Invitations: Beautiful Ink

Monday, 19 February 2018

At a Rivington Hall Barn open night recently, I met a lovely lady that makes invitations. After a lengthy chat about venue decor, photographers, and all other things wedding (loved her, have to say) she handed me a leaflet, and I went on my way.

Her designs stuck with me. With the tagline 'we only design bespoke wedding stationery, every design is unique and tailored to your dream wedding day,' Beautiful Ink invitations are absolutely beautiful - every example I saw was cute, it was quirky, it was very clearly personalised and, best of all (in my mind, anyway) included an RSVP postcard that makes getting a timely response that much easier. Prices start at £299, and you can find out more here.

Before you disappear though, why not take a look - assess whether or not this is your style too...

What do you think? Adorable, right?

Wedding Planning Day Off: Manchester Picks #1

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Wedding planning can feel like a full time job, can't it? If you're in desperate need of a break from table plans, dress cuts, invitation choices, interfering relatives, whatever, I recommend the following...

S  H  O  P

At Pop Boutique. It's fun, it's retro, it's a vintage haven right here in Manchester. The ideal place to treat yourself to something a little more unique than the high street has to offer. And the best thing? The sizes aren't butchered for vanity's sake - an 8 is actually an 8. Fancy that.

Pop Boutique, 34-36 Oldham St, Manchester, M1 1JN

E  A  T

At Crazy Pedros! A kooky pizza place with extremely loud music (so be prepared to shout), Pedro's has pizza in wild and wonderful flavours - the wacko jack, for example, which is topped with pepperoni, jerk chicken, jack cheese, olives, jalapeños and onions, or the fried chicken and waffle, which is a vision in, you guessed it, fried chicken, waffle, smoked bacon and maple syrup - and nachos served in a bin lid. Look out for happy hour, it's a real bargain.

Crazy Pedro's Part Time Pizza Parlour, 55-57 Bridge St, M3 3BQ
Crazy Pedro's NQ, Short St, Manchester, M1 1JG

D  R  I  N  K

Wine in an igloo at The Refinery. Because why not?

The Refinery, G1 XYZ Building, 2 Hardman Boulevard, Manchester, M3 3AQ

W  A  T  C  H

Queer Eye on Netflix. This is a staying indoors activity (there had to be one) but oh my goodness is it worth it. I put this on expecting a light hearted laugh, and it was so much more. I openly wept at a couple of episodes. Grab yourself a tea, some donuts, a packet of tissues and your comfiest pyjamas, and settle in. It's well worth your time.

How do you unwind on wedding planning days off?

Wedding Dress Shopping: Stella York

Monday, 12 February 2018

It's a tedious task, wedding dress shopping. Especially - due in part to many websites offering dress previews categorised by designer, rather than style - when trying to work out where to go to seek out your dream dress. Personally, I didn't know the whose who of bridal design before getting engaged (still don't, really) so clicking through designer by designer when I know the style I want but not whose name I want in the label has become an irritating task I've started to avoid. Alas, it must be done.

To hopefully save some others time, I've decided to start sharing some of the designers I come across here, with a preview of their style - starting with Stella York, whose signature approach appears to be very girly, quite flirty, and big on detail (also, her gowns don't cost the earth, so are good for an under £1K budget). Happy dress shopping!

Stella York in Manchester:
a/ Emma Louise Bridal, 41 Chorley New Road Bolton BL1 4QR
b/ Alison Burgess Couture, 273 Wellington Road South Stockport SK2 6ND

Flower Girl Dresses By Monsoon

So, the day has come and gone that we told our maid of honour's eight year old twins that we wanted them to be a part of our wedding. The boy was absolutely thrilled to be doing 'the most important part of the day' with his usher duties, and the girl is excited to wear a pretty dress, if a little nervous. One problem being that all the dresses she finds herself drawn to are, you guessed it, white. Hmm.

In a bid to convince her that there are other colours in the world, we turned to Monsoon this weekend. And I thought I'd share the most adorable finds here, for anyone else wondering where to find a flower girl/young bridesmaid outfit (finding them almost as difficult to choose as my own dress, to be honest, especially since the one I truly loved has sold out nationwide). Available in all sorts of colours, dresses by Monsoon strike the perfect balance between fun party wear - which appeals to the kids - and adorable formalwear - which appeals to bride and groom, colour scheme and venue dresser. I can't say I'm clued in on the price of childrenswear, but the cost seems fairly reasonable, too, especially for something that they can then re-wear over and over until it falls apart/they get too big.

The third one is a personal favourite.

(Dresses: 1, 2, 3, 4)

Oh and, for the record, here is the white dress that caused a million stuck out lower lip moments on Sat. I may have a mini bridesmaidzilla on my hands 😉

Monsoon in Manchester:
a/ Debenhams, Market Street, Manchester, Lancashire, M60 1TA, GB
b/ Manchester Arndale, Unit 25&26, Arndale Centre, Manchester , Manchester , M4 3AQ , GB
c/ House Of Fraser Manchester, 98-116 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 2QG, GB
d/ Debenhams Trafford Centre, 1 Regents Crescent, The Trafford Centre, Manchester, M17 8AB, GB

Songs To Get Guests On The Dancefloor #1

Friday, 9 February 2018

There's something 'bout his manners...

