You may have noticed that I've been a little quiet over the last month or so. I'm normally on twitter far too much & Instagram more than anybody cares to see. However about 6 weeks ago Ken & I decided that after nearly 8 years together, a dog, two children, and a mortgage that we would get married.
I've never been the kind of girl who dreamt of a big white wedding. In fact I've always been very cynical about it all. However now we have our family, we both liked the idea of marriage as a way of celebrating all that we have achieved together & providing that bit of extra security for our Children. But the reality was that we didn't think we would feel any different afterwards. We were both keeping our surnames & we already live as a family unit in our shared home. However I think we've both been surprised by how the simple act of marriage has had a profound effect on us. It really is rather beautiful only matched by the feeling we both had when we met our children for the first time. It's like looking at the person you love with fresh eyes.
Anyway we set about planning a very little & very 'us' secret wedding. Spending lots of money on a wedding seemed wrong now that we have the needs of our children to consider & a mortgage to pay, but that didn't mean we would compromise on what we wanted. We already had Niamh's christening planned for Sunday 10th August, so it made total sense to get married the Saturday before; so that we could then tell everybody else & celebrate with our extended family & friends without the pomp & grandure of a 'big day'. Also that weekend was the balloon fiesta in Bristol. It's our favourite time of year in Bristol & something we attend as a family every year....so of course that's what we wanted to do after our ceremony! A Prosecco picnic with a funfair, plane displays, hot air balloons & fireworks to entertain our guests. Not bad for a tiny wedding huh! ;)
Once we had decided, within 5 days the venue was booked, my dress was purchased, flowers were arranged & rings were chosen. It's amazing how much easier it is to plan a wedding when nobody else knows! However we both decided we wanted the people closest to us there. So once everything was arranged & we had officially given notice of marriage we gave our parents, sisters, and best friends a few weeks notice that we were getting hitched. There we're swear words from my mother & confused faces from Ken's family, but everybody seemed happy for us.....if a little put out at having so little time to pick an outfit.
We spent the next few weeks planning & shopping for the big weekend. I can confirm that having a wedding & christening on the same weekend is a lot of work & a bit stressful! However it was great cover too as nobody questioned what we were planning or doing.
I ordered my dress from Fever as I saw it on sale (£45 for a wedding dress anybody?!). Ken also bought his outfit without much fuss. The only problem we really had was finding plain rose gold wedding bands that would be ready in 4 weeks! Apparently rose gold isn't a very common choice for wedding rings, but we had our hearts set on it. Thankfully after searching for ages we found what we were looking for & they rushed the order through so we would have them in time for the day.
In the final days before the wedding, having seen the weather forecast become wetter & wetter I made the last minute purchase of wellies & an umbrella to match my outfit in the superstitious hope that if I had them it wouldn't rain. That didn't quite work out, but I was certainly glad i had them!
The night before the wedding we all drove to pick up our cakes for the big day from Sheila at Mrs Pinney's pantry. Sheila like myself is a self-employed mum who I met through twitter. She created the official cakes for Gromit unleashed & is a super talented cake decorator. We did a skills swap & exchanged her beautiful cakes for knitting lessons. They were the most amazing cakes & once again we're perfect for our day. All of the balloons from that night's ascent were flying just above her house to land as we arrived. It was amazing & Henry was so excited as waved to them pass us.
I stayed at my best friends house with Niamh & Ken stayed at home with Henry. We were all awake early on the Saturday. The boys were woken up by dozens of hot air balloons passing over our house (a rather perfect start to our day) and I was woken up as usual by a hungry Niamh wanting milk & cuddles. It was strange as I have only been away from Henry for 5 nights since he was born. All of those nights were spent in hospital so I didn't have a choice; but a quick FaceTime call with the boys assured me that he was absolutely fine without me.
I was cooked a delicious breakfast of blueberries pancakes & then headed out to pick up the flowers. I had contacted Vicki at Sweet Lavender Blue
as I love her style & once again wanted to support another work at home Mama. She made my flower crown, posey & Ken's button hole using brightly coloured wild flowers. I adored them & really think they were perfect! I wanted the flowers to have an informal beauty to them to match our day & I really think that's exactly what she created. I cannot recommend Vicki enough!
