What a day it was.

The best, and possibly the strangest and most emotionally draining day of my life. Most importantly – the day I married my Prince Charming and became Mrs Erler.

It was  a beach wedding. An outside reception. Obviously we were planning on sun. But the Gods had other plans.

Yes, we had a freak thunderstorm, the likes of which hadn’t been seen in June in Zante pretty much ever. Yes, it POURED with rain all afternoon and evening so we couldn’t eat under the stars and have photos outside in the garden like I planned. And yes, in the videos of the speeches you can hear the rain literally lashing down on the emergency plastic cover the villa owners rushed to put up the day before.

However. We were lucky! I got to make my entrance, have the ceremony and most of the photos on the beach all before the heavens opened. And plus, the moody sky and thunder and lightening made for some amazing and very different photo opportunities!

It wasn’t what I had planned or imagined, but it was still amazing. Our guests still had an incredible time and danced all night. It was still hot, and miraculously no one (including us) really got that wet! My advice to any bride who has bad or shock weather on her wedding day would be: yes, you will be a bit upset. I had a few moments throughout the day. But you will still have an amazing day. And no one will ever forget it!

Plus, superstition dictates that rain means good luck and that you’ll have many children. So there you go.

A few details from our day which was organised perfectly by Zante Weddings. They did an amazing job and gave us the wedding of our dreams.

Bride: I wanted to go for a relaxed, boho look which would fit our rustic beach venue. My inspiration was the bride from the Mamma Mia movie. The most important thing to me was that I wanted a flower crown! I found that first. I discovered Ana Maria Bufnila and her beautiful handmade jewellery and hair pieces at the National Wedding Show.  She had my crown on display and as soon as I saw it I knew that’s what I wanted to wear – to me it was more important than the dress!

So, the dress had to fit the crown and not the other way around. My dress was probably only the 7th or 8th that I tried on in total, and on the first day of looking! I loved it. It was the perfect mix of beachy and loose with a little bit of bling, tight at the top and free flowing at the bottom with a manageable train. I also knew that I would be wearing flat sandals (from David’s Bridal) and the dress I chose looked fine with flat shoes.

I wore my Grandmothers pearl earring for my something borrowed, my dress and shoes were new, my something blue was a surprise from my mum which was a pearl bracelet with a tiny blue bead! So cute. My something old was a fairly last minute decision. I didn’t think I wanted a veil until my mum suggested I tried tucking the one she wore into the back of the flower crown – and it looked stunning. I loved it straight away! There was something special about wearing my mothers veil on the same day that she married my Dad, 28 years later.

Groom: Paul was somewhat relaxed about what he wanted to wear for the wedding! We both knew it wouldn’t be a full suit, firstly due to the heat in Zante but secondly because I think suits look a bit odd at beach weddings. We got the majority of his outfit from John Lewis. A nice pair of beige trousers with a white shirt and brown, leather boat shoes. The bowtie and the braces were his choice, but I thought they looked fab and something you don’t usually see for grooms. The pink bow tie was bought online from Mrs Bow Tie and the braces were H&M. My wedding gift to him was a gold, engraved pocket watch which he chose to wear in his pocket on the day which was a nice touch. He looked very handsome 🙂

Bridesmaids: I had 5 bridesmaids. A mix of family and friends. All lovely and all exceptionally beautiful. They are all different and so I didn’t want to dress them the same. I chose 2 colours of dress fabric from David’s Bridal bridesmaids collection and they could choose between the pale pink and the mint green. I also had them choose a style that they liked the best from 6 styles which are designed to match but are different cuts and fits. I would encourage any bride to do this. The effect of having not only 2 complimentary colours but also different styles looked amazing on the day. They also chose their own hairstyles so we had a mixture and had hair combs with a fresh rose and gypsophelia in it, which matched their posys.


Wedding Party:  Other than the bridesmaids the rest of the party was small. Paul had his father as his best man (pictured with Paul above) and we had one usher who was my brother. My Dad walked me down the aisle and my mum was also part of the party, she and my brother walked down the aisle together ahead of the bridesmaids.


