“I love to hear my brides stories of their inspiration for their special day, and all the excitement that goes with it! Fiona and Neil’s wedding is full of monograms (a huge personal love of mine) and vintage touches. I’m sure you’ll enjoying reading all about it.
Thank you to Fiona and Neil sharing their story,
How did you meet?
Neil and I met in 2006 through an online dating website, www.DatingDirect.com. When we met up I wasn’t sure about him at first but I could tell there was definitely a connection. By the end of the date I was obviously fairly confident he fitted the bill, he was very good looking, honest with smiley eyes and so we managed a kiss at the end of the evening. We continued dating and within 18 months I’d moved in with him.
When was the proposal?
Quite early on in our relationship Neil had said that he had no plans to get married and so I had learnt to accept that we were very happy in our relationship as we were. But secretly of course I had dreamed of being a bride one day. So after 8 years of being together something changed his mind as on Boxing Day 2014, and as I was in the kitchen cooking a family lunch, Neil called me to join him with my Mum and Neil’s son Grant in the lounge just before I served lunch. I walked into the lounge to find Neil on one knee. My mother and Grant had apparently been forewarned of his plans. I instantly started crying knowing what was going on and once asked if I would do the honour of marrying him I emotionally said yes of course. After an afternoon of celebrating I was presented with a ring, my grandmothers stunning 1930’s diamond engagement ring, my mother had given it to Neil so that in case I wanted to wear a ring straight away I had something to wear. Neil had got plans to take me ring shopping but I was too in love with my grandmothers ring and to my delight my mother agreed that it was meant to be that I keep it so we just made a few changes to the band and had in back on my finger in 2 weeks.
Tell me about your wedding plans?
So we decided that we wanted to get married as soon as we could, maybe even within the next month of getting engaged and if possible having a small ceremony with immediate family, we would delay the party with family and friends to later in the year. So within 3 weeks we managed to arrange everything for the wedding including finding my stunning wedding dress. My to-do-list APP on my phone and iPad was maxed out and became my new best friend. It was a little stressful to pull everything off but we managed it and had a magical, blue sky, sunny, chilly January day with our immediate family there to celebrate with us in Oxfordshire at Abingdon registry office https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/content/abingdon-ceremony-room followed by a wonderful reception at a private dining room at The White Hart in Fyfield http://www.whitehart-fyfield.com Just a month after the wedding we started arranging the party celebrations, I would get to wear my wedding dress all over again, now not many brides can get the chance to do that!!
Tell me about your dress Fiona?
With such tight timing I wasn’t sure I’d even get a wedding dress and if it hadn’t been for my wonderful sister in law Jo trawling the shops with me I probably wouldn’t have managed it. The January sales were on so I couldn’t even find a cream dress in one of the high street retailers. Jo knew of a wedding dress shop that she suggested we at least make enquiries with. When we visited Bride to Be www.bridetobe.co.uk they were made aware of the timescales and they advised that if I found a dress in the shop I liked and it fitted or it could be altered to fit I could buy off the hanger. I had been looking online over the last few days and I knew that I wanted the dress to have lace, a v-neckline, lace sleeves and I knew I wanted the dress fitted around the hips area as Neil loves my curves. To my amazement, the 2nd dress I tried on by Essence of Australia www.essensedesigns.com had nearly everything I was looking for I just added a lace overlay to give me the lace sleeves. It was a very exciting, I just didn’t want to take the dress off. The boutique kindly offered to fit in the minimal alterations and had it ready for me to collect within just 9 days of first trying it on. Once the dress was bought everything else just slotted into place with shoes from www.johnlewis.com, tiara, jewellery and a vintage mink fur jacket all bought off www.eBay.co.uk. I already had a vintage clutch bag that was perfect. In just 3 weeks I even managed to find time for a hair and make up trial and have 2 hen parties. All Neil wanted to do was just turn up on the day and so he chose to wear a grey jacket and trousers that he already owned, we bought him a new shirt from M&S and new tie from www.formaltailor.com
For the September Party Neil decided just 3 weeks beforehand that he fancied a new suit which we sourced from the Jaegar boutique at Bicester Village www.bicestervillage.com and he wore this with the shirt and tie we had bought for the wedding.
Where was the venue for your party?
Around a year and a half before Neil proposed I had visited The Rectory Hotel in Crudwell Wiltshire www.therectoryhotel.com on a work visit and just fell in love with the property. I secretly thought to myself if Neil did ever change his mind about getting married this would make a wonderful venue for wedding celebrations. Luckily when made enquiries they were available to accommodate an afternoon tea party on the date which was to be 9 years to the day we had first met. The Rectory Hotel is a stunning 12 bedroom hotel, former rectory, in the beautiful Cotswolds set in 3 acres of grounds with walled gardens and adjacent to the village church. It had so much character with antique chic decor, eclectic antiques with contemporary pieces, a wood-panelled dining room, open log fires and comfy armchairs. It felt just like being in someones very large but comfy family home. The events team led by Rhiannon Curtis were fantastic in all the preparations beforehand and on the day, they made life so much easier and I couldn’t recommend the venue and the team highly enough. The afternoon started with welcome drinks and canapés in the conservatory, spilling out onto the lawns followed by an afternoon tea party with a variety of finger sandwiches and selection of cakes set up in the dining room. This was ended by our first dance to ‘Love is in the Air’ by John Paul Young. A few friends luckily captured it on video, https://youtu.be/6izApyPLlQ0 and https://youtu.be/Br-6h_45y_Y and another one https://youtu.be/Fv3xE_Pw05s
How did you choose your stationery?
