I was never planning on getting married, my life plan was all about being ‘single and fabulous’, as a product of a broken marriage, adultery and divorce, I was never too sure what all the fuss was about. Then I met Kieren! Was it love as 1st sight? I don’t think so… More like ‘you are kinda cool’ at 1st sight. He was individual, interesting, educated and kind. He treat me like a lady and that felt good. We gelled and although we did and do have different opinions and thoughts, I love him more now than I ever have done. So much so that I even said to my best friend getting married in February 2014 (yes, I’m a bridesmaid!) that maybe now we would have been better getting married because now we are truly ourselves?! But we didn’t (not that I regret anything may I add!) and we married at Great Fosters in Egham, Surrey and it was amazing!
As with all planning, it took a while. Originally we were going to get married in Bermuda in May 2010. This is where my dad and step mum live and is a place I adore. However, numbers would have always been small just due to cost so we changed to the UK and December was the one. We then tried to book the 18th for a cool, Mick and Bianca Jagger style affair on the Kings Road in Chelsea and then the traditional ‘blessing’ on the Sunday 19th. Great Fosters was the blessing venue but then when it came to booking, a bar mitzvah had just stolen our spot! “We have Tuesday 22nd”… “Done!!!” So we did the whole thing there!
This is the question I am asked by nearly every bride I dress “what did you wear”… Well let me tell you! This, for me, was never going to be easy! Although we married only 4 years ago, styles (in weddings in general) have changed sooooo much, I have no idea where I would even begin with this now, I’d be spoilt for choice but I do have my favourites from The White Room but as we weren’t here, I had to shop around. As I was originally planning May in Bermuda, I was looking at chiffons, floaty and light. Jenny Packham’s “Elizabeth” was a contender as was Claire Pettibone ‘Lallique” but then we changed to December…
So I searched…. and I searched…. I went to about 10 shops (poor people!) I went from Ian Stuart (only liked the mental ones!) to Pronovias (too Spanish) to Stewart Parvin (too boring) to David Fielden (too meh’). Lower end label’s didn’t feel ‘expensive enough’. I didn’t want to squeak in lace when I moved or be so trussed up, I had bruises! I went to London, to Nottingham, Leeds…. Began after at least 60 dresses, far too many tiara’s and crap, scratchy fabrics later, to loose heart. Everyone would expect me in something ‘different’, but why was I trying to dress everyone else’s expectations?? It was MY wedding and as much as I am the fashion addict in day to day life, this is a day which although is a party, is one which has solemn values and meanings. This was not the day for a top hat and tutu’s!
So, I went to a Jenny Packham designer event and met the (very honest, Petra) a woman who I work with now and love so much for her ability to not let me marry in the wrong dress. I remember having “Elizabeth” on… Her words:
“This is not you… get it off”! (Said in a Dutch accent)
I did as instructed, put Lida on and the rest is history!
Did I have ‘the one’ moment? No, probably not. It just felt like me and I wanted to put it on again. No-one cried, bells didn’t ring, it was just the dress I was going to get married in. Don’t over think it. It’s a dress. A very important one and one which you have to adore. But it’s not as important as the marriage, your husband, dancing with your father, seeing all your favorite people in one room… But it has to be your choice and your dress to say “I do” in. My dress cost £3100 (gulp!) in 2009, I had 10% off, so it was £2800. I too feel the pain in spending this much. However, one thing I have NEVER done is regret that. I’ve never given it a 2nd thought (my credit card may have!). Also – NEVER re-look at the image online… So many brides question the choice once they look at it online. I had visions of Princess Leah (below) and hated it…
I paired it with my own make shift birdcage veil and hair piece from Etsy that I sewed on to a pearl headband from Accessorise for the day. I wore accessories by Flo and Percy for the night. In hindsight, I wish I wore a full length silk veil, but I know I made that decision to for-go one as my hair was short. It’s now long and I would have worn one should I be marrying tomorrow, for the photographs if nothing else! My shoes were Filippa Scott who closed a while ago. I’d have designer now although the height issue of my hubby being only 5’8″ would still occur!!
