Posts Tagged: Thornton Manor


22
Nov 13

The wedding!

It’s exactly a year to the day since Sean first popped the question – and now I’m writing this as a married lady!

Our wedding was exactly what I’d dreamed it would be. Despite me having a mammoth meltdown the day before, it all went as planned – even down to the grey, autumn drizzle that greeted me when I woke up on the big day making way for the sun to come out 15 minutes before I walked down the aisle. I know it’s such a cliche but it really was the best day of my life. And I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of describing Sean as “my husband”!

Just married!

Just married!

Factfile

The night before the wedding: We spent separately. Sean commandeered the only pub in the village for the boys so my mum and grandma offered to host a bit of a gathering at our on-site cottage. We had lots of fizz and a nice spread of food and it was the perfect opportunity for everyone to get to know each other before the wedding. I must say I wasn’t on top form, though. I was so nervous I could have been sick – and I only managed to get about two hours sleep afterwards.

The morning of the wedding: ….was amazing. In stark contrast to the night before, I was the picture of calm. I remember lying in the bath with a glass of bucks fizz thinking ‘This is my wedding day’ and feeling so, so happy.

Getting ready before the ceremony

Getting ready before the ceremony – feeling nervous!

The dress: My dress was designed by Pronovias and I bought it at the Bridal Box in Oxford. I used to live in Madrid and knew I wanted a Spanish-style dress – this ticked all the boxes. It’s a mermaid cut with buttons at the back that go right the way down the train, with guipure lace detailing and extra guipure lace appliqués on the skirt. I chose a cathedral veil and a gold and pearl tiara to wear with it. I fell in love with it the minute I tried it on – it’s true that you have a moment when you find The One!

My beautiful bridesmaids (and man) - L-R James, Verity, Hollie, Sarah and Charlotte. Could not have got through the day without them all!

My beautiful bridesmaids (and man) – L-R James, Verity, Hollie, Sarah and Charlotte. Could not have got through the day without them all!

The flowers: Roses, roses and more roses! My florist Chris – from the Flower Lounge in Neston – did such an amazing job of making sure the flowers were autumnal, like I wanted, and the colours were just beautiful.

The hair and makeup: I decided to get this done professionally – for me, my bridesmaids, mum and Sean’s mum. Well, you don’t want to take any chances on your wedding day…! Kathryn was brilliant – calm, reassuring and lovely, and exactly the sort of person you want around you on the morning of your wedding.

Newlyweds

Newlyweds

The photographers: Verity and Richard from Cetra Studio were brilliant. They were fast, friendly, a joy to work with – and produced wonderful photographs. We met with them the day before to run through the family combinations we wanted and what other shots were most important to us, and they ticked off absolutely everything we’d asked for.

The music: I left this entirely down to family friend and amazingly talented pianist Lesley – with one stipulation. That she play Mariah Carey songs while we signed the register. She did. (Always Be My Baby and Hero, for any Mariah fans out there.) I walked in to The Bridal Chorus and we left to the Wedding March. Very traditional – very us.

With our ushers and bridesmaids

With our ushers and bridesmaids

The readings: Both our mums did a reading during the ceremony. My mum read After the Lunch by Wendy Cope (it’s a poem about Waterloo Bridge, where Sean and I met for our first date) and Sean’s mum read I Will Be There by Steve Curtis Chapman.

The table names: …were named after Arsenal legends. Obviously one of Sean’s contributions to the day. The top table was the Thierry Henri table. Lots of people asked me why I’d agreed to this – and it’s because it meant SO much to Sean. I think sometimes it’s easy to get carried away and forget that it’s the groom’s day, too. And also because it was the only way I could do a deal and persuade him to let me have Mariah played during the ceremony!

Good job I had my bridesmaids on hand to help me walk about in my dress...!

Good job I had my bridesmaids on hand to help me walk about in my dress…!

The food: …was yummy, though I have to say I couldn’t manage much of it. Our caterer did say she’s never seen a bride finish a meal and I now understand why. All the adrenaline and nerves plus a fitted dress don’t leave you in the mood for a big dinner! I’m told it was delicious, though.

Everyone!

Everyone!

The cake: …was the most beautiful wedding cake I’ve ever, ever seen. It was made by my bridesmaid Charlotte and even though I knew what it would look like, I was blown away. It was huge! The flowers on the cake matched the ones in our bouquets so it tied everything in nicely – and it was delicious, too.

Cutting the cake

Cutting the cake

The evening look: I took off my veil, put up my hair (well, my sister did) and added a flamenco-style headpiece that I’d found by chance about three weeks before the wedding.

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The first dance: We didn’t have to think too hard about this one. We chose I’ve Been Waiting by Foreigner which features in West End musical Rock of Ages – where we went on one of our first dates. It’s been one of our songs ever since. We made our entrance to the wedding breakfast to Hey Ho by the Lumineers.