I knew I wanted a clean classic monogram wedding style for the stationery and so together with Kelly “my favourite designer” we came up with a stylish but simple design of a monogram set in a garland design, grey on off white card, that was then developed to produce the various stationery materials. Pinterest played a very important part for my inspiration and Kelly was very patient with all my ongoing changes and requests. My OCD was kicking in all the way. Once all the stationery artwork for the invitations were sent to print I started to think of ideas for the actual party day.
What did you decorate your tables with?
I’d chosen off white with grey, a dusky pink and a sage green colour scheme for the party and so during my research on Pinterest came across some lovely ideas that inspired my very simply classic look of white table cloths with grey linen table runners together with white crockery and vintage cake stands that I hired with vintage champagne saucers from http://www.cotswoldsvintagepartyhire.co.uk The table stationery together with the dusky pink flowers in vintage class vases set off the tables beautifully.
Whilst on Pinterest I came across the idea for our wedding monogram to be stitched onto napkins. I was quite specific in wanting white monogram wedding napkins and came across Extra Special Touch through the www.ETSY.com which directed me to the EST website. After making enquiries we decided to make the napkins up just for our top table guests. Heidi from EST was super helpful, always happy to answer any queries before we made our final decision. We couldn’t recommend the quality of work high enough, just superb!!!
Who was your photographer?
My brother is a professional photographer and kindly took our photos from the wedding but so that he didn’t have to work on the day of the party we approached Tom Weller Photography http://www.tomwellerphotography.com he was recommended by the events team at The Rectory Hotel. I instantly new we’d found someone with a very creative relaxed style and who was happy to adapt our needs into his style. We now have the task of creating an album of both the wedding and the party photos, think that might keep me busy over the coming weeks ahead. Friends and family also sent us all their photos from the day which I then put together to music and created our own slide show https://youtu.be/mt4MphiyiVY
Tell me about your venue décor?
We sourced most of the decorations such as the bunting, the dusky pink, grey and cream pom poms, the doggy bag boxes for guests to take cake home in with tissue paper and ribbons all from eBay, all from the inspiration I found on Pinterest. During my online search for confetti I came across http://www.confetti-cones.co.uk who supplied everything I was looking for under one supplier, the biodegradable confetti petals, the cones and the cone stands with excellent customer service keeping me fully informed of my order/delivery etc
What was your wedding cake?
As per the January wedding when we just had a 1 tiered cake we bought the same but 4 tiered wedding cake for the party from the M&S traditional wedding cake range http://www.marksandspencer.com/traditional-wedding-cake/p/ds458689 and added flowers, ribbon and a Mr & Mrs bunting cake topper for the top tier.
Tell me about your flowers?
As my wonderful florist Laura from http://www.thebloomroom.co.uk who made my bouquet in January was away for our wedding party I had to then search for someone else to help out for the party. I came across http://flowersbypassion.com when I found a stunning photo of flowers at an afternoon tea party on Pinterest and to my surprise they were local to the party venue and were available to help. I produced a mood board for them and they helped plan put everything together, they were so accommodating and so helpful with advice and guidance.
Who did your hair and make-up?
I’d been lucky enough to find the most amazing hair and make up contacts through friends recommendations for the wedding back in January and I had no hesitation to rebook them for the party. Katie-Jane Whitlock http://katiejanewhitlock.co.uk worked her magic with my hair and Katie Bolton managed to make me feel like a princess with stunning make up Katie Bolton http://www.katiebolton.co.uk They are both amazingly talented artists and in fact Katie-Jane has been shortlisted for a Regional Wedding Awards recently.
So I basically planned everything myself, I am known as little miss organiser by my friends and I was in heaven organising everything with the aid of Pinterest by my side throughout the whole process. I have organised many an event in my previous Event Manager job roles over the years so think this helped.
We are one very happy husband and wife team now and can’t believe we will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary on 24th January 2016. We are looking forward to a very long and happy marriage together. Thank you again Heidi xx
Photography by Tom Weller Photography
Venue – The Rectory at Crudwell
Fiona’s dress – Essence of Australia
Bridal Boutique – Bride to Be
Hair by Katie-Jane Whitlock
Make up by Katie Bolton
Monogram napkins – Extra Special Touch
Confetti cones by Confetti Cones UK
Flowers by Flowers by Passion