Friday 28 June 2013

My Second Favourite Wedding Photo

Today, Alan and I are on Any Other Woman as I sent in one of our beautiful photos for the lovely Any Other Photo feature, so why not hop over there now and take a look? It's a photo that really does mean a lot to me.

It was so difficult to choose my photo, I ended up sending in two, which is really strictly against the rules. I thought I would post the second one here so you can why it was so hard to choose between so many special moments in our wedding day.

This photo was taken right after our vicar had declared that Alan and I were officially husband and wife; right after we’d had our first kiss(es). Who knew where the day would go after this moment? Right then, we didn’t need to know. This is that moment when we were so incredibly happy, so caught in the moment that all we could do was hold onto each other, be as close as possible, and grin like idiots at each other at the fact that we’d done it, we’d got married and it already felt amazing.

Although there’s several photos showing moments I will always cherish, what I love about this photo is not just how happy and wrapped up in our new marriage we both are. It’s also about the huge beam across my mother’s face, and how proud the vicar and the rabbi both look, as if they are all stakeholders in this moment of joy, which I suppose, in many ways, they are. Although my father isn’t in this photo, he is standing just to the left of my mother and I know from other photos that he was grinning as well. It makes me realise that our marriage isn’t just about us. Everyone else really does care too.


Friday 21 June 2013

Friday Cake - Flowers

While we're still getting our head around the saga that is moving house, still plugging away at the job search and settling into married life, here's some cake from a couple of weeks ago.

I saw this idea in BBC Good Food magazine and was eager to give it a go as we have so many terracotta pots left over from our wedding. I used a different receipe to the suggested orange and almond as I just wanted a quick Friday afternoon bake, so opted for the basic vanilla cupcake recipe from a wonderful book called 500 Cupcakes and Muffins, by Fergal Connolly. This really is my go-to book for quick and tasty cupcakes and muffins - the miniature pineapple upside down cupcakes and the sundried tomato and basil muffins are both on the 'house favourites' list.
Points to Note:
  • The oasis could probably do with being (a) larger and (b) a more regular shape. I was using leftovers from our wedding centrepieces.
  • Make the lighter shade first - you can always make this darker for the remaining cakes. I made the pink, then decided I wanted a peachy colour. Didn't work, and my attempts to make purple ended in a lovely, erm, sludge colour, so I had to make a new batch for the peach-coloured cakes.
  • Vanilla flavoured cake works well with the sweetness of the icing.

Terracotta pot, with oasis covered in green paper (instructions use tissue paper; I had mulberry paper so used that)
Make the lighter shade of icing first!

Green leaves made from roll-out fondant icing - sugarpaste might be better but I wanted to use up leftovers!
Use wooden skewers cut in half to fix the cakes to the oasis.

Eat them? Oh, if you insist...

Monday 10 June 2013

Wedding Day - Part 3 (from the Bride)

Driving off from the church, we wave to everybody, including the punters in the pub across the road. The bridesmaids are happily chatting away as Alan and I enjoy the moment. Halfway back to Fanhams Hall, we pull over to let the photographer shoot past us so he can get back before us.

There is champagne to greet us when we arrive, and some photos before we say goodbye to the car and the lovely driver - I have rarely met anyone better suited to their job, he was so calm and professional.

We locate the drinks reception and direct guests in the right direction. A short amount of time in which to catch up with guests and sample canapes before rounding up bridesmaids, ushers and family members for photos. We go off to have some couple shots round the grounds, and then just as it looks like rain, we head back to the shelter of the building for the wedding breakfast. Alan has fun trying to do up the fastenings on the back of my dress's train, as do a number of other people. It seems a lot more complicated than it looked in the shop...

There is momentary confusion when someone points out that a substantial number of our guests aren't yet seated. We are missing Alan's parents. Eventually we realise that noone has called in any guests from the library - they are retrieved by an usher and the problem is solved.

It is only now, when we are about to go in and give our speech, that I remember that I never had any lunch. It is now nearly 5pm. I am almost dizzy with hunger - but am quickly distracted by all the excitement going on around me.

Everyone gets to their feet as we enter, welcoming us as the Bride and Groom. It's a little overwhelming knowing that everyone is clapping and smiling because of us.

