Bryan proposed to Paul.

It doesn’t sound very romantic, but it was in a bar that we used to go to and we were surrounded by all of our friends. We’d been going there for 10 years and it was closing down that night so he thought it would be an end of an era and the beginning of a new one. It was definitely a surprise! He’d asked my mum’s permission, everyone knew except me and he’d chosen an amazing engagement ring.

The Wedding and Reception Venue

Paul and Bryan wanted to get married in Essex as it’s where they now live. They did a lot of Internet research and went to see a few venues.

Gaynes Park stood out over all of the others as a venue but what clinched it was how fantastic Angela and Jane were when we viewed the venue.

It was booked about a year in advance.

Bridesmaids and Men

Paul and Bryan had a best man and a best women. The best man, Paul’s younger brother, wore a dark grey suit and a purple tie also. They didn’t ask the best woman (Bryan’s best friend Rebecca) to match with their outfits.

Your Suits, Accessories and Flowers

Paul and Bryan had bespoke suits, shirts, waistcoats and ties made by Spencer Hart on Saville Row. The suits were fitted and dark grey with a thin lapel. The waistcoats were white and the collars on the shirts were made of the same material as the waistcoats. Their ties were thin and purple to match the flowers.

Transport

They arrived separately at the venue, earlier than everyone else so they could meet the registrar, so they didn’t hire special cars. Paul arrived in a black Mercedes driven by his friend Richard and Bryan arrived in a taxi! A lot of their guests were staying in a hotel nearby, so they arranged for a coach to take their guests back to the hotel in the evening.

The Decorative Touches

For the ceremony, they had two large pots filled with dark purple delphiniums, teasel, fern and twisted hazel which were placed on either side of the ceremony table. They were moved to either side of the top table during the wedding breakfast.

For the wedding breakfast, they had very tall vases, with steel wire winding up on the inside and purple thistles. The bouquet on the top was blue and purple, with blue moon roses, lisianthus, veronica and eucalyptus foliage. The steel wire continued into the bouquets, corkscrewing out with more purple thistles attached to it to make the whole arrangement more modern. For the evening, the vases were lit from underneath with a light pod to pick out the steel wire and thistles.

They kept the decoration quite simple – Ivory tablecloths and napkins, printed name cards to match their save the date and invitation designs and tea lights around the flower centrepieces. In the evening they had paper lanterns outside.

For music, they had a string quartet that played throughout the day and played special pieces for the ceremony entrance, register signing and exist music. They also played while they had the drinks reception in the Walled Garden and then played throughout the wedding breakfast, before handing over to the DJ in the evening.

The Cake

Their cake was the Frasier cake from Paul Patisserie. It had four tiers of Genoese sponge with vanilla mousse and fresh strawberries.

Best Part of The Day

When we arrived to walk up the aisle in the Orangery at Gaynes Park, the string quartet started playing and everybody stood up and started clapping. It was an amazing moment that I will remember forever.

Wedding Planning Tip

You will have to chase people to RSVP! I just assumed everyone would RSVP by the required date and provide the information we asked for, but we had to chase a lot of people, right up until the last minute! People will arrive early! Luckily we’d organised for soft drinks to be served before the ceremony. If you’re worried or embarrassed about your first dance (as we were), brief your friends to come up after 30 seconds… it worked perfectly and our shame was kept to a minimum!

Make sure you get on well with the wedding organisers at the venue you choose. You will be working with them a lot and you need to get on. As I said, Angela and Jane were the main reason we chose Gaynes Park. Choosing the right suppliers is really important. We were incredibly lucky and the florist, photographer, quartet and DJ were all absolutely amazing.