After popping up a special blog post just for Rich, the first two people I saw that morning were my older brother Tim and nephew Oliver. Ollie jumped up on my bed and helped me to open a few pressies and cards that my groom had kindly left for me. Tim then brought me a cup of tea in bed and I sat back and chilled for an hour, while messaging excited friends and family, and receiving photo updates from my bridesmaids who had got up at the crack of dawn to meet their make-up artist. It was the perfect start to the day.
Eventually, I rolled out of bed. Our special day had officially begun!
Here are some of the highlights from a very special morning getting ready at my home in the middle of the beautiful Peak District National Park.
Hair and Make-Up
I was so lucky to come across the very lovely and extremely talented Lucy Elliot in my search for the right hair and make-up artist online. We met for a trial the last time that I was back in the UK, on a day which also happened to be the day after my best friend's wedding. I had had two hours sleep the night before and looked about as bad as I'd ever looked, but by the time she had finished I had been transformed. I am now a firm believer that she has some kind of magic touch!
Principally composed of Mac and Charlotte Tilbury, my make-up look was simple and classic, with a slightly smokey lid, a firm brow and a good sweep of eyeliner. For my hair, Lucy used clip-in hair extensions with a slight natural curl. She backcombed my real hair to give it a bit of height, and pinned some of it back in a pretty twist.
Dress and Accessories
I can not tell you how in love with my wedding dress I am. Several months earlier, I had arrived at Mia Sposa Bridal in Hatton Garden with my mum, fully expecting to pick out a simple, classic white princess-cut dress. Instead I left with a light champagne coloured lace, slim strapless A-Line gown with slight embellishment which twinkles in the light, and a puddle train by Maggie Sottero.
I chose a very classic, floor-length veil to go with the dress, and kept my accessories simple: a drop-pearl necklace, drop-pearl earrings and a delicate vintage pearl bracelet, which was actually my mum's Christening necklace wrapped around my wrist twice! The perfect 'something old' which she has kindly let me keep, and now lives safely in my jewellery box, ready for me to pass onto my daughter one day.
My mum is a keen gardener and botanist, and her garden is always full of blossoming trees and colourful blooms. Therefore, Rich and I were delighted when she said that she would love to do the flowers for our wedding. With careful arrangements and cut flowers provided by the wonderful Katie Peckett, my mum supplemented the bridal and bridesmaid bouquets with green Edelweiss and cream Freesias to complement our classic pink and cream roses, filled the house full of flower displays and transported bucket-loads of stems to decorate the Church with too. Aren't they beautiful?!
Bridesmaids, Flower Girls and Page Boys
While I was getting ready downstairs, the upstairs sitting room was a flurry of activity. My beautiful bridesmaids were busy helping each other to get ready. Lottie had supplied cakes. Rich had supplied champagne. There was lots of excited chatter.
The bridesmaids wore Bill Levkoff knee-length nude pink chiffon dresses with a sweetheart neckline and straps which tie at the neck, with an open keyhole back. The flower girls were in simple Monsoon slip dresses, and the boys wore John Lewis three piece suits to match the groom's party, with matching pink ties.
I have known Lottie and Tania, my two chief bridesmaids and closest friends, since school and I couldn't have imagined this day without them by my side.
Later on, when I moved to London, I met Kate and Romana on my first daunting day on the PwC graduate scheme. We decided to move in together and soon became inseparable.
My last two 'older' bridesmaids were Bethany and Helena, my two younger half sisters. I have to admit that I teared up a little when I saw them both that day - they are not so young any more, and have turned into beautiful and very lovely young women.
Then there were my flower girls and page boys: Megan, my youngest cousin
Suzie and Tom my cousins Emily and James' two children...
Amelie, our gorgeous one year old niece (Rich's sister Lisa and brother in law Chris' daughter)...
and of course Ollie, my nephew, my older brother Tim and sister in law Sarah's son. How cute does he look in his tiny suit?!
That made us a bridal party of twelve altogether. And I wouldn't have had it any other way!
Last Minute Preparations
By the time I was ready to join the group, everybody else was pretty much ready to go. My dad had arrived...
Mum was busy making sure that my younger brothers Joe and Hugh (who were two of Rich's ushers) looked respectable.
And the whole group had lined up ready to get their first glimpse of me in my dress!
Time To Go!
The bridesmaids carefully helped me outside and into the waiting car.
And we were off!
All of the photos in this post were provided by our wonderful wedding photographer Brett Harkness. Check out his page for some truly stunning wedding, fashion and commercial photography, as well as his beautiful blog.