Written by Paula Jones Last updated: September 22, 2006
Helena and Paul
How and when did you meet?
We met at work about five years ago.
How old are you both?
I am 34 and Paul is 29 (my toy boy!).
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
My nan died in May 2005 and I inherited her beautiful diamond engagement ring. Unfortunately she had worn it for 60+ years and it was very worn down and I was not able to wear it. Paul offered to have it re-set in platinum and it would be our special ring (but he would choose when and where he would propose and I would have to be patient). After the ring was finished, Paul hid it from me. It was two months later than Paul finally did the deed when we were in France on holiday.
Did you have hen and stag celebrations? If so, what did you do?
As I didn’t have bridesmaids I arranged my hen do myself. Twelve of my closest friends and family went to Rubyz Caberet Restaurant in Bournemouth – we had a great time while three drag queens entertained us with songs and skits from Grease and we ate a lovely meal. Definitely recommend it! Paul had a joint stag do with one of his close friends. The best man was best man for both of them. They all did a tour of the pubs and clubs in Bournemouth.
How did your groom help with the wedding planning?
He agreed with everything I suggested – what more could a bride ask for? He also allowed me to take over his study with all the wedding goodies. He was also very patient and understanding when I had stressful days. An absolute sweetheart.
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
Some of the advice pages and the real life stories were good.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it
I did a dress search on Confetti and fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. When I went to the shop they had the right dress in exactly the right size – it was fate! My dress was Snowdrop by Pronuptia.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
No bridesmaids – I had my mum as my maid of honour and she wore an ivory trouser suit.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
His best man was his best mate who he had known since he was 5. His brother was his usher. They wore matching rented black standard suits with an ivory and gold waistcoat, gold cravat and hanky.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
Where did you hold your ceremony?
The Langton Arms in Tarrant Monkton near Blandford Forum, Dorset. The ceremony was in The Stables Restaurant which they converted for the day.
Where did you hold your reception?
The same venue in the conference/events hall.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
No. I arrived early at the venue to get ready in my room.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
We had exactly 50 to the ceremony and sit down wedding breakfast and then we invited an extra 30 for the evening.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
The colours were ivory and gold and my flowers were mango calla lilies.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
The calla lilies were bended and put into large goldfish bowls together with glass nuggets and battery lights – they looked beautiful.
Did you give your guests favours?
They all had an ivory and gold pen which were personalised.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
My flowers were mango calla lilies. The bouquet was stunning and very unusual. We also had single and double calla lilies in glass vases dotted around in the ceremony room and around the reception area. I’ve mentioned the bowls above. There were two large pillars in the reception room which my florist hung two large beautiful flower arrangements incorporating all my colours. I also had a garland for the registrar’s table. My florist was Susie Edwards who has her own web site. She was fantastic and extremely experienced.
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
The catering was done by the Langton Arms and we had a hot buffet. The choices were roast beef with Yorkshire puddings, chicken supreme and pasta parcels with spinach. We had our chocolate wedding cake for dessert.
What did you choose for your wedding cake, and who made it?
We had a three tier chocolate wedding cake with chocolate tubes all the way round and grated chocolate on top. The tiers were stacked. It was a chocolate sponge cake with chocolate cream inside. My husband is a chocoholic!
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
We had a disco for the evening.
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
We had a gift list at Debenhams.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
The first night was spent at the venue in the Langton Arms’ accommodation.We left early the next day to start our honeymoon. We arranged a two week driving holiday in Southern France in the Cote d’azur. Designed to fall in with the Monaco Grand Prix!
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
When the Registrar announced us as man and wife and I could see the tears in Paul’s eyes.
Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
The run up to the big day went very smoothly. In fact the day went very smoothly too although it dragged a bit in the morning as we didn’t get married until 4pm. Unfortunately it was very windy and it drizzled all day. It absolutely poured down in the evening. Because of the wind and drizzle it was really hard to keep my hair curly – it kept falling out. I curled it four times in the morning and had to do it again before the evening guests arrived.
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
After the wedding, we watched our wedding DVD which my father tried his best to do on the day. He did a brilliant job, but unfortunately didn’t manage to catch his or the Best man’s speech. I think I would recommend that you have a professional videographer – after all the confetti has flown away, all that is left are your memories, the photos and the video. These things are more precious to you than getting that last minute tan or spending a fortune on shoes which you cannot see under the dress!
Also, I did the speech instead of Paul as he hates public speaking and I do it for a living. I have to say that it is much easier doing it as a job than standing up in front of all your closest friends and family. I was very nervous and couldn’t eat my food. I think if you’re a nervous person you shouldn’t feel pressured into doing a speech if it will upset your day. I offered, but in hindsight I wish I hadn’t. The chocolate cake looked divine (if only I had been able to stomach it!)