As I am being frequently reminded by my friends and family - it really isn't long now until Michele and I get married! We've only got seven months to go, and given how quickly time has flown since we got engaged last summer I know it's going to be upon us in a heartbeat.

I'm feeling pretty calm at this point - seven months is a reasonable amount of time to get our shit together and we've luckily managed to get some of the big ones ticked off (ceremony venue, reception venue, florist, photographer). Even so, there's still plenty to plan (I mean, I would like some food and music on the day and then there's the tricky issue of the legal bit to organise...).

I was last in Italy in September, when the weather was still gloriously golden and warm. Michele had organised a bunch of catering appointments in the general Milan area, with some of them leading us out into the countryside. We ended up with a couple of hours on our hands and (after tracking down some gelato to keep us going) we pulled over just outside of a sleepy little town for a riverside walk. The sun was truly burning that evening (if you can remember what that feels like!) and the air was shimmering with clouds of dragonflies. The river itself was clear and inviting beneath the hot sun and there were immense shoals of fish treading water in the shadows beneath the banks.

One of the strangest things about planning a wedding abroad is the sense of stilted progress that comes with it. We have found most of our suppliers on the internet but it doesn't feel right to sign over the contract until we've met the person behind the brand. Of course, being based in England means that I'm not always able to go and meet them and it's left me feeling slightly out of the loop. Even if Michele isn't going and making decisions without me, the fact of being so far away from Milan (and therefore unable to just pop in to see suppliers at the weekend) makes me feel a little cut-off. He has also been doing a lot of the interpreting when we go to meet suppliers - whilst I can happily understand Italian, the effort of speaking at meeting after meeting is a little difficult!

This isn't necessarily a bad thing - unlike the more traditional wedding planning set-up where the bride does most of the work, he is incredibly involved in the entire process (which is such a relief!). It's very comforting to know that I can ask him to track down caterers and book the registrar without any problems. And it almost makes me feel as though I don't have a completely clear idea of what the wedding will be like in the end as Michele manages the micro-details simply due to the fact of it all being in his native language. I'm sure many brides would find this stressful but I think it'll help me to relax and enjoy the day rather than feeling really responsible for it all (I hope Michele can relax too!).

The best part of wedding planning (aside from the free food and wine) is hands down the teamwork between the two of us. Michele said that he wanted us to do as much of the planning together as possible as it's almost a test run of marriage and our lives ahead of us in itself (altogether now - awww!). It really made me feel very happy and cosy to think that this is how he sees it and to know that he's taking it so seriously. We've had to compromise on a fair few things and there have been tears (all mine, of course, he's as maddeningly cool as the proverbial cucumber) but it's so exciting to see something slowly taking shape that reflects the two of us.

As the sun began to set on our impromptu evening stroll (and as our stomachs began to growl), we turned back towards the car, excited for some free food later that day. So far, wedding planning has been a pretty relaxed walk in the park although I am more than aware that the majority of the challenges lie ahead of us now. On the other hand, I'm not sure anything could be as hard as finding my bridesmaid dresses (five girls of all the sizes and shapes you could imagine) and we did that so, y'know - ce la facciamo.

(That's my favourite Italian phrase - it just means "we can do it", and it rolls off the tongue so beautifully! It's pronounced "cheh lah fah-chee-AH-moh" if you fancy adopting it! On that note, this was supposed to be a blog about learning Italian when I first started it...)

I really can't wait to see how everything comes together and to share all our photos on here once we've tied the knot. I've been glued to other bloggers' wedding series and hope to do a semi-decent one myself as well! I've decided not to give any details away on here yet so I can bring it all together once we've finally got everything under control (which will probably be approximately two hours before the wedding. Or perhaps not at all?). I'd also love to do a couple of posts on wedding planning tips - if anyone has any they can share, I'd love to hear them!