Planning

I’m writing this next blog post in a slight KFC coma. “KFC?!” I hear you cry! Yes, I’m about 5 weeks until the big day and it’s fair to say I am NOT dieting however that hasn’t meant I haven’t lost weight from stress and anxiety. I’m also back from my hen weekend and just before that we finally had our engagement shoot (you can see some sneaky peeks on Dominique Bader’s Instagram feed). Ok. So deep breath. Just 5 weeks left. How did that happen?! I feel a wash of nerves, anxiety and excitement. I can’t help but feel SO relieved that Andri will be taking the reigns shortly. And with our handover meeting under our belts my tension has definitely started to ease... These last few weeks of wedding planning really are when the admin HITS. Final payments are due, contracts re-read, timings organised and final decisions are being made. It is all a little overwhelming and we’re just knuckling through it, but I can’t help but look back at the bliss I was in at the start of our engagement!

LAST FEW WEEKS BEFORE THE BIG DAY

I spoke last time about the benefits of hiring a coordinator even if you’re not far from the big day. It really can ease the mind however if you’re not in the position to do so you need to be aware of a few things. Final payments do all come out at one time, so make sure you’ve figured out your finances prior, if you’ve been saving in a joined account – ensure you have the funds or a credit card handy! Rally up those RSVPs as soon as you can and insist on them because they’ll contain important information like dietary requirements. You don’t want to have a last minute panic in case you remember someone’s allergic to nuts!! Enjoy your hen weekend/stag dos! I was recently speaking to someone about their desire not to have one, but I cannot emphasise enough how GOOD for the soul this special time with your friends is. Amongst all the last few weeks of stress, a weekend away with your nearest and dearest can set your head straight and remind you of how wonderful the big day is going to be. Make a list of the things you are planning to make. Yep, write it ALL down. I call it my “styling list” – it’s everything that I am personally hand making for the day, be it kid’s goodie bags for the crèche, or the escort card favours. It’s all down on the list! Email all your suppliers and confirm the date and timings of their deliveries/collections. Get all their contact details into a list and hand this over to an Usher or family member to manage on the day. You should NOT touch it. Enjoy the last few weeks. I know it’s hard, I’m right there with you in the anxiety and stress, but my goodness. This is the last time I’ll be “just engaged”, so buy those “bridezilla” pyjamas for a joke and relish in all the appointments to do with your dress, makeup and hair. Speaking about hair and makeup...

MY HAIR & MAKE UP TRIAL

Ring on finger, stacks of magazines bought and my Pinterest account taking a real beating, I became a “bride-to-be”. For a while it was pretty relaxed, and just a case of worrying how the wedding event will look. I’m a normal woman I’d say, I wear make up everyday, albeit it being light, I shop from ASOS far too much and I’m not afraid to say that I take pride in my appearance, however when it came to my “bridal look” I did have to have a little think about how I wanted to look and feel on the day. I booked my makeup and hair choice very early, it was just a matter of viewing her beautiful work and her AMAZING team, I was sold within minutes. I went for Kristina Gasperas & Kasia Fortuna, whom have a base in Richmond not too far from my home. Kristina Gasperas is a national award-winning makeup artist based in London. She has a team of makeup and hairstyling experts - the K-Team - who provide bridal and special occasion services of the highest quality. The team includes award-winners Kasia, who is the super-creative chief hairstylist; and Kristida, an expert wedding and beauty photographer. Kristina and the K-Team have an industry-wide reputation for perfection, dedication and a truly premier standard of customer service. With many testimonials and recommendations, they pride themselves in providing a very personal, warm and friendly service to each and every client. I adored Kristina’s professional and gorgeous website but what was key to me were the “transformations” of other brides. I also looked up on Google any styled shoots she’d taken part in to get an even wider view on her style. I think pretty much immediately after a first visit to be a model for one of their training days, I adored them and the deal was done! As time flew by, earlier this month was finally the time to have my hair & makeup trial...and you can see my very own “transformation” above. Whilst I’ll keep my total look a secret, I was absolutely IN LOVE with the finished product. Kristina listened to my worries and we played around a little to get something that felt natural to me but still emphasised my features. MY HAIR. I mean, I have been growing my hair for this wedding and what Kasia created was just perfection. It felt so luxurious and lasted the entire day (I went off and about in London afterwards too!) I think the key thing here was the personalities of Kristina and Kasia along with the trust I immediately felt with them. I didn’t feel pushed or directed and as someone who hates being in the spotlight, I felt at ease in saying how I felt without judgement.

