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Jill Brooks' Wedding Blog - Brides in Brisbane Feature Blog

    Well hello again all BridesinBrisbane.com.au fans!

    It has now been 15 days since Dane (my husband, I can finally say it!!) and I said “I do” and I have to say that I am loving married life!! Now we have the rest of our lives to spend hopefully remembering what a beautiful, perfect day Saturday 30th October 2010 was.  It was certainly an amazing, time consuming, stressful, exciting and emotional 11 months planning that one day, but I can certainly say that all of the hard work was worth it!  It is my pleasure to recap that day for my last blog and I hope that it brings encouragement (and maybe even a little advice) to those still planning their big day that their wedding day really will be the day of their dreams…

    As per my usual form, I awoke early on that Saturday morning and went into ‘business as usual’ mode.  Ok, ok I’m going to be perfectly honest here and admit that I was VERY nervous, as well as being a little stressed, about the day ahead.  After all, for a bit of a control freak it is scary to think at that point that there were still several hours where everything could go wrong.  Luckily, I had my Mum there with me to calm my nerves and we headed to the hairdressers where they proceeded to work their magic on us, as well as my Step-Mother Elly, my Maid-of-Honor Alana, Bridesmaids Erin, Jane and Alice, as well as two very excited Flowergirls, Dakota and Britney.  We then all headed back to my house where our make-up artist (the amazing Jade Milner) was waiting for us.  It was there at the house that I started to relax.  My little house soon became abuzz with excitement as we conga-lined to have our make-up done in one room, played Wii and ate the chicken and salad lunch the bridesmaids (Godsends!) prepared in another, touched up our hair in another, and oohed and ahhed over our dresses in another.  My adorable nieces drew me pictures and wrote cards wishing Dane and I well and I ‘Tweeted’ away until it was time to go to our hotel, Emporium, for photos.

    After a very giggly cab ride, singing along to Destiny’s Child tunes, we arrived at Emporium where our fantastic photographer, Sarah Keayes, was waiting for us.  It certainly wasn’t long until it was time to down one drink for courage and pile into our vintage London Taxis (driven by the very dapper looking Marcus and Andrew) and be driven to Broadway Chapel, Woolloongabba.  I think memory I will most treasure from that drive will be seeing my nieces smiling faces looking up at me.  They were absolutely little ladies the entire day and were in a state of Nirvana after having their hair, make-up and nails done and just could not wait to walk down the aisle ahead of me.  True to form though I was of course too early arriving at the chapel and had to be driven around the block until it was time to arrive.  Once we did arrive, it really was just how you would imagine it: Bridesmaids fluffing your gown, your mother shedding a tear, your father gently holding your arm, your heart racing knowing that you are soon going to see the man you are going to spend the rest of your life with.  As I heard The Beatles “And I Love Her” play, I took a deep breath and stepped into the chapel where I saw all of my friends and family smiling back at me.  I wanted to hug each and every one of them but at the same time I wanted to run up the aisle and jump into Dane’s arms.  I was so happy to see him I almost forgotten that this was the time to say our vows!

    Our ceremony was very short and sweet, with a few giggles in between, and I remember not wanting to let go of Dane’s hand for a second throughout it.  I was completely unaware of my Bridesmaids apparent sobbing and the chattering voices of my little nieces and nephews.  I truly felt very loved and adored by Dane when he told me I looked beautiful and I just could not stop smiling!  I finally got to hug everyone as they congratulated us and we posed for a few photographs before Dane and I piled into our taxi for more photographs around Brisbane.  I gleefully admired my new wedding ring and kissed my now husband as we posed, smiled and embraced for photos.  I was thankful however when it was time to go to the Victoria Park to begin our reception, I needed to start relaxing!  For the entrance to our reception, Dane and I had planned months in advance to set the tone for the night by dancing Pulp Fiction-style to Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell”.  I pretty much forgot most of the dance steps but I think we pulled it off judging by our guests applause and cheers as we twisted and twirled.  It was one of my favourite moments of the day having Dane and I be entirely silly and act like ourselves and show our guests how much fun we wanted to have that night.

