I've never been one of those girls who's dreamt of the big white wedding, or even getting married really. I was quite happy for my plus one and I to cruise along in our little twosome schmosome, but late last November he decided to throw a curveball into the equation and present me with an engagement ring. With no help from my friends or family (or me – we'd never really talked about rings except the fact I preferred gold jewellery), he'd decided to go it alone and get one designed off his own back. He'd also booked us a cute little cottage in Dartmoor for our pre-Christmas weekend away (we always go away in December so no, I didn't suspect a thing).
Luckily I loved both – the cottage and the ring but he gets a special gold star for realising I might not take the engagement lying down. In fact, he'd pre-empted my pop the question 'after shock' and as well as choosing a location where there was no signal so I could 'come to terms with everything', we had another two days alone time before returning to London to reveal the ring. Because really, when there's a wedding, it's usually the friends and family who cause it to spiral out of control.
I think my post-proposal trauma stemmed from the fact we were now engaged to be married – not because I didn't see myself spending the rest of my life with Pete or that we were too young, (I'll be 32 when we get hitched) but because it wasn't particularly in my plan. If I had a spare 20k hanging around in my bank, I'd be ploughing it into a mortgage. It's why when he was answered with 'I didn't think we were doing this?' (swiftly followed by a 'yes'), I wasn't exactly quick off the mark in the planning stages.
Not that he minded. He calmed my super early pre-wedding jitters by telling me there was no rush, and considering 2014 brought with it eight weddings of its own, I was pretty thankful. Hen-do's, travelling, overnight stays, new outfits and wedding presents certainly do tot up. There was just no feasible way I'd be walking down the aisle for a while.
Which on a side note brings me to another dilemma – the walking down the aisle – it puts the fear of god into me, literally. I know every bride says it's an amazing moment when you pass all your friends and family, but seriously, can't I just nip in through a side door?
Anyway, it appears with 2014 out of the way and only two other weddings in the diary for 2015, all eyes have fallen on me and now here I am, with the task of 'how to plan a wedding'. The thing is, I'm a bit of an anti-bride. Or a bit anti-wedding traditions anyway.
When going through the standard list of what weddings entail, I find myself asking 'why' and 'what's the relevance'. As it stands, the first dance will be for everyone (see aisle dilemma above), no wedding cake - at four out of the eight weddings last year the bride and groom forgot to cut it and then had to quickly squeeze it in so the photographer could get the money shot before their time was up. I'm also not fussed about a fancy wedding car. I'm hoping my dad's people carrier will last the distance, plus it means my BM's will all be able to pile in too and who wants to break up a party when it's only just getting started!?
I'm not even that bothered about a wedding dress, although I know this is the one that will probably change. Before Christmas I found an off-white jumpsuit in H&M in Selfridges. It just so happened to be when my mum was visiting for the weekend...
Me: OMG, how cool would this be for the wedding?
Mum: Who's wedding?
Me: My wedding?
Mum: When would you wear that then?
Me: The whole day, and look its only £29.99 and it'd be really easy to dance in.
I didn't get the jumpsuit (but I haven't shelved the idea of it altogether).
The thing is, none of the above is premature now because we've finally booked a date. Mid-December, this year. To everyone else, a Christmas wedding seemed a given and I must admit I am a festive fiend. All that magic and sparkle. Plus Pete vetoed my idea of Vegas and while I floated the idea of a wedding abroad, we just couldn't decide on where.
So now I really do have to start planning. We've found a venue (that isn't actually built yet) and we've done a guestlist – we can only have 100 people tops which sounds like a lot but when you factor in family and all your mates' plus ones, boy do those numbers rocket. Although to be honest, I don't want a big wedding anyway.
Which leaves me with everything else to do. I think I have plenty of time but when I mentioned to some of my married and to-be-married peers that I don't even have a Pinterest wedding board, it sent shockwaves around the group. Seriously, do I really need one? We'll soon see.
Luckily, I think this monthly bride-to-be blog will help me keep on track with what I need do and now we've got the venue (more on that next time!), it's all about save the dates...