How it all began
"Our first official date was in December 2004. I was late as I'd been having a riding lesson in London and had to drive to Berkshire afterwards so I didn't turn up until about an hour after I was supposed to! As we'd missed our reservation we ended up going to a local Indian restaurant and then back to Ian's house for a DVD.
My favourite memory of our time dating was when I had been left some money by a great uncle and so decided to treat Ian to a trip to New York for his birthday. It was a total surprise and he only found out about three days before we were due to leave. The trip was amazing and on our final day we went on a carriage ride around Central Park.
As we were on our way round Ian asked me if I wanted to go back to Tiffany's when we were finished. I said no as we'd been there the day before and there was nothing I particularly wanted. Then Ian asked again "do you want to go to Tiffany's" and I got what he meant. I am blonde so sometimes it takes a while! After we bought the ring he took me back into Central Park, we found a quiet spot by a tree and he got down on one knee. I was totally surprised as I knew a proposal was on the cards but as I'd planned the trip as a surprise I figured that there was no way he'd have proposed as it would have been very spontaneous.
Choosing a wedding venue
I found Wasing Park when I was actually looking for a friend who was getting married about 18 months before I actually got engaged. I knew that was where I wanted to get married as it was local, in the countryside and was a bit different from other barn venues. Wasing Park is just stunning. The driveway leading up to the venue really sets the scene and the backdrop was just perfect. We wanted a wedding venue where we could do everything so people didn't have to travel from one place to another as some people would be travelling a long way to get there but I didn't really want to have a civil ceremony.
Wasing Park gives you the option of a church wedding plus the reception venue and accommodation in the same location which can't be found anywhere else. The first time I saw the venue, I felt a bit like a spoilt child in a sweet shop - I HAD to have it! The church, the stunning barns (having two barns meant people wouldn't have to hang around outside during the changeover if it rained), the beautiful gardens with so many photo opportunities, and the 5* accommodation (and THAT bed) plus the staff know exactly what they are doing and are so professional.
We booked our date just over two years in advance and at that point they only had two Saturdays left in July which was incredible! You definitely need to book in advance for a summer Saturday wedding at Wasing Park.
Krista's wedding dress
It took 54 dresses before I finally found mine and I ended up trying on every designer under the sun and every price bracket but nothing was quite right. When I found my dress I didn't look at any others as I was sick and tired of the experience! I didn't have any dress wobbles whatsoever.
My dress was from a boutique near my Mum's home in London called 'From This Moment'. The girls were amazing and made me feel every inch the beautiful Bride on my numerous visits! I ended up seeing my dress online and ordering the sample to try. It was Maggie Sottero's Annalise which is a full ballgown style in Bordeaux taffeta with a lace motif across the bodice and through the skirt and a bubble hem.
I actually tried two sizes of my dress on. When I put the larger one on I could see it was nice but I didn't get any particular wow moment but when I put the smaller sample size on which fitted as it should I finally felt like a Bride. My mum and sister cried and I just had a grin on my face.
My day-to-day style is quite classic and I never wear much jewellery and I didn't want my wedding day to be much different. I bought my headband and bracelet from Glitzy Secrets. They matched the vine and flower embellishment on my dress and looked far more expensive than they actually were! I really found it a struggle to find earrings and a necklace but in the end Ian bought me some diamond studs for my birthday so I wore those and Ian treated me with a gorgeous diamond necklace from Tiffany's on the wedding day (otherwise I was going to wear my Mum's necklace).
Originally I was going to go for some statement shoes in a bright colour but I couldn't find any I loved so I ended up having pretty traditional Bridal shoes. They were ivory satin Jimmy Choo's with a small heel and they were so comfortable throughout the day and well worth the splurge!
All the men's suits were hired from Moss Bros. Ian chose his suit himself - with a little guidance from me! We went with traditional tails in grey, an ivory waistcoat with pale green embellishment and green cravats and handkerchiefs. He looked so incredibly handsome - I had the biggest smile on my face as soon as I saw him.
It was really easy for me to pick my Bridesmaids as they were all my closest friends. If I could have had more I would have!! In the end I had three good friends and my sister. One of my Bridesmaids was living in Dubai so she wasn't around as much but if I'd needed her she would have been there! The other girls planned my hen do, led by my sister who did a great job.
I didn't really want 'Bridesmaid-y' dresses and ideally wanted something the girls could all wear again if they wanted to. We found them in the shop where I bought my dress and they were ivory, knee length dresses with a tiffany blue sash round the waist and a embellished flower up the side designed by Kelsey Rose.
Best Men and Ushers
Ian asked his two brothers to be Best Men to repay the debt owed to Steve (his elder brother) who got married five years ago. We asked three of our close friends to be Ushers who we knew would be able to take charge in the church and they did a great job.
Krista and Ian's wedding ceremony
We had a traditional church service in the parish church at Wasing Park, which was so moving. We asked two of my Bridesmaids to do a reading each and we chose Song of Solomon for our religious reading and then the poem 'Why Marriage?' for our second. We chose three hymns that we knew people would know the words or tune to make sure we didn't have a deathly silence or lots of people miming!. We asked our Mums to be our witnesses.
