Adventures of a Wedding Belle: Eight Weeks Of Fun

There are two months left before Bella gets married.  I don’t think there are many marrieds who won’t read Bella’s first paragraph below and do a fist-pump.  It’s SO TRUE.  And the rest of her piece?  Funny, poignant, insightful.  Bella all over.    

Bella is calling out for some help as a recently-moved soon-to-be bride at the end of her post…and I know you lot will be happy to help.  No-one gives a “really, you don’t need a theme” pep talk like an AOW-er.  Bella, if there’s any way we can help, we will rally.  We love you.  Over to you: 

There comes a time during wedding planning when the wedding becomes bigger than you. Bigger than the couple, bigger than the marriage. When every conversation is based around, and comes back to, a to-do list.  When total strangers and best friends alike ask about the flowers, the tablecloths, the favours and the band before saying hello. When friends and family get totally fed up with hearing about ‘the wedding’ but yet, obviously, want to ask questions and expect robust, detailed answers. As a bride you can’t win on this one, take it from me – you’re either wedding obsessed or leaving people out, but I digress.


I have, over the last year and a bit, envied people whose engagements last a few months, because with all of the big life events of the past year I haven’t really enjoyed any of the above. A few months ago I wrote about my wedlife crisis – second guessing every decision, worrying about people having fun, stressing about the dress, the hair, the weight.


That wedlife crisis was simply masking the fact that each day, week and month saw much more important decisions – and actions -  come to the fore than whether to go for delphinium or roses (case in point: Anna K is currently being very patient with me as this post was due to be sent in a few days ago and I am just praying I finish it before the moving van arrives) – but I knew I had to also make wedding decisions and the whole things has felt, frankly, like one big massive chore.

I feel horrendous admitting that, and it is no reflection on Betrothed or our friends and families, but it has just been impossible to enjoy the last few months wholeheartedly and I have been incredibly disappointed in myself to have felt that way.


Penny left a comment on last month’s post, and it really struck a chord with me: I really want to enjoy being engaged. I only have 2 months before I make the (frankly best and) biggest commitment yet in my life, and whilst I genuinely cannot wait (hurry up September!) I won’t get this time back. A time when people care about my wedding plans, quiz me about colour schemes, bridesmaid’s dresses, menu choices and readings. A time when total strangers squee over my ring (I’m not joking, it elicits either confusion ‘are those diamonds or like… granite?’ or a squee…) and a time where I get to write on this fabulous blog and share my journey with all of you.


So by ‘eck (I’m northern now, don’t you know) enjoy it I will. I have realised in order to enjoy the next couple of months I have to accept that some things just aren’t possible. Processional song too difficult to arrange, practice and perform? Ok, let’s scour our collective memory for a new, just as meaningful but far simpler song. Budget hugely stretched so no professional ceilidh possible? Ah sure your mam is a good Irish lady, she knows a jig or two – give her a mic and we’re grand. Perfect pair of spanx ripped? Own brand Debenhams good enough for me. [Sorry, who rips spanx? I mean, seriously?]


I am feeling an odd kind of calm, wherein I know that things won’t be perfect, but honestly I couldn’t care less right now because despite having loads of fun DIY projects to keep me occupied I know that I will be the only one who knows if that Lavender heart is a bit wonky, or if only half the guests get a sherbet lemon from the sweetie bar. After all, this isn’t four weddings, it’s just one. Ours. [How much pressure have bridal shows put on us? It’s actually insane but that’s another post.] Being a guest at my sister’s wedding a few weeks ago really brought home to me just how important doing what the two of you want to do is, and I am definitely trying to keep that simple mantra in the head at all times!


However, I probably, have to balance that calm with actually doing stuff, and be decisive, so over the past few days I have managed a few wee jobs:

One: Forgot to collect our banns certificate. Oops.

Two: Lost wedding present cheques…. And found them days later in my make up bag

Three: Read the riot act to a bridal shop: bridesmaids dresses due in end of May you say? What date is it exactly then, today? July? I see… so that’s not May then, right? My two bridesmaids dresses, 3 in each, are below for your viewing pleasure. Please note, the colour is the same and more like the long one and I doubt the girls will be posing with many oversized gliiter balls or have their heads chopped off….


