The planning diaries: two brides share their journey to the top of the aisle

Welcome back to our resident bride-to-be columnists, bridal blogger Hazel and hotel wedding planner May. Over the past couple of months, Hazel has had a tricky issue to contend with, while May has been nailing down the final things ahead of her spring wedding

Performance manager Hazel Pool is set to marry project manager Neil Moore on 28th April 2023 at Ayrshire’s Lochside House Hotel

A bride and groom confetti shower photo by The Vedrines
An awesome confetti shot by Tina Vedrine

How can it be 2022 already?! I honestly can’t believe that (1) I’ve been planning our wedding for over a year, and (2) I can now say we’re getting married next year! Time has passed so quickly.

That said, I’m glad we chose to have a longer engagement: it has given us time to save the necessary funds, enjoying the process without feeling rushed or having to get into debt. It’s not for everyone, but it has worked out great for us. Plus, I get to call myself a bride for a bit longer! Ha!

There’s one drawback to a longer engagement that I hadn’t considered, however. As time passes, trends change, and wedding trends are no different. What might be all over magazines and social feeds one month or year will be replaced with something new the next. You might start to have doubts about some of the choices you were once so sure of. That’s some­thing I’ve experienced myself recently.

Bride and groom wedding photos by The Vedrines
Relaxed, joyful wedding imagery is what The Vedrines’ photography is all about

I’m certain I’m not alone and lots of brides have gone through this in one way or another. Possibly we’ve all wondered ‘Have I made the right choice?’, ‘Is it going to look how I imagined?’, ‘Do I even like those flowers?’, all those nagging doubts keeping you awake at night.

In my case, it was the style of photography we’d chosen and, ultimately, the photographer. It was a strange one as we were so convinced we’d made the right choice at the time – we spent ages deciding, and we definitely knew we loved his work. But over recent months I found myself constantly drawn to certain images on social media with a more moody, editorial feel – completely different from the bright, vibrant vibe of the photographer we’d booked. What’s more, whenever one of those images caught my eye, I’d check the photo credit and it was the same name every time: Tina Vedrine (@thevedrinesphoto on Instagram). I found myself obsessing over her photos, and constantly asking myself what I should do.

Eventually I had to face the fact that I was seriously considering changing photographer. Neil and I discussed it and decided that if I felt so strongly about it, we should see if Tina was available for our date. When she confirmed she was, that was it: I knew I had to go with my heart and book her.

But how to tell our original photographer? I didn’t want to offend him – his work is great! The idea of having to let him down was making me really anxious. I spoke to a friend who works in the industry as a videographer, and he gave me some great advice. He said that most suppliers are very understanding in these situations and appreciate that each couple need to go with what is right for them on such an important occasion. It is business, after all, and if you treat people fairly and with respect, there should be no hard feelings.

Hazel Pool and Neil Moore
Hazel and Neil pictured not long after their engagement

That was so good to hear and it set my mind at ease. I spoke to our photographer and explained that after a lot of thought we were going to go with a different style of photography. He was okay with the cancellation and wished us all the best. We lost our deposit but we knew we would – it was part of the terms and conditions.I hope other brides find this advice useful should they ever find themselves in a similar situation.

What’s next?

New year, new goals! I’m on a mission to get back to my pre-pandemic fitness levels. It’s all about self-care for the next few months before I start dress shopping.

Wedding planner May Hunter and executive head chef Stuart Michael will tie the knot on 27th May 2022 at Dunkeld House Hotel, where they both work!

a wedding invite, a diamond ring and a man and woman standing by a christmas tree holding champagne glasses
From left: May and Stuart’s invites will be similar to this one from Bloominvitationsuk on Etsy; We wonder if May will go for all-out sparkle from ROX? Double-row diamond wedding band, £2,095; May and Stuart themselves

I’ve managed to tick a few things off after having some down-time, and now I cannot believe the wedding is just four months away – I’m not sure how that happened, but we’re so excited!

The invitations are designed and are ready to print. We should get them in the next few weeks and they’ll be posted out in early February, hopefully with all the RSVPs back by the start of April.

Plans for the hen party are in full swing (so I’m told!). The girls have been busy cooking something up for some time now. We knew we had to start making plans at the beginning of December, and since going abroad is a wee bit complicated at the moment, I made the decision that the UK is simpler. So I’m having a ‘surprise’ hen with all my bridesmaids in April and then something closer to home just before the wedding – everyone will be included for that and I cannot wait for it. It has been so long since we all celebrated together.

A bride, groom and three bridesmaids wearing navy blue dresses pictured outside Balbirnie House
May (far left) herself was a bridesmaid at her friend Emily’s wedding at Balbirnie House (Photo: Crieff Photography)

In a previous column I mentioned that I had some anxieties about the bridesmaid dresses. In the end, though, the girls picked them very easily and they are thrilled with them – which, given that there are eight bridesmaids, is pretty good going, I think. I love the dresses and the girls are going to look incredible. I’m keeping the whole thing under wraps.

Stuart and I had our meeting with our florist, Coach House Flowers. Wow – I can’t wait for the wedding day! I love flowers, I love Emma’s work and I just know everything is going to look incredible. We’ve gone all out but kept things seasonal, in style with the venue and surrounds, with a touch of “us”.

We have also met with our celebrant Mary Docherty at Fuze Ceremonies to begin writing our ceremony. She is just the most lovely person and I know she really gets us. Mary is now busy writing the first draft, so we’re really looking forward to having a read of it. Once we do that, I think it’ll make things seem very, very real!

Mum has her outfit sorted, which was super-easy. She just likes to keep things simple. Next on the list will be Granny, who’s a little more fussy and has a very clear image of what she wants… wish me luck! Our search will start at Marian’s of Perth, who do dresses, jackets and shoes for special occasions.

I now also have Victoria Fleeting (@makeupbyvictoriafleeting on Instagram) joining Claire Park to do makeup for me and the whole bridal party, which is really exciting. She did my friend Emily’s wedding in September.

I have also started to have a wee think about the photographs we want from the day. Neither of us are picture people, and as much as we want all aspects of our day to be captured we don’t want to stand for hours getting our photos taken – we’d rather enjoy the time with our family and friends and be present.

A view the cathedral and river in Palma Mallorca
May and Stuart are hoping to fly to Palma for a few days after the wedding (Photo: Shutterstock)

We’re also finalising plans for our initial honeymoon. Straight after the wedding we’re heading off to Palma for some chill time in our favourite place. Then it’ll be back to work and right into wedding season. Once November comes around, when work is quieter and the weather here is rubbish, we plan to go a bit further afield.

Our wedding rings have arrived. It’s killing me having mine and not being able to wear it yet! My engagement ring is beautiful and I didn’t want my wedding ring to take anything away from it. We found it at ROX in Edinburgh, which is where my engagement ring is from.

What’s next?

It’s getting to the stage now where we need to start really finalising things. Once the invites are out, I can start making final plans at the hotel. In February the boys need to go for their fittings to sort their outfits – they’ll be going to The Kilt Company in Perth, which has shops all over Scotland. I also have a first fitting for my dress and I have my shoes. I’m so excited!