I couldn’t finish “You Rock My World” without an account of The O’Shea Big day itself, having added so much detail in the original blog though I’m not about to write a lengthy War and Peace type effort and end up boring everyone to tears ( hey it’s been months I’m at risk of boring myself here folks)
In brief we stayed the Thursday night before W-day at the Oxford Belfry, Notley Abbey would be all ours for 24 hours from 11am on the Friday so initial preparations would take place at the aforementioned hotel….
And So The Day arrives
I am acutely aware that there is something in very close proximity to my face.
I open one eye cautiously.
I can then see what appears to be another particularly long lashed eye attached to a rather familiar face that is wearing a huge blo*dy great grin peering at me expectantly.
Melissa: “ OH MY GOD YOU ARE AWAKE OH MY GOD YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED OH MY GOD MY BIG SISTER IS GETTING MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Me: “Jeez I am going to be a bride not in need of a hearing aid, why are you shouting?? and more to the point what time is it??”
Melissa: “BUT I”M REALLY EXCITED, MIGHT ACTUALLY WEE MYSELF…… JUST CAN”T HELP IT!!!!!!!!!”
It was 5.45am.
So much for beauty sleep.
The morning of my wedding day felt pretty surreal, all that planning and thinking and detail and time and effort…
And here it was, the day that would bring it all together and the day I would become Mrs Charlotte Ann O’Shea.
I think my grin surpassed even my sisters, only to grow wider when we opened the curtains to reveal the clearest bluest sky either of us had seen in a long while.
On Friday the 29th May 2009 the Sun had certainly put his hat on, Mother Nature had delivered us the most perfect and glorious backdrop to our fun-filled affair and I couldn’t have asked for more.
After showering, face cleansing, teeth cleaning and generally spending mucho time buffing and moisturising every available area Esther arrived complete with bags and bags of volumising products and our brushed and coiffed extensions.
Oh and the all important tool…..
Yup you guessed it -the £10 Argos Crimper.
Was initially a bit skeptical ( had not practiced crimping in any of my trials) but just thought, y’know what – what the hell. If I can trust anyone to make my barnet look worthy of walking down that aisle it was going to be Madam Roche, the lady is nothing short of a hair goddess.
We took it in turns to be backcombed and bouffed, and when my Mum arrived for her allocated blow-dry slot Melissa and I started on our make-up application.
I tell you what – taking instructions from your make-up artist sister is rather similar to a boot-camp style operation. My lashes were curled, combed, curled some more – was like having a set of full on falsies but without the glue.
Before we knew it it was 10.30am ( how did that happen??) and it was time to set off for the Abbey, was a big bag of nerves and anticipation. Just couldn’t wait to see all of my gorgeous bridesmaids and spend the next few hours indulging in yet further beautification and a few ( much needed) celebratory glasses of champagne.
As we pulled up to the tree-lined drive I had to actually stop the car and take a few deep breaths – had never seen Notley Abbey in anything other than the winter months and with all of the springtime greenery it was pretty darn spectacular.
Good Lordy was I a lucky lucky girl.
I have to say, getting ready with the girls was one of my favourite parts of the day, there was the five of us, Esther and various visitors throughout those few hours and it was a bit like….. a slumber party?…..albeit a very well dressed one of course.
We preened, we plucked and we smoothed to within an inch of our lives, all the while laughing and joking and smiling for the camera.
One of our final visitors of the morning was the lovely Lorna from Pod, she had been busy setting up all of the lovely blooms downstairs in the ceremony room and all of the table centers in the Monk’s Refrectory.
Her last job was to deliver us each all of our different coloured hydrangea bouquets and the spray roses for our hair.
And believe me she didn’t disappoint, they looked just how I had imagined they would only bigger and bolder, my “twice as big as my head” request for a pouf of ivory loveliness was just that only with subtle touches of pale green which I adored.
Before I knew it the clock was saying 12.30 ( eek just an hour before aisle time!) and I was at this stage somehow still in a vest and old battered jeans…..
Sarah: “ Charlotte only you with less than an hour to go before your big moment would be stood in your jeans – hurry up and put your ruddy dress on!!”
Ah yes the dress!!!
Was hanging in all its glory in the window and it was just beautiful, so worth the wait after all of the gowns I had tried and failed to fall in love with.
This was definitely “The One”.
Kirsten helped me slip into it’s divine silky panels and Esther finished the last few plaits and waves and added the flowers to my boho inspired do before we spent a good few moments admiring the guests as they arrived. Some in wide brimmed hats and regal splendour others in floaty maxi dresses, open collar shirts and sunglasses. We had made a point of saying “come as you like not how you feel you should” and if that was in attire fit for a day at the races or an afternoon picnic in the park that was fine by us.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it was about being comfortable, relaxed and having a bloomin’ good time not about abiding by rules and being suffocated by traditions or expectation.
