I’m sorry I’ve been so rubbish at blogging – this month has been really manic. Obviously with the honeymoon at the start of it, and then since we got back last week it feels like we’ve not stopped – having the boiler put in, trying to sort out the dead car, marking essays, trying to make the flat less of a tip, etc etc – I’ve wanted to blog, but just haven’t been able to. I am going to put up some photos from the wedding today though.
Before the day, lots of people were asking if I was nervous, what I was doing about flowers or this or that or the next thing, and it was starting to get embarrassing that I wasn’t particularly nervous, and most of the details I was gloriously clueless about (but that was fine, I wasn’t worried!). A few days before we had a bit of an “aaaaargh it’s really happening” kind of moment, but not in a bad way, just in a “this is going to change things for ever” kind of a way, which I think merits the occasional “aaaaargh” to be honest.
We drove down to York a couple of days before the wedding, and stayed that night with a couple of friends who had got married last summer. It was the perfect place to relax, it was very laid back and I didn’t feel under any pressure to talk constant wedding-talk or anything like that! What was a pain though (literally) was just before I was going to bed I was cutting my toenails and managed to cut a chunk out of one of my toes, which was a bit silly, but I suppose it took my mind of any thoughts of nervousness, should they have appeared.
The next day we met up with the photographer to sort out final details, picked up the cake from the best man who had been cake-sitting to take it to the hotel, and then I checked my stuff into the hotel and we went shopping. We’d bought a few of our thank-you presents, but not all of them, but managed to sort everything out (just forgetting about the wedding favours but I wasn’t that bothered about them so forgetting to do them wasn’t a trauma). When I got back to the hotel I met up with my bridesmaid and various family members, and in the evening we met up in the hotel bar to exchange late Christmas presents with family we’d not seen before Christmas, and HD and I had a meal with his family, plus the bridesmaid and best man (my family having eaten already). Once that was over and L (bridesmaid) and I were in our room, we had a quick makeup rehearsal (we’re talking 2 minutes here) and had a bit of a think about what I might do with my hair (yes that really is the level of lack of organisation we’re talking about), then went to bed. Unfortunately neither of us slept a wink. Not because of nerves, but because there was what sounded like a generator just outside our window which was whirring ALL NIGHT. Obviously, in the morning we got up and looked gorgeous.
Breakfast was a great big fry-up (lovely!), and then once we were back in our room L brought out our second breakfast:
We relaxed a bit (the wedding wasn’t until 2), I chatted with family (and discovered that my niece had been puking and pooing all night and so was being taken off to the NHS drop-in centre – just as well I’d decided not to have any kiddie bridesmaids!), and then I did my face and hair (differently to how we’d thought the night before) and then the flowers were delivered. I’d been so disorganised about the flowers, I got together with the florist only 2 or 3 weeks before the wedding, and hadn’t really known what I wanted so just left it to her and she did a brilliant job. I don’t have a good photo of the bouquet yet, but basically it had dark red roses, a few big blue thistles, a couple of types of berry and some holly, and it was gorgeous. It would never have occurred to me to have thistles in a bouquet, but they all worked so well together, I was really pleased.
Eventually I got into the dress (with some help from L and from me taking a massive deep breath in!). I’d left it as late as possible because I knew that once I was in it I wouldn’t be able to take another deep breath for the rest of the day! The photographer had arranged to come at 12.45 to photograph our final preparations, he was right on time but was really surprised that we were a. totally ready and b. really relaxed (I didn’t tell him about the gin!). But as I said to him, I’m marrying the right guy, I’m happy with everything that’s happening, I’m surrounded by people I like – what’s to get stressed about?
When L and I got into the (rather small) lift down to the hall we did have a bit of a comedy moment. Totally spontaneously, we looked at each other and both went “Aaaaaaaaargh!” simultaneously (think the moment in “Home Alone” where the mum realises she’s left Kevin behind) and then cracked up laughing. Neither of us really felt “aaaaargh”, it just felt like the obvious comedy thing to do. Which meant that we were still smiling and laughing when we got to the church.
My father-in-law drove us (me and L) to the church, as the friend who was going to do it was ill and wasn’t able to come to the wedding. I was quite happy to go in a normal car – one thing I’ve never been able to get excited about is wedding cars, it all feels too fussy for me, I was quite happy just arriving in a normal car with no ribbons or frills. I’d also decided that I didn’t want to be given away or to have a formal walking-up-the-aisle thing, so it felt totally natural for HD to meet me as I got out of the car and we walked into church together (the photographer told us this was the first wedding he’d ever done where the bride had been met by the groom before the service had even started). To start with, as it was still 10 minutes before the service was to start, and people were still arriving, we just sat together on the sofa at the back of the church and chatted with the various people who were hanging around there, and then we walked to the front of the church together. This was one of the most special moments for me – we honestly hadn’t planned how I/we would get to the front of the church, but basically as soon as we appeared everyone stood up and cheered and clapped, and it was lovely – really informal and happy and fun.
