Phew, so that's all the wedding posts done, but I had a few more photos I wanted to share from across the whole day. And if I had any tips for anyone planning their own wedding it would be these; do what you want, don't be afraid to ask people for help, (the people you invite probably want to be involved, whether it's baking a cake, or making paper chains), don't spend a crazy amount of money and above all have fun!
Tuesday, 6 November 2012
Right, so where were we, that's right, party time. One of the reasons I justified getting an open top bus was because we had to get all our guests from the ceremony venue to the party venue. OK it was only a 5 minute drive down the road (if you don't include the stop off at the beach and the extra scenic journey we took) but as you will see from my previous post I wanted a god damn bus, OK?! Now let me tell you about the party venue. When I was growing up, and all through my teenage years I was a member of the local brass band (Shanklin Town Brass Band), no honest, I really was that cool. We used to practice all over the place but at one point the band managed to get the permission to set up their band hall in this cool old chalet in the middle of a park. The chalet was (and still is) in need of a lot of renovation but it was great to have a space of our own to practice in. It meant that we did not have to share with churches, or schools, or practise in the back rooms of pubs. When Stuart and I had decided that we were going to do the whole Isle of Wight Wedding I knew straight away I wanted to use the band hall for the party. It may not be the most glamorous venue, but I spent so much time there as a teenager I couldn't see why I wouldn't ask to use it. It helped that the park/gardens the chalet is in are beautiful and overlook the sea, and that using this space meant we could do exactly what we wanted as well. Luckily for me the band were happy for me to take over their space for a weekend. They even gave the place a bit of a face lift with a lick of paint before we were due to arrive. However when we were setting up on Friday there was a strong smell of paint lingering and I was paranoid it was still going to be there for the party, and as we walked in on Saturday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was the smell of paint! I don't know if others noticed it as strongly as I did, but I honestly didn't care. You know how smell is one of the best triggers for remembering things? I sincerely hope that they way I am transported to Glastonbury Festival every time I smell a bonfire, or how the fresh salty smell of the sea reminds me of the ferry home, that the next time I smell fresh paint, I will remember the band hall, the effort folks went to to get it ready and how much fun I had that evening.
As we walked into the hall we were greeted by my bridesmaids serenading me with the Indiana Jones theme tune as a brass trio. And no, I didn't just choose those three for bridesmaids because I wanted my own ready made brass band, honest!
My sister had managed to find a whole bunch of embarrassing photos of Stuart and I as kids for everyone to laugh at, that she kindly displayed on a notice board for everyone to see as they walked in.
The band hall looked great, and although it might have been a little cosy with everyone in there, we had space to dance, eat and generally be merry. Kris, had offered to help with the music, and my brother, Allan had brought all the booze for everyone. So safe to say, there was plenty of alcohol and loud music, and honestly what more do you need for a party? At some point in the evening Stuart and I decided to get our first dance over and done with. I can't remember if this was before or after we broke the dragon piñata (which I'd named Smaug) we had hovering above everyone! We'd thought long and hard about what song we wanted to dance to. It didn't take us long to decide that we didn't want to slow dance, it's just not our style. One day when we were sat at home Stuart suddenly had an idea. He wanted to do our first dance to 99 Lufballons, in the style of JD from Scrubs. 'What the hell are you on about!' I hear you cry. Well watch this clip and you will see what I am talking about;
So that is exactly what we did. I can tell you something though, it's a bloody long song to prance around to but I tried to do my best JD moves! After the dance it was time for the cutting of the cake. I love my cake. I think it is the best cake in the whole wide world, I was so heartbroken to have to cut it because it was so beautiful. The cake was made by my Auntie Gail, and Lauren. When they offered to make our wedding cake, I don't think they were expecting to hear me say 'Yes please, and can it look like Bag End?' but they blew all other cakes out of the water. I really can't praise it enough. It even tasted amazing. And here it is in all it's mutli-coloured glory - isn't it just the best thing you've ever seen?
|A close up of our little Bilbo and Frodo, made completely from icing!|
After the cake cutting, it was back to dancing. Our photographer took Stuart and I outside for a few night time shots, and when he was done he headed off to leave us to our own devices. At that point some of our guests also had to make their way home but a lot of others stayed. I think that was the point someone suggested karaoke, or maybe Kris just grabbed the mic and started rapping. It was probably my favourite part of the whole day, not because I love karaoke, because I looked around and realised that everyone who was left were my favourite people and they were all getting involved, getting along, having a good time and generally being fabulous. There was my immediate family, my new family, George (of course) and my friends who had come down from London and they were all partying together. I knew then that these people were the ones that I wanted to spend my time with, and that although we might not party together that often, or I might only see others a couple of times a year they would always be there, and definitely up for a good time. And that's the most emotional lovey dovey thing you'll get from me! It was a great party; Allan took over the mic to sing 'The Drugs Don't Work' (not the most requested karaoke song, I imagine) Stuart turned DJ to mix Flight of the Conchord songs together just for me, Laura busted moves I haven't seen since we crashed a party at an Old Man's Social Club, I probably flashed my pants far too many times spinning around in my dress, Stuart and Paul duetted to 'Do the Bartman' and I made sure 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' was played, probably more than once.
