December Goals

I can't believe I'm saying this but happy December everyone! Where has this year vanished to? Not that I'm going to complain too much as December is one of my favourite times of the year - comfy jumpers, films days on the sofa and Christmas drinks galore (both the hot and the boozey variety).

My November goals didn't go quite to plan. There wasn't two blog posts a week and I only went to the gym once however, I didn't spend as much as I usually do and I certainly took the time and effort for self-care. I've been asking myself why I succeeded on some accounts and not others and I think I've worked it out. Setting myself goals to do something a specific number of times made it easy for me to feel as though I had failed. As soon as I didn't write that second weekly post or I was too busy to make that gym class I felt defeated. This meant that in the following weeks I didn't have the incentive to stick to these goals as they'd already, in my mind, not worked out. Whereas, my goals to do something more or to take the time to do something seemed easier because there was no set measurements to meet. So whilst my November goals didn't go the way I'd envisioned, I've learnt something from them and that's what's really important. But anyway, let's crack on...

Sleek Cleopatra’s Kiss Highlighting Palette Review & Swatches

Now it's no secret that Sleek makeup produce some pretty kick-ass highlighters, their Solstice palette is still raved about (and rightly so)! So, when their newest highlighting palette hit the shelves I knew I had to have it! Whilst the Solstice palette provides an array of beautiful pastel shades, the Cleopatra's kiss palette instead holds 4 stunning shades of gold.

Wedding Traditions: Handfasting

Photo credit: One Oak Photo

Whilst handfasting is definitely not a new wedding tradition it is one that I was unaware of until recently. More and more in both wedding magazines and wedding blogs I see posts being shared about couples opting for this type of ceremony. As I knew nothing much about the concept (apart from that scene in Braveheart) I thought it would be a great place to start our series of posts about 'Wedding Traditions: Old and New'!

Vegan / Cruelty-free beauty Christmas wishlist

Christmas is just around the corner and at this time if year I can't help but lust after beauty products more than usual (if that's possible). Ever since I can remember I have always asked for make-up products as Christmas gifts or used any Christmas pennies I've receive to treat my self to whatever has been catching my eye recently. All of the products listed below are both vegan and cruelty-free, if you find out otherwise please let me know as I myself am vegan and don't want to be use products on my face that aren't!

Postcards from Reykjavik, Iceland

Recently me and some of the gal pals went gallivanting around Reykjavik, Iceland and it was beautiful, completely unlike anything else we had ever seen before. If you've never been I'd strongly recommended adding Iceland to your bucket list of places to go! In today's post I thought I'd share some of the sights we went to see and a few tips we picked up along the way.

November Goals

Happy November everyone! Where has this year disappeared to? I've decided to try and write a 'goals' post at the start of each month to keep me on track with not only my blog, but my day-to-day life. I had the idea after reading Jodie Melissa's post about her own November goals.

My October was a little bit all over the place. I started the month with an amazing trip to Iceland with three of my close friends from high school, but I ended the month having to take quite a lot of time of work due to illness. I'm starting to feel more like myself again, slowly but surely and a few of my goals will aim to ensure that the only way is up!

The Alt-Groom: Feminism

Today I wanted to write about Siobhan's engagement with, and exploration of, feminism at university and how this has had a large impact on my own world view and sense of identity. However, before I talk more about this I want to first reflect on my perspective and memories prior to meeting Siobhan. I think that sometimes as adults we forget that children can have a keen insight into, and are affected by, the world around them (something that as a primary school teacher I am constantly trying to keep in mind). One of my earlier memories that I can relate to gender is of myself at 7 years old, feeling happy that I was a boy because we seemed to be in charge of everything. This selfish, but sadly honest, assessment of my social standing serves as a stark reflection of the world that I had seen around me in the short time that I had been around to witness it.

Wedding traditions: New and Old

Weddings are full of all kinds of traditions - the white dress, the bride's father walking her down the aisle, the veil, throwing the bouquet, the list goes on! Today many couples, us included, are opting to pick and choose the traditions they participate in, in order to create weddings more representative of themselves as a partnership.

This new series of posts will discuss a variety of traditions that more and more people are opting to incorporate into their weddings. Whilst we won't necessarily be choosing to do all of these things it's always good to have food for thought! We have already written about one new tradition that felt important to us, have you read our post about both deciding to wear engagement rings? Find it here.

