Thursday, December 3, 2009


So as you may have gathered, the dress choices for me were greatly narrowed by the selection and service in various shops over two/three months. It came down to Eden Bridal in Enniscorthy and Town Bride in Powerscourt. It's a pity I couldn't get the dress from Eden and the finish from Town because the finished work from Colm & the girls there looked just amazing. But, the dress in Eden won out overall and I will be handing Hilda a pile of cash early in 2010 when she delivers The Dress.

Massive relief to get that hurdle out of the way so that's three major things down now. Dress, ceremony venue, location for meal afterwards - all in the bag. Now to relax over the Christmas and then start worrying about invitations and little things in the new year. Unless of course the venue gets flooded or something in which case...I'm eloping.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dublin Wedding Shops

So... Bridal stores in our great capital. They had a lot to live up to, and in sum, they fell well short!

I said I would name and shame and I have no problem doing that. I won't go on for ages about what was wrong with the places because I simply don't want to be a complete mare. Maybe I caught them on a bad day, maybe they're feeling the pressure of the recession, maybe they have had it too good for too long. They don't seem to mind treating their customers like second class citizens because they think another queue of girls with fistfuls of cash in their hands are going to bring up the rear. Only one shop was I truly impressed with in Dublin City.

So first up was Sharon Hoey (Upper Mount St), a shop which gave you 40-45 mins. Not a bad selection of dresses but a poorly qualified floor staff who were no help at all in guiding you to what styles they had in store, which might suit you. To make things a little more awkward, it's a very small shop which takes three appointments at the one time, meaning you have a gaggle of strangers staring at you as you are trying to see if this is the dress for you. Hmm. Sales training required for the old shop girls methinks. Plus a different person at the door (could have been Sharon herself, we were not introduced) calling out prices and pushing the "we're selling them at sterling prices because of the recession so book fast" sort of thing...

Next up, Bridal Wraptures on St Stephen's Green. I have heard very mixed reviews of this store from different girls. Some thought they were snooty, some lovely. I think it depends on who you are lucky/unlucky enough to be landed with when you walk in the door. I have been in twice, once when they were operating as normal and once when they were having a big sample sale. I have since heard a rumour that they are closing down so if you have your eye on a sample give the girls a shout. The dresses - some are in rag order, some are still shiny - so you may be lucky. Shame they are going out of business (if it's true!); one of the girls in there was really nice. They may not have been extremely helpful but if they are in financial difficulty then you can understand a lack of interest in their job at this point.

deStafford Bridal on Exchequer Street in the city centre...oh my gawd. MOST unpleasant experience of them all. We arrived about 5 mins early for our appointment and were glared at, eyes rolled to heaven, the works. We sat on the couch to wait our turn, and were told to go and look around. We did so, and the dresses were pretty awful. I'm sure they were lovely when they left the designers' but these ones were ripped, filthy, and most unfortunately - rammmmmmmed into the rails so that it was difficult to get a good look at any. Most of the staff of four were dependent on one single colleague to do everything - take calls on the phone as she was meant to be squeezing a girl into a dress, talk to drop-in customers at the door, answer queries on orders that were arriving - the whole shebang. She wasn't the owner, just the most hard working person in the place. And as hard as she was working I was very far from impressed. The floor was filthy so no wonder the dresses were so dirty - they hadn't a hope. In the changing room there were pins and discarded packaging all over the place, it was horrible! Ugh, being in bare feet between dresses was NOT fun! The changing room is in the middle of the shop, with the mirror in front of the window so passers by can see in. No bother in a backstreet but Exchequer St? Your mates could be passing!!! Anyway, after arriving 5 mins early we were left high and dry until 20 mins past our appointment time. As I mentioned - the one girl doing any work was pretty busy! I felt sorry for her, but then she started talking up lots of different local suppliers and I felt like she must have been on commission. Bless her if she was genuinely trying to be helpful, but it just came across as pushy. Needless to say I gave up on the final few dresses and just wanted to get out of there.

Berketex is over in the Jervis Street Centre and has quite a nice setup. They only take 2 appointments at a time so it's not as bad as Hoey's over in Dublin 2. The dresses are not that expensive but alas, they look it. I felt a lot of the dresses looked really, really cheap. I'm all for a bargain but I don't want to look like one on my wedding day!! What I will say is that they hold more than one size in their more popular styles, which I think is a brilliant idea - I wish more places could do that. I realise it's expensive but we B2B's come in all shapes and sizes... I went with a friend, who is very petite. I can only wish I was so! We have similar tastes in dresses so it was great that the same dresses were there in 2 sizes. They also had a wide variety of styles, colours and uber tacky accessories. What I did NOT at ALL like was how incredibly pushy the sales people were. They were SO pushy!! Putting us both under pressure to buy a dress, hoping to panic us into a sale. Not impressed. Seriously girls, you are not selling cars... Nice clean shop though. And you can bring as many little helpers as you like. (see, I am trying to be nice here...)

