September 2013 | Modern Mummy

Monday, 30 September 2013

Ella & Rich ♥

Ella & Rich; A Neon Nuptial
Rich and I met at the end of my first year at University in Sheffield, in one of the city’s famous dark, dingy nightclubs, in the summer of 2001. We lived some extraordinarily fun-filled years before he proposed to me on the banks of the canal Singel in Amsterdam on our 4th anniversary. Whilst I was thrilled that he wanted to marry me, soon afterwards I got a sense of fear about what the wedding would look like and how these things worked. At the time, we had only been to one wedding each, whilst we were children, so we didn’t have a clue about wedding etiquette and what our different options were. I also felt very young to be getting married, with most of our friends young, free and single, we were going clubbing every weekend still, so we really didn’t want something too formal and traditional.

We took some time thinking about it and felt ever more clueless. I knew I really didn’t want a traditional white wedding, but maybe a beach wedding would be nice. Until we went on holiday to Cuba and caught some Speedo-clad Germans necking a British couples wedding reception champagne on their way back from the pool! We wanted something small, informal, and most of all fun for our friends and family, with hopefully a little sunshine, but what?!

One day my little sister revealed that she had been ordained on the internet “you know, like Joey off of friends”. If we got married in Vegas, she could marry us. ‘Vegas?!’ was my first thought, the town of drunken, tacky, last minute weddings clad in jeans and cowboy hats. But there was something that made me want to research more. We’d always wanted to go to the sin city, and we loved the USA as a holiday destination. Thankfully there are books written for people wanting a Vegas wedding, so off to Amazon I popped. Once that seed had been planted, there was no stopping me. Research revealed that Vegas had every type of wedding possible. If you wanted a traditional extravagant white wedding, whilst the Bellagio fountains serenaded you, it was possible. If you wanted to turn up after a big night out and pay $15 dollars for a drive-thru wedding at a little white chapel, it was possible. 

So, we decided a Vegas wedding it was. We set a date for our anniversary in eighteen months time and sent Vegas themed save the date cards out. We wanted to give our family and friends the opportunity to join us if they wanted to, but clearly we couldn’t afford to pay for them all, so we set it far enough in the future that hopefully they would be able to save up to do so.

After lots of research (including my Dad going for a jog around the shortlist of venues whilst he was there on business) we settled on The Little Chapel of the Flowers for our wedding venue, and Maggiano’s as our reception venue. As we were paying for the event ourselves, costs were an important factor to consider and these were pretty much the top recommended venues we could afford with our budget. The chapel had 3 different rooms in which we could get married, depending on look and size and we chose the La Capella, Venetian themed chapel. They offered various different packages for as little or as much as you wanted. We decided to go for the top package, which included the ceremony, flowers, photos, and limos. At the time we benefitted from a great exchange rate so we got all this for little more than some people pay for the wedding cake at an English wedding. They assigned us a Wedding Coordinator, who became a great email buddy over the coming months and who did an amazing job of organising our wedding for us from the other side of the world! We chose Maggiano’s as they were recommended for wedding functions, and had a lovely private room we could use located halfway between the chapel and our hotel. They also assigned us a wedding coordinator who arranged our menu, room and cake for us. We settled on a package which included a family-style banquet with 4 hours of unlimited booze included! This sounded perfect for us.

Once we had got the venues and bigger arrangements organised, it was time to think about the smaller wedding details. This was the bit that hurt my head. I remember sitting in a bar with my friend, who was also organising her wedding in Leeds, and she was worrying about the napkin holders not matching her chair covers. This was so far removed from my wedding plans, where I didn’t have a clue what both were going to look like and didn’t care! We just wanted to have a fun filled day for our friends and family who had invested a lot of time, money and effort to join us. We didn’t have a clue about wedding etiquette and politics, and we decided not to have best men or bridesmaids, as that felt more formal than we wanted. Fortunately, all of our immediate family and best friends decided to save up and come to the wedding. We were thrilled! That meant there would be 25 of us in Vegas together and it would be a proper party. Our dreams were coming true.

