Category Archives: Wedding

Our Anniversary :: The Houndgate Townhouse Review

Anniversary Trip 1 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

So about three or four months ago, I booked some tickets for us to go and see the show Kynren in Bishop Auckland. It was billed as 2,000 years of British history, with the involvement of over 1,000 local people. I love a bit of community art interaction, so I thought this sounded like as good an opportunity  as any for our first little road trip! The dates happened to coincide with our first anniversary, so it was perfect!

Now if your British geography is as good as mine (i.e. awful) you will be interested to hear that Bishop Auckland is what we call “Up North”, pretty much as far north as you can get before you hit Scotland. It took us about 5 and a half hours to get there, because we did faff around a little bit when we left, and stopped off for a coffee en route.

Anniversary Trip 19 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Anniversary Trip 18 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

We stayed in the Houndgate Townhouse in Darlington, which is about 30 minutes from Bishop Auckland. The Houndgate is an 8 bedroom boutique hotel, with a bar and restaurant. From the first moment we were utterly impressed with the hotel. The front of house staff were all very courteous and helpful, booking us a taxi for the evening and helping us to find the carpark.

Anniversary Trip 11 - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaUnfortunately this was the only downside of the hotel – because of its central location there is no on-site parking, and so you need to park in the multi-storey which is behind the hotel. This is paid for by the hotel during most hours during your stay, and it is very new and secure, but a tiny bit of a faff, and after the long drive I was feeling particularly brain dead.
Anniversary Trip 2 - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaI had booked a luxury  double room for us to stay in (it’s only your first anniversary once!) and we were not disappointed. The bed was gorgeously comfortable, and the carpet had that reassuring thickness which prevented the am-I-walking-too-heavily angst that I am prone to.

The room was absolutely spotless, and decorated perfectly on what I would call the the tasteful side of Laura Ashley. The staff even wrote us an anniversary card, which was a nice touch!Anniversary Trip 3 - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaSomething to bear in mind was that we could hear the bar below our room playing music and getting ready for their Saturday night trade, which we didn’t actually find disruptive, but it was definitely audible through the floor. If you’re a light sleeper  it may be an issue, although given my experience of the staff, I am sure they would turn the music down at a moment’s notice if you mentioned it!

That evening we went to the show, and ended up getting back quite late (see my review of Kynren here).  I have never been so glad to crawl into bed.Anniversary Trip 12 - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaAnniversary Trip 14 - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaAnniversary Trip 13 - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaIn the morning, we headed downstairs to grab some breakfast. The hotel offers an a la carte menu for breakfast (although it was included in the cost of the room) and so Mr H and I both decided to go for the full English. I neglected to take photos, unfortunately! It was beautifully cooked and presented, with our baked beans coming out in their own little copper pot. It was very cute. 

The coffee was hot, fresh and tasty, and our waitress sounded exactly like Sarah Millican. It was *most* satisfactory.Anniversary Trip 17 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Anniversary Trip 16 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

I would have liked to stay in the hotel a little longer than one night, and to have tried their restaurant, because the menu looked delicious and it had great reviews.

Despite our short day, would recommend the Houndgate Townhouse to anyone in the area because the service was impeccable. It’s a stylish retreat, perfect for couples, and sometimes that can be intimidating. On the other hand, I feel like you can often overlook shabby decor if the service is great. Luckily in this case you don’t have to, and can enjoy great decor and great service, which is the best of both worlds!

1 Year, 12 Month, 365 Days, 525600 Minutes :: A Year in the Life

150801_Sam+John_0168

I got married one year ago. 

For someone who considers herself to be quite in touch with her emotions, I often find it difficult to express how I feel properly in public. I’m conscious that despite his decision to marry me, the number one sharer of personal information, Mr Hello is a very private person, and over the time we’ve been together I’ve found myself to lean that way more and more. 

Despite this, I’m going to put my thoughts out there, into the universe for all to see, but also for me to look back on in the future. I’ve loved having such an extensive record of my life available to me, many memories that I’d filed away in my mind, and forgotten. I never want to forget my first year of marriage. 

