Monday, April 30, 2012

If they pay, they get a say

In my budget post I told you that our parents had offered financial contributions towards the wedding, for which we are extremely grateful. But before we accepted their contributions, we had to discuss our wedding plans with them.

As you may have noticed, we are trying very hard to stick the the "big picture" that we started with, and make the day represent us. Our parents are not us. They may not have the same big picture in mind. Which is fine if they're not paying for it, but potentially a big issue if they are.

My future in-laws made one request. They would like to invite half a dozen of their (very close) friends to the evening event. Although we have to limit the numbers for the meal, we can more than double them for the evening if we want. They have known these people a long time, and Inspector Gadget knows them quite well. I've even met some of them. So that's an easy request to agree to.

My parents have been quite involved in the planning already, as they're the only people close enough to the vendors. So we know they're happy with a lot of our choices. They also seem to understand the "big picture." My dad is going to tell my grandparents to imagine a traditional wedding, and then throw half their ideas out of the window and remember that I've never done what I'm told! They've loved some of the more quirky ideas I've come up with, and mum has even suggested a few herself (wands for the fairy princess flower girls? yes please!).

There's a few smaller details that they're not so happy with. They've refused to drive themselves to the venue, but have accepted that that's their problem, and they will sort it out. There is a reluctance to accept that I will only move my engagement ring to my other hand if I want to (I don't care if that's "how its done"). These are not deal breakers; they can all be solved without affecting the feeling of the day.

So both contributions were accepted. Before you accept financial help, please remember that whilst it is your day, you can't spend your parents money on something they strongly disagree with. If they don't share your vision, you may have to limit their involvement. That would really suck, but would be better realised early on in the process.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lights, camera, action!

We have a videographer! My friend has very kindly agreed to be in charge of recording parts of the day. We don't want a fancy movie, but I want to watch myself walk down the aisle (go figure!), and Gadget wants the speeches recorded. I may have to erase my dad's, depending on how embarrassing he is, but we'll wait and see on that front!

He's going to use our camera and tripod, and has even said he will stand by the camera for the whole ceremony. This is because their wedding video didn't work (presumed technical failure), and he doesn't want that to happen to us. I feel very sad for them (I didn't know that until today), and very grateful that they are helping us to benefit from their experience. A big shout out to the awesome Mr F - we owe you!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Please save the date!

The need for Save the Date cards is quite recent. Never have we led such crazy lives where 6-8 weeks notice is nowhere near enough time to arrange to attend a wedding! But have you seen the price of them?

Let's be honest here, almost everyone that will get a save the date card actually already knows the date. The few people that don't know haven't had chance to speak to us because we are in NZ. If we were in the UK and actually seeing/speaking to all our friends more often, everyone would know. So why do they need a fridge magnet/handkerchief/uniquely designed letter press card?

A quick google search finds save the date cards from 35p. 100 postcards start from 17p each. Magnets are over £3 each. Doesn't sound a lot? We have a fairly small guest list, and will be sending around 25 save the dates. So we could get double sided postcards for under £10, if we were prepared to use the slightly dodgy looking website software to DIY them. Actual cards would be about £16 plus p+p (with, who I've used before and would trust). And magnets would be nearly £80!!

Then you have to post them. Even second class, that adds £9 currently and £12.50 after april. (must remember to get mum to buy stamps before then!) So at the lowest possible price, it's almost £20, and at the highest its nearer £100. I certainly have better things to spend £100 on, and I even have better things to spend £20 on. New eyeliner or save the dates? Hmmm...

Luckily, I recently discovered photoshop. I've designed our save the dates using a fab photo taken by my dad. They'll be going out by email. Bring on the new eyeliner!

If you aren't an avid photoshopper, you could still send free save the dates. Find a friend that can do it, and ask them to give you it as a wedding present/favour. Powerpoint can do some pretty good stuff, and most people have access to that at work. Some websites are now helping brides create evites, such as this kiwi site.  It's also more environmentally friendly.

And if Granny really wants one (which she probably won't as she'll already know the date and may not have realised that save the dates are now considered essential), just print one out and give it to her.

Oh, do you want to see them?

Check out the penguins! (thanks to - awesome free downloadable fonts)

Friday, April 27, 2012

On this day...

