The happy couple: Meg John and Harry Ford
Wedding date: Saturday 30 July 2016
Wedding venue: Ceremony at St Mary’s Church in Batsford and reception at Batsford Arboretum
‘I’m Meg, the other half of Millie and Meg. You may have recently read Millie's Bride Diary, so you’ll know exactly where she’s at with her wedding planning and I can’t wait to celebrate my best friend’s special day!
Harry and I have only been engaged for five months, so I am nowhere near as organised as Millie, in fact, so far only the church is booked. But, at least we have a date, Saturday 30 July 2016, to work towards. Is it too early to start counting down?
Harry and I met at primary school where apparently we played kiss chase in the playground together. One summer, many years after school, we were reintroduced through mutual friends. After I left the pub that night, Harry, under the influence I’m sure, said to a friend ‘I’m going to marry her’. But, five years later, here we are and what an amazing time it has been. We’ve built a lovely life together, we live in a Cotswold cottage on a pheasant shooting estate, just outside Cheltenham with our six-month old cocker spaniel Pepper.
Home is now extra special as this is where Harry proposed. On Valentine’s Day I came home from work to find hundreds of lit candles, a Will You Marry Me? message in a bottle (that’s another story) and a beautiful engagement ring, a twisted gold band and an emerald cut diamond, which Harry designed himself at Bicks of Montpellier. He got it so spot on. We then celebrated with dinner at our favourite restaurant The Feathered Nest.
Less than three months to go! Seriously, where has the time gone? It only seems like yesterday we were celebrating the start of a new year and now we’re in May.
There is SO much going on this month, I’ve just come back from my future sister-in-law’s hen weekend in Dublin, Harry’s brother’s getting hitched next weekend and then I fly off to Barcelona with my bridesmaids for my own hen weekend!
We have been really busy wedding planning the last few months though and RSVPs have been coming back thick and fast so our table plan is now done. It was a biggish thing that I wanted ticked off the list early in order to save some stress closer to the day.
We’ve also booked some of the technical stuff you need when planning a marquee wedding like the porter loos, lighting and generators and our spare bedroom is jam packed with decorations, props and ‘random pretty stuff’ as Harry likes to call it.
By far our favourite find over the last few weeks though is The Travelling Pub Co. It’s a fabulous old horse box which has been transformed into a cosy Cotswold pub and weirdly looks like a mini version of my parent’s pub, The Falcon Inn, on wheels so it just seemed too ‘us’ not to book it.
I stumbled across The Travelling Pub Co via the wonderful world of Instagram at the perfect time. We had already booked a pop up bar, which my Dad was going to stock and staff, but it was really styled for a white marquee rather than our tipis. And while not wanting to be a bridezilla about it, I just pushed it to the back of mind telling myself it didn’t really matter and our guests would never notice but when I saw The Travelling Pub Co, we knew it was missing from our party.
It fits in perfectly with our whole style; relaxed, rustic, local but with loads of personality and style plus it means my Dad won’t need to be in work mode on the day.
We also had our pre-wedding photo shoot with our photographer Nadia Dixon last month. Nadia is lovely and so professional, she made us laugh the whole time as I am just not confident in front of a camera. How she managed to make us look photogenic, I will never know, but I love her for it!
We couldn’t be happier with the photos and are so pleased we battled the nerves so we’ll feel more comfortable on the day. Our cocker spaniel Pepper was the real star though and we’ll definitely cherish these photos forever.
I’m sure the first dose of nerves will really kick in next month. It’s all going to become very real in June when I have wedding hair trails, we have to still kit the ushers out with clobber and I get to pick up my dress… I can’t wait!
Since we entered 2016, like every other bride getting married this year as soon as we celebrated at midnight it hit me, there is still so much left to do before the big day, but the excitement has really kicked in!
Plus, every wife in the Cotswolds keeps telling me how quickly it will come around now so we’re in official count down mode, with just five months to go.
Firstly, our invitations have gone! A really exciting moment in the whole wedding planning process. Georgie from The Paper Hare designed our invitations and I really can’t praise her enough; they were utterly perfect.
Not only did Georgie design them, she’s also made it really easy for us, suggesting the best paper and envelopes, arranging printing, delivering them by hand, and then arranging more printing when we decided we didn’t want the faff of trying to print the info cards ourselves. She’s really been a star!
It’s made us realise where it’s best to cut corners and try some DIY to help keep costs down, while other areas where really, getting a profession to help you is just so worth the extra money and can save a lot of stress in the long run.
We’ve also finally booked our entertainment; a fab acoustic due called Brother from Another who recently played at my parents’ pub, The Falcon Inn in Painswick.
Luckily, they were exactly what we were looking for, with the perfect vibes – relaxed, summery with great alternative song choices – for our day. Amazingly, they’ve created a package deal with us roping in some DJ friends too. Another big tick off our list!
The only ‘stressy’ moment I’ve been worrying about recently is the bridesmaid dresses. All six of my beautiful bridesmaids are being so cool and I know would wear anything that I ask of them but I’m very conscious that I want them to feel their best, with different styles and tastes this has proved a little harder than I expected.
Six, yes six, attempts later, I think we’ve found the perfect dresses from ASOS, with multi-way straps so each of the girls can inject a little of their personal style into them. Not what I originally thought I’d go for but all the girls look amazing in them!
