Our Wedding: Family and Friends

One thing that was particularly special about our wedding was that it brought most of those we love, but do not often get to see, together in one place for a happy celebration.

Today families and friends are less likely to live in close proximity to each other and it is not unusual to have those we love living in four different corners of the world.

For me this is particularly poignant as my parents retired and went to live in Turkey a few years ago. It was wonderful for them to be reunited not only with me but with some family and friends that they might not have had the opportunity to visit otherwise.

It is life landmark times like this when you realise just how important family and close friends are to you. One of my good friends was not able to make it because her Mum was ill. Although I missed her presence on the day I more than understood her reasons. You only get one family in this life so you have to make the most of it.

I, for instance, would have given anything to have had my paternal grandmother present on the day but as all my grandparents have passed on this simply wasn’t possible. However I made sure she was there in spirit by attaching a picture charm of her wedding day to my grandfather to my bouquet.

One of the best decisions I made in regards to the big day was to get ready at home.
My parents were staying with us so, not only was it easier to have the bridal party all in one place, but it allowed our photographer Louie to capture some very special moments between my parents, bridesmaids Jem & Heather and myself.

Amongst those moments was the first time my Dad saw me in my dress. For any girl who is lucky enough to have her father still close to her this is one of those fairytale moments that you will remember for a lifetime.

Once we were all dressed and ready to go we shared a few celebratory toasts with some champagne brought by one of the bridesmaids. It was a great start to what would be a fantastic day.

Waiting for us at the venue, whilst our friends gradually arrived, were Roger’s parents and his best man Lanre. Roger’s parents and his sister Sandra have been very welcoming to me since we’ve been together and, as his Dad suffers with various ailments, we had kept the wedding as local as possible so he didn’t have to travel far.
It was great to see them all dressed up and enjoying themselves.

With everyone in place it was time for the formalities to commence. The pictures taken during our ceremony prove why it is so important to invest on a good photographer to capture the moment. When you are a part of it you are so caught up in the moment that it is hard to take in everything that is happening around you. Our photographers caught some touching reactions from our families and friends.

We also have a new appreciation for the work that they have to do with group shots. It is really hard to get everyone to gather when they need to and to look at the camera all at the same time. Dads it seems are particularly bad when it comes to looking at the lens! My Dad for example was intent on telling Rog’s Mum that he liked her hat so had to be told several times to face the right direction.

However some of the big group shots are my favourites from the day as they capture most of the people who were there. This is great for me as my memory isn’t the greatest so it’s a good reminder. It’s also fun to see everyone from our past and present standing together in support of us as a couple.

Although a few friends and family members somehow managed to completely avoid the camera, there were also some surprise shots that I’m glad were captured such as one of me with my Dad’s brother and his wife and one of Rog with his cousins and their kids.

Speeches are a traditional part of most wedding days and mine was no different. My Dad’s speech kicked off proceedings as soon as our meals were finished.  Although I’m surprised at how tame his speech was, my Dad is not known for holding back with his sense of humour, I’m still impressed that he managed to both flatter me and include the football team that both he and my Mum are avid fans of.

“…I must admit that I am the proudest dad in the world to have accompanied Katherine today. I think you will all agree she looks stunning!…This is where I am supposed to say a few embarrassing things about her when she was younger, but as she has probably, no, change that to definitely, got more against me, so I am saying nothing!… We are both happy she has someone who she loves and is loved in return. I am so glad to still be alive to celebrate three events. Here they are in chronological order Our beloved Chelsea winning the Champions league (eat your hearts out, Spurs and Arsenal); Andy Murray winning Wimbledon; And todays Wedding. To Katherine and Roger I wish them enjoyment for today, the fulfilment of the hopes and dreams for tomorrow, and love and happiness always…”

Everyone at our wedding seemed to get along well and had a good time. I’m still feeling thankful about the good vibe that lasted all throughout the day and just wish that we could do it all over again.

To all our friends and family, including those that were not able to be present, never forget that we are thankful to have you in our lives and even if we don’t say it enough, we love you and appreciate you all very much.

~Kat

Our Wedding: The Bridesmaids

For any Bride-To-Be choosing who you want to accompany you on the journey is a special but also difficult moment. Some of us choose our family, sisters, cousins etc. Others feel pressure to choose the family members of their intended and the rest of us choose from amongst our friends. I’m definitely in the latter category partly because I don’t have any sisters or pushy new family members but mostly because there are certain friends in this life who know you better than you know yourself and love you just the way you are. They are also the ones who will be there for you no matter what. Heather and Jem for me are two of these friends.

But that doesn’t mean that choosing was easy. One other friend in particular took my choice, or rather the way she found out about it, quite badly. I knew that she would flip when she found out I wasn’t choosing her so I simply didn’t tell her. In hindsight I realise this was pretty stupid but honestly I just didn’t want the drama. Sadly it meant an end to our friendship and because of this my advice to the friends of any Brides-To-Be is do not assume that you will be asked to be a bridesmaid, just be there for her no matter what capacity that is in.

