Good morning one and all. And welcome to a slightly new look Utter Blog! The Utterly Wow website is coming along thick and fast ready for an official launch, and as such I had a little play around with themes this morning to give the blog a bit of a face lift too. More developments coming very soon.
But in the meantime… fancy a wedding story?
I’ve ummed and ahhed with how best to approach this, but in the end have decided to break the day down in to four different parts: getting ready and the beautifying of ourselves, the ceremony and venue, wedding breakfast and reception details, and finally the evening shenanigans and that all-important drinks purchase analysis. Shall we begin?
We’d spend the Thursday and Friday setting up the venue. There was so much to do; festoon lights had to go up, paper lanterns had to be hung, furniture had to be received and mountains of alcohol had to be unloaded. Not to mention the sweeping, washing of floors, sign erecting, bar positioning, plant pot hanging, flower arranging, and a last-minute panic to order a heater, it was so FRICKIN COLD. And wet. My oh my, the rain did fall those two days.
Yet come 5pm on the Friday I was ready to down tools and surrender myself to serendipity. The forecast was bright for the next day, our family and friends were en route, and a large glass of white wine was calling me at the pub we had all arranged to spend the evening at. The festivities had officially begun.
Paul and I had made the unusual decision to stay together that Friday night, as we historically sleep well when we’re together. This only partially came true. Whilst we passed out very quickly, I awoke at 3am to find Paul heavy breathing over the toilet bowl, and those last few hours were spent holding hands and dozing through nerves and the first jitters of excitement. However, all concerns about lack of sleep were eradicated when we saw the beams of sunlight trying to bust their way through the shutters at around 7am. It was an absolutely glorious day and the relief we both felt was pretty immense. It was going to be a good day.
All images by the sublime Dominique Bader unless otherwise stated.
A Morning Of Calm
Despite our beautiful surroundings and welcoming host, Jill, Waters End Farm had ZERO phone signal. And I mean zero. Nada. Diddly flipping squat. Which would have been fine as by this point I was happy to relinquish control to my coordinator, Laura, and our trusted suppliers over at the venue, but the B&B was also particularly hard to find… and we had to receive a lot of important visitors that morning.
We were expecting the arrival of best man and bridesmaids at 9.30am, so when it was approaching 9.50am with no sign of them, I decided a phone call from the owner’s landline was probably advisable. Thankfully, just as we were making our way to the main house, the car pulled up to the sounds of hysterical laughter from within. Turns out I was quite a sight in my ‘carefully thought out’ outfit of denim shorts, pyjama top, bed head and facial scowl. I think the exact quote made by the best man was, “That’s going to need a lot of work”. Cheers Al.
My bridesmaids bustled in with their bags, dresses and morning treats (a random selection of bread rolls, bananas and cider), and after a kiss and a hand squeeze from Paul, the boys left with their stuff to go and get ready elsewhere. Moments after, my Mum arrived to drop off Cass, our hair stylist and all-round Getting Ready Guru, and also the bouquets courtesy of Bloomin’gayles, at which I promptly burst in to tears, they were that beautiful.
Those few hours are already a hazy memory but I know I enjoyed them immensely. My maids had put together a surprise CD of ‘Sama Choons’ which we had on in the background, and whilst we took it in turns to have our hair styled, I segwayed seamlessly between taking swigs of champagne, exclaiming delightfully, ‘Look at the sun!’, congratulating Cass on her amazing hair skills, and answering questions about seating plans and schedules. Dominique and her husband, Samuel, turned up just before midday and started snapping away, at which point the morning preparations were in full swing.
As I was having my hair down, I was keen for the girls to all have up-dos, and as long as they were big, tousled, and incorporated some sort of plait, I was happy to let Cass weave her magic. Absolutely nothing fazed her- from a big old bun to a J-Lo inspired chignon, I was so delighted with what she created.
As for me, regular readers will know about Operation Get Good Hair and my eternal quest for luscious locks. Cass gave them to me, with a mixture of clip-in and glued-in extensions that gave me the kind of volume (and a smidgen of extra length) that I’ve always dreamed of. With some big old waves put in and my ‘something old’ on my head (the flower garland my Mum wore on her wedding day, given a new lease of life by Crown and Glory), I was ready to go.
Well, almost. My face needed some serious work first!
