- 7 years ago
- Wedding: August 2011
I know that it has been a while since I last posted on here but because you were all so helpful when I was on weddingbee, I feel that I should at least share my wedding day with you, especially since I always enjoyed reading people’s wedding reports.
I just want to warn though you that this report is ridiculously long! But for those of you who enjoy them, do get a cup of tea (or a glass of wine) and take your time If not, feel free to have a quick look at the photos – unfortunately I only have ones from friends and family the moment but once I have the professional ones, I’ll be happy to post them! So here it goes:
The day before, Wednesday 31st August, in the afternoon:
My now husband (yeay!) and I met at King’s Cross station to take the train into Cambridge. Just getting to the station was a bit of a feat for me as I had to carry a suitcase, a overnight bag, a handbag and of course my dress on the tube. However, I managed to get a rhythm going and it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. We were both really excited to be going back to our roots to get married. We met in Cambridge while we were students there and have lots of special memories attached to the town.
The train ride was over really quickly – I think it was the shortest journey from London to Cambridge that we ever experienced! It must have been because we were so happy and excited to be travelling toward our wedding day. Once we arrived to Cambridge, we found ourselves a taxi and I got dropped off in front of Thistle Brides bridal dress shop who kindly agreed to steam my dress overnight for a small fee, while my then fiancé went on to The Varsity Hotel where we were to stay for our first two nights in Cambridge.
I decided to walk through Cambridge to the hotel after dropping off my dress as I wanted to soak in the atmosphere again. Cambridge really felt like a world away from the busy London that I have come to call home. It was wonderful to realise that every corner of Cambridge had some memory of myself and my fiancé. I felt so happy, and so grateful that I would be marrying the love of my life.
As I approached the hotel, I got an excited phone call from my fiancé saying that the hotel room is really nice and much better than anticipated. Once I got there, I saw for myself that our room was just perfect. It was beautifully furnished and had a wonderful magnolia patterned feature wall that really complemented the colour of the wooden furniture and floor. But what made the room exceptionally special was the large balcony with a rooftop view of Cambridge and of Jesus green. It was a truly romantic place. We were both so happy that we had decided to indulge ourselves and get a better room.
That evening, my fiancé and I had dinner with my parents who also arrived that afternoon. It was nice to have some quiet time together before more guests arrived. After dinner, I decided to stay in our hotel room to have a relaxing bath and to do my nails ready for tomorrow. My fiancé however decided to greet his family who were arriving later that night.
Until then, I was happy and in a cloud of blissfulness but somehow the nervosity started kicking in while I was doing my nails. There wasn’t anything in particular that I was nervous of and I certainly wasn’t worried about marrying my fiancé the next day but I think it was just a lot of built up excitement and anticipation that got the better of me.
In fact, that night I really had the worst sleep in my life. I think in total, I must have slept about two hours, if even that. My fiancé was also restless and had a lot of trouble sleeping. It was so stressful for me and I was worried that I was going to look like a weathered panda the next day with dark circles under my eyes after a terrible night.
The Big Day, Thursday 1st September
However, once 8:00am struck and the alarm went off, I wasn’t tired at all. In fact, I managed to jump out of bed in excitement, which my fiancé can tell you rarely happens as I am not a morning person (my normal morning consists of hiding under the covers until the last possible moment).
And this is when the magic started.
The weather was fabulous. The sun was actually shining. The weather was cloudy and grey the day before and was forecast to continue that way but somehow the heavens were really smiling upon us. It was so special to see that it was going to be a beautiful day.
My fiancé and I had a lovely relaxing breakfast with views of the river and of Magdalene College where we would be having our wedding breakfast later on. I kept on saying to my fiancé that I couldn’t believe that we would be married later on today and how lucky we were with the weather!
After breakfast and a small rest, I made my way to the hairdressers, the Hairy Canary. This was the one moment during the day that I actually felt my lack of sleep. While I was sitting in the chair with rollers in my hair, I had a small snooze, which I think was really necessary. It was funny how the hairdresser commented on how I was such a calm bride but I told her I was just exhausted from lack of sleep!
