Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

Up For Discussion: The Kids Are Alright! Yes Or No – Children At A Wedding?

February 23rd, 2012 | Julia Braime

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www.danielkrieger.com

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When planning my own wedding, it was a no brainer.  The day would be strictly adults only (with the exception of my very gorgeous 12 going on 25 little friend Lili).  Most of my friends at this stage were still pre-kids, and the ones who had little people were canvassed for their opinion and it was unanimous:  they very much fancied a day off. 

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The style of the wedding also lent itself to a child free day – a black tie style do with fine glassware, oysters and a vodka luge.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m no Cruella De Ville! I love children, and I do love the atmosphere that they can bring to a wedding, but for our wedding it was a no go. 

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The decision can be a difficult one, but make it early (childcare negotiations can seemingly take decades), explain your reasoning to your nearest and dearest and stick to your guns.  Remember that this decision doesn’t make you Cruella De Ville either. 

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If you do decide to invite the brood, my guest blogger Alison has some top tips as a bride who got very familiar with the children’s menu on her own big day. 

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Over to Alison: It’s a very thorny issue – do you allow children at your wedding or not?

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.www.wildflowersphotos.com

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There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s your wedding so you do what you want.

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In our case, we were a bit older when we got married and most of our friends already had children. A childfree wedding would have made it really difficult for many of our friends to share our big day – and as our priority was to have as many of them with us as possible, we took the bull by the horns and made our wedding as child friendly as possible.

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We ended up with over 50 children on the day!

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www.FourT4.com.. .www.FourT4.com

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www.FourT4.com

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Logically, I thought if the children are happy then the parents will be happy – which will make me happy. So this is how we did it:

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We chose the most child friendly venue we could think of – Chester Zoo. It was safe and enclosed with lots to do. There was plenty of space for them to run around and an adventure playground right next to the Manor House where we got married. Then once the zoo had closed to the public our guests were treated to a private safari with one of the keepers which the kids loved.

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We had a Wedding Bus which the kids absolutely revelled in.

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There was a designated children’s room and I hired two child minders. Giving the children their own space was a stroke of genius. There were activities in one room – I photocopied lots of animal related colouring-in sheets, quiz sheets and animal masks which all got used. And there was a quiet room where the littlies in particular could crash out. I asked parents to bring blankets and cushions and we had an ample supply of DVD’s and toys.

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The child minders were probably the best £175 I spent. The two of them were on the go, face painting and entertaining the children from 1pm until 10pm when we physically had to send them home. I provided sticky name labels for the children and their bags and a list of children’s names, who their parents were and their mobile numbers, and in return they face painted as though their lives depended on it.

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I gave instructions in advance about meal times. The last thing you want at your wedding are 50 whinging children, so I sent all parents an e-mail the week before the wedding advising them to feed their children beforehand – what time the meals were, what they would be eating and to bring any snacks they might need.

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Other than the bridesmaids, we didn’t have children in the room with us when we actually got married. There just wasn’t the space. While we didn’t have any screaming babies, one of our bridesmaids did announce very loudly, 30 seconds into the ceremony “(yawn) This is taking ages!” which gave the whole room a good giggle.

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We ordered picnic boxes for the children instead of an adult BBQ, and we saved a fortune by giving them packets of animal biscuits instead of a full cream tea which the grown-ups enjoyed. It was all very informal, there was no seating plan and the children were able to sit with whoever they’d made friends with.

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Finally, instead of traditional favours we had a candy bar full or retro sweets which the kids loved and gave them a big enough sugar high to see them through the rest of the evening – bopping merrily to Nirvana and the Fun Loving Criminals alongside their happy parents.

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As I said at the start, there is no right or wrong answer to the question – but for us I wouldn’t have had it any differently. One of my enduring memories of our wedding is all the children, many of whom had never met before, playing together and having a thoroughly brilliant time.

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Alison writes her own personal blog at http://alison-staples.blogspot.com

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Alison’s latest posts for Brides Up North:

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Naked At A Wedding

Honeymoons – Just The Two Of Us!

Santa Baby- A Bride’s Letter To St Nick

Christmas Weddings In Soap Land – Some Very Un-Real Weddings!

