Category Archives: Our Big Day Our Way

Our Big Day Our Way

The Beginning……

“You Rock My World” started off because a little newly wed ( that’ll be me then) decided to share her wedding planning experience with other future brides on a wedding forum – kind of like a blog where I posted every couple of days or so.

For some unknown reason before I managed to finish my blog on the forum ( it is now all here on RMW) I had had over 150,000 views and a helluva lot of positive feedback and comments. I like to think it’s because we did just exactly as we pleased with regards our Big Day ( without listening to others that is) and many lovely brides commented that they now felt confident enough to do the same – and had found inspiration in my little story.

I loved writing my blog and loved using other blog sites for ideas during my planning.

So I thought well……there doesn’t seem to be any UK wedding sites with daily style, beauty and real life wedding features….hell….I’ll just create one myself!

And so was born.

This section won’t be updated – it’s just for my original story.

I hope you enjoy it……..

(All Photography by Jordan Banks unless otherwise stated)

My husband ( love saying that!) and I met on a blind date, set up by one of my best friends Sarah who told me absolutely nothing except his name was “James O’Shea” and he ( probably) had dark hair.

me: ” So what you are saying is he could be say… 5ft tall, have excessive nostril hair and be a total and utter chauvanistic pig?”

Sarah: ” Look I’ve told you before I’m not telling you anything, otherwise I will just raise your expectations and it might not work out….( much laughing and giggling)”

me: “I can’t believe I am going on a BLIND date, this is so totally embarassing and desperate!!”

Sarah: “Look it will be fine, honestly promise, I’m pretty sure he is not like into like train spotting or anything….”

me: “You are pretty sure?… View the full post.


The Proposal…..

And then I think I stopped breathing …..

And he said ” You know I love you to bits, and that I want to spend the rest of my life with you……..

( I am at this point beaming and nodding like a complete goon)

……”so I wanted to ask…. will you marry me?” and he is holding a silver band that he sometimes wears and I am jumping up and down ( like a rain soaked, bedraggled ridiculously happy goon) and saying “yes! yes! of course I will of course!”

Some years previous we had been on a break to New York and I had persuaded James to take me to the huge 5th Avenue Tiffany store. It totally lived up to my expectations and I completely fell in love with the romance of it all, the beautiful glittering jewels, the besotted couples chosing diamonds together….

I knew from that moment forth I wanted to live the blue box dream.

After I had accepted his proposal James explained how he did think about buying a Tiffany ring himself to propose with but thought I would enjoy the experience of chosing it myself so he had arranged for us to visit the concession in Harrods the following weekend.

I was so happy and excited all that week, I was going to marry the man of my dreams and I was lucky enough for him to want to buy me the perfect ring. I swiftly bought EVERY wedding magazine known to man and spent many an hour browsing the Tiffany website – there were quite a few sparklers that had caught my eye so was hoping to get the opportunity to try them on.… View the full post.

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Wedding Perfection?

There are a lot of girls I know who have dreamed about their wedding day since they knew what a wedding was. I was honestly never one of those girls.

Don’t get me wrong, I always had aspirations to be Cinderella/Sleeping Beauty/Princess and the Pea…. ( delete as appropriate) but it was the finding Prince Charming and living happily ever after part of the fairytale that filled my dreams.

The last couple of years we had been to our fair share of weddings, all with their own aspects of fabulousness.

The problem with having been to so many though (I’m being honest) is that I couldn’t help but be conscious of not doing something the same or even similar really, I just wanted something a little bit different.

So I started planning with fierce determination – I was going to organise a lovely special wedding that was elegant, intimate and above all filled with love, laughter and a day that we would remember forever.

Hmmmmm, where to start then?…. ah yes with that big pile of magazines.

And there it began, a whole new world of chair covers, cala lillies, chignons, favours, matching your men’s cravats to your bridesmaids dresses to your flowers to your ribbons to your ……….. I have never been so confused in all my life.

I totally lost sight of what I had set out to do and pretty much spent 8 months battling with what I wanted and what I thought I should be doing.

We booked a venue because it ticked most of our requirement boxes, not because when I thought of it it took my breath away.… View the full post.

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Finding “The One?”

