Me & Thee…On Being Engaged

SHE SAYS: Getting engaged is pretty damn cool; for a start, people buy you presents, "ooh" and "aah" over that new bit of bling on your finger, and show an eager interest in everything from how he asked to when you're getting wed. But even cooler than that is knowing you've just embarked on the most loved-up, fun-filled, mind-blowingly exciting journey, with the most important, influential, and downright awesome person in your life.

It's also more than a little bit touching to know that someone (your someone) has put *that* amount of effort into showing you how they feel.

So, how did he ask?

I walked through the door of our cottage one balmy night in July to a sea of rose petals; candles filled every conceivable space, pink champagne waited expectantly on ice, and our wedding music (the piece he knew I wanted to walk down the aisle to) played softly over the scene. There was an ethereally lit white tree (complete with Alice in Wonderland playing cards that he'd made) hanging from its willowy branches, and my man was waiting, suited and booted, down on one knee. It was perfect. And of course, I said yes.

I was a tad worried that when the time came, I'd be distinctly underwhelmed. Now don't get me wrong, I knew that whatever Paul planned would be special — that's just who he is — but we'd talked all about getting engaged, and I knew it was happening soon. Would I be excited? Would I feel any different? Would people be at all interested?

Happily, the answer was yes, yes, and hell yes!

It was pretty damn magical. I felt insanely different. And people were bloody lovely. As soon as we’d visited the rents, sent the texts, and made the all important facebook announcement, the cards, presents and well wishes came pouring in. It was like Christmas, but just for us. I found a surprising amount of comfort in being a 'fiancée'; like everything was finally as it should be. Not in an I-need-a-man-to-complete-me sort of a way; it was more I've-found-the-person-I-was-always-meant-to-be-with-and-I'm-gonna-marry-the-f*ck-outta-him. And that feeling has only grown as the weeks have gone by.

We're now in the full swing of wedding planning, and so far, everything has been surprisingly easy. But we're not naive; we are fully expecting to lose our shit any day now — so please stay with us and help to keep us on track, looking forward, and most importantly, as sane as anyone planning a wedding can be.

Me & Thee

HE SAYS: The journey from boyfriend to fiancé is one of the most exhilarating adventures you’ll ever take — and coming from someone whose travelled the globe, that’s some pretty serious shit right there.

I had asked the most inspiring, insane and beautiful woman in the world to marry me, and for reasons known only to her, she’d said yes!

From the very beginning, planning the proposal was the best thing I'd ever done. Arranging a life-changing surprise for the person you'd do anything to make smile is bloody brilliant; the sleuth-like studying of her favourite things, the frantic seconds ordering that perfect prop, or the time spent researching a new idea while she's getting a drink or on the phone are all incredibly exciting.

Now don’t get me wrong, there's a certain amount of stress involved too. I’m not sure there’ll be another time in my life (excepting the big day) that I'll lose so much sleep over whether those faded pink rose petals are the best shade to display my affections, or whether 150 candles really say “I love you” enough.

But the planning paid off: I managed to hold back the emotions long enough to get through my why-I-have-to-marry-you speech (although excitable minds being what they are, there was a certain amount of ad-libbing), and after that, the excitement of planning was swiftly replaced with the excitement of being engaged — and there's nothing quite like it.

It is, quite simply, the most perfect sense of belonging I have ever felt.

You don’t expect to feel much different the next day; I mean, you still love each other the way you did the day before, and your lives are still the same, right? Wrong. It’s a brave new world.

Everything was somehow more comforting, more certain, more peaceful. I felt indestructible, with the deepest sense of knowing that my life was as it should be. I also realised that other people saw me differently: questions went from “are you going out this weekend” to “when are you having kids then”, and the aspects of life often deemed the province of adolescents suddenly stopped being part of my day-to-day conversations. It was the first time I had ever felt that people were looking at me as a grown-up.

It’s like I'd joined an elite club of people who've really got their shit together; of course, we haven't at all, but we do have an invigorating sense of purpose. And what a purpose it is. I get to spend the next year planning what will no doubt be a highly styled celebration of our love for one another, and the rest of my life showing that love to the person who's made my life the one thing I never thought it could be: perfect.