Four: Begged my mum to get said banns certificate.

Five: Gone shopping for Betrothed’s 3 piece navy suit, current contenders are John Lewis and M&S. We got distracted….

Six: Begged my mum to take me to the flower field again in August as I forgot I told the flower grower we weren’t having a colour scheme at all but we actually now kind of are [did I tell you at one point the theme was rainbow? Not joking]

Seven: Borrowed Gemma’s beautiful wedding headpiece, which is, for the next 2 months, all mine (thank you!)

(Ed: when Gemma sent through pictures of her headpiece for Bella’s post, we at Team AOW practically died of  envy and lust (it wasn’t pretty).  There are more pictures at the end, you know, for headpiece-perving purposes.  Photographs from here onwards by the criminally talented Lisa Kuilenburg)

Eight: Begged my mum to come up to Manchester so I can try on different types of veil with said headpiece (are you noticing a theme?)

Until planning a wedding I would have said I was really organised but I have committed the bridal sin of wanting to make as much of the ‘stuff’ as possible, without leaving myself all that much time to do any of it! As I haven’t actually made anything I need to (bandeau veil, buttonholes, centre pieces, orders of service, bridesmaids presents, signs, décor) I will be begging the AOW wonderwomen to let me post loads of ‘quick, which one?!’ posts over the next eight weeks.

Ladies, I am going to need you! Templates, tricks, directions to the nearest Hobbycraft, a soothing g&t, stern ‘no one gives a shit if you don’t individually tie ribbons to each chair’ chats – it’s going to be necessary! The next eight weeks are going to be crazy – but the good, fun, had too much candyfloss but really want to go on the waltzers crazy, rather than the candyfloss was fine but shouldn’t have had that pint of cider kind – and I honestly, for the first time, can’t wait to see what the summer brings. One thing it will definitely be bringing is a wee northern hen, a blen (blog hen. I’m a wordsmith, truly) at the end of August, the planning of which has reminded me of just how special it is to be a bride-to-be.

Any of you bridelets out there feeling like you need to remember to just enjoy?!


Just in case you wanted to see more of Gemma’s headpiece, here you go.   On the second picture, Gemma included it as “a kind of prequel for you Bella, because I can’t wait to be at your wedding and be the one to ‘fix’ your ‘do should it need it, just like my sister is doing for me in that picture”.  

I know


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


  1. Posted July 9, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    We forgot to get our certificate too. We did the interview bit and then kind of forgot…
    We had the appointment with the celebrant a week before we were due to get married, and then another the week we got married (we got married on 30th June).

    And you know what? It was fine. I think Kirsty said that before the wedding is when things should go wrong (I left my engagement ring behind as well, and the registrar handed it to me about five minutes before the ceremony).

    And yes, ‘no one gives a shit if you don’t individually tie ribbons to each chair’ we had ribbons on the chairs, and the were the wrong shade of blue but so pretty I did not care. Having said that our flowers were the wrong colour too and I did not care. We had flowers, we had a venue, we got legally married which I don’t know if anyone had told you but it is FREAKING AWESOME.

    Enjoy the next two months but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t. Right towards the end was a lot to do with money and stress and stuff but we found lovely pockets of just being in love rather than trying to make that happen (I tried that at first and it just added to the stress!).

    And did I mention that getting married is FREAKING AWESOME? It really is.

    • Posted July 9, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      So what I am getting is that getting married is…. AWESOME?!?! yay! Thanks so much Siobhan, I put a contingency in the budget (not sure if F knows this) because everyone was saying that as the wedding nears the budget goes out the window – which I am sure isn’t really an option for most of us!

      I hope you had an amazing day! OMG AOWers I just went to Siobhan’s blog – your wedding dress is my IDEAL dress, you look stunning, congratulations! x

      • Posted July 9, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        Thank you!

        Contingencies are good, even better is if you don’t need it!

        And thank you. I loved my day and hope you love yours too.

