Written by Paula Jones Last updated: August 9, 2006
photos by Bill Croke photography
Alex and I had a saucy encounter! We met at a sauce manufacturing company – where I still work. I am in Personnel and recruitment. Alex was in IT and, despite the Bart Simpson tie (!), we fell in love across the office.
Alex completely surprised me, which is some achievement! On his family holiday sailing from Portsmouth to St. Malo we were drinking and having a good time. When everyone had gone to bed, Alex was intent on finding the front of the ship. We raced around the ship and ended up at top of the ship at the heliport. Suddenly Alex turned to me and asked me to marry him. I thought he was drunk, but then he produced a ring from his pocket, and I realised he was serious and had planned the whole thing. Obviously, stunned, I accepted. We spent that night in bunk beds sharing a cabin with Alex’s parents – how romantic!
I had a family do with my mum, aunts and cousins etc. We went to a good restaurant with dance floor. I then spent full day in Birmingham with seven close friends. We had a party on a boat on the canal in the afternoon where my bridesmaids had arranged embarrassing games. Then, after a nice meal, we went to an eighties club where I was set a number of hilarious hen night challenges from kissing various types to dancing on a table! On the same weekend, Alex went to Wales, paintballing and buggy racing with mates. It was great to eventually meet up on the Sunday, fairly unscathed (!) and exchanging stories.
He very much enjoyed helping with the gift list! I drove him mad as I was a control freak during the whole thing. However, I can’t complain with his involvement. He was a star – mainly at keeping me calm!
Yes – I read loads of tips from table preparations to the right hymns to play.
We shopped online. We bought a guest book and table confetti and also table trivia cards. They were a huge success at the wedding – real ice breakers that got the atmosphere going. I also bought butterflies to add to my bouquet and the bridesmaid head dresses.
The first wedding dress I ever tried on was in ‘Flecks Boutique’ in Whitby. I was with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to be and it was an amazing moment. We all knew it was ‘the dress’ – a Dizzie Lizzie couture number in ivory silk. It has a strapless fitted bodice with starburst beads, a buttoned back and reams of silk cascading into a fabulous skirt and train. We celebrated the ‘find’ with a bottle of champagne. Then I got my mum to Whitby to check out and cement the fact that I’d chosen the right dress. I chose a full length veil and gold tiara to finish off the outfit.
I had three bridesmaids – two very good friends and my seven year old niece. We had the dresses made by a dressmaker local to where I work (he was very well established making outfits for actresses and music stars, from Maureen Lipman to the Sugababes!). One bridesmaid was in pink and the other in green, but each dress had a trim of the other dress colour. Lowry – my seven year old niece – brought the whole thing together with an ivory dress with pink and green flowers on her skirt.
Alex chose his 6′ 7″ best mate as best man. He was legendary and did a fab job. As ushers we had Alex’s sister and my brother. The wedding party wore formal wear – a back Prince Edward jacket and ivory rouches. The best man’s speech was a memorable and amusing event!
We had a religious ceremony.
The ceremony was at St. Mary’s church in Whitby. It’s a stunning location on the cliff edge, looking out to sea. We had an amazing vicar – David Smith – who made us and the congregation feel very much at ease and very special.
The reception was at Whitby Pavilion, a large venue with round windows looking out to sea. The staff there looked after us and our guests so well – it made a dream day.
I had a Siver Shadow Rolls Royce and the groom and bridesmaids travelled in a gold Jaguar.
We invited approx 130 guests to the whole event. As we were getting married away from both our families homes in Whitby and expecting people to travel, we thought it only fair to invite all guests to the ceremony, meal and night time do.
From the beginning I wanted a spring feel with fresh pinks and greens and a touch of the seaside thrown in.
With the help of a friend I made lavender bags to hang on the back of each female’s chair with a poem saying “To perfume your undies, or to help you to sleep, please take me with you, I’m yours to keep”. We had pink petals scattered over each table, and balloons as the centrepieces.
We had seaside rock made especially in the wedding colours with ‘alex loves esther’ written through the middle and labels saying “thank you for sharing our day”.
We had a local florist in Whitby – ‘The Flowerpot’. I had a bouquet of spray roses in pinks and ivory which cascaded in a loose bouquet. The bridemaids had rose corsages tied to their wrists. The flowers made the wedding – the colours really set the scene and created fabulous photos.
The venue handled the catering. We chose the Grand Carvery which was fantastic. It was informal and relaxed giving everyone a spectacular choice of meats, fish and vegetarian options. All the guests commented how lovely the food was.
A local bakers in whitby made the cake. Bothams are an established family owned company and Nick Botham did an amazing job of producing a three-tiered ivory iced cake, simply and delicately decorated in silk flowers.
We wanted our guests to feel thoroughly entertained, so treated them to a live band playing sixties tunes. We also hired ‘Adamcadabra’ who did balloon modeling with the children during the speeches and then continued with table magic throughout the evening. As a final treat for guests, we had a chocolate fountain on an illuminated stand instead of an evening buffet.
Our gift list was with Debenhams.
For the first night we stayed at Bagdale Hall in Whitby. Traditionally known for being haunted, we managed to escape any ghostly experiences! The honeymoon remained a mystery to me until I was sitting in the departure lounge where my new husband revealed that we were off to Taba in Egypt – the Sinai area on the Red Sea – for sun and snorkelling. It was hot and stunning.
The actual ceremony was incredibly meaningful and special to us, and topped off when we walked out of the church and Alex’s mum had arranged seaside donkeys to greet us! Afterwards we featured in the Whitby Gazette! It was surreal but memorable. The other most memorable moment was when the band ended their set with an impromptu rendition of ‘Goodnight sweetheart’.
When all is done – RELAX! I had hardly any beauty sleep the night before and had to blow the cobwebs off with an early morning walk on the pier. Also, make sure you eat during the day. My husband and I were so caught up in the day we hardly ate and didn’t appreciate the fab food we’d paid for!