Flora & Fauna - The Report

Woohoo, I'm married! After really enjoying doing a planning thread, and having a few of you actually read it and contribute to it, I thought it was only fair to share the day with you through a report. 3 weeks ago already, how did that happen?!

I am going to recount the day as best I can and show you all the wonderful things, as well as being honest about little things that may have gone wrong or been slightly disappointing. It was a truly magical day and overall it was exactly what we had hoped it would be and more, but nothing is perfect so I'll try to share some tips from what I've learned that I hope will help those of you still planning your special days. 

I'm going to post a mixture of guest and pro photos as I think that will tell the story the best, so excuse any low-res ones.

Geez, it's really surreal thinking and talking about it in past tense!

Here goes...

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  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

    The lead up -

    I work for myself and have an Etsy shop so I finished up my last order and closed my shop the weekend before the wedding as I wanted (and needed!) to have a full week of wedding prep as I had left quite a lot of little jobs to the last minute! Unless you are a super-organised bride, I really would recommend taking as much time off as you can beforehand. There can be lots of unexpected little things that crop up, or things you remember last-minute and OH who only took the day before off, said himself he wished he had taken a couple more off to have some time to relax and get into 'wedding mode'.

    The weekend before the wedding, we took a lot of our decorations down to the venue. Nerves were starting to climb and butterflies were beginning to appear and it suddenly felt very real to be stood in the venue unloading our decorations one week ahead of our wedding day. We kept saying to each other 'the next time we're here, we'll be getting married'! Cue excited squeals. I was on such a high, and we spent the day in Tetbury (the beautiful nearby village) shopping in it's antique shops for thank you gifts (yes, I left these til the weekend before...) and having lunch and generally enjoying having some time to ourselves before the craziness began. I could not wipe the smile off my face. The sun was shining and I can remember being so happy and content in that moment that a lot of my worries melted away and I remembered what the wedding was all about, me and him.

    I wholeheartedly suggest you try to take some time out just the two of you in that week leading up to the wedding. It does get crazy and there are so many other people buzzing around you and lots to do that it can be hard to find the time to just sit and reflect and get excited together. 

    I was very nervous in the week leading up, and didn't sleep well at all. It flickered from anxiety to excitement to simply playing scenarios through in my head. I just couldn't think of anything but the wedding. Part of me enjoyed the anticipation but part of me was ready to get it done and be on the plane to honeymoon!

    Skip forward to the Wednesday (two days before the wedding, and the day before we were due to start dressing the venue), when I had scheduled all my beauty appointments. I booked them all for the morning and thought I'd have a nice relaxing morning being pampered and then could get back to finishing the last bits and bobs and packing everything up and loading the car. Oh how wrong I was! Without being melodramatic, this ended up being one of the most horrible and stressful days I've ever had.

    I started with a shellac manicure, in a classic letterbox red. I was really pleased with this and they even gave me a free mini-pedicure too. So far so good. My next appointment was my hair and this is where it all went horribly wrong. I went in for a simple tone treatment for my blonde hair. I've had this done in the past, and even done it myself at home and it's always just freshened up and brightened the colour by washing out the brassy tones. I chose the salon as they were 'Wella colour experts' so I thought they would do a great job. The staff were rude, rough with my hair and although I couldn't tell when I left (though I think I was in a bit of a hurry to get out of there), they had turned my hair green. Green hair two days before my wedding day. I looked at it in different shops, out in daylight, in the public toilets etc and all the while working myself up and getting more and more freaked out and upset. I ended up having a complete bridezilla meltdown in the middle of town, on a bench in tears, not thinking straight and panicked that I had no money or time to get it fixed. To cut a long story shorter, I eventually pulled myself together and found the courage to go back in (although I really didn't want to let the

  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

    them touch my hair again). Several hours later they had fixed it, but I was a nervous wreck worrying that I was going to have green hair, or that it would fall out or something!, my head hurt, it looked more or less the same as it had when I went in, I'd had to cancel my wax appointment and it was now the end of the day and I had no time to do all the other things on my list. I ended up staying up til 2am finishing things that night as we had to leave early the next morning for the venue. As a result, quite a few things got forgotten but luckily nothing too important, and ended up having another sleepless night.

    LESSON: Do not go to a new hairsalon so close to your wedding day, no matter how professional they might seem or how simple the treatment. It really is not worth the stress or upset. 