... next year I will become Mrs Gadget. Scary stuff! Hopefully the sun will shine, and I will have a less stressful day than I did today. (At one point I thought about "accidentally" throwing the work phone in the bin - that was when it rang for the twelfth time in an hour when each phone call was going to take me at least an hour to deal with!)

Two exciting things happened today: the save-the-date emails went out, and I am wearing my ring. Both felt a bit strange, and maybe not as exciting as I'd hoped. As far as the ring is concerned, it's fab to have it but I can't wear it at work - so it's been on a chain round my neck most of the day. Occupational hazard I guess!

More details on save-the-dates coming soon, but it was quite hard making sure I sent the right attachments to the right email addresses! I haven't had any delivery fails yet - watch this space!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The BIG question

After "will you marry me," one of the most important questions is how much is this wedding going to cost? It's not a million dollar question, or even a 64,000 pound question - or at least I hope not! But it is really, really important.

So how do you answer it? Let's be honest, no one likes talking about money. Which is why I'm so thrilled that Rogue Bride, frugal wed and 2000 dollar wedding have laid their budgets out for everyone to see. I'm going to try and do the same (although I have no idea what our parents will think)!

There is very little sensible advice out there on how to figure out your budget. There's two main schools of thought:
  1. Look at how much you have in your savings, work out how much you can save between now and the wedding, add in any parent contributions and this is the answer.
  2. Say a figure out loud and keep saying numbers until you get one that sounds right. 
To trash number two first, WHAT?! The figure that would make me not want to run away screaming would probably be about £3000. I'm naturally a conservative spender. The "average" UK wedding costs £20,000. Even though I have no intentions of having an "average" wedding, I cannot have the kind of wedding I want for £3000. End of discussion.

Number one may work for some people, but does not work for us. As a conservative spender, I am also a saver. I have spent years (since I was 16) building up my savings. I am trying to encourage Inspector Gadget to do the same. I do not want to spend them all on one day. When we get back to the UK, we want to buy a house, at least one car, a new computer (I have finally agreed to this, it really is dying) and goodness knows what else. We also have to get tickets back to the UK, and want to have a great honeymoon. Ideally, we'd like to be able to eat at the end of all this.

Lindsay has a much better approach on her blog frugal wed. A wedding is a short to medium term saving goal, and so should account for between 10 and 20% of your post tax income for the time you are planning it (e.g. a year). 

Having found most of our wedding vendors, we are on track for that budget. My slightly-less-conservative-spending dad tells me my budget is "optimistic" at £8500, but he is happy we can do it for £10,000. So I'm trying to ignore the screaming in my head go along with that.

Then he and my future in-laws threw a couple of spanners into the works. They offered us money. 

This was unexpected for several reasons that its not fair to discuss here. It means that we don't have to contribute as much of our own savings towards the wedding. When my dad told me this, he also told me that "it doesn't mean you can release the shackles." He knows me pretty well, and it was a bit of a joke as I would never be able to do that. It doesn't matter to me whose money we are spending on the wedding, we are not wasting it. Having said that, we are very, very lucky to have such awesome parents, and the contributions will be gratefully received. It means we might actually have enough money for a house deposit, so after the wedding we can start married life in our own home. Debt free. How great does that sound?

(Note: We're lucky as we earn good money, even in NZ where salaries are often lower. Circumstances - the UK property market - have conspired against us though, and even with that we are going to struggle to buy a house)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Over the last two days I have finally removed my head from the wedding clouds and returned to earth. I have finished watching 24 season 3 (I was 19 hours into it!), listened to The Subtle Knife (I'm half way through the audio book), and ordered Captain Corelli's Mandolin from the library (it's been on the 'to read' list for years; I was going to get The Hunger Games but 2588 other people want it too). I have also researched flights back to the UK, and been to an art exhibition with a friend.

It was a surprisingly easy transition, but one that I think everyone will appreciate (especially Gadget). I'd like to celebrate with him, but he's watching sunsets in Sydney. So I'm doing the one thing I can't do when he's here - eating yummy vegetarian food covered in cheese!

Snap = happy!

Not knowing where to start looking for a photographer, I did a google search for "photographers in york." Lots came up. A few people had emailed me after a wedding fayre my mum attended. I looked through dozens of websites, and ruled out the ones I didn't like. Then I asked Gadget to rule out the ones he didn't like, and emailed the rest.