Wasing have an extensive list of preferred suppliers and we used this as a point of reference throughout, particularly when choosing flowers and our photographer. We chose Caroline Gue from CP Photographyand she was incredible. Our photos are all stunning and everyone commented on what a great job she did on the day. She wasn't intrusive but felt like an integral part of the day and got involved - I can't describe enough how good she was.
We also hired a magician, Richard Young, to keep the guests entertained during the drinks reception and wedding breakfast. He was probably the best thing we bought as he was a real talking point and his magic was just incredible. He stunned us all with his tricks and everyone was talking about him.
We used Cherubs Floral Design and they were the only people we met who got what I was trying to do! They did all our decorations and table centres and an evening turnaround as well. The flowers were gorgeous and lasted until we got back from honeymoon and I was so pleased with my bouquet. In the end I had peonies for my bouquet, the bridesmaids had a single hydrangea bloom, the buttonholes were an ivory rose with foliage and then these three flowers were pulled through the rest of our decorations. We also decorated the beams in the castle barn with ivy and this looked incredible.
I didn't really work towards a theme but I suppose it would be a typical English country wedding. I made all the stationery myself. Cherubs dealt with all of the decorations. We had a plinth in the garden room which we put our cake on and for our table centres we had candelabras and hurricane vases with scattered pearls, candles and a single head of peonies, roses and hydrangea. We also chose to have ivy on the beams which looked great. In the evening Cherubs came back and did their 'nightclub' turnaround which turned the barn into a party zone and gave people another surprise when they walked in for the evening reception.
Surprise wedding car
I hired a Ferrari 360 to take Ian to the venue. This was his wedding gift and was a total surprise for him. He had the biggest grin on his face and was blown away by it. It also provided something for the men to ogle over when the girls were admiring the pretty things!!
The cake was never a massive deal for us and I thought it was a total waste of money spending hundreds of pounds on a cake so we decided to go for a Marks and Spencer cake. However, then I saw someone advertising that they were starting a new business and were looking for clients. So I dropped them an email and she was incredibly competitive and so I decided to book with her.
Rachel was amazing and at our cake tasting session I have to say it was the best cake I have ever eaten in my life - even Ian's Dad, who hates cake, ate loads and loads and said it was incredible. We had alternate layers of lemon cake and chocolate mud cake. The design was a bit different from a traditional cake as we went with our colours of aqua and ivory and so our cake ended up being a focal point and one of our decorations. I was so excited to see it on the day that I snuck up there and had a sneaky peak before I walked down the aisle!
When we went for our tasting at Wasing Park in March all the food was incredible so we had a really hard time deciding what to eat when the time came! In the end we went for ham hock terrine with foie gras and red onion marmalade, lamb two-ways with rosemary roasted potatoes and seasonal veg, trio of mini desserts which were vanilla cheesecake, chocolate brownie and lemon posset. We then had a cheese board, coffee and chocolates during the speeches. The food was divine and I did almost pass out afterwards as I'd eaten too much in my tight dress!
I made the table plan and we decided to keep people in groups that they knew which was easier said than done! But after some tactical maneuvers we managed it. We went for an oval top table as we didn't like the formality of a traditional long top table, plus I wanted to be able to speak to everyone!
Everyone was really worried about the speeches and we did deliberate throughout our planning as to whether we would even have them but Ian insisted so we did. All of the speeches were very heartfelt and Ian made everyone go 'awww' so that's a perfect Groom's speech! The Best Men did a brilliant job and were very funny. I have a horse and Ian is into his cars and they had blown up some pictures into eBay listings of a 'smelly horse', Ian's cars and then my horse Buddy as a beach donkey in Blackpool earning his keep which had everyone in stitches.
We decided that we weren't going to give favours to the adults as we have always seen so many left behind after other weddings we have attended. However we did do activity packs for the children which went down a storm. I made a colouring/activity book which had puzzles, wedding bingo (with words to listen out for during the speeches - genius idea for guaranteed peace and quiet), eye spy and a few other bits in it as well as a toy car or fairy wand for the younger ones and disposable cameras for the older ones. I also chucked in bubbles, a glo stick, crayons/pens, a watch puzzle and some sweets. It kept all the children quiet throughout the meal and speeches and worked out at about £3 a head.
For the evening reception we had a friend's family band called Katchfraze. We had seen them at another wedding and they kept everyone dancing all night and did a great mix of old and new. Ian and I are big Bryan Adams fans so we had always planned to have our first dance to 'Heaven'. However, five years before Ian's elder brother had it for his first dance so that idea was scrapped! As a result we hadn't actually picked a song until a few days before and we chose 'Wonderful Tonight' by Eric Clapton which the band played and was lovely. We just did the standard first dance shuffle!
The best bits
My most memorable moment of the day was when Ian and I took some time out after the meal to go and take some more photos at the Bothy. As we walked down we just talked about our day so far, how much we loved each other and how amazing it was to have all our friends and family there supporting us. The sun was shining and it's a moment I won't forget.
Krista's top tips
- My tip for other Brides is to remember why you are planning a wedding. When you are up to your eyeballs in stress it's all too easy to lose sight of the marriage and that's the most important thing.
- For Grooms -just smile and nod!
- When trying to stick to a budget be realistic and decide what things are important to you and invest in those things. Don't get carried away keeping up with the Joneses but have the best day you can afford.
If we could do it all again...
...we'd have a pause button as it all went by so fast!"
Images courtesy of CP Photography.