Last but not least, was the King of Wedding Dresses, Colm Flanagan in Town Bride. The man is a wonder; he starts from scratch and talks you through entire styles. Takes a look at you, measures up your shape and guides you away from racks full of dresses that he can tell just won't suit. What a breath of fresh air... We spent less than an hour with him and came away reassured that I would not look like a crazy person on the big day. His subtle tips and gentle nudges in the right direction...just magic. The sample dresses in Town Bride (which is in the Powerscourt Centre) come in without bones, which means they are easier to get in and out of, and then they are easier to close in the way that they will look when they are boned. I saw a finished dress just ready for collection when I was there - they do all their own alterations in-house - and the finish was exquisite. I was really, really impressed with the level of service at Town Bride. I only wish I had found my dress there!

Moral of the story folks...don't take my word for it, give the half-bad ones a second chance to redeem themselves, but prepare not to be totally wowed everywhere you go in the city. The only one I would hang a warning sign on is deStafford's, they were utter rubbish. I'd also like to hang a neon sign over Powerscourt with a big arrow pointing "go here" for all the worried brides out there who need some style advice - with no pressure to buy, none at all.

I'm not linking to the bad sites, they don't deserve the traffic. And Town Bride doesn't appear to have a website...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Even more Wedding Dresses!

So I went half way down the N11 last time I toured the bridal circuit - this time I went all the way to the end of the road to find some frills sans puffs 'n' meringues.

First up was Marianne's Bridal in Wexford Town, a tiny shop on Selskar Court (near the Redmond Sq. end of town). Met with Marianne herself on a rainy Saturday morning - she's a lovely lady. Her shop is a little small so there is really only room for one bride & (just) her mum at the one time. Even when it came to getting me into some of the more intricate gowns (ribbons & corsets - you need a scissors to get out of them!) - she was tying me in, in the middle of the store, in front of the shop window. I didn't care at that stage - I'm so used to getting prodded into gowns by now that I didn't bat an eyelid but a more shy B2B may get a little uncomfortable. The shop floor, because it's so cluttered, is rammed full with dresses. Marianne does a lovely collection of formal wear in addition to the wedding dresses - debs dresses and gorgeous bridesmaids. The shop wasn't really my cup of tea and her selection wasn't great - although excellent value for money. I couldn't fault Marianne herself for enthusiasm! They also didn't have a loo, she said they got rid of it to make more space(!) which was a bit of a pain - I always find that after I've been shoved into gúnas too small for me that know...need to go. It's the little things in life... TMI? Sorry!

Second on the list was Eden Bridal in Enniscorthy. Hilda & Co. used to have a shop in Gorey but it got too cluttered - so Hilda built a custom designed wedding-heaven on land in Clohass, just outside Enniscorthy. Bring a map, or borrow a GPS! Because I kid you not - it's worth it. You buzz in, electric gates open, up the driveway you go to be met with a fountain. To the right of the fountain you abandon the car and venture into what can only be described as an Aladdin's Cave of delight. You are met at the door by a handful of friendly smiling staff and are escorted to your private viewing area. From the reception you walk into a brightly lit airy spacious room (such a contrast to Marianne's, bless her she didn't stand a chance against these guys). The central area of the room has a large guilt edged mirror. Beside that is a large bay window with a display of one or two gowns a groom's attire. Off that central area are 4 different sections. Each section has a long, well lit rail with a lot of dresses on them; each one has enough space so that you're not pulling it out from behind another three. So that's - count 'em - eight long rails full of fun. One is dedicated to the grooms, so that's 7 rails of wedding dresses. Now I will say this - there is almost too much to choose from. But the most amazing thing is - they were apologetic that they could only give me a two hour viewing on a Saturday. Seriously? 30-45 mins in Dublin during the week and Hilda & the girls apologising for only two hours on a Saturday... Ladies, head AWAY from The Pale if you are looking for quality of service... Needs must, I do appreciate, but seriously...

Anyway, about the dresses - they have many. If you like lace - their San Patrick range is expansive and simply lovely. Note: all the dresses are clean and a pleasure to try on. Not grimy and rammed into a tiny rack unsuitable for large gowns. They do The White One, Paloma Blanca, and I can't even remember the rest, there were so many. I had 2 girls in the changing room with me (and there was room for about three more - how refreshing) and they were well turned out, pleasant and very helpful on what styles would suit etc. They are very aware that there are a lot of dresses to choose from, so when you like a particular aspect of one gown, they zoom off and find a similar one to see if you like it. When I walked in I liked the look of one dress on a mannequin in the bay window - by the time I was taking off my runners, it was on a hanger beside the changing room. I hadn't asked them to do that, they just spotted me looking at it. Amazing sales skills on these girls!

Anyway I had a lovely time there, was offered a sample of wedding cake, a glass of champagne or tea/coffee/juice/water - more than once throughout the 2 hours - they also have a lot of information on local florists, etc. if you are getting hitched in Co. Wexford. I left thinking it would be nice to give them the business, as they deserved it the most after all the people I had met.