  2. Caroline
    Posted July 9, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I hate that going slightly non-traditional makes people go abit peculiar.
    “you’re not having bridesmaids? Oh. Or Ushers? Interesting. How did he propose? Oh he didn’t you just made a grown up decision to get married? Really? No band or dj? Hmm” I could go on but you get the drift. If decisions don’t fit other people’s moulds of wedding planning then it’s wrong by their standards.
    Oh and I totally sympathise with the wedding bore versus not giving away any information debate. I constantly flit between wanting to talk about it so much I even bore myself to being a little bit over it.
    Anyway 67 days to go.
    Ps great post by the way!

    • Posted July 9, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      It’s the “really?” that gets me every time. Yes, really, why would I make it up?

      I got a lot of it when people found out we were getting married in a church, I felt genuinely bullied at points from people who didn’t realise just how out of line the questioning can get – I don’t mind questions, but when your decisions are the thing that are getting questioned? NO.

      67 days! Good luck lovely xxx

  3. Posted July 9, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Siobhan is absolutely right you know, no one will notice (not even you) the minor details. Well, no one apart from my great aunt Anne who sewed 80 rosettes out of tartan ribbon and adorned them with the lavender I’d specified, took them to the church in the morning, and I didn’t get a glimpse of them. The people who came in to decorate for the wedding after ours probably threw them away, whatever happened I have looked at them only in the form of the corner of a photo which I had to zoom to a bajillion percent. I forgot to put on my earrings, too, which I insisted on buying the day before, I’m going to send them to you and maybe they’ll finally get an outing with the headpiece that they match. I hope you (and Caroline!) have a ball in the rest of the leadup to your respective days. I had a mantra in the last weeks before ours and this is how it went ‘the church is booked, the booze is in my dad’s garage, the dress and kilt are in the cupboard, the invitations were (finally) delivered- if I had to walk down the aisle tomorrow all would be well, but I’ve actually got weeks up my sleeve!’ the other mantra I had was similar in tone to Sarah’s sweary bride post and as such doesn’t need to be printed here ;) ps girls I have seen Bella in her dress and it made me cry…

    • Roz
      Posted July 9, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Your ps is very sneaky mrs! Love the mantra you had :D

  4. Zan
    Posted July 9, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    OK, helpful stuff: There is actually a HobbyCraft opening in Altrincham in a month’s time! – but incase that’s too late, your nearest one is in Stockport.

    And you might want to check out these places too:

    Other stuff – take lots of deep breaths. What you get done, you get done, what you don’t, won’t matter. Just make sure you enjoy the time before the wedding – and I’m happy to deliver emergency G&T’s when needed :)

    PS – that headpiece is actual gorgeous. Is it wrong that I want one to wear around the house? Just for fun?

    • Posted July 9, 2012 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Zan, you’re brilliant. Can see Bella hotfooting it to Hobbycraft, stat!

      Oh the headpiece? Am in discussions with Gemma about loaning it out to the AOW readership one week at a time after Bella’s wedding. I want us all to send in pictures of us doing domestic chores wearing it. Bagsy me wearing mine in the produce aisle of Asda.

      • Zan
        Posted July 9, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        Aces! I was thinking either while hoovering or at the gym – my current t-shirt and jogging bottoms combo could do with a bit of sparkle ;)

        • Posted July 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

          I’m going to teach Aerockbics in it


          • Posted July 9, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

            I shall wear it to harvest E.coli in the lab, because even bacteria need to see a bit of glamour sometimes.

            K x

            • Posted July 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

              Just imagine when those little e-coli are born and they look up and the first thing they see will be that beautiful sparkly headpiece…they’ll never want to die!

      • Becca
        Posted July 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        I can wear it in court?

  5. Posted July 9, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    You know what? I kind of think it’s a good thing to get to this stage just before your wedding. Yes you have a crazy amount to do, but there will come a point where actually the details don’t matter. As you say, only you (and possibly your hubs) will notice if certain things don’t get done or are missing on the day, but frankly YOU WON’T CARE!! You’ll be high as a kite and enjoying yourself so much that the details will seem insignificant. I totally missed lots of the little details we’d made and it still doesn’t bother me at all six months later. I personally take it as a good sign that I was so wrapped up in other things that I didn’t see everything!