THE PERFECT DRESS FEAR

I think one of the things that I suffer from, and that many people can relate to, are some body anxieties. For me, my hips and thighs have been my sticking points my entire life. Thankfully I won’t need to worry about my thighs being on show but these woes about my shape came into the heat when I travelled around the bridal stores trying on gowns. Previously, I worked for a top London bridal designer. I got to see the couture process and the extreme delicacy and talent that goes into making a dress from scratch however, it also made it extremely hard for me to find a gown I felt comfortable in or saw myself getting married in. Granted, I struggled with visiting dress stores and can only admit to visiting about 5 in total. I cringed at being the centre of attention and felt a little too much pressure when trying on gown after gown especially if I couldn’t get excited enough about anything. I always thought I’d be the one that cried, fell in love with a dress and hand over my money but unfortunately it just didn’t happen for me. There was a serious contender for me in Coco & Kate where we found the bridesmaid’s dresses, some gorgeous Jenny Yoo ones, however the dress there again didn’t feel quite right despite how much it tugged at me. Eventually a little forlorn an old friend from my previous employer reached out and offered to help with my dress. Having recommended her to my sister-in-law for her gown, I jumped (and wept) at the idea of having my very own gown created just for me. So, totally trusting her and falling in love with her vision, I’m letting my gut and her expertise guide the building of my dress and I keep joking with Andy about all the fairy lights that’ll be in the skirt ;)

THE PRESSURE OF BEING ALL BEAUTIFUL

As I said before working for a bridal designer I used to spend most of my days staring in the mirror with the Bride at herself. I saw them at their most vulnerable dealing with the pressures of being a bride, balancing the stresses that work was putting them under as well as family tensions. I can honestly say, it was one of the best jobs. I absolutely adored being the support in the lead up to the big day, starting as early as a year before the event right to a mere 5 days before. I saw Brides struggle through beauty regimes that ruined their skin, or fake tan trials that just didn’t work. If anything, I saw beautiful women cry, faint and freak out as emotions began to build closer to the big day. I have to admit, these days Brides feel like they have to take on some sort of “Beyonce” persona and be the most beautiful they’ve ever been on the big day. One thing I repeated over and over, just try to go back to the reason you’re here and remember he proposed to YOU, for YOU and only YOU. He didn’t propose because on the wedding day you’d decide to have your hair up for the first time in your life, he probably proposed to you when you were relaxed, your hair wasn’t perfect and that was enough. Without launching into a “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL” rant, I just want you to sit back and take a moment. Remember your proposal and remember who you are. Thinking about these two things has given me calm moments when I’ve been shaking with nerves. Whilst I may not have intentionally done so, I’ve lost weight from simply losing my appetite from my work balancing, wedmin stress and running about all the time. I totally failed at my bride fitness regime (sorry Tasha!) but the motivation wasn’t there for me however, I’ve shrugged off that guilt and realised that I am NOT fat, I will look great and Andy would marry me even if I did end up wearing that gypsy styled fairy light up dress, because he loves me, not the way that I look.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE FINAL WEEKS

I’m excited, I’m nervous but I’m ready. This wedding has been 22 months in the making and is going to explode with the amount of love and commitment poured in by ourselves and our wonderful suppliers. It’s been so wonderful writing each month different advice for all you Brides-to-be out there and in particular I’ve enjoyed sharing some up-close and personal thoughts on this planning journey. As my last official “diary entry” as a RMW Bride, I thank the entire RMW team for being such a lovely support, in particular Fern who’s listened to be wobbles throughout this writing experience and I want to thank you the lovely RMW readers for messaging, commenting and enjoying each post, it’s been worth it if I helped just even a handful of you get to grips with your plans. So for now I look forward to sharing the photographs from Dominique when we return from a blissful honeymoon. Stay tuned to our IG pages for sneak peeks! I’ll see you on the other side! S x
A massive thank you to Sundari, The Wedding Stylist, for being so lovely, honest and providing us with lots of great insider advice. If you want to catch up with any of her posts, you can read them all here. We're SO excited to share her engagement shoot and wedding with you all! It's going to be stunning. Fern x
Sundari Uthayakumar

Written by Sundari Uthayakumar

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