My wedding planning journey: my lockdown online wedding shopping habit
13 Jul 2020
Bride-to-be Ashleigh Tuttle has kept her spirits up through lockdown with a host of online shopping for her big day
Well… it’s been an interesting three-and-a-half months!
I don’t know how you guys are getting on, but lockdown drives me from one extreme to the other, particularly with wedding planning. One moment I’m totally positive and jumping right into the swing of things, buying gifts here, designing flower arrangements there, and the next it’s like hitting my head against a brick wall. I think it’s been especially hard for those brides who have had to postpone, with the idea of garnering that motivation again becoming a real struggle.
Thankfully, my wedding is next year, so at the moment everything is still going to plan. However, if you told me that I’d be celebrating the year-mark until my wedding in my house (which is probably a reality at this point, I doubt Boris will suddenly open the flood gates before July 24) I would have laughed at you. I expected to be looking ahead to the next year through a posh cocktail glass, not through the cheap wine bottle that will inevitably grace my living room table.
Things do seem to be looking up though, with what little information the PM is giving us. Ceremonies of 30 people or under have been given the go-ahead in England, with hints of more information to come this week.
During lockdown I think the unbearable urge to shop online may have gotten the better of me. My page boys, bridesmaids and groomsmen now have their many gifts (in a little cupboard tucked away in my mum’s bedroom), my invites have now arrived (thank you Tops Designs), I have my wedding shoes (Disney-themed, of course), I bought three new wedding jumpers (Pearls and Rosie’s, a must for any Disney bride), and I bought my PJs for the morning of the wedding, (although I am more confused than ever what to wear that morning now.)
Speaking of the PJs, I had originally bought this lovely white nightie (think 1920s glam) which I had planned to wear on the day. However, when I took a picture in the mirror (to send to the bridesmaids, obviously) I realised that it was see-through! This was also taken without a flash, so my mind raced to what would happen if my photographer Tim Stephenson was snapping hundreds of photos that morning.
Therefore, I came up with a plan to find new PJs (much to John’s despair, I think he’s had enough of me shopping!) So, I found this beautiful Little Mermaid set on Boohoo, and I thought ‘perfect’. But then, there was also a gorgeous Toy Story set, so I had to buy that too. And now I’m torn. Both are gorgeous, but I have always been Ariel’s biggest fan so I think I am leaning more that way… we’ll see!
I have also asked Jess from Aster & Ren Designs to create me a bespoke table plan, where all our guests will be drawn as cartoon characters, which I am so excited about. She has done a brilliant job so far and I can’t wait to see the rest of them.
Lockdown has definitely added a strain to planning, making things harder than had we been in ‘normal’ times. I can’t help but feel I’ve missed out on a lot of glorious wedding fairs, although I know a lot of companies have done brilliant jobs at making these virtual.
I had planned at the beginning of August to go with my bridesmaids to buy their dresses (a year in advance, but I think we’ve already established I’m eager) but because I have such a large bridal party (eight bridesmaids), I think it’s really unlikely we’ll all be able to go together and have the experience I’d planned. So for now, this is on hold until September, and we will see where we’re at by then.
I was quite lucky in that I’d already planned a lot of my day already, so there are only a couple of things that still need to be sorted, that can be worked out closer to the time, such as suits, rings etc. For those who have just recently got engaged, or are planning to get married next year but haven’t figured out a lot yet, I would definitely recommend you get booking as soon as possible. With the influx of 2020 brides moving their day to next year (can’t blame them at all), and with the 2021 brides who had already planned to get married next year (myself included), next year is shaping up to be a busy one. I’ve enquired about things that have already been booked for my day (magicians, singers), and I know of venues that don’t have any capacity for Saturday’s in 2021 anymore. This is not meant to scaremonger, but it is definitely worth thinking about if you have your heart set on a wedding next year.
My best advice is to talk to suppliers you are interested in using as early as possible. Try and find out what you want and talk to them about it. A good and reputable supplier will discuss options with you without needing a guarantee that you’ll book them. I know that venues are just starting to open up to show couples around as well. Unique Norfolk Venues for example have shown me around Oxnead Hall (where I’m getting married) once already, and I’m going again this weekend, because they know how important it is for their brides to see their day can still go ahead as they’ve planned. And also, I love going there!
John, my family and my bridesmaids have been my rock during this turbulent time. Talk to those closest to you about how you’re feeling, because it’s totally normal to feel rubbish and down, even without the stress of a wedding to plan. All I can say is try to pick yourself up, and get others to help you when you feel that way. This is supposed to be the most special day of your life, and it will be.
Just think, it’ll be an amazing story to tell the grandkids.