Monday, 9 September 2013

They Always Say, We Were The Lucky Ones

I've been looking forward to this day for what feels like an eternity (alright it's only been about 18 months and probably not as much as John and Ellie have been but lets not get nit-picky about details).

After drinks on the Wednesday evening I had to go to the office once more before I was let loose on the poor unsuspecting bride. I think I was pretty distracted for a lot of that day! Finally I was released and ready to focus on the wedding.  First on the list of jobs was to go the the Venue on the Friday afternoon to deliver various parcels and packages and generally be a bit nosy before the next day.
We met up with the rest of the wedding party including RV, the best man...
And the other two bridesmaids, Jo and Rosie...
I didn't have anything too important to worry about - only making sure that the wedding dress got to the Venue!  I'm fairly sure my friendship with Ellie would have hung in the balance if anything had happened!

Dress safely delivered there was time for a quick rehearsal of the ceremony, working out the seating arrangements and of course practicing the all-important swoosh down the staircase ready for the grand entrance of the bride the next day.

This may or may not have involved impromptu dance moves as we rehearsed. 
After we had done everything we could in preparation we made our exits and Jo and I nipped to the hotel where John and Ellie would be staying the following night to drop off the red paper rose petals we had ordered with the intention of covering their bedsheets with them.  Well that was the plan.

When we arrived we were warmly greeted by the extraordinarily lovely owner (who also appeared to be rather gifted at baking if the smells drifting from the kitchen were anything to go by).  She listened to us patiently and then showed us the fresh white real rose petals she had all ready to go.  Jo and I looked at them rather sheepishly and, feeling rather deflated, acknowledged that hers were much better than ours and we should just go.

We were trumped.

Instead we headed back to Ellie's for pizza, DVD's (Bridesmaid's of course) and wine and tried to keep the increasingly excitable bride from bouncing completely off the walls while the groom hit the town for dinner and drinks with other close male members of the wedding party before heading back to the best man's house where he would be spending the night.

We finally headed to bed and after absolutely no sleep whatsoever got to Mt Ephraim for 8am ready to start the beautifying process.
It was a good morning with lots of chatter, running around checking things have arrived (and sneaking in the bottle of fizz which was nearly forgotten about!), munching on croissants, bananas and muffins, listening to music and being preened to within an inch of our lives!  I have never felt so made up before, I even had fake eyelashes on which for me is a huge deal (to be fair, I chose that - the makeup lady bought out the boxes of them and I got a little overexcited, which may have encouraged the other bridesmaids to also go down the falsies route.  Oops).
During the getting ready process John's mum came upstairs with a present from John for Ellie; a stunning necklace for her to wear that day.  I thought that this may have set her off but so far so good!
Ellie also gave us gifts; beautiful hand-stitched embroidery in tambour frames, each with specific memories of her time spent with us and gorgeous personalised pearl bracelets.  Her mum carves wood and had carved each of us our own wooden candle holder as well.  This would be a running theme of this wedding, so much was handmade, intricate, personal and beautiful.  Even the confetti was provided in a basket that Ellie already owned, in paper cones with quotes from Pride and Prejudice running around them.
We had a mild moment of panic when we realised that the father of the bride had no cravat!  As the wedding colour theme was variegated shades of blue thankfully we could get a bit creative.  After a bit of swapping with the ushers and some clever stitching by Jo with some handy blue fabric the wedding planner found lying around the house the problem was resolved. 

