21/10/2006 – The Plough and Harrow Hotel, Hagley Road, Birmingham.
How and when did you meet?
I had a florist stall inside a kwiksave supermarket. He used to work on shop floor and used to hang around chatting to me and my staff.
How old are you both?
I am 39 and he is 26!
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
He wrote “Will you marry me?” on a pebble in Whitby, North Yorkshire. I collect pebbles everywhere I go. It is a special place we visit every year so it was very romantic! This was October 31st 2004.
Did you have hen and stag celebrations? If so, what did you do?
I had a Devil fancy dress night and went to two venues- the Old Victoria Pub, then Edwards No.8 both in Birmingham. He went to Scruffy Murphys then Edwards No.8 again, both in Birmingham.
How did your groom help with the wedding planning?
He printed out the inserts for the invitations, also the order of services, table plan and all the other printing. He also helped with the gift list, running round fetching stuff! Number crunching and much more!
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
Went into the store. Bought choccy ladybirds for favours. Wax seals for order of service. Paper for invitation inserts, Socks for Father of Bride. And quite a few other bits and pieces! (Lovely shop!)
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it
I bought the original dress on eBay. A friend completely re-made it! It was a very full crinoline dress, in deep red fabric (a cross between taffeta and satin). The bodice had a sweetheart neckline and was encrusted with beads and sequins. I had a bolero jacket with leg of mutton sleeves with bead detail. I wore a six hoop petticoat with a black layered net over skirt. The dress was cut away at the back to reveal it. I wore a black veil(made myself) with diamante comb at the back of my hair. At the front I had a large, red stoned tiara-also from eBay, from Australia. My shoes were a burgundy suede court style with red diamante detail. These were from Clarks shoes.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
I had three bridesmaids. Ceri, my chief wore a full black skirt with a red taffeta rose tucking up the one side. She wore a black frock coat with burgundy edging. My niece, Emma, (age 13)wore a long burgundy satin dress with black and burgundy rose “tuck”. Also she wore an ivory “cardigan” with red diamante detail. My youngest was Libby (age 3). She wore a full ivory tulle and satin skirt, ivory top with same cardigan as Emma. She had a red and black rose cluster on skirt to match. I made all three tiara type headdresses.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
Phil wore a black frock coat with charcoal “Medusa” pattern and black velvet cuffs and lapels. He wore a black satin shirt with a red and black “waterfall” satin frill and cuffs. He wore black trousers with lace-up detail on side of legs, black Cuban heel pointed boots and a black Tricorn hat with black ostrich feather plume. Best man, Chris wore a black frock coat with red detail, similar trousers. A white frilled shirt and a black Tricorn hat (without feather).
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
We had a civil ceremony.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
The Plough and Harrow Hotel, Hagley Road Birmingham.
Where did you hold your reception?
The Plough and Harrow.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
I had a Red Brougham carriage pulled by two black horses (with black feather plumes!)It was an original Victorian taxi carriage that was regularly used by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle- author of Sherlock Holmes!
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
Day time for the sit down meal we had 56 people. Evening there were 135 guests.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
The theme was Whitby. This is a very special place for us. We visit there at least twice a year, mainly for the Gothic festivals. Also colors were red, black with a touch of white. Red was because my engagement ring is a large antique garnet, a lot of the decorations had garnet – like beads incorporated in them too.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
The place names were written on pebbles collected from the beach at Whitby. The tables were named after special places we like to visit at Whitby- they were glass photo frames with a picture of the place the table was named after. Menus were printed inside cards with Whitby Abbey on the front. The table plan was a big picture of Whitby Abbey with seating plan printed on to “aged paper.” I aged paper for Order of Service scrolls and table plan by baking paper in oven.
Did you give your guests favours?
Yes. We had little black top hats that I decorated with mini feather plumes, beads, red ribbon and filled with chocolate ladybirds (from Confetti!)
