Confessions of a bride-to-be: What you want is probably not what you’ll like

Hello everyone!

Wow, it’s been quite a while since my last post. I suppose I haven’t really done much wedmin recently. I know there are a few bits I need to organise – a marquee….ermmm, is that it?! That’s exciting if it is the only thing left to organise! I’m am slightly nervous about our singer for the celebration. She doesn’t want us to pay a deposit – which I’m guessing is more to cover her back so if she gets a better offer she can pull out. I probably should find someone else instead but I don’t want to! I really like her music and she was pretty reasonably priced. Again, this could work against us though as she would definitely sack us off if she got a bigger gig (and more money!) elsewhere.

Anyway! I’m going off on a tangent again like usual! Last month I did do just one thing weddingy – I went to try on wedding dresses in a proper wedding dress shop!

Confession #11: What you want is probably not what you’ll like

I had been told this sooooo many times and, as anyone who knows me can vouch for, I am very stubborn. If I set my mind on something then it has to be done exactly how I picture it in my head and if it doesn’t then, oh dear. I remember the first time I cooked for Craig’s parents. I was really panicking about it and had decided, instead of simply buying some garlic bread to have with our spag bol, I was going to cook it from scratch. I’d found a recipe for a cheese stuffed focaccia, as Craig’s Dad doesn’t really like garlic. I made the dough, kneaded it, waited for it to prove, stuffed it with cheese, waited for it to prove again and, finally, popped it in the oven. When it came out of the oven, the bread had swollen. Instead of it being flat and looking just how it had on the pictures online, it resembled a balloon and I was devastated. Craig said it looked amazing and really yum but, no, for me it wasn’t good enough. I got so angry that I chucked it on the floor, the cheese spurted out and in my frustration I accidentally walked through a splodge of cheese, had to furiously hop all the way through the kitchen, front room, hallway and out into my car, straight to Morrison’s to buy some cheesy bread - all without saying a word and Craig trying not to laugh!

Anyway, I was adamant about the style of dress I wanted. I had pictured a spaghetti strap dress with a tight upper half and floaty bottom half. I had already ordered several from online and hadn’t liked them. I didn’t like the shape I looked in them. I am bigger on my bottom half and because of the pouffe from the floaty bottom halves of these dresses, in my eyes, it just accentuated that. It was Terri, my brother’s girlfriend, who suggested I go to a wedding shop to just try lots of different styles on. It didn’t mean I had to buy one from there but at least there would be a huge selection that I could try on, and try things outside of my comfort zone, without having to spend money on them and spend time sending things back! I should also say that by this point, I had actually already ordered one online and had kept it. It wasn’t too expensive and I liked it on. I thought I’d keep it and if something else popped up then I could always sell it and it wouldn’t be the end of the world; and if something else didn’t pop up, then at least I had a dress to fall back on. I can’t say I was 100% sold on it but it was pretty and I felt it suited the occasion of our wedding day. I agreed with Terri and thought going to a shop was a really good idea.

wedding dress.jpeg

Anyway, I booked an appointment and invited mine and Craig’s Mums and Terri, to come to the shop with me. Upon arrival, the lady in the shop, who didn’t introduce herself at all, or ask me my name, asked me to pick out three dresses to try on. She then shoved me in a changing room and told me to undress. The night before this appointment, I had been very tearful. I was not looking forward to it at all. The whole wedding is planned around my need to not be the centre of attention and I knew that this experience was going to consist of lots of eyes on me and my body being on show. I was bloody nervous and didn’t want to do it. So at this point, I had been shoved in a changing room, told to undress to my underwear and just stand and wait for a lady to appear to dress me. The longer I stood and waited, the more and more anxious I became. It ended up in me bursting into tears and not being able to get control of myself back. She came into the dressing room, saw me in this state and left again to get some tissues. She then pulled me into the first dress which was two sizes smaller than I am. I know this is normal protocol but, my gosh, it makes you feel like shit! When I was already super nervous of coming out of the changing room, having to stand on a block with mirrors covering the three walls around me, with my guests sitting on chairs lined up in front of the block to stare at me and to analyse how I looked; having to come out in a dress where my bum wasn’t in it and the zip was undone all the way down the back, did nothing to help the emotional state I was already in. I did it though. I stood there and I held back a fresh batch of tears. I got straight back into the changing room and cried again.


