Twelve months ago today I became Mrs Hayley Hall. I married my best friend, cliched as it sounds, and we started a new phase in our lives together surrounded by all our loved ones. We planned our big day within a matter of months and it was everything we’d dreamed of, truly reflective of who we are as a couple and the massive party vision we had in our heads. We definitely shunned a lot of traditions and a lot of wedding-esque nuances, preferring to make ours wedding a little bit different and something to be remembered – and we don’t regret a single thing. Having been to many other weddings over the last year, it’s reaffirmed many of our decisions and left us feeling like we really did organise something quite special. I remember how filled with love and laughter it was; there was no stress and no drama, just two people coming together wearing pretty nice threads. We had permanent smiles affixed to our faces, but with hindsight there are some lessons I learned and small details I’d change if we did it again…
The last minute rush to get ready was unexpected.
On the morning of the wedding I was super chilled, to the point where the hairdresser actually commented about the fact she’d never seen such a relaxed bride. I thought we had all the time in the world (in some of the photos you can see me watching This Morning, ha!) but before I knew it I was in a bit of a rush to get into my dress and out of the door. I almost forgot my veil and there aren’t any photos of me in the hotel before leaving, because the photographer had already left to get shots of the venue before it became filled with people. I do regret not getting into my dress earlier and having a glass of champagne with my bridesmaids, but in the bigger scheme of things it’s really not much to be caught up over!
We didn’t leave enough room for me to actually walk down the aisle.
Yep, really! During our rehearsal the day before my mum and I bumbled down the aisle arm in arm after setting up the chairs to reflect our guest numbers, but what we didn’t account for was the fact that my dress was pretty huge. When it came to actually walking in the next day, we had a right old palava trying to get down together – so my photos show me with a semi-crying semi-concentration face trying to get to my husband-to-be in one piece! After the ceremony Josh just gave up and told me to walk in front of him, which was both hilarious at the time and a story to tell you one year later.
My hair looks pretty naff in most of the photos.
Although at the time I loved my ‘do, now I look back my hair looks like it pokes out at weird angles and the front bit has been blown around by the wind. I wish I’d gotten some hair extensions to lengthen and thicken the overall look, as well as dying it a richer colour – it looks a bit meh to me, and I kind of wish I’d kept it down to look a bit more like me (even though I deliberately wanted an up-do as something a bit different!)
I wish we’d been able to capture more candid moments.
On your wedding day you’re so busy getting your photo taken, trying to say hi to the people you’ve not seen in ages, cut cakes, get everyone on the dance floor and actually drink a glass or two of that champagne you’ve paid for, that you don’t really pay much attention to what else is going on. Although we have lots of beautiful photos of the bridal party and us as a couple, as well as a lot of posed family shots, we have barely any of friends or those small moments that made the day what it was. We ate Krispy Kreme donuts, watched Back To The Future, had pizza for dinner, danced to a Busted tribute band and so much more – but there’s very little to actually document that, which is a shame.
All that money on food I didn’t even get to eat.
Following on from that, I spent most of my day posing for photos and talking to people – so I didn’t get a look in when it came to food and drink. I managed to nab a donut when I finally got a chance to go for a wee, had about two slices of pizza before we were asked to go outside for more photos, missed dessert altogether (even though they saved some for me and left it on my table) and didn’t even know they were serving bacon sandwiches until we were just about to leave.
But saying that, there were so many things we were glad of and so many moments we wouldn’t change for everything… We learned that everyone loves a Delorean (it was my surprise wedding gift to Josh to pick him up and take him to the venue in the iconic car, as Back To The Future is our favourite film!) and that donuts are so much better than canapes. We learned that having enough time and space for people to explore and chat is all you need between ceremony and dinner, and that nobody will play with those board games you spent an age sourcing in case people got bored.
We learned that having a moment for yourselves is really important, but having a first dance isn’t – we jumped up and down to Busted songs together instead, which is far more ‘us’ than awkwardly dancing to a Westlife song. We learned that personalised M&Ms get eaten at the speed of light and that pizza for dinner surprises and delights like nothing else. We learned that guest books get filled to the brim if you give out polaroid cameras, stickers and metallic pens. We learned that keeping the top tier of cake to eat with your family at a later date is such a good idea, and we learned that letting your flower girl be an honorary band member is all the evening entertainment you need.
We learned that your wedding day is about celebrating your love and making memories, not about centerpieces and extravagant flower walls; it’s about the party of your lives, not just a prescriptive formula you should follow without question.
A year on we couldn’t have been happier with how our day panned out and the memories we have to cherish forever. I can’t believe it’s been a whole 365 days, but I can’t wait for the next 365 and beyond…
Happy anniversary to us.
(And here are some of my favourite pictures to celebrate.)