Nicola was a truly beautiful bride in an exquisite lace wedding dress by Sassi Holford, marrying Bertie in a Derbyshire village church with an old English feel to the day. I loved their focus on family and friends, and hearing about Nicola’s jewellery – all family heirlooms – was a real treat.
Today it’s time for the wedding reception, and I’ll leave you with part two of Nicola’s wedding story to enjoy!
Bertie and I had some photographs on our own in a field opposite the church – for which I clambered over a style – before joining everyone else.
The day started completely grey and with pouring rain so it looked like it was going to be a washout. We were putting the final touches to the marquee later in the morning and the rain was bouncing from the canvas so we were resigned to everyone having to cram into the tent for the whole reception. I met insistence it would clear up from friends with incredulity but sure enough, by around 2pm, the sun was shining and from then on, it was perfect. Yes it was a bit windy (which had a pretty catastrophic effect on my hair) but we were so lucky the rain disappeared. The day would have been amazing whatever, but the way the weather lifted really added to the magic of it all.
What is really special about a wedding is having all the people you love in one place and the overall magical atmosphere that creates, which pervades the whole day. It is such a unique, happy occasion with everyone wishing you well and that’s what I really remember.
We weren’t too caught up in an overall theme but in my mind’s eye, I wanted it to have a bit on an ‘old English’ feel – given the rural, country location and overall traditional approach to the day. To that end, we had pub signs as our table ‘numbers’ – I sent my brother and now brother-in-law round taking pictures – and little bags of rhubarb and custard sweets for wedding favours. Instead of traditional place cards, we used purple ribbon to tie white tags around the napkins and I made the table plan myself using white card and purple ribbon.
The marquee was quite simple, with a bar at one end and dance floor and space for the band at the other, with some picnic tables and chairs outside. Our flowers were a mix of purple, light blue and cream.
Bertie said one of his favourite moments, apart from seeing me come down the aisle, was when we were standing outside the marquee together just before we were called in. We had a brief but quite emotional chat – caught on camera by our wily photographers.
We chose to have the speeches before dinner just after everyone had sat down so that everyone could relax during the meal. I bucked the trend here by speaking myself after my father, and then Bertie and his best man followed.
In church, I loved the reading of The Princess Bride we had picked which was done by one of the ushers, Charlie. He gave it a bit of drama and it was exactly the sort of individual touch we wanted so that the service wasn’t too formulaic. The Princess Bride is one of Bertie’s favourite films and the passage we chose was about having an adventure together.
I would also say that the speeches were very special. We went from laughter to tears and back again. It was really important for me to make one myself so that I could thank my parents and tell Bertie how proud I felt to be his wife. I really enjoyed doing it and can remember looking up to see people laughing and thinking to myself: “This is going down okay!” Bertie’s was really moving, for many reasons. He went from saying everyone was there to celebrate the fact that I had “landed the big tuna” to dealing with some very difficult, personal stuff and there wasn’t a dry eye in house. Best Man Matt then brought the house down with tales of Bertie as a boy, pulling out a hilarious letter he had written to his brother from prep school. The photos capture all these bits perfectly – Bertie and I are bent double, we are laughing so hard.
Wedding day advice: what one piece of advice would you give?
It’s obvious but just enjoy every single second. The day is (or should be) the best of your life but it flashes past so quickly. Try not to obsess about the details on the day itself. Things will go slightly wrong but it really doesn’t matter. It’s all about enjoying it and having fun with family and friends. In the immediate aftermath, we felt ours had gone so perfectly and were on cloud nine. Over time, there are inevitably things we thought perhaps we could have done differently but you have to let that go and just remember how special it was.
Bertie adds that you only really need to get the booze, food and music right – everything else is just dressing!
It is hard to pick out particular moments but one we loved was the moment our guests were doing a conga through the marquee as the band were singing Love Train. One of my parents’ oldest (and craziest) friends was at the front of a complete mixture of friends and relatives of all ages and from all aspects of our lives, having a great time. It made us realise the party was definitely going with a swing.
After a three-course meal, the dancing started and basically didn’t stop until 1am. Cheese and cake (traditional three tiers but a mix of fruit and sponge) were served in the evening. We had a great band – Double Measures – who played some Motown classics and some more modern material which had everyone on the dance floor. Near the end of the night, I changed out of my wedding dress and then we left just as it was all coming to a close.
Recommended wedding suppliers
Just Good Food (based in Birmingham) www.justgoodfood.com
Rowan Tunaley Flowers (based near Ashbourne, Derbyshire) www.facebook.com/pages/Rowan-Tunaley-Flowers/193042727417692
Kirsten Mavric Photography www.kirstenmavric.co.uk
Double Measures – Motown-style band, West Midlands www.alivenetwork.com/bandpage.asp?bandname=The%20Double%20Measures
The Birmingham String Quartet www.dgmusic.co.uk
Worths Wines www.worthbrothers.co.uk