Up For Discussion- Money Can’t Buy You Love – Bringing It In On Budget

Up For Discussion- Don’t Tell The Groom! Man Management

Up For Discussion- How To Do “I Do”- Writing Your Own Vows

Up For Discussion- Empty Chairs

Up For Discussion- Achieving The Perfect Level Of Wedding Morning Zen

Up For Discussion- The Name Game (and meet Alison!)

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Would you like to guest blog for Brides Up North? Email julia@bridesupnorth.co.uk

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2012: 1: www.danielkrieger.com, 2: www.wildflowersphotos.com, 3-6:  FourT4 Photography 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Up For Discussion: Money Can’t Buy You Love – Bringing It In On Budget

December 9th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: Love Is Greater Than Money

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Times are hard.  But you still want to have your dream day.  What to do?

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As a I often receive emails from Brides to Be asking for advice on budgeting.

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The first thing to note is that absolutely every couple is different.  A must have for you might be a must not for the girl next door, but the biggest advice that I could give you is make a list of your personal absolute non negotiables, whether those be an amazing live band, a designer frock, individually crafted favours to say thank you to your nearest and dearest, Jimmy Choos, a great photographer, a castle venue, a massive chocolate cake, letterpress stationery, a bouncy castle, whatever. 

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Then work out how the things that don’t feel quite so important can be done without, sourced more cheaply or home made.  That way, you only compromise on the compromisable.

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Be realistic.  Keep some money in the kitty for contingency.  Pray for a lottery win.

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Today our fabulous guest blogger Alison Staples tells us how she balanced her own books to afford the wedding day that she had always dreamed of – Jenny Packham frock included.

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“Why do we have to do all this wedding stuff so far in advance?” asked Tris (my husband to be). I took a deep breath – it was after all 10 months to our big day.

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“So that we can get exactly what we want, at the best possible price,” I replied.

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Hells bells, weddings can be expensive. Especially at this time of year when you’re juggling finances to accommodate Christmas.

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This year the average cost of a wedding is £18,605, with the majority somewhere between £15,000 and £25,000.

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Last week, a TV programme, The Ultimate Guide to Penny Pinching featured bride to be Rebekah organising her £1,500 wedding. While she didn’t quite go to co-star Jonathan’s extremes and feed her guests on ‘usable roadkill’ (honestly, who keeps a heron in their freezer?), she was very creative when it came to saving pennies.

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While I can’t lay claim to Rebekah’s crown, I did manage to bring our wedding in June at Chester Zoo, in on budget and well below the national average.

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I know from experience just how easy it is to get carried away with your credit card when planning a wedding.  I had to be really tough with myself. The ‘biggest day of your life’ can justify anything when it comes to splashing out.

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So Tris and I agreed a total amount and prioritised what was important. This will be different for every couple, but for us it was to have as many guests as possible at a really unusual child friendly venue for a thoroughly fun day. At its height we had 170 guests at Chester Zoo, including 50 children.

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Once we’d agreed priorities, I itemised everything I could think of, set an amount and then tried to beat it. It became a competition – no saving too small. I called in favours, scoured the sales and ebay and embraced my inner craft goddess.

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These are some ideas from my own experience for bringing it in on budget. No one wants to start married life with an overdraft!

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We gave our guests afternoon tea immediately after the ceremony with scones, jam and clotted cream. We saved £54.00 by buying packets of animal biscuits (very zoo wedding appropriate) from the supermarket for the under 7’s – which they all loved.

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I never realised how low maintenance I was until I had to be high maintenance! To cover the costs of manicures, pedicures, facials and body glows, I asked for vouchers from my favourite beauty spa for Christmas and birthday presents, saving £180.00

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We wanted to add a personal touch to the men’s outfits, so instead of hiring the ‘suit package’ for Tris, best man and two dads, we skipped the cravat and hanky and bought our own designs on e-bay, saving £38.00.

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I bought my four bridesmaids dresses, accessories and page boys outfit in end of season sale (Dec 2010), saving £49.50.

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We were very lucky that our wedding venue was already dripping with hanging baskets and surrounded by ornamental gardens. Plus, flowers for the registrars table and big containers of foliage were included in the hire cost. Although I otherwise would have spent on gorgeous flowers, in our case additional flowers would have been lost.

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When it came to choosing a cake, we chose a sacher torte, a full on chocolate extravaganza which we served with cream, meaning that other deserts would have been overkill after our massive BBQ.  This saved £683.00 on desserts.

