This isn’t a wedding, this is a Gin bar with a wedding! Ok so there’s not really true as there was loads of highly emotional moments that gave everyone those ‘aww’ moments at Mr and Mrs Alstons big day. They chose one of my favourite venues around, Dodmoor House, so if you’re reading this because you’re getting married here, then yay, you’ve chosen a great venue!
The squad started to arrive shortly before midday and it was clear from the outset just how close this bunch were. With #madbants going on in both bridal prep and grooms prep, it was awesome to be a part of. Some drinking, some dancing, some happy tears, some makeup, some hair, some drinking, some more dancing and then two super cool people got married! It needs to be said at this point… how stunning is that dress!!
If you know Dodmoor House then you know how unique the setting of the ceremony room is. The bride and groom get a choice of layout and the bridal party walks across the courtyard and into the ceremony room. Well, these guys have a very good friend who also happens to be a Singing tutor and when she started Mrs Alston quickly went from 100% chilled to, holywowbatmanimgettingmarried!!! There was a few teary eyed guests as Mrs Alston made here way to the super eager (and far too cool for my liking) Mr Alston. The ceremony was stunning as you’d expect and I very rarely mention the registrar’s (it’s very much love hate) but they were awesome and deserve a shout out for being able to go with the mood of the afternoon and delivery the perfect service for Mr and Mrs Alston to commit their vows…. anyway enough of that emotional stuff, it is time to party! After getting a few groups and some time with just the two of them I grew to love them even more, they’re non-stop, but in the best possible way.
The evening got underway with plenty of happy faces getting involved in every possible drink that Dodmoor has to offer and that meant that we had an awesome dance floor, with antics from the bridesmaids as they pranced (yes, pranced) their way through some Beyonce. The couple also had a pretty hectic sparkler line up which was crazy fun and that led straight onto the first dance, which, to Mr Alstons surprise was actually a recording song by Mrs Alston (it took him a few moments to realise, but he got there!) and the faces on the guests as they all realised too was awesome. The evening descending into a happy madness and it was awesome to be part of, I was truly made to feel like one of the guests and I’m super lucky to have been asked along
WHERE DID YOU MEET?
As teenagers in the dazzlingly exotic South Northamptonshire market town that is Brackley, social interactions are classified thus: meet someone, discover an (often intense) mutual dislike of each other; or, well, meet. We met.
It wasn’t until a few years later when, spurred on by our mutual appreciation for drinking to excess, dancing to drum and bass and staying out until the end of the night, we decided that it was worth seeing whether we had more in common. It turns out we are also fond of escaping the aforementioned exotic South Northamptonshire market town at the earliest opportunity, fancy dress, board games and Hot Fuzz and that we are not particularly fond of pudding. What Lewis may not have realised at the time was that he was signing up for a lifetime of dedicated Harry Potter fandom and persistent attempts to persuade him of the brilliance of garage as a musical genre. he has (reluctantly) come to terms with the fact that he may never again be free from the worry that his hair contains a stray bit of glitter during Monday morning meetings.
A Cut Above, Brackley
Wendy Dickins, Good Food Catering Banbury
HOW DID HE PROPOSE?
Lewis’ proposal should definitely be prefixed by the phrase “I should have realised that….but didn’t!”.
When Lewis suggested that we should go to London to do Christmas shopping (which he hates doing), that we should stay in a hotel (which we never do) and that we should book a bottomless brunch (admittedly, something that we would absolutely do), I should have realised that he was up to something.
When he kept checking that I had definitely booked the Friday off and wasn’t going to try and run into an office for an emergency and told me that I should make sure I packed warm clothes because it was meant to be below freezing (during a pretty mild winter), I should have realised that he was being uncharacteristically organised and prepared.
When he started panicking that we were going to miss our train (despite there being about 4 trains an hour heading into London from Leamington), and ordered a bacon roll from the cafe about an hour before we were due to arrive at the bottomless brunch, I should have thought that there was something fishy going on.
Once we got to St Pancras, and idiot would have realised that a man who had been panicking about getting a specific train would not willingly and enthusiastically agree that we had time for a quick pit stop in Boots. It was however, entirely in character for Lewis to be less keen to take detour to Paperchase.
