After seven years of dating, Charlie thought it was about time that he popped the question to girlfriend Ali. “Charlie came home after cricket one Sunday evening and got down on one knee in our brand new kitchen. I was stood in tracksuit bottoms and had no make up on, it was perfect!” laughs Ali.
A venue fit for a wedding
With a gorgeous venue being one of the couple’s wedding must-haves, they began the planning process with a search for the perfect location. “We knew we wanted a church service but for the reception we wanted somewhere old with character. We found Slaugham Place online and it was perfect – like a secret walled garden!” smiles Ali. “The trees and plants were simply stunning as was the backdrop of the old walls. I could just picture eating canapés and drinking champagne there – it was so atmospheric,” she adds.
To help them plan their perfect wedding, the couple used blogs and resources online, such as Rock My Wedding. They knew they wanted to incorporate their love of rugby into their wedding day but wanted to incorporate it in a classy and sophisticated way. Guests were invited to the couple’s big-day with vintage style rugby ticket invites and on the day they dined at tables named after rugby stadia. Their table centrepieces were tall glass vases filled with wine corks collected by friends, family and local pubs, finished off with candles. “This idea saved us lots of money and the IKEA vases we used were incredibly cheap,” says Ali. “We also decided against having a wedding cake as we didn’t think it was necessary. We didn’t want to spend a lot on something that would go to waste,” she adds.
The dream team
Finding the right suppliers was key to making Ali and Charlie’s dream day a reality. Ali relied on recommendations from friends who’d gotten married, wedding shows and local vendors she knew and could trust. “When it came to alcohol we decided to use our local wine merchant Vine Kings as I wanted good quality wine. For beer, we bought a few kegs from our local Pilgrims Brewery – it felt so good to support local business,” says Ali. The couple managed to find the perfect photographers, Balance Photography, at the National Wedding Show and were thrilled with their outcome of their big-day photography. “Photos were very important to us – they help keep your memories alive and as such we wanted a photographer that understood us. The team at Balance Photography were incredible and I can’t rate them highly enough,” smiles Ali.
With everything coming together for her big-day, Ali set upon finding her wedding gown. She opted for a lace dress, designed by Augusta Jones, ironically called Ali. “I exercised hard over our two year engagement and lost just under two stone by my wedding. So it was when I had my final fitting that I really fell in love with the dress,” says Ali. “I’m not a blingy person but I did add some sparkly accessories on the day as otherwise lace can look a bit flat,” she adds. Her four bridesmaids complemented her style with a silvery grey vintage bias cut dress from Ghost. Charlie, on the other hand, chose everything for the boys and opted for charcoal grey tails for the couple’s big-day.
After two years of planning, the couple’s late summer wedding day had finally arrived. “My dad walked me down the aisle which was very emotional for me as he’d had a very serious accident only nine months before the wedding. At the time, we weren’t sure whether he would survive or whether he would walk. He was amazing on the day and some of my most precious photos are of him walking me down the aisle,” remembers Ali. Following the ceremony, guests were transported to the reception on vintage buses, kitted out with Pimms and beer for all to enjoy on route. “I had to use almost all the suppliers in the country as we needed four single decker vintage buses! We even decided to join all our guests on the buses rather than have our own separate transport!” laughs Ali.
The couple’s reception began with one and all indulging in a canapé or five. “We had lots of canapés before the wedding breakfast as I didn’t want people getting hungry and because I love them!” laughs Ali. Having agreed that wedding food didn’t need to be pretentious or posh, Ali and Charlie choose a wedding menu that included starter sharing platters, a pie and mash main and a trio of desserts. “The quality of the food really was superb,” says Ali. The pair followed their wedding breakfast with entertainment from a live band that they’d know for years. “The dance floor was packed all night and we wouldn’t have changed a thing about our day. In fact we’d love to do it again! I loved it!” laughs Ali.
Ali’s top tips:
- Remember that you are getting married and forming a team. Your wedding should be something that you plan together and agree on together
- Don’t get stressed about the little things. No one else will even notice and you’ll be surprised on the day about how little you care
- Try and get together with family and friends the next day – you won’t be ready for the wedding experience to end!
To find out more about Slaugham Place weddings, give the friendly team a call on 01444 220182.
Images © Balance Photography