What Hannah Did… Got Started!

Hi people!

Please welcome our next new RMW Real Bride Hannah… Leave her some love folks!

Hi everyone, really excited to be writing on here (I have to admit I’m a tad nervous as I’m definitely not a natural writer!) but I’ll give it a go and hopefully it will keep you entertained! A big thank you again for everyone who voted for me and Jon, we were completely bamboozled by all the kind messages you wrote.

So this is all about our wedding planning so far…

Romance In The Park!

Jon isn’t known for his romantic gestures, but on this occasion he really pulled off a day to remember. He suggested we should go shopping on Christmas Eve (I thought he was mad – he doesn’t like shopping at the best of times let alone Christmas eve!) Anyway, we called in at my mums then set off into town to do some last minute shopping. He had a bag with him, in which he said was a present that he had bought for me that he didn’t think was right so would take it back and swap it (I was thinking how could he have bought a present that I didn’t like after nearly 10 years of being together!) We wondered around town, then went our separate ways (for him to ‘return the present’). We met up again at a coffee shop we used to go to all the time when we first got together. I quickly finished my hot chocolate as I was keen to get back to mum’s because she was cooking. Jon suggested we walk through the park to get home, which wasn’t an unusual route home.

As we were approaching the park he started to talk about the fun times we had had together in the park, picnics on our favourite bench, feeding the ducks etc… and suggested we sat down for a minute on our favourite bench (I didn’t think anything of it because he had hurt his foot earlier in the week so I thought after all the shopping it must have been aching!)

As we sat down he flicked a switch and a heart shaped Christmas wreath lit up on the bench, and then he went down on one knee! To which he was faced with a wall of happy tears… I can’t even remember what he said! After a pause, and him wondering what the answer would be I said yes! Out of the bag he had been carrying, he had some mulled wine in a flask which we drank on the bench, and a Chinese lantern, given to him by his best friend, which we proceeded to light but subsequently got it stuck in a tree! (Although it provided us with a nice giggle and relaxed us after all the emotions, it must have been entertaining for onlookers watching us trying to get it down before it set the tree alight!)
TOP TIP: Only use these lanterns in an open space with no wind and without the influence of mulled wine!

We skipped home happy as Larry and he entertained me with the plan to get me into the park, and the time he’d given himself to set up the bench by telling me he was taking a present back…I was overwhelmed by the whole thing, I just wanted to stay in the moment forever!

My family were delighted! Everyone was crying (I think my mum thought it would never happen – we had been together for nearly 10 years!) To top it off, Jon had hidden some Champagne at my mum’s house, the bubbles and tears continued for most of the night.

So then the planning process could begin…

Who To Invite?

We soon realised that when planning a budget friendly wedding we needed to get a rough idea of the number of guests so that we could book a venue. This was fine to begin with, but you soon realise that when you invite this person you have to invite that person etc… Anyway, Jon looked at me as I was getting more stressed by the situation and said ‘It’s our day, we can only invite a certain number of people so we will just have to tell people that’. So that’s what we did and until now things have gone relatively smoothly, we have been honest with people from the start and politely said that we will only be inviting close friends and family and people seem happy with that!

So to all you brides out there getting stressed out with guest lists, I’d recommend the honest approach… People seem to understand if you can’t have them to the wedding and appreciate being told in advance before they make the awkward mistake of assuming they’re going!

The Perfect Dairy Barn

Finding the perfect venue was really important to us, it meant that we could set a date and the theme of the day could start coming together. We looked at many venues but decided that Dodford Manor was definitely the one for us! It wasn’t finished when we went to see it, but having seen its sister venue the Ashes we knew it would be brilliant and the owners Annabelle and Simon were just so welcoming and charismatic we knew we would be in safe hands!

The Photographer

The photographer is a big part of the day for us as it’s the photos that remind you of the best day ever! I don’t like having posed photos taken so it was important to us that it didn’t dominate the day. A friend recommended Anna Clarke, and after seeing her in action at another friend’s wedding… I know why! She’s just brilliant! Directive without being forceful and she captures the moment perfectly. She is also there from start to finish so we’ll get pics from us excitedly getting ready, to our evening guests having fun!

Here’s a video about the effortlessly cool Anna!

I’m so excited about our engagement shoot too…I’ll post some of the pics when we have them!

I have lots more to tell you all about the planning so far but don’t want to give it all away in my first post!

