes, not overly fond of ballet flats. I do ok with heels so as long as they're not huge I reckon it'll be ok. Good plan to break them in before though.

Good point about hayfever, one of my family suffers hugely.

Thank you so much! I think I just need to get my act together and start actually deciding on some stuff. My notebook is just full of suggestions, ideas and question marks.

MrsPennyapple Wed 13-Feb-13 16:27:17

X-posted with a couple more. Thank you for your suggestions. Got to go now but might well be back later to set the S&B gang a mission smile

ExasperatedSigh Wed 13-Feb-13 16:37:11

*Table decs*: we had a colouring competition for the kids at our wedding - printed off lots of octopus pictures (in keeping with theme of wedding, which was 'tentacles' grin) and provided loads of crayons. All the adults ended up getting into it too! DH says one of the highlights of his day was looking up and seeing the whole reception room, heads down, feverishly colouring grin

Re. everything else: I felt like this too, pretty much the whole way through planning our wedding, and it was hard not to feel drained of joy beforehand BUT the day itself was totally brilliant. The main things to remember are:

- do what you want and don't do what you don't want - sounds stupid but there are so many things that people assume they must have, like hired chair covers and bloody table crystals and fancy transport etc. Choose what's important and go with that. E.g. we didn't have a wedding cake as neither of us were fussed, didn't do a table plan, didn't do anything much that was formal.

- make sure you tell your guests what is happening when. Guests want to know where to go and when they'll be eating and drinking. Everything else is just detail and if you're hungry, thirsty and tired it's hard to care about that. The last wedding I went to, the bride's family had handmade EVERYTHING and kept going on about how handmade everything was. However, the main priorities for most guests (food/drink/schedule) had been rather neglected, meaning we all spent hours standing around in a damp field with nowhere to sit, nothing to do, no food and no booze. Which made it hard to show real appreciation for a bunch of handmade pompoms grin

BikeRunSki Wed 13-Feb-13 20:28:37

Surely transport for bride and groom to reception is a lift with best man, own car or taxi?

MrsPennyapple Wed 13-Feb-13 22:49:43

Bike The best man is flying over so won't have transport. Don't people normally hire limos, etc? That's probably unnecessary expense, so am just thinking of an alternative. DP's vehicle is a working vehicle, it's, erm, unsuitable. Taxis are probably the best solution. That on its own isn't a massive deal, it was just one more thing that needs deciding on and arranging.

Exasperated Love the colouring competition idea! (And the tentacle theme too, that made me smile.) I was winding MIL up the other day when she asked about tablecloths and I said we weren't having them. I almost had to fetch the smelling salts. (We are having tablecloths, but nothing fancy, just what the pub are supplying.)

Really appreciate everyone's suggestions, I think I sort of have a few ideas forming now.

sashh Thu 14-Feb-13 05:54:42

For your dress - get thee to an Indian tailor. Or at least a sari shop. The colours and patterns are wonderful.

Saris are all 5 metres and fit everyone. The Shalwar suits come unstitched so you stich it to size later - or can be made with a pull cord that is adjustable.

although they are normally worn with trousers they can be made into a dress.

follow the link for an example,r:73,s:0,i:305&iact=rc&dur=982&sig=115539594728524125126&page=2&tbnh=187&tbnw=139&start=31&ndsp=43&tx=68&ty=105

Love the idea of boardgames. A couple of helium ballons could be fun.

Photos - disposable cameras on the tables? If you are not bothered about dh seeing your dress then book into a photographers a week before and just have a portrait done then you have one good professional pic and just collect the others from friends.

Transport - what do you want? Would just a taxi be OK?

I knew someone who had a routemaster bus and picked her guests up on the way.

Walking? Very romantic.

