I imagine you're feeling a heavy mixture of nerves and excitement about your upcoming nuptials, non?
As my own wedding loomed closer on the horizon, I trawled through countless websites and totally lost count of the amount of times I saw something I liked... then forgot where I'd seen it...GAHHH.
So, I thought I'd stick them all in one post, mainly for my beautiful little sister who is getting mawwied (purpose spelling mistake there don't fear) so they're all in one handy place!
Personally I didn't like any of those blahblahblah wedding community/wedding countdown sites with a 'Mrs XXXXX to-be' profile name... to me they're not healthy! Call me a Lone Ranger, but you just CAN'T let wedding planning take over your life, tempting though it is. Plus, they reminded me of this time back at school when I was chatting between my friends just as we were about to go in to an exam, everyone had revised differently and I panicked because I hadn't revised what they had and it stressed me out no end, didn't help at all, nor did talking to them when I came out of the exam about how I thought it had gone (so glad I don't have to do exams anymore...)
Anyway, I digress, wedding community sites anger me too much, I didn't want to be part of that sisterhood/rivalry/jealousy thing I personally found, everyone's different remember :)
Don't EVEN get me started on wedding fayres. They made me not want to get married.
The internet is a marvellous thing. Yes, I purchased my fair share of wedding magazines which were helpful to an extent, but the web, the web dear brides is FREE* :) Hurrah!
*For the picky readers, OK you pay for the connection, but don't nitpick.
I've put them in categories, as I like lists, so without further ado, my first and favourite site is this:
http://www.beforethebigday.co.uk - Daily wedding blog with bucketloads of wedding inspiration, real weddings and craft ideas. I 'borrowed' so many ideas from this site, I LOVED it. They even featured our wedding afterwards (nothing to do with why this blog is #1 on the list, I swear!)
http://www.100layercake.com/blog/ - This is a blog from the US, but I loved it (I still peek at it every now and then, you know, as research for my little sister of course)
http://www.100layercake.com/blog/2011/06/17/a-beautiful-mess-wedding-elsie-jeremy-and-a-diy-boutonnierecorsage-tutorial/ - I saw this post just after our wedding (when we were back from honeymoon obvs.) and I got MAJOR wedding envy - just look at the details! And I defy anyone not to cry at the video on there. Dear me.
Ant and (table) Decs:
http://www.etsy.com/ - Online marketplace for craft items - fabbo dabbo! I got my cake decorations from here along with plenty of other exciting things and had no issues with things being posted from America.
NOTE - Etsy also has some FAB one off piece of amazing jewelery. I actually ended up buying mine from little known retailer Debenhams after I got fooked off with a staff member in a bridal shop trying to upsell mega expensive jewels to me. Know your audience lady.
http://www.coxandcox.co.uk/categories/any-excuse-for-a-party - Slightly more expensive than I would like, but nonetheless worth a glance at the pretty and shiny things you can decorate your venue with!
Smile! You're on Camera!
http://networkedblogs.com/bmrYZ - Rather fantastic blog from my very fabulous photographer Sarah Jane, (http://www.sarahjanesphotography.co.uk/) who I am so glad we found (and no, we didn't find her at a bloody wedding fayre, I hate those things!) This blog runs through why photographers charge the price they do, so save it to your favourites ready for when your fiance utters the words 'why is it so expensive to take photos? Can't our friends just stick them on Facebook?' Josh didn't ask that again after I sucker-punched him.
http://alidegraffphotography.blogspot.com - Call me weird, but I loved looking through other Real Wedding albums. The amount of ideas I got made all the weirdo comments worth it.
