Here's Louise's latest blog from her Disney-themed wedding at the weekend. I just adore the bride's dress!!
"The sun was shining as I crossed the bridge across The Thames to enter The Swan, the river was glistening, the swans were serenely swimming and preparations were in full flow in the ceremony room. I was greeted by their beautiful board saying “ Welcome to the Wedding of Michelle and Alex, So glad you’re here!” Tom from The Swan was preparing the hessian aisle runner under a beautiful arch of flowers in creams and greens with eucalyptus hanging down. Flowers were delicately placed at the end of some of the rows and the chairs were all positioned looking out across the Thames, the view was spectacular. The table plan named ‘ Be our Guest ‘ was Disney-themed with tables named after Disney characters like Ariel, Mickey, Belle and Aurora. A card box and gift signs were on the table by the cake stand that was waiting to be filled and above the fireplace a photo of Michelle’s dad Stefan had pride of place by a burning candle in loving memory of those who are always in our hearts.
I introduced myself to the photographers from Studio Rouge and we chatted about positioning. I then set up the ceremony table with the certificates and prepared the glass vessels for the sand ceremony we would be having later. Tom and his team hadn’t seen a sand ceremony before so I explained to them what this would entail as we blended the family together. At this point Alex and his best man Chris appeared, resplendent in their navy suits with matching waistcoats with the folder of reserved names for the seating and started to place them on the chairs. Everything was very calm; they had had a lovely time at the Swan the night before with a delicious meal and enjoying the moments leading up to the big day.
Having checked the room was how Michelle had wanted it , I took a few photos, and I popped upstairs to see the bride and her attendants. The room was a buzz of activity, Michelle was sitting having her hair done, a huge smile on her face and the bridesmaids and maid of honour were all dressed in beautiful navy dresses, their hair all styled, glasses of bubbles in their hands. They had enjoyed a breakfast of croissants, fruit, yoghurt, and lots of other goodies to see them through to the wedding breakfast. Michelle’s dress was hanging waiting for the big moment when she put it on, her shoes and beautiful silver jewelled hairpiece were placed on the table.
Sarah from The Garden Room Flower Company was busy placing the bouquets in the room, Michelle’s had beautiful charms attached in memory of her dad which was a really special touch to take him along with her as she walked down the aisle. Chloe was busy putting on her shoes to complete her outfit and Lyndsey was snapping away taking photos of all these special moments. Everyone was calm, happy, full of excitement and raring to go. Having checked that Michelle was happy with the layout of the ceremony room which I had shown her with the photos I’d taken I headed back downstairs where Alex and Chris were starting to greet people as they arrived. I chatted with Michelle’s mum who was sitting with her friend Susan about the signing so she knew what would be happening and then spoke with Chris, Alex’s dad who would be doing a reading to decide where he would stand.
Whilst guests were starting to gather in the bar enjoying their first drinks, Alex and Chris were drinking Corona as they waited in the sunshine greeting guests and directing them to the bar. I took over the buttonholes of small white roses and greenery for them to place on their suits ready for the ceremony. In the toilets, a lovely wicker basket of all the essentials were placed next to a sign if guests wanted to freshen up but reminding them to hurry back out before they missed the next song!
Soon Tom clinked the glass, asked everybody to finish their drinks and to head into the ceremony room. As everyone took their seats, Alex checked to agree that all the guests were seated so upon seeing the bridesmaids were starting to gather downstairs I gave out the housekeeping message and the ceremony began. The bridesmaids led in by Laila and Chloe dressed in navy holding bouquets of white roses, eucalyptus and greenery tied with blue velvet ribbon were followed by Emily, Susan, Nikki, Ellie and then Rachel the Maid of Honour. Michelle entered with Alex’s stepdad David to the strains of ‘I get to love you,’ by Ruelle.
The bridal party were welcomed with applause and words about marriage were spoken. The couple made their promises and the guests made promises to Michelle and Alex to support them with love and friendship. Chris Alex’s dad read I Promise and then Michelle and Alex’s love story so far was shared, met by smiles, some laughs and a few tears. Michelle and Alex held hands and spoke their vows to one another with open hearts as they promised to walk beside each other with an unwavering love. As they exchanged rings under the flower arch, Michelle was a little concerned about Alex’s hot hands which raised a laugh but once sorted Chris the best man performed his duties, and the wedding bands were placed firmly on each other’s fingers.
Chloe, Alex’s daughter then joined Michelle and Alex to join in a sand ceremony to blend the family into one. Alex started with his silver sand representing modernity, grace, and innovation which he poured into a heart shaped glass vessel, Chloe followed with her pale neutral sand reflecting permanence and grounding of this family. As the glass vessel filled with the grains of sand and they mingled together, a poem about blending the grains of sand to merge together was read as Michelle poured her layer of white sand representing purity on top of Alex and Chloe’s layers, it has to be mentioned that a few of her grains of sand went elsewhere and not into vessel which caused the odd sheepish look from Michelle and a few laughs.
The heart shaped bottle was presented to Michelle, Alex, and Chloe to go in their home as like the sand and the wind they are now one family and when they look at the vessel they will be reminded of the day they made their vows, and their lives were joined together. Just at that moment we all heard Bertie their sausage dog bark from outside by the riverbank as if he knew that he needed to be included as well!
They signed their certificate to the strains of ‘This will be an Everlasting Love’ and were then joined by Jackie and Ann who were their witnesses. Photos were taken, words spoken and then came the moment to present them to their guests as Mr and Mrs Jefferies and as they walked down the aisle to clapping and cheering they stopped midway for a kiss before leaving for a glass of bubbles whilst the guests walked out across the bridge onto the grass beside the Thames where they took handfuls of confetti and lined the riverbank for the confetti throw. As Alex and Michelle Jefferies made their way out across the bridge the confetti started to fly into the air and over the couple.
Bertie was reunited with Michelle and Alex and joined in the celebrations as drinks were handed out from the riverside bar and inside pornstar martinis were starting to be made and carried out. Michelle and Alex went off to have some photos taken whilst their guests nibbled on canapes and had a lovely drink in the sunshine on the banks of the river. It has to be mentioned that Chris the best man was still carrying a handbag, I don’t think I saw him without one apart from during the ceremony! Inside The Swan team were busy changing the tables over ready for the wedding breakfast where the long tables had been set up with floating candles in glass vases, white flowers in little vases and a beautiful lit sign saying The Jefferies over the fireplace with two stunning flower arrangements either side.
I went and packed up my belongings and after a few photos taken of myself, Alex and Michelle by Chloe I left them for an afternoon of feasting, followed by a night of dancing and fun. I am sure a good time would have been had by all as the atmosphere was full of love and friendship. Michelle and Alex were heading off to Orlando for their honeymoon to be Disney’s guest as in Walt’s words “If you can dream it, you can do it” Michelle and Alex certainly did it in style!
Celebrant: Louise from Knight Ceremonies
Venue: The Swan Streatley
Photographer: Studio Rouge
Florist: The Garden Room Flower Company
See more about Berkshire Ceremonies