“As the clock chimed midnight and the room erupted into a cheer, the first bars of Auld Lang Syne started ringing out, I gave my brand new husband a kiss and a squeeze and I looked up. At the crowd in front of me celebrating the end of one year and the start of another, at the happy drunk faces of family and friends who had spent the day merrily being fed and watered in a beautiful location, at my handsome husband who had stood before all of those people earlier that day and promised to love me forever. And in that moment I realised I had totally nailed New Years Eve.”Me – NYE 2018
When DG proposed I was a few months away from my 34th birthday (read: desperate & mental) so we were never going to have a long engagement (no matter what he tells you). We both loved the idea of getting married on New Years Eve, partly because neither us loved the fuss of NYE which was undoubtedly always a disappointment and partly because it just sounded like a bloody fun wedding to be at. Do you know what I mean? You’re busy planning your NYE like it’s the next Y2K event or perhaps you’re ignoring it and planning an ‘M&S Dine in for Two’ like every year? Then you get a little note on your doormat in the shape of a wedding invitation where someone you know (and hopefully love) is going to feed and water you all day long and force you to dance the macarena before a mass rendition of Auld Lang Syne! Joy! No Jools Holland for you this year, you’re getting your glad rags on and partying!
Well this is how imagined it anyway, fun, fun and some more fun for everybody!
When looking for our venue our first criteria was capacity, we had drawn up a provisional list before we started searching and somehow had a two hundred strong guest list to accommodate so this suddenly ruled out lots of venues. We live by the beach and would have loved a beach wedding but due to the tides and obvious weather concerns during winter, we had to rule this out quickly as well. The next criteria was the date, we immediately asked venues if they had NYE available and surprisingly a lot of them did! However we were going to have to compromise.
We actually only viewed two venues before deciding on ours. The first was a huge hotel up on the cliff top which was the only one that could have seated all 200 guests for the whole day with everything in one place and some stunning sea views as well. However, when we went to view this venue I left feeling utterly miserable. It had no charm, no character and I couldn’t imagine this hotel being the glittery, glamorous NYE party I was hoping for, let alone getting married in such a vast cavern of functionality. No, this place would not do and that meant we would have to compromise on something.
Our wedding venue was a bit of a surprise as it is actually located not far from where we live, sits sweetly just off the high street in the town centre but opposite an old Bowls Pavillion and some castle ruins. We had been for dinner here before (great Sunday roast FYI) but when we went to visit, and started to look at it through the eyes of a bride and groom, it suddenly seemed like an entirely different place! Wedding ceremonies can be held in the pavillion opposite or in The Kings Priory, which is a separate split level building next to the main hotel (joined by a handy corridor). We fell in love with the space immediately, it had a fairy tale, romantic vibe about it and I could easily visualise our romantic yet intimate wedding ceremony and glitzy after party, just as I had hoped. Before we had reached the car to head home we were both in agreement, this was the place. They had NYE free and we reserved the date as soon as we got home and promptly booked the registrar as well. That was it, we were getting married – IN 8 MONTHS!
The bridesmaids, The groomsmen and THE Dress
I wanted our bridesmaids and groomsmen (and my future husband of course!) to be as relaxed as possible so wasn’t keen anything too formal for anybody nor was I bothered about anybody ‘matching’. Actually all I cared about, naturally, was that I looked and felt incredible on the day.
For the boys it was simple; crisp white shirts, no ties and blue suits. My husband has incredible blue eyes and always makes my knees a little weak in a white shirt.
For the girls it wasn’t quite as simple. I have three sisters, all of them are varying shapes and sizes with different body hang ups and I wanted to be sensitive to all of their needs and wants whilst making them feel like a million dollars (and be able to dance until the wee hours!) aswell. I trawled website after website looking for the right styles and colours that would blend together well but I just couldn’t quite find it. I stumbled across ASOS after seeing someone recommend them for bridesmaid dresses and they had these gorgeous sequin top/tulle bottom maxi dresses in varying colours and shapes which screamed NYE. I ordered without showing my sisters and hoped for the best. They were perfect and the girls all loved them too. At approx £80 each, they were a steal compared to some. I accessorized the girls outfits with these adorable purses from Not On The High Street which I had personalised with their initials (I got one too obviously!) and they beautifully doubled up as Thank You gifts.
My dress was pretty simple. I’m 5 foot short and was pretty sure I wanted a 50’s style tea length dress. I was adamant I didn’t want a veil or tiara or anything too ‘Bride-y’ (quickly changed my mind on these once I had a tiara on!) but was certain I absolutely had to have a faux fur jacket to top off the wintery/NYE vibe I was going for.
