Today we have been engaged for 6 months exactly. That’s means it is 6 months since Christmas morning 2019 when Liam got down on one knee and it is 6 months until Christmas 2020 when hopefully we’ll all be able to gather around a fir tree to exchange gifts without worrying about how far we are from each other.
It also means that of the 6 months we have been engaged we spent 3 months enjoying gorgeous wedding fayres (fairs, we’ve had this debate before) and meeting the people of the most beautiful industry who have the happiest job of all… and then we’ve spent 3 months in lockdown. And we are both still alive.
Isolation is quite a word isn’t it. It literally means to separate oneself from everything else in the world. Except each other. And don’t get me wrong, we love each other.
BUT… we have never spent so much time together… EVER! We both work full time both in education and in creative and performance platforms on the side. We are used to being out of the house. And now we are stuck in the house. Together. All the time. With the neediest dog in the land.
Oh yes, if lockdown wasn’t stressful enough, our dog had to have his eye removed. Imagine the stress of a pet going under general anaesthetic on a normal wet British Tuesday in April. Now add COVID-19, social distancing measures and a ruptured ulcer to the mix and you end up with Liam and I in the car park of our not-for-profit veterinary surgery in a Mini Cooper at 2am watching Finding Dory on Disney+ desperate for a wee.
In the wider context of isolation, weddings are about coming together. Isolation is about staying apart. And never the twain shall meet.
So yeah, the wedding has been pushed back to 2022. All those gorgeous people who were hoping to marry this year in 2020 are rescheduling to 2021 so we’re happy to move ours to 2022 in the hope of a wider variety of the gorgeous wedding folk we’ve been fortunate to meet since since January being available.
For those wondering where we’ve gone, we’re still engaged and still looking forward to our wedding. We’re thankful for the support of the fabulous folk at the @gweddingdirectory (check out their Instagram) for our blog and for the stunning photos @clickedbykate took for our engagement shoot (check out her instagram but don’t fight us for wedding dates in Summer 2022 cos she has to be ours ❤️)!
We’re getting our gears back grinding (bad word to use in the gay world) and we’ll be bringing more excited and sarcastic blogs your way.
Stay alert. Wash your hands. Control the Virus. Vote out the Tories.
Peace out huns ✌🏼
PS. We bought a hot tub as a 6-month engagement gift. Cheers queers 🥂
This is a really strange blog to write. Usually I’m updating about an exciting step of our journey, whether it be a venue viewed or a fair attended. But there’s no news at the moment, because the world is on pause; at a standstill. Travelling to visit a wedding venue would certainly constitute unnecessary travel, and the venues themselves aren’t usually considered key-workers so are unlikely to be open if we did travel over. If we booked a venue we’d have to start stockpiling now to have enough loo roll to cater for the guests!
And here comes the bigger problem… once the movement restrictions and curfews and lockdowns are lifted every Tom, Dick and Susan will be clamouring to book every venue they can ASAP, especially those whose happy day has been cancelled during the lockdowns. They’ve waited long enough and had everything planned out and now their original wedding date will just be another day in quarantine. So let them rebook, we can hold off… once we leave quarantine we’ll wait another year and plan for a 2022 Wedding. It’ll give us an extra year to prep and a larger variety of venues will be available after those people panic-booking venues have got it done ASAP.
So it makes you realise what is important when planning a wedding. The most important thing is the act of marriage, not the rigmarole of the celebration. That’s not to say the celebration isn’t important too! Of course it is. It’s a day to gather those near to share to celebrate the commitment you make. And to get that right there’s no use rushing or compromising the enjoyment of the day because you’ve fought over a venue, caterer and florist with Cheryl from Hoylake who has to postpone her big day during a global pandemic. Have it Cheryl, 2021 is yours babe. Have the hall, eat your chicken supreme and throw your bouquet of carnations.
The Misters Who Marry, will still marry… just a little later than planned.We’ll take 2022. In 2022, we’ll both be 33. That’s older than I planned to marry in my 12-year-old life-plan diary. But I don’t have a pet dolphin or own a mansion with a fountain in the front garden and a theatre in the back garden yet either. So at least I’m close to one of the plans I made when money seemed as easy to come by as the wet look gel in my fringe.
