Sarah and Steven
21/08/2004 – St. Josephs Church, Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire
The Bull Hotel, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire
photos by Peter Clark at A1 Photography
How and when did you meet?
At our local gym several years ago when we were both with our former partners.
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
At home on a dull, wintery Friday night, quite unexpectedly as he had been off work with an ankle injury. Unbeknown to me weeks previously when I had dropped him at our local rugby club, he had sneaked off with friends of ours who were collecting their wedding bands and commisioned my engagement ring, which was just perfect. In complete agony he had taken the train and bus to collect my ring that afternoon so that he could propose to me before we flew off to Amsterdam on a weekend break. He prepared a special meal and when he went down on one knee. I thought his ankle had given way! We then spent the rest of the evening drinking champagne and calling all our family and close friends.
Did you have hen and stag celebrations?
We both had three celebrations, Steve had one in Bournemouth with his four closest friends, a joint one with his friend Raj where they were made to dress up as Batman and Robin for the whole weekend, and a skiing trip again with his closest friends where he was made to dress up as a cavemen and an ugly sister! Mine consisted of a southern hen night in Windsor, and two in Nottingham where I am originaly from, one with the female members of my family and one with my friends.
Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?
Steve found the venue and the church and trawled to just about every gents wedding hire shop in a 30 mile radius. He also chose the band for the evening reception.
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
I used the website a lot, mainly as a point of reference for advice and ideas.
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?
The ‘When I was a Bridesmaid’ books were a really good buy and a nice keepsake for my two little flower girls. I went into the London branch and bought the books there, along with one on choosing readings.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it
After trying on a few dresses I knew that I would need a two piece that pulled me in at the waist. I fell in love with a pearl and crystal bodice, and bought it along with a straight skirt with quite a long train which I wanted for the church. I had the train made detachable and altered so that it could be worn in a bustle. For the evening reception I took it off altogether for a sleeker look. I had the longest veil they supplied that also had crystals on it. My shoes had crystal butterflies on them to tie in with my theme. I made my hair pins myself using crystal flowers on wires.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
I had three bridesmaids – my sister (who was chief bridesmaid), my neice and my friend’s daughter. My sister wore a shocking pink two-piece dress which had a lace up bodice top with crystals, and a floaty full length skirt. The two little ones wore ivory dresses adorned with butterlies and crystals.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
Steve chose his closest friends. Dave his best friend was his best man and the others were ushers, along with his uncle.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
We had a Catholic ceremony conducted by Steve’s Uncle Richard, who came over from Ireland. It made for a very personal and moving service. I did my own order of service and my friend printed them off for me to cut down on cost.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
St. Joseph’s Church in Chalfont St Giles.
Where did you hold your reception?
The Bull Hotel in Gerrard’s Cross which was five minutes drive from the church.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
Caroline, the wife of one of Steve’s ushers, drove the wedding party there and back in a top of the range BMW. This was more in-keeping with the contemporary feel of the day. She even laid on miniature bottles of champagne for Steve and I for the journey back!
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
I made my invitations which was very time consuming but worthwhile. I bought plain ivory cards. On the front I placed a pink butterfly made with pink fabric rose petals, wire and beads. The butterflies were backed with a metallic pink square to set them off. We had 76 for the church and sit down meal and another 70 for the evening. The evening invitations had a pink butterfly stamped onto them though, instead of a hand made one.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
The theme was butterflies and gerbera’s and the colours were hot pink, cream and black. The tables were all named after cocktails.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
I bought ten glass goldfish bowls – three for the top table and one for each other table – and filled them with floating roses and gerbera’s, surrounding each one with rose petals and tea lights. My friend and I then filled in all the dimples on them in hot pink irridescent paint. I did my own seating plan incorporating the three colours, with gerbera’s spotted around it.
Did you give your guests favours?
I made each of the female guests a personalised fridge magnet with their name, the date, a thanks for being there and a gerbera on. I then wrapped them in pink spagetti cellophane squares, tied them together with a bow and added a note to each of them on the label.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
A local florist did all the flowers except for the church pedastals. I had shocking pink gerbera posies for the two young bridesmaids, white lillies and Cala lillies for my sister’s bouquet, and pink stargazer lillies with ivory cala lilies for my bouquet. My bouquet and my sister’s had a silk butterfly incorporated into them. The groom and groomsmen had gerbera and bear grass buttonholes and my mother had a traditional pink rose corsage. The church flowers were supplied by one of the ladies of the parish and were stargazers, gerberas and bear grass.
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
The venue supplied all the food. We went along for a tasting and chose the menu. As there were 40 people (including us) staying at the hotel, the evening before I organised a hot/cold buffet which everyone paid for individually. This was a great ice breaker as half of the wedding party got the opportunity to be introduced to each other before the wedding. The food was exceptional.
What did you choose for your wedding cake?
The wedding cake was breathtaking. I supplied a picture and it was copied exactly, substituting the flowers in the picture for hot pink gerberas. Neither Steve nor I wanted to cut it!
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
We had a live band for the evening reception. They were brilliant and the dance floor was packed all evening.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
We spent our first night in the hotel so that we could join everyone for breakfast before jetting off to Ko Samui for our honeymoon. Steve arranged the honeymoon as a surprise. We stayed at Tongsai Bay in the cottage suites and it was awesome, totally breathtaking and the people were the nicest you could hope to meet.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
There were so many it’s hard to say. Seeing Steve beaming back at me once I reached the altar, the ceremony as it was so very personal it moved even a few of our male friends to tears, the speeches, our first dance and dancing with my brother who had flown all the way from Australia.
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
I would do it all again tomorrow, it really was the best day of my life – seeing all our hard work come together and being surrounded by family and friends who are there just for you is an amazing feeling. My only piece of advice would be to stop, catch your breath, take it all in continuously throughout the day and enjoy every minute as it goes to fast.