Married a month. Time flies past faster than a bee. In parts of Britain and Europe, it was tradition to announce an engagement to the bees. The hives were decorated in red or white ribbons, and given a slice of wedding cake. In Hungary, brides baked cakes for the groom during a full moon.
The day before our wedding, I baked John’s favourite fairy cakes with raisin sponge. That night my mum and I made bridal bouquets with red ribbons to match the bridesmaids’ dresses.
It was a small wedding party of our parents and sisters, and their families, but we wanted it to be special. The wedding breakfast was laid out on the kitchen table with honey favours – a gift from Queen Melissa’s hive last year. Honey has been part of marriage ceremonies for centuries. In the days of the Vikings, newly weds drunk mead and ate honey cakes.
Almost everything was homemade – and homegrown. The garden provided the dried flowers for the confetti with a drop of lavender oil in each pot. My something borrowed was a sprig for the bouquet from our little myrtle tree. And yes, there were a lot of leftover honey pots put to use.
The sun shone on the morning of our wedding. My mum had worked hard on the lace for my wedding dress and I had bought a white parasol in case the October weather changed its mind. While John got his family and the bridesmaids to the church from our house, the mother-of-the-bride was busily organising the bride, the father-of-the-bride and stepfather-of-the-bride. I guess she had her hands full!
We got married at St Giles’ Church in Ickenham by Reverend Felicity Davies. Everything was perfect. My dad Len gave me away. The sun shone through the stained glass windows of the 600-year-old church as we said our vows. Our nieces Lauren and Maisie were our bridesmaids, with Lottie as flower girl, and our nephew Zachary was our page boy. Our sisters Amie and Abby were witnesses.
The marriage ceremony was themed in autumn colours and a celebration of nature’s harvest – from the hives of London to John’s family’s farm in Hereford. We sang All things bright and beautiful, Who put the colours in the rainbow?, and Morning has broken.
John’s dad Roger did a fantastic job as best man – looking after our rings and saying a reading with my mother. He later did a surprise speech at the reception to wish us well in our married life.
The sun shone brighter when we stepped outside and the church bells rang. My stepdad Bryan and John’s parents Roger and Marilyn did a wonderful job of the wedding photography. The scent of lavender filled the cool autumn air as the confetti was thrown and we made our way to the car.
At home, the bridesmaids wanted to feed the fish in the pond, which was a good opportunity to tell them (the fish) I got married, I suppose. Luckily, Ealing beekeeper Thomas Bickerdike was taking care of telling the bees.
John opened a bottle of champagne, which was a gift from my last place of work at The Royal Society, and we had a toast from two glass goblets, which had been a gift from my grandmother Antonie. The fairy cakes were mostly eaten or distributed by the bridesmaids who worked up an appetite from their bridesmaid duties. I imagine carrying my dress was quite heavy work.
That done, we made our way to The Old Orchard in Harefield for a meal in the family room overlooking the lake and woodlands. It had been a magical day and perfect for us. We would both do it all over again.
On behalf of myself and John, I’d like to say a huge thanks to our parents, sisters and their partners Jerome and Mark – and, of course, the bridesmaids, page boy and flower girl – for making our day so special. We’re also grateful to all the cards, gifts and well wishes that we received from family, friends and neighbours.
All that remains to be done is for John and I to introduce ourselves to the bees as Mr and Mrs Maund to ensure our marriage life is lucky. I may need to bake some more raisin sponge cakes before I tell John about that.
1. Collins Beekeeper’s Bible: Bees, honey, recipes and other home uses. Various authors. Collins. London, 2004. ISBN: 978-0007279890.
What an absolutely beautiful and meaningful wedding! May you have many happy years together!
Thank you for your happy wishes Mark!
Many thanks Brenda!
Thank you so much for sharing your special day with us. Not only you and John looked glowing with happiness but so were all the other participants! It was a beautiful wedding and Kourosh and I wish you happiness and prosperity in your lives together. Amelia
Thank you for yours and Kourosh’s kind words and wishes. I’m happy you enjoyed the photos too! 🙂
Wishing both of you much happiness in you union of marriage for a life time. Spend each day as a gift from God. Time will go by in the blink of an eye. Enjoy you life and know that both you are blessed.
Thanks so much Stephen. We count our blessings!
Congratulations Emma and John, from ecocolmena we wish you a sweet and happy life
Thank you so much – we’re happy to receive your wishes from Ecocolmena 🙂
Congratulations Emma and John, I hope you live happily ever after
Thank you Alan, we hope so too!
EMMMMMMA!!!!! Congratulations to you both, my dear! Wishing you many, many years of loving memories together yet to come. ❤
Aw thank you so much for your wishes! 🙂
Congratulations. Lovely that you celebrated your marriage in the way that you wanted, which is as it should be. Thanks for sharing the photos with us all, too.
Thank you – we wanted something small and simple and it was a lovely day 🙂
Your wedding pictures are precious!!! And beautiful!!! Congrats!!!
Thank you Myra! Our families did a great job taking photos and we had fun 🙂
So many sweet, special and pretty touches. Very very happy for you both – as I’m sure the bees are too.
Thanks Em! I hope the bees are happy too! Always bees 😉
Thanks for this lovely account of your wedding and best wishes to both of you.
Thank you Philip! We had such a wonderful day!
Congratulations to you both Emma. The day looked perfect and the pictures are wonderful. May you have a long and very happy Married life.
xxx Huge Hugs xxx
Thank you for your good wishes David! What a blur it has been – now to catch up on life ahead! xxx
All the very best to you both, EM. RH
Many congratulations! Thom
Thank you Thom! We are very happy!
I love the way you included the bees in your special day! The butterflies on the cup cakes look beautiful – what a wonderful idea.
Thanks Jane, I’m glad you enjoyed the story!
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Belatedly we wish the new family a life of joy. We smiled at the change in the blog’s title.
What a beautiful blog, beautiful post, and beautiful celebration. Congratulations you two!
Thanks Gary, we had a beautiful day, Emma 🙂
Oh Emma, I missed this most beautiful celebratory post.. It was such a delight to read and to be part of your very Happy Day.. 🙂 So, so loved your Wedding photo’s, and you looked radiant.. And your little bridesmaids were gorgeous .. Those Fairy cakes, just the thing.. 🙂 and so so you..
Beautiful Day, and I am sorry to have missed this post… But so happy to be catching up with your day now.. ❤ xxx
I am so very happy to share our day here too 🙂 xx