Amy & Phil ♥ | Modern Mummy

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Amy & Phil ♥

The best day of my life.
Just over 3 years ago I married my best friend.  May 15th 2010, in Malone House Belfast.  

Everyone says getting married is the best day of your life.  On the lead up to the wedding I found this a lot of pressure.  I kept thinking ' this has to be the best day of my life'.  

I have always been a laid back girl.  I don't straighten my hair because I don't spend that amount of time on my appearance.  I lounge about in Phil's jumpers when I'm cold.  I have never owned a pair of heels in my life because I prefer comfort.  Planning a wedding didn't really suit me.   

When I was first engaged the thought of planning a wedding was exciting.  I bought the wedding magazines and cut ideas out and stuck them all in a special dedicated wedding scrap book.  I think I filled about 3 pages before I lost interest.  I found the choice overwhelming and a bit stressful to be honest.  

Where should I get married?  This is a complicated question in Northern Ireland.  Although neither Phil or I are particularly religious but we are from different community backgrounds. Both of us liked the idea of getting married in the church where we were raised but neither of us wanted to alienate the other family or make anyone feel uncomfortable.  We toured swanky hotels, museums and country estate house to find the perfect venue, after all, it had to be the best day of our lives.

What kind of dress should I get?  At the time I was getting married every shop was full of an array of strapless options.  I was not impressed.  Dresses were boned and corseted.  Satined and buttoned and sculpted within an inch of my life I would look in the mirror of the shop and barely recognise the girl looking back.  The women in the shop would gasp and say I looked wonderful, they were only doing their job but they were right, I looked bloody amazing, but I didn't look like me and a voice at the back of my head was telling me I would be miserable all day as I wouldn't be comfortable.  But should I just put up with it?  After all this had to be the best day of my life, ahem, our lives.

Then there is all the other details.  Roses or hydrangea for the bouquet? Or instead of flowers, a reclaimed jewellery bouquet?  What colour should the bridesmaid's wear?  Should I carry the theme through to the invites too?  What kind of cake will I get?  What should the men wear?  All these decisions are important, after all it has to be the best day of our lives.  

There came a point where I had to step away from the wedding magazines. I had to say no to wedding fairs.  I was filling my head with other peoples ideas of a perfect day.  This is when my perfect day started to come together.  

We went to see Malone House.  It is a city council owned property set in beautiful gardens.  It has a room upstairs for ceremonies where we could get married as well a large room downstairs for the meal and the dancing, a bar, and their own catering company on site to provide the wedding meal.  Everything in the one place appealed to me!  I loved the idea that our guests would arrive at the wedding and relax knowing they wouldn't have to find the next venue.  I loved that we wouldn't miss anything while we were getting our photos taken as the gardens were on site.  I loved that you could spot the occasional squirrel on grounds!
Instead of touring the swanky bridal boutiques featured in magazines I went to a small wedding dress shop tucked in side street in Newtownards that a friend recommended.  'The Wedding Box' was wonderful.  Alison who owns it pinpointed what I wanted immediately and there was no messing about.  She did not fluff dresses and tell me how wonderful I looked, she looked at my face and reacted to my reaction.  There were time when I walked out of the dressing room and she would say 'No! Not for you,' and she would spin me back into the dressing room for the next dress.  I ended up an off the rack sale item, but it was the most perfect dress I had tried on. I felt comfortable and pretty.  
All the other details just sort of came together.  We chose a dark garden green for the bridesmaid dress as it went with the bridesmaid's beautiful blonde hair.  We brought the colour to the florist and asked for her creative input, she put together a seasonal selection for the bouquet and for the table centre pieces, great!  I picked up some wedding pumps in the BHS sale for £9.00 and contacted a Jazz band that used to play at the local bar to play at the wedding party.  My husband DJs and used his lovely dj friends to play some tunes at the party too.  My mum sorted out the wedding cars.  Before I knew it the big day was upon us. 

I woke at my mums house to a hearty breakfast and a houseful of family.  The morning flew in with chatting and nerves and hustle and bustle.  Visitors called to give their well wishes, the makeup lady called to make us beautiful and we called to the hairdressers and before I knew it it was time to put on the dress.  Dressed and ready to go, car waiting at the bottom of the driveway, there was a crowd of well wishers to send me off.  Mum's friends from work, her friends from dancing club and neighbours were all taking photos and telling me how beautiful I looked.  Cars on the road slowed down to see us get in the car, they beeped and waved and shouted their congratulations.  I was a wonderful way to leave for the wedding.  
The 25 min drive to the venue was a blur but I remember the butterflies as we approached the entrance to Malone House.  As the shadows of the leaves fluttered over us on the sweeping drive the the entrance of the house I was amazed that this moment was here.  Everyone was waiting outside for me to arrive and it was so touching to see all my loved ones there dressed up and ready to celebrate with me and my soon to be husband.  They were ushered inside to take their seats and I got out of the car and made my way into the hall.  My veil was fluffed and my dress straightened and then there was a moment of quiet before we entered the ceremony room.

From outside the door I heard the music I had chosen, the doors opened and I was overcome by the beauty of the room.  The weather was beautiful and the sun was bursting through the period windows flooding the room with light, the flowers looked great and there were 80 of my closest friends and family turned to face me, faces beaming and taking photos as I waked down the aisle.  And there was Phil, it felt like so much had happened since I had left him the night before.  He was standing waiting for me and this was it, we are going to be married.  I cried the whole way down the aisle. 
The ceremony was wonderful, filled with readings from close ones and even a personalised song performed by a friend. 

It was followed by tea and shortbread in the beautiful gardens.  Congratulations were overflowing from all our loved ones and it hit me that the day was already disappearing too fast. I remember standing getting my photo taken in the garden and looking back to the house and seeing all the guests milling about and chatting dressed in their best the thinking that that would be a picture I would remember forever.  

The meal and speeches were flawless and before I knew it our evening guests were arriving. Our civilised country house type wedding decended into a blur of dancing, music, drinks and impromtu conga lines. 

I loved taking a step back and looking at everyone have a great night.  Phil and I made a pact to meet up every hour as so many people told us that they spent the whole night welcoming guests rather than spending it with their new spouse.  The lights were  switched on.  I couldn't believe that it was time to go.  It was over.  That was the best day of my life.  The best day of my life was over. 

The best day of my life had nothing to do with frills and colour coordination, flowers and lace.  It was down to the guests and dancing, the relaxed atmosphere and making that commitment to my best friend, to spend the rest of my life to him.  Everyone raised a glass to our happiness and were full of love, thats what made our day.

Amy blogs at Motherhood and Beyond and you can follow her on Twitter here xoxo

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