A couple of questions though…

I have bought my dress (first shop, third dress! eek!). Has anyone else bought a dress in the first shop they went to, and how do you feel about it? What do you think of wedding cars…is it necessary to have one if your ceremony and reception are at the same venue? And as our food tasting is in a couple of weeks, what have people chosen for their food? Have you gone for a safe option because everyone will like it or gone for something you like but a bit less safe?!

I look forward to keeping you updated with food choices, engagement shoots, invites and outfit in my next post!

Until then happy planning!

Han xx

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

47 thoughts on “What Hannah Did… Got Started!

  1. Hi Hannah – welcome to the real brides experience!

    Looks like you’ve got lots done already and the venue looks amazing. I bought my dress in the first shop I went to (10th dress) – it was all done in about an hour. I thought many times in the year following that maybe I’d rushed into it and there might be another dress out there that I’d like more but I resisted the temptation to start looking again and I loved my dress on the day. Trust your instincts, I’m sure your dress will be gorgeous on the day too x

  2. Yay – Hannah’s post is here!

    Nothing to be worried about on the writing front – and I love love love your engagement story!

    On the cars front, our ceremony and reception are all at a hotel and I’ll be getting ready there in the morning. So, we’re not having cars on the day. To make up for it, we’re going to be travelling to the airport for a honeymoon in style in a lovely chauffeured car! 🙂

  3. Shirley – I’m glad you said that about your dress, I wen’t for another fitting the other day so feel much happier about it now!

    Kitty – That’s a brilliant idea! I might suggest that to Jon!

  4. Hi lovely! Ah what a lovely post 🙂 very well done. Really love the engagement story and impressed with Jon’s secret efforts with the bench etc!! marvellous!

    I don’t think the wedding cars thing is “necessary” – i think it all depends how you feel about it and how you want to arrive and whether it is worth you putting money in your budget for this. I’ve always always wanted to do the horse and carriage thing so i’m gonna 🙂 (even if it takes 45 minutes and my Dad isn’t impressed that it doesn’t have wheeld – MY day haha!)

    Oh and I found my dress in my third outing so not quite as quick as you but still nerve wracking finding it early on! But I am a big believer in instinct and fate with my wedding choices, so go for it if it feels right. Amazing Baseballs love xx

  5. What a romantic engagement story! I love that you got to keep the heart wreath as a memento!

    I found my dress at the first wedding fair I went to! I had to wait a few weeks for an appointment and even though I tried on a few dresses in between but when I looked at myself in the first dress I knew it was the one and ordered it even though it was still 2 years until my wedding! I now have 2 months to go and I’m still so in love with my dress and can’t wait to wear it!

    I wouldn’t worry about cars if you’re staying at the same venue for your reception. Rather than driving off perhaps you could organise a really long confetti line?

    It all looks amazing so far! x

  6. Hi Hannah – welcome!

    What a lovely lovely engagement story, sounds like Jon’s an old school romantic! I did giggle at the lantern comment – I’ve actually wondered in the past about them catching on fire!

    I took quite a while to find my dress but that’s partly because I knew I wanted to know the full lay of the land before choosing instead of just trusting my instincts. I discovered Sassi Holford very early on but didn’t go see her for a couple of months to make sure i had exhausted other options first. If I’m honest though, I would have chosen my dress very quickly if I’d just trusted my gut feel.

    It doesn’t sound like a car would be necessary and may just be an unnecessary expense (unless that’s something that means a lot to you and Jon of course!). There’ll be a short 10 minute drive for us and we’ve decided to decorate our Fiat 500 rather than spend 500 euros for 10 minutes worth of car time.

    Food tasting is a tricky one!!!! We first removed all foods that could offend guests (e.g. foie gras, veal) and then tried to find something that would be a little different but still please everyone. There was one option, a fillet steak, that was delicious but would have required us asking every guest how they liked their meat cooked which didn’t feel very practical/ fun. We’ve ended up going for pheasant, so nothing too crazy but at least a litlte different than chicken. At the end of the day, we want to please our guests as much as possible…. not an easy choice!

    Look forward to more posts!

  7. This post just made me tres excited about my own wedding! (And excited for you of course!)

    I’ve always said I’m not fussed about wedding cars and we’re too having everything in one place so we’re not!

    I too have bought my dress early – with still a year to go. When people are shocked I have it does make me wonder if I’ve done the right thing but then I look through the wedding magazines and nothing comes close to mine, even the mega bucks ones! We just have to go with our instincts I guess.