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Tris and I had already been living together for a couple of years, so didn’t need anything for our house. Instead we asked guests for contributions towards our honeymoon. Our ‘Bliss List’ included everything from whale watching to hotel accommodation and contributions towards flights. Our super generous guests not only sent us to New England for 2 ½ weeks, but on a four day mini-moon to Paris, an incredible saving of £3,500.

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As a result, I saved enough money to pay for 40 extra guests, a wedding bus and a couple of child minders, which made a massive difference to our day. It also paid for an (essential) overspend of on my beautiful Jenny Packham dress and Flo & Percy accessories. Well, it was the most important day of my life after all!

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Are you worried about budgeting for your big day?  What would be your on personal tips? What saves and splurges are you planning?  Would you be having a different wedding if money was no object? 

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Alison writes her own personal blog at http://alison-staples.blogspot.com

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Alison’s latest posts for Brides Up North:

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Up For Discussion- Don’t Tell The Groom! Man Management

Up For Discussion- How To Do “I Do”- Writing Your Own Vows

Up For Discussion- Empty Chairs

Up For Discussion- Achieving The Perfect Level Of Wedding Morning Zen

Up For Discussion- The Name Game (and meet Alison!)

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Would you like to guest blog for Brides Up North? Email julia@bridesupnorth.co.uk

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Love Is Greater Than Money Image © 2011 deskofbrian.com

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Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Up For Discussion: Don’t Tell The Groom! Man Management

December 2nd, 2011 | Julia Braime

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During my new husband’s speech at our wedding, he took some time to thank me and my Mum for all our hard work in planning the big day.  He commented, and I quote: “Wedding planning seems to involve lots of hours spent on the sofa watching Formula 1, rugby and football whilst the girls are out dress shopping.” 

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Whilst it got a laugh from the crowd, I don’t actually think he was joking.  I have the evidence:

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

The groom (centre) with the best man, father of the bride and dog.  That’s the rugby they are watching, not Wedding TV.

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Its not quite fair to say that he didn’t get involved (he had some very controversial opinions on hymns, cars and reception drinks), but it was definitely me (and Mum, thank goodness for her!) that bore the brunt of the planning (and loved it).  No appearance from Bridezilla or Groomzilla. Smiles all round. 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: Image by Nicola Perrott & Carly Elliott

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But what if you want your Groom to play a more active role and maybe, just maybe would like a little help and input planning the most important day of both your lives?  This morning, my fabulous guest blogger Alison Staples addresses that very issue. 

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Over to Alison: Like lots of brides to be, whilst planning our wedding I became an avid follower of ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’, the TV series where the groom gets £12,000 and three weeks to organise a wedding. The bride is kept completely in the dark until the big day.

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See all the images from a recent episode of Don’t Tell The Bride by Emerson Photography by clicking here

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I know it’s all about making good TV, but I’m sure I’m not the only one to sit there thinking “If that were me, he’d know exactly what to do and what to choose – because I’d have briefed him.”

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However, nine times out of 10, despite it not being the venue or the dress that the bride would have chosen, the boys generally organise an imaginative and interesting wedding day that blows their bride away.

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Other than Vegas.

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Yeah – best not to mention Vegas!

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When it came to our wedding, I had a pretty good idea of the kind of day I wanted, but a wedding involves two people. I didn’t want to be a bridezilla and I knew from ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ that boys can have hidden talents when it comes to pulling off a wedding. This needed to be a team effort.

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I was lucky that Tris (my new husband) was pretty easy going, however I did want him to feel involved and he wanted to pull his weight – after all it was his wedding too.

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However, I soon learned that we approach things very differently – in order to survive, I needed tactics!

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You’ll probably have gathered from my previous blogs that I love a good spread sheet and like to give myself plenty of time. Tris however tends to operate in a different time scale and prefers to go running.

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I remember early into the planning taking Tris for a drink in Alderley Edge, getting my blue A4 file out of my bag and spreading out my papers on the table in front of us. I must have talked for 40 minutes, barely stopping for breath, methodically going through all my ideas and plans.

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I was expecting some discussion, alternative suggestions or interrogation, but when I’d finally finished – there was a pause – and a silence – before Tris said “Well, that all seems very thorough.” There was nothing he wanted to change.

