Helen and Frank
04/06/2005 – Grafton Manor, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire
photos by Simon Bannister
How and when did you meet?
We met when we worked for the same company. Frank then moved to another job and after I contacted him to find out how he was getting on we met up and it went from there.
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
He proposed to me on Christmas day under the tree in our living room. It was a complete surprise!
Did you have hen and stag celebrations?
Frank went to Rome with his gang dressed up in 70s gear (he came back with some very strange pictures!). My sister organised a weekend away for the girls in Cardiff where, amongst other things, we went on a white knuckle ride which was amazing!
Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?
He helped by agreeing with everything I suggested!
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
I used confetti to look for suppliers and for ideas on table decorations etc.
Do you have a confetti web page?
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
Yes we purchased hundreds of tealights from Confetti online which were really cheap!
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it.
My dress was made by a friend of my mum’s. She is an extremely talented dressmaker, all I did was show her a picture of a dress I liked and she adapted it to suit me. It fitted perfectly from the first fitting!
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
My sister (Emma) and my now step-daughter (Natalie) were my bridesmaids. Emma’s dress was made by the same dressmaker who made my dress and Natalie’s dress was a Jasper Conran dress from Debenhams.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
Frank chose his brother Richard to be his best man and his step-dad Terry and my Uncle Philip as the ushers. They all wore black frock coats and trousers with cream waistcoats and cravats.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
We had a civil ceremony during the day and a blessing during the evening. By holding the blessing in the evening people who were only coming to the evening do were able to get involved in the proceedings.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
The civil cermony and blessing were both held at Grafton Manor in Bromsgrove, Worcester. The Manor has a chapel so it was perfect!
Where did you hold your reception?
Our reception was held in a marquee at Grafton Manor.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
I chose a silver Beauford tourer to travel in with my Dad and my bridesmaids were driven by a friend in my Mercedes.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
We invited around 100 guests to the day and an additional 30 to the evening reception.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
The whole theme was focused around our colours of rust/orange and blue. We used a rusty coloured cala lily as the focus for our wedding stationery (which my dad designed) and this theme was carried through to the reception.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
We chose beautiful square candles with orange roses set in them. They were then placed on mirrors with a mixture of tealights surrounding them. Some were covered in blue handmade paper to tie in the blue colour. Each guest also had their own menu which incorporated the place card, this followed the same design as the invitations.
Did you give your guests favours?
We stuck to the traditional almonds as favours and my dad printed a poem on paper to match the invitations which explained what the almonds signify.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
Our florist was Sarah Hayes and everyone commented on how fantastic the flowers were and how bold the colours were. I had a compact bouquet of rust/orange cala lilies and roses with diamantes and then eucalyptus around the edge. Emma had a simple bouquet of the lilies and Natalie had flowers to match in a blue sequin bag.
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
Grafton Manor handled the catering and we chose: Ogen melon filled with strawberry coulis served with Champagne. Breast of chicken stuffed under the skin with butter, lemon and chervil served with a white wine Sauce and Watercress. Tarte au citron with a blackcurrant coulis In the evening we had a buffet of cheese and pate.
What did you choose for your wedding cake?
My mum made the cake (which she was very scared about!) and Amanda Hansen iced it. It was a real centrepiece as it was so tall!
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
In the day we hired a piano and cello due (www.finesse-pianocello.com) who were excellent and created a fantatsic atmosphere. In the evening we had a live band called Quest (www.questtheband.co.uk). They were amazing and really got the whole wedding party going.
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
We had two gift lists, one at John Lewis and one at Argos.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
We spent our first night at Grafton Manor and then honeymooned in Zanzibar. It was the most fantastic holiday. It was tailored specifically to our needs and we were treated like kings and queens in every place we stayed.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
There were so many. However, one of the best had to be the fireworks that my sister organised as a surprise. She didn’t even tell my mum and dad!
Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
We had no nightmare moments at all. I put it down to writing a lot of lists and booking things well in advance!
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
I wouldn’t change a thing about our wedding day. The best advice I can give is to book things as early as possible! We did and I didn’t get stressed out at all like everyone says you do.