Melissa and Paul
04/06/2005 – Walgrave Church
How and when did you meet?
We met in my local village pub on 10 November 1995. I had recently split from a boyfriend, and my best friend had dragged me down to the pub to drown my sorrows. I sat there with a glum face watching 2 guys playing pool – one of them was Paul. He came over to chat to me, and bought me a drink – half a lager (which I detest!). He soon realised that I was a classy chick!, and bought me a Baileys instead. We chatted for ages (with my best friend there too), at the end of the evening we said good-bye, and he gave me a kiss on the lips. I saw him down the pub a couple of times after that and each time he would ask me to go out on a date, jokingly I thought. Eventually I agreed (after my end of GCSE party – a little worse for wear!). He rang me the following day, whilst I was suffering the mother of all hangovers, and he asked if I wanted to back out. I didn’t! We went to the cinema, and as they say, the rest is history. That was nine years ago!
How old are you both?
I’m 25, he’s 32.
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
We had planned to go to the Lake District for Valentine’s day, but it was too pricey, so I booked the hotel a few weeks after. Paul had been talking about us getting engaged for some time (we’d been together long enough!). Little did I know that he had been planning things behind my back. He had been saving like mad for ages!
One day, we’d arranged to get Sky installed, so as they weren’t due until the afternoon, Paul popped into town, and got the ring! He was so scared that he’d die before he gave it to me, he rang his friend and told him where it was hidden! The poor soul desperately wanted to tell me that day, as I was so upset because I had lost my Grandfather the day before and my parents were away. It was a tough time. On the day of the funeral, he told my Mum his plans – she was gobsmacked! My Mum is terrible at keeping a secret, especially something like that!! But she did!! Paul also used to play mind games with me in the three weeks he had the ring, before he gave it to me. After a few drinks, he’d ask me silly things like would I like to see my ring, then in the next breath he’d say that I’d have to wait until the summer, when he got a bonus (he would say things like this before he had the ring, so there was no reason to suspect)! I’d sit there in a huff with him!
Then we went to the Lake District. Paul nearly drove into the back of several cars on the drive up there, as his mind was elsewhere. I had no idea that this was the reason. I thought he was just being stupid with his driving (of my brand new car!). We stopped off at a service station for lunch. Paul had to survey the entire carpark before we could park the car, asking me ‘did I think the car would be safe?!’ As far as I knew, there were only ski jackets & jumpers in the car, which is exactly what my reply was!
We arrived in Windermere in a light snow storm. It was perfect, very cold, but perfect! We went to find somewhere to eat out, on the way, we passed a chippy, I asked Paul if we could eat there! He managed to persuade me that it was our first night, and as we hadn’t been away for a while so it would be nice to eat somewhere posh (I am sooo gullible!). We found a little quiet bistro, just down the road from the hotel. We booked a table, and went back to the hotel to get changed.
We arrived back at the restaurant in our ski jackets (it was about minus 7 outside!). Paul was very reluctant to give his up to the waitress!! Paul ordered my favourite wine, and we ordered our meals. We had a pleasant night of general chit chat. After the main course, the waitress asked if we’d like dessert, me being me, of course said yes! Paul nearly started sweating! As the dessert arrived, Paul disappeared to the toilet, came back and watched me eating my dessert. After I finished, he took my hand, and asked me if I loved him! Alarm bells started ringing here, why was he asking me this?! I answered ‘Yes of course honey’. His reply was, ‘well in that case, would you do me the honour of becoming my wife?’ and produced a platinum & diamond solitaire engagement ring!! I burst into tears, squeaked out a yes, and spent the rest of the evening celebrating with a bottle of champagne & grinning!
Did you have hen and stag celebrations?
Yes, we both did! I had a hen night & a hen weekend. Paul had a stag day & night! My Chief Bridesmaid arranged everything for my Hen Night. She arranged for Paul to take me to my parents, where a limo would pick us up & drive us to a surprise location! We had champagne in the car, so after a few champagne cocktails at my parents & 3 glasses of champagne before we even got there, I was pretty merry!! The place we went to is opposite the station where I catch a train everyday, so how I didn’t guess it was there, I don’t know! We had a great night of eating & more drinking! I was very drunk by the end of the evening. My hen weekend was spent in Milan, with my Mum, Auntie, two cousins & two Bridesmaid’s. We all had a fab time, most of which was spent shopping & sight seeing! Paul spent his day paintballing, before getting a minibus to Birmingham, where my Dad had booked a table in a Chinese restaurant in China Town, After that, my Dad had also arranged tickets for Spearmint Rhino. They apparently had a good night, and got back at about 4am!
Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?
He nodded in the right places, came to view the venue, cars, rings & suits, and left the rest to me! He knew that it was probably best that way!!
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
Oh yes, I am very much a regular on the ‘For her’ forum. I was one of those people asking stupid questions in the run up to the big day! Now I just offer advice & try and calm the brides-to-be down! It’s very stressful! I am so grateful for the forum, plus I have made some great internet friends too! One of which I am meeting in two weeks time!
Do you have a confetti web page?
