The Bride Diaries
The Bride Diaries. Amy’s Engagement Shoot & Sad Loss

This afternoon real bride Amy has some devastating news to share with us.  I am sending her all of my love and thoughts at this time and I know you will all want to do the same. Thank you for sharing Amy. I so love her gorgeous engagement shoot images with Ashley by Toast of Leeds. Stunning XOXO Lou


Engagement Shoot


Hello there lovelies ☺ I hope you are all feeling fabulous and are settling into the New Year nicely. Serious January blues over here, I was a right little miss piggy over the festive season so I’m hitting the salads hard to try and get my body back to some kind of normality, all the while having a massive box of Continental winking at me. Damn you Viennese truffles!

You know when you get back to work after Christmas, and the first thing every single person asks you is ‘did you have a nice Christmas?’ – I’m totally guilty of this – and you’re all like ‘yeah it was great thanks, I’m so sad to be back here’. Well I didn’t have that this year, don’t get me wrong everyone wanted to know how my Christmas was, but I couldn’t give that usual response. See my wonderful mum unexpectedly passed away on the 15th so it was impossible to have enjoyed a day which normally brings me so much happiness.


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I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer and kill the mood, so I’ll try to keep this as brief as I can (I think by now you know me and brief don’t really go together!) before I move on to the good stuff. I’ve read a lot of real wedding posts on various wedding blogs, where brides sadly don’t have one of their parents with them on their special day. I’d always read them and thought ‘aawww how awful it must be not to have both your parents there to see you get married’ because of course you never imagine that it’s going to be you. It’s true that no one can say or do anything to make you feel better, you just have to try and get through each day, hoping that tomorrow will be better than today. It’s not fair that my mum was taken from me without warning, so suddenly. At the moment I feel so angry that, although our wedding day is going to be wonderful, it’s now going to be tinged with sadness at the loss of such a fantastic lady.

Ashley wondered whether I would want to postpone the wedding, and in truth I think if the day was a bit closer I probably would have wanted to, but really if anything this has only made me want to marry him more. He has been so wonderful the last few weeks, I guess calling him my rock would be a little cliché but I don’t know how else to describe it. Ash has had to put up with my tears, my silence, my screams, instinctively knowing when I needed a cuddle and when he had to leave me the hell alone. He really is my soul mate, it makes me so happy to say I marry him this year.

Ok then, let’s sweep all that horrible stuff under the rug for now, and move on to some wedding planning gossip! We’ve been quite the busy bees lately, what with wedding rings bought, florist chosen, and honeymoon booked – ridiculously excited about that last one as I’m sure you can imagine, I’m going to keep the details under wraps for now though, but I’ll leave you with one little clue…..


Ash Amy USA


I’d like to leave you guys with some amazing pictures taken by our fabulous photographer, Shelly Mantovani of Toast of Leeds, from the engagement shoot we had one chilly Sunday morning in Leeds city centre (it was also VERY windy!)

I’m going to echo what many a bride to be has said, including the lovely Holly and Katy, it was great practise! Ash and I were so awkward, I suppose not really knowing what to expect, luckily Shelly knew just what to do – talking about the latest edition of Playboy was a great ice breaker! Looking at these photos we know we made the right choice in Shelly, not only is she going to be a trusted supplier on the day, but it’ll be like having an extra guest ☺


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The Bride Diaries
The Bride Diaries. Rosie’s Scrumptious Food Choices

Is your wedding menu important to you? Well for foodies Rosie and Elliot it is top of their list. When you hear their menu choices you may well feel your mouth watering. Have you chosen your wedding food? Why not share with us what you are going for XOXO Lou


Wedding Planning

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Food, good food, is incredibly important to Elliot and I. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that is the main pivotal point to what our days, and particularly our weekends revolve around. Elliot has a bottomless stomach and a great love for big hearty dishes, I love herbs and spice, and most particularly, bread.

I work for an organic food company, so there are always conversations flying around the office as to what people are eating that night, what they had for breakfast, where they’re going out at the weekend. There is always this subject to turn to if there is no other conversation to be found. I find that food brings sometimes the most unlikely of people together.

And at a wedding, this is no exception! This may be terrible of me, but from all the weddings I’ve ever been to, I tend to judge the wedding on the type of food that was served. Isn’t that terrible? I particularly dislike food that involves ‘drizzles’ and ‘parcels’. It became clear to us as we were viewing venues at the beginning of our journey that a ‘Menu A’ or ‘Menu B’ offering was not going to satisfy our hungry appetites.

