This week, my husband and I are celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary! I can’t quite believe how quickly that time has passed, but so many places visited, our first dog, Charlie, together, two beautiful daughters, and three house moves, it’s fair to say we’ve done a lot in that time.
In this blog, I’m reminiscing and reliving our wedding day, so if you’d like to join me on my stroll down memory lane, grab a cuppa and a biscuit or two and read on…
Saturday 23rd August 2008
Having stayed at my parents’ house on our wedding eve, I woke to bright blue skies – I couldn’t believe my luck as it had rained persistently for weeks before, but here I was, Saturday 23rd August 2008, clear blue skies, today was going to be amazing!
My hairdresser and make up artist arrived and our preparations began. My friends had nominated me for Bride of the Week on our local radio station, Lincs FM, but apparently there was a mix up. I’ve also since learned there was some sort of issue with the DJ that morning, but I was blissfully unaware and just remember feeling really calm.
Serenely calm, which was unexpected but so welcome. At that time in my life, and without going into too much detail, I really struggled with IBS, which nerves only made worse, so in the build up to our wedding this was heightened and I was terrified of a flare up on the day.
James, my now husband, had said to me during our planning that there’s nothing to worry or be nervous about – “it’s just me and you meeting up” and this really stuck with me and kept me calm.
Dad I ready to make our way to Branston Church
Our photographer, George Upson, took some amazing photos at my parents’ house and then it was time to leave for the church in our classic Riley wedding car.
It was only a 15 minute journey to the church. My two bridesmaids waiting at the church, Dad and I got out of the car and were ready to walk down the aisle.
That’s when it hit me – seeing everyone’s faces beaming back at me, I had to take a few deep breaths to hold back the emotion and then I was all smiles.
Cannon Brian Barrodale led our ceremony at Branston Church; he was such a great character, a “top bloke” as one of our closes friends said, and the service was so enjoyable and felt so personal and inclusive.
Cannon Brian Barrodale leading the way out after the service
In addition to ourselves and my Dad, our bridal party consisted of my two adult bridesmaids, James’ two best men (he couldn’t possibly choose between them), and one usher. One of our best men, well his wife, only gave birth to their first son one week prior and to this day I don’t know how they managed to be such an amazing support and part of our day – huge thank you to them both and a happy 12th birthday to Toby!
Our reception was another short journey to Branston Hall. We drove on a little further to give our guests time to arrive at the Hall before us, but also for us to enjoy some quiet time as newly weds and try and take in that we were now husband and wife, and of course enjoy our first glass of champagne!
Photos outside the front of Branston Hall
At the reception we had an old-style icecream cart, supplied by the same company as our car (still gutted I didn’t get one though), which kept our guests happy whilst we had our photos taken.
Branston Hall provided a beautiful backdrop and landscape for our photos, which I treasure and our daughters enjoy looking at now.
L-R James’ Mum, James’ Grandma, James, Me, my Dad, my Mum
I don’t remember much about the meal and the bits in the middle. I do remember our cake of course. Made by the wonderful Fiona Milnes, we had a three tier square cake (sorry Fiona – as a cake maker myself now I appreciate the challenges of square cakes) with fruit cake bottom tier, lemon and then chocolate top tier which we saved for our family gathering on Sunday.
Our flowers and elegant bay trees were supplied by Alison at Chambers Florist – she understood us from the minute we walked in and created an arrangement that we hadn’t imagined and was so much more “us” than what we had in our minds.
Cue the cringe factor – we learned a dance!
We didn’t want to just stand and hug around in a circle (although I think we’d both be quite happy with that now), so we had pre-wedding lessons choreographed to our song “Better” by Tom Baxter.
We kept this a secret from most, but one of our friends in the know organised Strictly style score cards for everyone to hold up at the end!
And then the disco began, and I can honestly say it was THE BEST DAY EVER!
Turns are quite difficult in such a big dress!
A Little Drama
It really was! Despite the fact that I barely saw James for most of the night – he was busy talking to everyone, I was busy dancing. One of my cousins and I were dancing/jumping up and down as you do, and we inadvertently landed on the massive train on my dress… what was that sound? Oh yes, that would be the skirt of my dress tearing away from its corset top about 1/4 of the way round – I was honestly too blissfully happy to care!
I know if you’re a bride to be hearing this you’re probably aghast at the thought of something like this happening, but I think by this point all of my stress and worries didn’t matter any more – safety pins in place I carried on dancing and having the best time.
Everyone tells you that your wedding day will be amazing and the best day ever, and it really is, but words cannot explain the feelings I felt, from seeing all my loved ones together, all so happy and celebrating with us. That feeling of becoming Mr and Mrs.
Marriage may only be a piece of paper to some and technically nothing physical changed for us – yet, in that moment, everything was different in such an incredible, empowering way. We were now husband and wife and could take on the world, together.
So happy 12th anniversary Mr Critchley. I love you with all my heart and here’s to all the years and adventures still to come.
On Honeymoon at our favourite place!
… 12 years on
P.S: my wedding dress still hasn’t been cleaned of fixed! I’ll get round to it one day… maybe.
I hope you enjoyed reflecting on my wedding day – I certainly did. If you are planning your own wedding and would like to ask a question about my experience, or anything in general, please do!
As you know, I am now a wedding cake maker with diary open for 2021 and 2022 weddings, if you would like to enquire about your cake I’d be delighted to hear from you too.
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