Any Other Party: Full Disclosure

All the photographs throughout this post are taken by Lucy  Stendall and Rachel TweeddaleWe 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.     

Categories: Behind the Scenes at AOW, Your Favourite Posts
35 interesting thoughts on this

30 Comments

  1. Posted September 29, 2011 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    You're all so bloody glamorous!!! I want JHD's sleeves…..

    Px

  2. Posted September 29, 2011 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    *in unison*

    We love you guys!!! Thank you so much for a brilliant evening, we met so many lovely people. Particularly nice to see in real life: Anna's amazingly animated face, Clare's adorable basketball bump, and Aisling's gazelle legs (we've seen them before but nothing prepares you).

    X

  3. Posted September 29, 2011 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Great party girls – when's the next one???

  4. Becca
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Damn it damn it damn it. I was too busy reading this whilst walking to the bus stop and then had to run (about a mile) to said bus stop. I missed the bus but have mascara oooooozing down my face because, let's face it, today would be a morning I paid attention to my post it note saying 'make up' and 'tablet' and 'lunch' stuck on the door.

    It were a fabulous evening and I vote we should so it again tomorrow.

    I also had a bit of a lesbian 'I want to stroke your cheekbones' thing with Kirsty. She has THE best cheekbones ever. I would have my hair short if I thought it would work for me. But it wouldn't because I am not naturally blessed.

  5. Rebecca Norris
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Oh I'm so happy to see the photos – it was THE best evening ladies – well done!

    And you've hit the nail on the head exactly with what you have created in AOW. It's like getting home to chat with the girlfriend you shared a flat with at Uni (and I still miss even though I have a husband!) ;)

    Bring on the next one xxx

  6. Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Oh I'm so happy to get to know you all – reading each post is an absolute treat! Thank you for being so warm and welcoming, it was a true pleasure to be there! Much love x

  7. Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    :(

    *cries onto keyboard*

    Also, how had I never read the team page before? I just went for a butchers and it is indeed tres lovely.

  8. Mahj
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Eeek! How utterly and insanely envious am I to have missed this amazeballs soiree?! VERY!
    Gorgeous photos, you all are bee-yoo-ti-ful! And I could "le sigh" all the way home about AOW. Tis truly a wonderful place to be on t'web and it always makes me smile every single day.
    Please can I be in the next lesbian ambush?

    xoxo

  9. Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I actually used the pj/sofa lounging line in my Cosmo blog nomination vote!

    Love the photos – everyone looks lovely and exactly the type of people you would DIE to be friends with

    xxx

  10. Ginny
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Uhg/GRRRR!

    I am in a rubbish mood this morning because my beloved Red Sox managed to shoot themselves in the foot last night. Hmmph.

    I don't appreciate you trying to make me feel better with your lovely posting. I want to get my grump on and hold on to that grump for the next month.
    How can I do this with all the giddy amazingness eminating from your images and words?

    I'm still grumpy. Maybe a little less so though.

    +1 to you, you crafty enchantress.

  11. Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Florence would very much like to have been at this party… next time :)

  12. Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    There are no words. I had so much fun, with the chatting and the drinking and the presents and the lesbian ambush. It was simply amazeballs and my fellow AOW readers are the coolest, smartest, most grounded ladies on the planet. Thank you Team AOW for making the magic happen.

    (And Aisling, Anna, Becca – you have just made my day, saying all those nice things!)

  13. Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    You guys are too cute.

    Also – I heart Ginny – that is all.

  14. Charlotte
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Please please please can there be another party? I have only recently discovered the wondrousness of AOW and I LOVE it! There are some truly admirable and beautiful posts, and it is clear you have an equally amazing community on here. Please can I come and play too?!

  15. Louise
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Please, please organise another party! I was so sad not be able to make this event and even sadder now I've seen it in all its fabulous glory! Blogging royalty, beautiful people and lesbian ambushes…what more could you want from a night?!

  16. Posted September 29, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Ladies…these comments warm the cockles of my heart!

    We were so proud to be there. It absolutely re-affirmed why we do what we do.

    We would love to see you all again, and meet those who didn't get a chance to come.

    Penny…any chance you could run an Aerockbics session for the AOW readership? Pregnancy-friendly, for C?

  17. Posted September 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Yes yes yes – an AOW aerockbics session! Can I be video linked in?

