Work colleagues, Charlotte and Naz, eventually got together in January 2010 after months of making excuses to strike up conversation in the office. While it was Charlotte who plucked up the courage to ask Naz out on a date, it was Naz who popped the question to Charlotte two years later while celebrating their two-year anniversary in Liverpool. “I was sat on the chair at the hotel room and closed my eyes (as Naz had asked) and then heard our song playing – At Last, by Etta James. Before I knew it, he asked me to open my eyes and I saw him on one knee with a ring box in his hand,” smiles Charlotte. “Words cannot describe how surprised I was!”
The couple began planning their day by sourcing the ideal venue for their nuptials and celebrations. Charlotte and Naz were particularly excited about visiting Gaynes Park after seeing the video of the venue online and were certain they’d choose it before they’d even seen it! “We loved the contemporary feel to The Mill Barn and The Orangery. It felt so organic as a venue and really warm and welcoming. We fell in love with it instantly and the next day we cancelled all our other venue viewings,” explains Charlotte. The couple particularly loved The Mill Barn, with its unique brick and wood detail, as well as the cottage – which would be Charlotte’s home-from-home on the morning of her wedding.
Like most brides, finding the perfect dress was a priority for Charlotte. “I always knew that I wanted a fishtail dress and I happened to fall in love with an Ellis Bridal lace fishtail gown. It had a buttoned back and sweetheart neckline,” says Charlotte. “Any other dress I saw didn’t compare.” She teamed her dress with boho style accessories including a crystal band that sat around her head, cathedral length veil and diamond jewellery. Naz also opted for designer attire and chose a bright navy blue tailored suit from Paul Smith.
The final touches
Inspired by her wedding dress, Charlotte created a lovely lace and ivory theme for the couple’s big day. They decorated the dining tables with ivory lace runners, while the top table was styled with ivory tulle pinned with diamante pins. Crystal candelabras and tall silver and glass lanterns also adorned the venue. “The venue was so beautiful on its own we didn’t want to overfill it or go too over the top,” explains Charlotte. The wedding cake complemented the couple’s chosen theme too, with a lace trim at the bottom of each tier and filled with scrumptious fillings including chocolate ganache and vanilla.
On the morning of the wedding, Charlotte’s bridesmaids were there by her side. “I could never have got through the day without them,” she says. Her best friend Shelley had arranged the hen weekend and helped her get dressed on the day itself, along with fellow bridesmaids Samantha and Olivia, Charlotte’s sisters. “Samantha was at my beck and call all day and was constantly ensuring my dress looked beautiful from all angles and that the guests were enjoying themselves,” smiles Charlotte.
The couple’s wedding ceremony set the scene for a beautiful day ahead, with rose petals and candles scattered down the side of the aisle and gorgeous floral décor including roses, peonies and spring foliage. “There are so many wonderful memories from the ceremony. From walking down the aisle to see Naz at the end, right through to the applause from all our guests when we were announced as husband and wife,” recalls Charlotte.
The King and Queen of desserts
A scrumptious three-course meal, prepared by the in-house caterers Galloping Gourmet, followed the couple’s ceremony. It included a main of roast lamb and puddings for both the boys and girls. “We decided to serve separate desserts for our male and female guests to do something slightly different. The MEN had a triple chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and the ladies were treated to a tower of vanilla shortbread with fresh raspberries and clotted cream,” explains Charlotte. “The food was outstanding, absolutely everyone commented on how wonderful it was.”
The wedding party
By evening, Gaynes Park was turned into the ultimate party venue. Groovybooth set up the photo booth and guestbook. The PHOTO booth was a huge hit. By the end of the night, we were all wearing the props on the dance floor. My mum even had a moment towards the end of the night where she thought she was on Strictly Come Dancing. She was spun around in the middle of the dance floor by my friend Sally whilst wearing a Viking helmet with horns!” laughs Charlotte. “Everything was perfect, from the staff to the food, to the flowers. I am so lucky to have got everything I wanted on my wedding day and more.”
Charlotte’s top tips:
- Try not to let your nerves get the better of you on the lead up to the day and on the day itself
- Cherish every moment – it really does fly by
- Prioritise what elements are most important to you – this helps you to keep to your budget