All the photographs throughout this post are taken by Lucy Stendall and Rachel Tweeddale. We don’t easily endorse, but what we would say is that we would recommend either of these women to photograph your wedding (or any other occasion) without hesitation. Just look at the quality of these pictures. We are lucky, lucky bloggers. And so….
Any Other Party came and went. It was better than Clare, Aisling or I could possibly have imagined.
Imagine a room full of women (and men!) you admire, whose minds you could quite happily roam through for hours, who for some reason enjoy reading what you write, all talking, and laughing, and drinking wine. With each other. And enjoying it.
I think it hit all three of us; we were happy. Really, really happy, that an idea that came out of nowhere morphed into something great; something tangible. Meeting our readers was an absolute privilege; we knew we had some special readers with some phenomenal stories and we were proved right. Sometime during the night we realised we’d passed the “I met you online and that’s weird” to friends. There’s not much that can beat that feeling.
It started with cake from the lovely local café Drink Shop Do. Such events should always start with cake, those are the rules. Team AOW got ready with Rachel of RachBakes (because she does, she makes cakes that you want to stick your face in and never come out) and Rebecca Norris (who, lets face it is amongst everyone’s favourite bloggers of all time). Rebecca and Rachel are exactly the sort of person you need around you at such crisis points; without their good humour and level-headedness Team AOW would have ended up dissolving into each others’ fears of “oh my actual god people are coming to meet us, some of those people travelled by train for a Very Long Time, what were we thinking, we are not remotely interesting enough to merit that kind of commitment, arrrrrrgh we are insane, what have we done?”.
As per Monday’s supplier post, the gorgeous Frenchman Severin Hubert performed lifesaving surgery on my hair, and the beautiful, hilarious and talented Carolanne Armstrong transformed us from stressheads into Things of Great Beauty. I mean, none of us are prone to self aggrandisation but they worked some serious magic. Without Sev and Carolanne we would probably have turned up in hessian sacks. Accessorised by Aisling, of course.
You read on Monday about our photoshoot at St Pancras station. I think it’s safe to stay we made an impression. The masterful Lucy Stendall and Rachel Tweeddale captured it all – from sheer “oh my god tourists are looking at us” panic to making it genuinely fun, and making us laugh, and then capturing us looking HOT whilst laughing. No mean feat.
And once you’ve played model in St Pancras on a Friday at 6pm, hosting Any Other Party seemed like a walk in the park. Thanks, girls.
We wanted to write a proper report, but there’s three of us and so many more memories than we could fit onto a page. And we know we have a tendency to ramble. So instead, we though we’d hit you with our favourite moments, AOW-style:
Anna K meeting reader Cathy B and bending her ear off about asylum seekers. Thankfully, Cathy B is infinitely patient and shares Anna’s fascination. There was also much nattering about baking and reading. We assume Anna didn’t scare her off because she didn’t leave early. Or, she is just incredibly resilient.
Seeing Mrs Joan Hunter Dunn again; always a port in a storm; always infinitely calm, always reminds us what we are here for. We three spent much of the night in silent admiration of her dress sleeves.
Anna approaching Laura and Pete Lawson, saying “Hello! Are you the Lawsons?” and them politely ignoring the sheer gimpiness of this greeting and responding in actual unison. They were so down to earth, we forgot they were famous. Anna and the Lawsons is now my official band name. I want Pete to wear that woolly jumper when doing backing vocals.
An hour-long unashamed gossip with the frankly hilarious Sarah M and the lovely Lizzie from Bridal Musings. A gossip that spanned subjects as diverse as; equality in the workplace; the importance of stripy straws; the art of writing well; shoes. My favourite quote (possibly of the entire evening)? “I’m a busy woman. My time is money. If I am taking time out of my day to read a blog post, the least that blog can do is get the grammar right” (Sarah M).
Whilst on Lizzie …she is oh-so beautiful (and HOW photogenic?!) and we were in awe of her amazing red skirt. Seriously Lizzie, you might want to keep that skirt under lock and key if you ever invite Aisling round for dinner. You’ll probably need to swallow that key, too.
