Rachel's Wedding Part Three- The Big Day

Rachel Simpson

Posted on October 30 2019

Rachel's Wedding Part Three- The Big Day

Where to start? People say it’s the most magical day but trust me, it really is. Make sure you consciously enjoy it from the moment you wake up, and if you start to get nervous or stressed, take a little moment to remind yourself. You work so hard to plan and prepare everything that on the day itself you have to sit back and leave it all in the hands of other people, whatever happens. Some things will go differently to how you imagined and that’s okay, the most important thing is that you are getting married to the love of your life- everything else is just decoration.

Rachel Simpson wedding tip

I spent the morning in my hotel room, with various people coming and going. It had all been rather a dash to the finish line so we’d not prepared bride-like things like prosecco and breakfast so my brother-in-law was dutifully sent off to Tesco to do the honours! 

Our wonderful photographer Emma arrived mid morning, closely followed by James the lovely videographer. His partner Scott had gone to the house to capture what was happening there (chaos as I found out later!) and catch up with my husband to be. I think I got the better end of the deal that morning and things went pretty smoothly- we then piled into dad’s Land Rover to drive to the house.

On arrival it turned out there had been dreadful traffic that morning, and lots of guests were running late so we were hurriedly ushered away- let it be known I was originally on time! There was a funny quarter of an hour where me, dad and my bridesmaids were randomly sitting in the car around the corner from my house, killing time taking selfies! When we were finally allowed in and I walked into my house, I caught sight of all our friends and family sitting in the garden awaiting my arrival and then of Ben waiting at the end of the aisle and my heart literally jumped. I looked at my dad who gave me a massive hug and told me he was proud of me, then I clutched his arm and stepped out into the garden.

Rachel Simpson tip

My husband is a musician (his band are called The London Essentials- well worth a Google at their many videos on You Tube!), so from the very start it was an incredibly musical day. I walked down the aisle to the classic 'Time After Time' by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, sung beautifully by our  super talented friend Tommy. After the ceremony Tommy was back on the piano to accompany another ridiculously good singer friend, Glen who sang 'You've Got A Friend In Me' by Randy Newman as we walked back down as husband and wife! 

 Tommy Antonio and Glen Harvey musicians

The Ceremony

We chose a Humanist ceremony- although we had the legal ceremony the day before we still wanted an element of formality to the wedding day and I can't recommend this enough. Harriet, our celebrant came to the house a few weeks beforehand to really get to know us- how we met, what we love about each other, why we wanted to get married. All of this was incorporated into the ceremony, and it ended up being so personal and inclusive, as everyone got to hear all these things. We’d seen most of the script beforehand, but Harriet had asked each of us to email her in secret to tell her three things we loved about the other person. She revealed these during the ceremony and there were tears and plenty of laughter at that point!

 Rachel Simpson wedding

Rachel Simpson wedding rings

Rachel Simpson wedding tip

The Readings

Choosing readings was a challenge, with Ben and I emailing and Whatsapping suggestions to each other on our work travels in the weeks before. There are loads of suggestions out there but you want something which is personal and relevant to you. I think we got there in the end with three quite eclectic choices- Extract from Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (read by Robert), Extract from So Long and Thanks For The Fish by Douglas Adams (read by Tim), and a compilation from Winnie The Pooh by A A Milne (read by my nieces). Each was wonderfully delivered- Robert is an actor, and Tim a writer and both brought real performance to the ceremony! Not forgetting my lovely nieces that is, who delivered the thoughts of Winnie The Pooh perfectly! 

Tim Knapman author

Rachel Simpson wedding

Rachel Simpson wedding tip

The Wedding Breakfast

It's an amazing feeling, that moment when you've just got married and you walk back down the aisle. As the bride, that's the first time you get to see all your friends and family, who have been arriving whilst you've been getting ready. There are so many people there wanting to give you hugs and congratulate you, you don't know where to start! I do remember Ben whisking me away though before all that started- literally for about two minutes and we just had a hug and a moment to take in the fact that we'd just got married before we got mobbed! I don't think I moved for at least an hour for people coming to say hello, it was amazing.