Easy. In a word, this year has been easy in so many ways. The marriage part has been easy, and the strength of our union has made the professional challenges we’ve both faced this year easier

Mr H does not appreciate the brilliance of the Dixie Chicks, but who cares. This song is it.

Happy one year anniversary my love.

 

Thoughts on 2015

Looking Forward - HSGS

I do realise that we haven’t yet reached that all important 25th day in December, but nevertheless it hasn’t stopped me from starting to reflect on the year that was 2015.

To prevent you from having to hang around here all night, here are some of the things that have happened this year, in the Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha family:

  1. I returned from Australia, and resumed life as an expat
  2. Mr H passed his driving test and our lives were transformed by having so much more time
  3. We developed our back garden
  4. A new job for me
  5. I started driving lessons
  6. A spell of freelance writing work for me
  7. We got the hallway re-plastered
  8. My first UK teaching job finished
  9. Oh yeah, a wedding
  10. My family came to visit and many of them stayed with us!
  11. My second job started
  12. My life went crazy when I started primary teaching
  13. I booked my driving test (9 days peeps!)

So, yeah. It’s been pretty crazy. Professionally this year has kicked my butt, but as my new hero Brené Brown says, I’ve been down in that arena, daring greatly. I’ve managed, however, to end on a really high note at school, but am seriously looking forward to having a proper break.

Personally, there are a few goals I’m thinking of setting for the new year, and once I’ve settled on them, I’ll definitely share them here on the blog – perhaps it will keep me honest.

2016 is the first year, in what seems like forever, where there will be no big changes. I’m not moving anywhere, I’m not changing jobs, I’m not getting married again that’s for sure, so I’m looking forward to it being the year where I can really smash out some personal and professional achievements.

It’s been a big old year, that much is for certain. I am looking forward to 2016, but before that, let’s all see out what’s left of 2015 in style.

Our Wedding Film

Because I couldn’t stop myself from reading wedding blogs for about two years before my own engagement I mean wedding, I was well aware of a recommendation so many brides gave – get your wedding filmed.

It was always a difficult choice – videography often costs the same, if not more than wedding photography, which although is excellent value, can cost eye-watering amounts of money.

Throughout all of our wedding budget discussions however, this little thought was at the back of my mind, and I made the commitment to myself that if there was a way we could stretch to it, I would hire a videographer.

This is where Dreemreel came in. Mark pulled together a great promotional video for The Cabaret Club a couple of years ago, and so he immediately came to mind when I decided to bite the bullet and get some quotes together.

Happily he was available, and his quote was incredibly affordable, so we locked it in! A couple of weeks before the wedding I sent him a couple of links to other films we liked and we were ready to rock and roll. Such an easy process.

I couldn’t be happier with the result. I know I’ve said this quite a lot over these wedding roundup posts but it is true, and I guess it’s a positive thing to be happy with the way things went! What I love about the film is that he’s captured the highlights of the day, and really brought them to life. This is something Mr H and I will be able to look back on, and treasure, for all our years to come.

I hope you enjoy!

 

A Note on the Flowers: My Penultimate Wedding Round-up

IMG_2416

We had fully intended to head up to the Chelsea flower market a couple of days before the wedding to go and choose our flowers. For a combination of reasons, we needed to hire a car to get up there. But could we find an available car to hire? No. None were available within a 30 mile radius of Rochester it seemed.

I tried to remain calm, and think about what we could do about the flowers. On Thursday morning Mr H and I set off to find what looked to be a flower wholesaler in Medway. We drove there (bearing in mind Mr H was a very nervous driver at this point) only to find it had closed down. Definitely did not get any brownie points for that, Sam.

We then decided to try Dobbies, a nearby garden centre. I had heard good things and they seemed as though they might be the kind of place that sold nice cut flowers. At this stage, I had £ signs over my eyes because I was sure that we’d left it so late that our only option would be something ridiculously expensive. I wasn’t that fussed about flowers to be honest (but full credit to the wonderful florists out there!), but the thought of having nothing in my hands as I walked down the aisle seemed a little odd.

