Planning diaries: the latest from three Scottish brides on their wedding plans

The finish line is in sight! With two of our brides marrying within a month and our third bride on the home straight too, there’s just the very last bits and bobs to do…

Five months to go… Natalie Godfrey, office manager at Frox of Falkirk, is set to marry national account manager Chris Rock at Glenbervie House Hotel on 9th September

brides on a hen party in newcastle
Natalie and fellow brides Natalie and Vicki had a ball on their joint hens in Newcastle in February

Less than six months to go! I’m not quite sure how that happened but here we are, and things are starting to feel very real now.

I had an amazing joint hen do with my friends Vicki and Natalie at the end of February. We went to Newcastle and it was brilliant – such a laugh with the girls and far too much prosecco consumed! We got the train from Edinburgh, stayed in the Leonardo Quayside Hotel and then had a whole evening planned at Howlers – I would highly recommend it for a great night out.

We went to Howlers’ Bonkers Ball, which included two hours of drinks, drag queens and games. We then had a go at playing prosecco pong and afterwards headed to the nightclub which had an adult ball pit. Very fun at the time but my poor legs were covered in bruises the next day – a sure sign of a good night out!

Back home, Chris and I had a meeting with our priest and now we need to decide on our hymns and songs for the ceremony. That’s easier said than done, though – there’s so much choice. We are thinking traditional hymns for during the mass and then a song for us walking back down the aisle as Mr and Mrs Rock.

At the start of March I had my pre-fit appointment at Bijoux Bridal to try my dress on. The girls at the boutique were fab as always and super-welcoming. I was a little nervous seeing my dress again after five months, but they put me at ease instantly. I have to say, I think I love my dress even more now than I did when I first tried it on back in October! I will be heading back to Bijoux in July for my first alterations and then I have my final fitting booked for August.

The next thing on the to-do list is finding a headpiece and veil. I already have my jewellery sorted – I’ll be wearing the necklace that Danielle, my maid of honour, wore to her wedding in July last year. It’s my ‘something borrowed’. I also have gorgeous pearl drop earrings that Chris bought me for our anniversary.

I’ve already bought my shoes. They’re from Rainbow Club. I went for something quite plain with a block heel, but they’re very comfortable, which is exactly what you need when you’ll be wearing them all day and then partying the night away.

Frox of Falkirk
Left: Natalie and Chris are on the final planning stretch; Right: Natalie manages Frox of Falkirk – occasionwear heaven

In March, we took my mum and Chris’s mum to Frox of Falkirk (where I work) for their outfits. We have over 2,000 outfits for the mothers of the bride and groom in store, so they had loads to choose from. In fact, we had a very successful shopping trip, with both mums finding an outfit they love as well as matching accessories. They’re going to look gorgeous on the big day!

I’ve started ordering bits and pieces of decor, such as floral garlands to spiral around our candelabra centrepieces. I got these from Shein – they were a great price and look fab.

What’s next

We’ve got lots of planning to do over the next few months as the day draws ever closer. By the time I write my next diary, we’ll have sent out our invites and set up our website for guests to RSVP and tell us their meal choices.

I’m now on the hunt for outfits (why is it so difficult to find nice things in white?!) for my hen weekend in Ibiza at the start of June. I’m a little apprehensive as I really don’t know much about it (other than we’re flying out with Jet2). But I’m also very excited. I know my bridesmaids have been doing lots of hard work behind the scenes and I can’t wait!

Two weeks to go (at time of writing)… Graphic designer Ellen and environmental consultant Callum are marrying on 31st March at Verdant Works in Dundee

Finnieston Alterations
Right: Barbra at Finnieston Alterations has sorted the hem on Ellen’s dress (pictured with Calum, left)

I can’t quite believe it’s March, and I’m writing the last update before we get married! The final countdown is on now with just two weeks to go, and we’re pulling together our last little bits and pieces. Callum’s stag do was last weekend, and like me he had it in Amsterdam (what a copycat!). Thankfully, he survived it, with no face tattoos or bike accidents. It sounds like he had a great few days with his grooms­men, checking out the pubs, taking a hungover trip to the zoo, and doing some spontaneous street karaoke… I didn’t ask much more than that!

We have pretty much everything sorted at this stage; it’s just small things and final payments that are left to do. We have paid our ceilidh band, who will set up and start around 7pm and play for two hours. They have offered to ‘call’ the dances as well to keep everyone right. It’s pretty handy as I know most people are a bit rusty on their Strip the Willow moves!

The bridesmaid dresses and shoes arrived, and the girls have had their alterations done already. I’m very glad they’re all happy; it was so important to me that they liked what they’d be wearing. We’ve made a plan on makeup, jewellery and hair inspo, and will meet in the morning to get ready together.

Even though I have family and a place to stay in Dundee, I thought it would be nice to have a night in a hotel to set myself up for the big day, so I’ve booked a room the Apex Hotel by the waterfront in Dundee, which is close to our venue. Some of my bridesmaids are staying the night before too – I’m sharing a room with Minta, my maid of honour. I called the hotel to double check the rooms have lots of natural light and full-length mirrors for us to do our prep.

