Finally - My London Wedding

Yay - finally it's my turn!! I have loved reading the wedding reports in this section so now I can't wait to share mine with you.

S and I met on the 6 July 2007. We worked together before then but he was far too shy to talk to me so it took a boozey friday in the pub for us to actually 'meet'. After a little bit of help from a bottle or two of pinot grigio, we realised it was meant to be and it was fireworks from the very beginning - at 5 weeks we went on our first holiday together, at 3 months we moved in together and at 6 months we fell pregnant with our lovely little girl - oops!

Fast forward to the winter of 2008 and I was busy looking after our new born baby when I began to type something into google and "diamond engagement rings" came up in the history! Needless to say, I got VERY VERY excited. I had told S not to propose while I as pregnant as it felt a bit forced but now our little girl was here I couldn't wait to be a proper family. Ever practical, I popped to a local jewellers and found out the size of my ring finger to text to S "just in case he ever needed to know". He came home looking very sheepish that evening. He told me later that he had bought a ring sizer from ebay and was planning on measuring my finger in my sleep!

A few weeks later it was my birthday and I couldn't help but wonder if this was going to be the day my fairy tale moment finally came. I am ashamed to admit that I am the kind of girl who has dreamed about being proposed to my whole life. Would he really do it? What if I hated the ring? I had pretty fixed ideas of what I whanted - a princess or emerald cut diameond solitaire on a platinum band. Of course I had trawled through the internet history to see what he had been looking at. Well wouldn't you?! One ring stuck in my mind - it was emerald and diamonds in the shape of a small leprachaun. Oh my god - what if he'd bought that monstrosity????! :\?



  • When I woke up in the morning I had butterflies in my tummy. The three of us sat in bed together and S handed me a present. It looked quite big for an engagement ring but I thought that perhaps he had put it inside lots of boxes to throw me off the scent. Excitedly, I pulled off the wrapping paper and opened the box. And there it was... a lovely new shiney hairdryer image

    It was a very thoughtful present, I did need a new hairdryer - I kept on telling myself this as I tried not to spoil my birthday by sulking about the lack of a proposal. E, our little girl, was only 2 months old then. She was suffering from reflux which meant she cried ALOT, so I got up and got on with the business of being a new mum - changing nappies, dealing with leaky boobs, pulling faces at my wobbly tummy. S had the day off work and I was on maternity leave so we went out for lunch. Finally at about midnight we got E to sleep in her cot and crawled into bed.

    That's when S told me he had one more present for me and handed me a small dark blue box. I was so scared of openening but finally I did and inside was beautiful Asscher cut solitaire diamond on a platinum band. I had never seen an Asscher before and I instantly fell absolutely in love with it. We were both so choked up I had to remind S that he hadn't yet asked me! You can just see the ring in this pic of me getting ready in the morning of our wedding day:

  • Here is a close up of an Asscher diamond. This one is a teensy weensy bit bigger than mineimage

    [Modified by: pearlsorsparkle on October 20, 2009 09:32 AM]

    [Modified by: pearlsorsparkle on October 20, 2009 09:33 AM]

  • Awwww!!! loving it so far!!! more more more!!

  • viccipviccip Posts: 2,161
    Awww!! He did VERY will on the ring! Cant wait to read more.

  • Next we had to decide where and when to get married. S suggested a quiet wedding abroad with just our closest family to avoid any of the stressful planning - but where's the fun in that?! I am a Londoner and knew that to be truly happy my wedding would have to be here with all my friends and family.

    For me, it also had to be a religious ceremony. This complicated things further as S is Catholic and I am C of E. Both our families are a mix of both so we decided to raise our little girl Cathrolic and had recently had her baptised in our local Catholic Church. We originally thought it would be easiest to get married in the C of E but this turned out not to be the case at all.

    We contacted several churches and reception venues but I knew that there was one very special place in Westminster that it would be my dream to celebrate my wedding at. It is where S and I met, where we both work and a place that I have been in love with since I was a little girl. It actually had a chapel onsite as well as banqueting facilities. I made enquiries and although we couldn't use the chapel and it wasn't licenced to conduct Catholic ceremonies anyway, we could hold our reception there. My heart missed a beat when I heard this and I immediately started to look for a Catholic church nearby that would marry us.