Guests: We were overjoyed that 50 people came all the way to Greece for our wedding. We were surrounded by our family and friends and felt very loved the whole week. We were joined by my very large and Paul’s slightly smaller extended families, including my beloved Grandmother who, even in her 80’s, couldn’t be kept away. We were shocked and flattered by how many friends made the trip, many making it their summer holiday and we are so grateful. It means a lot. Everyone looked fab on the day and managed to grasp my rather vague dress code of ‘beach chic’ excellently!

Ceremony: The ceremony was at Cameo Island at 2.30pm. It was hot! This venue is a very popular and is truly an outside venue so we were extremely lucky that the rain didn’t come down earlier otherwise it would have need to have been relocated. It’s easy to see why the island is so popular. The bridal entrance is a set of rustic stone steps leading down to a stunning cove looking out towards the open sea without a person in sight. The rickety bridge, stone and pebbly beach for guests to dip their toes in create a magical atmosphere and some very different wedding photos.

The ceremony itself was very short with just a quick set of ‘I Do’s’ and the exchanging of the rings. Paul and I read poems to each other and although I didn’t look up he said there wasn’t a dry eye in the house! We also had a sand unity ceremony which involves the mixing of two bottles of sand into one; symbolic as well as a nice memento to keep. Warning – when it’s humid the sand doesn’t come out that easily!! You may end up spilling it all over the table like me!! All of this was conducted under a beautiful wooden arch dressed with flowers standing on scattered rose petals. We walked back down the aisle to ‘Hold My Hand’ by Jess Glynne and the confetti was thrown and that was it! After what seemed like a million pictures and a few bucketful’s of rain it was time for the reception.

 

Flowers: We decided to leave it up to the florist. I know nothing about flowers so I decided it would be best to trust the experts on the occasion. Looking back there were actually quite a lot of floral arrangements involved in the day in one way or another. We had my bouquet, the bridesmaids posys and hair combs, buttonholes for the boys, corsages for the mums, flowers for the arch and aisle, flowers for the cake and of course the stunning mason jars all along the table. Considering the brief I gave the florist was ‘pretty, pastel and wild looking’ I think she did an amazing job and I was blown away by the flowers. They all tied in together without being matchy matchy which is my worst nightmare! Personal favourites were my wildflower bouquet (of course), the button holes – a single rose with daisies and gypsophelia, and of course the beautiful table jars which next to the plain white table set up were one of my favourite things about the whole day.


Reception: The reception was held in the gorgeous Artina Villa, a beautiful cliff top building over looking the blue Greek oceans – on a clear day! Unfortunately my visions of guests sipping champagne while listening to the Greek musician quartet and admiring the stunning views didn’t quite come to fruition. We had the champagne and the musicians (who were fab!), just the view by this point was somewhat obscured by the low lying and very angry storm.

The reception was decorated beautifully with extra surprises I wasn’t expecting like chalk board signs, vintage suitcases and a station for guests to draw portraits of us! All arranged by my thoughtful and clever mum. The table set up was one of my favourite things and I was so pleased with it. With a relatively small group I was adamant about having one long table to give it a more casual and family feel. Not only did the mason jars look amazing but we also had hand cut heart table confetti, hessian envelopes with scratch cards inside for each guest with personalised stickers and paper name place cards in the shape of birds. The favours were sourced locally- olive soaps for the girls in a hessian bag and olive oil for the boys, finished with a personalised tag.

We enjoyed amazing Greek food and our yummy cake for pudding. The speeches from my dad, Paul and the best man were all brilliant, funny and moving in their own way. However, my brother was the one who caught me off guard with a ‘Wedding Day Song’ he had written and performed it on his ukulele. It was hilarious and also so sweet it made me bawl. Paul even admitted to shedding a tear. It was the perfect gift.

The evening went so fast and before I knew it the table was cleared and we were dancing he night away as the rain continued to pour. We had a lovely firework display which went ahead even in the conditions. Funnily enough the rain finished just in time for everyone to leave and we had our sparkler send off.



Cake: We wanted a simple, no fuss cake because neither of us particularly like icing. A naked cake made with Victoria sponge and fresh fruit was perfect. And how stunning was it?! It was so yummy it didn’t last long as the guests ate it for pudding. No saving the top tier for us!