All too soon it was time to get Ellie into her dress (and desperately try to remember our lacing up the dress lessons).  Thankfully we figured it out and got her laced in tightly.  The final adjustments were made and then it was time for Ellie's father to see his daughter for the first time that morning.  This was a particularly emotional moment and everyone got a little bit teary and took a quick gulp of their fizz.
Eyes dried, perfume spritzed and bouquets picked up, it was time for Ellie to start the walk downstairs to where John was nervously waiting for her.  The music started to play (a very personal song for Ellie) and she started the descent.
No pics for the ceremony as managing a camera and a bouquet is not really the done thing so my photos start again at the reception.  There was however a memorable moment when John completely missed some of his lines vows(call yourself an actor?!) and had to be prompted to start again.  The ceremony itself was really lovely, with readings delivered beautifully by the couples friends' (the one that starts 'wherever I go there's always Pooh' got more than its fair share of laughs and tears.)
There was a huge surprise during the drinks reception.  Ellie and John had booked a falconry display for the guests to enjoy!  We were treated to a complete show with falcons, owls and hawks and afterwards guests got the opportunity to handle the beautiful birds.  I have never seen anything like this at a wedding before and it was a complete showstopper for me.
Guests mingled and chatted and used the opportunity to get all the photos in that they would be too drunk to remember to take later on in the evening.
We headed inside for the speeches which were very emotional (and a little bit disturbing at times, looking at you here John) before moving into the main room for the wedding breakfast.  This is where all of John and Ellie's hard work really showed.  Everything was personally made or adapted and reflected every inch of their lives together.  The table plan had photos of them whilst the tables were named after favourite places from literature.  We were sat on Pemberley from Pride and Prejudice.  Inside the menu cards either John or Ellie had also written a little statement about why they had chosen that particular location and what it meant to them as a couple.  I particularly liked Ellie's comment about getting married in her very own Pemberley and her hope that John may take a quick dip in the lake later, emerging in a wet white shirt a la Colin Firth!
The wedding post box was hand made, as were the table place settings, each one hand-stitched by Ellie.  She had started making them 6 months prior to the wedding.  John's mum had also all of the flower arrangements on the tables and the clay hearts, each embossed with the wedding date as part of the table decorations while packets of personalised chocolates (I think they were M and M's, I'm not sure.  Steve ate his and mine before I sat down) acted as favours.
The food was lovely and served in enormous portions! Asian Pork Salad for starter (no picture, I was too hungry) followed by beef or fish (I had the fish, Steve had the beef) and Eton Mess for dessert.
There was a lot of wine and it just seemed to keep flowing!
After each course of the meal the newlyweds circulated around the tables, making sure they spoke to everyone.  They asked everyone present to join them in celebrating Johns' grandfather 90th birthday and the wedding anniversary of his grandparents which was coming up.
Then we were swept outside by the photographer for some wedding party photos while the quiz got under full swing.  Photos done, I made it back just in time to join my table for the geek round of the quiz - which we won easily (hey, I know some geeky stuff including how many sides are on a standard D&D die).  We also won the overall quiz prize, which meant more alcohol for our table.  By this time I'm amazed any of them were seeing straight! 

Before the disco could get underway there was the small matter of the cake.

The cake decorated with lego.

This wedding was perfect for John and Ellie in so many ways, but for me, this symbolised the entire day.  It was quirky, fun, and completely and utterly them.
John and Ellie started the dancing together to Michael Buble's Hold On, soon joined by other couples on the dance floor.  As the evening guests arrived the music got turned up and the party got started.  I slipped into some flip flops and hit the dance floor.  I think I stayed there for most of the night (it gets a little blurry) although I do remember dragging the bride to the bar for tequila shots at one point.  I know that I could hardly walk the next day as my feet were so bruised from dancing!  Ellie and John had chosen a DJ where guests could pre-select what songs they wanted to hear played which meant that the dance floor was packed all night as people ran up when they heard the first few bars of their favourite song starting to be played.
This was without a doubt one of the best weddings I have ever been to. It screamed of personality, individuality and most of all love.
These two will live happily ever after - of that I have no doubt.


  1. HA!! that cake is AWESOME! :D ♥

    1. Isn't it?! Absolutely loved it - and it tasted seriously good as well! The two figures at the top aren't real lego but sugar paste made by the cake people!
      Becs x