Of course, once we got to the front of the church, we still weren’t ready to start, so we stood there like lemons for what felt like forever until the best man rescued us with an announcement that the service wasn’t ready to start for a minute or so so everyone could sit down again!
At this point, I really must recommend our priest. She used to be HD’s landlady, and has been friends with him for years, and this was her first solo wedding (she’d done one before in conjunction with her training vicar, but we were the first one just with her presiding). It was brilliant having a friend take the service, she was so relaxed and informal, and also so funny, so put us right at our ease. A few weeks earlier she’d asked us what we wanted her to wear, although once she’d given us the choices (a. cassock and surplice ie overgrown choirboy, b. plain clericals, or c. gold shiny chasuble that makes her look like Liberace) there wasn’t really much of a choice – Liberace it was, and she looked fabulous!
The Liberace chasuble had the advantage of comedy value – when I arrived at the church and saw her I just laughed out loud, which dispelled any nerves I may have had, and when I said “OK now I don’t feel quite so over-dressed” she laughed out loud, which hopefully dispelled any of her nerves too!
The service was a full-on Visions alt.worship service. We used the Common Worship marriage service pretty much word for word, but with the video and image projection and clubby backing tracks it made for a very unique wedding service. At the start of the service we had lots of incense, which made it even more atmospheric (I did wonder what some of my madchurch friends would make of it, but one told me she’d loved it, especially as it had really calmed the kids down!!!!), and I really loved the explanation given of why we were having incense, in preparation to worship and as a sign of our prayers to God. Here are some of the pictures of the service:
Some of the images used were of the Brancusi sculptures that we’d seen in Romania last year, it meant a lot to me that we were able to use those, and meant that it was even more of a personal touch.
After the service we started taking pictures outside the church, but unfortunately it started to rain (not heavily, but enough to be a pain) and the light got much darker, so we had to finish the official formal photos at the hotel. Not that we had very many official formal photos, mostly the photographer just wandered round snapping, which was exactly what we wanted. I’m looking forward to seeing his pictures, though I’m not sure when they’ll be ready. Here are a few from outside the church before it started to rain (these are the ones I linked to originally):
Here are a few pictures from the reception, which was at the hotel where I was staying the previous night and which was pretty much just round the corner from the church. I enjoyed that too, the hotel were pretty laid back as well and weren’t too bossy or anything which was good. And the pudding was great (check out the photo of the chocolate cake!):
and the foodie bits:
After the food and speeches (which included a joke about chocolate at my expense which everybody thought was hilarious for some reason, can’t think why) we all trooped out to the reception and bar and milled around while the tables were cleared away. This also gave us time to set up the laptop with the card reader (an idea shamelessly nicked from aj and emma of Bob the Blog) so that people could download their photos for us (this is where all of these photos, apart from the gin ones, have come from). As entertainment we had our brand new mp3 player plugged into a stereo and put on shuffle, which worked absolutely fine (apart from some of HD’s choices which cleared the dance-floor!!!). We did have a first dance – I hadn’t ever really thought I wanted one, and was quite surprised that HD really did want to do it, but he chose a great track which was rather unusual (I bet not many people do their first dance to a song called ‘Miserere’!) but which was perfect for us (I should explain that despite the title it’s basically an anthem celebrating life – it builds up to a really affirming chorus of “Long live living, if living can be this” which is just gorgeous. It’s by an (I think) Australian group called The Cat Empire if anyone wants to look it up). I honestly wouldn’t have been able to dance to anything cringey like Whitney Houston, but even I could manage this, and despite the blurriness I love this picture of us having that first dance:
This was also the point that we were confettied – it was only later that I discovered that the confetti (which was shiny stars and circles) had a dye in them which meant that, as if discovering them *everywhere* wasn’t bad enough, they had left imprints on my skin – I had a very attractive line of pink stars on my boobs for a couple of days, very classy! I haven’t seen a picture of that, I hope someone managed to capture the moment (the confetti-ing, not my boobs, I hasten to add!).
What was great was that we were staying in the hotel that night too, so we didn’t have the hassle of getting somewhere else. We had a lovely room, and they’d provided us with champagne, and it was all very lovely. Though I’m not going to blog about that (you’ll be relieved to know!). Suffice to say, all in all it was a perfect day, and lots of people have told us how much they especially loved the service, including family members who wouldn’t normally go anywhere near church. I’m very happy 🙂
I’ll blog about the honeymoon soon, we had a few adventures there too which I want to record so I don’t forget. But I think this is enough for now (thanks to the one reader who’s managed to make it to the end!).