09/09/2005 – St. Michael’s Church, Winterbourne Earls
The Larmer Tree Gardens, Tollard Royal
photos by Fritz Curzon
How and when did you meet?
We met at Salisbury Tennis Club in the summer of 1998. Although we had actually been in the same place at the same time for a few years before that – I used to play in a tennis tournament in Frinton-on-Sea each summer where Matt used to be the coach. When I saw him at Salisbury Tennis Club I certainly recognised him but couldn’t place him until he got talking to my mum and he told her that he used to be the coach at Frinton Tennis Club. Needless to say our tennis improved no end that summer!
How old are you both?
Fiona is 27, Matt is 34.
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
Matt proposed on Frinton seafront on Christmas Day 2004 at 07:30! We had got up early to take our dog for a walk. It was the most beautiful morning, sunny with a clear blue sky (but cold!) We were walking along the Greensward when Matt stopped suddenly, directly opposite where the sun was rising. He put his arm around me and kept saying “It’s a lovely morning isn’t it?” “Isn’t it lovely?” “Look at the sun – it’s gorgeous.” That’s when I started to think that he seemed a little nervous. Then he proposed and we were both crying (although Matt will say his eyes were watering because it was a bit windy!) He opened the box to show me the ring but before I gave him an answer I said “Are you not going to get down on one knee?” He did (reluctantly on the cold, wet grass!) and asked me again and of course I said yes.
Did you have hen and stag celebrations?
Matt went to Thruxton with his brothers and dad to drive some fast cars round a race track. All the men (my dad, his dad, brothers, ushers etc.) also had a skittles evening in a local pub the night before the wedding.My bridesmaids, mum and a good friend arranged for us to go to Chewton Glen for a spa day, and then we all went out for a meal in the evening. My sisters also organised a ‘sisters’ afternoon’ and we did one of the walks around our city recommended by the Tourist Office. We stopped for dinner in a local pub and finished in the town for pudding but we were all so tired we hardly said a word to each other!
Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?
He gave confident nods of agreement when needed, sorted out all the drink for the reception and all the drink for the Saturday brunch the day after. He did as much as he could and told me not to get too stressed whenever he saw steam coming out my ears!
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
Yes, it was great for advice and to see photos etc. for ideas. The message board was handy too.
Do you have a confetti web page?
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
No, just because of our colour scheme. I did though buy a keepsake box when I visited the store in London.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it.
I wore a Nicki Hill dress called ‘Charity,’ which was actually a bodice and skirt. The bodice had a boat neck, edged with braiding and went down to a point at my waist. It had pointed sleeves (medieval looking) which opened out at the elbow so that when I was holding the bouquet, the sleeves hung down. The skirt was a simple A-line I think, with a train. I wore my grandmother’s pearl necklace (she passed away a week before Matt proposed), a crystal and pearl tiara and crystal earrings. The tiara, earrings and my bag were made for me by Victoria Ferguson who also did my hair and makeup and that of the bridesmaids on the day.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
My younger sister Martha was a bridesmaid, my older sister Ailsa was Maid of Honour (she’s already married), and my best friend Jen was Chief Bridesmaid. They wore a Watters & Watters strapless dress in pacific blue, blue necklace and earrings and crystal hair pins. I also had a page boy who wore the same as the ushers and an unofficial bridesmaid (my sister’s 2 1/2 month old baby) who wore a cute dress made of the same fabric as the bridesmaids!
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
Best man was Matt’s dad, Michael and the ushers were Matt’s three brothers, Rob, Chris and Pete, my sister’s boyfriend Nick and my brother-in-law Martin. We also had a Master of Ceremonies, Gez who did a great job. They all wore a black morning suit with a dark lavender tie and silver waistcoats.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
We had a religious ceremony.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
St. Michael’s Church, Winterbourne Earls.
Where did you hold your reception?
The Larmer Tree Gardens, Tollard Royal.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
Yes, we had two maroon Bentley’s – a 1936 and a 1948 one. They were beautiful and the drivers were great too.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
We had about 60 to the wedding breakfast and about 100 in total for the evening.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
The Larmer Tree Pavilion is full of greens and creams so we used that as our theme and also introduced a few peachy shades.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
The flowers on the tables were creams and peach and the favour boxes had green ribbon.