So in the meantime you all get an extra year of sarcastic wedding planning blogs! Whilst on pause in the world I think it’s important to maintain some kind of routine so I will continue to post… whether it be a review of a wedding/love related film… or maybe it’ll be some back story posts as I don’t think we’ve actually properly introduced much about ourselves in this blog… or whether it’ll be simply ways to stay sane during isolation!
It’s actually a funny thing about isolation… I seem more connected to people now than I have been in years. When a group of my friends died (metaphorically) at the end of 2018 my social life went onto its own lockdown and a whole element of socialising and going out anywhere naturally ran its course. Gradually you rediscover who and what is important and in times like this you discover even more who it is you want to make contact with…
You know the way at weddings you tend to have different friends groups sat at different tables? Well, when we get through this we’re likely to have a whole table of friends we made during isolation!
Let me preface this post: I don’t believe we should be feeding the hysteria surrounding coronavirus and this is not in any way intended to sensationalise.
The facts are thus:
There is a virus spreading across the globe that is potentially fatal to more vulnerable or susceptible people.
Social distancing has the potential to reduce the spread by reducing the contact we have with other people, especially those whose immune systems would not be strong enough to fight it.
There is logic in fit and healthy people catching the virus and allowing their body to build natural immunity.
The government are doing what they can to suppress the spread, but what they can do is not enough because they serve themselves and the rich and don’t really have the best interests of the ageing or poorer population at heart.
Boris is a tit.
Shit got real.
It can be terrifying, or it can be approached in a logical and calm way. We know the facts, we know the precautions we need to take. Don’t forget to wash your hands, don’t believe everything you read on Facebook, don’t put yourself in a situation where you can be exposed to something you might then pass on to others more susceptible, don’t pass go, don’t collect £200. Especially if you’re self employed.
In fact, second to those whose actual physical health is likely to be affected by the infection, my heart goes out those whose livelihood will be affected due to loss of income, myself included. Self employment and varying job frequency is a hard road to navigate in any normal circumstance, but when all of your avenues of work are forced to close then that road becomes a dead end. In fact it’s not a dead end, it’s just a one way street you can’t get down, because the government haven’t forced business closures, they’ve advised public avoidance. Which means those small businesses cannot make insurance claims they would be able to make if the government manned up and forced them to close. In that case they will likely risk bankruptcy… meaning once the road is back to business as usual there might not be a job or a business left at the end of it.
Myself (Jay), and all of my friends in theatre, hospitality and freelance education will be massively hit; and I’ll wager that so will the majority of wedding suppliers we’ve met over the last few months. I certainly won’t be making any commitments yet or be able to book a wedding venue with all of this in the air. And I wouldn’t want to. I’d much rather do all I can to avoid potentially passing on something that might not manifest in me but might be fatal to someone’s nan.
This whole blog is all about planning a wedding, and there will no doubt be a lot of happy couples who aren’t so happy right now as they are mostly likely going to have cancel weddings over the next few weeks. And yes that’s sad. I would be heartbroken. And they must be allowed to be upset too without everyone saying “but look at the big picture, people are dying”. Both are very sad, and the sadness is relative to the person experiencing it.
Nobody wins in any of these instances… well except for the private hospitals cashing in on the country’s misfortune by renting out beds. I hope their owners enjoy counting their money in their holiday homes and toasting marshmallows on the flames of the nation’s economy and health service.
So yeah, wedding plans are on hold as there are far more important things going on in the world. We’ll continue to write and will keep posting about flowers we like and dresses we’ll never wear on Instagram.
At least if we have to self-isolate and stay at home we know we both like each other… either than or after a quarantine quarrel we’ll be calling the whole thing off!!!
So far every moment of our planning has been ultimately positive. We’ve enjoyed meeting suppliers without knowing whether they’d fit the plan our venue inspires. We’ve viewed a venue with potential but been inspired to view some other options and look for different things.
It’s inevitable, then, that something at some point would not go how we wanted it, and I write this blog with a kind of happiness-hangover coming to terms with the fact the venue we wanted and were about to book has been block-booked for the season and is no longer available.
As you can imagine we’re gutted. We knew it was right, we knew the mothers in law would agree, and we knew their menu options sounded perfect. In fact, the only reason we weren’t booked already was because we were waiting on bar costings for welcome/toast/table drinks and to sit with the caterers to confirm what the costings would be for the menu we’d like to choose.
