It is so easy to get caught up in all of the traditions surrounding getting married. You should do this and you should do that was something I heard very often. In fact one of the first controversial subjects I came up against was whether to hire a wedding planner or not. Was it something only rich people did? Would I end up with a wedding that I didn't want? These were all questions that ran through my mind, and with the best intensions, filled my twitter mentions too. It was a subject that some people felt very strongly against.
But for me and my hectic schedule, it worked perfectly and I knew just the person.
From that point I started thinking about all the other things which are expected when it comes to getting married, which more often than not are out dated and unnecessary. This day was not just about us, this was about all our loved ones and we wanted to ensure everyone enjoyed it rather than grinning and bearing it.
By the time our wedding approached we had tailored a day that worked perfectly for us and had kissed goodbye to a number of traditions that quite honestly, just did not work for us.
THE FIRST LOOK
Our ceremony ended up being at 2:30pm which wasn't our choice. It was the only time the registrar could do so we just had to accept it. The Orangery where we had our ceremony would be filled with Winter light (we hoped) but by the time the ceremony was finished we knew with a sunset of 4pm, we would be struggling. Our videographer AR, told us about a new "thing" they were doing in the US called a reveal or a first look. It was basically a moment for Ali and I to see each other before the ceremony and make sure we still got beautiful imagery and scenes for the video. But we both agreed that aside from that, it was a huge weight off our minds. I'm such a softie, I can't watch anything on TV these days without crying and I knew my emotions would be on another level on our wedding day so this moment, just for us actually became super important for me. I didn't want to be in floods of happy tears all day and The First Look meant we could have that special moment just for us and I was so incredibly happy that we did it in a way that worked for us.
I was so nervous about Ali seeing my dress so being able to process the happiness on his face when he saw me without a room full of our loved ones beady eyes on us, was so special.
It also meant that we were able to have the most incredible pictures for our wedding day, our photographers Wish Wish Weddings were amazing and I cannot wait to have a house full of their images when we move. We couldn't be more happy with how this moment came together and you can see it all from the images in this blog post.
THE TOP TABLE
I'm pretty sure our parents were a bit miffed in the beginning but when it came to the day, sat amongst their friends and family, I bet they secretly breathed a sigh of relief. Ali and I both have divorced and remarried parents. They are all so amicable and friendly so we knew there wouldn't be any dramas, but we also didn't want anyone feeling awkward, so we did away with the "top table" faff and decided to sit with all our friends and then let our parents be with theirs. It worked so well, we were chuffed to say the least. Everything was so chilled and enjoyable, the drinks flowed and the food was amazing, I couldn't have pictured it going any smoother.
From the moment I began planning the wedding, it was my project so Ali could focus on selling the house, I knew that I wanted to give a speech. I couldn't imagine pouring my heart and soul into something for 9 months and then not at least saying thank you to everyone who helped. But more than anything, this was the first instance where I realised how outdated some of the traditions actually are in marriage ceremonies. The role of the woman has changed and evolved over many years. We have fought for our rights and our voice so I wasn't about to sit in silence on what is said to be the biggest day of our lives, whether I hate public speaking or not.
I was nervous, but so was everyone giving speeches and it went so much better than I imagined, heck, I might even go as far as saying I was quite funny. And once it was all over, I was so happy that I did it. I got to thank everyone, poke fun at my new husband and laugh along with all my friends and family. I loved every second of it.
WE TOOK OUR NAME
I always knew I wanted a double barrelled surname. At first, it was just because I liked the way it looked but as I grew and matured I became more aware of the significance of creating "our name" rather than "taking his name". Initially Ali wasn't keen, he worried what others would think, that irritating "Lad"culture where they mock each other for making informed decisions just because it's different.
Luckily, Ali is the kind of person to make up his own mind. He went away and took the time to understand how this choice could impact not just me and what message he was sending out into the world. He wanted me to know that I was his equal and that he had never looked at me any other way, He wanted to be sure that should we some day have children, we would all share a family name and he soon realised that we were keeping our names, nothing really changed except they were joining together, much like we were doing.
Except the significance for me was infinite.