    With the food, we’re hoping to be able to offer guests a choice of three when the wedding invites go out – maybe ask your venue if there’s this option? I’m pretty certain the collating of everyone’s choices is going to be a thorn in my side but hopefully it’ll be worth it for people to be able to choose something they like.

    Look forward to your next post and seeing the engagement shoot!


  8. Hey Hannah,

    I’m from Northampton as we looked at Dodford Manor too! Which park did your proposal happen in? Love the story!! As a local bride to you I’ll be keenly looking at your suppliers etc!!

    Great first post – your definately a natural (either that or your addicated to RMW like the rest of us??!)

    Oh and I went dress shopping for the first time on Saturday and I think, just think, the second dress I tried on is the ONE!!


  9. Hi Hannah!
    All looks great! Love the venue…wish it was in Lancashire!! For our food I’m going to go with a reliable safe option e.g. beef or sausage and Mash and then an option that my and my “Beyonce” love like Sea bass or lamb. People can choose between safe or a bit different but you and your fella will still be eating delish food.

    My reception is 3 houses down from the church so I’m not hiring a car (I wouldn’t have anyway, I’d have just got a mate with a nice car to chauffeur me!) Unless of course it might be nice for photos or you’ve always had one in mind. If it’s sheeting it down I’ll just get the next door neighbour to give me a quick lift and have some fab umbrellas onstandby!

    I think it’s great that you found your dress. Alleluiah!! There are so many decisions to make and it’s really easy to doubt yourself when people start giving you advice so defo trust your instincts. I find I can’t articulate what I want to people but when I see it I know. I’d be a bit wary about going to any other bridal shops though….
    Can’t wait to read more!

  10. Hi! Welcome to rock my wedding 🙂 You seen very organised which is good. I was really organised when we first got engaged and it’s paid off because I can relax a bit now.

    I bought my dress with over a year to go, I was so eager to get shopping. It was all a bit traumatic though, turns out I am more fussy than I thought and lot’s of shops, hundreds of dresses and 6 months later I forced myself to make a decision for my own sanity haha. I really wanted to see what all the local and not so local shops had on offer before I committed to anything. The dress I chose ticked most boxes and my Mum and Nan really liked it, as do i – but I am the kind of person who will doubt my decision right up until the day. There was no tears and champagne like on the TV, just a leap of faith and a nervous handing over of the 50% deposit. I have daily dress wobbles, especially since I won’t see it now until nearer to the wedding for first fitting. Scary! I’m sure i’ll still like it…

    Our wedding ceremony and reception venue are all one so not wasting money on cars! Just going to rock up in a taxi get ready there and come down when I am ready. No need for a fancy car really, unless you want one for picture purposes?

    Our food tasting isn’t for a long time yet, probably nearer the wedding (May 2013). I only eat chicken but my other half doesn’t like chicken and is a really fussy eater – so it will no doubt be fun picking our food!

    Good luck with the rest of your planning. xx

  11. Hi Hannah, I loved your post! I am very excited for you, you made me feel excited about planning my own too! I’ve got two years to wait though, as we need time to save (we’re doing up our house at the same time too, as we moved into it a year ago now and we bought it on the understanding it was a project!)

    Your engagement story is so sweet, lovely, and I can’t WAIT for the engagement shoot!!

    In answer to your questions, I haven’t bought a dress yet (can’t wait to buy one!), I’m having ceremony and reception at the same venue so I don’t think I’ll bother with transport (would rather spend a little extra on the wedding ring, tee hee). Haven’t done food yet, but will just go for whatever I fancy 😉 Have you looked at wedding rings yet? I’m looking to have one made, a wishbone (to sit under my marquise) with engraving on it I think. I’m jewellery-obsessed and will be going to Hatton Garden in a couple of weeks to get ideas. CANNOT FREAKING WAIT! =D

    Loved your first post, can’t wait for the next one! xxx

  12. Hi Hannah

    What a lovely engagement story! It sounds like your family are as thrilled as you – you will have a fantastic wedding day!

    We decided early on we wanted a small wedding as we have been to so many where the bride and groom hardly see each other all day as they are so busy making sure they speak to everyone! In fact are having just 25 very close family and friends who are regularly part of our lives and we know they will continue to be in the future. I’m so pleased things have run smoothly for you – its exactly the same for us. Those who will be there feel really honoured and those who will not totally understand.

