Adventures of a Wedding Belle – The Blog That’s Made Me, Me

Aaaaaaand…it’s four months to go.  Four months until Bella and Fiachra get married.  This month Bella pays tribute.  Tribute to the people and the places and the true and lasting friendships that have made the wedding planning journey a better one.  She also pays tribute to you guys, the AOW community.  And what I love most of all about this piece?  The human element trumps the details.  As it should.  As it always should.  Over to you, Bella: 

I’m probably a bit of a let down when it comes to being a real bride. I was never going to chronicle every single teeny tiny wedding decision in glorious technicolour. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when people do – I am pretty upset that I only get one more issue of Brides magazine as an engaged person – but the year that this past one has shaped up to be showed me pretty quickly that a monthly diary was never going to be a nice and tidy documentation of our wedminning activities.

Our wedding planning, like most I expect, is a wee bit all over the place. I know what I need to do when, I have a detailed décor shopping list organized in order of when the guests will see it (I’m not joking) but with various events, developments and detours happening the wedding isn’t really our priority. I think people think I am a bit weird when I say that/secretly harbouring a desire to cancel the whole thing/am being a martyr, but genuinely? Honestly? I wish the wedding were tomorrow for the marriage bit, but I could probably do without organizing a wedding right now.

My priority at the moment is my big sister’s wedding, in approximately 7 weeks, so I have decided to shelve all DIY plans/RSVP chasing for a bit, so as to concentrate on being the best bridesmaid I can be.
With only four months to go until the big day I have to say that one of the best things about being engaged is the opportunity that wedding planning – and more specifically wedding blogging – has given me to reconnect with some fantastic friends and make some unbelievable new ones.  Betrothed and I are classic includers (did I tell you the guest list rose from 204 to 218?) and are really excited to be sharing our wedding day with people who have had an impact on our lives. Weddings are just incredible because it’s a moment where all the things you love – penguin books, whisky, popcorn, jazz–but also all the people you love — are distilled into one pure moment.

I have been overwhelmed by just how excited my friends are for us – friends I haven’t seen for a few years, friends who live on the other side of the world, brand new friends met in the last six months.

The happiness of these people, who are really chuffed to be invited, is just so incredible. I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy (haven’t we all) and have in the past found it difficult to see why people would want to be friends with me – and have pushed people away because of this – so the response I have had is truly amazing.

Calling out individuals is dangerous as I’m sure I would accidentally leave someone out, but these girls are among the people going above and beyond to show us how much they care: [All our guests are awesome, these are the ones who have made me smile loads over the last couple of weeks!]


Corie – possibly flying on the redeye from DC to London, arriving 5 hours before the wedding and leaving 5 hours after due to low holiday allocation in the US

Gesi – some of the kindest, sweetest emails all the way from Germany, and the offer of some stunning earrings

Issy (left) and Rach – Flying in from Germany and Italy  (Issy twice for my hen!) and making holiday/financial sacrifices to be there with me

Fi – Planning to fly all the way from Australia. I mean… Australia. Need I say more? And Sara (right) who also means the absolute world to me, making a long cross-country trip when we haven’t seen each other in five years!

These are some fabulous ‘old friends’ but there’s another side to this. Leaving University in 2008 makes me a classic baby of the recession, job uncertainty and a lot of rejection over the last four years has left me feeling less than sure of who I really am, but there has been one massive part of the year that has made me feel like, well, me again, and I think made me a (hopefully) better friend in the process.

This blog.

Aisling, Anna and Clare gave me the opportunity to write. To share my thoughts and feelings about the wedding process, about relationships  – the pretty, the ugly and the somewhat trivial – and almost all of the amazing messages I have received from our guests mention this blog. They mention how much they enjoy reading about all of us – from the books that made me series to the stories about mooncups  (one of my bridesmaids has been championing these for years!) and it is incredible how in a relatively short space of time I feel I have been able to make true, lasting friendships through this blog.

From Gemma who is my stylist and general life guru, to Bex who is possibly the kindest person you could hope to meet (via Twitter of all places..) to of course the incredible three (that’s you AOW team) I feel like a whole new world of opportunity has opened up to me. A world wherein I can make new friendships, as an adult, with people who accept me for who I am. Right now. Even if I don’t always accept myself.

[Ed...this picture was posted at Bella's request, and I knew better than to say no a bride-to-be.  Bella sent this through to us the week before launch week, when we hadn't slept for about a week, and we shrieked comments across email such as "omg I look such a natural with a flat stomach" (me) to "Oh. My. Holy. God. Bella.  I.  Love. You" (Clare)  Back to Bella...] 

That’s a pretty powerful blog that makes you do that, isn’t it? I know I’m not the only one who has been really affected by being part of this community – how have you been? Was there a defining post, or comment on one of yours, that made you feel like you again? Like someone really knew who you were, what you needed and what you stand for?

I’d love to know, and of course then spend a day reading them all.

PS: Because I am the real bride and I have done some wedding planning this month, I thought I’d treat you to a few of my favourite ‘dietary requirements’ comments from our wedsite. You lucky things, you.