The party: Our DJ played everything we asked him to – including Daddy Yankee. What more does a bride need…!

First dance! Which, by the way, is nowhere near as nerve-wracking/ embarrassing as we thought it would be...

First dance! Which, by the way, is nowhere near as nerve-racking/ embarrassing as we thought it would be…

The honeymoon: … The Maldives and Sri Lanka. In the Maldives we were lucky enough to experience two islands – the Jumeirah Dhevanafushi and the Jumeirah Vittaveli. Hands down the most amazing, luxurious places I have ever visited. Paradise on earth. And to top it off, the island the Dhevanafushi is built on is in the shape of a heart. It doesn’t get any more romantic than that. Sri Lanka was also amazing – a fortnight full of elephant rides, visiting ancient temples and wildlife safaris.

If I could pass on one piece of advice to other brides-to-be it would be this: GET A VIDEOGRAPHER! I know they can be expensive and I know they’re not classed as a necessity. But our wedding film is hands down the most precious, beautiful, amazing memory we have of our wedding day. If you’d like to take a look at it it’s online here… I still haven’t managed to get through it without crying. Rachael, our videographer, is super talented and was amazing on the day. I honestly can not praise her enough. So many people said they didn’t even realise we were being filmed because they were so discreet. Before the wedding every married friend I have told me I absolutely had to have a videographer – and what a good job I listened. The wedding film is something we will treasure forever.

So that’s it! After almost a year of planning (and dieting, and blogging, and panicking!) the wedding is over.

But now comes the exciting part – the rest of our lives, together. Forever.


8
Jan 13

Venue and date – tick!

“This is the one,” I whispered to Sean, as my eyes welled up with tears. Happy tears, may I add. We were standing in the room we were going to get married in, and it was perfect.

We were on our all-important venue hunt, a couple of weeks before Christmas. In all honesty, though, our day out barely constituted a hunt. Our dream venue was only the third we’d seen, and we’d done it all in the space of four hours!

Our wedding venue!

Once the initial “Oh my God! We’re engaged!” phase had become normality, we both wanted to set a date quickly. I don’t like things up in the air so all the uncertainty of not knowing exactly when we were getting married, while simultaneously discussing our big day nonstop, was really starting to stress me out. And I know couples who have deliberated for weeks, if not months, over the venue. So we thought we’d best get cracking.

I have to say, I was expecting it to be far more difficult than it turned out to be. I suppose it was easy (ish!) for us, as we knew exactly where we wanted to get married from the outset. Because I want all my grandparents to be at our big day, and they may not fancy long plane journeys and the hassle of travel, we immediately dismissed the possibility of getting married on a beach somewhere exotic. Not to mention how frizzy my hair would look in the photos. Anyone who knows me will vouch for the fact that the combo of my hair and tropical climes doesn’t bear thinking about…

We also knew we were looking for a venue where we could not only hold the reception, but also tie the knot. I’m catholic but Sean isn’t religious, so as a compromise (the key to a successful marriage, I hear!) we decided to have a civil ceremony somewhere that looked chapel-ish.

A ‘chapel-ish’ room to tie the knot in…

Not only that, but I’ve always wanted to get married near to where I grew up, in the Wirral. The tradition of getting married where the bride is from isn’t so strong these days, but it’s something that certainly means a lot to me.

So with all that in mind and my mum and grandma on board doing plenty of research, we set about drawing up a shortlist of venues to look round – three, in the end – got in touch with them to arrange viewings, and promptly booked a train up to Chester.

I cannot wait to have our wedding breakfast in this room!

We went on our venue-viewing tour with my parents. And we were all in agreement – we loved the first place and really didn’t like the second (I actually think it was haunted – I came away with a terrible, uneasy feeling that I couldn’t shake off, and I had a nightmare about it that night!).

But as soon as we got out of the car at the third, Thornton Manor, we knew we loved it. It was absolutely everything we wanted from a venue. Grand yet homely, with friendly staff, gorgeous gardens that will look lovely in the Autumn – when we want to get married – an absolutely breathtaking room for the wedding breakfast, rooms for our guests to stay in overnight, and the most important element – a chapel-ish room to get married in.

Beautiful gardens for photos

It’s just so beautiful. And as we stood there in that room, my eyes prickling with tears and smiles plastered across our faces, we could all absolutely picture how incredible our wedding day is going to be.

We didn’t even need any time to mull over the decision. I’ve never been a big thinker when it comes to buying and booking things anyway – once my mind’s made up, that’s it. We got the diaries out immediately and set a date. So now we know that on October 21st this year, we will be getting married! And it will be in our absolute, dream venue.

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