Some of the best advice I personally received during this process was that you need people around you who are going to keep you calm. Getting married, whilst a wonderful celebration, can also be a little stressful. In light of this, Jem was an obvious choice because she has been through it herself, I had been one of her bridesmaids, and she and I just get each other on a level that it is hard to attain with most people. As for Heather, she’s known me since I was seven years old and we have an amazing shared history together, she is also like a second daughter to my parents. Both of them feel closer to me than friends. I don’t know what its like to have a sister but the way I think of them can’t be too far off the mark.

1956 Armstrong Siddeley Limousine from Classic Wedding Cars
Click the picture to go to the website

Between them I knew I had everything I needed to support me along the way to my marriage to Roger.  They threw me an awesome weekend-long hen party in central London and I shared all my planning ideas with them.  We made sure, despite none of us living nearby, that we got together a couple of times just to chill out and enjoy a few bottles of wine after shopping for dresses and shoes.

Talking of dresses, after traipsing around traditional department stores and various shops it soon became obvious that the same dress was not going to suit them both. We also wanted to find dresses that would compliment the retro style of my own Candy Anthony dress. With this in mind Jem pointed me in the direction of Vivien of Holloway (VoH) and Heather and I made an Saturday appointment to see them. Jem couldn’t join us for the first appointment but she and I would later return separately.

Although not a dedicated wedding shop, VoH does have its own line of wedding dresses and is used to brides shopping for their maids outfits too. They specialise in 1940’s and 1950’s style clothing reproduction and have a shop on Holloway Road in North London. The staff in the shop helped us to first figure out what size we would be, their sizes are not the same as high street sizes and concentrate most on your waist measurement, and then helped us into some of their lovely dresses in the fitting room.

We eventually found two Royal Blue dresses of different styles that complimented each other and suited them down to the ground. Both Heather and Jem looked fabulous in their respective dresses and for Jem and me the experience sparked a new addiction. We have both since purchased again from VoH. Jem ended up with a halterneck circle dress in Royal Duchess and Heather found a classy sarong & bolero covered in golden dragon print. We also bought a white belt and flower to break up the block colour on Jem’s dress. It was then down to them individually to find some shoes and jewellery to match.

On the wedding day I felt calmer as soon as my girls arrived. Without realising it, up until that point I’d started to worry about everything running smoothly. As soon as they appeared I felt so much better.

Whilst we were all having our hair and make-up done Heather gave me a couple of very thoughtful presents. One was a real horseshoe which she had decorated. This is extra special as she keeps horses herself and we used to go riding together when we were younger.

The second was a cute picture with cats on it with the caption “Purrfect for Each Other”. It might seem cheesy but I like it a lot as I was brought up with lots of different cats for pets and I still love them to this day.

 

Jem and my Mum were the people who helped me into my dress whilst Heather was having her makeup done. Once we were both ready we sat on my sofa playing with our puffy skirts. It was entirely too much fun and, just like me, Jem could not stop spinning around in her circledress!

When we were all ready and waiting for the car to arrive, our photographer Louie took a shot of the girls with my parents and myself in our back garden. It’s probably one of my favourite group shots from the entire wedding. An explosion of colour against a bland background created by some of those nearest and dearest to me.

Once we arrived at our wedding venue, The Cavendish in Eastcote, it was agreed that Heather and Jem would precede me down the aisle. I thought it was particularly touching that Jem put a reassuring arm on my Husband Roger’s as a signal of good luck.

At the wedding breakfast afterwards it gave me and Rog great pleasure to hand out gifts to Jem and Heather as a thank you for all their support. And although I didn’t expect the gift to make Jem cry, it certainly made the moment memorable!

Now was the time for them to relax and enjoy themselves and that they did. I’ll finish this entry with a few shots of Jem and Heather with their partners, Rob and Lee, and ourselves relaxing and dancing at the evening reception. Thank you ladies you are both stars to me.

~Kat

Related articles:
Our Wedding: The Bride (krazyangelkat81sobsessions.wordpress.com)

Our Wedding: The Bride

I’m not one to hold back my feelings on things and following that precedent I fully admit that I am still on a high from getting married to Roger, my boyfriend of nine years, in September. Not only am I now married to my best friend but we also had a celebration with most of our close family and friends that surpassed all our expectations. And I was lucky enough to spend the day in my dream dress from Candy Anthony which I did not want to take off at the end.

So, in the first of several posts, I plan to celebrate the memory of our big day starting with paying homage to the dress, which I wore from just after getting my hair and make-up done until the early hours of the following day when my feet hurt from dancing to all the songs that my husband and I know and love.

When I first started to search for a dress I only knew three things:
1.) I did not want a traditional floor length dress or a hoop. I’m clumsy and I like to dance       so any dress I chose for our big day had to be practical as well as pretty.
2.) I’m a UK size 14 on top and 16 on bottom so I needed a shop where that wouldn’t be      an issue. Some wedding dress shops can be snobby about anyone over a size 12
3.) I really wanted a splash of colour somewhere on the dress. My husband and I have        lived together for 7 years and I always like to go against the grain, so a pure white            dress would not only be a lie but wearing one would be untrue to my personality too.