Last up for Co. Wexford was Glamourize Bridal in Gorey. God bless them but the three sales girls were running about the upstairs shop following me as I was looking around, putting every dress I touched into the changing room so that I could try it on. I didn't even like half of them but they were so enthusiastic I felt obliged. Two of the dresses were nice and had potential, but the samples were grimy and torn, and the shop assistant didn't really have a clue about styles that suit certain shapes or anything at all. Hilda in Enniscorthy, Marianne in Wexford Town, and the three ladies I met in Co. Wicklow were all very helpful in guiding me into dresses that suited me. The girl in Glamourize clearly just wanted to make a sale - she was lovely, but I wouldn't recommend the shop at all. Sorry ladies. She tried very hard, the accessories were nice...I'm trying to find nice things to say because they really didn't do anything wrong, it just didn't suit me at all!

So they are the results from the Wexford Jury. Lots of fun was had with my mum, we had a lovely lunch in Gorey after all that and we departed for home soon after. Gorey is so nice to visit, now that it has been bypassed by the N11. It's much easier to cross the road! And I'm glad to see the town still bustling with business.

Monday, October 5, 2009

More dresses

Yes, the dress hunt has continued in earnest over recent weekends. Boss relaxing the panic measures also means I can plan the occasional afternoon off to view a few goonaz in the capital, reserving the weekends for far flung dress shops.

This weekend was spent in one such selection. Last month saw me go a little further south - to Wicklow - for some inspiration. I visited Antonia's in Blessington who don't seem to have a website but I've linked to a decent page about them. Anneliese is a lovely, lovely person. Patient and fun, insistent that you have a good - relaxed - time in her shop. There isn't a huge selection, but what she has is very nice and it's not a bad place to start for the clueless bride. The prices are very reasonable and the dresses are clean. She makes you feel good about yourself when you stand up on the box!

Next up was Anne Gregory in Newtownmountkennedy, whose website is pretty terrible! I was only given 30 mins there but that was because they were fitting me in at the end of the day so that was nice of them in fairness. Realistically you wouldn't need any more time than that; their selection is not great. The dresses are ok but you are not given much time and I had to ask to actually look at their full selection - they just brought me what they thought would suit. That can be a great service if that's what you're looking for - less confusion! But I just wanted to see what else they had. What I will say as a big plus is that they take care of their dresses very well. You could perhaps even buy one of the samples, they were that clean and looked after. Each one is whisked back under protective plastic before you are into the next one!

Thirdly from Wicklow I visited the lovely Marie McElheron. Marie is a dress designer in addition to stocking a number of labels at her gorgeous - small - studio in Arklow. What I really liked about this visit, in addition to the peaceful calm surroundings, was Marie's gentle advice. I took my time viewing the rack which although not extensive, seemed to have a stronger range than Anne in Newtown. I picked out four dresses to try, and on seeing me in the first couple, Marie made a couple of subtle suggestions which turned out to be really great advice. I began to narrow down the style of dress that suited me, and different small details that would enhance different aspects of my figure. Which she assures me I have, beneath all the wobble I can't stand! She believes the role of the dress is to make you feel comfortable and at ease on the big day, as well as being a statement! She helped to calm me down a lot, which is half the battle I guess. Other shops try to pressure you into talk of deposits and lead times, whereas Marie's opinion is - if you have three weeks, there's a solution out there. If you have three months or three seasons to plan your wedding, don't panic, it will all come together. Great advice.

This weekend I ventured further south into Wexford to see what I could find. Again I went to three shops (I really can't handle more than that in a day, I was exhausted after almost 5 hours of being whooshed into corsets and boleros and straps and halters and...)

I promise to give you the full low down on those three stores in my next post...

Monday, September 14, 2009


Comment from The Handsome One upon seeing all the bridal wear mags lying about the sitting room: "Why are none of them smiling? Isn't it meant to be a dress worn on the happiest day of your life? They've all faces like slapped arses! Ted, I'm hugely confused."

So the hunt has begun, in relative earnest what with time getting away from me for a wee while there. I've taken to booking dress-looking appointments en route from work by myself, because coordinating my one diary with that of a dress shop is difficult enough without finding a pal/cousin/parent whose diary is also free. I figure that I can scope out a few nice dresses by myself and then only drag the family/slaves with me when I have something worth seeing. Good idea? Hope so...

It's a bit mad that every single weekend over the last 2 months has been busy, and will remain so for the next 6 weeks at least. So the evenings will just have to do! Also going to book a morning/afternoon off work and hit two shops in a half-day now and again in order to get around more shops. It does mean taking 2 or 3 half days from work but (a) my boss is fabulous and lets me work up the time, and (b) my bride-pals have told me from their experience that the weekdays are far less stressful in dress shops. Not only that but it's not worth trying to fit 15 shops into one Saturday because it's just too much darn hard work getting in and out of those massive gowns.

Gosh I hope some of them aren't massive. I'd love a simple dress with just enough sparkle to match my smile-pings on the day...

More later.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I think I have it! A solution to the ceremony venue problem.

I wrote a good few months ago (here) about trying to decide what venue to choose when it comes to getting married - as in, the ceremony itself.

The main issue for me, was asking some random priest for permission to get married. On 2 counts - one, to marry at all - which everyone has to do. Two, to marry in a venue which is not an RC church - we had to get special dispensation from on high, a bishop or some such.

I'm a (pigheaded) independent person and I really have difficulty with the fact that he or I should have to ask a stranger's permission to get married. Not only that, but in order to obtain said permission, the RC party has to swear that they will do everything in their power to raise any children we may have in the future, as Mini-RC'ers.

