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A winter wedding to warm your cockles and make you cry!

Beautiful bride and groom photograph

Beautiful bride and groom photograph by Anneli Marinovich

Don’t worry – you will be shedding happy tears as you read Jemma’s story about her winter wedding day. This is one of the loveliest things I’ve ever read and I was smiling and crying all the way!

Jemma did a write up for their friends and family who couldn’t be there on the day, which is such a lovely thing to do – and will make an enchanting keepsake for future generations! The text below is a collection of extracts from Jemma’s write up, just selected parts to accompany the beautiful pictures. Jemma’s an incredible writer and as this is her wedding I won’t interfere by adding my own comments – these are all Jemma’s words.

English Wedding blog sponsor Anneli Marinovich submitted the images of the wedding day. They make a wonderful team. Grab a cuppa and a cushion to squeeze and hide behind as you read a remarkable wedding story you’ll never forget…

A Nice Day for a White Wedding…

by Jemma Donnelly

Pretty English church

Pretty English church

“As I’m sure you know, Billy Idol had a hit in 1986 with White Wedding, the chorus of which goes It’s a nice day for a – white wedding…. thanks Billy.

The run-up to The Big Day had not been without its stresses. The vast numbers of wedding magazines (which I didn’t read – well, maybe a couple, while at the hairdressers) suggest that The Bride (and she honestly gets a capital T and a capital B) will sail effortlessly towards her wedding in a haze of calm and goodwill. Presumably, none of these Brides work in the performing arts faculty of a busy comprehensive and almost certainly they weren’t planning to get married the Saturday before Christmas. So, for haze of calm, substitute carol concerts, the Year 7 play, staff and school choir rehearsals, Bibury School’s nativity (the Groom’s festive burden) and a lot of excited children. There was a lot of goodwill though, and it kept right on coming.

Order of service for Jemma and Kevin's wedding

Order of service for Jemma and Kevin’s wedding

So, The Bride had dealt relatively serenely with changing the colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses at fairly short notice and then with John Lewis (yes, John Lewis) losing an order for one of said dresses and the subsequently eye-watering bill to get the dress couriered to Hanham when it became clear that there was only one in the correct size in the whole of the UK and she’d done OK when the Royal Mail appeared to lose yet another bridesmaid’s dress en route to Cornwall causing her to have to dash out to JL once again in search of a replacement the Thursday before Her Big Day.

By this point people at work were saying things like “What else can possibly go wrong?” There was talk of snow on the BBC website and an email suggesting that plans might need to change… Oh, and The Bride, months before, had chosen as the rose for her wedding bouquet, a gorgeous creamy number called Avalanche.

Kevin - winter groom

Kevin – winter groom

Lovely Anneli Marinovich and her husband Wayne (our hearty photographers) were there at the church to go through things with us. Mike, Kevin’s sister Helen’s wonderful fiancé, stood in as Best Man and we went through our lines for the following day. With Thayer, the chief bridesmaid, suffering with a horrid lurgy, she and the Bride made a quick getaway to Tetbury – via the chippy. Probably time to point that in Wedding Mag Land, The Bride turns in at about 9pm having supped on a glass of carrot juice and eaten some lightly steamed fish. Can this Bride recommend scampi and chips and a large glass (just the one) of Chilean Sauv Blanc?

Christmas tree decorations

Christmas tree decorations

And then. It. Snowed.

These timings are approximate but it’ll probably be a bit more exciting if you imagine – if you know it – the theme from 24 playing in the background.

5.30am – The Bride gets up to go for a wee. Even she can see that it’s snowed.

7.00am – The Bride and Thayer check the snow. Yep, it’s definitely snow.

8.30am – My other grown-up bridesmaid, Bex, sends a text asking for a weather update. We text back that it’s snowed.

8.45am – The Bride’s father calls and says that both her aunts and her uncles and her grandfather aren’t coming. This is the first time The Bride cries. The Bride asks her Dad not to tell her if he gets anymore calls like this. Wise move.

9.00am – The Bride wonders if it might be a good idea to check on things with the wedding car company. The wedding car company are snowed in.

9.05am – the Groom calls. None of his former work colleagues from Dolphin School are able to make it.