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Oh – OK!” I’d expected a much harder sell.

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So this how we did it.

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While I like a big list with deadlines I know it’s not for everyone, so I was the one driving things forward. But Tris was always there as a sounding board and on hand to help with the big decisions.

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In terms of jobs I made sure I drip fed him the ‘to do’ list. There were never more than three things on his list at any one time and we reviewed new things to add on a monthly basis. My role was to get the jobs in the right order at the right time, generate short lists and ideas for him to work from – and once I’d delegated the jobs, not to take them back if they weren’t done immediately.

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Tris’ tasks included researching and setting up our wedding ‘Bliss List’ of honeymoon treats, choosing the beer for our reception, organising the boys outfits and presents, liaising with our photographer who was an old university friend, stuffing the envelopes with invitations and double checking addresses and names of children, writing his vows and speech (well I couldn’t really do that for him could I) and generally coming with me to see venues, hotels and helping to choose a wedding bus from my short list of two.

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John Roach at FourT4 Photography

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John Roach at FourT4 Photography     John Roach at FourT4 Photography

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John Roach at FourT4 Photography

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By drip feeding Tris jobs and then trusting him to do them, he never felt overwhelmed and I didn’t feel like everything had been left to me.

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It’s so easy to feel swamped when you are organising a wedding and while it can be really hard to relinquish control – try!

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I personally wouldn’t recommend going to ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ extremes, but do consider a little delegation and you never know, your boy might just surprise you.

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How do you plan to involve your man in the planning process?  Is he hands off, hands on or a complete groomzilla?  Leave a comment and let us know.  It’s officially up for discussion. 

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Alison writes her own personal blog at http://alison-staples.blogspot.com

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Alison’s latest posts for Brides Up North:

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Up For Discussion- How To Do “I Do”- Writing Your Own Vows

Up For Discussion- Empty Chairs

Up For Discussion- Achieving The Perfect Level Of Wedding Morning Zen

Up For Discussion- The Name Game (and meet Alison!)

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Would you like to guest blog for Brides Up North? Email julia@bridesupnorth.co.uk

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2011 Brides Up North, Nicola Perrott & Carly Elliott, Emerson Photography and John Roach at FourT4 Photography

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Up For Discussion: How To Do “I Do”? Writing Your Own Vows

November 25th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Writer’s block?  Trust me, as a and freelance writer, I know what a pain that can be.  But what if you have writer’s block on the most important day of your life?  This morning, Brides Up North’s resident guest blogger Alison Staples shares her own experience.

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My advice?  Step away from your record collection people. 

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At our civil ceremony at Chester Zoo, we had the opportunity to say some words of our own to each other. In my mind’s eye I could see myself standing in front of my nearest and dearest saying something which was personal, touching and sincere while not too mushy, to my new husband.

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I wanted something that hit exactly the right note. A perfect paragraph which said everything I wanted to say and laid the foundations for a long and happy marriage.

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“Ahhh, wasn’t that lovely,” I heard an imaginary aunt whisper.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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The problem was that although I could see my mouth saying the words, I couldn’t hear what they were.

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The weight of getting my vows right was enormous. Whatever I promised in the height of matrimonial bliss, I was going to have to deliver on in 40 years time when we were old and grey. They needed to last a lifetime. Now was not the time to get carried away.

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So where to start?

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Like Dawn and Pete from the TV series Gavin and Stacy, I thought about taking inspiration from our favourite songs. Who could forget Dawn reciting the words of Michael Jackson’s ‘Ben’ (replace Ben with Pete), while Pete chose Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ to help express his love for Dawn.

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But Duran Duran’s ‘Save a Prayer’ and ‘Street Tuff’ by the Rebel MC weren’t giving me what I needed so I had to look elsewhere.

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Google … surprisingly drew a blank.

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Damnation – there was no one to copy, I was going to have to think of something all by myself.

It took me a really long time to come up with something I felt happy with. I practiced reading them out loud many, many times. I never managed to get beyond the first line without blubbing.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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Wedding Vows – Alison

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Tristan, in our marriage I promise to always be patient, honest, and kind.

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You are my best friend, my one love, my partner throughout life, always putting my needs first above your own.

