This morning we’re bringing you the first instalment of RMW Real Bride Kitty’s wedding to the lovely Al.
I think Kitty is probably one of our sweetest Real Brides ever – it’s been so lovely reading her planning posts and we’re so happy to be sharing the fruits of her labour with you all.
The wedding is just so pretty and after admitting that flowers weren’t high on her priority list – Kitty has ended up with one of the most stunning bouquets I’ve seen for a while!!
As ever with Kitty’s writing, she expresses her emotions so well that her words will have you living every moment with her.
So, without further ado – I’ll hand you over to Kitty to tell her and Al’s tale. We start on the eve before the big day, with both nerves and excitement running high…
Kitty The Bride: Wow. I’m not sure if there’s another word I could start this post with as I feel like I’ve been on a complete roller coaster over the last few months, but I’m very happy to be gracing these pretty pages one last time as a Mrs!
My last pre-wedding post for you lovely lot was six (very busy) weeks before the big day, so I thought I’d start by filling you in on a few of the final preparations. The days leading up to w-day were just a whirlwind of excitement as family arrived from other parts of the UK, I went to various beauty appointments, collected my wedding dress, got my nails done and made last minute honeymoon and wedding purchases.
I can probably thank my near OCD levels of organisation for all of this going very smoothly, as we had lists and spreadsheets for pretty much everything. I even made a really detailed schedule which was meant to be helpful but just ended up being a source of hilarity to everyone who looked at it because it was so specific! Even so, there was still plenty to do the day before and I was up early to wash my hair and let it dry naturally (as per my hair and make-up saviour Annabel Hornsby’s instructions) and pack everything I’d need for the wedding morning, night and day after.
At lunchtime it was time for me, my sister (and Chief Bridesmaid) Lotty and bridesmaid Amy to make our way to the venue – Stanwell House Hotel. After we arrived and got checked in the afternoon was non-stop busy. We unloaded all of the wedding swag and decor when it was dropped off by Al’s mum and dad, helped with setting up the tables and even managed to squeeze in a few cups of tea as well.
The highlight of the afternoon was probably when our flowers were delivered, as our florist Jo Hicks did a such wonderful job creating the bouquets and table flowers. She arrived with buckets full of big fluffy pink and white peonies, roses, freesias and astilbe – the smell was incredible and stopped random hotel guests in their tracks as they stood and admired them. I couldn’t get over how beautiful they were, like all of my floral fantasies come true and better than anything I’d pinned on Pinterest!
The only minor source of setting-up stress was the bunting, or more precisely, the hanging of the bunting. Al’s mum is a bit of a whiz with a sewing machine and made all of the gorgeous bunting that we hung from the beams in the conservatory and along the front of the top table. But when it came to actually hanging it there was a bit of confusion over when we could get the humungous ladder out to reach the beams.
Throughout our wedding planning I often read about how great it is having family and friends mucking in together with setting up, but in practice I discovered that this is not true of bunting hanging! My step dad was the poor person sent up the 8ft ladder to secure the ends, while other members of my family looked on from below all shouting “higher, lower”. Unfortunately none of them were quite in the right place to accurately give such instructions, and my step dad wasn’t completely impressed when he climbed down to discover the lengths of bunting weren’t all at the same height…Oh well, it still looked amazing!
Because of the bunting kerfuffle lasting well into the evening I didn’t get a chance to have my relaxing pre-bed bath, but I dutifully cleansed, toned and moisturised with my trusted Elemis products and had a cup of camomile tea to help me relax. I spent the night drifting in and out of a very light sleep, and at about 5am I finally gave up – it just wasn’t happening! I couldn’t believe the day had finally arrived after 3 and a half years of planning and couldn’t wait for it to finally begin. The word excited just doesn’t even begin to cover it!
At about 8.30am Annabel Hornsby and her assistant arrived and got straight to work putting all of our hair in heated rollers. When I had my trial back in March I explained the kind of hairstyle I wanted – an up do that wasn’t “too done”. I was thinking of something that looked effortless and like it had just kind of been scooped up.
Thankfully Annabel knew exactly what I was on about, and recreated the style perfectly on the day. Lotty and Amy both chose their own bridesmaid hairstyles – relaxed looking low buns worn to the side, and I think they both looked gorgeous. For my make-up Annabel used a range of products, including Chanel, Dior & Estee Lauder, to create an amazing base and a lovely natural look. She used soft colours around my eyes that complimented my eye colour, and opened up my peepers with some individual false lashes. The time really flew as we all got pampered and enjoyed a few glasses of Bucks Fizz, while our photographer Beki Young snapped away and our videographers filmed.
