28/08/2004 – St Paul’s Church, Wednesbury
The Great Barr Hotel, Great Barr, Birmingham
How and when did you meet?
Richard and I met in May 2001. I was friends with one of Richard’s work mates (Paul) and had wanted to meet Richard on several occasions but his work mate was very reluctant for us to meet. One day Paul sent me a text from Richard’s mobile as he had no credit on his own so I had Richard’s number. I sent Richard a text saying something like ‘I hear you got a new car, how about showing it to me’. He texted me back and said ‘I’ll take you for a ride in it if you want’. The rest is history as they say!
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
We went on holiday to Torquay in Devon for a week in 2002 as we’d had quite a rough first year. During our first six months together, my grandad passed away from lung cancer. A month later Richard’s nan passed away from breast cancer and four months after that Richard’s mom passed away from cancer. So in the first 12 months we’d had three close deaths in the family. We decided to go away just for a week four months after Richard’s mom had passed away and it was there that Richard proposed to me.
It was the 14th July and we’d climbed up around 150 steps to the top of this cliff that overlooked the bay of Torquay, Paighton and Brixham. It was about 9.45pm, the sun was just setting and Richard was standing the behind me with his arms around my waist. Suddenly this ring appeared in front of me and Richard whispered ‘Sara I love you will you marry me?’ Of course I said yes!
Did you have hen and stag celebrations?
We didn’t have any hen or stag do’s. All the family just went out for a meal which was lovely.
Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?
Richard was fantastic. He helped organise the venue, cake, church, music and hymns. I made all the wedding invitations, order of service, favours, table plan and anything else to do with the reception and Richard helped me with them. All in all he was fab and very involved. The only thing he didn’t know about was my dress…
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
I used confetti a lot! Confetti was a wealth of information and party products that we used constantly. We didn’t create our own website because I was very new to computers at the time and didn’t know how, but using the confetti website was brilliant. I ordered several things and used the website daily – even if it was just to talk to other brides in the cafe or to find a supplier.
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
Yes I did! I ordered online and was very pleased with my purchases. I also bought a few things in the Confetti sale which was brilliant.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it
My outfit was a two piece bodice and skirt from Berkertex Bride in Birmingham (which is now Caroline Castigliano). I tried on several dresses but decided on a two piece as I found the dresses were very heavy and all the weight was on my shoulders. I’m only 5ft 3in tall and I felt like the dresses swamped me so decided on a beautiful corset and an organza skirt.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
I had three bridesmaids – my sister Natalie who is 22 and my two nieces Emma and Katie who are eight and four. Natalie and Emma wore dresses in deep burgundy and Katie wore an ivory organza dress with a burgundy sash around the middle.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
Richard chose his best friend from work, Tom, and we had two ushers. One was my sister Natalie’s boyfriend, Andrew, and the other was friend of ours called Brian. They all wore (including my dad) the same suits which we hired charcoal suits with a white wing shirt, champagne coloured cravat and handkerchief with a burgundy, champagne and cream waistcoat.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
We had a religious ceremony.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
We had the ceremony at St Paul’s Church in Wednesbury.
Where did you hold your reception?
We held the reception at The Great Barr Hotel in Great Barr.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
We had two vintage cars – a 1929 Ford Phaeton convertible for me and a 1929 Ford Phaeton Limousine for the bridesmaids.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
We had 43 people during the day and an extra 80 people for the evening reception.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
Yes we had burgundy, ivory and gold in the flowers, dresses, invitations and balloons. The style was very traditional.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
We had burgundy napkins with a burgundy and ivory flower centrepiece for the top table. We had ivory, gold and burgundy balloons with burgundy rose petals and burgundy confetti. We decided to make the main colour burgundy as it was so striking against the white linen of the tablecloths.
Did you give your guests favours?
We gave five sweets in a box with our names and the date of the wedding printed on them. I made these myself with several different trimmings.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
I had a half crescent bouquet with burgundy cala lilies, cream roses, orchids, foliage and a touch of gold. My bridesmaids had hand-tied bouquets with cala lillies and roses. Richard had a cream cala lily buttonhole to match mine and all the attendants had cream rose buttonholes. My mom, sister and nan all had burgundy and cream orchid corsages. The centrepiece for the reception on the top table was cream and burgundy with roses and carnations.
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
The hotel did all the catering. We started with cream of Evesham vegetable soup with cheese croutons, followed by roast beef with horseradish sauce, yorkshire pudding, potatoes and vegetables. For pudding we had sherry trifle with coffee, tea and mints to follow.
What did you choose for your wedding cake?
We had a three tier ivory wedding cake. The bottom two tiers were round and the top tier was a dome shape. We had a traditional fruit for the bottom, the middle was a jam and cream sponge and the top was a chocolate cake. It had nine inch pillars so the cake was nearly four feet high. It was decorated with swags of icing around the cakes with burgundy cala lillies and cream roses with green ivy.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
We had no entertainment during the day as there wasn’t time but we did have a DJ for the evening so we could have a good dance.
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
I made my own gift list with items from a selection of stores.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
We spent our first night at the hotel as it was included in wedding package. We decided to have two honeymoons – one in England and the other abroad! We went to Yorkshire for a week the day after the wedding and we go to Lanzarote for a week in September.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
Probably seeing Richard at the end of the aisle when I walked into church – his face was a picture. He had never seen me in a dress as I normally wear jeans and trainers. Also saying my vows was very moving as I never believed that I would get married.
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
The only thing that I would probably change was that I’d probably get married earlier than 2pm. The day went so fast and there wasn’t enough time between the dinner and the arrival of the evening guests. I didn’t have time to sit down and take everything in but that’s the only thing. We both had a beautiful day and just wish we could do it all over again.