Author Archives: LJ Stocks

The Hen Party of the Future


After a year when most hen parties were either cancelled or hosted over Zoom, we asked you what you thought a new year could bring for this rite of passage…

Hen do, bridal shower, bachelorette party – wherever you’re from and whatever you call it, the celebration of the transition from Miss to Mrs is a time-honoured tradition and a good excuse to kick up your heels to mark the beginning of a new era.

We asked some of the members of our private Facebook group what their frets and fears were about planning a hen party in this new world we now live in. The response was clear – an overwhelming theme of uncertainty, being unsure of what to plan due to continuing local lockdowns, money worries and asking too much of friends.

So, what are the options? Do we plan differently, or throw caution to the wind and blow up the inflatable genitalia for a traditional L-plated bash? Ultimately, it’s got to still be a unique and awesome event, so here are some ideas to help you decide how to best celebrate.

Take control

It’s safe to say that a lot of control was taken away from 2020/ 21 couples. So, plan something that you can control. A safe bet is keeping your hen party outside in the fresh air, and that’s likely where you’ll be able to celebrate with more people, feeling comfortable and safe. Not always practical in the cold weather, but warmer months bring the promise of posh picnics with bespoke hampers and a fun theme, a small local music festival with authentic hay bales, or a punt down the river with champagne. Perfect for a smaller group, and easier to keep socially-distanced if needed.

If you and your friends are happy being inside, take control of your surroundings and hire a space – a small independent theatre for a movie night, an afternoon tea river cruise, or hire a countryside accommodation for the weekend and hunker down with fluffy blankets, monogrammed pjs, old movies and your body weight in popcorn alongside a few friends.

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Celebrating your Un-Wedding: Six Ways to Mark your Postponed Wedding Day

With new restrictions, local lockdowns and the ever-looming presence of Covid-19, weddings seem to be balancing on a knife edge. Here at Rock n Roll Bride (I mean, its a wedding industry wide feeling TBH!) we feel such anguish for those couples who planned a 2020 wedding and have now had to push back. Today, writer LJ Stocks shares six ways you can still make your postponed wedding date special.

If you’ve been planning your wedding for a long time and have dreamt joyful singing, jam-packed dance floors and tight hugs from your closest friends and family, having to postpone your day is, to be blunt, a huge disappointing pain in the arse. Maybe you’ve opted to have a smaller Covid secure ceremony with a big party planned for next year (fingers crossed!) or maybe you’ve pushed back entirely. Whichever camp you’re in you’ll have had to make tough decisions and it sucks balls.

For those of you who can see the date of your postponed wedding approaching, I think it’s really important to still mark the day, rather than see it pass by without a mention. As well as recognising the hard work and planning that you’ve put in, it’s an excuse to take a break from this hellish year and do something fun with the one you love.

Because if we don’t take every opportunity for fun at the moment, life is just going to start dragging us down! So, chin up girl, let’s take a truly weird situation and make it fabulous.

Here are six ideas for rocking your ‘supposed-to-be-wedding’ day.

Take a day off

Meet up with your bridal party (as long as the numbers adhere to whatever the social distancing guidelines are in your town/ country at the time…) Socially distanced fun with your bridesmaids and best men will mark your day in style. Picnic in the park? Day out at a theme park? Dinner at your favourite eatery? Grab your face mask and just get super silly for the day.

Get snappy

Photo shoots are back on! See if your wedding photographer is still available and frolic in fields, build sandcastles on a beach or get moody around a sunset fire pit to capture memories on the day that should have been your wedding. I love the idea of making a real occasion out of the day. Rather than pretending it doesn’t exist, mark the day with some epic shots to look back on in years to come. It’s all part of your wedding and marriage journey.

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How to Carpe the Diem Out of Your Wedding and Your Life: Three Ways to Seize the Day

Carpe Diem. Seize the day. It’s such a grand phrase, like you should be swanning about in white robes and an excellent beard, but in reality, when we’re flinging ourselves from work to school run to the gym (ha! Or not), ‘seizing the day’ seems to fade to ‘fumbling at the day with your jumper on inside out and your skirt tucked into your knickers’. Throw planning a wedding into the mix, and it’s a wonder that our brains can function at all. But seizing the day isn’t about seeing how much we can squeeze into 24 hours; it’s about doing something meaningful today that makes tomorrow a better place to be.

