13/08/2005 – St Bartholomews Church, Sproxton, Leicestershire
How and when did you meet?
Mark and I met when we were both in the Territorial Army. I had just joined and he had been there a few years. Apparently he had his eye on me straight away but we finally got together at the annual Christmas party, when he rescued me from some very boring people! We have been together 9 years now and in between I have been to university and Mark has seen active service in Bosnia and the Gulf – absence does make the heart grow fonder!
How old are you both?
I am 26, Mark is 29.
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
There is a beautiful beach on the Lincolnshire coast, which hardly has any visitors – I used to go there a lot with my parents and brother when we were growing up. Mark and I take our labrador there every year for a swim in the sea! Last September, we made our annual visit and Mark told me to go off down the beach. When he shouted me back, he had changed into a tuxedo and went down onto one knee on the sand! It was beautiful and very romantic. We had already talked about it and knew it was on the cards but he did it properly, so it was very special.
Did you have hen and stag celebrations?
Mark had three best men (I know!) and one of them arranged his stag do for him. They went go-karting and skydiving (Mark’s hobby is skydiving) and then went out in Nottingham for the evening. I ended up organising my own hen night but had a great time – eleven of us went to a Greek night with dancing, food and lots of Ouzo! It was brilliant and I was made to feel very important – maybe it was because I had a tiara, sash and flashing wand?!
Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?
Yes, although he left a lot of it to me, which was probably best! He did a lot of running around, sorting things out before the day, and when it nearly all got too much in the week before, he was a real trooper and took everything off me so I could have a breather.
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
I used the Confetti online shopping a lot and really enjoyed looking at real weddings for inspiration and to be nosey! I looked at the guides for roles of the wedding party and the readings section was good, as I struggled to find the right piece for my mum to read.
Do you have a confetti web page?
No – although I had nearly a year to plan everything, I never got round to organising a web page!
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
I bought cameras for the tables at the reception, favour boxes and ribbon. All were delivered really quickly and I was very pleased with the products
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it.
I bought my dress after a very long search and I never believed it was true that you would find ‘the one’ after trying on so many. I got really fed up trying to find one and finally went to a small shop called Matchmakers in Stamford. I told them what I wanted (plain, simple) and then they suggested one to try on. As soon as I tried it on I knew it was right and it was the complete opposite to what I had been after – it was an Alfred Angelo white, strapless, fitted dress, heavily embroidered with beads and a huge train. I had a cathedral-length veil (after originally saying I didn’t want one at all!) and a silver-coloured tiara with glass beading. My shoes were my favourite though – baby blue with LOVE written across them in diamante – sounds naff but they were stunning and I didn’t want ‘wedding’ shoes. They were fun and a talking point at the reception when I showed them off!
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
I had 6 bridesmaids: 3 adults and 3 girls. The adults wore blue Alfred Angelo knee-length strapless dresses and tiaras; the girls wore white shift dresses with flower headbands made from blue silk flowers, they also wore silver glitter shoes.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
Mark and all ‘his men’ wore navy jackets and grey striped trousers with cream embroidered waistcoats and navy ties, they all came from Youngs suit hire.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
We had a religious ceremony, although neither of us are especially religious.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
St Bartholomews Church, Sproxton, Leicestershire. I grew up in the village and my parents still live there, so it seemed right to choose it. It has a real country feel and is in a beautiful location.
Where did you hold your reception?
In a marquee in my parents’ garden.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
A blue Mark II Jaguar. My Dad used to own one and has always had a soft spot for them, so when I found this one to hire, it was a done deal.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
We had 105 guests in the day with about another 50 at night
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
We tried to maintain a country feel as it was in a garden and in a very rural village. Both Mark and I like blue, so we used that a lot, although it wasn’t always intentional.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
The favour boxes were blue but everything else was white, with a leafy plant in a terrocotta plant pot in the middle of the table.
Did you give your guests favours?
The favours were sweets – cola bottles, gummy bears, love hearts, haribo star mix… we thought the guests might need a sugar fix to give them energy for the speeches and we thought that everyone would like sweets instead of chocolates.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
My mum did all the flowers: from the button holes to the flower arch around the church door. She has had no formal training but did an amazing job – everything was beautiful. My bouquet was a shower-style, full of honeysuckle, freesias, lilies and roses. The bridesmaids had posies of carnations, scabious and roses, and the girls carried little baskets of the same. The men had white carnations as button holes. My mum is proof that weddings bring out your talents if you let them and no one could have done a better job. The flower arch was wonderful and made the church smell lovely. We didn’t have arrangements for the marquee, but borrowed trees from the local garden centre and some fantastic fake trees from a friend’s mum (the ones you get in offices) that really had an impact – flowers would have been lost in the marquee. At the church we used ready-made flower bouquets from the local florist, which were carried back to the reception and given to the mums as gifts.
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
Mark’s mum did all the food and we had a buffet for the reception, which worked really well and kept the informal, country theme that we were after. In the evening we had a pig roast (supplied ready cooked by a local butcher,) which went down really well.
What did you choose for your wedding cake?
Our wedding cake was a gift from the chief bridesmaid (her mum makes wedding cakes.) It consisted of three white cakes: two fruit and one sponge, with a large white and blue sugar flower arrangement on each.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
We had a disco in the evening and a firework display.
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
As we have lived together for 5 years, we felt it was inappropriate to have a gift list. We therefore asked anyone who wanted to give us a gift, to give dollars, to buy a drink with on our honeymoon in America. Everyone was very generous and seemed relieved not to have to choose from a list.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
We spent our first night at a local hotel, up the road from my parents (the Tollemache Arms, Buckminster). The hotel staff were great, as they waited up for us and gave us Champagne on the house when we arrived. There was also Champagne and chocolates in our room. We went to Las Vegas and San Francisco for our honeymoon. We stayed in Las Vegas first, then hired a car and drove through the national parks to San Francisco, then drove down the Pacific Coast and back to Las Vegas. We arranged it all independently – booking the flights through Continental and the hotels direct. We hired the car while we were out there and picked up discount hotel brochures along the way.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
– Seeing Mark as I walked down the aisle – after a year of thinking about it and planning everything, nothing prepares you for the most important bit – marrying the one you love – it was beautiful.
Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
We did have a nightmare – it rained! We had planned that everyone would walk to and from the church and had the marquee in the garden with a bouncy castle for the children but everyone had to drive and spend the whole time in the marquee because it chucked it down! We also really struggled to find bridesmaid dresses for the girls that weren’t expensive and over the top. We left it until late in case they grew but then everything was out of stock and it got really late in the wedding plans to start running around looking for dresses. It worked out well though because we found the dresses in the GUS catalogue for £14 each and they were just what we wanted!
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
Try not to take on too much. I delegated initially but things didn’t get done or weren’t done how I wanted and I ended up doing it myself, so then I was reluctant to give out any more jobs, which meant I had far too much to do and got really stressed out by it all (it didn’t help that I also changed jobs two weeks before the wedding!). I would also advise that you stick to your guns and tell people what you want. I tried to please people and it didn’t always work. But most of all – enjoy the day and try to spend as much time with your new husband as possible at the reception – it’s your day, the guests can entertain themselves without you checking on them!