What Jo Did… Completed The Final Chapter. (Part 2)

Ok, we couldn’t make you wait too long for the final part of RMW Real Bride Jo’s wedding. Here it is, the final par tof the final chapter.

Once again images are by Guy Hearn and at the end we have a video by White Dress Films.

For the last time then, take it away Jo…

As we walked up to sign the register, the breathtaking sound of our friend, Callie’s, voice spilled out from the organ loft into the vast space. She sang Ave Maria, which gave us all goosebumps, followed by ‘Look with your Heart’ from Love Never Dies. Callie is one of my old brides. She and her hubby, Ben, have become our good friends over the past few years. She hails from Texas and has one of the most incredible operatic voices we have ever heard – just perfect!

When we came to the ‘You may now kiss the bride’ part of the ceremony, I remember feeling absolutely elated. To date, the single most awesome moment of my life.

The walk back up the aisle was brilliant – I could finally catch the eye of friends and family without bursting into tears. Jackie Wilson’s ‘Higher and Higher’ crackled into life through the speakers, and off we went, pausing at the Chapel door for a cheeky kiss, before I hitched up my dress (a bit too high, actually – ooops!) and we made a run for MR A’s Triumph TR6. All plans to have the roof down and wave back at our guests went out the window. We raced off, with Guy running close behind, to have our formal shots taken, before joining our guests at the drinks reception. Neither of us could quite believe it – we were married!

After being bombarded with confetti by our guests, we set about trying to speak to everybody – an impossible task! It was such a lovely feeling to see a new face at every turn. There were lots of guests whom we hadn’t seen for a long time, so seeing them was just brilliant. My aunt also brought my Grandmother’s wedding ring for me to wear – very special.

We got an awesome whole party photo, along with some brilliant ‘formal’ shots with the ushers and bridesmaids. The final group shot was of the bridesmaids wearing ‘taches and the ushers sporting heart glasses. Bridesmaid Vicky, in a Prosecco-induced bonkers moment, opted to wear both as she walked in a dining room full of 140 guests – see if you can spot her in the video! We walked in to the funky beat of Booker-T and the MCs’ Test Cricket theme… Guess who chose that?!

I am proud to say that I scoffed all three courses of our wedding breakfast – Lemon Zest were utterly fantastic – the food was EPIC! We started with Buffalo mozzarella, caramelised figs and prosciutto, moved on to a choice of pan-fried sea trout or fillet of Welsh beef (from my Dad’s butcher friend in Wales) and then a ‘his and hers’ dessert – sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce for the boys and a British trio for the ladies: lemon posset, homemade Bakewell tart and a teeny ginger and rhubarb cheesecake. Food was a real priority for us, and Lemon Zest went above and beyond – people are still raving about the food now!

The boys all delivered fantastic speeches – just the right balance of humour and sincerity. I completely forgot to say a few words, which I had planned to. D’oh! Rich, our best man, felt a lot of pressure – we went to 12 weddings last year, so heard countless speeches. He was worried about not matching up, but needn’t have done – absolutely top-class. He had also handed out sheets of paper at the drinks reception for guests to write limericks about us. The result was hilarious (and, in a few cases, quite rude) Dad, too, was very nervous, but did me very proud. Phil couldn’t resist mentioning my MASSIVE faux pas when designing the invitations… The postcode I put on for the venue was actually the postcode for my ex-boyfriend’s parents’ house, 2 miles down the road – we only realised about 5 weeks before the wedding that this had happened. My red face had just about died down by the wedding day(!)

A special mention must go to the table who played Speech Bingo™. Each person had a word chosen for them. Every time that word was said, they had to take a drink. Particularly messy for those who had: ‘and’, ‘thank you’, ‘Phil’ and ‘Jo’ 😉 Finally, we all sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to our lovely usher, Patrick.

Meal and speeches complete, we moved through for coffee in the Marble Saloon and our evening guests arrived to join the party. The cups and saucers I had spent last summer collecting got their moment at last, and looked great. After cutting the cake(s), we had the inevitable first dance to contend with.

