As you may or may not already know, last weekend I was privileged to be a part of my gorgeous sister, Amy’s wedding down in Devon. My car decided to break down a few days before the wedding, so my journey, which started at 9 am on Friday morning, resulted in travelling by train, dragging my stupidly massive suitcase and holding up annoyed passengers as I tried to squeeze it into the luggage compartment…and failed several times. But after two changes and five hours of attempting to revise while chugging along the English countryside, I arrived in the cute little town of Honiton and was picked up from the station and “chauffeured” to the venue.
The Old Pavilion (which literally looks like an old cricket pavilion) stands in a remote site set down a long drive surrounded by greenery and fields, and is usually home to art classes – given away by the variety of paintbrushes and arty decor incorporated into the interior. The men were filling the marquee with chairs, lights and bunting were being arranged in the gardens and I was sent off to do some last minute shopping…ending up in me squished into the back of Amy’s car surrounded by countless boxes of beer. As the sun set on the perfect location on Friday night, friends and family put up tents and enjoyed drinks by the campfire and prayed the sunny weather would hold out for one more day.
Luckily it did, and without rain to dampen the mood, Amy and us bridesmaids spent the morning in a room full of sofas and Prosecco, merrily prepping our hair and make-up for the ceremony (my mum said as long as the weather was nice for Saturday she didn’t care if it rained all summer, so she’s probably jinxed that for everyone). Amy looked even more stunning than usual – if that’s possible – and at 2pm was led down the aisle after the flower girls in the prettiest wedding dress I’ve ever seen, followed by the bridesmaids. The aisle was in-between rows of hay bails where guests sat on either side, and Huw stood waiting on a platform under a leafy oak tree. The humanitarian service was commandeered by Mary-Ann, Amy and Huw’s wedding planner, artist, and owner of the incredible grounds and house where it all took place. The personalised vows they each read out captured the essence of their relationship completely: funny, creative and full of love. Huw’s sister sang a Maori love song, interweaving the New Zealand culture from his side of the family with our British heritage.
Next was champagne and photos in the glorious sunshine (fortunately my sunburn didn’t show up until after they were taken) followed by dinner consisting of a hog roast and three different types of salad. Although as a vegetarian I couldn’t eat the meat, there is no restriction on how much potato salad and free wine you’re allowed to consume… Our place settings were as personalised as the wedding itself – minute wooden logs with our names handwritten on.
Once dinner was over and the speaches were done there were only two things left on the agenda: get (more) drunk and dance! From 11pm onwards commenced the COOLEST after party ever; a silent disco with two channels you could switch between – one made by Amy and one by Huw. Very cool but also embarrassing when you realise everyone can actually hear you having a rap battle with your little brother to Tinie Tempah’s ‘Pass Out’ at the top of your voice in the middle of the dancefloor.
The numbers dwindled as everyone headed to bed, but the party stayed strong until the sun came up around 6 am. I disappointingly didn’t live up to my student reputation and called it a night at four am, waking up the next morning on a sofa somewhere inside with my coat for a blanket.
Sunday was a massive chill out and clear up day, with some people nursing hangovers and others savouring left over alcohol for breakfast. Gradually and regretfully the most wonderful weekend came to an end, and I prepared myself for the journey back to Nottingham. All good things must come to an end as they say, but the memories of families and friends coming together to celebrate two such incredible people will last forever.
Amy’s silent disco playlist top picks:
Huw’s silent disco playlist top picks: