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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

My Sister's Wedding

Image Credit: Stephanie and Nicole Photography
This time last year my sister was saying 'It's ok we've got ages until the wedding'. In truth we didn't have ages and my sister and I were hugely unaware of the reality of planning a wedding. The Wedding has happened now (September 2017) and all came together pretty smoothly and was a wonderful and beautiful day. Here I want to document it in all it's loveliness but also provide you, my readers with some points that we learnt along the way!

Helen had just over a year to plan the big day but major things like the bridesmaid's dresses and caterers were left a little too late for comfort- it kept my mum busy giving her lots to worry about!

T  H  E  M  E
To begin with my sister and soon-to-be husband wanted a traditional church wedding. That was a simple decision as they met through the church. However they didn't want all the commercialised traditions that most weddings have: dance floor, speeches, guestbook, photobooth, bouquet-throw, favours etc.
In terms of decor, colour and theme my sister knew what she didn't want but didn't know what she did want. 'Autumnal Elegance' was her buzzword for the wedding theme. Two juxtaposing words. Autumn is not elegant: it's rustic, homely, textured, cosy...if you type in Autumnal Elegance you get nothing. Tasked with coming up with the ideas made my job very difficult! Thankfully Pinterest was there in all it's creative glory. Pinterest has sooo much creative content and unique ideas that gave the most un-decided person in the world a great starting point. You can invite other people to edit the boards which is great when your joint planning a big project. I made a mood-board of colour schemes and decor ideas which she could also access. She would then delete the images she didn't like and add her own preferred images. We did this with the bridesmaid dresses and hair/makeup ideas too with the other 2 bridesmaids able to access the boards.


'We'll just hang drapes on the morning'. No. We needed a small 3 person army with a ladder and good eye sight, available the night before to wind large pieces of muslim around the the beams in the hall. The church flower arrangers provided displays for the tables and the window sills. Although I was keen for personal table touches my sister and future brother-in-law were not. The table may have been too crowded with the afternoon tea accoutrements (supplied by caterers). The table numbers were purchased from Etsy. After talk of the seating plan being written on a bit of cardboard, it was taken under the wing of one of the bridesmaids who hand made it! 

B R I D E 'S   D R E S S

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue...

Old= underwear! haha, 
New= Dress, 
Borrowed= necklace,
Blue= a blue bow poked into the back of her wedding dress

Helen was keen for each of us (thats the mum's and the bridesmaids) to come to wedding dress try-ons. This was lovely for everyone to have that experience especially as each of us were not around conveniently at the same time but made decision making difficult and long. Don't go too further a field as you'll have dress fittings and will need to pick the dress up in time before the day. Your maid of honour will also need to know how to get you into the dress so may need to come to the final fitting. When trying on dresses bring someone close to you who doesn't mince their words but who knows you inside and out so that the dress reflects YOU and not just what looks nice on you. It's also important to try on lots of different styles as they look different on the hangers in the shop and as we found out a style that was presumed a no-go was actually perfect and was the chosen dress! 

Helen's dress had a 'Princess' neckline however when worn with a lace bolero over the top it became a new dress altogether! It was gorgeous! 

B R I D E S M A I D 'S   D R E S S

Bridesmaid, Jenny is the founder of Snap fashion. This free app allows you to take a picture of an outfit or accessory who like and finds you similar items available to buy from high street stores or online. It was an invaluable tool when searching for the right bridesmaids dresses. 

There is a lot of scope for a band of bridesmaids so whittling it down to something that suits everyone can be tricky! Do you have all the bridesmaids in the same outfit? same dress, different colours? same colour, different dress? It's a mind-fudge! We wanted to look as if we were a group and not just guests but we were all different heights. Also finding a day we were all available was another hurdle so in the build up to the Oxford Street dress hunt we used 'Snap Fashion' (available from Itunes and Android) to find dresses of the chosen burgundy/claret colour and also the shaping of the dresses we said all flattered us. 

Helen was easy on what we wore and we tried on dresses of different colours as well as different fit but after lots of searching we all decided that we'd wear the same dress and colour and found the perfect dress in House of Fraser from Biba: a long grecian style dress that suited everyone. We all chose our own 'nude' coloured shoes to wear (this allowed me to wear flats and the others to wear heels). 

In the wedding-dress shop was a hairpiece my sister liked however it had a £150 price tag! Instead I made her and the bridesmaids hairpieces for the grand total of £5. They were little keepsakes for us all too. 

Helen in her 'going-away' outfit. 


The idea was that an army (friends of bride and groom) would supply each tier of the wedding cake. As you can see there were a lot of cake tiers. It was great as there was something for everyone including those with allergies etc. The main cake was a traditional (naked) fruit cake made by the groom's grandmother. This was the one that was ceremoniously cut. 

M  U  S  I  C   &   R  E  A  D  I  N  G 

Choral music essentially brought Helen and Jon together so the music in the wedding ceremony was of great importance. There was no 'Jerusalem', 'morning has broken' and 'give me oil in my lamp' that is the go-to for everyone else, (no offence to those who like those hymns). The ceremony was like a full-blown concert! It was so atmospheric and wonderful that after my reading I was in tears literally moved by the music! (which the lovely photographers captured).

Instead of 2 readings they opted for one reading 'Colossians 3.12-17' and then the choir sang a gorgeous hymn: 'The Gallant Weaver' words by Robert Burns and music by James Macmillan.


Unsurprisingly the entrance and exit of the bride (and groom) did not involve Felix Mendelssohn's 'Wedding March'. Sung, beautifully by the choir, we entered the church to Ubi Caritas by Darufle and left the church to the organ playing Marcel Dupré's 'Prelude and Fugue in B Major, Op 7, No 1' (which is infamous among organists of being particularly hard to play!). 


There were other hymns of course in the wedding service all of which I had to look up and practice and I've sung in hundreds of weddings in a church choir! 


Stephanie and Nicole, the photographers captured the day perfectly! They were both lovely people who helped us feel relaxed and comfortable which shows in the photos. In the hundreds of photos they took (514 in total) they included lots of little personal touches and details of the day- including my 99 year old Grandpa who was there with his trusty retro disposable camera! 

It was so special to be part of and having such a small family, it was truly very special to see my older sister get married. It's even crazier that I now have a 'brother-in-law'!!!