Eh, no. Have you seen the church lately? Damien flagged something interesting on Sunday about it. I will not be raising any chizzlers in a church that hasn't sorted itself out yet. And I'm not going to solemnly swear that I will do so either! Why start a marriage on a lie?

Aside: it has been argued that if we really want to marry that we will cross these "hurdles" and be done with it, because being married is the ultimate goal. While I appreciate that sentiment, it [lying in order to get what you want] does not sit well with me so I kept looking.

So, I have found a solution, I think. One that respects both parties. There's an interesting word for the Catholic church to think about when looking inwardly at their own problems...respect! As in, respect your flock...

It is still possible to have a church wedding, without all the above mentioned rigmarole. You can get married in an Anglican Church, with a lovely friendly (open minded) rector who will go through the kind of ceremony you are happy with, incorporating as much religious stuff as you need or want, without having to go to a registry office. If you still have faith but are disgusted with the RC church right now, you don't have to sacrifice your ceremony. According to the chap we met this weekend in our local CoI church, he has married quite a few 100% RC couples who were just miffed with the permission thing and simply wanted to be married in the eyes of the law and in a church. I had no idea this was an option! How lovely! We don't have to quit one church and sign up to another in order to do it, this particular rector was warm, welcoming and friendly - but not in a way that suggests "hehehe, I'll just notch another one up on the flock-register, harhar..."

We have to be aware that "our marriage will not be recognised in the eyes of the Catholic Church" because of a Vatican decree stating that all couples who wish to marry have to get a blessing from a "real" priest etc. etc. but that would be the case if we were getting married in a hotel or registry office by a civil servant, so hey, if this shoe fits... The Vatican doesn't see vicars or rectors or pastors as men of the cloth anyway - never mind the lady vicars (sorry Geraldine!)

I just wanted to share this information here. I think there are a lot more people out there like us, who wish to marry officially without being constrained to the 9-5 of the registry office. It has taken me months to find this solution and I am so happy we have found it. I hope someone who has the same conundrum finds this useful!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Day Five...

I'm still here...haven't faded away...still hungry...

Had zero energy last night and was sorely tempted to eat lots of bread and/or sugar but didn't, thanks to fiancé keeping guard in the kitchen, ha!

Much better today, hurrah, here's hoping I keep it up!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Diet. Ugh.

Day one - still a pleasant enough person - will keep you updated, hehe

This diet involves low-GI food, no junk or booze for a week or two in order to kick-start the weight reduction, and an increase of exercise. I only work out twice a week at the moment so I'm upping that to four times a week and just trying to eat more sensibly. I'm aware that if I cut out too much I'll only start to lose muscle mass in addition to flabby-pounds, so I'm staying conscious of my protein intake. Just making sure it's not in the form of burgers and/or cheese ;) hehe. I'm also aware that if I'm too draconian I will lose interest, come off the regime (which is meant to be a life-change but seriously...I love good food) and pile all that weight back on again.

Please don't judge me, it's not just because I'm getting married next year that I'm doing this. I've lost a stone over the last 12 months and having a day out to plan for is giving me the nudge to lose the other stone. I'm sorry I don't know what that is in kilo's off the top of my head...

In other news...

We may have found our venue, spotted a rather nice place over the weekend, very relaxed and flexible, didn't make you think that they churn out weddings like they're on a conveyor belt at the weekend, very nice indeed. It's a restaurant with a big garden, so - place for large tent attached to kitchen. Bingo... Date we want isn't free so we may just change our date. Our at-ease flexibility was met with much-relieved smiles by staff member who showed us around.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ass Kicking

So, I have just been given a virtual kick up the rear end by me ma, who is fed up with me not speaking of or doing anything about our day out next year. She is worried that we won't get what we want and that's a valid argument, only we have no specific wishlist.

If one of his churches isn't available, that's cool, we'll go to another and see if they're free. Or we'll get married later/earlier that same day. Oooh, wouldn't a really old style "wedding breakfast" be fun, instead of hanging around worrying about hair, make-up and nails until 2pm?!

I certainly think so. Plus, not going with the regid timetable set out by a hotel who churns out weekly wedding parties like they're on a production line, means that we can be flexible around everything on the day. Oh goodie!

I'm interested in everything in reverse, actually. I'm looking at invitations and placecards and rings and cakes, when I have no details to print on the invitation, no tables for the placecards and no party to have the cake at yet, haha!! I'm just a little bit nuts I think. Oh well. Thank goodness he likes the crazy.

Moral of this post: ass-kicking duly noted, will be actioned presently. Those wedding planner folder thingies my lovely friends got me almost a year ago will be dusted off this evening. Yes Mum!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Alternative Wedding Ideas

Wedding invitation:
Creativity and patience - this is the result!

Going down the aisle:
Oh how embarrassing, not on your LIFE!! I couldn't do it if I couldn't dance...and I can't, so I won't...

First Dance:
From Dirty Dancing, now this is class!

Guests havin' a bop: Now an MJ tribute...

And now for some cake:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I love being engaged

Sshhh, don't say that too loudly, it's a bit of a taboo. Can't be saying it out loud at all in fact, in case my non-partnered-up friends hear me and take offence or judge me or think I'm being mean to them.

