18/07/2013 14:49 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Bridal Stress? It's All Worth It In The End

The best day of my life? September 1 2012 when I married my boyfriend of two years, Simon, in Sudbury's sunny town hall.

The room was packed with about 115 of our nearest and dearest, and as soon as I saw his face when the Wedding March began, I was so unbearably over the moon with myself that I could have cried with joy up the aisle.

sara and simon119

But did I feel that way throughout the wedding planning process? Er, no. As any ex-bride will tell you, making the whole thing come together is an organisational nightmare fraught with family politics, financial woes and constant worry that there will be serious consequences if you're not dieting to the point of insanity. Making place settings, I'd fantasise about running away back to a time when I was single and - not as happy - but didn't have to worry about a table plan.

Our wedding was a DIY affair and that meant doing EVERYTHING ourselves which is a bigger task than I first thought. I woke up in the middle of the night two weeks before the big day realising I hadn't ordered spoons from our crockery supplier. When they didn't pick up the phone at 3am, I melted down and had to be marched round the block a few times by my ever patient husband-to-be until the hysteria subsided.

Ten days before the wedding, Berketex - where I'd bought my dress - couldn't locate where my all important white gown was. "It was supposed to arrive four days ago," I wheezed, mid-panic attack, to staff. "Don't worry," they said. Well, that is until they stopped taking my calls at which point I had to phone the press office and demand my dress be found and delivered immediately. Six months on, I shudder to think what would have happened if I wasn't a journalist writing about her wedding for Brides magazine at the time.

Nine days before the wedding, one of our bands pulled out leaving a big gap in how the reception was supposed to be. Silently crying (by this point I was a complete basket case) I managed to find and book a replacement within three hours, but I'd say that window of mania has probably taken a good 18 months off my life.

What else? My pre-wedding spray tan got rained on while still tacky in a freak shower on the sunniest day you've ever seen. Also, bombing down country roads in the car on the way to my ceremony, my mother insisted on painting her nails purple while sitting next to me in my wedding dress. Imagine the horror that you might get splatted with polish on the day when you absolutely must NOT get splatted with polish. IMAGINE.

By the time I actually got to my wedding, I was a wreck. But, my steadying stepfather took me by the arm and down the aisle we went. And do you know what? The very moment I walked into my ceremony, all the stuff that had happened - the missing dress, the ruined tan, the varnish, the band - just didn't matter anymore. I was getting married to the man I adored more than I could ever have imagined was possible and that was the only thing I cared about.

After our vows, the reception at Hawstead Village Hall - a barn-like venue in the middle of the Suffolk countryside - went off like a dream. Our guests arrived to a lunch of Pimms and tapas, while our first band of the day - Dr Bluegrass And The Illbilly 8 - did a cracking set. Then, as everyone knocked back prosecco while sitting on hay bales on the green in front of the hall, singer songwriter Big Finn performed.

Our hog roast dinner was served in the hall after my sister read a poem by EE Cummings to the room, and huge amounts of wine made the speeches tick merrily along. It was then back out to the green for a rollicking ceilidh, soundtracked by a local 12-piece ceilidh band before the evening barbecue and indie disco by DJ, presenter and Storm model, Izzy Lawrence. Best day of my life? You bet.

Photography by Sarah Lucy Brown.