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Spreadsheets, cakes, and bridal brunches: confessions of a feminist bride-to-be

14 Jun 2017

In part three of her bride-to-be blog, Sophie Elliott talks about how she’s been staying organised 

Image gallery

Image gallery

Welcome back to my bride-to-be blog. Since my last post, Luke has finally asked his best friend to be his best man, and we’ve worked out where we’re getting our rings from. We’re going to be thinking about music and readings soon, and I’m going to try my dress on again in two weeks (fingers crossed my daily workouts have been effective!). I’ve also booked my hair and make-up for the big day with The Cottage. I wasn’t initially planning on having a hair stylist or make-up artist, but after photographing a wedding at the end of May I’ve realised what a difference their experience and professionalism makes. I’m not great at doing fancy hair or complicated make-up, so I’m going to leave it to the pros. Plus, I quite like the idea of being pampered on the morning of my wedding.

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At this point, quite a bit of our planning is complete, and the gritty details don’t need to be sorted out until the six month mark in November. Basically, we’re ahead of ourselves with most of our wedding elements.

Being a wedding photographer and working at a wedding magazine has meant that wedding planning has been plain sailing so far. I’ve known the order in which to book things in, what to think about and when, and which elements are more important than others. I have a pretty solid idea in my head of what we want our wedding to look like: all I need to do is get everything organised. And, luckily, I’m a sucker for organisation. You wouldn’t think it from looking at my office at home, but it’s true. Schedules, budgets, and Excel spreadsheets are a part of my day to day life.

When you’re planning a wedding, it’s really important to be organised. You don’t want to be forgetting about payments or losing vital email addresses: you want everything to be in one place. You also don’t want to spread everything out over hundreds of different notebooks, memos on your phone, and random post-it notes all over your house. So I, like so many other brides before me, have created a wedding spreadsheet that is full of every detail I could possibly need. It has our current savings, our predicted savings, and a saving schedule, as well as our current expenditure, our predicted expenditure, what still needs to be paid and when, and how much we still need to save to reach our target. These figures are all linked using an equation, so when one thing changes they all change. It’s perfect for keeping up to date with our calculations.

The guest list is on there as well, split into day and night for the ceremony and reception. It shows who we’ve sent save the date cards to, who to send invitations to when the time comes, who has RSVP’d, and what dietary requirements there are. And then there is the monthly breakdown of what we need to think about or book each month. Like I said before, it’s looking pretty sparse up until November, but there are a few little things we can get done.

But I haven’t just been relying on my own spreadsheet. I’ve also been taking advantage of the planning tools on bridemagazine.co.uk; in particular, the Guest Manager and Budget Tracker. The useful thing about online tools is that they can be accessed wherever I am and on whatever device I’m using, unlike my spreadsheet which I can only update at home. 

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Looking for inspiration for some little bits of wedding planning I could do over the next few months, I spent last Saturday morning at a Bridal Brunch event at Winsor Bishop with my maid of honour. We sipped bubbly and nibbled on snacks whilst admiring the wares brought along by the various suppliers. There were bridesmaids’ dresses from Willow & Pearl, cakes from Little A’s Cakery, macarons from Macarons & More, plus, of course, samples of Winsor Bishop’s jewellery.

It was a lovely event, and did help me come up with some ideas. For example, I’m now pretty sure of the type of jewellery I want: silver or white gold and pearls. I’ve also had a think about our cake. We were going to go for a basic, budget M&S wedding cake, but I’m tempted to go with a professional cake maker for something a bit more beautiful. I’m going to have a look at the bridemagazine.co.uk Supplier Finder to help me source some high quality local cake makers and bakeries, so that’s a few more emails for me to send out (and a lot more staring at pretty pictures on Pinterest).

My maid of honour and I also spent a long time chatting about ideas for bridesmaids’ dresses. I’m only having two bridesmaids - my sisters - plus Becca as my maid of honour. That might make it sound easy, but it’s actually really tricky to find something that everyone will suit. My eldest sister has dreadlocks and a floaty, boho style, whilst my middle sister has very short blonde hair and looks good in pretty much anything (she has pulled off some very eclectic outfits that would look ridiculous on anyone else). Becca has long red hair and looks great in 50s style high-waisted dresses and skirts. It’s hard to find an outfit that works, so I’m tempted to just tell them the colour they’re looking for and let them pick something out for themselves. But I’m not going to worry about that too much just yet.

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The only other thing I’ve been thinking about is tattoos, because I have quite a few of them on one arm. It isn’t quite a sleeve, because there are considerable gaps in between the tattoos, so I’m considering adding to it just to make it look a bit more cohesive with less negative space. This isn’t strictly wedding related, but it’s the wedding planning that has made me think about it because I want to look perfect on the day. I need to get some of my older ones touched up where they’ve faded, so I might inquire at the tattoo parlour about their availability for an appointment.

Keep your eyes peeled for my next wedding blog. I’ll have tried on my dress for the second time, might have a new tattoo, and may have decided on a wedding cake. Until next time…