Rebecca and Ross planned their amazing wedding in just 5 months. They’d almost given up finding the perfect venue when Rebecca stumbled across Laughern Hill online. They dressed this stunning venue with cute love quotes, personalised matchbooks and lanterns. And, as they’re a laid back couple, they opted for a trendy barbecue instead of a traditional sit down meal.
Tell us about the proposal
It was 22nd December 2012. I’d gone out with my Mum, my Nan and my Aunts to celebrate Mum’s birthday the following day. Ross texted me to see how my night was going and told me he’d been sent on a job nearby - could he come and say happy birthday to my Mum?
By the time he arrived we were in a bar having a drink. He seemed a bit quiet and agitated. Then, in the middle of the bar, he said, “Beck, I lied. I haven’t been on a job. I just came here to ask you if you would do me the honour of becoming my wife”.
By the time the words were out, he was on one knee presenting me with an emerald and diamond ring and people were cheering. I just screamed. My Mum had to point out that in all the excitement I hadn’t actually said yes. A few days later, we flew to Rome for New Year.
What was your first step in planning your wedding?
Pretty soon after the engagement my friend gave me a wedding planner, which became invaluable for jotting down ideas. The first thing we did was decide when we wanted to get married.
I was surprised when Ross suggested May, as it only gave us five months, but I love planning events and things so it was quite exciting. The first thing we started looking for was a venue as we knew that lots of people book years in advance.
I also set up a wedding board on my Pinterest page to gather ideas for bridesmaid dresses, hairstyles, favours etc.
What made you choose your wedding venue?
When I saw Laughern Hill online, I loved it straight away. I sent the link to Ross and he said we should go and view it.
When we arrived at Laughern Hill, it was a miserable, wet day in January. So wet in fact, that I couldn’t go out and look at the grounds because I didn’t have my wellies with me.
Ross and I sat and had a chat with Chris (who owns the house) about what we wanted and I had butterflies in my tummy the whole time. I knew that if it looked that amazing on a wet, grey day it would be breathtaking in May.
When we got some time alone, I asked Ross what he thought. I didn’t tell him how much I loved it because I didn’t want to sway him and really wanted us to make all the big decisions about the day together. Luckily, he loved it as much as I did.
Describe your wedding dress
When we first got engaged I was convinced that I would have a loose fitting Grecian dress in chiffon. But, when my friend Kathryn and I made a spur of the moment trip to a bridal shop around the corner one Saturday morning, that’s not what I ended up with.
I only tried on four dresses. I chose a Ronald Joyce dress called ‘Savannah’, which was tight fitting with a gorgeous shoulder detail. I later said, was what took it from a plain wedding dress to a ‘Becky’ dress.
I got the dress from Lula Ann Bridal. The staff were so helpful. When they initially brought it out for me to try on, I wasn’t sure I liked it because it was more fitted than I intended to go for. But the minute I tried it on I knew it was the one and fell in love with it.
It really did make me feel like a princess and ticked all my boxes: I wanted something beautiful but quite simple, not heavy and easy to move in, because I knew I would want to do loads of dancing.
What accessories did you wear on the day?
Owing to the shoulder detail on the dress, I didn’t wear a necklace. But in February, Ross had brought me an amethyst bracelet for my birthday. I saved it for the day and wore it because it tied in with the purple theme.
My tiara was a beautiful Amanda Wyatt Swarovski headpiece. I purchased it from eBay brand new; the poor bride selling it had got married abroad and had forgotten to take it with her so it had never been worn.
My shoes were from Next in cream with lace over the top. The heel was four inches high - I am only 5ft 1 and Ross is 6ft, so I felt I needed a bit of height.
What did the groom and groomsmen wear?
They wore dark grey suits with long jackets and a purple tie, cummerbund and flower. Ross chose the suits himself.
Tell us about your bridesmaids
I had four bridesmaids: Gemma, who has been a great friend for the past eight years, Gillian, who I met at university, and two younger bridesmaids, Lexie, 3, and Rhiannon who was 10. They are both daughters of very good friends of mine, Lisa and Becky.
The adult bridesmaids wore purple dresses that we found online. They were knee length and had one strap to tie in with the style of my dress.
It was really important to me that not only did the girls look gorgeous but that they also felt comfortable and had something they might wear again. They also wore the most gorgeous sparkly silver shoes.
For the younger bridesmaids I went to BHS. I chose white dresses with a purple band to tie in with the colour of the adult bridesmaid’s dresses.
What was your ceremony like?
We had a civil ceremony under the marquee at Laughern Hill. The actual ceremony bit took place in the summerhouse. My dad walked me down the aisle to Etta James’ ‘At Last’.