     

  • Yeyyyy!! Your report! So sorry to hear of your hair troubles,  I am do glad you got it all sorted in the end though! Cannot wait to read more! Xx

  • Looking forward to more of this

  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

    The day before 

    I woke up REALLY early on Thursday. We were due to drive down to the venue for about 11am (an hour and a half drive away). Now, I'm a gal who likes her sleep, and usually I'll get up at the last minute possible.... I was wide awake at 6am and ready to get going! Of course OH was fast asleep until a more reasonable 7.30ish and we still had to load the car and pick up a BM en route. I didn't bother with hair or make-up this day - mostly because I didn't want to risk clogging up my skin the day before the wedding, so it was a quick shower and I was desperate to get moving (I didn't expect to run into several of our guests later that day bare-faced and greasy haired, so embarrassing!!). My belly was a bag of beans and I was dying to get to the venue and just get started on setting up as I knew everything would take longer than expected. 

    At about 9.15, off we went and eventually we arrived at Matara approx 11.30am. My BM hadn't yet been to venue and I was so excited to show her around and point out all the things I loved about it, and I suddenly felt so much calmer and started getting excited. 

    So at last some pictures! 

    We were drawn to our wedding venue for it's natural beauty and stunning gardens, the ability to get married outside and the quirky little ethnic details which reminded us of past holidays and future adventures we hope to have together. It was unique, a little bit bohemian and just had the most calming and relaxing atmosphere- something many of our guests commented on....

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     Perfection!

  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

    Having some real problems posting pics at the mo, bear with me...

  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

    So after prancing around the gardens a little, we set to work! I had decided early on to do my own flowers as I wanted to cut costs where possible and also I wanted a loose, casual and wild/freshly-picked effect to reflect and fit in with the surroundings. I collected over 100 jars to act as vases and my bridesmaid and I set to work filling all these with water, while OH went to collect the flowers from the wholesaler. My rustic wooden tables arrived early and we laid all these out with the help of the venue staff and began dressing them with table runners, table names and menus.

    In the afternoon my parents arrived and then my aunt, uncle and cousins, and the boys set to work building the foosball table (6 of them putting together one table!) , and the women spent the afternoon doing the flowers. Our photographer Julie arrived to scope out the venue and ended up choosing to stay and help us arrange the flowers too - what a sweetheart! It did take ALL afternoon, but I think we all really enjoyed doing it. The boys even ended up joining in and I think they secretly enjoyed it too! This was a time where I had to bite my tongue though and try not to be controlling, I went with the flow but you could definitely tell which ones the boys had done! Bless them.

    Mum & BM arranging the flowers:

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    I think we finished up around 7pm. I had originally wanted everything finished that night, but the flowers had taken much longer than I'd expected and I was conscious of everyone getting tired and hungry and so we left everything else for the morning. We went across the road for some dinner with the family and had a lovely time, although I'd be lying if I said my mind wasn't elsewhere and I really had to force my dinner down as the nerves were creeping back again. Another BM arrived that evening and we all went back to the room pretty early to start beauty prep for the next day.

    TIP - I wholeheartedly recommend doing your own flowers if you want a similar look. The jars cost me nothing, I spent about £5 on ribbon to decorate them, and the flowers themselves came to at least half the price compared with if I'd used a florist. And I had a TON of flowers for my money, filled all the jars, did bouquets and had plenty left over to put in pots and buckets and things.

    I ordered my flowers from a super-sweet and helpful wholesaler (will credit all my suppliers right at the end) and had sent him pictures, gave him a budget and more or less gave him license to order whatever was in season that fit in with that look and feel. I wasn't concerned with sticking to too much of a colour scheme but I liked them mostly neutral/white, had loads of foliage and slight touches of blush peachy/pink. Some of the flowers were more pink than I had envisioned, but I didn't care and still loved how they all looked together and loved that we had all put them together ourselves.

    Ta dah!

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  • Little JulesLittle Jules Posts: 1,538

    Your venue is so beautiful, and the flowers look great, such an amazing job! Looking forward to reading the rest image 

  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

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  • NuggyNuggy Posts: 527

    everything looks amazing! Can't wait to read more x

  • Lou85Lou85 Posts: 1,802 New bride

    It all looks beautiful so far image can't wait to see more pics! Xx

  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

    Eeee, people are reading. This is fun! Thanks ladies. Gotta show my face in a minute though :-/

    Before I move on to the big day itself, I just want to flash some proper pics of my invitations as I never got any decent shots of them before and I was just so fuffin' pleased with them. I'm a stationery geek, what can I say image

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  • Awwwhhh.. I love your invites. Mine arrived and i love them. Thank you for your help! What did you use to write the names on the tags? My writibg looked rubbish! Need to learn for place cards!! Can't wait to see some more pics Xx

  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

    The big day!

