Joy the Bride:
We were engaged for four and half years before getting married which should be enough time to find a wedding dress. I was quite laid back about it until I met up with a friend who pretty much told me back in February that I’d left it too late to get a dress made and I should go out and find something. I made a few appointments at shops in London and with my little sister Bola ended up finding a beautiful dress in Love Bridal
Crystal Palace, which was a lot of tulle and lace and had cap sleeves. The bonus was that it was on sale at £350 and a size 14 so could be altered to fit my shape. It was lucky I got a larger size dress as I ended up being 15 weeks pregnant on our wedding day. The ladies at Love Bridal were so sweet and accommodating and made the whole process fun and stress free. It also helped that Love Bridal were around the corner from my mums’ place.
Gabriel had been advised by me and my sister to get a Navy suit. He left it to the absolute last minute as he hates shopping but was in good hands as he went shopping with one of my best friends Donna who has been responsible for finding grooms outfits for a load of the husbands in our group. Gab and I went out to buy his tie and ties for the groomsmen a couple of days before the wedding.
We wanted to have some open space as we were having loads of children at the wedding. I found Hampton Court House
on a wedding blog and was so impressed with the country house feel yet it was only 40 minutes from Waterloo station. It was amazing with rabbits running around the grounds which the kids loved, trees, and a pond. It also overlooked Bushey Park where you could see the deer. The best feature of the venue is that you don’t have to decorate it as it’s so beautiful. Since we were having a civil ceremony we also wanted to have the ceremony and reception in the same place. The venue manager Dee was amazing and was very supportive all the way through. A number of our suppliers actually came from their recommended list. The ceremony started at 3.00 p.m. but we encouraged guests arrive an hour early for pre-drinks and just to get to know each other and relax. We were very lucky with the weather, it was a pretty miserable July and August but the sun shone all day.
My wonderful brother drove me, my dad, my sister and my niece Georgia 16 months (who had just woken up from her nap and was still in her pyjamas!) and her dolly from our Airbnb ten minutes from the venue.
Steph at Fairynuff Flowers
is so creative and talented I trusted her completely. Steph and her team provided the bouquets for me and the bridesmaids, centrepieces and buttonholes and decorated the aisle and stairs with huge bunches of baby’s breath which I loved. I was happy for Steph to take the lead and steer me in the right direction. We didn’t have an official colour scheme but went with pinks and pale purples, with quicksand and amnesia roses.
The Wedding Party
My sisters Shade and Bola, were my bridesmaids, again no real vision about the dresses except it should be a pinkish/champagne colour and they could wear whatever they wanted and didn’t have to match. Luckily after a period of trying to find matching dresses they decided to go with my advice and wear different dresses! There were 3 flower girls, Rebecca and our nieces, Georgia and Orla. They all wore a cute, ivory petal hem dress with a bow and all had baby’s breath decorating their hair courtesy of my sister Bola. Our nephew Ollie was the sole pageboy, who along with Orla put petals on the aisle in front of us. They both took their job very seriously, though no one had told them what to do when they got to the end of the very short aisle and they just kept on piling on the petals on top of each other. Very sweet.
Gab and I are not overly emotional people so it was a real surprise to start walking down the aisle and feel overwhelmed by all our family and friends and then seeing Gab at the end of the aisle. I could not believe I was so emotional but it was a great moment. Gab who I’ve never seen cry in 6 years also had emergency tissue in his hand which made me even more teary. My oldest friend Miranda, read the first reading Kahlil Gibran, On Marriage, which she had chosen and we both teared up at that point, Miranda and me I mean. Our confident and beautiful niece Mia read He’s not perfect, by Bob Marley and my brother Mark read the Apache Prayer both of which we loved. We had a lot of help from our families to organise the day. Gab’s brother Tris was one of the best men and our teenage nieces Mia, Lydia and Octavia and nephew Floyd were our ushers. Our biggest supporter was my sister Bola without whom we wouldn’t have been able to get everything organised. We had such a magical day with our parents, siblings, extended families and friends.