Today the blog belongs to Kelly. Kelly our Real Bride who married her man way back in August.
The report today is somewhat different to the norm, as Kelly hired the help of Ashleigh Millward – Your Wedding Correspondent to document her day.
Where the noise, smell and frustrated agitation of summer traffic crawling towards Portsmouth and the surrounding coastline ended, there stood a bridge. Proud and low to the water which glistened in the morning light and played host to the sight of white and blue boats, bobbing in a salty breeze, the bridge carried cars and vans, loaded with kayaks, parasols and fishing rods, and an excitable stream of wedding guests, to the tranquil setting of Hayling Island.
Just the other side of the bridge the water met velvet swathes of grass and curving roads which cut through fields and hedgerows. Clusters of houses looked out across calm seas, back towards the mainland where, oblivious to the still, clammy quiet just a short drive away, motorists queued, dragging themselves towards the city.
Nestled amongst one such group of houses on quiet closes and narrow lanes, where flowering boarders burst out of old stone walls with country charm and a cheerful wildness, stood the ancient church of St. Peter, the oldest building on the Island. In the white weekend Sunshine that morning, the church stood, as so often it did, in silence. The grass rippled slightly on a hot breeze, and the only sound to be heard was that of the coo of wood pigeons and the very distant moan of a lawn mower.
Meanwhile, across the Island, people were rising to meet the day with nervous anticipation. The Newton House Hotel had already been thrown into merry chaos. The car park was constantly agitated as new guests arrived, the sound of high heeled shoes clicking against the concrete ground. There was a shout from the kitchen concerning the absence of white table linen, and a response from one of the nearby offices before a quiet commotion once again descended upon the building.
Room 10 at Newton House was that morning drenched in the gleeful excitement of a bride on her wedding morning, and the scent of Chanel Chance. Of the 3 beds arranged at the far end of room Chief Bridesmaid, Samantha, had been able to find space on only one, and sat still, watching as her sister Kelly’s makeup was expertly applied.
“You next”, Kelly gestured at Samantha, who stood slowly from the bed, her long hair in dreadlocks tied back with a bright blue elastic, her body wrapped in just a soft white towel. The physical resemblance of the twins was all the more striking as they stood beside one another, Samantha admiring her sisters perfectly made up face. She sat in front of the mirror; where Kelly had been seated, and closed her eyes expectantly as the make-up artist dived enthusiastically back in to her cosmetics bag.
From the en suite bathroom came a rustling sound, and a thud, one of Kelly’s bridesmaids, Djamilla, strode out in a towel similar to Samantha’s, her face already made up as she leaned over the Chief Bridesmaids shoulder to check her hair and visibly jumped as a heavy knock was heard at the door. Kelly, still dressed in a short pink and white floral robe, leapt across the room, expertly avoiding shoes, bras and handbags which littered the hotel room floor to pull back the door. She squeaked in a mixture of delight and relief as her florist gently pushed her way into the already crowded room, and proudly set forth a delicate bouquet of white and pink Hydrangea and clouds of puffy Gypsophelia.
“Is it as you imagined?” she asked Kelly hopefully.
“Yes, it’s better.” The bride sighed, lowering her face to the blooms and grinning at Djamilla who had frozen in the mirror as the florist had entered the room. The flowers indeed were beautiful; each confetti-like Hydrangea petal was edged in a pretty shade of pink, the whole bouquet tied carefully with lace. The florist sidled quietly out of the room unnoticed.
Julie, the Mother of the Bride, frowned with concentration as she secured the back of Kelly’s dress and tied a black silk sash around her daughter’s waist, the dress now hung gently from her shoulders, the lace pooling on the gold and black carpet around her bare feet. As Kelly put her veil in place her bridal style complete, her additional two adult bridesmaids, and soon to be sisters-in-law Samm and Becca, breezed into the room, both of them on top of towering platform shoes in white lace dresses identical to Samantha and Djamilla’s.
Back at St. Peters church the atmosphere had changed enormously since the still of the morning. Now, the car park area was overflowing, so that cars had been jauntily abandoned, behind one another, some part concealed by bushes. Amongst the trees and headstones that created a fairy tale like church yard, a laughing brigade of young children jumped and chased one another, their summer dresses and waistcoats disregarded as they balanced on fallen trees, and shuffled down grassy banks on their backsides.