Lulu, who did my hair, did such a fantastic job. It was even more intricate and beautiful than what she did during my hair trial and I was really pleased. What was even better was that it was finished in just an hour and a bit so I had plenty of time to spare. So I made my way to Corpus Christi College where we would be getting married and was so happy to see that the college had put a sign up with my fiancé’s and my name announcing our wedding. Somehow it really struck me then that it was happening!
I asked at the Porter’s Lodge about the room I had booked to get ready in and made my way there. It was a spacious room although I was a little worried that it was up so many flights of stairs. Little did I know that those stairs would cause a lot of problems later on…
Anyway, by this time my bridesmaids (my sister and my friend) were already with me and we decided to have some food first before we started getting ready. My friend had kindly bought us some sandwiches and although I didn’t have much of an appetite I made sure to eat it all. I was really happy I did so as I probably wouldn’t have lasted the day without some food inside me. I also took this time to admire the bouquets that had already been delivered to the room before we got there. It was absolutely perfect. The colour of the blue hydrangeas was magnificent – it was a really vibrant blue and much more beautiful than I had anticipated. I was really happy at the wonderful job my florist had done.
After food, we slowly began applying makeup and my bridesmaids did their hair. There was plenty of time so I was really happy that I could take a lot of care to make things look perfect.
There was one incident though and I would advise everyone to always CLOSE the toilet seat!!! Unfortunately my wedding panties managed to fall into the toilet bowl while I was getting ready. Luckily, it was only briefly and the bathroom was clean but it could have easily been quite a disaster. But as it was, we just had a good laugh!
My parents arrived around then with my dress which they had kindly collected for me at Thistle Brides. I was so excited to see the dress that I would be wearing very soon! My bridesmaid had never seen it before (apart from in photos) and they were really excited too. The photographer arrived around this time and managed to capture a few pictures of my applying the finishing touches to my makeup.
Once I had put my wedding perfume on (Frangipani by Ormonde Jayne – my absolute favourite) and the pearl earrings and necklace that my parents had offered me after our engagement, it was time to get my dress on! I couldn’t believe the time had come.
I stepped into the dress and my poor bridesmaids had the fun task of buttoning me up. I really wish I had thought of getting a crochet hook or a specialised button hook to help them because I think it was quite tricky. But they managed beautifully and I was finally in my dress! I got into my blue patent peep toe shoes and my veil was put into place. I looked into the mirror to check myself. I was a bride! The emotions that flooded in then were very powerful. The anticipation was getting a bit too much again and I felt nervous. I wanted to just run to the ceremony room and get married, now!
Luckily, my bridesmaids were wonderful at keeping me calm and talking to me about other things so I wouldn’t be so anxious. There was still about 15 minutes before my dad would come to get me but it felt like an hour!
Finally my dad came though, and we slowly went down the stairs, being careful not to catch my train or veil along the way. It was a difficult process and required a lot of coordination between us – I really wished the stairs were wider!
But we managed and it was a relief to feel the sunshine on my face once we got out of the building. Unfortunately, as I said before, those stairs would come back to haunt me. As we stood outside, the wedding co-ordinator came running towards us and told me that I needed to get back into them room this instant! She told me that the registrars needed to talk to me and that it had to be in a room and on my own. It was completely ridiculous as no one had warned me of this. I asked her whether she had a room in a lower floor that I could use, or whether I could just do it in the hallway of the building. The answer was no and so up the stairs I had to go. This was probably the worst part of the day. I had to go up the stairs as quick as possible as I didn’t want to be late and there was also the fear of ruining my dress going up all those flights of stairs. It was so stressful!
Luckily we managed to get back to the room and I didn’t get too flustered or sweaty, which was something I really wanted to avoid. The registrars arrived and went through the formalities. At this point I was really keen to get on with it! After the brief meeting, it was time to go back down the stairs again. By that time, we were all pros at navigating them, so it went much better. However, I was really happy to be saying goodbye to those stairs finally!
And then it began.
My dad and I slowly began walking towards the ceremony room. We had a few photos taken of us on the lawns of the Old Court of the College and then we were outside the ceremony room. I could see the harpist from the angle we were at and I smiled at her. I heard from the room that the registrar was asking the guests to stand to welcome the bride. It was the moment!
