These days, many couples choose to have a smaller wedding and reception. Not only does this often save on cost, but with only the closest of friends and family sharing…
Written by Paula Jones Last updated: August 14, 2006
photos by Nick Hill Photography
John and I met in November 2000. At the time I was working for an investment trading firm which was a client of the company that John worked for and we were introduced by mutual friends.
A year after we first started dating we decided to book a weekend away in Monaco. We had been there with some close friends and family a few months earlier to celebrate my 21st birthday and had such a lovely time that we thought it would be nice to return. On our first evening we went to the Louis XVI restaurant which is beautifully located inside the Hotel de Paris with views looking over the whole of Monaco. After dinner John and I chatted about the wonderful year we had just spent together and before I knew it he was down on one knee with a ring in his hand; of course I said yes! It was the perfect proposal and a truly magical evening.
My hen night was arranged by two of my bridesmaids, Maxine and Sara and it was a complete surprise. They had hired out a room in a restaurant and invited about ten people. The room looked great and they dressed me in the traditional L plates, feather boa and veil. We played lots of games and everyone brought me little presents including arranging a male stripper! It was a really fun night and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Nearer the wedding I also went to the south of France with my mum which was lovely and a great way to relax before the big day. John had his stag weekend in Puerto Banus in Spain. There were about 30 people and they held a golf day and dinner in Johns honour. Everybody seemed to have a great time.
John helped with the big decisions such as the church, venue, order of service, entertainment and honeymoon. I asked his opinion on everything and he was very helpful but most of the organisation was left to my parents and I, which worked very well.
I was very lucky as Kiem, my aunt, is a dress designer and she offered to make the wedding dress for me. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for or what would suit me so I went to some shops in London to get some ideas. By doing this I took some ideas from each of the dresses that I tried on and then Kiem was able to put them all together in the one dress. It looked lovely when it was finished and it made me feel so special on the day.
I had four bridesmaids, my two cousins Catherine and Philippa and my two closest friends Maxine and Sara. My colour theme for the wedding was light gold and cream and the bridesmaids wore pale gold basques and fitted A-line skirts which looked lovely on them.
John chose Paul, a friend he has known since school as his best man. Wayne and Oliver, two longstanding friends, were ushers. They wore black morning suits with grey cravats and waistcoats.
It was a religious ceremony.
The Ceremony was held at All Saints Church in South Ascot. The Vicar, Sebastian Jones is the father of a friend of mine, which was one of the reasons we chose the church.
The reception was held in a marquee in the garden of my parents house in Ascot very close to the church.
Yes, we hired a Bentley as our wedding car and two large Mercedes to take our parents and the bridesmaids to and from the church.
We invited 165 people and 150 accepted. We didn’t have a separate evening guest list as we wanted everyone to be part of the whole day.
I wanted to keep everything very traditional, fresh and neutral in colour. We went for a pale gold theme mixed with cream and hints of green from the flowers.
As we had the marquee we were able to create a room in the exact colours that we wanted. The walls and ceiling of the marquee were a heavy cream gathered material and the marquee had three sets of French doors overlooking the garden. The tables had white table linen and gold backed chairs and varied flower arrangements. To provide height to the room some tables had tall glass vases topped with cream roses and trailing ivy while others had lower arrangements with roses and foliage. When the room was finished it really did look amazing.
Yes, Nadia a close friend of ours made them. They were gold to match the theme and had our names and the date of our wedding day on them.
A local garden centre provided the flowers for the wedding. My bouquet was a mix of cream roses and lilies with trailing ivy and foliage and the bridesmaids had poesy’s of cream roses.
As we had a marquee we had an outside caterer. The reception began with champagne and canapés for guests on arrival. When everyone had sat down we started with smoked salmon on a bed of mixed leaves followed by a breast of chicken in a masala and cream sauce with fresh asparagus. For pudding we had chocolate indulgence topped with strawberries.
Our wedding cake was made by a friend of the family and was a beautiful three tier square fruit cake with ivory icing topped with a few fresh flowers.
During the day we had a magician called David Redfearn. He was fantastic and kept everyone entertained. In the evening we had a DJ and the dance floor was never empty! It was so nice to look around the room and see everyone having such a great time.
Our gift list was held with John Lewis.
Our first night was spent at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot. The next morning we flew off for a lovely relaxing week in Cyprus.
I don’t really think that I could pinpoint one particular moment. The whole day was fantastic and we were so pleased with how everything came together. On the day there is so much going on and it all goes so fast that nothing seems to sink in. It is only afterwards when you look back on the day that you remember all those special moments, like when you enter the church and walk down the aisle and when you look around the reception and see this amazing room with so many friends and family all there for you, it’s so lovely to see, it really was the perfect day.
I wouldn’t have changed anything, it truly was the best day ever. My advice for other brides is to enjoy every moment because it really does go so fast. Try and pause for a few moments and absorb all that is going on around you, it’s such a special day and you only get to have it once.