This post has been sitting for a long time in my drafts. I have toyed with it so many times, but have never quite got to the point where I felt it was good enough or worthy enough for me to push the publish button. But it can’t sit here forever; it was such an important day, and inspired so much of our own wedding that I couldn’t leave it out of my build up to our big day…so here I go!
When I was 14 years old, my mum’s career took my family to a new village in a new county in a new part of England. That county just happened to be the (in)famous county of Essex.
It was here that I raced through my teenage years, splitting my time between the countryside where we lived and the small city of Chelmsford where I went to school. It was also where I made some of my closest and longest-lived friendships, with the “Essex Girls” (EG), and the later male additions to the group, who eventually became the “Husbands Club” (HC).
A few months ago, there was about to be a new member of this special little club, for one of the EGs, Tan was about to marry long-term (honourary) member of the HC and all-round awesome guy, Dan. And I was delighted to have been asked to be a bridesmaid at their wedding!
Mr Sunshine-to-be and I hopped on a plane home for the occasion, and landed in London with a little time to spare to carry out a few of our own wedding-related errands and squeeze in a very fun day with some of my favourite bloggers. We then jumped on the train to Chelmsford where we were staying with our good friends Hannah and Mark (also an EG and a member of the HC, in case you were wondering!).
On the morning of the wedding, I was excited to crack open my new Charlotte Tilbury Uptown Girl make-up gift box, which contains The Uptown Girl Eyeshadow Palette, Audrey Eyeliner, Full Fat Lashes Mascara, Love Glow Blusher, Pink Venus Lipliner, Bitch Perfect Lipstick, Sweet Stiletto Lipgloss, all held in the prettiest make-up bag I’ve ever owned. Everything a girl could possibly require to create a DIY bridesmaid make-up look!
Han and I chatted away while we applied our make-up and big piles of sausages and toast were brought to the table to keep us going. Oh, and a bottle or two of bubbles were opened too, of course. When in Rome.
Then, all of a sudden it was time to go. We slipped into comfy clothes and headed across to Tania’s parents’ house to collect our dresses and join our bride.
As we entered the Conservatory where she was getting her hair and make-up done, the first thing that struck me was how beautiful she looked. The second thing I noticed was how calm she was – this was her moment and she was totally owning it! In fact, she owned it from start to finish and all day I couldn’t stop thinking that this is what she was made for.
Photo courtesy of Andy Bennett
Here are just a handful of the things about Tania’s wedding which made me so proud of her that day, and so honoured to be a part of it all (as well as some excellent ideas that I am definitely pinching for my own wedding in two weeks’ time).
We had plenty of time to get ready
The bridesmaids, Tania’s parents and the bride all had time to perfect our looks, consume a glass of wine (or two) and have a big, long natter before donning dresses and heading off to the Church. It was a really lovely couple of hours, with a lot of laughter (and maybe a few tears to boot).
Photos courtesy of Andy Bennett
The ceremony was traditional, but relaxed
I loved the atmosphere of the ceremony, held at Tania’s local Parish Church, which her family have visited for years. It had all the usual elements of a traditional Church wedding, which I adore (I particularly enjoy belting out a good hymn), but the sermon was hilarious and nothing about it was stuffy in the slightest.
The reception was held in a beautiful setting
Hylands House is a Grade II listed neo-classical villa, located in the stunning expanse of Hylands Park on the outskirts of Chelmsford (for those of you who have never visited, this is where V Festival is held every year). The house has been fully restored to its Victorian splendour, and is such a stunning setting for a wedding reception.
Romantic, or what?!
There were lots of personal touches along the way
From the music in the Church and at the drinks reception, which was provided by Tania’s colleague Kaleigh, and our school friend Ally…
To the table names, which were places that were special to the happy couple, their lives and interests were apparent throughout the entire day.
Tan also has an adorable niece and nephew, who are incredibly important to her, and it was therefore one of the most child-friendly weddings I’ve ever been to.
It was these little personal touches of Tan and Dan’s personality that were splashed across every detail that made the whole day extra special.
The photographers were creative
Rather than stand everybody up for the standard stilted line-ups that wedding photographers seem to love, Tan and Dan’s photographers preferred a more relaxed and creative approach. And the results were brilliant!
Photos courtesy of Andy Bennett
The food and entertainment was top notch
The food was so good that I only took one shot the entire evening, because I couldn’t keep it on my plate long enough to photograph (anyone that has ever eaten a meal with me will know that this is fairly unusual!).
Luckily, there was an amazing indie-rock style wedding band and a photo booth to keep us all entertained when it was all gone. I don’t think I’ve seen so many people pour onto one dancefloor so quickly at a wedding before!
There was plenty of romance
In the past, it wasn’t unusual for Tania to turn her nose up at traditional notions of romance, but for one day (and probably one day only), she let her guard down, and totally embraced it! The speeches were beautiful, their first dance was a tear-jerker, and every time I caught sight of the new man and wife together, their joy was so apparent that I couldn’t help but smile.
Tan and Dan, thank you so much for asking me to be a part of your big day! If our wedding is half as beautiful as yours was, I will be one very happy bride!
Photo courtesy of Andy Bennett