#RealBrides: Jess & Stuart
I loved hearing from Jess from ‘A Brunette Edit’ for this #RealBrides blog post and I think you’re going to love soaking up her words of wisdom too. Here’s what she has to say…
Tell me a little bit about your wedding to set the scene.
Our wedding was always going to be a relaxed and informal (as informal as weddings can be!) affair – we are both that little bit older and have children and our marriage was a celebration of two families blending together with all our friends and family who had helped us through tricky times over the past few years.
We knew we didn’t want a church wedding and in my head I imagined somewhere full of fairy lights and flowers – Wellington Barn provided the perfect setting and as soon as we visited it we knew it was the venue for us – set amongst beautiful fields and out in the country, we fell in love with it instantly!
Our brief was ‘a celebration with all our loved ones for the start of the rest of our lives’. We had two requirements – for people to have fun and to go away saying how good the food was! I think we pulled both off…..
On a scale of 1 to 10, how stressed out were you during the lead-up to your wedding?
I’m going to have to caveat this question by saying that my, now, husband is one of the most organised people I have ever met and could have wiped the floor with ‘Don’t tell the Bride…..’ – I, on the other hand, was not first in line when organisational skills were handed out……! Therefore, my stress levels were definitely considerably lower than they would have been had he not been so good at the whole wedding planning business!
He produced the most complicated looking wedding spreadsheet (which I think he secretly enjoyed filling in) and kept us on track budget and planning wise. Obviously, there were jobs he couldn’t be involved with, my dress etc but generally we planned everything together and had all the main details sorted about a year in advance. I did however add to the stress by deciding at the last minute (i.e a week before…) I wanted to do confetti pouches for all the guests and spent many frantic hours messaging suppliers (top tip – don’t leave jobs like this to the last minute!)
If I had to gauge my stress levels in the run up I’d say a 6 (with 1 being the most chilled out bride ever). My main areas of worry were what I think most brides worry about, will the dress look ok, will anyone turn up (!) and will everyone have a good time! I honestly don’t think I had any bridezilla moments!
Did you have any strategies for looking after your wellbeing and mindset whilst planning your wedding?
It’s no secret that beauty is my passion and therefore I scheduled in some treatments in the months leading up the wedding as a way of zoning out and looking after myself – I genuinely believe that self-care and time for you is vital at any point in your life but especially if there are large life events happening. It wasn’t until I lay down on the beauty therapist’s bed that I realised how much tension and (low level) stress I had been holding.
Those planned hours out in the day made such a difference and I left feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle the to-do list again! My top tip would be find a beauty therapist you click with and plan a couple of treatments. Also, delegate – my bridesmaids, although not that local, were great at taking on jobs so a couple of weeks before hand I delegated things like a wedding morning playlist and snacks for the morning to one of them. Also keep reminding yourself that although this is a super important day, it is just one day in the rest of your lives and actually everything that follows your wedding day is what really matters!
Is there anything you regret spending your time and energy worrying about in the lead up to your wedding?
I definitely fell into the trap of putting pressure on myself to feel ‘wedding ready’ body wise and at the start of the year set myself, what in hindsight, were unachievable goals in terms of exercise, which I then felt guilty about not sticking to in the couple of months before the wedding. There’s definitely a culture of weight loss and body pressure for brides, and whilst I don’t think anyone should ever be criticised for wanting to feel the best version of themselves for what is arguably the biggest day of their lives, you should also be able to feel confident getting married ‘as you’. Also remember, Spanx were invented for a reason…
I also spent a lot of time worrying about whether our guests would enjoy the day – I definitely fell into the category of a ‘worrier’ so this was a big one for me and I was worried we didn’t have enough ‘entertainment’ throughout the day. I was constantly being spammed by adverts for ‘singing waiters’, ‘magicians’, etc and wondered whether this was necessary for a wedding to be ‘fun’. However, I can honestly say that none of this was necessary and I have never seen a room full of so much smiling and laughing just through genuine human interactions. No singing waiter necessary! (Although if you can get a few dad dancers on the floor as the evening goes on the entertainment value will sky rocket…..!)
What advice would you give your engaged self?
One practical tip would be research your suppliers thoroughly before booking. I booked in someone to do my hair very early on because of the pressure of needing to get these things sorted and then decided several months down the line the style of her hair designs wasn’t quite for me and rebooked with someone else – obviously losing my deposit.
And it’s a definite cliché but don’t sweat the small stuff… Our wedding wasn’t a Pinterest perfect magazine type wedding, the bridesmaids all wore their own choice of shoes which didn’t match, there wasn’t a fancy car, the colour scheme throughout the day was a bit hit and miss, (planning a mini egg themed wedding is tricky don’t you know!) we forgot to do a ‘staged’ confetti run because everyone was having too much fun , the venue wasn’t full of fancy Jo Malone candles (go with Aldi’s dupes – no one will notice!) and the first dance would definitely have got a 1 from Craig Revel Horwood – but you know what, the day was absolutely perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing!
And if you’ve just got married and want to tell your wedding planning story get in touch!
Photography Credit: Matt Gutteridge