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
My bouquet was an over-arm sheaf style. It consisted of white Casablanca lilies, Schwartzwald (burgundy-black colour) Arum lilies, deep red passion roses, ivy, black twigs and soft ruscus. My Chief Bridesmaid had a tied posy of White Casablanca lilies and Passion Roses. Groom had a Schwartzwald Arum lily button hole. Best man and dads had passion roses. Mums had white Cymbidium Orchid with burgundy throat. Other guests had White Akito roses. Top table had a long over-hanging display of lots of Ivy, White Akito roses, Red Passion roses, White Casablanca lilies, Schwartzwald Arum lilies, White orchids and two large red jewelled candles. It also had a long garland of Ivy with red beads woven through with red organza bows. The other tables had a large red jewelled candle inside a large glass hurricane lamp surrounded with ivy woven with red beads. I am a florist so I did all flowers myself, with a little help from my workmates! (at Buttercup’s & Daisy’s florist, Weoley Castle, Birmingham)
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
Starter was tomato and basil soup with warm bread roll. Main course was roast sirloin of beef with a red wine gravy, Yorkshire pudding and seasonal vegetables with a vegetarian option of a vegetable stroganoff steeped from a filo pastry basket. Dessert was a meringue nest filled with fresh fruits of the forest and Chantilly cream followed by coffee and mints. We had a finger buffet for the evening. The venue handled the catering. It was lovely!
What did you choose for your wedding cake, and who made it?
A very good friend of the family made the cake (she was also the photographer and was excellent!!) It was three tiers. Two fruit which were sandwiched on top of each other. Top tier was sponge which was placed on top of a base. The whole cake was “in one.” It had white icing. It had a drape of white icing cascading from the top tier right down to the base. It had a display of sugar paste white Casablanca lilies, burgundy arum lilies, ivy and black twigs on the top tier and on the topside of bottom tier.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
Didn’t have any entertainment during the day as not much gap between reception and evening. We had a disco later. Also had a Chocolate fountain! Yummy!
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
We did have a gift list, with Argos. Also a friend had an “alternative” list of gifts from more unusual shops.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
Our first night was complimentary with Plough & Harrow Hotel. Our Honeymoon was at Whitby. We stayed 11 nights. We had a hand-fasting (a pagan wedding blessing) there too. The local newspaper did a feature on us as we wore our full wedding outfits around the town! We booked it all ourselves.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
All of it! I think the journey in the horse and carriage. I felt like a princess! I traveled with my dad and chief bridesmaid. After the ceremony me and Phil traveled alone in it to have some photos taken in the nearby botanical gardens. It gave us some lovely time alone together to reflect on the day so far.
Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
Luckily there weren’t too many blips running up to the day (a few financial hiccups due to our cars MOT but soon sorted!) On the day my parents arrived a little earlier than planned so the champagne and nibbles weren’t ready and my friends mattress was still on the floor of the lounge so I was flapping a bit trying to get that sorted! Our room at the hotel wasn’t ready for Phil to change; also my parents had trouble getting into their room too to change. (We had put them in a particular room as my mum is a big fan of the author, Tolkien, and the room we put them in had a plaque on the wall to say he had stayed there- so it was to be a surprise for them!)They were trying to swap rooms, but luckily Phil overheard and sorted it out! Our biggest nightmare was that the hotel staff had damaged our wedding cake! Instead of cutting the box and sliding it out as instructed they just picked it up, causing the icing on the base to crumble. They tried to disguise it using flowers but used an orchid which spoiled the look of the cake!! I didn’t realise until we were posing for photos cutting the cake. Phil knew but didn’t want to upset me!
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
I don’t think there’s anything major I would have done different! (A friend has asked me to be her wedding planner as she was impressed at how organised I was!) To other brides I would say write lots of lists! I sent all table decorations, etc in boxes and everything was labeled where it was to go – the hotel was impressed with this as it made it easier for them! Have a big folder/box and keep all receipts, contracts, etc. Also have lots of colour samples, cuttings, all your inspirations, etc!