Ok it’s long, so if you want to skip to the pics I wouldn’t blame you lol.Thursday 31st May – 2 days to go!
I finished work at 3pm, they had decorated my car and desk with balloons and banners, so I was belting down the M62 with balloons flying everywhere lol
The Olympic torch was going through my village that afternoon too, so the traffic was a nightmare, but eventually I got to my friends house and got my nails and waxing all sorted. It did take longer than we thought (too much chatting) so H2B had to pick me up from hers to go to our final dance lesson, which went well. Then home and virtually straight to bed.Friday 1st June – Wedding Eve
So we got up about 9am, drove to Manchester Airport to pick up H2Bs hire car – Jag XF. It was gorgeous!
Then back home, packed all we could into that car, then at 11.30 PIL arrived and the rest of the boxes went in their car (my dress was already in there!) and we set off to pick the cake up.
The cake was gorgeous, but pre-stacked, so it was 4 tiers tall and my MIL was really worried that it’d fall over and get damaged (it was well packed in, but obviously she’d have felt responsible if anything had gone wrong. Bless her!) so we then had to drive quite slowly to the zoo to drop all the paraphernalia off.
We arrived at the zoo and were allowed to drive through to the house (following a man walking so that no visitors were run over lol) to unload. The catering manager filled up when she saw the cake. I text the cake lady later on to say we’d arrived ok and it made her day when I told her that the cake had made someone cry
We had our meeting with the events staff, explained what went where etc and then H2B dropped me, my dress and bags off at the hotel down the road.
Phew time to chill!
I had a gorgeous 90 minute long body scrub and full body massage treatment, then sat in their relaxation room for about half an hour, before going back to the room to wash my hair and get ready for tea with my Mum and step-dad.
We had a lovely meal and about 9pm my two friends (bestie-S and make-up/hair friend-L) arrived.
We just had one drink in the bar then retired to our room. L did S’s nails and I just got things out ready for the morning. We got into bed (all 3 of us in 1 huge king size lol) about 11.30 and were asleep not long after.Saturday 2nd June – THE day!
I woke up about 5am needing the loo, but thankfully managed to get back off to sleep until L’s alarm went off at 7am.
L got into the shower, so she could have her hair in rollers whilst getting my hair and MU done. Me and S sat in bed watching Emmerdale LOL
We’d ordered breakfast to the room at 8am, so we all stuffed our faces with cereal, fruit and some cooked bits (had 2 breakfasts to share between 3, as the room was only booked for 2 people) then S gave me my pressies from H2B. A love letter he’d done with pics of and some lovely words, plus a necklace and earring set. I decided to wear the necklace for the wedding, which he was pleased to see later. I opened my secret brie pressie too, which was a lovely honeymoon album that I can’t wait to fill up with pics and bits of memories – So a big thank you to you whoever you are xx
Then started the MU and hair. L did an amazing job, my Mum came up and had her MU done too, which she was really pleased with especially when her friends commented on it looking so good 6 hours later! And at some point the flowers arrived, which were gorgeous, just what I’d wanted
Up to this point it was all pretty calm, but at 11am the Tog arrived, then soon after PIL and SILs plus 2 of the BMs and the page boys arrived, so the room was suddenly packed. The tog kept moving things to take pics, so we were losing things and it was all busy!
We then got me into my dress and had the photo call in the room of me, BMs, Mum and Dad.
At 12.45pm it calmed down, tog went off to the zoo, SIL1 and page boys went off following the BMs and SIL2 in the bridal car and Mum etc went too, so just me and Dad left.
We were both feeling fine, had a brew and chatted as normal (about MOTs lol) I needed the loo prior to the car arriving, but my Dad refused to help haha, so at least I discovered early on that I could go to the loo unaided. I found sitting sideways the easiest option, although it was more difficult at the venue coz there wasn’t as much room at the side of the loo, still I managed!
About 1.30pm the car arrived and we went downstairs. It had been drizzling all morning, but had stopped by then although my dad still had to hold up my dress so it didn’t get wet from the ground.
Once at the zoo and out of the car I met the registrar (I’d been poorly for the meeting before-hand and H2B had had to go alone, but she was lovely) and had to do the “interview” it was about 4 questions and my BMs and Dad were there, so not the private thing I’d expected which was good.
I was still feeling fine, no tears and after a last touch-up we were ready!
