This may be a more extended post than normal but it’s a personal memoir as much as it is a blog post!
I think you can only have one wedding morning that can challenge your own (if it ever happens for me) and that was the wedding day of my little sister Hannah marrying the love of her life Mickey. There’s just 16 months between me and my sister so we’ve been through everything together in the last 26 / 27 years. Please excuse my Pj’s and hair in the pictures, I decided I wanted to comfortable and was last to have my hair done!
Hannah decided she wanted a really full day of wedding celebrations, and why shouldn’t she. The wedding ceremony was at 11.30am and with a bride, 4 bridesmaids and a mother of the bride to get ready we had a very early start. In fact at 4.30am she rolled over in bed and said ‘I’m getting married today’! Bless her! Needless to say we didn’t quite get up then, about an hour later we all started to surface to prepare for the festivities.
The night before the wedding I sat down with the bridesmaids and discussed the look I thought we should all go for. We were wearing a coral colour with very fresh springtime bouquets. My sister was keen that we should all have similar eye make-up and so I came up with a shimmery cream and bronze make-up look with black gel liner to line the upper lids, we kept it simple with Mac Fanfare lip stick which matched the dresses beautifully. Bearing in mind the early start and the fact that my sister wanted me to enjoy the day too we agreed I would do my mum’s, sisters and my own make-up and help and advise the others with there’s.
I don’t normally get nervous when I’m working at a wedding, but this was a completely different kettle of fish for me. I knew I had an important job to do, (not least the make-up but keeping everything on time and my sister calm) anyway the clock was ticking so at 7am I started on me. It felt very early but it was necessary to get the ball rolling. Hannah had taken the dog for a walk and breakfast was out on the side ready for everyone to dig in as they needed.
Anyone that knows me well, knows that I love an itinerary. This was the perfect opportunity for me to pull together a make-up and hair itinerary to ensure we were all ready in good time. Once I was all ready I got going on Hannah…
My gorgeous sister has an infectious smile and manner and so making her glow without caking her in make-up was my mission. We had played around with make-up the week running up to her big day and decided on a soft pinky purple look which opened up her eyes and a bright pinky lip colour which added a feminine prettiness to the look. The biggest challenge for my make-up was the length of time it needed to last. I started her make-up at around 9am which in general is quite early for me. It’s usually well after 11am for most brides, so I took plenty of time to ensure everything was applied perfectly and also so that if she cried she wouldn’t cry it all away. Turns out it wasn’t my sister that had to worry about tears!!!
Time soon ran away on the morning and after my mum needing a little longer on her hair than planned, (well you can’t plan everything perfectly) Hannah sat in the chair to have her hair done a little later and so I finished off her make-up whilst the lovely Hayley Woodward from Hayley Hair Styling did her hair.
Whilst we were in the middle of everything Hannah’s flowers arrived. She had a real vision about the kind of flowers she wanted. Very relaxed and spring like to suit the season. Lots of colour in her bouquet and green whites and yellows in ours. We all agreed that Wendy from Floral Designs by Wendy Symes didn’t disappoint. Just beautiful! The bridesmaids posies were fresh yet simple and worked so well with our coral dresses.
Not long after this Neil the very lovely photographer arrived (Neil Pollock Photography), he got clicking away straight away, lots of things to photograph, not to mention Buddy the dog who was wearing a bow tie specially made out of the bridesmaid dress material. Watching Neil try to get Buddy, a very playful dog, to sit still was a very funny moment.
My mum never really wears make-up, it’s not that she doesn’t suit it she would just rather spend the time on what she would consider more important things, but if there’s ever an opportunity to glam her up I take it and this was an obvious day to go for it. We had a trial the week before (well when your daughters a make-up artist then why not) where I shaped her eyebrows and we had a good chat about what she wanted.
As she was wearing green she wanted to incorporate this in her look somehow. I felt full on green eye shadow would be too much, so we went for a brown base over the whole lid. Something soft and not too dark using brown eyeliner to frame her lids and then to add the touch of green she wanted I dampened my eyeliner brush and applied a line of deep but bright green along the upper lash line. She’s got great skin so a light layer of foundation and sweep of blusher was all she needed for an effortlessly flawless look. Her lips had a bronzey brown tone, which brought out her brown eyes. See below for products used…
It wasn’ t until I sat in Hayley’s chair to have my hair done that I really started to take the whole day in. It was at this point that the dam opened. Hannah was upstairs starting to get dressed and the emotion I’d held in all morning just started flowing! Dab don’t wipe Emily dab don’t wipe!!! This was going through my mind as I drum it into all my brides so they don’t ruin their make-up with tears!! Wowsers my sister was about to get married!
The morning can’t last forever and soon it was 10.45am we were all ready to get in our dresses. Thankfully one zip and the dresses were on, they were so comfortable – thank you Hannah for picking these. Mum and I helped Hannah do up the pretty tiny little buttons at the back of the dress and Corrina helped with garter. Hayley helped to fit her veil and side tiara (my gifts to her) and she was all set.
I will never forget my Dad’s face when my sister walked into the room in her dress. Proud doesn’t even come close, he was in awe and I know he won’t mind me saying it.
I know I’m biased, but she was breath taking. She has a wonderful figure and the dress she chose (a Maggie Sottero number called Eve) was perfect for her. Seeing her in it for the first time in the shop was a very emotional moment for her big sister, but for now I had false eye lashes to apply (just a few individual ones) to the corners, so no time for tears just now!
Finally we’re all ready and it’s time to head off for the church….