It’s not been a lengthy process. Camp and Furnace was only the second venue we looked at. It’ll be 2 weeks ago we went to see it. But when you can visualise it to the finest detail you know it’s right. Or, it would have been.
We viewed both rooms but it was the Furnace we were hoping to confirm. A huge warehouse space able to be sectioned off for separate parts of the day as required, with loads of character in the original features of the warehouse, on site caterers, lots of bar space and a gorgeous feature furnace where the stage is set up.
My main reservation before viewing was my memory of the toilets, as I have a real obsession with ensuring my nan feels comfortable hitching her skirt to use the loo. My lasting impression was they looked like apocalyptic aftermath until Liam reminded me that I last saw them drunk out of my mind and then fell asleep at the table at 11.00pm during the Star Wars Quiz. My memory was inaccurate and in fact the toilets were fine, Nanny Pat wouldn’t have to cross her legs and hold it in.
So it even passed the toilet test. The price was very reasonable. The menu was great. The calendar was free for the dates we were looking, emphasis on WAS. Even until Thursday of last week when we had it confirmed that 31st July 2021 (Harry Potter’s Birthday!!!) was available and we asked for it to be pencilled and informed of a potential clash so we could upgrade the pencil to a sharpie.
We now know there is a clash, but of course when you’re running a venue it would be stupid of them to pass up the chance for a long hire, and naturally our little wedding, though important to us, is just another potential date in a diary.
FYI, we’d expressed interest not fully booked yet, pending the final price confirmations, so we don’t have a right to be upset with them, and we’re not. If I was running a venue I’d have had to make the exact same choice.
It’s just a bit poo. That’s the best way to describe it. Liam suggested we wait a year, and we haven’t fully discussed our options yet as our first instinct was to neck two bottles of wine and watch a Disney film. My instinct is not to wait for them. There will be a venue that will be available when we planned and won’t need to cancel for a bigger shark; they’ll be happy with a goldfish. (Not fully sure that metaphor worked, but I’m running with it).
So we’re back to the drawing board. Requirements:
Space for up to 120 in the day and 200 in the night.
Space for both ceremony and reception, but the legal part with registrar won’t have to be on site.
If you know of anywhere give us a shout! In the meantime, I’m off to book Bongo’s Bingo tickets out of spite and heartache 😂🙈
When I (Jay) first met Kate I told her she was beautiful long before I’d looked at her photos. This prompted the mothers in law with me at the Lovely Little Wedding Show in the Isla Gladstone Conservatory to fall about laughing and saying “I don’t believe him, what’s he like?”. But she was beautiful, and so were her photos.
Wedding photography is like hiring a fancy dress costume. It’s not every day you get to experience being in front of a camera and you need to feel relaxed with the person behind it. Just like it’s not every day you get invited to Cheryl’s 1970s-themed fancy dress 50th Birthday Party and know you need a catsuit with easy access because your bladder isn’t what it used to be. In both instances, it’s about feeling comfortable.
At the various wedding fairs we’ve attended so far, we’ve met a whole gorgeous tribe of wedding photographers each with their own style and signature and portfolio. It can be daunting to consider choosing one; imagining how you would look photoshopped into their style, sometimes made doubly difficult because there’s a huge white dress in the image and you know you won’t get to wear it.
But you chat to them, and they relax you, and you see how relaxed they could make you feel on your big day so your photos will appear relaxed. No one wants wedding photos looking so forced it’s as if you’re there under duress. Fortunately, it’s not biologically possible for either of us to have to rush into a wedding due to being with child, since neither of us are with womb.
It might be OK for the Heir to the Throne to look uncomfortable and forced, as though he just realised the clock is ticking to produce the next heir, resulting in expressions of responsibility and mild arousement – but no such pressure exists for us. Anyway, our French Bulldog, Blue, is already the heir to our throne.
So there’s no pressure – we’re doing this because we want to, it feels right, it’s natural. And for our photos to look right they need to look natural.
Enter Kate. @clickedbykate as she can be found on Instagram is a documentary style photographer and the clue is in the name: documentary. Her style is to capture normal life not a staged sequence and, since there’s enough about a wedding that is dramatically enhanced compared to day to day life, it’s important to remove that additional level of forced imagery. After all, the wedding photos are a gorgeous memory to have but for the best part of the year will be preserved on a pen drive or in a coffee table book, ready to be passed around to houseguests with varying degrees of interest. So they shouldn’t cause any discomfort on the day as it’s the day that is important.