Our_Wedding-2.jpg

The shop assistant asked me what the matter was. I told her that I don’t really like myself and my body shape. I told her that I just wanted to go to Vegas and get married by Elvis. That I didn’t want to walk down an aisle with everyone looking at me. She thrust another tissue my way and pulled me out of the dress so I was left standing in my underwear again. She brought in another of my choices and asked me what other shops I had been to. At this point I told her that this was my first fitting and she sort of paused and realised that perhaps she had approached this in the wrong way. Anyway, she pulled me into the dress and sent me back out to the dreaded block. Our Mum’s and Terri were absolutely gorgeous and told me I looked wonderful, but dress after dress, I couldn’t feel it. Each time I got back into the changing room, the lady would laugh at my wide hips and big bum and the struggle we were having every time to pull them into the dresses. I felt worse and worse. Eventually, I tried on a dress and, actually, I quite liked it. I went out in it and Terri got tearful. I could see my mum and Craig’s mum liked it too. I didn’t like the detail on it – it was too fussy for me – but I did like the style and how it shaped my body. Using this dress as a compass, we found two more, which were a little less fussy, but a similar shape. I liked both of them on.

By this point I was exhausted. I asked her for the price of these two dress. This was the point she asked me what my budget was. I told her and she laughed. The two dresses I had tried on were £1300 and £1500. I could also see the look on my mum’s face. I don’t think she had quite realised how much wedding dresses were and I think she quickly understood why I was looking online at ASOS instead! I got dressed and we headed back to the car. When we got home, Mum got me some Spanx out and I tried on the dress I had already ordered and kept. It looked so much nicer than the ones we had tried on in the shop. The train was shorter, it was less of a big deal and it was so much more me. The dress fitted absolutely perfectly – perhaps just slightly a little large when wearing the Spanx! We decided to order the size down. It arrived a few days later and fit! It is a little tight at the moment but I could wear it as it is if I didn’t lose weight either.  This dress cost me £225. I will only be wearing it for a maximum of 3 hours so I feel like this amount is the limit I could justify on spending on a dress. I feel just as nice in this one as I did in the £1500 one. And this one isn’t spaghetti straps with a floaty bottom. It is different altogether but it suits me so much more.

Sorry for the rawness of this post. I absolutely hated my dress fitting experience but I don’t think that was helped by the member of staff who helped us. One of my closest friends went a few days after me, to a totally different shop (she lives down in Bournemouth), and said she absolutely loved the experience and that she had found her dress straight away – it was the first one she tried on! Another friend had been a few days before and she felt a bit like me, that it felt horrible to be paraded out to everyone in a dress that didn’t fit and all of your friends still being absolute sweethearts and saying you look stunning, while feel like a complete idiot! But she too found her dress.

I’d be so intrigued to hear other people’s stories. Did I just have a really horrible experience because the member of staff was a bit too brutal for me? I so wish I could redo it all and go somewhere a little bit more friendly next time! Or maybe it was just because of my insecurities and I’d be the same wherever I went? I will never know!

Sending love to you all,

Emma

Confessions of a Bride-to-be: It would appear that I'm a control freak

Confessions of a Bride-to-be: It would appear that I'm a control freak

This month, I thought I’d give an insight into the pros and cons of having the venue as your garden, a field near your house etc.. A lot of people have said to me that they think that is something they would like to do. It seems to be a way people are going nowadays, with venues asking for extortionate amounts of money to hire them for the day.

Confessions of a Bride-To-Be: The family think we’re “unique”!

Confessions of a Bride-To-Be: The family think we’re “unique”!

Some days it is sheer panic at the amount that we need to do and other days it is absolute excitement for all that is to come and the final result of all of our hard work. I think this emotional rollercoaster is a constant in everyone’s lives though, so that gives me comfort. This month, I thought I’d write about how our friends and family feel about our wedding.

Confession #9: Can it be over now?

 Confession #9: Can it be over now?

Confession #9: Can it be over now? I can’t wait for the day when there is no building work or decorating to think about. I can’t wait for when there are no assignments to worry about. I can’t wait to not have to worry about the weather on the wedding day or that the musician won’t turn up or that the fish and chip van won’t fit up the drive! I honestly don’t know what I’ll do with myself after July 2019 – just lots of sitting still, please!…

Confessions Of A Bride-To-Be: I am a loner

Welcome back!

December, I love you! We are not having a Christmas tree this year as there isn’t really anywhere to put it and because I sort of want it to be really special when we put our Christmas tree up next year, in our new extended house (which is due to start work next month!!). I am, however, still in full Christmas mode and intend to spend many weekends baking Christmas treats, making homemade gifts and at Christmas fairs. We went to Edinburgh Christmas market earlier this week and it was beautiful!

 
unnamed.jpg
 

 

This month I wanted to talk about stag and hen-do’s.

Confession #5: I am a loner

And I don’t want a hen-do. No surprises by now, hey?! You probably have quite a good idea of what I’m like by now and the whole thing just seems too much fuss for little ol’ me.