I'm quite sensitive about that actually. I recoiled in horror at the weekend when one of my old pals just kept going on and on and on about her wedding plans, when you could see sad eyes on a few heads around her. Girls who've been in recent breakups or have those long term boyfriends who just can't commit. In one way I know the other B2B wants to talk about it but in another... You wouldn't go on and on about how great your mum was if a friend had recently lost hers would you? Hmmm. Maybe that's a bad comparison but that's how I feel about it.

Secretly...I've always had this romantic notion that a long engagement would be wonderful. The pre-engagement era is nice, you're very close as a couple and it's lovely and you might even live together! But engagement is just the business. It feels different. Talking to a good friend who had been with her beau a long time and finally bought a ring, she kept saying "why didn't we do this years ago?" It feels great. Once we're married it'll be all grown up stuff so I'm privately quite content with the long run up to this day-long-party business.

I love being engaged! It's such a nice time in life. The excitement, the expectation, the sparkle... Went to a wedding recently, my first as a fiancée. It was nice, different, I'm not sure how to describe it. I felt more excited for the bride and could see and understand the true sparkle in her eyes. She glowed! Just genuine happiness all over her face, it was magical.

My favourite photograph of the day is one where the bride is hugging the groom from behind, resting her head on his back and he is standing there with his arms hugging hers. They look so peaceful and content, they had no idea I was taking the snap and were just relaxing at the edge of the party, taking it all in. I hope to have lots of quiet beautiful moments like that when we have our special day.

For the moment, I will just keep enjoying the engagement and keep my twinklie happy thoughts to myself.

Monday, June 8, 2009

In the news...

A lot of people are talking about where to get married now that more & more people are becoming disillusioned with the church.

It was on Today FM last week for example - questions on where you can get married on a Saturday, if not in a church? We are all wondering how long it will take before the registry offices are open at weekends.

Ironically of all the weddings I'm going to this & next year, the ones in churhces are all on Thursdays & Fridays, while muggins here was hoping for a Saturday but really wasn't pushed on the whole clergy thing.

Thought: can I go into a Church of Ireland church and say that I am of no religion? If that was feasible then I wouldn't have to ask permission to marry the man of my dreams, from some man in a frock who doesn't know me from Eve. In order to gain said permission I would normally have had to lie, promising to raise currently non-existent children in a church which has long lost my respect.

Don't get me wrong, I believe in God. I just don't believe in the RC Church. For me there is a huge difference.

For now I'm just wondering, like everyone else, when the opening hours for non-church weddings will change. For the moment it looks like we'll have to settle for an official day & a white-dress day. Unless we go to his church and I don't have to lie to do it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

This is bril

Sorry I haven't been here in a while, truth be told I've had nada to write about - been doing no wedding planning of late, but playing bridesmaid rather than B2B.

But this post is worthy of a mention, lots of points I wholeheartedly agree with, particularly those on first dances & speeches!

Have a read of what Nutty Cow has to say!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Trying on Goonaz

I've been trying on dresses lately - not white ones - because I need a gúna for a summer wedding far away, and I'm a Maid.

As a result of my distance from said wedding, I have to find my own dress, which is fun. It's like a little training ground for when I'm searching for a white(-ish!) one next year.

I've tried high street shops and "appointment only" boutiques, during week days and weekends. The difference in service in unbelievable! The ladies in Debenhams are absolutely lovely. Ladies in small country boutiques - also pretty wonderful. Brown Thomas? Oh lá lá (I went in for the craic) the experience was just magic. So patient, so kind and helpful, it was a real pleasure. I'll be back (again just for the craic) to try a few posh frocks in ivory when I get the time. Ms Wang eat your heart out. Ah, a girl can dream...

Some of the smaller boutiques? SNOOTY! It's like a conveyor belt, ladies rushing you here and there, putting you under pressure to choose & get out, thrusting their card with a price on it saying things like "you have to order it today" etc etc. - hello people, I'm not buying a car. I'm also not completely stupid. Most of the shops were shocked at my efficiency of taking an armful of dresses into a curtained area, stepping out, looking in the mirror and in less than 30 seconds going, "No. Next!" The abovementioned lovlies were even giving me extra dresses and chatting a bit more about options saying things like "we've loads of time, would you like to try this one too?" Then the conveyor-belt places. What a contrast!

I don't really want to name & shame the shite ones here. I will be going back for the white dresses (well let's face it, a snotty salesperson is not worth avoiding the whole place for, if the right dress is there behind them somewhere in the forest of white) so I will give them one more chance. But if they are rude, hurried or impatient again I will both name and shame. My mum will be with me next time too. She'll glare them into shape ;o)

PS I was sooooo disappointed with the selection of gúnas in Monsoon, Richard Allen & Pamela Scott...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What are you looking for?

I just had a little look to see what people are searching for when they come across this little blog.

Top terms were:
weddings + materialism
weddings + shallow
weddings + sad
weddings + small

I won't mention the others, they were too funny :o)

Anyway, I just wanted to say hello to those searching for a kindred spirit, I hope you find something of use here & if not, let me know where you do find it!

