Our Wedding Day

Once upon a time a little girl called Kimberley was born, and in a land far far away a little boy called Michael was born a few months after. Little did they know that one day they would meet, on New Year’s Eve 2010, and that they would quickly become inseparable. This is the culmination of that story into a wonderful day filled with love, laughter, and plenty of soppy moments. Our dream wedding at Hengrave Hall.

We had the most beautiful flowers throughout our wedding, by Daisy Ellen. They were a dream come true and really made the whole event feel like a Wedding to me. To make the parents feel included and extra special, we also got them some boutonnieres.

My Mom kept this pillow from her own and her sister’s wedding especially for mine.

I had my very own Cinderella moment.

 

Our venue and caterers (who acted as wedding planners on the day) were an absolute dream! Hengrave Hall is fully restored and every corner is breathtaking. We had so many guests who were impressed throughout, and we loved being able to have exclusive use of the entire venue for 2 nights. It felt like a once-in-a-lifetime weekend away. In addition, as they are primarily a wedding venue the team are epitome of warm and professional, solving any problem that arose without Michael or I having to help once. We only found out afterwards that raising the glass domes was a bit tricky! We could not thank them enough.

Our Maid of Honour and Best Man were our rocks that day, and every day. We are so very lucky to have such friends in our lives.

Our organist, Patrick Friend, learnt our Bridal March especially for us. Most of the traditional music didn’t feel special or unique to us. But you know what did bring tears to our eyes every time we heard it? Neville’s Waltz by Patrick Doyle.

Our celebrant, Tina Hayward, crafted a ceremony personal to us. Instead of a sermon, we had the story of how we met and gotten engaged. She also asked us in advance some questions on why we were getting married and what we loved about each other, and included our answers in the ceremony. Turns out answers were pretty in sync!

My brother Quincy did a reading from Les Miserables, as the musical is one of our favourites. We thought that the passage we chose described our thoughts on love much more poetically than we could have.

‘Les Misérables’ by Victor Hugo:

The future belongs to hearts even more than it does to minds. Love, that is the only thing that can occupy and fill eternity. In the infinite, the inexhaustible is requisite.

Love participates of the soul itself. It is of the same nature. Like it, it is the divine spark; like it, it is incorruptible, indivisible, imperishable. It is a point of fire that exists within us, which is immortal and infinite, which nothing can confine, and which nothing can extinguish. We feel it burning even to the very marrow of our bones, and we see it beaming in the very depths of heaven.

What a grand thing it is to be loved! What a far grander thing it is to love! The heart becomes heroic, by dint of passion. It is no longer composed of anything but what is pure; it no longer rests on anything that is not elevated and great.

An unworthy thought can no more germinate in it, than a nettle on a glacier. The serene and lofty soul, inaccessible to vulgar passions and emotions, dominating the clouds and the shades of this world, its follies, its lies, its hatreds, its vanities, its miseries, inhabits the blue of heaven, and no longer feels anything but profound and subterranean shocks of destiny, as the crests of mountains feel the shocks of earthquake. If there did not exist someone who loved, the sun would become extinct.

 

We tried to choose upbeat hymns that everyone would know and could sing.

The First Hymn:

Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising.
Give me joy in my heart, I pray.
Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising.
Keep me praising till the break of day.

[Refrain] Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
sing hosanna to the King of kings!
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
sing hosanna to the King!

Give me peace in my heart, keep me resting.
Give me peace in my heart, I pray.
Give me peace in my heart, keep me resting.
Keep me resting till the break of day.

[Refrain]

Give me love in my heart, keep me serving.
Give me love in my heart, I pray.
Give me love in my heart, keep me serving.
Keep me serving till the break of day.

[Refrain]

Give me love in my heart, keep me burning.
Give me love in my heart, I pray.
Give me love in my heart, keep me burning.
Keep me serving till the break of day.

[Refrain]

Give me love in my heart, keep me resting.
Give me love in my heart, I pray.
Give me love in my heart, keep me resting.
Keep me serving till the break of day.

[Refrain]

 

We then exchanged our vows, which included personal vows that Michael and I had written for each other.

The Bride’s Vows:

Michael. You are my best friend, my favourite person, and the love of my life.

