After the most amazing day of our lives, it was time for our evening reception! We were so lucky that the weather was beautiful, something you absolutely cannot bank on in the UK during summer time! We had a gorgeous summer evening for our guests to enjoy outside, and later, a beautiful sunset over the trees.
Our wedding reception had around 80-90 guests, 50-60 more than our daytime, although it didn't seem like a lot of people, it filled our venue just enough. The extra guests were made up of our colleagues, our friends and significant others such as friends of our parents who have known us since childhood. The only difficult thing about evening receptions is that you're often quite tired after such an eventful day, and suddenly have a lot more people arrive who all want to talk to you - it can be quite overwhelming!
We had more tables added for our evening reception, with the same flower arrangements, candles, and crystals as the daytime.
The evening guests were invited to arrive from 7pm onwards, and most had arrived by 7:30. This gave us time to welcome everybody as they arrived, and spend a short amount of time chatting with our guests. It was a wonderful feeling that everyone that we cared for and who cared for us was there in one place, even if our cheeks hurt from all that smiling!
At 8pm our guests were welcomed inside, where we were introduced as Mrs & Mrs, and were invited to cut the cake. We wanted a very traditional day, including all of the traditions that are usually included in a wedding day, and it certainly felt pretty momentous to be asked to cut our cake (and make a wish!).
Our first dance was to one of our all-time favourite songs, All You Need is Love. It's true! All we need is each others love. It pretty much sums up our relationship in the lyrics - whenever life is difficult, we have always found the strength to continue through each others love. Dancing together, as wife and wife, was more amazing than we ever could describe, and quite a few people were overwhelmed by the emotion and apparently had to go outside and compose themselves!
L's Dad had arranged with the DJ for us to have a father-daughter dance, as a surprise to us. We took to the dancefloor, and danced with the very special men in our lives to a song chosen by L's dad, I Loved Her First. It was a magical moment that we will always remember and treasure, the words to the song are powerful and emotional - talking about how our Dad's loved us first, but were so happy to see the love we have for each other. We all cried, a lot!
It was also incredibly emotional for our mums, who both joined us in tears at the end of the song. For me especially, as my parents don't have the best relationship, this was a lovely moment, and I feel really proud that our wedding day bought them together a bit more.
Following our first dances our guests were invited onto the dance floor to enjoy the fabulous Beatles band! The next hour or so was spent with some guests dancing, some sitting outside to enjoy the amazing evening that had presented itself, laughing and chatting and enjoying drinks on the gorgeous terrace, and us trying to spend time doing all of it, seeing as many people as possible!
In the interlude of the band's performance, our evening buffet was served. We have a very deep love of tea and cake, and wanted our wedding reception to reflect this, hence there being an awful lot of cake - 8 different flavours! As well as our 3 flavour wedding cake, we made cupcakes in four flavours - strawberry & champagne, peaches and cream, apple blossom, and pink velvet (a spin on red velvet), displayed on a tiered stand which we topped with a teapot shaped cake from Selfridges. The teapot cake became my only bridezilla moment of the whole wedding, when Selfridges took us they had ordered the cake to arrive a day too late - my mini meltdown at Selfridges staff resulted in them delivering the (tiny) cake to our venue in a taxi, with a member of staff escorting it, on our wedding day - the shame!
We also had cake pops made by a friend of mine who has an amazing bakery business. She made gorgeous white chocolate buttercream cakepops with pink and silver roses and ribbons, and made pink and silver tags with our initials and wedding date on. She even made two special ones for us with an L and an S in sugarpaste! They were gorgeous, and were snapped up by our guests in seconds!
Finally, as if we didn't have enough sugar going on, we also had a bowl of pink and grey M&M's with our names, wedding date, and 'Mrs & Mrs'!
All of this cake accompanied our buffet, which was full of the most amazing vegetarian food. We didn't actually get to eat any, as many people had warned we wouldn't - the combination of tight fitting and heavy dresses and you having slightly more on your mind means your appetite disappears! But we are told that the food was amazing, it still has people talking about it! We were so proud to show off just how good vegetarian food can be.
L's brother and bridesmaid did an amazing job throughout the day and evening in ensuring people signed our guestbook, which was a brown paper scrapbook that we had customised with a pearl button heart, pink and silver hearts stamped with our initials and wedding date - we made our card box to match - and had a Polaroid camera so that people could take a picture of themselves to stick in the book with their message.
After the food, our band started up again, and played lots of up tempo songs that got pretty much every single one of guests on the dance floor. This part of the day was pretty amazing, and so much fun! L describes how she stopped to look around, at one point, with everybody laughing and dancing and having the BEST time, and just thinking "wow, all of these people are here to celebrate our love". It was pretty mind-blowing.
At midnight, it was time for the bar to close, the band to leave, and our wedding day to come to an end. Aside from the fact we were absolutely exhausted, we really didn't want the day to end. We spent ages saying goodbye to our guests, and receiving the last of the hugs, congratulations and well wishes for the day. We went up to our bridal suite feeling absolutely on top of the world.
Our bridal suite was gorgeous! Complete with starlit ceiling, four poster bed, infinity bath and sunken bathroom reached by little steps - wow. We have vowed to come and spend an anniversary here, as we obviously didn't get much chance to enjoy it on the day. We spent some time sitting on the enormous bed just talking through the day, until we agreed it was time to take off our beautiful dresses. We didn't want to take them off, knowing we'd never be able to wear them again, it's an awful feeling!
The following morning we awoke to another glorious day. This day turned out to be a lot hotter than our wedding day, confirming for us that we had chosen the best day to marry on - red hot sunshine and very heavy dresses are not a good mix! The beautiful sunshine shone so bright over the place we had just spent the best day of our lives.
We very much wanted as many of our guests as possible to stay over with us at the hotel, and indeed we were lucky that they did. We put gift bags in our guests rooms containing diet coke, sweets, and Cadbury chocolate as we are Brummie girls!
We wanted to be able to come down for our first breakfast as Mrs & Mrs to be surrounded by all of our closest family and friends. Everybody had gathered for our 9:30, so that when we arrived downstairs for 9:45 we were welcomed and congratulated by our wonderful families. It was so lovely to enjoy a good breakfast (our appetites realised we had hardly eaten the day before!!), with the sun shining outside and all of our closest people around us. We even wore white dresses (albeit white sundresses rather than wedding dresses!)
Following breakfast many of our guests took a walk around the grounds of the hotel, as they hadn't had chance the day before, which gave us chance to pack our bags, and gather the things from our parents room, and with the help of the boys, pack up our car. Then it was time for the final goodbyes, hugs and kisses, and to head back home to pick up our suitcases. We were going on honeymoon!