There were no set criteria here. We like photos, and we routinely sift through hundreds (or maybe thousands) of them. We know what we like. The one thing I can share is we do not like washed out, over exposed, so-called "vintage" pictures. We like our pictures to be fun, and we like them to include people.

Arbitrarily I decided that £1000 was the maximum I was prepared to pay. I don't really know why, but as we got five candidates under that price, it seemed reasonable. I also insisted that they had to specify whether they would take posed group shots, and if so were there any limits. A friend had problems with this, and I'm pleased she felt she could share this with me, allowing me to deal with it upfront.

As with the venue, it seems some people are incapable of reading emails (or maybe they just can't be bothered?). We got several standard, bounce back replies which contained nothing more useful than a price. They were all over £1000.

The short list of five quickly became four as one photographer confirmed he was booked for our wedding day. Then it became three as one person was "so busy photographing weddings" that he couldn't possibly meet anyone on a weekend. My dad did the interviews for us. He works in London during the week, and can only do weekends.

Of the two he spoke to, one was a clear winner. Like the venue, it ended up being an easy decision. Kath Occleston's photos are FAB - bright, fun and beautiful. I'm excited to meet her, and I really hope we can get permission to go up on the venue's roof to take photos (her idea, and if you've looked at our venue you'll see why!).

The last photographer fell by the wayside, as we were happy with our choice. I'm now glad they did, as they are still sending me solicitation emails.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

pretty in pictures

Although having lots of (hopefully fabulous) photos is a priority for us, we weren't sure if we were going to have a professional photographer or not. We actual have several friends and family members who take great photos. Gadget takes pretty good ones himself, and so does my dad, though that's clearly not practical!
Photography: father-of-the-bride

Photography: Gadget/groom

We considered asking the other people we know, but decided it was putting too much pressure on them. At least with a professional we can have our friends' photos as a back up plan, and it's covered by insurance if there's a major problem.

How did we find a photographer form the other side of the world? You'll have to come back tomorrow!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Do me a favour

Or don't. What is the point of favours? I have no idea. Something for your guests to remember the day by? The last time I checked they had memories and cameras. Something to make the tables look pretty? Don't get me started on that.

I know what they end up being - something that can cost quite a bit and either gets left on the table or forgotten about at home. There are arguments against both of these.

Favours don't have to be expensive - true. But if they're so cheap they haven't made any impact on your budget (please remember you need 50 or 100 of them), will anyone really want them? The other argument is to make them edible, then they're not wasted. Also true - but some people will still forget them and others will take them home and forget to eat them. They're not going to get eaten on the day, because hopefully you've given your guests enough to eat.

So we will not be having them. That's one less thing on the to-do list.

Engagement photo shoot

We didn't have an official engagement shoot, but we did need a photo for our save the date cards. My dad took the pictures, in the beautiful vineyards around Napier in Hawke's Bay, NZ. He also took a couple of sneaky ones when we weren't watching!

I think they're pretty good - what do you reckon?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

here's one I made earlier

Just had to share the entertaining madness from an issue of Cosmo Bride. They have an article of 25 craft-it-yourself wedding ideas. There's a couple that aren't bad, such as wine corks for place card holders and chalking your menu on a blackboard instead of having printed menus. But then there's these:

  • Beads, buttons, sweets and toffees stacked in different sized jars can bring colour to a dark corner or window ledge.
  • Homemade soaps make pretty favours. Choose colours and fragrances that reflect the themes of your day.
Seriously? Who uses soap? And what's wrong with ignoring the dark corner - like everyone else will?!

The ring is in hand!

Not my hand unfortunately, but the next best thing. Inspector Gadget has it.

I know I posted a picture of the ring days ago, but that was taken in the jewellers. I don't actually have the ring on my finger (still). To save the 15% GST (=VAT), they have a system here where you can collect things at the airport as you fly out. Gadget is going to Sydney today for work (it's a hard life).

We got engaged on December 3rd. I finally ordered the ring on February 9th. We booked our reception on February 18th, and have now booked all the "big" things. The trip to Sydney was meant to be March, and kept getting delayed. We couldn't give the jeweller a definite time frame.

Gadget gets back in the early hours of Thursday morning. On Friday it will be one year before our wedding. I will not be wearing the ring until Friday - it cheesily feels like that's how it was meant to be.

