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