FREE shipping on orders over £59

Zoe and Matthew’s Real Life Wedding

Written by    Last updated: August 8, 2006


Zoe and Matthew

02/11/2004 – Cambridge Cottage, Kew

        Zoe and Matthew's real life wedding  

How and when did you meet?

We met through mutual friends at their engagement party. Apparently we had met before that at another function but I didn’t take much notice! But our friend Chris had been saying how well we would get on, and finally we met and I was impressed by how kind and sweet he was. He was quite shy so eventually I invited him to a dinner party and the rest is history!

How old are you both?

I’m 38 and he’s 32.

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

We’d been talking about getting married and had already bought a house together. We went engagement ring shopping as he didn’t want to choose anything without me. The next weekend he went to pick it up and we were decorating our first Christmas tree that night. After dinner we just had the Christmas lights on and he produced a bottle of Champagne, a bouquet of flowers and got down on one knee. It was lovely.

Did you have hen and stag celebrations?

We both had small dos as it was holiday season – I went out for drinks and dinner with my girlfriends, which was great fun – lots of laughs. He went away with his mates and did silly activities like paint balling and keg racing and then went to a comedy club.

Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?

He was really great. I had more time as I was made redundant in January so I did a lot of the running around, but all the big decisions were joint ones and I asked for his opinion on most things. I made a lot of the details (table plan, men’s ties and so on).

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

Yes, it was great; we used it to create a venue shortlist, get dress ideas and also the forums were fab – lots of advice and ideas from other brides. I also found my makeup lady through Confetti.

Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it.

My dress was an Atelier Diagonal dress, in a creamy champagne colour. It had flowers with it, but I had custom silk ones made instead with roses and orchids. I made my tiara – from a candle decoration that I bought!

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

Yes, I had my best friend from Uni, Clare as Matron of Honour and her daughter Hope as flower girl. My Stepsister Tamsin was bridesmaid. They all wore different things as I didn’t want the ‘uniform’ feel. Both Clare and Hope wore dresses from Monsoon and Tamsin wore a dress from Coast. They chose their own but had to fit into a colour palette.

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

As we were having an informal wedding the men wore their own suits. I made silk ties for them to fit into our butterfly theme.

Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?

Civil, followed by a blessing conducted by Matt’s Uncle who is a retired vicar.

Where did you hold your ceremony?

Cambridge Cottage, Kew. The blessing was held in the gardens.

Did you have any special wedding transport?

I had a Karma Kab to take me and the girls to the venue. It was fantastic!

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

We had about 75 people in the end, without a separate evening do. We had to have an A and B list as there were priority guests and overseas people invited.

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

It was quite Boho – I took inspiration from Kew Gardens and we had lots of wonderful flowers and butterflies.

How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?

We had Aussie wildflowers and English roses, with butterflies on wire so they looked like they were hovering. All the tables were named after different Australian butterflies.

Did you give your guests favours?

Yes, we gave them little seed packets that we put in cellophane bags tied with raffia. We attached luggage tags which were the place names.

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

I used two: Andy from Flash’n’Scents in Yorkshire did my bouquet and corsages etc. – they were wonderful orchids and roses in pinks and creams. He sent them down to London the day before. A family friend who is a set designer did the ones for the reception. They were pink roses and Australian wild flowers – including a pink pineapple. They looked amazing and were a real talking point.

What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?

We had a barbeque with one of Kew’s recommended caterers, Lodge Catering. The food was fantastic – way more interesting than sausages and drum sticks! And Lodge were a great help in the whole co-ordination of the day. They were also great as didn’t charge an arm and a leg for corkage, which was important as my dad provided the wine from his vineyard.

What did you choose for your wedding cake?

We asked Lodge to make us a giant pavlova as I’m originally Australian. It was fantastic – looked and tasted great and there was none left over; we served it as dessert.

Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?

We had a band which I’d really recommend. It got the party going. We found them through friends and they were excellent. Unfortunately they are going back to Australia!

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

Yes, with John Lewis; they were very helpful.

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

We had our first night at the Petersham Hotel in Richmond and then went on a grand tour of Australia to catch up with more friends and family.

What was your most memorable moment of the day?

There are so many: saying our vows; the hilarious speeches and our friends running a book on the length of the best man’s speech; seeing diverse groups of people having fun and dancing the night away.

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

Not really – our rings were late coming and we had a few people drop out at the last minute, but nothing really mattered in the end.

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

Stay calm! Be methodical about arranging things – and use lists. Excel is a useful tool. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Stay true to yourselves and do what you want, not what’s fashionable for the sake of it. Keep a sense of proportion – if anything goes wrong most people won’t know and won’t care. They are there to see you both get married and will have a good time regardless of details.

This article was written by