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: January 18, 2007
We first became friends in 1996 when we were both working as lifeguards at Quaywest Waterpark in Paignton, Devon. A year later we got together.
I am 25 and Kev is 26.
On my 25th birthday in February, Kev took me out for a surprise romantic meal in the very posh restaurant ‘The Angel’ in Dartmouth owned and run by celebrity chef John Burton Race. The food was amazing and I felt very spoilt! On the way home Kev suggested that we go for a walk on our favourite beach in Torquay, a place with many brilliant memories for us. As we walked along the shore Kev got down on one knee reached into his pocket and took out a little blue Tiffany box (at this point I was a gibbering wreck, half laughing, half crying!) He opened the box to show my dream engagement ring, (a 0.5 carat Tiffany setting) and popped the question! After a few moments of sobbing from me, I said “yes!” I then had to sit down on a nearby rock to recover from the shock! When I told my family it emerged that they all knew because Kev had asked my dad a few days earlier! I was surprised Kev had managed to choose and buy the ring from London without me having a clue!
Kev and some of his mates went up to stay with his two best men (mates from uni) who live in London where they spent a weekend doing lads stuff (clubbing, eating, playing football, darts, drinking etc-all quite innocent apparently!) The best men had gone to a lot of effort making it a special weekend including constructing a website especially for the occasion! My sister who was chief bridesmaid organised my hen day which involved a hilarious bike ride along the canal in Exeter to a pub where we had a barbeque and plenty of Pimms in the day with about 15 of us including my mum and Kev’s mum. We pedaled back to my house in Exeter early evening to get ready for our night out to a funky local art deco style nightclub complete with cocktails, live band (which we ended up playing maracas with!) and of course the odd hen night dare!
Kev was as involved as I was with the planning, the only thing he couldn’t get involved with was my dress and the flowers! Kev designed and made all the invites, RSVPs, order of service books, menus and the cake stand. We made all decisions together and looked at lots of different options for venue, food, live music etc. Kev and his two best men also compiled all the music for the evening play list.
Yes I did use confetti. I got a little bit addicted (as many do!). I spent hours looking through the real life weddings, and picture galleries on Confetti. I also bought the disposable cameras for the tables from Confetti and posted lots of questions in the chat rooms.
I bought the cameras online.
I had a separate sparkly corset (Essence of Australia) and full tulle skirt (White Rose Bridal). Both purchased from Elegance of Exeter.
I had five adult bridesmaids. I chose my sister, Jessica as chief bridesmaid, my best friend Helen and Kev’s three sisters Sarah, Kate and Jo. They all looked fabulous in ‘Jessica’ from Monsoon which I chose as it had straps that the girls could choose to wear if they felt more comfortable also it was similar to my dress with the tulle skirt and it luckily it suited and fitted all of the bridesmaids. We went on a shopping trip to Bristol to choose the girls’ accessories (shoes, hair etc) which ended up being pale pink. I picked up their matching bags in the sale in Next. I chose the girls a handmade pearl bracelet from a local jeweller as a present on the day.
Kev chose two best men! They were Ben and Ray his best friends from Uni. My brother Robin was chosen as an usher and my sister’s boyfriend Orlando also helped out on the day. They all wore traditional top hat and tails from Moss Bros. They had a gold/cream swirly waistcoat and a deep purple cravat. Our Fathers wore the same as did my younger brother Harry who carried the rings.
We had a religious ceremony.
It was held in Berry Pomeroy Church, Devon which is in the village where my parents live. You may know this church as it features at the end of the film Sense and Sensibility!
The reception was held in a Marquee at my mum and dad’s house.
Kev arranged a red Morgan for my dad to drive me to the church (another surprise!). We kept the Morgan for the weekend and it was great fun to drive around Torquay in it on the Sunday!
We invited 100 guests to the wedding. There wasn’t really a separate evening list although a few neighbours and people who couldn’t make the day came over in the evening.
We tried to tie everything into the style of my dress and that of the bridesmaids so everything was white, pink and sparkly.
We had white tablecloths, pink napkins, lots of pink white and sparkly candles, white and pink orchids, and confetti on the tables. We named the tables after local beaches that we love and the names for the tables were held by sparkly pink photo holders.
Guests took home pink matchbooks with our names and the date of the wedding. The children were given small toys/games.
My florist was a friend of my Mums’ called Karen Smith. Her company is called Talking Flowers and is based in Ipplepen, Devon. I met with her at her house and we looked at lots of different possibilities before choosing the flowers based on appearance (tying them in with my dress and bridesmaids), fragrance and what was within our budget. We ended up with simple but beautiful posy bouquets tied with light grasses and incorporating sparkly bits too. We went with the same colours for the ends of the pews in the church with one larger arrangement on a pedestal. My florist transported the flowers from the church to the marquee following the ceremony. We also bought 14 pink and white orchids from M&S for the centre pieces of the tables. I ordered them a few weeks prior to the wedding and collected them the day before the wedding. The nice thing about the orchids is that after the wedding the orchids were shared out among our immediate family and we all still have them now!
We used Castle Barton Caterers who were recommended by our marquee company. For the wedding breakfast, we chose to have canapes followed by a traditional carvery and lots of different scrumptious puds. In the evening we had a ram roast barbeque (with a lamb from our own field!). The food went down a storm and people still comment on it now!
My sister did a great job of designing and making a cake which consisted of two tiers of iced cupcakes (one for each guest) and the traditional iced fruit cake on the top tier. We found it difficult to find a suitable cake stand so Kev made one from clear acrylic.
During the ceremony and prior to the meal we had a great string quartet one of whom was a teacher who Kev works with. During the meal and in the evening we had organised a proper sound system with a play list incorporating songs that our guests had chosen as their favourite song on their RSVP’s and our own favourite music that was played via a laptop.
As we had lived together for three years and felt that we had everything we needed in terms of small things. We chose not to have a gift list and asked instead for money to renovate our new home and purchase items such as a new fridge freezer. Some people found this a little controversial though and we ended up asking for vouchers or money and some people chose to buy us a present.
We spent our wedding night and the three days following in a lovely hotel in Torquay. We could not afford a honeymoon as we had just bought our first home.
It’s hard to say… there were so many! Waking up in the morning to see the marquee outside the window and thinking ‘this is it!’ Getting ready with my bridesmaids and family. Driving to the church in the red Morgan with my dad. Arriving at the church to lots of onlookers! Walking down the aisle and seeing all our friends and family then Kev waiting for me. Kev’s sister crying whilst doing a reading then setting everyone else off! Walking back down the aisle as husband and wife to the dodgy organ player! Leaving the church to a huge audience having confetti thrown all over us and some children from my class at school (I’m a primary teacher) as well. The speeches. The first dance (to Pete Doherty’s ‘This is for Lovers’) Bouncing on the trampoline with my bridesmaids in my dress! Falling over on the dance floor! (oops!) And dancing with my friends and family until 2 in the morning! What fun!
We planned our wedding in only six months but everything went really well. There were no problems on the day other than a dodgy organ player in the church, in fact everyone said the whole day was perfect, and my dad said it could not have gone more smoothly. A lot of people have said it was the most relaxed, happy wedding they had ever been too! I had a worrying few weeks with my dress when the corset top of my dress was delayed and only came two weeks before the wedding, luckily it fitted perfectly, phew!
I would not do anything differently, I had a ball! My only advice would be, try and make sure you speak to all your guests at some point but most of all enjoy your special day, savour every moment, it is such good fun!