We have both changed so much since we first met 7 years ago, but we have always grown together. Walking through life side by side, hand in hand. I love every part of who you have been, who you are today, and who you will be.

And thus I promise to always continue growing side by side with you, in time with you. To always tell you how much I love you, every time I feel or think of it. To always be appreciative of the joy you bring to my life. To always love you, be in love with you, and be your best friend. Forever and always.

The Groom’s Vows:

My beautiful Kim,

In Harry Potter there’s something called the unbreakable vow which is a vow that, when made with another person, would cause one to die if broken. That’s how I feel making this vow to you today. I would rather die than break the vows I am about to make.

My unbreakable vow to you is to always be with you, not just for the rest of our lives, but beyond. To always love and cherish you and to jump in to every new adventure that presents itself.

I vow to never stop loving the small things, like cuddling while watching tv or coming home to the washing up done! It’s the small acts of love that fill our hearts daily and I intend to make sure yours is always overflowing.

 

It was followed by a reading from my youngest brother, Jeremy. We chose a passage from Winnie The Pooh, as it describes how we feel about each other perfectly -and because my nickname for Jeremy has been ‘Winnie The Pooh’ since he was a baby!

‘Winnie the Pooh’ by A.A. Milne:

‘If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.’
Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. ‘Pooh?’ he whispered. ‘Yes, Piglet?’
‘Nothing,’ said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. ‘I just wanted to be sure of you.’
‘We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet.
‘Even longer,’ Pooh answered. ‘If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together…there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.’

It was also followed by a second hymn.

The Second Hymn:

[Refrain] All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

[Refrain]

The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.

[Refrain]

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden:
He made them every one.

[Refrain]

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

[Refrain]

“You may kiss the bride!” – Tina Hayward

Our Leaving March (Hogwarts’ March by Patrick Doyle) was also special to us, and Patrick Friend did a great job with it on the organ.

The petal throwing almost didn’t happen as we had left the box of petals at home -a good two hour drive away from the venue! However, some amazing friends stepped up to the plate and saved the day!

We managed to get a couple of shots with everyone! And now on to the cocktail reception…

England was in the midst of a heatwave so we had gotten an ice cream tricycle to cool everyone down.

We snuck away for a couple of photos, before being called to dinner.

I’ve never been one for rules and traditions if they don’t make sense to me, so we broke with tradition when it came with the speeches. Michael was a bit anxious about his speech (although everyone said he was a real natural, of course!) so we divided up what would normally be the Groom’s speech between us.

The Bride’s Speech:

We’re finally married! WOOHOO! It’s only taken us 7 years of dreaming and 2 years of planning to get here, but we’ve achieved it. We’re married. We’ve gotten our loved ones from all over the world together in one place. Phew! That was such a mission!

So with that I would like to start by thanking Michael, for all your help behind the scenes. For helping me work until 1 AM on printing and gluing our Orders of Service. For listening to me rant and calming me down when things went wrong. For always reminding me why we decided to plan to a wedding that had to work logistically to host guests from 4 different countries, who spoke 2 different languages, and all of which had different traditions. You try figuring out that table plan! Don’t, it involved alot of post-its, 4 hours, and countless revisions.

But Michael, I don’t just love you because you are my support system and we’re a team. I also love your smile and the way your eyes are always full of love. I love how you know me so well that I can trust that your surprises will always be ones that I will like (and we all know how I hate surprises!). I love people with my whole heart and you are the only one who can never get enough. My love for you is as infinite and epic as in any of my favourite books, where I would tear apart the world to get you back, but also every day, as I love every little bit of our life together.

And why did we do it, you ask? Because of you! Because of all the friends and family we so rarely get to see. For my Grandpa and Grandma from America, who haven’t been to England in 11 years. For my Grandma Michou, who surprisingly stayed at Hengrave Hall for a summer when she was a teenager and it was still a convent! For Michael’s Dad, whom we love very much. For our friends and family from all over the world. We love you each and everyone of you!

As J.K. Rowling once wrote “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”

So thank you. Thank you all for coming all this way to celebrate with us. Thank you to Michael’s parents for being there to support us, and for being my second family when I get a bit lonely and miss mine.

