It feels a long time ago now, but it was a wet, windy New Year’s Eve as I headed over to the Crown Hotel in Blandford to meet up with Zoe and her bridal party mid-preparation for Zoe & Jon’s New Year’s wedding.
The room was typically busy – Zoe had a large bridal party with five adult attendants plus two younger bridesmaids. Combine them with family members popping in as a number of the guests were also getting ready in the Crown, and Zoe found herself with very little in the way of peace and quiet on her wedding morning!
The vintage cars arrived and collected the first batch of bridesmaids – with such a large bridal party Jon had thoughtfully organised a shift system!
I finally left Zoe to head to Tarrant Monkton myself, aiming to find Jon waiting at the Langton Arms before Zoe arrived.
I made it with time to spare, and joined the surprisingly big crowd of family and friends surrounding Jon in the pub, the warm and cheery atmosphere a welcome contrast to the chilly damp grey day outside.
I’ll admit I was a bit reluctant to leave the convivial warmth of the Langton Arms crowd, but eventually I walked down the lane to the ford (in the rain. I know, I’m a hero to my cause) to catch the arrival of Zoe with her Dad and the rest of the bridal party.
They arrived before long, and I caught up with them in the guest room they were using across the courtyard to the inn.
In good British Weather tradition, just before Zoe and her party were due to process across the courtyard to the main building the clouds burst; thankfully they were well prepared, and a good supply of brollies saw them safely inside with just a little splashing (typically, just five minutes after Zoe was inside the rain stopped again!).
The ceremony was in the Stable restaurant, and it was beautifully cosy and snug with the guests filling the space and creating a genuinely fun and happy atmosphere that was full of laughter. Both Zoe & Jon were showing a few nerves during their vows, but as is usually the case they were soon married and beaming smiles of relief and pride.
Everyone gathered in the main pub for drinks reception, and I noticed the rain had let up again – I nudged Zoe & Jon and they agreed we should take out chances; leaving their guests to mix at the bar we went for a blustery but thankfully dry wander down the lane to the ford for a few quiet photographs and a chance for Zoe & Jon to have a quiet moment or two in their day. We didn’t risk the next spell of threatening clouds, and before long the couple were back to chat with their guests. Just before we were due to go in for the wedding breakfast we had another lucky break, and a brief spell of unexpected winter sunshine glowed some watery light through the windows. We immediately scooped up the main wedding party and achieved the few formals Zoe & Jon had requested, and then stole away for a few pictures as the sun blessed us with a brief but very pretty sunset.
The guests were all seated in the function room for the wedding breakfast, and they welcomed in the newly weds before we all enjoyed the meal (unusually, Zoe & Jon had seated me at a table with the guests – I was honoured to be so warmly welcomed into their special day). Speeches followed, with Jon and their daughter melting more than a few hearts around the room.
Then there was just time for the cutting of the cheeses (I do love a towering cheese pile at a wedding!) before I said my goodbyes. I rarely cover a wedding over the Christmas period being rather precious about my own family time, but Zoe & Jon had promised me that I would be away in time to enjoy seeing the New Year in with my own family – and they kept their word, sending me on my way long before their evening party got under way.
Thank you so much Jon & Zoe – I had a great day being part of your wonderful wedding, and I look forward to catching up with you soon.
Credit Where Due!
Wedding Cars – Premier Carriage
Venue & Catering – The Langton Arms
Wedding Cake (Cheese Stack) – Arch House Deli
Band – Pop of Ages
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