The harpist began to play Bach’s Arioso ( http://youtu.be/dq-c41GG4Xs ) and my dad and I walked into the room and down the aisle. It was so magical. All I could see was my fiancé and I couldn’t stop myself from smiling. He looked so handsome and so happy. We were to be married!
Once I was beside my fiancé we gave each other a quick kiss and smiled at each other. Throughout the ceremony, we really felt that it was just the two of us in the room.
The ceremony was beautiful. My fiancé’s mother read two readings:
Shakespeare: Sonnet number 116
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
and a second reading in German:
Erich Fried: Was es ist
Es ist Unsinn
sagt die Vernunft
Es ist, was es ist
sagt die Liebe.
Es ist Unglück
sagt die Berechnung
Er ist nichts als Schmerz
sagt die Angst.
Es ist aussichtslos
sagt die Einsicht
Es ist, was es ist
sagt die Liebe.
Es ist lächerlich
sagt der Stolz
Es ist leichtsinnig
sagt die Vorsicht
Es ist unmöglich
sagt die Erfahrung
Es ist, was es ist
sagt die Liebe.
Which translates as:
Erich Fried: What it is
It is nonsense
It is what it is
It is misfortune
It is nothing but pain
It is hopeless
It is what it is
It is ridiculous
It is careless
It is impossible
It is what it is
Then it was time for the declarations:
“I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I, —, may not be joined in matrimony to —.”
“I call upon these persons here present to witness that I, —, do take thee, —, to be my lawful wedded wife / husband.”
We also exchanged personal vows that we had written ourselves:
“—, I love you and I want us to build a common future together.
On this day, I promise in the presence of our families and friends to stand by your side as your faithful husband/wife through the good times and the bad.
I promise to be open and honest with you, to be loyal and to support you in times of need.
I promise to cherish our love and strive to strengthen our unity for as long as I shall live.”
Our bestman (my fiancé’s younger brother) brought forward our rings and we exchanged those. It was very special to have my fiancé put the ring on my finger and hold it there while he said:
“I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and our unity, to wear from this day forward as a reminder of the promises that we have made to each other.”
We were then announced as husband and wife!
My 11 year old niece did a beautiful reading next:
Anonymous: I Am Love
Some say I can fly on the wind, yet I haven’t any wings.
Some have found me floating on the open sea, yet I cannot swim.
Some have felt my warmth on cold nights, yet I have no flame.
And though you cannot see me, I lay between two lovers at the hearth of fireplaces.
I am the twinkle in your child’s eyes.
I am hidden in the lines of your mother’s face.
I am your father’s shield as he guards your home.
And yet… Some say I am stronger than steel, yet I am as fragile as a tear.
Some have never searched for me, yet I am around them always.
Some say I die with loss, yet I am endless.
And though you cannot hear me, I dance on the laughter of children.
I am woven into the whispers of passion.
I am in the blessings of Grandmothers.
I embrace the cries of newborn babies.
And yet… Some say I am a flower, yet I am also the seed.
Some have little faith in me, yet I will always believe in them.
Some say I cannot cure the ill, yet I nourish the soul.
And though you cannot touch me, I am the gentle hand of the kind.
I am the fingertips that caress your cheek at night.
I am the hug of a child.
I am love.
It was then time to sign the register. Our harpist played two beautiful pieces: Bryd one Breere ( http://youtu.be/WA_XAEcoj2Y ) and a Breton Tune ( http://www.elizabethyork.co.uk/sounds/breton.mp3 ). It was the first time we noticed our guests there and it was wonderful to see so many happy faces. Some were also visibly moved by the ceremony and it was very special to see that. I think that they were able to see that there was a lot of love between us and this was a very meaningful moment.
The marriage certificate was then presented to us and my now husband and I left the ceremony room to Carolan’s Concerto ( http://youtu.be/LgZuF3tswFg ).
We walked outside into the sunshine and made our way into the Bursar’s Garden. This is a beautiful part of the college. It is a very intimate space with the wall of the College chapel and its stained glass windows on one side, with a small tree in the corner. Here, we were joined by our guests to chat and mingle while enjoying Pimms and lemonade, strawberries and cream and shortbread. It was wonderful to have the harpist join us so that the music would add yet another special dimension to the atmosphere in the gardens.
