Adventures of a Wedding Belle: Nine Months On

Oh, my.  Readers, there’s so much in Bella’s post this morning.  Plens and change, excitement, fear, jumping both feet in, and the most beautiful lace trims (just as important.  Yes).  I don’t think we’ve talked before about what happens when you’re planning a wedding and then life does a 180 degrees on you and you’re left with the wedding being the easy bit.  That’s what’s happened to Bella, and she tells us about it with such grace.      

Bella, we salute you.  And as an aside, all that lace is beautiful but I have a firm favourite.  Got any left over?  Can I swathe myself in it head to toe?

Over to you:

I wrote my first post as Any Other Wedding’s (as was) real bride from a hotel in Westport in the west coast of Ireland. I was so excited to recap on my three months as a fiance and wrote “the past three months have been full of twists, turns, detours, traffic james and the occasional open road, and hopefully in my next post i’ll be able to share with you some more news that will probably complicate the next twelve a little, or just make the whole journey even more exciting!”

Nine months later and I still haven’t really been able to share that news, at least not properly. No, I wasn’t pregnant (although the fact that it has been nine months since that first post is rather poignant) but the twists and turns have been quite complicated. And no, they haven’t made the journey more exciting.

Nine months from that first post I find myself in another hotel. The Midland Hotel, in Manchester. This is where Mr Rolls met Mr Royce and decided to make a car; where , in 1910, Israel Sieff and Rebecca Marks, the daughter of the founder of Marks and Spencer, were married. The Midland, synonymous with the Conservative party conference (less impressed by this to be honest) and where the Queen Mother dined in 1959. The Midland Hotel, my new home.

In three short weeks, a few days after my sister’s wedding, two months before our own big day we are moving to Manchester from London, to begin a new adventure in the wilds of Cheshire so that Betrothed can take up a fantastic new job. A job he was offered a few days before my first blog post, a job that is dependent on a deal that has been delayed, fallen through, changed shape and location more than once. A job that was finally signed on at midnight on June 1st, nine whole months after it was offered.

I am finding this post quite difficult to write. I have been desperate to share what’s been going on each month but because of various legal issues it wasn’t possible to do so, but behind every hunt for flowers, or making of invitations has been the threat of the job falling through again, the money disappearing; of questions from left right and centre about our future. Writing about it now is supposed to be a release, but it’s not. Possibly because I know the journey isn’t slowing down any, but at least now I can lean on our AOW community in a way I couldn’t before.

I could pretty-up these last nine months, and say that yes, it’s been hard at times but that we have grown as a couple, learnt more about each other and are now just focusing on the good times ahead. I could say that feeling as though my life – and my wedding – is being dictated by a whole load of big FMCG companies really hasn’t been a big deal – but that would be a lie.

We have definitely grown, our commitment to staying together and supporting each other through our different dreams has definitely strengthened, but this time hasn’t been without a few tears, some tantrums, a couple of pillows thrown at the wall and quite a few expletives. Oh and a few bottles of wine irresponsibly drunk. The old cliché of the three most stressful things to do are get married, move house and have a baby is a cliché for a reason – but I would say add a sprinkle of unemployment in there and you have the recipe for absolute madness.

Now, we don’t have the baby, but the rest of it is going to make for an interesting few months, although I think one will always find something to be stressed about, so why not just lay it all on at once?!

So, on to Manchester. I won’t have a job, or a network of friends, but I am excited. I have lived in London for almost all of my 27 years and am ready for a new challenge, a new adventure. I am of course scared about being unemployed again, but the way I see it I have two choices – get sad about it, put on more unemployment weight and moan, or use the time where I am looking for jobs writing, learning to play tennis (by myself, I must add) and figuring out how brave I am and how to follow my dreams. We will be living in the Midland Hotel (I know, I am lucky) for a week or so. When I started writing this we were going to be in the Midland for longer, which would have driven me crazy, but as of last Sunday we have a house in Hale, Cheshire. A beautiful house (rented) with room and potential for a kitten. With a garden. And a room for me to write in, walking distance from a beautiful little village with a barman who looks like Smith from SATC.  A house that costs half what our small one bed flat in London does.

Somehow, out of the sheer madness of the last nine months my dreams have, in part, come true. I have an awful habit of imagining my life rather than really living it, but if the past few months have taught me anything it’s that the life you’re supposed to have isn’t the one you imagine wandering down the street daydreaming to the Glee soundtrack.

I think it’s only fair, after all of that emotion, to hit you all with a splash of wedding pretty. We found out we would be moving in the middle of May, so I got to work on all the bits it is easier to do in London, where my family live.