I love this word! My answer was “the theme is wedding” but I guess just by both Kieren and I natural taste and style, we were going to create an event with a certain feel to it. As it was Christmas, we didn’t want to re-create Santa’s Grotto, so we went for a look of James Bond meets Hollywood glamour. No green or red and definitely so Santa impersonator! Long before the days of Pintrest, I had a few mood boards drafted in word, that was as technical it got!
We spent on our invites. To me, I had a list of the top 5 things that we needed to invest in. This was dress (obviously!), Food/Venue, Band, Stationary and Photography. We employed a brilliant artist, Rebekah Daley who created the most wonderful stationary. The invites, RSVP, the table plan and the order of the day. We have them all hung in our house.
Our photographer was Gary Roebuck as Kieren did not want a stand and smile type photographer, he looks sarcastic when he does that and I needed him to be happy and comfortable. We also like the Gothic kind of looks Gary captures, we wanted art, not just a group shot where you can’t see anyone’s face! I’d so suggest investing in a good photographer, you have the images for life. I look back at mine and love them. I can’t imagine saving a few hundred pounds to be miserable looking at the bad images on the day you spent so much time and energy and money on.
Flowers were by Nicola Eve and although I loved them, I’m not sure if I’d go bigger now or if I’d keep it all the same? We had ivory roses, black calla lillies, anemones and little black twigs, the tables were high black vases with foliage and sticks. Our aisle centre piece was a Christmas tree and the hurricane vases lining the ailse were loaned from my best friend who married 2 year before us (make use of what other people have!)
Yes, we had chair covers (apparently these aren’t cool anymore?!) and rose petal confetti. I bought old sheet music from ebay, rolled these and used as cones for the confetti. It reminded me of learning music and my grandfather who passed away in 1998 who taught me the invaluable skill of playing an instrument. Kieren’s step father was also a musician. He has passed away too, so the musical hints were special to us.
My bridesmaid dresses were from Coast and we all did our own make up with my cousins girlfriend at the time helping with the hair. I wanted my maids to look and feel like themselves, it is important to not kill their individuality. Maybe now I would offer the option of different dresses, with labels like Maids to Measure you can all have the same colour but different styles. This is a cool invention!
The Best Bits:
Walking down the aisle with my dad. I love my dad so much, I see how hard he works, how much he does for my sister and I and how much of a nice man he is. For him to walk down the aisle with me was special. We walked down to “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits
“Juliet when we made love you used to cry. You said I love you like the stars above, I’ll love you till I die”
Never should you underestimate the power of these. Although I can’t remember them too much (adrenaline and being ‘on show’ took over!) I remember feeling that something significant was happening. That the feeling in the room, the readings, the look on Kieren’s face… The feeling when you walk back down the aisle again. It’s magical! Embrace it. This is the part that although your dress was late, 2 people dropped out this morning, you have a gale force wind blowing outside and someone in the congregation is in jeans, it all becomes irrelevant!
Food and Drink:
To me an imperative part of a good wedding is music and food. We spent a lot of money on the food and wine. We had a three course meal, a feast. Wine on the tables flowing, champagne, canapes, a cheese cake with fruit cake, chutneys, artisan breads, port, sherry, dessert wine…. We wanted everyone to feel like we cared what we served. We had a string quartet playing Christmas music at the reception and through dinner. Our cake was £150 from Waitrose! We decorated with a few roses and some black ribbon from the local market. It looked pretty, it did the job of cake!
The 1st Dance:
We had a song not many people know “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison. We had so many to pick from but this one just kept appearing at the right moments, like when we were sailing together or having a weekend away in our little camper van and just being together. We then quickly moved on to Green Day “Basketcase” just because this song is so me, we had to have it!
And then, it’s the party! The bit where you all dance like crazy, when you have fun with all the great people who just watched you get married! We have so many great memories from the day, it was special. So, I may now do things differently, but not massively. I would still pick a winter wedding over a summer one and I would always want the same groom (!) bridesmaids, music, food and style. Maybe now however, I’d be one of the lucky ones who get 2 dresses…
Happy Anniversary Ki, 4 years and getting better xx