What Céline Did… Hens And Honeymoons.

Gosh, I don’t even know where to start my last wedding post… As you read this, my future husband and I have parted ways as he has gone to Gay Paree (for a week-long intensive French course – bless! – followed by his stag do). I’m heading to France on Saturday but I don’t know where the last six weeks have disappeared!

Right about now I feel elated, excited, anxious, and everything in between….. Part of me can’t believe it’s really happening: we started planning such a long time ago that it just felt like a story I repeatedly told people, never expecting it to actually happen (does that sound crazy?). Recently I’ve started pinching myself to double-check that, yes, it really IS happening.

The second part of me doesn’t want it to come too quickly, because it only happens once….

But then, my third (and final) part just can’t ruddy wait. After all, we have been planning for 18 months and now I just want all our favourite people to arrive for the weekend-long knees-up!

On a more practical level, the past six weeks have been the busiest weeks in my entire life (no joke) as I have run around London / the flat like a flailing headless chicken. I think Tom has *genuinely* considered running away and frankly I’m not sure I’d have noticed because I’ve been that busy with work and wedding (I’m a caring bride)….! I really wish someone had warned me about the last six weeks going crazy.

Ok, enough ranting. Let’s start at the beginning and on happier topics…

The best girls in the whole wide world

..The Hen Party! My wonderful bridesmaids whisked me off to Bath over the Diamond Jubilee weekend (clearly a popular Real Bride destination!). They started planning over a year ago and had kept everything a secret (including the list of ladies who would be attending, which led to a lot of squealing every time a new person arrived!).

Saturday was the activities (& slightly naughty) day, starting out with a rather fancy French champagne breakfast…

…followed by a life drawing lesson at the YMCA (our masterpieces will be displayed at the Sunday lunch post-wedding of course!), with our lovely model Gareth, and then a very fancy afternoon tea at the Pump Room:

In the evening, I was getting ready for our as-yet-unknown evening celebrations when I noticed whisperings and giggling… and suddenly the girls unveiled my ‘outfit’– Moulin Rouge dancer! My costume even had a bridal train! I did panic for a milli-second that I would be the only one dressed up, now that would have been a *tad* embarrassing…

Sunday was of course recovery day and it’s good thing that Bath is home to a rather luxurious spa where we spent a good three hours doing absolutely nothing. Bliss!

We all went out for a lovely meal in the evening and finished with an obligatory viewing of Bridesmaids and cake. Perfect.

After a Jubilee-themed breakfast (and one obligatory bride-to-be sash!), we drove back to London on Monday… but there was still one last surprise for Monday evening…. my mum! The bridesmaids had secretly invited her for dinner. It was such a lovely surprise for me and I know my mother really enjoyed being part of the weekend too (not sure she would have enjoyed the Moulin Rouge part quite as much…).

Well, what more could a girl ask for?! To all my amazing friends who attended, thank you for the perfect weekend. I had the best time in the entire world and am so lucky to have you all in my lives.

And to all of you brides-to-be, have you been part of your hen preparations at all? What have you gotten up to?


Speaking of going away, I have yet to tell you about our honeymoon plans, otherwise known as ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’ in our household! Whenever Tom and I have felt overwhelmed, we’ve turned to pictures of our upcoming honeymoon.

We started looking at honeymoons last August (early I know) and eventually opted for Zanzibar and a safari in Kenya, booked through Turquoise Holidays. Both of us wanted to go somewhere completely new with a mix of beach and activities, and I insisted on two weeks (which surprised Tom at first as it is rare in America!). We didn’t take a big holiday in 2011 so we could splurge a bit more in 2012 and, boy, is it going to be nice!

We’re flying out to Nairobi on Monday morning, where we stay one night before flying to Zanzibar for eight nights of pure bliss at The Residence in Zanzibar. We then head back to Kenya for four nights in the Masai Mara at the Ol Seki Mara Camp.

So, this is what I look at when I’m in need of a pick-me-up:

This will be the first time we travel with a travel agent too. I’m sure it won’t be particularly different to any other holiday but I’m looking forward to having someone meet us at the airport and drive us to our destination every time!

We are now fully prepared to face Eastern Africa with proper backpacks (rolly-suitcases probably aren’t suited to Masai Mara roads), hiking shoes, the all-important zip-off trousers (sexy) and a lot of insect repellent. Oh and a brand-new bikini of course.