***Channelling happy thoughts of stress-free fuss-free days for all***

***I mean in fairness, who wants to be wrecked on their honeymoon?!?***

Monday, March 2, 2009

Telling the Outlaws

We sat down with his folks last week and told them what our wedding/party plans were for next year. They were really very nice about everything, not minding at all that we wanted a private ceremony and just a simple party afterwards, nothing fancy or traditional.

Then The Handsome One went over for dinner one evening, sans moi and the discussions ensued.

"Why don't you just get married abroad?"

"If there is just a handful of us, why not use a registry office instead of a big echo-y church? We'll look silly."

"Why are you waiting til next year, just get married now?"

They were the top three of all the stuff that came up. Reopen the floodgates of doubt, reopen that huge flipping box that me & Pandora had firmly shut three weeks ago. (I've been sleeping awfully well since, you know)

Response to Q1: Out of respect. Because we figured it would be too much to ask the clans. (both his & mine - mine's had 2 in the past 12 months, I couldn't ask them to go again!)

Response to Q2: Because he likes the idea of getting hitched in a church, it's important to him. He doesn't want to commit to me in a cold room that feels like a solicitor's office - to him, it's more than just the legal side of things, which I personally respect... Plus, I've heard that some people have been terribly unlucky in where their local registry office is located. Not that I've looked into ours, mind. Didn't need to...

Response to Q3: Oh my God I'm not even going to get into this one... (Note to self: stop throwing eyes to heaven, people don't like that, not even when you're laughing at the same time)

So, after all that...

Cue me asking "what do you think?" to the Handsome One more often than I should have, only to be met with "I don't know," and, "I haven't thought about it yet," which I really didn't believe...

Eventually we got back to the original "I want a big wedding," response, which was absolutely fine, because I still want to elope, so we're back to where we were at the aforementioned Pandora-Box-Closing incident.

Why is nothing straightforward?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Decision Time

I've been faffing about for long enough about what type of wedding to have. A compromise was being sought, these past weeks. Wondering how to meet "I would like a party" with "I would like to elope" - a challenge, no?

So here it is. No pomp, no officious ceremony involving a few hundred of my "closest" friends.

A private ceremony, less than 20 people. Some photos in the park. Lunch in a good restaurant and a nice relaxing afternoon with our nearest and dearest. Meet up with 80 people who we also love spending time with, somewhere fun for a bit of a bop and maybe some nibbles. No speeches. No "first dance" etc. Maybe just a toast (we like bubbles, they taste goooood).

And maybe some cake. That's it.

He'll wear a nice suit and I'll get myself a gúna. No tails ;) No groomsmen. Nobody is going to hold my frigging "train" coz there won't be one.

Sin é, Batman.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Best bits from Bride of the Year Show 2009

As promised...

There were a lot of bits of paper gathered at the RDS Main Hall last Sunday, as Leinster fans were shouting and roaring behind us. I've gone through everything and thrown out what was becoming a pile of crap, and have been left with these... So many people charging the earth for little things...

I spread all the best leaflets out on the floors of my house to try to fit them all into one blog post, so here goes...

In this first lot are caricatures, handy websites, info on marriage courses, random venues I would not have considered before, lots of videographers of every level of quality, photographers (I think I'm going to use someone I know for that though), favours, chair covers (chair covers?!) and a couple of swing bands.

From speaking to a few of the video people, I can heartily recommend that you see a few samples of their work before deciding. Shocking disparities! Here we have 4 images containing the main bulk of stuff - dresses, weddings in Italy, and of course the all important...honeymoon info...much more interesting than a one-day party...

Next up, clothes for the lads. They all had a go on the catwalk at the end of the hall but my mum and best friend agreed that the chaps in Tangoes rig-outs looked the best. I must say though, Aston's stand didn't look half bad either.

The wedding cars were lined up on each side of the hall, and were really beautiful. I found the guys from AT&T Chauffeurs the nicest, friendliest and down to earth of the bunch. They are pricey though. The photograph shows their leaflet second on the left, and their photo was taken last August! Flood season ;) Fantastic pic.

So here are the only three venue options from the show that stood out for me, only because the people on their stands were very nice. Particularly Sarah from The Merrion, she was calm, relaxed and really approachable, not at all haughty. I'm too afraid to open the email she sent me with her price list, but it's nice to think that such a fancy spot was the least up-their-own-bazoo's at the exhibition! Just thought I'd share...

The exhibition catalogue was actually not a load of crap. It has handy guides to dress styles and all sort of practical info. It's all on their website - which I've mentioned before.

I've mentioned cakes before... Well my goodness they were works of art - and completely delicious. Can't recommend them highly enough! These guys also came with a personal recommendation from a friend of mine, so that's always good to have when making a decision. What I was most surprised at was the price of a cake. You can get such a beautiful cake for €300 - I was under the impression from general chat that they were going to cost a complete fortune. Yes you can go nuts and spend a grand if you want to, but you don't have to! Hurrah. I love cake ;)

So since all of this is going to cost the GDP of an underdeveloped nation in the sun, and since there is such a lot of activity in the "closing down" section of the economy, it's a good idea to get wedding insurance. When I heard of it first I thought it was just another scam but hearing stories about poor unfortunates finding out that hotels are closing down - with their fat deposits gone - and wedding dress shops losing the ability to manage their cash flow very quickly, perhaps it's worth looking into. I only spotted one insurer at the exhibition:

And that's really it. They're the best bits I got from the wedding fair. I hope this post has been of some use to someone out there...

