... so good!\n\nI'd love to upload a pics but whenever I try nothing happens - techie help?! I've checked the file sizes etc... it's worth nothing I don't have a problem withy FB etc... :) anyway, I've got link happy so enjoy!!\n\nVenue - [url="http://www.pickerings-hotel.co.uk/"]The Pickerings[/url] we looked at a lot of venues, some, [url="http://www.elh.co.uk/hotels/midland/index.aspx"]like the midland[/url] were stunning, but meant we couldn't have the day we wanted because of the cost and because of their rules for 'hosting' a wedding (more later!) others were just a massive dissapointment, cold, dark, dirty - and that was one of the better ones! In the end we went with the pickerings because the food and gardens are stunning, and what it lacks in 'wow' (i'd have loved a stately home or boutique hotel) it makes up for in tons with its chef (who let us design the enture menu - didn't even present us with a list of suggestions after he heard we already had ideas!), one wedding a weekend, openess to wedding ideas (again... more later!), AMAZING functions co-ordinator, location, garden and price - nothing else we looked at was anywhere near as accomodating or generous. We are having the whole venue, sit down meal for over 100 with three options, an amazing drinks package, DJ, evening buffet for 170 and linen for less than £6000. \n\nInvites - hand made by use using cards from [url="http://www.bugart.co.uk/index.php?main_page=popup_image&pID=321"]bug art[/url]. It's taken us a while but we've got there. The inserts are plain purplish paper with purple ink printing. I really wish i could upload photos to show you! We've also made place cards from matching purplish card and purple ink and we bought a multi [url="http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/00128409"]picture frame[/url] from Ikea which will have our table plan in it on the purple paper, along with some nice black and white shots of us. \n\nFavours - I'd have loved to give everyone a little gift but we're trying to stay in budget! every person will get a violet creme [url="http://image.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/57872/57872,1270380317,1/stock-photo-purple-or-violet-wedding-place-setting-with-yellow-place-mats-and-a-pink-chris-and-mary-chocolate-50187217.jpg"]chocolate[/url] in the middle of their place setting though. We're having plain ivory napkins and linen supplied by the hotel to keep costs down so our place setting will look a lot like this, ooo! our place cards are actually just like that but purple! (we bought a stamper from a hbby shop!).\n\nRings - my engagement ring was my great grandmothers (and someone else before her!) It's a gold band with fifteen diamonds in a row with very delicate stone setting - [url="http://d488130.u131.host.ie/product.aspx?productid=121862&c1=431&c2=120409&c3=120595&thumbpage=2"]This ring[/url] is very similar :), because the ring is so beautiful i decided to have a plain gold band for a wedding ring, simple is good sometimes! \n\nCakes - we have decided to keep our [url="http://www.icedgarstang.com/icedgarstang/wedding_cakes.html#"]wedding cake[/url] for the evening do, it's the bottom left with ivory ribbon and diamonte. After the meal during the speeches we are having [url="http://www.yummycupcake.co.uk/events.html"]cup cakes[/url], we are going to have a selection of colours and flavours brought to the tables on silver platters, that way guests can choose what suits them (hands off my banoffee though!).\n\nUshers - standard Debenhams three piece [url="http://www.debenhams-formalhire.com/displayImage.php5?type=morningWear&brand=loungeSuit&item=04"]suit[/url] (which works perfectly with our vintage-esque theme!) in Grey with a violet tie to match the bridesmaids.\n\nBridesmaids - Violet silk 'retro' [url="http://www.styleshake.com/SearchDesigns.aspx?keyword=caitrinandwill"]dresses[/url] from style shake, the plaijn violet for two brides maids and the one with an ivory silk sash for my MH. We also have two little flower girls that are wearing plain ivory silk little girls summer dresses with a matching violet sash. \n\nTHE dress!! - my dress is being made from a [url="http://voguepatterns.mccall.com/v2902-products-4893.php?page_id=850"]1950's pattern[/url] by a dressmaker, in plain ivory silk, the band around the top and bottom has a shimmery over lay, which I'm having a lace jacket made from too as a burn up something chronic, which leads my nicely into...\n\nThe ceremony - This was a tough one for my H2B and I. I'd never, until last August, even been to a wedding so was planning blind! I'd never really even fantasised about 'the big day', one thing I had never assumed was that i'd be married in a Church, It's just not where my family come from. My H2B however was raised in a very religous family and had always assumed he would have a church wedding (boy, was [i]that[/i] a fun conversation!) we seemed to be at a bit of a check-mate situation until i chanced upon 'humanist' ceremonies. I did some research, found a local celebrant and it all seemed to be the ideal compromise - no religion for me but the ability to personalise for him (he'd been to too many 'quickie' civil ceremonies I think). We decided to get married in the garden at the hotel which being as, dang it all, they're not 'legal' weddings in England it didn't matter that we were outside anyway. We would need to have a civil ceremony too but it meant both of us could treat the humanist ceremony as the big one. H2B made a valiant fight for a move north of the border so I needed something MEGA to tempt him into staying in England. Thankfully... \n\nI did :) \n\nWe are having two weddings (oh yes!!!). Two weeks before our humanist ceremony which will be in front of all our family and loved ones we are slipping away with two good friends as witnesses to hop on a very special [url="http://www.statesmanrail.com/fellsman.html"]train[/url] trip. At lunch time we will be married in Carlisle registry office before returning home again - we are planning on taking a luxuary picnic on the train and will (all four of us!) be wearing our finery (suits for the boys, nice dresses for girls) carrying our luxury food hamper and wering simple flowers. I'm almost more excited about this than our actual 'wedding'! we won't be exchanging rings or anything in Carlisle (ha, a 'quickie' civil ceremony after all!) because we want to treat our humanist ceremony as our wedding day.\n\nOooh errrrr. I seem to be writing a mini essay!\n\nHoneymoon - Is a state secret H2B not telling anyone- even I don't know yet... once I do though, so will you ;) \n\nI hope you've enjoyed reading this :)\n\nC.