It was then time to head back to Sarah's flat to shower & get ready. It seemed like we had forever until we had to leave, so I calmly wrote out my vows, painted my nails....but then all of a sudden my nerves started to set in as I realised that I had to be at the church in 2 hours!! I dressed Niamh & started my make-up, but after smudging my eyeliner I panicked! I had a freak out that I wasn't going to be ready & would show up looking a state! Thankfully Sarah is great in a crisis & got me to calm down and my sister arrived to look after Niamh. I think I would've probably still be running around in my underwear,wailing if they hadn't stepped in with a tequila & a voice of reason!
I redid my make-up without the smudged eyeliner & Sarah did my hair for me. We all got dressed in record time & raced to the car. Despite thinking we would be late we arrived at the registry office bang on time!
The first few minutes there were a blur of hugs & excitement before everybody else was sent to take their seats. Henry & I then went in to meet the registrar & answer their questions. It was really funny as when the registrar asked if my name was Kimberlee Daly, Henry announced loudly 'Nooooo! It's mummy!' Then when I was asked my age Henry interrupted to tell her 'my name is Henry & I'm 3 years old.' When she didn't write it on the marriage certificate like she had with my information he looked put out & said 'write it down then!' It was the light relief I needed as I was starting to feel quite nervous.
Then it was time to get married. Henry danced me down the aisle to Carole King's 'Where you lead'. He really gave it his all as he shimmied, wriggled & grooved his way to the front of the room with me dancing along behind him! It was amazing & had everybody cheering & clapping him along.
Anybody who knows me, knows that I'm not romantic in the slightest & not one for tears. However I cried like a baby as we said our personal vows to each other. It really was amazing to stand in front of our closest family & friends and show them how we feel about each other. Normally I'm the first person to roll my eyes at public displays of affection, but I'll blame the tequila I drank before the ceremony! Both of our vows focused not only on how we felt about each other, but about how important our children are to us & how hard we work for our family. My parents divorced when I was 6 years old in rather explosive fashion & as a result it's so important to me that my children have a stable, calm & happy family life. Our marriage feels like the final step in not only unifying us as a family, but providing that extra stability for Henry & Niamh.
As you can see, after the ceremony we took lots of pictures (the joy if being the last ceremony of the day....nobody to rush you along!).I love that Henry & Niamh are in the pictures with us & were so involved. I know we haven't done things in the conventional order, but it was so lovely to share our day with our children. It really did feel like it was their day too. I guess marriage means something else once you have children. It's not the start of our new life together in the 'traditiona'l sense, but a celebration of our union & the tiny people it has resulted in. Henry thought the confetti was amazing & Niamh enjoyed the endless stream of cuddles!
After a quick drink at the Thistle hotel kindly bought by my Dad we all then headed off to the balloon fiesta. This is where the day has a slight hiccup. As soon as we arrived as Aston Court the heavens opened! Luckily we were as prepared as we could be but setting up gazebo & a picnic isn't easy in the rain! I am so grateful to my family & best friends for carrying all the food & gazebo in the rain to meet us.....that's love for you folks!
Despite the odd rain shower (or epic downpour!) it really was a lovely afternoon! We drank lots of Prosecco, ate all of our favourite foods ( including delicious custard tarts from Harts Bakery) & laughed with all of our favourite people.
Don't get me wrong; we would have loved for a warm summers evening (like every other evening we'd experienced the previous month) but in some ways the rain made the day more memorable. It seemed to create a real commradery among everybody & actually helped create a really fun atmosphere. Everybody was chatting & laughing (even my parents & that is a BIG deal!) which was exactly what we had hoped for.
We crawled into bed that night totally exhausted but buzzing! The day was about Ken & I, but it also made me realise how lucky I am to have such awesome family & best friends. However I have to admit that the prospect of getting up at the crack of dawn the next day to finish the preparations for Niamh's Christening & the party wasn't filling me with joy. Seriously what was I thinking planning a wedding & christening in the same weekend?
More on that next time!
Thanks for reading my mushy babble & enduring the overload of pictures. It really was a day that I want to remember forever & I'm so grateful that I have this little corner of the internet to record it all so we never forget it.