Tuesday 23 July 2019

Bride Diaries: Millie Leese and James Hopkins

Meet Millie Leese and James Hopkins, the first Gloucestershire couple to star in our exciting new Bride Diaries feature, where SoGlosWeddings readers can follow the build up to their autumn wedding.

The happy couple: Millie Leese and James Hopkins
Wedding date: Saturday 24 October 2015
Wedding venue: Mickleton Hills Farm in Chipping Campden

Introducing Millie and James

‘Well, how exciting is this? Not only am I planning the most memorable day of my life but I also get to share it with you guys. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Millie, one half of Cotswold lifestyle blog Millie and Meg.

One balmy evening in July 2014 turned into the “moment”. I was confused when James booked us into The Daffodil and although this is my favourite place of all time, I wondered why we were eating indoors on the hottest night of the year. Anyway, a Singapore Sling later and it all became clear when James presented me with a beautiful sapphire and diamond oval-cut ring, an heirloom from his grandmother.

James and I have been together for five years and we live in a beautiful but tiny chocolate box cottage. We are both originally from Chipping Campden and went to the same school where I had a huge crush on James – but, being two years below him, he had no idea who I was!

Then, as fate would have it, I was working in a pub during my uni break, when he hobbled in with a broken leg. Being a gardener, the broken leg put him out of work, so he had plenty of time to woo me.

We are getting married in October in our hometown of Chipping Campden. We have chosen a converted barn which is on the path we used to run cross country on when we were at school. It is local, full of memories and above all, in the beautiful Cotswolds that we adore so much.’

Five days to go…

Bride Diaries: Millie Leese and James Hopkins

Nerves have subsided, for now, and instead anticipation and joyous excitement has replaced it.

That said I’m sad to be sat here writing my final post for SoGlosWeddings. I have truly loved being engaged. So many exciting projects, boozy brunches, weekends away, fun days out tasting and testing and love just seems to go up a notch! I’ve really enjoyed sharing my experiences of wedding planning in the Cotswolds.

With all the ‘big jobs’ now complete, we can enjoy shopping around for last minute bits and bobs which will make our wedding so personal.

Tomorrow is a last look at the venue and final dress fitting! On the list for this evening is a night in with husband-to-be and Spotify to send the band and DJ all the songs we can’t throw a party without! We’ve also now chosen our hymns, a mix of our faves and a last edition which was a forgotten hymn that we sang when hearing the reading of our banns.

If you are reading this, the likelihood is that you’re getting married soon, so enjoy the process as it only happens once and remember that planning a wedding can be so much fun.

My tips would be to make decisions and stick with them; don’t worry about a theme; involve your groom as much as he wants to be (don’t be surprised if he doesn’t, he probably trusts you seems as he’s asked you to be his wife!); negotiate on prices; work with friendly vendors; take full advantage of tasting sessions and most of all, enjoy it!

It shouldn’t be stressful, and if it is, delegate or hire a coordinator. That’s what they are there for. Good luck.

Millie x

Six weeks to go…

Bride Diaries: Millie Leese and James Hopkins

Less than two months to go. After six weeks off work for the school holidays I still feel like I could do with another six weeks off to wedding plan!

Since I last posted I’ve been on my first hen do. I have a very close group of friends so we decided to use engagements and hen parties as an excuse to have a girly weekend away, hence the two celebrations.

It was a total surprise and they thought of everything. We went glamping at Cosy Under Canvas in Wales, enjoyed long soaks in a wood-fired hot tub with a glass of prosecco, lunches in Hay-on-Wye, canoeing down the River Wye and yoga on the deck on the Sunday morning.

I’m super excited for my second hen party which my clever sisters are planning in Cheltenham. So, if you see a group of unlikely flapper dancers stumbling around town in the next few weeks…that’ll be us.

James and I have enjoyed every moment of being engaged and the planning process has genuinely been a breeze. We’ve never lost sight of why we are doing this and our relaxed theme for the day has definitely made for a relaxed engagement. We are both wishing for time to slow down now, so we can enjoy the last two months of being engaged.

The usual nerves of walking down the aisle and making speeches are starting to creep in and Pinterest has been well and truly deleted off my phone, well, until I have something else to plan for. I love Pinterest, and along with SoGlosWeddings and other blogs, it has been a great source of ideas. But, I was starting to doubt decisions we’d made and kept thinking we’d missed out on teeny tiny details so I needed to stop looking!