It wasn’t until we got to International Departures and Lewis said, “Oh actually, I think we should go this way, although you may not want to go, I’ve heard it’s shite…” that I had any idea that Lewis’ plans for the weekend were significantly more continental than I was expecting and that we were going to Bruges!
I was a bit disappointed about the bottomless brunch.
When we got to Bruges, I should have realised that his mum’s reaction on Facebook to Lewis posting a picture of the one ugly building in Bruges was a bit more dramatic than would otherwise have been expected. I should have realised that my mum’s reaction to hearing (via text) that Lewis was taking me to Bruges (“That’s nice”) was significantly less dramatic than would otherwise be expected, not least because I had been rabbiting on for years about how much I wanted to go to Bruges.
I should have realised that Lewis spending a fair whack of our whole Christmas budget on a hotel room for two nights was suspicious, but I didn’t. And the reason that I didn’t was that it was all so lovely it didn’t occur to me that the trip to Bruges wasn’t the whole surprise!
Bearing in mind the sheer number of indicators that something big was coming, you would have thought that I was expecting what happened next.
You would be wrong.
After I had changed at least 3 times fretting over what to wear for dinner, and finally settling on an outfit, I asked Lewis if I looked alright. He responded with “you look lovely, but can I suggest one addition?”. I turned round and there he was, on one knee, with the most beautiful engagement ring.
I want to say that I knew that he was going to propose, and that I had a well thought out response which took into account all of the hours of preparation that had gone into what was the most wonderful and thoughtful proposal that I could imagine.
In fact, I was so astonished that, without thinking, the first words that came out of my mouth were:
“ARE. YOU. JOKING?!”
(I said yes after that…..and promptly rang my family to give them the happy news/ berate them for keeping the secret/congratulate them for keeping the secret)
Chris Seddon, father of the bride
WHAT WAS DIFFERENT TO WHAT YOU WERE EXPECTING?
I wasn’t expecting that thing that everyone says about the day going so fast that time just runs away with you not to be true. It is.
I wasn’t expecting our wedding coordinator (Sophie at Dodmoor House) to be so efficient that she knew what we wanted or needed even before we did. She was.
I knew that we had tried to tailor the day so it was as much fun as it could possibly be (which is an absolute shedload of fun!), but I hadn’t anticipated quite how much fun it would be! I was not expecting the glitter beard, but then, who would?!
CHEESE SELECTOR IN CHIEF
Adam Alston (brother of the groom). He doesn’t do this professionally (yet), but he definitely could!
ANY ADVICE FOR FUTURE BRIDE AND GROOMS?
Your wedding is about you, don’t get too tied down with things that you think other people think should be part of your day and make it all about you and those people celebrating with you! If something doesn’t seem worth the money (here’s looking at you Photobooths), sack it off.
Don’t be afraid to ask talented friends and family members for help or to be part of your day. We were so lucky to be able to benefit from the not inconsiderable talents of our nearest and dearest throughout the day and not only did this mean we could buy more of the 3 gs (gin, glitter and glowsticks) it also meant that we really could make the day our own.
Just because it isn’t called a bridesmaid’s dress doesn’t mean it can’t be! We saved loads of money (and dress dramas) by not restricting our search to dresses marketed at the bridal market. We bought petticoats separately and they really made the dresses look special at only £10 per dress.
if you happen to have an extraordinarily efficient and organised sibling, other family member or best friend USE THEM. Not everyone has a Franager (the titled by which by sister and Chief Bridesmaid will hereafter always be known), but my god they come in handy!
Start thinking of the hashtag now. Do not try and come up with one 24 hours before the wedding. Or do, but only if you have tried and failed to come up with one before. Get the hashtag out there, and try and remind people during the evening if you want them to use it.
VOCALIST THAT SANG THE BRIDE DOWN THE AISLE
Kayleigh Skinner (can also be seen as performing professionally with Bang Tail Feathers)
baked, decorated and assembled by the multi-talented Kayleigh Skinner (who tells us she is not pursuing a baking career, we’ve tried)
BRIDES BROOCH BOUQUET
Abi Kirwan from The Secret Swan
AUTHOR AND PERFORMER OF THE SECOND READING
Emily Ruck Keene, poet and performer extraordinaire (check out Paris Lit Up if you ever fancy a bit of English spoken word in Paris!)