Monday, May 19, 2014

Wedding talk with Samantha Birch!

Today, I'm welcoming the lovely Samantha Birch, author of The High Street Bride's Guide, a non-fiction book that offers any bride-to-be useful tips on wedding planning.  A bit different to the normal paranormal stuff readers usually see on my blog, but hey, I still love wedding talk too!

Brides-to-be, this one’s for you! You can say your vows in a catwalk gown so beautiful it reduces your mum to tears (and not because she paid for it). You can style a reception so stunning your guests won’t believe you didn't hire an A-list planner. And you can sprinkle the day with personal touches that make everyone feel like you gave them special attention before they even got there. Without spending a house deposit on it. Honest. Samantha Birch has written for GLAMOUR, Brides, You &Your Wedding and Cosmopolitan Bride. She knows a thing or two about planning a wedding on a budget, how much you can expect to pay for everything and where to go to get it for less. And she’s put it all down here.

Tell us more about yourself, Sam.

Well, when I’m not busy being a total word-obsessive, I’m a big fan of a quiet night in with my hubby or a meal out with my friends. I love New Girl and The Big Bang Theory. My favorite films are When Harry Met Sally and Notting Hill, even though they should be Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. I’m a nerd for computer games—my favorite is the old classic point-and-click Monkey Island, but I’ll also admit to loving Pokémon more than any 28-year-old woman should. I love to read, but I’m too choosy for my own good. My favorite writers are Terry Pratchett, Lewis Carroll, J.K. Rowling, Douglas Adams and Sharon Creech.

Your book is a non-fiction book about wedding planning. Tell us more about this. 

The High-Street Bride’s Guide is basically about how to plan a beautiful wedding on a tight budget—but I really wanted to make sure it was fun. There are so many boring wedding guides out there that are basically a collection of deadlines and bullet points, and then there are the ones that turn out to mostly be a memoir of the writer’s wedding. I wanted mine to be funny and honest and like having a laugh with your best friend, except that your best friend happens to know all the ways to save money on your big day and where to buy lovely things cheaply. So far people seem to be responding to that: brides tell me the book makes them feel more chilled as well as helping them save money—hooray!

What was your inspiration behind your book? 

I went with a budget wedding guide because me and my husband had to do our day on not much money, and I knew from working at the wedding magazines that I had ideas for how to do it that no-one was really talking about. I wanted to help other brides and grooms to have the big day they’re dreaming of without starting their married life in debt, or spending what could have been their house deposit on one day!

What is your idea of a perfect wedding?

Alright, here comes the corny bit: ours! We had 100 of our nearest and dearest for the ceremony and reception, and the day had a retro movies-meet-words theme, because my husband is a filmmaker and I’m a writer. It was a beautiful day, but the big things for us were the atmosphere, which was relaxed and fun, and the food, which was just perfect. We’re still getting compliments on both!

If you could offer a bride-to-be one important piece of advice, what would it be? 

You’ve got this. So many brides feel so much pressure to act a certain way and have their wedding a certain way, but your day is about you and your husband making your vows in front of people who already love you—be yourselves!

Where do you write?

In the spare room of our little two-bedroom flat. We have a couple of desks shoved up against the spare bed and I write at the one closest to the door—my little corner of solitude!

What is your writing routine?

I wish I had one! I’m still developing it. But I generally tend to get up, handle all the admin stuff like catching up on emails and social media and setting up tweets for the rest of the day, then I get onto the writing. Sometimes it won’t come—muses are fickle, I find!—so I’ll have to take a break. I’ll Google inspiring pictures or videos, and if that doesn't work I’ll decide it’s time to step away and do something that keeps me busy while freeing up my mind to solve the problem: probably a chore like washing the pots, or playing a quick round of an online game like Hearthstone.

Quick Q & A! 

TV series or movies?  Both! Sorry, can’t choose. I love When Harry Met Sally as much as New Girl and The Big Bang Theory!

Coffee or tea?  Tea. Decaf Earl Grey. I had to give up caffeine because it was making me a-a-anxious!

Sweets or savories?  Sweets. With the exception of cheese. Don’t get between me and a block of Cathedral City.

Sea or mountains?   Sea. I love the idea of mountains, but hiking’s not really my thing!

Dogs or cats?  Cats. We had five at one point growing up, and I really want a kitten but I couldn’t shut him/her up in the flat. Dachshunds are the only exception to this rule—I can’t see one and not smile!

Cocktails or wine?  Cocktails.

Wild night out or quiet night in?  Quiet night in.

Big wedding or elope?  Wedding with 100 people in the town where you live!

Beach holiday or snow holiday?   Snow holiday. We’re hoping to go to Iceland for our delayed honeymoon this year—we want to see the Northern lights and go whale-watching!

Author Bio 

So far I’m the author of one book: The High-Street Bride’s Guide. I've written about dresses, bridesmaids and cake toppers for Brides and You &Your Wedding, and regularly contribute to the likes of GLAMOUR and Love Baking – often while eating cake in my pajamas. I live with my husband in a chaotically untidy flat in Letchworth, which I pretend is an artfully unkempt writer’s loft in St. Albans.

For any wedding questions or more about Samantha:


Buy your copy of The High Street Bride's Guide here!

Thanks for the visit, Sam!

Rae Rivers