Apologies for the less than amazing quality of all of the pictures in this post. They’ve all been chosen because they capture the feelings and feel of what was a wonderful day, but none were taken by professional photographers. I love them all, though!
It was almost a month ago now, but I have finally gotten around to blogging about one of the best days of my life: the day when my best friend married her husband. Congratulations again to the gorgeous newlyweds Mr and Mrs M!
The days before
The wedding preparations started on the Thursday after New Year, when many of Lucie and George’s friends and family convened at the venue to start setting-up. The next two days passed in a blur of flowers, bunting, candles and general excitement. The venue, Buckden Towers, was absolutely beautiful and perfect for the classic winter wedding Lucie had planned, but it needed a lot of additions. Luckily, Lucie is the most creative and imaginative person I know when it comes to decorating, so following her splendid guidance, we easily turned the many rooms into the ideal wedding venue.
Lucie’s had visions of candles surrounded by white flowers and ivy everywhere and that’s exactly what she got. I don’t think she had to buy much, instead asking the wedding party and her family to bring fairy lights and anything else suitable. We had also painted many, many jars a few months before to be filled with flowers or tea lights. Once the main room where lunch was to be held was finished, you could feel how excited everyone was – this was going to be one of those weddings so filled with love and more than a little smattering of magic.
The day of the wedding
Saturday morning arrived and started slowly. I got to Lucie’s family’s house just before 9.00 expecting it to be a hive of activity, but it was strangely calm. Soon enough everyone emerged and Lucie, Nicola (her Mum), Harriet, Phoebe (her sisters) and I ran down to the hairdressers. I think Phoebe was more than a little pleased with her first experience of having her hair done!
When we got back, we suddenly had about 5 minutes to get ready. Lucie very sensibly barricaded herself in the bathroom to get into her dress and do her hair and make-up. She was incredibly calm and did such a great job. I was a little more flustered, but made sure the bridesmaids and I were ready as quickly as possible, gave my and Lu’s stuff to Tom, blew Lucie a kiss and got in the car to go to the church on time.
Now, before we get to the ceremony, I think a little time mentioning Lucie’s outfit is necessary. Many years ago, I believe that Lucie’s great-step-grandmother’s wedding dress found its way into her parent’s loft. Lucie knew that it was beautiful and that it would be just what she wanted to wear if/when she got married, but, over the years, forgot about it. In March 2011 when Lu and George got engaged, the dress was mentioned again and taken out of the loft to be inspected. It was stunning: gorgeous lace, with long sleeves, a HUGE train and in (considering) near-perfect condition. Lucie fell for it, hard. It was just what she wanted: classic, vintage and, well, cheap! There were just a couple of issues – it just about fit around the waist, but it was too short. Plus, there were a number of holes, due to the lace being so old, and it needed a few alterations around the neck especially. None of these things seemed to be deal breakers and so it was decided that as long as another dress could be found to go underneath, it would be perfect.
I will admit that the search for the second dress caused me some anxiety. I admired my friend’s assurance that something would work out, but it felt like a huge risk. We had the obligatory dress shopping day, after which the whole family was even more convinced that the lace dress was the way to go. Sorry, Lu, but I was worried. I just could not see how the ideal dress could be found: it had to be cheap enough to be able to afford alterations, thin enough to go underneath a dress that could not be made bigger, and have a large enough skirt to hold out the train of the lace dress.
Just a few months before the wedding, Lucie and her Mum decided that they may as well spend a day looking at whatever dresses the local charity shops had in. 2 hours, 3 shops and £70 later the dress was found! And it could not have been more perfect. It was the ideal colour, fitted like a glove, was just the right length for the shoes that had already been purchased and held out the train like a dream. It even came with a long, sparkly veil! Believe me, I was more than happy to have been proved wrong: it was meant to be.
After a few alterations, the dresses were ready and, although I’m a bit biased, I think Lucie made the most classically beautiful bride I have ever seen.
Lucie and George had a full nuptial Catholic mass in her family’s local church, where she was confirmed. It was an emotional and personal ceremony, really inclusive for non-Catholics, and special for everyone. Obviously I cried.
Straight after the ceremony, following a drenching in confetti of course, husband and wife sped off in their posh car. I made sure they didn’t run over the little bridesmaids…
Everyone then arrived at The Towers for mulled cider, champagne and baked Camembert. Well, I say everyone – us pregnant ladies enjoyed the orange juice. Lucie and George were then whisked-off for photos in the cold. A few group shots were taken before the bride turned blue and finally ran inside to warm-up.
In what I thought was a stroke of genius planning-wise, just close family then went off for a delicious late lunch whilst the rest of the guests amused themselves. It was so nice to have a low-key part to the day, it allowed the Best Man, George and Lucie’s Dad to do really personal speeches (yes, there were a few tears) and it felt so special to be included. I was even on the top table!
By the time everyone else arrived back, the light had gone, all the candles were lit, the bride and groom were relaxed and glowing with happiness and we were all ready to party.
Cleverly, they had decided to save cutting the cake for when everyone was there, had the Best Man do a reprise of his speech (well, this one was less personal and more amusing – he got it exactly right both times) and waited until everyone had had a drink before they did their first dance.
This was a particularly lovely moment as they just looked so in love and happy. I was grinning from ear to ear, until I heard Lucie’s school friend, Scott, tell their friend Sarah who was watching them dance through Scott’s iPhone from Australia where she now lives to ‘stop crying’… Then I was in bits. I suppose it reminded me of my and Tom’s first dance, which was such a personal and special moment.
All that was left was to enjoy a dance, stuff our faces with the best hog roast either Tom or I have ever had (accompanied by salads made by family and friends – the best wedding evening buffet ever) and try and work out who would be going home with who. (Yes, like all the best weddings, there was a fair amount of gossip the following morning!)
By 10.30 I was unable to do any more, so crawled back to their hotel room tired but happy, knowing that two of my favourite people in the world had enjoyed a really good send-off into the world of marriage.
Oh, and my outfit
As this is my report and I got Tom to take some pictures of me when we got to our hotel room, here’s what I was wearing.
Dress: Heavenly Bump, at New Look
Necklace: Accessorize (Christmas present from Mum – wasn’t it perfect?)
Bolero: Lightinthebox.com (bargain)