Hannah and James
05/05/2007 – Emmanuel Church, South Croydon
The Warren, Metropolitan Police Sports Club, Hayes, Kent
How and when did you meet?
In the skittle alley at the Crwys pub, at university in Cardiff, on a Student Scout and Guide Society night out in October 2000. James was a young fresher and I was a know-it-all second year. We walked home the same way via the fish and chip shop. James offered me a bite of his sausage, but I refused saying I was a vegetarian! We got together a week later on Freshers’ Camp, after being covered in whipped cream!
How old are you both?
I am 27 and James is 25.
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
I gave James a deadline! After a year back at uni doing an MSc, James returned in September 2005 to Croydon, where he was from and I had moved two years previously. We moved in together but I said that he had until the end of the year to propose or move out. He waited until December 30th! Having had a romantic proposal on the London Eye planned, James actually proposed on a snowy walk on Toys’ Hill, near my favourite Bat Tower (I like bats). We went on the Eye in the evening to celebrate and then to the pub to tell everyone.
Did you have hen and stag celebrations? If so, what did you do?
James went to North Wales with 25 mates for white water rafting and quad biking and stayed in a bunk house above a pub. I went to Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack in Brighton for lunch and fun on the pier on the Saturday followed by a Pizza and DVD night and on the Sunday we went to the Madjeski Stadium to have corporate lunch and watch Guinness Premiership Rugby: Worcester Warriors (my team) lost to London Irish.
How did your groom help with the wedding planning?
He had set ideas about some things and together we set priorities to spend money on, like a photographer and a good band. He gave his opinion when asked and was very supportive when I started losing it.
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
Yes. I used it for dress ideas, reception ideas and the forum has made me laugh, shout and cry! I loved it for being able to ask random questions and get great replies. I also met my cake maker on Confetti.
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
No, but I did go to the London store several times looking.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it
It was an Ella, by Essence of Australia strapless dress in off-white. I tried on dresses when we first got engaged, then I lost three stone and set aside a day to shop. I found it in All That Glitters in Croydon on an Essence designer day with 10% off! I wore tiara and necklace from ebay to match our celtic theme, and my veil was my something borrowed from my best friend and bridesmaid. It went perfectly.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
Yes. I had five! My sister and my best mate kept me sane, organised my hen do, and were generally wonderful. They wore dark blue full length gowns from Berketex. My husband’s cousins were also bridesmaids and wore ivory dresses that my mum made with a ribbon in their family tartan round the middle. Finally there was my second cousin. I was her mum’s bridesmaid, her mum was my mum’s bridesmaid, and my mum was her mum’s bridesmaid! Mum also made her dress in dark blue.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
He has a twin brother so he was the natural best man choice. They both wore charcoal grey Prince Edward jackets, with pale waistcoats, and silk cravats in their family tartan hired from Pantiles Groom in Tunbridge Wells. There were five other ushers, all male friends, in their own suits with a button hole.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
Where did you hold your ceremony?
Emmanuel Church, South Croydon. We are both Christians and it is the church we go to, as well as being our parish church. Lots of people from the congregation came and the worship band was made up of our friends. It was so much fun and lots of people commented on the service.
Where did you hold your reception?
The Warren, Metropolitan Police Sports Club, Hayes, Kent.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
We hired a ‘Morse’ car. A Daimler in dark blue.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
120 and about 40 more in the evening.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
We tied together my Irish roots and James’ Scottish heritage with celtic knots and the colours of James’ family tartan which was dark blue, cream, green and yellow.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
We had blue and yellow violets in white pots. We used a Celtic knot stamp on each place card and the menus were decorated with the same stamp. We scattered gold and blue hearts and had blue napkins. Mum also made papier mache bowls from tissue paper with celtic knots on, in which we put gold, white and blue sweets. My bridesmaid hand painted out table plan with celtic art work.
Did you give your guests favours?
No, they had bowls of sweets to nibble on.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
All the bouquets were smaller versions of mine. We had yellow and cream roses, thistles (for the colour and the theme,) Rosemary and lisanthas. The men had cream roses for their button holes and additionally James had a thistle. My florist was Karolyn Angiolini from Downe in Kent. We had home grown table decorations.
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 it all. We had soup, roast beef and lemon tarte. We served our cake, along with cheese and biscuits instead of an evening buffet.
What did you choose for your wedding cake, and who made it?
Our cake was made by a Confetti girl! It’s a long story. We had three layers: fruit, vanilla sponge, and carrot cake. It was iced in ivory, with sugar ivy and cream roses and a celtic heart topper. Our names and our wedding date were on the side in celtic script. The joins were covered by thin tartan ribbon. It was amazing, and so yummy.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
We had a live band in the evening playing covers from the sixties to the present day. They were called The GnT experiment and I found them online.
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
Yes, with Wrapit.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
We spent a disappointing first night in a hotel and then on the Monday we flew to Malta for a week. We booked it independently. Flight through Opodo, and the apartment direct with the owner via the internet. We also hired a car through holiday autos.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
The doors of chuch opening and seeing so many people there, and walking down the aisle to meet James.
Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
Sadly my granddad died five weeks before the wedding, which was tough. Dad wore a tie in his regimental tartan and I wore my Gran’s engagement ring on my right hand. Other than that everything went smoothly, helped by my sister and bridesmaid who is an event organiser by trade!
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
No. I loved it all. My only advice would be don’t sweat the small stuff, set your priorities, stick to them and smile. Oh, and everyone tells you how fast it goes, and it really does!