    Do as much as you can without ruining the fun and excitement of these last couple of months. If you’re anything like me you will get to the point where you’re fed up of the planning, the questions and the details and just want to be friggin’ married.

    I said ‘yes’ because I wanted to be married to him and create a life together, not because I wanted to stress about colour schemes, bunting and whether or not we had enough pick and mix.


    p.s. the only way to get through it is delegate, delegate, delegate!!

  6. Posted July 9, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Bella this is so exactly how I felt in the last few months before my wedding. I had become submerged in masters stress, G was working all the hours in the day, and some that haven’t been invented yet, all I wanted was for the day to HAPPEN, so I could stop worrying about getting it to happen. I stopped caring about the details, my priorities narrowed to wanting to make it to the day with sufficient energy to get married. In the end we didn’t do a lot of DIY and personal touches that I had planned because a killer 6 months of life got in the way, but I can hand on heart say that my day was actually 100-times better than I expected.

    No-one cared that I didn’t hand-make favours, or do anything at all to the pew ends, or personalise the napkins, or have a sweetie table, or have a range of kiddy activities, or have pretty stripy straws with flags (all things that fell by the wayside). They mostly cared that I couldn’t stop smiling. Seriously, Gareth had to kiss my cheek in the church because I was grinning so widely he’d have had to kiss my teeth if he’d aimed for mouth, we also have some ridiculous images of me grinning like a loony at the sky for no apparent reason, because I couldn’t look serious like the photographer was aiming for. When I look back, I remember the giddy dizzy excitement and the overwhelming joy and euphoria and when I look back on being engaged I wish I had remembered to enjoy that feeling of anticipation more.

    You’re going to have the most wonderful day, enjoy every single moment that you can!

    K x

  7. Esme
    Posted July 9, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Enjoy it, if you can. Your last 2 months of being a bride-to-be, of being excited when you look at your dress, of thinking about how your bridesmaids are going to look, of imagining how you’re going to feel when you wake up that morning. It’s a weird experience as getting married is one of those things that you’re (hopefully) only going to do once – unlike so many other things in life. I remember a very wise Kirsty telling me to try and be present on the day and I would extend that to the next few weeks for you too, Bella. Be in the moment.

    Would it make you feel better about the details if I told you that I had spent HOURS and much too much money looking for the perfect napkins for the afternoon tea and then found the full unopened box in the boot of our car a week after the wedding? That’s how unimportant those details are.

    I absolutely cannot wait for your pictures! xxxx

  8. Roz
    Posted July 9, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Bella I’m not sure I can add much to the wise words already written by the girls above. What I will say is I love those bridesmaid dresses and headpiece you are borrowing from Gemma wowzers!

    I remember wishing our wedding day would come sooner when we had 9 months or so to go and then I did a complete 180 with about 2-3 months to go and enjoy the being engaged bit for longer (and having more time to get stuff done!). Try not to panic about the things / decisions that still need to be made, your wedding day will be amazing and we’re all here to give opinions on things whenever you need us! xx

  9. Bex
    Posted July 9, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Sister, TOTALLY get were you are right now! use me, I am here to do whatever you want and need. The little things really don’t matter. Remember to look after your self in the weeks leading up to it. Get pleanty of sleep. Remember how tired I was? I spent the first week of our honeymoon sleeping and crying I was so tired. I definitely didn’t enjoy those last weeks and you need to treasure the excitement and take time to be excited with F! Love you and remember to use me!! Xxx

  10. Megs
    Posted July 9, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Bella, Thank-you so much for this post today! I am W-Day minus 18, and have been feeling immense pressure and stress about our big day, but without being able to put my finger on why. You did it – our wedding day feels bigger than us. I’ve had it up to the eyeballs in people telling me how much fun they’re going to have, or asking for my opinion on their wedding issues (black or white kilt socks? Fascinator on the left or right? Hmm…let me put down these legal documents, wedding bills, DIY crafty things, missing RSVP people and stop writing my vows to consider this).