Next - wedding dress shopping. This filled with me with an impending sense of doom. I really, really, really did not want strapless or white. I wanted Temperley or Packham, but I could not afford either of those designers. I went to look around a few bridal shops in Leeds, where we had moved upon graduating, and mostly they gave me white and strapless to try on. The sense of doom was taking over. Fortunately I visited Scarlet Poppy in Pudsey, Leeds, and they advised I may want to consider taking a look at their bridesmaid selection if I wanted something more fun and informal. I tried on an emerald green Jim Hjelm creation which fitted the vintage Hollywood look I fancied and fell in love. Emeralds are my birth stone so it even felt a befitting colour. I tried it on with my mum and ordered it straight away – PHEW!

After that, I pretty much forgot about the wedding, concentrating on planning and organising our honeymoon. We had decided to go to South America after the Vegas wedding, and do the Inca Trail in Peru, before travelling around Brazil and Argentina, so this took up a lot of time and in some ways, was more exciting for us than planning the wedding. I had studied Hispanics at University so this was a dream come true to organise, places I had always wanted to visit.
Soon, 2008, our wedding year was upon us, and June quickly came around. I helped Rich choose his wedding attire, a chocolate brown linen suit, which I knew would complement my dress well. We had chosen the flowers, reception menu, and cake online. We selected our wedding music, reception decorations and wedding favours and we were pretty much good to go. We had our rings and outfits and packed them along with all kinds of other clothing to accommodate the various climates we were going to encounter during our trip which encompassed a Vegas summer and an Argentinean winter amongst other things!

When we arrived in Vegas, all we had to do to prepare for the wedding was drop a few things off at the restaurant and ensure the room was to be set up as we liked, which we did by limo! Part of our wedding package was a chauffeur driven trip to the County Clerk’s office downtown to pick up our marriage licence. It was so much fun seeing all the typical Vegas wedding couples turning up in their traditional attire picking up their licence on the way to a chapel, it suddenly made things feel real and so exciting!

On the day, we were getting married at 3pm, so we had a fabulous pool-side brunch with our family, before Rich and I went our separate ways to get ready at different ends of the Paris Hotel, my friend did my hair and I did my makeup.

The limo picked me, my best friend and the female members of our family up and made the short journey down the famous Las Vegas strip, it was only when we arrived at the chapel and I met the amazing pastor Doug that the nerves and adrenalin kicked in. As I walked down the aisle with my Dad, I could hear everyone sobbing into their handkerchiefs already! It was a simple yet fun and emotional civil service, which had everyone laughing and crying at the same time. The great thing was it was being broadcast live on the internet so our friends and family at home were having wedding pyjama parties all over England and felt like they were there with us! So no one really missed out. 

Part of the reason we chose the Little Chapel of the Flowers was because of it’s beautiful outside space. It has gorgeous gardens with gazebos, fountains and the chapel itself is so pretty, so we spent some time having photos taken, whilst our friends and family tried to escape the scorching Vegas sun!

Then we all piled into limos and made our way to Maggianos. The room looked absolutely beautiful with its candlelight and wooden panelling, and the table at the end was already laid out with the cakes and desserts NOM! It was bright and sunny but most of all it was private and beautiful so we all got started on the absolutely mammoth Italian feast that we had before us. The food was absolutely amazing and everyone was thrilled that they could be served any drink they liked at their seats free of charge!

We got so involved with enjoying the day with our loved ones that we had to be reminded to do simple wedding stuff, like our first dance (accompanied on guitar and violin by two very cute little old Italian-American guys to the tune of Nat King Coles ‘When I Fall in Love’), cut the cake and me throw my bouquet! We had three very short speeches by my Dad, Rich and me (always got to get the last word in), before piling into yellow cabs to up the Eiffel Tower at our hotel and watch the famous Bellagio Fountains from above. It was a beautiful way to end the day, and we got so many complements and congratulations from everyone in the casino! 

The wedding day was everything we wanted. It was simple yet beautiful and the wedding coordinators enable us to forget meaningless (to us) details like decorations and logistics to concentrate on the really important things like our vows, the music, the food and our loved ones! 

Everyone still says it was the best wedding they’ve been too, so fun but so emotional. I would really recommend anyone to think about a Vegas wedding, it can be as luxurious or as tacky as you like, and I like to think of the town as Disneyland for adults. We loved it and have already returned with our friends. We had the best honeymoon (although camping for the first time EVER in a tent at the top of the Andes was quite a shock after the luxuries of Vegas) and returned to England after a month away having had the time of our lives and achieved everything we really wanted to.

