There's nothing more grown up than receiving a wedding invitation through the post. This September, I had my very first experiences of that, as two close friends of mine tied the knot at two magical weddings.
D'Mello - Pearson Wedding
Ward - Tizzard Wedding
The last time I was at a wedding, I was a gawky monobrowed teenage bridesmaid at the Greek wedding of one of my cousins. Now if you've never experienced a Greek wedding, you're missing out. Packed full of tradition, it's definitely a service you won't forget. Now with my Dad being one of 8 siblings, I've been to my fare share of Greek Weddings. My Aunt's on my Mum's side was the only British wedding I've experienced, and as a 7 year-old flower girl, I don't remember much.
So when I received my invitations, I had no idea what to expect from the weddings of my generation. We see on a daily basis the weddings of the rich and famous, and eventually, they all start to blur into one dramatic, empty display of wealth rather than love. Who needs a Venetian boat convoy for God sake?
However, you only need to go on Pinterest wedding boards to see that the wedding generation of today are leading a bohemian revolution. Now that sounds like I'm categorizing these weddings into one group, but that's the beauty of the word bohemian - it's the complete opposite of that.
Both the Pearsons and the Tizzards are stunning on the inside and out, and value the relationships they have with their friends and family more than anyone else I know. Of course I'm biased here, but my point is, these weddings showed me what it takes to make them one's you won't ever forget. Both of these weddings brought the love of the couple as well as the love they have for their guests to the forefront through personality and character.
The D'Mello - Pearson Wedding
Set in the rural heritage site of Bromham Mill, nature was allowed to do it's magic on this gorgeous day. As me and the boyfriend walked through an arch in the ground's hedges, we were faced with an enormous Tipi. The surrounding area consisted of a photo booth and face-painting stations for the children which was such a nice touch. It's lovely as a guest at a wedding to feel like you can get involved in the memory making process.
This was a wedding full of unique touches that made you go wow at every step. The groom's brother had designed a little branded logo for the wedding that featured on the invitations, order of service, bar and favours, whilst the bridal party, relatives and friends had all pulled together to make lampshade lighting displays and floral tokens that hung from the branches of the majestic tree underneath which the head table was placed.
University friends worked the bar which was made out of a huge wooden crate, serving cocktails in jam jars, whilst dozens of relatives served up their homemade food in a marquee.
Of course it's not just about the visuals when it comes to a wedding, but having a good time. With gorgeous rural surroundings, during the day we got to walk around the grounds and take in the scenery, but it was at night time when the fun really started. Speeches done, the tree lit up the grassy dance floor, and an acoustic band got everyone up with their own rendition of Clean Bandit's 'Rather Be. '
The night was rounded off with a 'sparkling' farewell, as the bride and groom ran through an arch of sparklers held up by all the guests.
The Ward - Tizzard Wedding
This was another rural wedding, set in the picturesque village of Elham in Kent. Driving through, it's literally like being in the Peak District.
I would describe my friend Becca as a bohemian princess, so the style of her wedding wasn't much of a surprise to me, it was more the atmosphere that had everyone beaming from ear to ear.
Again, everyone pulled together to create decorations in Becca's favourite colours - orange and purple - from the bride's bouquet to the detailing on the wedding cake.
The view from the grounds of Elham Village hall was like something out of a Wordsworth poem and was a perfect natural setting for pictures with friends and family. It was just so lovely to see that whilst the bride and groom were having their pictures taken, all the guests were catching up and getting to know one another in the midst of this fairy tale setting.
When it was time to eat, this atmosphere continued, with the food being on a bring and share basis. It gave everyone an opportunity to be involved in the wedding in some shape or form, whether you brought brownies or a salad, you were contributing, and that was such a good feeling to have.
The tables were in long horizontal rows, which is a simple but really effective touch for a wedding with a lot of guests. There was such a huge community vibe, and with so many people making friends, the day was full of conversation and laughter.
Again, the favors were really cute. As you can see from board in the picture above, they were little vials of sand from the beach where Jonny (groom) proposed, with a tag featuring a very apt Bible quote.
When I think about what weddings are really about, I'm so grateful that my first grown-up wedding experiences were these two. It made me realise that wedding's aren't about pomp and circumstance, but getting everyone you invite to feel the love you're celebrating by being as involved in the celebration as possible, whether that means getting hands-on or by making it their own personal, memorable experience.
Congratulations Gabrielle and Matt Pearson and Rebecca and Jonny Tizzard, you beautiful people.