Did you give your guests favours?
Yes, we gave them a box of sugared almonds, tied with a pale green ribbon and gypsophila. We gave the children bubbles.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
My bouquet was a shower bouquet of cream roses with greenery. The bridesmaids had the same style but with a few peachy flowers too and slightly smaller. Our florist was ‘Blooms.’ The table decorations were roses with ivy, in mainly creams and peaches. Our florist for the Larmer Tree was Rachel Phillips.
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
The venue handled the catering. To start we had soup or salmon, the main course was lamb shank or Parma ham wrapped pork and pudding was Eton Mess or lemon brulee cheesecake. The food was great and they coped well with special requirements.
What did you choose for your wedding cake?
We had a three-tier cake. The bottom two were fruit and the top one, a plain sponge. It was made by Marie East. It was a very simple cake but had a silk mini version of my bouquet on the corner of each tier. It was simple but stunning (I thought!)
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
Yes, we had a jazz band (The Hot Five + 1.) Larmer Tree Gardens have a gorgeous stage on the lawn and we thought it would be a real shame not to use it so we hired the jazz band to play on the stage when the guests were having drinks on the lawn in the afternoon and also in the evening for the party in the pavilion. They were absolutely fantastic. We didn’t really know what to expect but we couldn’t have asked for a better band. The dance floor was full the whole night and it was nice to have live music.
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
Yes we did, with John Lewis.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
We spent our first night at Farnham Farmhouse, about a mile from Larmer Tree. It was gorgeous and the view from the bedroom was amazing.We spent out honeymoon at the Hilton Maldives. We booked it with Trailfinders. It was paradise!
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
Saying our vows with both of us crying, together with everyone else it seemed! Everyone saying “Ah” at that moment. Matt squeezing my hand tighter and tighter with each vow he said. The vicar, Stuart, telling us to spit on the ring when I couldn’t quite get it on Matt’s finger! Walking out of the church as husband and wife. Me on the dance floor the whole night which is very unlike me but I was enjoying it so much! Matt’s dad getting carried away with his speech and at one stage he said something about an heirloom but pronounced the H so that it sounded like “hairloom.” It was hilarious! So many memorable moments!
Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
No, only the forecast which wasn’t that great and meant that we had to spend a bit more money having a marquee put up just in case it rained, but in the end the weather was perfect. I had got carried away at Rigby and Pellar when I went there to buy my basque for the day and bought a ú40 thong to match it. I had kept it wrapped in tissue paper, in the bag, by the side of my bed for 9 months, promising myself that I wouldn’t wear it until the day – and then I left it behind! Luckily I was able to send my sister on a last minute trip into town and ended up wearing one from BHS instead! When the flowers arrived I realised that I’d not ordered enough buttonholes. Luckily we were able to get hold of 2 more from a local florist and our photographer went to pick them up. In terms of nightmare moments though we really didn’t have any. Of course there were the last minute drop outs but that is only to be expected and didn’t really cause any problems.
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
Yes, make sure you get all the photos you want. I had written a list but one photo that I really wanted didn’t ever happen because I’d written æBarrett familyÆ when what I meant was everyone on my side of the family which in fact was Barretts and Shearings, so the Shearings didn’t realise it should have included them and they therefore weren’t in the photo. I should really have written æBride’s family.Æ I didnÆt realise at the time but my sister was then feeding her baby so I promised we’d do it later, and then we ran out of time. Other than that just enjoy the day and make sure you take time out to be together just the two of you. It will go by so quickly but the memories will last forever. Also we hadn’t planned to have the service videoed but my sister’s father-in-law did video the service and now we have it; we’re so pleased he did. It’s something you can look back on whenever you like. Also I think we would have wanted more people in the church. We wanted it really to be just family and close friends but when I walked in with my dad it seemed quite empty. It didn’t lack atmosphere but if we were to do it again we would have invited more people to the church.