Friday, January 17, 2014

119 Days: Bridesmaids - 1 : Irish Sea - 0

(Metanarrative: This has been an interesting post to write as I'm excited that we've chosen some beautiful Bridesmaids dresses, but as per ridiculous secretive wedding traditions, I am meant to keep colours and styles a surprise for guests on the day...  So this post will be somewhat cryptic and won't finish with a brilliant revelation, but it's been part of our journey so I'd love you to keep reading regardless.)

My hunt for bridesmaid dresses started slowly.

The problems began when I mistakenly dreamt up a colour which I could not find a name for!! After booking our venue I became fixated on finding a colour that wouldn't clash with the red detailing at Riverdale and also wanted something that was different to other bridesmaids' dress colours I'd seen at weddings of family and friends. After a bit more research (and realising the red at Riverdale wasn't going to dominate our photos and matching with it didn't really matter) I changed my mind and I have picked a completely different colour which I think will be much nicer.

I have two very beautiful bridesmaids who both, unlike me, have great style.  Trying to choose a dress for them was going to be tough so I decided very early on that I wanted Fiona and Jenny to be involved in the decision making.  They have been wonderful!  They've had ideas and opinions, and have been very supportive as I've flitted between colours and styles! Their guidance in what they'd be happy wearing has also been so useful.  We all thought long dresses would be best since my dress is floor length, and we had a similar idea on what style we thought would match well.

The Irish Sea has been the biggest obstacle in the hunt for bridesmaids' dresses. Unlike brides-to-be and bridesmaids who live the the same country, we weren't always able to pop to a dress shop on a Saturday afternoon or even meet up to flick through wedding magazines with bottle of vino. This meant our bridesmaids' dress shopping has been like a blockbuster casino heist: a long time in the planning and perfectly executed in minimum time! My visits home have been short and infrequent because of work but after a lot of online research we'd picked a few different shops we wanted to visit that stocked a selection of different designs for us to try.

The three shops we visited were Bridal Lounge, Ti Amo and Dream Weddings

Bridal Lounge
We chose to visit the Bridal Lounge because they had a particular Dessy dress that we'd all liked (which turned out not to be as nice on as it looked in pictures).  This was my first experience of the Dessy dresses.  If you haven't heard of Dessy and are hunting for bridesmaid dresses - check them out!!  They provide brides-to-be with a fantastic and varied range of dress styles and materials, all available in a huge selection of colours and shades. I had heard that in some cases the price of certain Dessy dresses wasn't reflected in the quality but the dresses we saw were lovely.

Ti Amo

After getting slightly lost in Limavady, we finally arrived with Adele, excited and aprehensive to try dresses.  By now it was January 2014, and Jim and I were getting married in less than 5 months so the pressure was on! We went to the appointment with no particular dress in mind and selected some floaty chiffony styles to try and Adele recommended a few as well.  I'm always keen to take recommendations because the dresses can look so different on a hanger. The girls each tried on a different dress and came out together to let me scrutinise them.  The first dress Fiona steped out it was absolutely gourgeous.  She looked so elegant!  I also loved Jenny's first dress,  a strapless number, which we'd pretty much decided against - but my eye was constantly drawn back to Fiona's.  As the girls came out again and again I kept comparing what I saw with the first 2 dresses, particulary Fiona's.  The combination of those two dresses was perfect.  The style of Fiona's was exactly the elegant shape I'd imagined for them, and Jenny's was the perfect colour.

Dream Weddings

I'd often walked past Dream Weddings before I was engaged and admired the dresses in the window and was looking forward to attending our appointment there.  They had a very different selection of dresses to the other two shops, which was great, and the girls tried on some beautiful dresses.  One in particular had the most beautiful lace detailing on the back, but unfortunately it wasn't as striking from the front and didn't come in a colour close enough to what I was looking for.  I think the lady in the shop was surprised at how quickly we worked through the dresses - but after all our research and the other appointments, we knew pretty quickly if a dress was a Yes, No or Maybe.

We took details of a couple of dresses and collapsed in a cafe to discuss what we'd seen.

The dresses we've selected are from Ti Amo. I think I can safely tell you that they are by Dessy  - they have hundreds of styles so our secret is safe ;)  Will you be surprised by the colour? Possibly. Possibly not! :) I love them and the girls will look as stunning as ever!!  I'm just excited now for the morning of the wedding and getting all dressed up together!!