There are so many things I'm unsure of when I look ahead to next year, but there’s one thing I know for certain: it’s going to be one hell of a journey.

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Charlotte & Adam

 

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Charlotte and Adam have to be one of the most loved-up couples we’ve ever seen; they met seven years ago (an office romance), and married this summer in the beautiful Checkley Church — a grade one listed building in the heart of Staffordshire. Their wedding was filled with pretty pastels, show-stopping fashion, and copious amounts of love and laughter. Not to mention hand-made invitations and one of the prettiest wedding cakes we ever did see.

Scroll through a dapper selection of their beautiful photos, then read all about the bride and groom’s choices for the big day.

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The dress: Charlotte spotted her dream Ian Stuart dress at a wedding fayre, and knew straight away that she’d found ‘the one’: “My mum burst into tears when she saw me in it; a truly magical moment.” It was the very first our blushing bride tried on, and ended the search right there and then.

The groom’s attire: Adam wanted to veer away from traditional tails (something the couple had never even considered) in favour of a slim fit suit, but when the bride and groom-to-be visited J&J Designs, the style-savvy sales girls advised him to give tails a try. “It was the best decision ever — Adam looked so smart, and the look fitted in perfectly with our theme and venue.”

The venue: Charlotte had her heart set on marrying in church, and after visiting the Church of St Mary in the rural village of Checkley, she immediately fell in love; luckily, it was just five minutes away from their dream venue: “We were lucky to find The Heath House on the internet: a beautiful gothic building surrounded by stunning gardens and a marquee; we knew from the first visit that this was the one.”

The theme: To style the venue, Charlotte turned to Pinterest (all hail our number one creative hub!) for ideas and inspiration: “Pinterest was simply the best way to get all of our ideas together; it really helped to visualise the final look, as you have to be sure that what you choose will tie in, and nothing will look out of place (which is so hard when you can’t see your final vision until the big day).”

The couple also turned to family and friends for those all-important second opinions, and trusted to their florist at Forget Me Not to help them decide what looked best: “Our florist was amazing. She gave us so much direction, which really helped us to picture the overall look — giving us total peace of mind.”

The final look was a sea of pastel colours (we approve!), with pompoms tied playfully to the backs of each chair. Charlotte’s five bridesmaids complimented the scene in lilac, pastel pink and dusky pink dresses.

The ceremony: The couple exchanged traditional vows, in a traditional setting, complete with a reading of The Corinthians 13: “Getting married in church with the bells ringing, and sharing a special moment with our close friends and family was an unforgettable experience. I wish I could do it all again!”

Charlotte described walking down the aisle with her dad (as Adam’s talented uncle played Pachelbel’s Canon in D on the church organ) as an emotional yet beautiful experience: “We looked at each other, and had a moment as if time stood still and there was just me and him.”

Adam: “I felt so proud seeing my beautiful bride walk down the aisle.”

Advice from the bride: ““We loved every part of planning our wedding; it really is the best day of your life and we wouldn’t do a thing differently. Remember, the day is about you and the groom, so try to keep your plans in line with what you like and don’t get distracted by what other people tell you to have (or don’t have). And keep things a surprise — especially your wedding dress!”

Advice from the groom: “Savour the day”.  Short and sweet, but we couldn’t agree more!

Thank you so much to Charlotte and Adam for sharing their special day with us. We wish you a lifetime of happiness together xxx

Giving credit where it’s due

The photos: http://www.thorneweddingphotography.co.uk/

The dress: http://www.ianstuart-bride.com/

The Boutique: http://www.bcjosephine.co.uk/

The groom’s attire: http://www.jandjdesignsbridal.com/

The cake: http://www.ticketyboocakes.com/

The venue: http://www.theheathhouse.co.uk/

The flowers: http://www.forgetmenots.co.uk/

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A Day In The Life…Of Rebecca Frances

Rebecca Frances, Bridal Makeup ArtistRebecca Frances

Rebecca is an award winning makeup artist specialising in beauty and bridal makeup. Her clients include the cast of The Only Way is Essex, Hollyoaks, and Made in Chelsea. Rebecca’s wonderful work has featured in both Conde Nast Brides and Professional Beauty magazines.