My friend, Nina, did a reading of ‘A Lovely Love Story’ by Edward Monkton, which is about two dinosaurs. It wasn’t a traditional choice but the words were very apt. Nina, who is an English teacher, read it so well that people were talking about it even after the wedding.
How did you personalise your day?
We really wanted to keep things simple. The venue and surroundings were so beautiful we didn’t feel it needed masses of decoration.
We had little plaques of various love quotes made by a woman I know locally who runs Lovingly Handmade by Julia. My favourite was one we placed on a post outside the entrance to the marquee where the ceremony was taking place. It said, “Today two families become one, so pick a seat not a side”. We felt summed up what was taking place and stuck with our informal theme.
We also had an order of the day designed by my friend Ellie, which tied in with the invites and outlined what would be taking place. There was a message to each guest on the orders of service, which were handed out as they entered the marquee.
Table decorations and favours
We had lanterns on the tables. Our favours were purple matchbooks (to tie in with the colour theme) embossed with the words ‘The Perfect Match, Ross & Becky 25.05.2013’.
My cousin made our cake - cupcakes with a plain cake on top.
We had a birdcage for cards; again, this was something I found on eBay.
Tell us about your drinks reception and wedding breakfast
After the ceremony, people went to the Vinery and got a glass of bubbly. They were then able to wander around the beautiful grounds and mingle whilst Ross and I had our photos done.
We were really lucky because it had rained all week but on the day of the wedding the sun shone and it was the hottest day so far that year.
Barbecue wedding meal
We then had caterers in to serve a barbecue, which went down a treat.
The speeches were amazing, especially Ross’ - it was beautiful without being too soppy and very funny.
To be honest it was all a bit of blur, but luckily one of the guests had secretly recorded all the speeches and sent them to me, which was a wonderful surprise. After the usual speeches, I decided to make an impromptu speech, which was very unplanned and off the cuff.
How did you organise your wedding budget?
I went spreadsheet crazy. I had a list of everything we needed for the wedding and the estimated costs. I then had another column that added up what we had actually paid for each item.
Incorporated in this was how much money we’d been given by family and how much we still needed. To be honest the spreadsheet became a bit of an obsession.
What were your wedding “must have’s”?
We agreed that we wanted the wedding to represent the type of people we are. This meant we wanted something that was quite relaxed and good fun. We didn’t want a sit down meal or too much formality. The main thing was to be in beautiful surroundings with the people we loved, having fun.
How did you choose your photographer?
A friend recommended our photographers, Laurie and Tim, who run Through The Lens. I liked that they took on board the idea that we didn’t want too many formal shots. And that we got two photographers, so they could capture different perspectives at the same time. They also provided us with photos in colour, black and white and sepia.
How did you choose your suppliers?
Most of our suppliers were either found through online searches or at the recommendation of friends.
Did you have a band or DJ?
We had a DJ and our first dance was to The Carpenters, ‘On Top of The World’. There were a few reasons why we chose that song. Firstly, we both loved it. Secondly, when we first started dating Ross used to come over to mine I would play him loads of my favourite songs and this was one of them. Finally, because Ross is a big fan of The Carpenters and once told me he used to hear that song and wonder whether he would ever find the sort of love they sang about. Now he had, so it was very apt. We also like that it is quite an upbeat tune and people were even joining in singing whilst we were dancing.
Based on your own experience, give us some top tips…
- Create a spreadsheet. It really helps you keep track of what and where you’re spending money and where you’re making savings.
- If you have talented friends or family members offering their services, use them. We were really lucky in having my cousin, who made the cake, another cousin who was a hairdresser and did my hair and makeup, and a good friend who designed the invites and order of the day.
- Remember it is your day, so you have to do it how you want. Other people will probably give their opinions on what you should and shouldn’t do, but ultimately the day is about what the two of you want. Your wedding should reflect the type of people you are. If you don’t enjoy formal occasions don’t have one. But, if you love nothing better than a sit down four-course meal with the men in tuxedos, then go for it.
- Compromise. There will be some things that you want and your other half doesn’t and vice versa. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, the wedding isn’t all about the bride; it is about the two of you. Plus, compromising on the wedding will be good training for married life. At the end of the day, when it all takes place, the small stuff won’t matter because you’ll spend the whole day in a lovely, floaty bubble, grinning and so full of happiness you won’t care about the stuff that seemed a big deal when you were planning.
“If we could do it all again, we…”
...Wouldn’t change a thing.
Did you go on a honeymoon or mini-moon?
We had both. On the Monday after the wedding, we flew to my Mum’s apartment in Spain, not far from Alicante, to relax for a few days and get a bit of sun.
We had booked our big honeymoon for later in the year because we wanted to get some winter sun too. So in October we flew out to Vietnam, which was out of this world.
If you’d like to view Laughern Hill to see if it would be right for your wedding, please call 01886 888065.