What went wrong? Wedding edition

When my Dad dropped Dan and I off at the fancy hotel we stayed in the night of our wedding, Dan headed outside to grab our things from where he had left his car the night before, leaving me stood in the foyer of the hotel in my wedding dress.  Abandoned bride!

Another, older couple came laughing and joking down the staircase placed infront of the foyer but stopped when they saw me.  “Oh hello” they said.  “When did you get married?”
Feeling really stupid saying it and still stood there in my wedding dress(!) I replied with “Erm, today.”
“Excellent!  Did anything go wrong?”

What a weird question to ask!  Did anything go wrong?!  But when I thought about it a few weeks later, I realised that several people who knew me but hadn’t been at the day had asked “Did you have a lovely day?  Did everything go okay?”  ‘Did anything go wrong?’ is basically the same question, just phrased in a slightly different way.  And anyway, there there were several things that didn’t quite go to plan, although nothing that really mattered…we still got married!  But I thought it would be fun to see what could have been…and I picked up our wedding photos finally last Friday afternoon so I have pictures to accompany the stories now!  So here are the parts of the day that ‘went wrong’!…

My bridesmaids (and Dan’s Nan!) worked their socks off from the minute they arrived until 12:50pm making food preparations for the evening buffet.  I knew it would be a bit of work in the morning, but I didn’t expect it to take until five minutes before the bridesmaids were due to leave for the church!  It would have been nice to see them a little in the morning before we were whisked down the aisle!

Preparing the wedding foodPreparing the wedding food

The Vicar did not stick to the order of service at all.  We had had it proofed by him several times, with him editing bits and adding items.  Dan printed all of the order of services at work the week before but on the day the Vicar literally just seemed to pick and choose which part of the service he fancied giving next!

Our wedding order of service

Evie, our six year old niece was supposed to carry a basket of petals outside the church to pass out to guests for the confetti throwing.  In the mad rush that was the wedding morning though, these were completely forgotten.  Luckily, guests had brought plenty of confetti with them!

Throwing confetti at our wedding in Sharrington church

I had been lent several battery operated digital cameras which I had intended on giving out to the children to take photographs of the day.  I hadn’t wanted to leave the cameras in the marquee overnight though so they stayed in a box in the locked hall.  Where they remained until my Dad brought them home after the wedding.  Whoops!  I completely forgot about them!  Luckily guests brought lots of cameras, so we did get some perspective from the tables as well.

The day before the wedding, Dan and I had arrived at 9am to decorate the village hall.  The marquee company were arriving at 11, so we wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to decorate the hall so that we could jump straight into the marquee and be done for the night.  It doesn’t take long to set up a marquee right?  Wrong!  It took just over four hours to set up our marquee!  I never realised so much work was involved!  This put Dan into a bit of a panic, especially when the guys from the company marked out the marquee on the floor.  It looked tiny.  Six weeks earlier, Dan had made the decision to downsize our marquee as many family members could no longer make it to the wedding due to the distance.  He was really worried that once the walls went up and the tables and chairs were in place there would be no room left to move, but luckily, it all fitted perfectly, with plenty of space for everyone.  The markings on the floor were very deceptive when it came to the size of the erected marquee.

The marquee for our yellow wedding

When we arrived at the hall, we had felt it quite important that we had a greeting line.  Our families live 4 hours apart, and until the night before, my parents had not met Dan’s brother or sister’s children at all, never mind the Aunts and Uncles that attended the wedding.  However, several of our guests without our knowledge peeled up the side of the marquee and snuck in to find their seats early rather than greeting us.  I know the greeting line isn’t for everyone, but some of the guests also left without saying goodbye, which was a shame as we never really got a chance to see them.  Guests left as early as directly after the main course (ones that were travelling home) so we hadn’t even had a chance to circulate yet!The meet and greet line at our weddingBefore the desserts arrived, we managed to nip out of our seats and start to chat with our guests, starting with those on the table furthest from us.  The night before when I had laid out the place names on the table I hadn’t gotten as far as the bottom two tables.  Instead, delegating the task of setting names up to one of my bridesmaids.  The bottom table was all married couples, so I assumed it would be quite easy for someone else to lay out as each couple had the same surname, so in my mind, should obviously be placed together.  I felt really awkward when we reached the bottom table and only one couple were sat together!  I apologised afterwards, but thankfully no-one seemed to mind.Tables at our wedding

So there we have it.  Nothing too major, nothing overly embarrassing.  Almost, without hitch!