Table centres

IKEA was always a big treat in my house, we’d wander around, argue about the benefits and drawbacks of a bed with a desk underneath, buy a pillow or two and end with a hot dog and a bag of Dime bars. Simple pleasures. It’s only fitting that my table centres are from this fabulous Scandinavian house of fun. I love glassware, perfume bottles in particular, so loved these – and the bottles come in different colours so will be a mix and match affair. Please imagine glorious blooms and lots of green and a single rose in the bottle.


My dress

As I have mentioned, the dress was not found without some trauma, but love it I do! I wanted to make it a little more special, a little more unique, particularly being a high street dress that has recently been made available in another pale colour (don’t get me started, hopefully none of our guests will be flashy enough to wear a full length obviously wedding-y gown…) so off I headed with my sister to MacCulloch & Wallis, a wonderful fabric/trimmings shop off of Oxford Street. Despite being ushered towards the cheaper trimmings we chose a couple of samples to take home with us – a gold French lace, a pink (!) a blue Claire Pettibone-esque trim and a traditional white lace from John Lewis. My first idea was to add a trim to the sleeves, to make them a little longer and add a bit of a wow factor. Having played around a bit I will definitely be adding one of the below trims to the sleeves (about an inch and a half) and also along the neckline.

Unfortunately I don’t have photos of the trims pinned onto my dress (and don’t trust Betrothed not to look!) but I will definitely share these post-wedding.

For now, the trims themselves… can you guess which I picked? My mum, sister and stylist extraordinaire Gemma unanimously chose my secret favourite but would love to hear what you think!

Blue lace


Gold french lace

Pink lace

White lace

Also, I am sure I am not alone in having a wee curve ball pre-wedding, any tips on staying sane during unemployment, or to-do lists in Manchester? Any northern lasses fancy having a new friend?

The next post of mine you read will be coming straight from the Cheshire countryside – wish me luck!

Categories: Real Bride
27 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    I can definitely say that the dress, the lace, and Bella herself, look absolutely stunning and induced a bout of me waving my hand in front of my face saying ‘I’m going to cry!’
    Bella you’ve had so much thrown at you this year and you’ve coped amazingly – I hope that it’s smooth sailing from now on. xx

    • Bella
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      Oh Geems! Thank you my love, you’ve been such a support this whole time, thank you. You have good things coming for you xx

  2. Bella
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Anna – what a fantastic opening, thank you so much :) And yes, I have all that lace left over – which is your fav? I had a firm one, until I saw the photos….

  3. Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I want that blue lace! Amazing!
    Can’t wait to see the full look. And don’t worry, noone would think it acceptable to turn up in a full length evening gown (except my mother!)

    Hale is lovely, a friend of mine used to live there and really liked it. My bro lives in Manchester and absolutely loves it.

    We are also planning on moving then getting married in a short space of time (and I’m job hunting) but I agree, why not get all the stress over in one go.

    Love those bottles BTW, and totally craving a mini daim now.

    • Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Thank you!

      Good luck – if you have the time to plan then my goodness do! I have to say, I am quite enjoying my morning commute “what shall I pack first” mental exercise…. is there a wedding date? Let’s all work together!

      Sad news dude…. IKEA don’t do them anymore… I know, it’s a wrench. (At least, the Croydon one doesn’t..) xx

  4. Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Hope to get to meet up with you when you’re finally settled in Bella! I was so excited to hear you’re moving up here. You have my every sympathy on the work front…two weeks into our five month engagement my betrothed was informed he was being made redundant. We had it hanging over us like an anvil for our entire engagement. It’s not always easy to switch that off and get excited about all the fun wedding stuff…but that’s what you’ve got to do, because you’re not going to get another chance to enjoy it. I hope things are settled enough for things to feel a bit more relaxed now. I’m with Amy on the blue lace- phwoarrr! WANT.


    • Bella
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Great advice as ever Pen – it has been hard to enjoy it up to this point to be honest, felt like an uphill struggle (not nice when marriage is supposed to be uber exciting) but I finally feel like a soon-to-be-wed and it’s amazing.

      As I email promised blue lace will make its way up to Leeds! It’s unbelievably cheap compared to the white lace which was a total rip off x

  5. Bex
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Darling sister. I know I promised not to comment on everything you write but I had to on this one. I am so so proud of you. You have incredible strength. You looked stunning in the dress and Gem nearly crying totally proves it! You are the best sister one could have and are going to be a fantastic wife. Manchester people get in there quick to be her friend. She’s amazing. Less slushy, ikea do indeed no longer do Diams. It was a sad sad day I discovered this. I even asked. Also! Can I come kitten choosing?!?!?!?! Love you xxxx

  6. Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I need Diam cake in a big way.

