Do you have a wedding plan?

AS soon as we announced our engagement, people started asking about our wedding plans.

My sister was the first. ‘Where do you want to get married? What about your bridesmaids? Do you have any plans?’

I looked at Chris. Chris looked at me. ‘No. No plans.’

Lake Windermere. My friend James took this photo. He kept telling us to go back a bit!


‘When do you want to get married?’

The questions just kept on coming. It took me by surprise. We’d just got engaged. We’d never thought about the details of a wedding.

‘What are your plans?’ My friend, Lisa, was about the millionth person to ask.

I shrugged. ‘Don’t know.’

‘I had a plan in my head.’ Lisa tapped her head. ‘Didn’t you have a plan in there?’

I shook my plan-less head. ‘No. I’ve never given it much thought.’

I felt bad that I’d never had a wedding plan. Should I have dreamed about getting married, planned all the details so that when the proposal came, I’d have it all sorted.

The only thing I’d ever dreamed about is being a writer. Chris knows this. ‘If I had the choice between a wedding and a book deal,’ I told him. ‘I’d choose the book deal.’ This is what I said to my new fiancé.

He took it remarkably well. ‘What we really want,’ he said. ‘Is a marriage without a wedding.’

‘That’s it! That’s exactly it.’

The whole idea of organising a wedding left us feeling a bit confused, but I liked the sound of a marriage without a wedding.

My Mum didn’t.’If you’re getting married, you have to have a wedding. It goes without saying.’ She rolled her eyes and pulled her I can’t believe you’re my daughter face.

‘Right,’ I said. ‘Okay.’

And so the search for a wedding venue began.

My cousin, Clare, had a lovely wedding about 20 years ago at Waterton Park Hotel. It seemed sensible to try there first. So, on a rainy, cold and miserable Sunday in January we attended our first wedding fair.

Waterton Park Hotel

We pulled into the car park. ‘There’s a lot of people.’ The competitive me was already taking over. I wanted to be the first in.

‘Plenty of time,’ Chris is the laid back one in our relationship.

‘Have you got an umbrella?’ Mum was in the back of the car. ‘I don’t want to get my hair wet.’

Raining. This picture was actually taken a few years ago on my 30th birthday in the Lake District. It was the only rainy type picture I could find!


It was just as busy inside. It seemed that everyone in the world had got engaged at Christmas and wanted to get married at Waterton. I have to say that it is a very beautiful place. It’s on an island and has a very romantic feel to it.

I was waiting for that feeling I’d heard that people get when they see their wedding venue or dress for the first time. My stomach rumbled, but apart from that, there was no feeling.

Chris and I stood in the reception room listening to the string quartet. We shook our heads and smiled. Waterton, however lovely it is, just wasn’t for us.

I was starting to feel a bit disappointed, but then we walked across the bridge into the newer part of the hotel where we got talking to a photographer, Gav Harrison. He showed us his albums and seemed really lovely.

‘Get his card.’ Mum came up behind us. ‘And let’s get out of here.’

Gav had a special offer on. If we booked in February, there was a discount.

‘Right!’ I pulled out of the car park. ‘That’s the challenge. We need a venue to go with the photographer.’

We drove home happy that at least our wedding planning was underway. We had a photographer.



Where to go on honeymoon?

We have no idea where to go on honeymoon. To try and find some inspiration we headed to our local Kuoni branch, which happens to be Meadowhall in Sheffield.

Kuoni meadowhall

We browsed the brochures. We weren’t really sure where to start.

‘There!’ Chris pointed to a brochure on the third shelf, two across, with the title Honeymoon Guide.


That seemed a good start. We flicked through it.There were so many lovely photographs of the most amazing places.

We were overwhelmed.

I approached a lady behind a desk. ‘Can you help?’ I asked. ‘We’re looking for a honeymoon, and we’ve no idea.’

The Kuoni advisor couldn’t have been more helpful. Within a second she was on her feet, taking brochures from the shelves.

Our wedding is in June, which means there are certain destinations, such as Barbados, which are no-go’s on account of it being their hurricane season. We’ve been to Barbados and absolutely fell in love with it (see pictures below), but we didn’t fancy going in hurricane season.

We narrowed our selection down to the countries in the world which would be suitable in June.

Europe, Indonesia, USA, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles.

‘All you need to do,’ the sales advisor said. ‘Is to decide on the destination, then make an appointment and one of our specialists will take you through the options.’

It sounded perfect. The only problem is deciding where we want to go.

We left the shop, arms full of brochures, and headed to Pizza Express, where we could look at the brochures, discuss our options, and enjoy a huge pizza.

‘We need to decide whether we want an adventure, or a stop and flop honeymoon,’ Chris tucked into his romana padana.

‘Adventure,’ I said. ‘Definitely an adventure. Three weeks, with a bit of everything.’

The west coast of America seemed to be the favourite destination. The waitress was heading to LA this summer, so she was also excited for us.

Kuoni logo

We thought we’d got it sorted, but then I had the busiest week with work, and began to wonder whether a beach holiday may be better. By June next year I will (all being well) have finished a degree in English Literature, and a Master’s degree in Writing. I’m also working full time, planning a wedding, and running competitively.

‘With all this going on, I might not even make the wedding!’ I told Chris.

We started looking at other options. Chris fancied Santorini. He showed me a brochure. Santorini certainly looks like one of the most beautiful islands in the Med. It has stunning scenery, whitewashed villages and laidback tavernas. I could certainly see us spending time there.

‘But what about the adventure?’ I’d got my heart set on an adventure of some kind. I thought about it for a few minutes. ‘Let’s have two honeymoons!’

That was it! That’s the answer! Perfect.

Do you have any honeymoon recommendations? I’d love to hear your experiences.

Liz x




Let’s get the planning started

AFTER months of dark nights and cold wintry weather, it seems that spring has finally arrived. And that means one thing. The wedding season will be here before we know it.

I’ve just had a stroll to the shop. The sun is shining, for the first time in ages I didn’t need my coat. It was positively tropical.

My thoughts started wandering. I started thinking about our wedding.

Since getting engaged at Christmas, things have been very hectic, so I’ve not had much chance to think about wedding planning. It’s been a blur of work, study, running training, racing, and looking after our various pets (currently, one horse, two ponies, two dogs and a rabbit).

We have made progress with the wedding planning, the key things, which I will be updating you on, but I’ve not really had time to get excited.

Until now!

The short walk to the shop gave me the thinking time I needed. Before I knew it, I was smiling and there was a spring in my step. I entered the shop, went straight to the magazine section, and started searching for a bride magazine, just to have a look.

I didn’t intend to buy a magazine. I just wanted to see what publications were out there for when I do need them. On the front of Brides magazine was a headline about this season’s new dresses.

That was it! I bought it immediately.

Dresses. I love dresses. Dresses have always been my thing. Whether it’s a dress for an occasion, or just a dress for everyday, I love them.

Up to now, choosing a wedding dress has been way down on my list of priorities, but now it’s catapulted straight to the top.

It’s time to get excited for this wedding of ours.

cyprus 2010