Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Shoes shoes shoes

Shoes, shoes, shoes, who doesn't love shoes?? Well me, sort of! Being very tall (5ft 10") I have been rather unfortunately cursed with size 9 heifers, oops I mean feet!

So after much looking around the Internet trying to find wedding shoes with not too big a heel - I really don't want to be much taller than I already am, I came across elegant steps who have quite a few of their range going up to a size 9. Yay!

I narrowed it down to a few pairs both of which heels were under 2 1/4 inches:
Paradox Pink - Plush
Image courtesy of bridalshoesuk

These ones where gorgeous and I would have loved to have them, but my feet which just a little too wide and I thought I would be falling out of them all day so they were a no go.

Paradox Pink - Dawn
Image courtesy of bridalshoesuk

These were really cute and made my feet look small (those of you with big feet will really appreciate how that made me feel!) so I settled on these.
Now being the awkward type that I am I also needed dyeable shoes as I really didn't want plain wedding shoes, I had always had it in my head I wanted a bit of colour and once the bridesmaid dresses where chosen I decided I wanted purple.
So once the decision was made which pair would hopefully see me through the day and not fall off half way up the aisle I sent them back to be dyed.

The company were great, they phoned me as soon as they received them back and talked me through the dyeing process. I had chosen the colour from a colour chart that I got from the company, they also custom dye to swatches that you send into them as well for those hard to get colours.

And this is the finished product which were waiting for me when I got home today. I'm very happy with them and they are a really good match for my Bridesmaid dress.

Hope you like them! I can't wait to see a spot of colour under my dress.

C xx

Sunday, 27 March 2011


Sirayane Boutique Hotel and Spa

There was some debate whether we should have a honeymoon or not seeing as we are travelling for the wedding. In my head I always wanted a honeymoon and never doubted that we would go on one and luckly my h2b felt the same. We have had a few frowns from other people that we are having a honeymoon on top of the wedding but as the saying goes 'it's our wedding'

So where to go? as we are going to Spain for a week a long haul holiday was really out of the question.

The logistics of planning a honeymoon have been quite difficult, I have had to consider that we will be travelling to Spain with all the wedding stuff and as we planning on going on honeymoon the day after returning to the UK from Spain (without returning to our house) the options of where we go (and how to pack for two separate holidays) has been a challenge in itself.

We looked at the possibility of going on a med cruise, but ruled that out as we cruised mexico last year and H2b wanted something different. Europe/Africa seemed to be a logically place to be going so that we could get somewhere within easy reach of the UK and hopefully somewhere that is still warm as the wedding is not until late October. We looked at Egypt but have been a few times so didn't think that it was 'special' enough for our honeymoon. That's when I stumbled across Marrakech! Only 4 hours from the UK and with average temperatures in October still in mid to late 20's, it fitted the bill perfectly.

We have booked a beautiful boutique hotel called Sirayane Boutique hotel and Spa, located just outside of the main medina of Marrakech, far enough away to have the tranquility that we are after but close enough to be able to visit the hustle and bustle of the medina and the famous marrakech markets. The hotel only has 28 bedrooms and looks amazing from the photos on their website. We have never been to Marrakech so felt that it would be perfect for that something different and plus the fact that it looks like an amazing place to see! We are both really excited.

I think that after the busy week for the wedding this will come as a welcome place to relax and enjoy our first week as husband and wife.

C xx

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Unity Candle

This weeks project has been to work on our unity candle.

As part of our ceremony we will be lighting our unity candle and I really wanted one that was personal to us.
Off I went again on the great internet hunt to find one that we could use...... if you have never had the joy of researching these I think you would be amazed at the price that they are! For a unity candle and two taper candles with a stand the cheapest I could find was around £40 not including postage. For a candle????

There was no way that I was willing to pay that much for something that runs the risk of being left at the church if no one remembers to lift it (must put that on my list of Lisa the wedding planner!) and wasn't even what I really wanted.

