But if we married there, at the register office, where could we hold the reception? Horsham has some lovely restaurants, but we needed to keep the budget low, and we wanted to keep the 'feel' of the day completely personal. We needed somewhere very nearby, so that Steve's step-dad could get there easily from the wedding, somewhere that was a blank canvas, somewhere reasonably priced...
Pondering on this, I thanked the registrar who had let me in, and wandered back into the garden behind the register office. And then I saw the totally obvious answer!
Backing on to the garden of the register office was a little cafe. With a conservatory attached. And they hired it out for parties. And would I like to take their catering menu?
I rushed back to Steve's mum's house and waited Steve's arrival where I bubbled over with enthusiasm for the wedding venue and reception venue and I think my enthusiasm must have been infectious, because he said it seemed the perfect solution.
Looking through their menu together, we noticed they offered afternoon teas. One quick phone call, and we established they could do an afternoon tea, the following April, for 40 people in the conservatory.
A couple more phone calls and we had booked the register office and the reception venue.
We were really excited!
That was the main bit organised! Now it was just the invitations, other wedding stationery, the music, the venue dressing, the cake, the confetti
....and the dress .... but actually I already had that .....
I love your story SO MUCH xxx
Thirdthing you really should subsmit this to a wedding magazine or blog, you have such a lovely writing style and it's absolutely gripping, I'm already addicted . Please keep writing, I've been looking forward to your report for ages . I meant that though, you and Steve deserve all the happiness in the World. xxxPs. Hope you got my email before your wedding? Our email account has been playing up so I was worried that you might not have received it xxx
Thanks Dr B and Fox x I am not sure I did get your email Fox .... I feel sure I would have replied. But thank you! x
Oh no!!!!! I was worried when you didn't reply I was worried that I might have offended you . Basically it was just a very best wishes and good luck email, just wanted you to know that Mr F and I were thinking of you and Steve and hoping that you both had the most perfect day. You're welcome though xxx
As mentioned previously, we had looked at venues in the north and had sort of decided to marry up here.
To say the least, I have many hang-ups and worries about the way I look - and being in my 50s doesn't help! - so I knew getting The Dress was going to be a roller-coaster ride. To be honest I had decided upon buying a nice dress from John Lewis/Marks to get married in, or possibly a long evening/bridesmaid dress.
But I didn't get the dress of my dreams first time around, and I thought, well, it wouldn't do any harm to try on a real wedding dress ..... so I went to a wedding dress boutique.
I declared my low-ish budget (£600) and was made to feel comfortable while the assistant scurried about pulling lovely dresses from the rails. At that point, my emotions went all over the place. The old Dark Thoughts instilled in me over the years reared their ugly heads once more.
They were beautiful dresses, me being in them would spoil them, I didn't deserve to look nice, people would laugh at me, I would be an embarassment to my family and to Steve .... the assistant could ssee I was getting upset, but she was lovely, and, without giving too many details to her (or to you!) she listened to my worries and was completely lovely and reassuring and persuaded me to just 'give it a whirl'.
I didn't actually buy a dress from that shop that day - or any other day - but I felt I could face wearing a proper wedding dress, and took my daughter along for a second try of some of the dresses. She convinced me that a 'proper dress' was definitely the best thing to do - how would Steve feel if I turned up at the wedding in some ordinary old dress that a guest might wear?
I think the thought of him feeling I didn't value him enough to wear a wedding dress is what made me decide I would definitely 'go for it'!
I thought my venue was going to be a hotel or similar and therefore went for something pretty formal and traditional. If I had known it was going to end up as an afternoon tea party wedding, I would have probably gone for tea length.
But after a few visits to a few boutiques, I finally found 'the one' - it was within budget and although I had planned to avoid satin like the plague, my daughter, my friend, and I all thought this one looked just right.
In its bag .....
...I hadn't really appreciated how long that train was til I saw this picture!
Me and Steve
The above picture was taken just as I was leaving the hotel to set off to be married!
ooops the pictures didn't load!
Nooooooooooooo we NEED more pictures xxx
oh ok Fox, a few more just for you, of course!
Hooray!!!!!!! You've just made my evening Thirdthing, thank you . You looked absolutelt stunning, I knew you'd blow everyone away and I LOVE the train on your dress Your bridesmaids looked gorgeous too! xxx
Thank you italybride and Fox - I am very glad you are enjoying the report! More to come tonight! x
Two days before the wedding, I drove south with my youngest son and my daughter - the next two days were spent filling confetti cones, picking up suits, ironing tablecloths, boxing up things for the cafe, finishing the table plan etc. The bunting that we hired was waiting for me too - it was lovely!
We hired it from Beautiful Bunting based in Lewes.
And this is how it looked on the day!
The Wedding Day
I woke up at 3.12am, and despite re-fluffing the pillows and duvet in the hotel room, and counting sheep I didn't get back to sleep. Funnily enough, Stevve lay awake at his mum's house until 3.15-ish am, so between us we got a night's sleep!
With 11 hours to go before the wedding after I awoke, I htought the morning would drag, but it zoomed by particularly at the end!
The weather was miserable - 1 degree with flurries of snow but a biting wind. I felt a bit sorry for myself at first!
Still, I decided to snap out of it, and enjoy the morning! Here are a few pictures of the morning preparations!
I somehow thought that this photo would help me select which style of false lashes I would prefer!