I did, but it wasn’t used that much.
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
I never managed to get near a store! Boo hoo!
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it.
My dress was by Donna Salado, and was bought from the Donna Salado store in Northampton. I wasn’t sure about it when it was on the hanger, but when I tried it on, I just grinned inanely. My Mum & Chief Bridesmaid knew it was "the one"! Not to mention the fact I was skipping round the room, and refused to take it off! I got my shoes from Ivory of Bond Street in Birmingham, and my veil was ordered in with my dress. I also wore a garter.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
I had two adult bridesmaids & one little one, aged seven. The two adults were two of my oldest friends. I have known both of them for 16 years. Nina & I were best friends from the day we met, Elinor & I used to go to Brownies & hated each other until we went to secondary school. The little bridesmaid is Nina’s daughter. The adults dresses were by Coast, and my little bridesmaid wore a dress by Pierce Fionda at Debenhams.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
Paul chose his brother to be best man, there wasn’t anyone else he would have wanted! He also had his stepdad & my brother as Usher’s. His page boy, Max is his cousin’s son. They all wore full length black frock coats with Ivory & gold waistcoats, and pale gold cravats.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
We had a religious ceremony.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
It was held in the church of the village where Paul’s Dad lives, and where I went to Primary school. It meant a lot to us to get married there.
Where did you hold your reception?
Sedgebrook Hall. Somewhere where Paul & I had always joked for many years that if we got married, we would have our reception there! My Dad & brother lit the outside of the house, and did a stunning job of the reception room!
Did you have any special wedding transport?
Yes! We had a 1935 Bentley for our wedding car, and to transport all the guests to and from the Church, my Father in Law arranged a Double decker routemaster (A red London bus in other words!), which was a huge talking point with many of the guests!
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
We had 81 adults, and 6 children to the wedding breakfast & an additional 20/30 people arrived for the evening reception.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
Not particularly. Just pale gold, ivory & dusky pink.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
We had favours which were wrapped in pink tissue paper & placed inside a pale gold organza bag. The table flowers were a single large pink antherium in a vase.
Did you give your guests favours?
Yes, the ladies had a Boots No7 lipstick or nail varnish, the men had an aftershave such as Hugo Boss, Davidoff etc. All were bought in the January sales! They were a bargain, and went down a storm!
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
My bouquet (and the bridesmaids) consisted of White roses, white lillies & pink orchids. The bridesmaids had the same, but no open lillies. The groom wore an orchid buttonhole, whilst the rest wore white roses. The table centres were large pink antheriums (which lasted for 8 weeks after the wedding!). We also had pedestals & top table arrangement down in the same flowers as the bouquets.
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 handled by the venue. We knew it would be good, we’ve had some fantastic food there in the past. We had Assiette of melon served with champagne sorbet & raspberry coulis to start. Followed by Lamb chumb with a herb & dijon mustard crust, served with seasonal vegetables & roast potatoes. The dessert was Apple & cinnamon creme brulee served with shortbread.
What did you choose for your wedding cake?
The cake was from M&S! It was such a bargain, that we couldn’t not have one!! We had three tiers, the top two were fruit, whilst the bottom one was chocolate. The florist decorated the cake using the same flowers as before.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
We had a string quartet during the arrival of the guests, and wedding breakfast. Then from 6pm, we had a caricaturist. At 7.30pm, the chocolate fountain was up & ready, and at 8pm the band came on stage. The band were great, they played their first set in normal dress, the second set, they dressed up in 1970’s disco gear, complete with huge afro wigs & glittery waistcoats!!!
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
We had two gift lists. One with Wrapit, the other with John Lewis. Though most people gave us money.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
Our first night was spent at Sedgebrook. We finally went to bed at 2.30am – we were the last ones in the bar!! I decided not to take my hair out, as I knew I would be there all day! The following morning it was great to see everyone again at Breakfast (whilst I was wearing my Mrs Foxon t-shirt, still with the hair up!!). We flew to St. Lucia on the Tuesday morning, but my parents arranged for us to stay down at Gatwick the night before. We stayed at the Windjammer Landing resort & spa, which was lovely!
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
have several! When I arrived at the Church with my Dad, and I could hear the bells, then as the car pulled up outside the church, I saw the front of the bus – at that moment I knew it was my wedding day (the earlier part of the day was a surreal experience of me thinking it doesn’t feel like it is my wedding day!) The second was as we came out of the church and looked at Paul, and simply said ‘we’re married! And we both started jumping around!
Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
Not many, a few with guests dropping out with less than 24 hours to go, and others arriving who you haven’t invited, but hey!! I also had a minor nightmare when my necklace dropped to bits as I went to put it on as I was ready to leave the house!! My Mum then had a frantic search to find me something suitable! The necklace I wore is hers, so ended up being my something borrowed!! Oh we also ran out of tape on the video camera, as I didn’t realise that there wasn’t a spare in the bag (no-one had thought to tell me!), so we only have the ceremony & speeches on tape.
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
Absolutely nothing! I loved every minute of the day. We summed up the day in one word…perfect!