A Romantic Autumn proposal led to an Amazing Autumn Wedding….
“Drew proposed on a romantic Autumnal walk in Lincoln Park during a trip to Chicago, it was such a wonderful surprise! I had turned to take a picture of the view and when I turned back he was on one knee with a ring! I was shocked and excited and couldn’t quite believe the moment had arrived. For many weeks he had planned the proposal to be in the park and on that day but had not chosen the exact location. As we walked over a small bridge by a lake with orange Autumn leaves he knew that was the right spot. We were very fortunate that a photographer happened to be walking past us and captured the moment, pictures we will treasure forever. Drew proposed to me with his Great Grandmother’s engagement ring which I wear alongside my Great Grandmother’s wedding ring on my right hand and the rings we chose together I wear on my left.”
What was your first step in planning your wedding?
“The first step for us was to choose a venue which ticked all the boxes. We searched online for the venue as we wanted to get married in a location between Bristol and Devon and instantly fell in love with St Audries Park. It was a bonus to know they would accommodate all we were after.”
“We wanted to get married in a church and have the reception close by. We also wanted accommodation on-site for our guests and beautiful surroundings. The first venue we viewed was St Audries Park and we knew as we drove down the driveway that we wanted to get married there.”
“Once we chose the venue I was able to start planning around that, I used Pinterest to gather ideas and created mood boards.”
What were your wedding “must have’s”?
“After finding our perfect venue we had a few must haves that we knew we wanted included in the day. We wanted to give our guests a special and memorable day and we wanted our wedding to be a reflection of us. We had a live band and DJ for the evening and a String Quartet for the ceremony and the drinks Reception. We wanted entertainment so we organised a magician and magic mirror photo-booth for the reception. After the beautiful wedding breakfast we wanted fireworks in the evening and a hog-roast for the evening food.”
Wedding budget: how did you organise your wedding budget?
“We didn’t set an exact limit but knew roughly how much we had available to spend. We prioritised where we needed in order to ensure we had the day we had dreamed of.”
What made you choose your wedding venue?
“Seeing the Venue for the first time is an experience we will not forget, we both instantly felt welcomed and as though nothing was too much trouble. We were looked after from start to finish and had the most fabulous tour. Everything we were looking for was included or could be accommodated.”
Styling your wedding: how did you personalise your big day?
“For us the personal touches were what we felt would make the wedding feel so special. We started by having our own stamps created for the invites. On the day in addition to our Wedding favours of House of Dorchester Chocolate truffles, tied in personalised printed ribbons, we handmade and painted clay Christmas decorations for each of our 120 guests with their names imprinted and tied with ribbon for their trees. We also had personalised advice cards, personalised gold pencils made and we gave each guest an overnight gift bag, containing bottles of water which were personalised, mints, hangover kits, Yankee Candle Wedding Day candles and sweets etc. For the next morning, during breakfast, we also gave our guests a coffee cup to take away with some coffee, these were printed with our names as a keepsake (and were much appreciated by a few with sore heads). Everyone loved the little touches and still comment about these now.”
Wedding photographer: how did you choose your photographer?
“We chose Ben Simmonds as he was recommended by St Audries Park and we were impressed with his work. We really enjoyed the engagement shoot he arranged. It was great to meet him before the wedding so we were more comfortable and knew how he worked.”
Wedding suppliers: how did you choose your suppliers?”
“We mainly chose our suppliers through recommendations, as we live a little further away from the venue we relied on the St Audries Park recommendations of local suppliers.”
Describe your wedding attire
“I tried on 12 dresses of different styles. All but one didn’t quite look as I had imagined they would on my frame. I knew the minute I tried on my dress that it was the one I would marry Drew in. It is a Morilee dress which I bought from the Bridal Boutique in Westbury on Trym. It is a very intricate design with lots of lace detailing and was slightly off white and had a subtle champagne/pinky tone. It took in total around four fittings to get it to fit perfectly and I worked with a Personal Trainer to ensure I fitted it well for the day.”
What accessories did you wear on the day?
“I wore a pair of glittery Jimmy Choo shoes which were the first wedding purchase made- courtesy of my parents, and a simple pearl drop necklace and pearl earrings. I wanted the attention on the dress as opposed to the jewellery. I also wore a cathedral length veil which we got encrusted with crystals and a tiara which was handmade in an antique gold and contained pearls and crystals. I wore ‘Dutchess Rose’ by Penhaligons as my wedding perfume. The next day I wore a tailored white tweed dress with white trim and a black satin neck tie and a pair of Black Jimmy Choos, as we felt the next day was an extension of our wedding day so we wanted to dress nicely for our breakfast with our guests.”
What did your partner wear?
“Drew wore a traditional morning suit comprising of a black jacket and grey striped trousers. He wore a white shirt, dusky rose tie and champagne coloured waistcoat. He wore shiny black shoes hired from the same store as the suit was hired. When I first saw him I just thought how handsome he looked and how excited I was that I was about to marry him.”
