A surprise 30th birthday party in London ended with a Wedding Proposal and Lauren said ‘Yes’
Lauren was swept off her feet with a surprise weekend in London staying at The Shard. Peter had secretly arranged for Lauren’s close family and best friend, who had travelled from Germany, to meet at the theatre to see Charlie & the Chocolate Factory!
A supper followed with Pete making a surprise announcement ‘I haven’t just bought you all here to celebrate Lauren’s 30th’ – whilst reaching into his jacket pocket. My heart stopped! He knelt down on one knee (perfectly traditional) & asked me to become his wife! I’m not sure I said yes straight away, through the floods of tears (happy tears, of course)! I nodded instead. Such a surprise, I had no idea – completely overwhelming, but (other than our wedding day) – the best evening of my life.
The first thing we bought was a wedding planning book, by way of similar to an old school Filofax. We then created our own scrap book, using Google images. We printed photos of suits, flowers, favours, cakes – & then pulled them altogether & chose our favorites. We then booked viewings at our favourite 3 venues, with our heart set on a September wedding.
Our must haves: Traditional & classy venue. The venue was really important to both of us, we wanted somewhere exclusive to us, with beautiful grounds/scenery, to include accommodation on site. We have family all over the UK, so it was important that they had somewhere to stay, without having to factor in transport.
Equally as important was the sales/wedding manager, we wanted someone who took lead, who was professional – & knew what they were doing. Coming from an events management background, it was important that I put trust into the organiser, so that I didn’t have to worry on the big day.
Our theme was classic, elegant – not too over the top. We chose everything traditional. From tailed suits, to orchids & roses as our flowers, to a live string quartet. We walked down the aisle to Canon in D & left to the Mendelssohn wedding march! We also had my husband’s nephews sing live in the orangery.
We used Google! Very simple, but effective. We knew that we wanted to marry in Somerset, so a simple wedding venue Google session allowed us to shortlist our favorites. Reading reviews & then physically visiting our chosen venues allowed us to make a very quick decision.
The sales manager, Jade, completely blew us away! She was friendly, wanted to know about us – took the time to understand what we were looking for, even invited us for coffee! All our questions that we’d prepared were answered from our very first visit, we felt completely at ease & knew that we’d be well looked after.
The moment we pulled into the driveway we were completely blown away! The grounds were absolutely stunning, & the main house is just beautiful. We knew from the minute that we walked in that it was the perfect venue for us.
We didn’t decorate the venue, as we felt it didn’t need it. Such a beautiful house didn’t need thousands spent on it. We did add the candle package to our booking, which created the perfect light ambience, a little extra touch!
Our cake was a traditional 3-tier cake, however with a slight twist on flavours. We chose: lemon and blueberry, carrot cake & lemon poppy. Our design was very subtle; white icing, with handmade iced orchids, cascading along the front.
Our favours took a lot of thought, we looked at thousands of ideas! We eventually decided on something that would be of added benefit to our guests – drink tokens. We printed onto two wooden tokens, the first ‘with love from the Bride & Groom’ & the second ‘with love from the mother & father-of-the-bride’. They were placed into personalised canvas bags, alongside a personalised chocolate. Our guests loved it, 2 free drinks!
Google search & Google reviews allowed us to find WestPhotography. Martyn came to our house, armed with photo albums – most taken at our chosen venue. It was an easy decision! He put our mind at ease and talked through everything. Martyn’s style isn’t 100’s of ‘posed’ people photos, instead he prefers to capture the moment – this completely appealed to us.
100% traditional! It was exactly what I dreamed of having. My husband was dressed in a 3-piece suit, with tailed jacket. My dress was ivory, full length – I felt like a princess!
I chose a mid-length veil, to complement my dress. I also chose a hair piece to match the belt design on the front of my dress. Despite wanting a pair of Jimmy Choos, I opted for a cost-effective pair by the designer Roland Cartier, at a fraction of the cost – the pearls complimented my dress perfectly. I must confess that you barely saw them!
