From exciting cities where you can combine partying with sightseeing, to spending your hen do on the beach, the choices are endless. You don't have to stay close to home…
Written by Paula Jones Last updated: August 9, 2006
Lee & I met in May 2000, in our local nightclub! I’d never seen him before but he knew a few of my friends, who I was with, and when he came over to say hello to them, our eyes met and I asked him to dance…. We spent the whole night glued together on the dance floor and had a fantastic time. He wouldn’t let me leave the club without giving him my phone number and he promised to call the following day. He did call me the next day, we met up and the rest, as they say, is history!
I’m 24 and Lee’s 25.
Lee proposed on 30th October 2004, it was a lovely Saturday, we’d spent the day in London sight-seeing and we ended up visiting the London Eye. After what felt like hours queuing, we finally got on in the evening, around 6ish. The sky was all ‘purpley’ black and all the buildings were lit up so beautifully and it was such a gorgeous evening…
We were halfway around the London Eye and the capsule was at its highest point, and all of a sudden Lee got down on one knee and presented me with a STUNNING ring and proposed! In front of everyone in the capsule! It was so romantic, bless him; I had no idea he’d been planning it all along and I was totally ‘gob-smacked!’ It was absolutely lovely and something I’m never ever going to forget. He even recounted the story to our guests in his speech!
Yes we did! We had our hen and stag nights a week apart and six weeks prior to the wedding – a very good idea. I spent the day with about eight friends, my mum included, at a place called Sauna World, where we had spa treatments, saunas and just generally relaxed. Then the arrangement was to go out for dinner at a lovely little Italian restaurant (with very flirty waiters) with a few more friends and family joining us. We played ‘saucy pass the parcel’ which my mate, Buffy had arranged and generally got more and more merrier! Then a few of us carried on ’til the wee hours of the morning, ‘boogying’ away at a club (in fact I think my Mum was actually the last one still ‘boogying’ at two in the morning). My Dad hired a mini bus to chauffeur us around all day and all night, so we saved a fortune on taxis – we did invite him to be an ‘honorary hen’ but he declined! I also enforced a strict dress code of little black dresses and tiara’s but NO L PLATES! It was excellent!
Lee had his stag do a week after my Hen Night, and he wanted to do two things he’d never done before. So him and ‘the lads’ spent the whole day paint-balling (I think he became the main target, he could hardly walk a couple of days later!) and then in the evening a few more ‘men’ joined his motley crew. His best man insisted that they all don fake moustaches and off they went to spend the evening at the dog track at Reading Stadium, where they had a wicked time. I don’t think they won much, but they ended up at the best man’s house, where they carried on boozing!
Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?
He wasn’t very forthcoming with the whole wedding planning thing, I was always asking him for his ideas, input and thoughts, which he gave, but he left a lot of it to me. I don’t think he really minded what kind of favours we had or what our stationery looked like. If he didn’t like something he would say, but generally he took a welcomed back seat! Although, when it came to things like suits, the rings, and the honeymoon, he was well in there with the planning!
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
Yes we did, we used it for absolutely loads! All the ideas, tips, suppliers, the Confetti Shop, real life stories, advice, message boards, etc! Lee & his best man soaked up all the information to do with their speeches and along with our usher, soaked up all the information on their roles, and when I was feeling nervous, anxious or just plain weird, it was excellent for me to go online and read through the pages and message boards to feel that what I was experiencing was ‘normal’ and that other brides were experiencing the same emotions!
Do you have a confetti web page?
Yes we did, it was excellent for including in our information that we sent out with our invitations. We used pretty much every aspect of the site – travel & accommodation especially, gift list info and general order of the day information, which we wouldn’t have been able to put in with our invitations, as it would have been too much!
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
Yes we bought books on readings, sparklers for my hen do, cufflinks for the bridal party, confetti and more – all bought online
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it.
Quite frankly my dress was stunning! I’d spent months and months traipsing up and down the country, searching high and low for ‘the dress’ and, although I’d found dresses I liked, I didn’t LOVE them! And the more and more time mum and I spent looking, the more and more decisive I got about what I wanted and how I wanted it. In the end, I decided that, rather than carry on searching for ‘the dress,’ I could design it and have it made for me, so Mum and I found a fabulous dressmaker, who created my dress from just my verbal description. The dress is a two piece, in ivory satin (I had already chosen the material for the bodice before we’d found the dressmaker.) It has quite a full skirt, with a water-splash design down the front and a lovely big bustle to the back with organza roses stitched into the back on the bustle and adorned with tiny pearls. The top was a bodice made from a delicately designed material, it was almost like a crisscross pattern and where the crisscrosses met were tiny silver dots, and along the band at the top of the bodice, my dressmaker had placed tiny delicate diamantes to give it some extra sparkliness! We even had Lee’s waistcoat made from the same material, to match my bodice (we kept it secret!). I also had a bolero jacket made, as I was going to be traveling in a horse and carriage and just in case the weather wasn’t great I wanted to be a little warmer. It had high pointy collars (think Cruella Deville), three quarter length sleeves, with thick banded cuffs (some more diamantes adorned the button on the cuff) and was simply stunning! I also had a three quarter length veil, which had tiny diamantes sewn into it and a beautiful tiara made up of pearls and diamantes, gorgeous! My shoes were from Melbo Couture in London, they were fabulous and a bargain! They were supposed to be ú275 retail, however, when I got there the design had been discontinued and they only had one pair left, in a size 6 and a half (I’m a 6) and they fitted me and they only charged me ú85! They were so comfortable, even though they had a 3¥ inch heel but due of the design of the shoe, it didn’t feel (nor did I look) like I was tottering along on high heels. The heel was full of diamantes and they tied up around the ankle!