The main Amanda Wakeley “collection” in the Chelsea store is on the ground floor so while we waited for the bridal consultant to meet us my Mum and I had a good old look at all the fabulous evening wear.

I absolutely adored the shape and cut of the gowns, really elegant and contemporary and I immediately had a really positive feeling about the dresses that awaited us upstairs in Amanda Wakeley Sposa.

And they didn’t disappoint. For the first time I marvelled at nearly everything on display, these were really beautiful feminine classic dresses, not overtly fussy but with enough subtle detail for maximum impact.

I tried on several ….beaded, tulle, chiffon, strapless, backless ….. loved different aspects of every single one.

It was my Mum in the end who picked out “the one”, a mermaid backless beauty with straps and a long train – made from mikado panelled silk – AW 143.

I had looked at the website but not seen it on there, the assistant explained that particular rack of dresses were brand new and had not even been on the catwalk yet.

So I tried it on and loved it, and probably just as importantly knew that James would love it too. From showing him thousands of dresses in magazines (We played the “dress game” – as in “rate this dress out of ten please” – did anyone else play this with their H2B? I found it really facsinating – and useful!)…. I knew he preferred straps and a fishtail/mermaid shape and didn’t like lace or lots of decoration/sparkle and that he thinks flashing a bit of back is sexy so….I guess if I could have designed his ideal dress, this wouldn’t have been far off the mark.… View the full post.

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Disaster Strikes……

We had booked our venue not long after the engagement, a boutique hotel in the West Midlands. As I had mentioned before we had been to a friend’s wedding there the previous summer and it was very cool and understated and didn’t scream “traditional wedding”.It was local to the majority of my friends and family and not a million miles from James’s side in Manchester so….lots of boxes ticked.

I had also scoured the internet and nothing in the area came close, I was pretty certain it would be the ideal location for our special day.

When we visited to book it they were just completing a seperate building at the back – specifically for weddings. There was a lovely bar area and generally the decor was nice – if a little too “trendy” actually.

Now neither of us were expecting this when we arrived, I was imagining it as it was the previous year and part of the charm was that it was a fairly old building but contemporary inside, now it was just kind of erm….well…..a little bit corporate.

For some unknown reason I decided to overlook this fact and made sure we could book out both the restaurant ( the original area) and this new “wedding” room so that we could have exclusive use of the venue ( for both of us this was really important) this was agreed as well as booking out all of the available bedrooms and suites.

It was also under what we had budgeted over all for the venue, food and drink.… View the full post.

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Channeling My Inner Marilyn

After the tears had been wiped away and I finally got a grip on myself – in the grand scheme of things ( and again apologies for the slush) it was really about James and I wanting to spend the rest of our lives together, not about the lushness of our venue’s pot plants ;-)

I had a little confession to make to James at this point actually. The week we got back from Edinburgh while I had been addicted to surfing the world wide web for all things sparkly I had also had a little sneaky peak at private hire venues. Suprisingly there were not that many and the majority of them were London based.

There was one stand out though, a place called Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire. It looked beautiful on the website and was once the marital home of Vivienne Leigh and Laurence Olivier – how romantic is that?? even Marylin Monroe had stayed there many years ago……ah sigh at the Fairytale of it all. …

I had sent off for the details via the website which was a colour brochure, DVD and price list. It arrived a few days later and the brochure had plenty more pictures that were not on the site – and suprise suprise it looked even more spectacular.

Then I looked at the price list.

Then I nearly fainted.

Very quickly the Notley Abbey welcome pack got shoved to the back of my underwear draw and to the very back of my thoughts ( well kind of) and I certainly didn’t even consider telling James.… View the full post.


How I love Thee Notley Abbey…..

In a way I was glad we had booked to see Notley Abbey on a 
miserable rainy day at the end of November,as if it looked as
 amazing as it did in the pictures in the dreary winter imagine 
what it would look like on a sunny day in August 
( ever the optimist…)

Right from when we turned into the long tree lined drive
I think I started holding my breath, even without a single leaf in 
sight I could just visualise how beautiful it would be come the 
spring and summer.