So then…. just the addition of the veil, a spritz of my “heaven” in a bottle and a final ( possibly 50th) coat of lipgloss and it was time for us all to head down to the landing to meet my Dad, was shaking like a leaf…..and so was he bless him.
( I won’t go all love slush about this – the pictures say it all but just to say my Dad said the nicest things and how he couldn’t have been prouder, and I couldn’t have wished for a better or more generous man to give me away)
The top of the landing before we descended the grand oak staircase to the ceremony room provided the perfect photo opportunity for all of us girls to show off our bouquets before……… well……the serious part. ( these are some of my favourite shots of my stunning bridesmaids from the day – check out those perfect pins)
And then it was time to go.
I could hear the string quartet faintly from upstairs but now it was getting louder and louder and then as we reached the big oak door and received the nod from our Registrar as she entered into the ceremony room I recognised the first bars of the chorus to Damian Rice’s “The Blower’s Daughter”.
I can’t take my eyes off you…….
The girls went first, Mel then Kirsten then Sarah and finally Melissa followed by my Dad and I.
All I wanted to do was see him.
And there he was.
Just like the first time I ever laid eyes on him, just like when I got to the top of the aisle and he whispered “You look amazing baby” ………he was the most beautiful man I had ever seen.
The ceremony was perfect – touching, heart-felt and very very real.
Sarah and Jane both read beautifully and it goes without saying there were more than a few tears shed.
But there was also lots of laughter and cheering and most importantly……love.
I was marrying the man of my dreams and I was at the moment of saying “I do” the happiest and luckiest girl on this whole entire planet.
I don’t think throughout your entire Big Day ANYTHING will come close to the joy of hearing those 7 significant words…
“I now pronounce you Husband and Wife”
Followed by these 6 words….
“You may now kiss your bride”
‘tis an unforgettable moment…..
Before we knew it the register was signed and we were walking back down the aisle to the melody of “She’s the one” accompanied by our guests enthusiastic and delighted applause.
As we stepped out into the bright sunshine and cloudless skies there were drinks and canapes awaiting us and we enjoyed a couple of hours of just chatting and catching up with our nearest and dearest in the music filled gardens courtesy of the string quartet.
Jordan our photographer suggested that as it was such unexpected piercing heat in may be preferable to take the majority of the more posed shots after dinner when it was cooler and the light softer and that he would get on with capturing the moments and all of the little details.
This was fine by us, gave us the ideal opportunity to relax and spend time together as Mr and Mrs O’Shea (!) and unbeknown to me at the time – for James to whisk me off for his little “surprise” of the day….
As we walked back up to the Bridal Suite James pronounced “ You know the dress game when I never gave anything more than like an 8 and a half out of ten?”
me: “ Yes! thought I may as well give up as there would never be a dress worthy of your top marks!”
James: “ Well I’ve got to say – yours is definitely an 11. Have never seen such a stunning dress”
You’ve got to hand it to Amanda Wakeley, the lady knows how to design a knock ‘em dead gown.
And with that statement he pulled me into the room ( don’t worry this is not the part where I get all Jackie Collins on you) and said “I’ve bought you a little something, just to say a million thanks for all the hard work and effort you have put into making this day absolutely amazing and for well…..agreeing to be my wife”
Of course I didn’t need any kind of token for agreeing to be James’s wife but the Swarovski earrings and necklace were pretty darn gorgeous, I immediately had the idea to change into the earrings later on in the evening with my change of shoes and glitzy back jewels.
( Hey it was my wedding day – if you can’t go OTT on the twinkly lobe/neck/wrist candy then when the hell can you )
I don’t have any pics of the gift unfortunately but I do have this one where you can see the earrings ( with the £2.50 pair of New Look heart-shaped sunglasses – apparently mixing high street with designer is the way to go according to many a fashion glossy y’know )
4.00pm arrives and it’s time to make our grand entrance into the Refrectory for the wedding breakfast, couldn’t believe just how pretty everything looked, the Abbey staff had kindly moved our statuesque delphiniums from the ceremony room to the back of the head table so the whole room was full of blooms and swathed in candlelight.
Like a fairytale.
The food was delicious ( we never once worried it wouldn’t be – we had heard nothing but rave reviews and tried and tasted many a dish for ourselves) the wine was plentiful and everyone seemed to be having a fabulous time.
Love Notes were exchanged and our unique ( if slightly wonky) 2 tier “Fathead the cat” wedding cake and home decorated cupcakes were admired.
Time for the delivery of coffee and truffles also meant the beginning of the speeches, had been writing mine at 1am the previous morning ( couldn’t decide what to say so figured leaving it as late as I could would mean I just had to go with the moment so to speak) and didn’t feel particuarly nervous.