Our biggest issue was actually the week before the wedding.  I had been in regular contact with our vicar about the day, getting parts organised and planning when we were going to hold the rehearsal.  I continuously asked if there was anything else we needed to do.  I was told no every time.  A little over three weeks away from the wedding my Mum rang me up to ask if I had organised the banns to be brought back with me that weekend.  I hadn’t organised any banns to be read at all.  For those that don’t know, your wish to be married has to declared during three individual church services in your home town/village.  Luckily, after a rushed phone call with our local vicar, she agreed to fit our banns in, starting the following day.  Phew!  I went to collect them five days before the wedding only to see what I thought read ‘David Stephen Pearson’ written in cursive on the certificate.  That wasn’t who I was marrying!  I thought that picking the banns up would be a 5 minute job, but it soon turned into a good few hours as I waited for the church warden to open up the church and check the official register of names.  Luckily, it was Daniel Stephen Pearson that I married, and that is what is declared on our wedding certificate.  It is just very poor coincidence that a cursive letter ‘v’ can be very similar to a cursive ‘n’.  And the letters ‘el’ from Daniel look like a ‘d’ that doesn’t quite join!

What didn’t go to plan at some of the weddings you have been to / your own wedding?

A honeymoon without running

The bargain I made with Dan that meant I was allowed to run in the 70 mile Grim Reaper race the week before our wedding was that I would not be taking my running trainers on honeymoon with us the following week.  10 whole days without so much as a jog or a Garmin stat.

It was a pretty big ask, but I really wanted to run 70 miles, so I made that deal!

As a wedding gift from my brother Mark, he had offered to drive Dan and I down to Gatwick very early on the Monday morning after we got married.  We actually left Norfolk at 12:30am after just under two hours of sleep!

We had a pancake breakfast at the airport and I was so tired that I actually fell asleep before takeoff and slept through the entire flight.  That has never happened before.  Dan was asleep not long after me.

When we arrived at the Italian airport we eagerly looked around for somebody holding a ‘Pearson’ sign.  I’d never had a private transfer before and we were told it could be 3-4 hours drive from the airport to our hotel.  Unfortunately though, there was no Pearson sign.  The holiday company had forgotten to book our transfer!  We had flown to Naples and although several of the airport staff spoke English we still weren’t really sure what was going on and if we would be able to get to our hotel.  We spent several hours flaked out in the airport waiting room trying not to drift back to sleep again.  After a few hours I was approached by the concierge of our hotel, Hotel Hermitage.  He happened to be at the airport to collect someone for a private transfer to the hotel and was offering us a lift.  We were exhausted by this point so took it!

When we did finally arrive three hours later at the hotel, the hotel had placed a bottle of champagne in our room on ice ready for our arrival.  Despite it not being their fault, but that of the travel agents.

Champagne on honeymoonWe made it down to the hotel restaurant for a quick lunch before zonking out for five hours on the bed.  Felt much more refreshed after that!

Although Italy had apparently had some of it’s worst weather with several thunderstorms all Summer it was beautiful the entire time we were away, except for our very last afternoon where we got a brief thunderstorm.  Our hotel had both a pool and a private beach so we spent a lot of time swimming.

By the pool in ItalyBy the beach in Italy(Good old running shorts tan line on show here!)

Me sat on the rocks in Italy on honeymoon

We also did loads of walking.  I would say we probably walked at least five miles each day.  One day we decided to walk up to Castellabate.  It looked fairly challenging from our hotel room, but it was even more challenging in real life!

Castellabate in Italy

Castellabate on honeymoonNearing the top the streets of the town got very narrow and very quaint.

Castellabate on honeymoonOnce at the top we had some dinner, then chilled out and got a couple of cocktails before heading back down again.

