So where were we? Ah yes, Paul and I were walking in to rapturous applause.
We’d had a magical, laughter-filled ceremony, we’d hugged and high-fived our guests in the orchard, we’d posed and nuzzled our way through a portrait shoot with Dominique, and now our guests were at their seats and on their feet to whoop, holler and welcome us in to the barn. A thrilling ten seconds, I have to say- and one of my favourite parts of the day.
All images by Dominique Bader unless otherwise stated.
I don’t have any images of the food as our photographer was enjoying a well-earned break after four hours of finger-clicking, but I can tell you that the food and service provided by Tatlers Catering was marvellous. As we chowed down on a Mediterranean-inspired feast of antipasti, roast beef and melanzane parmagiana, I took great pleasure in sitting back and watching everyone talking, supping wine, enjoying their food and generally having a lovely, relaxed time. I ate quite lightly- the adrenaline was keeping the hunger at bay- and was conscious to take a swig of water with every swig of wine. A total lush usually, I was determined NOT to get trollied on my wedding day. (And I succeeded- just!)
Despite toying with the idea of doing the speeches before dinner, or slotting them between courses, we stuck with tradition in the end and they went one after the other once the main course had been cleared (but before The Great Wedding Bake-Off). I won’t go in to details about the speeches as it’s pretty dull if you don’t know the people involved, but I loved all 45 minutes of them, from my Dad’s short and sweet intro to the Best Man’s showman-style conclusion. There was A LOT of laughter.
I gave a little speech myself (I say little, I think I may have hogged the microphone for longer than anyone else- my bad), as I wanted to say a few personal thank yous and give a special mention to my beloved Gran who had died only 6 months prior and yet financed a large chunk of the wedding. But my favourite speech of all was Paul’s. Seventeen months of fretting and dread that boy put himself through, and yet he delivered the warmest, calmest, funniest speech of them all. I was a very proud wife.
Speeches done and evening guests already beginning to arrive, Paul and I were whisked off for our second portrait shoot/ nuzzling session with Dominique whilst our guests helped themselves to cake and coffee. I loved this second shoot, and would recommend everyone doing a couple of photographic sessions where possible. Not only was the light completely different, but we were physically more relaxed, and if you zoom in on some of the images… just a little bit tipsy. As we kissed and laughed and congratulated each other on our respective speeches and all-round brilliance, Dominique snapped away, but we were soon lured back to the barn (and our newly-arrived guests) to start some serious p-a-r-t-y-ing.
And p-a-r-t-y, we did. Laura and the team had re-arranged the barn again whilst our guests gorged on cake, and the set-up was very simple; on the lower level was the bar, band and dance floor (handy hint- if you want people to dance, put the bar and the dance-floor near to each other), and on the upper level was the seating area and the polaroid guestbook table. Out back, there was a fire pit with hay bales, blankets and s’mores, and the aptly-named Van Dough, a little retro Citroen van that came all the way from south-east London to serve the most amazing pizzas all night long. And they brought fairy lights with them and everything. Total stars.
Our band were the phenomenal Flood The Floor, a five-piece of male musical hotness who were perhaps the biggest triumph of the whole evening. I’d always wanted a band rather than a DJ (there’s nothing quite like live music) so was absolutely delighted when Paul’s grandparents offered to buy us one as a wedding gift. A pleasure to deal with (and to look at, ahem), we started dancing during their sound check and didn’t finish until they started packing up at the end of the night. Random guests were called up on stage at various points to sing, dance and, erm, rap (that last one was my ‘contribution’), and I’ve lost count of the number of compliments we received about them in the hours/days/weeks after the wedding. So they kept getting overexcited and exceeding the noise limiter- who cares? All that happened was the lights temporarily went off, but with the music still playing we simply continued to dance under the LED-lit paper lanterns until the power was switched back on again.
Book them, and you will have one hell of a party. I can assure you.
So as the sun went down the music played, the people danced, the pizzas were eaten, the drink flowed and fun times were had. You may remember The Great Guestbook Debate where I waxed lyrical about how much I wanted a polaroid picture guestbook, but wasn’t sure if I could go there financially. Well a couple of days later my scha-mayzing manager at the boutique came in to work with a Fuji Instax camera she’d dug out from her attic and I almost spontaneously combusted with gratitude. (No, seriously- it made my day.) I bought enough film for 60 pictures, a book, pens and photo corners from Paperchase, and the day before the wedding we mocked up a quick streamer background to add a flash of colour.
It was a resounding success!
My brilliant bridesmaids spent a huge part of the evening spreading the word and getting the book filled (largely with pictures of themselves although they’re absolute corkers so I forgive them), and that night when Paul and I got back to our hotel room we sat on the bed opening all our cards and dissecting this immense creation of love, drunkeness and hilarity. I’ve gone through it at least twenty times since then and find something new to laugh at nearly every time.
Our wedding day was even more FUN, even more RELAXED, and even more FULL OF LOVE than I ever could have hoped for. Even now, more than three months later, there’s little I would change. In retrospect I wish that we had asked our photographer to stay for longer (although, as she’d just had a baby she probably wouldn’t have been too keen). Although you don’t want hours of dancing shots there are a few more elements I would have liked captured- the outside area once the sun had set and all the candles/lamps were lit, the queues for the pizza van and the consequent gorging, the polaroid guestbook table being utilised and abused, and the epic last dance (see below). Also, I don’t feel so strongly about it now, but in the immediate days after I wished we’d started proceedings just an hour earlier. We had to be off site by midnight (which Paul and I were actually fine about), but with dinner and speeches running a little over, the party didn’t really get in to full swing until 9pm which meant the evening did feel a little cut short.
Having said that, we went out on an absolute high… quite literally. We didn’t want a first dance, as Paul *hates* dancing and I *hate* shuffling awkwardly. But I knew we’d end up having a ‘last dance’ (Paul + alcohol = compliancy), and had asked Flood The Floor to learn Love Is In The Air from my favourite film of all time, Strictly Ballroom. As the music played our guests formed a circle around us, linking arms to sing and sway drunkenly whilst Paul and I shuffled and twirled in the middle. (Well, I twirled and Paul shuffled. ) My last prevailing memory is of being picked up and held aloft by a group of particularly strong guests to the sounds of “Sama’s in the air…!”. As I said, pretty epic.
So that’s Our Wedding in a three-part report. It’s hard to believe that three months have passed and it’s freakin’ September already?! There are a couple more wedding posts to come, starting with a dissection of our Wedding Bar and the amounts of alcohol purchased and consumed, but in the meantime I’ll leave you with this- our last dance (with lift!) in all it’s drunken, shaky, technicolor glory…
Paul’s gonna kill me.