The Dublin company that totally changed the wedding planning process for me
I will admit it: I was awfully clueless as to what wedding planning would involve.
We're still in the early stages of it all. Like, the early-early stages. We're getting there, though (or I think/hope we are, anyways).
But with neither of us being originally from Ireland, it meant that a lot of our guests are flying in from overseas. So things have to be done at a much more accelerated pace than we would have probably been doing them.
Time for the guests to prepare, and the like (and keeps us from procrastinating).
One for the things I had gotten asked about the most (after 'when is the wedding?!') was the gift list...and I'll readily admit it: the whole idea of one kind of terrified me, mostly due to a never-ending list of questions running through my brain.
How do you pick what needs to be added? How many things are you actually meant to put on a gift list? Are they even really a 'thing'?
How do you even start a gift list?
Thankfully, it turns out there's a company that answers just about all of the questions - and makes the whole process as simple as you could imagine.
The Wedding Shop has been in business for 28 years - and is currently working with hundreds upon hundreds of couples to help plan their registry.
My fiancé, Sam, and I went for an appointment with Carmel Fitzgibbon at their Dublin location, where she immediately put us at ease - and helped us get a head start on our wedding registry.
She explained that the inspiration behind The Wedding Shop was to give couples a bit more inspiration, as they are able to see things in more of a home setting than on the shelves at a department store.
"Even though the company itself has been around for 28 years, it can be a little bit new to couples as it's something you only really think about when you get engaged and your guests start asking about gifts.
"[Gift registries are] more the norm in Canada and the United States, but it's becoming popular over here as well.
"A lot of couples, they're already living together and have all their bits and pieces.
"Their guests may not know what their personal style is, so the gift list guides them in right direction - especially if you've got guests coming from overseas."
The Wedding Shop was previously based in Brown Thomas, before moving to their larger location two years ago - which includes an example showroom of a living room, dining room, bedroom and kitchen.
They work with more than 350 different brands, so there's no shortage of things to consider.
And on the off chance they don't have it, The Wedding Shop is able to source "custom products", as they're called, provided it is a UK or Irish retailer.
As we walked through the different showrooms, we were able to mix-and-match some of the items; seeing what they looked like before the wedding rather than after we were already settled into post-wedding life.
Plus, it showed us some things that we didn't even know were possibilities to add to the registry: from ice cream makers to hammocks and everything in-between.
You can adjust the list as you go along, either adding or removing items according to your tastes (and what you need) - as well as keeping it all in one place, do you don't forget what was added to registries where.
With 10 months to go until the big day, our list is still in the early stages - but even knowing that we have gotten a bit of a head start helps take away some of the wedding planning pressure, as well as helping me begin to picture what our house will look like after.
Keeley and Sam are saying 'I do,' in May 2019. And with less than a year to go, this bride-to-be admits she's still learning the ropes. In the run-up to her Big Day, Keeley will be writing a weekly blog about all things wedding-related... from the start of planning, to walking down the aisle.