Stuart proposed to Jane on 1st May 2010. Although the couple had talked about getting engaged, Stuart’s proposal was a complete surprise.
After a long day at work I arrived home and he had made our front room into a restaurant. He had set a table with candles and everything and had prepared a lovely 3-course meal. He couldn’t wait until the end of the meal so got down on one knee and proposed just after the starter! I was so excited I couldn’t manage any dessert!
The Wedding and Reception Venue
As one of the Events Managers at Gaynes Park, Jane couldn’t imagine having her wedding anywhere else.
When I pictured my wedding day I envisaged walking with my dad up the garden aisle into the orangery. It wasn’t difficult to make the decision on where to hold our big day, it just had to be Gaynes Park.
Stuart and Jane both love the setting of the orangery and walled garden and saw it as the ideal setting for their ceremony and drinks reception.
Although we had a winter wedding we were still able to enjoy the beautiful gardens and grounds, the backdrop for our photographs was just perfect.
The Mill Barn was a perfect size and setting for their wedding breakfast and evening reception. They had a large number of guests for their wedding breakfast but by having guests upstairs as well as downstairs it still felt intimate and cosy inside, perfect for the time of year.
The day itself was everything we could have dreamed of, the staff looked after us impeccably, the food and service were great and of course Gaynes Park looked beautiful. We have had so many lovely comments from our guests on the amazing venue, service & food. My only regret is that we don’t get to do it again!
Jane had four bridesmaids and one flower girl – her sister Claire, Stuart’s sister Louisa and Jane’s two cousins Liz and Vikki and her goddaughter Emma.
It was difficult as I have a lot of close friends. I’m glad I kept it with family as the girls were all great in the build-up and on the day. They organised a fantastic hen weekend for me and kept me calm on the day, which must have been difficult!
The dresses were hand made by Stuart’s Nan as she used to be a seamstress. This turned out to be a great decision as they were made to measure and fitted Jane’s tall girls very well! They were satin and long with straps and a cross over detail on the bust. They all wore their own choice of silver shoes. Jane brought them each a simple silver necklace with a pendant that included a purple stone. Emma’s flower girl dress was ivory with butterfly details and had been customised with a purple ribbon so she matched the rest of the wedding party.
They were the perfect Cadbury’s purple colour that I wanted.
Stuart and the men wore light grey suits with an ivory coloured waistcoat. They wore ties rather than cravats as they looked more modern. The ties and hankies were purple and matched the bridesmaids’ dresses perfectly.
Stuart looked lovely! He doesn’t wear a suit very often. I’m always happy to see him looking smart!
Your Dress, Accessories and Flowers
Jane’s dress was by Ronald Joyce who is a fantastic wedding dress designer. The material was mainly taffeta and tulle and was very sparkly both on the bodice and in the layers of tulle at the hem of the dress. It was asymmetrical with a strap on one shoulder made out of flowers. There were also flowers on the opposite hip. A hoop was worn underneath to hold the dress in the right shape and to make it more comfortable.
The first time I tried it on was without the shoulder strap or flowers on the hip (they were optional and the shop assistant forgot to show them to me). I loved it so much and it was comfortable and, most importantly very flattering for my body shape. But I was looking for something a bit different (as I see so many different dresses). When I came home and viewed it online I saw the additions and then I knew I had to try it again. As soon as I tried it again with the strap and flowers I knew it was the one. My mum cried which was also a good sign!
Jane also wore an asymmetrical alice band with diamantes and pearls in her hair. It perfectly matched the detail on the top of the dress. Her veil was fairly short with a slight scattering of diamantes that shone in the light – it looked beautiful! Jane’s jewellery included a simple diamond necklace (something borrowed), a silver link bracelet (something old belonging to her Nan) and small single diamond earrings.
My shoes were purple suede to match my colour theme and pick up the colours used in my bouquet.
Jane loves American cars and so arrived at Gaynes Park in an ivory coloured 1959 Cadillac. Stuart arrived in a Mk1 Escort twin-cam as he’s a big classic ford fan!
The car isn’t generally used for weddings, but this was organised by a friend. The owner of the car drove Stu and the best man to Gaynes Park.
The Decorative Touches
Jane and Stuart went for quite a modern feel with fun bright colours. They used three colours – purple, pink and lime green and incorporated this as much as they could to make it fun and original.
We wanted it to have a fun feel as that’s what we’re like! We wanted to avoid anything dull, as being a February wedding we were running the risk of having dull weather! In fact, the weather was good – it was dry and not too cold.
The couple named the tables after cars; all of them had either been owned by Jane and Stuart or were relevant to them in some way. As Jane loves sweets, everyone was given a small sweetie jar as a favour and treated to a pick and mix sweetie bar in the evening, which was very popular!
Tall vases with underwater flowers and floating candles were placed on each table as a centrepiece. They also had two plinths with tall vases on that were used in the orangery for the ceremony and then later moved into the Mill barn. Jane created the table runners with different coloured ribbons to match the colour theme and decorated each chair with a Cadbury’s coloured purple bow. They also placed J & S wooden letters on the top table which had been bought from eBay and sprayed in the right colours. Additional fairy lights were wrapped around the pillars on the dancefloor, along with disco lighting – the area looked great! Jane and Stuart also used coloured uplighting inside the Mill barn and outside under the gather barn.
To continue their fun theme Jane and Stuart had a magician entertaining their guests throughout the day.
He was amazing and also great with the children. He took the children out for a magic show during the speeches which was great and meant the parents could relax.
During dinner, singer and pianist Danny Mills played a selection of songs.
He was fantastic and created the fun atmosphere that we had really hoped for. Before the end of the meal, everyone was singing along with him and having a great time.
The couple’s first dance was ‘You and me song’ by the Wannadies. Stuart is not much of a dancer so they chose this slightly different song and danced/laughed their way through it!
Stuart’s mum Tracy made the couple’s lovely spotty cake. It was iced in ivory and decorated with polka dots in purple, pink and green and was three tiers of fruit cake. They also bought some extra cutting cake from M&S of sponge and chocolate cake.
We had some bride and groom figures on top that had the same hair colours as us, they were quite comical looking!
Best Part of The Day
One of the best parts of the day was the ceremony – as I got closer to the orangery and I could see all the familiar faces and hear the music and I felt completely overwhelmed and happy. I did shed a couple of tears before I made it to the front but felt relaxed and happy once I saw Stu.
During dinner we were entertained by Danny Mills, a pianist and singer. As we wanted things to be very fun we had asked our guests to make requests during dinner. This definitely made things lively! Stu fancies himself as a bit of a singer so he joined Danny for a song on the piano. Together they sang Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, not the most appropriate song for a wedding breakfast but very entertaining. The last line sung by Stu went… ‘nothing really matters but…. Jane!’ this caused me and most other ladies in the room to cry!
Wedding Planning Tip
For the brides I would say ‘don’t over-think every single thing!’ It will drive you (and your future husband) mad! Also relax and enjoy yourself on the day. Leave the worrying to someone else and enjoy your big day!
For the grooms – relax and enjoy the day, and don’t let your bride to be turn into a bridezilla! Planning a wedding can be stressful!
Consider if things are actually necessary before spending. We decided against having orders of service or menus on the tables not only because it was another cost but it was going to take up more precious time!
Jane and Stuart went to Cuba for two weeks to an all-inclusive resort for their honeymoon.
It was just what we needed after such a hectic few months. We relaxed, ate a lot, drank a lot and did some sightseeing. The best trip we did was a day trip to Havana. We went away four days after the wedding, which gave us time to spend with our families and talk about the wedding before we went.