Our Wedding Day: Part One

It’s taken me a long time to write this post and that’s simply because I’ve been enjoying married life together with my husband. We married on Sunday the 30th April at promptly 1.00pm in front of our family and closest friends at the Rothley Court Hotel in the borough of Charnwood and it was a beautiful affair from start to finish. Honestly my family these days is not only forever extending but also bonkers in the best of ways and we are forever grateful for the friends that travelled from far and wide to celebrate with us.

Being knee-deep into wedding season during the summer months I really wanted to share the experience of my wedding day and highlight a little of the planning that went into such an amazing event, and of course share it with you all:

THE MORNING OF THE WEDDING

We all packed ourselves into my Dad’s car on the evening before the wedding as I had a family room booked at the venue for myself, my Maid of Honor Zoe, her daughter Lily and my step-daughter, let’s call her Pebble*, who was to be our flower girl during the ceremony. Somehow a last minute addition in my soon-to-be sister in law Kayleigh made the room a little cramped during the night but we all get on well so once we’d dumped our bags (and the FOUR bottles of prosecco and breakfast nibbly bits for the morning) and had a quick change of clothes we moved downstairs to the restaurant for a meal that included our closest family. The ‘rehearsal’ dinner had been a very last minute arrangement and Rick’s parent’s were not to arrive until the morning of the wedding so it was a lovely quiet and a chilled evening bonding together with my closest family and my most of my bridal party.

Lily and Pebble are roughly the same age so immediately hit it off which I think was my biggest sigh of relief throughout the whole wedding because I’d been worried for weeks that they’d hate each other as they’re just so similiar in their personalities. I’ve known Lily since she was first born and I’ve developed a close bond with my step-daughter since we first met about two years ago so it was strangely beautiful stepping into that ‘Mum’ role alongside my oldest and best friend and feels really touching remembering it back now. Honestly, put two six-year-old little girls together and mention princesses and ponies and they’ll happily chat and play amongst themselves for hours.

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I eventually dropped off to sleep once we’d had dinner and a few drinks but had one of those awful nights were I hardly felt like I’d slept a wink. I was worried to bits about the children sleeping properly and then I had a minor panic at about 5.30am because I had realised that a massive box full of mis-matched teacups and saucers that was the be centre pieces for the tables had been left in my Dad’s garage – shit! I hastily messaged my Mum thinking she would get the message when she woke up first thing because they had a house full of my brother and his girlfriend (and my soon-to-be-born niece), Rick and his best man but to my shock had a response back from her straight the way.

Turns out that my poor Mum had been in accident and emergency most of the night because she’d gotten up to use the loo at about 1am, tripped over one of her cats and face planted their 32″ bedroom TV, the drawer unit it stood and eaten the carpet. OMG. She had to have her nose glued by a sympathetic nurse at the a walk-in centre and then had crept back into bed with everyone else in the house but my Dad none the wiser – what a champion!

I didn’t really get back to sleep after that and ended up talking to our best man Owen to check on my Mum because I was apparently banned from speaking to Rick so once I’d gotten to all clear I kind of drifted back to a light sleep. The ladies and I finally rose at roughly 7am-ish and took it in turns to go out for fresh-air and breakfast whilst watching the girls on a rotation.

Funnily enough it was a like a well-planned machine in those early hours and Zoe had Lily up and washed easily whereas Pebble took a lot more persuading – but all in a morning’s work for a step-mum yeah? Luckily the girls were excited to get into their dresses and have their hair done so they were happily amused amongst themselves for most of the time – apart from being told off a couple of times for jumping on the beds. Kayleigh and Zoe each jumped in this one shower we had for this increasingly tightening room and I just wrestled with Pebble for most of the morning trying to hold down a tantrum until my last bridesmaid Desi arrived all the way from Leeds. The squad was complete!

My hairdresser (family friend, the incredible Hannah) rocked up at 10.30am to curl and braid my hair and I think I’d already done my make up by then in this huge bathroom’s mirror surrounded by chaos. I say chaos but because we had so much time it was like madness in slow motion because we all sort of worked around each other. Everyone pulled their weight and it was kind of beautiful because the bridesmaids took care of their own make up and Desi curled and pinned all of their hair – they looked gorgeous!

