How they met
“I felt like I knew instantly that he was ‘the one’,” remembers Sara. “I’d always been very sceptical and cynical about people who said they knew their partner was ‘the one’ straight away, until I met Jon, and everything was different.”
Jon popped the question to his girl while they were holidaying in Dubai. “We’d just been swimming with dolphins at the Atlantis Hotel and were chilling on the beach,” explains Sara. “All of a sudden he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, with a Haribo ring. He had wanted to propose with a pair of diamond earrings he’d bought for my birthday but they weren’t ready in time, so instead he used a sweet ring! Everyone asked me afterwards if I kept the ring… Nope, I ate it, along with the rest of the bag!”
The bride’s outfit
Sara looked like she just stepped off the red carpet in her gorgeous gown bought from The Bridal Gallery in Woolton. The designer was Pronovias and the style was ‘Alma’. “It was much too long when I first tried it on, but with a little imagination I could really see how gorgeous it would look after the alterations had been made,” explains Sara. “Originally I wanted a pair of designer shoes, too, and searched everywhere from Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik and Gina, but couldn’t find any that I really loved. I ended up buying a pair from high street hero Dune, and they were gorgeous and so comfy – definitely my best buy and highly recommended!”
The groom’s outfit
Because Jon had himself and seven other groomsmen to kit out, the couple chose Next for their suits, because they knew it would be easy to organise everyone across the country. “Even though I’d seen him try on the suit before the wedding I was so blown away by how gorgeous he looked on the day,” beams Sara.
Our bride had a bit of a nightmare sourcing her dream red bridesmaid dresses for her four best girls. Despite searching high and low and even considering commissioning a local dress maker to design them, much to her relief, she eventually found what she was looking for in Debenhams. Her girls also wore glamorous Aldo heels for the perfect finishing touch.
Sara walked down the aisle to From This Moment by Shania Twain. “It was cheesy, but I loved it,” she smiles. The ceremony included a selection of readings and music lovingly chosen by the couple. “Our reading, I Will Be Here by Steven Curtis Chapman was so lovely and romantic, it still brings a tear to my eye thinking about it,” remembers Sara
“Romantic Notions in West Derby Village, Liverpool did all our wedding flowers,” says Sara. “I can highly recommend them, the flowers were absolutely gorgeous and they really helped me decide on what I wanted, because I wasn’t sure to start with.”
The couple’s entire day took place at Thornton Manor. “The food was out of this world – better than most high-end restaurants,” recalls Sara. “Barretts, our caterers really outdid themselves, all the staff looked after Jon and I, and our guests all day long, and made sure everything ran like clockwork. Sara and Jon catered for 150 guests during the day and a further 100 arrived later in the evening. They were seated in round tables of 10, with a traditional top table for the bridal party
“The venue was already so beautiful, we didn’t need to do too much to accentuate the room,” explains Sara. “We picked candelabra for the centrepieces and our florist dressed them with fresh blooms.”
Because everything took place at one venue, transport wasn’t needed for all the bridal party. However, the staff at Thornton Hall arranged for a Rolls Royce to pick up our bride from the cottage where she was staying within the grounds, to take her and her father to the ceremony – a nice touch!
Sara got crafty and kept costs down by making all her own wedding stationery. “I designed something completely unique and then had it professionally printed by a local company,” she says. A fab way to add personality to your day
“All the speeches were great,” enthuses Sara. “I did think about making one myself, but changed my mind at the last minute. Jon’s best man and brother told some very funny stories about them growing up together, and my dad was really great, making jokes about our wedding making him bankrupt! Finally, Jon’s made me cry, it was really lovely without being too soppy. He also took the mickey out of me a lot, which was very typical of the two of us,” she adds
“A family friend made our wedding cake. I picked the design out of a magazine, and she recreated it but with a few little twists to make it special to us,” explains Sara. “It was stunning – the top and bottom layers were fruit and the rest was vanilla sponge with jam and butter cream. All the flowers were individually iced, too, it weighed a ton!”
“We had a sweetie buffet instead of favours, which went down very well,” smiles Sara. “There were no treats left at the end of the night and it looked really effective with the sweets and glass jars all matching our wedding colours,” she adds
Guests were kept busy with a selection of entertainment for the evening. This included a band called The Crew Brothers, a DJ – Grant Niblett – and finally a photobooth made from a Polaroid camera and funny props. Sara and Jon then used the pictures for their keepsake guest book – a fab idea!
Sara and Jon went to the luxurious El Dorado Casitas Royale resort in Mexico for their honeymoon. The adults-only resort takes luxury to a new level with swim-up rooms, amazing food and beautiful private casitas.
The wedding video
As well as gorgeous pictures of the big day, we also have an exclusive video of Sara and Jon’s fantastic wedding! If want some more real-life inspiration, check out our Real Weddings section, featuring the UK’s best brides!