The first time we actually saw one another was on a playing field near our school, but it was at school that we managed to properly bond. We were asked to work together on a science project. Alex and I liked each other from day one, but I was a conscientious student and throughout school I kept turning down his advances. We were only 13 or 14 when we met, but there was definitely a chemistry between us that we still have. Alex tricked me into spending more time with him outside of school by asking me to tutor him in French, but I must admit that when he came to my house for lessons, we often talked about other things and very soon became best friends. When we left school things became more serious, and I noticed that other girls were interested in him. It was at this point I felt very threatened and realised that I was now ready to take things further, so without hesitation I asked him out. We were both 17 when we officially began our relationship.
How old are you both?
I am 24 and Alex is 25.
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
Alex proposed to me on the 5th June 2004. I remember being really poorly one weekend, and Alex seemed extremely frustrated. I wanted to go for a rest in bed, but Alex was adamant that I must stay up. It was a Saturday morning, and we had made no plans so I couldn’t understand what his anxiety was over. Soon after, a taxi arrived and Alex loaded our pre-packed cases into the boot. He told me we were going away for the weekend. He took me to The Royal Bath Hotel in Bournemouth, and when we arrived I found that he had booked us into the best suite with the most gorgeous balcony and view of the beach. We had fruit and champagne in our room, but we couldn’t enjoy it right away as Alex had arranged for me to have a massage. After my massage I returned to the room and Alex had prepared my clothes and make up. I got ready and he took me to the hotel’s restaurant, Oscars. It was absolutely wonderful. Afterwards we went for a moonlight stroll in the gardens and along the seafront before returning to our suite. Alex took the champagne out onto the balcony and we stood there quietly for a while admiring the view. I was blown away as I could not understand why he had randomly planned such a romantic weekend for us, but it was much appreciated. Then he turned to me, held my hands in his and said “Stacey, you are my world and I love you.” He then got down on one knee and asked “Will you marry me?” He opened a small box which contained a gorgeous platinum ring. I couldn’t believe it; I had been looking at that exact ring in the shop window for months with my Mum, and now here it was in front of me. It was an utterly magical moment, but I dampened the romance slightly by giggling. I was so overwhelmed, but I pulled Alex to his feet, threw my arms around him and kissed him. “Yes, of course I will marry you”. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life, and the rest of the weekend was just as perfect. The most amazing thing though was that after the proposal, my Mum assured me that she never told Alex about the ring, and to this day he assures me that he just knew I would like it.
Did you have hen and stag celebrations? If so, what did you do?
We did have Hen and Stag celebrations, a week before the wedding. Alex went to one end of Bournemouth with his party and I went to the other. However, I must say that Alex had a much more entertaining evening than me. My party began at Hot Rocks, but the seating wasn’t great, resulting in most of my party being sat so apart that we couldn’t talk to one another. Also, due to a misunderstanding with the bill, the meal wound up costing me £115.00 – and that was just my input. Alex went to an Indian Restaurant, I believe Eye Of The Tiger, and he had a marvellous time. My Dad generously paid for the meal as a treat to everyone. The highlight of the evening for me though was meeting with the boys at the end of the evening. Alex had been entertaining everybody with his dancing, and had bruises on his hands from where he was hitting the dancefloor…don’t ask.
How did your groom help with the wedding planning?
To be honest I planned most of the wedding, but Alex helped where necessary or whenever I asked for his input. He was always interested throughout and listened to me for hours on end discuss every little detail. However, I knew exactly what I wanted, so he let me take total control, which was very sweet.
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
I used confetti a great deal. The speech prompts, the real life section, the table and guest planner and the products were all absolutely great. I also kept up to date with the confetti magazine right up until the wedding, in order to keep refreshing ideas. I especially loved seeing what table decorations confetti recommended, and loved looking at other weddings and glifting ideas.
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
I bought a lot of confetti products, including cameras, table confetti, confetti cones and confetti and lots lots more. In fact it was hard knowing when to stop. Confetti has so many great products at competitive prices that I could have gone on and on.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it
I bought my dress from Mojgan Bridal Couture in Bournemouth. Mojgan was absolutely wonderful. When I first visited her I was a lot heavier than I was at the wedding. I was nervous about dress hunting, but she made my experience extremely pleasurable. I wish now that I had perhaps had a slightly different bodice, as when I was bigger it looked great, but when I lost the weight I could have perhaps had it made a bit lower and more fitted. Generally though I was really happy. Mojgan custom makes the dress, and I also bought my tiara, veil, detachable train, bolero and jewellery from her. Actually I bought two tiaras, as I couldn’t decide which one I wanted initially. Mojgan offers a very personal and friendly service and I would recommend that anyone go and visit her. People seem to get worried about having a dress made as it can get rather costly, but Mojgan can suit all budgets and really I am so happy that I didn’t buy from a rail. Also, I found that normal bridal shops were quite rude and snooty towards me due to my size. Unless you are a size 10/12 they don’t seem very interested. Of course that is just based on my experience.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
I had 4 bridesmaids. I chose my sister, sister in law, close friend and cousin. They all looked absolutely gorgeous in their ivory jasmine bridal dresses. People thought that their ivory dresses against my ivory dress would look too much, but it looked great. I saw a picture in a magazine of the dress and contacted my local supplier. The girls never tried on another dress, so the shopping for the bridesmaids was really easy. I bought them some ivory shoes from BHS and some ivory jewellery from Next. Everything of course had a bit of sparkle. The tiaras were provided by Victoria Fergusson; an extremely talented young lady. The tiara was called spring blossom, and usually costs around £145 but as I bought 4 Victoria let me have them for £115 each. The tiara consisted of clear and dark (ebony) crystals. This tiara is unique as it has swarovski crystals on the band at the base of the tiara for extra sparkle.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
Alex chose his best friend Mark to be Best Man and I must say he did a great job. The ushers were my brother, uncle and cousin. The ushers wore a suit from Moss Bros, as did the Best Man, Groom and Father of the Bride. However, the ushers wore silver waistcoats whereas the others wore ivory – with a slightly different jacket. I bought Alex some clear and ebony sparkle cufflinks.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
We had a civil ceremony at the Riviera Hotel in Alum Chine, and there is only a 3 minute walk to the beach from there. The hotel staff were excellent and I was able to relax all day as they took care of everything. They were extremely attentive and really added to the day.
