On Sunday I returned from the most amazing wedding in France. To say it was the best day of my life wouldn’t be fair on my son but it was pretty damn close!
It was Lou and Ryan’s wedding. Lou and I have been friends for twenty years, we met when we moved in together on the first day of uni in 1999. Despite her moving out to the Alps soon after we graduated we’ve remained the best of friends and have had some amazing experiences together. Lou and her brother ran a bar in Val D’Isere for many years (The Blue Note) and Lou and Ryan have recently opened a cafe in Tignes called The Corner.
To say I was busy before I flew out was an understatement. I went on a camping trip at the beginning of the month and came back with broken toes. I had a limited window to complete the latest magazine (issue 15) and much of it was done in the Treatment Centre at St Mary’s before my dislocated toe was pushed back into place (much gas and air was consumed, it was great).
Anyway, thanks to my brilliant designer Jo (Rad Creative) we got the issue done in time (check it out why doncha?) I hit publish and jumped straight in a cab to the station. Lou had tasked me with writing a poem to read out in the speeches and because I was so busy I only started it on the train. I basically kept my head down for the whole train and plane journeys perfecting my piece of writing. It HAD to be right, this was my moment in the spotlight and I couldn’t let Lou down. I was sat at the back of the plane and the lovely air hostess furnished me with wine throughout… so it was fine.
I arrived in Geneva where I met the groom’s family for the first time and Lou’s sister in law. A three hour car ride later we arrived at Lou and Ryan’s place in the mountains. We had a lovely family meal catching up and getting to know each other.
The following day was the official ceremony. In France you’re married at the ‘Marie’ which is basically the majors office (I think?) After they’d legally tied the knot we grabbed our cool box of fizz and headed to Tignes Lake to toast the newlyweds. It happened to be Ryan’s mum’s 60th birthday too so we had two excuses to celebrate and we had a BBQ lunch when we got back to the chalet (Ryan’s an amazing chef).
The next day was the big party. Where Lou and Ryan live happens to neighbour two large guest apartments, a chapel and a terrace with the most amazing view. It couldn’t be more perfect. Lots of prep had been done in advance – Lou and Ryan have lots of friend’s who live locally and everyone had lent a hand. On the day, staff were laying tables, sound systems were being put in place, I was picking wild flowers for the tables and I created this rather fetching sign for the top table.
Lou lost a significant amount of weight to get into her dress and she looked absolutely amazing. Her dress was Grace Loves Lace and she bought it second-hand to keep the costs down. At 2pm is was time for her tearful father to walk her up to the chapel where everyone gathered outside and their friend conducted a beautiful, heartfelt and funny ceremony before they exchanged rings and sealed their second ceremony with a kiss.
The weather couldn’t have been nicer and after much congratulations we all congregated on the terrace for drinks, canapes and photos. Some of Ryan & Lou’s friends were shucking oysters which I thought was such a special touch.
Noone told me the speeches were being done pre-dinner but before I knew it my poem was being announced! I didn’t have much time to feel nervous as I sound-checked on the mike and launched into verse. Luckily it went down well, I think it hit the right note… and I was happy it was over before dinner! Her dad did a brilliant speech (the day before I read him this advice from a previous feature and put the fear of god into him!)
Next was the bouquet toss and try as I might I couldn’t defeat Ellie’s claws (see video at the bottom of the post, I’m in the blue dress).
Dinner was an amazing BBQ of ribs, salmon, koftas and beautiful salads. All washed down with copious amounts of beautiful chilled white wine.
I don’t think they’d planned a first dance but they ended up doing a hilarious raunchy number to ‘I’m too Sexy’! As you can imagine, after that the night morphed into a blur of dancing, shots and inappropriate behaviour. Their DJ was playing some amazing old vinyl and I was tearing up the dance floor! I think I stumbled to bed from the campfire at about 5.30am.
The next day, despite bleary eyes and sore heads, we had to fix up because it was pool party time! We got a private transfer to a local hotel where there was an amazing buffet and a DJ. It was so good to have that extra day to connect with everyone again and laugh about the antics of the previous day… and basically get smashed again.
The next day it was time to head back to the airport and back to real life. I left half my belongings and half my brain in the Alps but somehow I’ve struggled through the week and now it’s bank holiday weekend… festival time!
Congrats Lou and Ryan, it was perfect in every way, I love you both. x