What does a typical ‘day at work’ involve for you?
One of the things I love most about my job is the fact that no two days are the same! If If I’m working on location at a wedding, it will typically involve a very early alarm. A 6am arrival at a venue is the norm, working right through bridesmaid after bridesmaid for up to 6 hours straight. Where I can, I’ll stay right up until a bride is ready to walk out the door to her ceremony for touch ups, I love seeing everything come together. In between weddings I’m on call 7 days a week for my clients, helping answer any questions they may have, constantly meeting new clients for their pre wedding trials, answering hundreds of emails, updating social media, washing brushes (soooo many brushes), prepping for each wedding adding my personal touch, stocking up on kit essentials (one of my favourite jobs!) and when I have the time, planning and executing styled shoots with other industry experts. This job certainly keeps me on my toes, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

How did it feel to win Professional Beauty’s National Young Makeup Artist of the Year in 2009, just two years into your career?
I was encouraged to enter the awards by my makeup educator, the legendary David Horne. Being up against some incredibly talented artists with more experience than myself meant I had little confidence that I would even get through to the finals of the competition, so winning the award gave me the determination to pursue the career I’ve wanted since I was a little girl.

With a number of accolades to your name (including National Makeup Specialist of the Year 2011, and being named as a finalist in the Best Makeup Artist category at the Wedding Industry Awards 2015), what is your proudest professional achievement to date?
Taking the risk to work completely self employed, and carving out a successful business with an excellent reputation has to be my proudest moment to date. That and working on Cara Delevingne’s iconic eyebrows.

You’ve worked backstage at London Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week, Miss Universe, Austria’s Next Top Model and L’Oreal Colour Trophy: what’s it really like behind the scenes?
Crazy! The calm and collected vibe on the catwalk is the polar opposite of what’s happening backstage. Fashion is full of the unexpected, but a few things are always guaranteed: A sneak peak at incredible haute couture pieces. 6ft models that require a step ladder to reach. 3 makeup artists, 2 hair stylists, and a manicurist working on one model at the same time to get a model ready for the catwalk, sometimes with seconds to spare. Lots of swearing. And coconut water. So much coconut water.

We’d consider the wedding industry a dream gig for any creative professional, but how did you make the transition from your international backstage work to bridal beauty?
Through word of mouth, client recommendations meant my bridal business was able to grow at a rate I could only dream of! Working in the bridal industry offered a stability and job satisfaction that working in fashion alone couldn’t fulfil. My desire to please and provide an unrivalled level of client experience meant the progression felt very natural, I’m in my element!

We love a bit of fantasy and theatre when it comes to wedding style; have you ever worked on a wedding that was completely outrageous?
I was once booked to work on a ‘Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’, except I didn’t know until I turned up on the wedding morning! I’m obsessed with the over the top decadence that’s associated with traveller weddings, so it was exciting to be involved in such a huge celebration. The makeup requested was as fabulously glamorous as you’d expect, my only regret was not bringing enough glitter!

What advice would you give to any aspiring makeup artists out there?
The makeup industry is so fully of variety, find out what area you want to work in and do your research. Assist experienced artists in your chosen sector. Network, the saying “It’s not what you know but who you know” is very prevalent in the competitive world of makeup. Practice. Never stop learning. Value yourself and your work. Be patient, it wont happen overnight. And remember, it’s nice to be nice!

And finally…what are your top tips for achieving that perfect wedding day look?
Flawless skin is always on trend, so invest wisely in the products you use to cleanse and enhance your skin. I’m a real perfectionist, I aim to achieve a perfect looking base with as minimal product as possible to ensure a makeup looks and feels natural. I’m a big fan of using concealer to achieve this, one of my faves is NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. Waterproof products where necessary will be your best friend on such an emotional day, and finally, remember to stay true to your personal style!

Rebecca Frances 2

If you would like to find out more about the incredible talent that is Rebecca Frances, pop along to her website.

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