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Judith and Roger’s Real Life Wedding

6th November 2006 |By | Be the first to comment


Judith and Roger


01/09/2006 – Watley’s End Methodist Church
The Hinton Grange Hotel in Hinton, South Gloucestershire


How and when did you meet?

We met through our local Tenants’ and Residents’ Group (we lived 50 yards from each other!), but only got together after Roger invited me round for a meal with mutual friends in January 2004.

Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?

There was no “proposal” as such. We knew almost from the start that this was the real thing, but decided to make it official about 18 months into our relationship. We got the ring in September 2005, and sometime later had an engagement party with some of our best friends.

Did you have hen and stag celebrations? If so, what did you do?

About 10 days before the wedding, my bridesmaids and I went for dinner at Bistrot Pierre in Nottingham.

How did your groom help with the wedding planning?

Roger was brilliant- he chose the car, designed and made all the stationery, organised route maps for guests, and did most of the photography on the day (using the remote control on his digital camera). He even helped me choose my dress- as he’s artistic. I trusted his opinion more than anyone else’s, and it was his opinion that mattered most. Roger was also great at helping me keep a sense of proportion when I got stressed out or threatened to turn into Bridezilla! We planned the service, and chose the reception venue and food together.

Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?

I enjoyed reading other couples’ wedding stories, and looked at some of the flowers and cake pages for ideas. (In the end, we didn’t lift anything directly from confetti- the pictures were more of a kick-start for our own ideas.)

Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it

I wore a traditional ivory, ball gown-style dress. It had a fitted bodice, short sleeves, big skirt and long train with rose detailing. I bought it, and my matching hat, for £40 in my workplace charity shop! (A bridal outfitter’s had closed down and donated 200 dresses.) Even with a few alterations, it still came to less than £50. I also wore a small red glass cross (which I’d bought on holiday in Italy in 2003) and low-heeled white sandals (from another charity shop). In my hair I wore a white scrunchie which had white fabric roses on it(this came from a craft fair).

Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?

I chose two close friends, Melissa and Steph. They wore red evening dresses from Debenhams, ivory pashminas that Melissa had bought on holiday in Italy, red and gold Chinese-style shoes from Monsoon, and red necklaces (from Wallis) which were my thank-you present to them.

Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?

Roger chose his friend, Graham, as best man. Our ushers were my cousin, Tom, his girlfriend, Kate, and Bryan, one of the church stewards. Roger wore white trousers, a navy jacket and a blue and white striped shirt. Graham and Bryan wore lounge suits (Graham’s grey, Bryan’s black), and Tom and Kate wore smart casual clothes. We also had a “best dog”: Graham’s guide dog, a gorgeous black Labrador called Viking, who stole the show!

Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?

We had a religious ceremony. We had four hymns, one Bible reading and one reading from a book by Henri Nouwen (modern Christian writer), and I wrote a poem for people to reflect on during the Signing of the Register. We had a good mix of other music, ranging from Hildegard of Bingen to prog rock! My mum took the service, my aunt Ruth preached, my dad’s cousin played the organ, Roger’s former vicar did the readings and another of Roger’s friends led the prayers. We had our ceremony at 11am, so that we could eat at a sensible time. (We’d both been to other weddings where we’d ended up very hungry and grumpy, and didn’t want this to happen to our guests!)

Where did you hold your ceremony?

Watley’s End Methodist Church, in Winterbourne near Bristol, as my Mum’s the minister there. It was also nearer our honeymoon destination (in Wales) than either of our “home” churches (in Nottingham).

Where did you hold your reception?

The Hinton Grange Hotel in Hinton (South Gloucestershire). The car hire firm recommended it! It’s a traditional country hotel with loads of character: you have to be careful not to run the ducks and geese over! We found the staff really friendly and helpful. As we left, they even gave us a card, which was a lovely surprise.

Did you have any special wedding transport?

We hired a red and white, 1937 Rolls-Royce “Sedanca”.

How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?

There were 45 of us (44 humans, 1 guide dog) at the reception. There were more at the ceremony though, as a lot of church members, including most of the choir, turned out to support us.

How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?

Roger took a photo of the two of us, and printed off copies for guests to take home. (1 photo per couple, family or single guest).

Did you give your guests favours?

I carried a round posy-style bouquet of red roses, and my bridesmaids had similar, smaller bouquets of white roses. These were arranged by Debbie at Webbs Flowers, Downend, Bristol. (My mum recommended Webbs as they’re just up the road from her and my dad.) Various church members and their friends decorated the church and made the table decorations, using several different sorts of red and white flowers.

Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?

I carried a round posy-style bouquet of red roses, and my bridesmaids had similar, smaller bouquets of white roses. These were arranged by Debbie at Webbs Flowers, Downend, Bristol. (My mum recommended Webbs as they’re just up the road from her and my dad.) Various church members and their friends decorated the church and made the table decorations, using several different sorts of red and white flowers.

What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?

The hotel did our catering. We had a carvery lunch, with a choice of beef, pork or turkey and several sorts of veg. Dessert was a choice of fresh fruit salad, ice cream made on the premises, or local Somerset cheeses. After the speeches, we had tea and coffee with chocolate truffles and our cake. As it was so hot, the staff suggested we went outside for this, and this worked really well.

What did you choose for your wedding cake, and who made it?

We had two matching square, single-layer “Durham Apple Cakes”. I baked them, and the mother of one of Roger’s friends decorated them with ivory icing and red lilies made of a special sort of inedible icing. We served one cake to our guests, and shared the other with friends who couldn’t be there on the day. We also gave some to the church as a thank-you.

Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?

We alternated the speeches with singing. Between my dad’s speech and my own, Bron, another aunt, sang Handel’s “Care Selve” (in Italian), and a setting of Marlowe’s “Passionate Shepherd”. Between my speech and Graham’s, Quentin, one of my friends from university, sang two Flanders and Swann songs, “The Armadillo” and “The Hippopotamus”.

Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?

The things we wanted/needed were not all obtainable from the same shop (they ranged from model railway stuff to a bike basket), so we compiled our own list.

Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?

We had three lovely, relaxing weeks in Llangynidr, in the Usk Valley between Abergavenny and Brecon. It had special associations for us, as we’d had our first holiday as a couple there, and I’d been there a lot as a child. We stayed in a cottage belonging to a family friend. As it wasn’t far from our reception venue, we didn’t need to bother with a first-night hotel.

What was your most memorable moment of the day?

The whole day was memorable! Coming down the aisle was really special, though. The singing was fantastic, and I found the first hymn particularly moving. When we went out to the vestry to sign the register, I felt really proud when Mum said “Congratulations, Mrs Lincoln.” It was also great to share our day with the people who meant most to us, especially those whom we hadn’t seen for ages because they live far away.

Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?

No real nightmares, though I did end up having to bake the cake in 48 hours flat!

Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?

Remember why you’re doing this- make sure you take time to relax and have fun with your fiancé (even, perhaps especially, when it’s all getting a bit too much!).  Also, you can have a great day on a budget- just be prepared to shop around a bit, and to use your imagination. Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for help either.

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