Helen and Dale’s Real Life Wedding

Helen and Dale

03/07/2004 – St Stephen’s Church, Newport
Cave Castle Hotel


How and when did you meet?

We met when I was 15. Dale lived two doors away from my school and my friends and I used to sneak out at dinner time to his house.

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

We were lying in bed on the 1st October 2003. I was about to get up to get ready for an interview that morning. We were talking about marriage as it was my dad and step-mum’s wedding anniversary. He asked me what I would say if he asked me to marry him, I said I would say yes. I found out afterwards that he was just testing the water as he had planned to propose to me on New Years Eve in Dublin but I was too excited and told everyone that day!

Did you have hen and stag celebrations?

I went to Newcastle with my mum, stepmums, auntie, sister in law and six of my closest friends. We stayed in a luxury four-star hotel and went to a comedy club on the Friday night, where we got thrown out for laughing too much.

On the Saturday we were booked in for facials, manicures and massages, so we spent the day between them, our rooms and the swimming pool sauna and spa. On Saturday night we went out for dinner and then headed into Newcastle town. We did a bit of a pub crawl then went onto the a nightclub. We went back to the hotel about 12.30 and sat in the bar till 4, talking and reminiscing over our younger days.

Dale had a night out in Doncaster with all his friends. They took him to a lap dancing club and made him get on stage with two of the lap dancers!!

Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?

He didn’t!! Dale left everything to me apart from the suits. He did help me fold the place name cards one night about a week before the wedding. I asked his opinion on everything though and he would certainly have told me if he hadn’t have approved of my choices.

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

I used the confetti shop for most of my table decorations, and also was on the forums day and night swopping ideas and generally chatting to the other brides to be.

Do you have a confetti web page?

Yes, although I didn’t really put a lot of information on it except my table plan.

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

I bought most of my table decorations online.

Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it

My dress was Maggie Sottero ‘Calypso New York’. I bought it in the third shop I visited on my first wedding dress shopping trip. I had tried on a lot of other dresses that day but as soon as I tried that on and walked out, my mum and stepmum burst into tears. I knew it was the one and they confirmed it.

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

I had five adult bridesmaids and three children. The adults were my three best friends from childhood and two friends that I had met in 1997 whilst working in Tenerife. They live three hours away from me but we’ve never lost touch since we came home.

They all wore a plum-coloured dress with a bodice top and A-line skirt, and silver shoes. The children were my daughter and two nieces. They wore lilac dresses and ivory shoes.

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

Dale had his two best friends as best men, and his nephew and my 11 year old brother as ushers. They all wore suits and lilac waistcoats.

Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?

We had a church wedding.

Where did you hold your ceremony?

We married at St Stephens Church in Newport. The vicar was excellent he really put us at ease and was really funny throughout the ceremony.

I walked down the aisle to Shania Twain ‘From this moment on’. I had rehearsed this moment for so long and had asked the vicar for the song to be faded out as I got to the end of the aisle. Unfortunately the verger didn’t know about fading and the song stopped suddenly making everyone laugh. Including me. I’ve never seen anyone look so nervous as Dale when he turned to face me but he soon calmed down and started pulling faces at me as I said my vows, making me giggle. We both giggled throughout the rest of the ceremony and all the nerves had gone.

Where did you hold your reception?

We had our reception at Cave Castle Hotel. The room was perfect and the weather held off so we could have our photos taken in the grounds. Debbie, our wedding coordinator, was excellent and I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

Did you have any special wedding transport?

I arrived in a silver blue (looked lilac) Ford Beauford. Unfortunately it was raining so we couldn’t have the roof down, but the driver was lovely and really put dad and I at ease on the way to the church.

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

We had 60 family and close friends at the church and wedding reception, and about 100 guests for the evening. We had a sit down three course meal during the afternoon and a buffet on the evening.

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

The colour theme was cream, purple and silver. I wanted a non-fussy look with all the table decorations and flowers.

How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?

We had silver and purple stones on the tables and the place cards were cream with purple flowers with a silver stone in the middle.

Did you give your guests favours?

We gave our guests a guest scroll with a poem from us printed on it with our names and the date of the wedding. Wrapped inside these were lottery tickets for that nights draw. I don’t think anyone won though!

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

I had a modern bouquet with Calla lilies. The bridesmaids had cream gerberas with purple freesia that hung over their arm, apart from our daughter Ellis who had a basket with the same flowers.

Janet, the florist, is a friend and did an excellent job. The table flowers were perfect – I had imagined what they would be like but they were ten times better than I could have hoped for. We just had a long vase with one lily and Janet added freesia and a folded green leaf to match the buttonholes.

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

The food was done by Cave Castle. We started with tomato and basil soup which was absolutely delicious but I was worried about it ending up on my dress! For our main course we had chicken breast in a smoky bacon and Dijon mustard sauce with vegetables, and for dessert we had profiteroles. By that point in the day I really wasn’t hungry but the guests have all given good reports of it.

What did you choose for your wedding cake?

Our wedding cake was a three-tier stacked chocolate orange cake, made with Belgian chocolate. The bottom and top tier were ivory and the middle tier was lilac. All the icing was chocolate as well. It was the best cake I have ever tasted.

Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?

We had a DJ in the evening. He played all our favourites from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s along with up to date party music. The dance floor was full for most of the night.

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

As we had lived together for two years we had our gift list as donations towards our honeymoon. Guests either paid it into the travel agent or gave us cash on the day.

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

We spent our first night in the Bridal suite at Cave Castle and then left for Kenya on the Sunday afternoon..

What was your most memorable moment of the day?

My most memorable moment of the day was standing at the top of the church waiting to walk down the aisle. I could see Dale standing there but he had been told he wasn’t allowed to turn round. Everyone was looking at me and smiling and my dad was holding my arm. I have never been happier than at that moment.

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

My only advice is enjoy the day and don’t worry about everyone else. I spent a lot of time running round talking to people as I felt I should be with everyone who had taken the time to come. The only thing I would do do differently is relax a bit more and take more of the day in. I only intend to do it once!

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