hello MR & MRS : the BIG day
You've read all about the hard work and love that went on leading up to this and most of what happened behind the scenes. You've also had peeks into almost every element of the day but this post, right here is where I'm going to bring it all together and take you through the Big Day itself.
If you've read all the other posts, thank you (and your eyeballs) for getting this far, I hope you've enjoyed them and I hope you'll enjoy following this next instalment of waffle starting the day before the wedding and finished the day after.
the day before
The sun was out, we had picked up the pavilion keys and we were ready to deck the halls! A LOT happened on the Friday before the wedding, as I’m sure you can imagine and our day started around 9am and finished around 9pm. April (Kook Events) had travelled all the way down from Yorkshire to help us start setting up and the Cambridge Tent Company arrived on site early to erect *snigger* the party tent!
The day was full of shuttling back and forth in the car and on my bike to the house (only 3 mins down the road from the venue), tipis, tents, flags and gazebos went up, flowers got arranged, paper lanterns were hung, games were set out, tables were pimped, beer arrived, fire pits and flamingoes were set up and we had a fun run through of the ceremony with lovely Michelle and my family.
It was a pretty full on day, April was a total legend and brought so much calm to the setting up. I think I only stressed myself out a couple of times (feel free to correct me here April!) and Will, although slightly flustered as he had to collect the camper and run a bunch of errands in town too, was brilliant!
I finally left April and her husband James at the venue around 9pm and headed back to our house down the road. Will was staying in the Crown & Punchbowl for the night before the wedding, so he could spend time with his Brother and Dad. Being a massive introvert at heart and knowing that I’d need some alone time after setting up and before the madness of the Big Day arrived, I had decided to stay home alone with the kitties the night before. I had envisaged pizza, wine and a movie but I was so tired after all the set up fun all I could manage was a bath and cheeky G&T before I passed out in bed!
I know what you’re thinking, so ROCK & ROLL but it was the perfect, (much needed) solitary medicine for this bride to be.
the morning of the wedding
As our ceremony wasn’t until 3pm and everyone else didn’t need to arrive until 12ish on the day of the wedding, I found myself with a whole morning to myself. At first I was a bit worried I had given myself too much alone time but then I realised I would have time to go and do one of my most favourite, relaxing activities; PADDLEBOARDING!
The kitties woke me up at butt o’clock, as usual so I had a brew and then hopped on Clarice, my road bike, and headed down to Milton Country Park for the 9am paddle boarding session. The sun was shining, the morning air was cool and paddling on the still, calm lake was the PERFECT way to start the day.
After an hours paddle, I cycled home and treated myself to a hash brown cob and a brew in the garden before hopping in the shower and getting ready for my Mum, sister and niece to arrive. It was lovely to have that bit of calm, selfish time to myself and knowing that Will, his brother, April and James were taking care of the rest of the set up that morning was bliss!
Around lunch time, Mum, Jen and Lexie arrived, shortly followed by lovely Sian (hair and make up goddess), Mark (video star) and Danny (photography legend). We had a full house, ridiculous choons playing and non alcoholic fizz and tea flowing! I didn’t really know what to do or expect from the morning but everyone was so chilled and fun to be around, it just ended up being a couple of hours full of giggles, lego building, colouring in and banter.
Meanwhile, Will had been getting ready at the Crown & Punchbowl before he headed off to start meeting guests at the venue. I was a bit jealous that Will got to say hello to everyone as they arrived but at the same time, I knew I’d just end up delaying everything if I was around to chat to everyone too!
Back at the house and before I knew it, it was my turn to get my hair and face pimped and everyone else was getting dressed. My Dad and Mama turned up and Colin the Camper was ready to whisk them off to the venue. After a whirlwind of hellos, hugs and nervous snaps, suddenly everyone was gone and it was just me and the cats in the house again. Toby had been hiding (he doesn’t do crowds), while Pegs had been posing for Danny all morning so it was nice to have them both to myself for a quick cuddle before Dad came back with the van to pick me up.
*BEEP BEEP* Dad parked up in the lay-by opposite the house and I had such a surreal moment of locking the house up and trying to dodge traffic - in a bloody wedding dress, juggling my bouquet, bag, jacket and keys as I ran across to the camper van. I must have looked a right bogger!
We pulled up the entrance in Horningsea and pootled down the driveway, I could see people in the tipi and everything set up. I felt so happy, excited, sick and nervous all at the same time! It was so unreal but in a totally magical way. Seeing April as I stepped out of the van made me beam and after some words of advice and a quick pow-wow with Michelle we were all in the hall, ready to walk across into the tipi and ‘down the aisle’.
