We met through James's housemate who I knew from university (and
briefly went out with).
James arranged a surprise weekend to Ireland last May for my birthday
but said he didn't find the right time to propose. One afternoon
the week after, it was a lovely day and we went to Greenwich Park.
James proposed on the grass at the top of the hill with the view
over London. We had arranged a joint birthday celebration that weekend
but I didn't realise that he had wanted it that weekend so we could
have it as an engagement party and announce our engagement to our
friends. I was impressed at how he'd got me to invite my friends
without me realising what it would actually be!
We arranged it on the same weekend - James went to Amsterdam and
I went to Barcelona. We got some interesting photos from the club
we went to in the evening!
James was as involved in planning the wedding as I was (though maybe
not as obsessed!). We chose everything except my outfit together.
I really just used the cafe to talk to other brides and ask questions.
It was a good distraction (and very addictive!)
My dress was Olympia by Maggie Sottero in ivory with matching bag
and wrap. I had Gabriella and Lucido's Paolo shoes hand-embroidered
to match the beading which I bought from a boutique in Henley together
with my fingertip veil scattered with diamontes I also had a tiara
and zig-zag necklace that my mum bought for me. I bought an ivory
faux fur jacket from the internet in case I was cold but only wore
it when I left since I was actually warm all day! I also wore James's
grandmother's diamond watch and brooch that he had inherited which
was my 'something old'!
I had two bridesmaids - my now sister-in-law, Clare, and a mutual
friend of ours, Jen. They wore Dessy dresses in 'hunter green' with
matching wraps and silver shoes. I also had a flower girl who wore
a white dress and I made a matching green wrap to match the adult
James had two best men - my brother, Spencer, and one of his school
friends, Nick. His other group of school friends, Andrew, Graeme
and Alan, were his ushers. The best men wore matching morning suits
with grey waistcoats and sage green rouche and handkerchief to match
James and the bridesmaids. They were given cufflinks as a present
on the day to match James's. We also had a page boy in a morning
suit and silver waistcoat and I made him a matching rouche. The
ushers wore normal suits but had buttonholes to match.
We had a civil ceremony.
The ceremony was in the Grandstand at Phyllis Court Club overlooking
the Thames in Henley-on-Thames.
The reception was in the Finlay Suite and Ballroom of Phyllis Court
We had a Rolls Royce to take us to our hotel for the first night.
Other than that it wasn't needed since family all stayed in Henley
the night before and me and my family were staying at the venue.
We invited about 140 to the wedding and another 25 to the evening.
In the end we had about 105 to the wedding and another 20 in the
Since it was a winter wedding we had a lot of colour in the flowers
that we used but as well as candles and fairy lights. We used a
lot of foliage to wrap around pillars and arches.
The table centres were very bright and each had a candle.
Only the children who had a pack that we made up to keep them busy.
The parents really seemed to appreciate this! We also gave away
all the table centres and floral decorations as thanks to certain
Our florist was linked to the venue although we could have gone
to someone else. My bouquet was mango calla lillies with some black
calla lillies and also some dark roses and folliage. The men had
mango calla lillies in the button holes as did the bridemaids' corsages.
All the flowers used for other decorations followed the colour theme
with some added flowers. We had a large table centre on the top
table that was also used during the ceremony. In the reception area
there was a large display of flowers.
The venue handled the catering. We had leek and potato soup to start
since it was a winter wedding and we thought the warmth would be
appreciated! The main course was baked supreme of chicken with a
pesto crust and red pepper coulis with seasonal vegetables and there
was a vegetarian alternative (spinach and gruyere cheese tart with
dijon mustard cream). Pudding was amaretti and chocolate pudding
with a dark chocolate sauce.
We had a three-tier white chocolate cake, with sponge for the top
and bottom tiers and chocolate for the middle tier. Different icing
was used on each tier, and it was decorated with calla lilies to
match the theme of our wedding.
We had a harpist during the wedding and drinks reception and a six-piece
band in the evening.
Yes, with John Lewis.
We spent our first night in a suite at Dansfield House which was
amazing. For our honeymoon, we went to the Jalouise Hilton in St
Lucia for two weeks which was fantastic. We were supposed to be
going to the Maldives and Singapore but were relocated as our resort
was affected by the tsunami.
It all went in such a blur but probably walking into the ceremony
with my dad and seeing James at the end!
I would have started to get dressed earlier since - there was a
real last minute panic which meant we were about 15 minutes late.
Guests were late too so it didn't really matter too much. Also I
would have got a formal photo with my mum - one thing I forgot.
I would have also had my bouquet preserved.
Enjoy the day and don't worry about the little things. They really