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0004

So we drove around the corner to Dobbies. It was 8:30 am at this point. Closed. Opening at 9:30 am. Typical. Next door was Tesco, so Mr Hello and I went in to grab a sandwich for breakfast. The deli aisles happened to be next to the cut flower section. I am sure you can guess what happened next.

Genuinely, Tesco had a fantastic range of flowers. I bought a couple of pre-made bouquets with white roses and lilies, some pinky flowers, some gypsophila, and a couple of bunches of pink and dark red roses. I was going for burgundy and green colours. I needed enough for 4 bridesmaids bouquets and one HUGE bouquet for me. Seriously, I wanted my arms to hurt because it was so heavy. I wanted a big’un.

150801_Sam+John_0137

In the end, the bride’s bouquet was from Tesco. All 5 bouquets, plus 10 buttonholes came to a total of £70, which is a bargain if ever I’ve seen one. T, N and I spent Thursday afternoon stripping thorns and leaves and pulling the bouquets together – that day has some of my favourite memories of the wedding week actually. We referred to the A Practical Wedding bouquet tutorial a great deal, seriously, that website is the best thing that ever happened to weddings.

We nabbed some forest green quilting cotton from my fabric stash, and after tying the flowers together with florist’s tape (actually left over from my sister-in-law’s wedding! Recycling for the win!) we secured the bridesmaid’s bouquets with that, and mine with a length of burgundy satin. I pinned in a crucifix from my late paternal grandfather, which was my ‘something borrowed’. I could not have been happier with the result!

As T, my personal florist stated – “It’s about a personal relationship with each stem”. And so it is my friends, so it is.

Wedding Roundup: Portraits on The Pier

There’s no point having your wedding reception at a venue called Sun Pier House if you don’t take advantage of the actual Sun Pier. After we’d downed a drink and had a bit of a natter with the guests, my wonderful maid of honour and sister T rounded us up for some formal portraits on the pier.150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0065150801_Sam+John_0208

Mr Hello and I aren’t generally a fan of staged wedding photos, however we had seen some great examples in Hector’s work and so were quite happy to spend half an hour getting a bunch of photo frame ready shots.

This is something I would definitely recommend to someone in the midst of wedding planning. Find a photographer whose work takes your breath away. Don’t choose someone and then ask them to take photos in a specific style – find someone who is an expert in the style you love. We did, and I couldn’t be happier. In fact the day we got our wedding photos back was the first thing that broke my Ice Queen heart and had be quietly crying on the High Street. I adore our photos.

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0066150801_Sam+John_0227

Both the bride and groom’s party wore navy blue. We asked our friends to choose whatever they wanted to wear, as long as it was navy blue. Some were a little hesitant, because they didn’t want to choose something and then realise I hated it, but after I reassured them that I was not fussy at all, they went ahead with the idea.

We both just really wanted our friends to look like themselves, and feel comfortable in what they were wearing.

150801_Sam+John_0224 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0073150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0074150801_Sam+John_0217 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0076

I am actually yelling at our nephew R here saying ‘get him right in the face!’. Nothing like a fresh bunch of flowers in your chops, hey?

 

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0072 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0071

I really adore these photos of Mr H’s family. I think they sum up the family I’m marrying into so well!

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0070 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0069 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0068 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0067

Classic Dad shot. He thinks he’s being a comedian by blocking me out of my own wedding photos. (I actually think this shot is hilarious, so perhaps I have actually inherited his sense of humour).

 

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0075150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0077

I think my Mum looked absolutely wonderful. This suit is pretty much exactly what I imagined her with and she totally rocked it. My sister kept getting called ‘Liz’ by Mr H’s family, because they thought she looked like Elizabeth Taylor – I actually have to agree!