Michelle went ahead to settle everyone and as my Mum and Mama disappeared out of the door, this sh*t felt real! I didn’t feel scared in any way, just full of butterflies and hopes that I wouldn’t trip over my skirt! Dad and I had already been for emergency wee’s and as Jen and Lexie walked out of the door and into the Tipi I could tell that I wasn’t the only nervous one as Dad took a deep breath.
Seeing everyone’s face was a magical blur, I honestly don’t remember much of walking in, apart from smiling A LOT and then worrying we’d gone the wrong way as I nearly tripped over Rob who was taking snaps (sorry Rob!) Dad walked me through the tipi as Frank Turner was singing ‘You are My Sunshine’ and as I saw Will’s smiling face at the end of the tipi, I forgot all my nerves and started grinning more than ever! It was the closest I think I got to crying in the ceremony - I held it together pretty well for someone who cries at most things!
Dad high fived me (I almost missed!) and the ceremony began. As I mentioned in the first post, Michelle had written a BEAUTIFUL, very personal, and basically perfect ceremony for us. As she told the story of how Will and I met, four of my besties got up throughout to give readings. From hilarious Friends and Disney references to Edward Monkton’s Love Monkey and a poem about celebrating the moment, I literally could have burst with joy as Mel, Sarah, Laura and Becky all stood up to read to everyone. It was a very special moment.
Will and I lit candles, stood awkwardly, listened lovingly and exchanged our vows in front of everyone we love and care about. It was all a bit of a blur but I remember giggling my way through my vows, which I thought were quite humorous as well as honest and a bit romantic. I also remember quickly feeling embarrassed and overcome with so many emotions as Will read his beautifully, written, heartfelt vows to me about hope, love and happiness. I almost broke completely when he nearly cried (sorry Will, but everyone saw!) and the look on his face and the feeling in my heart at that moment will stay with me forever.
*if you’re gonna spew, spew in to this*
After exchanging vows, a beautiful ending to the ceremony and an awkward kiss, Will and I walked out of the tipi to Mountains by Biffy Clyro and everyone got ready for the real celebrations to begin! Michelle, April and Danny rallied everyone for one BIG group shot in front of the tipi (with all the confetti cannons!) and then everyone was free to grab an ice cream and play some games.
the in-between bit
I’m not sure if there’s a proper name for it but during the time after the ceremony and before the food vans opened, Will and I disappeared behind the pavilion (oo-er) with Danny and Mark for some snaps together. We'd been chatting non-stop to guests after the ceremony at this point so the quiet time for just the two of us was a welcome break and as much as I hate having a camera in my face we got some fun photos.
During this time, I can only assume everyone was enjoying gin, ice cream, lawn games and beer pong - that certainly what the photographs illustrate and I don’t think anyone missed us too much while we were 'hiding'.
Soon enough it was time for the speeches and everyone was herded back into the tipi, where my Dad, who I’ve never ever seen looking so nervous before delivered the most BRILLIANT speech and had everyone giggling and me close to tears.
Will also delivered a wonderful speech, thanking everyone and trying his hardest to make me cry some more I’m sure. The Best Man, Will’s twin brother cracked the brilliant ‘womb mate’ joke and had everyone in stitches as well as poeple cheering with his kind words.
I felt bad because I think everyone was itching to get some food and more drinks by this point but IT WAS MY TURN TO SPEAK! Anyone who knows me will know how much I HATE being centre of attention or speaking in front of people so this was a pretty big deal for me but something I felt very strongly about. I mean, it was OUR party after all so why shouldn’t the bride give a speech too?
I can’t remember exactly what I said but it started with “So. I’m a wife! Eek!” and went on the thank everyone for coming and also introduce the food and drink. I only spoke for 2 minutes max and I was terrified but I’m so glad I did, I even got some laughs… not that I intended too but it made me feel better about the whole thing and it also meant it was time to CUT THE CHEESE!
running away with Colin
After we'd announced that the food vans were starting to serve, Will and I ran off again with Danny and Mark but this time we hopped in the Campervan and headed back towards Fen Ditton. We hadn’t planned any staged, group photos or anything specific for us either, other than having some snaps with the van because Colin was so beautiful! So we followed Danny’s lead completely and headed to some of the prettiest spots near our house.
The meadows at the bottom of Fen Ditton high road were FULL of cow parsley and there are several lovely old houses and picturesque corners for beautiful backdrops so we spent a bit of time wondering around the fields and high street as we tried our best to not look awkward in every photo. I know I’ve said it before but Danny and Mark were BRILLIANT! They made us feel so at ease and although my chins and ridiculous facial expressions may have ruined a million shots, we had a lot of fun!
eat, drink and dance
I wrote ALL about the food and drink everyone enjoyed previously so I won’t go on about it hear but after being pulled every which way and trying to chat to as many people as possible, I can’t tell you how happy I was to sit down and actually eat some of the amazing food we had planned. I may have split my skirt and spilt sauce down my front within seconds of touching it but I was so happy to be sat with my *whispers* husband, eating our favourite food and sipping on gin ’n’ juice!