I still think it's a completely ridiculous concept, spending thousands of euro on just one day in your life.

I also have a huge problem with every penny being handed over to the venue no later than 2 weeks before the day itself. Especially at the moment - who's to say the venue just won't close up shop with all your munzers?! In fairness, WHAT cash outlays do they have when organising an event such as this? The tablecloths, AV equipment, staffing, food - everything is delivered the day before or week of the wedding itself. It has to be! So WHAT reason in the world do hotels have to demand 100% payment before they have lifted a finger on the "big day" as they all call it. In what other industry do you pay for everything beforehand and then wing it, hoping that the service providers won't act like a spaz on the day? In my mind, you never give all your money over before the service has been provided. Never. You have no bargaining power left! They have no reason to deliver an excellent service - who cares? You've paid them already, the money is in the bank, you can go and sing for all they care.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I haven't forgotten

I survived the Bridezilla Fair on Sunday, it was a good show, lots of info at it. I'm still planning a much more detailed and info-filled post, but every time I sit down to get all the stuff out, The Handsome One and I just end up having another serious discussion about it all.

So, there's lots of stuff to figure out, I've got a constant headache from the worry about it all and I promise I'll have something more useful up here over the next couple of days. More useful than "waaaaa WTF am I going to do..."

The snapshot is, at the fair the stands that spoke to me most were the far-away-distant-places ones. And the cakes. Oh the cakes.

Have a look at these for the moment and I will have more visuals and stuff later in the week.

Met lovely Irish lady who is based in Sorrento - she was nice
These guys were also present, I think, unless I just found them in Google when I got home on Sunday, tired and emotional and altogether not behaving in either a rational or logical manner.
And these chaps I'd looked into before Sunday, I didn't see them in the RDS Main Hall but don't hold me to it.

So what's the attraction with going away? Escape.

Escape from the shallow materialism that the wedding industry seems to have become. I suspected it had, but all my fears were confirmed on Sunday evening, when I got home and started going through the costs of getting married in Ireland. I started freaking out, pushing various brochures onto the floor in a sort of panic, wondering what on earth we were going to do. It's far less stressful/expensive to go abroad, but it's so much to ask friends and family. There have already been 2 foreign shindigs in my clan, and everybody always goes. It's so much to ask.

Here, people really do see money signs in their eyelids when a B2B walks in. My poor mum was with me on Sunday, watching me out of the corner of her eye, glancing hopefully over, praying that I was coming around to the idea of having a wedding at all. I'm the only daughter. She is being so kind and understanding about my conflicted indecisiveness that it makes me want to make her happy all the more. I don't want to break her heart. I also don't want to drive The Handsome One away by being so indecisive. And crazy.

What the hell?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hold the Phone

Well look at that now.

There's a book that's not total madness.

Georgina Campbell's Ireland for Romantic Weddings is actually very good.

It goes through all the counties of our little island one by one, listing what she thinks are the cats pyjamas both up north and in the republic. She even breaks down the fatter chunks so there are a couple of cities in there by themselves.

What's nice about the book is that there are lots of visuals - images of interiors & exteriors to give you a better feel for each option. A lot of the websites I've been looking at just don't have enough visuals for me. I'm lazy, I don't really want to have to drive around the country - as we've already established, I'm just not into it enough!

Georgina also has a handy wee checklist at the end of each venue review where she ticks or crosses out the following complimentary items:
  • Flowers & Candles on Tables
  • Menu Cards
  • Cake Stand & Knife
  • Red carpet
  • Champagne reception for bride & groom
  • Tea/coffee reception for guests
  • Accommodation for bride & groom
I have to say that's a pretty handy little list that I would not have thought to check myself. What with being clueless 'n' all.

She also has a good section at the beginning of the guide talking about all the important bits - notification of the state, marriage laws, civil ceremony options, religions. It's similar stuff to what I've been reading on all those websites I mentioned before, but it's nice to have it all on paper.

Finally the last bit of handiness is at the end of the book. It's like those deadly checklists you get in DK Travel Books (my all time favourite travel guides) - a magic matrix.

It gives you the crucials:
  • Max & Min Numbers required
  • Wheelchair Access
  • Evening Guest Option
  • Venue Hire Charge/none
  • On-site accommodation
  • And...whether it is a honeymoon location!
Other than the information overload, each venue is also reviewed in a succinct manner, there's no wishy-washiness to it, none of it too gushing - just nice and straightforward. It's also personal, clear that she has actually visited these places, not just reviewed them for the sake of a book. You never know with guidebooks...

All in all, a good read. One that won't freak you out ;)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Yesterday, the news, the speech, the crowds. Put it all into perspective...

The bigger picture is so much more important. Who cares about silly flowers and ribbons and favours...