    I got the FIRST dress I tried on in the FIRST shop I went to! I saw a dress I loved the look of online, found a shop nearby that sold the designer and when I walked in, there it was on the only mannequin in the shop! It was fate! I do wonder if I have missed out on the experience of trying lots on but I know that my dress is perfect for me, I love it and it means there is more time to concentrate on the all important shoes and accessories!

    Enjoy the rest of your wedding planning x

  13. What a lovely engagement story! My chap isn’t normally the romantic sort either, so I didn’t put two and two together when he took me on a surprise trip to Paris! Not many people can say they were proposed to with a bike lock on a bridge in Paris and I’m sure not many people can say they set fire to a tree as part of the proposal! 🙂
    I bought the 4th dress I tried on in the only shop I went to. The ones I picked out looked awful but then I tried on one the lady in the shop picked out and it looked amazing. I paid the deposit there and then, and then had a total freak out two weeks later. A few emails back and forth with some ideas about alterations and its all good. I did worry that I’d bought it too soon (getting married next year) but I hate shopping and now I can relax so I think its a good thing.
    Venue looks amazing, looking forward to hearing more about it. x

  14. Hi Hannah, know what you mean about the dress. I got mine from the first shop I went to (7th dress I tried on), I did go to another shop but mostly because we had booked an appointment and didn’t want to cancel! You tend to know instantly if the dress is right…I’m not the crying type however when I had the dress on and the assistant put a veil on me and became very watery eyed and thats when I knew it was the right choice! Go with your gut I say 🙂 Lovely proposal story and your plans look lovey so far 😀

  15. Great post and engagement story Hannah.

    I bought my dress a couple of days after my engagement (over year before the wedding) It was the first one I liked – saw it online, bought it, job done. It was important for me to do this because I’m so fussy if I didn’t make a snap decision at the start I’d end up to-ing and fro-ing over it for months and months. and get my knickers in a twist.

    I think fancy cars are definitely one of those things you can put in the column of ‘Nice – but not strictly necessary’. I don’t think I’d bother had we not a great option via a friend. As for the food, I’ve picked a crowd pleaser a million miles from what I like that I know everyone (especially Mr.P) will love – a Hogget Roast. I don’t even eat meat! I’m going to have a one-off dish made just for me 😉

  16. Hello Lovely Hannah!

    What a corker of a first post – not a natural writer, pah!
    Fabbers engagement story; you’ve bagged yourself a proper romantic there 😉

    Food: Be brave! Stick to the ‘your day, your way’ philosophy you had for your guest list – guests do like to have something a bit different at weddings. We’ve offered fillet of beef or sea trout, and both have been v popular 🙂 Your caterers will appreciate doing something a bit different too. If in doubt, play it safe with the starter and main, then offer his and hers desserts (keep it a surprise) where you and Jon choose your faves. It’s a real ice breaker, and so much fun seeing guests swapping plates half way through so they get to taste both 🙂

    Car: Save you pennies for something else. We’re only having a wedding car because it’s ours already (old Triumph). Otherwise, we wouldn’t have bothered.

    Enjoy your tasting! Who is your caterer? (I used to work for one of the Dodmoor House caterers, so spent a lot of time just up the road from your venue!)


  17. Hi Hannah,

    Firstly I would like to say just how excited I was when I read that you would be posting your wedding plans on RMW (I may have leapt up and told the whole office!) we too are getting married at Dodford Manor next year! Mega excited! It sounds like your plans are coming along really well.

    In answer to your question about transport I don’t think you need any if the ceremony and reception will be in the same place. Unfortunately our ceremony will be taking place a little way away but if I could get away with it I wouldn’t book a car.

    Looking forward to your next post and to hear all about the food tasting!


  18. Wonderful first post Hannah – and lovely engagement story!

    I bough the fifth dress I tried on in the first shop. Went home and panicked. When back by myself and tried it on again and was delighted to find I had made the right choice.

    I am not having a car because we simply don’t have a spare £250 – my bridesmaid’s husband is driving us in his black Audi!

    Food will be sausage and mash – we chose it because it is yummy, fills everyone up and the vegetarians can have almost the same thing!!!

  19. Well, I can tell you don’t live in London. If you had, someone would have nicked the wreath whilst Jon was gone and you’d have had to evict some glue-sniffer from the bench!

    Gorgeous ring btw.

    Car: we’re not bothering. If we had an infinite budget then maybe but we’re having a winter wedding and everyone will be inside when I arrive and I’m not fussed.