From now on, I think photos sum up the rest of the evening.
With that our day was drawing to a close. People started heading back to homes and hotels. It was at this point a few people who hadn't booked taxi's realised that getting around the Island on a Saturday evening isn't as easy as it sounds. This meant Stuart (the non-drinker) kindly dropped some friends off to their hotel and then came back to give my (very tipsy) Mum and brother a lift home. If I'm completely honest I was a little put out that we had to do this on our wedding evening. I was knackered, sweaty and my feet hurt, I just wanted to take my husband home. However as I sat in the car as we headed to my Mum's I had an epiphany - this was one of the many reasons why I love Stuart and wanted to get married to him; unlike me, he really doesn't mind helping others, and he won't remind them or make them repay the favour in the future. It only took 30 minutes out of our whole day, a day that so many people had put time, effort, money and energy into making so special for us so I had no reason to complain. Looking back, I wouldn't have changed one single part of the whole day, plus we saw a badger on the drive back to our apartment, and who doesn't want to see a badger on their wedding day!
Monday, 5 November 2012
This was the part of the day I was most excited about. I love open top buses, if Stuart and I go on any city breaks and there's one available I always talk him into an open top bus tour. It's the lazy side of me showing - how better to take in the view in a new city than from the top of a bus! In my defence we don't just sit there as it goes round and round, we jump off at different stops to explore on foot, but it's better than fighting though all the tourists and locals to get around on the local tube or metro. I figured my wedding day would be the only day I could reasonably get away with hiring an open top bus all to myself (and my guests of course!). And where better to have an open top bus than the sunny scenic Isle of Wight? Looking back, so much of our day was dependent on a bit of sun (or at least no rain) and the bus would have been a disaster in a downpour, but our luck was definitely in all day as we only had blue skies! So after our wedding breakfast and off the cuff speeches we rounded everyone up and loaded them onto our very own blue Isle of Wight double decker open top bus. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the outside of the bus, but here's one of me and Stuart on the bus ready to head to the beach!
That's right, with my open top bus I was going to make sure everyone got a trip to the beach! One of the things I miss most about not living on the Island is the beach so I didn't want to miss this opportunity and I wanted to make everyone come with me. I also wanted our guest who had visited from the mainland to be able to go for a paddle in the sea, but who I am kidding, this part of the day was just for me! Once everyone had taken their seats on the bus, and we had grabbed the helium balloons from Winchester House, to take on to our party venue (important tip: if you are transporting helium balloons leave them downstairs on the open top bus - don't take them upstairs!) we headed to Yaverland beach in Sandown. The lovely bus driver took us past Sandown Pier and along the sea front, where we waved like royalty to the people taking a Saturday afternoon walk along the promenade. When we reached Yaverland beach everyone jumped off the bus for a bit of messing around. I had already decided that I was going to paddle and I had guilt tripped my bridesmaids into joining me; it was part of their bridesmaid contract. Some of Stuart's family who don't live on the Island also pulled off their shoes to feel the sand between their toes and the sea lap against their feet. Stuart had told me time and time again that he wasn't going to go paddling as he didn't want to have to go to the trouble of taking his socks off! In the end peer pressure (or perhaps pier pressure) won out in the end, and after some mocking from his brothers he pulled off his shoes and socks, rolled up his trouser legs and join us in the sea. I'm so glad he did.
It was all very fun, with lots of laughter and I was very happy I had chosen a knee length dress rather than some dramatic floor length gown! Then things got serious. It was time for me to throw the bouquet. I had decided the beach was the safest place; so the soft sand would cushion any dramatic dives people may make. There wasn't a whole bunch of girls willing to try and catch it, but those that were, were deadly serious. I behaved myself and didn't throw it into the sea to see who would go swimming to retrieve it. I think the next photo sequence tells you all you need to know about what did happen.
I'm afraid George (the really one going for it in the blue and white polka dot dress) didn't get the bouquet, but Lauren my cousin did - so next time I see her I'll have to ask her what date I should put in my diary!
|Another view of the carnage!|
With that, it was time to board the bus and head towards our party venue. We took a scenic route, going down to Shanklin seafront, through the Shanklin Old Village, down into Upper Bonchurch, through Ventnor (my home town) and finally heading back into Shanklin. The views, as always were amazing and I got to drive past so many places I used to go to as a child, including my old primary and middle schools. It wasn't until the last 15 minutes that, after sitting outside for so long, with the wind in my hair, I started to freeze my arse off, but I was determined to stay upstairs and outside, and I a proud to say I did! The bus driver was absolutely lovely, he didn't mind that we had to return to Winchester House on route so some of the kids who had gone paddling in the sea could get dry clothes, he suggested more scenic detours and was generally a really pleasant man. Perhaps I have spent too much time on London transport but it was so nice to have a bus driver who smiled at you. For now I will leave you with a few more photos, and then I will start on a new (and hopefully final) post - The PARTY!