    But I’ve realised this morning it’s just them showing their excitement, and I need to get mine back. Tonight I’m going to grab the almost-husband and practice our first dance to remind us about it being just ‘us’ together and get some of the squee back for myself!

    • Posted July 9, 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Yes yes yes yes yes!!! PLEASE grab him and squee (however you most want to) because you will feel so excited and it’ll all just make sense. SO much luck Megs, I am convinced that all these married ladies are right and the day will just be brilliant xxx

  11. Posted July 9, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I haven’t had time to read everyone’s comments yet but Bella – this line:

    “As a bride you can’t win on this one, take it from me – you’re either wedding obsessed or leaving people out.”

    That really struck a chord with me, to the point where it brought a tear to my eye. You see, we just did what we had to do in our four months of wedding planning, and while we did always accept bits of help from family and friends when offered, but I’ve always felt guilty I didn’t include my bridesmaids/close friends enough in the decision making and what not. But it just wasn’t very me to be calling everyone about every detail – it was tiring enough. You really made me feel better about this like I can finally be confident in doing what I knew was best. Thank you!

    Eight weeks…exciting! Loved reading this and have so much more to say. Will come back later and catch up on all the other comments.

    • Posted July 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Frankie I was exactly the same too! I found it so hard to make a call between asking for much needed help and surrendering control that I ended up hanging on to every last detail and nearly exploding with the pressure. I actually think I did the right thing for me though, I’m just a control freak! Luckily nobody complained about my leaving them out but I did feel guilty for a while afterwards. It just doesn’t matter though- everybody finds their own path through wedding prep- there are no golden rules.

      Good luck Bella, savour every second, even the bits that feel scary at the time will end up as fond memories.


      • Posted July 9, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        So good to know that, Penny. Makes me feel less guilty.

  12. Emily
    Posted July 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Bella, it will be perfect because it is your wedding, and you are marrying your husband surrounded by people who love you. I got pretty stressed in the few weeks beforehand, mainly because of one BM. The other BM then forgot her entire outfit when she arrived the night before (she had much bigger things, nasty health related things) to worry about) and her boyfriend didn’t have the address of my parents’ house, where we were (which I didn’t realise until afterwards). He turned up about an hour before we had to leave, and I honestly didn’t mind and would have been happy for her to walk down the aisle behind me in her jeans. Try to enjoy it (easier said than done) and just think, in 8 weeks you’ll be a Mrs!

  13. Posted July 9, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Ladies – thank you so much for all of your comments, and your support – each one of you has really hit a nerve with me, in a good way!

    I will reply to all but my connection is dodgy so wanted to post this before it goes again xx

    PS: I totally plan on doing some hilarious ‘crown in normal places’ shots with all of you

  14. Peridot
    Posted July 14, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Oh DO ask for opinions on stuff – I have plenty to share ;-) It’s also an excellent distraction technique from what I should be doing on my own wedding plans! Yes, I was the girl who had an overwhelming desire to dust/make coffee/faff generally when I should be revising.

    I am LOVING being engaged but the actual wedding day makes me feel nervous funnily enough. And even though I had a big wave of happiness and relief after finding my dress, which I had been FREAKING OUT about, I’ve kind of lost that feeling and The Fear is returning. Of looking terrible, both on the day and in the photos. So, kind of quite happy never to get there! Three and a half months to go….

  15. LucieCharlotte
    Posted August 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Bella, this post is fantastic! I found it through the ‘random’ button, and it was honestly the perfect thing for me to read at this point in time. I’m not quite as close to the wedding as you, but I am getting that feeling already of being slightly out of control of things, and the wedding organising me, rather than me organising the wedding (or not, as the case may be!)…

    This was a really great reminder to enjoy being engaged and being a bride, something my best friend Esme is trying hard to instill in me, too – throwing me a fab Bridal Shower definitely helped!

    I hope you have a really wonderful day when it gets here and enjoy the next two months,

    Lucie x

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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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