How they met
“On our very first date I thought Steve had done a runner after catching sight of me, but it turns out that he’d got lost on the way there. That was my first introduction to his trait of being awful at navigation!” laughs Charlotte.
“Steve was trying to find a ‘romantic’ spot on a beach in Portugal where we were holidaying,” remembers Charlotte. “Once we’d got past all the children, yoga enthusiasts, fishermen and teenagers playing football he found a beautiful cove at the end of the beach, where he popped the question. I did have a feeling something was going on, especially when Steve (who hates beaches) suggested we go for a walk along the beach after dinner one evening, and then proceeded to act quite strangely all day!”
The bride’s outfit
“I was really losing encouragement with the dress hunt. I had tried on so many different styles and didn’t like anything until I went to the Pantiles Bride in Tunbridge Wells. The lovely owner Maria suggested taking the top and bottom of two Alan Hannah dresses and having them built into one dress – I loved the end result! It was exactly what I had in my head but couldn’t find anywhere. It was slightly nerve-wracking waiting six months to see what my gown would look like, but definitely a great idea if you are struggling to find ‘the one’,” remembers Charlotte.
The groom’s outfit
“Steve was the quickest shopper ever! We were browsing in Ted Baker just after we got engaged and he found a lovely grey three-piece suit, with a purple lining (it must have been a sub-conscious decision to match him with my colour theme, I was thinking green at that time!). He bought it within 15 minutes!” laughs Charlotte.
Charlotte was joined down the aisle by her four close friends from university. “I wanted elegant and simple bridesmaid dresses; we found these at Dessy. I loved the contrast the purple made against the colour block bouquets we had,” remembers Charlotte.
Our bride and groom opted for a civil ceremony at Nonsuch Mansion. Because Charlotte loves piano music, they had a live pianist who performed She’s Always a Woman as she walked down the aisle on the arm of her dad. Two close friends also gave readings.
“Hydrangeas are my favourite flower, so I knew they had to feature heavily in the wedding!” smiles Charlotte. “My brief to our fab florist (Michelle Rust) was lots of pale and deeper pink hydrangeas, with other flowers added in to add texture, and to focus on blocks of colour rather than break them up with greenery. I was amazed on the morning of the wedding by what she had created. The displays and our bouquets were all much more than I had imagined, and looked breathtaking when it all came together,” she adds.
Both the ceremony and reception were held at Nonsuch Mansion. “It was exactly the type of wedding venue we were looking for – stunning from the outside, beautiful grounds and some lovely contemporary décor inside, plus the staff were super friendly and really open to suggestion as to how we could do things,” says Charlotte.
“I bought the most amazing 3D number candles for our table numbers, which were one of my favourite wedding details. I had it in my head that I wanted something like this but couldn’t find them anywhere, then while we were on a weekend away in Barcelona we found an amazing candle shop that had pink and purple number candles! Hence a suitcase full made its way back on the plane with us!” laughs Charlotte. If you’re inspired by Charlotte’s decor and are looking for favours and table decorations in hot pink or deep purple, visit the Wedding Ideas shop!
“We had lots of little extras, such as flip flops for tired feet and baskets of items in the toilets that guests might find useful. My dad made us some amazing signs to show guests where to go, and some wooden frames, which we used for a photo display of pictures of us as a couple.
“We also had purple and pink lighting around the venue. I was a little sceptical about spending money on this pre-wedding (this was one of the things Steve organised!) but it really helped bring all the other details together and looked amazing on the day.
He got extra brownie points for that one!” Charlotte adds.
“Our cake was special – it was half fruit cake, half sponge, and my mum made the fruit layers,” explains Charlotte.
“One of the most important things to us was that we had a packed dancefloor all evening, and the first thing we booked after the venue were the Funtime Frankies – they had played at a friend’s wedding a couple of years before and at the time we said we had to have them at our wedding (if we ever got married!). They were fantastic on the evening and really got the party going,” beams Charlotte.
“We went to Santorini for eight nights – it’s such a beautiful place. In fact, we have booked to go back for our first anniversary, because we both loved it there so much!” says Charlotte.