That was five years ago now, and we’ve had a really emotional few years. A few months after the wedding, my Mum was diagnosed with cancer, something she fought for as long as she could before sadly passing away in 2011. I am so thrilled that we were able to have the wedding of our dreams before she got ill, and I know she loved the week as much as we did. I just feel so sad still that she won’t be able to see my siblings do the same. In early 2012 we discovered I was pregnant and Elliott Ivan was born, all 10lb8oz of him, in November last year. 

Elliott has given us all a new lease of life since Mum passed away, and he is certainly the best thing that ever happened to me and Rich. He is a gorgeous funny little fella that has changed and improved our lives beyond all recognition. Now and then though, I still look back to that day in 2008 and think about all the fun we had in Vegas with the most important people in our lives and how it started our marriage perfectly!

You can follow Ella on Twitter here xoxo

Friday, 27 September 2013

Maddie & Doug ♥

Mr & Mrs Sinclair

Fancy a fancy fancy dress wedding?

Hello Modern Mummy readers! Thanks so much for having me and my weirdly wonderful wedding story. I hope you enjoy it! Here goes…

I got proposed to by Doug in 2007 in Kerala, Southern India, at dinner in front of my entire family who we’d met there on holiday. It was so romantic. Doug got down on bended knee… and then got back up again. No one could see him over the table. He’s a little bit on the vertically challenged side, you see. He didn’t have a ring, but that was OK, as he knows I have quite… um… ‘different’ tastes, and he wouldn’t have had a clue where to start anyway.

When we started discussing the wedding, I had three things I wanted:

1.   For the day (and night) to be ultra memorable – not just in the way that everyone says it… but one where there was absolutely no way that any wedding guest would ever get our wedding mixed up with someone else’s in their memory bank. Ours was going to be rip-roaringly 100% unique!

2.  It had to be fun and informal – no stuffy hymns or cringeworthingly sincere admissions – that’s just not us. Neither of us (or any of our family members) are religious, so it was most definitely going to be a secular occasion.

3.  It had to be cheap to attend – we didn’t want anyone to have to worry about accommodation costs if they didn’t want to – people were travelling from all over, so we didn’t want people to have to spend a small fortune in order to come.

I’m still not quite sure how I managed to get this one through without even a raised eyebrow or a mild pursed-lip grimace (I guess that just goes to show how well matched we really are!), but Doug agreed to my idea of a fancy dress wedding immediately. Hooray!

We chose the theme of ‘Best of British/All Things Aussie’ (with me being an Aussie and Doug being British) and we couldn’t have chosen a better one! We held the wedding at Coombes Farm near Steyning in West Sussex, using their huge barn for the formal bits.

For the ceremony, I wore a proper wedding dress (Ian Stuart, Pompadour, in a blush pink colour), and Doug wore a suit, (although all our guests were in fancy dress for the whole event). We got changed to join them after the official business was over.
 Charlene & Angus cut the cake!

I was Charlene from Neighbours on her wedding day (yes, hideous white lacy 1980s taffeta dress with puffy sleeves, white Baby’s Breath flowers in my blonde corkscrew perm wig, and a spanner – she was a mechanic after all) and Doug went as Angus Young from Aussie band AC/DC (we got a brilliant props tailor in London to make him a maroon velvet school boy’s uniform, plus I got him a mullet wig and red inflatable electric guitar to top off the look).

 Kath from Kath & Kim eating fish & chips 
with Dame Edna Everage and Ginger Spice

Walking down the aisle was probably the most surreal experience of my life – on my right a Womble was conversing with Dame Edna Everage, and a Box Jellyfish and Great White Shark were happily chatting to their arch enemy, a Bondi Lifesaver, while a whole family of 118 men with moustaches looked on.

On my left, Peter Andre and Jordan were in a heated debate with Margaret Thatcher, and Bananaman was hugging a Qantas Air Hostess while four Sergeant Pepper-era Beatles helped each other with their wigs.

We had a couple that went as Marmite and Vegemite and their kids went as Toast. There were quite a few celebrities, including Amy Winehouse and Blake, Ozzy Osbourne, ex-Aussie Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, Ainsley Harriott, Chopper Read and Ginger Spice, and even a husband and wife pair of country fox hunters.

 More tea vicar?

