The Bride Diaries: Finding The Perfect Wedding Venue

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We’re back with Caitlyn who spills the tea on finding her dream wedding venue at The Loft and everything in between!

At this stage in 2021 we think it’s safe to say almost everyone’s wedding plans have been affected by you know what (we’ll give you a hint – cough cough!).

We’ve caught up with our resident beauty blogger and MUA Caitlyn Lendrum who gives us the 4-1-1 on her wedding planning process, finding the perfect venue and how she and Tony got everything back on track after a year in lockdown.

RELATED TO: The Bride Diaries: A Catch Up With Caitlyn

So Caitlyn, when we last spoke you told us you first booked your date and venue for the 30th April 2021 – what’s changed?

“Trust us to get married in the middle of a pandemic! Over Christmas 2020 we did our best to remain relaxed and told ourselves once January came we would make a decision on going forward with restricted numbers or postponing until we could throw the party we always dreamed of – that’s when we went to The Loft and decided on our new date, the 22nd October 2021!

“We didn’t have any other significant dates in mind and knew our options would be limited. We essentially flicked through the diary and just said ‘That one!’ We just knew we wanted a Friday wedding so we could throw a second day event on Saturday, then relax on Sunday. Amazingly, by April 30th a lot of restrictions were lifted – bars and beer gardens had opened, however still no dining indoors, so we definitely feel we made the right decision as now we can look forward to the day with ease.”

Find out more about The Loft HERE

We heard you had already sent out your save the dates too – ahh! What happened next?

“Ugh, the save the dates that were ALMOST wasted! We had the fabulous Claire from Paper Dot create the most beautiful stationery ever, it was exactly everything we wanted. We went for classic black save the dates with gold accents and a little bunny tail and they were just stunning. After having to change our date, we decided to not send a second bunch of save the dates in case we had to change for a second time!

“So we decided to opt for the free option and text everyone to let them know our decision. It was probably a relief for some people because I know myself I gained a little ‘lockdown weight’! Tony is a self-employed joiner and owns TH Joinery so he was lucky he was able to work throughout our lockdowns, so in the end postponing was the best decision for us as he was still super busy.”

So in early 2020 (before the world went mad) you visited the Wedding Journal Show – how was that experience?

“Yes, this was really one of the first steps in planning for us! Tony and I were openminded, we were looking around for inspiration and ideas. Just walking through all the aisles, I fell in love with so many vendors and I really was in my element there! We were both very relaxed, so we knew we wanted a very relaxed and unique day. The Wedding Journal Show was the first time we came across the brand-new wedding venue, The Loft Templepatrick.”

Find out more about The Wedding Journal Show HERE

“I personally wanted a venue we hadn’t been to before and somewhere that our guests maybe hadn’t ever been, and The Loft certainly caught us by surprise! Picture high vaulted ceilings, adorned with twinkling feature chandeliers, celebratory planting, and marble dining tables. After chatting to the wedding team at their stand, we both felt like this venue is one of a kind – I had a very special feeling about it!”

That’s what we love to hear! So after speaking with the team from The Loft, did you visit the venue in person?

“We did! Thankfully, back in February before lockdown happened, we were so lucky to meet Abby and take a look at The Loft Ceremony Show Room. It was amazing and that was only the showroom. It was everything we wanted and more – the luxurious marble tables, the soft pastel tones, the stunning lighting – every detail ticked each box on my ultimate checklist!

“At the time the venue was still getting work done to it, but as a creative person and Tony as a joiner we were both able to envision the final piece! We are dying to get back to the venue ASAP to take a look around because I guess we booked our wedding venue based on a computer-generated image of what it was supposed to look like! We were a little rebellious but we have so much trust in the team!”

So just 7 weeks to go until the big day! How did you get everything back on track again? 

“From we made the call in January to hold off up until the end of July, the excitement hadn’t set in with me at all. It just didn’t feel real. Clients kept asking ‘well are you excited?’ and I felt like I always had to put on a smile and say ‘YES!’. However, I soon realised that wasn’t the case and I shouldn’t be afraid to admit it. I chatted to other brides and that’s when I realised we were all in the same boat! I didn’t get those jittery nerves or well up thinking about marrying the man of my dreams and because I had this massive cloud over me. Week after week we listened to restrictions hoping for things to change. Tony got in touch with Abby from The Loft and asked her to jump on FaceTime for a chat. We sat for an hour talking about how I felt, and herself and Tony made it their mission to get me excited.”

RELATED TO: NI’s Most Alternative Wedding Venue – The Loft

“She reassured me things still felt normal at weddings and we had 12 weeks to go which meant lots of easing of restrictions and risk assessments changing. All along Abby has been a godsend – we text her at any time with questions or concerns and she brings us up to the venue to run through things. We could not have done this without her. The following week Tony set up a date night and made our favourite Greek gyros and patatas bravas! He set up a call with the owner of a villa we stayed in last year in Santorini and we sat chatting about honeymoon plans and planning different things to do while we were out there. It just made such a change talking to positive people and that’s when it all felt real!”

How many guests did you originally have planned Vs now? 

“Originally we planned for quite a big day maxing out all the venue numbers. We always knew it was going to include all of our friends and family and it would be a very laid-back vibe. For some reason if Abby told us 120 for the ceremony, I told myself 130 and if Abby told us 140 for the dinner, I said 150. This came back to bite me! I think I just got overly excited and kept adding numbers up in my head. Right now we are still planning for our original numbers and manifesting that happens!”

Do you have any advice for other brides-to-be out there whose plans are being disrupted during these difficult times? What would you say to them?

“If I could tell another bride anything, it would be to talk to other brides! Lots of people who aren’t planning a huge day can be negative without realising and I found it quite consuming. I shared my opinions with other brides and it was lovely to have reassurance that we were all in the same boat and figuring it out together.  One other thing I would say, which is easier said than done, is try to be positive and don’t put pressure on yourself. I came to accept that I was getting married in a pandemic. If I really wanted, I could put it off five years and do it when life was normal – however I don’t want to put my life on hold any longer and I want to have the best day no matter what! Hey, it will be one to tell the grandkids!”

Stayed tuned for our next Friday segment with Caitlyn all about finding the perfect dress – see you then!

Looking for some wedding inspo? The Wedding Journal Shows are back and have everything you need for your dream day! Book your tickets HERE

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