Weddings are beautiful occasions that mark the beginning of a wonderful new era, but for a lot of couples, the planning can feel stressful, overwhelming and as far from ‘seizing the day’ as a person can get (oh hey Covid, we see you). With so many decisions to make, feeling confident and secure about making the right choices can bring on waves of anxiety. But it’s all about taking one day at a time, focusing on what we’re doing in the here and now, and taking care of ourselves and our busy brains so that we are able to function from a place of self-assurance. So, how can we be intentional about taking action today to make our tomorrows a bit brighter?

I like to think about three things when it comes to (fanfare please) Seizing The Day.

Be thankful

It’s so easy to take life for granted. Often, the ordinary everyday slides past our senses. Starting from a place of gratitude, with a positive state of mind means we’re approaching the day with hope, rather than stress. Every morning, list three things you’re grateful for – speak them out. Step outside, feel the fresh air in your lungs and be thankful for a sunrise, the wind in the trees or the changing seasons – life moving. Gratitude helps us look outside ourselves at the world around us – at the people, places and things we ‘do life’ with. So, on the flip side, what are the things that aren’t so important? Can we set them down to make our tomorrows clearer and less intimidating? Look again with fresh eyes at your wedding planning – is there anything that’s really stressing you out? How can you simplify, amend or edit your plans to relieve that pressure you’re feeling?

Do one thing every day that scares you

We’ve got Baz Luhrmann’s 1990s hit, Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen), to thank for highlighting this one, but I think it’s a sure-fire way to feel a sense of achievement every day. It doesn’t have to be extreme – you don’t have to be throwing yourself from a helicopter on the daily, just a little thing you can be proud of. Have a think, compile a list and go for it! Make a phone call, go to that taekwondo class, smile at a stranger… Or have a go at something on your wedmin list that you’ve been putting off. A growing sense of achievement builds confidence in our own abilities and encourages us to be bold, with a positive outlook each day. We CAN do this!

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Overcoming Planning Procrastination

Struggling with motivation? On a one-way journey to procrastination station? That’s okay! Chances are, life is screaming past you at a million miles an hour. Getting engaged is a gorgeous, sparkling moment, but now it may seem like you’re adding another thing to your already jam-packed to-do list. And if you feel guilty for admitting that, you’re not alone.

Engagements can be stressful and as the list of wed-min tasks grows by the day, you may find you’re less and less inclined to do anything about them as you slowly drown in layers of tulle and sequins and Pinterest boards. You’d rather just hide. Cue more guilt paired with a rising panic that “all the good vendors will be booked!” So, here’s some encouragement, which I think also applies to life in general.

JUST START!

“BUT I CAN’T!” I hear you yell, “I might make a mistake, or find a better dress later down the line or pick the wrong flower crown!” Okay, I get that, but here are my reasons to just make the tiniest step in the right direction:

BECAUSE IT’S THE HARDEST PART

Be confident. This is all new! It’s not easy taking a step out of your comfort zone. It’s called that for a reason, but once you’ve taken that first step, you’ll see the next step more clearly and it’s an easier walk from there. Remember, there is no single way to do anything, especially when it comes to weddings! Don’t feel pressured to have the most on-trend day, or try to ‘beat’ your friend’s wedding. Start with a blank page and plan it your way. But you don’t have to achieve the world in a day, hings take time. The hardest part is that step that shows your commitment to an idea and your confidence in seeing that idea become a reality. Making a teeny tiny start will give you a wonderful sense of achievement that should spur you on.

WHY NOT?

What’s stopping you? Have a good look at the reasons that are stopping you from starting. Is it a fear of letting someone down? Making bad choices? Too much to fit in your head? Let me reassure you, most people will feel these things. At first, your engagement feels like this warm, cosy bubble with just the two of you inside it, and then suddenly you have to invite EVERYONE in (we seriously considered eloping at this point!). It’s okay to identify the things that are stopping you, but you need to believe in yourself – that you can overcome anything. It may seem overwhelming, but by breaking things down into manageable chunks and tackling one thing at a Time, life will seem simpler.

HAVE FAITH. IT WILL BE FABULOUS

Trust yourself and your ideas. You got this far! You know yourself and your partner better than anyone. If you’ve had a good idea and have that tingle of excitement about it, you need to trust that you can do it. Years down the line, you may well think that you’d do your wedding differently – I know I would – but you’ve got to think about the here and now. What makes you happy? Be confident in your choices and try not to worry about making ‘THE RIGHT’ decisions. Fill your day with your favourite things. But try not to get overwhelmed by the small details. Your wedding will be phenomenal because ultimately, it’s the day you’ll marry your best friend. The best is yet to come – keep that in the front of your mind!

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