Gareth and Charlotte x

This gorgeous couple found us on Google from Dubai, and came to view because of our name.... Mr Picknell couldn't believe there was a venue so closely associated with his name, so Mrs Picknell (to be) persuaded him to just come and look.

The rest is history.

I knew this wedding was going to go with a swing when I found Gareth's sister Erica mixing up the final ingredient (brandy) into the family's 'South African inspired' home-made drink. The family lived in South Africa for many years before moving to the midlands when Gareth was fifteen.

These little bottles were made as favours for each person to take home with them. I am sipping on it now as the family very kindly gave me two huge bottles of it (as a 'thank you'). It's like a twist on Baileys and tastes heavenly poured over ice (I might just add that I am writing this in the evening)!

The home-made theme continued as great friend of the family, Jane, showed me these amazing vases she had made herself as a gift for Gareth and Charlotte.

They were going to form the centre-piece for each table.

This is quite a large clue to the theme of the weekend!

There were sea-shell candles all around our Entrance Hall.

A cargo net had been ordered on-line by Gareth and Charlotte, but it hadn't arrived... It was meant to form the basis to a lot of the decoration. Thanks to Mortehoe Shellfish for coming to our rescue! The idea was that guests would take pictures of themselves with the Polaroid camera (making full use of the props) and then write a message and peg it to the net.

Here is Charlotte, leading by example!

This was only one cake..there were MANY cakes!! So much love and care had gone into these cakes which were all made by family and friends.... 

and as you can see, fitted the theme perfectly. Check out the 'sand' at its base! Clever, hey?!

The table plan looked brilliant! All the tables were named after their favourite beaches and, what a great idea, to have an image of our house as the backdrop.

The wedding rehearsal was a good laugh. I have rarely seen such a relaxed bride and groom. From these pictures, I can clearly see what drew Gareth and Charlotte to each other...

Its the penchant of filling up your right jean pocket as much as you possibly can, without something falling out. 

So, the wedding rehearsal was done. The tables looked great.

The flowers were sitting gloriously on their stands..

and after Gareth's mum and auntie had come out from under the dress,

and it was hanging beautifully (all set for the next day);

we were ready.

The sun was shining the next morning (can you see the dress hanging up in the top right hand window? Love it!)

Perfect for the planned garden ceremony, under our Rose Arbour.

When all the chairs were set up and the guests had gone to get ready, I couldn't resist taking this film as the air felt so peaceful, but expectant, and I thought a film might show what my words cannot.

The bouquet's that arrived seemed to reflect the sunshine and relaxed feel of the weekend.

Notice the driftwood and shell design surrounding the blooms?

I popped up to see Charlotte who was in the throes of getting ready. Hair and make-up were all taken care of by  Gold's Hair and Beauty salon

When I returned later on, I found Laura (Charlotte's sister and the matron-of-honour) in the make-up chair and Charlotte....

playing chess with her bridesmaid Kate!

Well..that's a first!

I had been handed a mystery gift to give to Charlotte from her old Hockey team. It turns out Charlotte was a bit of a pro Hockey player before leaving for Dubai, and the girls thought they would treat her to a  baby-blue garter!

The boys came downstairs, all looking rather dapper I must say.

This is Gareth's friend Phil (and his lovely wife). Phil is a member of the band who performed later in the evening.

I had to capture this moment when Charlotte's twin (yes, twin) brother Dan came up to see her in the dress. Dan had just asked her what she had done with his sister and you can work out what Charlotte's reply was!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, lovely.

I'm not sure WHAT Charlotte is doing here...I think it's to stop herself from getting too emotional?

I have put it in, just because it made me laugh!

Oh yes, mustn't forget to show the shoes. Good old Jimmy Choo's!

Laura and Leslie (Charlotte's dad, VIP, and mind-boggling dancer *see later in the blog) looking fab.

Kate, the gorgeous chess-playing bridesmaid (and senior RNLI Lifeguard too btw!), has noticed the guests arriving.

It's a great window, in this room, as you can see all the action below.

The girls are starting to get nervous now.

It's time to go. Doesn't Charlotte look beautiful?

Together with her dad, Charlotte starts the walk to the Italian garden...

pausing at our door for pictures. This is one of my favourites.

Getting ready to walk up the 'aisle'. At this point, the music is playing (Labrinth 'beneath your beautiful' ; instrumental version) but no-one can see what is happening below the wall, so there is great anticipation.

The music has really kicked in now and emotions are running high as everyone turns to see the gorgeous bride.

The girls follow behind, lighting up the garden in their stunning coral-pink gowns.

Charlotte arrives to the front as the music slowly fades.

The ceremony was beautiful, with 2 readings which were planned and one complete surprise poem which Laura, Charlotte's sister, had written herself. 

It was really loving and thoughtful, and certainly brought out a few tears and not just from Charlotte!

The confetti moment!

The Pimms, with its stripy straws, and delicious canapés helped the afternoon go with a swing and, of course, the croquet went down well.

As did the props....

It wasn't long before the netting filled up with some hilarious images!

At least Barry (Gareth's dad and fellow VIP) was happy. This brilliant man used to be in a rock band and you can sample some of his talent later...

Time for the wedding breakfast...

The food was divine. To start - crab and avocado torte, followed by local Gressingham duck, and to finish, none other than the delicious wedding cakes, home-made by the friends and family.

The speeches were fantastic. Especially Gareth's, as he learnt his entirely by heart. In fact he was walking in our woods at 6am practising it that morning.

The best man's speech - don't ask!

As the evening progressed, so did the hilarity.

It was when Gareth suddenly dropped to the floor that I became concerned..

But then others joined him...

CHARLOTTE!!! What are you DOING?!

Aha! (or should I said Arrrrggghhh?) its a human pyramid! Yeah, this happens all the time at weddings. Straight after the wedding breakfast, the guests break into 'the pyramid'. So much so, we now plan it in ahead of time.

As soon as Phil (Pirate hat, bottom row) managed to release himself, he went to join his fellow band members 'The Vibes' from Plymouth...

The first dance was very romantic, 

and soon friends and family filled the floor (and pretty much stayed there all night!)

Charlotte's dad entered the circle and performed, what must have been, one of the most energetic and brilliant dances I have seen happen on the Pickwell dance floor.

Ending up with 'the kissing of the guns'. Leslie I am lovin' your style.

All that dancing meant some top-up fuel was needed. Lee's fish and chip boxes are perfect at times like these. The fish literally just flakes off the fork. They went down a storm.

 The whole atmosphere of the wedding was just brilliant.
As the night drew to a close, and guests jumped into taxi's or went upstairs to bed,

Barry played a song to end the perfect day...

Mr and Mrs Picknell, we have had great fun on this wedding journey with you. You are made for each-other, and we'll be thinking of you as you start your new life back in Dubai.

Go well