These days, many couples choose to have a smaller wedding and reception. Not only does this often save on cost, but with only the closest of friends and family sharing…
Written by Paula Jones Last updated: October 29, 2009
3rd October 2009
We nearly didn’t meet each other, we were both persuaded by our groups of friends to go out into our local town that night, which so happened to be 3rd October 2005. That’s why we chose that date to get married. He was already in a bar when we walked in, we noticed the group of them looking rather lost, as it was their first night out in town and they weren’t sure where the best places to go were. We ended up talking to them for most of the night and me and Paul swapped numbers. We arranged to go on a few dates and got on really well, and haven’t been apart since.
I am 26, Paul is 29
On 7th August 2008 we were at home celebrating me getting my new job and Paul coming back from Afghanistan, with a nice meal and bubbly. He had just been out on a tour with his unit (RAF). Halfway through the night when we were watching a film he just turned and asked me to marry him, I said yes of course. He then ran off into the kitchen to locate the ring he had hidden away and proposed again down on one knee. I said yes again and we then rang all of the family to tell them. He did tell me later that he was going to propose when he took me out for a posh meal at the weekend, but said he couldn’t wait any longer, the two weeks since he had been back was long enough, bless him.
For the stag do, Paul and all of his friends and brothers went to Leeds for a night out. It sounds like that had a fab time with all the typical shots and dares. They even dressed him up in a cassock and made him go round with that on for most of the night. This is one of the ‘in’ jokes with them all, so was obviously really funny for them all. Us girls went to Newcastle for the hen weekend. We went to TGI Fridays for a late lunch/early tea, and then dressed up as the England rugby team for the night out. The girls were brilliant at planning it, they had even made up ‘Mr & Mrs’ style game cards, and if I got any of the answers wrong I had to draw out a dare card from the pack. We then all went onto Tiger Tiger as we had some VIP entry and drinks cards and boogied the night away.
Paul helped quite a lot with the planning, a lot more than he had planned to anyway! He was there for all the planning meetings with suppliers etc, and helped choose the colour themes and table decorations which was really nice. I would have hated to have planned everything for him not to like something, especially with it being both of our day. The only thing he didn’t help with was obviously my dress and accessories, but I did get him tying bows and roses onto the girl’s favours one evening too, so he cant use the excuse he doesn’t have a crafty side any more!
Yes I did, I was never off the bride & groom forum. Also used the planner tools on the site too.
I bought several things like cameras and bit for the favours etc. I used the online shop as I’m not near a store, but this proved easier as could get on with other things when waiting for it to be delivered.
My dress is a white strapless A-line gown with cathedral length train. It is number 47115 from Forever Yours, I got it from Perfection Bridal in Lincoln. My veil also came from here, they managed to find one with beading and crystals to match the pattern on my dress. My tiara is from Amanda Wyatt, and my shoes are Patsy from Rainbow Club.
I had three bridesmaids, my Maid of Honour was Nichola one of my best friends, she really is a star and helped us out so much. My other two were my good friend Michelle (whose husband was one of the best men), and Paul’s sister Helen. They all wore tea-length dark blue taffeta strapless dresses, they were similar to a Dessy design I have seen.
Paul chose two best men, they are both his good friends he went through training with (RAF), Dean (Nichola’s husband) and Tim (Michelle’s husband). Dean wore his number one’s and Tim wore his best suit. We only found out that Tim was able to come the week of the wedding. He was meant to have gone to Afghanistan the week before, but I received a phone call asking if there was enough room for him if his plane hadn’t gone. I didn’t tell Paul, I thought it would be nicer for Tim to turn up at the dinner after the rehearsal and surprise him.
We had a religious ceremony.
We had our ceremony at St John the Baptist Church at Scampton. It is a lovely church, and quite fitting that it is linked to the military as it’s being the church for the Dambusters and war memorials.
We had our wedding breakfast and evening reception at The Grange Willows. They had a marquee in their grounds that we used. It was lovely, as out of the windows of the marquee you could see all the hills and fields of the wolds, it was so pretty.
We hired a Wraith Rolls Royce in blue and silver, it was loads lovelier than it had looked in all the pictures. Everyone was amazed what a nice car it was, and it went ever so well with the bridesmaids dresses and Paul and Dean’s uniforms.
We had 70 guests for the church ceremony and wedding breakfast, then we had invited another 40 people to come to the evening reception. These were mainly colleagues and friends from work and their partners.
