So when I last left you here, I was about to walk down the aisle. My bridesmaids went ahead of me, to the tune of the wedding march played on the organ, which – if I’m honest – I couldn’t even hear because at that point all I could hear was my own heartbeat!
The scary bit was when me and my Dad had to split up to walk round a font at the back of the church – I thought I might actually fall over! And then – well, then I walked down the aisle.
I tried really hard to soak it all in, although I’d got my dress caught on my foot and I was sure I was about to fall over! I remember catching people’s eyes and smiling at them and just feeling so amazed that all these people were here just for Ian and I. I can see why brides walk too quickly though – I just wanted to get to the end!
Ian didn’t turn around so the first time he saw me was when I stopped next to him at the altar. I’ve never been so happy to see someone, never been so overcome with love, in all my life. He said ‘You look amazing,’ and I said ‘Do you like my dress?’ As if he might actually say ‘Nah, it’s horrible!’ at the front of the church!
The vicar welcomed us and then we sang our first hymn, my favourite – The Lord of The Dance. We’d made our own programmes and everyone sang along. I still felt a little like I might fall over, but I really tried to take in every moment. I remember thinking, I’ve been waiting for this for so long – sitting in this church on Sundays, imagining this moment, and now it’s here. I didn’t cry – I thought I would, because that song makes me emotional, but I didn’t because I just felt so happy. I kept looking from Ian to my Dad and at one point I turned around and saw my Mum and my two Aunts in the front row, all smiley and teary eyed, and I tried to take mental photographs of those moments and store them in my mind forever. Snapshot memories of the happiest I’ve ever felt.
Next, we had two readings. The first was an extract from The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, which, if you couldn’t guess from the title of my blog, is one of my favourite books of all time. This quote means an awful lot to me, and Ian’s beautiful friend Louise read it so well that this was the first time I cried during the service:
“Because I know there are people who say all these things don’t happen. And there are people who forget what it’s like to be sixteen when they turn seventeen. I know these will all be stories some day, and our pictures will become old photographs. We all become somebody’s mom or dad. But right now, these moments are not stories. This is happening. I am here, and I am looking at her. And she is so beautiful. I can see it. This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story. You are alive. And you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you’re listening to that song, and that drive with the people who you love most in this world. And in this moment, I swear, we are infinite.”
That line – ‘that drive with the people who you love most in this world’ – always reminds me of this one time when Ian and I were driving to London from Northampton, of all places, and we weren’t doing anything much when we got there, but it was a really sunny day and the roads were clear and I put some good music on and we were singing along, and I suddenly realised how happy we were together and how we didn’t really need any plans. I know it’s a silly memory, but it’s one that always makes me smile!
Then one of my oldest school friends, Liv, read from Corinthians for our Bible reading, which is the loveliest Bible reading and was so beautiful.
And then, then we said our vows. I could hear someone crying – apparently, I heard afterwards, basically everyone was crying! – but I fixated on Ian’s face and all I could think was, I’m going to be your wife – this is it, this is the beginning of forever. I remember trying to speak clearly because I wanted everyone to hear me – I hate it at weddings when you can’t hear the vows! Again, I thought I’d cry but I was focusing too hard on not messing up my words and making a fool of myself!
And then before you know it, it was done and we were husband and wife!
Our second hymn, picked by Ian, was ‘To God Be The Glory.’ Unfortunately, when he’d put the words in our programme, he’d missed a few lines off the chorus – completely baffling everyone who didn’t know the hymn by heart (Ian, his mum and the vicar!) He had to turn around and apologise afterwards – as my mum said, at least we’ll always remember it! A few people said it was their favourite moment of the day!
The vicar prayed for us, and then we went into the back of the church where we could have a little breather and sign the register with our witnesses – my sister, the maid of honour, and Ross, our best man.
My sister was amazing all day at keeping me really calm and holding my dress up – and not only that, but she looked so stunning she practically outshone me. She’s getting married in February and I’m glad I got married first because I know she’s going to look a hundred times better, so I’d have just been a disappointment if I came second – she’ll be the most beautiful bride in the world. She gave me a card on the morning of my wedding which just made me sob because it was so beautiful. My little sister may not be so little anymore, but she’ll always be my confidant, my partner in crime and my best, best friend. So anyway, it was nice to just have a few moments to breathe while we signed the register and showed off our rings!
After that it was back for the vicar to do his sermon, which I thought was really lovely – and I actually managed to listen to it; all about how sometimes the real world and the ideal ‘dream’ world are usually far apart, but on wedding days they seem to collide. I remember thinking that he was right – that this was the most magical, the closest to heaven that I had ever felt.
Then we sung our final hymn, Jerusalem. Again, this was a moment when I managed to take it all in – I looked around, at my Dad, my Mum and my Aunts in the front row; Ian’s family, my bridesmaids and my sister, all our friends and family singing away – and everybody really did sing – and I felt the tears, hot behind my eyes, because I’ve never felt so loved.
The vicar concluded the service and we walked down the aisle to a chorus of applause and then, then I couldn’t help it, the tears spilt down my cheeks – you can see in this photo I’m about to cry! I was just so overwhelmed with happiness and love and the genuine appreciation I could feel from everyone. It was incredible and I wish I could feel it over and over, every day of my life.
We went outside into the afternoon sun and everyone gathered behind us, laughing and chatting and hugging, before we paused for the big confetti moment!
I’m smiling because I really wanted the photos to be lovely, but being honest –having lots of people throwing stuff at you is, well, a bit alarming! These are some of my favourite photos of the day, though. One of my favourite things about both my wedding photo and my wedding video is how much I’m smiling and laughing all the time. I feel like I spent the entire day on a happy cloud!
After the confetti, we had our group photos taken outside the church.
As they were finished, the guests started heading over to our reception venue, and eventually it was just the two of us left!
Our eccentric limo driver had driven off somewhere and the photographer and videographer ran off to find him. For a few moments we stood in the shade of the church, just the two of us, and I remember there was a light breeze that lifted my train off the ground for a second and Ian held my hand and squeezed it really tightly and I was smiling so hard I thought my face might break.
And with that, we were back in the car, and off to our reception – husband and wife!