-          You don’t make friends with salad

-          I don’t believe in mini babybels

-          I need at least 2 bottles of wine to aid digestion

-          I’ll eat anything except foie gras or pigeon

Categories: Real Bride, Wedding Planning
22 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Steff
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    I had a big waffly comment but I read it back and realised it was just waffle so I deleted it and I’ll leave you this instead;

    LOVE this. All of it. x

    • Bella
      Posted May 8, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Thanks Steff! Really really kind of you :)

    • Bella
      Posted May 8, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Thanks Steff!! Very very kind of you :) PS: I posted this reply before and I can’t see it, so apologies if all my replies are duplicated x

  2. Posted May 8, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    What a lovely post – I love the superhero pictures!

    We had one couple respond to say that they ‘couldn’t eat bland food. The more chilli, coriander and gin the better’. They arrived at their seats to find we’d made up a ‘bouquet’ of chillies and garlic with a few miniatures of gin littered around.

    My husband still has the ‘bottle in a glass’ wine glass and giant cutlery from a friend’s wedding when he responded to say he’d like an extra large portion of dinner…

    Enjoy, Bella!

    • Bella
      Posted May 8, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      That is superb! I have to do that! Thanks Sarah :)

  3. Bella
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    It’s getting so close! What’s your date? If we are bridal buddies there will be some textage going on… especially about the weather!

    The wine one is hilarious, that was my bridesmaid L and first RSVP. I’m not sure if the pigeon one was a joke or not…

  4. Mahj
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    You don’t make friends with salad will keep me sniggering all day.

    Bella, its been an absolute treat to read your posts and there is still another 4 months worth left. Yippee!


    • Bella
      Posted May 8, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Thank you Mahj! Feeling the love today :) Not bad for a Tuesday… I was just thinking, when is my last post? Wedding recap? Live blog feed from the big day? (I’m not joking, I’d do this……)

  5. Esme
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I want to say a huge ‘YES – me too!’ to this post. AOW has indeed had a massive impact on me in so many ways. In so many ways that I can’t really find the words to sum it all up…. So I’ll just say that this little corner of the Internet feels like home and I love it. Sending a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone.


    P.S. Love you dietary RSVPs!

    • Bella
      Posted May 8, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      I agree – words don’t really do it, do they? Ironic really… x

    • Posted May 8, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      absolutely agree esme xxx

  6. Posted May 8, 2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Bella, I love you (in an entirely non-inappropriate way)! Your posts are wonderful, so many million times better than if you’d just listed your wedmin activities and decisions. I feel like we’re all coming on your journey.

    As for the blog, yes times 100 to everything you said! I think the post that really whacked me in the brain and saved my sanity was Penny’s Any Other Man post, about walking down the aisle. Every time I think about that moment and the ridiculous hugeness of it, I get overwhelmed and breathless and inside my head I scream. But I think of Penny’s words, and the panic abates. I have similar feelings about Laura and Bedford’s Any Other Photo. The reminder that everything will be okay, it won’t be perfect, you might not be an oasis of serenity, you might be screaming inside your head, but it will be okay because you’ll be marrying your person, and that will make it okay. Better than okay.

    Also, I think the entire AOW community is wonderful. It’s basically everything that is brilliant about being a woman, and knowing other women.

    K x

    • Bella
      Posted May 8, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Oh I nearly just cried! I feel exactly the same about Penny’s AOM. I think about it often, actually, and about how breath takingly gorgeous and romantic it was. You have entirely summed up everything I was trying to say, and more.

      I love you too! (Don’t even mind if that’s inappropriate, it’s ONLY TUESDAY PEOPLE)

      • Posted May 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        You’re both so bloody awesome! That is all. Other than to say – don’t panic! If a massive stressbucket like me can find my zen then you guys definitely can! Katie you are so spot on – you can answer EVERY wedding day stress with “…but I’m marrying MY PERSON so I don’t CARE!”


  7. Posted May 8, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Bella I read this post early and tried to reply and couldn’t get the words out (post-weekend wedding hangover/exhaustion). Still can’t write anything eloquent but just to say what a lovely post and YES re. AOW, it feels like home on the internet, and I love it so very much.

    Great pictures too and love your guests’ quips on their RSVPS… your wedding is going to be SO MUCH FUN, I know it! x

    • Katy
      Posted May 8, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      AOW = home on the internet? YES. Just, yes to this.

      Great post too Bella!

      K xx

  8. Peridot
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    You see, I love salad. Seriously, if I go too long without leaves I get sad. Maybe I was a giraffe in a previous life or something. And I’m still a chubster – not one of those annoying ethereal girls who wafts about claiming that a leaf is just SO, like, filling. I’m with you on the babybels though. And foie gras – although I do love a pigeon. Only to eat though.

  9. Rach M
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Great piece Bella. AOW is the best. Skin & Blister Anna’s Friend that Made Me Me about herself growing up and not having many friends was particularly unforgettable and made me realise with a kick to the chest that if I’d had something like AOW back then it would have made me feel so much better about everything, as it does today.

  10. Posted May 9, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Late to the party as I was camping and since running my updates my STUPID PHONE won’t open AOW, but just wanted to jump up and down and wave and say “me too, me too!”

  11. Bella
    Posted May 9, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Oh yay to all of us I say, yay! I hereby extend an open invitation to party with us on September 8th!

    I feel so at home here – comforted, excited, perspectivised (deal with the non word) and, often, knocked into touch.

    Thank you all xxx

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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