Not a blog-worthy wedding? Sounds good to me!

When I started reading wedding blogs, they were just eye candy. A place to steal ideas, and exclaim over how pretty/cool something is. Which is of course what they were designed for.

Then I realised that anyone can submit their wedding to be published on a blog. Just find the right one (i.e. one that publishes weddings of a similar style to yours), make sure you discuss it with and credit your photographer, and your photos can be out there for everyone to see. Wedding blogs stopped being inspiration, and started becoming ambition.

Then I read this post, and listened to Christie talk about this letter on her podcast. I realised I needed to wake up.

"Publish wedding" was not on our priority list. It wasn't even one of the things that is important, but not actually a priority (like NZ wine, for example).

To have a "blog-worthy" wedding, you have to focus on the details. It has to be superficially pretty, because that's what most blogs are looking for. It doesn't matter if you have a fantastic day that really reflects your personalities, if your centrepieces aren't up to scratch you won't get published.

There are a few "niche" blogs that don't follow this rule, and actually focus on the story of the wedding and its planning. Whilst I'm still reading a couple of "pretty" blogs (lovemydress and rockmywedding), my favourites are content based Rogue Bride and 2000 dollar wedding.

I doubt that my wedding will be "blog-worthy," and I'm completely fine with that. In fact, I'm started to get excited about it. It leaves me free to focus on the atmosphere of the wedding, rather than the aesthetics. And that is in our priorities.

Note: I realise by writing this blog I have cheated the system slightly. But this is not a pretty blog, and my point stands. And rockmywedding just published this - still pretty but with awesome people pics.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Shoes, shoes, shoes

Okay, so I haven't bought three pairs of shoes. But I have bought one pair. One very pretty vintage Casadei suede pair. They're perfect. Pointy, heels not too high, italian made so they actually fit my feet, and the right colour. Which isn't white.

I thought shoes would take me forever. Shoes never fit me. I bought the first pair I tried on - and they were only £55!

Friday, April 20, 2012

the wedding "party"

As I write this post, I'm pondering the terminology. Why is it that the people we ask to be most involved with the wedding are a "party"? Hopefully we will have a party with everyone, otherwise we've slightly missed the point of the day!

There are four people in our lives who were always going to be a key part of our wedding. They're all under the age of 6. Inspector Gadget has two nieces, and I have two young cousins. Conveniently they are two girls and two boys, and are fairly closely paired age-wise. The two eldest started school this year, and can be trusted to walk from me to Daddy on the big day (hopefully without too much bribery). The youngest two are both copycats, so we're hoping they'll follow on. But the youngest is a little monkey, and absolutely anything could happen!

To supervise them and support me and my mum, I have asked my aunt J to be my matron of honour. When she married 10 years ago, I was her chief bridesmaid, and she was excited to return the favour. She's also a Brownie Leader, so is used to organising large numbers of children, and the trouble-maker belongs to her anyway! Without going into the details of my family tree, J is my mum's sister but she is only a year older than me, so is more like a cousin in many ways. She also has the family craft/creativeness gene, which I am hoping to make use of!

Gadget has asked his brother to be his best man. It took him longer to ask the question, but he's not known for his speedy decision making! It means that our wedding party will all be family, which I'm quite excited about.

There will be no row of matching bridesmaids and ushers. We will ask other people to be involved with the day, but we haven't worked out what we need people to help us with yet. I have already asked Team Warwards (my old university housemates) to plan my hen night. I hope I'm in safe hands!

Venue short list

The top venues ended up being:

  1. Mansion House, York. Absolutely stunning building, with very helpful staff who replied to all my ridiculous emails. You can't have a DJ in the house itself, but you can use the Guildhall behind for your evening do. Outside caterers, but you can choose your own or use their preferred ones. Our second choice venue.
  2. Air Museum, Elvington. Thinking outside the box. Also very helpful by email. This only slid down the list because it was hard to imagine what space we would be able to use, and how it would actually work for us. A time when being present would have been helpful!
  3. Villa Farm, Wigginton. Again lovely emails. They have a series of cottages you/your guests can stay in, but we couldn't find an indoor space that would work for our meal, and would have ended up with a marquee.
  4. Thirteen Thirty One, York. Art deco style venue with its own cinema. Good prices, good size, flexible about what we wanted. Unfortunately they changed the date of their open day, but Inspector Gadget wasn't as keen on the decor as I was anyway. 
  5. The Stone Trough Inn, Kirkham Abbey. Looked nice from the website, but unfortunately follow up emails never arrived. Would also have given us transport/accommodation issues. 

and the winner?

