Clare will be marrying Chris on 5th May 2018 at Laura Ashley The Manor in Elstree, UK.
THREE FACTS: (1) Clare is not Jewish but discovered Smashing The Glass via her Jewish sister-in-law and during her wedding planning journey it has (in her own words!) became her favorite and most useful wedding blog (2) She finds STG refreshing in a sea of wedding blogs as she loves reading stories of couples for whom the ceremony itself is as pivotal as all the other details. (3) Due to falling in love with so many amazing Jewish weddings through the blog, and then booking a wedding consultancy session with STG founder, Karen, it confirmed to her that there were a number of Jewish elements she was going to bring into her wedding that symbolise a lot of things that are very important to her and her fiancà© in their future marriage – she will be having a ‘Jewish-inspired’ wedding!
As I write this it is only a couple of weeks until my wedding day. I cannot believe the time has gone so quickly. Having a near two year engagement I assumed everything would be done really easily, I’d be stress free, have my dream body for my wedding and be totally ready for the big day.
Oh how wrong I was!
I’ve definitely been experiencing the stress and pressure in the last few weeks. I’m not sleeping well, every moment is taken up by thinking about weddings and the minutiae of my day.
So as I considered what I could write about at this stage in the day, when I don’t want to give much away regarding what the actual day will look like; I decided to give myself a bit of a talking to and some good advice to get me through the next couple of weeks as stress free as possible. In doing this I called to mind all the many pieces of wedding advice and wisdom that have been passed on to me by friends, family and anything I have read that has stuck with me.
So here is a summary of the advice I have come across. The good, the bad, and the bits I might have ignored!
Image by Shane and Lauren Photography from Taylor and David‘s Jewish wedding
‘Make a budget and stick to it’
I believe this one has been said to me by countless people and frequently features in magazine articles or posts. I must say, this is one I have turned a blind eye to at times. Of course very few of us have an endless supply of money to put towards our wedding day, so you need to work with what you’ve got; but I would say I have learned to be somewhat flexible towards the budget amounts!
When I was first engaged I found a videographer I loved but felt his prices seemed too high. Determined I would find one for less, I set about on my quest. I can now report I have booked him and we are also paying additional for an assistant – sometimes you don’t know what you really ‘need’ until you see it!
I have been of the view throughout my engagement that I’m only hoping to do this once and therefore we’re going big. When I told Chris that yes I really did need another ten Jo Malone candles in complementing wedding scents, or found an epic entertainment that shall remain secret until the big day, I vowed to make it work, no matter the cost. I was willing to go without food for weeks in order to get those things my heart desired. Whilst, this option might have done the wedding diet some good, we fortunately didn’t have to be quite so drastic; though my social life has definitely taken a hit the last few months in order to spare more money for a bigger, better wedding!
(And yes, it has been so worth it, and I’m not even enjoying them on the big day yet!)
Image by Alex Beckett Photography from Danielle and Alex’s Jewish wedding (soon on STG)
‘Use an excel spreadsheet to keep track of your spending’
Ooops, another one I ignored. But this one I would strongly advise! I’m blessed with a very laid back fiancà© who has given me near enough free reign with our wedding. Apart from one or two ‘business meetings’ (as I called them) where he would request a time in the living room with an up to date list of what had been spent and on what, he didn’t ask too many questions. However, at one of said meetings we discovered that I had completely neglected to factor in the cost of our rings or any invitations and wedding stationery! So do learn your way around a spreadsheet if you’re not already familiar!
‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’
Yep, yet another piece of advice given to me by pretty much every married friend, that I have not fully taken on board. But to be honest, whilst I fully agree that on the day nobody will bat an eyelid about missing details you once dreamed of on instagram, they WILL notice lovely, personal touches you have put into the day. In addition, I can only imagine that on my day I will look around at all those ‘added extras’ I’ve put time and thought (not to mention the ever stretching budget) into and will feel that little bit of joy in my heart. Or I at least will feel this when I actually get to appreciate them as I watch my wedding video/look at the photos!
Image by Shabi Kedem from Yukie and Jason‘s Jewish wedding
‘Remember what this day is all about’
At last, one I have been listening to! One of my lovely work colleagues and a very good friend who married last year have both imparted this wisdom to me. It sounds obvious but it can be soooo easy to get wrapped up in the look of the wedding and the insane amount of ‘stuff’ you can buy. With social media, blogs, magazines etc. Bombarding us with so many options it’s really hard to not get swept away. Chris and I attended a marriage preparation course as well as spending time following this talking about our future, shared visions and goals, hopes and dreams. And now that I’m at the crucial last stages of ‘freak out’ I am reminding myself daily of this and that the most important thing on the day is we have a wonderful time TOGETHER and celebrate our togetherness with those we love.
‘Don’t buy the wedding magazines, they’re expensive and not worth it’
One of my sisters in law (to be) told me this, days after my engagement. Whilst blogs, (especially the wonderful Smashing The Glass!) give so many great ideas and inspiration, I have loved my regular fix of Brides magazine. So much so in fact that I bought one today, just because I figured it would be the last time I will ever buy one for myself. I may not be able to take many ideas from it for my own day but I intend to sit down and enjoy every escapist moment this weekend!
Image by Love Marriage from Shirin and Shai’s Jewish wedding (planned by STG Recommended Vendor Naama Raicher)
‘Have easy snacks like a cereal bar on hand on the day for when you’re getting ready’
My sister in law advised me this from her own day and being a starving bride. Whilst I am yet to experience being a bride on the day, this is one piece of advice I am whole heartedly following! Bridal party snacks are top on my to-do list for those last minute couple of days.
‘No More Shoulds’
So there is a summary of advice. Whether you choose to take any of the above, or are going your own way, probably the most important thing to remember is the ultimate advice from the lovely Karen Cinnamon‘s ‘no more shoulds‘. YES people, do not listen to that great aunt, your friend who married last year or even your own mother, if you don’t like what they have to say! Whilst I am no stranger to family and friend politics and a wedding is a time for them all to celebrate and enjoy, it is your day, not theirs.
The biggest thing I have learned during this process is not to worry about what other people did/will do (hello, Meghan and Harry’s wedding coming up!) what my in-laws or my cousin or Chris’s friends will think is good. What will be good is what WE want. Be respectful to the views and suggestions of those around you, but I would always advocate doing it your way.
Our wedding has already been branded ‘unconventional’ by members of our wedding party. One of Chris’s groomsmen has spammed their WhatsApp group with scaremongering articles about spending too much on your wedding budget. The same WhatsApp group nearly blew up this week over a shoe colour debate between groomsmen views and what Chris and I had already decided on (okay, let’s be real what I had decided on….) but does any of this matter? Not at all! I am so excited to share this special day with everyone. It’s a day for us and I couldn’t stress to any other brides or grooms my ultimate tip – ‘Plan what you would like, then sit back and enjoy!’
Image by Blumenthal Photography from Martin and Jarred‘s destination Jewish wedding in Thailand
Click here to read all Clare’s planning posts to date.
Clare & Chris’ Wedding Vendors booked so far:
Photographer — Catherine Carter
Videographer — Jeff Woods
Venue — Laura Ashley The Manor
Dress – purchased at The Wedding Club
Celebrant – Mark Townsend
Groom and groomsmen’s suits and tuxedos – Tux Lux
Scented candles – Jo Malone