Philippa and Johnny’s Real Life Wedding

Written by    Last updated: February 28, 2007


Philippa and Johnny

02/12/2006 – The Saxon Mill, Warwick

Philippa and Johnny's wedding photos

How and when did you meet?

We met on a Friday night out in town on 1st September 2000 – I remember the date because Johnny was showing off about the brand new car he had picked up that day! His friend came to speak to me and I remember thinking how nice he was but that I didn’t really fancy him! I then set eyes on Johnny and thought he was just gorgeous! He must have thought I was ok too as he kissed me within minutes!

How old are you both?

I am 24 and Johnny is 29.

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

It was quite unusual! He asked me on Christmas Eve 2005 whilst I was in the bath at our house. He put a voice box inside a teddy bear which he had named ‘Roland’ which said “I love you. Please marry me”. He chose the ring himself and proposed with it, which was really important to me – having the ability to go out and chose an incredibly important and special piece of jewellery for me without any input from me or my friends and family proved that he truly knows me.

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

I had a girly weekend at home with a few of my closest friends and mine and Johnny’s sisters. We had a boozy, girly pajama party on the Friday night, followed by a full blown hen night dressed as bunnies out in town on the Saturday. Johnny went to Cork with a few mates – they dressed up as Spinal Tap and drank Guinness!

How did your groom help with the wedding planning?

He helped with all the big decisions regarding suppliers, etc and made a lot of phone calls on my behalf as I have a tendency to be dizzy and ridiculous on the phone!

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

I used the forums a lot and sourced many of my suppliers by speaking to other brides to be! I also used the venue search facility when I began my initial planning and ordered my disposable cameras and guest book from the website.

Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?

I bought disposable cameras, table name holders, ribbon, guest book and flower girl gift frolm the website.

Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it

I wore a strapless ivory silk dupion fishtail dress which featured embroidery, lace and sparkly detail! It was a Pronovias dress and I bought it from The Pantiles Bride in Henley-In-Arden. I wore gorgeous round toed Filippa Scott shoes and a marabou shrug. I wore a fingertip veil for the ceremony (changing to my shrug during the signing of the register) and had a hair slide, earrings and a bracelet made from vintage brooches, diamante and pearls.

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

I had two bridesmaids – my younger sister who was chief bridesmaid and Johnny’s 8 year old niece. They wore mulberry coloured floor length satin two piece outfits – my younger bridesmaid’s dress was the same as my older bridesmaid except her dress featured straps. I thought this was lovely as she felt like a real grown up bridesmaid, rather than just a flower girl. The same lady who made my bespoke jewellery and hair slide made matching hair accessories out of vintage earrings for them – a hair slide for my sister and a tiara for Johnny’s niece. They wore silver, glittery shoes.

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

Johnny’s best man was his very old friend, Fox, and his oldest nephew was an usher. We wanted an eclectic look and wanted to avoid morning dress as we didn’t feel it was very ‘us’ or reflective of the informal day we wanted. Johnny wore a beautiful navy blue Vivienne Westwood suit with a ivory and silver Valentino tie and tan shoes. It was important to us that he also have a fantastic outfit that he felt special in rather than a previously worn hired suit. His best man wore his own suit, but we did hire for the 2 younger boys (the usher and my page boy) – they wore charcoal lounge suits with lilac bow ties.

Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?

We had a beautiful religious ceremony.

Where did you hold your ceremony?

Our ceremony was held in our gorgeous, tiny parish church. Its only means of artificial lighting is still candles and is kept in an original condition – there is no vestry so we signed the register on the Throckmorton (famous Warwickshire family) tomb! A soprano sang during the signing of the register and we chose our music very carefully as we wanted the whole day to be filled with incredible music!

Where did you hold your reception?

Our reception was held at The Saxon Mill, which is a converted medieval watermill. The wheel is still turning! It is set on the banks of the river Avon with beautiful views of the ruined Guys Cliffe House from the grounds.

Did you have any special wedding transport?

Yes. We hired a beautiful silver MK II Jaguar – the car made famous by Inspector Morse! Which took my dad and me to the church and Johnny and me to the reception. My mum and bridesmaids traveled in a Daimler limousine.

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

45 guests attended all day and an additional 50 or so in the evening – we wanted an intimate informal day followed by a big party atmosphere in the evening!

Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?

The general idea was to create an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere for our guests. Our colour scheme was silver and ivory with touches of different shades of purple here and there (but mainly in the flowers).

How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?

We kept our tables very simple. They featured white cloths and ivory stationery with lots of candles and tea lights in glass holders. Our table centres were big bunches of lilac and ivory roses, ivory amaranthus and purple lisianthus in tall vases.

Did you give your guests favours?

We gave sprigs of mistletoe toed with a silver ribbon to each female guest. I found it difficult to find something appropriate for the gents, so they didn’t get anything I’m afraid!

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

Our florist was a fantastic freelance lady called Julia Mitchell. All flowers were lilac, ivory and purple and featured roses, freesia, amaranthus and lisianthus with lots of green. My bridesmaids and I carried hand tied bouquets. Our table centres were big bunches of flowers in tall vases – our florist also wound greenery and fairy lights around pillars in our function room and made the mistletoe favours. We spent a considerable amount on flowers as we also had church flowers, but they were stunning and worth every penny.

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 our venue – the chef was trained under Gorgon Ramsey so we were suitably impressed! Our menu featured: smoked haddock and salmon fishcake with dill hollandaise and poached egg; roast rump of lamb with root vegetable mash and red wine jus; gooey chocolate wedding cake and white chocolate ganache with blackberries and vanilla ice cream; cheese (my cousin’s Kiwi boyfriend had never seen blue cheese and sent it back thinking it was mouldy!). It all went down incredibly well!

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

Our cake was made by Crumbs! It was stacked tiers of gorgeous gooey chocolate sponge iced with white chocolate ganache and decorated with lilac freesia.

Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?

A soprano sang Ave Maria, Faure’s Pie Jesu and Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring during our ceremony. We played Rat Pack classics during the wedding breakfast and the most incredible rock ‘n’ roll band played three sets during the evening! They were called ‘Wild’ and had big quiffy hair and leopard print outfits!

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

We had a Trailfinders giftl ist for money towards our honeymoon and a Wrapit list for household items.

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

We spent our first night at Coombe Abbey and left for our honeymoon the next day. We spent 12 nights traveling around Sri Lanka during which we went on safari and saw some incredible wildlife, followed by five nights 5 starring it in The Maldives – our resort was out of this world and it was heaven despite virtually no sunshine!

What was your most memorable moment of the day?

When my husband and I kissed in the church we forgot where we were for a moment and kissed for rather longer than would be considered appropriate! Everyone cheered and whooped us, but it made it really memorable and I’m so glad we had a proper kiss rather than a cold little peck!

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

My hairdresser let me down two weeks before the wedding – he had booked me in for the wrong time! My husband’s suit was sent to be altered and came back unaltered (a big near miss as if we hadn’t checked we’d have been completely stuffed on the day!) and we discovered I was allergic to my anti-malarial tablets so we had a mad doctors rush to get it sorted!

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

Not really to be honest, our day went beautifully and without any real hitches – the things that did go wrong didn’t really matter, we were just so happy that we were getting married that this overtook any other emotion! I drank too much the night before due to nerves and had a mild hangover which didn’t really go until the afternoon – I wouldn’t recommend doing this!

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