Category Archives: Honeymoon

The Wedding Day

And so the day of the wedding arrived.

I’ve already said a lot about our plans, but here are some extra details the day itself. Often unplanned details…

We had ordered breakfast to our room the night before, so that we could have a delicious feast and soon-to-be husband and wife in our dressing gowns, rather than dressing, dining with others, then returning to our room to change! …Perhaps it works for afternoon weddings, but for a morning wedding, it just seems silly! We had toast and jams, poached eggs, fruit, and a small pile of pastries which we devoured. It was an impressive breakfast!

Then we started getting ready. I had washed my hair the night before after swimming, but Guy showered and used Vanilla Vanilla body wash (as he doesn’t wear scent. I wore my usual scent, CK’s ‘Eternity Moment’, because I thought it was important to wear my signiature smell on my wedding day!).

He also made sure to give himself a good, close shave. This was something he had put a lot of thought into, because he wanted his face to be perfectly smooth. He’d picked up some tips for following the grain of the hairs on Groom Power (which also warned him not to leave any polish on his shoes before he danced with a woman in a white dress!). So, a few pratices, a nice new razor, and a little bit of advice from – stranegly enough – Neil Gaiman‘s blog, worked the trick (for those of you who are curious, I suggest you hunt out the reference yourself!).

First, Karina, our photographer, turned up, and took some artistic pictures of our wedding outfits before we put them on.

And soon after my mum turned up – with bubbly and cassis – and began attacking my hair whilst I was still doing my makeup.

Then my uncle turned up – and started photographing us!

And then Caz turned up for Guy! She whisked him away for his steadying pint, and he went outside before putting on his jacket and waistcoat so that I wouldn’t see him all prettied up. By this point, I was still in my dressing gown.

Finally James turned up. My mum whisked off back to her room, and he had to zip me up! And then he left with our case to join the taxi group up to the Town Hall and I went back to lure out my mother.

Walking through the hotel, an elderly couple crossed our path and realised that I was a bride, despite the blue dress. They wished us the best of luck (then said we shouldn’t need it) and we continued on our way, weaving crazily through a very complicated hotel layout until we found ourselves in the foyer. Our rickshaw was early and already waiting!

We arrived at the Town Hall in good time and picked up our flowers. Actually my mum got given Guy’s buttonhole, and my granddad didn’t get one so they swapped halfway through the reception! The ushers were a bit rushed off their feet – but you wouldn’t know it seeing the ceremony room!

Guy was, of course, in the ceremony room by then, and I had to go to see the registrars. Several people saw me on the way in and gave me the nod – as if it were a bit cheeky for them to notice the bride before the ceremony. Brian was striding backwards and forwards across the stairwell rehearsing his reading.

I went in to see the registrars with my mum and best man, but both quickly vanished to other tasks. I think my mum had a mini meltdown, but she was back to escort me down the aisle in no time. The chat with the registrars was very straightforward and quick, so mostly I just sat there waiting. They asked me to confirm some basic details and then asked what I was going to write when I signed my name. I was a bit confused and tried to describe my signiature…! It turned out they just wanted to check that I knew to sign my maiden name.

I’ve already covered the ceremony, so I’ll skip to after it finished.

Guy and I stood outside (me shaking) hugging people and shaking hands as they all filed out. It was great to talk to everyone and be able to look them in the eye without freaking out this time! Somewhere about now, I was told that my necklace catch had slipped round to the front (I adjusted it) and that the lemon layer of the cake was collapsing (I asked them to remove the top layers and leavethe rest out for us to cut – you’re supposed to cut the bottom layer anyway!). So much for big disasters!

Everyone assembled on the steps and we came out and got bombarded with confetti. A lot of the boys were really keen to mob Guy!

Then we took the rickshaws over to Somerville for photographs and drinks! We got cheered by a group on the way there and another on the return, not to mention the people standing staring at the town hall. It felt bizarre, like we were on stage or something – and the smart clothes we were wearing seemed out of place in the middle of a busy city filled with ordinarily clad strangers!

The drinks reception steadied me a bit. And we also got a nice surprise – a flypast! It was a lucky coincidence, as we were only outside for a couple of hours, but it came directly overhead and people took photographs!

