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

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Our Wedding: The Groom

My second dedicated wedding post must, of course, be about my husband Roger. Without his actions our wedding would never have been conceived.

Lanre (Best Man), Roger (Groom) and Mark (Usher)
Suits hired from Impeccable in Hatch End – click picture to go to their website

He surprised me two years ago when we were on holiday in Toronto, Canada. Unbeknown to me, he had booked us a table for dinner in the revolving restaurant in the CN Tower. I nearly ruined it by eating too much for lunch as I wasn’t aware that we were getting dinner. He managed to convince me not to stuff myself silly and as the sun set we entered the tower and got the lift to the top.

We had been to the CN Tower once before during the day and I already adored the views of the city that it gives but being there at night was much more romantic as the city glitters below you as the darkness falls and the lights come on.

We ate three very good courses and drank some wine. We were relaxing and enjoying the views after dessert when Rog took my hand and told me that there was another reason that he had brought me there that night. He then produced a box containing a long heart pendant, that I now wear all the time, and asked me to marry him.

Crying with happiness we then went to the uppermost observation deck to enjoy the views together. No thoughts of the actual wedding were in our minds at this point, we were just taking in the moment.

For a year we simply enjoyed being engaged before we booked our venue, The Cavendish, and the planning really began.

My husband has been unusual for a groom in that he has given his input at almost every step of the planning process.  I’m glad that this was the case as in the end the wedding reflected both our tastes very well.

On the day of our wedding Rog made sure that he was at the venue on time and nervously awaited me whilst I was confirming my details with our registrar.

Once I started to walk down the aisle he did not take his eyes off of me and gave me a reassuring smile. When I reached the front he put his arm around me until I was able to hand my bouquet to my bridesmaid Jem and take his hand.

When our registrar, Lynn, asked if there was anyone present who knew any reason why we should not marry, we both looked behind us and jokingly eyed up the crowd with warning looks before turning back to face her again. Lynn then joked that Roger had not paid someone enough to say anything. This broke any lingering nerves we might have had and made our guests laugh.

Next it was time for the serious part. We had kept our vows simple and somehow managed to remember to put the rings,  handed to us by Best Man Lanre, on the correct fingers. Roger did call me his “unlawful wife” by accident but that will now be something that we remember fondly as a fun point of the ceremony.

Here is a small snippet of our vows:

“Please accept this ring, let it be a symbol of our marriage, of my love for you, of my commitment to you, and of our joining in matrimony today and for the rest of our lives.”

“I call upon these persons here present to witness that I Roger do take thee Katherine to be my lawful wedded wife.
To be by your side, in good times and bad, to support you and comfort you, to be a friend to you and love you always.”

With the formalities done we could relax a little bit. The joyous relief was very obvious on both of our faces but I particularly loved the beam on my new husband’s face.

After the ceremony it was time for the guests to be served their canapés and fizz whilst the formal photographs were taken. This is the part that Rog struggled with the most as he just wanted to go and greet everyone but I helped him realise that we could do that after the shots that we had pre-planned with our photographer Louie were done. It was actually nice to get a breather with just the two of us in the rose garden once the family and group shots, taken at the front of the building, were completed.

From the quiet of the rose garden it was time to enter the wedding breakfast room upstairs to our names announced loudly by Lanre and applause from our other guests.

Once seated it was time for the meal to begin. We had a buffet that was served by table and composed of jerk chicken, rice and peas, lamb cacciatore and a selection of vegetables. Some of our guests had never tried jerk chicken before and were pleasantly surprised. A few even went back for seconds. Pudding consisted of three mini desserts which also seemed to go down well.

When the meal was finished it was time for the part of the day that Rog had been most nervous about: The speeches. He thinks that he is not a natural public speaker but anyone that was there that day would tell him otherwise. His speech was wonderful.

He thanked both sets of parents and all our guests for coming and then he added an unexpected section that brought tears to my eyes:

“Unfortunately, it’s not been possible to have everyone we love here with us today. Such as Kat’s Gran who I know she would have loved to have here and one of our dear friends, Ken, who passed away in an unfortunate road accident. But we know they are here with us in spirit and in our hearts. So, with that in mind, would you please raise your glasses and join me in a toast to absent family and friends.”

Rog then went on to thank our bridal party and his sister Sandra whilst I gave out gifts.
Then he went on to flatter me as his new wife:

“Finally, I would like to thank my wife for agreeing to marry me and it’s an honour to be her husband. I think you’ll agree that she looks absolutely gorgeous today and I know I am very lucky to have her.  Kat put a huge amount of effort into organizing today and it really would not have been possible without her. Kat, you know and understand me better than anyone else I know and, I know I don’t say this often enough, but I love you with all my heart! So, ladies and gentlemen, please stand and raise your glasses for the most important toast I am ever likely to make: To my wife Kat!”

After the meal everyone headed back downstairs where the evening reception had already begun. Our DJ, the brilliant John Bell from G.P. Discotheques, was all ready to get the party started and as soon as everyone was gathered our first dance to Eric Benet’s One More Tomorrow began.

Once the romantic part of the reception was completed our guests and ourselves proceeded to tear up the dance floor. This is especially true of my new husband and his clubbing buddies who demanded everyone’s attention with their moves to the New Jack Swing tunes that they love so much:

I feel very blessed and privileged to have had such a wonderful celebration with my new husband. Here is to our future my Baby!

Love to you all

~Kat

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.