27/03/2005 – Mansion House, Easthampstead Park, Wokingham, Berkshire
photos by Brian Parkes Photography
How and when did you meet?
We met in 2000 at a go-kart track. We were both on a corporate day out and I crashed my kart. Dan was my knight in shining armour!
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
It wasn’t the most romantic proposal. We were lying in bed one evening and both started giggling about how funny it would be to get married (as I had previously sworn that it would never happen). Before I knew it, we had decided a date and started planning!
Did you have hen and stag celebrations?
Dan went to Brighton with a group of friends and had great fun doing all sorts of ‘bloke’ stuff like clay pigeon shooting. I went away with my girls to Bristol. We went skiing, shopping, eating, drinking, more shopping and more drinking… this time at a beer keller, it was madness!
Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?
It was very much 50:50. We are very independent and wanted to do all the planning ourselves. It was arranged in three months from start to finish!
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
The message boards were great, a really useful sounding board for all your ideas. Thanks girls!
Do you have a confetti web page?
No, we planned it in three months flat so ran out of time unfortunately.
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
We visited the store and bought online, both of which was great, on time and just as described.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it.
I went to all the big ‘posh’ shops in London and found nothing that ‘grabbed’ me. Then, by chance as I was driving through Hounslow I saw a shop called Always and Forever. They were so nice, not snotty like some, and I fell in love with the first dress I saw. As you can see, it’s not ‘the usual’ pure white dress and went perfectly with my trainers. Yes, I wore a funky pair of Sketchers with big black chiffon ribbons!
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
Dan nicknamed my bridesmaids the Witches of Eastwick! They all wore black with white and looked absolutely stunning. I had my sister Kenda, Dan’s sister Clare, my niece Elizabeth and finally my best buddy Kerry who, incidently, was eight months pregnant and was glowing!
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
The boys wore black suits with a hint of dark and light purple on the back of a crisp white shirt… so sexy! Dan had his ex-teacher as his best man. They have been friends since school and Steve was the reason why both of us are now successful secondary school teachers!
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
We had a civil ceremony – everything in the same venue.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
We held the ceremony at the Mansion House in Easthampstead Park, Wokingham. It’s a stunning house that was once the hunting lodge for Henry VIII and remained part of the Royal estate until being handed over to the Local Authority as an education centre.
Where did you hold your reception?
At Easthampstead Park also. We were lucky to have the whole mansion house and grounds. It was great for the Easter egg hunt and bouncy castle amongst other things!
Did you have any special wedding transport?
I was staying at the hotel so needed no transport. Dan, however, got the surprise of his life! We live just opposite an airfield and I booked a helicopter as my wedding present to him. It took him from home to practically the front door of the venue! It was a total surprise until an hour before the wedding and he loved it.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
We had 86 to the ceremony and breakfast. Another 30 joined us to the evening reception.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
Black and white with a hint of purples and pink – gorgeous!
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
Our flowers led the way for the colours of the day. Black and white was easy – the table placings covered that and we bought sprinkles, poppers and flowers in the other colours.
Did you give your guests favours?
Yes, a real Easter theme. I bought organza bags from confetti and filled them with chocolate mini eggs. The bags were finished off with purple flowers.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
We are really lucky. My brother in law is a head gardener for the Saudi Royal Family so flower arranging is second nature. He did the most beautiful displays of gorgeous smelling pinks, lilacs and purple flowers of all shapes and sizes including orchids, hyacinths, tulips, lilies and roses.
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
Our venue handled the catering. We had smoked salmon to start with, Beef Wellington for our main course and a choice of puddings followed by cheese and biscuits and coffee and liquers. It was very scrummy!
What did you choose for your wedding cake?
We had a three-tier stunning chocolate cake. It was the most gorgeous and delicious cake I have ever seen and very reasonable – £295 all in, including fresh flower and chiffon ribbon decorations.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
Knowing that weddings can sometimes be a boring affair we wanted to make sure that everyone was entertained. We hired a bouncy castle (for kids and adults!), made up 60 easter eggs and had egg and spoon races during the photos. During dinner we had a quiz and some very interactive speaches. The evening saw quiz cards scattered freely to get people talking as well as the archityple cheesy disco.
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
Our gift list was with Debenhams but we also asked for Wickes vouchers as an alternative (we’re now starting on the next project – a new kitchen!).
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
Our first night was at Easthampstead Park. It was such a beautiful venue, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way! We then went on to Majorca for a short honeymoon before the big honeymoon in the summer when we are off to travel the west coast of America and then Hawaii (27 days during the school holidays!).
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
Seeing Dan and him smiling at me and whispering how great I looked. I was so happy all day I think I got cramp with all the smiling. It was a perfect day so I have just too many special memories.
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
Relax. Don’t get hung up on small details. Remember this is all about getting married, not what colour linin they stick on the tables. Everyone is there for you and will do anything they can to help so don’t be afraid to ask otherwise you will end up exhausted. Take time to see your hubby – everyone wants your attention and you end up going separate ways just to see them all. Take time out somewhere quiet and enjoy the moment, you’re husband and wife now.