Where did you hold your reception?
Did you have any special wedding transport?
We didn’t need transport, which worked out great as it saved us a lot of money. Also, the weather was terrible on the day, so it would have been awful not to have been in the hotel all day.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
Approximately 55/60 in the day and 150 in the evening. We invited the photographer and videographers (Marlizara Video – the nicest people) to eat with us. Even though they were working, they were a pleasure to have as guests.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
The colour scheme was ebony and ivory, with hints of sparkly silver. Even the chairs in the ceremony room had ribbons of ebony and ivory, as made by our florist.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
We wanted everything quite plain and simple, so white and ivory as a base (ie tablecloths) with silver sparkly confetti. The menus were ivory. There were only hints of ebony here and there. Each table had either a silver or white/ivory disposable camera. This was also the case in the evening – where we also used ivory and silver balloons and an ivory and silver congratulations banner.
Did you give your guests favours?
The guests received sheer ivory bags with silver heart belgian chocolate favours inside. Also inside was an ivory personalised tag.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
Our florist was Penn Hill Florist. The girl who did our flowers was called Rachel, also an extremely gifted individual. I wanted all ivory, so the table flowers were in a square vase with ivory roses and gypsophila. The tables weren’t huge so I couldn’t have exactly what I wanted, but the flowers were still very nice. On the top table we had a long and low arrangement with all ivory flowers. We had two pedestals which again consisted of all ivory flowers. The bouquets were gorgeous. The bridesmaid’s had ivory rose bouquets with green trim and ivory ribbon. The roses then had black diamantes stuck in the centre of each bud. My bouquet was beautiful. It consisted of ivory roses with gypsophila trim and clear diamante crystals in the centre of almost each bud. This had an ivory ribbon. The button holes were ivory roses, but Alex and other important members of the Groom’s party had an ivory rose with gypsophila trim and a black pin in the centre of the bud.
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
The Hotel took care of the food and it was great. We had a melon basket for our starter, as this was a safe option. We had Beef, Potatoes and Vegetables for our main meal and the most luxurious Chocolate Torte for dessert. We then had coffee and cake in the bar after the meal.
What did you choose for your wedding cake, and who made it?
The cake was from Marks and Spencer and cost £60. We opted for an ivory cake, with normal victoria sponge inside. It was lovely and looked great. Especially with the lovely ivory roses that the florist made to complement it. The florist also put ebony ribbon around the base of each tier. The cake stand was unusual and was from Magic Moments in Parkstone. For the evening we had left over wedding cake and we bought a chocolate Marks and Spencer cake to accompany it.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
We had a disco, but the Hotel arranged that for us. I think it was DJ Hub or something like that.
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
We didn’t have a gift list, but we told anybody who asked that we would like Thomas Cook Vouchers, as we would like to visit my uncle in Australia.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
We booked our honeymoon through Holidaze in Kinson, Bournemouth. They were extremely helpful. I had found a particular place I wanted to go and they did everything they could to arrange this for me. My Mum and Dad surprised us by paying for our honeymoon without our knowledge. When I went to clear the balance, it had already been paid for. The first night as a married couple was spent at The Riviera Hotel. In fact we stayed there from Friday night until Monday morning. My Mum, Sister, Brother, Sister In Law, Uncle and Cousin also stayed there with us which really added to the weekend. It prolonged the celebrations. The honeymoon was at Angelos Village, Hersonissos, Crete. It was really beautiful there.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
There were so many moments that were memorable, but seeing the bridesmaids when they were ready, seeing Alex when I arrived at the ceremony, the confetti throwing and the speeches were the highlights for me.
Did you experience any “nightmare” moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
We had a couple of problems. Our photographer left the company we booked with so we had to change at the last minute, which is a real shame. I had glandular fever leading up to and during our wedding day. One of the bridesmaids dropped out 1 month before the wedding. My bodice wasn’t done up properly as it was too tight on my bust and not pulled in on my waist. My Groom and I didn’t go to bed until 3am the morning of the wedding so were exhausted on the day. Also I forgot to take the hair trial pictures to the hairdresser – Harpers in Westbourne – so Louise just made something up. Another clever girl.
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
With reference to the above, just make sure everything is in order and get a good nights sleep. Just enjoy the day, because I know everyone says it, but it goes too quickly. I wish I could do it all again.