We had access to the bridal suite from 11am and the maid helpfully dropped the key into us but we didn’t move until about lunchtime because we were all so busy getting ready in our various stages. I was chilling in my pyjamas sipping on warm glasses of prosecco that were continuously handed to me whilst I harped at the girls to take something to eat from my Tesco buffet. I’m seriously one to worry about everyone else instead of my myself so I hardly paid attention to what I’d eaten I just felt so thirsty pretty much all day and as I was sitting their having my hair braided I was primarily focused on getting into my dress more than anything else.

Don’t ask me how it happened but by some miracle, seven adults and two kids made it down the corridor to the bridal suite with a wedding dress that took two people to carry, several pairs of shoes and a suitcases’s worth of make up and hair products. Not to mention that the heating was buggered in the hallway to the room and we were all sweating chucking everything into the room and trying to get re-arranged in time for me to button up into my dress. The ceremony was at 1.00pm and the registrar had to interview me before the wedding as a legal requirement so I was almost jumping into my dress to keep us all to schedule. Tori, our photographer and a longtime friend of mine, was snapping away once we’d moved to the bigger room and the children were happy to explore whilst the bridesmaids were still strapping their shoes up.

Zoe finally helped me into my dress and we had just a moment for some photos, a dash to get my Spotify playlist plugged and ready for the music to walk down the aisle to. At the last minute, I made the hasty decision to ditch going bra-less and take the detachable straps off of my specially purchased white bra instead so I had to crawl out of my dress and then back into it within the space of ten minutes. Honestly, that dress was a nightmare from start to finish because not only was it that little bit too tight to keep it’s shape in the waist but I had a huge underskirt underneath and I couldn’t even get my shoes on when it was done up. I felt utterly useless!

I was honestly terrified the registrar wouldn’t turn up because the office has been closed on the Friday when I’d called to check up on the final arrangement but before I knew it there was a knock at the door and everyone had to evacuate so that I could have a one on one interview to go over the legal bits. Pebble stayed in the room with me and happily sat on my knee chit-chatting away but mostly desperate to go stick with Lily who was outside with Rick acting as special ‘guest greeter’. As soon as the interview was over she was whisked away with Zoe to go walk down the aisle, and explained to that she was drop her specially cut heart-shaped book page petals as she walked holding Zoe’s hand before I entered with my Dad. I had a moment to myself to breathe surrounded by my remaining bridesmaids and looked out at the arriving guests as our suite looked over the grounds of the hotel – it was a small moment of peace before the big moment.

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THE CEREMONY

There I am walking down this super STUNNING staircase in my dress and heels trying not to fall arse-over-tit into my Dad who was waiting at the bottom to greet me and I seriously feel awesome. I look really good, I feel super-tired (but that doesn’t matter so much) and I’m about to get married. There were some other guests at the hotel and a few were stopping by the congratulate me already which was a bit embarrassing but I’d gotten used to it by the evening. Mostly everyone was smiling a lot and the master of ceremonies talked me through where to stand and how to walk as the bridesmaids lined up at the doors as you enter into our ceremony suite. It was a bit of a maze to get through the ceremony room and we had to walk through a bar in the hotel reception but once we were through there was a cosy wooden hallway to wait in until we were ready to enter. This was it!

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My Dad gave me a little squeeze and I think as I started walking down the aisle with my veil over my face was when I started to feel a little emotional. As the aisle was so short we had to walk quite slowly and my Dad was just constantly telling me to slow down (obviously I was desperate to get it over with, ha!) until I met Rick at the front of room. He gave me a massive grin as my Dad passed me over and then the ceremony began. The ceremony room looked cracking and I’ll go into my decorations in more detail during another post but I don’t think I paused to take it all until I looked back over the photos, it was everything I’d envisioned for months on end.

