An overview of the day

First of all, hope everyone had a great holiday break and Happy 2009. I am very excited to be in 2009 and there is now only 5 months to go until our wedding day.

I have talked about the process of choosing our ceremony and reception venues but before I go into more details about decoration, diy projects or my dress, perhaps you might be interested in what will actually happen on the day including English customs and traditions and who is in our wedding party. Then, in the coming weeks I will fill in the details as there is plenty to say, especially about the hen and stag parties.

First, the bridesmaids. I am the eldest of three daughters so naturally my two younger sisters, A1 and A2, are two of my bridesmaids. The third is T, M’s brother’s wife. In England it is usual, in my experience, to limit the bridesmaids to a small number, usually sisters, sisters-in-law to be and close friends.

M’s best man is his best friend B and his brother J is the head usher. A1’s boyfriend A3 is my usher at the church (at the church the bride’s family sits on the left hand side and the groom’s on the right, so each family needs one usher). A host of our friends are acting as the rest of the ushers for the day and shall be helping out with things such as serving drinks and making sure everyone knows what is supposed to be done when.

The day before the wedding: we shall be setting up the reception venue and then both families will attend a rehearsal at the chapel where we do a run-through of who stands where, what music is played when and what happens. This is supposed to avoid situations like the last wedding I was a bridesmaid at where we had no idea where to stand once we reached the front of the church. After the rehearsal my family will return to the reception venue for the evening (supposedly to have supper together, in reality I suspect that we will do lots more setting up and then take some photos). M’s family will spend their evening together. M and I will not see each other until I reach the front of the church the next morning.

Morning of the wedding: I shall be getting ready at the reception venue. T will arrive in the morning to get ready with me and A1 and A2. I shall be wearing ‘something old (grandmother’s handkerchief), something new (underwear), something borrowed (pearl earrings) and something blue (shoes)’ according to the old rhyme. It also suggests a silver sixpence in my shoes but (a) we no long have sixpences and (b) my shoes are peep toes and it might fall out. I hope to spend the morning relaxing and having my make-up done and doing my hair but I suspect I shall also spend some time making sure all the tables are laid out properly and that the catering people are setting up in the right place. At the appointed time two cars will arrive to take us to the church. My mother and the bridesmaids will travel in the first car and my father and I in the second. At least, I hope they turn up. At my aunt’s wedding I am told that the car never showed up so her neighbour drove her and her father to the church in his car with a clean bed sheet over the back seat (luckily he’d just washed his car!).

At the church: Once we reach the church my mother will be escorted to her seat. The bride’s mother is the last to be seated and this indicates to the vicar and organist that the bride is ready. The organist will start the music (yet to be chosen but probably the same piece which my mother and grandmother also walked down the aisle to) and my father and I shall enter the church followed by my 3 bridesmaids. Best man B will have the rings in a box in his pocket and will be waiting at the front of the church with M. My father will hand me to M and the wedding will take place and then the signing of the register while a friend plays her cello. M and I will exit the church followed by the bridesmaids, best man, two ushers and both sets of parents. Guests will throw confetti (I hope!) and then we shall pause to have some official photos taken on the steps of the church. Guests will depart for the reception and M and I will be driven in the car which Dad and I arrived in.

So, to the reception: M and I will arrive in the car and will pause to have a moments peace and quiet and have some more photographs taken whilst the other guests are welcomed by champagne. Hopefully it will be sunny so guests can mingle on the lawn but if it is wet they will be in the marquee and we are arranging some things for them to look at whilst our photos are taken. A2 and A3 are keen photographers in addition to several other guests so hopefully they will document this part whilst the official photographer is taking photos of us. Guests will have an opportunity to speak to all the wedding party during the reception line as they enter the marquee to take their seats (referring to the seating plan). The wedding party will sit at the top table. A Wedding Breakfast will be served (the hog roast) and will be followed by speeches from my Dad, M and B (best man). After tea and coffee has been served we will cut the cake. Once the cake has been cut the formal part of the reception has finished and it is perfectly acceptable for guests to leave once this has happened although most will not ( I hope). There will then be dancing. M and I will have the first dance to a song we have chosen before the band play a set followed by a DJ set by another friend. The evening will end by M and I leaving in our ‘get-away’ car which may be pulling tin cans and an old boot from it’s bumper and may have a just married sign in the back window. We shall spend our wedding night in a nearby hotel.

The next morning: We shall return to the venue to help clear up before having a family brunch and heading off on our honeymoon. Once we return from the honeymoon it is traditional for the husband to carry his bride over the threshold of the house.

Other details: It is usual for female guests to wear hats to a wedding so we shall be arranging a ‘hat-line’ where guests can peg their hats during the Wedding Breakfast. If it rains, this is thought to bring good luck (although this might just be to cheer up the bride). Nevertheless, I have bought a peacock feathered umbrella just in case. This is England, after all.