    Dress: mine was on day 1 in shop no2. I thought I’d found it in shop 1 (dress 4) but this was so incredible, I knew it was the one. Having only seen it breifly, I can barely remember it now – just the sensation of how I felt when I looked at me in it. I’m trying to keep the faith….

    Food: I was very opposed to a safe option because we’re both foodies but I agree that foie gras is a step too far for most people (I wouldn’t eat it – although British veal is fine and ethical btw and you’re doing our farmers a favour if you eat it). Like Celine, we’re having pheasant because we’re marrying in November and we wanted an emphasis on seasonal food. I think we may have a few people nervous about it but I can’t imagine anyone wouldn’t like it. I’d have loved to give an option but our caterers didn’t offer that.

  20. Like you, I’m planning my wedding this summer after nearly ten years with my fiancee (we met at school), and like you, I bought the third dress I tried on in the first shop I visited! Be sure of your choice – you know when it’s the right one.

    Transport is about the only thing I haven’t booked yet – we wanted cycle rickshaws but Cardiff is sadly lacking. I’m not keen on the idea of spending hundreds of pounds on a cliched white Rolls Royce!

    As for the food – I’m currently battling my family over wanting to have a menu that I want (not so safe), and food that will please everyone (seemingly, meat and two veg)…

    I love your barn! 🙂

  21. Hi Hannah
    I love your post, you sound so excited and happy! I am getting married in October and bought my dress in the second shop I went to, having had a reasonably blah experience in the first one. I had a panic over it last weekend but I’ve since come round and realised that I wouldn’t have bought it if I didn’t love it, so all is well. Can’t wait to read more from you…
    Lu x

  22. I had the same quandary about wedding cars. We had organised a routemaster to get our guests from the church to the venue and we wanted to be part of that and I couldn’t justify the cost of a car just to get me to the church. In the end we got a nice “executive” car from a taxi company for £50. Bargain. And a nice driver and long-wheel based Jaguar too.

  23. Hi, really enjoyed your post.

    I bought the very first dress I tried on (well, it was with a big discount and looked good so why not!?). As it turns out the alterations are costing more than the dress but that probably would have been the same with any dress.

    As for cars, our ceremony and reception are in the same place and we haven’t booked any cars. I’m planning to get ready there too so not much point. I have to say that I probably wouldn’t have bothered anyway, cars aren’t my thing!

  24. Hi Hannah – congrats on your first post!
    In terms of dresses, i got mine in the 1st shop and it was actually one i’d seen in a magazine and went in to try on!
    For cars, we’re having the ceremony and reception in the same place but i’m having a car still as they are going to wait around and then take me and the hubbie round the block straight after the ceremony for a bit of us time. I do like the suggestion of the chauffeur to the airport though, a nice alternative! xx

  25. Hi Hannah,

    Congrats on your lovely first post! I’ve been waiting for it since you were announced as an RB as we’re getting married at Dodford Manor too! (is that 3 of us now?). So we’ve had very similar thoughts about the wedding car issue and I think we’ve decided against. I’m even probably going to be getting ready at Dodford so there doesn’t seem much point at all, but H2B did say he’d like to arrive in a sports car for his big entrance so we’ll see…

    Looking forward to your next post – hope you have fun at your food tasting! Our current fave is bangers and mash 🙂


  26. Awww Hannah I loved reading that, Blimey girls the rest of us have a lot to live up to!

    I just know I’m not the only one shedding a little tear over how cute Jon’s proposal was! He’s such a doll 🙂

    We’re doing the same as Kitty with the cars, the guy was great and even throwing more champagne in for our second trip. I’ve got my dress too (second shop, fifth dress) and thought I was probably rushing into it but when you know you know!!

    I can’t wait to hear the rest of your story and share such fab experiences with you and the other girls.

    Loves xxxx

  27. Awwww Hannah, that’s such a lovely engagement story!

    I haven’t bought my dress yet as I’m actually going to get it made instead but on the cars and food front….our ceremony and reception are in the same place and I’m going there in the morning so we’re not having cars – dont see the point and food…we are having bruschetta with pancetta, a selection of pies (steak, chicken & roasted veg) and a dessert table with cupcakes and cheeses later on.

    Hope that helps! Oh and welcome to RMW – 1st post was fab!!


  28. Hi Han,

    That is a super cute engagement story, me love!!! When are you getting married? You sound super organised already, well done you!!!

