I've been sitting on this for a while, gradually adding more bits as I think of them. So it's a bit long and rambly, but if I don't post it now I'll never get round to it.
First, the details, for anyone who cares.
I got married to my partner of 11 years, Katherine, on 1st December. This was actually our 11 year anniversary. We had a civil ceremony in The Assembly House, Norwich with a wine reception afterwards, then moved on to Wolterton Hall for the main reception, with a magnificant feast provided by Brasteds. Afterwards there was a chocolate fountain courtesy of Digby's and Nero thanks to Milton.
The wedding cars were provided by American Dream (we had the Excalibur Sedan and the Lincoln Town Car). The bus to/from the reception was from Dolphin Autos. Robin Phillips brought the band. Wonderful purple jacket + the other suits were from John Field Formal Hire.
Next, some photos.
Finally, some things I've learned.
For guests (I wish someone had told me these - Katherine says I sound stroppy but I don't mean to):
- As soon as you know if you're going or not, let the couple know. Especially if you're not going. They will probably be constrained on numbers and there are very few people who can be invited at short notice if you only let them know you're not coming by the RSVP deadline.
- Don't leave buying your present until the last minute. The couple will have lots more important things on their minds in the final week or two than trying to make sure there's enough left on the gift list.
- People really do mean that they'd rather you turned up than gave a gift. I never fully appreciated this; I'd feel bad going to a wedding without having given a gift. However I know that it's not cheap to get to Norwich and (in most cases) have to spend at least one night in a hotel. I'd much rather people did that and I got to see them on the day than they sent a present.
For couples getting married:
- It costs more than you think. Really. I'd always assumed hotels dug their arm in for weddings and upped all the prices, but actually the hotels we looked at were the cheap options, both in terms of the actual cost and also the fact they'd throw extras like a honeymoon suite in for free.
- Make sure everyone in the wedding party knows the way to the ceremony venue. Really. Don't rely on them to ask you, or assume that they'll have looked at the directions you've prepared.
- People are far too generous. We received many completely unexpected gifts from relatives or friends who we hadn't invited to the wedding, or those who couldn't make it. (As well as many of the people who came to the wedding buying us far too much.) If you gave us a gift, you will get a thank you card - these are already in progress but it probably won't be until after the New Year before they're all sorted and sent.
- Don't leave booking a honeymoon until after the wedding. We had issues regarding not being sure about Katherine's holidays and we ended up not sorting anything until a couple of weeks later. This reduced our options somewhat.
- So far it doesn't seem to have changed anything much. Katherine and I have already been living together for some time which we consider a bigger step. And we haven't seen a whole lot of each other since the wedding, though we have spent the past week together. But really, we don't feel a lot different yet.