    The night before the wedding, I had booked one room at the venue for me and my two bridesmaids to share. It had a double-bed and a 'Z-bed' and was plenty spacious enough for us to lay out all our stuff and decorations and things. We didn't use the room until after dinner and by then all the venue staff had gone home. Well, the Z-bed had no sheets and after one of us flushing the loo, it continued to flush and gargle ALL NIGHT! It was SO noisy and the best we could do was close the en suite door and hope we could sleep through it, with three of us piled into the double bed. (This is my only complaint about the venue, they were otherwise fantastic but after paying £165 for the room, you expect the basics to work).

    LESSON - Be sure to check your room while there are still staff around to fix any problems (this doesn't really apply if you're staying in a proper hotel with 24hr reception but for us this was a real problem).

    I did not sleep a wink that night. Not that I can blame it all on the plumbing though, my mind (and stomach) were racing as I flicked between worrying about getting everything done to just pure excitement and adrenaline. Unfortunately, the sleepless night showed on my face, and I have the biggest bags I've ever seen in most of my pictures. ..sigh

    Again, on the morning of the wedding I was wide awake from 5.30am. I forced myself to lie in bed as long as I could but eventually quietly got up about 6 and pottered around writing thank you cards and wrapping BM and parent gifts (yes, I left this until the day of the wedding!) and made a list assigning everyone a job for the morning. Eventually the other two stirred, I took a shower and then we all went over the road to breakfast where we ran into my aunt and uncle and mum and dad. I had to force food down. I had zero appetite but knew I had to eat something!

    TIP - Write a list of jobs that need to be done and assign each one to a friend/family member/staff. Having everyone know what they were doing and able to just get on with it not only took the pressure off, but it's also great to give people a focus and purpose so that you don't end up with lots of helpers swanning around you at a loose end.

    One bridesmaid laid out the placecards, another did the BM bouquets, mum did the buttonholes, dad laid out my escort cards, I put together the kids activity packs (yes, I sorted these that last minute with print outs from the Martha Stewart website!) while the venue staff painstakingly hung my precious 1000 origami cranes....

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    To my surprise, everything was finished in much less time than I had expected and we were set up, showered, fed, checked out and transferred over to the honeymoon lodge by about 10.30am.

  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

    Victoria, I'm so glad you got them and that you love yours too. Can't wait to see! For the tags I bought a calligraphy pen from hobby craft and mixed black and white ink to get the shade I wanted and just practiced copying the typeface from the invite card. Some were quite wobbly close up but I was pretty pleased on the whole as my regular handwriting is awful. Took ages to do all the tags and envelopes though and I only had 40. Worth it I hope image xx

  • Letty LouLetty Lou Posts: 219

    Really enjoying your report, looking forward to the next instalment! Xx

  • kitten2kitten2 Posts: 2,240

    It looks stunning so far! Your flowers look fab! Show us a picture of you woman!! I wanna see!

  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

    Hehe sorry kitten! It's coming!image

    My third bridesmaid arrived a little after 11am with my little flower girl. Those of you who have read my planning thread will know that she was 9months pregnant and that the wedding was just a few days before her due date so I was very worried that she wouldn't be able to make it. I was so relieved and over the moon that she was there. Big excited hugs all round.

    Prosecco was popped open, I gave them their gifts, and then bridal prep began!

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    My bridesmaid did my hair, and then my MUA, Sophie showed up and started on my makeup. I felt pretty calm at this point, she was a relaxing presence and general chat helped keep my mind occupied. We were still running early at this point, the ceremony wasn't til 3pm but I'm glad we left so much time.

    A getting ready robe was something I didn't think about until last minute and as a result ended up just grabbing one of OH's shirts the night before. It's not the prettiest thing but it was nice to have a part of him there that morning (even if it was uber-wrinkled!). Jewellery was also purchased two days before on the cheap from the highstreet! I neglected quite a few things to do with me as I was too wrapped up in all the decorations in the lead up. I guess it wasn't that important to me. I don't think it mattered on the day.

    One tip though - don't wear an ugly old hair tie around your wrist, it's not very elegant or photogenic....!

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  • SongbirdsingsSongbirdsings Posts: 1,290

    Hi.  I'm so pleased to see this! image  I've always loved the look of your venue since you showed us the pictures. Your flowers look beautiful. I agree re doing them yourself...I had such a happy time doing mine. 

    Its great to see your plans coming together. 

  • TadpoleTadpole Posts: 2,134

    Oooooh loving this!! Everything looks BEAUTIFUL! Looking forward to reading more xx

     

  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

    Meanwhile across the road, OH was greeting guests at the pub...