Craig would like a stag do and I think he wants to go abroad for it. The last idea he had was Salut and having an activity holiday with his mates and the males in our families. It sounds like it would be really fun actually! I think when our wedding was going to be in August 2018, the World Cup was going to be on and so they would have been able to watch some of those matches too (have a listened to him correctly on that one?!). I think the most recent idea was Oktoberfest but I’m not too sure! He would like a stag do and that’s great.

However, a typical hen-do with a drunken night out to make the most of your last days being single, doesn’t appeal to me at all. I don’t think it appeals to most people I’ve spoken to actually! People have said that I could hire a cottage and we could go and spend a weekend somewhere but then my Dad, brother and Craig wouldn’t be there and I don’t like the thought of that! Or they’ve suggested a spa weekend. I don’t want to spend all day feeling self-conscious in my cozy, and I definitely don’t want people to spend that much money on me – I’d feel so terrible! An afternoon tea or a meal out is another idea that people have offered in their attempts at trying to make me do something. All ideas seem to begin “I know you don’t want a hen-do but…”.  I think people are worried I am going to regret not having one. They are so so sweet for trying to plan things for me, and think of ideas, but I think those people don’t really know me. They don’t know my quirks and my desire to hide away from the limelight. That even sitting at a table surrounded by 10 people, to know that they were all there for me, would be a struggle. The tears I would have in panic beforehand. Even attending something like that for someone else would be difficult for me. I have the people in my life who are my safety nets and only with them can I relax and feel OK. I realise that to some I will sound like a completely ungrateful b***h and I don’t mean to come across that way at all. It is so lovely of people to think of me and it means a lot that they do. It’s so difficult because I can’t really explain what I feel within myself in those situations – it’s like how I explained not wanting a traditional wedding ceremony. I just feel uncomfortable.

But, there’s another issue too. If I’m totally honest...I don’t have many friends to invite.

We lived abroad growing up, we left England when I was in Year 4 and I came back to England in Year 10 so I didn’t have a real base of friends to begin with. I was at one school for my GCSEs (two years), a different school for Sixth Form (for a further two years) and then went off to University in Plymouth. I have remained close friends with really only one person from my GCSE years and she now lives in London. I still meet up with another two lovelies here and there. At my Sixth Form I was a “floater” and had a few different groups of friends and kind of bounced around them. I see a few of them very rarely. My best friend there found her future husband at Sixth Form and, since then, we have had less and less contact with each other as time has passed. At University, I made close friends but, as the years have gone by, we have drifted. I still speak to one who is now living in Australia and another who lives in Bournemouth…I live in Suffolk. Of course, there are friends I meet up with occasionally and we chat about life and have a catch up, and I cherish those friendships too (especially the ones that involve children and dogs!!).

It does make me sad to think about the friends I have lost. One in particular from University. I picked up a card in Waterstones just last week and walked it to the till with some books I was going to buy. I told Craig of my intentions with it. I was going to write to her, ask her to meet up and talk everything through and ask her to come to the wedding as I know she would be so happy for me. I cried to Craig as I said it, as I missed her so much, but he reminded me that I had made every effort already and that I kept getting myself upset about it and that maybe it was time to move on. I suppose he was right.

I went through a period a few years ago where I was very unhappy. Her being my best friend, I would write her a message to explain how I was feeling and would receive a message to say she was busy and would reply as soon as she could….to only get no reply back. I felt more and more alone each time. I knew she wanted to be my friend and I knew she cared about me but I couldn’t face feeling rejected at that point in my life. In the end, I sent a final message – on the day I was signed off work due to anxiety and depression – to say I was done. It still feels like a very raw breakup! I know she is an absolutely gorgeous human being and leaves a little bit of herself with everyone she meet. She is a whirlwind and embraces everything. Her interests are as wide as Disney to graphic novels and spending weekends at ComicCon, from High School Musical soundtracks to Bon Jovi, from finding the most gorgeous pair of high heels, to running marathons and spending weekends diving. I am a different person because of her. But, just as I haven’t been the friend I could have been to people, she just couldn’t be there for me in my hour of need.

 
priscilla-du-preez-234138-2.jpg
 

I have learnt lessons from it. I try to make sure that if I know someone is having a hard time, even if it is someone I don’t particularly know, then I try to do all I can to let them know I am there and let them know I care. I will send a text to people just to ask how they are or to send them positive vibes for the week ahead. I like that about myself (Yes! Acknowledge the things you like about yourself and don’t feel l like people are going to glare at you for feeling proud about yourself! You should!) so, in a way, it is my final parting gift from that friendship.

I think when you get to this stage in your life, your late twenties, you have used those previous 10 years figuring out who you are. I am a vastly different person now to who I was when I was 18. I didn’t know who I was at 18. I was reckless and didn’t have my best interests at heart. The friends I made at that age have also been on their own journey these past 10 years and we’ve ended up becoming completely different people with different ideals, values, interests and personalities. Now, at 28, when we get together for a meal or meet up for coffee, those differences are highlighted and realised.