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I promise to live a life that will honour the vows we have spoken, and make you glad and proud to have me as your wife.

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We have so much to look forward to. In the good times and the bad, I shall love and cherish you – always.

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My vows were written a good three months before the big day (as per my wedding planning spreadsheet). Tris’ however were still ‘outstanding’ the week before.

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“Have you written your vows yet?” I asked him for the umpteenth time. I knew how difficult I’d found writing mine. This was not a five minute job. But he simply reassured me that he’d been thinking about them and told me to trust him.

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When he finally did the big reveal, what he’d written was beautiful – not a line of early ‘90’s rap in sight.

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Wedding Vows – Tristan

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Alison, I promise always to be there when you need me, to provide the shoulders you can rest your head on, to fill your days with sunshine, to make you smile and laugh.

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To comfort you and encourage you, to help you reach your goals, to be your best friend ever and to love you all my life with all my heart.

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FourT4 Photography

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It’s a very strange feeling when your wedding day does finally arrive and you are quite literally living in your dream. I surprised myself by actually managing to get to the last line of my vows before surrendering to the need for tissues, which were there (courtesy of our best man) as soon as I started to falter.

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Not so my three pregnant friends, who had all decided to sit together, creating a hormonal vortex which kicked off before I’d even entered the room. Our vows just about finished them off!

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As a footnote, we had our six month wedding anniversary recently, which seemed like a good time to dust off the old wedding vows to see how I was doing.

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  1. Patient – Very poor start. 5/10. I shouted at him for not putting his trainers away. They’d only been off his feet for five minutes.
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  3. Honest – Better. 7/10. I told him his butt looked nice in his cycling shorts yesterday.
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  5. Kind – Very good effort. 9/10.  Last week I stood on the side lines in torrential rain, cheering him on in a triathlon, running along the home straight with him in a cagoule.
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I’d say I’ve had mixed success. But this time Coldplay can help. ‘Nobody said it was easy’, but I’m trying hard to get better.

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Do you plan to write or have you written your own vows?  Where did you draw inspiration from?  This is officially up for discussion.  Leave us a comment and start the debate. 

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Alison writes her own personal blog at http://alison-staples.blogspot.com

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Alison’s latest posts for Brides Up North:

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Up For Discussion- Empty Chairs

Up For Discussion- Achieving The Perfect Level Of Wedding Morning Zen

Up For Discussion- The Name Game (and meet Alison!)

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Would you like to guest blog for Brides Up North? Email julia@bridesupnorth.co.uk

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  – Images © 2011 John Roach at FourT4 Photography 

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Up For Discussion: Empty Chairs

November 18th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Had enough birthday cake yet Brides Up North?  Course you haven’t – and there are still a few more super giveaways in the Great Brides Up North Birthday Bakeaway still to come!  Make sure to tune in over the weekend to enter the rest. 

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This morning, we address a more serious topic here on the wedding blog, and one I am sure that a lot of my readers can identify with – how to remember lost loved ones on your wedding day, and how to deal with those metaphorical empty chairs?

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This is a topic that hits home with me personally, as a week before our wedding we lost a very close family friend after his long battle with illness.  He is – and was on the day – very sorely missed, but having been a larger than life, heart of the party, host with the most, fun loving family man, we knew that he would want the show to go on.  Tears were shed for him during the ceremony and during my father’s speech, and I felt proud to raise my glass to him in the first toast of the day. 

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As we think about the ones that we will personally miss, I will hand you over to my fabulous guest blogger Alison, who discusses the empty chair at her own wedding. 

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Weddings are emotional enough, before you even start thinking about how to include and remember loved ones who can’t be there for your special day.

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For me, it was my mum who sadly died back in 2002.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: Alison Staples

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As a bride, if there is one person you want there to help you plan, choose and decide. To be by your side while you visit and try on. To huddle with over bridal magazines, and phone up on the spur of the moment to blurt “I’ve just had a brilliant idea, what do you think of ……”

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To be swept up with the excitement, while keeping your feet on the ground, and then to be there on your big day to reassure you, keep you calm and to wear an enormous hat – then it’s your mum.

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Had she been alive, we’d have planned the wedding together and she’d have been a huge vibrant presence on the day itself.

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After she died, I described moving forward like re-arranging the furniture. When a chair is taken away you have to move the furniture to fill the space left in the room. That’s what we had to do at our wedding both metaphorically and literally.