Fashionably we were 5 minutes late, and anyone who knows me, knows I don’t like being late for anything, but this isn’t something you want to rush so we made time for couple of ‘outside the church’ photographs and made our way in. Hannah’s little nephew Isak was the ring bearer and was waiting at the back of the church with his Dad Christian all ready for his big moment – too cute!
And we were off. The aisle felt like it went on forever, which sounds awful but it was at this point that I lost it and was a blubbering mess! I did not see this coming at all, my sister looked wonderful and kept it together unlike her big sis. She looked radiant and all eyes were on her – but of course!!
The ceremony was lovely, she had readings from my Mum and one of her closest friends Jess. We all enjoyed the hymns too and with the help of the choir (and my Gran) we soon filled the church with our warbling! An amusing anecdote was the fact that in the rehearsal Mickey didn’t know which finger he was supposed to put her ring on, and said to her ‘just wriggle it so I know.’ Conveniently on the day Hannah had her nails done by her next door neighbour who adorned her ring finger with a little diamanté so he didn’t have to ask!! 🙂
After the ceremony was over we all piled out of the Church for the obligatory group photos. I had my organisational head on and rounded the troops for photographs with military precision. It’s the only way I know how! The weather gods gave us sunshine initially but suddenly it clouded over and there was the threat of strong winds and a heavy down pour. But thankfully it was just the wind and a bit of drizzle we had to contend with – it was at this moment Hannah quite possibly regretted wearing a veil – very pretty but a nightmare in the wind as this photo shows… funny though.
Hannah and Mickey’s choice of reception venue was Lynton Town Hall roughly a 40 minute drive away, if you’re driving slow enough to take in the beautiful scenery en route. The ceremony programme had an insert for their guests to read on the way, giving a bit by bit guide to the route they were taking, from local history to memories from the happy couples past. The journey has a special place in their hearts and they wanted their guests to share it with them. A really nice touch. It also enabled the couple to stop en route for some very special pictures like this one…
Lynton and Lynmouth being one of the most beautiful locations along the Devon coastline was our final destination of the day. We started with canapes and bubbly whilst the bride and groom worked the room meeting and greeting their guests, followed by a procession into the main hall for dinner. In true Hannah style and as a note to her theatrical past, the top table was on the stage. Which I think for Hannah and Mickey was lovely as they could easily see all their guests enjoying the party.
The table decorations were all the work of Hannah’s creative imagination. Combining their love of Exmoor and sea.
She looked for a while for suitable place names and then came across these lovely grassy green photo holder trees, supplied by Through The Looking Glass .
A personal touch from my Dad and his partner Julie – was this ‘message in a bottle’ style newspaper about Hannah and Mickey’s life so far, including the sporting attributes of Mickey, an interview from their dog Buddy and general anecdotes from their lives together so far. Good one Dad and a nice surprise for Hannah and Mickey.
The catering was provided by Le Frog Catering, a Devon based firm with a french twist. The food was lovely with duck leg on a bed of lentils as one of the many options. The bar was supplied by the brilliant Cazbar, run by Caroline Norman from The Rest and Be Thankful in Wheddon Cross, and was always a few men deep every time I visited it, which wasn’t a lot honest! 🙂
The speeches were awesome, I know I’m biased but I was very proud. My Dad was emotional but funny and he really came alive when talking so passionately about his daughter and new son in law. It was lovely and from the heart or was that the shot the best men bought you Dad! 😉
Mickey’s grooms speech was equally as passionate. He’s a very kind, thoughtful man and the way he spoke about Hannah and their life together just showed how happy he was.
The best men gave their speech together – it was hilarious and the boys clearly had plenty of material on poor Mickey. Sean and Rich were great best men and clearly life long friends for them both.
Just before party time could start it was time to cut the cake. Made lovingly by Hannah’s god mother and our Aunty Wendy. She did a gorgeous job incorporating Hannah’s love of daisys and the colour of the bridesmaid dresses. The bottom two layers being a very delicious chocolate cake and the top being fruit cake, and will be traditionally kept for their first babies christening. Eeek! The cake topper was made by the very talented A Bit of A Do.
Let the party commence…
Their first danced song was Snow Patrol ‘Chasing cars’ it has a very special meaning to them from dancing to it at midnight at one of their first new years together… all together now aaahhhhh!
The band Captain Caveman were epic and kept the dance floor packed all night. If you ever need a band you’ve got to give these guys a call, from bride and groom sing offs, to in laws dance offs, we all had a ball as the following pictures prove.
The whole day was brilliant, and I will never forget it. If I ever get the opportunity to walk down the aisle myself I’ve got to go some to beat this!
Love you Hannah and Mickey!
Products used on Hannah…
L’Oreal Infallible Foundation
L’Oreal True Match pressed powder
Body Shop Mineral Foundation 05 and blusher
Make Up Academy – bronzer and blusher
Benefit – Lemon aid, High Beam and Lip Plump
Body Shop eyebrow kit
Eyelure – individual lashes
Bobbi Brown gel eye liner in Black Ink
Body Shop – lily Cole eyeshadow set
Benefit Badgal eyeliner and mascara
No7 Lipstick in Delight (brides own)
My Mum wore…
L’Oreal Infallible Foundation
Body Shop Mineral Foundation
Make Up Academy Blusher
Body Shop eye brow kit 03
Bourjois Eyeshadow in light brown
Body Shop eyeshadow cube (browns set)
Body Shop baked eyeshadow in Jade to line the eyes
Benefit Badgal eyeliner and mascara
Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner
Revlon Lipstick in Brushed Crome
A few days later I received this message from my Dad... ‘Em…I wanted you to know just how fabulous Hannah’s makeup was, she just glowed with understated artistry….I begin to see just how good you are!!’ – and yes this did make me cry!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.