Bunting, Barns and Beatles

Hello all! I didn’t actually get time to do a planning thread, as we went from engaged to married within the space of 7 short months, so even though I fully intended to document all my planning, I just didn’t get time! image

So, I thought it might make sense to start my report with a little bit of background! Hubbie and I had been together for nearly 3 years when he booked a surprise weekend away for my birthday at the end of January. He didn’t tell me where we were going, only that I needed my passport. So, although I wasn’t expecting a proposal, there was definitely part of me that *hoped* that could be the reason for the romantic surprise weekend. Then, when hubbie’s mum text me the day before we went and said “enjoy Paris” (d’oh), I couldn’t help but get excited. Put it this way – I got my hair and nails done that day, just in case… image

After booking into our 5* hotel just off the Champs Elysees(!), we had a great day of sightseeing – Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, le Petit Palais, down to the Louvre and a visit to the Musee D’Orsay. Hubbie had booked us into a Michelin starred restaurant that evening – I was so nervous, I could barely enjoy the food! After a beautiful three courses and coffee, I started to think that I’d got it wrong and he wasn’t going to propose after all. That is, until he told me that he had never been so happy since he was three years old and riding on his auntie’s hoover pretending to be a superhero, and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life making me that happy. Then, after a lot of fumbling in his trouser pocket, he produced a beautiful diamond ring. Funnily enough, he had pinched one of my old rings from when I was much younger to try and guess the size, but it turned out it was 6 sizes too big for my finger! So I couldn’t wear the ring until after I got home and had it altered – just as well, I’d have been having a heart attack the whole time walking around Paris, checking it was still on my finger image.

image

 

Of course, I don’t think I stopped grinning until I fell asleep that night. We walked back to our hotel where we called our friends and family to break the news. My Mum had been waiting up by the phone – she and my Dad already knew because hubbie had asked my Dad’s permission! I was so pleased when I found that out, because my Dad means so much to me.

 

«1

Posts

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    Hmm, I tried to upload a second photo to that post but it wouldn't let me...

    image

     There we go... "We're engaged!" image

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    The first thing we had to decide on was the type of wedding we wanted. H would have preferred if it was just the two of us, going away completely on our own, and getting some random locals to be our witnesses. As tempting as that was, I had two things holding me back – the first was that I wanted my parents to be there because we’ve had a very tough year (my Mum had been diagnosed with, and had very serious surgery and radiotherapy for, mouth and throat cancer). Also, I was worried that this would (hopefully!) be my only ever wedding, and I might look back with regret if I didn’t have a “big day” like other brides. So, we decided to have it in the UK, but we only wanted something small. Just us and parents. Actually, H doesn’t get on with his parents, so we’ll invite siblings too. But I don’t get on with my sister (my only sibling), so let’s invite close friends. And close family. Suddenly our small wedding had a daytime guest list of 60-odd with 20 more for the evening! Still, everyone that we had there were people we genuinely wanted around us, so we were very happy.

    Next question was what type of UK wedding we would like. We both knew straight away that we wanted something based around an afternoon tea party with bunting, so that was the starting point that everything else flowed from. H had been one of the Olympic torchbearers last summer and we’d had afternoon tea to celebrate and it was just lovely, so we wanted to recreate that, albeit on a bigger scale. Bunting became the theme that tied everything together.

    image

     

    I had also recently discovered my creative side, and wanted to do and make as much as I could myself. 

    image

     

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    Choosing the venue turned out to be remarkably easy! We went first of all to Lowther Castle – a castle and gardens local to where we live. However, the castle is currently being refurbished and was covered on one side with scaffolding, so that wouldn’t have looked great on the wedding photos. Plus, we wanted something a bit more personal to us.

    image

     

    Then, a few weeks after getting engaged, I looked for the first time on a wedding website, at the Real Weddings section. I saw a couple that had got married in the Lakes, in a big country cottage with a stone barn. I asked H2B if it was near to us, and he said it was literally 15 minutes from our house. So, we hopped in the car and went for a look. Coincidentally, the owner was there doing some maintenance and showed us around. We loved it straight away. We could get married in the barn, have our wedding breakfast in the dairy downstairs, and come back up to the barn in the evening for the party. Also, the barn was attached to a big country cottage that slept 12-14, so we could have our close friends and family staying with us for the week of the wedding.

    image

     

    image

     

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    I’ll try not to get too bogged down in planning stuff given that this is actually a wedding report, but as they otherwise won’t get chance to feature, I thought I’d show off my wedding invitations. As we’d decided to get married on a weekday, we thought we better send Save the Dates as soon as possible, with the full invites to follow. So, sticking with the bunting theme, these are my hand-made efforts:

    image

     

    image

     

    Making the invitations took an absolute age, but in the end, I was pleased that I did them because I got so many lovely comments about them. Some people didn’t actually realise I had made them myself and thought I’d had them “handmade” by a professional!

    image

     

    There was so much detail to include – accommodation, directions, things to do in the area etc etc, that we ended up making a wedding website, as the invitations were starting to look like War and Peace!

