After a sketchy night of sleeping, and far too late a night, I woke up around 6.30. I do not recommend only getting 4 to 5 hours sleep before your wedding day, but that’s just how the cookie crumbled for me!
Feeling pretty groggy I stared up at the ceiling for what seemed like hours. I gazed around the room and marvelled at just how pretty my wedding hotel was. I clambered out of bed and immediately made my way to the massive rainfall shower in the bathroom.
I spent a good half an hour or so in the shower trying to wash my hair as thoroughly as possible. The water was warm and soothing. I eventually started to wake up.
I threw on some clothes for breakfast. I wore my comfy boyfriend jeans, a navy vest top, and one of Raj’s white shirts. I wandered downstairs of my little boutique hotel to find the dining room was empty. I picked a table in the corner, ordered my breakfast and a large pot of coffee, and pulled out my purple notepaper.
I began writing my letter to Raj.
As I munched on avocado on toast, sipped on strong coffee, I poured my feelings out to Raj. I wanted to give him a love letter to read on the morning of our wedding, and this was the first moment I had to write to him.
I text my brother, who, being a total star, drove over to my hotel to pick up the letter from me and take it over to Raj to read before the wedding.
I just about managed to finish breakfast before hotfooting it upstairs to get ready for my hair appointment.
When I opened the door to my room I found a dark blue package on my bed and an envelope with my name on. I instantly recognised it as Raj’s handwriting.
I sat on the bed and opened the envelope. Inside was a letter from Raj. A love letter. As I read his words my eyes glazed and the tears began to fall.
Wiping my tears, I had no time to lose. I was to be getting ready for my wedding day! So I threw on some clothes just as my sister and Dad turned up to take me to the hairdressers.
We took the short 5 minute drive around the corner to get our hair done along with my other two sisters and my Mum. As my hairdresser pulled hard on my hair (no pain, no gain) to get some super-tight curls happening for me, I attempted to write my wedding speech, but it was no use. My brain was all over the place, I couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t think straight, I was starting to have a bit of an out-of-body experience. It was so strange.
My hair was pinned to hold the curls whilst the girls and my Mum had their hair curled and pinned into up-dos. Except for Annabelle, she had her hair washed to activate her natural curls to match my curly wedding hair.
As soon as my hair was finished I paid up and legged it up the road to where my Dad was waiting to drive me back to my hotel.
Once back in the comfort of my gorgeous hotel room (seriously, this place was perfect for a wedding day morning) Jess and I started mission make-up, something that takes me quite a while to do well.
I did have a bit of a mare when I spent ages trying to blend in, what I thought was, foundation and not seeing the coverage build up. Only after about 3 layers did I realise I was in fact trying to buff glow primer into my face! Oooops.
A short while later my little sisters, Charlotte and Annabelle, arrived to hang whilst we got ready. Between the four of us we did make-up, sang to Disney songs, and started to build up the excitement for the wedding!
Soon my Mum arrived, around the same time as my photographer. He set about capturing the moment and disappearing off with my dress and accessories to photograph them in the hotel.
I was surprisingly calm this whole time and my make-up was going well. It didn’t feel real. This entire build-up to the big day and it was honestly surreal to be stood there over a mirror doing my make-up for my wedding. Surreal.
My Dad arrived not long after and both of my parents stood around the hotel room getting nervous. I assume that’s how they felt, no-one really said much actually.
My youngest two sisters took it in turns to get me to do their mascara and lipstick. Thankfully Jessica managed to sort her own make-up out.
Make-up done I set onto the task of un-pinning all of my hair. I quickly ran my hands through my hair and then it was dress time!
I climbed into the dress (I was pretty thankful with just how easy my dress was to take on and off – more on that later!) and got my Mum to zip me up. I grabbed the veil, shoved it in the back of my head.
Shoes! I sat on the chair on the corner of a chair as the littlest sister, Annabelle, knelt down to help me into my shoes and fasten them. It’s a bit of a faff getting shoes on when you have layers upon layers of lace billowing out from your waist.
I almost forgot to give my bridesmaids their gifts, a dainty necklace. We did a quick opening of them, grabbed our bouquets, stuffed our bags and began the descent down the stairs.
We still had photos to do so we had to hold back on the stairs so we could stage those with the photographer.
I waited on the middle landing for the final walk down the stairs to my Dad and the rest of my family.
That moment, when I walked down the final flight of stairs to my waiting family, was pretty emotional. But I was beaming. And excited to get to the venue and Raj!
The rain had started so we had to grab as much of my dress as possible to get to the car. I was stuffed into the front seat of my Dad’s car, my three bridesmaids climbed into the back.
It was then, and only then, did I start to get nervous. That 20 minute drive to the wedding venue was mostly spent in silence. I think we all felt the nerves then.
As we turned onto the single track road down to the venue, I started to get excited with butterflies in my tummy.
I arrived at the barns as the heavens were drizzling. The countryside was moody with heavy clouds. The hills were vibrant green. The car was quiet as we all soaked in those last minute nerves. This was it. Everything I had been planning for the last 20 months was about to happen. Everything I’d dreamed about for 30 years was now happening. I was about to walk down the aisle to my loved one and make promises to last a lifetime…
We stopped outside the large barn doors. Our brothers were there waiting with my four flower girls. Dad got out the car with the umbrella, Alex opened my door, and I passed my bouquet to Jessica. I grabbed as much of my dress I could, swivelled round and tried my best to gracefully get out of the car. I barely noticed the rain as we ran indoors, aware of how late we were.
We quickly attached a buttonhole to my Dad and I walked through the barn to the side room to meet with the registrars.
Outside I could hear my bridesmaids and flower girls chatting. I was feeling a little flustered and worried with how long I’d left Raj waiting. There was a gentle hum of chatter coming though the door as the guests waiting for my arrival in the barn.
I walked out into the waiting area. The door to the barn was shut. It was just myself, my bridesmaids and flower girls. I talked them through the procession again. I could hear the registrar talking to the guests in the barn behind that closed door.
This was it.
This was the moment.
I stood behind my girls, bouquet in my hands. Everything a blur. My mind almost blank.
Wedding Photographer – Simon Brettell