At least it’s important to us! We want to enjoy our day, and we should… we’ll be paying enough for it! (Seriously though, how expensive are these things?!)
So for us, the documentary style is the key. I know what Liam is like with photos. He instinctively pulls a pout face like Johnny Bravo when I try to take a selfie. I tell him to smile and we go through a few a varieties before getting a good one. He’s so much more adorable when he doesn’t have to try. Yes, that was cheesy and I shall be crafting Misters Who Marry sickbags for the big day in case of an overload of such cheese.
It’s not something everyone wants/needs but we booked a date into our diaries for an engagement shoot with Kate: a warmup for being in front of the camera on the actual big day. Instantly Liam panicked he’d be like Chandler from Friends when it came to the shoot but I assured him Kate wouldn’t be staging shots and he wouldn’t need to force a smile, she’d be catching us being normal…. well, as normal as you can be cuddling on top of a sand dune in the middle of Storm Jorge.
Kate asked us for ideas of locations and we suggested the woods and beach up near Formby, a short drive from where we live in Crosby. Date set. Location chosen. Next we had to pray the storm warnings wouldn’t cancel our plans. Thankfully the weather was relatively mild, yes windy but a bright sky and no rain.
So we went for a walk. With Kate following behind with her camera and her keen eye for location. She’d suggest we stop and talk at specifically well placed spots. She looked for good angles in the fencing, nice framing of the trees, always scoping out the best way to capture a moment for us. Outdoor locations seem to benefit from the good natural light, scenic opportunities and the addition of the dynamic of wind, which captured my scarf on a number of occasions.
It’s funny. When you look at the finished photos you’ll think we just frolicked in a forest for an hour, as Kate encouraged us to show affection. It appears we showed more public displays of affection that the general Formby population have seen in years! But in actual fact we were having fun. We laughed from nerves, from awareness of the very public setting, but mostly because we had such a laugh, together and with Kate. The shots capture brilliantly those small moments of a discreet kiss or a touch of the foreheads, but she honestly was like a ninja to catch them because as soon as we knew Kate had stopped shooting Liam would let go of my hand… though I think this was to reach for a nervous vape!
We split the time between the trees and sand dunes for a nice mix of shots within a very short walking distance. The intimacy of the crowded wood was in stark contrast to the view from the top of the dunes with the sea in the background. Though in actual fact I never saw the view in real time as the wind was so strong it was pelting sand into our faces and we had to cling on to each other just to stay upright.
I have to say, the results are gorgeous. We couldn’t be happier. Just 3 days after the shoot we have a full edited album to cherish and show off – that’s a quick turnaround by any standards!
I don’t think either of us will be jumping in front of the camera for a career in modelling anytime soon, but it’s safe to say we’ll be giving Kate a ring as soon as we have a date and our venue!
The ball is rolling. We bit the bullet and viewed our first venue this week. We’ve had a particular venue in our heads for a few weeks and I was determined to see that one and know how we felt after a viewing before confirming any more.
The venue was Hinterlands, an event space in the Baltic area of Liverpool and the sister venue of Constellations. Its selling point is its industrial feel and blank canvas aesthetic. You can do to it what you like. The warehouse vibe is exactly what we’re going for.
How do you choose the way your wedding should look? This brings us to…
WEDDING GUY-LEMMA 3: WHAT DOES A SAME-SEX WEDDING LOOK LIKE?
Who knows? Shouldn’t everyone’s wedding look different anyway? No one wants their wedding photos to look like a carbon copy of their friends’ or relative’s big day… same staircase, different dress. So we go to any length to find that exciting venue for photo backdrops, to make interesting table decoration choices. Basically we do our best to out-do the last wedding we attended by correcting the mistakes others made… it’s like a preemptive “Don’t Tell the Bride”
We haven’t actually attended many gay weddings in the past but that doesn’t mean we can’t preempt and use what we’ve learnt from the straights. Our visual can be just as unique as any other but not because of the fact we’re two men. It’ll be different because we’ll make it uniquely us.
Gay doesn’t have a designated aesthetic; we don’t have to wear crop tops and hot pants and everyone doesn’t have to come wearing colours of the rainbow. Though if that is your choice feel free. Just like there’s no rule for what a straight wedding should look like. There are straight weddings with the bride in control that end up looking like a drag brunch thrown by Liberace, with feathers and jewels and more campery than a night out down Old Compton Street.
