Hi everyone! And WOW, thank you so much for all your votes – at least it’s made telling my embarrassing Shayne Ward confession worthwhile! I’m so excited to be sharing mine and James’ big adventure with you all, although much like Summer I feel like a bit of an imposter! I never thought I’d be the type of person who would be doing something like this, and I have one of my wonderful Bridesmaids to thank for introducing me to RMW and encouraging me to enter. As I am a little out of my comfort zone here, any ideas, recommendations etc are most welcome!
I’ve already discussed our exotic proposal story, I still can’t believe how lovely that all was. We were actually on holiday with another couple, my best friend (and Chief Bridesmaid) and her fiance. They had absolutely no idea that James was going to propose, so were just as shocked as I was. James *may* have a bit of a reputation for being a menace, so much so that when we returned from our beach walk, they thought we were joking until we started calling our family to tell them the good news! Despite thinking that we’re liars, as a couple who we love dearly, we were really pleased to share such a special time with them.
So I feel I must make a confession. I am obviously hugely excited about my upcoming year, however, the whole ‘planning a wedding thing’ is, quite frankly, terrifying. Someone told me to do a ‘wedding spreadsheet’ as soon as we got engaged. A wedding WHAT? SPREADSHEET?! Spreadsheets and I, let’s just say we do not mix, there has been many a time where I’ve been working on one and laptops have nearly been thrown across the room – I definitely have a hate-hate relationship with Excel. Luckily, my better half is a planner by nature, so fingers crossed we should be fine *manically laughs*. If nothing else, it will be very amusing for you all to read about!
The one thing we have sorted is our venue, Walton Hall in Warwickshire. James and I both agree that the venue is key to getting the whole day right, and it had to be perfect for both of us. When buying our first house, we developed the skilled art of silent disagreement in a public situation, without the person showing us round actually knowing (although they probably totally did). This skill came in very handy on the weekends we spent looking for our venue! Walton Hall however, ticked all the boxes for both of us. My friends have a nickname for me – PJC (Princess Joan Collins) – nothing to do with my attitude, but everything to do with my love of tasteful bling, fur stoles, classy dresses, and perhaps a little bit to do with my tendancy to get a bit ‘zip it, Shrimpy!’ when I’ve not eaten. Walton Hall fits this perfectly, it is an beautiful grand venue but still isn’t too over the top.
Let me tell you about the staircase. You know in the Sound of Music the Von Trapps have that ridiculous sweeping staircase leading down into the hall? It’s exactly like that, without the singing kids (thank goodness). James jokes that I made up on my mind on this venue on the staircase alone, which is obviously just ridiculous. Ish. And is in no way similar to the time I fell in love with a house because it had an inbuilt wine cooler. Ahem.
We’re marrying and holding our reception in the Moncrieffe room which is stunning. It has that Victorian Downton Abbey type decor with gorgeous chandeliers – and leads out on to the amazing terrace. One of my Bridesmaids (a different one, I have 6 FYI, including one little person) went to the Hall last weekend for a spa day and said sitting out there was like being in the South of France. Fingers, legs, everything crossed, we’ll be having our reception drinks out there so everyone can enjoy the fabulous view of the lake. The fact it will make for pretty special pictures hopefully goes without saying!
We’ll have our evening do in a separate reception room which has a cracking bar and dance floor. If this paragraph is shorter it’s because by that stage of the day these are the only two things that will matter! You know the perennial ‘who will get the dancing started?’ problem? I don’t *think* we’re going to have that..! (The solution is my Dad).
Another of our favourite things about Walton Hall is that as a hotel there’s loads of room for all our guests to sleep over so we can make really, really good use of that dance floor. And although I don’t want to wish my day away, I also can’t wait for the breakfast post mortem the next morning when I’ll find out all the gossip I missed and who got the ‘Drunken Uncle’ award.
We also really loved the neutral and classic decor – hopefully it means our colour scheme will sit really happily alongside the traditional features. Even my wonderful mum, Interior Designer Extraordinaire, gave her seal of approval on the curtains. I bet you never thought curtains would be an important consideration in picking a wedding venue? Clearly you’ve never met my mother.
More than anything, we just want our guests to have an amazing time, and if they don’t leave with a hideous hangover the next day, we will be incredibly disappointed.
And that’s that. Of course, above and beyond all the bells and whistles what matters most (apart from the staircase) is this is the place the “Hamil-Keeps”… the affectionate name given to us by our friends…will become Mr and Mrs Hamilton! I cannot wait!
Until next time. Lauren and James xxx