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!
Losing my father and my aunt
Planning a wedding when your father is terminally ill is never going to be easy and when in July the news hit that my aunt had stage three cancer, the future looked even more bleak. Sadly they have both passed away since my last post, going just six days apart from one another. I have felt broken.
For my main wedding planning partner in crime (my mum) and I, there have been funeral plans to make rather than wedding. But thinking of this upcoming celebration has been the chance to share times of joy rather than sadness and has definitely kept us going!
Celebration of friendship
Weddings are a time for family, and the thought of neither of them being there was never much fun. Fortunately I’ve had some time to prepare for the lack of a ‘father of the bride’ and some wonderful friends will be fulfilling the roles of walking me down the aisle and giving a speech… Let’s just hope they don’t go too cringey in a bid to be an embarrassing ‘dad’!
Friendship is something that I have come to truly value since planning my wedding amidst this trauma. Our wedding will be a true celebration of friendship, and for me, my friends have and continue to fulfil a vital role in my life that can’t always be met by family relations.
So what better thing to write about than all the wonderful things we have been doing as part of the planning process, and the different ways in which they will be involved in the build up to the big day, never mind on the day itself!
Creating our Save The Dates
It all began back in April when I realised, having been engaged for ten months and with just over a year to go until the wedding, we ought to send some Save The Dates. I really wanted these to be personal with a photo of the two of us and also loved the idea of a photo shoot to remember this time in our relationship.
My friend Ceri, one of my wonderful bridesmaids was entrusted to take these photos. So, with her camera over her shoulder, on a sunny Saturday we headed to Hampstead Heath for a shoot. Of course, two of the other bridesmaids Lauren and Isobel had to join us too. They had the job of scouting out good locations, hiding me when I decided a change of clothes was in order and generally made us laugh in most of our photos! It was such a great day and a lot of fun. I hope Ceri is proud of the beautiful shot we chose for the save the date cards -there were hundreds I could have picked!
I used Papier for the cards and was thoroughly impressed with their service, quick and efficient and the cards and envelopes were of really high quality, for a bargain price. If you’re considering sending photo cards or having a ‘shoot’ for your engagement and want it to be fun and relaxed I would definitely suggest bringing in the talents of any keen photographer friends, we are so glad we did this.
I have always wanted to be able to hand write beautifully and love the look of calligraphy on wedding stationary. Isobel found a ‘potty mouth and prosecco’ calligraphy class. In short, we drank lots of bubbles and learned to form the letters through writing swear words! A lot of fun and I would highly recommend Imogen Owen’s classes to anybody considering learning calligraphy.
We were one of several pairs of girls who were there to learn this art as part of their wedding dà©cor, and we had a lot of fun learning and chatting about our vision for the finished products. When I suggested to Isobel that not only will we write the 100 or so place cards for the reception tables but that we could also hand write the addresses for the invitations (all in copper ink of course) she didn’t look too enthused! I told her we’ll make a party of it, but given our still novice hands we may have to start a series of evenings from now until the end of the year when I plan to send out the invites.
DIY Floral Decorations
Another DIY my girls and I are going to try our hand at is some of the floral decorations. I have a vision in my head that our springtime wedding will be filled with blooms and our ceremony room will be my dream enchanted forest location. This is naturally going to involve a lot of trees, foliage and wild looking flowers. Fortunately Isobel’s sister Gabrielle is stepping in to assist in some of these creations. As an interior designer and with experience of working on installations for an amazing floral designer, Rebecca Law, I feel confident in her ability to steer this part of the day!
To get some floral inspiration, my bride tribe and I headed out to the countryside to Hitchin lavender fields. If you’re in North London, it’s a relatively easy drive and I would suggest going next Spring/Summer when the flowers will be in abundance. We sadly missed out on some of the wild flowers that had finished their time of bloom but I will definitely head back next year. We each took some beautiful hand cut lavender bunches to scent our home and I am now brainstorming with the girls how we will include sprigs of lavender into the vision!
Image: Garden Installation by Rebecca Law
A Day For Us All
As for the most important family member of all – my mum, we are going to Brides The Show (VIP tickets and champagne… why not!) to get back on to thinking of happier celebrations.
The blessing of friendships and family – whether big or small is especially prevalent at the time of a wedding and I am loving keeping them at the centre of everything I am doing. This isn’t just mine and Chris’s day but a day for us all to celebrate life and love.
Click here to read all Clare’s planning posts to date.