Those friends I do have are true friends. My friend in London is the most kind-hearted, beautiful lady in the world. She will listen and not judge and the information will go no further. She is caring, honest and so very funny. We talk about anything and everything and are not embarrassed to say quite frankly that I don’t understand a single thing about *blank* as, more often than not, the other one of us has no idea either. She is quirky, definitely one of a kind and I am so so lucky to have her in my life.

My friend in Bournemouth is the tough love. The one who will tell you when you are being an idiot. She will fight for you more than you will fight for yourself. She has your best interests at heart and wants you to only have the good things in your life. She will send a card for any occasion – I got a “Congratulations! You have a boyfriend!” card when I first started seeing Craig (I hid it in my drawer in pure fear that Craig was going to find it!). It made me laugh so much and made me love her even more. I haven’t seen her in so long but I know the next time we do, it will be exactly like those days when we lived together and spent hour upon hour with each other – we grow with each other and, when we do meet, it feels like home – like everything is just as it should be.

I definitely know that I look on Facebook and see so many photos and days out of “Me and my girls,” holding glasses of prosecco [cup of tea, please] or lounging on beaches [cuddled on the sofa] or all dressed up and ready for a night out [pyjamas all the way!]. I get a fear that I am the only person in the world who doesn’t have a Taylor Swift style squad of girlfriends behind me. In reality though, I know that that can’t be true. That it’s totally normal to only have a couple of best friends. That my boyfriend, my mum and dad, my brother and his girlfriend, are the people in my life that I consider to be my best friends (and Austin (our dog), who, let’s face it, tops the list!). They are my squad. Oh how I wish I could get a Taylor Swift style picture of us all in bikinis in the sea!

So yes, even though I have gone a very long way about it, I don’t want a typical hen-do. The only thing I could ever envision doing is going on a weekend away with my “squad” and using it to celebrate the fact that me and my best bud are getting married and going to spend our lives together. With Craig there, my brother there, my dad there and my gorgeous little boy (dog!) there. A happy little retreat with my safety net.

See you in the new year!

Emma

Confessions Of A Bride-To-Be: Body Goals

Hello again,

How is it already November 1st?! I hope you are all enjoying your pumpkin spiced lattes, roll neck jumpers and hot water bottles. I love this time of year so much. My favourite night of the year – bonfire night- is so close!!

The lead up to Christmas is so exciting and the perfect temperature for snuggles under a blanket on the sofa, or wrapping up warm and going to get fish and chips by the beach in the darkening evenings. I have eyed up the most perfect roll neck jumper from M&S. I tried it on last week and it was so snug but felt like it was just a tad too Grandma like! I regret not buying it though – definitely going back. I have also had a little snoop at the winter wear in Topshop and treated myself to this skirt. We’re going to Edinburgh later this month – how perfect will it be with my camel mac, chunky heeled boots and a long sleeve black top tucked in - cannot wait. Anyway, this is not what I am supposed to be writing about but I got carried away again. 

Confessions_of_a_bride_to_be.jpg

This month I have made one step forward with the wedding…kind of…but before I get into that, I need to share something in case you bump into me on the street and notice something strange…

The ring broke.

I am trying to not take this as a bad omen but when you have just told your family and friends that you’ve cancelled the wedding and then show up without your engagement ring on, lips start moving! Even worse – the lady in the jewellery shop is trying to blame it on me that it broke. I admit I am a bit of a bull in a china shop, extremely accident prone, break everything I touch, and have always wished to be more graceful, but I did not break the ring! It is currently getting fixed and I really hope I have it back soon – I miss its sparkliness so much!

Let’s get back to the matter at hand now...

Confession #4: If I don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model by the time of our wedding, I will be distraught.

True life. The brides in all the magazines and on all the websites just look so stunning and gorgeous. All the brides that flash up on my Facebook and all the weddings I’ve been to – the brides have been beautiful. I know I am going to put a dress on and just look normal. Normal is fine for any other day – I rarely put make up on or do my hair and so quite frequently look sub-normal - but I just want, on this one day, to feel confident and proud. Craig and I have taken our first step towards this, we’ve joined the gym.

We have been going steadily, 3-4 times a week, for about a month now. Have I lost weight? No. Have I gained weight? Yes. Joining the gym and doing exercise means you can eat more cupcakes and not put weight on, right? Wrong. Seems I’ve not being doing this whole gym thing right…ooops. However, despite gaining weight from going to the gym (I keep telling myself it’s all the muscle I’m gaining…), I feel a lot more confident in myself. Those mornings I go before work, I stand a little taller and feel genuinely happier. So even though I may not yet be on my way to look like a VS model, I am on my way to rocking my dress and feeling confident in my own skin, which I know is so much more important. Talking of the dress…you may remember I said I loved the Grace Loves Lace dresses but they were an extortionate price and I couldn’t justify getting one sent from Australia on a gamble of liking it and getting the right size? Well…they’ve opened a shop in London and I have booked in for a fitting. I am half hoping I hate all the dresses and don’t get one because of the price but am also reaaaally hoping I put one on and love it. The fitting is in mid-January so I’ll write more about that once I’ve had it.

