Melanie and Gerald
24/07/2004 – St Michael’s Church, Betchworth, Surrey
A marquee reception in the garden
photos by Photo Cafe Weddings
How and when did you meet?
We met on an internet dating site in August 2003!
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
In January I was playing Jack in a local group’s production of Jack & The Beanstalk at the Epsom Playhouse. On the last night we were told to take an extra curtain call at the end of the show. Instead of the curtains closing as expected, Ged walked on stage with a huge bouquet of flowers – and a microphone! He told the audience that he had an announcement to make, or rather a question to ask and then walked over to me. After giving the flowers to someone to hold, he produced a ring from his pocket, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes, of course, and we received a standing ovation from the audience!
Did you have hen and stag celebrations?
Yes. I had a weekend of various things including ceramic painting, a good old fashioned knees up and a trip to Chessington World of Adventures.
Meanwhile the boys went to a New Zealand cricket match in Cardiff (Ged is a Kiwi).
Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?
He was great. The reception was held in Ged’s back garden so he organised the marquee, the spit roast & barbecue, the alcohol and also booked the church. He also helped me by being supportive in all the other decisions!
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
Yes, I used the ‘to do list’ which helped me keep an eye on what still needed to be done. I also used the message board from time to time and got some very valuable tips from it.
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?
I bought some sparkly confetti from the shop in London and also bought a couple of books on-line.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it
I had a dress by a designer called Dale Lindsay which I bought from the Caroline Castigliano concession in House of Fraser. It’s a beautiful shoe-string strapped dress with beading on the bodice, a low back and a long train. What sold it for me though were the tiny roses that covered the buttons all the way down the back. I bought a cathedral length veil, also with tiny flowers around the edging from the same shop. My tiara and shoes were from a local shop.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
I had three bridesmaids. My best friend Jane from school, my god daughter Lauren (10) and my friend’s daughter Eleanor (7). They wore pink dresses.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
Ged’s best man was his brother Kim. The ushers were friends Rob (from the UK) and Keith (from NZ). They wore three-quarter length jackets with waistcoats and cravats hired from a local shop.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
We had a religious ceremony.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
St Michael’s Church in Betchworth, Surrey.
Where did you hold your reception?
In a marquee in the garden of Ged’s place, also in Betchworth.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
Because we were so close to the reception we didn’t want to spend a fortune on a short journey. We found a local guy who had a fantastic white convertible sunbeam which was just perfect for what we wanted.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
We had about 90 guests during the day and another 45 came along in the evening.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
Pink was the colour of the day! Also, we brought in a Jack & The Beanstalk theme to tie in with the proposal.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
All the tables were named after characters from the pantomime.
Did you give your guests favours?
My mum made brilliant little sacks out of organza and we filled them with jellybeans.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
I had ‘Aqua’ (pink) roses and stargazer lilies as these were the flowers in the bouquet that Ged gave me when he proposed. We also had pink gerbera for the table centres. I used a local florist.
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
We hired in a caterer and he was great. We had canapes while the guests were arriving. Our starter was parma ham & melon, followed by spit roast lamb, new potatoes & salads for main and a choice of summer pudding, lemon tart or strawberries for dessert.
What did you choose for your wedding cake?
The cake was amazing. I kept to the panto feel for this! We had a book with the start of Jack’s story for the bottom tier, Jack climbing the beanstalk to rescue the princess and the bags of gold for the middle tier and a beautiful fairytale castle for the top tier.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
Two friends sang a song while we signed the register at the church. We had a harpist who played at the earlier part of the reception and then a friend’s band played for the evening do.
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
We had an online wedding list (to keep up with our internet connection!).
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
Our first night was at a hotel about two miles away. The honeymoon was a surprise for me and was to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Ged booked it all himself.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
All of it! If I had to pick one thing I guess it would be seeing Ged’s face when he turned to look at me walking up the aisle.
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
Take your time walking up the aisle – I raced up it! Also, ask your photographer, or a friend, to take some photos of the things that you may not notice on the day but which you’ve spent months planning, e.g. flowers etc.