Tuesday, 14 June 2011

And finally...

For those of you who read this post and wondered what I decided to do...

The Reception and After Party

When the guests arrived they were greeted with a drinks reception with shortbread. Everyone was directed outside where tables and chairs had been arranged on the lawn for guests to enjoy the sun while we had our portraits taken.

(Angel Photography)

The meal was very traditional to suit the tastes of all our guests and the portions were extra large! Everyone raved about the quality of the food and service and we were more than pleased with that.

Later in the evening we had a live band, The Hootenannys, play a selection of favourites for 2 hours and then we had a DJ pump some dance tracks out until 1am and the dance floor was filled all night. This was another favourite part of the day for me.

The night ended at 3.30am in the residents' bar when Mr M and I retired to the bridal suite for some reflection.

The Speeches

The speeches to be honest are a bit of a blur to me. At the time I thought our guests weren’t laughing at the jokes and were a bit bored but in hindsight I think I wasn’t able to hear properly because he were raised a little bit and also because I was in my own world. When I look at the photos the photographer has taken, they seem hilarious so that is how I am going to remember them!

(photos courtesy of Angel Photography)

The Little Details

I have to admit that I probably spent far more time, effort and worry on the smaller details than was necessary. Most of this brain power was used to think of what to do and what would work. There is lots of inspiration on the wedding blogs and sometimes it’s easy to think that you need to have all these extras to make it special. In reality though, what looks good at an outdoor, barnyard, sunny California wedding might not look good indoors in a hotel in rainy Northern Ireland. You want to personalise your wedding but not make it look weird. Will all those black card moustache holding brides look back in 20 years and think “What were we doing?”.

In the end we didn’t have a harpist, nor a string quartet, nor surprise opera singing waiters, nor caricaturists. I gathered up things I had at home – a birdcage, a gold crown, teacups and we put flowers in them, plain and simple. And it looked just like a wanted.

(photos courtesy of Angel Photography)

The Ceremony

We married in my family church, deep in the Northern Irish countryside, which is also where my mum and dad married in 1977. It has close links to family who have attended there for several generations and I couldn’t have imagined getting married anywhere else. Our minister is a very liberal and modern Presbyterian (who knew there was such a thing!) and he made the service very special and relaxed for us.

We asked a neighbour, a very talented pianist, to play at our wedding. Choosing the music was a real labour of love and in the end we chose Canon in D Major by Pachelbel to be played during my entrance and Mendelssohn's Wedding March on our exit. During the service we sang As The Deer Pants For the Water and Love Divine, All Loves Excelling and the piano was beautiful for both these hymns. While we were off signing the wedding licence and church's register the congregation enjoyed Le Onde by Ludovico Einaudi, Loves Lifts Us Up Where We Belong and Moon River.

Mr M's two sisters read during the service which meant that every member of our two families was involved directly in the wedding in some way. One read Psalm 100 and the other a poem, The Meaning of Love (unknown).

I was absolutely delighted when our guests burst into spontaneous applause when we were pronounced husband and wife and had our first kiss as a married couple. I was so happy and turned around to look at the congregation and give a cheeky smile of thanks and the photographer caught the moment afterwards when everyone was laughing and smiling and these are some of my favourite photos of the day.

I didn't want to stop looking at Mr M and I wanted to soak up every moment of that ceremony, to try to imprint it on my mind so I would never forget how lovely it was to stand there with Mr M and promise to love each other forever.

The ceremony was my favourite part of the day and I felt so relaxed, happy and confident. I’d love to do that part all over again.

(photos courtesy of Angel Photography)

Arriving at the church

When we were all ready to leave for the church we realised that the car for me and dad which had arrived really early had suddenly gone and there were no cars for us there. (It turns out the limo got stuck up a lane after taking a wrong turn and had to be helped into a field to turn and do a 16-point turn out of the gate to get out.) That meant that we had a few minutes to take some photos ourselves before we left the house.

On the way, we stopped off to visit my granny at her home who was too ill to come to the wedding. Her face was a picture when we went in to her bedroom, I'll never forget it. We had beautiful photos taken with her and I'll treasure these forever as she died just 6 weeks later on 9 June, Mr M's birthday. Of course we weren't to know at that stage they would be the last photographs taken of her.

All back into the cars and off we headed to the church. The driver told me I was beautiful and dooted the horn the whole way down the street in our local town so everyone was turning to look at us. I got really excited and any nervous butterflies I had in my stomach started slipping away.

When the limo with the bridal party pulled up outside the church, the wedding car with Dad and I waited down the road just a little bit. I seen some well wishers getting out of their cars and walking up through the gates to wait for us.

Before going into the church I stopped at the top of the steps and looked back at the people who had come to see me arrive. Our minister was standing in the foyer and he asked was I ready. I said I was and turned to ask the girls if they were ready. He opened the other door and the clunk made some people look round and see me. I stood there for a moment looking at everyone from behind while our minister gave the nod to the pianist to play the entrance music.

I took a deep breath and off I went up the aisle.

(photos courtesy of Angel Photography)