Well I’ve done the post on the honeymoon with “a toddler in tow” so I guess you might want to hear about the actual wedding!
Joe proposed on Christmas Day 2014. I was over the moon and as you can tell, said yes. We quickly began planning the wedding, I say “we” I mean me. Joe did his part proposing and made it clear I was in charge of the big day entirely. One of my main worries was how we were going to include Lily in our day, and how were we going to keep a toddler happy/safe/entertained for an entire day whilst getting ourselves ready, saying our vowels, mingling with friends and family, posing for photos and then partying the night away.
So here’s how it went (I will also be doing a “Top Tips” post at some stage for other parents getting married).The week in the run up to the wedding was NOT fun. Joe and I had arranged to have the week off to have our beauty treatments done and sort out last minute bits. It was definitely a good idea to do this but I now realise the week before the wedding is one of the most stressful parts. Because we didn’t realise this we didn’t organise any childcare, so we were running around to appointments with Lily alongside us which was quite difficult. I was getting constant messages from people regarding the wedding, guests checking on plans, suppliers checking on timings. We had some last minute guests drop out too which was stressful and we then had to sort out replacing them. Lily dropped my phone on the patio smashing it! Then the day before the wedding Lily woke up with what we thought was slapped cheek syndrome! A common red rash children can get on their cheeks, she had a bright red large mark on her face. I couldn’t believe it! I took her to the doctors who instead suspected it was actually an allergic reaction to something (I think probably my spray tan!) a day of antihistamines and thankfully it faded overnight!
We had arranged to stay at a nearby hotel the night before the wedding as the venue was a good 45min drive away from our home, sometimes longer in rush hour. So late afternoon the day before Joe, his brother/best man, Lily and I made our way to the venue to set up and then head to the hotel. Lily was incredibly hyper and kept trying to rearrange all the chairs at the venue and generally just being a lively little monkey! Eventually we were done and went to the hotel. When we arrived (full of bags, my wedding dress and all sorts) we were met by the receptionist who turned out to be my hero. When checking in he told us that instead of two rooms we had in fact booked three. I had somehow booked an extra room! I nearly burst in to tears, I was tired, stressed and I didn’t need to be paying for a whole extra room for nothing! Thankfully he took pity on me and after a phone call arranged to have the room cancelled at no charge. By this time it was about 7:30pm and past Lily’s bedtime. I managed to unpack and have a shower and then bathed and put Lily to bed. Joe and his brother went off for some dinner. It was then that I realised I had not eaten dinner myself and Lily was snoozing next to me! I rung down to my friend the receptionist and asked for room service, he told me the kitchen was closed but he would see what he could do. The amazing man brought me up a lovely sandwich and chips 10minutes later, (I’m telling you I nearly married him instead I was so grateful!)
The morning came and it was raining, not the best start. We went down to breakfast and of course Lily didn’t want to sit still and eat, and I was too nervous to eat! I started getting ready and the sun was coming out, however with the sun came wasps. About 10 wasps were insisting on flying in and out the room! We left it for a bit hoping they would go away but in the end rang down to reception again. You guessed it, my friend/hero answered and said he would come up and have a look. He could see the problem and that soon four bridesmaids, two hairdressers, a makeup artist and a photographer would be joining me and Lily in a warm room so we couldn’t just close the window. He quickly made the decision to change our room and showed us to a much bigger lovely room. Finally things were looking brighter! My bridesmaids turned up just in time to move all the stuff to the new room and my friend/hairdresser started setting up. That’s when Lily decided to become incredibly clingy. She always picks up on my moods and I can only guess she found the unfamiliar environment, lots of people and my anxiousness too much. She didn’t want me to get my hair done and instead just clung to me and cried. It got so impossible for me to get ready that I got a bit tearful so I ended up ringing Joe who was getting ready in another part of the hotel. He came straight away and got Lily, and things finally started to settle down. Lily had a nap on Joe’s bed and apparently was good as gold. My dad then came and got her once she woke up and he looked after her whilst Joe got ready and he took her off to the venue.
When my bridesmaids and I arrived at the venue my dad was there with a very happy and beautiful Lily (I got her ready just before my dad took her off to the venue). I was worried she wouldn’t want to walk down the aisle with everyone looking at her but with my best friend/her godmother holding her hand she happily walked down. To add to the cuteness she insisted on holding her favourite toy “cat” down the aisle and gave cat to Joe when she got to him. She was also holding a sign which was my first purchase when wedding planning, it said “Daddy, here comes your Bride”.
During the ceremony she was such a good girl, she came and sat on my lap for a bit and then stood next to us when we said our vows. Not exactly the plan but it actually made it even better having our beautiful little girl joining in. My dad distracted her nicely during the important bits so we could get them done.
Once the official bit was over we headed out for photos. I told my photographer in advance that we would love to have Lily in the photos but if she is having a meltdown and refusing then that’s fine too. My dad did a great job again of entertaining her whilst some of the photos were done, and we managed to pin her down for a few as well.
The meal was next and this was the most challenging bit as Lily isn’t a big fan of sitting nicely and finishing a meal. So instead me, my dad and my maid of honour took it in turns to entertain her whilst we ate some food. To be honest I was still too excited/sucked in to my dress to eat anyway! We got her to eat a little bit and she sat still during the speeches (whilst lining up the marshmallows from the favours).
After the meal we went out for some photos just me and Joe which was nice to have some alone time for a minute. When we came back it was time for the first dance. We started off on our own and half way through Lily came and ran up to us wanting to join in. We were really happy she did and got some gorgeous photos.
Soon after that it was pushing 8pm so we got Lily in to her pjs, gave her some milk and dad took her back to ours. Once I heard from him that they were home safe I felt I could relax more and managed to have a bit of a drink and a lot of a dance. The whole thing finished about 11:30 when Joe, my best friends and I headed back to the hotel where we were all staying. We had a drink together before bed and then headed to our rooms. It was my first night away from Lily and it started to feel weird being away from her at this point but I was too exhausted from the day to think too much before falling asleep! I still woke up at 6:30am (Lily’s wake up time) too excited and happy from the day before to go back to sleep! We had breakfast all together with my family that had stayed over and my close friends. It was so nice to round off the occasion the next morning together.
When we got back home about midday I was met with an extremely happy Lily and my dad seemed in good spirits too, so I knew it must have gone well. I couldn’t thank my dad enough for being on Lily duty during the day and all night plus half the next day! We had an absolutely perfect day, and although we had the rough week before and the night before didn’t go perfectly, once it got going I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I learnt a lot from our day, tips that I will pass on to other parents getting married and feature in another post. Having Lily with us really made the day extra special, and it’s so nice us being in our little team all with the same surname.