Tracey and Pauls real life wedding

Tracey and Paul’s Real Life Coulsdon Manor Hotel Wedding

When was your wedding?

5th July 2008

How and when did you meet?

Paul and I met through an on-line dating agency. I joined on a bit of a whim, encouraged by some girls at work. Paul emailed me and we got chatting via email, and after a couple of weeks arranged to meet up for a drink. We hit it off immediately, and have never looked back!


How old are you both?

I’m 45 and Paul is 42

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

Paul proposed on Christmas morning 2006 in his mum’s holiday apartment in Mortehoe in North Devon.

Did you have hen and stag celebrations? If so, what did you do?

Yes, I met up with some girlfriends for a few drinks in a local pub, followed by a meal in an Indian restaurant. My sister who was my Chief Bridesmaid had bought everyone pink or white cowboy hats covered in sequins, and I had the obligatory veil and ‘L’ plate to wear! She really made a huge effort and had bought me lots of funny presents that I had to open throughout the evening. Paul and his friends went racing at Lingfield Park racecourse at one of their evening meetings.

How did your groom help with the wedding planning?

Yes he did. We both visited and chose the reception venue, and he even came with me to all the wedding fairs. He also did all the printing of our invitations, order of server, place names etc that we made ourselves.

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

Yes I used it a lot to get ideas on what type of invitation to have, and it also helped with ideas for attendants gifts.

Do you have a confetti web page?

Yes, but I didn’t really update it with much detail to be honest.

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

Yes we bought all the cards for our invitations, order of service, favour boxes, disposable cameras mainly online but we did visit the Tottenham Court Road store to get the sweets to fill the favour boxes.

Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it

My dress was by Amanda Wyatt. It was an ivory, strapless organza gown with crystal beading on the bust and back. I also had a small jacket made from the same organza material of the dress. I bought it from a small shop in Reigate called The Bridal Room

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

Yes I had 2 adult bridesmaids, my sister and my cousin who both wore orange strapless dresses made from material by Amanda Wyatt. I had 2 flower girls who wore ivory dresses with organza skirts and orange sashes, and 1 page boy who wore the same suit as the rest of the male wedding party.

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

Paul chose an old school friend, Phil, as his best man. Even though Phil has lived in Bermuda for almost 20 years, they have remained close friends. His ushers were his 2 sisters’ husband and partner. They all wore dark brown suits with ‘Edward’ jackets, ivory waistcoats and scrunchy orange ties which were hired from Dickies in Horsham.

Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?

We had a religious ceremony

Where did you hold your ceremony?

St Mary’s Church, Caterham on the Hill, Surrey

Where did you hold your reception?

Coulsdon Manor Hotel & Golf Club, Old Coulsdon, Surrey

Did you have any special wedding transport?

Yes we had a beautiful old 1951 black Rolls Royce.

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

We had 78 guests to the day, and a further 30-40 to the evening reception.

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

It was quite a traditional style, with orange as the accent colour used throughout.

How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?

We had orange rose petals scattered on the tables, the flowers were mainly orange and peach colours.

Did you give your guests favours?

We gave our guests favour boxes filled with sweets and they had orange personalised ribbon tied around them with our names and the date of the wedding on.

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

My bouquet was a shower bouquet with orange gerberas, peach roses, ivy and other foliage. The bridesmaids and flower girls all had ivory rose posies with beargrass loops. The guest table decorations were distressed white wooden birdcages filled with green foliage and orange and peach flowers.

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

The hotel did all the catering. We had Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Egg Tartlet to start, Slow cooked confit should of Lamb with potato cake for the main course, and Strawberry cheesecake with a mixed berry compot for dessert.

What did you choose for your wedding cake, and who made it?

Our wedding cake was a four tier fruit cake from Marks and Spencers. Our florist put flowers on each tier, and it looked much more expensive than it was!

Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?

Yes we hired a ‘Rat Pack’ singer who sang during the arrival drinks reception and again during the wedding breakfast, and he went ‘down a storm’!

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

Yes we had a list at John Lewis

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

We spent our first night at the hotel where we had our reception so that we could meet up with everyone the following morning for breakfast. We booked our honeymoon independently which was a 3 centre holiday visiting San Francisco, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

What was your most memorable moment of the day?

Definitely the church service – especially the vows. Also listening to 2 of our close friends read lovely readings.

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

The flowergirl dresses were HUGE when they arrived, and had to be reordered and they arrived on the Wednesday before. The smallest dress was still too long, so my mum had to alter it to fit. It looked perfect on the day, but I could have done without the ‘stress’ to be honest!

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

I don’t think so – the day went like clockwork in the end. I would definitely recommend that you take the time to stand back and watch everything going on during the day. I am also so glad that we booked a professional videographer to capture all the moments that when you look back you have either forgotten, or didn’t see at the time.

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