One Year Since #TheBandRWedding...♥

June 29, 2015

This week, Ben and I will celebrate our first wedding anniversary. I wanted to write a couple of last posts about #TheBandRWedding, a final wrap up on this wedding section of the blog. I've shared most of the DIY parts and it's been blogged fully over on So You're Getting Married here. But this is from me personally, my favourite photos and moments from that incredibly special day, below. And then some thoughts about our first year of actually playing husband and wife to come over the next couple of days if you'll indulge me.. 

A whole year of being married, already!! It's flown by and I would do anything to go back to this time last year for that feeling of excitement with everything still to come. The old cliche says that it was the best day of our lives. But really I think it was the best month of our lives - I loved all the final dress fittings, the lovely ladies at Brides of Berkhamsted, getting photos sent through from the florist of all the blooms arriving, checking the weather on Countryfile on the Sunday night, everyone I saw getting excited and wishing us good luck, getting ready the day before with such a buzz as my Bridesmaids' arrived, the cards start arriving in the post, loading up the cars, getting our nails done, having a big dinner the night before talking about all the plans then tearfully saying goodbye to Ben as he left us at my parents house, waking up early and feeling sick with excitement {then calling Ben early to say 'We're getting married today!!}, seeing that the weatherman got it right with the hot blue sky forecast, the make up artist and hairdresser arrived in a blur and time just rushed by, then it was time to get my dress into the car {in a duvet cover!}, the rest of the day you can see in the photos below.

The boys had all gone ahead to the venue to start setting everything up whilst us girls {and my Dad} stayed back to get pampered, having our hair and make up done before driving to Notley Abbey. One of the things that I loved about the venue from the very first time we visited was the spectacularly long tree lined drive. Driving up it, after months/years of dreaming about the day was surreal and I suddenly wanted time to slow right down so I could soak up the day forever.

As we pulled up, Jeff {the videographer}, Binky and Sally {the photographers} and the staff were waiting for us and the fairytale had truly begun. The lavender was in full bloom with butterflies fluttering around and Charlie and her team {the florists} were in full swing getting all the displays up. The first thing I asked was 'Can the ceremony be outside?!!' and thankfully it was. The registrars can only decide on the day and have rules about the temperature and weather conditions, if it's too hot you may not be allowed it because of health and safety. We were 2 degrees below the threshold phew!!

After taking everything up to the bridal suite, we went for a wander around the grounds before getting dressed and ready. I think I did a hop, skip and a jump I was on cloud nine and felt like everything had come together, the sun was shining and I was about to get married!!! ahhhhh.

The bunting was hung, the flowers were being dotted around, our table full of plant pot favours. And in the stone barn the fairy lights were being hung up, tables set and table plan erected. Seeing everything come together after months of planning was just the icing on the cake. Strangely I didn't feel stressed at all!

Probably one of my most memorable moments was in the bridal suite getting ready with my Mum and two bridesmaids, Carolyn and Payvand. We lit a candle, the same as my wedding scent, and opened some thank you presents. After weeks of wondering how much of a rush we'd be in, on the day we had loads of spare time and kept wondering if it was too early for me to put my dress on. Having had our hair and make up done at home before we arrived at the venue we were actually ready early and ended up waiting for the boys to get down the aisle! The registrar came up to talk with me and Binky and Jeff kept popping in and out to capture everything.

The morning went on and then the bouquets arrived! I had been in talks about the flowers for two years before our wedding, I always knew Charlie would create something beautiful but it was more perfect that I ever could have described or photos I could have pinned.

The room had prime view over everybody arriving so we were trying to spot everyone without being spotted ourselves! We wanted to keep ourselves locked away until the walk down the aisle so had lots of fun trying not to be spotted by anyone that morning. And we kept up the tradition of Ben and I not seeing each other the night before or the morning of the wedding.

After a make up touch up, finally it was time to get into the dress!

I felt like a princess stepping into my Cinderella slippers.

Everything was in place and ready for guests to arrive! All of the little details that had been planned for months and months.

I didn't see the boys getting ready so some of my favourite photos captured the bits I missed out on. The shoes and button holes going on, the exchange of presents. Ben's little Nephew looked proud, slightly scared and super cute at the same time. We were lucky to have Sally as a second shooter to capture everything going on and Jeff's video.

I had my veil trailing down behind me for the whole ceremony, I guess it's more for a church wedding where you wear it over your head. But Binky had me lift it over just to see what it would look like. This ended up being one of my favourite shots.

My Mum, who looked so incredibly gorgeous, reluctantly went down to greet everybody and left us girls up in the room while we waited for my Dad to come and get us to lead us down to the aisle. This is when the butterflies kicked in big time, I had been strangely calm all morning and then suddenly it was all so real.

I cried when my Dad walked in and I have tears in my eyes as I look at these photos again. Such pride but also sad to be leaving my Dad as his little girl and be handed over to my new husband. I feel so lucky to have such amazing parents and grateful for our close relationship.

These are photos I'll treasure forever and ever. I have Binky to thank for so much.

Being up in the room I couldn't see everybody arriving and taking their seats so these photos make me smile when I saw them as everybody was arriving and waiting for us.

My colourful friends and my fantastic Grandparents who I love so dearly.

I don't think that Ben felt too nervous, he was all smiles that day.