My best friend lent me her pearl bracelet, as worn on her wedding day (something borrowed) & my husband bought me a matching pearl necklace & earring set (something new). All complimented with my something a blue – a lace garter!
My husband wore a traditional 3 piece-suit. Together, we chose stripy trousers, a dark navy tailed jacket, light grey waistcoat & turquoise cravat (trust me, it worked 😊). He looked absolutely gorgeous, super smart, & completely took my breath away!
I chose 4 bridesmaids & one flower girl. My bridesmaids are 4 of my closest friends, and those that I knew would support me & be as excited about my big day as I was! My flower girl is my niece and is of a similar age to my step son – seeing them walk down the aisle hand in hand was just magical. The bridesmaids wore a beautiful Ronald Joyce lace turquoise dress (the same designer as my wedding dress) – that came to the knee, with silver strapped sandals. Our flower girl wore an ivory dress, with a matching turquoise sash & the sweetest little shoes.
My husband chose 5 groomsmen, his eldest brother, 2 sons, my Dad & my brother. The groomsmen matched the groom, wearing the same suit. My husband had a slightly different button hole – & snazzy pair of shiny shoes, so that he stood out as the groom.
Again, a very traditional ceremony. We created our own order of service (designed FOC by a friend & printed at low cost by a local supplier). We chose a string quartet, so live music through-out the ceremony. We were also lucky enough to enjoy live singing from my husband’s nephews, who both sing in a choir. As recommended by the registrar, we chose 2 readings – completely non-religious, but with meaningful words to both of us. My Dad read the first reading, my Maid of Honour the second.
PIMMS! The perfect summer drink. We also offered bottles of cold Corona, mainly for the men – that prefer not to drink Pimms. Accompanied by perfect canapes.
The speeches were amazing! My Dad shared a few home truths & presented my husband with a selection of gifts. Arsenal memorabilia! He’s a Spurs fan, so you can imagine the reaction. My husband’s speech filled the room with laughter, but equally bought me to tears (him too). The best man delivered a presentation by projector, displaying photos of my husband through the years, he then finished (by complete surprise) with photos of me!
A live band played our first dance & followed with a full set until 10pm. From here, we switched to a DJ. We asked our guests to list their favourite songs on their RSVP & prepared a playlist.
We chose Amazed, Lonestar. Surprisingly it wasn’t one of ‘our songs’, but having heard it play on a number of occasions, the lyrics stole our heart. We took 3 dance lessons, 3 weeks prior to the wedding & choreographed a very simple 4 step routine.
Jade completely sold the venue to us, & was super helpful when we came to booking stage. Janette was amazing, she helped us through from day one. She was an absolute star on the day, arranging everything perfectly. She was always on hand, & ensured everything ran smoothly, & to plan. We couldn’t have done it without her.
The grounds are beautiful, so well kept. The orangery is stunning. The main house is stunning. The bedrooms on-site are kept perfectly, the bridal suite is amazing – especially the hot tub! To book Audries Park as a complete wedding package is really helpful, it allows you to stay in budget with no last-minute cost panics.
“If we could do it all again, we’d…”
Do it tomorrow? Spend more time with guests, it’s so difficult on the day! We’d also have spent more time dancing, as we missed a lot of our live band – all we heard was great things!
2 days after the wedding, we flew to America. We toured the west coast, hiring a car (a Mustang) – starting in LA, & ended in Las Vegas. We spent 2 weeks on our very own road trip! It was truly sensational, the trip of a lifetime! We’re not suited to beaches, so this was the perfect trip. We were lucky to enjoy a number of day trips, to include a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon.
Our Wedding Suppliers:
Wedding attire: Dyfed Menswear Bristol
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Ronald Joyce (direct)
Other outfits: Debenhams (bridesmaid shoes & flower girl dress)
Wedding rings: Ernest Jones
Wedding cake: Cakes by Samantha
Invitations: Karen Hussey Designs
Band/disco/DJ: The IOU’s