    That's when my Dad suggested Westminster Cathedral. I laughed at first, surely they wouldn't let us get married there? As we work nearby we had often popped in to admire the Byzantine gold mosaics and to light a candle while saying a prayer. On a whim, I popped in one day with my little girl, fully expecting to be told to go away and marry in shame for sinfully bringing a baby into the world out of wedlock. Instead a lovely old priest took E and I into a side room and began filling out the necessary forms. I explained that S and I lived in nearby Pimlico and that the Cathedral was a very special place for S and his family as his grandfather had been admitted to Holy Communion there soon after it was completed in 1909. I told him that I was C of E and had been baptised, admitted to Holy Communion and Confirmed across the river in Southwark. S grew up in the lake district and had been baptised but and admitted to Holy Communion in his local Catholic Church but had never been confirmed.

    "Well that all seems to be in order" said the Father, "as you almost live in the Parish you can have the parishioners discount and we should be able to get all the paperwork completed by October." I couldn't hide my excitement! "We'll just arrange for your fiance to be Confirmed then we can set a date" Uh oh! How on earth was I going to persuade S to do that?! Well eventually I did as here he is waiting for me outside the Cathedral:

  • So now we had a date, Saturday 3 October 2009, it was time to get serious about this wedding planning - so I joined the YAYW forum of course! Looking back, it was quite a hard time. The week before we got engaged my lovely nan suffered a massive stroke. I spent my days travelling down to the Mayday hospital in Croydon, every time I saw her I fully expected it to be the last. E, bless her, was a miserable baby as the reflux caused her so much discomfort. I had ate like a pig while I was pregnant so my body confidence was at an all time low.

    Planning the wedding gave me a new focus. I joined weight watchers online and joined a 'Buggyfit' class in Battersea park where I could exercise with other new mums. One of them, Faye, became one of my best friends and a great ally in wedding planning. She had been married a couple of years before and put me in touch with my photographer, Jeremy Enness. I loved Faye's wedding photos, she looked so natural and relaxed. When I realised that Jeremy was also responsible for one of my favourite spreads in Brides magazine, I booked him straight away.

    Although I feared I would never ever regain my pre pregnancy figure, I bagan the hunt for 'the dress'. Charlotte, another very close friend had been married the year before and she suggested we go to the National Wedding Show at Earls Court. It was my first day out without E, I had to take a breast pump and relieve my balooning boobs in the toilet! It was great, I tried on loads of dresses, nearly all of them looked absolutely terrible! Eventually we found my style - drop waisted, sweetheart neckline, full skirt and preferably satin. I loved lace but being the wrong side of 30 I looked like Charles Dickens Miss Haversham in it.

    I loved wedding dress shopping. I will never understand those of you that bought the first dress you tried on. How can you dreprive yourself of the fun of trying on dress after dress??? Once I had a bit more confidence, I even let my mum come with me. She had been very opposed the big white wedding at first. She had married my dad in the seventies dressed in a pair of white bell bottoms and red platform shoes at Wandsworth Town Hall and didn't hesitate to tell me what a fool I was wasting money on frilly dresses and the like. She softened a little after I told her about the very special places S and I were celebrating our day. And contrary to her initial objections to 'frilly dresses' her favourite turned out to be Maggie Sottero Victoriana teamed with a crystal scattered veil! What a turnaround?!

    It was Faye who helped me find the perfect dress. She had wanted to take me to Pronuptua in Covent Garden. However, they wouldn't let us in with our buggies so to appease her I booked an appointment at London Bride Couture, round the corner from us in Pimlico. I only did it to keep Faye happy, I never thought they would have anything in there that I could actually afford. When I made the appointment I told them my budget and they said only had a few in my price range but that they would be happy to try and help. It was the owner who suggested I try on Mon Cheri Allie. I remember looking up in the mirror and thinking "Oh my God, I could walk out of this shop and be happy get married now - even with the extra 2 stone of baby weight!"

    Here is "the dress" on the model:

  • chess4chess4 Posts: 1,831
    Loving this - more, more, more, pleeeeease!!!!