    After a meal I was disappointingly too full to finish and just a few drinks, we had our parents, Best Man Beech and Maid-of-Honour Alana give some of the funniest, endearing, and kindest speeches, reminding Dane and I how lucky we were to have such amazing family and friends.  It was during my speech that I shed my one and only tear for the day and shortly after DJ Conan got the party started on the dance floor.  Dane and I were absolutely blown away when some of our friends performed a dance routine to Wham’s “Wake Me Up”!  I don’t think we have laughed and cheered so hard together watching them all, it is a moment that Dane and I have hardly stopped talking about since!  I have to now list some of the highlights of the night:

    • Dancing, dancing, dancing!  Dane and I just could not stop dancing!  I will especially treasure the moments I spent dancing with my Dad, Barry, and my Step-Dad, Pete.
    • Throwing my bouquet and having our MC Mel catch it!  I wish I could say the same about my garter, Dane threw it twice before one of the guys were willing to pick it up!
    • Dane’s Nanna, Dawn, telling me she thought I looked beautiful.
    • My Aunt, Uncle and Cousins presenting us with a bag full of Halloween themed presents.
    • Sitting back and watching all of family and friends mingle with each other, I am so glad we booked a smaller room!  It made the night feel very intimate.
    • Every time Dane told me that he loved me.

    I wish the night could have gone on forever but before we knew it, it was time to head back to the hotel.  We packed up all the cards the guest book so that we could enjoy all the well wishes and remember the day together.  Dane and I are so lucky that we had a better day than we could have imagined filled with laughter and dancing, smiles and kisses, kind words and amazing memories.  We both feel that all of the time, effort and money spend was well worth it, even if it was only for just one day.  If I can offer any advice to future brides it would be to enjoy yourselves, be yourselves and don’t forget that the day is about celebrating the love that you and your husband have for each other, so show it!

    I will certainly post photos when we receive them from our photographer, but in the meantime if any readers have any comments they would like to post or any questions about our wedding please feel free.  I will of course be in touch with BridesinBrisbane.com.au as much as possible.

    Happy wedding planning!

    Love, Jill Simmonds xx

    Hello all BridesinBrisbane.com.au fans!

    Well, this will be my last entry before the big day.  Tomorrow, after months of planning, preparing, and paying, I will finally become Mrs Jill Simmonds.  I have already been up for a few hours this morning helping my florist (otherwise known as my Mum) put together bouquets, buttonholes and centrepieces.  Throughout the day our family and friends will be dropping by our home to help us with any final ‘to do’s’ and I’m sure offer advice on how to cope with the rollercoaster of emotions we will be going through tomorrow.

    Over the last couple of days I have absolutely exhausted myself making sure that everything is in place and everyone that has a job to do on the day knows what it is!  I’m hoping that all the effort will be worth it tomorrow, although I have been told on so many occasions that the day is going to go by so fast I’m probably not going to notice much of what will be going on except the important things.  I can’t wait to get ready in the morning, travel to the chapel with my Mum and Step-Dad, be walked down the aisle by my Dad, say my vows to Dane and have our first dance together.  I’m hoping I can get to sleep tonight!! 

    Well, unfortunately, I don’t have any time to write today, so I will end this little blog by saying thank you to all of my readers for your support and thank you to BridesinBrisbane.com.au for the opportunity to vent my thoughts, hopes and frustrations.  If you want to be updated on the antics of tomorrow, please feel free to follow me on Twitter, my username is BrideinBrisbane. 

    Until then, happy wedding planning! 

    Love, Jill xx

    Hi again all BridesinBrisbane.com.au readers!

    Well it is now the last Monday of my unmarried life and I am up bright and early cleaning and preparing for the arrival of the lovely Mother-of-the-Bride tomorrow night.  I have had my hair coloured, have confirmed details with my vendors, have wrapped gifts, started packing for our honeymoon and am generally feeling very organised!  Unless of course I have forgotten something…

    Over the weekend I was fortunate enough to spend some quality time with my Maid-of-Honour Alana, Bridesmaid Jane, and my MC Mel.  On Friday I met Alana in the city for some light shopping (and to drop off my engagement ring for cleaning so now I am without it again for several days L ) and we met Mel for lunch.  During lunch we covered some very important topics such as accessories, hairstyles and the fact that Mel’s dress she is wearing to the wedding is so hot that I am feeling very envious.  This was followed by an afternoon of me trying on my wedding gown and Alana gushing about how gorgeous I look (oh how I love her).

