The Best Day of My Life – Part 1

Jason and Ashleigh Wedding -559Photographs by Katherine Ashdown Photography

 

S A T U R D A Y    1 8 t h   J U N E   2 0 1 6   1 2 : 3 0 p m

Sometimes everything feels a little backwards. Sometimes I feel I live my life the wrong way round and some days I don’t even know what to do with myself. But this day, I knew exactly what I was going to do from the minute I woke up to the minute I stepped foot inside a shepherds hut, holding the hand of my new husband, wearing new bands of commitment and dumping a £1,300 dress covered in alcohol dirt on the floor knowing it was the last time I was ever going to wear it again.

Our wedding day was perfect.

It wouldn’t be perfect to all. It rained, some guests didn’t turn up, some couldn’t make it due to unforeseen illnesses, a few order of services had some pages missing and somehow I was fretting a bill over scorched grass after some over excited and highly intoxicated guests took hay bales and fire pits and bit too literally. Honestly… did that matter? Those moments are funny and didn’t ruin any part of that day for us. If anything they reminded us of the fact that we were two humans getting married, not robots and that all of this came together because we fell in love.

If you fancy having a gander at a brief explanation of 18 months full of planning, tears, smiles, laughter, excitement, confusion, frustration and most importantly butterflies, then here it goes…

P R E P   D A Y

Oh my, the underestimation. Those that attended our wedding may turn around and say ‘wow’ what amazing touches, or some may say ‘it looked ok’ but whatever the outcome, it took HOURS!!! How can each small task take up so much mental man power, time and effort – for only a few people to even notice or appreciate. Well, prep day was that all rolled into one, with a closing scene of Jason and I both on the phone to different people standing behind the bar at our wedding venue, shouting and sweating with glasses that still needed to be put away and alcohol that covered the worktop in no refined order… I broke down. How could we have forgotten that some guests might actually want to drink water in between their wine and what about those that are driving or pregnant?? It was (in my head) a disaster and we only had a few short hours to sort it (there goes my attempt at a relaxing night in surrounded by my girls and prosecco) but… fail not, I was taken to one side, the hands of my sister grabbed my sweating head and shook it. I was bound to make a mistake and this happened to be it, however after a few short words of encouragement, a brief goodbye to my future husband who was at that moment my fiancé for the last time… I gathered myself together, put the few finishing touches out and left. That was it, anything else was now out of my control. What was about to follow surely took my mind off a last minute and hectic run around of a day as I took a few moments to sit with my mum and bridesmaids, shedding a few tears and giggles over a take out Chinese and glass of red wine, then being presented a handmade scrapbook of all the photos from my hen do. I am so blessed to have such loving family and friends that surround me every day, whether I stay at home, go to work or meet in social occasions I am constantly reminded of the fact that people love and care about me and most importantly on this day of all, those people aren’t afraid to share their emotions for Jason and I, making them all the more special to us.

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T H E  M O R N I N G

Waking up after surprisingly having a full non-disturbed nights sleep I was greeted by my eldest sister Natalie and old friend and bridesmaid Leona who jumped on my bed with a cup of tea. Nervous? Actually – no. I tried to take a few moments to almost convince myself that I should be feeling sick or nerves but for some reason it wasn’t there. Adrenaline?  – maybe. Either way it encouraged me to crack on with this whole ‘morning of the wedding’ shenanigans and before I knew it I was surrounded by 6 girls getting ready up our kitchen table, two photographers & two videographers subtly moving around our house, a set of parents running around trying to keep straight faces and a 3 year old flower girl being pampered too by the hair and make up artists. What a dream. Having people to do all the work for me that day was a godsend. I can openly say that Melissa Abel make up artist and a good friend and hairdresser Melissa Newland made a great team in ensuring that I didn’t doubt how I looked on the day and I barely even remember holding a mirror up to myself.

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I had bought the girls matching PJ sets from pretty plum sugar online and presented them on the morning of the wedding alongside pandora earrings and homemade cards. A little earlier in the morning, a very shaky but reliable best man turned up at my door with gifts from Jason (Jo Malone’s peony and blush suede & the locket seen in our photos) and in return I gave him my homemade version of a wedding gift home video for him to play to Jason before he headed out to the church.

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The girls dresses were a sneaky little find at house of Fraser and Georgia’s flower girl dress was a recent collection from monsoon. I knew from the beginning of the planing process that in order to really emphasise the country flowers that I wanted, I would need a pastel based tone of dress to make the colours ‘pop’ and I’m so glad that it paid off! Flowers cost too much money not to show them off and as we weren’t going for a set colour scheme I found this created a more relaxed vibe across the venue and all my girls looked beautiful if I do say so myself. With freedom to do whatever they wanted with their hair and a choice of two sets of shoes, each girl put their own stamp on their look and I couldn’t be prouder of those little beauty’s that followed me down the aisle.