Last time I posted I was on the search for hair and make-up and since then I’ve been to a Bobbie Brown counter for a make-up lesson and I’ve confirmed my hairdresser, which was the last thing to tick off the list for me.

The table plan is also sorted. Knowing this is something I would find stressful, we’ve done it in plenty of time. If I could give any advice I would suggest for any bride and groom to grab a bottle of wine, tools to write names on (we used cut up paper…no frills here!) and sit and try out a few different layouts. I feel really pleased that this job has been ticked off.

We spent Sunday with my parents going to hear our banns being read at St James’ Church in Chipping Campden. It’s such a special church for us and we just can’t wait to get married there. We took the chance to chat with the organist about our hymns and other music and figure out plans for flowers.

Our florist, Lisa Drinkwater, has also confirmed that we can get the flowers we wanted. They are hit and miss at this time of year so that’s something else that’s going our way!

I’m worried though, is this too easy? Am I going to have full blown bridezilla meltdown any minute? I’ll let you know in my next and final post next month!

Millie x

Three months to go…

Bride Diaries: Millie Leese and James Hopkins

So it’s been just over a month since I wrote my last post. Since then I have finished my job as a teacher at a school in Gloucester for the summer, which after a short break to Cornwall, is giving me plenty of time to go full throttle into wedding planning.

You’ll be pleased to know I found my shoes. The LK Bennett sale came up trumps and I have bought myself a gorgeous pair of heels that can be worn after the wedding. What a treat!

We’ve met with the vicar, found the bridesmaid dresses, decided what we are doing with the groomsmen and picked and organised the band for the church and first dance. My brother is going to be heavily involved with this which will make it extra special.

As I write this I am at my parents’ house in France, a total dream for someone who is planning a wedding with French influences. I have been scouring supermarkets, brocantes and the local markets for apéritifs, wooden crates and other goodies.

James arrives tomorrow and we are going to buy a selection of wines from the local region to decide on our wedding breakfast plonk. An evening of wine tasting sounds like hard work eh?

I’m also super excited as my one of two hen parties is next week. My gorgeous bridesmaids have organised a surprise weekend away. I’m usually good at ruining surprises but they have done an amazing job of keeping this one a total secret. Actually I don’t know whether to be excited or petrified!

Everything seems to be coming together now and with less than three months to go the crazy anxiety dreams have started and the butterflies are firmly rooted in my belly. Do any other brides get this? Accessories and organising hair and make-up are next on the list. I am open to suggestions if anybody has good recommendations for the Cotswolds.

Until next time…

A very excited and nervous Millie x

Four months to go…

After being so chilled out for the last year, largely down to my ridiculous obsession with planning, we are starting to realise that this is real and our decision to go DIY means we need to be super organised with the run up to the wedding.

This month we sent out our invites, designed by the talented Angie B Studios. We don’t have a theme as such for our wedding, but more of a feel for the day: relaxed, informal and autumnal, which are the key terms we briefed Angie with – and she came back with a beautiful design of pine cones and foliage on recycled kraft card.

We spent a day putting the invites together with raspberry raffia and luggage labels and popped them in the post. It is really nice getting the odd message here and there that they have arrived with our guests.

Reception music
We have booked our reception gypsy swing band as a nod to our favourite Martini Mondays nights at The Daffodil. We have also booked our late-night DJ from Tempo Events Nick is a former colleague of mine and I 100 per cent trust he will do an amazing job.

Honeymoon gift list and wedding food
We used the lovely Penny Gyngell from Travel Counsellors to set up our honeymoon gift list and tried and tested out our wedding breakfast. Think street food rather than a three-course sit down meal.

Searching for vintage décor
This month we have loved scouring car boots for decor and ideas for the reception. The new Sunday car boot at The National Star College and the one at Southam, behind the Racecourse have both proven fruitful.

The month ahead
The to-do list for July is a mixture of bits and bobs. I desperately need to find my shoes. Now, for a lot of ladies out there this would be just as exciting as the dress, but I need to find something comfy that will fit my broad size 4.5 feet that will look pretty while appropriate for a barn wedding in a field. Any advice shoe lovers?!

James needs to get his suit altered and we are now also on the hunt for bridesmaids dresses and groomsmen outfits. We also need to meet with our florist, pick our wedding rings and meet with the vicar from our parish to get our banns read.

It is a busy process that takes a lot of organisation, but we are really enjoying every step. Luckily for me I am marrying someone who loves being involved. It is our wedding and that’s the most exciting bit.

Until next month…

Millie x

© SoGlos
Wednesday 15 July 2015

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