    I'm a London girl at heart (although as you can see from my name, I'm now a Windsor wife...) and love capital weddings! xx
  • Well I really should be working.... but seeing as you've asked nicely ;\)

    Now to the bridal party. My first thought was that our daughter and S's 4 yr old neice would make an absolutely adorable flower girls. And indeed they did:

  • Then my sister in law had another little girl:

  • Then I realised I couldn't leave out my nephew:

    Then I realised I really should have an adult to help out, so when my younger cousin Jojo told me she had been bridesmaid exactly 3 times and that her fate was in my hands I gave her the role of CBM:

  • And then a wonderful thing happened. My uncle, who had emmigrated to Australia a few years ago had been planning to come back for Christmas to see my poorly nan. As Christmas flights turned out to be extremely expensive, he told me he was thinking about coming back for my wedding instead. I was so excited I promised that if he did I would ask my cousin Amy to be my bridesmaid too (Jojo and I had been bridesmaid for him and my auntie). So he did and she was:

    This is how I ended up with no less than SIX attendanats!
  • Dressing a bridal party can be difficult at the best of times but I felt particularly cursed to have so many different ages and one bridesmaid in Australia who couldn't really pop over for fittings any time I liked!

    I found the flower girl dresses in the Next Directory. I chose them as they were silk so would photograph well. The silk corsage and roses on the skirt also helped define a classic rose theme which I carried through with the flowers, cake and older BM's hair. I really loved these dresses, especially the way the skirt puffed up to princess like proportions. I was so excited when I took the dresses down for my neices to try on. Unfortunately, H, my eldest flower girl didn't share my enthusiasm. A few weeks before the wedding I took it down for her to try on, she took one look at it and said "Mummy, I don't want to wear that. It looks itchy." Grrrr... Bridezilla moment coming on! I could have cried. I bit my lip, this was my new family. Eventually, my mother in law bribed her to try it on with the last scotch egg. Thankfully, H agreed she looked like a princess and it wasn't at all itchy on. However, it's fair to say that relations between my new neice and I cooled for a while and I even considered sending the mini tiara back to debenhams.
  • SquitSquit Posts: 363
    Congratulations! A really lovely report and FAB pics! Can't wait for more! xxx :\)
  • My nephew was the easiest to dress. His suit came from Monsoon and my mum adjusted a tie from TM Lewin to make a mini tie which matched the groomsmen perfectly. This project kept my mum busy for weeks and stopped her meddling in the rest of my wedding plans.

    The grown up bridesmaids were more of a problem. What was I going to do about Amy's dress? I had intended by a high street dress. Could I send it over to Australia? What if it got lost in the post? What if it got all the way there and didn't fit? Or just looked terrible? Should I keep it here and have it fitted when she arrived the day before teh wedding? I had visions of having to pop into the local dry cleaners for last minute alterations on the way to the Cathedral.

    While I was looking for my wedding dress, a bridesmaid dress had caught my eye in All That Glitters, Shirley. I had dismissed it at first as it was a light lilac and I was looking for deep purple, plus my mum thought it was too old looking for my younger cousins. However, when I finally pinned Jojo down for a day of dress shopping she picked it up as well. As soon as she put it on we knew she wasn't taking it off. She looked just like Marilyn Monroe in it. When I got home I googled the designer, Jasmine B2, and would you believe it, they had a stockist in Sidney Australia! So we bought Jojo's in Shirley and sent Amy to order hers in Sidney and when they came together they looked absolutely perfect:

  • That reminds me... flowers. I actually chose these very early on, before the bridesmaids dresses even. My dress shop had recomended I try Dovers Flowers in Churton St, just next door and on one of my long walks to settle E I popped in and met the lovely Lizzie. I confided to her that the flowers didn't really have a large proportion allocated to them in my budget. The Cathedral and our reception venue were both so ornate already, I felt that it would be a waste of money trying to fill them with flowers which would probably never live up to the granduer of both locations. Also, I was on maternity leave, we had a baby to support and I had just spent loads of money on the dress and the venue.

    I told her that I wanted roses but also some variations of purple as our reception room was green and I wanted them to stand out. She recomended a hand tied bouquets of Avalanche roses with liac frejias, purple lisianthus, variagated ivy and eucalyptus with oasis arrangements for the table centre pieces, two pedastools for the church and avalanche rose with eucalyptus button holes. She gave me a quote and an avalanche rose to take home while I considered it. I met several florists after Lizzie but none of them compared, they just didn't have the enthusiasm for flowers that she did. Some of them told me to look through bridal magazines and come back, some told me that I would only get very small arrangements for my budget and some of them looked on in horror when I wheeled E's buggy into their cramped shops and she reached out her tiny hand looking for delicate, expensive orchids to crush. So I went back to Lizze, credit card in hand.