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My details were also a little jumbled. I knew what I was more concerned about and I kind of ran away with the rest. I’d gone for a very classical ball gown style dress (nothing near to what I and everyone else expected of me) and so I wanted to add a little boho touch somewhere but needed to fit it with my gown which is why I opted for a gatsby style headpiece that I am so chuffed about it every time I look through our photos. The gorgeous earrings were a gift to me from my parents on the day and complimented my dress and headpiece perfectly.

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Getting ready in my childhood home was a big thing for me and even though Jason and I had our own sparkly new home to welcome us into following our honeymoon, both of us really appreciated this last day to spend getting ready for the biggest day of our lives with the ones that know us best and if anything, know how to calm a little nerves and give the best cuddles in the world.

” I   D O “

The journey to the church with my dad was a little emotional. I tried to savour every moment of it as it sank in that I was about to become a married woman and I took this time to natter and take in the good ol’ norfolk sights before arriving to a church full of everyone we love and most importantly my husband to be.

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As we had made the decision to run our own bar and supply all the alcohol ourselves (18 months full of scouting out the best deals in supermarkets), we needed to make sure it didn’t go to waste and a good starting point to this was putting on guest transport and so a nice cliche double decker red bus was right up our street and something Jason had settled on before many higher priorities. Alongside our bridal car and camper for the girls, we had a colourful show to get us from A to B.

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Jason’s groomsmen consisted of a tad more than the expected, totalling 3 best men; one cousin and two of his closest childhood friends with the perfect help of his two nephews as ushers, matching the men with their herringbone suits. As you can see, I think all chaps looked rather dapper.

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Above: Jason’s face as it was announced that everyone stand for my arrival. I don’t think Jason had really decided whether or not he was going to turn to see me walk or wait until I reached the top but on the day he decided to wait. I’m glad though as it gave me time to prepare myself before seeing his reaction and as I reached him, his verbal ‘WOW’ followed by persistent nodding gave me the giggles.

I chose to walk down the aisle to the classic Pachelbals canon which made the experience a tad more goosebumpy than I had prepared myself for and I will never forget the look on my mother-in-law’s face as she lent out to touch my arm with eyes full of water. Over the past 7 years, Jason and I have really gotten to know each others family, parents especially and fell into family life with each of them which made this day especially emotional for both sets, seeing us finally carry out what we had been constantly talking of and planning for over the past few years. I’m so grateful for their support throughout our whole relationship and i’m super proud of Jason for his beautiful and moving words during his speech about how important our parents really are to us.

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Above: Our close and favourite only south african friend added a beautiful personal touch to our ceremony by reading the words of Robert Fulgham’s ‘Union’ followed by corinthians 13 read by my eldest sister.

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As we signed our marriage certificate with the witness of both mothers, a friend sang two songs; Eva Cassidy’s Songbird and Ella Henderson – Yours. The lyrics of both songs sets us off with emotion so it’s probably a good thing we had a little distraction whilst the guests soaked in Hollie’s talented voice. I did however take a silent moment to pray for both mine and Jason’s grandparents during ‘songbird‘.

Music was a huge part of our wedding day from the minute we set foot inside the church and to celebrate our exit we chose to play Marvin Gaye & Tammy Terrells ‘Ain’t no mountain high enough‘ for old times sake as it’s our favourite road trip song to belt out.

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Our vicar was a real credit to us on our wedding day as not only did he commit to marrying the two of us but he took the time to get to know our relationship over the course of around 18 months and unfortunately had also seen many struggles we’d gone through during the loss of both grandparents who shared our family home for 10 years and would have wanted nothing more than to witness our wedding day. He helped us to think positively about the life they shared with Jason and I and how they helped us get to where we are today. He also spoke many wise words and gave us advice as we start our married life together. We will forever treasure that little piece of yellow duplo building block he presented to us during our ceremony.

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It was a chilly walk out from the church and if anything, the only moment of the day that I began to panic that the so called ‘lucky’ white umbrella which traditionally circles my department at work was going to fail on me. We knew what we had planned back at the reception venue and rain wasn’t welcome to it. Fortunately, when a wedding day happens, there’s better things on your mind than the weather and although it was unfortunate that we didn’t have guests greeted on the green with prosecco in hand under bright rays of sunshine, we did have a beautiful barn to show off and it soon dried up enough for guests to slowly creep out into the light.

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Please sir, can I have some more… confetti that is

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G O D W I C K   G R E A T   B A R NJason and Ashleigh Wedding -465

The beauty and peace of our surroundings hit us as we drove down the long driveway towards the barn, passing sheep and our little shepherds hut for the night (Seen above in the distance) anticipating the feelings that we would be walking back there with once we have waved goodbye to our guests as the night draws to a close.

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No matter what anyone may say, Jason has always been a gentleman at heart – whether it be his old habits, respect for elders, intention to please or die hard romantic traits, despite his hot headedness and occasional short temper, I can recall a conversation whereby he stated that his wedding day style should represent this. I think his paisley bow tie, shaded brown suit, perfectly partitioned hair and very expensive shoes do just the job, don’t you think?

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Reception detail, speeches, giggles and crazy dancing revealed in Part 2….

4 thoughts on “The Best Day of My Life – Part 1

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