Let’s start with the proposal
James got down on one knee whilst we watched the sunset on Gili Air. It was the most perfectly surreal moment of my life. I had always wanted to go to Indonesia and now it will always have a special place in heart.
When you started planning, where did you get your inspiration from?
We visited the Wedding Show at the NEC, where we found our incredible band, The Distractions and also impulse purchased a taxi photo booth!
Tell us about the venue
James really wanted a traditional church wedding and so we had our wedding ceremony at the church of St Mary and St. Bartholomew in Hampton in Arden, Solihull with our reception at Hampton Manor. The church adjoins the estate and there is a garden walkway between the two, which really helped the flow of the day. We were on cloud nine walking back to the venue as newlyweds with all our guests. We looked at different types of venues but as soon as we walked into Hampton Manor we knew it was the place for us. It has so much style and character and we loved the idea of having exclusive use of the Manor to share the fantastic space with our loved ones. Hampton Manor has a Michelin star restaurant on-site and we thought it was such a special touch that our wedding breakfast would be inspired by the Michelin star menu.
David Boynton was our photographer who works with Ryan Mobberley who was our videographer. Dave and Ryan were truly amazing on our wedding day. They both made us feel completely at ease, even taking the time to help James with his outfit in the morning. They could have easily blended in as guests. We love how natural all the photographs are and that they just captured events as they unfolded.
Did you know the kind of dress you were looking for?
I had no idea what kind of dress I was looking for – I had never really imagined being a bride or dreamed about my wedding dress. At the first shop I visited, I tried on each style to try to work out what suited my body shape. I am short and my mom burst into laughter when I tried on a ballgown dress so I knew it wasn’t for me! After trying on what felt like every dress in the shop, I realised that fishtail dresses seemed to suit me best and loved how they made me feel.
I went to lots of different shops. I must have tried on over 30 dresses. But I just didn’t get that “feeling” about any of the dresses. I was starting to lose hope and so I had a break over the Christmas period as I really wanted to enjoy the experience and it was starting to feel stressful. I started the hunt again in January and it was meant to be as I bought my dress from the first shop I visited.
I picked Ronald Joyce style Erin (69009) and I bought my dress from Lula Ann Bridal in Birmingham. I knew I wanted a fishtail dress but I hadn’t quite found “the one”. It was actually the assistant who suggested I try on the dress and as soon as I saw the back beading I fell in love. The dress was so elegant and classic that I knew it would stand the test of time but the back detail added such a wow factor and made me feel really glam. As soon as I put the dress on, I had all the feels and it wasn’t long before me and my mom were crying! My mom very kindly purchased the dress for me and treated herself to a Veni Infantino Mother of the Bride outfit – she looked fab!
When choosing my accessories, I was really conscious that I didn’t want anything that would take away from the back of the dress and so I wore a single tier, illusion tulle, cathedral length veil for the ceremony. I had the veil personalised with our names and the date of our wedding embroidered on the edge. I couldn’t resist treating myself to a pair of Jimmy Choos, and went for a peep toe metallic pair. I also wore a small hair piece from Ivory & Co and had a “Mrs Smith” personalised clutch bag from Etsy for my essentials. My only jewellery was a pair of earrings, which I forgot to put in in my rush to be at the church on time (I also forgot my garter!). My mom and bridal party were commenting on how calm and relaxed I seemed in the morning getting ready but no matter how organised you may feel (even if you leave all of your accessories clearly laid out on the dressing table in front of you), it never all goes to plan. It is safe to say it made no difference to our wonderful day and I didn’t actually realise until I saw our photographs for the first time!
What made your wedding the best day of your lives?
I loved planning our wedding but I did find it stressful at times as like all brides I wanted our day to be perfect for us. I really wanted the day to feel personal and so with the help of my mom, maid of honour and bridesmaids I made all of our invitations, stationery for the day, table runners and favours (limoncello shots, which went down very well!). It was great to know I’d had so much input on the day but with hindsight it was a lot of unnecessary added pressure!
We didn’t really have a theme as such but we went for neutral tones to compliment the venue. Our florist, Passion for Flowers, was amazing and stepped in at short notice a month before the wedding when we had to unexpectedly end our relationship with our existing florist. Karen really captured our vision for the day and we were blown away with how incredible the church and venue looked. We had a sweetheart table so we could have some quality time together and all of our guests were seated at four sprig tables filled with candles and flowers. We love to travel and so we named our tables after countries we had visited and had pictures of us in those countries on each table.
I haven’t met a couple who hasn’t spent more on their wedding than they originally budgeted (we were definitely guilty of this) and so all I would advise is to try not to over stretch yourself and keep perspective. From our own experiences as wedding guests, we believed that ultimately guests want great food and a good time and so we tried to focus our spending on this.
My advice to brides would be to enjoy every moment and try not to sweat the small stuff. Things are likely to go wrong but they honestly do not impact on how you feel on the day or how perfect your wedding day will be for you both.
It’s so hard to choose the best part of our day, I’ll never forget the moment I walked down the aisle and saw James for the first time or our alone time walking around the grounds together as newlyweds… the best part for me was our first dance. Our song is I will Wait by Mumford and Sons and the band played a slowed down acoustic version for us. Dancing with James whilst all our friends and family sang along to our song gave me chills and I loved when the band picked up the pace and everyone came to join us on the dance floor.
I had the cheesiest smile on my face and laughed all day, but the funniest part had to be the bouquet toss. It is fair to say my maid of honour was committed to catching the bouquet and threw herself into it with full force (which was brilliantly captured by our photographer!) She leapt through the air only for the bouquet to fly over her head into the hands of my sister in law!