1. to overpower the thoughts, emotions, or senses of
2. to overcome with irresistible force
3. to overcome, as with a profusion or concentration of something
1. exciting a feeling of wonder; marvellous or strange
2. extremely fine; excellent
1. (tr) to have a great attachment to and affection for
2. (tr) to have passionate desire, longing, and feelings for
3. (tr) to like or desire (to do something) very much
4. (intr) to be in love
1. an intense emotion of affection, warmth, fondness, and regard towards a person or thing
2. wholehearted liking for or pleasure in something
I’d like to say that those words sum up the weekend, but I think that would be doing a giant disservice to the multi-faceted, awe-inspiring, beautiful and wondrous experience that you all helped to create.
We are only now emerging from what has been (to us) a very surprising emotionally charged few days.
The whole weekend was a long labour of love in the making, it nearly didn’t happen on quite a few occasions and it was only the unending support and encouragement of our amazing friends that helped us get there.
As Thom alluded to in the ceremony, we had an opportunity here to scrap whatever our preconceptions were of weddings and receptions. We took the basic blueprint and re-built it from the ground up, cherry picking all the best bits from as many different places as we could find, furnishing it with elements that had personal meaning but that would hopefully resonate with and inspire all present.
He also talked about our community; our family and our friendships. About how they are, for us, all basically the same. Intertwined across many different friend groups, cities and countries and that it is this, as much as our love for each other, that we were coming together to celebrate. I don’t think you would need any more evidence than Two Got Married to prove that. We had So Much (sorry) help with pretty much everything, which was ridiculously humbling to witness.
You have all met us, you know how demanding we both are, so to allow us to be so focused and single minded in our pursuit of the ‘perfect day’ is a gift all of its own. Everything we asked for was integrated and accommodated, and to achieve such an incredible wedding and party on any budget would have been an outstanding achievement. To accomplish it on the tiny budget we had makes it priceless.
Such a huge amount of essential kit and valuable expert skills were gifted, offered, begged, borrowed, bargained, and seemingly magicked. I tried costing it out in ‘real’ terms at one point and stopped when Stoo could have built a pretty cool eco house with it. Amazing. With a really capital A.
The thing that stands out above and beyond everything else is that you all just instinctively worked your own individual brands of Awesome; you knew what would work, what was needed, what we loved and you provided it without a second thought.
It was the most natural thing.
“This is what we do” was the byword, and we can not thank you enough for being who you are and bringing such a transformative wealth of love and creativity to our table. We are full up!
We are however, greedy. Same time, same place, 2015 anyone?
General appreciations aside, we have some specifics which deserve a mention, in no particular order;
There was a heroic effort over the last few weeks putting together décor. There was sewing and cutting of cushion covers and tablecloths, there was bunting (oh my word, the bunting….), there was pinwheel making and pompoms and amazing laser-cut ply mobiles and fabric flowers, so thank you to Team Pretty: Lancaster division- with a special mention to Brian ‘proper bunter’ Gates, and to Lesley for her pillaging of the Accrington charity shops- you guys are amazing.
Thanks also to Team Pretty: Southern division, who provided us with beautiful birdhouses, yet more pompoms, pretty things, cakes and the creative flair to help bring it all together.
The Cake! Wow. Karen crafted the most beautiful wedding cake I have ever seen, and at the same time managed to make it uber tasty. So good. The hundreds of flowers lovingly created by Grant Sweatshop Enterprises were simply splendid, thank you to all who thought that this was the best way to spend Tuesday evenings; you were quite correct.
To Kevin, who provided such beautiful flowers (Fil still can’t get over how unbelievably perfect the bouquet was) and pretty things to adorn the wedding arch and feasting tables. And not forgetting Harold and Isabella.
To Thom, for helping us put together a ceremony that really spoke for us, and for delivering it in the most eloquent and fitting way. Thank you.
To those that helped set up the barn on the day, the décor hanging, the sound and lights, the sailors’ rave, the temporary walls, the setting up of the tables, the taking down of the tables, the scratching of heads, the frantic re-arrangements of tables, the beautiful dressing of the tables and all the little moving of things and careful placements and attention to detail. The space looked incredible. It was like something from a film set or a highly aspirational pinterest board. Thank you.
To our media team! Rachel; for her acrobatic group shots and generally marvellous eye. Darren and Bruce for heroic filming. Elliott for what is sure to be the greatest time-lapse ever. Dan for the outstanding programme, map, paper dolls- inspired, sir- and the late nights he endured to complete them and along with Mary-Jane for the wandering portraits with insta-gallery (legendary). I’m sure there will be more fine contributions from all the other photographers amongst you, so thank you to all of you for helping to capture these moments. They will be treasured.
To our minstrels! Nadine and Rob, who pre-surprised us with the very thing that we were plotting and then brought it to triumphant fruition, despite intercontinental rehearsal requirements. For Bel and Elliot for providing the horns (everything is better with horns), not just once, but repeatedly. To Arif, who got back on his horse and rode it to party town. To Mark, Elspeth, Rob and Katri who brought our live music contingent up to a very respectable level and helped suffuse the day with the melody and dynamism we were looking for.
