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“Tropically turquoise, vibrant, sparkly, pretty and pink – that’s our real wedding day!”

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WHO: Karen and Lee

WHERE: St Nicholas Church, Laindon, Essex

WHEN: September 2009

PHOTOGRAPHER: Carmel Jane Photography

How they met

“We actually met at school, 16 years before we eventually hooked up,” remembers Karen. “Thank goodness for Facebook!”

The proposal

“I surprised Lee with a romantic weekend away to celebrate his birthday – but he ended up surprising me!” laughs Karen. “He had been quiet all day and I thought something was wrong, but he was actually just really nervous!” she explains. “In this wonderfully fragrant, flower-filled courtyard, Lee asked me to marry him…”

The bride’s real wedding outfit

“Getting ready on the day was amazing,” remembers Karen. “My mum and bridesmaids kept making little ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ as I got dressed! You will never feel as wonderful as you do on your wedding day; it’s like a fairytale.” Karen looked stunning in her antique-white Forever Yours real wedding gown, bought from Get ‘N’ Hitched. “It was heavily detailed with pearl beading and sequins, with a lace and chiffon overlay,” she adds. “It was very vintage looking and also a little Spanish-inspired, which I loved”

“I thought Lee was asking a theoretical ‘will you marry me?’ – I didn’t realise that this was it; it was actually happening!”

The accessories

“I love diamanté and knew my accessories would be diamanté-happy!” laughs Karen. “I wore the most beautiful veil with silver-threaded edging from Get ‘N’ Hitched, which was very full and 50s-inspired. My very delicate and sparkly tiara matched the flowers on my dress and was custom-made by Charlotte Rose. When I had everything on, I felt incredibly glamorous!” she adds

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The groom’s outfit

Lee made sure he stood out from the crowd in his dark-grey FCUK suit from Barön Jon Menswear, teamed with a shock of fuchsia-pink in his tie

The bridesmaids

“These dresses were my brilliant bargain buys,” says Karen. “Taking inspiration from the 1950s, my three maids wore turquoise-blue satin dresses, in an hourglass shape, and with little bow belts nipping them in at the waist. The dresses were from Dorothy Perkins and cost about £25 – Ideal low-cost but beautiful gowns for any real wedding!”

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The wedding theme

“Our wedding theme was quite tropical – lots of fuchsia-inspired pink and turquoise-blue. Bright pink and blue is an amazing colour combination that really ‘pops’ out in your photos. I also knew butterflies and diamanté had to feature, too!” says Karen

The flowers

“I carried a stunning bouquet of shocking pink gerberas with added diamanté crystals from Gillys Lillys,” says Karen

The ceremony

“We were married in a gorgeous little 12th-century church in a very picturesque spot,” says Karen. “After the wedding ceremony, Lee and I had a glass of Champagne in our wedding car. We were so excited and happy; we just couldn’t stop smiling! I cry every time I see that bit on DVD – we have a ‘we really did it’ look on our faces! I love this precious moment on our own”

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The transport

“We hired a 1930s Pierce Arrow Limousine from Arrow Vintage Cars, which was used by US President, Herbert Hoover during his election campaign in 1932,” explains Karen. “The car still carries the official campaign crest!”

The reception

The couple opted for a relaxed barbecue/outdoor garden-style wedding reception in the grounds at Boyce Hill Golf Club.

The stationery

“I handmade the invites with bright blue feathers and pink diamanté,” says Karen. “Our friend, Debbie made the most beautiful thank-you cards for us (I added diamanté to them – surprise surprise!). They included a large photo of Lee and I on the front and a filmstrip of four photos inside. This made a fabulous keepsake for guests,” she adds.

“We spray-painted antique birdcages and filled them with silk flowers and butterflies”

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The wedding cake

“We bought pink, blue and silver cupcakes from Waitrose and decorated them ourselves with flowers, wired butterflies and edible glitter. True to form, our bride and groom cake topper from Confetti topped it off beautifully!” laughs Karen. “It turned out a million times better than I could have hoped – it was fabulously magical!”

The honeymoon

“We saved for a few months and then on Christmas day 2009, we flew to Playacar in Mexico with Thomson,” says Karen. “It was all-inclusive and they really spoilt us – even making us bride and groom swan towels in our room! So sweet!”

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