Confessions_of_a_bride_to_be3.jpg

From next week (isn’t is always from next week?!) we are going to clean up our eating. I am writing this on here so I have to stick to it. The lovely people in our lives keep baking us cakes which are oh so yummy, and I don’t want them to stop, but also oh so naughty for my waistline and ever growing bottom. I tracked macros and calories for a few months the last time I tried to lose weight and it was really successful. I meal prepped and ate the same thing every day for a week. I lost over a stone and felt comfortable in my clothes but I noticed I started to look at calories on everything, plus eating the same thing every day wasn’t satisfying for me. I remember buying some edamame beans and thinking I’d have those as a healthy snack. Once I’d eaten half the tub, I looked at the nutritional information and burst into tears because they had, in my eyes, a lot of fat in them. My mum was with me and I don’t think she knew what to do...I made her eat the rest of the tub. They were beans for goodness sake!! I don’t want to get bogged down with entering everything into My Fitness Pal again. I just want to make good choices. I follow a YouTuber called Sarah’s Day and I love her way of approaching health and fitness. She is all about listening to your body and having fun – perhaps not slaving at the gym every day of the week but mixing things up – going for a long walk with your friends, trying a new exercise class, going to the beach and doing your workout there, riding your bike to the shops instead of getting in the car. We’ve been trying to do this. We’ve been going swimming together at the weekend, followed by the steam room and the Jacuzzi. We try to play a racquet sport on Friday evenings. I’m going to start going running with mum two days a week – maybe in the morning around the fields near to our homes, or in the evenings along the promenade at the beach (running straight past the fish and chip shops without stopping will be a challenge!).

We are going to do the best we can from Monday to Friday and then enjoy our weekends, making healthy choices where possible but not getting bogged down with it. We often take our dog to the beach either on a Saturday or Sunday morning and often have our breakfast out. That’s something we both look forward to and definitely not something we’re going to stop for the sake of losing weight.

I think I am going to leave this post here and maybe I’ll write about how we are getting on in 6 months time. I want to be able to look back on photographs from the day and see a confident, happy person - someone who is happy in her own skin, no matter the size. If I look like a Victoria’s Secret model then either a miracle took place or I managed to persuade Gemma to photo shop my head onto someone else’s body. I know it isn’t realistic to have “look like a Victoria’s Secret model,” as a goal – I am just being daft. However, I do want to have their exuberating confidence and carefree attitude. Hopefully going to the gym and getting those endorphins pumping; taking care of my body, whilst still having as much cake as possible; and having Craig join me on the journey, will help me on my way.

See you next month!

Emma

Suffolk Equine Portraits - Laura & Rio

It is always a pleasure when a fellow photographer trusts me with taking their photographs. As photographers it can be hard to find someone to take our photographs as we know what we like but this was a fantastic opportunity for equine photographer Laura (of Laura Fiddaman Photography) to try out how it feels to be the other side of the camera. Rio was such a good boy and took modelling completely in his stride. He was so calm and happy throughout stopping along the way for a quick snack of course! Here are some of my favourites from the shoot.

Laura&Rio-1.jpg
Laura&Rio-2.jpg
Laura&Rio-3.jpg
Laura&Rio-7.jpg
Laura&Rio-15.jpg
Laura&Rio-19.jpg
Laura&Rio-23.jpg
Laura&Rio-26.jpg
Laura&Rio-33.jpg
Laura&Rio-41.jpg
Laura&Rio-44.jpg
Laura&Rio-46.jpg
Laura&Rio-48.jpg
Laura&Rio-51.jpg

Burghley 2017

On Sunday 3rd September 2017 I took a trip to my first ever time experiencing Burghley Horse Trials. I loved looking around the shopping village, sampling the food on offer and of course immersing myself in everything horsey. Here are some images I took from the day. Massive congratulations to winners Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class, runner-ups Piggy French and Vanir Kamira and 3rd place Gemma Tattersall and Arctic Soul.