    Bella I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you are welcome to visit me in Sheffield anytime! it’s not that far away! :)


    • Bella
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Thank you! And I will!xx

  7. Peridot
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I vote for the gold lace – just gorgeous. I hope we’re going to see pictures of the whole dress in due course?

    My brother lives in Hale – it’s really nice and I’m sure you’ll be happy there.

    • Bella
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Thank you Peridot! Yes, you definitely will – at least I am hoping Anna, Aisling and Clare let me do both a fashion run down AND a wedding story post or three…..x

      • Posted June 7, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        Les “let”, more “command”…

  8. Steff
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    100% for the blue lace. Stunning!

    Sounds like you’ve been through a lot but it also sounds like you’re looking positively at the future and concentrating on the up’s rather than the down’s which is nice to read :)

    Enjoy your house, and garden! Make the most of the space (and time) for writing, testing your limits and following your dreams!!


    • Bella
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Thank you Steff, it’s a long time coming I have to admit. Was amazing to be in Manchester this past weekend and really make peace with the move – and down a few pornstar martinis made by Smith the barman! x

  9. Esme
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    What an amazing post, thank you so much for sharing Bella. To say that it sounds like you’ve had a bit of upheaval is an understatement… But well done you! I’m sure that it will be an amazing opportunity and that you will cope with everything that comes at you with grace and a smile (and a bottle of gin under the table). I don’t like the phrase ‘everything happens for a reason’ because I don’t think it’s helpful at times of crisis, but I do use the mantra ‘we will turn anything that happens into something positive’ – and it sounds like you’re already on your way.

    I don’t why we do it, but it seems that most people I know make these massive changes (jobs, relocation etc) at the same time. Must be that age I suppose. We’re going through our fair share currently.

    We have those IKEA things in our bathroom! I can vouch that they are lovely and that do still stock them in some stores!

    Lace – stunning! I LOVE the pink. Cannot wait to see the finished product.

    • Bella
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Thank you Esme :) I totally agree, I have been guilty of moping to the point of being utterly f-ing ridiculous in the past and I am so determined to make something great out of this. I think you’re right, we are at that age (and economic climate) where we have to take opportunities whenever they arise, regardless of what else is going on – I hope all is ok with you and T?

      And the bottles – never fear, I bought £156 worth three weeks ago, it’s the Dime bars that are out of action!!! xxx

  10. Sandie
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Bella, as a fellow displaced-Southerner-who-moved-for-a-man, I wish you all the best with settling in your new city! I fell hopelessly in love with Manchester, and am very happy to call it home. Let me know if you fancy a tour guide sometime! x

    • Bella
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Oh yes that sounds great!!! Thank you :)

  11. Zan
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    The gold lace is gorgeous! :)

    Manchester is fab Bella – you’ll love it. I’m the other side of Manchester to you, but if you fancy a cocktail or two anytime then I’m always up for a few drinkies in town! There’s so much to do once you know your way around, give me a shout if you want sightseeing tips or ideas for things to do x

    • Posted June 7, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Thank you! The gold definitely photographs the best. I would love that, yes! See, this is why AOW is so marvellous, I feel loads better about moving :)

  12. Mahj
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Gold lace gold lace hold lace!
    In fact they are all gorgeous but the gold on in particular made me swoon.

    Also I’m a Manchester girl (well Stockport to be precise!) so am very excited that you’ve made the move up North. And it sounds like your settling in beautifully. Let me know if you need a cocktail drinking buddy!


    • Bella
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      It is swoonworthy! This is all so brilliant, would love to meet up for cocktails and suchlike – I may even have a garden (ok, patio…) soiree! AOP northern chapter? yes please!

      • Posted June 7, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        There are even more of us than I thought- meet up time??


  13. Posted June 7, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    The gold is my favourite although I love them all! How exciting that you’re going to be moving in this direction ;) We’ll have to have another Northern meet up now! x

  14. Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    I know, it’s a serious issue in my life!! What on EARTH are those green marzipan things?!

    I hope things are getting better for you guys, it’s such an odd time at the moment isn’t it? Ha, wine, swearing and self belief… I might have to add that to my blog ‘about me’, thanks lovely! xx

  15. starlet_haylz
    Posted June 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    That all sounds pretty tough! Ikea is like a day out, my husband doesn’t understand this. Also we live down the road from Hale – good location choice! Maybe we can organise an unofficial AOW Cheshire/South Manchester ladies social group (We already have 2 activity ideas: Cocktails with Mahj and an Ikea trip!). Good luck with it all!

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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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