How did you feel when you first met?
We first met at college whilst studying for our A-levels back in 1999. It was a couple of years later after leaving college that we met up again (2004) on a night out in Guildford, Surrey. Our first date was in Guildford a few weeks later where we went for dinner and drinks and laughed a lot!
What’s your favourite memory of your time dating?
For my 21st Birthday (4 months after we’d started dating), André surprised me with a trip to Disneyland Paris. I’d told him during one of our dates that I’d never been to Disney and would love to go, so he decided he would treat me. As soon as we walked into the themepark and I saw the Princess Castle my eyes welled up with tears! His face was a picture as he thought he’d done something wrong, when in fact they were tears of happiness! I knew from that moment that this man was special!!
Tell us about the proposal – how did it happen?
André proposed on a tiny island in the Philippines called Boracay. He’d booked the trip (again as another surprise holiday) a few months before and tells me now that he had the whole thing planned. He arranged with a local restaurant on the island to set up a table at the end of a jetty with small candles in paper bags scattered along the walkway. It was beautiful! It was then that he revealed a gorgeous Marquise cut diamond ring and asked me to marry him. Shortly after the proposal we were interrupted by one of the waiters trying to put out a small fire on the jetty where one of the tealights had set the paper bag alight! Whoops.
Were you surprised?
Very! Although we’d been together for nearly seven years before he proposed, it still took me by surprise. He waited until day seven of the holiday and had been carrying the ring around with him everywhere we went – he tells me now that he was petrified as we were going through airport security in case they ruined the surprise by searching him and revealing the ring!!
The second surprise was after the proposal when he arranged a private firework display (courtesy of a local man that André got chatting to on the beach!) and the third surprise was a private helicopter ride that he booked to take us back to the airport on our last day! All in all it was a pretty amazing holiday!
Did he go the traditional route and ask your father’s permission?
Yes. He bought two tickets to take my Dad to the Southampton Boat Show (my Dad loves boats) and asked him as they were walking around. This was almost three months before the trip, so goodness knows how my dad managed to keep it a secret from my Mum and me for so long.
What made you choose Wasing Park?
The moment we drove in the gate at the bottom of the drive we knew that Wasing Park would be something special - and it was! Everything we needed, all in one place.
How did you feel when you first saw it?
Excited. Eager to get looking at dates as we knew we wanted to get married in that same year (we viewed the venue in Jan 2011 and got married 9 months later in October).
What were the best things about it?
The simplicity of the Castle Barn, meaning that we could tailor the look and feel of our day however we wanted.
Where did you find your wedding dress?
A small shop in Epsom called Harrington Cleur Bridal. The designer of the dress was Modern Trousseau (an American designer) and is unique to that one store in the UK. The dress cost a little over £2000 (I can’t remember the exact cost). The style to me was flattering on all accounts as it accentuated my frame but also made me feel like a bride at the same time!
How did you feel when you put it on?
Like a ballerina!! I nicknamed the dress ‘The Swan’.
What accessories did you wear on the day?
The only accessories were my small pearl earrings and the plain white flower in my hair. I did wear a veil just for the church, but I removed it as soon as we walked outside.
Did you have something old, new, borrowed and blue?
Something old was my Nan’s eternity ring that I had sewn to the inside of my dress. Something new was the dress/veil etc, something blue was my name, which I had the designer to embroider on the inside on my dress in blue thread. I didn’t actually have anything borrowed!
Where did Andre buy/hire his outfit?
He chose a grey mohair morning suit from Suits, Newbury. He liked that the waistcoat was double-breasted and slightly different from a normal morning suit.
How did he look when you first saw him?
Very smart! André doesn’t wear a suit to work so it’s always nice to see him looking smart.
Tell us about your bridesmaids
I had five of my best friends! My cousin Lucy, my special and close friends Tessa, Jen and Catherine and André’s sister Claudia. I also had my friend Cleo’s twin daughters Lucianne and Iona as my flowergirls.
How did you decide who to ask? How did they help you?
I had known for a long time who I wanted to ask! It was easy to just ask them outright. I knew they’d be thrilled/excited!
Tell us about their outfits – where did you buy the dresses
Their dresses were from Coast. I fell in love with the colour before anything else. The style (babydoll) seemed to suit them all so I knew they were the right choice!
Tells us about the best man and ushers
André’s best men were his two close friends Victor and Neil. André chose my brother Adam, my cousin Lucy’s husband Kevin and his friend Steve to be his ushers. They wore the same as André just with a plain coloured cravat.
What was your ceremony like?
My Sister in Law – Stacey (who was pregnant at the time with our gorgeous niece Faythe) did a gorgeous reading called ‘You are the Bubbles’! It made me cry – you can see from the pics!! André’s cousin Nigel also read a bible reading for us.
Who walked you down the aisle?
My wonderful dad!! I love the pictures of us walking from the rooms to the church… we were both nervous but he has a wonderful nature of staying calm and really kept me grounded!!
What was your theme?
Simplicity! We didn’t want anything too fussy or ‘blingy’.
How did you decorate the wedding venue?
Flowers and candleabras on the tables and wooded/twig love hearts scattered around the venue. We also used a LOT of tealights to light up the Castle Barn. My Father also made a red letterbox (which my brother had previously used at his wedding).
André’s very talented Aunt (Sandy) did our flowers for us. She did everything from the church pedestal to the buttonholes to the bride/bridesmaid bouquets and the table decorations. I was thrilled to bits with them and it was even more lovely that someone in the family had done them for us.
Where did you get your stationery?
My brother designed the wedding invitations and orders of service for us. We used André’s cousin to print them and I thoroughly enjoyed putting everything together to send out.
Our table names were all our favourite places in the world, and our top table being Boracay (where we got engaged). The name places for guests were handmade by my Dad who cut out small wooden love hearts, which we tied with ribbon and had tied around the napkins on the table.
The female guests had small organza bags filled with dried lavender and the men had small bottles of port, which they could enjoy with the cheese board in the evening.
What did you serve for the wedding meal?
We had crab linguine to start and André’s all-time favourite food, steak, for our main course. It was beautifully cooked and we’ve had so many comments on how wonderful all the food was.
Tell us about the first dance
Dancing In The Moonlight by Toploader, for no other reason than the song makes us both feel happy and we both sing along whenever we hear it played. The last dance was Take That’s Never Forget and the dancefloor was packed!!!! I loved it!
What’s your favourite memory?
Everything! Sometimes I try to replay the whole day in my head and I still love everything about it. Certain parts still make me well up with tears!!!
Based on your own experience, give us some top tips…
- For brides: Don’t leave yourself until last to get ready in the morning – when you look around the room and all your bridesmaids are ready and you are not it can all get a bit stressful!
- For grooms: Turn around and look at your bride as she’s walking down the aisle!
“If we could do it all again, we...”
... wouldn’t change a thing!”
Tell us about the honeymoon – when/where did you go?
Island Hopping in the Seychelles for two weeks. It was amazing!
Images courtesy of Anneli Marinovich Photography