I can honestly say that the minutes just beforehand were the most nerve-wracking of my life! I remember telling Guy that I didn’t want to do it and hoped that his photos would somehow mask my two left feet! I changed into a different dress at this point – one that I found for £15.00 in a vintage shop. My wedding dress couldn’t be bustled up and I didn’t need any additional trip hazards! Our band, The Dukes of Havoc, had learnt our first dance song – Some Kind of Wonderful – and sounded AWESOME! Once we started the routine we’d learnt, I felt fine, though it did seem like an eternity before anyone joined us on the floor!

Roger Goodgroves (husband of the gorgeous Shirley, fellow Real Bride) took some absolutely hilarious photobooth pictures – we’ve since had a huge giggle at them. Thank you Rog!!

The rest of the evening was a crazy-brilliant blur of dancing, laughing, cheese scoffing and general merriment. Highlights for me included the whole room dancing in a Conga-style line to Love Train by The O’Jays and, at the very end, everybody getting into a huge circle to dance to Never Forget by Take That, running towards Mr A and I every time the chorus played. Classy? Absolutely not. Sheer fun? Definitely! Wonderful memories.

One thing I would urge every couple to do at some point during the evening of their wedding is stand on a chair so you can see out over the whole room – take 5 to soak it all up… the guests, the music, the fun – the amazing product of all the effort you’ve put in to planning your day.

One piece of advice I can impart is DON’T let the weather ruin your day. We knew it would rain – this June was one of the wettest ever, but didn’t let it affect us. Hire/buy lots of brollies, get guests to bring wellies, if necessary, and have a plan B at your venue. Take heart from the fact that your photos will look brilliant – no squinting, no shadows – and that nobody will get sunstroke or sunburn! There will be no bugs flying around and, in fact, your guests will all stick together, rather than wondering off to walk the grounds of your venue. Never lose sight of the fact that it is your wedding day – you are marrying the love of your life and, as my best friend told me on the day – a wet knot can’t be untied.

Again, DON’T book your car in for its MOT the day (or even the week) of the wedding, but DO get organised so you can go for some pampering the day before the wedding – I booked in for 4 hours of treatments: manicure, pedicure, full body exfoliation, massage and brow wax. I went on my own for some ‘me’ time and it was divine!

DO book suppliers you can trust. Prioritise how you want to spend your budget and do your research – Guy Hearn (photographer), White Dress Films (Video), Lemon Zest, Callie Denbigh (vocalist), The Dukes of Havoc and Emma Walker Flowers were all invaluable on the day – we felt totally supported and nothing was too much trouble. Similarly, DO put your faith in friends and family who want to help – we couldn’t have done half the things we did without the unswerving support of our loved ones. DON’T try and do it all yourself, even if you like to be in control – you will, undoubtedly, enjoy the day less.

Finally, keep an eye on the clock before the ceremony. When you have two hours to go, pretend you only have one. I never intended to be 20 minutes late (maybe 5!!), but ended up keeping my man waiting for much too long!
Sitting in the bar of the hotel we stayed in on the wedding night, surrounded by some of our best friends, my Dad, my Uncle from New York and my cousins from Dubai, reflecting on the day and having a giggle at everyone’s stories, was a brilliant end to the most perfect day. Mr A whisking me off to the Cotswold House Hotel the following day was the icing on the cake and our Christmas honeymoon in Canada (Whistler & Vancouver) will be the cherry on the top.

So, there you (finally!) have it – hope you enjoyed it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing for you for the last 18 months.

Big ‘married life ROCKS’ love,

Mrs A xxx


Venue: Stowe School, Buckingham

Photographer: Guy Hearn

Videographer: Richard at White Dress Films

Caterer: Lemon Zest

Florist: Emma Walker

Ceremony soloist: Callie Denbigh

Band: The Dukes of Havoc

Photobooth: Roger Goodgroves

Dress: Lusan Mandongus at Ellie Sanderson Bridal

Shoes: Roland Cartier at Debenhams

Make-up: Clinique

Hair slide: Rendevous at Liberty in Love

Veil: Made by MrsA Snr

Groomsmen attire: Moss

Equipment hire: Festival Hire (crockery, chairs and cutlery), Millie Miles (linen) and Top Table (all glassware)

Favour jars and bottles: JBC Online

Balloons and helium: ABC Inflatables

Tea cups, table decor and table plan blackboard: Collected by bride and groom and available to hire!