Google images brought up some links to ones that people had managed to do themselves so that was my mind made up. The unity candle will be another project!

So off I went to the craft shop this morning, armed with the candle and my colour scheme to find matching ribbon and this is what I have come up with.

Again, excuse my photo quality!

I have designed the monogram myself and it will be on our inserts for the invites and also our menus too so I really felt it needed to feature on the candle if I could. The quote on the front is also on our Order of Services so I think it all ties in well.

On the back I have an Irish wedding saying, to keep in with our roots. The back of the ribbon needs tided up a bit to try and prevent the overlap, but thats tomorrows job!

C xx

Friday, 25 March 2011

First Meltdown!

Well thats another thing out of the way! The first major wedding meltdown.

It all started with a simple email from my wedding planner letting me know that the girl that she would normally recommend to do hair and makeup has moved back to her home country of France and the next recommended person was coming in at €65 more expensive.
Now in the grand scheme of things I know that this is not a lot of money but when the email came it felt like the worst possible thing that could happen to me, I was just totally fed up of not feeling in control (another down side to organising the wedding abroad) and thinking that I had the budget right, only to find out that something was actually more expensive. Another word of warning, a wedding in Spain is not that much cheaper!

Anyway, off I went on my trusty internet search to see if I could find something cheaper to suggest to my wedding planner (yes I am a control freak and can't hand full control to her!) and duely sent her an email which she is now chasing and booking a trial for me when we go over in April, saving me €65! Happy Claire again :-)

That is until another email comes in asking about food for the menu tasting that just totally threw me.... I have no idea why but I totally couldn't cope with what the wedding planner was asking, which for the record was only did I want to taste anything else other than the chosen menu we had picked.
The h2b felt the brunt of this, with a mad rant to him that he couldn't even understand what the actual problem was, at this stage to be honest neither did I! I just felt the need to have a go at him for no reason, if you are reading this now.....Sorry!

Thankfully, my wedding planner is now back on Skype after having internet issues over in Spain since January, a quick email to her to ask if she was around and an hour on Skype last night and all is right with the world :-)
I realised last night for the first time that sometimes emails just won't cut it when you are organising a wedding abroad, my word of advice when you are looking for a wedding planner, make sure that they allow telephone contact or even better skype, its free!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

The dress!

Wedding dress = done!

The main reason for my Mum and sister coming over to Scotland was to help me to get a wedding dress. I had promised Mum I wouldn't try any on before she got here but I had to sneak one in due to it being the only sample in the UK and not actually being able to get it to Scotland the weekend they were due to come. I sure she has forgiven me for it!
I shared the photos of this dress with a few of my friends and everyone loved it, so did I, but there was just something that I wasn't sure about. I didn't know if it was because I had tried it on without my Mum, Sister or Bridesmaid or if it was because I felt so odd seeing myself in a wedding dress for the very first time.

Anyway, the time finally came for my Mum and sister to come with me to a few different bridal shops, we had 3 picked out for the Friday and another 2 to go to on the Saturday. I wasn't totally confident that I would find the dress I had in my head, actually if I am truthful by this stage I wasn't even really sure what I wanted!

I really thought that I wanted something in Chiffon and the dress I tried on without my mum was this It was gorgeous and I felt it really suited me, I thought it would be hard to beat!Maggie Dress

So off we went on our quest to find 'the one'. I tried on about 9 in total on Friday, most where chiffon floaty grecian types and they were all lovely but none that really stuck out or that I had 'the feeling' in. Feeling a bit tired, off we went to the last shop of the day, I had been speaking with the owner and she said that although she had only a few chiffon dresses she had lots that she would recommend for a destination wedding so I went hoping!