    On Sunday I had a very productive day with Jane where we managed to find her shoes, earrings and contact lenses for the wedding.  Now I will admit that I was very apprehensive about Jane’s suggestion that she wear contact lenses in lieu of her glasses on the day.  When it comes to shopping, Jane is the type of person that if she doesn’t find what she wants in the first two stores then she will generally give up.  I on the other hand, am the opposite.  I will scour every corner of a store, twice, until I find what I am looking for and used this approach to find Jane shoes and earrings, but the contact lenses were another story.  I really did not want to push Jane into wearing contact lenses on the premise that I wanted her to be comfortable on the day.  Nonetheless, this seemed to be something she really wanted so I went along to show my support.  After many reassurances from the optometrist that the lenses would not get lodged in her brain, suck out her eyeball, or make it explode, as well as my own assurances that if there wasn’t a horror movie about it then it couldn’t be that bad (can you imagine how lame a horror movie about contact lenses would be?), Jane was eventually able to successfully insert and remove the lenses.  It certainly was a very proud moment for me.

    So all in all I actually think I am feeling a little less nervous about everything today which is of course due to Dane’s consistently calm demeanour and the support of my friends.  Dane and I are both focusing on being very excited not just about our wedding day, but also our honeymoon to Tokyo, Japan!  We really have to do a big shout out to our friend and travel agent Ash, who really did a great job putting together our honeymoon package.  I also really want to thank my friend Craz who is a fellow bride-to-be and has been such a treasure with her words of encouragement leading up to this Saturday.  It is events like these that I have had with my friends and family over the past few months that make me glad we didn’t elope.

    Until next time, happy wedding planning!

    Love, Jill xx

    Hi again all BridesinBrisbane.com.au fans!

    Oh my goodness how time flies! It is now less than 9 days until Dane and I say “I do” and I honestly cannot remember the last time I was this nervous! Recently Dane and I have certainly been working very hard to make sure that everything is organised for the big day, which has certainly been stressful. In my humble opinion, I believe I have been handling the pressures of confirming vendors, deciding on all new flowers, having my dress altered, organising the bridal party, and all those other jobs that seem to have appeared from nowhere, relatively well with the help of my lovely husband-to-be, family and friends. However, maybe I am just being paranoid, but I do have the distinct feeling that everyone is just waiting for my inner Bridezilla to appear at the last minute…

    Over the course of the past two weeks, I have been trying to take a leaf out of Dane’s book and take the logical, and often humorous, approach to any arising problems. Some examples include:

    1. The Brisbane weather has not been kind, even threatening to flood, so I have been scouring the shops for the prettiest pair of gumboots and umbrellas I can find. I’m not even worried about photos on the day, as we have conveniently chosen gorgeous indoor venues to have both our ceremony and reception. Queue a very smug bride.

    2. My very nervous mother called me to advise that due to the recent weather conditions, I am unable to have ANY of the flowers that I had originally chosen. After a few initial stress induced outbursts (I have to point out though still mild by most standards) I calmly passed Dane some wedding magazines and asked him to point out any flowers that he thought were nice. I was pleasantly surprised with his suggestions and together we decided on some beautiful arrangements.

    However, perhaps it is my unusually calm demeanour that has unsettled everyone, even causing a few to ‘test the waters’ with suggestions of engaging in bad behaviour on our wedding day. Or maybe it is a case that I cannot see the forest for the trees and am totally oblivious to my poor behaviour while everyone bears the brunt of my madness, which I believe is the case with most Bridezillas.

    I have often looked back at my own encounters with Brideszillas and remember a time where a particular bride left such a wake of destruction it took years for their family and friends to recover. This particular bride chose to alienate the groom’s family as much as possible, including not inviting them to her hen’s party, and was continually verbally assaulting them until they got the point that it was her way or the highway (highway = not allowed to come to the wedding). This nightmare has often left me questioning myself on so many occasions during the planning process of my own wedding, such as deciding what will my bridesmaids wear, what centrepieces will I choose or how will I want my napkins folded and ask: “Does it really matter”? In my opinion I believe that as much as a wedding is about the bride and groom, if you decide to involve family and friends it automatically becomes a little about them also. I have been told so many times by now married couples that they can’t even remember what their cake looked like or

    what they ate at the reception, leading me to try to only create wonderful memories about the day for Dane and I but also for our guests. I want my bridesmaid to feel like they look fantastic, so I let them choose their own dresses. I want Nana Dawn to know that her daughter, Dane’s mother, is remembered on the day by playing The Beatles throughout the ceremony, which was one of her favourite bands. I want my Dad’s most treasured memory of the day to be when he walks me down the aisle. I hope that the day that Dane and I are married is remembered for the important reasons, and not because of our efforts to strive for an impossible perfection. I look forward to these last few days before the big event and am confident that no matter what our wedding day is going to be special to both us as well as our nearest and dearest.

