“I was so nervous when I first met Chris,” remembers Leann. “I was the new girl at work, and he was the manager of the company. We were friends first, and got to know each other through work socials and Friday night karaoke at the local pub. Eventually, though, Chris asked me to be his girlfriend (he’s such a sweet geek).”
“We’d been together for six years and whenever he was twitchy, I was hoping to spin around and find him on one knee,” says Leann. “I was ‘expecting it’, but not the way he did it! The night before, he ran me a bath with candles and I thought ‘how sweet’. The following day I woke up and he brought through a tray with a heart-shaped fried egg on toast. Once I had rubbed the sleep from my eyes, I noticed him on one knee next to the bed. I instantly said ‘yes’ (as I wanted to eat my breakfast before it got cold!) and then proceeded to call everyone we knew. After breakfast he whisked me away to Lainston House where we spent the rest of the weekend.”
The bride’s outfit
“Wearing my dress made me feel like I’d just stepped out of an Estée Lauder advert, I felt sensational,” beams Leann. “The dress wasn’t anything like I thought I’d wear, but the second I put it on I felt like I was floating on a cloud. It encapsulated the romantic and ethereal way all brides should feel on their wedding day.” Leann’s gorgeous glitzy number was designed by Only You from Clifford Burr in Ware
The groom’s outfit
All the boys wore grey three-piece suits from Next. “Chris looked so confident when I first saw him. My heel got caught in my dress on the way down the aisle and I was completely panicked and confused, but he just beamed at me confidently and I immediately felt calm and safe,” recalls Leann
“Initially I struggled to find dresses, because I had five bridesmaids to dress who were aged from 13 to 33 years old,” explains Leann. “I also had no colour scheme in mind, so was open minded to anything and everything. I originally saw these dresses in gold on ASOS and loved them, but they only had the silver ones left, so silver it was.”
“We had a religious ceremony,” says Leann. “Chris’ parents (40 years married) and his grandparents were all married in our church and it was important to Chris that we get married there, too. In order to be married in the 12th Century Norman Cowley church, we had to drive one and a half hours from London to Cowley Manor for six Sundays in a row. Making it there for the 9am start on a frosty Sunday morning is definitely proof we were destined to be together forever.”
Leann and Chris chose local florist Cotswold Blooms. “I love hydrangeas and wanted all the colours in the rainbow – but thankfully on the advice of our florist we stuck to elegant white shades,” says Leann. We love the unusual arrangements here – why not try this for your own big day?
The couple used Alice in Wonderland as their inspiration, because legend has it that Lewis Carroll was strolling through the gardens of Cowley Manor when he came across a little girl happily playing. After chatting to his new friend he returned to his room to begin writing a story about her. Her name was Alice Liddell and the short story eventually turned into Alice in Wonderland
“Cowley Manor is so grand, it hardly needed any decoration,” remembers Leann. “To personalise it my mum brought over South African beaded hearts to hang on the pew ends. These were later used around the venue during the reception and became meaningful keepsakes for the bridal party.” The couple also opted to pay a little bit more for their table plan so they could keep it in their home after the wedding day
Leann and Chris opted for a classic rose chocolate cake from the Marks and Spencer wedding range. High street wedding cakes are a great idea if you’re on a budget. They can be easily decorated with ribbons and fresh flowers.
“Our best ‘entertainment’ came in the form of a nanny – it was money well spent because the parents could let their hair down and relish in the day with us,” says Leann. Other ways of entertaining children include treasure hunts, drawing competitions or giving them activity packs to play with during the speeches.
Leann and Chris took a trip-of-a-lifetime to Playa Del Carmen in Mexico. If you’re planning a trip to Mexico avoid May to October as that’s the rainy season!
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