Dan with a cocktail in Italy on honeymoon

We took a day trip out to visit Pompeii and Vesuvius at the end of the first week and this was one of the highlights for me during our trip.  We studied Pompeii way back in primary school and I’ve always wanted to go and visit since then.  We were given a map and we rented a little phone each.  There were nearly 100 points dotted around the map and as we visited them, we typed the number of the point into our phone and called it for some information in English about where we were standing.  Some of the phone messages got us to walk through the houses to show us different areas near to where we were standing.  The phones were a really good idea.

Dan on the phone in Pompeii

The day we went on our day trip was probably the hottest of the days that we were away and I could feel the sun burning my scalp.  Luckily, I had a spare t-shirt in my bag…!

T-shirt on head in Pompeii

Pompeii PompeiiIt was a little crowded in places, and we only got three hours to spend in the city itself on our trip so had to really pick and choose the areas that we saw which was a shame but I still really enjoyed it.

Next up though was a visit to Vesuvius and I enjoyed this even more.  Our guide was fantastic and told us loads of information about the volcanic eruptions and how to tell when one is going to take place.

VesuviusIt was an incredibly steep walk up.  You definitely would not be able to do this walk if you didn’t have a good general fitness base!

Vesuvius

We had some beautiful views from the top though.

Me on VesuviusIt’s really weird to see in real life, because you assume that at the top of a volcano there is a massive hole that goes all the way down to the centre of the earth with molten lava bubbling inside (clearly watched too much children’s TV when I was younger!) but in actual fact you can see the bottom of the ‘hole’ quite close and it just looks like a vale between two hills with a lot of rubble and stones on top.

Inside VesuviusWhen we arrived back at the hotel that night we were pretty tired so chilled out in our room.  It turned out to be a national holiday in Italy though and we were surprised by dozens of fireworks going off right outside our hotel room and all along the coast that we could see from our bedroom balcony.

Me in Cilento on honeymoon Fireworks whilst on honeymoon, ItalyTwo days before coming home we booked a day trip to Capri.  Although an incredibly beautiful island this was probably the worst part of our honeymoon for the both of us.  We had seen several posters up around the area advertising the blue lagoon cave tours and it was something that we both very strongly agreed we wanted to do.  It was rather pricey, paying nearly €50 each for the trip to the island (this involved a two hour bus journey and a two hour boat trip), then each paying another €30 for the boat trip to the caves and another €17.50 for the cave tour itself.  But we hadn’t spent a huge amount of our honeymoon money as food and drink were much cheaper in Italy than we had first thought so decided to go ahead on the trip anyway.

The boat trip to the caves involved only about 15 minutes of actual boat ride and then queuing in a boat for small row boats to arrive and take us in groups of three into the caves.  We queued on that boat for an hour and a half.  Having already spent four hours travelling and then being sat on a boat which was essentially ‘still’ in the water made me start to feel incredibly sick.  The boats weren’t actually ‘still’ at all.  With so many other large boats arriving and queuing as well we were rocking ferociously from side to side the entire time we queued and I had to sit with my head in my hands looking at the floor to prevent myself from throwing up and I have never felt sick on a boat before.Blue caves in Capri

Eventually it was our turn.  Dan, I and another couple were the last remaining passengers on the boat and so they crammed all four of us onto the little rowboat.  One end was slightly bigger for two people and a smaller end for just one person.  That one end had both Dan and I pretty much on top of each other where the guy rowing our boat had rudely shoved me into place.  From the second we got onto the boat he was telling the four of us how most couples tip at least €15-25 and made sure to keep repeating this to us.  We blocked him out in the end as we had no intention on tipping anyone that told us we must tip, never mind someone demanding a tip as large as he was insisting upon.

We briefly forgot about our grumpy rower as we squeezed into the caves.  They were so pretty and almost eerie inside.

