How and when did you meet?
Tom and I meet in 2003 in Cyprus. I was on holiday with two girlfriends, and he was visiting his best man who was on a tour of duty with the army. I was busy doing my best moves on the dance floor in a bar (ok so I lack in coordination, slightly!). I spotted Tom at the bar and when I later went to get a drink I accidentally stood on his foot. It was an accident too! We chatted and there was a kiss too. I knew his was going home in two days time and that this was his last night out. I didn’t expect to see him again. I later found out that he persuaded his friends to go out the following night so he could see me again. He found me, me swapped numbers and a week later when we were both home he came to Oxford from his home town of Stoke and took me out for a meal. A wonderful but long distance relationship began.
How old are you both?
I’m 28 and Tom is 27
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
Tom text me at work and asked me to be home on time so I didn’t ask any questions ‐ it was a few days before Valentines’ Day and as he was working on the day I guessed he might have an early date planned. I got home to find a huge bouquet of flowers and a card saying get dressed up, a taxi will pick you up at 7.30pm. I got glammed up and was greeted by a very excitable taxi driver who, sworn to secrecy drove into Oxford. I arrived at the same restaurant Tom took me to for our first date and saw Tom standing outside. We had a fantastic meal. After dinner Tom started getting a bit sloppy, saying how much he loved me, then promptly got down on one knee and proposed. I was over the moon. The manager brought up champagne, then we headed to my parents to tell them, well my mum the news ‐ Tom had asked my dad months earlier which I was really pleased about because I love that tradition. At 6am the following morning I was up and waiting for the newsagents to open so I could go and buy wedding magazines.
Did you have hen and stag celebrations? If so, what did you do?
I had a wonderful weekend in Newcastle with all the girls ‐ a greek restaurant (with tiaras, wings and wand) with plate smashing and dancing on the tables on the Friday, a waterpark and adonis cabaret on the Saturday with us all dressed as builders with hard hats and high vis jackets and builders boots! Tom spent the weekend in Cork dressed as a Leprechaun!
How did your groom help with the wedding planning?
Mainly through emotional support! He knows how much I love organising, and I had such a definite image of how I wanted everything. He organised the suits and jobs for the male bridal party and made phone calls, did errands whenever I asked. He helped made all the decisions with me once I’d done the internet trawling!
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
Yes, the forum was a huge help in finding suppliers and sharing tips and advice. I also bought items from the shop and looked at real life weddings for inspiration.
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
I bought paper decorations online which a family friend did an amazing job with as a backdrop for the top table. He worked from an example in the confetti magazine which I fell in love with
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it
My dress was Tiffany Bridal from Maid in Heaven in High Wycombe. It was my dream dress, huge and sparkly! My veil was Erin Cole from the same shop and was one of my biggest splurges. I was edged with Swarovski crystals and was really long. My shoes were a good high street bargain from Barratts but were perfect and gorgeous. My tiara was from Louella Bridal and was inspired by my child hood love of the princess in the film the Never Ending Story.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
My two best friends, my sister in law and her five year old daughter were bridesmaids. Their dresses were pale yellow silk dupion with a layer of netting at the bottom. My bridesmaid’s mum made them all and they looked stunning, especially my bridesmaid with her 3 week old baby. Our little 5 year old flowergirl wore a netting skirt with a big yellow sash.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
The grooms all wore black suits with cravats in the same material as the bridesmaids dresses. Tom had two best men, one who he was visiting when we met who managed to make it back from Afghanistan and his best friend who originally was a stand in in case the other couldn’t make it back. He also had my brother who wore a kilt and another two close friends.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
Where did you hold your ceremony?
Oxford Town Hall.
Where did you hold your reception?
In my parents back garden in an amazing marquee
Did you have any special wedding transport?
We had two beautiful white cars, a Daimler and a Silver Cloud. The bridesmaids car broke down 1/2 a mile after leaving the house! Like a miracle from nowhere a stunning vintage wedding bus came over the hill, stopped and took the bridesmaids to the ceremony out of the goodness of his heart. We were only a few minutes late!
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
100 with no separate evening guests
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
It was English country garden / vintage with a pale yellow and white theme
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
I bought vintage looking bird cages and painted them white with a bit of glitter with a tea light inside. We then attached feathered birds and butterflies on long wires so they looked like they were fluttering around outside the cages. Each cage was surrounded by a ring of flowers at the base including roses, peonies, hydrangeas and ornamental cabbages.
Did you give your guests favours?
Yes I bought plain white boxes and decorated them with a band of origami paper and ribbon, then added flowers and butterfly decorations. The boxes were filled with white and yellow personalised M&M’s which said ‘cat & tom’ on one side and ‘just married’ on the other.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
Out florist was Daisies of Oxford; Sheila was amazing. The bouquets were whites and creams with roses, peonies and hydrangeas. I had two yellow fresias losely attached which I took out and gave to my mum and gran when I got to the top of the aisle as my gran had these in her bouquet when she got married. The button holes and corsages were single roses with two stephanotis heads. The ceremony stands were roses hydrageas, gladys and ferns. Table centres as above.
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
We had an outside caterer who did a mixture of canapes including roasted vegetable tart, blinis and mini yorkshires with beef. The main was rack of lamb with a rosemary and shallot jus and the pudding was raspberry roulade. They also served a chip bar with wedges and curly fries at night. We also had a cocktail bar which I bought from Ebay and restored with a friend. It was a real hit!
What did you choose for your wedding cake, and who made it?
We had the most beautiful white and pale yellow frosted fairy cakes from Hummingbird Bakery in London. Each was topped with an icing rose. I made the cake stand from flat pack cardboard stands and covered them with patterned paper from Paperchase
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
We had a singer who everyone fell in love with. He did jazz music during the drinks reception and after the meal. We had a disco in the evening
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
We had it with Selfidges celebration service. You get a shopping day and go and pick everything you want after the wedding. We had an amazing day.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
We spent our first night at a pretty village hotel called the Dashwood in Kirlington. We went to the Maldives ‐ Hakuraa Huraa through Kuoni / Travel Collection. Sadly we had to come home after three days as Tom’s mum suffered a serious stroke. We’re pleased to say she’s on the road to recovery.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
Definitely walking down the aisle to Tom clutching my dads hand. And the first dance, we had lessons and it was such fun, everyone loved it! At night there was the most amazing sunset, like you’ve never seen, so we headed up to the top of the garden and looked over the fields it was stunning
Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
We had one waitress who got really, really drunk and had to be removed, she got a bit out of control!
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
Don’t over plan. I had to do lists coming out of my ears and although it made everything run smoothly, make sure you enjoy every moment and don’t expect it to run like clockwork. The little quirks are the best bits. I went for a run round the village on the wedding morning and it was the best thing I did. When I got back I was relaxed and excited and didn’t have any nerves or stresses. I would probably have got ready somewhere other than my parents as it was the reception venue I was inside faffing around with the tables and decorations rather than focusing on getting ready and enjoying that side of things