I found a dress I liked on Pinterest, spent a fair amount of time trying to source the designer and then the nearest stockist (not a simple task I can tell you), made an appointment and waited (not so patiently). About a week before the appointment I decided to pop along to my local Wed2Be to try on some other styles ‘just to be sure’. For those that don’t know, most bridal shops expect you to make an appointment and then you can try on while there, they would then most likely order the dress you want just for you in your size (which is where all those fittings come in). Wed2Be is an ‘off the peg’ bridal store where you don’t need an appointment, can try on a few dresses at a time then go back out and hunt for more if you want. If you find one you like (in your size) you can take it away the same day and have any alterations made using your own seamstress.
I tried on every dress I thought I would hate first. Princess ball gowns, tight fitting A-line dresses, fish tail dresses and a few similar to the style I liked but had detail I didn’t love. Thankfully, I was right – I knew what suited my shape! I was torn between a stunning tea length dress in a champagne/blush colour and the one I actually left with. It did not take long for me to decide and I left with my dress that day (only paying £550 for it!)
I used a local seamstress to shorten the dress, stitch in a belt and take the straps up a little so it fitted like a dream. I also bought a handmade veil and tiara from her after going for a fitting and falling completely in love with them. Total alterations costs = About £100 plus tiara and veil. I found my faux fur jacket second hand on Shpok for £12 and my shoes were also from the same site for about the same price (hilariously I lost them on the night of our wedding somehow!). As I was shopping for a winter wedding in the summer, it was tricky to find the things I wanted in shops or even online stores so do bear this in mind.
Naturally, New Years Eve equals GLITTER! SPARKLES! HATS & TAT!
I ordered a giant party box of NYE hats & tat really early on and unsurprisingly, it was quite cheap! We left them all over the evening reception venue and it’s safe to say they were so well received, half our guests had a hat on during the wedding breakfast.
Our table decorations were simple, I obviously had to drink a heap of wine in the run up to the wedding (Bridezilla stress!), peeled every label off of every bottle and sprayed them with my chosen colours. It took far longer than I expected (Pinterest needs to come with an ‘hours of your life you’ll lose doing this thing’ warning but I had wine so…..) but I loved the final look. Candles, fairy lights, table runners etc. all came from eBay. Name cards for the table were an Etsy find and looked so much better than any DIY version I had attempted.
Our wedding favours were sparklers (eBay) and we asked our day guests to join us outside for a little sparkler arch after the wedding breakfast had finished. The photos were perfect and just what I wanted. Plus it’s funny how much the grown ups enjoyed a 45 second sparkler!
I really wanted our wedding breakfast to be fun so we played ‘Wedding Speech Bingo’ throughout which kept the kids interested and also gave adult guests something else to focus on if the speeches dragged on. Our Toastmaster read out the rules at the start and everyone had their own card & bingo dabber. My favourite moment of the breakfast was when my cousin stood up, in the middle of my husband telling everyone something emotional and sentimental about his new wife, and shouted ‘BINGO’ followed by a huge round of applause and laughter. (He won a bottle of fizz)
I didn’t want a proper wedding cake as I’m not a fan of cake at the best of times plus the cost of wedding cakes is completely mental. My sister found a local lady who made cupcakes and also hired out a stand for them. She also found an online store that made personalised cake toppers and the total cost, for 100 cupcakes, hire of the stand and cake topper was less than £200. When you start looking at wedding cake prices you can see why I went down this route. Surprisingly the cakes didn’t all get eaten so we donated the rest to a local care home the next day as we didn’t want them to go to waste. Alongside my bouquet and wedding colours, these cakes looked adorable and I’m so glad I chose them.
Our Toastmaster! Quite possibly the greatest investment we made for our wedding day. Michael is a professional toastmaster and his job is to basically make sure everything happens. He is the ULTIMATE professional in every sense. I honestly don’t know if the day would have run as smoothly as it did (without any worries from me or hubs) if he hadn’t been there. He kept order during the speeches, he kept me informed of timings and where I needed to be next, he shepherd-ed guests, carried flowers, moved props, announced us as the new Mr & Mrs and so much more. He was priceless (but actually only cost us a mere £330 for the whole day and he looked so dapper!), everyone commented on how brilliant he was after the event so I would honestly strongly recommend hiring a toastmaster for your big day if you consider yourself a bit of a control freak. I was totally relaxed during our entire day and didn’t worry about a thing because Michael was there.
I know lots of people feel that they would change things after they have had time to reflect on their wedding day. It’s a funny situation to be in because you’re basically planning something pretty huge that you have possibly never planned before, never had to cater for so many people, so many details, so much cost and it’s all a bit overwhelming. Personally, I am delighted with our wedding day, it was everything I hoped and more and I love looking back on our photos and remembering that warm fuzzy feeling that I had all day. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Plus the important bit was that I got married to my best friend, danced, drank and rang in the New Year as a bride with my hot husband by my side.
Can we do it again please?
Mrs G x