Blue lagoon caves in CapriBut very tiny.  Our guide gave us no information and seemed almost in a rush to get straight back out again.  We passed an area where several people had jumped out of their boats and were swimming in the cave.  The couple in the other side of the boat leapt in and so did Dan.  I had planned to but I was so worried that I would not be able to get back in quick enough and the guy on our boat would shout and be aggressive towards me again so I stayed on our boat and Dan got in.
Blue lagoon caves in Capri

He was in the water for one minute before the guy was shouting and screaming for the three of them to get back in the boat again.  Then we sped out of the cave and back towards the bigger boat.  The whole experience was probably three minutes and I was so disappointed and embarrassed by the way I’d been spoken to.  When we arrived back at our boat I was shouted at to get off quickly.  Not knowing where to put my hands or feet I’d done the best I could but I was pushed back into the boat and shouted at that I would have everybody in the water because I was so stupid.  The guy on the larger boat was much nicer and helped pull me up on board though.  The others got out fine.  We then had abuse hurled at us demanding that we pay a tip for our ride.  Dan tried to give the guy €3 as did the other guy but we just got a lot of abuse and swearing hurled at us as “That wouldn’t buy him anything!”  In the end he rowed off, slinging our money back towards us.  It wasn’t a very fun experience and in actual fact left me in tears.

When we returned from Capri I had an email through from my Mum saying that they currently had no way of collecting me from the airport two days later.  When I had logged into Facebook whilst sat around the pool earlier in the week to reply to some of the messages left on our wedding day Mark’s status had led me to believe something had happened to his car.  I messaged him, but he never replied so I assumed all was still good for our return on the 21st.Mark StatusFrom our hotel room that night after we received the email from my Mum we frantically searched for taxis, buses and trains.  It was going to cost us a minimum of £100 each to get back to Norfolk.  Luckily, after a Twitter and Facebook shout out plea for help, we discovered that Dan’s Mum would actually be in London on the day we were due to return anyway and she offered to pick us up and return us to my parents.  I had a call from my brother on the way back asking for a lift.  When he got in the car the conversation went a little like this…
Me: “So, what happened to your car?”
Mark: “Well, about 5 miles round the M25 after I dropped you off at the airport there was lots of smoke, some horrible noises and my car stopped on the hard shoulder of the M25.”
Me: “What did you do?”
Mark: “It was 3:30am.  I went to sleep!”
Me: “On the hard shoulder of the M25?!?!”
Mark: “No!  I pushed it a mile or so until I could pull it off onto a sliproad where I found a disused bus stop.”
Me: “So then what did you do?”
Mark: “I told you.  I went to sleep!”
Me: “Yes, but how did you get home?!”
Mark: “When I woke up I sold my car from the side of the road for scrap so that I could pay for the train ticket home.”

Only my brother!

Have you ever had any travel issues on holiday?
Do you do much exercise whilst you are away?

Speeches and the reception

Our wedding pictures appeared in the online gallery today!  Very exciting to look through them all.  We should be receiving a CD with them all on later this week.  Dan was at work when I found out they were online so I sent him this picture to let him know they had arrived… Me on the wedding morning   Dan commented that I probably also looked like that when I realised the pictures had arrived! Here’s another of my favourites… Wedding guests with marigolds   Dad announced that the flowers he had grown to line the path of the church with were free for guests to take after the church service.  Our photographer caught the guests bundling the pots off into their cars!

OK, back to my recap…After an incredibly busy morning on the 9th August, we had our church service and arrived at the reception. After we had eaten our beautiful three course meal and had had a quick flit between tables, Dan and I were summoned back to the top table ready for the speeches.
As well as the standard Father of the Bride, Groom and Best Man speeches I had asked my bridesmaids to come up with one as well.
My Dad was nervous about giving a speech.  He’s not the kind of guy to thrive on being in the spotlight and as soon as we had sat down together in the horse and carriage that morning he had turned to me and said “You don’t want to expect much from my speech you know.”  However, despite the nerves he came out with the perfect speech for our wedding.  He talked about how he had mentioned to a spectator at the recent Race for Life I had run with my Mum about the fact that I had a 70 mile race coming up, and was off to get married the following week.  The guy had turned to my Dad and said “70 miles?…S.E.V.E.N.T.Y. miles?!…Well he’ll never catch her!”

Dad giving his wedding speech I already shared the amazing speech my bridesmaids gave. As soon as the final toast was made people began to collect outside.  We had beautiful weather and I was so glad we had an amazing play-area just outside our marquee.  Not only did it keep the kids entertained, but also the adults!  And it made for a few great photo opportunities! Dan and I on the castle Vicki, Tom and Bradley on the tyres Me re-emerging from the castle at my wedding

If you follow me on Twitter you might have already seen the video of me going down the zipline in my wedding dress.  As soon as we went for a look round at our venue and I saw the zipline, I knew I wanted to go down on my wedding day!