My husband and I had a lot of photos taken with family and friends but the photographer was really good and never intruded. As he promised, he blended into the background. After an hour of chatting, my husband and I had a quiet moment together walking around the college grounds having our photos taken. There is one photo that was taken on a College staircase which I’m very curious to see how it has turned out! It was nice to finally have time with just the two of us as we noticed that we were easily separated with everyone trying to talk to us.
After returning to the gardens where our guests were, it was time for them to slowly make a move to their punting trip on the river Cam. My bridesmaids removed my veil, bustled up my dress and I put a flower in my hair. The idea was that my guests would go punting, while my husband and I would have more photos taken in our favourite parts of Cambridge while walking from Corpus Christi College to Magdalene College.
This was another lovely moment for my husband and I. It was so special to have a lot of strangers come up to us and congratulate us. We even had a Japanese tourist ask us if it would be okay to take a photo of us while we were in King’s College!
We had some photos taken of us in Senate House Passage and Trinity Lane, one of our favourite streets in Cambridge, with cobbled roads and old, textured walls. After walking past Trinity College and St John’s College, we were nearly by the river and Magdalene College where our wedding breakfast would take place. It was perfect timing as just as we got over the bridge to cross the river, we saw our guests getting off the punts. We all made our way into the Hall at Magdalene College. This hall is stunning with its green and gold walls, with many historical paintings of past college members. It was especially beautiful to see it dressed for a wedding, with our blue hydrangea arrangements and our cake of cheese.
Once everyone was seated, my husband made a quick announcement to welcome everyone and we began to eat.
The food was delicious, even better than at the tasting. The chef is a very friendly Frenchman and he did a fabulous job. I also think we chose a very good wine to go with the food. The menu was as follows:
– Tartare of smoked salmon with crème fraiche, French leaves and pickled cucumber
– Oven roasted rack of Denham Castle lamb with port wine jus
– Panache of seasonal vegetables
– Crispy fried potatoes with rosemary
Wine: Echeverria Cabernet Rose 2008
– Warm apple and walnut tarte tatin with vanilla pod ice cream
For toasting: Carpene Malvoti Prosecco NVf
– Coffee and chocolates
Between main course and dessert, we had our speeches. I did the first one, mostly thanking everyone for attending our wedding and for helping us out. I had a few jokes (one about nagging my husband to get a suit about 100 times in the run up to the wedding!) which were well received. Given that I am usually a bit nervous at giving public speeches, I think it went down very well. Then my dad did a very touching speech. It was lovely to hear kind words about me (and what a curious child I was!) and also warm words about my husband. We both felt very loved! My brother-in-law did a bestman speech which was more touching and heartfelt than the usual bestman speech, which I think suited the general atmosphere of the wedding.
We then had some photos taken while cutting into the cake of cheese. A lot of people commented on how original and special our cake was.
After the food, we made our way towards another hall to mingle and chat. We also had tables outside by the river (with fairy lights in the trees) and many of us had a walk around the large fellows gardens before spending time in the hall. The children really enjoyed having so much space to run around and they were excited to pick up some apples from trees there, although I’m not sure if they were really allowed to do that!
We had decided not to have a first dance or disco and instead had some quiet music in the background while everyone mingled and chatted. This really suited us as many of our family and guests travelled far from abroad and our wedding was really a chance for everyone to catch up. We also took the opportunity to open the gifts that the guests had brought with them. We were very touched by how many people went into so much trouble as we made it clear that gifts were not necessary. At first I was worried about opening the gifts while everyone was present in case it would bore people or that it would be perceived as vulgar but many people told us afterwards that it was lovely to see our expressions while we opened the gifts as it’s something they normally don’t experience at weddings. So I think it went down well. We were certainly overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity.
Once guests began to leave, we had time to ourselves to sit in the aftermath of the party and think of how special everything was. It was particularly romantic to sit outside by the river, watching the reflections in the water. It was beautiful.
We gathered our gifts and the flower arrangements which I wanted to keep in our hotel room and took a taxi back to our beautiful hotel room. We had a very special night and it was a perfect end to a magical day.
(Thank you to those of you who read this all!)