    The inserts that we did include in the invitations were the RSVP cards and also an invitation to bake a cake for the “Great Wedding Bake Off” that was going to form part of the afternoon tea!

     

    image

     

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    Ok, so I’ll (finally) get on with telling you about the wedding day!

    Unbelievably, after taking a Nytol, I actually managed to get a few hours’ sleep, only to be woken up at 6.15am by H2B who was too excited to go back to sleep, and also concerned about his speech (he hadn’t written it yet – talk about last minute!). So, H2B went to work on his speech and make a “to-do list” for our best man to oversee during the day to make sure everything ran smoothly.

    One of our friends who was staying with us at the cottage had kindly volunteered to collect our guests staying in local accommodation and bring them to the venue in H2B’s Land Rover, which had been decorated with a wedding ribbon and bows especially for the occasion. 

    image

     

    image

     

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    Before we all started getting ready, I got H2B to come up to our room so I could give him his wedding present - a Rolex submariner. I had planned on a less expensive watch but a few months before the wedding, he told me that if he ever owned a good watch, that would be the only one he would want! However, he was totally bowled over by the gift, and it made a really lovely start to the day.

    image

     

    image

     

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    So far, my heart had been beating about 300 beats per second and my stomach was definitely feeling the nerves, but when the hairdresser arrived (we used Capellis in Penrith) and I started to get distracted, I calmed down a little. My bridesmaids, flowergirl and my Mum got ready with me in my room. I'd been a bit nervous after my hair trial that the style wasn't quite right but after making a couple of changes, it ended up perfect - I was really pleased (and relieved).

    image

     

    Rachel Winter, our photographer and make-up artist arrived just as my hair was being finished and took some photos of my dress and accessories while we finished up and I struggled to get my contact lenses in!

    image

     

    image

     

    It was really nice to have someone there to do my hair and make-up rather than me doing a ham-fisted attempt, no doubt in a last minute rush!

    The morning was flying by and it was almost time to get into my dress, so I quickly gave out the gifts I'd got for the bridal party. For my parents, I'd got them each a triple photo frame. In the left side was a photo of me with them as a child and in the middle was a poem about them. The right side was left blank to add a photo of me with them from the wedding day. I also got my Mum a handkerchief with a poem on it and my Dad all the wedding related stamps from the period that he collects. Of course, my Mum cried image

    image

     

    image

     I got each of my bridesmaids a photo frame with an old photo of me and them (to be replaced with a photo of me and them on the wedding day), and a silver necklace with a single pearl to wear with their dresses (a full length champagne coloured dress from Coast). Finally, for my three year old flower girl, the full set of Beatrix Potter books.

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    All the guests were starting to arrive and I was getting more and nervous as I could hear them bustling and chatting downstairs. I looked out of the window and saw H2B talking to some of the guests, and I was overwhelmed with emotion and started to well up!

    So, now it was time to put on my dress! My beautiful Jenny Packham Foxglove. I loved it the minute I first saw it, and when I tried it on, I knew it was The One. All day, people were complimenting it, saying how beautiful it was and how stunning I looked in it, so I was really pleased.

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    The ceremony

    Next, I got called down to be interviewed by the registrar. By this point, nerves had well and truly taken over. I welled up again just hearing the registrar tell me the vows! Thankfully he had a spare copy of the readings, as our first reader flew into the room in a panic as he’d forgotten to bring it with him!

    So, shaking like a leaf, we walked to the barn where the ceremony was to be performed. The room was so beautiful after we spent most of the two days before setting the venue up with all of our handmade bunting and other decorations. I was so wobbly walking up the stairs - my legs had completely gone. Somehow I made it to the top and I walked down the aisle arm in arm with my Dad.

    image

     

    image

     

    One of our friends played the guitar for us during the ceremony, which was lovely. I walked down the aisle to Here, There and Everywhere by The Beatles (more about the Beatles later!!). I was grinning from ear to ear as I started to walk, and as soon as I saw H2B at the end of the aisle I was overwhelmed and started to cry, but tried to fight it back. In the end, the happiness won and the smile took over again.

    image

     

    Parting from my Dad with a kiss, I joined H2B. I hadn't really noticed his expression as I walked down the aisle towards him, but I could see now that he was quite emotional, and he shed a tear or two during the readings. I was so surprised as H2B has never really been an emotional person. I was so moved.

