I am SO excited to introduce the first in a series of blog posts from Cornwall based wedding planner Jenny Wren, who recently became betrothed herself.
On hearing news of Jenny’s engagement, I knew immediately that we NEEDED her to share the wedding planning journey with Pasties & Petticoats readers. To my joy, she agreed.
So here we are, the first of Jenny’s posts, which had me properly belly laughing…
It’s my turn!
When Donna the creator of Pasties & Petticoats emailed me, asking if I would blog about my own wedding planning journey that was about to begin, I was thrilled. I had followed the blog myself for years and now to be asked to contribute was an honour.
‘With your wedding planning skills, you’ll have a fantastic take on it as you work creatively rather than just ticking things off a to do list’ she said.
Creativity and imagination indeed play a large part in what I do, however as well as this, as with any event, there are many practical and logistical elements that need consideration also which often get overlooked by couples. Many people may have never planned an event in their life and a wedding is a pretty big one for their first time! So whether I talk about creating mood boards for my pretty centre pieces or the power supply for the loos, I hope my series of posts along the way help, inspire or at the very least entertain you for your own journey.
Damian and I have been together for 3 ½ years. We met when I was working at a wedding venue here in Cornwall and he came to work as part of my functions team for the summer before starting his job as an engineer that autumn.
All the time he has known me I have been involved in weddings, many of our dinner conversations catching up on our days would involve me talking about the set up for the coming weekends wedding or how I was progressing with a clients plans for their special day. He even helped out on a few weddings in the early days of Jenny Wrens (never under estimate the use of a strong man when it comes to setting up for a wedding!) Needless to say we have both been pretty immersed in the wedding world our entire relationship.
The proposal happened five days into our three-week holiday to Sri Lanka in December. We arrived at our next stop, the stunning beach of Mirissa of the south coast. It was absolute paradise, clear waters, golden sands, little fishing boats bringing in the fresh catch and the friendliest people I have ever met. After strategically hiding a ring in our shared backpack for almost a week Damian tells me now as soon as we arrived, he knew this was the place he wanted to propose to me.
As I sat on the beach waiting to check in and blissfully unaware of his plans, Damian mentioned something about checking the time of the sunset and wondered off. He was gone for about 20 minutes and he spent most of that time trying to explain to the Sri Lankan restaurant manager (who spoke very little English) his plans for that evening. After he was sure the chap finally understood that it was an engagement we would be celebrating and not a wedding anniversary, not an engagement anniversary and not a birthday, or so he thought…they then started to talk arrangements to make it extra special.
Firstly table position…Damian is not a showy kind of guy, he wanted somewhere secluded where it would be just us for the special moment and we would not be surrounded by other diners. He suggested a table under a canopy round to the left out of the main restaurant, which is practically on the beach with nothing but the sound of the waves, perfect he thought.
The manager asked him if he would like a tablecloth on the table, bearing in mind every single table was left bare wood, Damian opted to not have one as our table would then stick out from the others and it may give things away. Ok agreed, no tablecloth.
Next the manager asked if he would like flowers and balloons, to which Damian replied ‘some flowers would be nice, thank you but no balloons’ he wanted classy and subtle nothing to over the top or tacky.
‘ A cake, with wedding anniversary written on it?’ the manager suggested? It is a tradition in Sri Lanka to have cake for pretty much any event. ‘No thank you’ he politely replied, worried that the manager was still unclear about the purpose of the celebration! The chap genuinely looked upset with this response, so being the gentleman that he is, Damian agreed to a cake, but asked it was brought out after the meal, once he has proposed and with nothing written on it from fear of them getting it wrong.
One last thing Damian asked for was a bottle of champagne to be brought to the table afterwards.
Once it was all settled the manager looked Damian in the eye, tapped the side of his nose twice and reassuringly said ‘I understand Mr Damian, leave it with me’. He came back to find me on the beach and we got on with enjoying our day.
As 7.30pm approached I finished drying my hair under the rooms fan (its far to hot to use a hairdryer there) and we walked out of our room to go to dinner. Thinking back now Damian just seemed his usual self that hour or so before, I guess he was safe in the knowledge all was being taken care of ready for ‘the moment’.
As we stepped out we were greeted with something far from what he planned. The table directly in front of us, in the centre of the restaurant was dressed with a bright blue tablecloth, a colorful array of balloons pinned all the way around it, flowers aplenty and a cake nearly the size of the table with something in Sri Lankan written on it (probably happy wedding anniversary!) and there was the manager, hovering beside it ready to pour something that was definitely not champagne.
As Damian lead me to the table I was of course extremely confused and as I tried to pull him in the direction of a regular table I said ‘I really don’t think this is our table my love’. ‘I’m sure it is’ he mumbled, ‘I think this is just something they do on your first night here to welcome you’.
Unconvinced I sat down and although he had planned to do it after the meal, the game was up, so he went right ahead there and then and it was perfect, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
The restaurant manager did give us a little space as Damian asked the question and as soon as I stopped squealing with joy, he came over with two of his colleagues and sang something in Sri Lankan to us as they circled the table! It was hilarious. To top it off a group of Spanish men that were sat on the table next to us (far from the secluded table he planned!) proceeded to come over and play imaginary violins to us whilst filming it all on camera. We still watch that video now and we erupt into laughter every time.
The fact the proposal was far from his streamline plan was actually what made it so memorable and special and telling the story back home to friends and family and to you now, makes me want to relive it again and again.
So that was it, we were engaged and suddenly, we had a wedding to plan!!!