The last time I blogged I was Robyn Slingsby and now I’m Robyn Bateman. It’s been a manic month, hence my lack of blog posts, which has included a shed load of snow, marriage preparations, a wedding, a honeymoon, my birthday, a shed load more snow and threat of cancelled flights, Christmas, ill relatives and New Year. Phew!
So, I have a lot of catching up to do and a lot to report. Starting with my wedding day, Sunday 5th December 2010, the best day I could have wished for. Despite the snowfall the week before, which sent my usually composed self into a semi state of panic, the day itself was everything I wanted my wedding day to be and, most importantly, my best friend and soulmate was waiting at the other end of the aisle for me, smiling like a Cheshire cat.
And I have a lot of thank yous to make, firstly to all my wonderful friends and family for coming and sharing our special winter wonderland-themed day with us and making it so memorable. To mention by name are my gorgeous and glamorous bridesmaids – Mandy, Bloater, Lisa, Karen, Sammy and flower girl Erin. Mandy organised the best hen weekend ever; Bloater stayed with me the whole morning of the wedding, made me tea and steadied my nerves (and also sent me a lovely letter the day before the wedding which made me cry!); Lisa has the patience of a saint and helped me with table decorations and wedding invites; Karen hosted a top bride-to-be themed quiz at my hen do made the coolest name badges ever; my lil sister Sammy was the life and soul of the party and rallied people to sign our guest book on the big day; and three-year-old Erin was incredibly well behaved and certainly provided the cute factor on the day.
Big thanks too to the ushers, my brothers Chris and Ben, and Richard’s brothers – best man Jamie who was a rock on the day and delivered a quality speech – and Douglas who proudly dressed as a snowman to greet our guests.
Huge thanks to our parents for helping and supporting us in the run up to the big day, by not being too demanding, throwing money at us and making copious journeys across sheet ice to help with last minute details. Thanks to dad, in particular, for walking me up the aisle and delivering the most amazing and heartfelt speech ever, and to mum for being there to take car of the little but important things, like putting my earrings in, spending hours attaching baubles to napkins and smothering me in glittery moisturiser at the last minute. Oh, and for the spot cream :0)
Skipping to before the wedding, a big thank you must go to the staff at Vanilla Bridal in Newport Pagnell where I fell in love with my dress, Biba by Ian Stuart. Finding a short wedding dress is no mean feat and Vanilla’s genuine enthusiasm when I popped it on made me smile like I’d won the Lottery. The whole service was great, and Louise McClaren, the seamstress, did a fantastic job making it fit.
Mention should also go to Cedar Therapy in Deddington for providing me and the girlies with some wonderfully relaxing treatments and easing the huge knots from my shoulders (even if I did have to walk back to the car, across snow, in disposable flip flops) on the day before the wedding, and to Bicester Golf and Country Club for entertaining the boys with a hot tub and massages. And it was a pleasure to stay at The Cartwright Hotel in Aynho, which hosted the whole wedding party, because of its lovely rooms, scrummy food and even eccentric manageress who tended to our needs in her own scatty way.
On the big day itself, big thanks goes to the lovely Jenny Buckland for doing my hair and make-up, for listening to exactly what I wanted and giving me just that, as well as easing my nerves with a bit of banter. If you need your hair and make-up doing, give Jenny a call – totally professional, incredibly able and good company to boot. I had so many compliments on the day and Jenny is to thank for that.
Also to Henry and Rachel of 1st Images Photography who did a cracking job with our piccies. I barely even noticed Henry as he snapped away while I was getting ready (wearing my coat and pyjama bottoms most of the time, oh the glamour!) and teamed with Rach at the venue they came up trumps with some excellent and informal shots of us and all our loved ones. It’s a long process getting all the piccies done and Henry and Rach were the definition of professionalism and fun rolled into one. It was genuinely a pleasure to have them there on the day and they captured some amazing shots of our special day, particularly of the ceremony. The bonus of having a two-teamed photographic service is they can be in two places at once and really captured our moments. These guys were awesome.
Next to thank are Caroline and all her staff at The Great Barn in Aynho, Oxfordshire. We picked this as our venue because it was perfect for a winter wedding and very us. The added bonus is that Caroline and her teamed pulled off everything we asked for with complete professionalism and informality. Her staff were fantastic, fun and made our day perfect. These guys know what they’re doing but don’t make a song and dance about it, they were just lovely and I can’t thank them enough. From serving drinks, to setting up our video for the first dance, decorating the venue and pandering to my dad’s obsession for ice cold drinks, they pulled it all off with ease.
Sharon and David Kearney are the caterers at The Great Barn and I have never tasted wedding food quite like theirs. It was scrumptious! So many people commented on the food, from the tasty canapés to the three course meal and evening buffet – it was all excellent quality, served piping hot and efficiently. And Sharon’s personal service in greeting me at the venue when I was a bundle of nerves, to steadying me before I walked down the aisle, to sorting out tables and decorations to perfection and serving up a meal I’d be delighted to eat any day of the week, she was a little trooper.
Also to mention is my florist Lana. When I rocked up at her house over the summer and said my colour scheme was black and silver, that I didn’t want anything conventional and I knew bugger all about flowers, she didn’t look blankly at me but threw a load of ideas my way. My bouquet of black foam roses was to die for, the silver corsages and button holes were sheer class and my bridesmaids’ wands were pure elegance. Lana did a fab job and was a genuine pleasure to liaise with. And the beauty of faux flowers? I get to keep them!
The Astor Quartet, the string quartet hired to provide music on the big day, were truly excellent and drew huge compliments from our guests. They played a host of classics, Christmas tunes and even learned a song on request, On An All Time High, which was played as we signed the register and exited the ceremony. It’s an important song for us and the quartet played a blinder, they really did.
Three cheers for my good pal Tracy Buchanan for reading during the ceremony – and reading something she’d written especially for our big day. Entitled The Apricot Room, it was personal, touching and delivered perfectly. Reading is hard enough but to write it as well… Buchy, you’re a star. And thanks to Rich’s dad Mr B for his lovely reading of an excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit, my favourite children’s story of all time. It was an emotionally charged ceremony and Mr B did well to hold it together.
The registrar and deputy registrar were also fantastic, conducting a really moving ceremony, having tissues on hand just as the mascara decided to head south and for calming my nerves before I walked down the aisle. They also assured me not to worry about the snowfall ahead of the wedding, that they’d be there regardless and that there would be a wedding, no matter what. This was exactly what I wanted to hear and was one stress I didn’t have to worry about. Emma and Tracy were both just lovely and I couldn’t have asked to be married by two nicer people.
Cupcake Cutie provided some tasty and festive looking cupcakes for the big day and Wizard Fancy Dress came up trumps with a snowman suit for one of our ushers, to add something different to the day. So thanks to both.
But most of all, thank you to my new husband Richard Bateman for being you. For the lovely letter you wrote for me on the eve of our wedding day, for making me smile every single day and for looking so bloody handsome as I walked down the aisle towards you. It was the best day I could have asked for and I feel honoured to be Mrs Richard Bateman. Sunday 5th December was one of the best days of my life but I know there are plenty more to come with you by my side. For all my life I am yours.
Pictures by: 1st Images Photography