It is surprisingly difficult to find dresses with touches of colour in traditional wedding dress shops where I live. This is something I had already discovered when helping my good friend Jem to search for her dress when I was her bridesmaid. Therefore I knew that I had to think outside of the box for my search.

In the end, after browsing dress styles on hitched.co.uk, I fell in love with the cut of 1950’s style dresses and set my heart on a tea length dress. When I told Jem this she pointed me in the direction of Candy Anthony, a London-based dressmaker who specialize in 1950’s and 60’s style with a modern twist. After browsing their website I realised that they also had a Facebook page which is actually better than their website as there are many pictures of real brides wearing their dresses to browse through. From the moment I saw the gorgeous dresses with colourful petticoats and ribbon belts I knew I had to have one and e-mailed them to book an appointment.

Their shop is in central London on the South Bank in the historic Oxo Tower. It is a fantastic setting if not the most practical of places to get to. At my appointment I took my Mum and bridesmaids, Jem and Heather, to help me choose what I would buy. Originally I’d believed that a circle skirted dress with full length lace sleeves would be for me but after the very helpful Hazel from Candy Anthony got me into the style I realised it didn’t suit me. Instead I opted for a halterneck circle dress with sweetheart neckline covered completely in lace with a matching lace bolero, royal blue petticoat and ribbon belt. I felt like a princess in it and couldn’t stop twirling around the fitting room!

After that initial appointment it was six months before I got to go back for my second fitting and another three months later I actually got to pick it up. At all times I was kept informed of progress and when I visited the shop I was always treated with respect and friendliness. The dress and service are worth every penny spent.

It was rather amusing bringing the dress home on the Tube. The bag it is kept in is big enough to stand in so it certainly attracts some attention from fellow commuters. The reaction kept me smiling all the way home.

Once the dress was ordered it was time to find accessories that complimented it. On a daily basis I wear a long heart pendant, that was given to me by my husband when he proposed, and a pair of large drop earrings. I am also known to like a bit of sparkle. However the engagement necklace and my usual earrings wouldn’t have suited the style of the dress so I went to The National Wedding Show in February hoping to find a solution and thankfully I did.

After getting my hair and make-up done at home by the very clever Bride By Becky and her friend Jade on the wedding day, I got some assistance from my Mum and Bridesmaids to put on the vintage style headband and jewellery that I had ordered from the talented By Harriet. Alongside this I wore a watch gifted to me by my mother-in-law and a bracelet that had been a 30th birthday present from Heather.

As for shoes, they are a bargain that I’m still pretty proud of. Those that are targeted at brides can be quite pricey and most of the ones I had seen were also either too high or too flat for me. The highest heel I can wear and still walk properly in is about 3 inches.

Eventually I found a plain and simple pair of comfortable shoes which were a reasonable height in BHS. To bling them up a bit I was inspired by an article in Wedding Ideas Magazine to buy some cute shoe clips from Pretty Pink Toes which immediately make the shoes look far more expensive than they actually were.

With my outfit complete I was ready to go downstairs, show my Dad and wait for the car.
I was ready well within time which really helped to calm my nerves. I also felt a sense of relief when the car from Classic Wedding Cars turned up a little early. This was because Roger and his best man had travelled in it to the venue first. He is ordinarily not the best at timekeeping so it put my mind at rest to realise that he had managed to be on time for our wedding day.

Once our car arrived at The Cavendish and I saw a few of my friends and family just outside it really felt very real. My nerves came particularly to the fore during my pre-wedding interview with the registrars. I nearly got my age wrong when confirming details and I later discovered that my husband did get his age wrong. Thankfully we have now had our certificate corrected to reflect the truth.

Our Ceremony was very emotional aided by our friend Helen who did a reading of a poem for us. And apart from Roger calling me his “unlawful” wife, a moment that caused much laughter in the room, it all went without a hitch.  I walked in to If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys and we signed the register to Keyshia Cole’s Signature. Once we were officially husband and wife you could not wipe the smiles from our faces for the rest of the day and it was thoroughly appropriate that we walked out to the upbeat I Choose You by Ryan Leslie.

As you can tell, music means a lot to Roger and I. We met dancing in a club and since we’ve been together one of our favourite things to do as a couple is going to concerts featuring the artists that we respect and enjoy.

Our first dance was to a very moving song by Eric Benet called One More Tomorrow. But as it does have quite a sombre tone we ensured that the next record to start the party off was Ne-yo’s Champagne Life. And party we all did until the music stopped. We could not have asked for a better day.

Love to you all.

~Kat

Credit for all photography goes to our amazing photographer and all round nice person Louie Donovan. She did a fantastic job of catching shots that I would never have posed for under normal circumstances and she also caught some moments that I never realised that she had.We would recommend her to anyone. She makes you feel very comfortable and able to just be yourselves.