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0078

T was chief joozjer. She kept barking at me to move a piece of hair (much appreciated) and would also spin around and show her knickers to all of Chatham just to make Mr H laugh in the photos. What more could you ask for in a bridesmaid?150801_Sam+John_0244 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0086 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0085 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0082 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0079

I really love these photos against the exposed brick wall. I may be about to totally break the wedding mystique here, but this wall is actually the back of Staples in Chatham. Very glam, very cool.

I suspect that in post-production Hector picked out the blue of Mr Hello’s suit, the blue in the wall and my eyes. The photo of me looking over his shoulder makes my eyes zing! Such precious photos.

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0088

We could not have been luckier with this mural – it was painted perhaps a week before we were married! Talk about timing.

These formal shots to me show the love and joy that we felt on our wedding day. I don’t find them saccharine or overly romantic – the romance was there, we didn’t need some carefully posed shots to remind us of it! The main point is that I don’t look back at these photos and cringe. I look back and my heart sings.

That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day, isn’t it?

 

This post is made in loving memory of my Uncle. He very generously helped our wedding day to be exactly what we hoped it would be. Vale.

Wedding Roundup – Party Time!

Once we arrived at Sun Pier House, it was straight into our ‘cocktail hour’. I use the term ‘cocktail’ incredibly loosely, in fact I shouldn’t really use it at all, because no cocktails were in fact, served. There was an abundance of champagne, wine and beer, which I expect more than made up for it.

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0049150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0050 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0052

Full credit where credit is due – our wonderful wedding party showed up on Friday to help us decorate Sun Pier. For the most part the venue is exactly to our taste, but there was some extreme pom-pom action we wanted to incorporate, and the odd vintage doily never really goes astray, now does it?

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0051

My sister and I had run up the white bunting ourselves. You may remember in my former life I had a little bunting business. So the skills were there to be used. I had been tempted to go for a very cutesy bunting wedding early on, but as the big day approached I realised my tastes had changed, so in the end I went for (lots of) plain white bunting – festive but not chintzy.

150801_Sam+John_0203

150801_Sam+John_0190

150801_Sam+John_0199

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0061

150801_Sam+John_0169

The pom-poms were sourced from various places, the fan shapes and the pom-pom wreaths from Tiger, but the vast majority were brand new from Ebay.

150801_Sam+John_0198 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0089 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0094

My sister picked up our plain card guestbook from Paperchase in the days before the wedding. My Mama, also known as the calligrapher-extraordinaire, illustrated the front and also was the muscle behind our seating plan, which was a limited edition print from IKEA, of all places!

We also caved in to our inner hipsters and bought a Fujifilm Instax Polaroid camera, for a visual guestbook. I am not going to lie here, that darn thing was expensive. Like £90 or something stupid like that. But it was  a hell of a lot of fun, and if we never use it again, we both feel like we got our monies worth. We passed the camera around for our guests to take photos, and then peg them to our ribbon wall.

150801_Sam+John_0173

This ribbon wall was an inspired idea by Mr H. I had bought these reels of 2cm wide ribbon for the tops of the ribbon sticks, but hadn’t ended up using it all. On our prep day, Mr Hello used the hooks that Sun Pier House already had to display their menus, and wound each spool of ribbon around them, forming a great backdrop and, bonus, somewhere to hang our polaroids!

I read quite a bit of advice on A Practical Wedding that said if you want to include an impromptu element in your wedding, it’s really helpful to ask someone in your party to take responsibility for it. That way, you can forget all about it while you’re talking to everyone, because you know you have someone trusted going around. It was invaluable to have my wonderful bridesmaid N in charge of the Polaroids. She flew all the way over from Australia for the wedding, and I could not be more grateful. I like to think the Polaroid duty also helped her to meet people, but perhaps that’s wishful thinking!

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0095

Luckily, due to the shape of the venue, we were quite easily able to include a little ‘kids zone’, where we put down some astro turf (left over from our Mr H-designed centrepieces), added some puzzles, wooden blocks, crayons and colouring books and let the kids run wild. Sort of.