‘Our’ flypast:

Before we left Somerville, Guy and I shared our first moment alone together as husband and wife! But if you think it was a romantic one, you will be amused… We were due to get the last rickshaw out, so we lingered in the quad as everyone was going. Then we had an idea – we would be busy at the reception and may not get chance to pop to the loo! So we scurried into the Somerville toilets whilst we had the chance, meeting again between the men’s and ladies and then wandering out through the college together (luckily my dress did not require assistance: I only buy clothes I could climb a tree in). Yes, that was our first time alone together as marrieds!

Back at the reception, James announced us in his loud teacher voice, and we all happily tucked into our starters before the speeches (by then it was about 2.30, not that I was wearing my watch). My granddad did a nice speech, welcoming everybody to the event and then beginning, “I first met Rowena when she was 1 day old…” and including a story about me as a baby getting very excited about a gang of rough-looking hairy bikers. He managed to knock over some wine and call Guy ‘Clive’ once, but nobody minded!

Caz did a great best woman’s speech. She didn’t actually tell any embarrassing stories about Guy, but kept hinting that she was going to! Afterwards, she was definitely relieved that the speechmaking was over and she could enjoy her food.

Guy’s speech was a mishmash of parts of the proposal and relationship stories, with a few references in it just for me. He spent the entire speech bending over his chair and squeezing the back of it with his hands – I think he was nervous!

Then I said a couple of words and Guy and I did the thank yous together.

We actually called the caterers out to thank them, which apparently was appreciated and few people do – although they did point out to us that we hadn’t eaten most ofthe food yet, so our thank yous were a little bit premature!

Here are Guy’s parents’ faces after he revealed that I had named them the “sanest people” helping us with the wedding!

James didn’t make an official speech, but introduced them and recorded them on a little dictaphone I gave him. However, at the end of the reception, he decided to make an impromptu speech about how proud he was and how difficult he thought I would be to match, yet how perfect Guy was for me…

The reception food was amazing. I made sure to ‘share’ some of my vegetarian with Guy, but I was still massive when we finished. The caterers asked me if I would like a bit of all four layers of cake – yes please! – and the same for my “new husband” – so dessert wasn’t exactly dainty either. And a large slab of the rum cake went into our bag for the honeymoon along with the bag of cards the ushers brought us, the guest book and Cathy’s cork.

The Jaguar Royale was a little late, but it was worth it to see it sweep up and turn around in the road (cue more staring from strangers!). I put on my going away jacket and we jumped in (my mum was so enthusiastic about hugging us that she nearly came too!).

Then we waved our goodbyes and drove out of Oxford with the evening air rushing past us. We didn’t notice that we’d never had seat belts on until hours later!

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The Getaway

Our original getaway plan was to take an overnight ferry from Harwich, but the logistics meant that we would end up having to leave our own wedding reception early (about 5pm…), so we started looking for somewhere to stay in Oxfordshire.

My best knowledge of how weddings worked was Robin Hood and Maid Marian leaving the church and jumping in their getaway carriage at the end of the Disney film. Perhaps naturally, this had led me to believe that at the end of a wedding you drove away on honeymoon rather than organised a disco and got yourselves bladdered. And I quite liked this idea (the getaway not the disco) – it seemed romantic. Guy was also keen: he wanted some downtime at the end of the wedding day to sit and recover and enjoy being married together. So whilst 5pm was stretching it a bit, we were definitely determined to have a day wedding and escape as newlyweds that evening.

It is actually very difficult to find a place to stay on a Saturday night because most guesthouses require a booking for the entire duration of the weekend. We were actually lucky enough to find Fyfield Manor, who were at the time in the process of converting to this policy and agreed to allow us a one-night booking. The Manor is in part the oldest building in Oxfordshire and family-run – they even make you your own breakfast from local and home produce.

On the night of our wedding we spent a lovely relaxing time there reading through our cards and our guest book and having our picnic in the amazing corner bath!

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In order to reach Fyfield Manor we decided to get a nice car. After a bit of research we uncovered what was dubbed the ‘car of sex’ – and then had to find one we could hire in Oxfordshire! We then discovered Christopher’s Cars, who were based in Reading and were happy to provide the chauffered service to Fyfield. Our driver was called Keith and did an excellent job.

Here is the beautiful Jaguar Royale Drophead –

It was an exhilarating drive. I don’t think we’d really had time to stop and being excited until this point!