We're doing the speeches first, so Alan and I launch straight into our joint offering. It won't set the world alight, but we thank all the right people and it's a lovely feeling standing up next to my new husband and addressing our guests together - I highly recommend doing this.

Colin, Alan's brother and best man, gives a much better speech - nothing too embarrassing luckily - and then it's time for food. I feel full just looking at my main course but I'm damned if I'm not going to eat it as it's so delicious. Ditto dessert.

Between courses we have plenty of time to circulate the tables and say hello to everyone. We decided not to have a traditional top table, mainly because the numbers didn't really work. On our table we have our brothers and their partners, and my MOH and her partner. Our parents have their own tables with respective family members, with our parents being seated as close to us as possible. This seems to work as everyone can relax with people they know well already, and everyone seems happy.

It rains during the meal, proper summery downpours. We don't care. I don't think most people even really noticed. It's the only time it really rains all day. While I'm relieved, part of me is actually a little disappointed we didn't get to use the pretty blue heart-shaped umbrella we have.

Dessert is over and everyone trickles out of the room so it can be turned round for the evening party. The sun comes out, so we scoot outside to have some more photographs. Alan and I then sneak upstairs for a little while - simply to have some space to reflect on everything that's gone before. The day has run pretty much like clockwork, everyone has been fed and watered and we can relax - time for cake and party!

Groom, Best Man and Usher socks!

If they can have sock shots...


Thursday 6 June 2013

Thursday Cake Post

We've been writing a lot about our wedding recently, and there's a lot more to come. However, over the last few weeks it's been nice to start enjoying 'life' again (which we've carefully coordinated with the sun finally coming out and staying out for more than 5 minutes). At the moment 'life' means lots of birthday celebrations, which have been great for catching up with friends and family post-wedding.

Of course, birthdays mean cake, so in a break from wedding posts, here's some birthday cake. I made this for Alan's father, who celebrated a nicely significant birthday last week. 

Points to Note:
  1. The recipe is from BBC Good Food. I doubled the ingredients and made two 10" cakes rather than three 8" cakes.
  2. It came out a little dense, although very moist, so if I made this cake again I would try a different way of mixing to try and keep more air in there. I ended up with three layers as one of the cakes was a bit too thin to slice in half.
  3. My cream cheese frosting seemed to taste overly cheesy, so I put much more icing sugar in and just made it to taste in the end.
  4. Raspberries aren't in season yet so I used strawberries and left them in pieces rather than mashing them up. I sandwiched the third layer on with more jam and some of the cream cheese frosting (you would need to make more than the recipe gives for this to work). This gave quite a nice 'strawberries and cream' effect inside.

Just-about-finished product. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Wedding Day - Part 2 (from the Bride)

I enjoyed the drive to the church, although all I really remember is a few Saturday shoppers looking at us and smiling as we drive through Ware. Wow. I always like seeing cars of happy bridal parties driving along, and now that's me.

We're slowly approaching the church; although still too quickly,it seems, as we spot a number of guests still making their way down to the church. So much for being late - we're ten minutes early. I smile to myself, as I had told Alan there was no way I would be late.

It starts to drizzle lightly, but the driver literally has it covered, as he pulls a giant umbrella out of the boot. He also has water and mints - I could hug him, as my mouth has gone dry and my stomach is still a little nervous despite my overall excitement.


I climb out of the car - really not easy in a wedding dress - and we walk up the path. Astonishingly we are still early, and the vicar comes out to greet us. We can't start until the designated start time - it's a legal requirement. I see Alan inside (it is a small church) and wave like an idiot, forgetting that all our guests can probably see me. I don't regret it either way. The last couple of guests run up the path and past us.

Finally - FINALLY - it is time and we make our way towards the entrance. The organ starts - Pachelbel's Canon in D, one of my favourite pieces - and the vicar and rabbi start to process down the aisle. Phillipa and Juliet follow, and then Ellie and Annabel.

My parents start walking - I had asked both my mum and dad to accompany me down the aisle - and I am right behind them. As I step into the church, I see all eyes on me, but am only focusing on Alan, who I can see at the front. I think a few people take photos, although I couldn't have told you who.