    The readings were really lovely. The first was “In My Life” by The Beatles. The second, H2B had written himself and it meant a lot to us. Our friend who read it out really brought it alive. Next was the exchanging of the rings and I managed to get through it without crying. And before you know it, the registrar announced that we were officially married…. and Mr Giovanni kissed his bride image

    image

     

    image

     

    As we signed the register, our friend played Blackbird, Woman and Norwegian Wood (all Beatles songs). I was so happy! We had photos with our bridesmaids and best man, and walked down the aisle to All You Need Is Love. I couldn't believe we were actually married! It was lovely to walk out beaming at my new husband and our guests and actually taking in everyone that was there.

    image

     

    image</d
  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

  • BanariBanari Posts: 1,847

    Amazing proposal, beautiful photos and WOW to the invites...they are brilliant and definitely do not look homemade!

  • Ahh, lovely!  Your dress is stunning....you look so elegant. image I think I'm going to have Here,there and everywhere to walk in to (we have cello and harp). 

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    Aw, thanks Banari! I did quite get the crafting bug during the wedding prep!

    Songbirdsings - thank you so much. The story behind the dress is actually quite nice. Me and my Mum had spent an entire day trying on dresses - we'd been to about 4 different shops, and I just couldn't find anything I liked. I have IBS, so I couldn't have anything that was tight around my stomach, which ruled out anything with a corset or bones. Absolutely nothing was coming even close, and by shop number 4 I burst into tears in the middle of the store!! image 

    My friend had sent me a photo of the Foxglove but at the time neither of us knew who it was by. I happened to come across it by chance on a website, so after my long day of dress shopping, I called up the nearest stockist who said that they had one left in store, in the right size. And it had just gone into the sample sale, meaning that it was now within my budget (just). But they had no appointments left to try on that day. I spoke to my Mum and we decided to go and have a look anyway and if I liked it in person, I could make another appointment to come back. But, lo and behold, when I arrived, their 4pm appointment had cancelled, so I could try it on! As soon as I put the dress on, my Mum started crying, so I knew it was The One image 

    Here, There and Everywhere is so beautiful - we also had it for our first dance (but more about that later). Cello and harp will be lovely!!

  • :D:D Posts: 1,805

    This is a beautiful report, lots of lovely details. Its great that your bridesmaids wore champagne dresses as that's what I am considering at the mo image Your dress is simply stunning and I really like your DIY touches image Hope you have a fantastic honeymoon!

  • PoppinsPoppins Posts: 3,146

    Beautiful report so far! Your venue looked beautiful! Look forward to hearing more xx

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    Thank you, both! I'll post a few more of the homemade touches soon! image

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    Homemade touches

    As I mentioned above, I wanted to do and make as much as I could myself. Here are a few of the little touches from the ceremony itself (see also the "just married" bunting above which I made!).

    Order of service:

    image

    Voile curtains with hanging wicker hearts:

     

    image

    Our "order of the day". This was actually H2B's idea - we collect the old Penguin Classic books and he suggested we should incorporate these postcards into the day. So, we found ones that were relevant to different parts of the day, and I framed them with a lace border:

     

    image

    Large birdcage with a flower garland winding around the inside:

     

    image

    Our beautiful flowers. I chose the flowers, and H2B's mum and her friends made all of the vases, bouquets and buttonholes. I ordered the cream enamel jugs from eBay:

     

    image

    Reserved signs for the bridal party and readers:

     

    image

    Jam jars decorated with hessian, lace and string:

     

    image

    The room, the nigh before:

     

    image

     

    image

     

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    Oh I meant to say, all my beautiful wedding things are currently living in our spare room taking up much-needed space, so one of my tasks for the Christmas holidays is to list them on here / eBay to sell - so if there's anything you like, contact me or look out for my thread in the swap/sale forum x

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    The Beatles

    The Beatles accidentally became a bit of a theme in our wedding! They play a big part in our history, so it was quite fitting, really. One of our first dates was when I showed H2B round my hometown of Liverpool, at all the Beatles sites. I grew up in the village that John Lennon and Paul McCartney were from, so I do a good guided tour!