Rachel Simpson wedding tip

During drinks and canapes (thanks to our amazing caterers Sticky Fig Catering who made sure we had our own selection and didn't miss out!) a friend of Ben's called Diego Laverde Rojas played Columbian harp- I'd never heard of it before but it had such a joyous feel it was absolutely perfect for our laid back vibe (check him out on Soundcloud)! We'd also set up a dresser which we'd found on eBay and repainted (thanks dad!), with Kilner jars of soft drinks and large jars of sweet treats baked by my mum, sister and nieces. These went down a treat- particularly with the little people. To be honest they were originally meant for later with tea and coffee, but I don't think they made it that far! The dresser was also filled with vintage tea cup and saucers which mum had found at a car boot, so that people could help themselves to tea and coffee throughout the day. 

Vintage dresser with tea cups and saucers

For the wedding breakfast we chose a relaxed Mediterranean menu- we're both vegetarian and love that kind of sharing platter, healthy tapas type vibe which was executed perfectly by the wonderful Sticky Fig Catering. I actually met their head chef, Tom when the Rachel Simpson team went to do a professional bake off on a team day, which was pretty fortuitous! Tom and his team went above and beyond to deliver an incredible menu of sharing platters, paella, salads and honeycomb cheesecake. It was the perfect balance of formal sit down and relaxed meal, and just as we imagined it with friends and family passing plates and bowls, sharing, chatting and eating! 

Wedding place setting

Sharing platters wedding breakfast

After the food it was time for speeches which, unlike some people, is one of my favourite parts of a wedding! My dad went first and did an incredible job I have to say. He had us all in stitches (as the below photo proves!), but what I especially loved was that he focussed on how much love there was between us- not just me and Ben, but within our work and our lives too. We each have our own businesses and are lucky enough to both work with incredible teams and it was so special to have them all there on the day. Ben's band, The London Essentials were actually the highlight of the entertainment, but more on that to come!

Rachel Simpson wedding

Rachel Simpson wedding breakfast

Ben's speech was next and was also pretty gorgeous. As a performer by trade and having also gone to drama school I was surprised that he actually got a bit nervous about it in the week running up to the wedding. He needn't have worried though, it was perfect and paid well deserved tribute to his folks and mine, as well as the bridesmaids, best men and me, of course ;)

Ben Matthews The London Essentials

Rachel Simpson wedding

Last but not least was one of the best men, Robert. A friend since drama school, Robert is an actor so we expected big things and he didn't disappoint with hilarious/ embarrassing stories of Ben, best man banter and some thoughtful, emotional sentiment along the way.

Ben Matthews The London Essentials

The Cake

One thing which was really special about the wedding was the amount of people who came together and did their bit. From the crafting centre pieces, to making the bar, to getting together the day before to put it all together and all Ben's musical friends, it was incredible to have so much love and support. Which is why we were so lucky that my wonderfully talented niece Holly agreed to make our wedding cake. Having previously made lots of incredible creations for birthdays and celebrations, this was the first wedding cake she's ever made and it was amazing. Holly stacked lemon and vanilla layers and partially covered them to create a naked effect. She patiently handmade all the delicate flowers and ordered 'Rachel & Ben' in gold lettering. The final effect was perfect, and finished off with a few fresh flowers. Thanks Holly, and eat your heart out Mary Berry!

Naked wedding cake Rachel Simpson wedding

Rachel Simpson wedding

It was an incredible afternoon and I don't think I stopped laughing the whole day! As I mentioned before, music played a huge part of the day and during the wedding breakfast we were entertained (and I mean, entertained!) by The London Essentials. I was going to include them in this blog but there's just too much to say so next week in my final wedding blog, I'll tell you all about them and the party, which was an absolute riot...

I'd love to hear all about your wedding- how you chose the type of ceremony, what food you had- all the details! Drop me a comment below, and I'll be back next week :)

Rachel x

Jonty Fisher The London Essentials

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Robert Cavanagh

Diego Laverde RojosRachel Simpson weddingRachel Simpson weddingRachel Simpson weddingRachel Simpson wedding

Columbian Harp: Diego Lavarde Rojas

Catering: Sticky Fig Catering

Music: The London Essentials

Photography: Emma Case Photography

Dresser & Table Setting Photography: Vanilla Rose Weddings


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