I had bookmarked the idea ever since I read something similar on Franky’s wedding round-up on Love My Dress. I thought it would be a great way to keep the kids entertained when the grown-up side of things got too boring, and would give their parents a bit of peace so they could enjoy a drink! I’m pleased to say I got excellent feedback…

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0096 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0101 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0102150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0109

Before too long we were sitting down for our main meal. We went for a Middle Eastern style buffet, catered by our great local restaurant Café Moroc. Partly because we knew we had a lot of vegetarians and vegans in attendance, and we all know that Middle Eastern cuisine is big on the ol’ chickpeas, but also because we really like that kind of food and have had some great meals there before.

150801_Sam+John_0261

It was delicious and I ate so much at that point that I didn’t manage to have any of my wedding cakes. Dis. A. Pointed.

I have two little regrets about the food. Well, little niggles at least. Firstly, we ran out of time to make signs for the food, and I wish we had made the extra effort because my veggie pals had to faff around and ask people to taste things before they ate them. Not very hospitable of me! Oh well…lesson learned.

The second niggle is that there was heaps of food left over and I forgot to tell the caterers that we wanted to keep it. Mr H and I would have loved to have binged on hummus for the next few days, but it was cleared away before we had the chance. Again, lesson learned, and in the grand scheme of things, not a big deal.

150801_Sam+John_0285

We then moved on to the speeches. We never wanted endless speeches or toasts, and I am so delighted to report that the speeches by both of our families were everything we could have wished for at the start of our marriage.

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0111

Mr Hello blubbed delightfully throughout the whole thing. He was the focal point of this part of the day, for sure. As discussed in my ceremony roundup, I am evidently an Ice Queen because I remained composed throughout. It’s a strange thing. Definitely a combination of trying to remember it all, not being able to believe that it’s actually your wedding, and the slightest amount of unexpected stage fright. Anyhow, just call me Elsa.

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0104 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0112 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0115 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0116

My Dad sang some wonderful songs, one was a version of Waltzing Matilda with amazing references to Rochester within it, and a couple of others. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand, let’s just say that.

My sister’s speech was the one that almost tipped me over the edge into Emotionville. She’s bloody great and I am so lucky. She did however, bring up an ear biting incident that happed A LONG TIME AGO SO JUST GET OVER IT ALREADY.

150801_Sam+John_0288

Mr H’s lovely sister K had then organised a game to get us all in the party mood, complete with papier mâche representations of our goodselves. I am pleased to report these remain in our household. So hilarious, and strangely, so anatomically correct.150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0133

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0135150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0121

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0123

Then we boogied! Our first dance (which is a completely weird experience, let me tell you) was to Come and Get Your Love by Redbone, because every time we heard that song, we couldn’t help but dance.150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0137

I am a very earnest dancer. And singer-alonger, it seems.150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0138

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0139 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0140 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0141 150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0142

I cut some serious shapes, believe you me. We chose to hook up our laptop and used our own curated playlists for the evening. It was great, it was cheap and we had exactly the music we wanted, although if I did it again, I think I might have put a ‘no touchy’ sign on the laptop to stop people from skipping songs. Hey ho, again, a minor detail which had no real impact on the day.

150801_Sam+John_0168 150801_Sam+John_0194 150801_Sam+John_0345

I’m not sure if you can tell by my face (note: you totally can), that I was so delighted to have so much of my family there. We are all scattered all over the world, and it meant so much to have people who have known me for much longer than the five years I’ve been in England with me as I start this next phase of my life. I love my family.

150801_Sam+John_0421

We snuck off at a couple of moments for some quality husband/wife time, which I truly recommend, and we also got some more formal shots done, which I will share with you in the next couple of days.

My biggest take-away from the wedding reception was that Mr Hello and I are so totally loved. We’re loved by each other, by our families and by our deliciously wide circle of friends. What a better way to start a marriage.

Wedding Roundup: The Walk


150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0047

Very early on in our planning process, Mr Hello and I decided we wanted to walk down Rochester High Street to Sun Pier House. We envisaged a procession of the people we loved, celebrating with us and waving those ribbon sticks wildly.