    And ladies – we will have another AOW meet up – we loved meeting you all, and we can't wait to meet more of you. We have not licked nearly enough of your faces.

  18. Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Oh ladies ladies ladies ladies. It was indeed a wonderful & memorable evening. I, and my sleeves, enjoyed ourselves so much meeting so many glorious women. Roll on the next one.

  19. Esme
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful evening indeed. My favourite bits were standing in the queue to meet Kirsty (she'll think I'm joking, but there were 3 of us just standing behind her waiting to say hi) and chatting to Clare about being a mum/wife/woman/work – brilliant. xx

  20. Posted September 29, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    All of the above times ten! Also, chatting with the two Rachels, the inimitable Rachbakes and Rachie of a chichi affair and thinking lovely, like minded women are not unlike buses, you wait ages to meet one then encounter ten at once! and thinking I want to be Anna K when I grow up. And being love bombed by, and impressed with, Ginny. And feeling a bit sad once it was all over, not just cos I missed my bus back to Glasgow and got stuck on one that went via the lake district and took ten hours. AOP Christmas edition por favor!

  21. Posted September 29, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Hahahahahaha Esme that is hilarious!! Are you serious?? How rude of me, clearly I was too busy stuffing my face with cake and rambling nonsense to notice people were trying to speak to me!! Although I'm slightly worried that your favourite bit was the standing in the queue bit, rather than actually chatting to me… ;)

    Seriously, you lot are so sweet. Can't wait for the next chance to meet up and blether with so many wonderful ladies.

  22. Posted September 29, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Looks like a whole lot of fun shame I couldn't be there but can't wait for next one : )
    Neda xx

  23. Posted September 29, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    It was a truly fabulous evening, everyone was so warm & friendly.

    Anna, I thoroughly enjoyed our gossip, it was a pleasure to meet you ~ you are so vivacious and funny! I agree Sarah M hit the nail on the head with that brilliant quote!!!

    Aisling you are more than welcome to borrow my red skirt but I suspect that with your exquisitely long legs, it may be a tad short!

    Clare, best of luck with your big move ~ I'm so excited for you. If you can do it with bump/baby in tow I've got nothing to be nervous about!

    Count me in for the next party ladies x

  24. Posted September 29, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Aop rocked, it's a fact! Whoever it was aaaages ago that said there'd be a lot of ME TOO's was absolutely right. My personal highlight was being mistaken for anna, clare and aisling and of course having my new friend Ginny rearrange the lines on my stockings in the loos. Amazing. Everyone needs a Ginny

  25. Posted September 29, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Ah Anna K – I woke my husband up at gone midnight to tell him all about our asylum seeker conversation and how your job is *even* cooler than being a spy!

    It was such an amazing night and an honour to meet such fabulous women. I literally had to drag myself away from the gorgeous and very wise JHD and her wondrous sleeves as otherwise I would have been stranded in London.

    After a cra**y day, this has really put a smile on my face and brought back some great memories. Fab work ladies!

    Cannot wait for the next AOP. xx

  26. Posted September 29, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    @Cathy – you be so gorgeous. I'm sorry that I couldn't stop gazing at your delicious hair and skin. Would love to say hi again!

  27. Posted September 30, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Great photos Rachel, really good job! Glad we didn't distract you too much! :) x

  28. Posted September 30, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    @Anna – thank you, but you are much too kind! Are you in London? Would love to say hi – as I have to confess, I was a little awestruck when I met you, and found myself rather tongue-tied!
    I can't promise to be any better next time but I shall try :)

  29. Posted September 30, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    @Cathy – yes in London (P.S. I keep looking at your profile hoping you pop an email on it! – Email me (annaandtheringlondon {at} gmail.com) , please – please don't hate me AOW for pimping my email – you just have the best ladies!)

  30. Posted September 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    I sooooo want to come to the next one, I am devo that I missed this one!

    I want to take part in face licking and anything else that may occur!

    Pleeeeeease do another one when I can come!!!

    Fab pics and you all are gawjus!XX

5 Trackbacks

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    [...] immeasurably lucky this year. Lucky to have each other, lucky to have this blog and lucky to have a readership like you. You have made 2011 a truly wonderful year for us and we want to thank you, from the bottom of our [...]

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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image by Lucy Stendall Photography

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