PHOTOS BY JENNA WOODWARD PHOTOGRAPHY
Okay, now we're gonna get to the good stuff. As well as 'it will be the best day of your life', the other thing that people tell you about weddings is that it will go by in a flash. Oh boy, is that ever true. It felt like every time I blinked we had somehow skipped forward a couple of hours. From arriving at the venue to the final song felt like a surreal blur.
I was genuinely pleased as punch about how the venue looked all lit up - we'd set everything up the day before but it looked SO much better with everyone there, and with the fairy lights twinkling. As soon as we arrived, I quickly lost Paul as we tried to say hello to everyone - a nearly impossible task. It was wonderful to have so many people celebrating with us, and I couldn't turn around without seeing someone else I hadn't yet spoken to that day. It was magical and very slightly stressful - when everyone has made such an effort just for you, you want them to feel loved and appreciated. Plus, I really DID want to speak to everyone, and hug them and hear their news. I love how the lines between my friends and Paul's has blurred over the years, and since we're both so popular (!) it so often means that there are big gaps between catching up with people over time, and this was the perfect opportunity to see everyone that we loved!
I managed to grab a canapé or two, was handed glasses of Prosecco by anonymous hands (thank you!) and then it was time to sit down for dinner. I was pretty excited about that - I'm a show off at heart and I knew that I had picked an absolutely excellent feast for everyone. Although I was so excited I could barely eat a thing (the tight dress didn't help matters...), El Kantina did a stellar job serving up delicious Mexican food for everyone. I'll be posting some details of suppliers on Friday, so do check back if you want something a little bit different for your party or wedding, they come highly recommended from me!
And then... the speeches. I think I felt every emotion in the space of half an hour. Long weddings speeches are THE WORST, right? Unless you're the bride and groom, and are hearing lots of praise about yourself, for guests it is kinda dull, so I was strict on my speech makers - including myself. I managed to keep it together for the most part during my parents' speeches, and through most of Paul's. My own speech was more difficult - it is one thing for someone to tell you they love you, and quite another to tell everyone how you yourself feel about them. Thankfully I was followed by our fantastic Best Man, Ashley, who regaled the audience with tales of Paul's drinking exploits (with some added details provided by Paul's Mum!).
Things seemed to move even more quickly after that, with cake cutting followed by bouquet tossing and first dancing all in fast succession. I was super pleased that so much of the cake (and the cheese cake!) got eaten, as I don't think I've ever eaten the cake at someone else's wedding, and, like with the Mexican food, I was pretty smug about my excellent food choices! My sweet niece helped me with the bouquet toss (the most pressure I'd felt all evening - it is difficult to throw something behind your head at the best of times!) and, although there was nearly a scrum, my lovely friend Cheryl reined victorious! I lost Paul just as the first dance was starting, but he turned up eventually and it was one of my favourite moments of the evening (as well as producing some of my favourite photos - that dress was made for twirling!). Seeing my gorgeous bridesmaids descending onto the floor halfway through the song was one of my 'choked up' moments, for sure.
After all that, it really was party time! There really wasn't enough time to dance with all the people I wanted to dance with or chat with all the people I wanted to chat with - including Paul! At one point I had to choose between the final call for evening food or Taylor Swift. Taylor won - I never did get to try the pulled pork cones we had! Before long, people were leaving and it was time to do it all in reverse and say goodbye to everyone. We were almost the last to leave, sparkly shoes in hand, and fell asleep as our heads touched the pillow. I wouldn't change a thing.