4 years as Mrs Gray.

I cried after my wedding was over, its an overwhelming feeling when the planning and build up is all over. A little like a pregnancy, you have a due date in mind, you plan, you buy, you make lists, you see it all come together then in a blink of an eye you have a new title and your life changes. Only difference is that your left with a baby to show for it, post wedding your left with a large credit card bill and an excuse to get fat again. Minus my babies birthdays, 26th of May 2013 will continue to be my favourite day in the whole world, Yes I'm one big giant cliche because I did truly did marry my best friend. My 16 year old boyfriend to my now 30 year old husband, I hit the jackpot that day, a man that looks after me and treats me as if every date is our first again, a man that has grown from a boy into an amazing father in front of my eyes. Walking back up the isle to 'Hey Ho' (The Lumineers) hand in hand whilst everyone cheered and clapped will go down in the history of my life. I remember not feeling one nerve the whole day, just pure exhilaration and an aching jaw from the smiling and the laughing. 

The Morning

I was woken by my maid of honor at around 5am, I had to get to the hair dressers in town to have my old family friend set my hair under the lamps. The day before had been rainy and we were set to get married outside so I was eager to see what the weather looked like, as she woke me she whispered 'Ains, come look at the sky!' We were staying in a beautiful apartment close to the wedding venue, glass floor to ceiling wall windows, I was greeted with a bright orange and pink sky and we both looked at each other grinning like chesire cats and I think I knew in that moment that it was going to be the best day ever. Once back from the hairdressers, the bottles were popped and the croissants were warm out the oven and we began getting ready, Me and my 4 bridesmaids. Hair done, and face about to be painted, they bought me a little box with a gift tag, I recognized the hand writing straight away... Daniel. The tag read;

'To my future Wife, Make sure you get there on time.'

The watch I had been eyeing up was my wedding day gift and it was just the perfect sentiment. I could not wait to marry this man. My mum and dad soon arrived, and my Nana with my niece and nephew, I cried when I saw them all dressed up. Getting into the wedding car was so special, other people staying in the apartments were all hanging out their windows to shout 'good luck' messages.

The Ceremony and reception.

We said our vows out in the sunshine, it ended up being one of the hottest days of the year in 2013. Shottle Hall as our venue, thick green countryside all around us, under a pergola my dad gave me away and we exchanged our rings, an outdoor ceremony was exactly what we wanted it felt informal and the atmosphere and surroundings suited us both so well. We both decided that we would pick songs for down the isle and back up, I picked the down part, an instrumental piano version of Robbie Williams 'Angels' absolute cheese fest but that song has a very sentimental meaning to us and the piano version was actually perfect. The up part as mentioned earlier was The Lumineers 'Hey Ho it made for the most jolly skip up the isle and the guests loved it. 

We had our meals before the speeches as I didn't want to keep guests waiting for food, our ceremony was 12am so prime food time. The speeches were great, laughs and cries and embarrassing stories just everything you would expect and more. We handed out gifts and flowers to all the wonderful people that had contributed to our special day and just like magic as we wrapped up our vintage ice cream trike came pedaling outside our marquee. Champagne sorbet was my gelato of choice, guests soaked up the rays outside and before we knew it evening guests started to pour in.

The Evening.

Our band arrived all the way from Kent, 'The Chaps' I first saw them 2 years before when I was partying in Ibiza with friends, they played acoustic on the beach then they gigged at a bar near by, we went to watch them on our last night on the island and they were just utterly brilliant! We had exchanged emails back and forth following Ibiza and we were their first ever UK gig, well now they have been the rehearsal band on X Factor, headlined small stages at Glastonbury and even had main residency at Kelly Brookes bar 'Steam & Rye' in London. We told them our first dance song way back 18 months prior to the wedding but we had no idea that they had learned it and were in fact planning our first dance to be live. We cut the cake at around 7.45pm and were then called over for our first dance, the second I heard them playing the introduction to 'Iris' by The Googoo Dolls I burst into tears and buried my head onto Daniels waistcoat, he still to this day hasn't washed it, and you can see a clear imprint of my face from that moment. They played the song so well, it was utterly perfect and a friend captured it on her phone and it will forever be the easiest way to reduce me to tears. They followed it up with 'Hey Ho' a complete fluke as they had no idea we had used it earlier in the day, and it was as if it was fate, The dance floor filled and stayed that way until 1am. They covered the likes of 'Faithless' to 'One direction' from 'Daniel Bedingfield' to 'The Streets' Probably the best money we ever spent.

We had an outdoor BBQ for our evening food, burgers, kebabs, hotdogs, meats and lots of fresh summery salads. I think we under estimated our guest count as we ran out of food quite quickly, oops! I remember sitting stuffing my face feeling so tipsy with my school friends, some of which I hadn't seen in years, its incredible the way a wedding brings people together. It was an event that was filled with so much love and happiness, 2 families coming together and I watched on as my grandma danced the night away with Daniels uncle in law and just thought 'Wow, how lucky are we?!' By this point my lace dress (From Lori G) was ditched, my hair began to fall out of its up do, I had more wine down my cleavage then I did in my glass and no one wanted the night to end. People were eating cheese and crackers (as we had a cheese tower cake along side an actual wedding cake) whilst they waited for taxis, and asking the band for an encore.

In all honesty the day was a complete blur, there are so many parts that I cant remember or that are unclear, I was either too pissed or just moving on fast forward. Weddings are not everyone's bags and I get that, there defiantly isn't a perfect order to how we do those big milestones in our life. I look back on that day and remember just me and him, and that's kind of lovely, our lives now are dedicated to our babies and I feel so grateful to have had that day for just us! Happy 4 years Mr Gray, 4 down but forever to go.

Our wedding day was featured on 'Save The Date' blog, a blog for brides to be in the East Midlands that I used often in the run up to our day, I was thrilled to have had a feature on there. There is a list of suppliers and links too. Click HERE to have a look.

All photography by Butterworth Photography.