I’ve realy enjoyed following Jo’s journey over the last year and a bit, and this is exactly the finale such a story deserved.

Despite the weather there are smiles all around. It’s great advice that Jo imparts that you should always plan for rain and have preparations in place because let’s face it, after a July like we endured this year there really isn’t a ‘safe weather’ month anymore.

It’s been great fun Jo, and everyone at team RMW wishes you a long and happy future as Mrs A 🙂


Author: Adam Crohill
Adam likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

32 thoughts on “What Jo Did… Completed The Final Chapter. (Part 2)

  1. Oh man, it’s a good job I’m working from home today as that video just made me have a little cry!!

    I love all the details, the flowers, the bridesmaid dresses and I LOVE your second dress, tis gorgeous!

    You both look so happy and I am so happy for you both. Congratulations Mr and Mrs A!! xxx

  2. I actually cried at that first section of your video – the words from your new husband were so heartfelt and lovely! 🙂 Beautiful wedding from start to finish, and the lighting in your venue was amazing, and loving BOTH your dresses!

    Big massive congratulations to you both xx

  3. GORGEOUS! Conrgratulations 🙂 You look stunning, love your dress. You look like you had such a fun amazing day. I hope I can chill out and enjoy my wedding, feeling a bit stressed on the rub up haha, less than 6 months to go now. You’ve totally inspired me to have a pamper day the day before now too! Good idea 🙂 xxxx

  4. Absolute gorgeous gorgeousness! That venue is stunning and the whole affair looked the perfect mixture of elegant and fun.

    And the video is just cute and beautiful. Lovely couple- congratulations! xx

  5. Congratulations Mr & Mrs A!!! 😀

    Fabulous write up Jo, looks like you all had an absolutely wonderful day.
    Loving both your dresses, cannot believe that second dress was only £15!! amazing! 🙂

    The photo of the whole bridal pary around the bench & you guys up high is ace! In fact they are all fab, your smile is infectious!

    Congratulations lovely, & thanks for sharing it with us all. Although as with the previous Real Brides you are adding to the pressure!!! How can we possible follow all your awesome weddings?!!

  6. Crying at my desk!! Jo, it’s just gorgeous.

    @Becca – seriously, I had vertigo looking at that picture. You wouldnt get me standing on a high thing for a big clock!! Bravery points all round there.

    I love those blue glasses too. LOVE THEM. xx

  7. These two posts have made me cry like a BABY. Jo looks absolutely beautiful, and I love, love, love the bridesmaids dresses. I’m getting married at Stowe Gardens in 18 months and this has just made me all the more excited (I didn’t think that was possible).

    Thank you Jo for sharing your beautiful day! Loads of love and congrats xxxx

  8. Incredible photos. So refreshing to see some clean, technically brilliant, not over processed images.

    I too have long-time coveted those glasses. You can hire them from toptablehire dot com.

  9. The maids’ dresses are so vibrant, I adore the group picture with your best boys and girls, the happiness is spilling out my computer screen!

    Just plain fab.

  10. Another crier over here!

    Just had to duck down behind my monitor at my desk as your video had me bawling!

    What a gorgeous day, stunning venue and amazing photos!

    Have a fabulous time in Canada on your Xmas honeymoon! xxx

  11. What a beautiful, classy wedding. Just gorgeous.

    My wedding was the day before yours, Jo (and my dress was from Ellie S!) – it all seems like a bit of a lovely dream now, so I love looking at my photos to remind me that it really *was* real! Reading about your day made me think about what I was doing that very same week 🙂

    Congratulations! x

  12. Oh Jo congratulations! I cried for the first minute of your video, and spend the rest of it in awe of the beauty of the whole day! that venue, your dining hall, all your little touches – bravo!

    lots of love from another wet june bride! x

  13. Can I admit nearly bursting into tears whilst putting the text together…. I hadn’t even looked at pictures or video yet!

    What a big bloody baby.

    Jo, you will be missed on these polka dotted pages…. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us all xx


  14. Jo, loved part deux even more!!! Love your advice at the end. We had blazing sun on our day, and it was tricky sometimes not squinting for pics! Rain isn’t all that bad.