To Ghosty for the sound system and all manner of essential infrastructure, for your epic running around and ability to source and sort the Important Things. Thank you.
To Sy, for always bringing so much to the table – electrical wizardry, brilliant lights, a wealth of knowledge and experience without which we’d be sitting in a caravan with a torch and whistle by comparison. You sir, are the gaffa of our parties.
To everyone who made or brought food. I think we can agree that the feast was fabulous, with so many good things to eat (we’re still enjoying some of the offerings, cheese and cake particularly). The thing we would have struggled with most would have been relinquishing control of the catering to a stranger. Having such culinarily talented friends made the whole thing much easier and significantly more enjoyable. We trusted to your gifts and were delighted to consume them. You guys delivered, and then some. Thanks.
To the Band, The Fire beneath the Sea, you absolutely smashed it. Thanks so much for coming up and unleashing your lyrical funky party vibe on us, I think it’s safe to say you went down a storm! Specifically thanks to Lea and her wonderful song, it meant a lot and was a moment to cherish. You can all consider yourselves adopted, it was a real pleasure to hang out and party with you all.
To all Harker wranglers, especially Jude. We don’t really remember seeing him so you all must have been facilitating such grand adventures that he never missed us.
To Stoo, for being our housemate for two insanely intense weeks prior to the wedding; keeping us on track, reminding us of things, tolerating the cosmic levels of stress and bickering with marvellous calm. For working ’til the early hours more than once to be the saviour of my suit dreams. For being the friend he always has been, but up close and more personal, helping bring us back into focus in more ways than one. Thank you.
To Pesh for bringing what he always does and making an already beautiful venue put on its best sparkly dress and flash us all.
To Layla for our gorgeous rings. Who knew the other ginger lad would turn out to be a metal smith, a forger of things, a ring maker? It is only right that the person most responsible for the formation of our relationship should be the one that binds us together with metal. You devious so and so.
To Robin for not only navigating Fil’s semi coherent desires and intentions but managing to translate them into the stunning wedding dress. You not only managed to make Fil look beautiful, you made her feel it, and that is an incredible feat. Fil is jubilantly happy with it, and will continue to show it off for as long as she can.
To Nikki and Grainne for Harker’s splendid jacket. Another masterfully intuitive interpretation of vague ideas. I hope everyone admired it as much as he does.
To Cindy for the Coat That Must Be Worn. I have never seen so many people desperate to have a go on an item of clothing. It made things very confusing as you never knew who was going to be inside it. We hope the amount of admiration it garnered made up for the amount of swearing it inspired.
This is why I didn’t have a proper speech worked out, you’d all have been asleep in your rhubarb. Even so, I still think we’ve missed things – there was such attention to detail across the board that all worked really well. It came across as organised chaos, and I know how hard people have to work to give that impression. So to everyone who helped serve food or drinks, or whipped cream, or cooked fruit, or made breakfast, or lit candles, or re-filled loo rolls or got me more champagne or any of the hundred little things that make an event like this actually work. Thank you.
And to all those stalwart souls who were left on Monday (either by accident or design) and helped with the de-rig and tidy up, you all win an Authentic Bespoke Recycled Woodland Illumination Device (pat pend). Please collect from Lancaster. Soon please.
This wedding was always going to be greater than the sum of its parts, simply because the parts (that’s you guys) are of such outstanding quality. Our expectations were high and they were well and truly exceeded.
The whole weekend passed in a bit of a blur, I think it took us both by surprise quite how emotionally charged it was; we’ve put on and attended parties that looked similar, but this turned out to be very different. Apparently, we’ve never done anything quite like this. This was a little discombobulating, to say the least. There was a riot of colour and laughter and friendship which overwhelmed our senses, and it has taken until now to begin to get to grips with it.
I don’t think we were prepared for the way the experience shaped our movements and memories, and by this we mean we don’t feel like we spent enough time with each of you, although the memories we do have are all wonderful.
I think we both have strong impressions of the community coming together, of how well we all fit, how natural and accepting and welcoming you all are. That this family of ours is very nurturing and gives freely of its friendship and love. That impression, that feeling is the most distinct quality that remains. It is painted across our memories in all the colours you wore, in the lights on the trees, in the flickering of the campfire, in the conversations and the singing and the nonsense and the no-pants-parties. It will no doubt be captured elegantly and with care by the photographs, but most importantly it is captured in our hearts, which you helped bring together. So for all of these reasons and many more.
We love you all.
(by the way, Harker’s phrase of the week is “Crying, Mamma?”)
One last parting shot, as inspired by the aftermath, this is all the justification required:
The mud, on the hem of the dress, is evidence of the fun we have; the journey we take through life leads us off the paths sometimes.
If you haven’t got mud on your clothes you are not having enough fun.
It is a badge.
The marks on our clothes are our smile lines in cloth.