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Our Bride To Be this week is the lovely Tanita. Due to be married this August Tanita has a ticking timebomb of planning to get through whilst juggling studying, visits to Manchester and Reading! Although it may seem like she has a lot to do I can’t help but get excited by the prospect of this wedding, an amazing venue with a mix of culture. I’ll pass it over to Tanita so you can find out more…..

Greetings fellow brides, grooms, and wedding fanatics! My name is Tanita and my wedding day is set for the 18th August 2012. Exciting stuff… Or is it? I have to juggle my final year at university in St Andrews with regularly visiting my fiancé in Manchester, and planning our wedding in the south of England! So I know what it is to be a busy bride-to-be and I am here to share with you how I cope (or collapse).

Like the 1 in 3 students at the University of St Andrews who marry fellow alumni, my fiancé Jonathan and I met in the romantic Scottish town. Some may even call us a poor man’s Wills and Kate… Except for the fact that we met in the 1970s style Students’ Union (where I now work as a bartender – another job to add to the list). It was a year before we became more than friends, and since Jonathan was in his final year, we only lived in the same town for 7 months: cue that terrifying phrase, “long-distance relationship”.

Since June 2010 he has lived back in his hometown of Manchester and I have been between St Andrews in Scotland and Reading down in Berkshire. In spite of the agonising time we are forced to spend apart, we have a solid relationship and it was cemented on the 4th March 2011 when Jonathan proposed on the 23rd floor of the Hilton in Manchester with delicious champagne cocktails and stunning views of the night-time skyline.

After the initial euphoria of being engaged had died down, the reality of planning a wedding began set in – and it has not been a simple case of deciding what we want on our special day. I am from an Indian Punjabi family and it is the tradition in our culture that a wedding is thrown by the bride’s parents. Hence, my mum and dad have a lot of influence on the details of the big day. At first, it was a bit of a challenge to explain this alien idea to my English fiancé, but being the supportive guy that he is, he soon understood and took a baby step back from the planning. He has still been included in the decision-making process, and luckily so far everyone has agreed on most things. He has also been put in charge of what is likely to be his favourite part of the day – the wedding cake!           

Now, I’m not particularly girly and I’ve never dreamed about my wedding day so when we began to plan I had no idea where to start, and I am sure I’m not the only one. I thought the venue would be the logical starting point so the search began. Two things that my dad had his heart set on were having a traditionally Punjabi open bar (hooray!) and serving Indian food for the wedding breakfast. We needed a venue that would allow us to bring in our own alcohol and caterers. This was harder than it seems in a home county full of English country houses with strict event policies. Eventually we found the perfect venue, and in more ways than one! Not only is Heatherden Hall a beautiful Victorian house with stunning gardens, but also it is located on the lot of Pinewood Studios where some of the most famous Hollywood blockbusters are filmed (the Bond films, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.). As a family of film buffs, this venue ticked every box, even unimagined ones! After two viewings (one with my future in-laws) we booked our wedding day for Saturday 18th August 2012.

With the venue booked and the deposit paid the reality of the situation began to sink in – I am going to be someone’s wife. However, this was quickly put to the back of my mind when I had to write my dissertation. It is finished now with only 7 months until our big day so I am going to have to put my best bridal tiara on and get planning… Do I laugh or cry?