Pre-wedding report - the last few days before the wedding - Carolyn's report

Well where does one start? Ah yes I finally finished work on Wednesday morning at 1.15 am and as I was shutting down the laptop I was thinking that's it works over and now I can start preparing for my wedding on Saturday. I woke at 8.30 am on Wednesday morning and thought I ought to get the sponge cake and also the butterscotch sauce out of the freezer so as my Mum and I could ice it on Thursday.

After a leisurely lazy morning I got myself ready to go for a massage, facial and eyebrow shape and boy did I need the massage! Wednesday evening we popped to pick up a plastic box from a colleague and then it was back home to have dinner with my brother, Robin and his fiancée, Kelly. I wasn't planning on a late night but after I had spoken to Andrew it was nearly 11.00 pm - where had my day gone?

As I didn't have to get up early, I made sure that my alarm was off but obviously my brain had other ideas and I was up by 7.00 and doing some bits and pieces on the computer as I had several things I wanted to do, including reading our good luck thread on hitched and signing off as a miss. I then proceeded to sort through some paperwork and got rid of two rather big piles of recycling, just goes to prove how much rubbish I get instead of important pieces of post!

I packed my bags for the hotel and kept checking and double checking them as I was sure I had forgotten something. I cleared out the car of stuff we didn't need and attempted to clean the car windows of doggy nose prints and also so as we could hopefully see out of the windows!

I then assisted Mum with icing the sponge cake, unfortunately the butterscotch sauce wasn't being quite so obliging and instead of staying in the middle of the cake decided to cascade down the sides as we tried to put the buttercream icing onto the top and so we had to place it into the fridge partially iced in the hope that it would harden slightly so as we could finish the icing.

While that was hardening Mum and I sat down for a quick sit down and a chat. After about 30 minutes we went out there and I took the cake out of the fridge on one side the butterscotch sauce was virtually to the edge of the cake board - oops!

We quickly iced the sides of the cake in the hope that it would seal the cake and stop the sauce from escaping and apart from a couple of places where it was being particularly stubborn we managed to get it to stop bleeding through the icing. We then finished the top icing and added the cake topper and the gold stars, I had some very strange coloured fingers by the end of that and hoped that the dark gold would wash out otherwise I would have some very interesting wedding photos!

I then proceeded to sort through crates and boxes and sorted out who was taking what in whose cars it is certainly an interesting situation as when you get married locally you can do things in several trips but we could only do it once and so it was like a military operation making sure everything was accounted for.

Andrew broke the news to me that I needed to keep the back seat of our car free as we were picking up the post box, so that meant I needed to readjust my plans for our car and add a few bits to my sister Bev and her husband Andrew's car.

Friday morning and I needed to finish off a few more bits and pieces and so I was up by 5.40 am finishing off the note to Robin and my brother-in-law, Andrew, who was going to be our ushers on the day and also with the helping of setting up the reception and ceremony room. I packed my dress into its bag and laid it and the bridesmaids' dresses onto my bed so as they were ready for my parents to bring it down to the hotel.

I needed to put the ribbon round the cake board and also on the cake and place it in its cake box, before I went off for my manicure and pedicure so as I basically didn't need to do anything much when I got back so as not to knock the nails.

9.10 am came and I was still rushing around like a headless chicken, trying to get bits and pieces together and I needed to be in Bletchingley for 9.30 which is about 15-20 minute drive away, Dad told me not to worry he would get me there on time and bless him, he did.

I then relaxed my mind and let Sam do her magic and when I left there at about 11.45 I was about ready for anything and I had beautifully painted nails.

Andrew and Duncan, his best man, arrived and we had a bite to eat for lunch and then we packed up our car, which included the sponge cake and we headed off for the New Forest via a detour to a place near Fleet services where we picked up the post box, which was a decommissioned solid metal post box which would have been attached to a post, which is similar to the one outside my house, rather than a floor mounted one. This was a lovely idea as my Dad used to be a postman.

We finally arrived at the hotel at about 5pm and we proceeded to unload the cars, or should I say Andrew and Duncan unloaded the cars, I kept bumping into my relatives and so I was chatting while they were working - oops!

Once everything was stored in either the fridge or a cupboard we decided it would be an excellent idea to have a drink and chill out prior to meeting up with everyone who was having dinner with us, as we sat there more and more of our relatives and a couple of friends appeared and where as we originally started off as a group of three we eventually had a group of about seventeen of us. While this was going on I was trying to sort out my family's meals who were not going to be able to join us for the meal at 7.30pm, for Robin and Kelly I was able to order them a three course meal as they were going to be with us between 8.15 and 8.30 pm and were just going to join us as soon as they could and for Mum, Dad, Pamela and Sue, a family friend, I sorted them out a ploughman's platter and a dessert.

We went in to dinner at about 7.30pm and it wasn't long before everyone was getting to know one another and having a good time, the food was nice too :!

Andrew and Duncan left at about 9.30pm just as Mum, Dad, Pamela and Sue arrived. We unpacked the cars and I arranged for their dinners to be brought into the bar area. I sat talking to them all and having a lovely chilled out time until I realised that it had gone 11pm and I still hadn't washed my hair or had my shower 9 and I wasn't planning on having a late night - oh well great laid plans and all that jazz. I finally fell into bed at about 12 and my Mum stayed with me which was really nice, we talked for a while and it was nice to have a bit of time just my Mum and me before my big day.

After a disturbed night, I woke to my alarm going off and went to make my mum and I a cup of tea, we then talked for a few minutes before I dragged myself out of bed and my day started.

Melinda and Nicky our hair and makeup artists arrived at 7.30 am , Bev and Andrew arrived at about 7.40 and so my room started to fill up with the bridal party, with Kelly arriving next and then Andi, Leonie and Sammy arriving last. I handed out my presents to people as soon as I could so as I wouldn't forget.

The breakfast of a variety of croissants and orange juice arrived and so I was busy making sure everyone had a drink if not something to eat.

Bev told me after I went to do something for about the 10th time to sit down and let her or others do stuff as this was my day and I should be sitting there doing nothing, this didn't come naturally to me as I am usually the one doing bits and pieces and organising.

It eventually came to my turn for my hair to be done and it was from that moment on that it felt like it never stopped. Our photographer, John, arrived and took a few shots but said he would come back for more when I was dressed. From having my hair done it was straight into having my make up done and then it was into the dress.

Melinda finished off my hair and fixed the veil and I collected my bouquet from the crate and then it was time to go.

Due to some guests arriving later than was hoped we couldn't do the stair shots straight away and so we had some shots of Dad and I, then with Dad, I and the bridesmaids and the bridesmaids jewellery.

We were then given the 'thumbs up' that we could do the stair shots and so we proceeded down the stairs and took a variety of shots on the way down.

I then had my interview with the registrars and it was nearly time to head into the ceremony room, Bev placed the veil over my face and I was ready. As I took hold of Dad's arm the nerves kicked in and I started to shake!

The doors to the ceremony room were opened and the first few notes of Canon D filled the air …