The selection of Glitzy Secrets accessories, so I could choose on the day - a bit OTT maybe, but it was lucky I had some back ups, and these were for the BMs too and (oh dear, I really sound like I am trying to justify all the bling I bought!) they were nearly all from ebay ...... so that's ok isn't it? As it turned out, it was lucky I did have back ups as one set of ear rings I brought down and meant to wear actually didn't feel quite right on the day, so I was glad I had another pair!
And two pics of me getting my hair done and make up done!
Oh no - pictures failed again - here we go ....
I didn't think I would like being the centre of attention on the morning, but it was lovely having all the care and attention of my two bridesmaids, my future sister in law, Emma, who did all our hair, and a manicure lady coming in to do our nails and my friend's daughter, Jasmine who did my make up and also put a little bit on Steve's daughter.
Here is a picture of the girls' hair!
Finally it was time to get the dress on!
I had run about the day before looking for thick, warm wraps and shrugs, but in the end I was really pleased with my Wrapor. I had ordered it pretty much last minute after wobbles about back fat at the final fitting! The owner, Kay gives a really personal service and I ordered some fabric samples so I could get the colour right ... onlhy problem was my dress was 'in' for the alterations, so Sarah and I had to do a bit of guessing about the shade ..... in the end we chose the pale ivory chiffon. Or the organza. Can't remember now! But one of them had slight sparkle which I didn't want, so we chose the more matt fabric.
When the Wrapor arrived, I tried it on and it was fantastic - it didn'tmove or slip and was the right length to cover The Hideous Back Fat, so I was just keeping my fingers crossed it would be right on the day. As soon as I put it on I felt happy with it.
I felt much better in it than the various cardigans I had bought on ebay as cover-ups - I felt it added a bit of elegance to the dress ... and it covered The Hideous Back Fat!
The flowers arrived just as I was getting ready to leave - the only ones coming to the hotel were my bouquet and the two girls'.
The girls' flowers
This is my favourite picture of my bouquet. And probably one of the nicest of me and Stevem even though we are out of focus (on purpose I think!)
The flowers were really important to me, so I was nervous about how they might turn out. I wanted the boys to have buttonholes that were individual and suited their personalities, and also matched their tie colour choices! It went a bit wrong when my youngest son lost his tie on the morning of the wedding and had to wear a different colour! But the buttonholes were beautiful and we had lots of comments about them.
Here are some more bouquet pictures - I absolutely loved mine - the sprigs of lily of the valley gave a gorgeous scent!
As the tables in the cafe were very small, I knew I couldn't have large arrangements. This made me worry about a lack of height to the table - but we had some tiered cake stands to add some height and the bunting brought the ceiling lower, so I wasn't too worried.
In fact there weren't many spaces to put flowers at the reception venue, so we had to make the most of window-sills, nooks and crannies and the path outside! The arrangements for the table were in esence, just flower heads in cups, or tiny sprigs of flowers in little glass vases - I had collected these during the run up to the wedding, much like the china.
We had a few hydrangea 'pew ends' in the register office and a large table arrangement that doubled up as our table arrangement in the cafe.
And below is a "pew end" taken from the register office and placed beside my table plan
On the door of the register office drawing room where the ceremony took place.
Absolutely beautiful. Every detail of your wedding is just gorgeous. I love, love, love all your flowers. This is exactly how I want my day to turn out! Congrats to you and your new hubby x
Thank you so much Cajo2013. I really appreciate your comments! Thought I was typing into the ether! I think its the details that make the wedding - I spent ages thinking about the flowers, especially the buttonholes. When is your big day? x
Food and drink
The idea was, obviously, afternoon tea. We thought this would be a little bit different, fitted in with the time of day of the wedding (2pm) and also made sense on a small budget. (Our budget, for the wedding, reception, church blessing - yet to take place - evening party - also yet to take place - was £5000.00.)
The register office held a maximum of 38 and the cafe held a maximum of 40, so numbers were limited - this obviously had its advantages budget wise, but we would have liked to have a few more guest - I guess no plan is perfect, and, especially on low budget weddings, a lot of compromises have to be made!
The venue charged £3.95 for a glass of prosecco, so we bought our own - Sainsbury's Taste the Difference was reduced in price, and, even with the corkage charge at the cafe, buying our own worked out cheaper, and the bottles could be left on the tables/to the side so people couldhave more than one glass. With 9 tables - and only 4 guests to a table on most of them - we felt there would be enough for the toasts.
We had Pimms too - supposedly this was going to be in the garden of the register office and right by the cafe, but - as it was just one degree and with snow flurries, this, very sadly, couldn't go ahead ........ but after thephotos (of which we only had ten official group shots, to keep waiting time to a minimum) guest went in to the conservatory and had their Pimm's there.
I was very glad we stuck to ten official shots or ten formal shots - and I think we gave up on the last one as we were all so cold! While those formal shots are being lined up, guests take lots of similar pictures, and we have loads of lovely pictures of us in groups and with our hcildren and families etc.
I was thrilled with my retro paper straws in pink and green (from ebay) and the Pimms stirrers (from the Pimms website). There was plenty of Pimms left over so we could keep sipping it throughout the afternoon which was lovely.
I don't drink tea or coffee, so I had hot chocolate! As well as breakfast tea and Earl Grey, there were fruit teas and coffee etc for guests.
The spare Prosecco was kept to the side on ice for those wanting more - to be honest, people didn't drink much because of driving home afterwards.