You can do as much or as little decoration as you want. What about sweets? Scatter quality street over the table or maybe boiled sweets wrapped in cellophane.

byanymeans Thu 14-Feb-13 09:39:19

Maybe look into an infinity dress there are lots on etsy. I have made them for brides and brides maids, one pregnant bride ordered an extra one cus it was so comfy to wear to another wedding before her own. There great to cus you can wear them again ever post bump.
As for cars we aint bothering at all but you could ring up a local tax and ask if they have a BMW or Merc. My dad did this and ended up with 3 Mercs for £30 each to take use ALL to the registry and wait then take us to the meal. All 3cars did 2runs each to get all the guest moved but it was great to not have to worry about driving. Plus a bargin its worth an ring around.
Caryons always go down well. Im thinking pipecleaners to maybe make somd into flowers and butterflies etc to get the ideas going?

byanymeans Thu 14-Feb-13 09:40:29

*note :£30 PER car not person lol

MrsPennyapple Thu 14-Feb-13 13:51:43

Sashh No sari shops around here, unfortunately. I used to live near one and loved the colours, and colour combinations I'd never have thought of. Walking to the registry office is certainly possible, depends on the weather, you never know what May is going to be like!

Byany I've never heard of an infinity dress, will look into that, thank you. I like the pipe cleaners idea, and the quality street, can't beat them for a bit of colour and shine! There may be a mysterious absence of strawberry creams though. They'll be stashed at home for me!

I did have a couple of ideas for things to put on the tables - origami paper and instructions (would keep my big brother busy if nothing else), and maybe balloons with balloon animal instructions. DP wasn't struck on the board games idea, but I think he was thinking monopoly etc - I was thinking more Hungry Hippos and maybe Jenga! Quick games that don't take too much thinking about, or people will get distracted.

I am feeling lots calmer about the whole thing now, thanks everyone. I realised that the essential stuff is done - wedding venue is booked, reception venue is booked including food and drinks. Of course, we still need to take care of the invitations - I am making a start on those tonight.

Another thing I thought of - and do tell me if this is idiotic and will look ridiculous - on thinking about the hayfever factor, I thought that instead of flower buttonholes, the men could have little pinwheels, you know those windmill things that go round when the wind blows on them? But smaller than the normal ones, obviously.

Keep the ideas coming folks, and thank you!

BikeRunSki Thu 14-Feb-13 17:53:38

I'm all for informality and thinking outside of the box, but I think minature windmills instead of button holes is a bit silly.

ExasperatedSigh Thu 14-Feb-13 19:45:35

I like the miniature windmills!

dizzy77 Thu 14-Feb-13 20:01:18

Hi MsPennyApple, I wanted to add some comfort if I can. We got married in May (9 years ago, yikes!) after finalising our venues and dates in the December prior and not really getting on with the detail until the new year, and it was a great day and huge fun. It sounds like you have really clear views on certain things and a high degree of flexibility on others: this will help you list and prioritise.

Avoiding a "wedding" dress will save all the teeth sucking from bridal shops (they were dismayed when I visited in January for a may wedding) and simply asking if photographers, taxis etc are available on your date will save a lot of soul searching on options.

I second that invitations can be really simple and professional print shops don't cost much and save a lot of heartache. Appointing a "best woman" or "event coordinator" for the day (they don't have to be directly part of the bridal party who is clear about the plans to deal with anything that comes up on the day was a great help for me - it was my SIL and we gave her mobile to everyone in case they couldn't make it at the last min, got lost etc, and she was the main liaison at the venue on the day.

What's most important to you? Mine was that we got married, and all our guests had a good time. A bonus was that showed and everyone looked gorgeous in the photos. Whilst I did get a bit fiddly about the stationery and favours that was my preference and I found it fun.

Congratulations. Have a great time.

MrsPennyapple Thu 14-Feb-13 21:28:15

I suspect DP may agree with you about the windmills Bike although I think it would look brilliant smile

Thanks Dizzy, being married is the most important thing to me, I'd happily do it with two witnesses and just go out for dinner afterwards, but that wouldn't go down at all well with DP's family. They mean well, they just all want to join in the celebrations. I suppose I just want everyone to eat some nice food and have a bit of fun.

Purplehonesty Thu 14-Feb-13 21:39:09

Is this sort of dress what you fancied?

sashh Fri 15-Feb-13 07:16:25

You can get silk flowers, they look just like the real thing but don't fade. You could use those for button holes.

byanymeans Fri 15-Feb-13 08:05:41

Oh oh i just found This
you could maybe reproduce a bouquet like this and has paper flower button holes for the men. Im thinking of putting afew pinwheels in glass old school coca cola bottles on bettween the puddings on the pudding table rather then flowers. maybe you could mix up pinwheels and paper flowers in a bottle with a jar of sweets with a label saying 'eat me' and jar of cayon. Keeping it all bright a colourfull on the tables.

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