    You must be sooooo excited for your honeymoon, especially after term 1 of your NQT year. Keep in touch, loves ya xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    PS…£15 for THAT dress, amazing!!!!

  15. Tissues been handed to me at my desk here…

    You stunningly beautiful couple; what a magical and perfect day. Huge congratulations to you both.

    Simply perfect <3 !

  16. Eeeee, so many lovely comments – thank you RMW-ers 🙂
    @Tabitha, Victoria, Lauren – I always look like a mentalist when I watch that vid. Cry for 90 seconds, grin for the rest!
    @SamB – pamper time is a must. I’m sure I bored the b*llocks off the therapists with my wedding chat, but it was super lovely to sit and chill out.
    @Sama – thank you. Elegant and fun is exactly the combination we wanted, so that’s such a compliment! 🙂
    @Rebecca – Adam has kindly omitted the picture of me trying to get back down – so embarrassing #beachedwhale! Was so funny though!
    @Karen – we have been given 6 of those glasses, so I’m praying we don’t break them!! Toptable have lots of coloured glassware – so pretty!
    @Sian – Stowe Gardens? When? We were supposed to have pictures at the Palladian Bridge but couldn’t go down there in the rain! Our first date was a walk around the gardens. Are you local to Stowe?
    @Phillipa – thank you! Guy Hearn is a genius as far as I’m concerned. I have never seen an image of his that I don’t like. His pics blow me away AND he’s a super lovely guy to boot!
    @Charlie, Kitty, Ellen R – THANK YOU lovelies 🙂
    @HelsRM – wedding week and dress shop twin! Happy six months for yesterday 🙂
    @Susanna – thank you. I purposefully didn’t mention the dresses. THey were from Mango. Beautiful, but one had a broken zip on arrival (none left in stock to switch, so I had it replaced). Two more zips broke ON THE DAY! One just before we went to the ceremony and one in the evening. Mango refused to swap them because I bought them a long time before the wedding – they accused me of breaking them on purpose to get the money back 🙁 They have beaut dresses, but I would steer clear!
    @Laura – right back at ya girl – your phots and film ROCK! Just gorgeous 🙂
    @Hannah – did you get drenched and not care too? Hope you had a magical day!!
    @Adam, you big soft lad! I shall miss you all too, though I still plan to visit the C Factory next year to see you guys. Love from Jo Slow xx
    @Kelly – Of course I’ll keep in touch – you can’t shake me off that easily. We need a yearly meet up to eat Millions and drink gin. Or we could be Millions infused gin!
    @Kim – the bear, which had a matching man bear dressed in cricket whites, was from my MiL, the awesome Mrs A Snr. SHe bought the bears and made the outfits 🙂
    @Caroline – Eeeeek, their website has changed. I can’t find them, but if you email them and say that you’ve seen Jo & Phil’s wedding balloons and that Kevin Byass will know what they were, they will forward it to him. They were 3ft ones, I think. V helpful company.
    @bonnyandclydedesign – isn’t it a fab line. I think a lot of couples will be using that one after this rainy year!
    @Claire E – You are so kind. Thank you!
    Happy Christmas to one and all – have a magical time, and a cracking 2013! Lovelove xx

  17. Jo Jo Jo!!!
    I am sooooooooooooooo sorry I am late to comment! I love this, you and your planning write ups so much!
    You made a beautiful bride and are such a gorgeous person inside and out!!
    Your wedding day looked so much fun and full of love and smiles, just how it should be. It’s one of those weddings where everyone wishes they were a guest.

    The glasses look fab as did your tables!
    The video was to die for!

    Congrats, enjoy your honeymoon and first married christmas!

  18. Jo! You look so beautiful (but I already told you that anyway 🙂 )

    I came back from holidays to see your lovely LOVELY post and I am so happy that you both had the best day ever.

    Congratulations my love and lots of luck and luck for the future

    Charlotte xxx

  19. Hola Mrs M – thank you cherub, you say such lovely things. I cannot BELIEVE it will be your 1st anniversary in a few short months – it’s crackers how fast time flies!!

    @Charlotte. Helloooooo – where have you been on holibobs? Hope you had a lovely time.

    @Kelly – Am going to create this and trademark it!

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