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I wanted to include and remember her, of course I did, but I didn’t want to upset people or myself. After my recent health scares I was already going to find my wedding day emotionally and physically demanding.

So in addition to a mention in my dad’s speech, I chose a few positive, lovely touches which were a nod to mum. The guests who knew and remembered her recognised them without prompting.

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A few years before she died, mum gave me and my sister a package each. It was a gift from her wedding to each of us. In the package were two black and white photos from her wedding in 1964 and three squares of fabric. White satin and lace from her wedding dress and blue satin from her older bridesmaids dresses. For my wedding I copied her colour scheme. My little bridesmaids wore ivory with blue accents and my sister wore a long cornflower blue gown – as did hers.

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My sparkly clutch bag was one that my ever so glamorous mum carried to cocktail parties in the ‘70’s and the beautiful circular diamante broach that held my furry wrap in place was the one mum wore in the late ‘50’s as a newly qualified teacher.

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Mum loved music and was an amazing pianist, so including her favourites in our ceremony was an easy decision. Our choices included ‘The Entertainer’ by Scott Joplin and ‘Side Saddle’ by Russ Conway. Those two pieces are so evocative of my childhood – lying upstairs in bed while she played her ragtime favourites in the room beneath me. While we signed the register, it was like she was right there with us filling our wedding with her energy and joy.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: Alison Staples    Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: Alison Staples

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It’s traditional for the groom’s father to walk back down the aisle with the mother of the bride. For us that wasn’t an option, so instead we surrounded him with the little bridesmaids and my ‘best boy’. My mum was a primary school teacher, so having the children represent her felt right.

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Finally, in addition to our civil ceremony at Chester Zoo in June, we also had a much smaller church blessing a couple of months later in the town in Lincolnshire which mum and dad retired to. My mum is buried in the churchyard, so after the ceremony Tris and I went and put my flowers on her grave. I left her a message:

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I missed you.

Although I couldn’t see you at our wedding,

I knew you were there.

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Mum never met Tris, my husband – but she left such an imprint, I knew what she’d have said. “Alison, he’s very dishy – well done!”

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Including someone special and madly missed in your wedding day can be really hard. I worried about striking the right note – enough, but not over the top, reflective but not over sentimental. Every situation is obviously different – but this is what I did for my mum. I hope if you are in the same situation as me, you find it helpful.

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How to you plan on remembering lost loved ones at your own wedding?  Leave a comment to start the discussion. 

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Alison writes her own personal blog at http://alison-staples.blogspot.com

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Alison’s latest posts for Brides Up North:

Up For Discussion- Achieving The Perfect Level Of Wedding Morning Zen

Up For Discussion- The Name Game (and meet Alison!)

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Would you like to guest blog for Brides Up North? Email julia@bridesupnorth.co.uk

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  – Images © 2011 Alison Staples

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Up For Discussion: The Rules – Time Tested Secrets For Capturing The Heart Of Mr Right

October 15th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Confession time (since you seem to like my confessions): when I was a teenager I was just obsessed with boys.  I talked with my girlfriends about them – and little else, lived my life constantly in anticipation of the next disco, wrote horrific lists in my diary like*…

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I am totally in lurve with:

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1.  Paul (but he is going out with Jane)

2.  Martin (if he was a bit taller)

3.  David (and I think he might like me!)…

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Jules 4 David 4 eva!

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*artists’ impression only – names have been changed!

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…and tried out this calculation more than I practised my quadratic equations.  Which means that although I cannot tell you the basics of Pythagoras’ Theorum, I can still see that the hubby and I have a pretty good score on the ol’ love calculator.  

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: The Love Calculator

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Is it wrong that I am actually quite chuffed?

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*EDIT: it actually turns out that my maths is so bad that I can’t even perform a love calculation properly.  Kids: 0 + 2 does not equal 4.  Looks like its 46% for us – FAIL!

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The thing was, until the age of about 15 when I suddenly shot up about 2ft, grew my hair and, lets say, developed in other areas, the boys just weren’t so obsessed with me.  Whilst my friends netted the cool guys, I was always left twiddling my thumbs by the dance floor.  So, when I came across this weighty tome, boy, was I excited…

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The Rules – By Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider – Time Tested Secrets For Capturing The Heart Of Mr Right.