For Fleurs sake!
http://alidegraffphotography.blogspot.com/2010/10/paul-brittany-9310.html - I toyed with the idea of a giant flower instead of a traditional bouquet, but it didn't work out. Massive boo. PLEASE let me know if you have a giant flower!
http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/228444/laura-and-ben-brooklyn-new-york/@center/272446/real-weddings - Another Real Wedding site, and it's no coincidence that I'm going to land you on a page where I got TOTAL bouquet envy! Butterfly bouquet? Oui bien sur!
http://www.sarahsflowers.co.uk/ - Don't fancy real flowers? I didn't. Another hassle to worry about on the big day? No ta. I faked it and for once didn't feel bad, ha ha! Great website, good for inspiration even if you just fancy getting some inspiration for real bouquets. My bouquet didn't get tossed to the ladies, no siree, it got laid on my Nan's grave so it lasted much longer than a real one. Good times. I bought a spare bridesmaid dress in the sales and intended to launch that to the gaggle of giggling senoritas, but forgot. Oops.
Just go shopping. Baby, just go shopping and bloody enjoy it. When else do you get bubbly when you are shopping (if you shop in New Look like me that is), plus you have no idea what suits you until you start trying on. Countless blogs said 'oh you'll just KNOW when you've found THE ONE' (no pressure hey?) and in truth, THE ONE for me turned out to be the one I went home thinking about, couldn't stop thinking about and felt like I was cheating on when I tried others on. I was so excited that evening when I told Josh that I'd put the deposit down, that made the wedding seem so real for him (catch up, I told him.)
Be warned that dresses only come in sample sizes, so there will come a time where you might be squeeeeeezing in to a miniscule size 8 (I had a time where the assistant actually HELD the dress in front of me and tried to show me what it would look like in my size. Ridiculous, I wouldn't even order a New Look dress using that logic, let alone spend £800+ on one. Go away.) OR you'll try on a size 20 and be clamped with bulldog clips - ta daaaaaa! No. It helps so much if the dress is around your size, I really don't see why more dress shops don't order say a size 12, and a size 18 or something like that.
Also, don't settle for anything less, and that comes down to service in the dress shops too remember. I was so lucky in Confetti and Lace, Harrogate, to find Jacki who was just so lovely and helped me so much. Big love going out to Jacki. If anyone makes you feel rushed or cheap, or harrassed, get outta there. Make your excuses and go, but take the dress off first hey? One shop I won't name was just so awful I didn't even try on all the dresses I had set aside. Just like the dress, you'll know when you've found the right shop. You'll be spending a LOT of time there over the next coming months, so it's got to be the right environment for you.
Oh, and be nice to the staff! They work such long hours and have to deal with emotional brides all the time. Being nice goes such a long way, that goes for every service you receive in the wedding planning, you'll more than likely end up getting some nice little discounts that help too. A smile costs nothing, and it might save you a buck or two!
Almost there :)
Lastly, here's a couple for the men involved; you know, the ones that just show up in a suit on the day :)
http://www.iamstaggered.com - good tips for wedding speeches, and all the other tiny things we give to the men that we can trust them with not to screw up :)
http://www.moss.co.uk/pws/hire/wedding_planner/wedding_planner_home.html - Another supremely helpful site with plenty o'helpful links and info for the dudes. We didn't hire suits from Moss, we used Cameron Ross who bordered on useless when it came to ordering suits to be collected around the country. (NOTE - Yorkshire Menswear were fantastic, they were just let down by the supplier, big love going out to Steve!)
You know what? None of this even matters by the time it gets to this point:
(Literally no turning back now, look at how tightly my Dad is holding on to me!)
AND that was straight after the car had pulled up to the wrong church and then I'd got my shoe heel stuck in the drain right outside the church (my Dad had to literally get on his knees and yank the draining off, I wasn't going down the aisle Cinderella style) - I laughed through it all.
It's the best day of your whole life, it does fly by before you know it, you MUST make the most of it and not sweat the little stuff.
(Because I'm living proof that no one cares if the tablecloths don't match the bridesmaid dresses.)
I'll leave you with some snaps from the magnificent Sarah Jane and her magical camera...
Over and out sisters, fire any comments, questions or useful links my way for others,