Allegra on her Wedding Day 14th September 2013.
Today was spectacular as I just knew it would be! Most definately the most beautiful wedding I have been to for a long time. As some of you may remember, I was very kindly invited to Allegra Loch's Wedding. I was Allegra's nanny, when she was one and a half years old, for just over a couple of years when I was approximately 20 years old (yep, long time ago). I was so excited about her wedding and also seeing her mother Sylvia, neither of which I have seen, for many years. I last saw both of them at my own wedding in 1992!
The day did not start off well for me! Showered, washed hair, straightened hair. Pouring with rain in King's Lynn, lashing down with rain to be precise. This is the worst nightmare for brides and wedding guests – rain, hair and silly footwear do NOT mix! Used the brolly just to get in the car. Flew down town and had my make-up done by a fantastic 'Elizabeth Arden' Beauty Consultant in Debenhams called Annie. I never wear foundation normally, but she insisted, that I 'needed it for photos' – ok, fine. I was very impressed with her skills and judgement and luckily very happy with the finished results! My straightened hair now had kinks in and looked utterly rubbish with the rain and dampness. Flew home, panic and stress as I needed to leave NOW! Soaked hair with water, scrunched up with wax and transformed crap, straightened hair into curly style – done, finished, go!
I drove in trousers and top, planning to change into my delicate, flowing dress at the last minute, somewhere! On route, the rain continued and looked set for the day. What a day for a wedding! The sun was forecast to come out later, I just hoped and prayed that it did for Allegra and Andrew. The marrriage in the church at Stoke-by-Clare Church in Suffolk was at 2pm. I was worried, that for the first time for an important event, that I might be late, really worried.
I arrived at Stoke-by-Clare at 1.46pm. I now had no choice about where I changed into my dress and it had to be super quick. Nipped down a side road and parked car along a field track and did a crazy change out of of trousers and top into dress, in the bl**dy rain! Luckily I didn't get caught! Got a parking space, right next to the church, with silver pashmina round shoulders, I grabbed camera and sparkly bag and walked into the church with 5 minutes to spare!!! Phew! I relaxed when other guests walked in after me and also some guests turned up seriously late, as bride and groom were signing the register later on, which made me feel quite prompt!!! I adore people watching and there were so many beautiful guests and so many beautiful outfits and hats. I recognised Mrs Thrower, who sat on one of the back pews – a lady that used to work for Sylvia when we all lived in Green Farm House in Stoke-by-Clare – I had a chat with her afterwards. Allegra was late arriving, which was good! Her mother Sylvia gave her away and the two of them looked jaw droppingly stunning as they walked into the church and up the aisle. Sylvia dressed in fuchsia pink and black hat looked, as she always has done, so elegant and beautiful. Allegra was smiling the whole time and just looked stunning in her beautiful wedding dress, ruby jewels, tiara and veil – I almost had a tear in my eye. The order of service book had some lovely quotes "A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person" and "You don't marry someone you can live with, you marry someone you cannot live without". Whilst the couple signed the register, Carrie Ronaldson (one of the bridesmaids) played the flute – Air on a G String – Bach with organist Brian Farley. She played so beautifully. I got some fabulous pictures of Allegra and her guests throughout the day and hopefully got lots of relaxed 'unofficial' shots which I think generally are better, as you catch people unawares and in their natural state. The rain had stopped thank goodness! We all lined up outside, either side of the path to the church entrance and threw rose petals over the newly wedded couple as they walked to their very grand car to be taken to the reception. I raced to the end of the path to get as many pictures as I could! Chatted with Sylvia briefly outside the church, who said I looked exactly the same as when she last saw me! Guests then made their way to the reception at Boxted Hall.
Boxted Hall is a glorious 14th century historic moated house that offers a beautiful and serene setting for romantic wedding receptions etc. It is surrounded by 200 acres of undulating parkland and woodland. I set the sat nav up to find Boxted Hall (approximately 9 miles away). I had to laugh as I and other wedding guests ended up by a field entrance later on – the sat navs could not find Boxed Hall! It was quite amusing, as pre my recent purchase of my sat nav, I would have found it quickly with my written down instruction from paper map!!! It didn't take us too long to find it after that though, thank goodness. Drivers were ushered to park on a large, grassy area. A lot of designer shoes and sandals were ruined today! Boxted Hall is in such a beautiful rural setting and surrounded by a moat. A lone bagpiper stood by the stone bridge 'piping' as guests walked over the bridge to the hall and a photographer was snapping the guests as they walked along. Canapes were served and drinks offered by very attentive waiters and waitresses throughout the rest of the afternoon. Allegra and Andrew arrived at the reception in a fabulous horse drawn carriage!!! Got some cracking pictures of guests and bride and groom. Much to my amusement, several guests remarked how I didn't look old enough to have been Allegra's nanny, which made my day! The main reception was held in a massive marquee in the grounds at 5.30pm. Allegra had based her reception designs on birds! I was seated on the 'Dove' table! I met some lovely people, including some neighbour's of Allegra's and other friends. I don't know if Allegra was aware, but a guest seated to my left called Dave who was there with his very beautiful wife Suzanne was a birder!!! Obviously we both had lots in common to chat about! The lone bagpiper was sat at my table and I didn't discover until later that it was Sylvia's brother Alister. The food was simply divine. The trio of desserts that arrived in glasses on one plate, looked too good to eat – these were extremely popular! A little boy who sat at the table hinted to Alister that the banoffee dessert was especially good. A few moments later Alister very sweetly walked around the table and placed his banoffee dessert in front of the little boy, who beamed with delight that he was given a second one! Allegra had obviously spent hours creating items for this reception – bird cages were hung over the whole marquee with tea lights placed inside. Patchwork (hand-made) buntings were strewn across the marquee, personalised name cards with cut-out paper birds and mini champagne bottles with bubbles, made such a wonderful touch to the table settings. Coffee and fudge concluded the meal. Some excellent speeches and cutting of the cake then followed. The cake design was of a bird cage with a pea-cock sitting on top – very different!
Tea-lights were placed from the marquee to the bridge to walk back inside for the disco and dancing. The music was excellent and I spent quite a bit of time on the dance floor, although the silver sandals had to come off as I got into the music! The champagne and punch etc had taken good effect with several of the younger guests and there was lots of interesting dance moves and near falls! Lounges with comfortable sofas etc were next to the main dance room for guests to sit and chat in a quieter setting and for those that didn't want to strut their stuff! The non-alcoholic punch I was drinking tasted so good, I felt like I was 'drinking'! Had a lovely chat and catch-up with Sylvia in the lounge just before I left. I decided to be very sensible whilst I was still awake and after saying my goodbyes left the hall at 11.30pm. The party was still going strong, but I had a two hour drive home. It took me 20 minutes to walk to the car – it was freezing cold and foggy! Managed to change into trousers and top and driving shoes and set off at about 11.50pm. It wasn't funny driving home at all and I was glad I left when I did. I was very awake whilst driving, but had to open the window on the last leg home, arriving back at about 1.40am.
I still can't believe that I went to Allegra's Wedding yesterday and how beautiful she looked – a magical princess. Thank you so much Allegra and Andrew and to your families and friends for allowing me to spend your very special day with you X
LOTS OF PHOTOS TO BE ADDED!!!