Where to start? On the 15th of September I married the love of my life, and it was fantastic. I thought I’d tell you a bit about it.
We took the week beforehand off to do all the (I think) fun DIY stuff, get everything organised, spend time with our families and chill out a bit before the big day. DIY activities included making: place name chair signs; ribbon chandeliers; tissue pom poms; dessert labels; photo booth/wall; menus - I may elaborate on some of these in a later post.
It wasn’t too stressful as I had made about 5,000,000,000 lists beforehand so though I could have been more organised I didn’t really need to be. And we had lots of support from family members, which not only makes it easier, it makes it fun. It was lucky we were organised because on Wednesday night both Mr Cake and I came down with a rather vigorous 24 hour stomach bug, so we had about 2 hours of sleep and Thursday was a write off, with the exception of our rehearsal, which seemed too hard to shift so we suffered through it. The photographer has a sad photo of Mr Cake with his head in his hands as the celebrant tries to direct our run through.
Friday was set-up day, and we had lots of help from different quarters. The marquee crew had put up the marquee on Thursday and our first job was setting everything up – hanging the ribbon chandeliers, setting up tables, laying cloths, setting places, building the photo wall (it was partially pre-assembled but the final fitting together and wallpaper hanging was done in situ), other little décor bits. Our awesome team was so good that by mid-afternoon we were mostly done. Sister Cake and I headed off to get our nails done in the early evening, and Mr Cake had a catch-up with some friends.
The morning of the wedding we had planned to go for a run, but due to our recent ills we decided that wasn’t wise. We did have to have a last minute run through of our dance, as Thursday should have been rehearsal day for that too. Then my hair and make-up person arrived and Hamish escaped to his parents’ place to avoid the getting-ready stages.
In between getting coiffed I was plating up doughnuts and macarons, for my piece de resistance, the dessert buffet. Perhaps unsurprisingly my optimistic estimate of the time I’d be ready was a little bit *cough45minutescough* inaccurate and Mr Cake was kept waiting. Eventually I was ready (putting on a lace-up wedding dress does take a while!) and was led to a secret squirrel location around the back of Merchiston (the family manor, as a recent insurance report favourably phrased it) for a reveal. It was nice to have that time away from everyone else (except a couple of long-lensed photographers!) and following that we went off and had our location photos at the Sign of the Bellbird.
The weather forecast threatened rain, but we really only saw a couple of showers, which conveniently occurred just after our photos, giving us some nice moody skies but avoiding the drowned rat look. ;-) After a bit of scrambling around on the hillside (actually the scrambling was mostly Frank) we headed back down, and got back to Merchiston as scheduled at 1.30pm. Guests had been told to arrive for a 2pm ceremony, so we headed out to await them. We’d sneakily arranged double decker buses, so as guests approached us from the drive we were standing waiting to greet them, and then told them to hop on the buses (bride’s side and groom’s side – though the sneaky groom managed to get my sisters on his bus!). That part was one of my favourite parts of the day – greeting everyone as they arrived was really fun.
Sister Cake performed bus monitor duties and checked off guests as they arrived, so we could make sure we didn’t leave anyone behind. Once the guests had arrived Mr Cake and I boarded our respective buses (climbing stairs in a snug-fitting bridal gown is slightly tricky!) and handed out pamphlets to our guests – “How to survive a wedding.” And then we were on our way.
The guests tried to guess our destination, but I don’t think anyone did – some thought perhaps Ferrymead, but the bus kept going. And going… Someone suggested Taylors Mistake, but we didn’t go quite that far. ;-) We stopped outside the Hollywood 3 cinema in Sumner, and my sisters rolled out the red carpet. Guests alighted and were ushered into the cinema, and then, when they were all seated, it started – the Universal Studios fanfare, and our cue to enter.
We walked in together, and our celebrant started the important bit. Baby Sister Cake did an excellent reading of A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton, and Mr Cake’s brother did an equally impressive rendition of a passage we had selected from The Princess Bride. Our vows were written by us, and after saying them to each other and exchanging rings we signed our lives away as Mr Cake’s sister-in-law performed her improved version of Marry Me.
On conclusion of the official part we were greeted and hugged by a procession of guests, who were then made to sit back in their seats for photos. Sorry guys! But the photos are great – Mr Cake and I were nestled in the middle of the crowd.
On release from photo duty people were allowed to escape to Joe’s Garage across the road for drinks, which was a great venue and a lovely way to talk to everyone.
Back on the bus and back to Merchiston, and we had a few photos in our special photo wall with immediate family before the reception. I understand some of the guests made good use of the flying fox in the interim. ;-)
I did exert a wee bit of bridezilla at this point, as I’d failed to leave sufficient instructions for the dessert table and had to rearrange. The caterers were extremely helpful, though, and happily assisted, and it was worth it to see the table as I’d envisaged (and to see the excitement in people’s eyes when they realised how much dessert was present!).
The rest of the guests joined us, and there were some canapés, which helped ease the pre-dinner hunger. We were seated on a stage right behind the dessert table (so we could build up a good appetite) and looking straight into the photo wall, which was excellent as we were able to see everyone fooling around having their photos taken – very entertaining. We had made playlists and played them on a laptop – one playlist for dinner music and one for dancing, and we tried to include all the songs our guests requested on their RSVPs, even “Fruit Salad” by The Wiggles. ;-)
|Some shady characters experimenting with props|
My dad kicked off the speeches, followed by Mr Cake’s parents, his brother (whose speech was comprised entirely of Simpsons quotes) and our friend Sam. My cousin performed MC duties and provided much amusement, including presenting Mr Cake with a safe for my chocolate stash (pre-filled, too!) – very helpful as I often have him hide the chocolate from me so I can’t eat it all at once, and I kept accidentally discovering the stash. Now he only has to conceal a key. ;-)
Victoria Foodservice were the caterers, and presented two very nice courses with two options for each – we had them alternate served and encouraged our guests to perform Pareto-improving trades if required.
After dinner it was time for dessert – very importantly – and the head table was cleared to make way for cake. Each table had a cake from Just Desserts as a centrepiece, and these were brought up to the head table for people to help themselves. We cut the big cake (which was made by Sweet Kitchen and consisted of chocolate, red velvet and carrot cake layers) and the feeding frenzy began. A couple of proud people told me they’d tried every flavour, and I heard of a couple of others who were slightly over-ambitious and didn’t manage.
And then the dancing – I changed my dress, and Mr Cake and I kicked it off with a rehearsed dance, starting with a waltz and segueing into jive midway through, with a smooth CD-skipping transition involving us pretending it had all gone wrong and Mr Cake throwing off his jacket. When we’d finished dancing with each other we hauled parents onto the dance floor and started a snowball. It was a great way to start the dancing off (having lots of UCanDance friends present helped too!). And from then on it continued as an awesome party, with people alternately dancing, eating more dessert, talking to each other, and hamming it up for photos. We had a blast and our guests seemed to too.
Highlights: teasing people by taking them to the cinema; marrying Mr Cake in a ceremony that was unapologetically our own; having lots of opportunities to talk to our guests; all the dessert; having lots of fun dancing and watching others dance; doing it our way.
All photos taken by (and copyright to) the utterly incredible and brilliant Frank Visser.