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
Yes we had two gorgeous bridesmaids – they were aged 9 (Marnie) and 6 (Fern) and are the daughters of our good friends, Louise and Ben (Ben was our best man). They wore beautiful lilac dresses – they were two piece, satin, long straight skirts with matching bodices that had little straps and laced up at the back and were adorned with diamantes/crystal at the front for sparkliness. They also had bolero jackets to match their outfits and they looked stunning! They had their hair half up/half down with little tiaras on top and carried posies that were made up of white lacy netting material, edged in lilac satin with fake lilac satin roses in the middle and strands of diamantes sewn through. Their shoes were lilac and silver and were from Katz & (funnily enough they matched the boys waistcoats)
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
Lee chose his six foot tall best mate, Ben, as his Best Man and my older brother, Johnathan, was our Usher. Together with my dad and Lee’s dad, the five of them wore Edwardian suits, navy in colour; the trousers were navy pinstripe. With the exception of Lee, their waistcoats were of a pale lilac & silver colour, with a simple design, and they wore a mauve/’purpley’ coloured shimmery cravat with matching handkerchiefs. Lee’s waistcoat was ivory (the material matched the bodice on my dress) along with an ivory cravat and handkerchief. They also all wore very shiny black shoes and we bought all of them their own personalised cufflinks (purchased from Confetti online) of Groom, Best Man, Usher, Father of the Bride and Father of the Groom. They all looked very dashing!
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
Where did you hold your ceremony?
A beautiful place called Stirrups Country Manor House in Maidens Green, Berkshire. We had ‘Two Cello’s’ playing throughout the ceremony (walking up/down the aisle and whilst signing the register), we had a couple of friends carry out some readings for us, it was a lovely ceremony.
Where did you hold your reception?
We had the whole thing (ceremony, reception, party, etc) at Stirrups Country Manor House, which was great because all the guests were in the right place, and, as it was all in one place there were no lost aunts, uncles, cousins trying to find the reception venue.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
Yesà I had always wanted to have a horse and carriage, and once I’d made up my mind that was it for me! On my journey to Stirrups I was accompanied by my dad and also our two bridesmaids (I know it’s not traditional to arrive with your bridesmaids but how many chances do you get as a child to ride in a horse and carriage?). And because our wedding was going to be all day at Stirrups, Lee and I decided that after the ceremony and before all the photographs would be taken we would go for a twenty minute ride as hubby and wife and just take a few moments out to be together! It was just so nice to share such an intimate moment together before we were thrust into photographs, drinks, guests, mingling and being busy.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
In total we invited 65 people to the ceremony and wedding breakfast (60 Adults and 5 children -including 2 bridesmaids), all of whom accepted and turned up. In the evening we invited a further 60 guests (all adults, we didn’t extend the invite to children) and all of them bar 5 people turned up and boogied the night away with us.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
Yes, the colour scheme was lilac, silver and white.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
Our florist created lovely table arrangements that sat in the centre of the table with candles in the middle; they were made up of Singapore orchids and lilac freesias. The table cloths where white, we had silver table cameras on all tables (bought from Confetti). As we had had our wedding stationary hand-made, we also had our stationery lady make up name settings which were white card, with names written in silver with a little lilac feather sticking out of the top right hand corner!
Lee and I also wanted to name everyone’s tables and we went through the usual choices: cocktails, names of places, names of films, gemstones, and so on but none of them appealed. Then we decided to think of things we like to reminisce about and came up with an ’80s cartoons theme. Every table was named after one of the following: Danger Mouse, Top Cat, Batfink, Superted, Thundercats, Inspector Gadget, Ghostbusters, Scooby Doo. We accessed a website dedicated to ’80s cartoon trivia, made laminated copies of the pictures of the cartoon titles and made cards up which had inside 24 trivia questions all to do with the cartoons of everyone’s tables! We’ve been informed that it was a real ice breaker on the tables and everyone had a good time trying to guess the correct answers! We hid the answers on the top table! Teehee!
