From exciting cities where you can combine partying with sightseeing, to spending your hen do on the beach, the choices are endless. You don’t have to stay close to home…
Written by Paula Jones Last updated: August 9, 2006
Hanna Faithfull of Faithfull Photography Ltd
We met in November 2001. I’d been out for a meal with a friend, her family and her family friends to a pub in town. On the way back we decided to drop in to the pub in the village where my friend lived to see her father who worked behind the bar. I had planned to stay at my friends overnight so I would be able to enjoy a drink for the first time in ages, as I normally end up driving everywhere. We all piled into the tiny village pub using the back entrance that led us straight into the pool room. We got our round of drinks and then attempted to have a game of pool which is always fun slightly under the influence. There were not many people in the pool room – an older couple that my friend’s mum knew and a man who sat on the opposite side supping lager in the usual ‘I’m a guy chilling out’ way. He is now my husband.
He proposed a long time before I said yes. We were on holiday in Majorca and he asked me to marry him on our hotel balcony as we watched the lights of the evening traffic go by. First I said no – I felt it was too soon as we hadn’t been going out for long. A few months later at my niece’s first birthday party, I was sitting on his knee watching the fireworks. I had been thinking of how much I wanted us to be together, have our own place and start our own family one day. So I asked him to marry me. He said ‘of course I will’ and his arms tightened around my waist and squeezed me. Unfortunately he had to release his bear grip as I had to get back to my duty as chief firework lighter!
He had a stag night where he went to a few local pubs. I ended up seeing him on his stag night as I got a phone call in the early hours of the morning to say that my sister’s partner was very much the worse for wear and needed picking up. Ian had arranged to spend the night at his parents but in the end I had to take him and my sister’s partner back to the house that we had started renting ready for me to move into after the wedding. I was up till the crack of dawn cleaning my car out after I had dropped them off for reasons that you can guess.
I had both a hen and stag party (promptly named a staglyhen by my male friends). I invited the girls away for the weekend to a caravan site in Norfolk where we spent on night at a club. We had a theme where I was the angel and everyone else was a devil. I ended up wearing L plates, veil, halo, wings, garters, cuffs etc. I invited all the guys out for a stag night at a local club where this time I got to be the devil.
Not a lot to help the stress levels. The few jobs he had I had to watch over him like a hawk to make sure they were done right and pester him to make sure they were done. Most of the time the jobs would have been a lot less stressful if I had done them myself.
Yes it was very inspirational with lots of good ideas.
We bought disposable cameras and a few other bits as they matched our colour scheme perfectly.
I wore a traditional style gown and it was the perfect dress – just what I was looking for. The back was just as beautiful as the front and I felt like a princess in it. It has a cathedral length waterfall back skirt with lace, bead and sequin details throughout. The top part of the dress is a boned bodice with a v-shape bottom completely covered with the same lace, bead and sequin detail on the skirt and train. It has a square neckline with a scaloped lace edge and buttons all the way down the zip. The dress came with elbow length gloves that have the same lace, bead and sequin detail at the top.
I ended up choosing two piece dresses in a bluey lilac. The skirts were a-line and the tops were strapless but the bridesmaids were uncomfortable with strapless so the bridal shop made some straps from the offcuts at the bottom when they were shortened. The top had buttons all the way up the zip and the material gathered to one side creating a slightly ruffled textured surface around the waist.
He chose his brother David. All the men apart from Ian wore new black suits with cream shirts, a lilac tie and a gold and cream waistcoat we had made. Ian wore a collarless suit with a lilac rouche and a cream wing collar shirt.
We had a religious ceremony in a church.
St Mary Magdalene Church in Fleet, near Holbeach in Lincolnshire (conveniently the other side of the road to my family home for 22 years!)
Gedney Dyke Village Hall – about six miles from the church.
We had a 1930′s four door Beauford. The owners kindly attached lilac flowers and ribbon to match our colour scheme.
I lost count as so many people were coming, then not coming, then coming and so forth but I think it was about 100. Most were there from the beginning with only a few joining us later in the day.
I had a peach and lilac colour scheme with a soft and floaty style.