    To all of my readers, stay tuned for my final blogs and follow me on Twitter on Saturday 30th October where I will be giving updates as I get ready for the big event.

    Love, Jill xx

    P.S. Not naming any names, but to my good friends who have kindly offered to be our drivers on our wedding day, if you continue to mess with me by threatening to be so drunk you can’t see straight, I will kill you. I mean that in the most loving way of course xx.

    Hello again all you faithful Bridesinbrisbane.com.au fans!

    Like the Brisbane weather of late, Dane and I have certainly had our very sunny and very cloudy days planning our wedding. First of all we are both very disappointed that Dane’s groomsman Chris is unable to attend. His presence will be so missed that the only ‘pro’ I could suggest was that now Best Man Beech will have four lovely Bridesmaids all to himself. Although Dane quickly retorted to this statement with his usual dry sense of humour: “More like unlucky Bridesmaids only have Beech” (for the record, Dane and I both love you very much Beech xx).

    For those of you who are following me on Twitter you will know that Dane had his bucks party last Saturday. Beech and Dane’s friend Josh organised to have an afternoon of playing golf followed by an evening at October Fest at the RNA Showgrounds but there certainly were some apprehensions about whether the day would be a success or even go ahead due to the rain! However I was pleased to be told later that day by Bridesmaid Jane (her boyfriend Pat was in attendance and was providing her updates, I was forbidden from calling), that the rain had apparently made golf all the more fun! I was told the highlights were our friend Conan hitting his ball into a 30cm deep puddle, nearly tipping a golf cart over because of the slippery grass, getting very muddy, and our friend Rickie deciding to change his pants in the foyer of the golf club in full view of all the guests! The guys then dressed Dane in some German finery (a very hazardous pair of braces that when ‘snapped’ would injure innocent bystanders as well as a delightful, plastic green hat) and wandered into October Fest where allegedly he had a beer in each hand at all times. The next morning as I snuck out of bed to let Dane sleep in I found a trail of clothing from the front door to our bedroom (including a mystery pair of pants), empty 2 minute noodle containers in the sink, a very used toasted sandwich maker and a countless amount of crumbs all over the kitchen bench. I presume playing golf and drinking beer builds up an appetite!

    On Sunday Dane and I were very thrilled to be paid a visit by our friend Ashleigh who surprised us with a doggy tuxedo, hand-made by her very generous Mum, for Dexter to wear on our wedding day!! Now I know there are going to be some out there who cringe thinking I am some completely deranged pet abuser who dresses her dog in costumes to match her own outfit every day, but please believe me when I tell you the Dexter LOVES clothes! I once bought him a dinosaur costume to wear for a party and he couldn’t contain his excitement over suddenly having two tails he could chase! When he tried on his tuxedo for the first time I swear he started to strut.  There is certainly no denying his excitement as he paraded around us grinning and wagging his tail.  He sends a special “Woof Woof” (translation: I love you) to his Aunty Ashleigh.

    The worst news I have heard this week is my Mum calling me to tell me that I am unable to have ANY of the flowers I wanted because all of this dreadful rain has ruined the crops!  And now I have read that Brisbane’s Mayor is advising that we should prepare for flooding!!  This is unacceptable!!!  I am going to have to cut this blog off short as I fear my head is going to explode.  Stay tuned for an upcoming Bridezilla blog or alternatively check the papers for an article describing a raving lunatic trying to buy all the sink plugs at Bunnings to stop the leaky tap in the sky and crawling in the dirt trying the convince Peonies to grow.

    Love, Jill xx

    Dexter in his finery. So cute!

    Hello again all BridesinBrisbane.com.au fans!

    Well, I am another bride who can now successfully say that she survived her Hens Party!  Well, just barely anyway…

    Last Saturday I was spoiled beyond belief to celebrate the fact that very soon I will become Mrs Jill Simmonds.  For anyone who follows me on Twitter, you may know a few details from the night, although there definitely were a few spelling and other errors due to the increasing level of Champagne in my system.  What I really wanted to offer readers in this blog are not just details of that night, but also a few reasons why any bride hoping to survive her wedding should always enlist the help of close family and friends and ask those special few to be her bridesmaids.  So this blog is dedicated to my friends that were there for me last Saturday, physically as well as in spirit, and I hope I can give you all at least an idea of what they mean to me.

