Hello! I have FINALLY managed to finish this blog (high five me). It's taken too long in my opinion but hasn't been without technical difficulties. Technology is not always my friend but here we are and you as the readers need never know how much swearing was involved.
On Thursday 24th August 2017 I found myself in Gloucestershire for Dave and Helen's wedding which was set to take place the following day. I travelled up the day before to take up the offer of a free bed and where possible I find this is always a good idea as it cuts out travel times on the morning of the wedding and generally means the day kicks off on a chilled note. It doesn't necessarily mean I am guaranteed a lay in though. As was the case on morning of the wedding as I arose at dawn, as did Helen who raced downstairs to make sure I opened the curtains. I was pretty thankful once I realised I was being greeted by this amazing sun rise (and a herd of friendly cows).
Yep this was the view that greeted me when I stepped outside in my pjs. I know what you're thinking... please don't feel sorry for me. The hardship that goes with this job can really be a test sometimes but I guess you just have to take the rough with the smooth and soldier on (and besides they were paying me).
Cue deep inhale of the country air/smell of freshly delivered cow pats, and click play. The Packers love a bit of Al Green apparently. But who doesn't?
If you haven't already, now may also be a good time to stick the kettle on or grab a glass of something and settle in to your seats. No NOT because I intend to waffle on incessantly but there are quite a few photos in this blog and a nice warm cuppa or a cheeky little beverage would probably go down nicely (you decide what's socially acceptable right now).
So where was I? Oh yes dawn. I was up at DAWN quite un-necessarily but I enjoyed it very much all the same. Anyone that knows a photographer will appreciate that we are all obsessed with light and it is the key to our happiness. I love light so much we don't even have any curtains in our house. Anyway back to the wedding...check out THE dress!
And while we're at it check out the pins on this bridesmaid! (Sorry Sally couldn't resist sharing- they are well worth showing off).
Obviously only the best of friends were picked by Helen to be her bridesmaids and they did such a splendid job.
This lovely lot weren't just picked for show of course (although I have heard it be known) between them there is a fair amount of wedding experience too which can prove invaluable when it comes to good bridal mood maintenance. These girls were all over that! Breakfast was sorted and bubbles flowed generously and continuously (nice one Lizzie) and above all the girls made it fun.
One of my favourite quotes to come wafting down the stairs from the girls room on the eve of the wedding was "it's like super glue for your face". I am still clueless as to what they were talking about.
So gorgeous Bride to be was in great hands and as excited as she could be with all her girls around her and just to add in a little Brucey bonus the girls looked FAB too.
Meanwhile somewhere else in Gloucestershire the groom and the lads were scrubbing up, probably not applying super glue to their faces.
Meet Dave the dashing Groom. Well chuffed with himself (and he hasn't even seen her yet). Whilst the boys probably took all of ten minutes to get ready it was a different story back at the girls place.
Helen's sister-in-law had the honour of helping her in to her dress. Quite possibly the most emotional and enthusiastic of everyone that morning and she was as keen to show Helen off to the girls as Helen was to get in to her dress.
Let's be honest, Helen couldn't have picked anything more perfect. The dress fit like a glove. It was obvious she felt a million dollars wearing it too and with a back like hers who bloody wouldn't? So if they were dishing out awards this year for best backs I would definitely nominate her and be confident she would win it too. WHAT A BACK.
Helen's choice of bouquets are probably among my favourites from this years wedding season (thus far). The bright, bold colours made quite a statement especially against Helen's exquisite frock. Not surprisingly this was a wedding of exceedingly good choices (future husband included).
Although Helen insisted on NOT being late, I managed to pull off some family and bridal party photos before we left for the church keeping us on schedule (thank god).
The church where the ceremony took place wasn't far from where the girls got ready and a short distance from Kingscote barn. It filled quickly with excited guests as they awaited the arrival of the bride and the start of the ceremony. Mr Packer appeared ready and not at all nervous (on the outside).
Helen's face beamed from one end of the aisle to the other as she was escorted by her proud Dad who was clearly lapping up the honour of giving his Daughter away.
Soon enough the rings were exchanged, the book was signed they were officially pronounced man and wife. Hip hip!!
They left the church as Mr and Mrs Packer with two beaming faces! Look how ridiculously happy they are!!
Keen to crack open beers and bubbles and kick off the celebrations we didn't hang around too long outside the church, just long enough to tick off some more family photos.
Kingscote barn is a beautiful wedding venue inside and out. In fact the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside offer the most idyllic setting for any occasion but especially a wedding. I would go so far as to say it's a perfect place to showcase the English countryside at it's best. Especially with the unbeatable weather that we had that day. It was without doubt thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated by everyone in attendance.
It has to be said the speeches were flippin' emotional despite Helen's brothers kicking off with an entertaining (and highly competitive) quiz. By the time everyone had spoken there were few faces who'd escaped tears (mine included). But a wedding isn't a wedding if people aren't crying at some point.
Of course not everyone was paying attention...
... and there was plenty of good old fashioned laughter too OF COURSE before the delicious BBQ food was served up in time to soak up some of that free flowing booze.
After dinner everyone made their way back out on to the lawn to enjoy the early evening with more drinkies and an ice cream so the kids were happy AND they had their own games pen to run about it (good one Hels).
We professionals generally liken group photos to herding bees but this lively lot were most accommodating and let's face it who's looking at them when there is a view like THAT anyway?
I have absolutely no idea what Dave said just before this cake cutting moment but it was obviously HILARIOUS.
And so the evening reception was kicked off with the Packer's first dance. Ahhh...
I don't think I've seen a dance floor fill up so quickly- evidence that sufficient booze had been consumed and so began party time!
In order to bring my ramblings to a close I feel I should mention that I have known Helen for a number of years now. We actually met when I was working in my previous job as a health and fitness professional.
I remember when she first met Dave and how she described him and I am pretty sure it was one of those love at first sight moments. When she was single it was important for her to meet a rugby guy as she is a huge fan of the game (as much as the players I am sure).
When Helen met Dave I reckon she thought she had struck gold. Not only did he play and share her passion for rugby but he was also partial to a bit of travel. So if you are the sort of person easily made jealous of looking at other people's holiday photos- these would not be your ideal Facebook friends (delete delete).
BUT if you are someone who likes to see people happy and living life to the full, then perhaps you should reconsider. In my humble opinion they are the most perfectly suited couple not least because of their mutual love of rugby but they share an attitude towards life which is infectious and more positive than most people you are likely to meet.
They know how to enjoy their time and celebrate each living day and judging by the people they surround themselves with they have unlimited generosity not only with their time but have love in abundance for their friends and family, not just for each other. Their guests travelled from as far as Australia and the middle east to share their day with them so that's a great testimony to them in itself.
They have a warmth and an energy about them that can only make you feel good when you are in their company. The Packers are one hell of a team and my goodness they know how to do a wedding!
So Mr and Mrs Packer may you make me sick with many more holiday snaps on Facebook and continue to take life by the balls. Together you two can achieve absolutely anything! Congratulations and THANK YOU for the most wonderful experience. You guys SMASHED IT. XX