Even before Andy had proposed, we had talked about the ice hotel and the ice chapel. One of the reasons is that Andy, through being a great wake boarder, by default is also a great snowboarder! (Who says computer programmers are dull?!) Another reason is that I LOVE the snow! Children don't have the monopoly on that! But here's the main reason it even entered our minds, our two lovely huskies, Thorn (Alaskan Malamute) and Nanook (Siberian Husky)! Just in case you were wondering, we never got around to teaching them to 'mush!' But they got very good at 'run around like a loony' and 'eat everything in sight, even when you know it's the Sunday roast!' Well trained!
We were so sad to lose Nanook just before Christmas 2003. She was such a beautiful, placid dog and to suddenly be faced with a yappy little ball of fluff, that eventually grew to tower over her, must have been difficult, but she treated him, like any queen dog would......with disdain!
We couldn't marry in December 2002, as the ice hotel was fully booked and we also wanted our families there so everyone needed time to save, save, save!
We booked straight away for December 30th 2003, 16 months after Andy proposed! It seemed like forever to me, especially since there were a lot of things I couldn't do until nearer the time. like travel arrangements, flowers, etc, but the last 3 months flew by!
The travel arrangements were difficult at first, because all the package deals were SO expensive, but my advice, if you want to do the same, is take the trouble to plan everything separately. It's a whole lot cheaper and you get exactly what you want.
Everyone going with us got together and decided what we wanted, so we booked to fly out to Stockholm at the bottom of Sweden, then take the cross-country train, (the only way to see the beautiful countryside of Sweden,) and stay in Hotel Kebne, in the nearby town of Kiruna, rather than in the expensive ice hotel cabins (warm accommodation) It's only 4 miles from the ice hotel and it's another town you get to explore. Very beautiful with snow covering everything.
The train journey is 16 hours long and part of it is overnight. We all had sleeper carriages. It's such an exciting way to travel. So much better than seeing only the inside of a plane! We met lots of lovely people and even met some of the same people on the way back who congratulated us and wanted to hear all about the wedding! Two of the carriages were the "Swedish Orient Express". A buffet car with little lamps at each table, a bar and very tasty food! Also, there was another carriage where you could watch movies playing at certain times during the journey.
When it comes to time frames, the flowers, rings, gifts and honeymoon arrangements can all be done with 3 months to go without stress, but the dress.......start trying them on as soon as possible! It's so much fun to be the bride-to-be! You should have chosen your dress with at least 9 or 10 months to go. It can take about 6 months to be made and arrive in the bridal shop. Make sure you choose your matron-of-honour wisely, she needs to be someone who knows you inside out, wants only the best for you and is as excited about your wedding as you are. She should be with you to give advice and support and to stop you looking like a blancmange on your big day!