27 September 2008

10-19 September 2008: Tuscany, Italy (Jason and Caroline's wedding)

Not only was this holiday about my brother's wedding (Jason), but it was also the first Lind family reunion in 15 years! My parents and sister came out to London a week before and split themselves across myself, Jason and my other brother, Geoff's family. It seemed to work and we all had 'mini' reunions before flying out to Italy on Sunday 14 September.

The wedding venue was Villa Maiano - a beautiful villa (built in 1400) that is situated on a olive farm, about 10km from Florence. The Villa has 5 halls on the ground floor, splendidly furnished with original seventeenth and eighteenth century furniture and a panoramic garden overlooking all of Florence.

Our actual accommodation was in an old nun's convent next door - luckily the whole Lind family (11 adults, 3 children) could stay together in one apartment - though my 14 month old niece Grace ensured everyone was an early bird for the whole week! Three other apartments were booked for other family members of the bride, and friends.

The week in Tuscany was filled with catching up with each other (two sets of aunts and uncles were out from NZ and Australia), seeing some of Florence (and even Rome), going to a very exclusive spa resort (organised for the ladies), and generally helping with any wedding preparations that Jason and Caroline needed doing.

The sun was shining most days though the temperature had dipped from 35 degree the previous week to c.20 degrees while we were there. And of course the rain had to happen....on the wedding day...but thankfully only for the morning!

The wedding (Fri 19 September)
I was bridesmaid so had a few things to do like turning up for my hair appointment and makeup, getting ready and basically helping the other bridesmaids to ensure everything went smoothly for the bride! A few stress moments at the hairdressers and then when the makeup artist turned up late, but considering all, Caroline was fashionable late for her wedding, but only by about 15mins!

The wedding ceremony was held under a marque (i.e. as it was spitting slightly), and it went very smoothly. Everyone remembered their respective parts, (particularly the 'I will' part), there were three beautiful readings and also a singer. Once Jason and Caroline were official 'joined in matrimony', they went off for their photos and everyone else enjoyed the antipasta buffet and champagne. The sun also came out and the terrace (which also overlooks Florence) was put to good use.

The rest of the wedding was filled with a dinner (gorgeous food), speeches (well written), an improvised theatre production (extremely funny - though most of it was in Italian and French), cutting of the wedding cake (lots of fireworks), more speeches (letting the 'cat out of the bag' on a few occasions) and final the 'first dance'. Caroline and Jason did an amazing Latin American dance that they had practiced and was choreographed for them specially - I am sure the wedding photos won't do it justice! (Caroline changed into a figure-hugging red dress for this dance and then changed back into her wedding dress for the rest of the evening). [PICS TO COME]

After the 'first dance', there was dancing, drinking, eating, sitting around chatting, or cooling off outside on the Terrace - something for everyone. The party started to dissipate around midnight with the die-hard party animals staying on until 2am - when the DJ also packed up. Then some of the more awake (or should I say, less drunk) guests moved across to an apartment and continued drinking (and eating more of the wedding cake) until the early hours of the morning.

The wedding went perfectly, the bride and groom looked radiant, and everyone had a fantastic time. Thank you Jason to Caroline and I wish you the happiest of lives together!

More photos...

18 August 2008

15-17 August 2008: Chelmsford (Caz's hen weekend at V Fest)

My brother's fiancee - Caroline - decided to have her hen's night at the V Festival! What a fab way to celebrate only being free for another month....

We all arrived on the Friday evening at the campsite in Althorne (a little village 30mins from the V Festival) and set up home for the weekend. There were 10 of us in 3 tents and thankfully Lisa had organised a gas BBQ as well. We all managed to set up the tents (even though we were women I think we were extremely impressive) and then set about getting the barbie going and spending some quality time drinking!

Lisa had organised the whole weekend and though we were sorted for the night in terms of games, food and alcohol, our neighbours had a disco going with some very loud, very cheesy music blaring out of their tent! I kid you not. So like all good neighbours we joined them! If anything it was a chance to get warm and we even had our own male stripper...(enough said)!

The next morning was a leisurely one as we did not have to get to the festival until after midday. So on went the bacon, toast and tea. A taxi turned up and after the bride-to-be had preened herself enough we left the campground around 1pm.

By the time we got into the festival (and there some dramas with that!), had more to eat and had a drink in our hands, we were listening to Alanis Morrisette - then Duffy - then onto Will Young. Unfortunately we missed out on Estelle and the Sugababes...oh well....maybe next year. Along the way we met some aspiring male 'angels' who were trying on Caroline's wings for size - the competition was to see who could get the most gorgeous guy to wear them...some contenders but I am not sure there was any one clear winner....

It didn't rain all day and in fact the sun shone for most of it. By the time we got to the main act (The Muse) it was spitting but being crammed in amongst all the bodies actually kept you dry. The Muse were amazing and I know Caroline had a blast (you only need to see the photos to see that)!

We eventually got picked up again after the festival (lots of dramas with that!) and got returned to the campsite, though some a little worse for wear than others (no names mentioned...though you might be able to tell from the photo....).

Sunday was a day for sleeping off the previous night's excesses, but tents had to be packed up, people had to drive home and Caroline had to face up to the prospect of never being single again!! We had a pub lunch at the campground and Lisa recited an emotional poem and gave Caroline a collection of old photos for her to keep.

The sun was shining and we were a little sad to say goodbye to everyone...but we will all be able to relive the weekend come Caroline's wedding on 19 September.

Here are a few photos from the weekend...(I can tell you now that the incriminating photos are already deleted...)