Out of the Bag

Naturally, I inisisted on doing all the honeymoon packing. The Fiance didn’t really care, and I love packing. I graduated to packingmeister years ago, when every summer holiday or Christmas my mum would get distressed, so I gradually took over the whole project. Like my aunt, I have a kind of packing “gene” – I not only love packing, but love minamilaist packing, whilst catering for every eventuality.

People are always surprised by what I manage to confine to my mini handbags.

At first, however, the packing was daunting even for me.

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5 minutes later the cat got in the bag and made herself comfortable (the Fiance hoovered the bag shortly before I started packing it, because whilst it was living under our bed, it had become hers). But she wasn’t there for long.

Believe it or not, all this stuff does actually fit in the bag, with perhaps the exception of my hat, and that only because I was cautious of squishing it. I may have to wear it down to Oxford, protective plastic packaging and all. Plenty more fits in as well, because in addition to this lot is several shirts of the Fiance, our wedding day shoes, or wedding night “picnic” (in the fridge) and the bits and bobs we need in the meantime, as well as flatter things like remaining usher goodies, our tickets, passports, and emergency medical supplies (mostly plasters: my mum was very insistent we packed plasters).

And here’s the proof that it fits!

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The pile of clothes that you see in the foreground consists of swimming costumes and wedding day underwear – all of which I rolled up inside the Fiance’s smart wedding day shoes. Yes, yes I did. All of it. Careful use of space makes a lot of difference to the ease of packing, and I always stuff shoes as full as possible.

Here in this neat and beautifully arrayed image you can see that I have stuffed every piece of underwear and all pairs of socks that I am taking on honeymoon inside my new brown shoes.

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Space efficiency rocks.

Also important was ease of access packing. On the day of arrival we will need our evening meal packing items available, and bathroom bits, et cetera. The next morning we need wedding day bits – everything from clothes/grooming equipment to shoes. Then that evening we will need our picnic, and the following morning access to “normal” clothes and toiletries. And thus here is the finished article (my parasol only fits diagonally and at a specific range of depths) – or at least as finished as it can be with the stuff we can’t yet throw in.

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My Trousseau

My mum really wanted to get me a trousseau of summer clothes to take away on honeymoon, so she got me drunk and whipped out this catalogue, asking me to choose the ones I like. I decided I’d play, randomly pointing out things I liked, under the impression she would be buying one or two of them…

So yesterday, a package arrives with 3 summer skirts and 3 summer dresses in it.

The plan was try lots of things, send back what I don’t like. So I modelled for the Fiance, and he took some pictures.

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Iris enjoyed herself immensely.

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Flying chat!

I’m certainly not keeping all of these, especially not the orange dress, which has sequins all over it (ugh!), so my mum suggested I have another peek at Joe Browns online and exchange a few things. I have these in mind:

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Germany here we come!


Sorry, HOW much…?

As I have been idly perusing online, I’ve come across several blogs and sites which give you a budget breakdown of general wedding costs. Some of them defend their numbers by explaining that these are the average quotations you will get from suppliers, et cetera, but they still leave me gasping. They are also in total disagreement with each other about what kinds of numbers are appropriate/common for which things.

Here’s just a little example with some numbers I took off two sites, Rock’n’Roll Bride and WeddingFace. The WeddingFace numbers are a little weird because it’s an Irish site and I have been translating out of Euros. I assume I’m allowed to reblog this kind of content, but if I’m not, someone tell me and I’ll make it anonymous!

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Wow! So for my wedding, with 100 guests working number, no bridesmaids to dress or make up, R’n’R Bride reckons I should be spending £10,050-£17,200 and my groom is attending naked (which hey, I might not have too much of a problem with). WeddingFace, meanwhile, calculate a whopping £18,215 for my supposed budget, and apparently this will be the music/entertainment extravaganza of the century.

Our own estimate of £8,175 seems pretty modest, although we don’t know what we’re spending on the honeymoon yet (neither do R ‘n’ R Bride), and actually, on closer scrutiny some rather important details have been left out (AHEM registrar fees).

I mean, let’s talk jewellery, giving notice, suit hire for the men (lots of naked men at the wedding?), room decorations and (for those insane enough) chair covers, aisle runners, rights to certain music! The list goes on. Our little £3 ring box isn’t on there for sure, and these things add up. I have a hat, a parasol and a handbag. What about SHOES? Some women spend about £300 on shoes and never wear them again because they’re a silly colour.

Okay, so the gist is, ignore what everybody says.

And keep VERY, VERY good lists. Everywhere.