Fleur and Gary’s Real Life Wedding

Fleur and Gary

13/09/2003 – All Saints Church, Hooton Pagnell,
Yorkshire Carlton Towers, Yorkshire


How and when did you meet?

We met years ago, after moving to London to study Drama.

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

We’d been together for about seven years and had talked about getting married. We spent a day out in York in February 2002, and were talking about how great it would be to get married at York Minster. After sampling the local brew, we arrived back in Doncaster and, walking back to my parents’ house, decided that we’d get married. Gary proposed to me in their kitchen, and then I proposed to him (witnessed by Pumpkin, our cat – more romantic than it sounds!). Gary then asked dad’s permission and we announced the news to my mum and the world!

Did you have hen and stag celebrations?

Gary spent a weekend in Tunbridge Wells and Brighton – bars, clubs and stupid amounts of alcohol. I spent a weekend in London – drag bar, clubbing and stupid amounts of alcohol.

Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?

Gary helped with everything. We went along to all the supplier meetings together, he even helped choose my dress (though not in person of course – he saw a picture on the web). As we’d been living together so long we were both keen to be involved, it was about us and our family and friends. There’s no way he’d let me get away with choosing everything on my own! As we lived in London, and my family lived in Yorkshire and we didn’t have bridesmaids, we found this worked very well.

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

Confetti was an incredibly useful source of information, from merchandise and links to suppliers to tips on etiquette and speeches. Thank you!

Do you have a confetti web page?

We didn’t, though I would recommend it if most of your guests have web access. We don’t have a pc at home and could only use the web in our spare time at work – so we decided to use the info provided by confetti instead.

Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?

We bought lots of bits and pieces from the confetti website – petals, name place cards, thank you cards. We found there was plenty of inspiration for putting a look together.

Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it

My gown was a two piece design. The fitted bodice in red and gold silk brocade, was complimented by a draped gold skirt with full train. We were very lucky to get this in the sale! My only regret was that my mum wasn’t there to help choose. I had to rely on Gary having a look at the design on the web. I designed and made my own tiara with Swarovski crystal beads. I enjoyed it so much, I’ve been designing ever since! Gary’s outfit was also from the same shop – a classic black frock coat with purple brocade waistcoat and cravat – and a silver topped cane for his nibs and the best man – very dandy.

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

Because I live far from my home town I didn’t choose a family bridesmaid and found it too difficult to choose from my friends. However, we did have some great hens – Kate, Sally and Lisa – who looked after me very well in the final stages. I should also mention Adrian and Phil, who were honourary hens but were too ill to make it to the hen night frolics.

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

Gary’s best man was Tom – an old friend from Kent – a real party animal with a wicked sense of humour. His ushers were his brother David (chief usher) and charming man, Jim B (a good friend from Kent who wept lots on the big day), Jon and Fred (top friends who we met years ago in Ealing). Again, they wore the classic black frock coats with purple brocade waistcoats – and we couldn’t get away with not getting the best man a silver topped cane as well. We also had an unofficial usher – the best man’s brother, Ed who was a great help with the preparations and on the day – a real gent. He wore a black suit and looked very dapper.

Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?

We had a church wedding. I didn’t have a Christian background, but Gary did. We decided to explore and found something really special in a tiny church near to my parents village. The church wedding gave real meaning to the event.

Where did you hold your ceremony?

All Saints Church, Hooton Pagnell, Yorkshire. This had become a very special place to us as we had been travelling up to Yorkshire and worshipping there for some time before the wedding. Father Lethbridge is very friendly with a good sense of humour. He supported us all through the process and it was great to be married by someone who knew us well.

Where did you hold your reception?

Our reception was at Carlton Towers in Yorkshire. This was a special place which I had visited as a child with my grandparents when it was still open to the public. I remembered the kindness of the people and the special atmosphere there. We found out that Carlton Towers now specialis in weddings and events. It’s a beautiful place with fantastic people and service. We could planned our day around exactly what we wanted and had a fantastic day. We spent the night in a grand room in the old wing of the Towers.

Did you have any special wedding transport?

We had three vintage Rolls Royces – hired from companies run by enthusiasts. This made our trips extra special – not only were the cars beautiful and reasonable to hire, our drivers had a true love for the cars and their work. They also knew each other and were from local companies, so we knew we could rely on their friendly service.

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

Our wedding was at 3pm, so everyone was invited to the whole event. We invited around 130 people in total, and ended up with 80 guests. I was initially worried that we’d never find accommodation for them if they all turned up – but as Gary thought, not everyone could make it.

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

Our base colours were red, purple and gold – reflected in the invitations, outfits, cars, table decorations and complimenting the rich colours of the interiors at Carlton Towers.

How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?

We had tall table centres with dramatic flowers, lit from below by candles in red glass holders, with scattered petals and red and gold place names.

Did you give your guests favours?

We gave each guest a dainty bar of Green and Blacks organic chocolate.

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

We went for rich autumnal colours with deep red ‘Baccara’ roses, gerberas, lisianthus, blackberries, lavender and ivy – carried through from my teardrop bouquet to the buttonholes, church decorations, table centres and swags.

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

Carlton Towers is part of the Duke of Norfolk’s family estate and they are excellent at catering for large parties. I am a very strict vegetarian, and they were careful to make all the arrangements. We also had meat and fish choices. We welcomed guests with champange and canapes. The starter was poached Scotttish salmon and fresh asparagus with a watercress mayonnaise, with fresh asparagus and woodland mushrooms for the vegetarian option. For the main course, there was a choice between medallions of pork with red cabbage and apple, and vegetarian bangers and mash with caramelised onion gravy. Finally, for pudding we had our chocolate wedding cake with Cornish clotted cream.

What did you choose for your wedding cake?

Our cake was a wedding gift from our best friends, Jon and Lisa. It was a fun organic chocolate cake designed to look like Glastonbury Tor – a favourite place of ours. We had fun helping design it, even down to the cows grazing around the tower on the top of the ‘hill’! We cut the cake with a sword and the cake was delicious.

Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?

At the church we had a piper after the ceremony, and to welcome us to the reception we had Dronfield Brass Band – who were wonderful. It was very important to us to have some good northern brass.

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

We had a very small list, but mostly were lucky to receive vouchers and gifts of money from our lovely guests.

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

We spent our first night at the reception venue and stayed up until 4.30am with our very own bottle of champagne. We spent our honeymoon in Scotland and Cornwall – not exacly John o’Groats to Lands End, but nearly!

What was your most memorable moment of the day?

So difficult to choose! Walking up the aisle and saying ‘hello’, being piped out to Amazing Grace, together with a glass of champage and brass band, our first dance, having the place to ourselves when everyone left….Truly a wonderful day, we are so lucky.

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

I wouldn’t change a thing. Be prepared for thing to go wrong, be flexible and relaxed in the run up and on the day, let your family and friends support you and have a great time!

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