And here we are with another post that has been sat in my drafts folder for far too long. I first started writing this post back in 2018, on our 10th wedding anniversary. Then, I blinked, and somehow 2 more years had passed. Today we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary with a quiet lunch at home. We don’t usually bother with cards or presents, so I thought instead I would finally finish this post that I started long ago, all about what made our wedding day special.
Although I didn’t always know what theme I wanted for our wedding, once I had thought of it I couldn’t believe it hadn’t occurred to me before.
I’d always wanted a red and gold colour scheme but it was as I was standing looking at the decorations at the annual Christmas display in a local garden centre, that I realised that those colours would work really well with a Christmas wedding.
I ran the idea past Mr Mess, got his full seal of approval and the planning could begin…
I was first introduced to The Trent Building at Nottingham University when I attended my sister-in-law’s wedding there. I swore up and down that there was no way I was having my wedding at the same place, when we would have so many of the same guests.
It didn’t take much venue-hunting to realise we were going to be hard pressed to find a venue that offered as much space and versatility at a price we could actually afford.
Mr Mess convinced me that we could decorate the venue and use our theme to make sure our wedding day felt special and unique, so we made the call and our wedding was booked for Saturday 6th December 2008.
The Trent Building certainly offers lots of options when it comes to holding your wedding there. We were married in the Great Hall, had our drinks reception in the foyer and out on the terrace, moved downstairs to the Senate Chamber for our wedding breakfast before heading back to the Great Hall for the evening reception.
I loved that all the different spaces in the venue meant there was no awkward waiting around while rooms were swapped over to their next set-up. The wedding party just flowed around the building, from one area to the next, while all of the room transitions were done out of sight while we were entertained elsewhere. It was seamless.
Once the theme of “Christmas” had been chosen, the ideas for decorations came thick and fast. We filled the rooms with Christmas trees and garlands, some provided by the venue but most provided by my Dad and his fabulous DIY skills.
Dad also helped to create our table centrepieces for the wedding breakfast. Rather than having formal flower arrangements, we bought a number of hurricane vases and filled them with red and gold baubles and some battery operated Christmas lights.
We continued the Christmas theme on the dining tables, where each place setting had a Christmas cracker and a little favour box filled with gold chocolate coins and chocolate hearts.
Our most extravagant decorative purchase was the hire of an event management company to string fairy lights across the great hall where the wedding ceremony and evening reception would be held. It cost £500 for the privilege, but it was worth every penny and felt completely magical walking down the aisle under the twinkling lights.
Is it really bad if I admit that I have no idea who the designer was for my wedding dress? I can remember that it was in the colour “Oyster” which was a really unusual, platinum colour. I also remember that I had picked a completely different dress. Then on the day I went to collect it, I saw this one and fell in love.
My three bridesmaids consisted of my two sisters, Kim and Kirsty, and my cousin Chloe. The girls all wore dresses from Debut in Debenhams in a deep red colour to match the wedding colour scheme.
There should have actually been a fourth bridesmaid, my best friend (and maid of honour), Faith. Unfortunately, she was actually booked to perform in a professional pantomime on my wedding day, and so couldn’t be there. I still remember her phone call to tell me – she was horrified!
Massive thanks have to go to Faith’s Dad for driving her from Leeds to Nottingham at 10pm on the wedding night so she could still make at least part of the weding party. It really was incredibly special when she finally arrived.
After 12 years , I really cannot remember the name of the florist who did my flowers, but they came highly recommended from my mother-in-law.
I had some pretty specific ideas of what I wanted for our flowers and they delivered perfectly. The bridal bouquet was made up of red roses, but also incorporated holly and ivy to keep with the Christmas theme. (Special holly that wasn’t sharp!)
The bridesmaids had a smaller bouquet of white roses, the men had a single red rose buttonhole and my mum (who always has to be different) had an orchid. I was actually really impressed at how they managed to tie the orchid in with all the winter flowers.
The Food & the Cake
One of the things I loved about our venue was that they offered a menu tasting. A group of us got to go to the venue before the wedding and try a sample of dishes to help us make our final decision on the wedding menu.
Cheekily, we kind of already knew what we wanted, so we possibly didn’t really need the tasting, but I’ve never been one to turn down a free meal.
We eventually settled on a very traditional meal with soup for starters, a turkey dinner with all the trimmings for the main course and then sticky toffee pudding for dessert. We also arranged for mulled wine and mince pies to be served during the photographs.
We both agreed that we didn’t want to spend a lot of money on an elaborate cake, so instead we asked a friend that I worked with to make us three simple tiers, some fruit, some sponge cake. We wrapped it in red ribbon and then asked the florist to make a tiny cake topper to sit on top. And done.
We planned all of the music for our wedding, from the ceremony to the party playlist, and it cost us absolutely NOTHING. We used a CD for our ceremony music. As it was a non-religious ceremony we weren’t allowed to use Christmas carols, but I got around that by finding some Christmassy sounding music such as Vivaldi’s Winter and even the theme from Edward Scissorhands!
I walked down the aisle to Pachabel’s Canon in D, and then after the ceremony we walked back up the aisle to Troika!
We were also lucky enough to have some very generous friends who offered to play for us during the wedding. A friend of mine offered to play the piano (a mixture of Christmas carols and showtunes) during the drinks reception and then a close family friend of Chris offered do a set for us during the evening reception. Both of them were insanely talented and I appreciated their generosity so much. It really made our day to have some live music!
The guest list was by some standards quite large. We had 90ish guests to the ceremony and wedding breakfast and then around 130 in total for the evening reception.
In the evening, we all headed back to the Great Hall and had an amazing party. There was food, dancing and lots of giggles. My husband even sang a song!
The whole day was absolutely wonderful but, as people always say about weddings, the day absolutely flew by. There were a few things that didn’t go to plan, but I’m a firm believer that as long as you actually get married on your wedding day, then that’s as perfect as it needs to be.
I have so many wonderful memories from our wedding day and looking through all these photos has really brought it back to me. Obviously there are some things that I might do differently now I’m older, but it really was a special day, surrounded by friends and family, while I married my favourite person in the whole world.