Allow me to introduce you to Jason and Olivia.
This very beautiful couple live locally to us, and on their engagement, asked if they could have their ceremony at our house.
Although our diary was squeezed, we just had to do something for this couple. Besides, I have spent about a year playing on a netball team with Olivia. We have that kind of solidarity one can only understand when faced with a whole bunch of very scary, and competitive, north Devon women, ready to breathe their onion-based dinner in your nostrils, every Monday evening.
The date also coincided with a rare mid-week afternoon when the house was empty for a few hours. So we went for it!
The day before, we went through the rehearsal. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we all hoped it would hold for the next day.
I met Sam (on the left) who was going to be responsible for the music, playing through an IPOD. He looks way too chilled for such a high level of responsibility!
Olivia and her dad Quentin, practised the timing of the walk to the music. It was pretty emotional (for everyone except the couple themselves! LOL!), and this was just the practice.
And when the day arrived...the sun came up trumps.
The lawn was mowed, the leaves were blown,
the roses trimmed, and the fabric under the Rose Arbour put in its place.
The chess set was ready
and we popped a hundred new, white chairs onto our lawn.
It is a legal requirement for civil ceremony venues, that we must display a sign which gives the names of the couple to be married, and the time of the ceremony.
It also always makes for a nice pic.
Kelly from offshore blooms arrived with all the beautiful flowers. There were many kiln jars, as well as bunches of Gypsophila for our gorgeous driftwood planters (handmade by a lovely groom/now friend from his wedding here, a few years ago), many buttonholes and a lovely bouquet (more on those later).
We were ready.
Olivia arrived first and we literally helped her 'tunnel' into her stunning gown. Olivia's mum (Sharon) and sister came with her and together they drank Prosecco and spent time trying not to cry, while buttoning up the dress.
Olivia's sister, Jordan, was Matron of Honour. There is something about Jordan that reminded me of Pippa Middleton!
Matt Fryer (on the right) was their chosen photographer, and I already know he has some cracking shots (which I will be sharing on our FaceBook Page very soon)
Jason arrived, in a striking Hugo Boss suit, looking very focused..
until Quentin came and gave him that father-in-law-to-be shoulder-grip/pat (depending on how you translate this pic). Jason and Olivia have known each other since university days so there is a lot of great history with the families.
Sharon too, left her daughter to wish blessings on her son-in-law-to-be.
So many captions, so little time...(thought you'd like this one Olivia!)
I popped into the Snug to give the girls the news that IT WAS TIME. They all came together, held hands and started sharing such gorgeous words to their sister and daughter that I stepped away.
It was a really precious moment.
Olivia chose to walk round to the base of the long Rose Arbour at the bottom of the Italian Garden, to start the walk to the alter.
Now might be a good moment to mention about Olivia's dress. Both the dress and the veil came from Frilly Frocks in Barnstaple (the dress is Viera by Scottero and Midgley) and her shoes were gorgeous flat gold sandals from Accessorize.
Jason's nieces Jasmine and Chloe made very lovely bridesmaids, as they took the first steps towards the guests waiting in the garden.
Jordan went next.
I'm wondering what lovely last words, Quentin is saying here.
After a quick reshuffle of the train,under the Arbour, they're off,
and into the loving vibes of close family and friends, who have supported them all the way and will continue to support them in their marriage.
They walked in to 'Butterfly' by Mad Dod Mcrea. It was highly evocative of summer and well, butterflies actually! I love it so much I am going to download it as my soundtrack of this summer.
It all felt so relaxed and informal with guests sitting on the wall and children playing around. Lovely.
Even little Oscar seemed to enjoy it!
I love the symbolism of this. Father handing over his daughter to her Groom to be her partner for life.
Sharon gave a great reading. She told me afterwards that she has always had a thing about hands and the stories that they hold, so naturally she was drawn to this poem and knew it was perfect for this day.
Brad, Jason's big brother, was the best man. It is such a shame I only managed to capture his back as he looked very handsome in his suit (from Next) and his (the groom's and all the ushers) amazing shoes were Loakes.
All the flowers, the buttonholes and the bouquets were made up of Tanacetum daisies, Gypsophila, Cornflowers, Craspedia, and Senecio. Together they created a natural, country air to the look of the wedding.
Jason's sister, Sarah, had written a beautiful speech for the happy couple.
It is no surprise, after hearing/reading this, that Sarah studied English Literature at Uni!
It was very moving; to the extent that Jason suddenly found the need to don his sunglasses..
and then everyone found the need to don their sunglasses!
The vows were made,
and the wind blew the veil at the perfect moment. Love this pic.
Someone looks happy :)
A few last words from the Registrar and then Sam began cranking up 'Best Day of my Life' by American Authors for the walk to the Terrace...
via a storm of confetti!
A cold beer and glass of Prosecco awaited them.
As guests milled, took photos and talked about the gorgeous ceremony,
an impromptu line-up formed. Everyone was keen to wish their new Mr and Mrs Slade well.
Beer in hand, vows complete - Jason looks happy (and very handsome - can I say that?)
Olivia grabs the chance for a pic with her new mum-in-law Leslie and sister-in-law Sarah.
Jason's nephew and usher, Kieran, had an unfortunate incident a couple of weeks ago when he broke his leg whilst playing on a play frame in our local park. On a bad note, he was on crutches and had to cut off his new suit leg.. on a brighter note, he has some great messages on his cast and missed a whole day of school :)
Family gather for impromptu group pics.
Our friend Gemma (Jason's sister) with her scrumptious son Oscar.
This one made me smile! The balloon above Jason's head is actually a birthday balloon, because the wedding date coincided with Olivia's birthday!
Jason and Gemma.
Before we knew it, it was time for everyone to head up to the nearby Plateaux. This is a gorgeous flat piece of land, owned by our neighbours, which overlooks the sea.
There was a marquee set up ready and waiting for the guests to enjoy the rest of the day.
Once there, Olivia swapped her veil for a gorgeous Gypsophila headpiece, and removed her shoulder straps on her gown.
More photo's were taken with the beautiful backdrop of Putsborough beach, and from all accounts, a great night was had by all!
(Meanwhile I went on to run a stall at the school fete, which involved throwing sponges at people trapped in stocks - it's a glamorous life!)
Mr and Mrs Slade - it was a complete joy to have your wedding ceremony here. Your family has been through unimaginable times over recent years; but this day, this special day, was a complete celebration. The love your family have for you is palpable and will carry you through the marriage to come.
With love from us all at Pickwell