Burghley2017-1.jpg
Burghley2017-2.jpg
Burghley2017-5.jpg
Burghley2017-6.jpg
Burghley2017-7.jpg
Burghley2017-8.jpg
Burghley2017-9.jpg
Burghley2017-10.jpg
Burghley2017-11.jpg
Burghley2017-12.jpg
Burghley2017-13.jpg
Burghley2017-14.jpg
Burghley2017-15.jpg
Burghley2017-16.jpg
Burghley2017-17.jpg
Burghley2017-18.jpg
Burghley2017-19.jpg
Burghley2017-20.jpg
Burghley2017-21.jpg
Burghley2017-22.jpg
Burghley2017-23.jpg
Burghley2017-24.jpg
Burghley2017-25.jpg
Burghley2017-27.jpg
Burghley2017-28.jpg
Burghley2017-29.jpg
Burghley2017-30.jpg
Burghley2017-31.jpg
Burghley2017-32.jpg
Burghley2017-33.jpg
Burghley2017-34.jpg
Burghley2017-35.jpg
Burghley2017-36.jpg
Burghley2017-37.jpg
Burghley2017-38.jpg
Burghley2017-39.jpg
Burghley2017-40.jpg
Burghley2017-41.jpg
Burghley2017-42.jpg
Burghley2017-43.jpg
Burghley2017-44.jpg
Burghley2017-45.jpg
 
 Quick selfie with Tim Price

Quick selfie with Tim Price

 

Confessions Of A Bride-To-Be: The Plan

Confessions Of A Bride-To-Be: The Plan

I hope you enjoyed hearing about the proposal last month. It was so nice to write about it. I wish I had done it earlier as I’m sure there are little things I must have forgotten. It’s funny how much I can remember of the day though. Normally I have a terrible memory but I suppose it being a special day, it stood out to me.  Anyway! This series is called “Confessions of a Bride to Be,” so I’d best get on with some confessions.

Things not to do when planning a wedding: Follow Trends

Things not to do when planning a wedding: Follow Trends

As tempting as it can be to start googling 'Wedding trends for summer 2018' or 'Popular wedding ideas' it can often be that these will not be the ideas that will create the day of your dreams. In fact this guide will give you insight into why following trends is actually not a good idea.

Confessions Of A Bride-To-Be: The Proposal

The Proposal. It’s what you’ve always dreamt about as a young girl. It’s what you think about when Valentine’s Day, your birthday, your anniversary, Christmas (or any other day of the week!) arrives. It’s that secret Pinterest board you add items to every week. It’s the thing you drop weekly hints about, much to the exasperation of your other half! 

Well, my proposal finally happened and I thought it would be a nice opener to these “Confessions of a Bride-to-be.” 

I have been with my other half for almost five years now and for the past two years, I have been dropping, not so subtle, hints: 

“Ooooo wouldn’t these be lovely wedding shoes?” 

“Look at that pool. We HAVE to go there on our honeymoon!” 

“Fancy that! A jewellers! Let’s just be silly and pick out an engagement ring!” 

I ended up being told that every time I mentioned the P, the E or the W word, the proposal would be pushed back another month…that soon shut me up. 

Craig (my other half) and I, have always spoken about what kind of wedding celebration we would like and we have even spoken about the proposal before. I had always told him that I would like it to be a very low key event, perhaps on a dog walk with our black Labrador, Austin. Craig agreed. He isn’t the type of guy to plan a huge romantic gesture or to get down on one knee in front of an audience. I had always imagined it to be very chilled out. 

Which is why, when he let slip, much to his frustration, that he had booked us a surprise holiday to New York and Washington, my mind didn’t even consider that this could be “The Proposal.” A lot of my friends and family did though, “Do you think he’s going to do it?”, “I BET you come back with a diamond!!” and lots of various emoji texts were sent my way! I kept telling them, “No, that is definitely not Craig’s style. We’ve just always wanted to see NYC in the snow. Nope. He definitely won’t propose.” 

We got to the airport and our flight had been cancelled, due to the vast amounts of snow at JFK airport. Our rescheduled flight wasn’t for another eight hours. Craig is normally such a laid back guy and I could sense tension coming from him. I later found out he was worried we wouldn’t get there in time to make our scheduled, early morning, train journey to Washington DC. This was where he had planned, and told my Dad, brother, his family, his friends, our neighbours – pretty much anyone who would listen, that he was going to propose. I still didn’t twig and just assumed he was a little annoyed that we were going to miss an afternoon to explore. 

At the airport, he bought himself a rather fancy watch that he had been looking at online for ages. Thinking he was in a money spending mood, I quickly whisked him away to the Mulberry shop. I mean, I was not going to waste an opportunity like that! Craig is very good at saving and rarely spends money. I cooed and ahhh’ed over the beautiful bags but to no avail. Ah well, I had given it a go! It was his money anyway and I was just trying my luck. Little did I know that he had actually already bought me a cheeky present in the form of a ring and that this watch was his engagement gift to himself. 