And everything else…

I haven’t focused too much on actual wedding to-do’s (though I’d count bikini shopping as an obligatory wedding to-do personally!)… There’s been plenty – my mother and I are on two phone calls a day at the moment! Really, it’s just nice to talk about something that is wedding-related but not yet another to-do that needs my attention…. which is silly since I’m actually quite excited about everything we’ve decided on!

So here’s a whistlestop tour of everything that has been done:

First off, our favours are made! I’m very proud of (and impressed with!) my mum and dad, who worked relentlessly to make 140 pots of strawberry jam. The Plougastel strawberry is local to Brittany, hence the homemade jam. Actually, it turns out that Plougastel strawberries are quite expensive so my mum ended up mixing them with cheaper strawberries…. Shhhhh! My dad is very proud that he can now make jam, something he never thought he would learn!

Melissa (who designed our invites) has worked hard on designing the rest of our paper goodies, namely the order of service, the table plan, the menus and the place names. That’s a lot of items! In the end, I’ve had to ditch my homemade place names (my big DIY item!) in favour of a much prettier idea (confirming once and for all that I am not meant to become a graphic designer!). Here are a couple of peaks:

Melissa’s done an amazing job keeping having both languages side-by-side (which is important to me as that’s my heritage). I’m particularly excited about our order of service which will be a double-sided book, i.e. you flip the booklet round to get to the right language. It sounds a little complicated (I had to use props to understand it when she first explained it!) but I think it’ll be a neat way of keeping the languages ‘together’ whilst still being easy to read and stylish.

I’ve also been working on a little flyer for all our guests, which I plan on placing in their bedrooms for their arrival. It has lots on information on the festivities as well as excursion ideas and local restaurant / bar tips. David, my IT guru at work, has worked wonders to make them look proper professional!

And finally, the dress is ready and is home! This was actually the first time I tried on a dress that wasn’t ten inches too long and, up until that point, I was a little worried about how I’d be able walk in such a burdensome outfit. It turns out it’s quite a bit easier when it’s the right length!

Two of my bridesmaids also came along to learn how to put the dress on. I highly recommend doing this as it definitely took them a couple of tries to tie up the various loose ends… I’m thinking it might take a while to put it on on the day!!

As we speak, The Dress is now patiently waiting in its new home hanging from the lounge’s ceiling light (it’s too long for my wardrobe!).

So what’s left to do then?

Well, lots actually (my mother and I are currently working out how to make our own cheese tower for post-dinner treats, which has involved mum going to the cheesemongers and measuring up his different cheeses – the French have never seen cheese towers!!).

But really, it’s time to take a break, breathe it all in and just enjoy the present. The past month has been very stressful but I am determined to enjoy the last pre-wedding week with the family.

It’s not going to be perfect (let’s be honest, it’s going to pour it down isn’t it? So glad I spent so much time choosing the outdoor floral arrangements with our florist), but heck, who cares??? All that really matters is that in eight days, everyone will be here to witness Tom and I say our vows to each other (eek!). They won’t really care about our floral arrangements, the post-dinner treats or our dodgy first dance (hopefully), they’ll be here for us. And that’s what I’m focusing on this coming week.

There’s nothing left to say other than a MASSIVE thank you to all of you lovely ladies for reading and commenting on every post. And a particularly huge thank you to the Real Brides group who have shared their words of wisdom throughout and given me encouragement and support when I needed it most.

And finally, a BIG thank you to Tom, who has (usually) listened patiently, supported me, slowed me down when I needed it and generally just been there for me for the past four years….. I love you!

See you on the other side ladies!

Céline xxx

Author: Adam Crohill
Adam likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

16 thoughts on “What Céline Did… Hens And Honeymoons.

  1. Hi Celine!

    Yours was (I think) the first Real Bride post that I ever saw on RMW and thought it was amazing to be reading about real wedding preparations from someone who is going through it, instead of the shiny rosy articles you see in magazines!

    It doesn’t sound crazy AT ALL that it’s hard to believe it’s happening…I kind of feel like that about our wedding at the moment as we’ve been discussing our wedding as this thing happening waaaay in the future for such a long time! It’s actually quite hard having to now make decisions!

    Your hen do looked absolutely fab, and it looks like your best girls did an amazing job!

    I really hope your last week of planning isn’t too stressful, that the weather improves and that you have a wonderful wedding day!

    We’re all looking forward to seeing your wedding photos and report!


  2. Awww Celine, what a fabulous last pre-wedding blog. I’ve loved hearing about your journey, especially the ways that you have mixed American and French traditions and languages together. Its going to be epic when you have everyone from so far away all together in one place – there is no doubt you will be feeling the love!!!

