Anne and Steve’s Real Life Wedding

Anne and Steve

30/04/2005 – The Purbeck House Hotel, Swanage, Dorset
Kingston Country Courtyard, Dorset

Anne and Steve's wedding photo slideshow photos by Paul Hart Photography

How and when did you meet?

We met at work in 1994 but didn’t start seeing each other until 2 years later.


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

He proposed on a cold sunny February day on a walk along the south west coast path near Worbarrow in Dorset. I was sitting on a bench and he got down on one knee to ask me. It was so muddy he spent the rest of the day with one dirty knee!

Did you have hen and stag celebrations?

The hen weekend was in Bath, a gorgeous gorgeous city. We hired a beauty salon for several hours on a Saturday and had lots of treatments between us. We had meals out and drinks on the Friday and Saturday nights with a spot of shopping in the sales on Sunday morning!

The stag do was the same weekend, only in Glastonbury. They did some cycling on Saturday followed by the usual beers/curry of a men’s night out…and Sunday was go karting and a lunchtime stop in a country pub on the way home.

Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?

We visited venues together in the early stages and he helped decide on the invitation design which my cousin and I did between us. He also helped with the order of service, sorting out all the men’s suits and was always a good sounding board for me if I got too bogged down with organising!

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

Loads! I was on the forum almost every day at one point, I posted and responded to lots of threads and have so many confetti users to thank for all their great advice and ideas.

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

My dress was by Sincerity, it was a halterneck fishtail and I bought it in a shop in Poole.

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

I had four bridesmaids – my oldest school friend, Vicki, who I’ve known since primary school was my chief bridesmaid. My cousin Jill, my groom’s daughter Naomi, and another old school friend Becky. As my cousin had only had a baby in the few months before the wedding, and Naomi is a child, I decided it would be too difficult to find outfits in the shops that would fit and suit all. I was very lucky as my mother-in-law and sister-in-law kindly offered to make them for us. My sister-in-law had made her own wedding dress a few years before so I knew I was in good hands! I selected a pattern which everyone liked and bought some gorgeous purple tafetta shot with black. They looked stunning and each one was made to fit perfectly!

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

The best man was a very good friend of ours, Alan and his ushers were also old friends, Simon and Warwick. The groom, father of the bride and best man all wore tails – black jackets, with grey pinstriped trousers, cream waistcoats and purple ties. The groom also had a matching hankerchief showing. The ushers wore their own suits but had matching ties.

Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?

We had a civil ceremony but chose to have a blessing in a local village church immediately after the civil ceremony.

Where did you hold your ceremony?

The civil service was at The Purbeck House Hotel in Swanage, Dorset and the blessing was in St Nicholas of Myra, Worth Matravers.

Where did you hold your reception?

The reception was in a beautiful converted barn on a ridge in the Purbeck Hills, overlooking Corfe Castle. The barn is called Kingston Country Courtyard.

Did you have any special wedding transport?

My father and I arrived for the ceremony in a cream Beauford Convertible car which then took my husband and I to the blessing and onto the reception after we were married.

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

We had 51 guests attend the day and we did invite further people to the evening, such as work colleagues.

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

The reception venue had open stone walls so needed little dressing. Our flowers were predominantly cream and purple and all the linen was ivory.

How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?

The table centres had vases of cream tulips to mirror my bouquet, and all the extras we’d done ourselves such as the menus, table names etc. had purple writing.

Did you give your guests favours?

No, we decided not to follow this tradition and to spend the money elsewhere on the wedding.

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

My bouquet was white tulips and lily of the valley and the bridesmaids carried simple bouquets of gypsophila. The tables had crackle vases of white/cream tulips. We ended up using two different florists as it made sense to use a local one to the venue for the reception and a local one to my house for delivery of the bouquets.

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

As the barn did not have an in house caterer, we chose an outside caterer who came very highly recommended. This gave us a lot more freedom and flexibility to create a menu. To accompany reception drinks, everyone tucked into little round shortbread’s with fresh cream and strawberries on top. The three course wedding breakfast consisted of a choice for each course. To start either; homemade fresh tomato and basil soup or crab and prawn cocktail. For mains; a chicken dish of either roast chicken breast with sage and onion stuffing, served with seasonal vegetables and new potatoes or chicken breasts cooked in red wine with Mediterranean vegetables served with seasonal veg and new potatoes. The pudding; homemade individual raspberry pavlovas or Homemade apple pie with cream or custard.

What did you choose for your wedding cake?

We had a three tier cake – the bottom was fruit and the top two were Madeira sponge. A friend of dad’s made the fruit layer some months in advance and my mother-in-law to be and I made the two sponge tiers in the week before the wedding.

Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?

We hired a singer for the evening who we were a big fan of when we’d watch him play in a local pub a few years ago. We managed to track him down on the Internet and after contacting him, he agreed to come down from London to do our wedding! He sings a mixture of songs, with a steer towards indie/rock stuff. As it was a wedding he did a bit more of a mix to include older hits.

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

We had a list with John Lewis who have been fab.

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

We had a room at the reception venue for the first night and my husband took me to Grand Caymen for our honeymoon. He’d booked and arranged it as a secret so I didn’t know where we were going until the moment we checked in! He booked the honeymoon independently, so booked a flight and then booked the apartment directly with the owners.

What was your most memorable moment of the day?

Our first kiss having just been pronounced man and wife and also the drive from the blessing to the reception as the roof was down on the car and we both had champagne to sip! As it’s such a beautiful part of Dorset, we saw a few ramblers along the way who were waving and smiling at us. It was perfect.

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

Not really, obviously a few stresses like any bride but the most stressful thing for me was the delay on my dress and shoes. I ordered my dress eight months before the wedding and it arrived in the shop seven weeks before the wedding (arrgh!) and I ordered my shoes at the beginning of January and they didn’t arrive until about six weeks before the big day!

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

I have a tendency to worry too much about the detail, and with a wedding to plan that was only heightened. I guess I wish I could’ve completely relaxed on the day, but found myself still orchestrating things from the top table when, for example, the speeches ran way over and I was concerned about evening guests and where they would go etc. So my advice would be worry less about the details and savour every moment of the day as it goes by far too quickly. Let someone else do the worrying on the day!  

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