Why you shouldn’t bother with national wedding fairs

Since becoming engaged I have been absolutely bombarded with wedding spam. I’ve had friends and family throwing recommendations at me (this isn’t a bad thing – it’s been super helpful) and even all of my Facebook adverts are in reference to “vintage weddings” – although I’ve never specified that is something I’d like. But clearly I’m a target for big money.

One thing I struggled with early on is finding local businesses. You can have all the adverts and glossy features you want in the wedding magazines, but if you’re a bride-to-be living outside of London, quite frankly, these magazines would be better used to start a bonfire.

So, off to the local wedding fairs we went. I think I visited 2 or 3 local ones with my sister (Maid of Honour) and another 2 with Joe, and I can’t stress how helpful they were. We actually found our suit hire company at a local fair, and at another we found almost all of our ideas for table and venue decorations.
However, we intended these to be “warm ups” for a big national wedding show. Originally we wanted to visit London in the spring for some fairs, but this was when we were planning a 2014 wedding. Now that it’s in only 5 months (!!!) we decided to go to the Manchester Wedding Show on my birthday instead, hoping to have a nice morning out of the house and make our final bookings.

But, it was utterly awful.

We are fairly organised. At the point of the fair, we were 6 months away from the big day, and knew exactly what we were after: DJs, centerpieces and bridesmaid dresses. The day was a failure for a number of reasons.

  • They had 1 person there who did DJ’ing on the side, no bridesmaid dresses at all, and the decorations there were all by one sole supplier (we had already enquired with this venue dresser previously who quoted us just over £4000 to decorate our venue. Pardon me, but I didn’t pay that much for my car.)
  • Nearly all of the exhibitors were venues, photographers or wedding dresses, all of which we already had arranged.
  • This show was no bigger than any local fair and I felt that it was completely and utterly mis-marketed.
  • They charged us £9 for the privilege. That’s right. 18 quid it cost us to be let down. Not including the £7 parking.

Here is Joe looking relatively unimpressed with his ‘Groom’ badge…
I thought that perhaps I was just too far gone in the planning process to go to these fairs, but today my sister took me to another local one at a venue which she used to work at, in the hope of seeing some old friends and perhaps even getting some finishing touches arranged. It was fantastic. There was free champagne, wine and food, and it looks like we found a DJ as well as our centerpieces.

Karen x

Stop watching me do the dishes please.

Not all that long ago, it was easy peasy for passers by to see into our kitchen. I say kitchen very loosely of course. Nonetheless, with our driveway built and cleared of the jungle that previously resided there, it was time to get some privacy.

You can see from this picture of Joe and his dad laying the concrete driveway, that anyone from the main road could see straight down to the end of the garden, and if they really wanted, could see me doing the dishes at the kitchen window.
But now, we have a lovely new fence…..and about a trillion leaves. Cheers Autumn!

We were tempted to paint it bright blue just like the front fence but weren’t brave enough.
For anyone interested in the actual colour, here is Joe modelling the paint: Cuprinol in Forest Oak.

Looks good no?
Karen x

It’s the little things that make a house a home

The wedding has taken up most of our time and money these past few months and apart from a few outdoor projects that Joe has done, preparing the house for the winter, we’ve done next to nothing in terms of renovation or decorating.

However, just because you’re on hiatus, doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to tart up the place a little.

Here are my three favourite recent additions to the house that have put a big smile on my face.

1. LOL
I saw this in a cute little shop in Birmingham ages ago when visiting my mum, and haven’t been able to find it since. I know that these have become really stylish, usually with words such as “home” or “dreams” – quite frankly, i don’t like these. I can’t pinpoint why. I think it’s because they’re just a bit too vague and I would like our house to have a sense of humour and for it to be a bit unique. My mum and sister found it a few weeks ago, and surprised me with it.

2. New York

I am completely and utterly contradicting my last point now with this poster. I’m sure every man and his dog has some sort of New York artwork in their posh urban flats. Well, Joe and I found this in Spring and it was the yellow that stood out in it for us. We decided then and there that whenever we get around to decorating the hallway (after the wedding, after the kitchen) this will go up in the entrance hall. For the time being though, it was going to waste in storage, and Joe decided it should go in the second bedroom for the time being and it makes me smile every day.