To my surprise I didn’t feel uncomfortable or on the spot at all with all of the lens attention, and just really enjoyed spending time with my mum and my maids and having a giggle. Our suite was right above the conservatory, so every now and then I chanced a look out of the window as the ceremony seating was being set up and the hotel staff were dashing about getting everything ready. I was also conscious of the weather outside, which had been disappointingly grey and rainy all morning – which isn’t exactly what you want when you’ve been envisaging Pimms outside on the patio and photos in the gardens! Luckily just as it was time for us to start getting dressed, the rain stopped and the sun started peep out – hooray!
I had serious butterflies as I put my dress on. I felt nervous, but in a really hard to explain happy nerves kind of way that resulted in lots of giggles as I stood in the middle of the room trying to hold my dress in place while Amy laced me up. My Phil Collins dress was my ‘something new’ and I absolutely loved wearing it and felt amazing in it all day. It’s funny to think that when I first started my dress hunt I was adamant that I didn’t want lace or lots of detailing but ended up with both – which shows that what you think you want when you start your dress hunt isn’t necessarily what you’ll end up with.
My ‘something old’ was an antique cameo brooch pinned to the ribbon of my bouquet, while my ‘something borrowed’ was a 1887 silver sixpence with Queen Victoria on it which Al’s dad kindly lent me from his collection. And last but not least, my ‘something blue’ was a cheeky nod to my love of all things Disney in the form of bright blue “I Do” stickers for the bottom of my shoes that used the Disney font complete with Mickey Mouse silhouette. After we were all dressed, jewelled and ready to go we had a few minutes spare to have some photos taken out on the balcony and it was lovely to have a bit of breathing space and time to relax.
I knew that Al had arrived at the venue when best man Ed popped up to the room to deliver a gift from him, and I had a tearful moment when I read the card Al had written and opened a framed print of the original “wink” I sent him on match.com as well as my very own Kindle pre-loaded with lots of honeymoon reading. My gift to Al was a short story based on a doodle I did for him when we first moved in together, which I had illustrated by My Zoetrope and printed as a hardback book. Lots of hand waving and face fanning was needed to stop my make-up running everywhere, and just when we’d all composed ourselves there was another knock at the door, and my dad arrived ready to escort me downstairs.
I had to look away when he came in, as seeing him set off my tears all over again! After a few final preparations and the quick interview with the registrars, it was time to go. I still can’t believe how quickly the morning flew past and, as determined as I was to savour it all, some moments still flashed past in a complete blur. When we left our room I felt strangely calm, and kept expecting to crumble with nerves at any moment. My calmness subsided a little at the top of the stairs, as I realised it might have been a mistake to put on my lovely (but really quite high heeled) wedding shoes before navigating the slightly uneven slate staircase. My head suddenly filled with visions of slipping and landing at the bottom in a heap so it was a wobbly few minutes as we very slowly descended. In fact, I think our guests had a bit of a chuckle as they heard me say just how wobbly I was feeling!
Thankfully we made it down with no mishaps and one by one my bridal entourage disappeared down the aisle as Elbow’s One Day Like This began to play, leaving just me and my dad. After a final adjustment to my veil and a few sips of ice cold water, my dad and I stepped around the corner towards our waiting guests.
I have such a vivid memory of walking down the aisle, and just writing about it is giving me some serious goosebumps. As soon as I saw all of our guests turned and smiling at me my eyes filled with tears and I was completely overwhelmed. All I could think about was getting to the end of the aisle and seeing Al turn towards me. It’s so difficult to put it into words, but it felt like all of my senses were going into overdrive and my brain was struggling to keep up. Thank goodness for my dad holding on to my arm, as I’m sure in that moment I wouldn’t have managed to take a single step on my own.
Even though it had been less than 24 hours since I’d last seen Al, it felt like it had been an age and I was so happy to see him. He looked really handsome in his grey three piece suit which we hired from Moss, and when I was finally stood next to him I took his hand straight away. I thought that I would be incredibly nervous having all of our family and friends watching and listening on as we made our vows but I wasn’t at all. It probably sounds like a total cliche but I didn’t notice anything or anyone else during the ceremony, apart from during our readings.
I started crying again when my mum read a lovely excerpt from the film Stardust, and laughed along with everyone when Al’s dad did a masterful reading of I Wanna Grow Old With You from The Wedding Singer. It took us a long time to choose our readings in the run up to the day, but we managed to find some that were utterly right for us and they slotted in to our ceremony perfectly. As we neared the end of the ceremony and the registrar spoke, the anticipation and excitement of what he was about to say almost took over – and when he announced us as husband and wife it was my happiest moment ever! We shared a kiss, and turned to face all of our nearest and dearest as they clapped and cheered us down the aisle. Wow.