Next, we can start thinking about all the fun little extras. This is where my extensive Pinterest boards will come into their own! Thinking about table names, decorations, how to display our table plan and adding extra personal touches. In March we’re going to another World Inspired Tents open day. I’m really excited to see our tipis again so visually I’ll be able to plan the layout a lot better in my head.
Next month, we also need to get Harry, the best man and ushers suited and booted, our wedding rings are being made and we’ll be having a pre-wedding photo shoot… something we’re kind of nervous about but I’ll let you know how it all goes next month!
As wedding planning goes, November has been the most exciting month yet! I finally went wedding dress shopping and I’m relieved to say I found ‘the one’. I did lots of research about the very specific style of dress I wanted and went to the Big Smoke for the weekend with my mum, my dad and one of my bridesmaids who lives in London, to visit two boutiques with high expectations for two dresses in particular.
Of course, I went with an open mind and loved trying on every dress suggested to me. Some wild cards nearly tempted me but then I tried on one dress which I knew was mine from the moment I stepped into it. After that I stopped trying any others on; I was head over heels in love with it and since then, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it! All the clichés are true; you will just know when you find the right one.
This month, we’ve also paid the deposit of our tipis from World Inspired Tents, which we originally visited in the summer at Burford Garden Company. Now they’re officially booked we can start planning the little details or the ‘girly, frilly bits’ as Harry calls them.
I’m really lucky with my shop, Meggie’s, that I work with some fabulous suppliers so I’ve been collecting lots of different ideas from my stock and trade shows. I have a really good idea of how I’d like to tipis to look on the day so I’m simply going to collect pieces and props as and when I see them.
We’ve also chosen our florist, the fabulous ladies from The Bespoke Flower Company in Painswick – I work closely with Emma and Holly at Meggie’s as I sell their beautiful flowers at the weekends and they are always stunning. They also did my brother’s wedding in the summer (pictured above) so I completely trust that they will do an amazing job.
My sister-in-law, who is a dab hand in the kitchen, has kindly agreed to making our wedding cake but once she did, we broke the news that we’d really like a chocolate wedding cake… pretty please! Harry is a chocoholic and that way we figured we’ll serve the cake as dessert too which is an added bonus! She’s very kindly taken on the challenge and from the samples she’s been whipping up, we know it’s going to be delicious.
Everything is starting to fall into place now and with Christmas looming it’s beginning to feel very soon. It seems mad to think that in only a month’s time we’ll be able to say ‘we’re getting married this year’, but for now we’re going to enjoy Christmas with our families before the 2016 countdown begins.
August was a wedding heavy month for me, mainly because we were in full hen party swing at Millie's glamping hen party. But, we have managed to tick a few bits off our list this month, with a biggie booking our photographer, the lovely Nadia Dixon from Painswick.
Nadia is a customer of mine at my shop, Meggie’s, and in the past has taken some lovely shots of my shop and our dog, Pepper, so I already know she is going to do an amazing job. She has also, very kindly, thrown in a pre-wedding photo shoot at Batsford (pictured above). Neither of us are the most confident in front of the camera so we felt like we needed to get some practice in before the big day!
I’ve also met with very talented Georgie from The Paper Hare who is hand illustrating our wedding stationery. We knew we wanted something unique that told a little story, which luckily Georgie completely got, and I can’t wait to see the first sneak peek soon.
This month, we’re having a meeting with the tipi company who are popping over to Batsford Arboretum to see the site and we’re meeting with the amazing Ross & Ross to discuss wedding catering. We think we know what we want food-wise but are really excited to meet the guys and bounce some ideas around.
I’ve also booked a few dress fittings in for November which I am the most excited about. We’re heading to London to see two wedding dress designers, Houghton NYC and Katya Katya Shehurina, which I have my heart set on but as I’ve been told a million times, something I might not expect could end up being the one, so I’m going with an open mind.
We’re keen to book entertainment as early as possible so that’s next on our list for September. We’d like a relaxed, jazz- style band for the day time and then a DJ for the evening. Does anyone have any recommendations?
We were really sad that The Gifford Circus house band, which is available to hire, is busy touring during July as otherwise they would have been our first choice. Of course, with 10 months still to go we have lots of time so there’s no rush and most importantly, no stressing!
So far we’ve booked the church, beautiful St Mary’s in Batsford. Deciding on our reception venue, Batsford Arboretum, was a no brainer – as Harry’s stepfather, Stuart, is director at the arboretum and we’re extremely lucky to spend every Christmas there. Harry’s mum and Stuart got married there and our niece had her naming ceremony there too, so it holds a lot of happy memories for us and we couldn’t imagine having our celebration anywhere else.
Next, we plan to book the marquee. We fell in love with the idea of a tipi after visiting the World Inspired Tents Open Weekend at Burford Garden Company. In such a gorgeous setting like Batsford, it’s only right to complement the natural environment and a tipi seems to do this with just the right amount of quirkiness.
That’s really as far as we’ve got, although we are talking through lots of ideas at the moment. What I’m struggling with is trying to narrow down a ‘vision’! I read lots of inspiring blogs and I’m obsessively pinning to my wedding boards in Pinterest, but I’m just terrible at making decisions. So over the next month I’d like us to have more of a clear idea of how the overall wedding will look.
But for now, our wedding seems such a long way off and our engagement still hasn’t quite sunk it yet. Maybe it never does. Does it?
Wednesday 19 August 2015
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