(Pardon the mucky walls, they need re-plastering…one day)

3. Welcome
There’s nothing quite like smiling at a welcome mat, and then taking a picture of it to make you feel middle-aged. Well, i don’t care. This is another gem that Joe just picked up and added to the house whilst I was at work. It really is the little things that turn a house into a home. The leaves have been swept up since this picture was taken. Promise….

Karen x

6 months to go

It’s coming around quicker than I thought it would but we’re now counting down the final 6 months to the wedding. Eek!

The last wedding update I did was at 8 months to go. Here is what we have done since then:

Weddings rings
We bought the wedding rings in August. Mine only took a week to come in, but as my finger size isn’t available in stores, it had to be shipped off to be re-sized. That said, it all went rather smoothly. Joe’s, however, hadn’t arrived after a month so he enquired and was told they’d made an error and it needed re-ordering. When it finally arrived, Ernest Jones gave us 10% off our entire order for the inconvenience as well as a bottle of bubbly to say sorry. Winner!
P.S The size difference between our rings is hilarious. I’ll show you once we’re married…

All of the day invites have been sent and we’re starting to get most of the RSVP’s back. The evening invites have been written and will be going out next week. I’m loving that so many of our guests are going to be staying in the hotel with us! As I have quite a big family, it’s not often we’re able to get together, so I’m super excited and mega grateful for everyone really getting involved.
By the way, for those that have asked, I did make the invites myself. I will be doing a post on this at a later date but i want to wait until after the wedding so I’m not broadcasting the details to the whole world. Not that I have stalkers or anything…That’d be weird.

Joe’s room
Although we’re not generally a traditional bunch, we did decide that Joe would stay in a different hotel the night before the wedding. This is booked and he’ll be sharing a room with his best man, just like I’ll be sharing my room with Amy, my sister, best friend and Maid of Honour 🙂

Chair covers
Booked and paid for. Easily the most boring task of the wedding so far.

Photographer picked
Really chuffed with our choice of photographer and relieved we’ve got this booking done and dusted. More on this later…

We’ve picked our cake, and done some tasting (it was in the name of the wedding. I in no way just wanted to binge….) and we’re just waiting on some final details before booking next week. BOOM!

Fitness regime
I couldn’t put it off any longer. I’ve started with a personal trainer to get my butt into gear. My dress fitting is going to be either just before or just after Christmas, and with all the ‘cupcake tasting’ I’ve been doing, I definitely need some help.

Groomsmen’s suits
These are booked and paid for! I’m going to do a post on this separately, but needless to say, it was an awesome day and another huge task polished off.

Phew! That sounds like a lot doesn’t it? It still feels like we have plenty to get stuck into though. I have a week off work now to finalise the last big bookings we need to make and I’m hoping most of the planning is done before Christmas meaning that the New Year will be left free for fittings, alterations, fitness, and hen and stag weekends 🙂

Until the next update…

Karen x

Building a home for our cars

Over the past month or so, Joe and his dad have been concreting the driveway. When we moved in, it was mostly overgrown bushes and a small broken fence that introduced a concrete footpath to the front door.

Well, we (read: Joe) have ripped out all the bushes, turned over all the soil, and prepared the area to become a driveway. We have 2 cars so it always made sense that this would become a home for them. Not to mention that when I park on the road, the birds in the huge tree above the house leave me daily presents – open your bowels elsewhere will you!?

With Winter fast approaching, and not wanting to park on muddy soil, Joe and his dad have worked long and hard to get the driveway concreted. They first dug down into the soil to make way for materials – It later emerged that this was too deep, but you live and learn!
They added foundations for the concrete (I think Joe actually used some old golf clubs in there somewhere to reinforce the concrete. Very creative dear!)

Gravel was then added for drainage. This was the original plan for the driveway, but because of the huge tree, it would be near impossible to sweep up Autumn leaves without making a jolly good mess. So, it’s sloped concrete instead. All around the back garden is now about a foot high with soil thanks to the digging down. It’s like we’ve got loads of mini ramps around the side!

Here are the boys evening out the final batch of concrete.

The gates that were given to us (for free woohoo!) have now been added and all the fences are now blue. Here’s a panoramic shot of the front garden! Starting to look better isn’t it?
…And we also put our hand print in the final lot of concrete with the date, just for giggles.

I didn’t get to take as many sneaky pictures for this project because Joe and his dad did so much before I would get home from work!
It took a lot of patience and time, because every time they wanted to lay some concrete, the skies would open and just heave it down – typical British ‘summer!’ The tree offered some protection and they eventually got it done. They’ve really done a great job.

