We changed back into our original outfits after the Hindu ceremony, again we had the little side room to change and just have a quiet moment to breathe before the next stage of the wedding day. I’ll cherish those little moments we had.
Whilst we were changing the guests made their way into the big barn which was decorated and set for the main wedding breakfast.
This magical space was a huge barn held together with weathered and aged pillars and beams, which we covered in fairy lights and greenery. The vibe was very much ‘woodland fairy’.
The table plan was a assembled on an old vintage gold frame, each table was named after a restaurant we have had a date night meal in over the last 7 years, and the wedding favours were a bar of chocolate hidden under everybody’s napkin.
The centerpieces were off-cuts of a tree trunk, a simple glass mason jar with fresh flowers and a small blackboard sign naming each table. We chose to name each table after a restaurant where we have had a significant date at.
On each table, we also placed a handful or two of Trivial Pursuit questions as I bloody love a good quiz!
And of course, we filled each table with the delicious wine we had bought on our booze cruise to France.
The curtain was pulled together and we could hear Raj’s Dad making a speech as we walked up the stairs to the barn.
On cue, we were introduced as the new Mr and Mrs Dhokia to a huge round of applause as the curtains pulled back and we walked into the reception barn through the tables to ours in the centre of the room.
We took our seats with our siblings and groomsmen, poured a glass of wine and the groomsmen immediately set to work on bringing all of the food out for our caterers.
We had 4 food stations set up in each corner of the room. The mostly vegan menu was whisked out to the tables and the guests began filling their plates with some of the most delicious food I’ve ever tasted (I’ll write a seperate blog post about the food soon).
Honestly, this part of the day was such a blur. I think one of the groomsmen brought me a plate of food. I sat with my brother and sister. Alex was a groomsmen as well so we had all the groomsmen and Jessica on our table. Our parents sat close by on family tables.
We chatted, drank more of the delicious wine (our Malbec was incredible!), feasted on slow-roasted lamb, chana, fancy salads and veggie dishes.
After food and wine (and there may have been a round of tequila slammers on the top table!), we began the speeches.
In the end, we stuck to the traditional order of Father of the Bride, Groom, Best Man.
I was always going to be doing a speech at my wedding, in fact, I’ve been writing it my head for months. But the time I had planned to write the notes out was the night before, which ended up not happening as I didn’t get back to my hotel until the midnight and was too wired that morning to think of anything.
In fact, for the first time in my life I was actually speechless, as normal me would’ve just stood up and ad-libbed a speech.
Instead, my mind was a blur. Still.
The speeches themselves were long-ish (as usual) but thoughtful, funny, and lovely. We hired a videographer to capture it all so I’m looking forward to watching them back as I can’t remember a thing about them.
All I remember was that my Dad’s speech was sincere and he said nice things about us both.
Raj thanked everyone in great detail! And then said some nice things about me.
And finally Sonehal, the best man promised to not to talk about embarrassing stories of Raj’s childhood before doing exactly that!
After speeches, everyone was a little restless so we decided to have a bit of break for photographs before we served dessert.
We started off with big group photos of all of our guests outside the barn, and then we took a few styled shots of the wedding party and plus some with our parents.
Our photographers also grabbed us for a few more staged photos of just Raj and I before we managed to head back in for the first dance!
All photos by Simon Brettell