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    And he opened my gift to him, which he says gave him a bit of an emotional wobble and he had to put it away really quickly and not look at it so he wouldn't cry! I was really pleased with this gift, although I had asked the seller to stamp the wedding date under the text but for some reason this got missed off. Bit disappointed about that but he still loved it which is the main thing. He said it reminded him of the film 'UP' which we both have a soft spot for.

     

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  • NuggyNuggy Posts: 527

    Hurry up with the dress pictures, I'm on the edge of my seat!  x

  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

    Before I knew it, it was time to put on my dress! This was when everything really started to sink in and I started feeling emotional myself. I had tried my dress on a good 4 or 5 times, but nothing compared to putting it on for real as you're preparing to walk down the aisle. 

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    It was quite a team effort!

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     Nervous bride!

    Originally I had planned to wear a floral crown. I struggled to find anything in this country that I really liked as I didn't want anything too large or fake looking. I eventually ordered two real gypsophila crowns, one for me and one for my flower girl, but changed my mind last minute on the day and decided just to pin some fresh flowers in my hair instead. It looked lovely on my flower girl though.

    After months of trying 30DS and Tae Bo Billy etc and not really seeing any results, I had given up on working out and just accepted my shape at my final fitting four weeks before. Somehow, the waistband of my dress ended up too big for me on the day! I had unexpectedly lost a couple of inches in the last couple of weeks and so it ended up quite baggy and was rolling down and looked a little bulky and untidy around my waist in some of the pictures. Those who read my planning thread will know I had had a bit of a wobble a few months before about whether I should get a different belt/waistband for the dress but eventually decided I liked it as it was....

    TIP - with the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had got a different belt. Something a little sturdier that would have stayed in place and nipped me in a little would have been better. If you have second thoughts about something like this, maybe a headpiece or shoes or whatever, I would advise getting a backup in case you change your mind/don't feel comfortable on the day. You can always return it if you don't use it, but I do remember thinking I should have just gone for it and followed my gut.

    My other dress hitch I had was the neckline. What I hadn't anticipated with an unstructured floaty dress, was how much the neckline would move and gape with my movements! Obviously wearing it in the shop and standing relatively still, the neckline, while low, was in the right position and stayed there. What I've discovered from my photographs is that it shifted around a fair bit throughout the day and embarrassingly in quite a few pictures you can see too much cleavage and even my bra! I'm horrified by this and it would have been easily rectified by pinning or stitching the layers together at the top.

  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

    I had some needle and thread in my bag and a couple of stitches would have been all it took, but I literally did not look in the mirror all day so had no idea that I was revealing so much. I do cringe when thinking about it, not quite the classy, demure look I was going for :-/

    LESSON - Walk around in your dress, pretend to hug people, sit down, lean forward as if signing the register, dance etc etc. to identify issues like this, particularly if you have an unstructured dress. Also, put your BMs or mum on boob watch lol!

  • kitten2kitten2 Posts: 2,240

    BEAUTIFUL!

  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

    We were due to leave to meet the registrar at 2.45pm, but they were running a little late so we waited in the lodge for the venue staff to come get us. Being all dressed up and ready to go, with nerves building and all my bridemaids being lovely and telling me I looked beautiful and talking about my OH standing at the end of the aisle etc, ended up being my emotional wobble of the day! It just hit me suddenly. Suprisingly this was the only time I cried, but I just fell apart right before my dad came to get me.

    Cue girly, hand-flapping, ugly-crying!

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    Meanwhile....

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  • kitten2kitten2 Posts: 2,240

    Wow your venue is sooooo stunning and you look pretty when you cry! I look horrific and my eyes stay red forever so hope I don't do it! Love your nail colour!

  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

    Ohhh, I've not shown you my bouquet yet. I did this myself the day before when we did the flowers, and I was just so darn pleased with myself! Tied to the stem was my late grandfather's wedding ring, which was my something blue and my something borrowed.

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    After a bit of a blub, we were ready to go! 

    Me and my dad, and a shot of the back of my dress...

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    And me and the BMs - not a great shot this but it shows off the BM dresses and their bouquets! I was SO nervous and it shows on my face. I wish we looked a bit more excited and like we actually like each other haha, but I think at this point I just wanted to go and marry my man! The venue person was lingering too and I knew everyone was waiting for us so didn't leave much time for piccies.

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     TIP - Put some time aside to have some portraits with your BMs before it gets too close to the time you need to leave. We never really got many pics together as it was all go after this point. 

  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

    Bless you kitten, thank you. We took these photos right after I cried so in the closer shots you can see my bloodshot puffy eyes! You just have to embrace it as a real moment and true emotion though, no matter how unflatteringimage xx

  • NuggyNuggy Posts: 527

    Wow! You look stunning x

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