When you tell people your best friends had their wedding at Disney World there are two reactions ; the ones who melt a little bit inside and gush about how amazing it would be to have the real princess bride experience and get lost in the magic of it all. Then the other group of people who look at you like you’re batshit crazy and you’ve made the whole thing up, like what people actually get married there and follow on withsome remarks about do you have to go in fancy dress!? I still kind of can’t believe they did it but whatever your opinion it makes one hell of a fairytale …
I met Katy through training to be a hairdresser. As with most colleagues you’re often forced to spend a lot of time with someone and in our case Kate and I became the best of friends she had the sweetest nature I’d never really met anyone so caring and honest before. When you make friends someone you don’t necessarily interview them on their interests and I had no idea for a long time that she loved Disney. Her and her partner Matt were true childhood sweethearts and it became apparent to me that although she hadn’t had the easiest of times growing up he was truly her Prince Charming. So it was no great surprise to us all when on New Years Eve 2013 at DisneyLand Paris he popped the question.
We had always spent hours talking about Katy getting married. I’d always known it would be a big deal but when she said after the engagement Matt was thinking they should just go all out and go to DisneyWorld for the wedding I was pretty surprised. There was a slight element of reality that then had to be applied to getting friends and family half way around the world to Florida , Katy wanted to wait until her sister and bridesmaid Laura had graduated her dentistry degree so the wedding wouldn’t clash with any exams etc. They also needed plenty of time to save to make sure everything would be perfect. Eventually the date was set for November 8th 2016.
It often seemed to me like Katy was the most perfect Bride to be sometimes I struggled with comparing us as we were going to be getting married in the same year yet she had everything so sussed out whilst I was drowning in a sea of bags full of crap from hobbycraft trying to make my own favours and centre pieces. There’s a lot to be said for having your own wedding planner !! Katy never flustered over things she had put so much time into thinking what needed to be done when and would set a date and a deadline . That said when the time came around for the hair trials I was still nervous. Although Katy no longer worked in hairdressing it’s always more nerve wracking to have someone observe your work who knows all too well how it’s done.
We had ordered Katy the Crown & Glory tetra weft clip in extensions in colour 6, as I mentioned in previous blogs I think these are the best quality clip in extensions on the market. (visit crownandgloryextensions.com for more details) I like to work with clip in hair when brides require hair up work as they give great fullness , can be hidden well and aren’t any long term commitment like other kinds of hair extensions.
These are some of the trial session pictures. Katy ideally would’ve loved to wear her hair down but on a hot humid Florida day she knew this wasn’t practical so we worked on a hair up that looked soft and elegant and crucially for Kate kept the tops of her ears covered ( I get this request from so many people when having their hair up it seems to be a particular hang up for some ) kind of to my surprise we nailed it in one hit she loved the result. We both felt that as she was quite set on not having a veil it would be lovely to adorn the style with a hair comb. My sister is a ceramic artist and for my wedding had commissioned me a porcelain hair vine we decided a bigger floral hair comb would look exquisite for this style and smaller versions could be made for the bridesmaid. ( If you’re interested in a bespoke porcelain hair accessory please get in touch)
Katy was fortunate that the day after the wedding they had booked a ” park photoshoot” which allowed her a couple of hours having pictures in magic kingdom with her dress on. So for this we agreed we could style the hair in loose Hollywood waves so she had the best of both worlds pictures with both hair up and down.
When Katy got the date for her final dress fitting I allocated time to go and recreate the style this time the hair comb was complete and I felt pretty overwhelmed seeing it together with the style it looked beautiful. I love that the hair comb is neutral ( although can be coloured ) it had just the right amount of subtle beading but also had been designed to beautifully match Katy’s bouquet flowers it’s lovely to have something sentimental that can be kept , since the wedding Katy has mounted hers in a box frame.
So I guess all we had to do then was wait for the big day to roll around , We flew out with the Bride and Groom as my husband had the honour of being best man. Trying to get an insane amount of a hand luggage and a huge dress through an airport was quite a challenge but we did it . We arrived a little bedraggled on the Sunday evening. Katy and Matt still had lots to do before the wedding on the Tuesday . Monday’s aim for me was to get to Walmart. I hadn’t wanted to carry any aerosols with me on the plane so I needed to purchase hairspray I also wanted to find something with the strongest humidity protection. I was also aware from my trip to the states the year before that my curling tongs didn’t work there so I needed to purchase some that would. Every hairdressers worst nightmare new kit for a big event.
We then dashed back over to the wedding rehearsal it was amazing how well organised the Disney experience was there isn’t anything they don’t think of , Katy’s dedicated wedding planner Lisa was on hand for any queries at all times. We ran through the ceremony which would be at the Grand Floridian wedding pavilion. The setting if you haven’t seen is truly breathtaking a little white chapel style building that sits on the shores of the lake through the window you can see the lake and behind Cinderellas castle in magic kindom. It’s still Disney but not in a over the top way.
The night before the wedding we had sat outside at the Polynesian hotel eating our own body weight in pineapple ice cream (dole whip for those who know Disney) and watching Beauty and the Beast. ( I was definitely the only person sat there to never have seen the film before!!) We then headed back to the room at the Floridian for an early night of no sleep!! Wedding morning was soon upon us and we headed for an 8am character breakfast at Chef Mickeys in the contemporary hotel ( for none disney fans this is a buffet breakfast where Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters are there to see you) Katy’s mom had made us some gorgeous polka dot skirts and everyone couldn’t help but notice the brides mouse ears and veil . You can’t help but smile and get into the fun of it all!