    “Here, There and Everywhere” was always going to be our first dance, as it’s a special song to us. I had considered a Beatles band for the evening, but was worried it might be a bit cheesy. However, we went to see “Let It Be” in London in May, and it was absolutely brilliant, so that made our minds up and we booked “Help!” straight away.

    We really struggled with the readings for the ceremony. H2B hated all of the usual romantic readings and poem - that’s why he wrote one of them himself! For the second reading, I came across the words to “In My Life” in a friend’s wedding poetry book, and it fitted perfectly. H2B loved it, too.

    "In My Life

    There are places I remember
    All my life, though some have changed
    Some forever not for better
    Some have gone and some remain
    All these places have their moments
    With lovers and friends I still can recall
    Some are dead and some are living
    In my life I've loved them all

    But of all these friends and lovers
    There is no one compares with you
    And these memories lose their meaning
    When I think of love as something new
    Though I know I'll never lose affection
    For people and things that went before
    I know I'll often stop and think about them
    In my life I love you more

    Though I know I'll never lose affection
    For people and things that went before
    I know I'll often stop and think about them
    In my life I love you more
    In my life I love you more"

    Then, there was the music for the ceremony. We asked our friend what romantic/slow songs he could play on the guitar, and quite a few of them were Beatles songs, so that’s what we went with!

    image

     

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    Afternoon Tea  and the Great Wedding Bake-Off

    After the photos, we had afternoon tea in a big marquee that one of our friends had lent us. It looked amazing! We had made the sandwiches the night before and our friends had laid it all out before the ceremony.  We'd spent months collecting vintage crockery and it looked beautiful all laid out with our (homemade!) cake stands, vintage style bottles that we had collected, made labels for and filled with traditional drinks. We also had a table with our guests' entries to “The Great Wedding Bake Off”!

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

    We'd had little trophies made for the winner and runner up, and the guests gathered round to watch H and one of his friends judge the bake-off.  All the entries were fab and we were so pleased that everyone had made such an effort.

    The bake off:

    image

     

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    image

     

    image

     

  • PoppinsPoppins Posts: 3,146

    Which cake won??? xx

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    1st prize went to H2B's sister-in-law, who had made a coconut and lime cake (which was wheat and dairy free).

    2nd prize went to our friend, Po (pictured, above), who had made the chocolate cake in the front-left of the picture.

    Special commendation to the bunting cake for presentation!!

  • MrsSabsMrsSabs Posts: 560

    Hi Giovanni,

    I need to make a dairy free cake for my cousin as he's severely allergic.  We're having a lemon wedding cake and would like a cake for him to match!  If it's egg free too do you think I could get the recipe?

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    Hi MrsSabs, I'm not sure if I have any egg-free recipes, but to make it dairy free, I always just substitute soya milk for ordinary milk, and Vitalite dairy-free spread for butter. BBC Good Food has a good website where recipes are organised by dietary requirements, so you may find something there!

    Just found this, too: http://heavenlyveganbaking.wordpress.com/tag/egg-free-lemon-drizzle-cake/ 

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    Garden Games

    Following on from the bake off, our friend Laith took on the role of Games Master for the garden games. He explained to the guests that we would be having a number of games which would be Bride's Team vs Groom's Team, and that for each game, me & hubbie would pick teams to compete against each other.

    image

     The first game, to allow everyone to participate, was bingo! Everyone was given a bingo card and a dabber and despite a few initially sceptical faces, everyone really got into it. Even Po, who had never even heard of the game, and thought the whole thing was a bit strange, really got into it and was so excited when she only had one number left to go. Unfortunately, bingo was the first win of the day for the boys.

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    Next up was boules. After a good start by the bride's team, easily beating the boys 3-0, they pulled it back to 3-3 and stole it at the end. The competition was definitely hotting up, with the girls screaming for Team Bride and vice versa!

    image

     

    image

     

  • What great ideas you had! It looks like a really fun wedding. image

  • MrsSabsMrsSabs Posts: 560

    Thanks for the cake link will give it a go!

  • GiovanniGiovanni Posts: 208

    Following the boules was the kids' space hopper race, where two boys and two girls competed assisted by adults. Our nephew, Monty, secured yet another win for the boys before it was time for the adults' race.

    image

     

    image

     Despite being three months pregnant, our friend Tash was well up for this game and stormed into the lead! After a shocking display of cheating by the boys, 12-year old Kishan beat Tash to the finish line in a photo finish. In the meantime, one of the other boys had gone on his backside at least twice and carried his hopper across the finish line, arm in arm with one of my girlfriends, both in stitches.

    image

     

    image

     

    image

     

Sign In or Register to comment.