    1.       They say nice things about you

    I will admit that it is very easy to take your friends for granted but anyone who knows me will also say that I always have kind words to say about anyone I know.  On Saturday I had more kind words said and speeches made about me than I ever had in my life.  I have to give props to Maid-of-Honour Alana in particular as, although of course she always makes beautiful speeches, really touched me with her words and I am so happy to say that she will also be doing a speech at the wedding.  It’s actually that speech I am looking forward to the most!  Anyone who meets her knows immediately how beautiful, kind and selfless she is and she absolutely shined that night.  I also loved the sentimental words from those who could not be there on the night.  Thank you Alice (who I miss incredibly), Lynda, Craz and Jamie, I cannot wait to see you at the wedding!

    2.       They make you laugh

    I cannot believe how hilarious novelty penises and breasts can be when you mix girls and Champagne!  I appreciate that the girls accepted my wishes to not be drowned in a sea of ‘Bride To Be’ sashes, flashing penis bobble headbands, fluffy handcuffs and all the other Hens Party paraphernalia you can now get, but I must admit that I am glad that they did include a few naughty bits and pieces into the game of Pass-the-Parcel (my FAVORITE childhood game by the way).  I loved everyone’s enthusiasm for picking up my slack and being more than happy to don the breast hats, magnets and penis straws for the night.  I even loved Bridesmaid Jane’s very sentimental gift of the crutch-less underpants I bought her a few years back, which I wore as a necklace for most of the night.  Jane is probably my friend who makes me laugh the most and you really couldn’t come across a sweeter or more thoughtful friend.

    3.       They put aside their differences to work together

    As I have mentioned in previous blogs, all of my bridesmaids are VERY different individuals and I am sure that there were a number of differences of opinions shared amongst them during the planning process.  That is why I really want to thank them all for really working together to put together such a beautiful and special night.  My biggest hope is they now see in each other all of the reasons why I love them so much and will continue their friendship with each other.

    4.       They remember the little things

    I was so completely excited that the girls remembered my love of themed parties and all things purple!  I was absolutely wowed by the efforts they all went to by dressing and/or accessorising in purple and by having purple balloons, confetti, flowers and name tags!  Now I know why Bridesmaid Erin insisted I buy my purple dress!  My very dear Bridesmaid Alice even detailed our entire friendship via email to me before the night (she is my oldest friend), reminding me why I think of her as the person who has always shown me kindness and understanding despite my many flaws. 

    5.       They offer to help you when you need it

    All of my Bridesmaids and friends have been so kind with offering to help me with the wedding whenever I have needed it, including, as per my last blog, lolly shopping (Bridesmaid Jane did enjoy it as much as I did).  I must however especially thank my beautiful Bridesmaid and future sister-in-law Erin for giving me some much needed ‘tough talk’ whenever I have become too overwhelmed with everything.  She has definitely been there for me when I have needed it the most and even when I deserved it the least.  I am truly honoured to call her family.

    6.       They surprise you in the best ways

    The whole night was a wonderful surprise!  First I was treated to an afternoon tea at Bridesmaid Jane’s house (or Pane’s house as it is more commonly known), then dinner at the fabulous restaurant Azafran (who definitely made us feel very VIP), then my AMAZING Master of Ceremonies Mel blew me away by having a limousine outside to drive us into Fortitude Valley for dancing!  Now I am somebody who always says that they don’t like surprises, but this was the one of the most unbelievable surprises anybody have even given me.  AND I LOVED IT!!!  I will even go as far to say that it is neck and neck with Dane proposing to me (although diamonds do last forever ha ha).  I don’t think I can say enough how special it feels to have the friends that I do, especially one as thoughtful, generous and as beautiful as Mel.

    7.        They give you the best gifts

    The girls got together and bought me the most gorgeous necklace to wear on the night.  It is truly something I intend to treasure forever and will no doubt be spotted wearing it ALL the time in the future.  It is definitely one of those pieces that you buy outfits to wear with it and not the other way around!

    8.       They pretend to fall for the ‘I have something in my eye’ routine

    By the time I had been treated to delicious food, beautiful speeches, amazing gifts and my own limousine, I started to get very teary!  Now the girls all know I am not big on admitting I am crying because I am so happy, so I loved that they just went with my totally overused ‘I have something in my eye’ routine.  I just hope I don’t have to use it for the wedding…

    9.       They make you feel like you are worth all of the effort

    I don’t know if there is anything I can write about this point that I haven’t already said.  I am just so overwhelmed that everybody went to so much effort and almost convinced me that it wasn’t any trouble at all!  Girls, I really hope you do know that I appreciate everything you all did and know that I really do feel much loved.

