Monday, 18 June 2012

Real Life Weddings

We're looking for brides to feature as 'Real Life Weddings' on the blog, however, to get the ball rolling I thought I'd start with my own rather crazy day. We'll have been married 5 years in January, so this is old news now, but I feel it is a worthy example of a low budget, but extremely fun day. Welcome to the Christmas come Celtic come Lord of the Rings madness that was the Morton-McGurk wedding.

 A Lord of the Rings themed Christmas Wedding?

So how did this kaleidoscope of ideas come together? Well, Matthew and I met on the first weekend in January, so the first weekend in January seemed like the best time to have our wedding. A Christmas wedding, perfect.

I had always known that I wanted red as one of my colours, in fact I had wanted a red dress. In the end I proved a coward, however, and went for a more conservative ivory. I even had a veil and tiara. Then I realised that it just wasn't me. Matt wasn't going for the traditional suit I had always anticipated, but going for a rather dashing Prince Charlie kilt outfit so why couldn't I be a bit extravagant too? I already had Christmas colours in mind, but even our DIY engagement stationery, the basis of our DIY wedding stationery, had been celtic inspired. Looking at celtic circlets eventually led me to Lord of the Rings, another of my favourite things. Excellent I thought, cloaks which I could tie in to the colours, finally getting my red outfit, as well as an intricate circlet made just for me, and adapted by me (I added a lot of beads and details, as well as drawing the initial design). My accessories weren't everyone's cup of tea to start with, but I loved it and in the end most people came around. Our outfits were exactly right for us. Although I thought having a cloak would make me stand out only to have one guest turn up in a cloak and top hat, carrying a walking cane!

Although I must say, after setting up my venue myself (with the help of my mam and some friends) it is a miracle I was in my dress and cloak at all before the 2pm wedding time!

 The Wedding Party and Ceremony

We couldn't get everyone to join in with the kilts, so although the fathers and best man wore the tartan the ushers wore suits and cravats. Matt was the only man in kilt and cravat, rather than the traditional bow tie. The decision ensured he stood out and tied the kilted men to the suited men nicely, ensuring everyone looked as though they belonged.

My bridesmaid and flowergirl both wore simple circlets and cloaks, tying in with our theme. Their jewellery; a necklace and bracelet each, were gifts from us. I had in fact made my bridesmaids crystal necklace. My own jewellery consisted of a replica of Arwen's evenstar pendant from Lord of the Rings and a chain-mail bracelet which Matt made me. Both were presents from my groom on the morning of the wedding. I also wore crystal earrings which I had made myself. In return for my gifts I made Matt his kilt pin, which, along with a personalised pocket watch and some other bits made up his present.

Our wedding was held at St Andrew's Church, Bothal. Chosen for ancestral reasons as it is where my grandparents wed. It is also the church I was christened in. The church itself is set in a beautiful and tiny Northumbrian village and I couldn't have asked for a more stunning location. The church is situated next door to a castle. Just as stunning as our venue was the brass band who provided the music for our day. Powerful and moving, I couldn't have asked for better.

 The Reception

After being showered in confetti and photographed until our faces hurt from smiling we were driven to our reception in a beautiful old english white Jaguar xj6. Those few minutes in the car were precious, alone with my husband for the first time. Finally, after three years of planning and four years of being a couple we were man and wife. We had said our vows, signed the register. It was legal. Now to celebrate!

With tables scattered in Christmas favours (crackers, candy canes, parcels filled with chocolate made to look like presents) and mulled wine and mince pies as arrivals, we made our guests welcome at our celebration. This part of our wedding was really quite traditional, we had a receiving line and a formal wedding breakfast, as well as the traditional speeches. Although how many brides can say their groom made his speech in a paper crown from a Christmas cracker?

My mam made our cake, simple maybe, but perfect. The cake toppers were bride and groom pocket dragons, the perfect choice as the first gift Matt ever gave me, the day we finally met face to face that January day, had actually been a pocket dragon. One of the very next things he bought me was a replica of Sting, Frodo's sword from Lord of the Rings. We chose to cut our cake with Sting, celebrating our history while taking the opportunity to wield an extravagant knife as far as we could.

We followed the day reception with a North Eastern ceilidh, the best way to get Matt and I dancing. My bustle broke in the first dance when my uncle stepped on my train and I had to carry the swath of fabric over my arm in every dance that followed. It didn't matter though, it wasn't an inconvenience as I was having too much of a good time to notice.  That's the way to be, I feel. On the day try not to care about the bits that aren't quite perfect, it's too late to change anything and worrying will taint the day. Look at your husband or wife or partner and smile, go with the flow and have fun.

Fun, that was our ethos. We wanted our big day to be fun for us and everyone we invited, and as far as I can tell we succeeded. I can honestly say that my wedding was one of the best days of my life, it was definitely the most enjoyable. While the birth of my daughter may be pretty close for 'best day' it certainly can't match our fantastic, if slightly non-traditional wedding for sheer fun.

Colours: Red, Green, Ivory
Themes: Christmas, Celtic, Lord of the Rings
Favourite item of outfit: My made to measure boots
Processional: Canon in D
First Dance: Kerry Polka
Dress: Amarillo, Romantica of Devon
DIY? Stationery, some jewellery, some decoration
Venues: St Andrew's Church, Bothal and Pegswood Miners Welfare Hall
Car: Jaguar XJ6
Shoes: Elegant Wedding Shoes
Flowers: Lavenders Blue, Morpeth
Photography: Academy Photography, Morpeth and John Steele (student photographer)
Brass Band: Backworth Colliery
Ceilidh Band: The Deadly Earnest

So yes, a little unusual, a little mad perhaps, but I wouldn't change it for the world. We did a lot ourselves, our stationery, some jewellery, the design and adaption of my circlet and Matt's kilt pin, setting up the venue myself and my mam making my cake. It was a very personal day right down to the reception venue, which, although not everyone's cup of tea it was a place my granda worked and loved. I had been a bridesmaid for my uncle as a child, at the very same venue. It was also one of only a few locations that could accommodate 100 guests for the meal, more at night and host a ceilidh where almost all of those people could get on the dance floor!

If you want to share your perfect day and you have the copyright for your images or can obtain permission to use the images from your photographer (full credit will be given) then please get in touch by emailing with your details.

Thank you for reading.

Angela McGurk
Graphic Embers

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