Did you give your guests favours?
Yes, during dinner in between the starter and the main course, my mum, along with the two bridesmaids went around everyone’s tables handing them out to our guests. I don’t particularly like almonds and I think they’re a tad dated so we chose to have Jelly Babies instead. We had about 8 per box and they were wrapped in lilac tissue paper and were presented in these lovely lilac and purple boxes (from The Whitehouse.)
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
My bouquet was a shower bouquet; it was made up of ‘Casablanca’ ivory lilies with diamantes, lilac /lisianthus, with strands of diamantes through the liliesà stunning!
Lee’s buttonhole was a single ivory Singapore orchid and lilac freesia (same flowers I had in my bouquet). Both my mum and mother-in-law had special corsages made up of ivory Singapore orchid spray with strands of diamantes. My dad, best man, usher and father-in-law all had lilac freesia buttonholes. My two grannies also had special corsages of lilac freesias and pearls. We supplied all our guests with white carnation corsages, very simple yet very effective. Our florist was this lovely lady called Sarah from The Bride’s Bouquet in Crowthorne, Berkshire.
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 and what a smashing job they did too! We went for a taste evening and wow! they were tasty dishes. We opted for the following:
Starter: smoked chicken & oyster mushroom salad, which was yummy!
Main course: rack of lamb in red wine sauce with a selection of vegetables
Desert: profiteroles filled with Baileys and fresh cream.
We had banned smoking during the dinner until coffee was served (which was just before the father-of-the-bride & best man speeches).
What did you choose for your wedding cake?
We decided on a gorgeous four-tier square shaped wedding cake, surrounded by white chocolate scrolls. The bottom tier was fruit cake, then it was chocolate sponge, then vanilla sponge followed by another chocolate sponge tier – it was really tasty! My flower lady actually contacted our cake maker and gave her some flowers that were also in my bouquet – lilies & freesias. Debbie from the Sugar Box, Berkshire, created our cake.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
We did have two cellos playing during the day, the ceremony, photographs and through dinner, and in the evening we had a DJ play our music – we gave him a 5 page list of songs we wanted playing, I figured that if I was to boogy all night then I’d be boogying to the music I wanted to hear – it was lots of ’70s & ’80s funk and disco ( Sister Sledge, Kool and the Gang, etc), and it was colour co-ordinated with ‘you must play’ and ‘we’d love to hear it but it’s ok if it’s not played’ bless him!
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
Yes, we had our gift list with John Lewis.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
We spent our first night in the bridal suite at Stirrups Country Manor House, where we had spent the whole day. It was a lovely, cosy room with a 4 poster bed, separate sitting room area, massive bathroom. Unfortunately we didn’t really get to spend very long in there as we finally left our party at about 1.30 in the morning, it then took a further hour and 45 minutes to take all the pins out of my hair and when we woke up the next day we had just missed breakfast (10am) so we called up for room service and by the time we’d eaten and were dressed, it was time to check out!
We spent a fortnight in the Maldives for our honeymoon, and it was blissà We booked our honeymoon with Thomas Cook, upgraded our seats to premium cabin and had a honeymoon package on our island.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
I have twoà the first was the moment when my horse & carriage arrived to pick me and my attendants up and I thought, ‘WOW! This is really happening – how amazing is this?’ Seeing the stunning horses and beautiful carriage waiting for me was an absolute dream come true!
The second, and much more important moment, was walking up the aisle with my dad, when I saw Lee standing there with THE biggest grin on his face! The way he was watching me walk up to him was just ‘wow!’ It lit me up inside and from that moment I just didn’t stop smiling!
Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
No, my mum and I had meticulously planned every single tiny teeny detail and we were determined that there would be no room for anything to go wrong – and it didn’t!
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
I would definitely have liked to have proofed the final copy of our wedding DVD before accepting it, so that they could have taken out the bits that I may not particularly like and kept things in that were missing (there was an awful lot of footage of us having our pictures taken and my dance with my dad in the evening is cut about quarter – halfway through and I would have loved to have seen more of that instead of us posing for photos!) But that would be the ONLY thing, and it’s a minor thing really as it captured our day perfectly!
The only advice I can give is to soak it all in, take your time in everything you do on the day as it is YOUR day and everything and everyone will wait for you! Time flies by so quickly, so make sure (especially in the evening) that you and your new hubby spend at least five minutes together every 20-30 minutes, otherwise you’ll spend the whole evening apart, mixing with other guests, time will fly past and you won’t have seen much of each other! Luckily we asked our best friends (best man & his wife) to keep reminding us to stop and take it all in and find time together and we had the BEST DAY & NIGHT OF OUR LIVES! Ladies (and gents), getting married is ALL GOOD!