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  • tdonnelly87

Wedding Season 2023!

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

This summer has been truly amazing, ridiculously busy, at times rather stressful but all in all, I've had such a lovely time. This past weekend saw my last wedding of the year so I have decided to do a bit of a recap, review type post. I'd love it if I could do this in video form and put it to music and it be like the best bits when someone would get evicted from Big Brother, but I do not have the skills or material for that. Maybe for the 2024 recap....

The year's ceremonies kicked off in April with a beautiful, all about love and devotion ceremony at The Edgbaston Park Hotel for Tom and Shelika. I'd been working with them for a year (to the day!) and could include so much of their personalities into the script as I'd spent time with their families too. I led the guests in games before dinner which were so much fun and the day was just gorgeous, the perfect start to the year. April also saw the vow renewal of Sarah and Mark who combined their moving away party with celebrating twelve years of marriage, held in the pub Mark ran, they treated their family and friends to a fabulous yet emotional time, showing one chapter can continue as another comes to a close.

photo credit: @phillipparnellphotography

Sometimes I perform ceremonies where the couple are very private and I completely go with this, it's their day and I am not the most on it with social media to be honest, so not posting every wedding doesn't bother me at all, mostly I am too in the moment to take photos anyway. And during the start of the summer one of these occasions occurred. I obviously won't disclose anything personal, however during this ceremony there was a moment, as one walked to the other to meet at the end of the aisle and while waiting said to me, so quietly "Can I look?" Suddenly I became overcome with emotion but snapped back quickly to just about whisper "Yes!" and the look they shared when they saw each other, I can't even describe!! It was the most subtle yet spectacular moment that I will remember forever.

June brought with it a heatwave and the wedding of Karl and Sue, I'd been really lucky to spend time with them both in the run up to the day at the pub, ran by their lovely friends, where the ceremony would be held. Using Karl's late parents wedding rings, they said "I do" in front of a packed pub full of their friends and families. I took my best friend to this wedding with me which was really special as she was the one who helped me set everything up, back at the beginning of Forever Ceremonies. I was gifted the most stunning flowers from the bride and groom and also caught a nice tan sitting in the pub garden after the ceremony. Another amazing moment in June, was the vow renewal of my close friends Gail and Billy. Held in our boss's garden at sunset, we celebrated their ten year marriage with some who were there first time round, and many new additions in the form of their grandchildren. I felt ever so nervous for this one, being surrounded by so many people I knew but it was just perfect, boiling yet perfect!

July arrived, and so did the rain, but for Sangita and Gurdip nothing could put a dampener on their vow renewal celebrations. The Blue Piano in Harbourne was an ideal venue to tell the story of their twenty five year marriage, work colleagues who were there when they first started dating celebrated alongside family who had traveled far and wide. I knew from the moment I read their vows their would be tears as one read to the other "I loved you from the day I met you" My heart!!

The July rain continued, and so did the love when the week after I was at Abels Harp, such a picture perfect venue, for the wedding of Katie and Chris. We incorporated a sand ceremony within their wedding (which was a surprise to their aunts who they asked to be involved!) and their son sat front row, with his crisps (best idea btw) happily watching his Mum and Dad say "I do". In the middle of July I traveled just down the road to a venue I actually pinned to my vision board at the start of 2023, Hampton Manor. Annika and Ryan's wedding was like stepping into a fairy tale, we held off for the rain to pass and their ceremony in the gardens flowed like a dream. My 16 year old son joined me at this one and it was so sweet for him to be a part of the magic. A couple of days later was the wedding of Kimberley and Robert at Ringwood Hotel. Their wish was for an outdoor, intimate ceremony in the Italian Gardens and this came true as once again the rain held off! They incorporated handfasting and asked their Grandad's to tie the fabric which represented each of their Scottish heritage. Their gorgeous dog Cooper made a special appearance at the end of the ceremony also. Dogs at weddings are the best!

Photo Credit: @JaneLouiseWeddings

I rounded off July with an amazing ceremony at The Field at Hollybeds for the wedding of Laura and Matt. Contributions from Laura's Mum and Matt's best friend Steph made for the most personal and unique setting. They even recreated the Friends sofa scene outside for photos! Thinking of everything and missing nothing, the happiest of days!

I said a very wet but wonderful hello to August at one of my fave venues, Belcote Farm, for the wedding of Ed and Amy. I love it here as it's a blank but beautiful canvas and Yaz and Chris are amazing hosts. Yes it rained, but we held out, handfasted and created the perfect start to their happy ever after.

Photo Credit: @AliHortonPhoto

The following weekend I ventured down to Hemel Hempstead for the wedding of Emilia and Tayfun at Shendish Manor. Blending Greek Orthodox traditions with a live performance from one of Emilia's best friends who sang as she walked down the aisle made for the most magnificent ceremony. Their families were so thrilled at the nods to their culture and it was truly an honour to be a part of. Next stop was Hill House (Not from Netflix) for the wedding of Carrie-Ann and Ben. They rented the house for their friends and family so the entire experience felt thoughtful and reflected their love story. Their children "signed" their certificate with finger paints, the most lovely keepsake. Bank Holiday weekend brought the wedding of Candace and Karl, held in their friend's field, they put together the day of their dreams, there was bouncy castles, games and a hog roast! Their handfasting with a cord chosen by Candace sealed their love in front of their blended families, even the goats enjoyed it! The last August wedding for me was held at Bourton Hall for Jenny and Lewis, who finally got their bestest day ever after holding their previous pandemic weddings during the years before. The venue is stunning and the flowers were out of this world! There were performances by their friends during the ceremony, including a flutist and poems, love always wins!!

Now I'm a massive fan of Autumn so as soon as September hits, I'm all about a chill in the air but the wedding of Linda and Mark, held at Home Farm Events had summer all over it. Personal touches everywhere and the most lovely view over the fields made for such a fabulous ceremony. And I got my first pumpkin spice latte on the way home, perfect! My last wedding of the season was for Lucy and Tom at Shack Revolution in Hereford. This is my ideal venue, unique, intimate and just ridiculously cool, they read their vows in front of their family and friends, most of who cried but all who just absolutely loved being there to share in the magic created.

2023 wedding season, it's been emotional! I've caught every cold going, being to the most outstanding venues and had the beyond beautiful honour of working with the most amazing couples! I couldn't have dreamed of the happiness this job has brought me and even though I am truly exhausted I can't wait to get going on 2024 for all the weddings to come....including my own!


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