Liz and Mark’s Real Life Wedding

Liz and Mark

02/09/2005 – Highcliffe Castle, Dorset
The Marriott Highcliff Hotel, Bournemouth

Real life weddings


How and when did you meet?

When we were just 16 at sixth form college.

How old are you both?


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

He proposed on June 25th 2004 when he took me away to Paris for my 25th birthday as a surprise. Mark always organises great birthdays for me and also took me to Paris for my 18th birthday, my first time on an aeroplane. He took me to Paris again because we had such wonderful memories of our time there. Paris was the first place we’d ever visited together. He proposed to me on top of the Big Wheel next to the Louvre in the Jardin des Tuilleries. He got down on one knee in the rickety carriage – it was just perfect.

Did you have hen and stag celebrations?

I spent a week in Valencia chilling with 3 of my bridesmaids and 2 friends. My mum arrived as a surprise over one of the weekends, which was fabulous! Mark went to Amsterdam with 10 friends, including his ushers and best man.

Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?

He was excellent most of the time – he helped me to research suppliers and he organised the suit hire. He also made the wedding invitations with me.

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

Yes, frequently for supplies, ideas and advice from other brides-to-be.

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

Yes, online.

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

My aunt and uncle bought my dress, veil and tiara from a store in Bournemouth called All Aspects. It was a 2-piece outfit in ivory. The bodice was heavily embroidered satin, encrusted with flowers, crystals and pearls and had tiny faux buttons down the back. The skirt was georgette style, fitted but flowing with 4 layers of organza and chiffon, carefully detailed from the bodice and picked out on the top layer which caught the light. The skirt had a full train. I also wore a full single layer train which had a scalloped edge and tiny pearls. I carried a full bouquet of long stemmed burgundy grand prix roses, bound in burgundy organza and crystals.

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

I had 6 bridesmaids: my 2 sisters and Mark’s sister and my 3 best friends. They all looked beautiful in burgundy strapless Mori Lee gowns. They all carried 3 large ivory roses with grass and leaves bound in satin ribbon and pinned with pearls in a long modern arrangement.

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

Mark’s older brother was his best man and he had 5 ushers consisting of his 2 other brothers and his 3 best friends. They all wore grey morning suits with ivory waistcoats and cravats hired from Moss Bros. Mark had a burgundy cravat and buttonhole to match my outfit.

Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?


Where did you hold your ceremony?

Highcliffe Castle, Dorset.

Where did you hold your reception?

The Marriott Highcliff Hotel, Bournemouth.

Did you have any special wedding transport?

2 white ‘70s style limousines.

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

100 guests to the day and an additional 45 to the evening.

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

The colour scheme was burgundy, ivory and silver and this was carried through the reception decorations and outfits. We also mimicked the invitation design in our table plan and place settings.

How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?

We used burgundy organza to tie the place cards to the napkins and tall vases with 3 single long stemmed roses on the guest tables. There were church candles and small round arrangements along the top table which had 19 people sat on it in a ‘U’ shape. Tealights and real rose petals finished the tables off.

Did you give your guests favours?

My aunt made traditional favours which matched the colour scheme. I also provided boiled sweets as a tribute to my grandad. We had a quiz for guests during the meal and each quiz paper had 10 questions about Mark and my relationship e.g. first date venue etc. On the reverse of each were scanned photographs of us over the years! We also got our ushers to take Polaroids of our guests and stick them into our guest book where they could write a message. It helped us to keep track of who had signed and who hadn’t and it’s lovely to look back on.

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

My florist was Sarah from Ocean Blooms in Bournemouth.

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

Starter: Summer fruit platter
Main course: Beef fillet in brandy cream sauce or poached fillet of plaice stuffed with salmon or roasted vegetable stack
Dessert: Chocolate fudge wedding cake and cream

What did you choose for your wedding cake?

Chocolate fudge wedding cake. 3 tiers covered in ivory chocolate curls and burgundy roses. Made by Lisa Knight in Bournemouth.

Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?

Jumpin’, a live band played during the evening and were excellent!

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


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

First night was a spent in Marriott Bournemouth after reception, 2nd night was a surprise from Mark and was spent at the London Metropolitan Hotel on Park Lane. Following that we spent 2 weeks in Kuredu in the Maldives.

What was your most memorable moment of the day?

The ceremony and seeing Mark’s face (he cried!) when he saw me for the first time; the journey in the limousine with my mum and dad to the castle and alone with Mark; walking down the aisle; the photos on the beach with Mark; and everyone crying during the service!

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

Yes, loads but all were forgotten on the day – amazing how calm you are even when things go wrong – I was very late to the ceremony because 3 of my bridesmaids were still at the hairdressers! I went and picked them up in the wedding cars with their outfits and they had to change in the loos at the salon!

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

Remain calm; understand that your families are excited and stressed for you; stick to a time to leave and make an exit! Relax and enjoy the day – it really is about the vows – listen to every word and look into your husband’s eyes – I promise he will look at you like he did when you first got together! Breath in the day, as you’ll never have that ever again!

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