I’ve put this post off, as it feels almost too epic to write. But it’s time, guys. I’ve had to break the days down into smaller sections, because otherwise it’s just too epic. I cannot be concise here. Sorrynotsorry. So here I’ve just talked about the getting ready part of the day. Settle in, we could be here for a while.
Our wedding was on 29th August this year, and we decided to get married in the church in the grounds of my old school and then have the reception at my parents’ house, in a marquee in their garden.
The week running up to the wedding itself did not get off to a good start.
It rained. Buckets. Constantly and Biblically for the best part of the week. Everyone kept giving me pasted on, fake-positive smiles, but we all were all stressed. If it rained that badly on our wedding day it’d be a wash out.
So when I woke up in the morning, in my childhood bedroom, and the sun was shining through the blinds I was pretty happy. I got up, got dressed and set about preparing breakfast for the wedding party and my family (who were all also based at my parents’ house – it was busy!).
At about 8am my hair and make-up artist arrived with literally a truckload of stuff, and she set about setting my hair in rollers. As she was doing this, all my bridesmaids started arriving. After she was done, I was free to go as I didn’t have my makeup done until much later, so I set about bossing my older brothers around. Instructing them on how to make hay bales and where to put signs. There’s nothing like some last-minute LOLs, right?
At some point my photographer also turned up, and started snapping away. He was great as I didn’t notice him around too much. My brothers and their kids pottered away, and Immy – my six-year-old niece, who was very excited – tried to steal glimpses of the older bridesmaids having their hair done.
While all this was going on, I gave out some gifts. I got my parents handkerchiefs with a few sentimental lines embroidered on, and I got my Mum Jo Malone’s Roses cologne and my Dad a bowtie to match in with the wedding colours plus some cufflinks with the longitude and latitude of their house engraved on them (we had a lose travel and map theme to our wedding).
For the four grown-up bridesmaids I got Jo Malone cologne in different scents I picked for them (I found out what perfume they normally wear, and tried to get something of a similar… nose?!). We also got them all necklaces with a little leaf with their initial on. And I wrote them all soppy cards. I also gave all the bridesmaids a pair of mint sunglasses (one of our wedding colours).
For my brothers we bought them bow ties to match my Dad’s, and then I also put in their bag a Cohiba cigar, a little bottle of Jagermeister and a pair of sunglasses each too.
My niece I got a necklace that was quite similar to the adult bridesmaids. My nephews I got braces and bow ties, and the eldest I got a watch (he was helping with time keeping on the day), while the younger two I got a personalised teddy and some Star Wars Lego. And they all got children’s versions of the sunglasses too. Oh, and cards. I wrote So. Many. Cards. in the run up to the wedding.
I’d also sent over a gift with Andrew’s best man for him to open on the day. I got him a Junghan’s automatic gold watch and some cufflinks that had Tunbridge Wells (where we grew up, met and were getting married) on one and Bali (where we were going on honeymoon) on the other.
Andrew had got his ushers sunglasses too, plus bow ties, pocket squares, braces, cigars and a little bottle of Jager too. He got his best man and chief usher engraved Swiss Army Knives (Andrew is a bit obsessed with knives… in a perfectly normal and balanced way you’d hope someone would be obsessed with knives… Err…). He rather sweetly put them all in metal tins, and wrote them all cards too.
Andrew sent my bridesmaid over with a present for me. It was a beautiful pearl on a gold chain (I’d been eying one up to wear on the day, but hadn’t got around to buying one) and a Dr Seuss book called “Oh the places you’ll go”. It’s about going on an adventure, which is very appropriate for us.
RIGHT! Presents over with, I was ready for makeup and putting the dress on. After loads of stress with my dress – I basically was dreading being a bride before I found my dress, I actually found something I loved. I got it from Isabella Grace, and the dress was designed by London-based designer Naomi Neoh.
My bridesmaids looked unbelievably beautiful in their dresses. I got them from a dressmaker in California, who I found on Etsy (wedding was sponsored by Etsy). They could tie them in so many different ways, which I loved. They all had various different plaits in their hair, and my mum wired some gypsophlia up so the hair dressers could pop them in their plaits.
Immy’s flowergirl dress was one of the hardest things to find for the wedding. Everything was either cheap and nasty, or lovely but ridiculously priced (£300 for a six-year-old’s dress? No thank you). I eventually found the perfect dress at Belle Zara, and luckily the little lady LOVED her dress.
My flowers arrived, and that’s when I lost it and cried on our lovely florist. They were just SO beautiful and perfect. I’d asked for something fairly informal, but with succulents in, and a lily (my Granny, who is no longer with us, was called Lily and I wanted to remember her on the day in these little private ways). All the bridesmaids had posies of gypsophila, and Immy wore a gypsophila flower crown tied together at the back with a white ribbon.
Then my Dad came to see me for the first time all ready to go. It was a rush of veil attaching, photos outside and then off to the cars to get to the church. Oh, and my dress ripped and my bridesmaids had to sew it back together. No big deal. I think I had an out-of-body experience at this point as I feel fairly stressed and worried.
One of my bridesmaids, Phoebe’s, Dad had extraordinarily kindly lent us his VW campervan and Aston Martin DB5. My brother got insured to drive the Aston and he drove me and my Dad to the church. It turned out the Aston Martin was small inside, so I crammed in the back with my dress while my Dad and brother sat up front. The bridesmaids went in the campervan, along with my Mum.
As we pulled up to the church it started to rain. I felt really nervous, but Andrew’s ushers (who are some of my closest friends too) came out of the church with umbrellas and said nice things, and basically calmed me right down. Everyone kept saying how excited and happy Andrew seemed, and that was SO NICE. I couldn’t wait to see him for myself.
As I walked through the graveyard from the chattle gates to the entrance to the church, the bells started to peel and my Mum stood at the door bawling her eyes out as she watched my final walk with my Dad up to the aisle. It was showtime…
All photos © Andrew Marshall