Our photographer didn’t get a very good picture the first time, so I was instructed to go down again! Going down the zipwire in my wedding dress Even our evening band The Yow Yows got in on the act! The Yow Yows in a castle   We cut our cake Cutting our wedding cake…and took our first dance… Our first dance at our weddingOur song has always been Set you free by N-Trance but we thought that it was probably too ‘clubby’ for us to even consider as a first dance song.  We had a scout around and managed to discover that ‘Cinnamon Girl had done another, much slower version for a Matalan advert at Christmas a few years back…perfect! Dan and my first dance at our weddingOur band were absolutely fantastic – really spot on and we had so many of our guests tell us so.  The ushers worked hard to get everyone dancing (well, it didn’t take too much actually!) and we spent a good few hours occupying the dancefloor before tucking in to the evening food my bridesmaids had spent so long making hours ago that morning. All too soon we were being summoned by the band to walk through our guests who all had arms up in the air ready for us to make our exit! Our wedding finale - through the arms!I thought I’d be exhausted, but I really wasn’t ready to leave yet!  I was having such a great time, our guests were all still dancing and I wanted to stay too!  My Dad took us to collect a few things from my parents’ house before driving us to The Dales Country House Hotel in Upper Sheringham.  Dan had dropped in the day before and so we had red roses and some chocolates waiting for us on our arrival.  It was such a beautiful hotel and I only wish we had been able to stay for longer than just the one night!

The wedding service and the meal

So yesterday I posted about the wedding morning.  Today I’m going to share details of our wedding ceremony and the reception meal.  Again, only working from photos received from friends or video stills from those that we gave video cameras to.  Professional pics to follow!

So Dad and I arrived at the church 20 minutes late.  Nobody seemed phased by this though thankfully!

As we walked up the aisle, with my four bridesmaids behind me I didn’t expect to feel so emotional.  I had in my head that I would be able to disconnect myself from the service in order not to cry but as I looked forward and saw Dan at the front of the church facing forward towards the altar I got a lump in my throat and could no longer make eye contact with any guests!

Dan later told me that stood at the front, the Best Man had whispered to him “She looks stunning.  Don’t turn around, but she looks stunning!”

The Vicar didn’t keep to the Order of Service at all, despite us having checked it through with him previously, and him running through it with us at our rehearsal the night before.  Things went relatively smoothly though and we sang our hymns ‘Morning has broken’ and ‘Jerusalem’.  Dan’s sister got up and gave a reading which was an extract from Stardust and my brother read an extract from the film About Time before my Mum read a psalm at the front of the church.  And then we were married!  There were a few issues getting the rings on fingers as it was a hot day but I think only our families at the very front saw the struggle in our faces, hoping the rings would still fit!  😛

After our blessing we followed the Vicar into the tiny vestry at the top of the church whilst our organist played ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’.  My Mum is the organist for the village, but she was granted a day off for the wedding of her daughter so I asked one of her close friends to play for us instead.  The vestry was incredibly tiny and when we had gone through our rehearsal the day before we had worried about fitting the two of us, our two chosen witnesses and the vicar into the room.  But on the day both sets of parents also squeezed in, and our photographer whilst the bridesmaids waited outside.

Bridesmaids outside the vestryAnd then it was time to head outside, walking as Man and Wife for the first time!

Dan and I walking down the aisle as a married couple

This video wasn’t very good quality, but I had to screenshot this clip of Dan as he has the biggest smile on his face!

Walking down the aisle as man and wifeMy witness, Hayley, later told me that she had questioned whether or not to hide out in the vestry for a little while with Dan’s witness, Andy, as they didn’t want to get caught up in the wedding procession!  In the end I think they hung back and picked up their respective partners as they walked at the back of the procession.

And we were married, as quickly as that!  Getting outside was nice.  It was such a lovely morning.  We were so lucky as the night before it had really hailed down and we were worried about the water standing on the ground in the parking area, as both parking at the church and at the hall were on grass.  But by 1pm the heat of the day had meant that there were no puddles or wet ground in sight!

