Our Real Bride Sonja only has a month to go!

I can’t honestly believe there is only one month to go until the Big Wedding. The Small September wedding only feels like a couple of weeks ago, but time is disappearing at quite a pace now and the planning is getting serious. So serious that my Matron of Honour made me a checklist in excel in an attempt to stop my brain from exploding. There is so much to think about and at the moment there’s a new ‘minor detail’ that needs to be sorted daily. Today’s was hiring an easel, arranging a high chair and ordering two more chairs after realising I hadn’t included myself and James in the guest list (easy mistake to make, isn’t it?!) – this is the kind of stuff I’m talking about! I’ve found that the little details are what’s taking the biggest amount of time and I have honestly decided that planning a wedding is no mean feat… although it is kind of fun, easel hiring aside!

One month to go – excited!

Real Bride Sonja

The Checklist

My dress – I have it! I went to London for a long weekend to collect it and was so, so happy and so relieved to arrive back home in Dubai with my wedding dress in my arm. The airport experience was a bit of a challenge and my arm very nearly fell off, but I hope it’s going to be worth it. I really love it and can’t wait to wear it! I also found a veil in London, so I’m completely sorted which is a lovely feeling. The days leading up to the September wedding I was running around getting the last little bits done, so I made a mental note to be much more prepared this time. Fingers crossed.

Hair and Make-up I am again leaving in the very capable hands of Hannah from Hannah Lisa Make-Up and my JetSet hairdresser George. They both did a fab job in September so I’m looking forward to them getting me (and my Bridesmaids!) wedding ready again.

Booking a photographer was actually one of the first things I did when I first started planning back in May. I’d heard great things about Gold Fish Photography and Video, so they seemed the obvious choice and luckily they still had availability for our date. My dad and friend Steph did a great job of playing photographer at the Small Wedding, but it’s a good job we’ve got Goldfish this time… they’re both going to be a bit busy Father of the Bride-ing and Bridesmaid-ing at the Big Wedding (less pressure I’m sure they’ll both agree!).

The flowers are being supplied by Firenze Flora and the team there have been great. My ‘on the day planner’ Liesel from Aghareed gave a brief and when I went along to the sample day they had selected exactly what I wanted. I’m going for very simple – lots of small vases on each table rather than one big arrangement and cute tea lights too. Our venue Marina Island is so magical, I’m hoping the flowers and candles will help to make it more so. Ahh, I’m really smiling just thinking about it.


Cake. Mmm, cake. I am gluten intolerant so normally miss out on cake eating… but thanks to CupnCakes Dubai I won’t be missing out on our wedding day. They cater for gluten free diets, so we’re having two normal naked layers and one gluten free layer on the top – amazing! I was so happy to find out gluten free was an option – biggest thanks CupnCakes Dubai, fantastic to have that option. The sampling process was so easy too. Samples of different flavours were delivered straight to our front door and all we had to do was eat them and choose. Perfect.

We knew we wanted to have live music rather than a DJ but didn’t really know where to start when it came to finding someone. A friend (thank you Sarah D!) pointed us in the direction of Tim Hassall and we instantly knew we had found our man. We’re having Tim and his band and neither of us can wait! We went to a family brunch at Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen a few weeks ago and Tim has a residency so we got a little preview – he’s fab. So, so good! My niece and nephew were having a little dance too, so I’ve got a good idea who is going to be on the dance floor first on the wedding night.

Stationery was one of the things I really ummed and ahh’d about in the early planning stages. I found loads of things I liked on the website Etsy, but when it came to actually ordering, the shipping costs were insane. My planner put me in touch with Julie Sol, a Dubai based designer and she has been the answer to my stationery prayers! She’s doing everything for us and taking care of all of the printing – which is a huge relief. As the ceremony is happening outside, we’re having our Order of Service cards made into little fans – a touch our guests will appreciate I’m sure. Julie is also creating advice cards for us which was fab news to me. I had looked for them everywhere and couldn’t find any that suited our theme and this way I was able to have them exactly how I wanted them.

I also have an amazing designer I worked with at a previous job kindly designing some little signs for us to place on the cocktail tables (thank you Katt!), so we can let our guests know the hashtag WiggoWedding. I thought it would be nice to easily find any pics on Instagram the next day, because I know I’m going to want to keep as many memories as possible. I found some cute little signs in Dragon Mart (that place is nuts!) and thought they would be perfect.

I’ve always told myself when it got to the point of sorting the seating plan it would mean it was nearly wedding time. Today I sorted the seating plan, which means… it’s nearly wedding time!

Along with the top table, we’ve got six round tables full of our favourite people, which meant organising the seating wasn’t ‘too’ difficult. My Matron of Honour cut out the names of all of the guests for me so I had each name on a little piece of paper, and could place them on an ‘imaginary table’. It was a massive help and a massive time saver… well, it would have been if our 3-month old kitten hadn’t decided to help me move the little pieces of paper!

Sonja's table planning

 *Make sure to pop back to the blog next week – Sonja will be chatting all things Bridesmaids and the Bachelorette party!

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Sonja Stephen-Willn
Sonja is our UAE Editor and a bride-to be! An ex-magazine Editor and Showbiz Columnist, Sonja has swapped her love of celebrity gossip for stylish wedding loveliness. From rustic to vintage, beach to ballroom she is constantly searching for fabulous inspiration to share.

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