Sometimes, you can build something up so much in your head, preparing and getting ready, that it can never possibly meet your expectations. But sometimes, something is so special that no matter how much you think about it, it’s more than you could have imagined.
This is how I felt when my sister got married last weekend, and I only pray it’s how she felt too.
A year and a half ago, my sister got engaged, the day before Christmas eve, and it seems like since then, when we were all together, it was all we talked about, with so much to plan and prepare. We started planning the invitations and after deciding on a design and measuring and folding forty of these invitations carefully, my sister decided it would be a good idea to check they fit in the envelopes. They didn’t. After a long discussion about whether to sit and refold them all or simply buy bigger envelopes, it’s fair to say I won. We bought bigger envelopes.
Preparations like this continued and as months went on, decisions were made, dress fittings and shopping trips became much more frequent and excitement grew every time I saw the family. Skipping forward a little, I had the great privilege of being asked to be chief bridesmaid, meaning it was my job to sort out the hen party.
For someone that is awful at keeping secrets, this was quite difficult but it did help that for a lot of the planning we were at opposite ends of the country and she was kept guessing right to the point of being presented her first outfit on the day (an Alice in wonderland fancy dress theme). First up, after a bit of quality girlie shopping including a kids caterpillar ride, we went to a trampoline park where not only the floors but the walls were all trampolines, including a game of dodge ball and swinging into big foam pits we thought we’d never get out of. After coming out, all feeling worn out and significantly older than we are, we found out just how much the bride and groom to be really did know each other with a classic Mr and Mrs quiz and a few bottles of bubbly before heading out to a Caribbean restaurant for a meal and a few cocktails and ending up dancing the night away to cheesy 90s classics in a local club. The next morning we were up bright and early (somehow) for a pony trek around the New Forest where I think it’s fair to say my horse was not installed with the same sat nav as everyone else’s. I also had trouble finding the breaks as we decided to canter on in front of everyone else when told to try a ‘gentle trot’. However, it seems horses were not actually an issue when we were sat on top of them, it was only when we went for our slightly windy picnic that we encountered some over friendly wild ponies that didn’t exactly stay friendly for long and ended up kicking us and stealing our picnic. After that excitement we relaxed in the spa of a posh hotel and joined up with other members of the family for a posh high tea (again with bubbles) where everything is so tiny and yet you still get so full.
With the fun of the hen party done, it was down to serious final preparations. Table centres were cut out of wood and carefully covered in satin and painted with names and dates, the last buttons were stitched onto the flower girls dresses, the cake was assembled and delicately piped (more than once) into their favourite books, things were getting close. Three days before, I baked 233 cupcakes, by the time it got to decorating them the next day, there were only 228. With help with piping and making the sugar paste decorations I hand decorated each one with individual blossoms, hearts and cakes, spending a grand total of thirteen and half hours making cupcakes over those two days.
Finally, after every hand stitched button, every hand decorated cake, every carefully assembled table centre and place name, every meeting and shopping trip, every hour and pound spent, the day was here. All morning we had people coming and going from our house delivering things, picking things up, getting things ready, it was like the wedding version of Clapham junction; Photographer, hairdresser, makeup artist, usher, best man, driver, bridesmaids, it was all go. Soon we were all at the church, nails painted, hair done and faces on. As chief, I did my duties, I let the flower girls loose at the appropriate time to follow my sister down the aisle, I signed the register witnessing the marriage and I sorted out the train and veil multiple times. My sister, well, she got married.
The whole day was absolutely beautiful and it seemed every hour spent was entirely worth it although that’s not what made it so beautiful. It was beautiful because although it went so quickly at the time, this was only the first day of many for them. It was beautiful not because the flower girls were indescribably adorable (which they were) or because the cake was so creatively amazing (which it was) but because my sister gets to spend the rest of her life with the man she loves and I got to see how happy that made them. It was such a fun day throughout, full of dancing, fun in the photo booth and fully decorating the bridal suite with tacky bunting, confetti and balloons along with the best man and my cousin. The first dance was magical as everyone watched them for the first time as a married couple before being joined by our parents and the best man and I along with other friends and family and by the end of the night everyone was on the dance floor for all the classics. I enjoyed every minute from the service through to the dinner, speeches, photographs and full cooked breakfast in the morning, having stayed there over night. There was even some dancing on the tables after a few shots and much merriment from all.
It was also my first time in my own proper hotel room and as a student I was going to make the most of it. You offer me a sachet of coffee – I’m taking all five. A packet of complementary biscuits? That’ll do for the train journey back. It was most exciting, although for a good few days after coming back, the only things in my cupboards were what I could scavenge free from the hotel. It felt so odd going back, especially to the world of coursework, having been totally consumed in this amazing occasion, surrounded by the people we love and I hope the hype continues for the happy couple throughout the honeymoon and beyond. It was amazing to have a whole day reflecting even a bit of the fun so far and that is still to come in their lives.
So congrats! I wish you all the happiness and blessings in your life together as you start the rest of your lives, and thanks for such a wonderful day 🙂