Our very own (okay she belongs to Tom, but we’re claiming her for ourselves) real bride, and super-talented stationery designer, Gemma Milly is back, with the trials and tribulations of wedding planning.

If you missed her too-sweet proposal story, catch up here.

Our wise bride tells about about why couples shouldn’t loose their perspective in a sea of mason jars and glitter feathers on Pinterest, and offers her alternative sources for wedding inspiration…

March 26th 2014: 2 months and 26 days until the big day…

Number of Pins Pinned: 477 and counting…

Currently obsessing about: glitter dipped feathers

Gemma's Real Bride Diary | Venue Inspiration | Bridal Musings

Photo: By Danielle Capito via Rustic Wedding Chic

As a creative kinda gal and one who designs pretty paper goods for a living (and is marrying a graphic designer), I would say that how our big day is styled is pretty darn important to us.

Not in a shallow ‘I’ll only like it if it looks pretty’ kind of way, but as Abby Larson aptly puts it, “Love and Details, my friends, are not mutually exclusive.

I’m a visual person and how something looks really does affect how I feel. (Tom will testify to this, and never fails to be amused by the fact that I see days of the week in colours!)

So with this in mind, as soon as we got back from our ‘engagement-moon’, (a long weekend in Nice for those of you who haven’t read Diary Entry #1: The Proposal), I immediately got my Pinterest on and started planning all the little details that will make our wedding the most beautiful day of our lives.

I then promptly stopped pinning, as very quickly I got the ‘Pinterest Fear’ which went something like: “Oh.My.Gosh. there is too much pretty to look at and everyone else’s wedding is soooo gorgeous, how on earth am I going to pull this off? Not to mention eating my body weight in jam so I can save all the little jars…” and….breathe…

Gemma's Real Bride Diary | Pinterest Addiction | Bridal Musings

Image: Somecards

So how does a wedding stationery designer approach styling and planning her own day? I’m very lucky to count myself among the few that have the full involvement of their fiancé.

Tom is a super creative chap and we were both pretty much off the same page right from the start when it came to ideas for styling our wedding.

We had our venue booked within 5 days of getting engaged – a rustic barn in Hampshire, next to the farm where I used to go strawberry picking as a child – and this really set the tone of things from then on in.

We both wanted a relaxed feel to the day, with lots of natural touches, and hand-crafted elements, but with a healthy dose of glitter, (that would be me!)

Gemma's Real Bride Diary | Glitter Love | Bridal Musings

Photo: Printable Wisdom via Etsy.

However, after much initial glee and squealage that this is pretty much my dream project – MY OWN WEDDING – I quickly realised that 1) I was a tricky customer, 2) writing your own brief is pretty much THE hardest thing ever 3) where do you even start to plan the biggest day of your life?!

So, because it can all be hugely overwhelming, I’ll run you through some of the first things I did waaay back in those first weeks, in the hope that it helps you avoid a Pinterest-based meltdown when planning your own wedding!

1) First things first: the moodboard. I do like a good moodboard and this is the first thing I always put together for my couples, as it helps set the tone for their wedding stationery.So I thought ; “I am getting married so I’ll be darned if I won’t have my very own moodboard too!”

This is where you summarise all the things that matter to you, from the food, music and pretty paper, to colour schemes and lighting. Here’s a little sneak peak at ours:

Gemma's Real Bride Diary | Stationery Inspiration | Bridal Musings

Image: Gemma Milly

2) Next up, although I do have something of a love affair with Pinterest, and it can be the most fabulous thing when you’re looking for inspiration ( not to mention THE biggest distraction when you should be filing your tax return), I didn’t want it to completely eclipse what actually reflected our style as a couple.

For that very reason, glitter dipped feathers have since been vetoed, along with ‘inside outside’ furniture. Hire companies don’t want their original Queen Anne velvet chairs sitting outside on gravel getting damp… (Hampshire is not California apparently…who knew?!).

A couple of alternative resources that the design-minded among you might like to check out are Designspiration and Niice.co – this is an AMAZING search engine that just gives you results that looks good!

Wedding blogs are also fabulous to give you ideas, but don’t forget that non-wedding related blogs and magazines (my favourites are Ffffound, Design SeedsMollie Makes and The Simple Things) are also a good source of inspiration, as you’ll pick up a lot of fresh and more unusual ideas.

I also have to confess that I used a rather gorgeous rose-gold/copper foil on a client’s stationery last year and I loved it so much that it’s found its way onto my invitations and even my company branding!

Gemma's Real Bride Diary | Invitations Idea | Bridal Musings

Photo: Gemma Milly

3) I think the key things you need to do early on are to decide what matters to you as couple and how you want the day to feel. Although we’re having a relatively large wedding, we still wanted it to feel intimate and for guests to really feel relaxed and a part of the day.

For example, we’re asking our ” love-to-bake” guests who might have a favourite recipe to cook up a fabulous dessert for our dessert bar. One of my close friends is kindly helping with flowers and my mum is making our cake.

We also want the days leading up to the wedding to be fun and relaxed, so we have a team of people coming along to hang festoon lighting, put up floral garlands and eat picnics in the sunshine.

Yay for amazing friends and family!

Finally, if you’re like me and love all the detail; the crafting, the obsessing over fonts for your invitations and ombréd napkins, embrace it!

All these things are not ‘superficial’ if they’re important to you – the love, joy and pride you took in crafting them will shine through on the day and make it even more personal and special.

Just make sure that you focus on your unique style and don’t get carried away with making your wedding ‘blog-worthy’ for the sake of it …that really isn’t what it’s all about at the end of the day!

How many of us wish we were organised enough to have our own super professional-looking inspiration board?

And glitter, copper, barns and baking – we just can’t wait for Diary Entry #3!

Until then, leave Tom and Gemma some love in the comments and to find out more about Gemma and her beautiful stationery, calligraphy and illustrations see this post.

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