I was thrilled when I heard the news that one of my Miami roommates was engaged last April. And I got even more excited when I got to meet her fiance for the first time in Zurich just a couple of weeks later. And it was SO fun to spend a weekend with them in Shanghai last August discussing wedding plans and interacting with them as a couple for the first time. And I absolutely loved hosting them in Switzerland just before Christmas where it felt like the start of the final countdown to wedding day! So after a year of wonderful moments with them in so many different places, you can imagine how excited I was to celebrate their wedding weekend in Winchester, England!
I would have traveled anywhere in the world for this event, but lucky for me, the wedding took place on my side of the pond! I didn’t know anything about Winchester, but I had in mind that it would be very rural. Needless to say, I was really surprised by the size of the city! (Don’t let me lead you to think that it’s a huge city. I guess I compare everything to Vevey these days. And it’s significantly larger than Vevey – with a whole lot more shopping!) I also loved the “adorableness” factor.
My mom and I parted ways in Edinburgh after two weeks of travel. She flew back to the States, and I flew to London to rendezvous with some Miami friends. We drove down to Winchester to kick off a weekend of wedding fun!
Friday morning was full of decorating. It was so fun to see all of the creative vision come to life! The couple did a fantastic job planning for this event from half a world away!
In the afternoon, we had a lovely Afternoon Tea with the ladies – most of whom traveled to England from far and wide to celebrate! I’m so glad the (mostly) non-British group was able to enjoy this English tradition at The Winchester Hotel.
After a Friday evening rehearsal, it was Bangers & Mash and Fish & Chips at a local pub for all of the out of towners.
Saturday was the big day! I got up early for breakfast with a fellow bridesmaid and then snuck out for a few minutes to visit the Winchester Cathedral. While a church has been located on this site since the mid-600’s (yes, you read that right), the current church was built in 1093. Over the next 500-600 years, it was remodeled and added to, but much of what is seen today has been in place since the 1600’s. So much history!
[Did you know that Jane Austen died in Winchester and is buried in the Winchester Cathedral?!]
[This amazing stained glass window looks like this, because the original window was smashed by Lord Cromwell’s men in 1642. In 1660, the pieces were picked up and put back together in this way.]
The ladies spent several hours chatting and getting ready together before the ceremony. The bride was just stunning!
The ceremony took place at the Hospital of St. Cross. The weather was picture perfect, and the venue was just spectacular – like something out of a fairy tale!
The ceremony was so beautiful – reflecting the personalities of the bride & groom, their love for each other, and their love for the Lord. It was wonderful to celebrate them becoming husband and wife!
Afternoon Tea was served in the garden following the ceremony!
The reception took place in a beautiful marquee (or what Americans would call a tent). It was exquisite, and the site of a really fun party! The best men speeches were some of the best I’ve ever heard!
[Loved all of the hats and fascinators! The tradition in England is that everyone should keep their hats on until the mother of the bride removes hers.]
[Hooray for new friends! I’ve heard so much about this girl for years, and it was so fun to get to know her over the weekend!]
[The band was SO good, and the dance floor was full most of the night! I loved it!]
How about this tandem bike for a getaway vehicle?! Amazing! And yes, the bride rode it with her dress on! So impressive!
…and they lived happily ever after!!
Before flying back to Switzerland on Sunday, I spent the afternoon at Windsor Castle with some Miami friends. I visited 12 years ago, but I forgot how incredibly elaborate it is inside! It’s been a royal residence for the past 900 years!
What an absolutely wonderful weekend celebrating such dear friends! And what a special reunion to have so many of us in England together for the festivities! I definitely flew home with a very full heart!