The adult guests had congregated on the path which led towards the church doorway. Two tall pine trees supported a string of pastel coloured floral bunting, and the florist had installed an archway of delicate flowers over the church door.
The sound of shoes crunching over gravel attracted everyone’s attention, Julie had arrived with the four bridesmaids in attendance, as well as Naimh, Samantha’s daughter, in a dainty flower girls dress patterned with petals, and her son Ethan, the page boy, in a neat little grey suit. Each guest seemed to swarm towards them with cameras, turning the church path in to a gravelled red carpet, capturing Niamh as she laughed into Ethans arm, pointing as Marie, Kelly’s wedding planner, breezed through clutching a handful of string attached to giant helium filled balloons.
The bridesmaids looked splendid, each of their feminine white dresses fastened at the waist with a contrasting coloured belt. Samm’s deep cherry red hair was swept up from her clear young face and fierce blue eyes. Becca, with honey coloured pale brown hair which fell to her shoulders seemed wary of the crowds of guests that excitably jostled to look at the four of them, and she concentrated on her posy of Gypsophelia and on dragging her tapestry lace up boots through the dusty ground, creating an ark with the enormous platformed heel. Djamilla had relaxed; she posed ruefully for each camera, waving her hand above her head when she spotted a friend or one of Kelly’s relatives that she knew.
By the entrance to the church stood Andy, Kelly’s groom. In a slim fitting grey suit, with sharply cut blonde hair, and open and warm smile, he commanded attention as he stood between the larger figures of two of his ushers, who handed Order of Service booklets to guests who were now being rounded into the church entrance hall. Andy’s eyes were gentle, friendly, his gestures familiar and kind. Friends and family alike seemed to gravitate towards him, not simply because today was his wedding day, but because collectively they couldn’t help but want to be around him. He greeted them all individually, young and old, with warm embraces and cackling laughter, relaxing each person in to the fun and casual atmosphere.
Each of the wedding guests had been presented with a hand made booklet outlining the Order of the Service, designed by Kelly and Andy with covers printed on to brown grained paper. The booklet contained a pool of information about Hayling Island, as well as the words to carefully adapted hymns, information concerning readings, and several pages containing photographs painstakingly collected by whatever means available, of each and every one of the guests present. In the anxious church congregation old friends and members of both families poured over the booklets, complimenting the design, the wealth of content, sighing and shrieking at their own photograph or trying to see around the church to identify those people that they didn’t know. Kelly and Andy had even devised a crossword with clues hinting at words relating to them, their story, or at least on the subject of marriage, and pockets of guests debated the answers whilst the reverend entered and shuffled in to her position at the head of the church.
The first straining notes of Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel played out through the church and to a united gasp Ethan entered, clutching a pillow on which perched a pair of shining wedding rings. Niamh followed with a wide eyed look on her face, and a basket of flower petals jiggling in her hand. She looked over her shoulder for her Mother, tall, sinewy and graceful in her bridesmaid dress. Once all the bridesmaids had reached the very end of the aisle, attention turned collectively to the back of the church once more, where Kelly stood with her left arm, shaking a little, looped through the bent elbow of her Fathers right arm.
With her lace veil hanging softly behind her, long brown hair cloaking her shoulders and layers of fabric sashaying around her ankles as she walked, ever so slowly, into the main church building, she looked every inch the radiant bride. The music played out to a diminuendo before dying out altogether to hushed whispers from the congregation who all craned their necks to see the couple before being encouraged into song as the first hymn of the ceremony, “Come to a Wedding”, began to play.
Photographer – Daffodil Waves
Videographer – Rupert Ward-Lewis
Car Hire – Vanilla Classics
Ice Cream Bike – Traditional Catering
Wedding Reporter – Ashleigh Millward
Wedding Planner – Isabella Weddings
Wedding Dress – Priscilla of Boston
Florist – Green Flowers Florist
And that is where we leave this summers tale of love… For now.
Join us later for the finale complete with top tips from Kelly herself and an amazing video from Rupert Ward-Lewis.