I hope you all visited the Quirky Wedding Fair yesterday and got some great ideas for your wedding, as well as meeting some pretty cool people who run amazing wedding venues.
As wedding venues in Northern Ireland are like great, well kept secrets. When you type ‘wedding venues northern Ireland’ into google (I’m sure you’ve done it!) there you have some beautiful hotels, the ones in the centre of Belfast, the Hastings Group which have stunning hotels. If however, you want something a little different, not because you don’t like hotels, just because. Then I thought I’d help you a little, and provide you with a few I have come across in the last few months. I can assure you I didn’t know of any of these when I was getting married. I was like many newly engaged couples- I didn’t have a clue! It did help that I’d been bridesmaid a few times but when it came to venues, caterers, even my wedding dress it was down to a whole lot of research!! It however didn’t help that I got married before the days of Pinterest or Facebook pages or wedding blogs. I write that like it was many years ago, it was however only three years ago and it’s amazing how much things have moved on even since then!
Lately I have stumbled across some beautiful venues, which I would definitely recommend checking out. When you’re choosing a venue, there’s a few things to consider.
Is it within your budget?
Can you have your ceremony there as well, is that included in the price?
How far is it from your ceremony, it’s hard enough finding somewhere half way between your families but if you can find somewhere close enough to the ceremony if they’ve already travelled it might help them a little. If you’ve found the perfect venue and you want to travel, it’s no biggy just ensure there’s time for photos.
What are the extra costs, such as hiring the kitchen (yes this is a cost), extra guests, is VAT included?
Is there somewhere for everyone to sit in between the ceremony and dinner, think of your grandparents.
Will you be providing tea/coffee/canapés, can these be bought if you’re not (for your hungry guests!)
Are there nice places to get photographs taken?
Are your caterers included, if not, I absolutely love Jane’s Kitchen and I can personally recommend their food. Another one which I’ve heard raving reports about are the Yellow Door, a little more expensive but for the real foodies.
Here are a few places to help you with your search (just click the name and it’ll bring you to their website):
And don’t forget Marquees !!
If you do choose a venue that is a little bit off the beaten track, make sure that you include directions either in your invitation or at the ceremony.. you don’t want people getting lost!
Filled Under : Blog
My Wedding Day and What I’d do Differently!
So it is our two-year wedding anniversary, I know it’s only two years but it has gone in so quickly and of course the best two years of my life (I have to say that)! I got married though in a world before Facebook Pages, before Pinterest and before wedding blogs (well before they’d hit little old Northern Ireland), a world were you only had word of mouth and wedding magazines to give you all your hints and tips. Do I wish I’d got married this year, of course not, I love being married, but would I change a few things if I’d to do it again, definitely! I loved my wedding day, but for me it just flew in, so here are the things I’d do differently.
The morning of your wedding…
Sit down with a cuppa tea, your bridesmaids and your family all around you and have a good old laugh. I was in organise mode, I had planned our wedding in 10 months, along with doing my finals and buying a repossessed house that needed a whole lot of work done, that I had forgotten to switch off. The morning of my wedding, what was I doing, packing for our honeymoon, which was three whole days away. Also in the run up to your wedding, make sure you are in bed before midnight, this was a piece of advice I was given and which I adhered to. As a lot of brides are so busy doing the last minute touches, that they get little sleep, the days goes by in a flash and on honeymoon they just conk out and miss a good part of the honeymoon, which is probably the best holiday you will have in your whole life!
Probably one of the most precious things to a lot of brides, as they hold the memories of the one day you’ll ever get to spend with all your friends and family. SO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A PHOTO LIST. If your photographer doesn’t ask for one, make one yourself and give it to your photographer, also give one to your groomsman, just in case the photographer forgets (which happens!) Sit down and think of who all you would like to have photographs with, girlfriends, school friends, uni friends, sisters, grandparents, may be even one of just you and your mum or you and your dad. I didn’t have a photo list, and although I know it’s not the end of the world, I would have loved to have photos with my mum and sister, with my grandparents, with school friends etc. Also, if there are a few photos that are really important to you, highlight them, tell your photographers so that they don’t present photographs to you after your wedding and people have their eyes closed (which also happens!)
Although I know they’re expensive, and sometimes an expense, which is easy to rule out, I would push the budget and try to get one. It’s nice just to have to show family, children, grandchildren, great-great grandchildren (you get the point!)
This is always a tricky one, how do you get your Best man, groomsman, dad, father-in-law, and if you open the floor to all, to keep their speeches to less than 5 minutes… impossible! Yet, all your evening guests are waiting to come in, the band is waiting to start and you (the bride) are waiting to get the first dance over! So try!
My speeches were great, apart from my husband starting his speech with, “ I was wondering why Pete (the Best man) was growling at all the guests as he walked up the aisle… until I realised he was the ring barer” For those of you who haven’t got it yet, as I didn’t get it, nor did our guests… it’s supposed to be a play on ‘ring bear’! The rest of it was good though, and the groomsmen were great even doing a video and singing a song. If you don’t trust what your husband might say though, may be ask him to practice with you, not the stuff about you, but the thanking his parents, your parents, anyone who helped and then tell him to just say how in love he is, why he loves you and some funny stories to fill in the part about you… you can’t go wrong!
I actually wish I had said a speech, I know this isn’t for everyone, but I wish I’d stood up to thank my parents, brother, sister, those who had really influenced my life and of course my husband. I’ll get to do this though at a birthday party or anniversary in the future.
Have breakfast the morning after…
One thing I really wish I had done was have breakfast with my guests the morning after our wedding, or for those who can afford it have a wedding-weekend. We had so many guests from so many different countries, South Africa, New York, Germany, England, Canada, America to name a few and I felt like I hardly got to speak to them. I got a quick chance during dinner and that was about it. I wish I had arranged to meet up with them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper the next day to have a real catch up before jetting off on honeymoon. That’s what a wedding is really about, getting time to celebrate your marriage with loved ones.
Don’t get precious about your wedding…
I know this is a difficult one, as when you’re getting married you want everything to be perfect and a surprise, I know that best as I love surprises, more than I really should and wanted to surprise my wedding guests, I’m not talking operatic singers pretending to be chefs and guests and then bursting into song. I just mean, I wanted the colours of the bridesmaids to be a surprise, the décor, and now I realise it doesn’t really matter. I know for a lot of people it does, and you get caught up in wedding hysteria but when you get married, you will look back and realise it doesn’t, no guest is discussing the colour of your bridesmaid and how it might look. Don’t get me wrong, DO keep your wedding dress a surprise but don’t feel the need to lie. If someone asks who designs it, or where you bought it, just say “Ooo it’s a surprise, it’s the one part of my wedding I want to keep a surprise, but I’m happy to chat about bridesmaids, décor, venue etc.”
A wedding is having the day of your life with your closest family and friends, the man of your dreams, eating good food and dancing the night away.
“A wedding is a party, not a performance.
If at the end of the day you are married to
the one you love, then everything went perfectly!”