The difference we are finding is that by removing the lady in the long white dress, the picture is altered and a lot of venues are already styled to accommodate a white dress being photographed with their white chiffon wall hangings in the background. I think Liam still secretly fears I might turn up in one such white gown. No hun, not this day, I’d only wear a wedding gown if I could go backless and I’m not at my target weight.
We started talking about barns originally, which led Liam to suggest something a bit more unusual and more industrial. Jackpot. We realised we both love the idea of the industrial setting: exposed brickwork, vaulted ceilings and rustic decor. A rough and ready setting to make beautiful with the things in it, decorations and table settings. That’s right up our street!
Liam suggested Camp & Furnace, which is a contender, but I have a bit of a thing about club venue toilets so I shall have to do my best Kim Woodburn inspection of them. We looked at Constellations too but sadly they are closing in March cos Fat Joe (Anderson) loves clearing plots of land to build more housing. (I don’t actually know if that building project has anything to do with Fat Joe but he’s getting the blame anyway!)
But most people don’t know that hidden in the heart of the Baltic is Constellations’ sister venue: Hinterlands. As I’ve said its a blank canvas, a monochromatic warehouse space with splashes of greenery growing in strategic places to add natural colour without paint. I love the space.
There are 4 main areas:
The entrance space with bleachers of integrated seating that doubles as a large display staircase
The mezzanine level with domed ceiling, its own bar and a wall of greenery seating up to 80 comfortably as a potential ceremony space
The main event hall which is huge enough to house Dolly Parton’s wig collection or James Corden’s ego, but not both at the same time. This open space boasts another large bar, toilets (very clean, I checked!), vaulted ceilings, overlooking gallery, original concrete warehouse floor and crisp white walls – it is a great opportunity to decorate a room however you like.
The Eclipse Theatre, a blackout venue seating up to 150 for ceremonies and capable of hosting up to 300 for a concert style gig (I’m not sure I’ve remembered that right sorry!). This room is lit with festoons, fairy lights and up lighters to give a really alternative feel to a ceremony or an intimate feel for a party. It has another bar and yet more toilets.
The venue has everything and the staff are really helpful and excited about weddings so it’s definitely on the shortlist. We have two main reservations right now though…
1. The price is pretty standard for a wedding venue, but as it’s an event space not a full package venue catering comes as a separate contract with another supplier so there will be the added cost of contracting another company. The isn’t the benefit of the reductions you usually get in the likes of the hotel packages where venue and food come in one deal. For clarity, Hinterlands have Relish Catering based on site who are the recommended caterers and any other companies can be brought in at the cost of a kitchen buyout as is pretty standard across all venues. The perk of Hinterlands being a blank canvas also means a lot of decor would be needed to bring our vision to life which needs to be factored into the overall budget. None of this is enough to scratch it off the list but it’s a matter for consideration in budget planning. We have to remember we’re likely to have up to 150 day guests and most likely in excess of 200 in the evening!!!
2. We haven’t seen anywhere else yet. It would be remiss to settle on the first venue we view. Yes, I wanted to view Hinterlands before anything else but that’d be like settling for the first pair of shoes you try on without considering the shop next door might do the same shoes for half the price and throw in a spare pair of laces. The prince tried Cinderella’s shoe on all the maidens in the land before meeting his bride. I always wondered why he didn’t just look at their faces to recognise the girl he’d danced for hours with. To be fair he might have had a few jägerbombs and couldn’t remember… And yes – this shoe analogy has spiralled out of control.
This is in no way a diss of the venue… we love the venue and our wedding would be amazing there! The hesitation is a greater consideration: one about budgeting and planning and it’s about finding a balance between the aesthetic and the practicality of entertaining in large quantities.
So to summarise, Hinterlands has made a strong pencil mark on the shortlist and we’re making plans to view a few more places to make an informed decision. Our venue cherry has been popped, now I need a fag and a lie down.
We won’t just celebrate our love because the greetings card, flower and chocolate companies told us to.
Are we cynics? Probably. Are we wrong? Probably not. Don’t get us wrong, we love love. And we love each other. And yes, it sounds hypocritical of us to create a wedding blog to celebrate the hype around a wedding and to turn our noses up at the allocated date in the calendar dedicated to showcasing love. But there’s a difference.