Apex Dundee and Paul Browett
Left: Ellen has booked Apex Dundee for the nights around the wedding; Right: Paul Browett, aka The Scottish Celebrant, will be leading the ceremony

Callum and I have filled out all our forms and questionnaires for our humanist celebrant Paul Browett (aka The Scottish Celebrant). We wanted to give him a good idea of us and our relationship so he can craft a ceremony around us. We had to try to summarise the last eleven years for him and think of the key moments of our relationship. There was a lot to write! It was actually really nice to reflect on all that time together, though, as we found ourselves discussing lots of lovely memories and reminding each other of a few he or I had forgotten about. We are meeting Paul next week either in person or over Zoom, and in the meantime we’re writing our vows and speeches to each other.

I’m pleased to report that I won’t be tripping over my hem any more: my dress has been altered by the amazing Barbra of Finnieston Alterations. She has been incredible and has done a great job. My outfit is fully sorted, apart from a jacket. Despite my hopes, it’s looking like it’s still going to be pretty chilly.

What’s next

Our last few tasks to sort are some wee decorations and bits like petal confetti and small favours, and I have a few designs that I need to print off for the day, such as a large welcome sign we are mounting on one of my grandad’s easels (he’s a professional oil painter), buffet food labels and table signs. I’m in the process of getting my flowers sorted out this week but we are keeping things extremely minimal, as they’re not that important to either of us.

We are going to go to Dundee in the next week or so to meet with our venue and suppliers and just make sure everyone is happy, and then it will be go time! I have booked the week before the wedding off work so I’ll have time to get my hair and nails done, pick up our flowers and cake, decorate the venue the night before and then, hopefully, Callum and I will both actually have a fun time on the day!

Fingers crossed it all goes as well as it can. We’ve been told that something’s bound to go wrong, but to brush it off and just enjoy it. As long as we get married to each other, in a room filled with our favourite people, that’s all we can ask for.

One month to go…. Performance manager Hazel Pool is set to marry project manager Neil Moore on 28th April at Ayrshire’s Lochside House Hotel

Lochside House and Hazel and Neil
JAM Events will be styling and dressing Lochside House Hotel Spa & Lodges (right) for Hazel and Neil (right)

My last diary update! I can hardly believe it. Two and a half years of meticulous planning will soon become reality on our wonderful wedding day. Eeek! Over the last couple of months we have been busy doing our final preparations.

One of the big items still outstanding on our last update was guest transport. With our venue being almost a two-hour drive away for some guests, and only a limited number of bedrooms at the hotel, we felt it only fair to provide transport for anyone who needs it. If this is something you’re thinking about too, it’s worth doing a bit of research. We got quotes from about eight companies and the prices varied quite substantially.

Transport is expensive so it’s important to factor this into your budget from the beginning. Another tip is to account for the impact of inflation between your first enquiry and actually making the booking (there could be quite a gap if you wait until you have your RSVPs back).

We had our three-month meeting with the Lochside House Hotel to go over all the finer details. We spoke about the running order, timings and so on. It also gave us the opportunity to ask any questions or seek clarity on what to expect. It can be so easy to forget things, so I would recommend jotting down a note in your phone every time a question (or request) pops into your head, and then you’ll have them all there to ask your coordinator at this meeting.

I started doing this a few mouths back, so by the time I got there the list was as long as my arm! It had everything from ‘How long does it take to walk down the aisle?’, to ‘Can we have the table linen ironed flat without fold creases?’ Going prepared helped us to feel organised, and we felt excited when we left.

We’ve had final meetings with our most of our suppliers now but the one that gave me all the feels was the stylist meeting. I had shared centrepiece inspo pictures with them ahead of time and our stylist at JAM Events prepared a sample for us arriving. It was so beautiful! She absolutely nailed the brief and we left absolutely delighted that our vision was fully understood by the decor company. I can’t wait to see it on the day.

I didn’t think we’d be adding any suppliers so late in the day, but we made some unexpected changes with just a couple of months to go. I mentioned in one of my previous diaries that trends change all the time, and that it can be hard to keep up, especially if your planning stretches over a couple of years. Well, the latest trend that started in the States has finally hit the UK: wedding content creators. I asked around about this service last year but there were no British suppliers offering it yet. Come 2023, and loads are now hitting the UK scene!

Images of brides by Social Brides Club
Hazel has booked the services of Social Brides Club to curate social-media content on the big day

Luckily, I knew a fellow bride on Instagram who now offers this service. Her business is called Social Brides Club. A wedding content creator goes behind the scenes with a phone camera to capture lots of pics and footage for the couple to use as they wish immediately after the wedding. It means you and your party can be phone-free and present all day long but pictures and videos are still being captured for your social media.

The content creator isn’t a replacement for a highly skilled photographer or videographer, but they’re in the background, doing a different job. It also means you have lots of content to enjoy and reminisce over while you’re waiting to receive your professional photos and wedding film.

What’s next?

Neil and I have our home hen and stag parties to look forward to, then it’s time to say ‘I do’! I can’t wait to finally marry the love of my life. It has been so much fun keeping this diary! I hope my fellow brides enjoyed it.

Missed previous instalments of this series? Catch up on some here and here.