As we pulled up to the building I was wide eyed, overwhelmed and 
ended up having to put my hand over my mouth to muffle the 
squeaking delight, James laughed and just said “Well then, this 
was certainly worth the trip…”

From a girl who never really gave a second thought to her wedding
day here was the fairytale right smack bang in front of her – with bells on.

Inside was just as glorious, we were met by Jo who turned out to
be one of the owners ( they had been doing appoitments all day 
pretty much) and she took us on the guided tour.

I couldn’t fault a thing, the bedrooms were like something out of a 
movie with bathrooms that were contemporary and luxurious. 
The grounds ( although wet and muddy) were just perfect with 
gates taking you into hidden lawns – like something out of the 
secret garden.

There was a huge reception hall ( where guests 
gather before the ceremony) or have canapes if the weather is poor.… View the full post.

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From Dream To Reality?

By the Sunday night I had severe brain ache – looking for ways to cut back is hard work…….especially when we hadn’t really found many of the suppliers we needed or that made us go “Wow” or have half a clue how much the ones that eventually did would be.

But now there was a light ( a big shiny Notley Abbey shaped one) at the end of the tunnel and providing we both received our bonuses at the end of the year and were generally thrifty over the coming months we should be A-ok.

Although the prospect of not being able to indulge in my fortnightly make-up splurge was daunting – I am an actual marketer’s dream and official cosmetics junkie.

“Oh look that mascara will give me lashes like bambi!!! I must BUY IT NOW I tell you!!!…..”

“Oh brilliant that lipgloss will make my lips all pouty and bee stung just like Angelina…. etc etc”

(Yes I know I know….. incredibly shallow but completely true)

Anyway I digress.

So exhausted and happy we went to sleep safe in the knowledge that the next day we would be all booked up for our dream wedding and I could finally get underway with preparations.

Then the bomb dropped. A big “we are making redundancies” at James’s employers type bomb – that very Monday morning. James works in property so as this was really when the recession started to rear its ugly head his was the first industry to really suffer.… View the full post.


Bridesmaids, Bouquets and Biscuits

The remainder of that afternoon Mum and I looked through my scrap book of “wedding” pictures I had cut out and discussed what else needed to be done.

The first thing I did was explain to her what James and I wanted in the beginning and how I in particular had got completely sidetracked by all of the traditions and expectations of what a “wedding” should entail.

My Mum bless her really wanted me to have the whole big white do and for her daughter to be the archetypical “disney princess” so really when I showed her my idea’s she wasn’t sure – they all seemed very “different” to what she had envisaged.

When she and Dad married they really didn’t have much money (Dad wasn’t even qualified and all of their savings was going on him buying his own practice) so a simple registry office affair and tea and sandwiches at a local village hall was about the extent of their big day.

So by her own admission she wanted me to experience everything she never did and never could.

The fact is she and Dad have been together 40 years ( married 35) and are still blissfully happy. My Dad calls my Mum “gorgeous” on a regular basis, they make each other laugh and would do anything for one another.

So who gives a toss that there wedding day was cheap is chips? It’s the bit after that counts and they have done it the best way possible – they are growing old together forever.… View the full post.


Something Fun, Colourful And Elegant Please…..

Because I only had 4 months to try and sort everything I didn’t have the luxury of concentrating on one thing at a time – it was a bit like a juggling act, desperately trying to get as much done as soon as possible.

Most importantly after finalising the venue and date was sending out the invitations so that our guests knew when and where, as it was a Friday most people would need to take annual leave from work so we wanted to make sure it was all confirmed for them ASAP.

In the 8 months of confusion after our engagement I had sent off for many different invite samples. I love stationary – seriously Paperchase is like one of my favourite shops ( I know very sad..) but I adore unusual pens and coloured paper and cute little books to write things in and choosing funky birthday cards……

Therefore I was initially really looking forward to the whole choosing the stationary bit, I really think the invite sets the “tone” for a wedding so I was looking for something fun, elegant and colourful.

I also knew I wanted “save the dates” ( invites would take a bit of time with regards the text and sorting the gift list etc) Invitations, menu cards, “order of the day ” ( I wanted the whole day documented for guests not just the service – more on this later ;-)) table name cards and a great big table plan.

At first James couldn’t get his head around this AT ALL and couldn’t comprehend what I was fussing about….… View the full post.

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