Karen x

Wishlist Wednesday: A lime green wedding

Our invites have started going out now so there’s no disguising that our colour scheme for the wedding is lime green, black and white.

It took us ages to decide on a colour scheme (what a surprise, we were indecisive about something!) but now that we’ve picked, I can’t stop looking at pretty lime green wedding pictures online.

(Most of them I found on Pinterest. Seriously, how were weddings ever planned before this site?)

I thought I’d share a collection of my favourite images with you that have given me inspiration!

My wish for this week is to have them all!

Over the next few months, I’ll have to carefully select where to use the colours on the big day because if i get too carried away it will look like we’re getting married in a swamp. A very pretty swamp.

Karen x

Wishlist Wednesday – Blackout!

If you know me or have been paying attention to my blog posts, you might know that i have a thing for black furniture…

I don’t know what it is. I don’t particularly like mega dark rooms but there’s something about it I’m always drawn to. I saw this display in Selfridges earlier this week. They had a white version too, but I just found myself staring at the blackout one. I think if I was given free reign decorating the house, our home would look just like this.

Perhaps one day I should treat myself to a dungeon. Joe has his man shed after all! A girl can dream! 🙂
Karen x

Re-using tester pots to make wedding decorations

If you have spent a lot of time decorating your home, like me you will probably have accumulated a large number of paint tester pots. I hate waste and have been looking for a good way to use them up for a while.

Luckily our wedding colour is green, and as our bedroom is also green, I thought I could find something wedding-related to use it for.

I’ve noticed in the magazines and on plenty of blogs, it’s becoming popular to have some sort of Mr & Mrs ornament, or the initials of the bride and groom. Joe’s sister took us to a place in Leeds called Country Baskets a few weeks ago to pick up a few bits and bobs for the big day and I found these cardboard letters – They were about 70p each.
 (I know this kind of thing is popular in children’s bedrooms in the past few years and the baby shops charge almost £10 a letter, so I think the fact that ours are cardboard and less than a quid each was a bargain!)

So, I got some newspaper out, a paintbrush and the tester pots and got painting. I think they’ll look lovely next to our post box, and after the wedding I can put them in a frame and mount it on the wall since it’s the right colour scheme!

We used Dulux’s Melon Sorbet for our initials and Dulux’s Chic Shadow for the ampersand.

Any other ideas of what to do with tester pots?

Karen x

Blogiversary, housiversary and anniversary

So last Friday marked mine and Joe’s ‘official’ 6 year anniversary. Exciting times!

It also marked a year of living in our lovely house and as a result, a year of this blog!

I started writing on here when we moved into the house so that when we finish renovating and decorating, we can look back and have a great scrapbook of our progress. And, only a year in, we are already able to do that. The other day I was looking through my posts tagged with Bathroom and I can’t believe how awesome it looks now compared to when we bought the house.

Along the way, I’ve followed some new sites, and been introduced to other bloggers also on a DIY journey. Not only has it been interesting, but it’s been an eye opener for ideas, and helpful sources.

And it looks like some are enjoying mine just as much as I’m enjoying their – I’ve certainly had more views than I expected! I’m really glad others are enjoying this process with us and it’s lovely that our family gets to see our improvements even if they’re dotted all over the country.

As for mine and Joe’s anniversary, well, six years went by very quickly.

We kept it very low key with a Chinese takeaway and a TV marathon. It’s pretty much our favourite way to wind down and mostly due to wedding budget, we wanted to keep it cheap and cheerful.

I’ll be sad to leave behind our August anniversary though. We’ve had some great mini adventures on that date but, our April wedding anniversary in the future will definitely be something worth giving it up for.

Here’s to the next year of blogging and the next six years with Joey.

We looked so young back then!

Karen x

Wishlist Wednesday – Super shelving

This week I stumbled across a blog post on Red Hen Home on how to make an entrance in your hallway, and I love the way they’ve done it.

The blogger has re-used old suitcases as shelving. I think it looks so interesting!
Something we don’t have any of at the moment is shelving.

We have a bookcase in the lounge which is used for the enormous amount of DVDs and Blu-Rays we’ve accumulated, but I think we could do with getting one or two up in our bedroom – one of the only rooms in the house that has painted walls, ready for decoration! Then we can unpack more boxes hooray! That’s right, we’ve been in the house for a year and still haven’t unpacked. Oops! 🙂

Let’s see if i can come up with anything half as creative as this.

Karen x