How it all began
"Ricky and I met at the Student Union bar at Hartfordshire University where Ricky was studying. We discovered we had a lot in common, including that we were both from Croydon! Our first date was during the Christmas holidays at a bar in our home town.
Ricky had been planning the proposal for several months and had asked my Father's permission beforehand (which he was very pleased about). He asked me whilst we were on holiday in Paris. We were at the Palace of Versailles and he popped the question in the gazebo in Marie Antoinette's estate.
Choosing a wedding venue
As a Roman Catholic I wanted to get married in a church. We booked the Sacred Heart in Petworth, West Sussex about a year and a half beforehand. We looked at several wedding venues for the reception in the area but found a perfect setting in the laid back Upwaltham Barns with its beautiful wiews over the West Sussex counrtyside.
Jenny's wedding dress
It took me about four months to find a dress. In that time I had been to at least 15 shops and tried on countless dresses. I knew the style of dress I wanted quite early on but I was looking for something a bit more unique with a vintage feel. I knew i had the right dress as soon as i had it on. It was called 'Willow' by Mon Cherie; a lace and tulle strapless, floor length gown with a sweetheart neckline. It was fitted to the hips with an A-line skirt and chapel train.
I also wanted to have a short dress for the evening which I had made for me by a private dressmaker called Pamela Stretch. It was a strapless fit and flare dress with a sweetheart neckline made from ivory raw silk with a tulle overlay. It had a flower pattern across the front with some delicate diamante finishing.
I really wanted a vintage inspired side tiara. I tried several but fell in love with the pearl and diamante 'Loren' band from Flo and Percy. My shoes were 'Bridget' by Benjamin Adams. I wanted an elegant shoe rather than something with a thick heel like you often find in bridal shoes. My Bridget's fitted the bill with a killer heel but that was still comfortable. My jewellery consisted of pearl drop earings and a matching bracelet from Chez Bec. My underwear was from Jasper Conran at Debenhams.
My something borrowed was my chapel length veil which belonged to a friend of mine. My something blue was my rosary beads and my something old was a lucky sixpence from 1960 which I had inside my left shoe.
Ricky wanted to have a tailored suit made for him which he chose. It was a similar shade of dark grey to the ushers' suits and was made by Fielding and Nicholson in London. Neither of us are keen on tails so we opted for standard suits. He had an ivory waistcoat and with a matching cravat and a handkerchief made by Pamela Stretch with a pink rode buttonhole.
I had five Bridesmaids which were my two sisters, Ricky's two sisters and my friend, Helen, who was Chief Bridesmaid. She did an amazing job on the day and also organised my fabulous hen weekend in Edinburgh. I had the Bridesmaid's dresses made by Pamela Stretch as I couldn't find the right thing on the High Street. To go with the vintage theme, I wanted 50's style fit and flare, knee length dresses with a v-neckline. They were made from dusky pink raw silk complimented by pearl accessories. I also found a little dress for my niece by Jasper Conran at Debenhams that was an almost exact colour match.
Ricky found it very difficult to pick one Best Man so he had two, school friends; Will and Stuart. They did a fantastic job by helping us on the day and made a hilarious speech. The Ushers were Ricky's two brothers and Scott, another old school friend. All the boys (including my Dad) wore grey two piece suits from M&S with ivory silk waistcoats. They had cravats and handkerchiefs made from the same fabric as the Bridesmaids dresses and ivory buttonholes.
Jenny and Ricky's wedding ceremony
We had readings and hymns during our ceremony. I walked down the aisle with my Dad whilst Canon in D was playing on the organ. I was really nervous and was trying very hard not to cry. As soon as I saw Ricky though my nerves went away.
Another thing Ricky and I have in common is our love of cheese so we opted for a cheese wedding cake consisting of Cornish Brie, Cornish Yarg, Devon Blue, Cornish Blue, Keltic Gold and Gevrik goats cheese.
We bought the tiers of cheese and had the florist decorate it with flowers. The cake sat on a personalised oak cheese board. We also had pink and white vanilla cupcakes decorated with edible pearls.
The favours were little jam jars that doubled up as place cards as they ad little name tags on them. We also had a second favour of personalised pink M&Ms which I brought back from America.
On arrival at the barns our guests were served Bellinis and canapes. I made the table plan myself which was made to look like a vintage pin board with fabric and lace. We had 90 guests overall and only a few additional evening guests.
Sticking with the cheese theme, our tables were names after British Cheeses. We decided to go against tradition with a circular top tables and sat with our best man and chief bridesmaid rather than our family.
The starter was a cheese and leek tartlet which was followed by chicken wrapped in Parma ham in a cream sauce served with wilted spinach and raosted new potatoes. The dessert was our cupcakes which had little flags stuck in them with our initials. The cheese from the wedding cake was served up with break and cold meats in the evening.
The speeches were hilarious with the Best Man doing a routine which involved cheese! We served champagne in saucers with the speeches plus a shot of gold flacked vodka for Ricky's toast.
My top tip would be to give yourself at least a year and a half to organise your wedding if you want to do things properly. I think it is also best to have at least half of your wedding budget saved before you start booking anything. The day goes so quickly so if you can, we really recommend doing a brunch the day after the wedding so that you have chance to chat to all your guests again and reminisce about the day.
Images courtesy of Mango Studios