Hello Uttersons. Long time no see! Ahem…
I’m actually horrifIed at how long it has been since I last posted. Nearly a whole year. A YEAR!!! The shame. But let’s not dwell on that negativity. Change is a’coming. Good, exciting, positive change that is going to see things looking a little different around here. Behind the scenes, Utterly Wow has been undergoing a bit of a face lift and in a couple of weeks the new website will go live, with a new-look, integrated Utter Blog. I can’t promise weekly posts, but I will be blogging monthly. I’m not going to lie, I am SO looking forward to reconnecting again!
But for now, I left you all in the lurch regarding the beautiful Jennie’s wedding to Andy which took place last summer and was an absolute CORKER. Those who were following her wedding planning adventures will know how hard she worked and I can only apologise for making you wait this long to see the fruits of her labour.
From here on in, the words are by Jennie herself, and huge thank you to Rebecca Wedding Photography for letting me share her glorious images.
“The last few weeks before our wedding were packed with a seemingly endless list of crafts, tasks and booze runs. I’d love to say I got it all finished, but come the 6th August a significant amount of things on that list hadn’t been crossed off. I can honestly say that I didn’t miss a single one of those unfinished details on the day, even if they annoy me now!
I woke up on the morning of our wedding feeling astonishingly calm. The night before had been a frantic rush to finish getting everything ready. We had our rehearsal at the church arranged for 6pm, so we’d set half 5 as our cut off point where everything had to be done. We’d booked out the beer garden of the local pub, the plan being to eat, drink with the bridesmaids and say a romantic sunset goodbye to each other with Andy heading off to the bnb he’d be spending the night. Of course come 5.30 the flowers weren’t finished, we didn’t have a play list for the dance floor or exit music from the church, and Andy hadn’t even started to pack. The romantic, restful evening went out of the window, and we spent most of our last night as single people frantically trying to burn CDs, and dashing around the garden in the pitch black arranging tubs of flowers. Andy lost his phone, then his bnb keys (which didn’t resurface until one of our guests discovered them in the marquee the next day!), and it was nearly midnight when my Mum finally kicked him out the house.
To wake up calm then, was a real surprise. Harriet our hair stylist arrived with her assistant Harriet (not confusing at all!) just after 6 and started getting to work on my maids. My maids did a very good job of not complaining all about the stupidly early start and seeing the girls have their hair braided, plaited and curled felt like the first real sign that the day was actually happening. While the first girls were having their hair done I finished off the wedding cake. Huge bridesmaids points go to Nikki who on the morning was armed with a hacksaw cutting up doweling rods to go in the cake. I think I was quite glad to have quite a few bits left to do, I think I’d have got nervous sitting around, but hanging signs on the gate, and fishing out knives for the cheeseboard kept me occupied until it was time to crack open the champagne.
I’d made bags up for my bridesmaids filled with mini bottles of prosecco or vodka, chocolates, slippers, and silky Chinese dressing gowns from the market near our flat in Hong Kong. They wore these to get ready, and I love the pictures of us all sipping champagne in them. Oscar the cat also made a big appearance, much to the delight of Rebecca our photographer.
My dress (my beautiful, beautiful dress!) was Kristene by Claire Pettibone, in blush. I fell in love with the scooped back, the heart shaped lace train, and all the little tassels that danced around as I moved. It was the only dress I tried that made me both feel like me and feel amazing. I wore pearl studs given to me by my Dad in my ears for my something old, and my Grandma’s engagement ring as my something borrowed. My mum surprised me that morning with the most beautiful delicate white gold bracelet for my something new. I’d known from day one of getting engaged that I’d be wearing a flower crown on my wedding day. Bex, our florist, had made me a rose bud flower crown to wear and I absolutely loved it. My Mum hung it up in her conservatory after the wedding day and fingers crossed it seems to have dried perfectly so I can keep it.
What came as a surprise to me, and then Andy on the day itself was that I also wore a veil. I’d been determined that I wasn’t having a veil, but when I tried on the Kristene veil that matched the lace perfectly on my dress I was utterly smitten and ended up getting married in a ridiculously long veil. The unexpected veil turned out to be one of the things I’m most glad I did. Although I ended up carrying it (or getting Andy to carry it!) for most of the time it was on my head, it made me feel very bridal, and I love the shots of it billowing out around me.
After quite a relaxed morning, it seemed the time to leave came all in a rush. We sent off my Mum, then the bridesmaids, and then finally it was just me and my brother waiting to go. My uncle drove us to the church in a duck egg blue camper van, trimmed with some of my Mum’s handmade bunting. The camper, called Belinda, was a original with all its vintage quirks – a particularly special one being the sticky main door, which jammed with me and my brother inside as we pulled up outside the church and I almost ended up having to climb my way out through the front window! It was a surreal moment turning up to the village church where I’d gone to countless times with Primary school, in a wedding dress.
One of my favourite moments of the day was walking down the aisle. My Dad passed away a few years ago, so my big brother David stepped in and did the job of walking me down the aisle. After months of not being able to decide what we wanted for my entrance music, we finally picked The Wedding Processional from The Sound of Music.