The BMs and 1 page boy walked down the aisle (W the 2 year old wasn’t in a walking down the aisle mood, but it didn’t matter) then me and Dad. He handed me over to H2B and then the ceremony started. It seemed to go quickly, but it was 30 mins. Everything went well, no objections, readings perfect (with no tears) and rings all intact!
We got the group shots in straight away once we got outside (W wasn’t in the mood for this either and someone trying to make him smile was sticking their tongue out at him, which he then copied, so pics all have him either looking grumpy or with his tongue out lol), then everyone mingled on the terrace, had afternoon tea (which was divine- gorgeous butties and cakes mmmmmmm) And as I was the bride the event manager brought mine to me, as “a bride shouldn’t have to queue” lol
More mingling, while the magician entertained the kids with balloon animals/guns and everyone with close-up tricks, then off for some (although it felt like hundreds) photos on our own!
Obviously some zoo visitors had seen us round the house, but when we went into the main part of the zoo it was packed and there was lots of people pointing etc haha, quite surreal!
Then more mingling on the terrace and people started arriving for the late afternoon/evening. At 5pm the speeches started. My Dad hates public speaking, so was dreading this part but his speech was great, funny and sweet too! Then the two best men had their turns, both really good and funny. H’s (coz we’re now married lol) mum was surprised by how many near-death experiences H had had
Then H did his speech. He did really well until he thanked his parents, then he started to well up and had to have a breather (this started some of the girls off too) and then he gave a toast to his Granddad who would have been 90 the day before (he passed in January) and he lost it. Everyone had a tear in their eye (this was the only time I did all day, which I was pleased about) and there’s a really emotional pic of us all during that toast, with me holding his hand and one of the best men has come up to H and is squeezing his shoulder – this pic always makes me well up!
Once they were done there was a little time for a drink before the zoo safari. The safari was fab, everyone loved it and the elephant keeper was still there and told us tonnes, plus had part of an elephant tooth that the kids (and me) all had a feel of. It was just amazing and so unique!
However the rain had decided to make a reappearance, so the return trip was a bit drizzly (thankfully they have many umbrellas) and the BBQ had had to be moved inside, but it really didn’t matter and the staff had done it all so quickly and seamlessly that no-one noticed. The food again was fab, but I was feeling really tired by this point and didn’t end up eating much as sitting in my dress wasn’t so comfy.
I had hit a wall, but I knew we still had to cut the cake and do the first dance, so I found L and had 15 mins in the loos. We re-tied the dress, sorted hair and MU touch-ups, drank water and I had a poo (TMI but god I felt better then lol)
We went back up and it was about 8.30. We cut the cake, then went into the disco room for the first dance. Still no-one (except the lady who we’d bumped into at one of our lessons, as she was picking her daughter up from a class) knew about the dance, so when we stood at opposite sides of the dance floor to each other people starting murmuring and I heard S saying “I don’t know, but it’s gonna be good!” which I later found out was because someone was asking her what was happening, she must know lol and it was killing her that she didn’t have a clue what was about to happen!
The dance went really well until during one of the spins H’s foot caught in my dress and ripped the train out of the bustle (broke the bustle hook and ripped the seam at the bottom of the dress too I later discovered), but we both stayed upright and carried on. The lift at the end was great and my boobs just about stayed in my dress!!
Everyone was impressed and surprised. I will try and get a video of it for you to see at some point, I promise.
After that it was party time until midnight!
A lot of our family and friends were staying in the same hotel, so our close friends (about 8 of us) went into the residents bar for a couple of nightcaps! Embarrassingly two other brides came in whilst we were there. One had got married there, but I think the other was like us and was just stopping there that night. Thankfully it’s a big enough bar that we couldn’t really see each other, so there was no bride-offs lol
So that was our day! It was brilliant - Informal, fun and exactly what we wanted. Everyone really enjoyed it. The older people liked that there was 3 rooms, so they could go to one of the non-disco ones and “hear themselves speak”, the kids loved it coz there was plenty to do.
It wasn’t the whirlwind that lots of people say it is and there were no stresses. We just let the people in charge do their jobs and enjoyed our day. We mingled, but in the evening we danced and people knew where we were if they wanted to see us.
That’d be my advice - Relax, let the people you’re paying do what you’re paying them for and don’t kill yourself to speak to everyone for half an hour just have quick chats with groups as soon as you can and then you can enjoy yourself later!
Photos to follow!!!