English weather is predictably unpredictable, so we weren’t sure until the morning of the wedding whether it would really be possible. We had forewarned our guests though, with Mr H’s aunt even coming in walking boots!

150801_Sam+John_0160

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0048 150801_Sam+John_0161

On the day, however, the weather was amazing, and so post ceremony hugging, the majority of our guests wandered down with us. It was truly one of my favourite times of the day. Rochester High Street was bustling, and we came across a couple of friends whose cheers and congratulations were so wonderful to receive!

150801_Sam+John_0162 150801_Sam+John_0163 150801_Sam+John_0178 150801_Sam+John_0179

You might not believe me, but the photo above was genuinely not posed!

150801_Sam+John_0182 150801_Sam+John_0183

All in all, it took about 25 minutes to walk to Sun Pier – a little longer than we anticipated, but it was so worthwhile. I *did* get a tiny bit of sunburn on my nose (naughty Australian, naughty!) but it had faded by the evening.

I’m sure the memories of the walk, however, will last much longer!

Wedding Roundup: The Ceremony

The ceremony is quite literally, the main event of the day. The bit that most people feel the most nervous about. I can honestly say in my heart of hearts, that I did not feel remotely nervous about walking down the aisle towards Mr H.

I couldn’t have been looking forward to it more. What was strange, however, and especially so given my background in drama, is that the closer the wedding drew, the less I looked forward to having ‘all eyes on me’, so to speak. Perhaps I’m getting stage fright as I age.

When at last every hair was in place and every lip and cheek rouged, my delightful bridal party and I made our way, on foot, to the Rochester Guildhall for the ceremony. We couldn’t have been more blessed with the weather!

As with all of these wedding posts, these amazing photographs are by Hector of We Heart Pictures.

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0022

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0024

A dear friend of ours was married in our town a couple of years ago, and she mentioned that her favourite part of the day was walking along the High Street, with people congratulating her. I now know the feeling, and it truly is wonderful.

Wedding 0018 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Having arrived 20 minutes late, my dear father thought it would be hilarious to tell me that we were ‘way beyond fashionably late’. Thanks Dad.

Wedding 0022 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

We climbed the stairs and loitered attractively in the anteroom while the registrar ran through some last minute details with me.

Mr H and his family were already in the main chamber, and I really adore these candid shots of them, and our lovely nephew R entertaining his grandparents in the corner!

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0019

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0027

My Dad is notoriously hot, and this photo of my sister cooling him down is one of my favourites from the whole day. There’s a palpable sense of anticipation, don’t you think?

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0039

We’re not allowed confetti in Rochester, and so we improvised with ribbon sticks for our guests to wave in our faces in a celebratory manner. They were a hit with the kids, and continue to be a hit with many of the cats in the Rochester area, I’m told!

Mr H made a little wedding zine, which included the order of the day, some of our family history, the story behind our wedding rings – mine is antique, his is a family heirloom sized down from Z+1 to an R – as well as our decision to use my maiden name as our family name. We wanted to share these stories with our guests on the day, and they are now a lasting keepsake.

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0040

Before too long, the bridal crew were gathering on the small stairwell, waiting to enter. My bouquet was in one arm, with the other was tucked firmly in the crook of my father’s. I had time for perhaps one deep breath, before we were off down the aisle!

I approached the whole being ‘given away’ with a lot of thought. I don’t particularly like the historical connotations, and Mr H and I both liked the idea of walking in together. But at the end of the day, I very rarely get to share such special moments with my Dad, and so I am so pleased that we made the traditional decision. I have no regrets.

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0028

A sneaky wink – I have no recollection of doing this, but it’s a wonderful moment nevertheless!

Wedding 0022 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Wedding 0023 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0030

We were lucky enough to have two readings by wonderful friends. The first was Habitationby Margaret Atwood, read by my dear friend E. I couldn’t have asked for better! The second was an extract from the essay Knowing What’s Nice, by Kurt Vonnegut. I’ll link to  both here for posterity

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0031

By the time you reach the top of the aisle, some little gremlin grabs all the clocks in the world and starts spinning the hands faster – the time absolutely flies.

