So I'm feeling pretty smug. It's been three weeks since my initial check-in and despite my lack of wedding planning prowess, things seem to be flying – and all without even a hint of a Pinterest board.
Saturday was Valentine's Day and you guessed it, we don't really celebrate it, except this year I went off piste and bought Pete a pressie. He was mortified and quickly retorted that he hadn't got me a sausage. My reply? "It's fine, you're paying for most of the wedding."
Which to be fair, he is, although last weekend my parents came to stay and we finally had that awkward chat about big day dollar. Eugh, it makes me shudder to think about it. Since the age of 15 when I bagged my first job, the parental cash desk closed its doors. My KFC wages (come on, we've all worked in a fast food restaurant, right?), even stretched to funding school dinners so the thought of broaching the 'wedding fund' conversation was making me squirm. It's probably why even after a year of being engaged the subject had been swept under the carpet. The wedding elephant in the room.
It's not that my parents aren't generous. One of the reasons I love Christmas so much is because they've always gone out of their way to make it the most magical time of the year. And it's down to them and their overzealous tea and cake stops over the decades that have caused my daily reliance on sugar and sweet treats. But asking for money is such an unnatural thing to have to do – especially in your early thirties. And why should they have to pay for my wedding? It's not their decision, or their day, and it's our friends that are coming to party.
The fact I keep referring it to as a party also seems to be grating on my dad – he doesn't want their contribution to only cover cocktails. Fair do's. He's also been struggling with the fact that unlike when they got hitched, it's pretty tricksy to plan a wedding all in for under 5k (not impossible, just not easy)! However, after 13 months of pondering and a large slab of carrot cake in Gail's bakery (NB if you haven't tried it, it's divine), my parents declared that they would be happy to cover off a chunk of the venue costs. Which really has blown my mind. My mum has always said she would pay for my dress, but anything extra was a bit of a Brucey bonus. It's also given me a bit of wedding guilt, but people keep telling me to move on and that they will have thought about it long and hard. So here I am, attempting to stop dwelling on feeling like a child asking mum and dad for extra pocket money.
It also spurred Pete's parents to put their cards on the table and with their contribution enough to tick off the photographer's pay cheque we can now start budgeting properly allowing Pete to get up close and personal with his spreadsheet (did I mention he worked in event management)?
Just as a heads up here to anyone newly engaged (hello Valentine's day proposals) or anyone who thinks they will be soon, I can't urge you enough to get these awkward conversations out of the way sooner rather than later. We've been budgeting blind and it's only now we can really crack on and decipher the necessities vs luxuries. We're fine because we have time on our side but for people who want to skip down the aisle at speed, work out your wedding funds asap.
Aside from money, the parents also made themselves handy in the 'save the date' department, stamping, stuffing and sealing envelopes so that on Valentine's Day, all of our nearest and dearest should have received their save the dates. Cue sister's, 'there's no going back now' comment.
I've also contacted two photographers and have a date in with one to discuss what exactly we'll be getting for almost 2k, (deep breath, pass me some more carrot cake because that doesn't even include a practise shoot or a final album). Which leads us to our next conversation starter. Do we really need a test run and why would we want a photographer snapping us getting ready? When will I ever whip out that picture of my shoes on the stairs or dress hanging up on the back of a wardrobe door? I've seen Pete put a suit jacket on before, I don't need it 'in the moment' while he's smiling in Sepia tones. No, I think I'd much prefer to direct her time to the evening when more guests arrive and we can capture those game-changing moves on the dancefloor (sorry, dad, this bit is about the party again). As for a dress rehearsal, I'm waiting to be convinced on that one. All we know is we want reportage stylee, no poses and minimum formality – we'll do the money shot (read: family photo) for the relatives but bar that, we're happy. "So if that's all you want, why is it costing that much?" (Dad), "We'll get back to you on that one," (me)!
We're also umming and ahhing about a videographer? Friends who have had employed such skills wax lyrical about how wonderful it is and I have to admit I do love a good wedding video, but that's another stash of cash to set aside. It's something we need to agree on sharpish although a scheduled wine, cheese and nibbles night next week to watch our friend's wedding video will hopefully be the deciding factor. There's talk of time lapse sunsets, cake cutting and precious Jaeger bomb-fuelled high fives, I have a feeling we might be swayed...
Next time – food tasting, dj's and hen-do planning...
Getting hitched this autumn?