Peach square tablecloths were spread diagonally across the tables creating a diamond over the top of cream tablecloths. Each corner of the table had a purple bow on it and lilac organza draped between them. The napkins were lilac and so were the floating candles. The flowers around the floating candles were peach and the beads in the flowers were purple. There were purple ‘just married’ banners and purple and peach helium balloons.
We made organza bags, sewed a personalised label onto them and filled them with sugared almonds and ‘love hearts’. There were other little take homes like boxes of matches and bubbles with personalised labels and lollies wrapped in purple tissue paper so that they co-ordinated.
My bouquet was a traditional cascading teardrop. It included calla lilies, cream roses (some of them tinted lilac with spray), lilac freesias, cream carnations, lots of lovely green foliage and some sparkly gems. All three bridesmaids carried a basket. The two adults were filled with the same flowers as my bouquet but without the calla lilies. The flower girl carried a basket with a rose and freesia corsage at the base of the handle on either side and the basket was filled with rose petals. The buttonholes were a cream rose with freesias and foliage. Ian had a calla lily instead of a rose. The mums corsages were attached to their handbags and used all the flowers in my bouquet
We did our own catering! I bought a chest freeze and crammed it full of buffet food. The hardest slog of preparing the wedding was doing the feast. My mum’s oven was running constantly for the two days before the wedding and I would rather not put cheese on sticks ever again! It was the fourth time we had done full on catering for a party as we had done it for my sisters, my sisters partner and my 21st birthday party and had earned a good reputation for our buffets.
My mum’s friend made our amazing six-tier cake. The bottom tier was a square with a second tier stacked on top. The second tier had its corners cut off and on top of that was a set of pillars. The third tier was a heart followed by another set of pillars and then a smaller heart. I had a set of stairways come from either side of the third tier down to the table where they sat on the fifth and sixth tier. Tiers 2 and 4 were decorated with a piped swirl design and crystal nuggets. The rest were left plain. The cake was decorated with strategically placed icing roses and freesias with icing petals cascading down the stairs on both sides and over the table. Crystal swans were placed in the gap. There were five tiers left over but they were not wasted as I gave a tier to my nephew’s christening, and one to my brother for his 21st birthday. I will save the others for our anniversary and the christening of our first child.
We had a disco for the evening.
We had a gift list with Argos.
Our first night was spent in my new home. I was living with my parents and Ian was living with his parents so we had found a place to rent together a few months before the wedding. He moved in when we got the place but I didn’t move in until after the wedding. So my first night in our home was our first night as husband and wife. Our honeymoon was two weeks at La Pineda in Costa Daurada.
My father walking me down the aisle. A year before the wedding he had an accident in the garden and he ended up in a wheelchair. He went from a strong fit man before the accident to a man with a weak left side after the accident. Despite his difficulty to walk he was determined to walk me down the aisle and he did it. There was not a person in the church that did not have a tear in their eye for the bravery he showed.
I would have liked to have the bridesmaid dresses I wanted.
I also realise now that I should have forced everyone to attend a meeting where all the details of the wedding for example who was travelling in what car to the church, who was responsible for moving tables to create a dance floor and when the toast drink was to be brought out were drummed into their skulls.
I would also still like to still have our personalised toast glasses to sit proudly in a display cupboard but it is impossible as a thoughtful guest interfered with the top table during the clean up an the end of the night and smashed my glass (safe to say I was crying my eyes out at the end of my wedding day in despair that someone could be so insensitive. Several other personal items went missing to which I assumed the same person put in the bin with the broken glass as all I was left with was the stem).
It is also deeply disappointing that no less than seven of our disposable cameras placed on the tables so that the guests could take pictures for us went missing. The result of which is that we have little to no photos of the attendees from his side of the family (which indicates that it was his family that took them).
My advice to other brides is to select your bridesmaids, ushers, best man and any other official acting in the wedding party very wisely. I was surprised that one day could show me that many people I trusted could let me down so badly both before and on the day.
My other advice is whatever happens on the day do not let it bother you. Turn a blind eye and pretend it hasn’t happened or it should have been done that way. Wait till next day to kick ass otherwise you will not enjoy yourself and all the work and effort will be a waste of time.
Whatever happens don’t panic.
My last bit of advise is keep count of how many cameras have been handed back or question everyone as they leave for disposable cameras if you do not want them to go missing.