Thank you to my bridesmaids for supporting me when I’ve been down. Olivia F, you have been there for me since you were born. I have missed you every day since you moved to Arizona. Sophie, we have travelled Europe together and spent all our money on books since school. I am so happy that you have found your own special person and will be getting married next year. Rashida, thank you for always being so much fun to hang out with. And my Maid of Honour Olivia N, thank you for always being the voice of reason and such a great support. I can’t imagine my life without you in it.

And finally, thank you Mom and Dad for helping us host this monumental event. You have always treated Michael as a family member from day one. It means alot to me, as he is as much a part of me as my love of rabbits and books. And your generosity has helped us make all of this happen and all of these people we love come together. Merci.

The Groom’s Speech:

Some people, like Albus Dumbledore, could get away with saying just a few words like ‘Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!’

Alas, I can’t get away with that.

Kim. Firstly, you looking stunning today! But then I say that everyday! You’ve done an amazing job pulling everything, and everyone, together to make today so wonderful. Along the way, there’s been a lot of headaches and late nights sticking wings on to keys, but it’s been worth it! Well done, my amazing wife!

2758 days ago (who’s counting?), it was clear from when we first met that we shared a passion for Harry Potter and that’s been reflected today. Although we come from different backgrounds, we have a lot in common and to me, a quote from JK Rowling, sums us up pretty perfectly. “Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open”.

I don’t think anyone could argue that your heart is always open. One of the many things I love about you is your bubbly and open personality which has attracted everyone to you. Just looking around today, you can see the proof of that. You have friends here from every stage of your life. From pre-school, from school, from university, and from every one of your jobs. Wherever you go you make new best friends.

Your love, passion, creativity and refusal to grow up have and will always inspire me to live my best life.

You’ll always find me waiting for you on platform 9 3/4, awaiting a train to our own magical adventure.

Now everyone, in the wise words of Remus Lupin, “eat, you’ll feel better”.

My family loves to do speeches, so we not only had the best man’s speech we also had my Dad, Mom, two brothers, and my uncle/godfather.

Everyone was shocked that my Dad managed to keep it together and deliver his speech without aide -he normally starts getting too emotional after a couple of lines!

My Mom’s speech referenced all the Disney films and fairytales I love so much.

The best man’s speech was sweet and respectful.

“But now, all joking aside. I knew Kim was the one when I saw how Michael looked at her… A way I’d only ever seen him look once before. And to this day, I still regret not picking that triple chocolate fudge cake. So when a man looks at a woman the same way we looked at that fudge cake, well that’s nothing short of true love.” -Andy

My uncle Bruno surprised me with a collage of pictures of Michael and I, to break the language barrier. It made me very emotional.

My brothers did a quick skit at my expense.

Our cake was made by one of my best friends, Panayiota Ttofi, and decorated with flowers provided by our florist. It was a delicious 5 tier cake with layers of victoria sponge, toffee, and double chocolate. It is so good that we still have people coming over to our flat, a month later, to have some more! Even my health-conscious brother!

We snuck away for a couple more photos, just before it came time for dancing!

We danced to a song from Sleeping Beauty, as I have some pretty hilarious videos of me as a kid dancing to it.

Michael then passed me along to my Dad for us to get the party started! We danced along to Bamboleo by Gipsy Kings.

Everybody loved our playlist and we got alot of messages the next day from guests saying they had never danced so much! It was quite difficult for us to merge Michael’s preference for Rock and Metal with my preference for Indie and Pop, so we went for a complete mix of throwback songs.

And they lived happily ever after…

 

Our Suppliers:

Venue: Hengrave Hall | Caterer: Milsoms | Ice Cream Tricycle: Pure White Events | Photographer: Justine Ferrari | Videographer: Steve Hood | Celebrant: Tina Hayward | Florist: Daisy Ellen | Cake: Ttofi Cakes | Organist: Patrick Friend | DJ: Dreamwave Events | Petal Confetti: Shropshire Petals | Makeup and Hair: Patricia Soper | Dress: David’s Bridal | Shoes: ASOS (both the heels and ballerina flats) | Bride’s Squad Robes: Boohoo | Ties: Turnbull and Asser | Personalised Flasks: Etsy | Cake Topper: Etsy | Personalised Candle Favours: Etsy | Table Numbers: Etsy |

 

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