Been to a wedding recently that was a little different? Let me know all about any old or new traditions you hadn't come across before and what you thought in the comments below! I'd love to know :)

A New Addition: Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion

As I'm sure you already know, we started this blog as our own way of tracking our wedding plans to see if any of our attitudes changed over time and to share the journey with anyone who wants to come along for the ride. The only thing we hadn't really considered was much wedding planning is there when the wedding is around 5 years away and you don't yet have a budget in mind? The answer - not loads. Whilst we have plenty to discuss and a lot of ideas to share it seems to make sense to use this blog as an outlet for other writing ventures as well. Time flies and a lot is going to happen before we tie the knot, so why not share those stories as well?

For anyone who knows me it will come as no surprise that I have decided to updated our webpage to now include a 'Lifestyle' section where I can share beauty, fashion and travelling stories. I'm a sucker when it come to beauty products and 'treating myself' so there will be plenty to share in that department! Never fear, I'll still be writing lifestyle/beauty/fashion posts that include wedding ideas! I mean we all need the perfect highlighter for that big day ;)

10 quirky wedding favour ideas that we love!

Are wedding favours an essential? No, but if you have the money within your budget or the time to DIY then they are a great way of providing your guests with a small token of your appreciation.

Though I haven't attended many weddings myself, I have received the traditional favour of five sugared almonds. Five sugared almonds have been traditionally handed out for many years and symbolise health, wealth, happiness, fertility and long life.

With more couples opting to personalise more aspects of their wedding, wedding favours now can be almost anything to take in account your personalities (and of course your budget)! Below are some of our favourite wedding favour ideas.

The rings

In an earlier post I said I'd talk a little bit more about the designer who created not only mine, but also Josh's engagement ring.

I have swooned over beautiful engagement rings for longer than I'd like to admit. I fell in love with designs inspired by nature and those using alternative stones. Seriously, if you haven't already, get yourself on etsy/pinterest there are some beauties!

Nobody likes you when you're 23: getting engaged young

Pretty much the only photo I took at my birthday party.

I turned 23 just over a month ago and it got me thinking about age and engagement. Only one generation ago, the median age for a woman to first get married was 22 (my age when we got engaged) and marrying in your early twenties was the norm. But now many view getting engaged or married in your early twenties as risky or naive. This may sound like a generalisation and honestly, the vast majority of people we told we were engaged were extremely happy and excited for us. However, I did have a few negative experiences when telling people the news. The most common negative response being as follows -' old are you again? you're quite young aren't you?'. This isn't the worst response in the world, don't get me wrong, but it still feels pretty shitty when you're telling someone something you're over the moon about and they seem concerned as opposed to happy. I even found myself responding with how many years me and Josh have been together, how many years we have lived together, etc when really I shouldn't have to defend our choices at all (even though I undoubtably will in this blog post).

I won't pretend I've never seen an engagement spring up on social media and questioned whether the marriage will work out. For some reason, engagements surprise many of us more than pregnancy announcements. So why do we have these views and worries? And why do we feel that it is okay to judge people for their decision to agree to commitment at a young age? I thought I'd look into common views around marrying young and discuss them in this blog post.

Our first holiday together

Last month Josh and I travelled to Barcelona, renting our own little flat for 6 nights. Seems like a short break away, right? For us, no. This was literally the longest amount of time we have ever spent just the two of us.The whole experience was wonderful and has gotten us both really excited to be moving into our own place next month.

My parent's wedding

Something me and Josh had spoken about was asking friends and family who are already married about their own wedding days and sharing that on our blog (if they're happy and willing). So I thought I'd get the ball rolling with my own parents.

My parents are the coolest people I know. I never felt lonely growing up as an only child because these guys are two of my best friends and I've always thought of them more like siblings than my parents. They got married when I was 12, although I only found out about the wedding a week or so in advance. These guys rocked the alternative wedding before it was something you could type into google and get thousands of hits. With all of their wedding songs being Metallica, my mum wearing a beautiful green dress and their choice to elope on April fool's day, they really did what they wanted and not what tradition dictates. My parents are really some of my greatest inspiration, they did what suited them best as a couple and I really admire that.

The Alt-Groom

Hello, my name is Joshua and I am lucky enough to be Siobhan's fiance. I will be adding my voice to this blog every so often. I am quite nervous about contributing towards this directly in case what I write isn't up to scratch but, I also want to be a part of this as it is an opportunity to record my thoughts and feeling about this important time in our lives. So, here goes...