    Cant wait to hear more xxxxxxxx

  29. Loved your first post! If you do want a car but want to save some pennies try this idea (it has worked a treat for us!)…find your local vintage car club (they are all over the country) and call them up and ask whether you can put an ad in their newsletter. Write a little plea for a car for your wedding. We did, and have ended up with two of the cutest little old men lending us morris minors for the day, for free! They are just happy that they get to get them out the garage. One has already done three dummy runs of the journey and our wedding isn’t until September! xxx

  30. Love the engagement and love the venue!

    I bought the 2nd dress I ever tried on, because I loved it, back in January (my wedding is in Sept). And it wasn’t what I thought I would get either – totally different to all my Pinterest pins! As long as you love it, don’t worry about second guessing yourself. Its good to make a decision like that so early.

    Food wise, we’re not going crazy trying to be different. We just want nice, simple food, cooked well and bought locally. Our venue recommended their hot/cold buffet and it looks about right – and we’ve had reports from others who’ve attended weddings there and they said the food was fab (phew!). Again, just go with your gut instinct and don’t worry about it, just like with the guest list problem.

    You sound really nice and honest, and totally in love, and at the end of it all, that’s the only decision that matters – that you’re marrying someone you love. I’ve been with my man for 12 years (13 soon!) and I know *that* is right, so all the other decisions just melt away.

    Can’t wait to read more of your blog posts!

  31. Aaaww Hannah, that is such a lovely engagement story, what a true romantic!

    Such a great first post 🙂 and your venue looks AMAZING! I also can’t believe how organised you are, I haven’t done half the stuff you have.

    Our ceremony and reception venues are about a 10 minute drive apart so we will definitely need cars. I was hoping to hire a vintage self drive car (I found one website where you can rent a delorean and made the mistake of telling Chris!!!) so my Dad will drive me to the ceremony and then Chris drive us to the reception after! If I didn’t need one though I probably wouldn’t bother.

    Can’t wait to hear more about your lovely wedding


  32. Loved reading your first post and cant wait to read more, your venue is stunning!

    We are having everything in one place but are having a car 🙂 Only because when we first got together we went to a car show together and fell in love with one that we said we would have if we ever got married! We got engaged a year later and this was the first thing we booked hehehe Me and the girls are staying at a different hotel the night before so the car will take us from there to the venue which is only a ten min journey but we got the car for half price because we are only having it for one way and photos!

    As for food we are allowed anything even if its not on the menu and have NO CLUE what to have, so will await to see what you have decided for yours lol

  33. Arh thank you for all of your lovely comments! It’s a lovely treat to get home from work and read through them all! So now I’ve got a cup of tea and my feet up I’ll try to answer some of your questions…

    @lucy – We’re food tasting next weekend! yey! Can’t wait, so we’ll find out then if they can do more than one option, they said we could have anything! eek! bit daunting… though Celines suggestion of pheasant sounds good, we were thinking maybe guinea fowl…but we’ll have to see what it’s like next week! I’ll keep you posted!

    @MrsA-to-be we are using jenkinsons caterers…let me know if you have worked with them before! (They are Dodfords approved suppliers) – they seem very flexible and reasonable though…I guess the proof will be in the pudding 🙂

    @Helen – Jon proposed in Solihull park…that’s where my mum lives and where we went to school, Dodford manor is lovely! Annabelle and Simon are just great too – defo recommend it!

    @Janine – we haven’t been to look at wedding rings yet, I have seen a beautiful carved one on Rust London website that I love, but will have to see how it looks with my engagement ring…I know some people just wear their wedding ring after they’re married but Jon put so much effort into having it made (I left this out of the post) but he didn’t actually propose with the actual ring because the jewellers called him the day before to say something had gone wrong and they’d broken it! So he had to propose with the silver cast! – he was devastated about it…it didn’t matter at all to me though, but now I have it I don’t want to take it off! Haven’t heard of Hatton Garden before…I’ll have to have look!

    @Hayley – Yey! A fellow Dodford Manor bride! So you’re thinking of getting ready there? – entirely or just putting your dress on there? I went to look at Hellidon Lakes Hotel the otherday…we wanted to be with all of our guests but weren’t that impressed with some of the other hotels near by (unless you can affor Fawsley Hall – amazing!) but Hellidon is lovely – they have suites too so more room for getting ready…so I might have my hair and make up done there but then get dressed at Dodford…so I wouldn’t need a car…Jon’s like you H2B…want’s the grand sports car entrance (sometimes I think he thinks he’s Maverick from Top Gun!) I guess that’s as important to them as our pretty little finishing touches are to us!