So when we discovered Parsonage Farm, Upton, we were thrilled that Sarah and John (the owners) said we were absolutely free to do whatever we wanted food-wise. Hurrah! And – veggies and vegans look away now – what is even more fantastic, is that Sarah and John make their own charcuterie meats from their own pig and cow herd. We thought a selection of cured meats with delicious crusty bread would be perfect for a starter and it’s sourced as local as it could possibly be, which is really important to me.

El was absolutely adamant that a Hog Roast was the best way to get people talking. It has the element of spectacle that would suit the atmosphere we’d like to create and would suit a hot September afternoon, or a chilly one. As long as a people still thinks the bride looks beautiful munching on crackling, then I’m cool with that too!

I, quite naively, thought that we would be able to do the accompaniments to the main meal ourselves… When I voiced this to my mum, she was not so sure and I realised that most of the responsibility would fall on her – which wouldn’t be fair at all, even if she is the best cook in the world.

Our next stage was finding a caterer. Mum took the reins on this one and steered Elliot and I to meet the most fantastic and understanding caterer we could have ever hoped to meet. When we met Emma from Taste Food, she immediately got us. She understood the importance of sourcing as locally as possible, and asked if we’d ever looked through Ottolenghi’s recipe book Plenty. At that, I was putty in her hands! She also recommended some fantastic sounding vegetarian mains that could be as show-stopping as the hog, and were definitely not the soggy ‘cheese & tomato quiche’ of my nightmares.

Aside from all of this (and most importantly), she understood our budget and worked with my mum and I on seeing what we had (napkins, table cloths, plates, bowls, tea cups & sauces) and working around a figure that we looked at and thought – ‘that’s totally worth it’.

Within a week of meeting us, Emma sent us through a choice of 12 wonderful salads that could accompany the hog. They look fresh, full of flavour and have some beautiful combinations that will hopefully excite the guests as much as us! And now it’s up to Elliot and I to decide which 4 we would love to see decorate our guests’ tables. I am SO excited!

Next time, Elliot will be writing an entry all about the plans for his Stag. This will be news to me too, as he’s been very quiet as to what secrets the ‘Mission Stag’ Whatsapp group holds…

Ciao for now!

Rosie x

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The Bride Diaries
The Bride Diaries. Holly’s Polaroid Save The Dates & Guest List Woes

To start the weekend and really get that Friday feeling, we have one of our wonderful WWW real brides here – Holly. Those of you about to embark on a wedding planning weekend may find Holly’s words comforting and useful today. With awesome DIY save the dates (plus a top tip) and her guest list woes. We’d love to hear from you too about how you are choosing your wedding guests :-) XOXO Lou


Save the Dates


After a wonderful Christmas, which included our annual Boxing Day walk up the Clent Hills, it’s now 2015 and that means I can officially say ‘We’re getting married this year!’ I can’t quite believe it.  Time definitely flies when you’re having fun. With just over three months left, the realisation has set in that we’ve still got a mountain of things to do and not a great deal of time to do it in. Whoops. But we have got all the big things sorted and it’s about time I let you know about them.


Boxing Day Walk


Let me introduce: Hatton Village Hall. Our wedding venue. Understandably, it was the first thing we ticked off the list. Very early on we knew we wanted to do as much of our wedding ourselves as we could – including the décor and catering, so we needed a venue that would allow us to do this. A village hall was the perfect shout, although we didn’t think we’d find one as beautiful as this. The main part of the building was purpose built in 1924 but the second part of the building used to be the old school house – the school coat hooks are still there and are a lovely welcoming feature!


Hatton Village Hall


We’re holding both our ceremony and our reception at Hatton Village Hall but we made the decision to restructure our wedding day a little differently to the norm – mainly because it enabled us to save quite a lot of money! In order to cut out what I considered to be an extortionate fee to have an official registrant come to Hatton to conduct our ceremony, we’ve decided to ‘do the legal bit’ in the morning. Nothing fancy, just us two, our parents and two witnesses in our jeans and t-shirts at a local registry office. We won’t be saying our proper vows or exchanging rings – we’ll literally say the legal minimum required, sign the certificate and skedaddle back to my parents’ house afterwards for a nice big family breakfast before getting ourselves dolled up for the main event. Even though we’re still having a wedding ceremony at Hatton (albeit not a legal one), they amazingly still said they would only charge us as if we were holding a reception. Bargain!