We probably walked down the aisle too quickly, I reach Alan and stand there beaming at him for what seems like an age until the organ music stops and the service begins.

All too quickly - so quickly that I later flick back through the order of service to check we haven't missed something out - we reach the declarations and our vows. I listen to Alan's responses, loud, confident and firm, and I hope I echo that with mine. The rings are blessed, in English and Hebrew, kiddush wine is sipped and we finally get to wear our rings. We're married. We grin. We kiss. We grin some more. 'Smile' doesn't seem a strong enough word.

 I float through the rest of the service - the hymns, readings beautifully read by our mothers, the address, the Jewish blessings (more wine - oh yes). I enjoy the prayers, where Alan and I go up to the altar away from everyone else. 


Now comes the signing of the register - signature follows signature, mine first then Alan's,then my two brothers as witnesses. Lots of photos, and the marriage certificates are handed over. We're married and we have the paperwork to prove it. Hurrah!


We process out and wait for everyone else outside. On our spreadsheet, we timed this as 'scheduled mingling'. Everyone laughed, but that's what they're doing as "congratulations" is the word of the moment, hugs are swapped, and Ross is here, there and everywhere taking photos. I'm overwhelmed at how many of the local villagers, who we know from Sunday services, have turned out to see us get married. We didn't know they would come, and it means a lot to us.

Photo by Maxine von Eye

Confetti time - everyone forms a long tunnel and we walk through, the soft blue and cream petals falling around and over us. Later, I will find a lot of it down my dress. For the moment, it's all in my hair and veil - and yet I still can't stop smiling.

Eventually, we climb back into the car, bridesmaids in tow and off we go back to Fanhams Hall. Just got married!


Monday 3 June 2013

Wedding Day - Part 1 (from the Groom)

I wake up at 6:15am. That wasn't in the plan ... breakfast doesn't start until 9am and I was hoping to avoid as much anxious pottering as possible.

I guessed this would happen and am actually surprised that I'd managed to sleep much at all. Usually before something big I'd have lain awake all night with my mind racing, but the night before had been so exhausting that I actually slept very well.

Frances is already awake and grinning at me like a Cheshire cat.

Rather than being stressful, this actually ends up being one of my favourite times of the day. It is too early for us to do anything, and there is gorgeous sunshine streaming in through the window; so we use the opportunity to make ourselves a cup of tea and sit eating Hobnobs in bed, waiting for the madness to begin. Two team-mates preparing for the big game.

The sun did come out - look!

Breakfast, when we do descend, smells wonderful. I am definitely in the category of people who, when presented with a buffet for breakfast, suddenly loses all sense of proportion and embarks on a multi-course feast that would shame a medieval banquet. But indulging can wait for tomorrow - the nerves are starting to kick in now. Especially as people start arriving I feel that I need to keep myself occupied with tasks.

Fanhams Hall have provided us with a room for me to get changed in, which is where I escape to - stopping only to quickly set up all of the candles and lanterns that we have brought that somewhere along the way had skipped my mind. We're far too organised otherwise, so I've really got a lot of time to kill - which I do by getting dressed early and then doing a crossword with Colin and my ushers that my parents thought to provide (excellent idea!). The first two answers I got were "fools rush in" and "runaway" ... I kid you not!

When we run out of things to distract me with, we head to the hotel reception to await the florist who arrives to deliver buttonhole flowers. As we get there the phone rings - it's the photographer. My heart sinks ... he should have been here half-an-hour ago. He must be calling me to say he is stuck in traffic - or maybe something bigger has gone wrong. Panic! "Hello?" "Hi, it's Ross here. We're taking some great shots of the bridesmaids up here. We were thinking of heading down and taking a few of the ushers - is now good?". Phew.

Groom, Best Man and two of the ushers
Groom and Best Man

The photographer brings tidings of a calm and happy room upstairs from the bridal suite; and the DJ wanders over from where he is unloading his van to wish me luck. It's time to head to the church already - where did the time go?! As we start to drive off I see the car that we have arranged to take Frances to the church turn up exactly on cue. The last piece of the puzzle has just fallen into place. For the first time since we started all of this I know that everything is going to work; so I sit back and enjoy the ride.

The Bride's chariot awaits