Our theme was dark blue and light pink. The marquee had dark blue carpet and swag around the top, we also had dark blue napkins. We decided to have large round tables, and just use the top one as the ‘top table’, I didn’t want it to seem too formal with it being in a marquee in that setting, the layout seemed more comfortable and it was easier to talk to those around us.
The centrepieces were fish bowls with dark blue heart confetti sprinkled around them, they had light pink sand with an avalanche rose and bear grass. We also had a string of three balloons, one dark blue, one silver, and one pink per table. These all linked in nicely with the rest of the marquee.
The guests favours were either grey tuxedo boxes filled with jelly sweets in for the boys, or white handbag shaped boxes decorated with pink ribbon and a paper rose filled with chocolate hearts for the girls. For the children I got them a little toy and colouring book with some chocolate buttons.
My flowers were a tear drop shaped bouquet, with avalanche pink roses with diamante pins, white fresias and a little hint of some green foliage. They were gorgeous and better than I had imagined them to be. The bridesmaids had a posy each that was similar to mine, but they had a slightly darker rose and a hint more green. The florist had also tied them with matching fabric to the dresses which I wasn’t expecting and was a nice touch. The groom and best men’s buttonholes were roses that matched my bouquet, and the other corsages and buttonholes were white fresias and roses. She also did the table centrepieces which were pink avalanche roses with bear grass. The florist was a local lady, Helen Broadhurst, she worked from home. I met her and her husband at a few local wedding fairs. As soon as we had met them we had decided she would be the best, her displays were nice and simple and exactly what I wanted, she was also lovely to boot.
Our wedding breakfast was a fork buffet. We had a meat platter, prawn cocktail, various mixed salads, cheese and pepper tarts, a few different quiches, baby baked potatoes, coleslaw, rolls and various other ‘picnic’ type foods. For dessert was Baileys cheesecake or lemon drizzle cake. The food was lovely and most people went up for seconds and thirds. It was nice as it was all home made (we kept making excuses to go through the kitchen at the venue the night before because it smelt so good!), the best bit was we could easily cater for people’s food allergies and vegetarians too. For the evening reception we had our cake cut up and local bacon in home made rolls, vegetarians had brie with cranberry.
Our wedding cake was a three tiered sponge cake. The top tier was chocolate, the middle tier lemon madeira, and the bottom tier jam and cream sponge. They were all covered with marzipan and white icing, and were decorated between the tiers with pink roses, on the top was out Me to You bear decoration with a few rose petals. Mary Hoban of Shortcakes bakery in Wragby, Market Rasen made our cake, we took her a picture we found and like in a magazine and she made it to look exactly like it.
For the whole day we had borrowed some large garden games from the mess at Paul’s camp. These were giant jenga, hoopla toss and beanbag throw. We put them in an empty corner of the marquee for the children and ‘big kids’ to play with during the toasts, speeches etc. It was quite funny during the best man’s speech, the jenga fell down and everyone shouted ‘jenga!’ we couldn’t stop laughing. They were also used throughout the evening reception too, the boys got all competitive and took the beanbag throw and hoopla toss outside to have a competition who could win it all the furthest away. For the evening reception we also had a disco, the dj was very good and played an excellent mix of music. He even gave us a cd with our first dance song on at the end of the night.
We had a gift list with Debenhams, but we did also have an alternative of our honeymoon fund if anyone wanted to put towards that instead.
We spent our first night as husband and wife at the venue. The next days was spent packing and unpacking all the various wedding items. We went on a minimoon to Northumberland and Scotland for a week the Monday after the wedding, our proper honeymoon will be next year (2010), we are going to Cancun for two weeks.
The whole day was memorable, but the part that got me the most was walking down the aisle and seeing him standing at the front waiting for me. I nearly broke down in tears I was so happy.
Luckily there wasn’t anything too major that went wrong, just the odd little things like forgetting to do a song list for the dj, and running out of time to do other little things which weren’t really important and no-one missed on the day.
There isn’t anything we would do differently, but I would advise other brides to just go with the flow. Try not to structure your day too much otherwise all you will be doing is worrying about the time. Enjoy it all as it goes way too quickly, but most of all make sure you have at least half hour alone time with your new husband. We did that between the breakfast and evening reception and it was the best, as you don’t really see that much of each other with all different family and friends wishing to speak or dance with you.