How they met
“Our first official date was back in the summer of 2009 at The Electric Cinema on Portobello Road, London,” remembers Holly. “It’s a great place where you can relax in an arm chair with a glass of wine, just enjoying each other’s company. This was to be a recurring theme of our relationship… relaxing with a bottle of wine!” she smiles.
“Richard flew me out on a last-minute holiday to New York for my 25th birthday present, where he was on a business trip. I had been alone in London that week and he was due to be away over my birthday weekend, as were my best friends, so I was feeling very sorry for myself,” explains Holly. “I didn’t think there was any way I could join him, so when he offered to buy my ticket, I couldn’t pass up the chance and flew out the next day – it was the most spontaneous thing I’d ever done!
“He made the few days there the most special of my life – sending me shopping at Macy’s for a dress to wear, taking me to the Waldorf for dinner and cocktails on my first night then on to see a Broadway show. He’d thought of absolutely everything to make our time there wonderful and romantic.
“The proposal itself was the day before my birthday and the day before we were due to leave for home. It was over a picnic of strawberries and Champagne in a secluded spot in Central Park. He said he had ‘one more present for me’ and out came a small Tiffany bag. I thought it was going to be a necklace or charm for my 25th birthday, instead it was a small velvet box. When I opened it, it was the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen and it fit! We celebrated with more Champagne and eggs benedict at the Plaza Hotel on Central Park – I felt like I was in a movie,” beams Holly.
The bride’s outfit
Holly fell in love with her White Rose gown at Cheadle Bride in Greater Manchester. “It was ideal for my hourglass figure and showed I have a waist!” smiles Holly. “I loved the layers of lace, embellished with small pearls and Swarovski detail; just the right amount of bling. The scalloped edging made it really special and it flowed so beautifully when I moved.
“The dress was £1,250 but I managed to buy the sample dress from the shop for a third of the price, which meant I really had the dress of my dreams but within my budget,” she adds
The groom’s outfit
All the groomsmen’s suits were hired from Austin Reed, in a three-piece charcoal-grey design.
“I wanted a pewter/dark silver colour for the bridesmaids to complement the Tiffany blue, and it was something I felt they would wear again and feel comfortable in,” explains Holly. “This proved a difficult task as there didn’t seem to be anything of this colour on the high street and the girls all have very different figures and styles. Eventually, one of my bridesmaids came across the perfect dress on sale from Karen Millen reduced from £260 to just £60!”
Richard’s sister Claire read a beautiful extract called ‘The Meaning of Love’, and the couple created a playlist of their favourite songs for the civil ceremony. “My walking down the aisle song actually cut out just as I entered the room, so I walked in total silence! We laughed it off, and carried on,” recalls Holly.
“The venue is so beautiful and ornate inside, we knew we didn’t need much to enhance it. We went for simple, natural floral displays, created by my good friend and amazing florist Pascal Gabory, in jars tied with silver and Tiffany blue ribbon.
“We used lots of tealights and candles throughout the venue, including candles in jars on the main staircase, which gave a really romantic feel. We added pom poms to the courtyard outside, some shabby wooden signage throughout and made our own bunting using photos of us from the last four years, which added a really personal touch. We also printed lots of photos from our engagement and dotted them about the venue.
“The boys did all the decorating and DIY, which I’m really grateful for because it meant that the final look was a surprise for me. We also had a guest book table, which was an old school desk that people could write and draw on – most of it needed censoring though!” laughs Holly. To keep everyone dancing all night long the couple booked The Little Big Tones through Alive Network, followed by a DJ booked via Mighty Fine Entertainment.
The couple took an Italian trip to Venice, Lake Garda and Tuscany, soaking up the sun and the sights.