A wedding day happens once. You spend that one day celebrating a freshly forged permanent union between two kindred souls and you invite those close to you to share in your celebration. I intend on having one wedding; one husband. I tell him every morning, every night and multiple times through every day that I love him. He doesn’t need me to buy him flowers and dinner to show that love. I show him that every time I buy the extra bottle of wine on the way home from work, or when I walk the dog early so he can have a lie in. He shows me when he gives me extra gravy or adds Yorkshire puddings to a roast that isn’t with beef. I realise this makes him sound like a lazy lush and me like a greedy gannet. Both of those things are only partly true.
That being said, I don’t want to insult those who do want to show it on Valentine’s Day. You do you, huns.
I enjoy Halloween. Others don’t. That’s fine.
Some people celebrate Easter, some celebrate Hanukah. Others don’t. That’s fine.
Some people get excited for the Oscars, or the Met Gala, or the final of Strictly Come Dancing. Others do not. That’s fine too… though if you don’t watch Strictly, what do you do with your Saturday nights in Autumn?!
And if you don’t have anyone to share Valentine’s day with, so what?
This “holiday” (I use the term loosely) is just an over inflated Saint’s Day. Even the origin of which Saint it refers to is mirky. Apparently there are three different Saints named Valentine. Some think a man named Valentine, later honoured as a Saint, sent a love note from his prison cell to his jailor’s daughter signed off with ‘From Your Valentine’. Some associate February 14th as the start of birds mating season. Some believe Valentine’s Day is a ‘Christianised’ version of the Pagan Festival of Lupercalia, a Roman festival celebrating the fertility of women and crops, when eligible girls would be paired with the city’s bachelors for the coming year.
But St Valentine is also the patron saint of epilepsy and the patron saint of beekeepers, and I doubt restaurants and hotels would be upping their prices for one day if that’s what we were celebrating today.
The point is there are no rules. Like what you like. Do things because you want to do them. If you want to go overboard and buy chocolates, flowers, dinner, cocktails, a hotel room, a new dress, new nails and a Brazilian wax then go for it babes. Just don’t do it cos you’re pressured into doing it, do it cos you want to shower your loved one with love.
I suppose that is something we have to remember as we prep for the wedding. The spectacle of the day needs to be a celebration of our love, because we love, not because we have to. There are traditions that are expected, there are conventions which have become standard. But it will be our day and it has to be what we want in order to celebrate our love. We shouldn’t do things because we feel they are expected of us, we should do them because we want to, or at least want to reinvent them.
So how can I round this up without sounding grim? How can I finish the post acknowledging the validity of displays of affection without indulging in societal expectations. OK, here goes.
No, we haven’t confirmed our venue or date yet, but yes I am (Jay is) still attending wedding fairs. Also yes, it’s really hard to make any real selections at these fairs until we have the venue and the date solid in our diaries with a giant love heart drawn around it and with a sense of impending dread at the mammoth task of planning the actual events of that date. But how could we resist this fair?
It’s a whole house dedicated to weddings: a place filled with all the things that get me excited. That’s like taking a Liverpool fan to Anfield, or taking Catherine Zeta Jones to an old people’s home. Everything I see about weddings gets me a little bit more excited for our day. And yes, the temptation to get obsessed planning the day is always there and it’s important not to get too carried away forgetting it’s about that commitment for the rest of your lives. But the way I see it, our wedding day is going to be a pivotal moment of our lives with all those who are dear to us standing by to share in a moment that celebrates our commitment to each other. The wedding day is the entry point to our marriage, and we both want that entry point to be just right.
At the first ever wedding fair we attended, the Lovely Little Wedding Fair (see earlier blog), we met the lovely Daisy on the stall for Groom Hire and The Wedding House Liverpool, and it was Daisy who made me aware of the G Wedding Directory, where we are now the featured blog. Well hats off to her, because she curated the whole Love Stories fair this weekend. And what a fab job she did!
If you haven’t been to The Wedding House Liverpool, it’s well worth a visit, not least for the new basement cafe, Vault, serving up a delicious menu in its many little nooks and crannies which are perfect to make camp and discuss wedding ideas. Spread across 5 floors, the house is the regular home of a team of resident suppliers each with their own store, but for this fair there wasn’t a corner left unwomanned or unmanned. Wedged between the residents were visiting suppliers of every kind sharing their know-how, advice and expertise (and free samples!) to all of the blushing brides and grinning grooms.
