Sabina and Saleem June 1999 - How did you meet? We met in the Summer of 1996, when she was over here on a holiday, she came back and we…
Written by Paula Jones Last updated: August 9, 2006
Becky and Vaughn
Great Tythe Barn, Tetbury, Oxfordshire
We met in January 2004 through basically doing nice things for strangers! I’d read a book called Join Me by Danny Wallace which is the true story of how he accidentally started this thing where people ‘join’ by sending him their passport photo and then take it upon themselves to do random acts of kindness for complete strangers every Friday. I thought it sounded like a good idea and went along to meet a group of other so called ‘joinees’ in Birmingham. Vaughn had been dragged along by his best mate Dave who was also a joinee but was too scared to go along by himself! We got chatting in the pub after giving out chocolates and flowers to the people of Birmingham and just hit it off. He walked me back to the train station where we had our first kiss!
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
We knew we would get married almost immediately and couldn’t see the point of waiting for years so after six months of being together Vaughn put a deposit on a ring he chose himself and asked my dad for permission to marry me. He took me back to the old part of Moor Street station to the spot where we shared our first kiss and got down on one knee.
Did you have hen and stag celebrations?
We both felt strongly that we didn’t want to go abroad although Vaughn’s friends tried to persuade him to! Fifteen of us girls spent a weekend in Bournemouth where we dressed up in bad taste wedding gear. My best friend had bought an old wedding dress from a charity shop and decorated it and also made a veil and lace gloves for me to wear along with pink heart socks, leopard print shoes and blue eyeshadow! Some of the girls wore 80′s style bridesmaids dresses and others dressed up as guests. We all had cheap plastic bouquet’s from the pound shop and goodie bags. Vaughn went back to his home town of Manchester for the weekend with the lads and they dressed up as 70′s cops.
Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?
Vaughn was involved in all the decision making from day one. He did get a little bored of me going over and over everything but he was great. He chose our colour scheme and made nearly all of our hand-made invitations.
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
Yes – I was completely addicted to the message board and got loads of great advice from the girls. I’m lost without it now!
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it.
My dress was Olympia by Maggie Sottero in ivory. I wanted something simple and elegant and when I tried it on my mum’s face told me it was the one. It had a very small amount of beading across the top and down one side of the dress and gathered asymmetrically at the waist. I chose not to wear a veil or tiara and simply wore a cream orchid in my hair. My shoes were comfortable and nice and cheap from Bhs.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
I didn’t want adult bridesmaids but had always promised my three deaf cousins, Chloe, Eve and Harriet that they could be my bridesmaids if I ever got married. They had to wait so long for me to find the right man that they are now 15 and 13 and are taller than me! Harriet wanted a pink dress and Chloe, who recently dyed her hair black wanted black! I compromised by choosing a colour that was very dark red wine with a sheen that made it look almost black in certain lights. The dresses were long and strapless and worn with a wrap of the same colour. They all looked absolutely beautiful.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
Vaughn chose his best friend Dave to be best man and had my brother Luke and my cousin William as ushers. The best man wore the same as Vaughn and the ushers wore what they liked. Vaughn didn’t want to wear tails or even a waistcoat so decided to buy a nice black suit and a tie that matched the bridesmaids dresses, with an ivory shirt.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
We had a lovely civil ceremony with a reading by my mum. I walked in to the bridal chorus but we chose modern music for the signing of the register and walking out. We had Norah Jones, ‘Come away with me’, Sam Cooke, ‘You send me’ and Percy Sledge ‘When a man loves a woman’ for the register and walked out to ‘The you and me song’ by the Wannadies.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
We chose the Great Tythe Barn in Tetbury in the Cotswolds as it is a beautiful 16th century barn surrounded by scenic grounds and cottage accommodation for our guests. We had the ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening party in the same place.
Where did you hold your reception?
Did you have any special wedding transport?
Vaughn was staying on site but I stayed in a hotel in Tetbury the night before and decided to arrive by horse and carriage. My bridesmaids all adore horses so I thought it would be nice for them. They were taken first as it was only a ten minute ride away and then I arrived with my dad.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
As most of our guests travelled a long way to be with us we decided we should invite as many people as we could for the entire day (also because we didn’t get married until 4pm) so we didn’t invite any evening guests. In total there were 140 guests. 80 of those stayed at the accommodation on site and we hired a coach to take my family back to Bristol.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
We wanted to keep the whole wedding as informal as possible so everything was kept natural looking in keeping with the barn.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
The tables were left quite simple but we tied red wine coloured ribbons around the napkins in keeping with the bridesmaids dresses.
Did you give your guests favours?
We gave each guest a handmade silver photo holder which doubled up as place settings as we’d asked each guest to send a passport photo of themselves with the RSVP. This was in keeping with the way in which Vaughn and I met. Later we asked each person to stick their passport photo into our guestbook alongside their message.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
I chose seven white calla lilies with beargrass tied with ribbon. The bridesmaids held a posy of raspberry calla liles with beargrass again. The pedestals and table decorations (in square vases) were a mixture of stargazer lilies and other white and dark red flowers with lots of green.
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
The venue had it’s own caterer which we had to use and they were fantastic. Again we wanted to keep things simple so while photos were being taken we had canapes of sausages in honey and mustard on sticks, mini samosas, mini spring rolls, Thai fishcakes etc. For the main meal we chose warm blue cheese tart with rocket salad for starters, then roasted saddle of lamb with mint potatoes and veg for the main course, followed by meringue with homemade vanilla icecream and raspberry coulis for pudding. Later in the evening we had a finger buffet with crostini, pate, olives, chicken skewers etc.
What did you choose for your wedding cake?
I absolutely adore sheep so I designed the cake myself. We had three square layers with green icing with a fence around the bottom, white flowers dotted over it and two sheep on top. We chose fruit for the bottom layer, sponge for the top layer and my favourite carrot cake for the middle layer. The cake was made by a lady who has made cakes for family occasions in the past and she followed my design perfectly.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
We had a disco in the evening.
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
We told everybody that it was strictly no presents please! We both had everything we needed when we moved in together so we felt that it would be cheeky to ask for pressies but we still ended up with about 50 presents. My aunt sponsored us a goat!
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
Our first night was spent in a lovely hotel in Tetbury. The following day we had a barbecue with our friends in the grounds of the barn. We spent four nights in Dubai and eight nights in the Seychelles for our honeymoon (and unfortunately we had eight days of torrential rain and floods!).
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
I was just so excited all day and didn’t feel any nerves but as soon as I walked in and saw Vaughn at the end of the aisle I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I burst into tears – and so did he! I sobbed up the aisle and started everyone else off crying. The other memorable part was when Vaughn squeezed my hand so tight as we said our vows that two of my false nails pinged off!
Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
No, fortunately it all went smoothly. I got a bit stressed with guests cancelling at the last minute but apart from that it was perfect.
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
My advice would be to keep things in perspective and not worry – at the end of your wedding day you will be married to the man of your dreams no matter what else happens and that is all that is important. Remember to keep some glue and spare nails in your bag if you wear false ones! Also make sure you ask somebody to take the guestbook around to your guests and collect the disposable cameras so that they don’t get overlooked. And get a video or dvd – we cant stop watching ours.