We tried to create a fun Possie (Pom + Aussie) mini-festival vibe. We had a Vicar’s Tea Party with cricket and croquet, a Punch & Judy show for the kids, hired a Fish & Chip van for lunch, had Aussie Bush Dancing in the barn, followed by a meat raffle and an Aussie BBQ for dinner.

We had my lovely friend Baz crooning some of our favourite songs and even had a Rolf Harris impersonator, although we had to drag him off stage early because a) he was bloody terrible, b) he had a Brummie accent, and b) he was a little bit creepy – all this made even weirder in the light of recent Operation Yewtree investigations. Hmmm.

To add to the festival feel, everyone got to pitch their tents in a huge adjacent field, so no one had to worry about accommodation, or not being able to have a few bevvies because they had to drive. Doug and I hired a tipi complete with furniture and animal hides, as we aspired to a bit of glamping for our wedding night.

To make it an even more true-to-life festival experience, it absolutely pelted it down that night from about midnight onwards as a massive storm came overhead, and I don’t think my (new) father-in-law had closed the tipi properly. Doug and I had to snuggle down huddled and shivering under the animal hides to stay warm because our duvet was soaking, complete with a water drip melodically dribbling smack bang between the two of us. It wasn’t exactly the romantic evening you envisage for your wedding night, but hey ho, it was our romantic evening (and much more ‘us’ than rose petals and scented candles).

 Our crazy wedding party

So, there you go – our perfect day. Fab from start to finish. I vaguely contemplated becoming a Wedding Planner afterwards because I enjoyed the organising side of it so much, but then I remembered my massive Rolf Harris hiring faux pas and put that idea firmly to rest. Forever.

Maddie blogs at Gammon and Chips and you can follow her on Twitter here.xoxo


Thursday, 26 September 2013

Lynsey & Martin ♥

From the beginning -

When Martin proposed in the South of France I knew I'd want to head home to the motherland to tie the knot. Ok, so I'd had it planned from our first date (but he doesn't need to know that).

It poured with rain for the rest of or stay in France, giving us loads of time to think about guests, venues etc.

Once back in London the plans began, we knew we didn't want to hang around so planned to marry within 10 months. We flew to Scotland to venue hunt. When we arrived at Taychreggan Hotel on the shore of Loch Awe, we knew we'd found the one. It was perfect in every way!! Small, intimate and remote with  stunning views.

Being a journalist Martin was in charge of organising photography, it was also a huge priority of his. He chose the fabulous Team Thompson from Glasgow, a husband and wife team specialising in wedding photography. From our first conversation we knew Ken's style was exactly what we were looking for, very relaxed, non intrusive and natural.

A family affair -

I'm not one for themes but I did have a "look" I was aiming for. Pretty, plenty of flowers, soft and feminine, with little hints of our personalities. With the help of our fabulous families I think we pulled it off on the day.

My sister was roped in to bake, she made beautiful cupcakes, with the odd fresh flower on the stand to continue the look. As a nod to my career as a nanny, our stand was topped with a Lego bride and groom. I've been told they were delicious, they were all gone before I could get my hands on one.

Martins wonderful and very talented mum was in charge of flowers. I wanted lots of flowers but without fuss. We chose to decorate our venue with jam jar and glass bottle displays. Our families were munching jam on toast, washed down with milk for months!! I was delighted with the result and received lots of compliments.

The big day -

Our families had travelled for miles to our very remote venue, it was wonderful to be surrounded by everyone we loved and wanted to share our special day with.  Including best man Tom, all the way from Sydney.

Stepping out of the car to the sound of bagpipes made my skin prickle with excitement. I couldn't wait to reach the end of the (grassy path) aisle and be stood beside my groom.  On my dads arm, surrounded by my gorgeous nephews and godson, looking fabulous in their mini kilts, and my beautiful flower girl, Evie, We headed towards my future and my happiness. We stood at the shore of the loch with our guests huddled around us, the service was incredible and so very moving. We were beaming from ear to ear. As we walked back up the aisle as husband and wife, we couldn't believe we had pulled it off and more importantly the rain had stayed away!!

After a delicious meal it was time to ceilidh. The Midgies were our band of choice and they didn't let us down. The dance floor was packed, the music was outstanding and our non-Scottish guests took to the ceilidh with gusto. The dressing up box went down a storm, afro wigs and inflatable guitars all round!! I had no idea so many of our friends had rock star alter ego's.