During the next few hours various miracles happen. The Bride plus both bridesmaids make it safely to Stroud but have to abandon the car in a snowed-in car park. They are picked up by one of the heroes of the day, Tim Hampton. So Tim picked us up in his 4×4 and took us (and the gorgeous wedding flowers Maria did for us) to Nailsworth to the hairdresser, where The Bride and Bex were dropped off, and then took Thayer plus flowers on to Bisley. Thank goodness I let Bex persuade me that I needed to go to the hairdresser. All Brides, even ones who aren’t from Wedding Mag Land, benefit from a trip to the hairdresser on Their Big Day.

The church looks beautiful in the snow

The church looks beautiful in the snow

12.00 – 1.30pm – the hair done, The Bride returns to Bisley, courtesy of Stan – another heroic 4×4 driver – where things get tougher and more surreal. Parents suggest abandoning the reception. It’s snowing pretty seriously again. The Bride, who’d planned to be sitting in the cottage at the Tythe Barn sipping cava and having our eyes done is sitting on the edge of her parents bed while sisters, bridesmaids and others hurtle in and out. She is getting her eyes done though. Wonderful Dominque has fought through the snow to do my make-up. Just as well as I’d be very likely to brutally stab myself in the eye with a mascara wand…

2.45ish – Lovely Tim has managed to collect The Groom and his lovely sister and future brother-in-law and get them safely from Tetbury to Bisley. This intelligence is relayed from HQ (AKA The Stirrup Cup in Bisley) and the Vicarage rejoices – the reception can go ahead.

Wellies for a snowy winter wedding

Wellies for a snowy winter wedding

3.15ish – the Father of The Bride suggests that we might need to delay things a little. In the blur that the day was becoming The Bride didn’t even think to question why. Had she done so, she would have discovered that The Groom’s parents, who had been on the road from Bourton-on-the-Water since just before midday still hadn’t arrived.

In Wedding Mag Land, the moment The Bride puts on The Dress is infused with meaning. Presumably it happens in a flatteringly lit room amid a haze of scented candles and fresh flowers. Presumably, as the (in my case) layers of silk chiffon swish into place everyone present sighs and The Bride scrutinises her reflection before finally being ready to glide out of the house and into the soft leather interior of the patiently purring car. Well, my experience was a little different…

snowy winter wedding - Jemma in the snow

snowy winter wedding – Jemma in the snow

3.30ish (and yes, the wedding should have been at 3.30) – The Bride puts on her dress in her parents sitting room. There’s no mirror in that room so I have no idea what I looked like. At least I hadn’t cried much since the make-up had gone on. As all this was going on at the Vicarage, two wonderful things had happened in church. The Groom’s parents had made it (with the wedding rings, that my father-in-law Mick made for us), following a truly awful journey, and so had Anthony and Kim and their children Hugh and Erin. Anthony and Kim had known The Groom at Oxford and he was godfather to Hugh. Anthony was a fabulous Best Man and Erin a gorgeous small bridesmaid. It was great that they could be there.

We have to cancel the reception at the Tythe Barn. The Bear will cater for anyone who stays after the service. They can do roast beef or a veggie option. The Mother of The Bride calls the Tythe Barn. The Bride puts her boots on. The lovely Peter Barton, one of All Saints’ churchwardens, arrives to drive us as far as the church gate in yet another 4×4.

Jemma and Kevin's church wedding

Jemma and Kevin’s church wedding

And then, beautifully, snowily and miraculously we get married. I walk, tan leather boots firmly on, from the 4×4 down to the church as the snow continues to fall. At the church door footwear is changed and I try to gather what might be left of my thoughts. I’m getting married. I, who’ve watched all my amazing sisters get married, so many dear friends get married, I, who had begun to think that I wouldn’t ever be getting married…. I’m definitely going to get married.

Jemma and Kevin's church wedding

Jemma and Kevin’s church wedding

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so much love in one building. Ever. As my wonderful Mum walked me up the aisle to the joyous sound of Vivaldi’s Gloria, I saw the dear faces of the brave souls who’d made it. Our lovely local friends – several armed with a 4×4 – and our brilliant families. We had a Bride, a Groom a full complement of bridesmaids – great and small, plenty of clergy, a choir and a towerful of intrepid bellringers who’d walked cross- country from Bussage and Oakridge to ring for us. As I said, so much love.

religious wedding ceremony

religious wedding ceremony

The service was amazing. In fact the service, always the most important element of the day for us, went exactly as planned! Our lovely sisters read for us, Tabitha and Simon made the extract from Much Ado something very special indeed and the singing was incredible. David, my godfather, used some prayers by a brilliant bloke called David Adam that seemed to sum up perfectly what we have found in each other and what we wish for our future together.