First Dance: A few weeks before the wedding I mentioned to Paul that I found the concept of a first dance really awkward! The thought of 4 minutes swaying in the soot with everyone watching made me shudder. We had already chosen ‘Thinking Out Loud’ for the song and I suggested, somewhat jokingly, that we should choreograph a routine to do on the night as a surprise like Ed does in the music video! Miraculously Paul agreed! One of my most memorable moments of the evening is the gasps and ‘Awhs’ from everyone when we burst into a seemingly spontaneous dance routine with lifts and everything! Plus it was brilliant fun practising in the lead up too.


Wow, what a marathon! I could go on and on but I think I’ve covered the important bits and what I’ll want to look back on and remember in the future. What words struggle to express is the love and warmth we felt that day, and all week, from all our guests who felt like one big happy family. I have never felt so lucky. I got to marry my soulmate in (almost) paradise surrounded by people I love. And that’s all that matters really.

xox

A few of my favourite photos from the day so far. No professional ones yet!

Pre-Wedding

img_7888

Brother & Sister

Dad giving me away

Family

Bridal Party

Sand Unity Ceremony

You may kiss the Bride

Relaxed beach wedding

Electric Love

The Bride & Groom

The current and new Mr & Mrs Erler

Wedding by the sea

Barefoot Bride

Rain at the Reception

First Dance

 So what did I do the night before my wedding? I’m in Zakynthos, all our family an friends have arrived and it’s the dreaded night before. We decided to stick to tradition and Paul was banished from the villa to spend the evening having a meal with his parents and drinks with the guests, followed by staying overnight at one of the other hotels in the resort. So I was left in the villa with my mum, dad, brother and my bridesmaids!

We had pre arranged a lady to come and paint our nails as a bit of a girly treat and to make sure our nails were fresh and unchipped for the day. I couldn’t really eat anything, but I sensibly avoided the bubbly to make sure there was no sign of a hangover. I was nervous anyway but even more so because I was checking my weather app every 5 seconds. It had been uncharacteristically humid in Zante and the forecast was a huge storm for the wedding.

Amazingly, despite all the stress I did manage to sleep. We watched Mamma Mia to get us in the mood for a party and then most of the girls went back to there respective accommodation. My friend Nikki stayed overnight with me.

img_7921

I fell asleep easily, but woke up at 5am. I did some yoga on the terrace and prayed to the, then clear, sky and implored the Greek Gods for no rain…

..they didn’t listen!

xox

It was my hen party on Saturday! Last fling before the ring etc etc!!! I am now officially on the countdown to becoming a Mrs.

Planning a hen party is difficult. There seems to be huge expectations attached to it and the celebrations often involve a whole weekend (sometimes even a week!), sometimes abroad and usually involve quite a lot of money from all those invited. I was adamant that I wanted something simple, nothing tacky and nothing that involved my friends and family having to pay loads of cash up front and, more importantly, involved my bridesmaids having to spend hours chasing up payments and organizing! And nothing cringe – no strippers allowed!

My five bridesmaids with help from my mum did an amazing job of planning and setting up a stunning picnic in Greenwich Park with a ‘festival’ theme (I love my festivals!) and it was absolutely perfect! They went to a lot of trouble and there were a lot of extra touches which I wasn’t expecting like my mum made a flower photo booth for us to use to take our selfies and homemade personalized cupcakes with little pictures of me and Paul on them! So cute.  It was the little details that made it so special for me, instead of a sash or tiara my cousin made me a ‘bride-to-be’ badge to wear, we had bunches of gypsophelia on the table and all the food was homemade. It was perfect for me 🙂

How lucky we were with the weather! In the weeks leading up to it I was terrified that our garden party would be ruined by rain or a freezing wind but thank goodness the UK decided to bust out a heatwave and we were blessed with a balmy 23 degrees!

After a few hours of champagne and cake in the park we engaged in some hilarious ‘school sports day’ games (even more hilarious with a few drinks having been consumed) like the sack race, egg and spoon and the 3-legged race and I managed to lead my team to a convincing victory! We also provided some good entertainment for the other park-goers that day and became a bit of a tourist attraction!!!

In the evening we went out to Shoreditch to ‘Trapeze Bar’ which is a circus themes bar with yummy cocktails for a bit of a dance. As we had been celebrating for most of the afternoon we didn’t last much longer than midnight but it was still enough time to hit the dance floor and get a few drinks in.

The best thing about the day was seeing all my (female) friends and family and the girls that I love in one place all getting on and getting to know each other before my wedding. I feel truly blessed to have such lovely ladies in my life.

xox