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The Rules

Image from Amazon, where you can still buy The Rules

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I bought this book at the airport on holiday with my parents (wrong I know), hidden in amongst all the Sweet Valley High and Judy Blume, and devoured it.  I could probably still recite bits of it now – and have done over the years to my poor friends when in the midst of a dating crisis.  I am probably breaking a million Rules by even telling you about this now.  I hope the World doesn’t implode. 

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When researching this blog post, I was surprised to find that The Rules propaganda machine is still churning, and is now a multi million dollar empire with loads of offshoot titles, dating coaches, an official website and all sorts of other stuff! 

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Even then, I could see that some of it was tongue in cheek (or even if it wasn’t meant to be tongue in cheek – downright ridiculous) I mean, who expects their boyfriend to pay for everything?  I could also see that some of it was a little out dated and was never going to work in reality.  “Don’t tell him what to do”? – pah!

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However, I could also see that some of it made sense.  In essence, The Rules is all about playing hard to get.  And so I did.  And it worked. 

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In a nutshell, these are the main Rules (each rule is a chapter of the book that explains how to put that Rule into practice)…

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  1. 1  Be a “Creature” Unlike Any Other
  2. 2  Don’t Talk to a Man First (and Don’t Ask Him to Dance)
  3. 3  Don’t Stare at Men or Talk Too Much
  4. 4  Don’t Meet Him Halfway or Go Dutch on a Date
  5. 5  Don’t Call Him & Rarely Return His Calls
  6. 6  Always End Phone Calls and dates First
  7. 7  Don’t Accept a Saturday Night Date after Wednesday.
  8. 8  Fill Up Your Time before the Date
  9. 9  ALWAYS end the date first
  10. 10 Stop Dating Him if He Doesn’t Buy You a Romantic Gift for Your Birthday or Valentine’s Day
  11. 11 Don’t See Him More than Once or Twice a Week
  12. 12 No More than Casual Kissing on the First Date
  13. 13 Don’t Rush into Sex, Wait at Least Three Dates
  14. 14 Don’t Tell Him What to Do
  15. 15 Let Him Take the Lead
  16. 16 Don’t Expect a Man to Change or Try to Change Him
  17. 17 Don’t Open Up Too Fast
  18. 18 Be Honest but Mysterious
  19. 19 Don’t Live with a Man (or Leave Your Things in His Apartment)
  20. 20 Don’t Date a Married Man
  21. 21 Do The Rules, Even when Your Friends & Parents Think It’s Nuts
  22. 22 Don’t Discuss The Rules with Your Therapist.
  23. 23 Don’t Break The Rules!
  24. 24 Love Only Those Who Love You
  25. 25 Be Easy to Live With

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See what I mean about some of them being ridiculous, and others, actually not so much

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The main message resonated with me.  The boys I liked never had time for me, whereas those I ignored?  Putty in my hands.  So, the teenage me – ever up for a real life boyfriend to call my own – picked and chose the ones I liked, and put them into practice.

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And yes, they did work.  On shallow teenage boys.  I played hard to get and won my man.  But ah, there’s the rub, the minute my guard was down and I showed some affection – my beau’s own affection waned.  It may have been The Rules, but it wasn’t real love.  Not that I was particularly bothered.  I had a whole list of targets, remember?!

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When I eventually grew up (still a Rules girl) and met my husband (for the third time lucky – we had a few false starts), naturally most of The Rules went out of the window.  Only accept a Saturday date after Wednesday? Err… what if you haven’t left each other’s side since day one?!

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So what to think?  Is the million dollar empire that The Rules has built complete poppycock, or is there truth in the process?  I’m sitting on the fence for now, as I can’t help wondering if those few false starts with my husband (where I essentially didn’t return his calls, stare at him or ask him to dance), was me doing The Rules on him after all.

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So, lets open up some discussion here! 

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Have you ever played by The Rules?

Do The Rules work?

Is The Rules an out-dated concept or is there a place for it in modern romance?

Is The Rules anti-feminist or do they give women more power in dating?

Is using The Rules deceptive, or is all fair in love and war?

Do you even care?

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I’d love to hear your views – don’t be shy – please leave a comment below to start the debate.

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  – Images © 2011 as credited

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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