    Here are our bouquets, taken on the morning of the wedding as Jeremy tried to avoid getting the rest of the chaos that was our flat on the morning of the wedding in shot. I do envy you brides who seem to get ready in immaculate locations with spaces to hang our dress so that it can be photographed from arty angles. Our flat is usually very clean and tidy, but it is small and what with my mum, two bridesmaids, E and the make up girl unpacking things everywhere, it was carnage on my wedding morning.

  • In fact it was such a tip that I started suggesting other arty close ups to Jeremy:

  • How fantastic! I am sooooooooooo looking forward to reading more image
  • I was so preoccupied with the flat being a tip that i didn't notice we had started to run a bit late. Amy and Jojo had stayed over the night before and we had met my mum at the hair dressers (Art of Hair, Pimlico) first thing. We were all booked in at the same time but unfortunately one of the hair dressers had gone off to do a wedding somewhere else, taking with him the fourth hairdryer. This meant we were late for Laura,our make up girl who I found in Space NK Sloane Sq. I deliberately did not have much booze in the house the day before the wedding as I didn't trust myself not to get drunk the night before to calm my nerves and end up with a stinking hang over. I was intending to pop by threshers and pick up a bottle of champagne on my way back home but as the wheather looked a bit grey and the wind was wipping up, my mum drove me back in her car and I missed my chance to get some booze in. I claimed brides perogative and helped myself to the last half a glass of fizz to steady my nerves while I watched Laura trying to apply individual false eyelashes in a hurry and told my mum to calm down as the wedding wasn't going to start without me.

  • My Dad turned up just as Laura applied my last lash. That's when I knew it was really time to get a move on. My Dad is late for everything and I had joked that it would be me waiting for him to turn up on my wedding day. I had a quick look in the mirror before I dashed into the bedroom and, if my lipstick wasn't so perfectly applied, I would have kissed Laura. She was worth every penny and she really was a bit of a luxury. Amy and my mum set to work on E (you really can't dress a 13 month old in an ivory dress until the last moment) while Jojo tried to grapple with my dress. All the while we were shouting at my cats to get away from my veil. Finally I was ready and my beautiful little girl poked her head round the door and marched into the bedroom. She looked like an Angel and she had only started walking two weeks beforehand in perfect time to totter down the aisle! Finally we were in the cars and on our way....

  • I was twenty minutes late, S was starting to worry...

    [Modified by: pearlsorsparkle on October 21, 2009 05:03 PM]

  • My sister was waiting at the door of the Cathedral for me to arrive, this is one of my favourite photos as we all rush to the door to meet the priest...

  • There was just time for a photo with my Dad:

    And my bridesmaids, who seem to have got a bit confused about where their bouquets go...

  • My Mum, my sis and my sister in law were meant to be walking all the baby attendants in ahead of the main bridal procession. I looked around for my little girl to take her place in the spotlight and there she was..... fast asleep in her buggy. I didn't dare wake her up and instead chief usher wheeled her up to the Chapel.

    Did I tell you about the Chapel? We're not getting married at the main alter, we're not that flash. I was heading for the side alter, The Chapel of Our Lady at the far right hand corner of Westminster Cathedral. Obviously I was expecting walk down the side of the Cathedral and then down the short aisle of the Chapel. My dad kept saying that we shouldn't creep down the side and should march up the main aisle. Unfortunately, the priest agreed with my dad and we began the long walk up the main aisle to the amusement the tourists and worshippers....

    [Modified by: pearlsorsparkle on October 21, 2009 05:27 PM]

  • On we go....

    And on...

    [Modified by: pearlsorsparkle on October 21, 2009 05:30 PM]

  • Until finally we turn into the chapel...

    And meet one very relieved looking groom!

  • Even then I'm not allowed to sit down...

    But S and I are just so relieved to see each other that all our nerves disapear...

  • tash86uktash86uk Posts: 247
    Ohh you look lovley! We are wedding day twins, hadn't met anyone else getting married on October 3rd!

  • Wow looks like a beautiful wedding...congratulations!!

  • Congratulations PearlsorSparkle... looks like an amazing day!

    We are getting married in April in London, so lovely to see such a beautiful London wedding. :\)
  • Congratulations, you look stunning
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