lifestyle, personal, wedding Happily Ever Gardiner – Part One 21st January 2018

♡ 22nd December 2017 ♡

This date now marks the happiest and most memorable day of my existence. I married the love of my life, my soulmate, my best friend, my world. We’ve been through a lot in the 4 years we have been together – more than most will ever go through in their entire lives; but it only bonded us closer together and showed us we were where and who we needed to be with.

To give a little context to this, my other half was diagnosed with Stage IV Classical Hodgkins Lymphoma back in 2016. We had been together little over a year. It hasn’t been an easy road and there have been tears, doubts, big decisions to make, difficult conversations and a lot more to get through – but in truth I don’t think I’d change any of it for a second.

I’ve decided to split this post into parts because as I was writing it I realised if I don’t split this up into a series it will become the mammoth of all blog posts and ain’t nobody got time for that! There’s a lot to cover and so if people were interested in reading I figured it would be easier to take it in bite size pieces. So say hello to Part One of however many I write!

We were originally planning on tying the knot in April 2018. The date was set, everything was booked and I was going through the motions of wedding planning thinking I had plenty of time to get everything done. Apparently the Universe had other plans, as in November 2017 there were complications with Karne’s treatment and the circumstances we were forced into meant that either the wedding didn’t happen, or we had to move it. Moving it back wasn’t an option because there were too many “if’s” and “but’s” and a considerable financial loss to us if we did. After a bit of soul searching we decided we had one shot at the wedding of our dreams and therefore the only choice we had was to bring it forward. So I (I say “I” because let’s be honest, I planned the whole shindig) now had 4 weeks to get everything done. Queue meltdown and panic attack..

We thought it was only fair to make all our vendors and everyone we had hired aware of our situation before we booked them – so they were clued in from the very beginning in case this kind of thing was to happen. Unfortunately we weren’t eligible for the kind of insurance that saves you from these problems.. but thankfully each and every one of them was still available for us on such short notice and with very little prep time. This is where the pain in the arse hyper-organised side of my personality really came in handy! The dates were moved, final balances paid, catering and drinks menus selected, details finalised, flowers organised, accommodation arranged, invitations sent out, dress and suit fittings completed and everything else that needed to be done was systematically ticked off and sorted with military precision.

I was truly gutted because I didn’t think my best friend would be able to make it. She lives in New Zealand now and it just seemed really unlikely that she’d be able to get the time off work on such short notice, gather the funds and make such a long journey in time. But she surprised me, just like she always does, and told me she would be there if it killed her. She was coming and that was that! It wasn’t long before she had landed on UK soil and we were reunited at my venue the night before the big day to catch up, put the world to rites and reminisce over old times.

Kirsty – if you’re reading this – you are one of the brightest lights of my life and one of the greatest happy accidents I’ve ever had (she’ll know what I mean by this, haha). I don’t know what I would do without your constant love and support and you will never, ever know just how much I love and adore you. If angels exist and walk among us.. you are most certainly one of them.

I thought I’d be nervous on my wedding day – being the wallflower that I am, the thought of having all eyes on me for most of the day was very daunting. But when it came down to it I slept like a log the night before, I woke up bright and early and I never wavered for a second. Sure, there were butterflies but the anxiety and the panic I was expecting wasn’t there.. I guess because I knew what I had waiting for me at the bottom of the aisle.

When I saw how beautiful the venue looked I was in awe and had to remember it was my wedding I was gawping at. Lesley, from The Rustic Wedding Company, had been there all day on the Thursday and well into the evening to get everything ready. And then again for a lot of the morning I believe to add all the final touches. I knew when we had booked her as our decorator that she was talented and had an eye for these things – but given the few ideas we gave her at our meetings I had no idea she would pull something straight out of my wildest dreams. From the foliage and flowers on the chairs, the lace and bows and place settings right down to the centre pieces and the hot air balloons she had strung up on the ceiling.. it was everything I ever wanted and I was so taken aback with how beautiful she had made everything.

I was joined by the rest of my bridesmaids not to long after hair and make-up arrived (around 8ish) and we were all having a good laugh and a giggle while we were getting ready. Jessica and Lena made us feel at ease and were so lovely the entire morning, you forgot they were strangers to us and felt like old friends.
It’s a really nice to get your make-up done by someone else – you just feel really fancy! I’ve never had mine done professionally before and was worried about someone else doing it on a day where it would be immortalised in photos, but they did an amazing job and it was absolutely perfect. All my bridesmaids said they’d never felt so pretty in their lives.. and then when Jessica put their hairpieces on to finish off my vision just came to life and they all looked so stunning!

The girls went upstairs to get into their dresses and when they came back down I felt so lucky to have them all there with me. They really did look amazing – literally like ethereal woodland princesses and the dresses looked gorgeous on all of them. I’ve mentioned before in a previous blog post that I actually got to pick and won my bridesmaid dresses – so I do have to give a big shout out to Little Mistress for choosing me as their winner!
Then it was my turn! I went upstairs and put “her” on as best as I could without assistance and came down the stairs. My sisters face in the photos pretty much sums up everyone’s reaction. There was a lot of “ohh” and “ahh” and a few tears from the bridesmaids – it was a really strange feeling to have people cry because of how nice you look. And I really did feel beautiful.

The dress I bought was from Gowns & Garters in Thrapston, the same place my sister had bought her own from and part of the same line. If you’re curious – she is an Essence of Australia D2085 (it’s a very catchy name). The sleeves had been added on and hand made just for me and the lace on the train was an extra touch too. To make the changes we did on my dress was a big leap of faith – you just don’t know how it’s going to turn out, all you have is an image in your head and you have to completely trust the person who is working on it. Julie, the wonderful seamstress, is an artist and I was completely overwhelmed with just how amazing it was when she was done. She was everything I have envisioned and knowing my dress is completely unique and that there won’t be another identical to it is a really special feeling. She’s currently being dry cleaned and boxed and will forever be a relic/memento of this day. If we have a daughter in the future, who knows, maybe she will wear it too.

That’s it for Part One! I hope you are all enjoying seeing the photos as I share them! Putting this together has been really fun for me and looking back on the photo’s helps me relive this magical day over and over again and I hope you’ll check back soon for Part Two ♡

* Photos by Casey Avenue Photography *

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  • Heather posted on February 2, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Your day looks beautiful! I hope your husband is improving and you both (being a caregiver takes its toll) can focus on happiness, good heath and love.

  • February Goals | Laura Has a Blog posted on February 4, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    […] like a million other things to do. Plus I had spent literally weeks drafting and re-drafting my HAPPILY EVER GARDINER post and will most likely do that same for Part Two – I guess I was just pouring everything […]

  • Amy Mia Goldsmith posted on February 12, 2018 at 10:38 am

    It looks great! I look forward to seeing other parts 🙂

  • Happily Ever Gardiner – Part Two | Laura Has a Blog posted on February 12, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    […] hope you all enjoyed Part One? I should imagine we’ll be touching on the ceremony and some of the reception here. I don’t […]

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