Nobody knew how Daniel, who was only 2 and 1/2 at the time would walk down the aisle, would it all be too much for him? But he was the cutest and walked in front of the bridesmaids carrying his sign. My two gorgeous bridesmaids were incredible too in every single way.

Writing this post has made me realise that I'm really not very good at narrowing down my favourites. All of them are special. These though in particular I love, waiting just out of sight after Daniel and the Bridesmaids on my Dad's arm, taking one final breather before the big walk of honour to Pachabel's Canon in D, one of my favorites ever since primary school!

I thought I'd be scared walking with everyone turning to look at me, looking at my dress for the first time etc, but once I was standing at the end of the aisle all I could do was smile and look at Ben.

I have to say that actually the ceremony wasn't my favourite part of the day, I loved exchanging our vows and rings but we were so hot with the sun beating down, not knowing where to look, trying to smile at everyone taking photos and listen to the registrar. Once that part was over and Ben could kiss his bride, then the fun could begin and the rest of the day was incredible.

You may now kiss your bride.

We walked back down the aisle to All You Need is Love, which now gives me tingles anytime I hear it. We were m a r r i e d !!

We snuck off for a five minute catch up on our own, we hadn't seen each other all morning and it was nice to just take some time before we went out on the patio to see everybody.

The toastmaster had everybody line up and grab a confetti cone before we walked out and I think this has to be my very favourite photo of the day.

I loved talking to everybody - some people I hadn't seen for months, getting photos with everyone, people looking at my dress and flowers. Kisses, cuddles, laughing.

We had some official snaps taken, but not too many as didn't want to take up the whole afternoon with them.

We then went off on our own for some photos with Binky and Sally which I really loved, mostly because it was such great fun and I got to twirl in my dress, kiss the man I had just married, smile and laugh!

The heart balloon release will always be a highlight from the day and something that involved all of our guests. I've written more about it here.

Everybody was then ushered in to take their seats for the wedding breakfast leaving us last to make our entrance.

We were welcomed as Mr and Mrs Sterling! At the last minute I pulled Ben's arm up as everybody cheered. 

The stone barn, an old Monk's refectory, looked even better than I could have ever imagined decorated with jam jars full of flowers, the cake, an old ladder with our table plan on, fairy lights strung from the beams and the LOVE lights Ben had made. 

Ben and I are big foodies! So many Brides don't eat anything on their big day for fear of their dressing feeling tight, but I ploughed in and ate everything. Smoked salmon with edible flowers, sticky braised beef and then creme brûlée with raspberries. Yum!

I think the speeches were extra special and exciting as it was the only part of the day that I hadn't planned, I genuinely didn't know what was coming. My Dad's was lovely yet funny {he showed what a hip Dad he was by taking a selfie with me!}, Ben's sentimental yet still made everyone laugh and then the best men were hilarious. 

Not many people knew that I was going to make a speech, and I didn't realise how many people I would make cry! You don't have to follow tradition anymore and I wanted to say a heartfelt thank you for how grateful I was. 

We then snuck out again with Binky and Sally for a few more photos in the evening light. 

Notley Abbey has a vintage old Rolls Bentley car and it felt like even more of a fairytale having photos in it. 

In a fluffy lavender cloud nine.. 

The grounds were perfect for photos but we were conscious we wanted to get back and see everyone! Suddenly it was time to cut the cake, cue the cringey cake photos... 

Then the first dance, even more cringe.. but I loved how swishy my dress was.

Then it was time for dancing all night, with an early July wedding the nights are some of the longest of the year so it was nice to have the doors open and still be outside in the courtyard, the sun setting over the fields and the candles and fairy lights starting to twinkle as it got dark wish us wishing the night could just go on forever and ever. 

The next day was equally as special though, we woke up early as Mr and Mrs in the bridal suite at Notley Abbey, feeling like King and Queen of the beautiful castle and decided to go for a walk around the grounds before anyone else was up. It was about 6am and so lovely to wander around reliving the day before. There were nine rooms so our closest family and friends stayed over with us and we all met for breakfast in the farmhouse kitchen the next morning, juat wanting to look at photos and talk talk talk. After loading everything into the cars and saying goodbye to our beloved Notley we drove back to my parents house and started getting set up for round two, a celebratory BBQ for our close family and friends. 

The weather was just as hot as the day before, long live the wedding heatwave! And despite everyone being tired from all the celebrations and flowing champagne, it was soo good to relive the day before and chill out with everyone before we went away the next day. We dished out a lot of the leftover flowers to everybody too, they were too beautiful to waste. 


A sadness suddenly washed across me {luckily my only experience of the dreaded post wedding blues} and it felt strange going home after spending the week with so many people and after all the excitement. But it didn't last long and after Ben carried me over the threshold we put up all of our cards and a Just Married banner then tried to get some sleep before it was time to jet off to The Maldives the next day. Was it all a dream?!! 

As a girl, you dream about your wedding for decades but nothing will ever prepare you for just how incredible the whole thing actually is. In my speech I talked about how reality is better than my dreams. It's too special for words and I have so much love for everybody that was involved. A true fairytale if I ever did see one. And even once we got home from our honeymoon we had the excitement of the video and photos to come, ahh weddings...

Next up, our first year of marriage.

R <3 xx

{Nearly all photos are by Binky Nixon Photography to whom I have so much to thank for capturing our wedding day so well, a couple were taken by our guests and the last bit by me}.

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