The next ten minutes were taken up by people congratulating us, and me saying hello to everybody, as Dan had already seen them all as they arrived at the church.  And then we had some photos taken.  We didn’t want loads and loads of formal photos as we would much prefer to have photos of people in their natural habitat(!), relaxed and not all stiff and formal.  We did have one photograph of everyone outside the front of the church and I am looking forward to seeing the professional version of our bridal party photos though.

Our bridal partyAfter the formal photos were over I detatched the front of my bouquet and walked over to place it on my Nan’s grave.

Detatching my bouquetPlacing my bouquet on Nan's graveAnd then by the time I’d made it back to the path, it was time for our confetti exit!

Confetti exitAnd away in the horse and carriage for about 40 minutes of just us, which was lovely!  We finally got a chance to talk to each other properly without everyone crowding around us!

Off in our horse and carriageOur reception venue was only about 4.5 miles away so had we traveled in a car, I don’t think we would have really spent any time together.  It was nice to finally relax and catch each other up on the morning’s activities.  Some dog walkers even said ‘Congratulations!’ as we rode past which was lovely!

Arriving in the horse and carriageIt was actually incredibly hot in the carriage sat in the sun and I discovered I had a wedding dress tan line later on that day!  Unfortunately because of the heat our guests had drunk our welcome drinks dry, many going back for seconds and thirds and I suddenly realised I’d had nothing to drink since 8am that morning.  Cue panic, just as I do in a race when I realise I haven’t drunk enough!  Luckily, we had stocked up on lots of orange juice for the children, so the Best Man managed to source some juice for Dan and I before we greeted our guests along the welcoming line (usually one of the most awkward parts of a wedding I find, but it went really quickly, and I’m glad we did it, as it meant I at least got a few words with the majority of people at the wedding.)

Dad, Dan and I at the top table

We decided to sit our top table as:

BEST MAN    DAN’S DAD    DAN’S MUM    DAN    ME    MY DAD    MY MUM    MAID OF HONOUR

I know everyone seems to do it differently but it worked for us having all my family together and all of Dan’s family together.

When the marquee company had arrived on the Friday to erect the marquee they had marked out the space on the ground.  It looked absolutely tiny.  Dan began to panic!  We had downsized our marquee not long before as about 15 people had been unable to make the wedding and it would mean saving several hundred pounds.  Dan drew to scale several times the tables on a plan and decided that we would definitely still have enough space to all fit without feeling squished.  But seeing it laid out on the floor it looked tiny, almost like it would only hold our wedding party.  Dan stressing was not what we needed as we attempted to decorate the hall for the evening do and so I sent him off out to buy banquet roll for the tables and lunch for us and the two bridesmaids that were helping.  Luckily, by the time he returned the marquee had begun to take shape and we could all begin to see that it would in fact be suitable to hold 76 people without chairs backing into each other!

Tables at our wedding reception mealThree of my bridesmaids, one of their partners and I had actually decorated the marquee in just 40 minutes the night before.  I think that has to be some sort of record!  We laid all tables out, moved chairs into place, cut banquet roll, hung up the bunting and yellow pompoms, laid out table numbers and place names and placed the flowers onto each table.  We are such a team!

Place namesFor the place names I cut out an image of two doves in a heart and wrote each person’s name on the front.  When the top half of the heart was folded over, each place name held a scratchcard inside as the favours.  (Zoë had obviously already scratched hers off when she took this photo!)  We had no ‘big’ winners, but several people won a few pounds, and there were a couple of £15 winners as well.

I hope the photographer has taken pictures of the food.  It was the one thing I meant to ask my bridesmaids to ensure they did, but forgot about on the day.  To see what we had, you can check out our tasting session.  The food was amazing.  I swear my stomach had shrunk inside the corseted dress though, as I had to eat incredibly slowly throughout the meal.  Our caterers were superb though and water jugs were out on tables, tables were waited on within minutes of people finishing meals and extra sides were brought out if people had finished what was on their table.  It was like being in a top class restaurant and we were incredibly happy with their service.

What have your favourite favours from a wedding been?
What has been your favourite wedding meal?

[I’m hoping to get Wedding day part 3 up on Sunday!]