Wednesday, January 01, 2014

135 Days: Happy New Year & An Apology!

I believe I'm officially the worst blogger ever! But... I have an excuse... honest!

Work has been very busy over the last 2 months.  Our parties started at the end of November and in the lead up to that, I was busy in the office. The week before we spent lots of long days setting up on site. Our first party was on the 22nd November and I've been working most nights in December, with a short (but lovely) break home for Christmas.

Arty Shot from bar area
Final set up in restaurant
Rare Night off - Jim & I got to enjoy a night at our Zulu Sundance Party
I love being busy and have had lots of fun with the team this year but when I got home late my brain barely functioned enough to brush my teeth let alone write anything semi-interesting for my blog.

Because I've been so busy, major wedding planning decisions have been put on hold 'til now, although we have done some little bits and pieces which I thought I'd write a short update about.

Hair - It took 10 months, once I'd moved to Leicester, for me to muster up the courage to try a hairdresser here.  The result ,unfortunately, was very far from what I'd hoped and since then I've flown back to Northern Ireland as I only trust Andrew/Sheena and Lizzy at Andrew Mulvenna's Hair Spa to cut and colour my hair.  I started getting my hair cut and coloured in Andrew Mulvenna's in 2007 and I think they have some of the best stylist and colourists around.  I have asked if Sheena will style my hair on our wedding day. I'm really excited to chat with her over next few weeks. I've been growing it as long as I can while trying to keep it in good condition.  I love this Charles Worthington Moisture Seal Intense Rescue Melting Balm (which is regularly on 3 for 2 in Boots! I definitely recommend checking it out if you have mid-long length hair).
Picture sourced from Boots Website
Make up - When I lived in Belfast I was fortunate enough to help backstage at some Style Academy fashion shows and see first-hand the work of some of Northern Ireland's top Make-up Artists.  I've decided not to attempt my own make up on our wedding day and after much research and a recommendation from the fabulous Sara O'Neill I have asked Ashley Morhej do my make-up, and make-up for my mum and bridesmaids. This is another appointment I'm looking forward to attending in January/February.  I know I want something soft and pretty, and I generally don't wear a lot of make up.  Hopefully Ashley can transform me into a swan for one day :).  As well as eating well and drinking lots of water I've been using this Michael Todd Pumpkin Face Mask every couple of weeks. I purchased this after watching Skincare: My Holy Grail Products, Routine and Haul video posted by Fleur de Force.  I love this mask. After using it my skin feels really nourished.
Picture sourced from Michael Todd Website
Bridesmaid Dresses - The hunt continues. I've got an idea of a colour I'd like but we're yet to find the perfect dresses. It's been so difficult being far away from the girls as I have to fly to N.Ireland if we want to go dress shopping, and little trips home haven't been possibly recently.  We have done lots of online research, imessaging each other the nicest dresses we've found and luckily we all have a similar idea on the dresses. We are off to Ti Amo in Limavady on Monday to try some dresses and hopefully we'll find something soon as some dresses take 6-8 weeks to be made!

Invitations - Randomly I got the idea for our invitation in a lift in the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. We are going to make the invites ourselves and thankfully our provisional design doesn't have too many fiddly bits.  Finding the perfect wording is next on our list but we're taking inspiration from some of our favourite books and songs.  Jim knows of a great screen printer who we're going to ask to print some bits and pieces and I'm exciting for the cutting and sticking! (I may be less enthusiastic by invite number 50!!)

Food - Food is Jim's favourite part of any day so we've spent a long time trying to come up with an ideal menu.  All the food on the day will be vegan and we're excited to show our friends and family just how varied and extremely tasty a vegan diet can be.  I will have a full post on our menu once we've finalised the little details, but we're having lots of fun testing recipes!

Running Order - As our wedding will be state and god free, we've got the opportunity to be really creative with the running order for the day.  One of our best friends has agreed to do some co-ordinating for us on the day introducing bits and pieces and we're hoping some of our extremely talented friends will lend of themselves that day to entertain the guests. We are working on a skeleton running order for the ceremony and event plan that I can hand  to all suppliers and the venue to make sure our day runs as we'd like.

Lots of these aspects of our wedding deserve their own post and I am looking forward to getting back to writing now the New Year is here! That will be my top New Years resolution - Don't neglect my Blog! :)

I hope you've had a wonderful festive season and I wish lots of love and laughter for 2014!!