They were on holiday in Thailand on Valentines Day. They had just finished dinner on the beach.

Dominic disappeared for about 20 minutes leaving me sitting all alone – I was a bit cross by the time he returned! I soon forgave him though when champagne and red roses appeared and a quartet of singers started to sing one of ‘our’ songs. Dom got down on one knee and pulled out a gorgeous engagement ring. I was over the moon and said yes immediately!

The Wedding and Reception Venue

Melissa and Dominic wanted to get married somewhere locally that had good travel links for their guests.

We also wanted somewhere that was fresh and modern looking – a blank canvas – rather than a venue with lavish period features. We looked at a number of places on the Internet, but only visited two, Gaynes Park and one other. We were blown away as soon as we visited Gaynes Park. It felt so relaxed but still had the ‘wow’ factor. It was only a 15 minute drive from our house and close to motorways and a tube station. We knew straight away that it was the only place for us to have our big day.

Like her style? Get the look.

It was booked a year in advance.


Melissa had five bridesmaids and one flowergirl. The bridesmaids all wore light coffee coloured knee length prom dresses from Debenhams, teamed with ivory peep toe bow shoes from New Look. They also wore pearl jewellery and ivory bow alice bands with an ivory pashmina to keep the chill off. The flowergirl wore an ivory full skirted dress with bow shoes, an ivory fur bolero and an ivory alice band, all from BHS.

Our flowergirl insisted on having elbow length gloves! We found her a pair in Claire’s Accessories and she wore them all day!

The Men

Dominic and his groomsmen wore navy blue suits with sky blue ties. Dominic also wore a navy waistcoat. Their little page boy of 18 months wore a navy blue pinstripe three-piece suit.

Dress, Accessories and Flowers

Melissa wore a short blue 50’s style prom dress with a huge petticoat, ivory sash and a little ivory bolero. The outfit was finished off with ivory gloves and the most perfect blue and ivory shoes. Melissa wore her Mum’s veil from 1965, her something old was her Nan’s necklace and earrings and her other Nan’s diamond ring. Her Mum also pinned a little horseshoe brooch into her bouquet for good luck. Melissa chose ivory roses trimmed with pearls for her bouquet and smaller bouquets of the same for her bridesmaids with pearl pins to match their dresses and a little ivory frill trim. All the flowers were artificial, but looked great.

The Transport

Melissa and her bridesmaids arrived at Gaynes Park in London Taxis, two were silver and one was blue. Dominic’s wedding car was Melissa’s wedding gift to him, a 1967 GT500 Mustang.

The Decorative Touches

They wanted to keep their table decorations simple and fun, to fit in with the 50’s theme. They had lemon and pearlised balloons tied to boxes wrapped up to look like presents and lemon and blue polka dot napkin ties. These matched their polka dot stationary, cake and order of service ties.

For favours Melissa and Dominic gave pin badges supporting the charities Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Marie Curie Cancer Care. They mounted these on alternate lemon and blue cards with a little message to their guests. They also gave extra favours to their ‘key’ bridal party members – little lemon and blue wooden hearts with a message from them painted on it and the date of the wedding and personalised cards to thank them for all their help and support.

They only had two children at the wedding and they were given goodie bags put together by one of the bridesmaids in a little cloth bag made by Melissa’s Mum.

The Cake

The cake was a round three tiered fruit and sponge cake with lemon and blue polka dots, made by a close family friend.

Best Part of The Day

There were so many! Wearing my Mum’s veil from when she married Dad was an absolute honour and my Dad’s tear jerking speech and the bridesmaids wonderful ‘song speech’ were amazing. Sharing the whole wedding day experience with our family and friends was also so special. Not just the wedding day itself, but the planning and lead up to the big day. However, seeing Dominic beam at me as I walked up the beautiful open air ‘garden path’ aisle at Gaynes Park was undoubtedly the most amazing part of the whole day.

Dominic says;

Melissa secretly organising my dream car to pick me up to take me to Gaynes Park as a surprise. The sound of the V8 engine and the smell of the oil and petrol! Spending such a special day with family and friends was also brilliant. Seeing Melissa walk through the arch in the gardens and up the path towards the Orangery was amazing.

Wedding Planning Tip

Proper planning prevents poor performance! Lists, deadlines, spreadsheets – it sounds very pedantic but being organised is the key. Do as many jobs as possible, as early as possible. Good contractors and suppliers make all the difference – make sure they are reliable and you get on with them. Enjoy your planning! Share as much of it as you can with family and friends. Don’t be scared to be a bit different. If something fits your style, do it! You don’t have to go for the big white dress, lavish flower displays and ornate stationary – the day’s about the two of you and should reflect your tastes.

Melissa and Dominic’s wedding won wedding of the year 2009 in Essex Wedding Magazine.