Tell us about your Bridesmaids, Groomsmen and their outfits
“We had three Bridesmaids and one Maid of Honour and three Groomsmen and one Best Man. These were our close friends and we were very excited to share the experience with them. I gave each of the bridesmaids a gift box which I filled with lots of little treats and presented it to them with a card asking if they would be my bridesmaid. I surprised my maid of honour by planning with her boyfriend to arrive at the Christmas market in Devon, where I knew they would be, I got on one knee with a ring I had bought her and asked if she would be my maid of honour it was such fun and she was so excited and shocked.”
What was your biggest wedding splurge?
“The dress was the most expensive purchase, my parents kindly bought me the dress so the next was the live band followed by the fireworks but these were two elements of the day which we knew we wanted to have.”
What was your biggest wedding saving?
“My dad took me to the church in his van, which for us was sentimental and the wedding car which Drew drove me to the reception in following the service was Drew’s father’s sports car, so we saved on transport.”
What was your ceremony like?
“I was walked down the aisle by my father to Canon in D Major, played by the String Quartet. We had a traditional service with two readings, a Biblical reading by Drew’s uncle and a poem read by my brother. The hymns we chose were Jerusalem, Lord Of All Hopefulness and Guide Me O’ Thou Great Redeemer. These were sung to music played by the organist in the church. During the signing of the register classical music was played by the string quartet who then played the Wedding March as the recessional piece.”
Tell us about your drinks reception and wedding breakfast
“At the drinks reception we served a selection of Canapés and Prosecco to our guests. We had a flower wall for photo opportunities and a magician performing strolling magic which really brought everyone together. The String Quartet played throughout the reception.”
“At the wedding breakfast we offered guests the choice of three starters, three main courses and two desserts. Wine was served throughout. This was followed by Tea and Coffee. I had Butternut Risotto, Lamb and Sticky Toffee Pudding. Drew had Ham Hock, Venison and Brownie. The food was sensational and many of the guests have said it was the best they have ever had at a wedding. The portions were well sized and the wine was regularly poured.”
“The speeches were from my father, Drew and the Best Man. The speeches were all perfect. It was also Drew’s father birthday so we sang happy birthday and presented him with his own cake.”
Did you have a band or DJ for your evening reception?
“We hired a band to play straight after the first dance. The band played many of our favourite songs. When the band finished the DJ took over until 1am. We managed to stay up until the very end but a handful of the guests managed to stay up until 4am to reflect upon such a wonderful day.”
Tell us about your first dance – what song did you chose and why?
“We danced to Moon River by Frank Sinatra. It is one of our favourite songs. We liked that it was not modern and was slow and had beautiful lyrics. We attended some group dance lessons and the teacher gave us a personalised routine to wonderfully match the song.”
What was the most memorable moment of the day?”
“The most memorable moment of the day was seeing Drew’s face in the Church as I walked down the aisle.”
“The most memorable moment for Drew is seeing me walk down the aisle.”
“Another significant memorable moment to us both was the first dance which went perfectly despite our nerves and a never-before-rehearsed-dress to contend with.”
Did any members of staff stand out to you in particular?
“Our lovely wedding planner, Aly Claydon-Mills, was so helpful. She really did help ever so much and went far beyond any expectation we had. Nothing was too much trouble. Aly ensured that the day ran to schedule so at no point did the wedding party have to think or worry about the time. She was close-by for any queries and made sure our guests were happy at all times. The service we received at St Audries Park felt very special from individually checking in the guests into their rooms to ensuring drinks were always topped up. All the staff were very attentive.”
What did you enjoy the most about St Audries Park?
“Apart from the venue being so beautiful the most enjoyable part was having a wonderful wedding planner who was there for us (quite literally day and night) so that we could enjoy the 12 months of planning. It was so lovely to have her there on the day so we could enjoy every minute and have much less to worry about.”
Based on your own experience, give us some top tips:
“Try not to stress as on the day all will go beautifully. Use the energy instead to focus on enjoying every minute. Try to take moments to savour and remember key events throughout the day as it truly does go by so quickly.”
“If we could do it all again, we’d…”
“Do everything exactly the same. Our day was as perfect as we had hoped it would be.”
Did you go on a honeymoon or mini-moon?
“6 days after the wedding we went on a two week honeymoon to Mauritius which was fantastic. We very much enjoyed relaxing in the sunshine with some cocktails and reflecting upon our wonderful wedding.”
Purchase & Hire – Tell us who your suppliers were:
Wedding attire: Groom and Groomsmen suits from Moss Bros.
Wedding cake: Dreams and Wishes
Invitations: Optimal print
Photographer: Ben Simmonds
Flowers: Wendy Symes
Make Up & Bridesmaid Hair: Harriet Cook
Bridal Hair: Lucy Samson
Cake Table Décor: Little Lollipop Shop
Magician: David Willmott
Photobooth & Flowerwall: Pink Giraffe
Fireworks: Fire Magic
Wedding Signs & Table Plan: Papier
Order of Service : Motion Printing