    @Kelly – we’re getting married April 13th, 2013 at 1300hrs! – good job we’re not superstitious!

    @Lisa – great idea on the car front…I’ll let Jon know!

    Thanks everyone for making my first post a success! Jon’s really pleased with himself too after reading all your lovely comments about the proposal! It was very cute though 🙂

    I’m feeling much happier about my dress now too so thats good! And I think I have decided not to bother with a car for me…but if Jon really wants one then he can have something snazzy!

    Anyway happy planning!

    Han xx

    1. Oh no, I can’t believe the jewellers messed up, poor man! But how wonderful he had you one made, AMAZING! I am MOST impressed!!

      I’ll be having a wedding ring made to go with my engagement ring (the setting is non-standard to say the least ;-)) so going to Hatton Garden for ideas. I’d really recommend it if you need ideas for yours – I’ve never been but it is the jewellery quarter in London apparently, with over 30 jewellers (not chains but independent ones). I am extremely excited =D xxxxx

  34. Yay! Fab post lady 🙂

    I got my dress last month (4th shop, last dress) – I was only going to dress shop as my mum was over from France and I wanted her to feel included in the dress shopping fun but had convinced myself I wouldn’t be buying a dress. Anyhoo, tried my dress on & it was the only dress I wanted to see if I could walk in and how it sat when walking around the shop, and suddenly had a realisation that this was the dress for me.
    Cue major dress panics – \i was in so much shock that I panicked that maybe I should’ve waited, what if there were better dresses, what about all the sample sales I wanted to go to?! Cut a long story short, spoke to 1 of my bridesmaids who recently got married & she reassured me that she had exactly the same worries & that it was completely normal to feel like this…..they don’t tell you that in the bridal magazines do they!

    As the cliche goes, if it’s the one you just know!

    Well done Jon, fabulous engagement story! 😉


    ps. @ Karen, I know how! These girls aren’t making it easy for the rest of us! hee hee They are too good 🙂 (fingers crossed we’ll be fine!)

  35. Hannah I can’t believe you are this organised! Menu tasting so soon? I get married in September and haven’t had ours yet. I really wanted to stretch the whole wedding planning lark out and didn’t want it all sorted to soon. Wedding dress shopping was the thing I was least looking forward too. I love dresses but I didn’t think they would love my shape. Anyhow lovely lady fitted me into a lovely array of gowns and it was the third one that I decided on. Chosen such a long time ago now I do worry that I won’t like it went I see it again but I’m sure that will all go away once the fittings start.

    We had our rings custom made by a local jewellery we met at the NEC BRIDAL FARYE as I wanted one to compliment my engagement pleased. The fella has since hid them from me so I can’t keep trying them on!!

    Good luck with all your plans x

  36. Hi! I chose the 1st dress i tried on in the 1st shop I went to. I tried about 8 others in the same shop but nothing compared. I was just ‘looking,’ on my own, and wanted to think about it. Problem was, the dress was a sample in the sale and would be going back on the rack once I left the shop. So before I knew it I was leaving a hefty deposit for the first dress I found. Within a few days we got notice of last minute and very reduced availability at the venue we had chosen, so our wedding was suddenly in 1 month. As my family live in a different town this meant I had to commit to the dress with no second opinion! Long and short, the wedding day was amazing, my dress looked gorgeous and I got lots of compliments (which I’m sure were genuine!!). I’d say trust your instincts!

  37. @Hannah – whoop whoop for Dodford! 🙂 Our big day is April 1st!

    Ooh I hadn’t thought too much about it, but I suppose we’ll do hair and makeup at my mum’s (she only lives 30mins away from the venue) and put the dress on in the lovely bridal Retreat at Dodford. Nearby hotels are…interesting aren’t they! Haven’t checked out Hellidon yet so will take a look – Fawsley is amazing isn’t it but yes, I think prob out of our price range.

    Can’t wait to hear all about the tasting! Happy planning til then 🙂 x

  38. Oh, that’s such a lovely proposal! And hey, we got engaged on the same day as you did – hooray for Christmas Eve proposals 🙂 You’re a little more organised than me though; we haven’t sorted out the guest list yet and I haven’t tried on a single dress (although I’ve booked an appointment for next week – eeeeh!) Good luck with all your planning!

