We knew our wedding reception was never going to be easy, or simple. Both Jim and I have very specific tastes over various things, and it became clear early on this was going to be a full-on DIY job which would require a lot of organisation and manpower. Cue a small group of amazing friends and family, who stepped in and set to work with no grumbling whatsoever and the sweetest will in the world. You guys, we did everything ourselves. When I say ourselves, I mean either me, Jim or one of our small group of workers. It was a mammoth task, and you know what? We did a pretty good job.
Our reception was held in Trelawnyd memorial hall, a ten minute drive from the ceremony venue. We knew we needed a big space as there were to be 110 guests during the day, with more in the evening. But a space doesn’t half fill up quickly when you introduce six foot tables, all the accompanying chairs, a bar and buffet tables. Phew. We made it work, though. We hired all the tables, chairs, bar and glassware from a local company, and our mismatched vintage crockery came from Wedding Bunting Hire. I spent a year collecting embroidered tablecloths and various bottles and jars for flowers. We did the whole handmade napkins thing, and had giant balloons for the table centrepieces. Our favours were screenprinted tote bags, featuring a design we made up of our names and the date of our wedding. We’ve seen a few friends since using them, which warms my heart!
The hall was a such a big space to fill that bunting was a given. To be honest, though, I wanted something a bit different to your normal triangular bunting, so we went for scallops. Jim’s mum made 100 metres of gold bunting for us, and I loved it. I also have thing for festoon lighting, so we bought our own LED bulb lighting off ebay. This is a great idea if, like us, your hall doesn’t have strong beams to support the usual heavy festoon lighting. Our strings of LEDs were light enough to be hung off the curtain rails. Finally, I bought tissue poms off ebay, in pink, white, yellow, mustard, coral and peach. I’m not going to lie, they took a lot longer to hang than first anticipated. Huge respect to my brother, the best man and the father of the groom for slaving away and making it look like they took ten minutes to throw together.
The amazing best man, Ian, and his equally amazing girlfriend made us a piñata. They were so patient and lovely, listening to what I wanted and duly shuffling through Pinterest boards and finally creating a huge pink and gold heart. IT WAS IMMENSE! I was sad that we would eventually destroy it, it was so lovely. We filled it with finger frights and lollipops and badges of ourselves (bleurgh), and almost injured various people while whacking it. I made 19 huge flowers out of card in our wedding colours, which I’ve written about before, and we stuck them on the stage and around the room.
We own a Polaroid Miniportrait camera, and Penny’s brother generously agreed to man it for us so we could have a photobooth. This went down a treat, and I shed many a tear the day after the wedding looking at our friends and family being daft for the camera. You can see the full set of photographs here.
Jim’s mum made our wedding cake, and a friend’s mum stepped in to be our chef, making vegetarian chilli to Jim’s recipe. We bought a potato oven and had a huge buffet with rice and salads. It went down a storm. I roped my brother, Jim’s mum and my bridesmaid Katherine into baking cakes with me for the dessert table, which were scoffed within half an hour. We hired wedding coordinator extraordinaire Laura Tickle to help with the running of the day, and she was fantastic.
Just after the evening guests arrived, our friends Katy, Laura and Stan surprised us by performing acoustic versions of ‘Afternoon Delight’ (from Anchorman) and ‘Easy Lover’ (one of my all-time favourite songs) for us. They were fantastic, and delighted everyone. What a beautiful wedding gift! We had a fantastic ceilidh during the evening, then our own four-hour disco playlist. My favourite part of a wedding is the dancing, so I knew that I wanted our disco to be pretty spectacular. We spent months making a list of songs, arranging them into the right order and then listening to the playlist. Our guests danced all night to everything from Prince to David Bowie to Beck to Kanye West to Devo. A free bar helps, of course.
Our wedding was full of love and happy tears. We had hiccups (my mum was ill, it rained) but the generosity, support, goodwill and patience of our family and friends made our wedding day one I will never forget. We will never be able to tell those people how much they did for us. But when you look at all the pictures of the day, you can see the joy, and perhaps that is thanks enough.