We didn't want the day to end but happy memories and photographs keep our special day alive. Jetting off to tour California, very quickly gave us something else to look forward to!!

All the best with your special day, Katy. All the stress, hard work and prep will all be worth it as you step down the aisle. Enjoy every second - the day is all about you and your future husband!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Ange & Kieran ♥

Hello! I am Ange and I'm usually found blogging about makes and craft at This is Wiss. When Modern Mummy asked for guests to write about their wedding day I jumped at the chance. It is nearly three years since I got married but to my shame I still haven't got round to getting the wedding book printed up - all the photos, mementos and messages are all still in a box. One day, I will get round to it, I promise! But before then I can share it all here...

Kieran and I had been together for 8 years when we got married, plus we had a 9 month old son. We both decided very early on that we wanted our wedding day to be relaxed, and having a baby to look after meant that we couldn't get too hung up on all the preparations anyway! We wanted the day to be special (who doesn't?!) and fun. Oh, and Kieran said it HAD to be in South London, as he gets a nose bleed if he goes 'up North'!
So we got married at Camberwell Registry Office, and had the reception at The Prince Regent pub in Herne Hill. We arranged for a vintage double-decker bus to collect our guests at London Bridge station, drop them off in Camberwell and then take us all on to Herne Hill. Well, that was plan but the bus was very old, and it had a few problems starting so there was a mad dash for taxis at London Bridge. Luckily the bus was soon fixed and it joined us after the ceremony to take us on to the pub. Phew!  

We wanted our wedding to have lots of personal touches, and we started with the invitations. We made these ourselves by photographing a couple of scaled people (I'm a modelmaker by day) painted to look like us (?) We had a 'Save the Date' card, and one invitation for the ceremony and lunch, and another for the evening reception.

Our friends are really important to us - I think living in London, where you get lots of people from all over the place, friends often become more like family. We were touched that so many of our friends wanted to be involved in the organisation and preparations. Liz made the cake, a delicious and HUGE carrot and orange cake; Kate made the cheese biscuits, 'A' and 'K' ones, as well as coming to Covent Garden Flower Market with my brother and I to buy as many orange flowers as we could! Lisa sorted out the rings for us, Jo found my beautiful bracelet, and Marc was the DJ. Hannah read after the ceremony, organised my hen do and her mum made my bouquet, while Ren helped me find the dress and gave invaluable advice. (Something I learned by myself though: don't wear big black Primark pants when you plan to try on wedding dresses!)

I had originally planned for my friend Beth's mum to make my dress, but while out shopping for the fabric Ren persuaded (pestered) me to try on some instead. I was not keen on this as a.) I am not really one for big, fussy dresses and b.) I had big, black Primark pants on. However, we found ourselves in a fancy shop with a very helpful assistant. I scanned the dresses and picked the plainest, most simple dress so that I could try it on quickly and then get out. I was not expecting to like it, let alone love it but... it was perfect! It was also in the sale and the only one they had left was my size. Even more perfect! I had no idea what a Lanvin dress was at the time, only that I had just bought one for more money than I had ever planned to spend. Oops! (The back of the dress is stunning as it falls from the shoulder blades into a low 'V' but you'll have to take my word for it as I can't find any pictures of my behind!)

It was a fantastic day with all our friends and close family around us - some came from France, most came from South London and my brother flew in from Australia to give me away. Poor little Lewis had a high temperature that day and really wasn't himself but he was happy enough with cuddles from Nana Daisy and Kieran and I were able to spend the night in a hotel - my first night ever away from my baby!

We have so many great photos from the day that I'll let them do the talking. Here is the day in snapshots:

 I think this one needs explaining - we were doing Baby Led 
Weaning and I was sitting next to Lewis. I didn't want to take any chances 
with his mucky hands and my dress so I put this poncho on while he ate! 

Date: 09.10.10
Venue: Camberwell Registry Office and The Prince Regent Pub, Herne Hill
Guests: 50 for the ceremony and lunch, 50 more for the evening reception
1st Dance: You are the Sunshine of My Life by Stevie Wonder
Last Dance: Finally by Kings of Tomorrow
Wedding night: Hilton Docklands, London
Honeymoon: a week in Cornwall (with the boy!)

Thank you Katy for letting me share my wedding day with your readers. I am loving reading all about everyone’s big day during this series and I can't wait to hear all about yours soon. Good luck with all your final preparations and enjoy it!

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