Despite the rehearsal only the night before, me and David completely forgot how long we were supposed to wait after the last bridesmaids had gone to start our walk, and an attempted peep around the church door left us none the wiser. After a brief debate we decided we’d just have to go for it and hope we weren’t too early! I loved walking down the aisle, catching sight of so many faces on the way down, and then seeing Andy waiting at the end. He looked stupidly handsome in the pale grey three-piece suit he’d had made at a tailors in Hong Kong. He’d always sworn he’d get married in his converse, and he surprised me by wearing what are probably the first pair of proper shoes I’ve ever seen him in!
The service itself was exactly what I’d hoped for. My strongest memory is just of complete happiness, beaming at Andy as we said our vows. We had three readings; My Mum did the religious reading, then our friend Ed read ‘Us Two’ by A.A.Milne, one of Andy’s favourite childhood poems. For our final reading we’d asked our very talented friend Hannah to surprise us with a reading. She wrote the most beautiful, personal piece all about friendship (and red wine!). It was the only thing that actually made me cry in the service!
Our rings were rings we’d made each other at The Quarter Workshop in Birmingham. As we disappeared off to sign the registers Andy’s friend Tom sung Bryan Adam’s I’ll Always Be Right There, then another song he’d written for us. We came out of the church to Elbow’s One Day Like This. Outside the church we were showered with dried petal confetti – a labour of love resulting from over a year of diligent petal drying by my Mum!
Another of my favourite parts of the day was the walk back to the house from the church. We surprised everyone with Street Three, a 3 piece jazz band, leading everyone back through the village. It was great fun to have people winding down car windows to congratulate us! The band played another set during the drinks reception, where we served ice creams along with Pimms, bubbles and “Horona”, Andy’s Dad’s very well received homebrew! We’d filled with front garden with hay bales, barrels, and a few garden games. We were whisked off down the lane for photos with Rebecca, and got back just in time to grab the last few of the canapés that we’d served instead of starters.
Not long after our return we headed around into the marquee. Our MC, Darren, took a unique take on the entrance of the bride and groom, and got everyone going with an Icelandic chant before we came in! Coming into a tent packed full of everyone you love clapping and cheering for you must be one of the best feelings in the world.
We’d decorated the marquee with dozens of paper pom poms, meters of my Mum’s home bunting, and fairy lights. The furniture was all hired from Virginia’s Vintage hire company. We’d laid up the tables with vintage china collected by our Mum’s over the year, and our family friend Gilli had filled dozens of jam jars with flowers for us. For favours we made jumble berry jam for the ladies, and red onion chutney for the gents. Mum also (amazingly!) hand stitched personalised napkins for everyone. On the day we had Sama there to over see everything and keep the day running along. I’m so glad we had her there, I honestly didn’t worry about timings or keeping everyone fed and watered all day.
Our caterers, Crumble Catering, served up a barbecue. Honestly the meal part of the day is a bit of a blur for me. I never thought I’d be one of those brides that doesn’t eat much on her wedding day, but I don’t remember eating much other than bread and butter! We knew from the start of planning that a top table wasn’t for us, and we love the feel of tressle tables. We’d sat ourselves in amongst a group of friends, with our families on tables close by. This turned out to be perfect for us, and was an amazing spot to laugh and cry our way through the speeches.
For desert we had a Great Wedding Bake Off, with the most amazing array of cakes and puddings baked up by family and friends. We were blown away by just how much cake was brought along, and were very happy to work our way through the left overs the next day! We had everything from sacher torte, fraiser cake, banana loaf, champagne strawberry and white chocolate cake to home made gin from friends that don’t bake. Andy’s Granny even came out of baking retirement with her famous flapjack, the left overs of which came with us on honeymoon! Later in the evening we presented the winners with bottles of prosecco and wedding bake off wooden spoons!
In the evening we served pizzas from The Tinderbox, the cutest little pizza van you ever did see, along with a big cheese board and a mountain of pork pies from the local butcher. We’d hired a photo booth from The Vintage Photobooth Company. It didn’t take long for the costume collection to be heavily poached from the dressing up area, and we have some hilarious photos of tigers, dinosaurs and the Mario brothers on the dance floor. The party spread out across the garden, with lots of our guests sat toasting marshmallows around the fire pit. My brother had spent months turning his workshop into a whisky bar for us. It became the perfect cosy retreat as the evening got chilly. We called it Derek’s Whisky Bar, after my Whisky loving Dad.
We finished the night jumping around to Mr Brightside, then swaying our way through Champagne Supernova in an emotional circle on the dance floor. If I could have changed anything about the day I would have loved to have had a band to keep the dance floor full. Our last minute spotify playlist was not our finest musical hour and, despite several reassurances that the night didn’t need it, a part of me feels like the party never really got going without a packed dance floor. Other than that though, there’s very little I’d have changed about the day. We completely ran out of time to make any table names, the fruit I’d bought to decorate the wedding cake with rotted because we couldn’t fit it into the fridge leaving the naked cake considerably more naked than I’d ever intended, and the marquee was rather darker than intended because the generator proved too loud to switch on… but those are just the details. I love that we were able to get married in my little village, and having the reception at home was just perfect (even with the massive clean up operation the next day!). The feel of the day was everything I’d hoped for and more – So relaxed, so full of love and packed full of laughter. Three months on I’m still looking at the wedding photos on an almost daily basis!”