Updated: Apr 6, 2020
Today's post has been a long time coming. We've been eagerly awaiting the wonderful images from our talented photographer Katie Ingram, and they have not disappointed!
Get yourself a cuppa, it's going to be a long one...
Let's go back to when George and I got engaged in May 2017. We started looking at venues before we were even home from Australia as we knew how far in advance some places get booked up. We were pretty set on a light and airy barn wedding from the word go, but were very flexible with which time of year we wanted to get married in.
After viewing Mythe we knew it was the one. With its gorgeous rustic hops hanging from the rafters to its stunning countryside setting, we were swooning. So all we had to do was pick a date! We compared diaries and settled on an autumn wedding the first weekend of October, and as soon as we'd chosen this time of year I was already imagining all the gorgeous rich colours and textures we could incorporate.
We spent the next 18 months planning and before we knew it the big day had arrived.
Let's start at the beginning...
The night before the wedding was spent with my mum and bridesmaids. They gifted me some really special items and had written me such emotional letters that I haven't actually been able to bring myself to read since. There were letters from my mum and aunt/godmother too, lots of tears!
The girls bought me this Kate Spade label "I've got your back, just like you've always had mine", which I sewed into my Mrs P jacket (more about that later), and my beautiful garter. I didn't actually wear my garter on the day as it would have shown through my dress, but it's such a treasured keepsake nonetheless.
The big day brought a 6AM alarm call for me and the 'maids, although I'd actually already snuck downstairs to leave out some gifts I'd bought for them. From robes to jewellery I wanted them to know I had them covered! With mini bottles of bubbly too of course!
We set about with hair and make-up straight away. With 5 of us plus mum to get through it wasn't a quick task. We actually did most of our make-up ourselves, but had the lovely Jo on hand to help.
Hair was taken care of by the wonderful Amie, who is absolutely everything I was looking for in a wedding hairdresser, and boy did I spend a long time looking. She was amazing.
Before we knew it our carriage had arrived! I'd kept this a secret from the girls to surprise them on the day. The vintage Daimler limousine was the perfect ride to take us over to Atherstone.
When I walked into Mythe and saw my florist Emily Robbins' handy work I actually started to cry. Suddenly it all felt very real and she truly had transformed the place with her incredible blooms. Emily could see my vision even when I couldn't and created the perfect rustic autumnal look we were aiming for.
We included dahlias, roses, astrania, scabious stellata, eucalyptus, clematis, cotinius and rubus chester berries in my bouquet. Emily also used pheasant feathers throughout the floral installations to give it an extra rustic look.
We had time for a few giggles and celebrations before getting dressed.
But before I knew it, it was time for me to get my gown and jewellery on!
Luckily I had a few hands on stand-by to help!
(And don't my 'maids look bloody gorgeous in their wine dresses!)
A tale as old as time...
Something old, a silver sixpence for my shoe that has been in Mum's family for generations.
Something new, my dress.
Something borrowed, a ruby ring passed down to my Mum, tied to my bouquet.
Something blue, a sapphire ring given to me by my parents on my 16th birthday.
More than a few tears when Dad saw me in my 'get up'.
And then it was time to head downstairs.
A few seconds to gain composure, and then we headed down the aisle, towards my husband to be. I walked down the aisle to All of Me, sung by our incredible pianist and singer Kimm. Her voice is beautiful and just the version of John Legend's classic that I'd imagined.
I had't felt nervous at all until this moment, but I think adrenaline just took over and my delicate bouquet was shaking.
Two beautiful readings were said, by my Auntie Liz and sister Hannah.
"A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we're pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person, we're safe in our own paradise. Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we're two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we've found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life."
– The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach
“But I have seen the best of you and the worst of you, and I choose both. I want to share every single one of your sunshines and save them for later. I will tuck them into my pockets so I can give them back to you when the rain falls hard. Friend, I want to be the mirror that reminds you to love yourself. I want to be the air in your lungs that reminds you to breath. When the walls come down, when the thunder rumbles, when nobody else is home, hold my hand, and I promise I won’t let go.”
– Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye, and extract of “An Origin Story” from No Matter The Wreckage.
I whispered the last sentence of Hannah's reading back to her, it gives me goosebumps watching it back on our wedding video.
After our vows and signing of the register it was time for some fun!
Rosé sangria all round!
A few team shots, but we tried to keep the list short. George and I didn't want to spend all day away from our guests with a long roll call of photographs.
Speaking of jackets, the 'maids and I had our own.
I surprised the girls with their jackets on the morning of the wedding. The weather was a typical cool English October day so we were glad of the extra layer.
I had different lyrics painted onto the back of each of the bridesmaids' denim jackets.
Steph - "Love me like you do".
Sarah - "Ain't no mountain high enough".
Hannah - "Hey, soul sister".
Katy - "You're still the one".
Each with their own special meaning/story.
After all the group photos George and I stole a few moments for ourselves.
George's suit was from Clements and Church in Leamington Spa.
It had some special details.
And then George surprised us all (me especially) with a piano rendition of Stay With me by Sam Smith. I'm rarely speechless but I was completely lost for words!
Once everyone had found their seats my Dad was first up to speak.
He had us in tears and hysterics in equal measures.
I said a few words after George spoke. I wanted to make some of my own special (and emotional) thank yous.
And last but not least was our best man Matt, and we were howling with laughter.
Then it was time for food!
And don't even get me started on the cake. It was simply buttercream heaven.
In this post, as in my speech, I must say a few words about my Maid of Honour and sister Hannah. I have never known a love like this. We are joined at the hip and sometimes mirror each other so much its frightening. I can't even imagine the person I'd have grown up to be without her. She really is my soul sister. After eating we snuck out for a few photos of our own together.
After all the feasting it was time for a little magic...
(Which Jester Styles provided in bucket loads!)
... and a lot of dancing!
Mine and George's first dance was to Jessie Ware's Alone, at which point all the emotions and tears I'd been fighting to keep at bay all day came crashing through.
Dad and I shared a very special dance to Eric Clapton - Wonderful Tonight.
And we danced the night away surrounded by our family and friends. My heart has never felt so full and happy.
Happily Ever Parker!
Here's to the next chapter...