Yes, the grooms are usually fewer at these events, but when the first shop in the building is a menswear store for grooms and groomsmen then the ratio of guy:gal seems to equalise, even if the testosterone never makes it past the ground floor. I, of course, made it far beyond the ground floor all the way to the third floor attic.
My trips are speculative right now: we can’t choose anything or set any ideas in stone, because the venue we choose might change all of the ideas. So for me it’s a lengthy process of scoping out all of the options and I enjoy chatting to and getting to know the suppliers, much to the dismay of whoever comes with me. Whilst some may attend these fairs knowing what they’re looking for and can be in and out within an hour, I take my time, though I’m sure once we get more and more elements confirmed I’ll be able to bypass the suppliers offering services we’re already covered for.
One lovely element that I experienced today, having been to a few North West fairs now, is bumping into suppliers you’ve met before, especially ones who have been following the blog. This included Jessica Lang Photography, Onyx Weddings, Opulence Weddings and Florrie & Rene Vintage Hire. It’s like a little check in, and everyone seems to remember the details we discussed at our last meeting. Every wedding is different and unique to the particular couple so these pros we meet are brilliant at remembering how you’re planning your day.
It’s like curry. We all have our preferences. And we know there are loads of ingredients and how they are used in combination will determine the flavour we end up with. Right now I’m tasting all of the ingredients and once we start selecting which ones we’re going to start with the rest will make sense and fall into place. Now I want a curry.
Amongst the amazing new suppliers we met today were:
PHOTOGRAPHY – Rachel Ryan Photography, Debbie McGregor Weddings
FLOWERS – Paper Seed Floristry, Karen McGrath Flowers
We’ve made arrangements to view our first choice venue next week during school’s half term so hopefully we’ll be able to start making some decisions by the time we get to our next fair: the National Wedding Show, a massive event in its Manchester pop up. Hopefully if the venue is booked we can start narrowing down which stalls we need to visit… not necessarily for my sake but for those who end up waiting around while I chat to everyone I meet. Either that or I’ll just have to drop them off at the creche on the way in or bring them some colouring to do!
So this is exciting. We are now the featured blog on the G Wedding Directory… I’m Jay and my fiancé, favourite and future husband is Liam. Hi new people!
When I started typing this tale it was about documenting the differences between a wedding with two grooms and a conventional bridal wedding, whether that wedding has a bride and groom or two brides. You see, the industry is aimed towards supporting the bride, because it’s usually the excited bride doing all the planning. The groom’s job traditionally goes on pause after the proposal and resumes on the wedding day as he learns how to fasten a cravat.
And of course, there are obviously a lot of grooms who take part in the preparations but it is still usually in the capacity of being dragged along by their freshly-ringed bridezilla, who just happens to have made all the wedding decisions at the age of 6 wearing a tea towel for a veil.
I wore that tea towel too. Sometimes I was the bride and sometimes I was Maria on the hill at the start of The Sound of Music.
It’s OK planning your wedding since childhood, it’s very different when you actually have to do the actual booking instead of make believe and imagination. For the record, no tea towels will be used in the making of our wedding suits.
Almost three weeks into both the blog and the wider world of wedding planning and we’re just finding our feet. There’s so much to consider: suits, venue, flowers, music, decorations, registrars, table plans, invitations, party favours… and that’s before even thinking about stag parties and a honeymoon. But thankfully it feels like we haven’t been stumbling about in the semi-dark. That’s due to the people we’ve met so far: this wider community of people whose job it is to make sure you know what you’re doing.
Could there be a happier job than working at weddings? I mean yes we all see dramatic films where the single girl at the wedding hates the whole experience having just lost her first love played by Hugh Grant, but in reality is anyone ever actually sad at a wedding? Imagine if that was your job… always around weddings and excited people, that must be the happiest occupation in the world. It’s like the complete opposite of traffic wardens. (Yes, I have a serious gripe with traffic wardens!)
Well it is the lovely wedding suppliers, businesses, stylists, photographers and planners who have helped get us started and guide our ideas so far, and through this blog and its Instagram counterpart, they have led us to the G Wedding Directory, which seems to be Mecca for Man-On-Man Marriage.
Thanks for joining us on this journey and following our blog. If you like what we write and how we find our way please feel free to share our links with all of your friends. If you don’t, I dare you to turn up at our wedding and shout “I Object!” at the opportune moment!