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We had our introduction and then had poems read each by Owen and Zoe before the vows with Travis, Kayleigh’s little boy and my nephew, giving over the wedding rings. Honestly he looked completely adorable and behaved himself throughout the ceremony, what a little stunner! I tried my hardest to save as much money as I could for this wedding and Travis was wearing a pair of standard black school trousers paired with a waistcoat, shirt and tie from Amazon of all places. I hadn’t had the chance to see him fully dressed up before the day but I seriously might consider going into business styling children for formal events, he looked like an angel with this beautiful curly blonde locks and no one even guessed he was wearing off-the-shelf supermarket clothes at a wedding! Who needs designer suits for little kids?

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I spent most of the ceremony laughing and joking with Rick because the registrar kept pronouncing her new surname incorrectly and we somehow thought it was the funniest thing at the time – poor woman. I don’t think she quite got what we were giggling about but I’m sure she sees couples high on life all of the time. Most of the talking was quite blur but I do remember trying to listen very carefully to the registrar and make sure I repeated everything I was mean to properly.

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There was no ‘lawful wedded wife’ because the vows are set from a selection that we decided on months before the wedding and even though there is the option to recite your own written vows we were happy enough with those sent to us. Before I had time to grasp that I was actually standing up at the front of this room marrying my best friend in front of our closest family it was time to pass over the rings. They ask that you move your engagement ring to your other hand when you marry but my ring actually doesn’t fit on my other finger so my wedding band was slid on with ease. Rick’s however took a little bit of welly to really get it on good and proper – typical.

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Finally the legal words were said and it was time to formally sign the register, which you’re not allowed to have photographed so when you see all those photos of couples signing ‘the book’ together they’re not actually signing the official marriage register, it’s actually a prop! Who knew? So, we signed our names away and were handed our marriage certificate in a fancy envelope – that my Mum looked after – and then had time for photos. As we were pronounced man and wife we had a little kiss and then had to wait in the ceremony room as our guests vacated because we weren’t done yet, we were about to have the second part of our wedding that we’d kept almost a surprise to our guests, which was the religious blessing.

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THE BLESSING

One of the features of the our venue that blew me away when we went to go view it was that attached to this listed building is actually a cute chapel. Because it’s not technically a place of worship the chapel isn’t licensed to host a completely religious wedding ceremony but what we could do with the support of a local priest was have a blessing of our marriage.

This section of our wedding day was a big part for Rick and I because we had wanted to initially marry in a church but the parish where I grew up and the church I was christened in as a baby was undergoing roof renovations and unavailable. If you’re not included in a parish and community you have to attend the church for a little while before you can even apply to marry and not to mention, complicated. We are both religious and even though we don’t attend church every Sunday we do follow God in our own individual ways so it felt right to honour our Christian faiths with a blessing and this chapel was breathtaking every time I stood in it before, during and the morning after when collecting our bits and bobs.

Another HUGE deal for the this part of the wedding was that we wanted to walk down the aisle of the chapel together as a new family, so what would be my husband and I with Pebble walking between us. The focus was really on my stepdaughter for this period because we see her as a massive part of our relationship and I have a lovely shot of the three of us walking hand in hand to the vicar together – it was beautiful and so perfectly planned out I almost couldn’t believe it. Our vicar – Jan – conducted a ceremony that talked about the history of the area and my Mum read a poem (and nearly cried all the way through) before she formally blessed us. A lot of people had teary eyes and were sniffling their way through, I think my Mum started a trend.

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Not a dry eye in the house and twenty minutes later we walked back down the aisle to applause and were handed glasses of champagne as we greeted our guests out of the chapel and into the car park before we left ourselves through two gorgeous wooden chapel doors and confetti thrown all over us. The wind was blowing and my long chapel-length veil was flying all over the place but it my favourite part of the day. All of our family came to greet us and the toddlers in our troupe started to hopelessly try and throw some confetti with some confusion and laughter – they loved it and we did too.

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Next we posed for some photos in the grounds and went onto speak in person to our guests before heading into an upstairs room for our wedding breakfast as man and wife – but more on that in part two!

What did you think of our wedding day so far? Have you been to a wedding this summer? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

*Nicknames used for protection purposes, see my post about my personal life choices and blogging.