Dad was first, very funny ( as he always is) and delighted in telling everyone about my expulsion from Pre- School ( no really) and various other slightly embarrassing childhood tales, as well of course as some really lovely and touching words only a father could say.
Next up was Tom the best man, somehow Tom has this knack of not trying to be funny but just somehow well…..is completely hilarious. Did a cracking impression of James dancing on his stag do -James doesn’t and I repeat “do” any form of dancing unless under the influence of copious amounts of alcohol…. so Tom provided much amusement for the audience with his erm…. various thrusting, arm shaking and head nodding action.
James had clearly given a lot of thought to his speech, I was completely surprised and overwhelmed by just how much actually. I laughed along with the rest of them until he announced that…
James: When Charlotte stepped out of the car and I saw her for the first time I thought to myself “That girl is pure perfection” and when she walked towards me earlier today I thought exactly the same thing… I would like you all to raise your glasses to Mrs Charlotte Ann O’Shea – my perfect wife.
……and I promptly burst into tears.
After some delicate tissue dabbing under my eyes from Melissa ( I was well on the way to ruining her luscious lash look and she was on “fix it quick!” duty) I was ready for my moment.
Again I won’t go into the whole thing ( have already stated this wouldn’t be long and it’s turning into a blo*dy novel – sorry just have an inability to shorten anything) but I will tell you that I gave Thank-you’s to special deserving people ( my sister, my Mum – all the girls on the hen do) and what I said specifically to James…. and really why this whole blogging thing got the title it did.
me: “James, you are everything I’ve ever dreamed of, everything I need, You Rock My World and I am honoured to be your wife”
See…….there was a whole reason behind the randomness of the title.
Loved Loved Loved the few hours after the meal, firstly the girls and I went upstairs to touch up our make-up for the further posing and pouting opportunities that Jordan had planned and we had a fab time just talking about the day so far and what was in store for the remainder of the evening.
What was particularly great about having the majority of the photography later on was that everyone was really giddy and merry by this stage and I think the pictures proved that – I don’t think such natural shots would have been achieved earlier in the day so I’m more than thrilled that it worked out the way it did.
After the girls and I had completed our session James joined me for our “couples” turn, for some reason quite a few guests followed us around the venue at this point but made it fun – the laughter is as evident as it is real, we had various jokes and directions shouted at us from the on-lookers!
For the final few moments though it was just James and I and the camera lens, these are a few particular favourites of ours and the ones we have in the house as well as the album.
( the one with us kissing against the wall we have on a canvas at the top of the stairs – Jordan captured the colours of the brick work beautifully and I like the fact our faces are hidden but you can still tell it’s us)
The “Photo Frame” game went down a treat as you probably know ( along with a lot of the other bits and pieces that won’t make total sense unless you read the original blog – I will be adding it ASAP- just taking a while to format all of the images)…. and then somehow it was almost 9.00pm, time for the first dance.
We didn’t take it too seriously, we couldn’t – James is not shy at admitting his aversion to anything remotely resembling fancy footwork on the dance floor but we did manage a few twirls, turns and most importantly we really enjoyed it…..
And Iris by the Goo Goo dolls is my favourite song in the whole world so there was no way I wasn’t going to pull a few moves out of the bag…….
Forgot everyone else was there to be honest.
What is that famous saying?
Love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like no-one’s watching….
Well we did.
Both of those.
Then it was time for our A.mazing band Felix Leiter to “take to the stage”. Can’t rave about them enough – they really wowed everyone and there wasn’t a moment where the dance floor wasn’t packed with booty movers and shakers.
My friend Annette and I even joined in for a bit of backing singing ( It’s that darn Mustang Sally tune – ever since I first saw the film “The Commitments” I can’t help but launch into “ride Sally ride”….and yes it does sound more like ry-ed Sally ry-ed…)
After the first live set had finished the guests enjoyed bacon panini’s and slices of cake or carried on the dancing outside to our ipod playlist.
The second live set proved even better than the first and the band managed to play well past their allotted time as “Everyone seemed to be having such a fantastic time”
And they did.
And we did.
It was by far the greatest day of our lives and there are so many unforgettable moments that I will cherish forever.
As you will know from my original blog not everything goes without a hitch and there are little things that will make you go “ Darn it if only I’d done such and such” – because that is just human nature I’m afraid.
But in the grand scheme of things nothing really matters apart from you making your day to be exactly how you and your future husband want it.
No Rules. No Restrictions. No listening to those who want to give anything other than positive advice.
I can’t thank you all enough for all of your support and generosity, RMW wouldn’t exist without the kindness and enthusiasm of so many wonderful people.
May all your wedding days and indeed the rest of your days be filled with joy, laughter and love.