Class, cars and Christmas: This winter wedding love story is as classic as they comeLaura and Martin’s winter wedding was an all-English affair, hosted at Fishbourne Parish Church and Goodwood House in Laura’s childhood home town of Chichester. Laura tells her classic tale to Bouquet Catch.
We met one frosty evening in Winchester, Christmas 2009, at a friends’ festive house-party. We got on really well and ended up having a drunken dance in the pub together. We then met at various BBQs and even our friends’ wedding – where we were STILL just friends much to our mutual friends’ dismay! After a few years of meeting up at various events, we decided to go on a proper date to Windsor – just for a casual lunch. Martin was half an hour late having ditched his car on the road not being able to find a parking spot (and got a parking ticket!) but we had a really lovely time. Our second date was a puppy class with my very naughty dog Harley.
Our engagement was a very carefully choreographed plan by Mr Reed. The year before we got engaged we went to the Taste of London Festival – a food show in Regent’s Park, London. We had a great time in the summer sunshine drinking Pimm’s and champagne and eating lots of nice cuisine. Little did I know that Martin had earmarked this to be the venue for his proposal, a year later! And we’d only been together for 6 months at that point (although we’d known each other on and off for over 6 years.)
On 20th June 2015, we went up to London for our second Taste of London Festival show. Martin was really adamant that he wanted to go to this presentation by a famous chef. We took our seats in the auditorium and to my surprise, Martin was ‘picked’ out of the crowd as a volunteer for the chef’s demonstration. Off he went onto the stage and was given the task of chopping onions, which I found highly amusing and videoed on my phone. The chef asked Martin who he was with – he told them he was with his girlfriend, and the cameras panned round to me (still filming on my phone)! The chef then invited me up onto the stage to taste some of the food and the accompanying cocktail. Mortified! After standing on the stage for a little while next to Martin, the chef then said “actually Martin, I think that there is a little more that you want to say today…” and gave him the microphone! Then he proposed…in front of the whole of Regent’s Park as the show was being beamed LIVE around the entire venue of hundreds of people.
Six months after the proposal, we were married.
After attending 14 weddings over the last 2 years, I had a good idea of the wedding dress that I wanted. I didn’t want to over-complicate the decision, as I knew I could be indecisive when faced with too much choice! I had an idea in mind about the style that I liked, but I tried on about 20 totally different dresses to make sure. My mum and I went to Proposals, in Chichester, as they had a really good selection of designers I liked. In the end it was a difficult decision between two that were similar in style, but needed various alterations to make it the perfect one. In the end I chose the one that needed the least alterations i.e. the least that could go wrong! And it turned out to be my dream dress by Maggie Sottero – I totally fell in love with it. My shoes were ivory Mary-Janes from John Lewis, while my accessories comprised silver pearl-drop earrings that I got for Christmas the previous year from Martin, and a silver Goldsmiths bracelet that he gave me for my wedding present on the morning of the big day. The bridesmaids dresses were from For Her and For Him, an online supplier based in the US. The dresses needed alterations once they arrived but they were the exact colour I wanted – the girls and I were really happy with them!
Goodwood House was the perfect setting for us to celebrate our day. For Martin, the venue was the backdrop to the most prestigious car events in the world – and for me, the venue was simply stunning and had all of the grandeur yet understated class that I wanted for our day. The venue was fascinating, filled with plenty of rich history.
Fishbourne Parish Church holds many close memories for a lot of my older family. It’s a beautiful old flint church nestled next to farmland fields, with the sea behind. It’s small and quaint, and was decorated with a Christmas tree and over 50 candles glowing gently around the altar and windows. It was also nice and warm! My theme was ‘a crisp, blue, frosty winter’s day’. The colours were deep sky blues and ivory white – with festive greens within the foliage from the florist. Our florist was Gill Powell-Jones (Earth Seed To Bloom) based in Chichester – who I used purely because she designed the most amazing flower displays for my best friend’s wedding, she was local and I liked the idea of using a smaller, local firm. I wanted to keep it simple because there were beautiful Christmas decorations already in place at the church and venue, which added some cosy festive magic to the winter theme. The favours were giant sparklers on each place-setting which hopefully made the winter darkness a little more fun.
The overall beauty of everything and everyone just blew me away! From seeing the bridesmaids all together with their flowers, hearing my brother’s word-perfect reading, the pretty festive church and all the candles, travelling in the classic car with my Dad from home, the stunning Christmas tree in the hall at Goodwood, the blue up-lighting in the Ballroom and the beautiful table settings, the cosy warm fireplaces…so many amazing memories.
Quite simply, what made our wedding so special was being able to spend it with the people we love the most. Both Martin and I are so blessed with friends and family who have been there for us throughout our often pretty mental lives, before we found each other. We made sure we thanked as many as we could in the speeches, referenced our mutual friends (giving them credit for pressuring us to go back on another date!) played DJ requests especially for people, arranged special menus and drinks for our pregnant guests. Treating our friends and really including them in our day made us happy – and made our wedding special too. My Dad’s speech was my ultimate favourite moment. I loved it, sat next to my amazing new husband, looking out across the ballroom at all of our friends and family! The speech was pitched perfectly and encompassed everything I hoped he would. It was definitely my favourite moment of the day – it was the happiest I’ve ever felt in my life.
There were so many different parts of the day that meant so much to us both. Each ‘part’ of the wedding was unique. The ceremony was classic but the vicar brought touches of humour to the service which was brilliant. The food was incredible! (Goodwood Estate farms organically – from the meat and vegetables to the milk and cheeses). The jugs of elderflower and strawberry non-alcoholic cocktail that we’d ordered (as there were so many ladies not drinking) were absolutely delicious and I had to get the recipe from our wedding planner! Finally the DJ was perfect too – the music was great, he mixed our requests with songs that we liked and was a true asset to the day.
Our photographer was Bruce Neville who photographed another friend’s wedding so beautifully, that the choice was easy. It was nice for them to catch up on the day too. Our cake was from Marks and Spencer, and we ordered the cake topper from an online cake decorators. We went down this route simply due to the price!
And if that wasn’t enough amazingness – the very next day we flew to the Maldives, to an island called Vellassaru for our honeymoon. We had a beach villa on a very secluded island and spent a blissful 10 days just relaxing, sunbathing, playing a little tennis and eating incredible food! It was exactly what we both needed. We highly recommend the Maldives for the ultimate in luxury.
My advice to other brides planning their wedding is to not overthink it and have fun! There are SO many options available for weddings these days it’s easy to thoroughly confuse yourself. I found that just rigidly sticking to the theme and the venue style made it so much easier to stick to point. Secondly – remember it is your day. What you want – you should have. BUT! If you’re having a big wedding where lots of friends and family are involved – remember they are giving up a lot of their own time for you. If you make the run-up as easy for them as you can, they will make sure that you have the time of your life on the day. My wedding party certainly did!