At midnight, as opposed to the scheduled mid-afternoon, we found ourselves in NYC. We took ourselves straight to Times Square which was covered in a thick layer of snow and looked absolutely incredible in all the colourful lights. We each got a slice of gooey, cheesy pizza and then headed straight to bed for our early morning wake up call. 

At 6 am, our alarm went off and we made our way to Penn Station to catch our train. I follow PostSecret, a project where people post their secrets anonymously to a guy called Frank, who then posts a handful of the secrets, each week, online. A selection of these secrets were being shown in the Post Museum in Washington DC and so I really wanted to go and have a look at it. Whilst we were there, I wiped away tears at some of the secrets, related to others and laughed at some of the more jovial ones. They had a DVD playing of a speech Frank had given at a University and me and Craig stood to watch it. One of the secrets he showed was about a proposal. I got all weepy and looked at Craig and said “Oh, that is so romantic! That is so sweet, Craig!” all the while, he had MY engagement ring, wrapped up in an origami crane (we’ll come back to that later), in his coat pocket…aaaaaa. 

Our next stop was the Washington Monument. Craig and I had been two years prior, at that time in the sweltering heat, and had fallen in love with the feel and the view from it. We sat down and over looked the famous Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial at the other end of The Mall. Craig seemed nervous. Again, this isn’t normally how he behaved and I was slightly confused. He was also smirking constantly, which seemed a bit strange!! To try to relax him a bit, I thought I’d lighten the mood so I laid back on the backless bench we were sitting on and looked at the Monument upside down. I should probably put in here that I am quite an oddball and so this isn’t as peculiar as it sounds!! Craig didn’t lay back with me, he clearly had other things on his mind, but I commented how it looked like the Monument was moving and swaying in the wind, due to the clouds moving around it. Craig didn’t respond to my observations and, instead, started to say “I love it here, Emma. This is one of my favourite places in the world….,” at which point a group of people walked over to the monument. They were trying to fit it in a photo. I shouted over to them “Hey! If you lay back like this you can get a good picture, plus it looks like it’s moving!!!” They proceeded to lay down on the bench too and we all (except Craig…ooops!) laughed about cool it was….I told you I’m an oddball!! I stood up and said to Craig, “Right, shall we get going then?” at which he looked a bit shell shocked and just nodded his head. This was his first attempt at proposing and I had ruined it by being silly with strangers! Doh! 

We walked towards the White House and Craig made a suggestion that perhaps we could go back to the Washington Monument on the way back to the train station so that we could see it at night time with all the lights on it. This sounded perfect to me. 

We carried on with our day: walking to Georgetown, having a tour of The Capitol building, having yummy food and just exploring in general, before we made our way back to the Lincoln Memorial (which is at the other end of the Reflecting Pool and looks on to the Washington Monument). This is, if you have seen Forrest Gump, where Jenny and Forrest are reunited and where she runs through the pool to see him. It’s all very cute. As we walked along the pool, towards the Monument, the sun was setting and we were quoting Forrest Gump to each other. Craig kept getting that smirk back on his face and, it was at this point, that I started to suspect something. “Are my friends, right? Is he going to propose up here? No. He wouldn’t! I’ve been in his backpack today – he hasn’t got a ring! Oooo maybe we’ll buy one tomorrow! Don’t be daft. He isn’t going to propose…but that smirk says otherwise….” I kept looking at my boyfriend with a huge smile and a knowing glint in his eye and began to get butterflies. We got to the memorial, this time he didn’t lead us to the “lay down” bench (I wonder why?!) but sat us on a wall, away from anyone else, to overlook the sun going down on the pool. Again, he began…“I love it here, Emma. This is one of my favourite places in the world….,” at which point I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh. He has clearly rehearsed that line because he’s just used it again. This is it!!!!” He carried on, “I actually brought something with me from home,” as he pulled out an origami crane from his coat pocket. This was something a lady had made for me last time we were there. I had started up a conversation with her, she was on a business trip from Japan, and at the end of it she wanted to give me an origami crane to say thank you for speaking to her and for us to remember her with. I had stuck it in our scrapbook, which I make for each of our holidays, so wondered why he had ripped it out! He then carried on, “I actually also brought something else with me.” It was then that he pulled a gorgeous diamond ring from the middle of the crane and said “Emma, I was wondering if, perhaps, you could be my Jenny and I could be your Forrest?” It was perfect. Of course, I said yes and we both sat there grinning for several minutes, whilst looking at the beautiful view. 

Like I said, it was perfect. It was low-key yet extravagant and unexpected. There was no going down on one knee, there was no soppy monologue or even the words – “Will you marry me?” (I hope that’s what he meant!!! Awkward!). It was perfect for us. I hope to tell you about our wedding plans in the next few months. Again, we are planning a very low-key celebration to fit with our personalities and it still isn’t as smooth sailing as we’d hoped! More on that another week…! 