Perspective. That's all I'm saying :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bride of the Year Show at the RDS

Mother booked - check
Best Friend booked - check
Various other new fiancées have been in contact to check plans for attendance - check

So the plan is to go along to this thing on Sunday at the RDS - more or less to start the ball rolling. My hesitation to decide anything has been obvious in just three posts, I know. I'm reluctant to "get into the wedding thing" purely because I don't want to fall into the trap of getting swept up by all the fluff and silliness, but I fear I am doing my friends, family & fiancé one huge injustice each. They will not let me float away into the abyss without a fight, they will not let me forget who I am or let me turn into a princess-crazy... So I'm just going to get over The Fear and get on with it. The longer I hesitate, the longer I'll have to wait to marry the man I love.

*snaps out of enthusiasm-lacking mode*


The plan so far... Jump on the Dorsh in BlackRawk (loike) with double-tall skinny latte in hand, armed with best friend and mum to protect me from the madness and enter Bridezillatown at around noon. If I survive I will post again to tell the tale ;) hurhur.

More thoughts later.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

That old Nugget

We've been having a look at what sort of ceremony we would like to begin our marriage with. We were toying with the idea of just going to the registry office and having a very small private ceremony. We had a look at here and spoke to a few people who had chosen this route. We were delighted to hear that some parties found it a very special experience, and were sad to hear about other encounters where a local registry office was situated in a multipurpose health-community-daycare centre, which the couple found took away from the solemnity of the occasion. The procedures etc. for just going through the legal side of things rather than a spiritual ceremony can be found here. It's not the best website in the world and typically with public sector websites it's cluttered, badly designed and overloaded with links. It is, however, full of information if you trawl through it, which is I suppose it's purpose. Try ringing them ;) they'll just say "it's all on the website..."

Anyway! There are another 2 websites that are actually not bad on the serious side of things. We've been looking at both because although we're both of Christian descent, one is RC and the other CoI. So the websites are...

Marriage Matters and Getting Married, simple as. They are both clutter-free and full of lots more handy information about getting married in churches and what you need to concern yourself with. Paperwork, permissions, that sort of thing.

I won't rant too much here about having to seek out permission from people who don't know you to marry your partner, or about having to get special dispensation from those on high in one church to get married in the other, or about making promises about the religious upbringing of your future offspring, regardless of what you believe in your heart... Oh no, you will not find rants on those areas here...not right now...

My lovely parental units shone a wee light on this one to see if that would stop the ranting. A non-credal church. Sounds promising! They're good folks, my wrinklies.

Pic from

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Who knew there were so many choices?

Wedding types.

From eloping, through going abroad with a select few and throwing a party afterwards, to having a small gathering at home, to travelling across the country to a big castle or something, to going to a nice restaurant, to renting a big house somewhere and getting a marquee in their garden coz you just don't have one big enough yourself, to going to a hotel with or without marquee, to a simple registry office. Oh yes, and then whether to have the church wedding (which church?!) or a registrar in a hotel or... So many choices, so little enthusiasm for any. I really am missing that gene!

To be honest it's all a bit daunting. Others are getting far more excited about this than I am. Is that odd? I would much prefer a relaxed celebration, no fuss, no stressing about flowers or favors or what class of bubbly or how many bridesmaids/groomsmen to have. Too much focus on the wedding and not enough focus on that thing called a marriage I think.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Got engaged

The Handsome One got down on one knee some time before Christmas and asked that question, making me glow and twinkle like I don't know what. We kept our little secret for some time, unable to stop smiling and just generally enjoyed the thrills. Went shopping one day and after a few visits around our fair city found the perfect ring, then went to inform our parental units. Joy, tears and bubbles all 'round. Cue telephone ringing off the hook, messages flooding in from overseas and down the road. Everyone we know has been so kind and generous, we didn't expect quite so many people to be so delighted for us. It's a humbling experience.

The last few weeks have passed in a sort of blur. It's like the circus has come to town only I'm hovering above it all on the trapeze wire, wondering what all the fuss is about. The Handsome One is there too, on the opposite wire, smiling away. He is just happy to be engaged. So am I! I think that's exactly it. I love being engaged and very much look forward to being married, spending my life with such a Handsome One, getting lots of laughter lines. It's the bit in between that's causing my heart to race - and not in a good way.

I have received crazy wedding tips from virtual strangers, been overwhelmed by people's reactions and overloaded with guidebooks on how to be a bride and all the whistles, bells and general fluff that goes with it. It's nice to see so many girls all excited about their big days, I just can't help feeling like a complete tool because I'm not going off the deep end about one day in my life. The focus seems to be totally on the bride here, when I thought I just committed to sharing my life with another being. Ironically, I'm usually bouncing off walls 'n' things, people generally think I'm nuts and here I am being totally removed from princess-madness. Hhmmm.
I have found some great websites that are far more useful than the crazy books I've been leafing through. Ciara over at seems reasonably sane ;) Plus, the tips over at are far more practical than the "don't ask someone to be your bridesmaid if they've slept with your groom" advice. Ugh.

I decided to start a blog dedicated to recording the experience of being a person who did not inherit a wedding gene. I'm not even fond of the phrase "bride-to-be" which for me conjures up connotations of grand stress. So I might just call it B2b for the craic. Maybe. I think Genie might be better. Simply because I fear a little magic will be required to get through all the fuss!

Pic from