How did you meet?
We met at work – a very boring answer I know. We worked on a project together for about 6 weeks and afterwards went our own ways as we worked in different offices. Neil was in London occasionally and we’d sometimes go for a drink to catch up – we usually ended up being out for hours just chatting and laughing. We started dating about 2 and a half years after we met, which was actually really nice because by then I already knew that we got on really well – although it puts more pressure on the early dating stage when you know that you already like someone!
Tell us about the proposal!
The proposal was not a traditional romantic proposal, but so very ‘us’, and so unexpected on my part. We were on holiday in Padstow, Cornwall which is very special to me as I spent most of my childhood holidays there. We’d planned to go to Paul Ainsworth’s No6 restaurant one evening (which we thoroughly recommend) and it was wonderful – beautiful restaurant, amazing food and we met Paul and his team after our meal. If there was going to be a traditionally romantic situation to propose on this holiday that would have been it!
After our meal we felt so full up that I suggested we go for a walk out to the harbour before heading back to our cottage. On this walk Neil asked me in a roundabout way what I would say if he asked me to marry him. I told him that he’d find out if he proposed, thinking nothing of the conversation. It was only when we got to the end of the harbour that he said that he was being serious, and even then I needed some more persuading and made him go down on one knee before I believed that he wasn’t joking!
How did you choose where to shop for your wedding dress?
I was adamant that I was going to have an a-line or ball gown style dress as I’m very pear shaped and was determined to accentuate my waist and hide my hips so I searched online for shops in London, Surrey and Kent which had a wide selection of those dresses and probably went to at least 10 shops. In the end though I chose Isabella Grace because of a combination of the styles that they had, the personal attention and the feeling of trust in the team which I didn’t get at every shop.
Tell us about your wedding dress experience, and why did you choose your wedding dress.
American TV tells us that once you try on The Dress you just ‘know’. I did not have that experience! I tried on so many dresses at so many shops with various friends and family members all who had conflicting opinions on shape, style and material. It was really hard because after every visit I was even more confused and didn’t know what I wanted by the end. I remember calling Isabella Grace to book my appointment and telling them that I was coming on my own so could they please be honest with me – I wasn’t going to take offence at anything bad they said I just wanted honest, independent advice. I had a great appointment with Carrie and found a dress which of course was everything that I originally didn’t want – a fit and flare which was quite fitting through the hips and allover lace. What made me choose that dress was that I could tell (and was also told) that I carried myself differently in that dress, I stood a little taller and felt more confident.
My accessories came from Isabella Grace too and a bespoke handmade veil by Miss Kay who performed my alterations set it off wonderfully.
Describe your wedding day. Where, when, how…
So much to tell! We got married at a family church, my parents were married there and I was christened there. It was actually very easy to choose a reception venue as only 3 venues matched our criteria of location, great food, capacity and exclusive use. Morden Hall’s character and décor just suited us too.
Most of our guests were staying overnight near to the reception so we hired two London buses to take guests from the venue to the church, and then back again which worked out really well as no-one was worried about driving in London or being stuck in traffic (top tip: prosecco and beer for the journey back were much appreciated by our guests!). That was followed by a fairly traditional canapes and drinks reception, dinner and evening reception.
We did however try to make our day really enjoyable for our guests and a little bit different and personal. For example do you remember those tea towels from school that had a drawing of every child on them? We had every guest draw themselves on their RSVP to make these tea towels as our favours, table numbers were years in our lives with a photo of us in those years, and we had our Mum’s bake their famous home treats (shortbread and millionaire shortbread)
We knew from the start that we wanted a live band in the evening and one of our best wedding decisions was to hire Shine On. They were amazing and is still (along with the food) the thing that people comment to me about even now.
We made a few last minute decisions which we didn’t expect much of but were actually massive surprise hits. The key ones were a silent disco for one of the smaller rooms in the venue (surprisingly reasonable to hire, make sure you get the ones with light up headphones) and a festival style glitter bar.
As a final personal touch, we created a 16 page newspaper featuring all our favourite wedding photos, the ceremony readings and excerpts from the speeches as thank yous which we have had so much great feedback on.
Favourite part of your wedding day?
It sounds so cliché but I can’t think of one particular favourite part of the day! We both loved the whole day and build up but if I could pick one moment it would be towards the end of the night when our guests made a circle around us, arms around each other on the dancefloor swaying and singing to Wonderwall by Oasis. We just stood in the middle, hands held in the air singing along and just looking at them all. Everyone was in such good spirits and the atmosphere is something you just can’t force or ever recreate, it was amazing
Anything you would change if you could do it all again?
Very little actually, we’ve had this conversation a few times but there are only a few small minor things we would have changed, and all of them were down to how things ran on the day rather than something that we would have planned differently. We always said from the start that our main aim was to end the day married and that everyone had a good time – anything on top of that was a bonus regardless of what might go wrong or not to plan.
I would however hire more silent disco headsets as we had no idea that it would be so popular! We only had 25 which were in high demand when the band weren’t playing.
Your top tip for future brides?
Wedding planning doesn’t have to be stressful despite what google tells you. You will have a lot to do in the run up to the big day but will enjoy it so much more if you can stay relatively stress-free and not let the hiccups affect you too much. Having trust in your vendors who do this every day helps take some of the pressure off and a self imposed deadline for planning and preparation will make sure you have time to relax before the wedding. Everything important will get done, even if it might not seem like it at times.
Another small tip, choose vendors not just who come well recommended but that suit your wedding. For example we looked at so many videographers and struggled to find one we liked but chose xo film as we wanted a more upbeat and fast moving video which they nailed.
Which suppliers did you use for the following:
Wedding Venue: Local church and Morden Hall
Wedding Photographer: Jay Rowden
Florist: Kane’s Florist
Cake: Self made cake
Hair: My own hairdresser, Hide Tanaka
Make up: Harriet Rainbow
Band: Shine On
Videographer: xo film – https://vimeo.com/248595829
Venue stylist: Fleur de Lace
Silent disco: The silent disco company