When we arrived I spotted the chiffon dresses and instantly disliked them, my first thought was oh god now what do I do, then I thought I may as well try on something different than the picture of what my dress should be that I had in my head.
I thought with a destination wedding that I would be really limited with the types/style of dresses I could have but on talking to the owner she pointed out quite a few that she felt would pack well. All of which were completely different from what I had in my head and had been looking at on the internet. I figured at this stage I was there and may as well just try them on. I tried on a big 'proper' dress complete with a hoop! Totally not me, but I loved trying it on, a very plain chiffon type dress, and two taffeta dresses. I totally feel in love with the first taffeta dress, so not what I wanted but as soon as I put it on I felt that the style was so much more me than the chiffon types I had been trying. I was feeling good at this point so tried on the last dress, and then came the goosebumps! It was gorgeous and again so totally not what I went for. I walked out and my Mum and sister were amazed, that was it, my mind was made up! The deposit was paid and the dress ordered....ohh and we also managed to get some hair accessories to match part of my dress! Great day shopping.

Not what I went for, not how I imagined it to be, but totally beautiful, totally me and I think it even as a little touch of Spanish in it. I can't wait for everyone to see it on the day.

'Ups & Downs' of planning a wedding abroad

Well as the title of this blog says, I want to document the ups and downs of having a wedding abroad and there are definitely some of both already.

  • One of the major ones is off course people not able to make your wedding due to costs etc. I will be having all the people with us that we love and are very close too and I really appreciate them all making such an effort to be with us on our special day. We made sure our save the dates went out in January giving everyone 10 months to save up and it is also on Scottish school holidays so all off h2b's nieces and nephews can make it.
  • Not being able to just pop along to see someone or make arrangements to see them at the weekend to talk about plans for the wedding or book suppliers.
  • The language difference and the speed of which Spanish people work. mañana is most definitely the way that things work in Spain and it has been hard to get used to.
  • Having to do most communication with people via email, a lot has to be said for good old fashioned talking! So much can be misconstrued from emails.
  • Not totally understanding the culture, things work differently in Spain and trying to get it right even with a wedding planner can be hard sometimes.
  • Thinking of how we get all 'the stuff' out there can be a challenge in itself, I think that if the wedding was here I would be having things that I can't have as we need to think of getting it to Spain or sourcing it in Spain.
  • The cost of getting married in Spain is not cheaper than here, in my opinion. We are however able to offer more there as we will have less guests.

But to counteract all this and end on a positive note there are plenty of 'ups'


  • Being able to have my wedding in the sun! (well hopefully but lots more chance than having it here)
  • Being able to offer so much more from our day than we could afford to here....free bar anyone?? lol
  • Having all our close family out in Spain with us for the week running up to the wedding, relaxation & pool side BBQ's here we come.
  • A more relaxed wedding day, with those who are closest to us sharing our big day with us.
  • Something completely different than any of the weddings we have been to here.
  • A week in the sun before the wedding then still having my honeymoon to look forward to!
  • Having a great wedding planner who will make sure we get to relax in the run up to the wedding day.
  • No cares and plenty of sun, sea and sangria! mañana mañana!

Wedding Central

So last weekend, my Mum and sister arrived from Ireland to wedding central and quickly became bombarded by all things wedding, I really have missed living away from home since I started planning the wedding, there are some things that you would just love to show your mum straight away.
Anyway, they got the full treatment and out came the 'wedding box' (a big box holding all the current wedding paraphernalia) and the planned table decorations were set out on my kitchen table.

We have two places to decorate in our venue, outside for dinner and then inside for the evening reception. My main colour will be purple to match my bridesmaid dress.
We need to think about outside, where we will be eating dinner on the terrace, my plan is to keep this very simple and the hotel will be providing basic centerpieces on white table linen so my plan is to have cream or white flowers with some greenery and then scatter some purple silk flower petals around them that match my colour scheme. I thought this was easier than trying to get the hotel to match my colours and maybe ending up with a completely different colour of purple. I also want the guests to be soaking in the view of the mountains!