By miles and miles, The Old Lodge in Malton. It's gorgeous, quirky, has parking, rooms, award winning food, is 25 minutes from the church, and is reasonably priced. It was no contest really - which made for an easy decision (after only one venue viewing - thanks 'rents!). Pictures soon...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The big venue hunt

It really was a big hunt, and a large part of that was because we didn't want a big venue. Anything with a minimum guest number of more than 50 was out.  I have a scrawled list of 43 venues, which was long-listed down to 32. There were others which we merely glanced at the websites of, and then immediately discounted. I reckon we looked at around 75 venues.

I've read loads of forums and blogs where brides-to-be say they viewed dozens of venues. I have no idea why. Obviously we couldn't visit venues, and so adopted an approach that worked with that. But our approach was very simple, and could be used by any couple.

We set out a list of essential and ideal criteria. We did hours of google searching, with a variety of search terms (the best one was actually "pubs with function rooms" - it opened up a whole range of options that we didn't see when we looked the first time), to get the list of 43. Then we looked for the information we needed on their website. Once we had that, we sent them an email explaining that we were in NZ, asking them to answer any remaining questions, and finding out if they were available for April 2013 (we decided march was a bit optimistic!).

  1. Has to seat 50 people for dinner
  2. Has to allow a DJ
  3. Has to have "character"
  1. Within 30 minutes of the church
  2. Parking (actually a major problem in York)
  3. Exclusive access, or at least no other weddings
I sent 21 emails, and did not get 21 replies. A couple of obscure places (we were trying to think outside the box) didn't reply, which is understandable. Hotel du Vin have no excuse though. Others replied with comments that clearly showed they hadn't read our email - please see website/here is our brochure/please call us to arrange a visit. If you can't even read an email, you are not being trusted with my wedding. 

A surprising number would not allow DJs. This will be linked to the fact that most of the city's buildings are listed, but it ruled out a lot of places, including our favourite restaurant Melton's Too.

Others were too small, or wouldn't give us access until very late in the day. An early front runner was the barns at The Maize Maze. It's in the next village to my parents, looked very cool, and they were really flexible. They were also fully booked, and didn't bother to tell my mum that over the phone. 

We had a short list! A top six, with four in reserve in case of emergency.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Big Picture - it's all about priorities

So it turns out that actually there is a very obvious place to start planning your wedding. Before you work out the who, what, when and how much, you need to work out what your priorities are.

This is best described by Sara on her blog 2000 dollar wedding. Hindsight Bride also covers it well, on her podcasts with Rogue Bride -The Bridal Koolaid Cocktail Hour. Lindsay at Frugally Wed focuses on authenticity; slightly different but with the same logic behind it. Your wedding should be about you. Who are you as a couple? What are the important things in your life, and who do you want to share them with?

With this in mind, you can then go on to work out your priorities for the day, and how much you're prepared to spend to make them happen.

So I sat down with Inspector Gadget, and we did a sort of mini-mindmap. After that our priority list looks like this:
1 - Fabulous honeymoon.
2 - Church ceremony, with Dad giving me away.
3 - Venue with character. We're big on character in buildings, but not of one specific kind.
4 - Classy. We would rather do less things, and do them properly, than more things and end up with half hearted tat.
5 - A cheesy disco.
6 - Fun and light hearted, with minimal stress.
7 - Lots of photos. We like photos. We have been known to take over 3000 photos on a two week holiday (yes there are three zeros in that number).

We also had a list of "no way" items:
1 - Wasting money on silly things. More on this later.
2 - A cookie cutter wedding. We are not doing anything just because "that's how it's done."
3 - Chicken. It's not that we don't eat chicken, but it's safe and boring and standard function food. Bring on the red meat!
4 - I'm keeping this one quiet for now, you'll see why later.

With this at the front of my planning thoughts (and physically at the front of my wedding folder), I felt confident that we could make this day exactly what we wanted.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Planning a wedding - just like a,b,c?

When attempting any task, it's a good idea to start at the very beginning. In my job, there is a prescribed place to start - all tasks begin with A (for airway, incase you're wondering). In weddings, the prescribed start is not one thing, but a combination of date, location and budget.