Hello there!

Hello there!

Jemma and Kevin's wedding ceremony

Jemma and Kevin’s wedding ceremony

Church wedding ceremony - lovely red flower pew ends

Church wedding ceremony – lovely red flower pew ends

You may kiss the bride...

You may kiss the bride…

hot drinks all round for the wedding guests

hot drinks all round for the wedding guests

Everyone inside the church

Everyone inside the church

flower girl star wand and wedding flowers

flower girl star wand and wedding flowers

Kevin and Jemma get married

Kevin and Jemma get married

Inside the church for a winter wedding

Inside the church for a winter wedding

The Bear came up trumps! MC Tom England had ordered The Bride her medicinal G&T and The Groom his pint in advance so they were waiting for us.

dancing at the reception

dancing at the reception

Now, in Wedding Mag Land and – to be honest – in our original wedding plan, no more than one glass of fizz was to pass my lips so that I could savour every moment of the day.

winter wedding reception

winter wedding reception

All the little details we’d spent ages organising. But, like many things on that extraordinary day, plans changed somewhat. I had a fabulous evening! My family, all of them, both of them, were simply brilliant.

A beautiful girl, a fabulous fascinator

A beautiful girl, a fabulous fascinator

Such a pretty flower girl

Such a pretty flower girl

A kiss at the wedding reception

A kiss at the wedding reception

Beautiful bride Jemma

Beautiful bride Jemma

The gorgeous groom

The gorgeous groom

The wedding reception at The Bear

The wedding reception at The Bear

The wedding reception at The Bear

The wedding reception at The Bear

And so, dear reader, I come to the end of this snowy tale as yet more snow falls outside. So many people contributed to a wedding day we could never have imagined and we feel truly blessed to have had.

Jemma's wedding speech at The Bear

Jemma’s wedding speech at The Bear

There were faces we’d hoped very much to see though. In fact there were so many people to include in the Absent Friends toast that my Dad just asked people to call out the names of people they knew were missing.

Kevin keeps a close eye on the wedding speeches!

Kevin keeps a close eye on the wedding speeches!

So we are going to celebrate with those people in the summer and we’re also going to ask those amazing Bisley folk who were so unbelievably kind to us and our nearest and dearest to come and party with us. We’re married. It’s brilliant. Let’s do the whole thing again in July!”

©Jemma Donnelly January 2011

The wedding reception

The wedding reception

Thank you to wedding photographer Anneli Marinovich for submitting the images of Jemma and Kevin’s wedding for the blog. Anneli is one of our recommended wedding photographers and you can find out more about her by clicking the Recommended link in the top menu bar of this blog.

Thank you so very much to Jemma for allowing me to publish extracts of her wedding day story. It’s a beautiful tale and I have so much admiration for Jemma, Kevin and for their families and friends for making it to and through the day to make it into something more special than anyone could have imagined.

Kevin has had his own taste of internet stardom on the I Am Staggered website, sharing his own version of the wedding day story – so if you still have that tissue handy please read Kevin’s wedding story as well.

Scroll down to the comments form if you have a sec to share your thoughts or anything you’d like to add for Jemma & Kevin. I think they’re pretty incredible!

Photography credits: Anneli Marinovich

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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8 COMMENTS
  • getting married
    9 years ago

    Lovely photos! Congrats!

  • Anneli Marinovich
    9 years ago

    I well up everytime I read Jemma’s take on the wedding and what turned out to be a STUNNING day. I still feel so honoured to have been a part of it! Thank you Claire for the feature and putting Jemma’s words up “in lights” 🙂

  • That first image is incredible! With the soft lighting and the stunning church for a backdrop and the snow, just incredible!

  • Lizzie Coates
    9 years ago

    The photo’s are beautiful and Anneli is certainly a very talented lady. I feel sorry for the couple what with all their bad luck but the brides ‘story’ is quite irritating, non? I realise she’s trying to parody wedding culture but I think it’s just quite cringey.

  • I agree with Rachel, the first image is stunning, so romantic!
    Although Jemma and Kevin had to overcome so many challenges, there wedding day looked fabulous, and personally I thought that Jemma told her story really well, any author that can evoke an emotion has to be good, and she made me smile, laugh, and need tissues!

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