Well, it’s hard to believe. This day fortnight I will be sitting in Spain celebrating my wedding eve. I intend to be cool, calm and collected and enjoying a glass of cava or three. I feel I deserve it! The weeks leading up to a wedding are pretty busy – words like checklist, countdown and timeline are being expressed with increasing frequency but we’re nearly there. My wedding planner Sharon Mc Meel warned me that time speeds up just before your big day and she was right. Little jobs like writing your civil ceremony, chasing RSVPs, drawing up a table plan take longer than you imagine and require the skill of the Diplomatic Corps. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration but they do take a little more time and thought than we anticipated. Still, it will be worth it I’m sure.
Onto more fun stuff.
A sneak peek of Ciara’s fab wedding invite by Gilded Lili Wedding Invitations
Wedding Invites! I know the current trend is to have a website and allow your guests to RSVP there but in the end it just wasn’t for me. Let’s face it, most of what comes through the letterbox is bill or bank related and I look forward to neither! I’ve always been someone who squeals with delight when I see a wedding invite and I proudly display them on my fridge until long after the vows have been shared and the honeymoon been enjoyed. Thankfully Catherine Byrne from Gilded Lili Wedding Invitations agreed with me. In her expert opinion the invite is the first hint your guests have of the tone of the wedding so you want it just right. It could be modern, fun, rustic, themed or traditional or a mixture of them all. Catherine offers beautiful ready-made invites but also a bespoke one of a kind service. I loved the idea of something unique and personal to Richard and I and Catherine considered every element of the wedding in our invites. She takes inspiration from the venue, destination, dress design, bridesmaid colour, theme and designs something that truly reflects your day. We are getting married in a venue overlooking a stunning (if I may say so myself!) mountain range in Spain and are marrying outdoors so we used that as the backdrop. When it came to colours, thankfully there are only 1,867 colours in the Pantone colour range! I promise I didn’t go through all of them, most of them yes, but not all of them. I’m thrilled with the result and I know from our family and friends that excitement started to really build when they landed on their doormats.
Ciara with Josephine from Wedding Flowers by Josephine
One aspect of the wedding that I really looked forward to was choosing the flowers and the overall décor. An inordinate amount of time was spent perusing Pinterest and weddingsonline for ideas if I’m honest. Between bouquets, garlands, floral crowns, suspended installations and lighting fixtures, it would be easy to blow your entire wedding budget in this area and it’s difficult not to get carried away. You really need to find someone who can work with your expectations while preventing you from plunging into debt. Florist Josephine Higginbotham (Wedding Flowers by Josephine) was recommended to me by my colleague Lisa Cannon and when we met, I knew she was the florist for me. From Church weddings to festival weddings to hotel civil ceremonies, Josephine brings her enthusiasm, passion for and infectious laugh to every bash. She has an array of props including birch floral arches, vintage bikes, wooden milky Malone cart, a 1960s piano, stainless steel and wooden lanterns, candelabras, mason jars and even a few lampshades at her disposal. She guarantees to give your ceremony and reception the wow factor. Our wedding ceremony will take place in a forest and the party is also outdoors in an area surrounded by trees and flowers so we wanted a design to complement this. Happily the big trend (who knew there were wedding trends?!) for 2017 is greenery and simple arrangements of leaves, branches and palms, but I am confident that Josephine will bring her own designs to the venue and I’ve heard the phrase ‘suspended bauble trellis’ mentioned more than once. I cannot wait to see Josephine’s display.
With the big details falling into place, I’ve had lots of fun this month focusing on one very important element. Me! Wedding day beauty, I’ve been warned, shouldn’t begin on the day-of while you’re sitting in the stylist’s chair. No, six months in advance is what they recommend. I don’t know if that’s practical or possible for most busy brides-to-be but in the last few weeks I have started indulging in SkinCeuticals facials at The Marker Hotel and getting the perfect brow with Claudine King. If nothing else, it’s a great opportunity to pamper myself and when else will you have such a legitimate excuse! I also had my bridal make-up trial. A make-up artist is there with you right throughout your wedding morning, no doubt watching your minor tantrums and moments of anxiety, so having someone you know and trust is reassuring, not that I’ll be throwing any such wobbles I’m sure. Rebecca Todd, a professional make-up artist, came highly recommended and when I met her, I knew I was in safe hands. Richard, my fiancé, had only one opinion when it came to my bridal ‘look’. “Less is more in the make-up department, please don’t arrived caked in stuff”. Kardashian contouring is definitely out but I also prefer that fresh look so there’s no issue there. Rebecca knows which products last all day and look great in real life and in photographs and promises to make me look young and flawless. Well, as close to flawless as is possible… I know she’s a make-up artist, not a miracle worker!!
Ciara with Kayleigh
Speaking of miracle workers, the girls at Niall Colgan salon are just that. I’ve been trying and it appears spectacularly failing to grow out my hair layers for months on end. Add to that, 15 years of highlights and you’ve got a pretty shabby mane to work with. Thankfully Kayleigh Graham who works at the salon took on the challenge of my locks and has agreed to style my bridal hair. We had a quick meeting last month and in 30 minutes she accomplished five different hairstyles. No mean feat. We just need to whittle it down to one now. It’s going to be 30 degrees in Barcelona on the day we get hitched so I hope she packs extra anti-frizz. I’m heading down this week to collect my wedding dress from Orlaith Carroll at The Attic Bridalwear Boutique (it feels very real when I write that) and will meet Kayleigh again and hopefully by that stage, my hair will have grown by 10 inches and will be thick and lustrous. Hmm. You’ll find out soon enough I’m sure.
Very soon actually. Two weeks to be precise! I’ll report back then x
Main photo: Ciara with wedding planner Sharon Mc Meel