So I think it’s time to talk about the ring. Not just my ring (and yes, I’m avoiding all of the obvious gay innuendos!) but the concept of an engagement ring in general.
The ring is a symbol: a metal band with no start and no end symbolising the eternity of the love between two people. But I always feel like the engagement ring has another symbolic meaning: it’s that little sign that says “ON RESERVE” or “Husband will collect later”, like a romantic click and collect.
Before we got engaged people always asked “Who is going to propose?” and we always knew it would be Liam. I wanted to be proposed to and he wanted to do the proposing… though I used to joke that he just wanted to delay the proposal. To be fair if I was the proposer I’d have probably asked him a few months into our relationship and he would have run for the hills so it’s better this way round!
But since it happened the new question is “Does Liam get a ring too?”. And this is first bridal tradition dilemma to solve when there is no bride…
WEDDING GUY-LEMMA 1: DO YOU BOTH WEAR AN ENGAGEMENT RING?
These dilemmas are the point of this blog. The answer is no, for us anyway. Not because I won’t get him one (which I would) but because he doesn’t want one. He just wants the wedding band which we will both get, so yes, I’ll have two. And why is that weird because there are two grooms? When a man proposes to a woman no one expects that he’d also get an engagement ring. In those cases Person A asks Person B to marry them; if Person A says “yes” then they wear a ring given to them by Person B. That’s that, no questions asked. Liam is Person A and I’m Person B.
He doesn’t want to wear a ring, however he did say he wants an Ultimate Collector’s Series LEGO Star Destroyer. I gave him the ring back. Of course that’s a joke, like I ever would.
OK, so let’s talk about the actual ring. It is a beautiful and simple 18 carat white gold wedding band. Liam did good. And thankfully he didn’t get it engraved with “one ring to rule them all…” around the edge like he threatened. If you haven’t worked it out yet, he can be a bit of a geek. He said that he went for the wedding band because engagement rings for men are “disgusting and vile”, his words not mine. I wouldn’t know, I’ve never had to shop for them, but from the stories he tells of ring shopping for me with his mum there wasn’t a great selection of engagement rings for men. This leads me to another of my dilemmas…
WEDDING GUY-LEMMA 2: DO ENGAGEMENT RINGS HAVE TO HAVE A GEM?
Again, I’m gonna say no for us specifically, because it’s not often you see male jewellery being jewel-heavy. But the real answer is that you can have whatever you want. It comes back to simply being a symbol and if you wish your reserve sign to be jewelled then do what makes you happy. You can both a ring if you want. You can have it full bling if you want. Hell, if you want you can take Phoebe’s advice from Friends and propose with an engagement revolutionary war musket. You do you, hun, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t!
These wedding traditions are just that: traditions. They aren’t rules. Make your own rules, and break them if you want. 5 years ago it was illegal for two men to marry: we got rid of that rule and who knows what other rules we can get rid of. So in our case, my Person A chose a beautiful white gold band and suggested that our actual wedding bands should be in rose gold, which I love because it totally goes with the colour schemes I have in mind for the actual wedding day… no spoilers yet!
But again, back to my ring, which (as I mentioned in my first blog post about our “En-GAY-gement”) didn’t fit initially, but that wasn’t through Liam’s lack of trying! Bless him, he went to every length to make sure it fit. I don’t wear rings so he had nothing to work from to judge the size, so how do you even start?
Fellas listen up, he had a great way of measuring my finger (again, avoiding innuendo) – even though it didn’t fully work. He got me completely drunk until I fell asleep on the couch (which, I don’t advocate, #MeToo) and wrapped a string around my finger, marking the width of my finger where it met. He took the string to a jeweller and had that converted into a ring size, which they worked out as a P-size. The only problem was that he didn’t accommodate for the width of the knuckle. So the part where my ring sits is a P-size… but it has to get past my R-size knuckle first. Of course, we only found out the knuckle was an R when we went to get it resized at A. M. Diggle, the jewellers on Richmond Street in Liverpool, who I highly recommend! The whole process took under an hour to remeasure, resize the ring and then re-dip it for the white gold coating.
So 9 days after the proposal I got to see how my hand looks with my new reserve sign on it. Husband will collect later.
Oh, and 28 days later Liam is still waiting for his Ultimate Collector’s Series LEGO Star Destroyer.