    10.    They stand by you

    This may be my final point, but it is certainly not the least.  The best thing about having Bridesmaids is that you get to have some of the most amazing people you will ever meet stand next to you on one of the most special days of your life.  Alana, Jane, Erin and Alice have been there for me when I have needed them the most and I can only hope that I will be lucky enough to have them with me for the rest of my life.  I cannot end this point without of course thanking everyone who shared my Hen’s night with me: Mel, my Mum Jacqui, Annie, Shelley and Ashleigh, thank you so much for sharing those moments with me.

    To all of my readers who want daily updates on my wedding antics and thoughts please follow me on Twitter, my username is BrideinBrisbane.

    Until next time, happy wedding planning!

    Love, Jill xx

    Jane having fun with the breast magnets

    Me, showing off the necklace the girls gave me

    The gorgeous Alana and Mel

    Me and Shelley playing with our boobs

    Erin proud of her pegs, Annie looks jealous

    Hi again all you faithful fans of BridesinBrisbane.com.au!

    First of all I would really love to thank everyone who has left a comment on my blog so far.  I really love and appreciate all feedback so keep it coming!  I am also completely open to suggestion as to what you would like to see me write about for future blogs, I have already had one suggestion to follow up on blog #10 “Bridezillas!!!! (…and my love of wedding T.V.)” which I will definitely do in the near future.  

    Now, I have just scheduled a time and date for our wedding rehearsal so the next thing on my ‘to do’ list is actually work out exactly how the ceremony is going to play out.  Also on this ever expanding list is to put together our favours.  We are combining our place cards and favours (remember I am a fan of having as little work to do as possible) by having these very sweet little lolly bags that I ordered online through PinkFrosting.com.au, personalising them  with each guests names and filling them with Halloween-themed treats.   Dane and I both loved the idea of our ‘Trick-or-Treat’ lolly bags as:

    1. We both love all things horror and Halloween themed, and
    2. Our wedding is the day before Halloween of course!

    I am currently trying to bribe Bridesmaid Jane with the promise of buying her treats if she comes lolly shopping with me (we are both suckers for lollies, the first birthday present I bought her was a bouquet of Chomps).  

    I have also recently had to settle on what was going to be my ‘something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue’.  The ‘something new’ I think is usually the easiest part for any bride, so long as the dress is new, then you can place a ‘tick’ next to that one.  The next three parts proved to be a little more difficult as, being the ‘too organised’ person I am, went ahead and planned the rest of my outfit without really considering how I was going to factor in the old, borrowed and blue.   Luckily, as per usually, I had my Mum and my Aunt Susie to pull me into line and resolve the issue.   For my something borrowed my Mum loaned me a handkerchief that my Nanna hand-made her to wipe away any tears on the day (to be clear though, any tears will be because I have something in my eye).  My something old is a brooch of two little bluebirds my Mum had when she was a baby and she passed on to me, which I have decided to pin to my bouquet.  My something blue is a glass ring that my Aunt Susie bought for me in Venice.

    I am hoping the rest of this week passes by very quickly as I am so very excited about my Hen’s Party this Saturday.  I am so excited in fact that I have even been dreaming about it!  Last night’s dream involved us girls going to Cloudland where Alana insisted on buying me a cocktail with yoghurt in it (eww), then we all went to Dreamworld (and by all I mean including girls that I went to high school with and are not actually coming on Saturday) and when it started to rain we went to Gilhooley’s and drank until I woke up this morning.  Oh, and I was wearing my new, pretty purple dress of course.

    Until next time, happy wedding planning!

    Love, Jill xx

    Hi again all BridesinBrisbane.com.au fans!

    It’s not very long to go now until the big day (under 5 weeks) and I am starting to feel very nervous!  I have been very busy since my last entry (not because of the wedding though) and it is only now that I realised how much I am going to miss all of the planning and organising and blogging I have been doing over the past few months.  I am feeling quite anxious about making sure that everything runs relatively smoothly and have spent so much time focusing on that day that I have almost forgotten to start planning for our honeymoon!   Despite all of this angst, I am still very excited and promise to keep all readers very up-to-date with all of the activities and events to come.  To help keep you all up to speed, I have also started a Twitter account on which I plan to ‘tweet’ my thoughts and events including on my wedding day, Saturday the 30th October.  So please follow me, my username is BrideinBrisbane.