The other main component of our day is our lovely photographer: Louise Holgate. As soon as we met her, we knew she was the one for us! We just had to look at each other to know we’d made up our mind. Not only are her photos breathtakingly beautiful, but she’s just lovely. She’s been a real source of wedding wisdom and support throughout our engagement so far and I know we’ll feel 100% relaxed around her on the day. (more…)

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Engagement Shoot, Shoots, The Bride Diaries
The Bride Diaries. Holly’s Cosy Autumn Engagement

The week draws to a close and what better way to end it than with a set of loved up images? WWW real bride Holly shares the gorgeous pictures from her engagement shoot with Jim. A warm welcome to Jim too, it’s lovely to hear his perspective on the blog this afternoon. Thanks so much to Julie Michaelsen for sharing her images today  XOXO Lou


Cosy Autumn Engagement



Holly says: Jim and I were incredibly lucky to win an engagement shoot with London based photographer Julie Michaelsen after taking a selfie of ourselves at her stall at the Brides the Show wedding fayre (which incidentally, we’d also won the tickets for!). We didn’t have an engagement shoot as part of our wedding photography package and it wasn’t an additional item we felt we could afford so it was a real treat and was definitely worthwhile!

It’s fair to say we were both quite nervous, and didn’t really know what to expect (and I spent an embarrassing amount of time worrying about what to wear!) but Julie was fantastic at putting us at ease and took a mixture of posed and relaxed shots which meant we have a lovely array of photos as a result.

Two of the most memorable moments from the shoot included getting told off by two Policemen for standing in a fenced off area (whoops – the lengths you go to for that perfect background!), and Jim making me laugh in a shot where we had our faces very close together by saying “I can smell your make up… it smells like clay.”

Just as Real Bride Katy has said about her own engagement shoot; it was great practice and preparation for our wedding day! One thing we’ve learned is that Jim finds it very difficult to smile on demand. I’m hoping he’ll be so overjoyed on our wedding day that he won’t even need to think about smiling as it’ll just come naturally, but I’m already thinking up things I can say to make him genuinely laugh or smile. Jim makes me laugh pretty much 24/7 in real life so it’ll be nice for the roles to be reversed for a change!


Cosy Autumn Engagement Cosy Autumn Engagement Cosy Autumn Engagement Cosy Autumn Engagement (more…)

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The Bride Diaries
The Bride Diaries. Amy’s Hair, Make Up & Beauty Regime

WWW resident real bride Amy is back. And this week it’s great to catch up on what she has been up to. I love her thoughts and decisions on her hair, make up and beauty regime too :-) Thanks Amy XOXO Lou




Hello there you lovely lot ☺ I bring you this instalment of Bride Diaries from an office which feels like it’s located somewhere in the Antarctic, seriously freezin’ hell! Autumn has well and truly set in now, bust out the hot water bottles and stock up on the hot chocolate. I personally love this time of year, I think it’s probably my favourite, what with the gorgeous colours, and not having to arm yourself with deodorant every time you leave the house – for me summer = sweaty mess (yeah I went there).

As much as I enjoy the cooler months I still get the urge for some winter sun, or rather a break away from work where sunshine is massively involved, no real requirement for winter. So when Ashley suggested a little trip to Majorca for the end of October, I was very much on board! It was very lovely indeed, sometimes all you want/need is to lay in the sunshine, letting go of all of your stresses, relaxing completely. And that is exactly what we did, literally. We were at the beach every day soaking up the glorious sun (it was only 25°c so no sweaty mess over here), eating a ridiculous amount of food, and guzzling all the wine. I feel no shame for being so lazy, it was just what we needed.


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I’ve also been spending time with my momma, since moving out and up to Wakefield I don’t really have any quality mother/daughter time with her. We went to see the utterly fabulous Paolo Nutini when he came to Sheffield, he really was incredible that man is so talented, and ladies, oh so sexy! I don’t think I’ve ever referred to a man as being ‘sexy’, always seemed a bit naff and crude to me, but there really is no other word to adequately describe how easy on the eye Mr Paolo is. Sorry Ash!


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