Before we knew it, it was time for the first shuffle, sorry dance. The bit we had both been most anxious about. As soon as the MP3s started playing The Sellotape song and we could hear people who knew the song/reference giggling though we started laughing and enjoyed shuffling around before pulling as many other people onto the dance floor as possible.
The rest of the night was honestly a blur, we drank gin, we danced, we tried to speak to as many people as possible, we ate, we hugged, there were tequila shots (thanks Rosanna & Simon!), we danced some more, I played with hula hoops, sat on a flamingo, we drank more gin and apparently I ‘played’ guitar as one of the band looped his around me and told me to strum!
At the end of the night, which came around FAR too quickly, it felt like a magical dream. We were exhausted and when Will and I said farewell to the last guests I felt like crying all the happy tears as I hugged April and James goodbye too. It had been perfect in every way and even though the running of the day shuffled around, everything ran so smoothly and everyone we spoke to had the BEST time, which was 100% down to April’s hard work and expert coordination and management skills - I’m not sure what we would have done with out her!
Will and I had planned to stay at the Crown & Punchbowl together that night, which seemed a little silly when we only lived 3 mins away but it was nice to have a nice place so close and a big cooked breakfast to look forward to the following morning.
The morning after, Will and I were both up with the birds, typical when you can have a lie in, isn’t it? I think I had the earliest bath of my life and killed some time chatting to Will, reliving the fun of our wedding day, whilst picking out SO MANY leaves, twigs and other random debris from my skirt!
After a tasty fry up and chats with other lovely beans staying at the Crown & Punchbowl, we headed across the road to help April and James pack down and collected Colin to start ferrying all of our crap back to the house. April and James worked so hard, clearing rubbish, washing up and packing away everything and as we dismantled tents, gazebos and paper lanterns, I felt a little sad that it was all over.
By 2pm I think April had told us to do one and start our mini-moon so after saying a million (still not enough) thank yous to April and James, we had a quick cuppa with the kitties before heading off to the Cotswolds for our first night in Colin the Campervan!
So, that brings the official ‘Wedding Mini Series’ to an end! 6 posts as promised, packed full of everything and everyone who put their heart and soul into making our Big Day plans come to life. As with the previous posts, I’m going to post links to all of the people and businesses we will be FOREVER grateful to for their help, skills & services. And of course, we can’t thank our fabulous guests enough, who all made the journey to Cambridge and looked like they had a great time celebrating with us! WE LOVE YOU ALL! Thank you!
Throughout sharing these posts on the blog and social media, I’ve asked for comments, feedback and questions and have quite a collection written down now. So although I said THIS is the end, I am actually planning to work through everyone’s questions and write up a cheeky ‘bonus’ post where we will answer them all and share a few ‘bloopers’ from the day. Not that anything went terribly wrong and I’ve already nodded to some of these ‘bloopers’ in the posts but there are some funny moments and some non-traditional ‘fuck-it list’ things (as Rock n Roll Bride perfectly describes it!) that might be fun to share.
So, if you have any burning questions (other than, “Crikey, will you just shut up about it all now?”) then feel free to leave a comment here, on instagram, Facebook or via email and I’ll add them to my list! There are some great ones already, so I’m looking forward to trying to answer them all for you.
THANK YOU SO MUCH again for reading SO MUCH waffle, I hope you’ve enjoyed re-living most of our wedding with us and seeing lots of photos. If the photos haven't been enough, you can also have a peek at our wedding video highlights - I cry pretty much every time I watch it, Mark did the most AMAZING job... you have been warned!
Sharing people’s businesses and services with you all was the main reason I started writing these posts so most importantly, if you are planning a wedding or looking for suppliers, advice or inspiration I really hope these posts have helped. Make sure you check out all of the wonderful, talented, helpful, amazing human beans below!
MUCH LOVE AND SUNSHINE TO YOU ALL
CAMBRIDGE TENT COMPANY
WEDDING PLANNER & STICKERS
THE TAILOR'S CAT
CAMBRIDGE SATCHEL COMPANY
CAMBRIDGE FLORAL DISPLAYS
bouquet, button hole & posies | cambridgefloraldesigns.co.uk
CROWN & GLORY
chicken wings & mini sliders | @buffalojoescamb
THE GIN JOINT
CAMBRIDGE CHEESE COMPANY
SEW IN THE GARDEN
TWO LITTLE CATS BAKERY
ARTY FARTY MO
BREW TEA COMPANY
EVENT FLAG HIRE
CAMBRIDGE GIN DISTILLERY
TWIN PINES CREATIVE
paper envelopes | etsy.com/artefacts
BESPOKE LASER UK