    Congratulations and can’t wait to see pictures and hear how it all went xxx

  3. Hi Céline. Bit sad that it’s your last post but equally I cannot wait to see your wedding grace these pages! You’ve been one of my favourite Real Brides, as we’ve had lots of ideas in common, and I’m sure your big day will be sunny and beautiful! Only 7 weeks till mine now, hen do in 2 weeks – time goes by so fast doesn’t it! Jx

  4. Hi Celine, this is the first post of yours I’m reading and I can’t wait for the big day photos! Your honeymoon destination looks amazing, and I think the homemade jam looks to yummy I might have to go out and buy jam to have for breakfast!

    Also, super cool table plan, the graphics are amazing. It’s good to know that it’s easier to walk in a dress when it’s the right length, as I’m also finding this hard to imagine at the moment!

    Congratulations xx

  5. I cannot wait to see your wedding up here on these polka dot pages, it will look incredible – eeeeeek not long now!
    Have an amazing, love filled wedding and a fab honeymoon

    Big love x

  6. Hello ladies!

    It feels so weird to have this be my last post (though I think Tom is relieved that the six-week panic cycle is over….!).

    @Kitty – yey i’m not the only one thank goodness! What decisions do you now have to make? I found it hard to actually stop looking at different ideas and just decide what i wanted…

    @ Shirley – epic is the right word… it’s only really dawning on me that we have 140 people for a whole weekend. The village where we’re getting married only has about 320 inhabitants! I’m hoping the languages will mix well… (I’m sure alcohol will help)

    @Jenny – awwwww thanks!!! I want to know your ideas now! Have fun on your hen do, and make sure to take a step back and take it all in….. it goes VERY fast.

    @Daphne – hello! Trying on a dress that fits is incredibly reassuring that’s for sure…. Melissa at Atheneum Creative made our all stationery, she’s really really good!

    @Lara – sooooo close it’s quite scary! I think it’s going to sink in when i drive over this weekend. Not long for you now either, can’t wait!


  7. Love your hen party costume Celine! can’t wait to see the wedding, like @Jenny you have many similar ideas to me x

  8. Wow your hen looked like so much fun, I’m such a control freak though i cant deal with secrets! Maybe I should let go a little more?
    Also I need to find me a nudie man to draw at my hen – was he hot??

    Ive loved reading your story so far and can’t wait to see the wedding, sending lots of luck your way for the big day! xxx

  9. My camera and I are ready …. you and Tom are such beautiful people that I can’t imagine the day being anything except PERFECT! Can’t wait to see you Wednesday evening! xoxo

  10. Oh Céline, we’re all wishing you the best of luck. I’m sure it will be such a special day and the weather forecast for Paimpol is looking good!

    I can’t believe you’re finally going to nail down Tom; looks like I’ll have to settle for second best with Steve.

    Hope all your guests behave well and that none of them hit excessively on the bridesmaids. I guess none of your friends would do that, right…?


  11. Celine!! It CAN’T be your last post already 🙁 I can’t believe you and Kelly are the only two left to wed!

    A wonderful final (pre-wedding) post. Looking at your honeymoon destination is making me dribble on my keyboard – it looks GORGEOUS!

    Will be in the South of France at the time of your wedding – will try to blow the sunshine in the direction of Paimpol 😉

    Much love, sweetie – go get your man! Have fun!


  12. Oh Celine what a fabulous pre wedding post, your hen weekend looked epic! Lucky lucky lady 🙂 stationary looks seriously fab and I can’t wait for pics of you in that dress! A week to go!! Goodness you must be excited!!xxx

  13. Hi Celine,

    That’s the same problem we’re having – there’s just so much pretty and so many lovely ideas to look at!

    Thankfully we’ve made the big important decisions really, but you know when you see something new and you think “Oooh what if? Is that better than what we’ve chosen? What is such and such doesn’t work with everything else? etc etc”


  14. Hi Celine

    I love your individual jam jars! I want to do the same for my wedding next year but can’t find any (reasonably priced) anywhere!

    Do you mind me asking where you got yours from?

    Thanks : )

  15. I was just wondering if Celine and Tom have had their wedding yet? I can’t seem to find it on the website but I’m assuming it happened a while ago as the 2014 RLBs have been chosen and this wedding was from 2012. The real life bride weddings is my favourite part of RMW and I feel like I haven’t seen one of their wedding reports in ages!

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