Ginny. Ah, Ginny, who, in her own inimitable style became everyone’s best friend in about thirty seconds flat. She also regaled Clare with the shameful story of how Ginny and Anna actually met, whilst a bottle of wine down. Thanks, Gin. Blog post coming there. It’s not pretty.
Aisling met Ginny and told her alllllll about how she’d been in Dublin the previous weekend with her husband and spent a solid portion of said weekend regaling Phil with the tale of how Ginny and Nathan met. We don’t *think* Ginny thought A was a complete lunatic. At least, not in a bad way.
Whilst we’re still on Ginny, watching from a distance as she realised that the woman she was stood next to was Anna of annaandthering, and launching into a full-on bear hug, as Anna stood looking vaguely shell-shocked. Honestly, we’ve never seen such excitement.
Unnecessarily enthusiastic discussions with Becca about bikegate, ridiculous t-shirts, her beautiful, beautiful dress and the fact that she’d “forgotten to put makeup on”. Who does that? For the record, we could not tell – and were examining Becca’s face like a lab experiment.
Gemma’s dress and coat. Oh, Gemma’s dress and coat. Gemma introducing herself to Anna whilst Anna was leaving, causing Anna to double back and want to stay FOREVER.
Aisling following Kirsty to the bar for a chance to chat to her in comparable peace and ‘quiet’. Then being secretly chuffed to bits that it took so long to get served because Kirsty is so.much.fun. to chat to. (See also: lesbian ambush)
Esme. What more can we say about Esme? As Clare said in the comments on Tom’s post, Esme and Tom are the AOW Official Couple. We could spend hours romping through the great plains of Esme’s mind – she is funny, and kind, and one of the best conversationalists we have EVER met.
Anna seeing Kirsty of A Safe Mooring and going ohmygodthat’sKirstyIdidn’trealiseshewassoBEAUTIFUL. And then doing a lesbian ambush whilst Kirsty was trying to get a drink. Justification? Everyone deserves a lesbian ambush.
Realising Mrs Joan Hunter Dunn and Cathy B had spent the entire night chatting to one another – we presume a strong friendship was forged there?
Hearing from The Bijou Bride that Louise from Oh My Honey made her own dress. And only finished it on the train on the way to the party. And did we mention how incredible it was? That is dedication for you.
Being some of the very first people to get to see Annabel’s beautiful new hair colour. We swooned. Anna launching herself on Annabel with sheer excitement when Annabel was trying to have some food, quietly. Sorry about that Annabel…
Seeing the Lawsons, Mark Osborne and other photographers chatting intently. We’re pretty sure we would have not understood a word of their technical photography speak, but we were happy to see them so engrossed.
Sangeeta and Olivier from Olivier Laudus making it to the party even though they’d just got back from holiday. And then telling Aisling and Clare that AOW was so refreshing in the world of wedding blogs. We didn’t stop smiling for a long time after that.
Aisling making the ridiculous decision to continue partying post-AnyOtherParty with Lucy, Rebecca N, Kirsty, the Lawsons, Sarah M, Gemma and Annabel…and nearly DYING the next day.
Your turn, Any Other Partygoers. What memories do you have? What did we miss?
One last thing…we were all told about twenty times that people love The Team page. And that it shows that we must really like each other. Which made our faces hurt from grinning. Because yes, we do like each other. Quite a lot. Which is why this blog is how it is.
Like I said, we struck it lucky with our readers. Meeting so many of you reinforced our commitment to making this blog a corner of the world where people can come, share, listen and most importantly be themselves. Not have to have a unique dress or the latest shoes or be quirky. No pressure. Just come, share your stories, offer advice or just listen. Any Other Wedding is the sort of place you don’t have to pretend. We’re the equivalent of coming home, kicking off your slightly-too-small shoes, changing into pyjamas and hitting the sofa for the mother of all sane, funny, refreshing chats.
There aren’t many places you can do that anymore, and we’re proud as anything that that can happen here. And Any Other Party confirmed that. Thanks, readers.