    So without further adieu, please allow me to recap my wedding related activities since my last entry:

    My Mum, Jacque, and Step-Dad, Pete, visited us and finally had me decide what flowers I was going to use in bouquets.  I have decided to have white Peonies and green Roses in my bouquet, a small posy of white Peonies for Maid-of-Honour Alana, white Calla Lilies for Bridesmaids Jane, Erin and Alice and a bouquet of Baby’s Breath for flowers girls Dakota and Britney.  I have told myself that now that I have officially put this on my blog, I am not allowed to change my mind….again.  During the parental’s visit I also managed to squeeze in a quick lunch with MC Mel and discuss the plan of attack for the reception.  I have confirmed with those who are giving speeches and am pleased that there will not be many.  I don’t mean offend anybody by that last statement, but Dane and I both agree that too many speeches can be boring.   Less time spent talking means more time spent on the dance floor!

    I have also retrieved my gown from Bridesmaid Jane’s abode and safely transported it to be altered.  This event was not without its drama though…When I arrived at Jane’s it was decided that we should both try on out dresses to see how they looked together (okay, okay and pretend that it was actually my wedding day I admit it).  So Jane put on her dress, which looked great of course, but when it came time to try on mine I accidentally bumped my finger, opening a still healing wound from a few days before and before I noticed what had happened I got blood on my wedding dress!!!  My response was to yell words not suitable for polite company, Jane’s was to suddenly turn into some sort of stain-removing superhero and run at the speed of light into the bathroom, pull EVERYTHING out of the cupboard, run back and immediately start bandaging my wound and cleaning my gown.  It really was pretty amazing and resulted in a stain free gown (well, almost, a very small amount remains but you really can’t notice it).

    The next day I got to spend some much needed time with Bridesmaid Erin and was please to find that she has also found her dress!  We went shopping together where she thankfully peer-pressured me into buying a gorgeous party dress for my hens party (I say thankfully because it was one of those occasions where you know you really shouldn’t buy something because it’s quite extravagant but you really want to because you look so pretty in it).  My hen’s party is actually this coming Saturday and I am soooooo exited!  I know that all the girls involved have gone to a lot of effort to make it a very special occasion, especially my Maid-of-Honour Alana.  I know I am going to have the best time, so good in fact I am warning all those that plan to venture into the Fortitude Valley late next Saturday night to be aware that you may see a crazy blonde girl in a purple dress skipping in the streets telling everyone I have the best fiancé and friends in the world!

    Anyway, that’s it for another entry but please stay tuned for more, I promise there will not be such a long time in between blogs over the next few weeks.  And please feel free to find me on Twitter!

    Love, Jill xx

    Hey again all BridesinBrisbane.com.au fans!

    Maybe it’s because of my rigorous exercise regime, or due to starvation from my diet, perhaps it’s due to the paranoid nightmares I am suffering, or even because of the wedding induced psychosis I appear to be suffering from, but the past week has just flown by so fast I didn’t even realise until today that I hadn’t written a blog this week!  Ok, so maybe I’m being a little dramatic as per usual.  Firstly, my exercise regime is far from rigorous compared to most, if not all standards, but going to the gym BOTH Saturday and Sunday is a lot for me.  As I lay on the floor during Pilates trying to come up with excuses as to why I vomited to save myself the humiliation of being unfit (note: excuses include “I am pregnant”, “I had some bad Chinese last night” and “I am possessed by the devil”), I still couldn’t stop thinking about my upcoming hair trial!  Next, I am hardly starving, but I hate that the gym is so close to a Baskin and Robins.  Then, I have been having crazy nightmares about Dane and I, including the one where my wedding gown falls apart the day before the wedding and the one where Dane admits he has been seeing some brunette on the side, and will continue to even after we are married (anyone know what this means?)!  Finally, don’t lock me up just yet as the psychosis is only self-diagnosed at this stage and I am sure that it is normal for brides to feel a little anxious less than 2 months before their wedding day.

    Anyway, now it’s time for the news….

    Biggest news this week is that my gorgeous bridesmaid Jane messaged me this very afternoon to advise me that she has bought her bridesmaids dress!  Two down, two more to go!  Better catch up Alice and Erin!

