Monday, July 25, 2011

Perfect Day

I haven't blogged for a while... being a PhD student and in particular being at a conference in the US only two weeks before the wedding put the blog on the backburner a little. But I thought I might take some time to describe our wonderful wedding.

Our wedding day doesn't run in my mind like a piece of continuous film footage. Instead I have a series of snapshots or fragments of film in my head, probably not in chronological order, of moments throughout the run-up and day itself...

A text message on the morning from the second half of us, saying he couldn't wait to make me his 'mrs-me'.

Ladders. Lights. Bunting. Paper flowers. Napkins. Ribbon. Boxes and boxes of wedding things dumped in the barn coming together before us into decor even better than we had imagined. The whole family working together amazingly well to bring our ideas to life and lovingly making flowers, tablecloths etc etc. Even a team of 20-something year-old brother-in-laws-to-be making a beautiful fairylight feature behind the top table completely without assistance. Everyone had artistic talent, patience and love, even fun(!) that day.

'We like to boogie' playing as we set up the barn and the whole family dancing around with their knees up. The same song playing when my sisters and I were having photos taken on the day... so we ended up having photos of us dancing and giggling together in a field (which I love).

Being told I was breaking the slowest land speed record when driving the cake to the reception. The sign on the cake promising death to anyone who touched and damaged it. The cake made by my mother, my mother-in-law, and me, and iced by me with the help of an amazing friend. And people even saying it tasted good!

Crying silently at the bottom of the garden the evening before as the flowers turned out to be too far along, wilting and too few, and the roses still had their thorns. And although we paid for 12 buttonholes, we only got 6 very sad looking closed enough roses to use. Unfortunately I'm not sure I'd recommend green&gorgeous for DIY bouquets. Amazingly though this was the only thing that went wrong in the whole run-up and day of.

My mother-in-law to be (and a team of in-law-to-be helpers) sourcing from somewhere more closed pink and cream roses and making up all the buttonholes so I didn't have to worry about it.

My wonderful older sister turning the sad pile of flowers into amazing cottage garden bouquets (including a rush job on the morning of the wedding to buy more pins as I'd somehow not bought enough!) which looked absolutely beautiful, and thankfully made it through the ceremony and photos before wilting completely.

Watching the rain come down all morning as I got ready, and the sun appearing just before we went to the church.

My wonderful younger sister doing a beautiful hair and make-up job. Not a single hair fell down during the day which was a feat in itself! We hadn't had time to practice anything but she instinctively knew what I would like. The hairpiece made by my older sister that was a nod to a veil with a 1920s brooch and a piece of the ribbon used in the bouquets entwined in it. Again a fabulous job that I wouldn't have been able to do alone.

A friend hiring a car for us as a surprise to drive us on the day. His 'your driver is Rich' sign in the front. He was amazing all day with the perfect balance of formality and friend.

My dad joking that we had a police escort on the way to the wedding as a police car was in front of us. Him also being a solid rock as I was shaking before the service started.

Walking down the aisle and seeing my oldest friend, then husband to be and then getting to the front and suddenly thinking 'there are other people here right?!'

A wonderful church service, pitched just right with a funny sweet short sermon by our lovely vicar. An amazing organist. Lovely prayers by my mother. A heartfealt reading by my new mother-in-law.

My grandfather reading a poem to us, for us, rather than just to the church in general.

My cousin playing my favourite piece of classical music so beautifully while we signed the registers and me refusing to walk back down the aisle until I had heard the whole thing.

Our best man doing an amazing job organising everyone throughout the day and with a smile on his face the whole day. Not an easy job!

Breaking into a field with our photographer en route to the reception for some photos in the wheat in the sun. Stopping for more photos by a no parking sign and the farmers driving past and waving merrily when they saw our wedding attire and photographer lying on the floor.

Arriving in blazing sunshine at the reception and everyone turning and applauding as we pulled up in the car. I hid behind my bouquet.

Speeches that had everyone in laughter and tears.

Being swung round by my new husband in our first, never practiced dance, in fact the music chosen only the evening before.

Swirling round and round with baby bridesmaids in my arms in turn. My sisters doing the same with said bridesmaids. A footprint on the front of my dress as a reminder of all the fun.

One of my baby bridesmaids requesting scissors from my mother which turned out to be to cut off some of the flowers she didn't like from her bouquet (at the reception so she was left to get on with it).

Laughter and hugs with so many people near and dear to us. Wighing we had hours and hours to talk to all of them. Thinking of a few who couldn't make the day and wishing they could be there to enjoy it.

Realising that thanks to mainly my mother's planning the day had gone seamlessly and I hadn't had to think of a thing.

