Andy proposed to Sallie on Valentine’s Day.

I had no idea he was going to although we had always said we would get married eventually. He said he wanted to take me out to dinner for Valentine’s Day, I laughed and said that I didn’t want to go and sit in a cheesy restaurant with lots of other couples. Disappointed he suggested he cook for me. I laughed again and suggested that he just get a Marks and Spencer’s meal as it would be less hassle. He gave up, bought the meal deal and proposed after we ate our readymade dessert. I cried and immediately said yes.

The Wedding and Reception Venue

As soon as Sallie and Andy were engaged they threw themselves into making plans for the wedding.

We had booked three viewings for venues and Gaynes Park happened to be our first. We were shown around and we both loved it. It was perfect as a canvas for all of the touches we wanted to add to our wedding, whilst being absolutely beautiful in its own right. As we left that day we rung the other two venues and cancelled our viewings.

They had seen the one and only venue they wanted and were thrilled to have booked Gaynes Park for their wedding.

Bridesmaids

Sallie had three ‘grown up’ bridesmaids to support her in the wedding.

They were two of my bestest friends in the world, Tracy and Jo, and my wonderful big sister, Claire. I am lucky to have many girl friends in my life but as soon as Andy proposed I knew who I was going to ask. They couldn’t have been more thoughtful or supportive throughout our whole planning process, the build-up and on the actual wedding day.

The girls wore floor length chocolate brown dresses with nude peep toe shoes and a large vintage brooch. Sallie found the dresses in Jane Norman as she couldn’t find any actual bridesmaid dresses that were right for their theme.

We were really pleased how the suits and dresses worked together on the day.

The Men

Andy and the groomsmen’s suits were hired from Jack Bunneys in Barking. Sallie and Andy went and chose them together. Andy had always wanted to get married in a three-piece suit and the navy blue suit with chocolate brown tie, handkerchief and brogues looked so smart together.

I bought Andy a pocket watch, which I gave to him the night before the wedding. I’d had it engraved with a secret message on the back. He wore it on the day and it made him stand out from the rest of the men. He looked fantastic. Very dashing!

Your Dress, Accessories and Flowers

Sallie was so excited about shopping for her dress and decided she wanted a simple dress with minimal fuss.

I tried this style on and hated it. The lady at New Beginnings in Brentwood suggested I try a dress she had chosen for me. I absolutely fell in love with it. It was heavily detailed, pale gold, corset style dress with a long train and had a slight vintage style about it. It was the exact opposite of what I thought I’d wanted but it was perfect on the day.

Sallie had a large vintage-style brooch slide in the side of her hair. The dress was heavily beaded so she wore chandelier earrings and no necklace.

Andy gave my parents a Links bracelet to give to me on the morning of the wedding as a surprise so I wore that on our special day.

The ‘old’ was Andy’s mum’s garter from her wedding day. The ‘new’ was the Links bracelet from Andy. The ‘borrowed’ was a ring Sallie’s dad had given her mum and the ‘blue’ was the ribbons the seamstress had put under the dress so that the bridesmaids could easily find the tags and bustle Sallie’s dress in the evening.

Transport

Andy was planning on driving himself to the venue with his best man and ushers. He loves campervans so Sallie booked him one as a surprise that turned up on the morning, decked out with ribbons, to take them to the venue.

The Decorative Touches

The couple’s florist decorated the barn with a combination of cake stands and candelabras all with a mix of faded vintage flowers and trailing ivy. Sallie also bought some large wooden letters spelling our Mr. & Mrs. Smith and mounted them on a wooden plinth. This sat on the top table and had flowers and ivy woven through it.

Lots of acrylic crystals with burgundy ribbon were hung from the trees by the Orangery and they glistened in the sun to make a nice feature. By the Mill Barn the couple dotted fifty small glass lanterns with tea lights and displayed trays with burnt-down church candles either side of the path way – they all sparkled when it got dark. A line of vintage style ribbon in the barn with little rhymes suggesting people peg their hats to it whilst they ate their dinner was also hung in the barn.

We have been together for 8 years now and we decided to celebrate that by theming our tables one for each year we have been together. A picture from each year was printed in sepia and placed in a frame with the appropriate year attached to it.

Both Sallie and Andy have been close to all of their grandparents growing up and only Sallie’s Gran out of the eight was there to see them get married. With this in mind, for the favours they decided to make a small scroll for each person detailing that money had been contributed to four charities in their grandparents’ honour on behalf of each guest.

The Cake

Sallie had always wanted to make her own wedding cake and was determined to do it justice.

I made a three-tiered cake each with a different flavour: walnut, vanilla and chocolate. It was covered in ivory icing and sugar flowers that I had learned how to make on a course. It was finished with a thick cream ribbon and vintage brooch.

Best Part of The Day

My most memorable moment was sitting and listening to Andy read his speech. He thanked all our guests for being there and whilst looking around the room I realised it was the only time in our lives that everyone who mattered in our lives was probably going to be in the same room.

Wedding Planning Tip

For the brides my advice would be to enjoy the build-up to your wedding and recognise how much fun it is to plan your big day. I loved every part and really enjoyed piecing it all together.

Try and keep to a budget by making as much as you can yourself. It makes it so personal and the bits that people remember about your day aren’t always the most expensive.