Some people will tell you that you must begin with one of these things. For example, you must know what your budget is before you can look at venues. Whilst this is obviously true, working out what your budget is when you have no idea what things cost is actually really difficult.

We started with location. And by that I don't mean venues. We had a much bigger issue to consider - which country should we get married in? We don't have a permanent base currently, and hadn't decided if we were staying in Kiwi Land or going back to Britain. As people who travel a lot, it wouldn't surprise anyone if we decided to get married overseas - the world was our oyster, as the saying goes.

I don't like oysters. And I didn't like making such a big decision. In the end, it came down to two simple things - who we wanted there, and my religious beliefs. Most of our friends and family would have travelled a short distance to be at our wedding, but we felt asking people to travel to the other side of the world was unfair.  We looked seriously at a european ski resort wedding, but that would mean my grandparents couldn't come, and we would have to have a civil ceremony. That was a deal breaker for me - I've always wanted to walk down the aisle, and repeat those well known words.

So it was back to sunny Blighty. Decisions came easily from here - our family are all "up north," so we could go all old-fashioned and get married in my parents village church. Father Nick said he'd be delighted to marry us. The earliest we could realistically arrange a UK wedding for was March 2013. And now we did need a venue...

Monday, April 16, 2012

First steps

The first steps in the planning process were baby steps. Before we actually got into the wedding proper, I needed to choose an engagement ring.

This was when we started to realise that we have NO IDEA how things work down here!

We've lived in Birmingham for many years, which is of course home to the fantastic jewellery quarter. Its easy to get things made there; I have friends who have travelled to Brum just to get their rings made.

Here there is no such thing. Added to that, NZ is a closed market. By that I mean - there's not many people here (less than there is in the West Midlands region), there's not much online shopping, and it's a long way to go for alternative options. Australia is our nearest neighbour, and that's a 3 hour flight. This means that a lot of things here are really expensive (we actually get books and dvds shipped from the UK!).

So I tried to cover all the options. I had 2 key criteria - it had to be platinum, and it had to have coloured stones with the diamond. I went into a few high street jewellers, but they didn't have any platinum rings. I did discover that solitaires look really silly on me, and so do thin bands (I've got quite long fingers).

Next was the ever popular google image search. This turned up some good eye candy, and a custom jeweller in Auckland. I came up with a design, but progress was quickly halted - they said there was no way I could have the kind of ring I wanted in platinum for my budget. Great.

Then came two very promising options. Crystalink in Birmingham were happy to deal with me by Skype and email, and came in within budget for my rough design. A friend then told me about her sister's jeweller in Auckland - he had some gorgeous rings, one of which was really similar to my imaginary ring. He also came in within our budget, and finally I was happy enough to order my ring.  And last week it was finished :-)

Thanks to Colin at Aurum Jewellers in Ponsonby.

(Note: as you'll see in the next few posts, I'd actually managed to book several wedding vendors before I got my ring - not sure how many people have achieved that!)

Upside down blogging

When I started planning my wedding I had no intention of writing a blog. But the more I get into the whole wedding planning thing, and the more wedding blogs I read, the more I want to let people know how the planning is going! I have also found a lack of information about planning a wedding from overseas. There is information on destination weddings, but I don't really fit into this category. So I thought I'd write down any problems and solutions, and either no one (except maybe my nearest and dearest) will read them, or someday someone might find it helpful! I'm actually a couple of months into the process, so some posts will be retrospective.
NOTE: I tend to chatter incessantly (yes, dear friends, I do know that I talk too much). I may write quote a lot. Consider yourself warned!

A brief introduction...

We currently live in New Zealand, and have been here for a year. We love to travel (it's how we got together), and always wanted to work abroad, so when an opportunity came up we grabbed it. NZ is a beautiful country, and we've been exploring of much of it as possible. We'll be heading back to the UK some time after Christmas, probably via the USA.

It's also the first time we've properly lived together - that gave us a few challenges! However, we'd got safely past those when Inspector Gadget proposed. Down on one knee, on a private beach in the Bay of Islands - with an iPod nano!
My engagement iPod!

Waiting for our parents to be on Skype so that we could tell them was really hard, but finally the news was out - bring on the wedding planning...

H x