  39. @Hannah and @Hayley – I’ll second the whoop for Dodford.  We had a look at some of the local hotels and like you both weren’t so impressed. I was wondering about Staverton Park, have either of you looked there?

    Looking forward to the next post Hannah! x

    1. @Lucy M – fab! It’s a great venue, isn’t it? They seemed to be booking up really quickly — so I’m sure there are a lot more too! Haven’t looked at Staverton Park so don’t know what it’s like – will check it out… x

  40. Hey Hannah,

    Lovely post!

    I too bought my dress in the first shop, which I went to ‘for a laugh’ with my chief bridesmaid…whilst my mum was out of the country on holiday. It was the fifth dress I tried on and to be honest I have absolutely no regrets. I knew it was the one when I didn’t want to try on any more, not even a jokey massive dress! Getting wed in 5 weeks time and can not wait to see my lovely boys face when I make my way towards him in it.

    As for the food, the most important thing to us was that we got sticky toffee pudding for dessert with the option of custard or cream…or a bit of both! xx

  41. Hi Hannah,

    I’m getting married at Dodford this summer… we booked last July when it was still a muddy field, but can’t believe how lovely it looks now! We have decided against a wedding car – I am going to get ready at hotel and then put dress on at Dodford. We have organised coaches from the hotel for guests and back at the end of the evening, reckon we will just jump on that at the end of the night! We are staying at the Staverton Park – found it difficult to find a hotel too, especially as wedding is same weekend as Olympic opening ceremony – everywhere was very busy and expensive! In terms of food, we have gone for safe-ish options – all of Jenkinson’s food was amazing, but in the end decided we needed to go for something that most peole would enjoy.
    Was great to read your posts and will look forward to reading the rest of your plans! Hannah x

  42. Hello Hannah,
    Congratulations on your first first post, and for being so organised.. I too was a Christmas eve proposal bride, it was so lovely telling all our friends and family, it made it an extra special Christmas… (hubby and I don’t get to spend many together due to his postings)

    As for food we went for a more unusual choice, my father in law was a forester in the new Forrest and sadly they have to cull some deer from time to time so we had that as a main course and then my dad is a keen grower (retired commercial grower) and he grew tonnes and tonnes of Rasberrys, so we based our dessert around this… All our guest loved the food, especially as it had come from our dads….

    As for cars, if you are getting ready at Dodford I don’t think you will need one.
    @ hannah and @ hayley As for hotels Staverton is a great option…

    I look forward to your posts in the coming months x

  43. hey hannah,

    congrats!! your proposal story is too cute!

    my bf popped the question 2 years ago, and our wedding is now only 5 weeks away.

    i just wanted to say that i remember when i first started planning and thinking about what i wanted our wedding to be, and i had so many ideas that i wanted to include to create the “perfect day”.

    after 2 years of compiling mood boards, religiously checking wedding blogs (RMW included) and scouring every (expensive!) wedding magazine for inspiration, i can now say that:

    1) i bought two dresses and yep, still haven’t made my mind up which one will make an appearance on the day..

    2) i decided that i would rather arrive feeling confident and comfortable in my parents’ car than make a big hoo-har pulling up in some OTT convertible (nothing should steal your thunder!)

    and 3) i chose trout as one of the main courses on our menu. 4 people out of 90 have chosen trout for their main course thus far, so I gather it is not a popular option! BUT in all honesty, i’ve realised that the most important thing about the day is not what is on the menu, it’s about you and your lovely man and the people you are sharing your wedding day with.

    good luck with the planning lovely and have an awesome day! x

  44. Dodford Manor is LITERALLY just down the road from me! I drive past every day on the way to work!

    On the transport front, we’re getting married at Crockwell Farm and having the reception there, I’ll be driving with my mum and bridesmaids there in the morning to get ready so no one is going to see my arrival! As we’re having a DIY Budget friendly wedding – whats the point in splashing out on transport literally for me to see?? Means more dosh for cake/wine/band/evening buffet etc!!


  45. Lucy M, janine and Hannah – I would reccommend either Staverton Park (I used to work for De Vere!!) or Hellidon (its lovely there). The other alternative is the Barcelo in Daventry (not such nice grounds but similar to De Vere in its big conferency style, I think they have had a refurb in the last few years).

    Otherwise – umm…. Yes Fawsley Hall!!

    if I had to choose it would definately be Hellidon (they have a spa too) xx

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