Katy and Matt had set a fairly late ceremony time of 5pm to avoid the hot midday sun and allow the ceremony to flow into the reception. That said we were aware the photographer Stephanie was arriving for some ” getting ready ” photos at 1.45pm so we wanted to be photo ready by then. I had prepared a schedule for us to work from. We were back at the room for 10.30 , I allowed 45mins for the mother of the brides hair ( this is unusually long but Gill has very thick waist length hair and wanted a hair up ) then 45mins for bridesmaid Laura’s hair, half an hour for flowergirl/bridesmaid Ella and then 1hr15 for the Bride. Time wise it all seemed to flow pretty well I think Katy had got everything worked out to a fine art even making sure housekeeping visited to be sure the room was photo ready. The Floridian provides a wonderful space to get ready with a dressing table and sofa there was plenty of room for us.
For Gill (mother of the bride) we wanted to create a sleek timeless style that secured all her thick hair for all day and night. It maybe hard to see on some photos because of the hair colour we created a high bun with a plait around for modern twist.
Bridesmaid laura has always loved the idea of wearing her hair in a vintage inspired vertical roll . I was worrying about this more than the brides hair as she has super straight heavy hair so I had to plait half of it down to create a secure base. I think the results were beautiful with the addition of the porcelain floral comb.
For 8year old flowergirl Ella we wanted something secure but still childlike she asked for a curly bun so we created a high bun style that reflected Gills with a softer girly edge. With the addition of some pearl pins and one porcelain flower on a pin.
When I started working on the Brides hair her mom said she had got a little surprise from her and her partner Martin . They had bought her a veil. We hadn’t at all factored in the idea of a veil but her mom thought it would be nice for some pictures. I had been convinced all along she should have a veil so I was super pleased and it was a stunning addition luckily the hairstyle could accomadate it well otherwise I would’ve been slightly stressed . I plan every hairstyle around the positioning of the accessories.
Stephanie and her assistant Courtney took some stunning behind the scenes getting ready shots for us. Katy was so serene , you can never explain to anyone that has not been a bride how surreal these moments are. Before the day you try to imagine, you play them through over and again in your head and then suddenly you’re actually in that moment. It’s amazing how well Stephanie worked to capture the details that may otherwise get forgotten. Katy had kept her dress a complete secret from me so when I saw her being laced into her Sophia Tolli gown I was blown away, bizarrely my husband had predicted it wouldn’t be a classic white dress and he was right!! The colour is called tea rose and it sat beautifully against Katy’s warm skin tone . It was as if her and the dress were one. I said to myself I wanted to remember her just as this image like a perfect princess forever .
The Ceremony was beautiful, I’m a real crier at weddings at the best of times but they had asked me to do a reading and due to a little health scare the week before we flew out I genuinely had questioned whether I was going to even make it so I was overwhelmed with every kind of emotion. 3 years or what seemed like a lifetime of plans came down to this and the most beautiful thing was all Kate and Matt did was smile at each other .
We were transported over to the reception at Epcot for Disney fans you will struggle to imagine the perfect positioning. It was on a decked area in the French quarter sitting perfectly on the lake with an incredible view of the Fireworks and all the true Disney Magic . People in the park couldn’t believe what they were seeing a real Disney Bride. Stephanie and Courtney from Disney Fine Art photography worked tirelessly to capture some breathtaking photos. We sat ate Mickey Mouse shaped waffles and ice creams and smiled until our cheeks hurt.
It was a strange feeling going to bed that night Trump had just been voted in as president but nothing could take away my contentment , I was so happy that not one single hair had been out of place all day, there’s truly no better feeling that thinking you’ve done a job well. I set my alarm ready for round 2 I was to be back in a taxi on the way to newlyweds hotel room at 4.30am.
Notes for the future , asking a taxi driver to take you to your friends hotel room at 4.30 in the morning dressed in a baby pink velour tracksuit doesn’t give the best impression of oneself especially when you try saying “well technically it’s a business call”. Luckily I dragged my husband with me so I looked slightly less like a lady of the night. The time pressure was on to get Katy ready for the 5.45am photo call. She was so prepared even though she didn’t get to the hotel room till 1.30am she had found time to wash and dry her hair again ready for me! My new curling tongs were really feeling the pressure and I wasn’t totally pleased with the results. We decided on adding the floral comb tucked behind the ear on the right hand side so it was visible in some shots . I felt like I was working in slow motion but with a little help from my husband we made the deadline.
We weren’t able to go to the photoshoot at magic kingdom this time their photographer was Jaime of jar photography . Katy and Matt loved his energy for the shoot and how he knew every little spot for the perfect shot. Just the 3 of them in the entire park I imagined to be a strangely intimate experience in a normally crowded themepark. I always describe the photos from this shoot as the real “money shots” when you say Disney people want to see the castle and feel the magic and these photographs deliver on every level.
As we exhaustedly loaded my kit into the car I looked up at the sky it was like a watercolour of blues and pinks. I felt one little tear roll down my cheek probably my last bit of energy , I couldn’t imagine a more stunning backdrop to finish the Wedding and the beginning of their Happily Ever After ….