What is your first name? Jessica What is your last name? Welsh What is your maiden name? Welsh What is the name of your groom? Michael When was your wedding?…
Written by Sahdia Qayyum Last updated: March 16, 2015
This week’s real wedding by Momentous Photography is an absolute joy from start to finish. Not only are the pictures stunning, but the detail in which Lizzie, our bride, describes the wedding makes you feel you were there celebrating the day with them. You’re going to thoroughly enjoy seeing and reading Lizzie and Greg’s real wedding.
We were both actors and met shooting a short film together, we had to play a couple and we just got on. When the filming had finished we got the train back to London and travelled right to the end of the line, missing both our stops because we couldn’t stop chatting. I had just started seeing someone else and so wasn’t looking for a romantic relationship so we stayed in touch as friends. That relationship fizzled out and when I told Greg it had ended he offered to take me out to take my mind off things and I suddenly realised I’d been hoping he would. The rest, as they say, is history. It was obvious straight away that this was something that was going to last, we moved in together after only five months!
The process of choosing my wedding dress was more difficult than I initially thought it would be. I’m not someone who has been dreaming of their wedding day since they were little – meeting Mr Right and getting married had never been my priority but it had just happened. I had never really imagined what kind of wedding I wanted or what kind of dress and, initially, I didn’t want to look like a bride at all but thought about just wearing a nice non-traditional dress. I hated the idea of being the centre of attention and looking like ‘a bride’. I have had a lot of confidence issues in the past and I think this was just a process I had to go through but luckily I had my friend Nicole, my mum and lots of other friends gently persuading me that it would be OK to look like ‘the bride’ on my wedding day. Nicole and I tried some dresses on at The National Wedding Show in London and I started to think more about what I wanted. I was pretty set on A-line, lace and something that showed off my back – one thing I was certain of, no fishtails or anything that fitted – I didn’t have the figure for it. We had tried looking in one or two shops but my mum suggested that we take a look at David’s Bridal in Stratford and after trying on a few dresses I ended up trying some fitted styles and really liked them – I had always thought that only skinny models could wear that shape but actually it’s designed to show off curves. I tried a trumpet style dress by Melissa Sweet dress with capped sleeves and a lace back and when I looked in the mirror I felt six feet tall. It was the polar opposite of what I’d decided I wanted but it’s true what they say, you do get a feeling. I came back to David’s bridal three times and tried on every dress in the shop it felt like, but I kept coming back to that one so that was that. The staff at David’s bridal were just lovely and so helpful, I think it’s a great place to go and get an idea of what you want – especially if, like me, you are a bit nervous about the whole ‘dress’ thing.
We had the whole wedding – ceremony and reception at Chartridge Lodge in Chesham Buckinghamshire. We had around 90 guests for the ceremony which was about the full amount we could. I remember walking along the corridor with my father and my bridesmaids and having to wait outside the room just out of site. I didn’t exactly feel nervous but very excited. Before the big day Greg and I had made a £20.00 bet on who would be the most emotional but I actually felt very calm throughout the whole thing (and therefore won the bet!). It wasn’t until Greg and I were on the train back up to London the next day the full realisation hit me and I embarrassingly (and very publically) sobbed for the whole journey. We didn’t want a religious ceremony but we did pick a couple of readings ‘I Love You’ by Roy Croft and ‘A Lovely Love Story’ by Edward Monkton which were read out by my best friend Nicole and my Mother in Law Patsi and they really made the ceremony special.
Our wedding photographer was Debbie Simister, I found her by trawling the internet for local wedding photographers but finding affordable ones was difficult. When I found Debbie’s website I loved her pictures and contacted her – she offered to come round and meet us face to face and show us her pictures and what she offered. To be honest I decided to hire her as soon as I opened the front door. She’s a great character as well as being a fantastic photographer – throughout the whole process Greg and I were looking for people we wanted to work with as well as great suppliers (this meant that we enjoyed the process of organising this wedding so much more). Debbie was and is fantastic and I love the moments she captured on the day, she is such a positive force, just the kind of person you want to have around you on your wedding day when everything is so frenetic. One of my favourite pictures is of my father and I reflected in a mirror as we are walking to the ceremony room – one of those moments you’d just miss if it wasn’t caught in a photograph. She took some really beautiful pictures of Greg and I, but also captured our silly side and those are the pictures I really cherish – they’re just us!
Our whole wedding was at Chartridge Lodge – we wanted ease and no stress on the day and liked having the whole thing under one roof. The garden at Chartridge is beautiful and we were blessed with a lovely sunny day which added to the relaxed atmosphere. We initially struggled finding a venue – I was very focused on the reception and the party, I wanted things to be relaxed and easy so had been thinking a registry office followed by a party at a pub or restaurant, whereas Greg focused more on the ceremony and wanted something grander and more traditional. Chartridge Lodge was the first place we both walked into and could see ourselves getting married. It’s a gorgeous Edwardian House set in beautiful grounds but has a very relaxed atmosphere and didn’t feel too daunting. Co-incidentally the venue was only five minutes away from my parents and the house I grew up in. We had been looking in London but found venues there very expensive. The cost of the wedding was shared between my parents, Greg’s parents and us and we did have a strict budget but found Chartridge really affordable and very spacious, allowing for people to dance with the band or sit at the bar or outside if they wanted to be away from the music. On the day the wedding coordinator wouldn’t let me worry about a thing and the venue handled everything – even when the speeches overran by an hour! The food the venue provided was beautiful (the food and drink was very important to us as … well eating and drinking are very important to us).
My first and most important piece of advice is to remember it’s your day. Everyone has their own opinion and everyone will give it to you which is lovely, but can be overwhelming. Everyone has a slightly different idea of what a wedding should be but it’s yours that counts so identify what kind of wedding you want – large, small, at home, abroad, traditional, modern, what budget etc and then stick to your guns. Pick a few things that are really important to you and don’t worry about the rest –it will look lovely, it’s a wedding after all. Greg and I were worried about so many things at first – by the end we agreed that as long as we left the day married it would be a success. Secondly the day is made special by including the people that you love – that’s what creates the memories. Thirdly (and something that we were lucky on) try and choose lovely suppliers. I based a lot of my choices of supplier on a gut instinct after meeting them which meant that we ended up working with a lot of lovely, talented people with no fuss or traumas. It makes a huge difference and I can 100% say I would recommend any one of the suppliers we used without a shadow of a doubt.
Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal | Wedding Suits: Moss Bross | Bridesmaid Dresses: Davids Bridal (USA) | Wedding Flowers: Maples Flowers | Wedding Entertainment: Single Soldier Circus Theatre Company | Wedding Photographer: Momentous Photography | Wedding Cake: Sophie’s | Wedding Make-up: Pam Lamb | Wedding Transport: Driven by James | Wedding Venue: Chartridge Lodge | Wedding Band: El Pollo Diablo
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