For the evening reception, the spanish have very strict laws on music so we need to move inside. The room is huge! So I really need to make sure that we plan our tables quite well in here. My plan is to have some mirror plates with crystals sprinkled and candles, the lights will be dimmed in this room and we have fairy lights hanging from the bannisters so hopefully the atmosphere will be set and the room will not look just as big! This will be were the DJ will be set up as well.

Excuse the photos, they were taken when the hotel was out of season so the place was not set up right.

Outside terrace where we will be eating

The other side of the Terrace where the top table will sit

The inside reception room.
We will only be using the bottom floor, the top will be dimmed and fairy lights will be hanging from the bannisters.

A sample of how the inside tables will be decorated.
I am hiring larger mirror plates when we get there, but this gives an idea of my ideas!

So Mum and sister were throughly bombarded with all things wedding but it felt so good to have everything out and being able to show people my ideas and how I want it to all come together was really good. I think my Mum really appreciated being able to be part of it all too and it was great to get their ideas about what they think will work or not.

I love h2b very much but to be honest all this girly stuff is not his strong point! Thank god for sisters and Mums! lol

C xx

DIY Projects

Being a little bit crafty and enjoying the time I get to myself to do all these projects I have decided to go all DIY with our wedding to make sure its personal to us.

Some of the things on the list of DIY projects are:

  • Invitations
  • Order Of Services
  • RSVP's
  • Menus
  • Table Planner
  • Table Place Names
  • Guest Book
  • Kids activity packs and bags
  • Mr & Mrs sign
  • Unity Candle
Do you think that will be enough to keep me going?

Below are some pictures of things that I have been working on already. Excuse the quality of these photos, but I am currently having to use my phone as my camera is broken.

Mr & Mrs sign for the top table (colour matched to bridesmaid dress)

Table Names in frame and Kids activity bags.

Order of services


C xx

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Picking a venue

I really didn't think this whole getting married abroad thing through!

How do you pick a venue from photos alone? Well in our case you don't! After lots of emails with suggestions, and lots of looking on my now best friend (the wedding forum) we came up with a shortlist and off we went on a 'viewing visit' to Spain (what a good excuse for a weekend break)

It was a very full on weekend, looking at 2 churches and 5 different venues, meeting the photographer, cake maker and florist but it felt so good to have it all sorted when we got on the plane home and so much better than just doing it all over the internet from pictures.

Oh and the best thing, we need to go back for the menu tasting! Roll on April.

C xx

So where do you start?

I always knew I wanted my wedding to be abroad and in my head I had visions of Greece and a lovely little whitewashed chapel.

However once the proposal came and some kind of reality hit the logistics of planning a wedding abroad and getting all our loved ones there was a huge task.
We decided then that we should move the wedding to mainland europe (you would think I had already booked Greece! lol) we looked at both Spain and Portugal and the ease of getting all our friends and family there from Ireland, Scotland, England and the Isle Of Man. Spain won on ease and ability of flights.

One major decision made.... but boy did I not realise what I had let myself in for. Spain has very strict rules on marriage and the paperwork is huge! However as we are both christened Catholic we are able to have a church service there without any residency agreements and no major hurdles to get over (and it will please the parents!)
There was no way that I would want to do this on my own so my next job was to find a wedding planner.
If you are ever planning a wedding in Spain I would recommend a wedding planner to help with the paperwork alone.

How do you know though if your wedding planner will be good or not??? Boy this wedding planning lark is not easy. After lots and lots of web search, scanning wedding forums for weddings abroad (and not finding that many good ones) I came across and Irish site called www.weddingsonline.ie which has a great weddings abroad section with lots of recommendations. It was here I found a link to the planner that I have ended up going with who is called Lisa and has been a godsend! After plenty of emails and a very long skype phonecall we booked up and have not looked back.

Oh how exciting!

Well following in the footsteps of my lovely new wedding friends on twitter, I have decided to try and blog my way through my wedding.

As I am well into the planning already, my plan will be to post back over some of the highs and low points we have had so far in our quest to get married in the Costa Del Sol.

I hope you all bear with me, while I try to get the hang of this!

C xx