When I woke up on my wedding day, it was raining. I had breakfast calmly, sent a message to Paul wishing him a good day and I made sure I had not forgotten anything in the bags on the day before.
My mother ran nervously from side to side. When Monica and Sandra arrived to come with me to the venue, I put on the first thing that I grabbed. I had a special dress to wear that day, but the rain made the dress too summery for the weather.
Wasn’t nervous or anxious. While waiting to finish my hairstyle, I did my mother’s make-up and gave a hand to my friends with theirs. I didn’t hire any makeup artist , I did my own makeup and finally I also did my godmother’s makeup. To me, that was a moment of great intimacy and complicity between me and these women who have long been part of my life.
The room where I got dressed was pink with birds and flowers painted on the walls. A small antique wooden bed with a tulle canopy adorned with roses, gave the room almost a doll room look. I once had dreamed of having a room like this.
Before the wedding I had only one meeting with the hairdresser and had told him I wanted to have at least one braid on my hair for being an Irish tradition. That was an inspiration to my hairdresser who did a built-in braid around my head ending up on the other side in a bun with loose curls decorated with flowers.
My shoes were pink, matching Paul’s tie. My dress was all lace with tulle and satin inside and my bouquet was made of peonies and roses. Even today when I remember of that day, it comes to mind the smell of roses in my bouquet. Fasten in my bouquet were also two photographs of my grandparents who have passed away.
My mother lent me a chain with a diamond pendant and Paul wrote a little message on the sole of one of my shoes in blue.
I didn’t feel like a princess. I didn’t feel in a fairy tale. I didn’t feel more than I am. And it was perfect.
Photography by Arc – Fotografia
After the ceremony, time passed very quickly. Our guests were welcomed with appetizers and a formidable band, which played from jazz to bossa nova in a room adjoining the dining opening onto the garden. We had the opportunity to join them for some time, until we went to take our couple photographs and formal photographs with guests.
Outside in the garden there was a photobooth with props for the guests to take pictures of themselves and there were lanterns, jars and bottles or with candles or with flowers hanging on the trees.
Inside, the dinner room was decorated with flowers, logs and cute little bird houses. We didn’t have a theme, we only gathered a few ideas, many inspirations from Pinterest and we were surprised with a beautiful room that reflected our own personalities.
The lunch was very well made, even the vegetarian dishes (for guests who don’t eat no meat or fish) were faultless. After dinner Paul and I distributed our wedding favours (which were made by us) and we went to prepare ourselves for moment number two of nerves that day (and last): the first dance.
About two months before the wedding I had the idea of doing a choreographed dance. Paul resisted the idea at first, but eventually he found a video with a dance that didn’t seem particularly difficult until we started dancing it. I liked the idea and the choreography a lot, so I altered it slightly so that it was easier for us to dance. We started practising the dance at the end of August. Occasionally, never more than 30 minutes. Until a week before I came to Portugal, we started to train more intensively (30 minutes every day). At the end of this week the choreography was memorised and we both felt more confident about this dance. In Portugal, we could only practice in the week before the wedding, fleetingly, when my parents weren’t home. The choreography was still memorised.
On our wedding day, both of us closed in the bridal room tried to rehearse the dance one last time now with me dressed as a bride. The dance was not perfect, the dress fumbled a bit. We thought about quitting, not to make the choreography, but in a moment of reckless trust we decided to take the choreography ahead. Although we were both nervous, once again, when the music started to play it was almost as if our bodies had memorized the choreography itselves. The dance was the highlight of our wedding. A lot of people thought we had classes, which for me was a compliment. We may have danced very well!
The band that played and entertained at the wedding was unique. Without them the party wouldn’t have been half of what it was.
We also had open bar all night, tables with desserts, fruits, cheese and a buffet. Our cake was ombré pink inside, something that was not in any photograph.
What I like the most in our wedding photographs, during the dance or the party, is the expressions of joy of our guests. I am very glad that everyone had fun and when I hear someone say that the wedding was fantastic, I know there is some authenticity behind it and not just politeness.
Photography by Arc – Fotografia + one of our guests
We got married in a civil ceremony that lasted less than 30 minutes. We didn’t want a long ceremony, since half of the guests spoke in a different language and it would have been extremely boring to have it all translated from one language to another.
So we decided to have the legal ceremony, according to Portuguese law, followed by a personalized ceremony, written by us.
The choice of songs was the most complicated task to perform for our wedding. We have several songs that have special meaning to us and to choose the most appropriate to the time when we needed a song, became a time consuming process.
Paul entered the ceremony to the sound of Led Zepplin‘s Thank You and I, of course, entered to the sound of Stand By Me by Ben E. King, which had played at the moment when Paul asked me to marry him. Our end of ceremony’s song was Prince ‘s Kiss. When we chose these songs it made all the sense to us to have this songs as the chosen ones by the emotional connection we have in our relationship with them. Although they’re not exactly the typical songs for a wedding.
I didn’t actually hear the music when Paul got in. I remember hearing the first chords of Stand By Me and it was then that for the first time that day I felt nervous. The ceremony began with a brief presentation of the civil register who began reading the decree of the Portuguese legislation, followed by our personalized ceremony and ring exchange. Finally, the register asked us to sign the marriage contract and declared us husband and wife.
Kiss started to play and I, that moments before was nervous shaking on my 12cm of heels, slid across the room as if it were slippers.
Photos by Arc – Fotografia