#RealBrides: Lessons Learned from a Long Engagement
This time in the #RealBrides blog series Hayley is telling us all about her long engagement and how she remained a calm and relaxed bride (until lawn game gate that is – read on to find out about that!)
Tell me a little bit about your wedding to set the scene.
Our wedding was on 7th July 2018 at Tudor Barn in Eltham which has beautiful flower gardens. One of the reasons for choosing this area was because I grew up in Eltham. I spent the majority of my weekends and holidays running around the gardens there with friends. We wanted somewhere where people could enjoy not only the party but the beautiful outside grounds as we were blessed with a hot summer this year!
We choose the 7th as a date as we met on 7th Dec 2015 so the 7th was our special number. Our wedding had a royal blue colour theme as Peter supports Millwall. He grew up going to many games with his grandad who unfortunately has now passed away so we wanted something to remind us of him on the day.
We also have a love for Monkeys and Penguins (odd I know) so there was snippets of that theme around on the day. It was quite a big wedding and we had 105 people in the day time and 140 in the evening.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how stressed out were you during the lead-up to your wedding?
I was really chilled out during the lead up to the wedding. I had a calm mindset towards everything that needed organising. As an example, I had six bridesmaids of different ages, sizes and styles. My words were “have whatever style dress you like, so long as it is royal blue.”
The younger bridesmaids had white flower girl dresses and we let the four older ones loose in a dress shop to choose whatever they liked. They all chose very different styles but amazingly all ended up with the same dress. I know that if I’d planned for them all to have the same it wouldn’t of happened that way, so for less stress it ended up the perfect scenario.
We had 18 months to plan so I think that helped as we could do a few things each month rather than having to cram a lot into a short timeframe.
Did you have any strategies for looking after your wellbeing and mindset whilst planning your wedding?
Having a list was key for me. Communication between me and Peter was also really important so we had a forward plan of what needed doing and when.
If something started to feel stressful we would just talk about what the problem was and then simplify it. Also, delegating to various family and friends helped. My mother in law made all our favours and instead of worrying, I left her to it. I saw the first one and was happy with it so I left her do what she needed to do.
One lesson is that you can’t do it all, especially for quite a big wedding!
Is there anything you regret spending your time and energy worrying about in the lead up to your wedding?
LAWN GAMES! We had about 30-40 children and I wanted them to be happy on the day and so I’d bought lots of lawn games. The night before when dropping off all the wedding bits I realised they were still in our loft! This was probably the only time I stressed and Peter went to get them out and dropped them off at the venue at 9 o’clock that night. After all that, it turned out that the venue forgot to put them out on the day. Needless to say all the kids still had an amazing time.
Other than that slight hiccup, there were no regrets.
What advice would you give your engaged self?
On the day it really was just about the two of us becoming man and wife and all the little things such as menus, favours and the dreaded lawn games really didn’t matter. Everyone said it was such a fantastic day!
For anyone else planning to have a long engagement, I would recommend having a strict budget. Having the luxury of extra time meant that things were less stressful but it also meant we kept adding things as we had the extra time! Other than that, come the day itself, RELAX. An amazing day, I’ll truly never forget.
Photography by Michelle Walsh Photography.