Before I knew it, we were saying our vows to one another, the vows we wrote together:

I promise to love and cherish the life we build together.

I will care for you, and help you to be the best person you can be.

I will enjoy you when it’s easy, and be loyal when it’s not.

This commitment I make to you for the  rest of my life.

There was the obligatory stumbling over certain words and names, but it was all heartfelt and full of love.

I felt very conscious of what I was doing, and I suppose the seriousness of the matter prevented me from getting choked up – I was fully expecting to be a sobbing mess, but instead some serene goddess replaced me! It felt like my voice was very loud. “Clear”, people said, “Your voice was very clear”, and that means loud. Ho hum.

Rings were presented, and a with momentary panic about swollen knuckles, exchanged. Then we were married!

150801_Sam+John_Slideshow_weheartpictures0041

Maximum ribbon stick action!

Wedding Roundup – Hair, Makeup & Getting Ready

Lo and behold! I’m still alive! I have finally recovered from the spiritual shock of a new year of full time teaching, and so now I have managed to pull together the inner strength to start regularly posting again. It is now time for full-on wedding posts.

Because this is my blog, I get to focus on…well…me…so I’m going to kick of my series of wedding roundups with the morning when the bridal party got ready.

Before we get stuck into all the photos, of which there are many. I want to remind you of a little company called We Heart Pictures. I introduced you to Hector and Charlie last year, and in all honesty, I cannot think of anyone who would have done a better job with our photos. We are so unbelievably happy. You’ll see why:

Wedding 0001 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Wedding 0002 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Wedding 0005 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Wedding 0008 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

It took me a little while to decide, but I eventually budgeted to have my makeup and hair done by the wonderful team at Lipstick & Curls. I am not going to lie, it was a big expense, but I thought for quite a long time about it before I committed. In the end, I decided it was worth it, as they’re a brand I know and trust, and there may not have been another occasion for which I could justify using them!

My stylist was Hannah, who was hilarious, patient and talented. If you’re lucky enough to meet her in the future, you’re in for a real treat. She was joined on the day by Anneka, who did the hair and makeup for my bridal party.

Wedding 0004 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

That morning, my Mama presented me with my “something blue”. It was a little blue box, from a tiny jewellery company called Tiffany & Co. You might have heard of them? The delicate heart bracelet you can see was my gift. I’ve taken to wearing it every day now.

My lovely sister and best friend N bought the whole group (even my bridesman S!) our robes as a surprise present. The soft cream jersey was actually quite comforting on the day, and the delicate embroidery on the sleeve was a lovely bridal detail. I’ve always loved the look of a bridal party wearing matching robes, so their thoughtful surprise made me give a squeal of delight!

Wedding 0040 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Wedding 0039 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

I truly loved having everyone get ready with me. It was exciting, but also a strangely calm morning. I had a stellar bunch of brides-people around me, proffering croissants and fresh coffee in my general direction whenever they had the chance. What more could a bride ask for?

Wedding 0038 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Wedding 0037 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Wedding 0036 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Wedding 0034 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

These photos also make me look at my house in a new light. The week before the wedding we had some plastering done (big mistake – don’t do it to yourself) and I had been feeling thoroughly fed up with the whole place. Seeing it look so charming in these photos, however, has won it a place in my good books once again.

Wedding 0033 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Wedding 0032 Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaDoesn’t my Mama have the most wonderful smile?

Wedding 0009 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Getting ready is evidently a very serious business. I had very serious eyebrows, and I loved every bit of them.

Even though we started before 9, we were all of a sudden running a little bit late! With a 10 minute walk into town ahead of us, it wasn’t long before I had to hop into my dress quick smart, with Hannah strategically arranging my hair clips and veil at the very last minute.

Wedding 0010 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

The big event awaited us!