Why we're both wearing engagement rings

Last Friday I ordered Josh's engagement ring. Men traditionally only wear a wedding band and many of the online articles I read whilst writing this post stated something along the lines of this - 'If a man does choose to wear this type of jewelry, be aware that that family members may assume it means the wedding has already taken place. The couple should be prepared to explain their preferences'. This statement and others like it have an underlying judgmental tone which seems to suggest that a man wearing an engagement ring is simply outrageous. For us, it isn't and in all honesty, I would love to see more couples opting to do the same! But why? Why have we decided that this is right for us?

Well, let's look at the reason that the engagement ring exists in the first place...

Why we're ditching the term 'bridesmaids'

I've been thinking more and more about who will be my bridesmaids and my maid of honour. Friends and family have asked me several times if I have anyone in mind and I've been excitedly planning ways to pop the question to some of these wonderful people in my life. However, I have made the choice to not ask anyone for quite some time, mainly due to us not having a wedding date or a wedding venue just yet. It doesn't seem logical to ask someone to be a part of something when they don't know if they'll be available or even in the country at the time, especially since our long engagement will likely span years.

Considering who I would ask to stand up there with me and Josh on the big day got me thinking about the two terms in general - 'bridesmaid' and 'maid/matron of honor'.

An issue I ran into quickly was that I don't intend to have an all-female bridal party. If I have one or two close male friends who I want to be a part of our wedding day why wouldn't I ask them to stand up there next to me? Along with this, I really cannot imagine asking a close male friend to be my 'bridesmaid', the term just didn't seem inclusive enough.

Being asked to be a bridesmaid is a big deal and is seen as a desired spot for many women. But when I looked more and more into the origins of the two terms I came across another issue - they're a bit sexist...

The proposal

Josh popped the question on the 24th April and seriously went beyond anything I could have expected for a proposal. We had discussed the idea of marriage previously and I had floated the idea that he didn't need to propose. I'd suggested instead that when we both knew we wanted to get married then we could just go and buy engagement rings together and let everyone know we had made that decision. But Josh refused, saying that I deserved a story to tell and I'm so glad he did that.

We had gone out to one of our favourite cafes in Newcastle, The Scrumpy Willow and Singing Kettle, for lunch and when Josh asked for our bill that wasn't the only thing we were given. A waitress handed me a piece of paper that had a short rhyme written on it. I looked at Josh and asked why I had a rhyme about the nightclub 'Digital' in my hand and he said we should go there and find out. Now that doesn't sound overly romantic, but we met during our first year at university and had our first kiss on a night out at Digital, so whilst it may not be the classiest of establishments it holds an important memory for us.
On arrival, Josh handed me another note which led us to the restaurant where we had our very first meal together, then onto the market stall at Grainger Market where we always go to buy fabric for our fancy dress costumes (we take themed parties pretty seriously) and then to a student bar, The Hancock. Again, not somewhere stereotypically romantic. The Hancock was where we had our first date and a place we have visited every year on our anniversary for at least one drink since then. At this point I knew what was coming, I mean it wasn't a special occasion so why else the treasure hunt? And the nerves must have started to get to Josh because we both sat making nervous chit-chat and emptying our glasses.

The Alt-Bride

Welcome to The Alt-Bride!

I'm Siobhan and that lovely guy in the photo with me is my fiance, Josh. We got engaged in April '16 and since telling our nearest and dearest the great news, a sentence we have heard an overwhelming amount is this - 'wow, your wedding is going to be different / interesting / quirky'! We've opted for a long engagement, as we want to go travelling before we tie the knot, so originally we hadn't even thought about what our wedding might be like. However, after a few initial discussions on our feelings towards certain traditions (I'll be honest, mainly my feelings) we realised that they were right, it wasn't always going to follow set traditions or expectations. But we both agree that this is not a bad thing, if anything it will make our day all the more special and suited to us as a couple. 

Our close friend Natalie (shoutout to my queen!) has been telling me I should start a blog for longer than I'd like to admit and this seemed like the perfect opportunity! Driving back to Newcastle one day after visiting Josh's family we decided to start planning, but slowly, like REALLY slowly, and wanted to record all of our decisions so we can see if we change our minds about anything and also so that we can keep track of what we have and haven't planned. This blog is going to not only follow the progress of our wedding plans over the next few years but to also discuss why we're opting to ditch certain traditions, people's reactions (and whether they're okay) and the journey in general.

Why not subscribe? It's gonna be a long, but adventurous journey!