Clare and Andy’s Real Life Wedding

Claire and Andy

10/09/2005 – Our Lady Help of Christians, Mottingham
Rowhill Grange in Wilmington, Dartford

Claire and Andy's wedding photos

How and when did you meet?

We met in January 2001, when I joined the company that Andy was already working for. A bit of a cliche – I was his secretary, though to be fair I was secretary to about 40 others too.


How old are you both?
I am 25 and Andy is 28.

Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
I was meeting Andy for a drink after work, he told me heÆd been recommended a cocktail bar so I didnÆt think it strange when we walked into the Savoy hotel – after all, hotels have bars. When we got inside, Andy asked me if I wanted to get changed before going for a drink and it was then I realised that heÆd booked a room. We had a suite overlooking London and Andy had filled it with my favourite roses and had a beautiful piece of music playing. Andy led me over to the window, then got down on one knee and proposed. It was quite an emotional moment and I almost forgot to say yes.

Did you have hen and stag celebrations?
Andy spent a very drunken weekend in Brighton with his friends and family, luckily he came back in one piece. I took a limo into London with my girlfriends and we had a fab evening on board a floating restaurant, with great food and entertainment all part of the price.

Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?
I organised the majority, but I am a control freak! Andy helped with making final decisions, choosing the music and he organised our honeymoon, 3 weeks travelling around British Colombia.

Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
Absolutely, I was on the Confetti message boards at least 5 times a day. And I found My Confetti, the personal page with tools really helpful for my guest lists and contact numbers and most importantly what was next on my To Do list.

Do you have a confetti web page?
Yes but I never really finished it

Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
I bought my invitations from Confetti online, the Tie the Knot range in silver.

Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it.
My dress was a strapless, A-line style by San Patrick (style Carol) in ivory, which I found at Yours Truly in Maidstone. I tried it on and loved it but thought I would go away and try some others first. I ended up having a nightmare that I went back to the shop and they had sold ità and trying it on for the second time nothing else compared. I had a floor-length veil which was scattered with diamante crystals. My tiara was made by my hair & make-up artist, Jane Lattin of Inspired Weddings and my jewellery was bought by Andy from Swarovski.

Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
I had four bridesmaids: my sister Jemma, who is younger than me, my cousin Cassandra, who was more like my chief bridesmaid and two younger cousins Rachel and Lauren. I chose a strapless A-line dress from the Alfred Angelo range in platinum that had delicate beading on the top and bottom of the bodice, which complimented the beading on my dress and veil.

Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
AndyÆs best man was his friend Chris, and his ushers were his brother Jon and his close friends, Luke and Paul. They all wore morning suits from Youngs. Andy chose sliver waistcoats and baby pink cravats to match in with our colour scheme.

Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
We had a religious ceremony as I am Catholic and it meant a great deal to me to have our marriage blessed through God.

Where did you hold your ceremony?
We married at Our Lady Help of Christians, Mottingham. It was the same church that my parents married in.

Where did you hold your reception?
We chose Rowhill Grange in Wilmington, Dartford.

Did you have any special wedding transport?
I arrived in a white Rolls Royce with my bridesmaids and mum in a Daimler limousine. Andy arrived at the church in his best manÆs Porsche.

How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
We invited about 110 of our close family and friends to the day and had a further 20-30 guests in the evening.

Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
For colours we decided to stay with the silver and pink theme. We named the tables after places in London that meant something to us.

How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
Table decorations were kept very simple. We had round, glass bowls of floating pink roses for our table centre pieces, surrounded with pink rose petals and we had table cameras in silver and silver bows around the chair covers.

Did you give your guests favours?
We gave favours to the female guests, four chocolates from Thorntons in an ivory box tied with silver ribbon. I also put together little goodie bags for the children.

Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
We used Cindy Kirkland of CK Works in Surrey who was absolutely wonderful. I knew that I wanted pink roses but as for table decorations I was stuck for ideas and Cindy was invaluable. My bouquet was created with pink aqua roses with the base wrapped in fabric to match the roses. My bridesmaidsÆ bouquets were a slightly smaller version of mine and were made up of cream bianca roses.

The round guest tables and round bowls with floating pink aqua roses and the top table had 5 square mirrored vases filled with cream bianca roses, separated with votive candles.

What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
Our venue handled the catering and to start we had hot smoked salmon with a citrus herb salad and dill cream dressing. For the main course, we had roast organic chicken with button onions and thyme and for the vegetarians we had a herb risotto with aubergine and tomato. For dessert we had summer berries on a meringue base with a fruit coulis.

What did you choose for your wedding cake?
I love fruit cake, unfortunately Andy does not. We decided on a three tier fruit cake which my Aunt Margaret made, she also made a separate sponge cake for Andy. The tiers were decorated with an ivory icing and had piles of pink roses handmade in icing on top of each tier.

Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
We used the in-house DJ at our reception venue and provided him with a list of songs before the day. We also had a magician doing the rounds before and during the wedding breakfast which seemed to go down really well.

Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
We decided on a gift list with John Lewis.

Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
We spent our first night in the honeymoon suite at Rowhill Grange and the following Monday we flew to Vancouver. We spent 3 weeks driving around British Colombia, staying in top-class accommodation and taking in as many sights as possible. We booked through Canadian Affair who we found incredibly helpful.

What was your most memorable moment of the day?
I think it was when Andy and I visited each of the tables together during meal breaks. We had decided against a receiving line, and found walking between the tables meant that we got to speak to our guests for a little longer than usual, plus spending time together.

Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
Not really, I was quite fortunate in that the year before the wedding I was on a 6-month sabbatical and was able to put all the planning and effort in during those months, so the run up was relatively stress-free.

Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
Nothing I would do differently but to any future brides, book the big things as soon as possible so that you get what you want. Some people worry about booking early, but if you can afford the deposit we found some companies such as photographers and cars took bookings up to 2/3 years in advance.

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