europe 2012: shrewsbury
Next up on our England adventure was the event that inspired the trip — our friend Sara’s wedding in Shrewsbury!
We all knew that the wedding was going to be a total highlight of our trip. But I think none of us had any idea how much we would also adore this small town!! From the endless beautiful Tudor architecture, to cute cobblestone streets, to friendly townspeople (even a jolly policeman who helped us find our hotel), to great pubs and live music, we completely enjoyed our time in Shrewsbury and wished we could have spent even more time exploring the town.
Still, the best part by far was having the honor of being there to watch our dear friend marry this wonderful man. After watching them fall in love an ocean apart, and then seeing Sara pack up and move to England this past summer, it was such a joy to see them together in their new home country. And we had a blast at our first English/American/Welsh wedding!!!
Here’s the story! (Cover photo courtesy of Sarah.)
The first order of business in Shrewsbury was getting to Shrewsbury. Since there were now 8 of us traveling together, we decided to rent cars. And Yours Truly was one of the two lucky drivers.
Yes, that’s the right side of the car. Driving on the left side of the road. With my heart pounding away in the background.
There were moments when it was fun, but it was definitely way more nerve-wracking than expected. I think I’ll wait another decade before trying that again.
One of the things we quickly learned about having a car, though, is that parking is always somewhat of an adventure. There was little street parking in Shrewsbury, so we parked in a fancy lot every day. And then had to get a little help trying to figure out how to pay!
The first night, we decided to try and squeeze 8 girls in our single car to drive to Sara’s bridal shower. So we made use of the entire car! :) (Photo courtesy of Sarah.)
Other than that, we enjoyed walking all over town and admiring all of the amazing Tudor-inspired architecture! Our resident historian on the trip, our friend Amanda, could explain much more about this. She specializes in historic preservation, so we loved hearing all of her insights on the city’s history!! (Photo courtesty of Amanda.)
So many great places to see. (Photo courtesy of Sarah.)
6 of us stayed at the Old Post Office hotel, which was lovely. They served a nice English breakfast each morning, and then the place turned into a hoppin’ pub each night. (Photo courtesy of Amanda.)
The first evening, we all went to the church for the rehearsal. It was fun getting to meet all of Michael’s local friends and family, and to start hearing their stories of how much they adore our friend. :)
Maux, Sarah and I also had the honor of singing at the wedding, so we did a little practicing. (Photo courtesy of Amanda.)
The next day, we did a little more hat shopping, because apparently that’s what we Americans love to do in England. (Photo courtesy of Amanda.)
I love Amanda in this hat! Suits her perfectly. :) (Photo courtesy of Amanda.)
The wedding itself was absolutely lovely as well. It was held in the church where Sara’s husband was baptized as a child, and the place was fully lit with over 20 Christmas trees! One of our friends from Kansas City gave the message, which included some seriously awesome stories about the couple, and the hope for their marriage to come. All in all, it was a beautiful ceremony, overflowing with faith, hope and love. (Photo courtesy of Bet.)
Afterwards we all made our way to the Mytton & Mermaid. (We learned that just about every place in England has TWO names!) This included the second phase of the evening — an English tea. :) (Photo courtesy of Bet.)
In addition to, well, tea, they served all sorts of lovely petit sandwiches and desserts. (Photo courtesy of Bet.)
Good times. :) (Photo courtesy of Bet.)
Yes, we wore our hats!
Next, we all walked nextdoor for the final phase of the evening — Welsh dancing!!!
This definitely made for a memorable night. For hours on end, a fabulous Welsh trio played tons of folk songs as all of the wedding guests — from the youngest to the oldest — joined together on the dance floor. They graciously taught us Americans how to do the dances, and we did our best to keep up. Such a fun time! (Photo courtesy of Maux.)
Then at 9pm, the dancing halted.
And we all took a stew break. Yes, a stew break — as in, beef stew, mashed potatoes, bread and butter, and beer. (Photo courtesy of Bet.)
I could get used to this at a wedding. (Photo courtesy of Bet.)
I think we scored some records for butter consumption too. It was divine. Or maybe we just worked up an appetite with all of that Welsh dancing.
Overall, it was such a wonderful evening, made all the better by celebrating wonderful friends. We all slept well, and then woke up the next day ready for our next adventure: Oxford. (Photo courtesy of Bet.)
So long, Shrewsbury! (Photo courtesy of Sarah.)