On Saturday 19th March me and Petey Pete got married. I still can't actually believe it. Our piccies are being blogged on Rock 'n Roll Bride today and Kat asked me if I wanted to add a few quotes... hmmmmm... I tried to keep it brief but maybe having to keep it as a surprise means that I'm now gagging to get it all out... so I have.... (you might need a cuppa... or a duvet...)
Me and Pete had been happily engaged for about 3 years...but any time we talked about getting married we ended up arguing…. we knew that we wanted something that reflected us but we'd start talking about who to invite, table plans etc and we were quickly getting fed up... the question 'Why are we doing it if it's such hard work?' usually stopped any further discussion. Also we were shooting amazing and creative weddings pretty much every week so all of our concentration was on other people's days... which was great but it meant that it was quite hard deciding on how 'we' wanted to do it... and without copying all of my couples who have flippin' fantastic weddings!
In January a good friend of ours Anthony came round and we chatted about my 30th birthday party… Anthony joked that we could get married in the afternoon and have a party on the night… we all joked about it even mentioning a 50’s prom theme based on the ‘Enchantment Under the Sea Dance’ from Back to the Future and then when Anthony left we started to talk about it seriously and we weren't arguing! But we wanted it to be a surprise. We get asked when we’re getting married a lot and people would then say how amazing it’s gonna be (because of all the gorgeous weddings we luckily get to shoot) so I started to feel a bit of pressure. I also didn’t want to be going on about ‘our’ wedding all the time... I kind of just wanted to get on with it without the fuss.... a little bit like being behind the camera I suppose...
For the day time we wanted to keep it very personal and intimate with a brief legal service, and we both loved the idea of a barge cruise with a meal (Birmingham has more canals than Venice don't you know!). We found Away2Dine a locally based floating restaurant and booked them for a wedding lunch cruise which picked us up from right outside the Registry and took us to Bournville! It also meant that we were then restricted to 24 people in all for the day. This was the hardest thing but we really wanted to have the evening as our real ceremony and wanted to be able to talk to people in the day properly without feeling under pressure to get round and talk to 60 people! The ceremony started at 1:30pm and we'd decided to have a first look beforehand and some photos in our local park. I honestly cannot recommend a first look enough. Me and Pete were able to see each other and take it all in properly. It was really emotional. And you get to talk about how you both look and how excited you are... we felt like such a little team making our way to the Registry.
This polaroid below has to be the funniest thing I've ever seen... how small are Pate's parents on the left!?! We literally laughed all Sunday at this picture. It just keeps giving...
When we arrived we were about to go in when Pete shouted 'Fuck!' and started jumping up and down... he'd forgotten the rings!! He must have completely shit himself but actually it made the ceremony really nice.. we borrowed rings from friends and through the ceremony there was lots of laughing!
When we came out the canal boat was waiting for us... we chugged along on the cruise in beautiful sunshine and enjoyed a gorgeous 3 course meal, even stopping for a photo shoot on the way! We passed by our own street at one point, to see a beautiful surprise banner that one of our neighbours had made to congratulate us! It was such a lovely surprise and most of us (well, the girls) on the boat had tears in our eyes!
Initially, when we started organising the day I wasn't going to have any bridesmaids or flowers but as we were planning we ended up saying Joanna, Beccie and my Sister Jodie were bridesmaids so then we thought we maybe should get some flowers and Pete had asked his friend Matt to be Best Man but we let everyone wear what they wanted so nothing really matched but we didn't care... we were just so excited about marrying each other. I did have a little wobble on the Thursday about name places on the boat which I'm totally keeping. I did also make a spreadsheet.
At 5pm we all disembarked and phase two of ‘Surpise Wedding’ began. We headed to the Rowheath Pavillion to dress the room for the 30th Birthday – 1950’s Enchantment Under the Sea Dance! We had Pom Poms, Crepe Paper Streamers, locally sourced balloons, a huge banner made by Rob (one of our friends) and the most mind blowing ‘1950’s Under the Sea’ themed cake table from Vickie at Boutique Baking Company! We hired a PA system, asked a close friend to DJ, another close friend, Joe to be the minister and we were ready! A quick change into our prom (throw people off the scent) outfits and a slick of brylcreme and we were set.
At 7pm guests started to arrive and it was so lovely to see everyone had made such an effort with their outfits! We then had the most horrendous hour talking to people, waiting for the right time to do the ‘announcement’… watching Pete turn a pale grey colour as we waited was quite amusing! He was petrified!
At around 8 o clock I snuck off and got changed back into my Wedding dress and waited with my dad and my bridesmaids. We could hear in the hall our friend Joe get on the microphone and ask the crowd to gather at the front of the hall and then he split them down the middle, creating an aisle. Our DJ Rob then started to play Hide n’ Seek by Imogen Heap. At this point the bridesmaids made their entrance carrying their bouquet’s one by one and the whole room just started to scream! Me and my Dad followed and all I could see was everyone crying…. :)
Joe then performed a short ceremony where we had a brief exchanging of our personal vows (again more tears!) some short speeches and a surreal best man speech containing liberal use of photoshop and extra large heads!
We then danced our first dance to ‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s and halfway through everyone joined us and we were swamped by hugs from everyone!…
The rest of the evening was filled with the longest Photo booth I’ve ever seen (I think it was some sort of release for all the photographers there!) and lots of dancing (and sweating in Pete’s case) until the party finished at 11.30pm. At which point we all headed to the HMV Institute, an Indie club in town where we were given our very own party section in the Karaoke Room! A late night curry at 4am and we were done… our very own 1950’s Prom with Surprise Wedding day was complete…. and it was perfect.
There's more photos and a full supplier list on Rock 'n Roll Bride today (who was there til the very end in the curry house!)... it's the weirdest thing being in the photographs instead of taking them and writing about my wedding instead of one of my couples... but it's the absolute bestest being married. I'd recommend it to everyone.... :)My only regret for the whole day is not ordering the £450 balloon octopus for the hall... for a second I was tempted... g.u.t.t.e.d.
Oh and I'm still keeping Case for my photography but will be Mrs Smyth for everything else...yey! :)
All images/polaroids by Joanna Brown Photography
Poster by Thomas Jackson