You might want to go grab something to drink – this is going to be a long post!
When I headed to London last November for Ann & Karl’s Destination Wedding in Bristol, UK, it was not my usual wedding trip. I’ve known Ann thanks to blogging since 2000, and we met because of our shared love of photography. That has always been the most beautiful thing about blogging for me – the ability to meet people thousands of miles away who love the same things that you do. We met in person in 2004 while Mike & I were on our honeymoon in London, I visited her again in June 2006 when I returned to London with Mike on a business trip and stayed a few days at her flat, and we got to spend time with her in 2007 when she came to Austin, Texas for her first adult trip to the USA to visit SXSWi. By 2007 she was already dating Karl, and my wedding photography business was underway. She hesitantly mused at one point that he might be “the one” – but it was still early. As the years passed, she told me that someday, she wanted me to photograph her wedding.
Then while I was in Belize photographing Melissa & Brandon’s wedding, I got the call! In July of 2009, Karl brought Ann to San Francisco, and after fireworks (fitting, since they met on Guy Fawke’s Day) and time spent visiting wine country, he proposed! YAY!!! I was over the moon thrilled for them! So once the date was set – Guy Fawke’s Day 2010 – we made plans for Mike & I to head back to London for their wedding in Bristol, England!
(I wrote a lot more about how we met and shared photos from my past trips to London & time spent with Ann on this post back in November, written while I was in London.)
I wanted a bit of time to spend with Ann before the wedding – plus time to get over dealing with jet lag – so Mike & I flew in the Saturday before the wedding. I’m so glad we did, because then we got to spend time getting to know Karl better, enjoying a proper Sunday Roast, Halloween in the UK, British television, an afternoon shopping & visiting Susannah, and a wonderful dinner with several of the London knitters where Ann & Natalie of The Yarn Yard presented me with the most amazing lot of yarn. Most importantly? I got to put my years in the wedding industry to use as I helped Ann finalize timelines, details, shopping lists, packing everything to get it from London to Bristol for the wedding, and a whole lot more. It was absolutely splendid, and I wouldn’t have traded it for the world! I joked that I was making myself an honourary bridesmaid for the week so we could get everything done. Brilliant!
We finally had everything loaded up and we headed from London over to Bristol, on the western side of England. I had been to Cardiff, Wales back in 2006, but that was via train. I’ve never driven across England, so it was wonderful to get to see England from a new perspective, and to visit another city. That is always one of my favorite things about destination weddings – I love the opportunity to see new places and get to truly know the wedding guests as we spent several days with Ann & Karl’s family & friends.
One thing I learned on this trip is that I can be the master of lists. Every day I would start us off with a list of what we needed to get done & prepared. The lists definitely helped, and we were amazingly efficient in getting it all done! The one list I didn’t keep a copy of that I wish I had still? The instructions that Ann had me write out the night before the wedding on how to put on a kilt! I had no idea it was such a complicated process, but it turns out that a kilt is really heavy, so it is essential to do things in order!
Mike assisted me with photographing the wedding & reception. He will say he isn’t a photographer, but what I always find fascinating when he assists me is how much he has watched my work over the years and how he has a keen eye for capturing images in a similar style. He stayed with Karl & Dan as they got ready & captured the images of them getting dressed.
On the day of the wedding, I went to meet up with Ann at Me:Me Salon where she was having her hair done. As she waited for her turn, she spent time checking in on Twitter where she had her very own hashtag going of #pixnups which we later displayed on the wall at the reception. She also prepared her locket that she had purchased with a photograph of her Dad and a lock of her mother’s hair so she could wear it at the wedding. (That is the photo above.)
Oh yes, we are geeks. Our very own wedding hashtag for the day – I loved it!
When Ann told me she had found *the* dress, I couldn’t wait to see it. I knew that Ann just wasn’t the traditional white dress type of bride. I’m so glad she held out for the most perfect dress ever! How beautiful! A lovely burgundy wine color, with layers of black netting underneath, a variety of fabrics & textures, and the bodice with the embroidery was so perfect! It was just SO Ann!
Things in the UK are different than they are in the US when it comes to weddings. For example, Ann & Karl ordered their wedding cake at Waitrose in London and we picked it up to delivery it ourselves to the Byzantium in Bristol. Also, their cake was two layers of fruitcake and one layer of sponge cake. The fruitcake is not a cake we normally see at weddings in the US, so it was interesting to learn just how common it is in the UK. Throughout the wedding, there were little things like that. So much fun for us to talk about all the differences!
Karl likes cars a lot, and has a collection of these electric cars and tracks. Ann, while trying to think of a way to label the tables so that the guests could find themselves on the seating chart, came up with the idea to get a different car for each table and use that instead of table numbers. What a fantastic way to incorporate more things that they love into the details! For their table, they had a car that reminded them of the Alpina that Karl drives and a small Fiat for Ann. So cute! They also had their toasting flutes, candles, and my favorite part? Large vases full of party favors! Mini sparklers, champagne poppers, noisemakers – all perfect things for celebrating Guy Fawkes Night!
In honour of Ann being from Scotland (the Thistle) and Karl being from England (the Rose), their centerpieces consisted of one rose & one thistle in a small vase. Her wedding bouquet was also roses & thistles, along with his boutonniere. I loved the nod to their respective countries & their history!
Ann loves shoes, so a pair of glittery Jimmy Choo shoes were perfect for her to wear for the wedding day! They are sooooo swoon-worthy! Aren’t they gorgeous?!?
Karl wore a kilt as a guest at a wedding earlier in the year, and Ann thought he was quite fetching in it, so she asked that he wear one for their wedding day as well. Another nod to her being Scottish, which was just lovely. This series of photos with the guys are Mike’s photographs. Love them! So glad he was there to back me up, since it is impossible to be in two places at once.
Ann’s niece Aylabeth is the cutest 4 year old ever. She was just a delight to spend time with all weekend! Those blue eyes and her Scottish accent? Most precious thing ever!
One last kiss to blot the lips – the next kiss will be for Karl!
Another one of those things that is different in the UK than what I am used to – the Registrar came and interviewed both Karl & Ann separately to ask them all sorts of questions verifying who they are and going over signing the registry during the ceremony. Also, you can see below the sign that the Registrar put on the door notifying the public that a wedding was taking place. Not something I see every day!
Ann knit her own shawl for the wedding day. The yarn, Handmaiden Fine Yarn Sea Silk in Gray, was the perfect choice, and she took the Lady’s Circular Cape in Shell Pattern from Victorian Lace Today and modified it to make it just what she needed. Do you knit? You can see Ann’s notes about the project and all the other details on Ravelry here.
More to come soon – the ceremony & the reception! I can’t wait to share! Thank you a million times over to Ann & Karl for allowing us to be a part of their special day!
Wedding Ceremony & Reception Venue – Byzantium in Bristol, UK
Hair: MeMe Salon, Bristol UK
Cake: Waitrose, London UK