Driving off with a car filled with balloons and covered in pink sticky-note hearts courtesy of my parents-in-law and the decorating skills of my baby bridesmaids.

Realising after we had driven off that I never threw my bouquet. Wanting to go back to throw it just to have a few more minutes with everyone.

Sinking into a jacuzzi bathtub with a glass of fizz at the end of the day...

... the best day of our lives shared with the people we love best...

(photos to follow when we have them from the lovely Lauren McGlynn)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Taking Time Out

Sometimes it's nice just to step back from work, wedding planning, washing, cleaning... especially when the sun is shining (even if it is still cold!) and ...

...go for rides on the bike...

...go to the local beaches...

...bake/ eat/ drink...

...and watch the sunset from the window.

If only the work, cleaning, washing etc didn't still have to be done!


We have now sent out our invitations. The other half of us is a graphic designer and did a fantastic job even if I do say so myself! We wanted something that looked organic and reflected the less formal nature of our wedding. For more images look here. So far we have had only good feedback on them which is great.

DIY chaos!

Somehow weeks have passed since I last sat and wrote an entry for the blog. I keep noting things I want to write about, but never actually sitting down and writing them and then it's a bit late!

Contrary to what everyone has told me, I am enjoying planning our wedding. I'm not sure my other half, the other A, is 'enjoying' the planning as such, but he is as keen as I am to get everything sorted as soon as possible. Saying that though, it seems that the more you tick off the mental list, the longer the list gets. This is probably not helped by the fact that we have started a series of DIY projects, which keep getting amended when we realise how much DIY projects can cost if you let them!

Project 1: Decorative String Balls

We decided we would like to hang some form of decoration from the beams in the barn, as currently the barn is simply an empty shell. At just the moment when we were deciding what to do, my sister (another A!) sent me a link to some small hanging pendant shapes made from coloured string around a balloon (here). I thought these were great, and after a further search found an even better (for what we wanted) take on the idea using natural hemp string around a ball here. The original idea utilised balloons which are easier to remove, but I preferred the spherical shape created using this second method. Using a ball also seemed ideal to me as it could be reused over and over and still be used as a ball, so less wastage and resources used. For full directions look here. I have summarised the main steps below:

Step 1

Draw a circle on the ball around the valve for inflating/ deflating the ball. This circle has to be left clear of string in order to remove the ball at the end. Apply glue to the string and start wrapping string around the ball.

Step 2

Keep wrapping string around the ball, until all areas have even coverage (making sure to leave the designated circle clear). I found it easiest to dip fingers in the glue and then run the string through fingers and thumb to coat the string evenly in glue before sticking it to the ball. Care has to be taken to not change direction too quickly when wrapping or the string tends to slip off the ball.

Step 3

When coverage is complete, cut the string and stick down firmly. Leave the ball to dry for at least 24 hours to allow the string to firm up as the glue dries.

Step 4

Deflate the ball using a ball pump needle until the ball can be pulled out of the hole. I found it helped to push the ball inwards in any gaps before deflating to detach the glue from the ball. The string ball is now finished!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Ceremony

The ceremony itself is going to take place in Shaw Church. This is the church I was baptised in and have attended on and off ever since. Built in 1842, on the site on the original church of 1000 AD, it is a beautiful old "traditional" church.

As yet, we have not finalised the content of our service, but are looking forward to sharing the occasion with family and friends, and having readings and poems from the closest family members.

Image courtesy of Shaw Church

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Location, Location, Location

I have spent a day procrastinating. Instead of writing a paper, I have been sidetracked by all things wedding related, in particular some blogs that prove the best weddings are where you don't worry too much and just have things that are truly 'you'.

For us this means simple, fun and not costing too much. We have chosen a barn on a working organic farm for the venue. With its high beams, rough edges and emptiness it suits us down to the ground, especially with beautiful fields and countryside stretching as far as the eye can see outside the doors. We can adorn it with fairy lights and home-made decorations to suit us perfectly, and lay it out as we please. Our guests may not thank us when they head home after the festivities, but we love it being so rural.

We could have deliberated for ages over where to hold the reception, but were lucky enough to love the only place we went to see. And why look elsewhere when one place is already good. It is pretty rough and ready which wouldn't suit everyone but it means we have a lot more freedom to make it our own.


We are engaged. It still seems strange to think we are, but only because I somehow don't feel old enough to be 'a married woman'. We are still silly. We love to travel. We are settled together but not in our pursuits in life. I am a student again. He has to commute between countries to work in his not-so-dream job. Yet we can't wait to be married.

We are getting married in under six months. So may people have told us we won't get what we want for the wedding, that it is too close. Yet in only a couple of weeks we have the venue, the dresses, and potential caterer and photographer. And I am determined to enjoy planning the wedding. I have so far.