02/04/2005 – St Mary the Virgin Church, Aldermaston, Berkshire
The Manor House, Aldermaston
How and when did you meet?
We met about two and a half years ago through datingdirect.com. Friends in my office recommended I should try it and Lance was my second date. He was the first person I put in my ‘favourites’ but he ended up contacting me before I contacted him! Our first date was in the Slug & Lettuce in Newbury. We then met the next evening, then two days later and so it continued.
How old are you both?
Lance is 49 and I’m 44. It is second time around for both of us.
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
No great story to tell here. It was in bed one night when we couldn’t sleep. I said yes straight away.
Did you have hen and stag celebrations?
We had a lovely night away with friends and family – a barbecue with lots of wine followed by an evening curled up in front of a lovely roaring log fire. Breaking with tradition it was a joint hen and stag night.
Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?
We talked about most things and the big decisions such as the choice of venue were made together. Lance was happy to leave a lot of the detail to me as he was busy project managing an extension to our house.
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
The Confetti website was so helpful – I was glued to the Café section most evenings (often with Lance looking over my shoulder). I bought quite a few things from the For Sale section (and have managed to sell some things through there after the wedding). We used the information pages for choice of hymns and helping with the speeches.
Do you have a confetti web page?
I did set one up, but didn’t use it in the end.
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
I bought favour boxes, cameras and sparklers, but our best purchase was our invitations which had a lilac celtic design on the cover. All purchases were done online.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it.
I bought my dress from Elderberry Brides in Basingstoke. It was an ivory strapless dress with sparkly lilac embroidery in an asymmetrical design. It had a medium length train which was partially embroidered. My shoes were ivory with a row of crystals and they came from Bhs. I got my tiara made to order through Ebay. It was silver with clear, lilac and purple crystals. I didn’t wear a veil, but had a lovely ivory fake fur shrug from Debenhams to keep my shoulders warm.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
I had three bridesmaids. My chief bridesmaid, Zuzi, had previously been an au pair for my children and is now a family friend and the two other bridesmaids were my daughter Rebecca (10) and Lance’s daughter Sarah (11). They all wore Forever Yours dresses in a lovely shade of purple (think Cadbury’s purple). They all had matching tiaras with lovely fuchsia and purple crystals and matching jewellery.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
The best man was Lance’s brother-in-law John. The ushers were my son Alex (12) and Lance’s nephew Jonathan (19). Lance’s son Matthew (7) was a page boy. They all wore dinner suits and most of them had lilac bow ties.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
When we first booked our venue we were expecting to have a civil ceremony there followed by a blessing at the nearby church, but we were lucky enough to end up having a religious ceremony thanks to our understanding vicar who agreed to marry us in spite of the fact that we were both divorced.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
St Mary the Virgin Church in Aldermaston, Berkshire.
Where did you hold your reception?
The Manor House in Aldermaston.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
We had a very shiny black Rolls Royce. This was Lance’s treat really and we broke with tradition as the car collected him, the Best Man, Alex and Matthew from home and took them to the church. It then came to pick up the bridesmaids who were staying with me at the Manor House and finally it returned to the Manor House to collect me and my mum who was giving me away.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
There were just over 90 guests who were invited for the whole day and evening.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
We wanted a relaxed family wedding so the children were very much involved (they even had their own tables at the reception!). The colour theme was lilac, purple and ivory.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
Each table had a flower arrangement in the centre with an ivory church candle and confetti was sprinkled around the tables. The table names (a variety of places that are special to us) were printed in purple.
Did you give your guests favours?
Every place setting had a white favour box decorated with tiny silver hearts and was tied with a lilac ribbon. The boxes contained a packet of Love Hearts.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
In addition to the table flowers we had a swag arrangement on the front of the top table, a pedestal arrangement in the reception foyer and two swag arrangements on the stairs. At the church we had two pedestal arrangements and a long low arrangement in front of the altar. My bouquet was a hand-tied arrangement with ivory and lilac lisianthus, and a splash of fuchsia coloured freesias set against blue-green foliage. The bridesmaids had smaller versions of my bouquet.
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
Our venue did the catering and it was superb – beautifully presented and it tasted delicious. We had a chicken liver parfait to start, followed by pork with apricot and our pudding was a sharp lemon tart with clotted cream.
What did you choose for your wedding cake?
We had individually decorated cup cakes with a mixture of flowers, hearts and initials. The top cake covered the whole of the top tier and our cake toppers were clay dough figures of Lance and me sitting on our garden bench with our two dogs at our feet.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
We had a duo with a keyboard. The singer is Lance’s singing teacher.
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
Another break with tradition here. As we both had fully furnished houses before we didn’t need many things for our house so we chose two paintings by a brilliant local artist and asked our guests to contribute towards them. The paintings are now up in our house and we think of everyone who shared our special day each time we look at them.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
Our first night was spent at the Manor House. Quite a few guests stayed there as well so we continued our celebration the next day. Our honeymoon was spent touring Australia with our four children – I booked it myself on the internet. It was a wonderful three weeks and we all have memories that will stay with us for ever.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
For me it was watching everyone arrive and counting down the minutes until it was time to go to the church. As soon as the Rolls Royce arrived I knew that Lance was at the church! For Lance it was the moment I started walking down the aisle towards him.
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
Encourage more people to stay for the evening entertainment. Quite a number of people decided to leave after the room was cleared so the band could set up and they missed some excellent entertainment! Apart from this we wouldn’t do anything differently. Enjoy the day, every minute of it, including the preparation and make sure it is what you and your husband to be want it to be!