To see the video of our weekend away and of the proposal: CLICK HERE 

Speak soon, 
Emma

 

Forest Family Photos

 

I felt excited for the photoshoot as it had been the first time we'd be able to have some good quality pictures of us taken together as a family. During it felt very natural, calm & relaxed.. I was happy for Gemma to lead the way with her expert eye for perfect photo opportunities. Gemma was extremely professional and was brilliant in making us all feel at ease.

The children really enjoyed it.. albeit in different ways. My children are all very different, but took it all in their stride. My eldest was rather shy and not naturally comfortable in front of the camera which was a complete contrast to my other daughter who loved it and showed us all how to pose! She was a complete natural.
 

Forest_Family_Photos-8.jpg

I'm not sure I prepared for it in any other way other than just making sure everyone was comfortable in what they were wearing and that it represented them as a person. You want that individuality & personality to come through. We were really lucky with the weather that day. Because it was Autumn, I chose to have the pictures taken in a forest as it's the best place to capture the colours and environment of that time of year for me. Autumn to me means woodland walks. The sun was shining through the trees and it was unusually mild for that time, so it just made for a beautiful, natural setting.

My tips for parents would be just to make sure they're comfortable in whichever way that means.. as it's the best chance to release that personality. Even if it means taking an item with them to help do so.. anything that represents them as a person. Gemma was wonderful with my children. My youngest was getting tired as he was due a nap, so the last few shots were getting hard to get. But she was able to capture his attention in order to get the shot. So I'd say leave till after nap times of you're planning on having pics with you get children.

I've put the majority of my pictures in frames dotted around my house, and also made a collage with them all. I received the images before Christmas - so they also made good presents for family members. I would most definitely recommend Gemma to everyone I know, and already have. It was a wonderful experience with amazing pictures and I will definitely be doing it again.

 

The Heels And Horseshoes Branding Relaunch

I’m so so SO SO excited to finally be writing this post on my brand new shiny website! I can’t begin to tell you how long this has been in the pipeline and finally my visions are a reality. 

The Design Process

I really wanted to combine my passion for the countryside into my branding. This in turn gives the feel for the weddings that I love to photograph including DIY, farm, boho, garden party and festival vibes. 

I chose a bright coloured palette to include countryside shades like green, mustard and rustic orange. I tried some more pastel shades but they didn’t work in complimenting my images and brand.

For graphics I wanted floral patterns, to include a peacock feather and a horseshoe. I was going for an overall very girly, quirky design which would stand out. 

Here is my branding board: 

I teamed up with the lovely Paloma from amorpaloma.com to bring my visions and terrible sketches into the wonderful digital designs that you can now see. Using her incredible design skills combined with her website knowledge we were able to complete the website and keep all material consistent. 

A lot of hard work has gone into the rebranding and I am so thrilled that all of the hours have paid off. I hope you love it as much as we do.

Top 5 Tips: How NOT to choose your wedding photographer

The ring is on your finger, the date is firmly in your diary and your venue is booked, so what’s next? Many couples head to google to start scouting out local companies to contribute to their big day and especially start looking for a photographer. The photographer is a huge decision. This person will be as good as family on the day. They will be with you through the nervous preparations, the stress of getting to the venue on time and throughout every ‘hope it all goes ok’ moment on the day. It needs to be someone you fully trust, who fits your day and blends in with all your guests. This is why it is so important to pick the right fit for you both as a couple. Here are our Top 5 Tips: How NOT To Choose Your Wedding Photographer.  

1) On portfolio alone - Yes the website looks great and the images are what you’re after, but their personality may not be. Photographers spend the whole day by your side as well as mingling with your friends & family. Make sure you get along with your photographer, your personalities blend and you’re on the same page.

2) Uncle Bob’s got a camera and will do it for free as he wants to build his portfolio - Photographers all have to start somewhere but the right way to go about it is to second shoot at weddings to get experience without the pressure of supplying a whole wedding’s worth of images. It is a huge job, you are solely relying on this person to capture the biggest day of your life - you do not want this to be your biggest regret!

3) It’s who the venue recommended - Most venues have a ‘recommended photographer’s list’ which will give you a great head start to finding your photographer. Browse through them all and if there’s none that take your fancy - keep searching! Never settle for anyone less than who you want, at the end of the day it is not your venue’s choice.  

4) On price alone - Budgets for wedding photography vary and it is a great thing to agree on before finding your ideal photographer. Don’t let this be the biggest factor though; sales and discounts are great, but the photographer’s work and style is more important.  

5) The first photographer you come across - That’s great, now keep researching. Compare pricing, packages, people, portfolios, areas etc! Get contacting them, meet up with them; you will know who will suit your wedding the best as soon as you meet them. If it happens to be the first photographer you came across then it really is a perfect match.