The Flower Girl Dress Of Dreams

This Monsoon dress has been sold out ever since I discovered it, and I can't seem to move past it. What will I dress my flower girl's in if not this? HOW CAN ANYTHING EVEN COMPARE? Oh, woe is me, woe is my... Might be time for a glass of wine 🍷

Decor Ideas: Barnyard Chic Open Day At Wellbeing Farm

My future SIL is obsessed with The Wellbeing Farm, about half an hour outside Manchester. Every time weddings are mentioned (she's also engaged, so the topic arises fairly often) she gets all misty eyed and laments about the amazingness of the farm. For this reason, we didn't even consider this place for our venue, despite it being named one of the country's best wedding hotspots. Bros (fam) before hoes (wedding venues) after all. Regardless, I wanted to see what the fuss was, alongside getting tips for venue decor, so we went along to one of the farm's open days in Jan. And I was blown away. So I thought I'd share pictures here, in case anyone is thinking of going real rustic with their theme:

That flower arch! That bunting! Argh, so cute!!

Luckily, this isn't 100% the style we want to achieve, so while I was able to take some tips, I didn't leave thinking 'what have we doooone' about our own venue. (Wedding venue FOMO is a real fear of mine.)

What do you think to this approach to decorating?

Paperless Invitations?

Earlier this year, my fiance's friend sent us an invitation to his wedding via Paperless Post. It was great - from landing in his inbox to selecting meal options (both options were pie, how loveably northern) and RSVP'ing yes, the reply process was completed in less than a minute, and promptly forgotten about. Wherein lies the problem, we forgot about it. Without an invite to stick to the fridge to remind us constantly that we had an impending wedding to attend (and because he forgot to forward the invite on to me, the organiser of the two of us) we both reverted to a state of 'did we actually get invited to their wedding?' mere weeks after signing yes on the dotted line.

Other problems lie in the older generation - my grandad has never even seen an e-mail let alone opened an account to send one to, and some aunts and uncles are technologically challenged, to say the least. Regardless, we liked the idea of paperless invites enough to adopt the approach for our save the dates, though our formal invitations will be, unless we run out of money, printed.

There's another plus: paperless is cheaper.

Anyway, for those of you considering going paperless, here are some very pretty examples of what is available on Paperless Post, which I spent hours trawling, having fallen so deeply in love with the other couple's design that it took all I have in me not to rip them off completely... (we already have similarly decorated houses, I fear matching our invites would have been a step too far)

What do you think? Would you consider going paperless?

Bridal Fitness Idea #1: Yoga

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Basic, right?

Tonight, I finally took my first real step toward the dreaded bridal fitness regime everyone (/my maid of honour, who started her own regime before I even realised it was a thing) keeps talking about, and went to a yoga class. True, the class followed a double cheeseburger and three chicken selects at McDonalds, but that's neither here nor there stop judging me.

Yoga is something I've tried many times in many forms, always to little success - hot yoga was too moist, laughter yoga too uncomfortable, regular yoga too giggle inducing. But in the name of both looking toned in my dress (I may go strapless) and of possibly meeting new people in my local area (I have no friends), I risked a giggle fest and went to a bog standard yoga class - if nothing else, I figured, it would make me feel all zen and whooshy about the more stressful elements of planning a wedding/a life/of being a human being in general. And you know what? It wasn't awful. Did I almost laugh more than once? Yes. Did I find myself falling deeper into my 'cat lady' role by enjoying the cat pose most? Yes. Was it a little odd when class ended on 10 minutes in the dark, under blankets, 'breathing'? Oh hell yes. But I did it, and I feel refreshed, and I feel like I've done my body some good. I will be returning next week.


Decor Ideas: A Rustic Open Evening At Rivington Hall Barn

One thing I'd say about planning a wedding: go to as many open evenings as possible. Walk around, drink the free prosecco, take some photos and pull on other people's ideas to help form your own idea of your perfect big day. It's not stealing, it's inspiration gathering.

This evening, we made the drive over to the beautiful Rivington Hall Barn, Lancashire, to take a look at their 'rustic theme,' and it did not disappoint. Although too flashy for our tastes (we want low centrepieces, for a start, and the lions aren't going to be making an appearance... I don't think) it was great for getting my decor head into gear. Behold...

Not a bad way to end a Thursday.


A Marvel-lous Wedding Cake!

I'm currently performing a deep clean of the spare bedroom (AKA the cat's room) ready for my maid of honour, who is coming to visit with her kids this weekend. Saturday is the day we'll be telling her eight year old daughter that she is to be our bridesmaid, and her eight year old son that he's going to be up at the front with my fiancé, who he absolutely idolises. I can't wait. Before they arrive, I plan on making this cheesecake for us all to share, and on making this hell hole of a guest room habitable. It's a big task, which is why I'm taking a wee break to share some wacky/wonderful cakes with you. Starting with Sarah (MOH)'s personal favourite: a marvel cake. How cool is that???

I can't remember exactly where we found this, but do know it's at Rivington Hall Barn. Credit will be added if anyone lets me know where this pic came from! What I do know for sure is this: I'll be making sure Sarah's wedding cake is a nod to this one when her time comes.

Some more great cakes:

This genuine 'cheese cake.' There was one at a wedding we attended last year. It was as good as it looks (source)

A fun 'dripping paint' cake (source)

An absolute green dream from Manchester bakery, The Frostery (source)

One for the flower fans, from another Manchester bakery, Slattery (source)

And my personal favourite, a cat cake (source). Meow.

Right, back to work...

Manchester Wedding Photographer: Damian Brandon

One of the biggest 'hurrah' moments we've had throughout this wedding process is finding our photographer, Damian Brandon. Discovered while googling 'photos of my venue' while on a desperate late night 'oh my god have I booked the wrong place' high (which my bride friend Rebecca also has moments of, so I'm pretty sure it's normal), Damian stood out like a sore thumb in the best possible way. His photos have a documentary feel, perfect for the camera shy bride - moi - and are so beautifully edited. We both fell in love with his style, and I e-mailed him immediately, fingers and toes crossed for good news. He responded within a few hours, was so lovely, and was within our budget. So we booked him! And I am SO pumped to work with him in August. Below are some photos from his blog that showcase his unique style... You can see why we fell in love.


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