I’m actually pretty confident doing my own make-up, and in preparation for The Day I Had To Look The Best, I’d had three different make-up counter trials and ended up buying half of Bobbi Brown. The ‘look’ I wanted to create was a stronger, longer-lasting version of what I usually wear for a night out: the only thing stopping me was the Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner that I’d bought, and for the life of me couldn’t get to grips with. Liquid liner I can apply in a matter of seconds; gel eyeliner with separate eyeliner brush… Disaster.
Things turned very serious when it came to eyeliner application time as I was concentrating so hard, but magically it went on like a dream. Well, if we’re being really picky, the angle at which the line flicked on one eye was totally different to the other- but it was good enough for me!
And for anyone interested in a breakdown of the exact products I used, I’ve done you a little picture and product list. You can thank me later.
- Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base- moisturiser and primer
- Clarins Skin Illusion Foundation in Nude- the most flawless but natural foundation I found. And smells great!
- Benefit Erase Paste- I’ve talked about how much I like this product before
- Bobbi Brown Blush: Slopes- a warm pink with a hint of coral
- Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick: Nectar- a shimmery highlighter with a hint of colour to go right at the top of the cheekbones
- Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Champagne Quartz- to go over the whole lid
- Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Bone– for the inner corners of the eye and to highlight under the eyebrow
- Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner: Black Ink- a bugger to apply but once it’s on, it’s on
- Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush- I bought a cheaper alternative first and then had to go back and buy this. It goes hand in hand with the eyeliner really
- Ruby & Millie Eyebrow Trio- to define the eyebrows, even if you’re a brunette!
- No.7 Lip Pencil in Caramel- to define but also fill in the whole lip. It gives the lipstick something to hold on to.
- Bobbi Brown Lip Colour in Italian Rose- I was sold by the name! A burnt pinky red colour that made me feel like Sophia Loren.
The Wedding Dress of Dreams
I wrote at some length about the search for The Dress. I don’t believe in The One when it comes to wedding dresses; I think that there are several we could all pick and feel sensational in. But the one that made me feel the most like I should wear it for my wedding day was Chantilly by Claire Pettibone, purchased, of course, from Blackburn Bridal Couture where I work.
It’s a soft, fluid fishtail, covered in chantilly lace and intricate beadwork, and it has the most exquisite back I’ve ever laid eyes on. I was very excited to wear it.
Unfortunately it seems my bridesmaid, Nicola, wasn’t so keen, as, mid dress-going-on, she decided to get some of the beaded lace caught in the bracelet I’d just given her as a wedding gift. And when I say caught, I mean secured. That bad boy was not coming off.
Let’s picture the scene. There’s me, butt naked except for my massive beige M&S pants, arms in the air with my dress halfway over my head and trying desperately to keep my freshly made-up face away from the fabric, whilst the entire bridal party (that’s my three bridesmaids, hair stylist and photographer) try to gently prise the stubborn thread out of the bracelet’s clasp. I’m getting hotter and hotter by the minute, and whilst I’m trying to see the funny side of things, I really just want to get the whole bloody thing off me.
This is a tasteful, actually quite beautiful version of what you could imagine was going on…
…and this is the in-your-face, not so beautiful version of what was actually going on, courtesy of my finding-the-whole-thing-hilarious bridesmaid, Sarah:
Of course, the thread eventually came free and the dress eventually went on. And after much relieved laughter, beauty touch ups and a final hair boost, I was ready.
By this point it was around 1.45pm and the ceremony was at 2.30pm. Dominique left for the venue, and the rest of us waited for my Dad to arrive, alternating between titillating in front of the mirror, packing up bits and last-minute toilet stops. I think the most surreal moment of the whole day was when my Dad pulled up and we all piled in to his car; Cass making sure my hair and dress got in ok before passing me this enormous, gorgeous bouquet, and then me turning round to look at my three bridesmaids in the backseat, a masse of coral and pink loveliness and bubbling excitement. The weight of what was happening hit me like a brick wall at this point, and on the journey there I swung wildly between shrieks of “Oh my god, I’m getting MARRIED!”, and contemplative silence. It was happening, folks.
Next time, I’ll tell you all about our twinkly, joyful ceremony, but for now I’ll leave you with the ‘finished’ shots of me and my favourite girls. Huge thanks to Dominique Bader for taking the most beautiful images I could have ever asked for, Cassandra Rizzuto for her amazing hair skills, and Bloomin’gayles for the blooms that surpassed all my expectations.
See you at the barn…