Like most 20-something gals, I’d always thought I’d like to get married one day – sail off into the sunset, one hand holding that of my soul mate, the other clutching a trusty Pina Colada. I had never fantasised about the actual wedding so much. For me, it was more about finding someone who would appreciate my never-ending wanderlust, share in my fondness for cats, and love my family and friends as much as I do. I got home the other day to see Dave in his pilot uniform, dragging a string for my cats to chase while he chatted to my parents. Boxes are being ticked!
In the years before I met him I was constantly moving around -between school in the UK and home, other countries and various jobs, falling in and out of love quickly. As you should when you’re young. You need to kiss a lot of frogs to know what you want in a partner, not a new concept I know, but it’s so true. You certainly don’t want to marry someone in a rush to find they have a penchant for gambling or another dodgy personality trait that you simply cannot wrap your head around. Slow and steady wins the race in this case.
When Dave popped the question last April we’d been together almost five years. The timing was perfect and we were in a giddy engagement haze for quite a few weeks. It’s after this point that the hard work begins, when you realise you actually have to organise the entire wedding day, with not one second of ‘wedding planner’ experience to your name. Of course you can have all the bells and whistles and hire a wedding planner, but I know most people like to get stuck in themselves. It can all seem a bit daunting however.
Fear not readers. Here are some of my top tips for those of you planning a wedding here in Guernsey to help ease your stress and get you up that aisle looking and feeling fabulous.
- Decide fairly early where you want to say ‘I do’, especially if you want to get married on a Saturday during the summer.
Marriages in Guernsey can involve either a religious ceremony or a civil one.
Before marrying in a civil ceremony, you’ll need to obtain a licence from the Registrar-General. Civil marriages can take place at the Royal Court, at St James Concert and Assembly Hall or, in the case of local residents, at any private house (for which a Special Licence will be issued).
Before marrying in a Church of England ceremony, you’ll need to contact the minister of the Church in which you’d like to marry. You’ll then have to contact the Ecclesiastical Court (located in the St Peter Port constables office) who will send you various forms to fill in before notifying you of when you need to attend a court session to obtain your marriage license.
- Think carefully about where you want to have your reception depending on the number of guests.
Any number of hotels provide for wedding receptions including The Farmhouse, St Pierre Park Hotel and The Old Government House Hotel . We’re doing our reception in our garden which is another option if you have the space and want to make things personal. Both have their pros and cons. A hotel will handle most of the organisation once you tell them what you want and catering will be part of the package. A home wedding can prove expensive and a logistical nightmare, but if you have the patience; the end result can be magical and unique.
- Make sure you have a wedding planning buddy.
All the big decisions should come from you and your partner, but sometimes it can help to involve a family member or good friend to give you a bit of perspective and advice.
- Accept that you will change your mind a lot and can decide on the little details further down the line.
It’s better to book the major things as early as possible, then wait to decide the finer details at a later stage. I bought a dress a year ago because I wanted to put a big tick next to that box. A few weeks ago I tried it on again and I realised it just wasn’t my vibe at all. We’ve also changed our music choices, my shoes and our menu numerous times. You have more time than you think. Not everything needs to be done and dusted within the first few months of getting engaged.
- Pick a guest list number and try to stick to it.
If you haven’t spoken to someone for a year, don’t invite them. There is no excuse for lack of contact these days with social media and smart phones. You only want people who really care about you and vice versa at your big day.
- Make the day personal.
Your wedding day is all about you and your significant other, so make sure you include some quirky things you love as a couple. If you want to have fairy lights galore, sparklers for everyone, a horse a carriage or salted caramel ice cream – do it. We are.
- Tips for looking your best.
No beating around the bush. You want to look fabulous on your wedding day. Around four months before your big day start getting into the ‘wedding ready’ zone so that you feel confident.
Body – Do not embark on an intense crash diet two weeks before. Start eating lots of fruit/veg and lean protein early on to give you more energy and make your skin glow. Up your exercise regime so that you feel toned and strong on the day too.
Skin – Get into a good skincare routine as it takes a few months for your skin to adapt to using new products. I use Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water, Heliocare Advanced SPF 50 gel and Aestheticare Rejuvinate Retriderm Retinol Serum. If my skin’s a little dry I’ll also use Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. If you want to have semi-permanent lashes, a spray tan or your nails done before the day, have trials to find out what you think works.
Hair – If you colour your hair, make sure you have it done three months before and then two weeks before your big day. Secure a wedding day stylist relatively early on as these guys book up quickly for summer weddings and make sure you have a trial in the months before. It’s a good idea to send them ideas beforehand too.
Make-up – If you are having a make-up artist, make sure you have a trial at least a month before to make sure you aren’t allergic to any of the products and have the time to try a few looks before the day. Remember, you want your wedding make up to be timeless in photographs.
- Keep your look classy on the day.
Make sure that your dress flatters your figure. You may have always wanted to wear a Cinderella, fishtail or bohemian style dress, but it’s a good idea to go into a wedding dress boutique (with your mum and/or maid of honour) and try on at least six different styles. You also want someone with you who you can rely on to tell you if you genuinely look like a sack of potatoes or a goddess.
In terms of jewellery, this will depend on the type of look you are going for. A statement necklace or pair of earrings could work with a simple dress but if your dress is the showpiece I’d stick to minimal, classic jewellery that is special to you.
Buy shoes that do not have a ridiculously high heel. Falling over while walking down the aisle or doing your first dance may seem funny 30 years later but it won’t be a good look on the day. Go for a sensible heel and shoes you can wear again.
- Use your connections.
In Guernsey, you aren’t spoilt for choice regarding catering, photographers and bridal boutiques. When options prove limiting it can be good to involve family friends to make your day a bit more interesting. We have family friends doing the photography and Regency (where my brother works in his university holidays) are doing the marquee and a lot of the event planning. The restaurant where I worked on my gap year are doing the catering (Mint) and an old school friend is doing a lot of the make-up.
- Don’t be a ‘bridezilla’.
One minute you’re doing a table plan, the next you’re reaching for a strong martini and stressing about how Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spike will be in the same room. I hear ya. I have a number co-ordinated file with everything from caterers and transport, to photography and music. Organisation is the key to a stress-free wedding. Also, if a few minor things do go wrong on the day, it’s not the end of the world.
- Have time off from wedding planning.
Don’t think about the wedding every day. Give yourself a break and enjoy this special and exceptionally fun time in your life. With any luck, you’ll only do it once.
Our choices for getting married in Guernsey
Ceremony – St Peter’s Church
Reception – My house
Flowers – ‘Blossom and Green’ www.blossomandgreenflowers.com Tel: 01481 727509
Cake – ‘Cakes for All Occasions’ Rosalyne Le Huray (more information on the Facebook page) Tel: 01481 257939
Photographers – Peace Wedding Photography www.peaceweddingphotography.co.uk
Cheese cake – Meadow Court Farm www.meadowcourtfarm.co.uk/wedding-cheese-cakes
Horse and Carriage – Dave Lowe
Transport for guests – Island taxis
Old cars for wedding party – Steve Poole
Hair – Wynne and Wynne www.wynneandwynne.co
Dress – Wedding Belles Boutique Tel: 01481 255906
Catering – Mint Brasserie www.mint.gg
Event Company – Regency www.regencyevents.com/marquees
Band – The Sequel (headed up by Richard Lean – contactable via Facebook)
Waistcoats – Stately Homes Tel: 07781 403893
For more information on getting married in Guernsey visit:
This article appeared in ‘I Do’ supplement on 31st May 2016.