Alison and Mark
03/09/2005 – Stanhill Court Hotel in Charlwood, Surrey
How and when did you meet?
We both worked at Tescos, on the checkouts and finally got together after the Christmas party in December 1996; I then became his boss!
How old are you both?
I am 29 and Mark is 26.
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
It wasn’t the romantic proposal that it could have been. We went out for dinner on Valentine’s Day in 1998 and half-way through the meal he asked if I wanted another ring to wear. I, of course, had to ask on what finger the ring was to be placed and I finally got the “Will you marry me?” part!
Did you have hen and stag celebrations?
Most definitely; my bridesmaid, Hayley, organised a superb evening up in London, going down the Thames on a disco boat; we danced until the early hours of the morning. Mark’s best man, Matthew organised a great day for him. They went to Nutfield Priory to take part in clay pigeon shooting and quad biking and then out in Reading for a fair amount of drinking and dancing.
Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?
He was very good, did all the running around and sorted out any of the problems that occurred.
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
Confetti was great. We got a lot of advice from the ‘girlies’ on the Cafe forum and found a couple of suppliers through here.
Do you have a confetti web page?
Mark is a computer ‘geek’ so, as we have our own domain name, we set it all up ourselves.
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
We purchased our attendant’s gifts. Both of our ushers received a personalised tankard, which they drank out of in the evening, and our best man received a personalised money clip, along with some other bits.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it.
Went to many shops and bought many magazines, but finally settled on ‘Riley’ by Maggie Sottero. I purchased it from the Confetti Bridal Centre in Wokingham and they were great. I went for the ivory with silver stitching, as that suited me best.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
I had 3 attendants: Hayley was my bridesmaid and she wore a Mori Lee dress in wine; Caitlin was our flower girl and I purchased her dress from the Celebration range in Debenhams; Morgan was our page boy and we hired his morning suit from Moss Bros.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
– Matthew was Mark’s best man, a university buddy, along with ushers Dave and Dennis.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
As we aren’t very religious, we decided to have a civil ceremony in a country hotel.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
Stanhill Court Hotel in Charlwood, Surrey; they were superb. Very professional throughout the entire process – we couldn’t have asked for anything better.
Where did you hold your reception?
We hired out Stanhill Court exclusively, so we held the entire day there.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
Mark and the guys were picked up in a Rolls Royce Silver Spur, which then came on to pick up Hayley, Caitlin and my mum. My dad and I went down in a burgundy 1936 Rolls Royce limousine, which went with my colour scheme.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
We had just fewer than 100 guests during the day, along with another 30 guests in the evening.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
Mark chose the colour scheme of burgundy, ivory and silver, as these are some of our favourite colours.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
On the tables we just had square vases of black baccara roses, aroma roses and deep red gerberas, along with a bit of foliage.
Did you give your guests favours?
We decided against favours.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
– A lady by the name of Jessica was our florist, from Jessica’s designer florists in Felbridge, Surrey. I had an idea of what I wanted and she brought it to reality. My bouquet was a hand-tied posy of black baccara roses, with Swarovski crystals placed into a number of the rose heads. Hayley and Caitlin both had smaller posies of aroma roses. The mothers both had pink corsarges and the men had aroma rose button holes apart from Mark who had a black baccara button hole.
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 of our catering. We started off with melon with basil and black currant sorbet, then onto char-grilled chicken on a bed of potatoes with vegetables and for dessert with had strawberry meringue with cream – it was delicious.
What did you choose for your wedding cake?
We had a 3-tier square cake made of fruit, lemon Madeira and then plain Madeira, from Sweet Dreams in Horsham.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
Our guests were greeted by Stringendo, a string quartet who then played Pachebel Cannon in D as I walked down the aisle. In the evening, we were entertained by Neil Munday from Music and Lights disco and we danced on until the early hours.
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
We decided to use John Lewis for our gifts and they have been great and very easy to use online.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
We stayed at Stanhill that night and jetted off to the Maldives for a week in the beautiful Laguna Resort. We booked it through Kuoni and Going Places in Reading.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
My dad’s speech and Mark’s speech. My dad doesn’t get emotional that easily and Mark bought the entire party to tears towards the end of his speech.
Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
– Apart from the suit-hire company almost getting the entire order wrong, everything went off without a hitch.
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
Looking back, I definitely would have gone for a videographer. Mark and I both thought that we wouldn’t look at it after the day, but we missed so many things that would have been great to see again and again.
Also, if you are having a civil ceremony and they don’t do appointments, when you come to book the timings, get there early. We got to our registry office at 10 past 8, a year before and there were already 6 people in the queue! After heated discussions and many phone calls we got our time changed from 4.45pm to 12.30pm.