    Worst news is that Dane’s groomsman Chris may now not be able to attend!  His excuse is that he may have to sit exams (he is in the Navy) and won’t know his schedule until closer to the date.  Chris, if you don’t come, who is going to be there to make terrible film references to Dane while he is nervously waiting for me to show up at the chapel?  Who is going to dance with the flower girls at the reception (another film reference, please see The Wedding Crashers)?  Who is going to ask me, “So, got any single friends?”.   I know I shouldn’t be trying to make him feel bad, I know he feels terrible already, but it is hard for Dane and I to hide our disappointment that his oldest friend may not be able to come.   The day won’t be the same without him.

    I have also been working very hard on crossing a few more item off my “To Do” list including writing our ceremony and vows (for all those attending, don’t be late because the ceremony is so short you might miss it if you are!), getting ‘thank you’ gifts organised and, of course, starting the 20 day process of whitening my teeth.  I am now on day 5 of the treatment and so far am very happy with how they are starting to look, but I have a while to go yet!

    That’s all of my news for this week, my goals for the next week are:

    1. Continuing to brighten my smile
    2. Organise flowers with my Mum as she is going to visit me
    3. Stay awake at Yoga this week (Dane and I both accidentally ended up napping at the end of the class last Sunday.  Whoops).

    Until next week, happy wedding planning!

    Love, Jill xx

    P.S. I just want to send a big shout out to Kieran and Shelley who have flown to Fiji this week to get married!  Congratulations you two, I can’t wait to see the photos!  X

    Hello again all you faithful blog readers and fans of BridesinBrisbane.com.au!

    What a very productive week this week has been!  Well, to tell the truth, it was actually less productive than what I had hoped but at least I got a few things done…

    First of all, our lovely photographer Sarah came over to discuss in more detail our photography requirements for the big day, which was actually a little stressful.  To all future brides and grooms I am going to give you some advice: it is NOT a good idea to have a late ceremony.  The benefits of not feeling rushed during the day before the ceremony do NOT outweigh the benefits of having plenty of time to have photographs of you and your new spouse.  I am not sure why I thought it was such a great idea having our ceremony at 4pm, but, that is what it is now so we just have to deal with it.  And deal with it we did!  Bravo to you Sarah for doing a great job at relieving my stress by helping us come up with a schedule so that we can have all the photographs taken that we need.  Dane and I have total confidence that we are going to have some amazing shots to display in our home when all of this is over.

    Also, earlier in the week I visited the dentist (Everton House Dental, Everton Park, phone 07 3354 3122 in) to look into having my teeth whitened.  It’s something that I have wanted to do for a while and seeing as we are approaching the day that I imagine will be one of the smiliest and most photographed days of my life, I couldn’t think of a better time to do it.  Now originally I was going to go through with the full-hog treatment where they would pry open my mouth Clockwork Orange-style, shine a light for a few hours until my teeth were sparkling bright and leave me a list of only-white foods that I would be allowed to eat for two days until the colour was set.  However, after meeting my marvellous dentist he recommended against that treatment and offered me the much more affordable and comfortable alternative where I use an at-home treatment for about 20 days in total with the promise that it would be more effective.  He also wanted me to mention to all of my readers that this at-home treatment is actually recommended to a lot of patients however most people could not be bothered doing it and instead opt for the more uncomfortable first option out of laziness.  So, hopefully in the next month you will see the much whiter smile of the future Mrs Simmonds (note to self must take before and after photos).

    In addition to improving my smile, I thought I would mention the other measures I have been taking to ensure I look my best on my wedding day.  I have previously mentioned my rapid weight loss over the past few months (resulting in my dress not fitting now, but that’s something I don’t want to think about right now) and of late I have been trying very hard not to gain all of that weight back.  Dane has kindly given me a month’s membership at the local gym which I have used an amazing amount…once.  Don’t worry I do intend to go more, it’s just that gyms do make me feel a little self conscious.  There are always plenty of people there that a more fit than you, ride that cursed exercise bike a little longer than you, a little faster.  It is all very intimidating for the self-confessed lazy bones that is I.  At the moment I am much better at resisting the Baskin Robbins that is right around the corner that actually walking up those steps and onto the exercise equipment, that has to count for something right?

    Anyway, I best be off, Dane is distracting me by trying to explain that manliness can be measured by the size of a man’s swollen, purple…bruises (he played paintball yesterday for a friend’s Bucks Party, good work Kieran and Josh!).

    Until next time,

    Love, Jill xx

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