Laura & Craig
Fun and foodie, there’s everything to love about this festive winter wedding
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Kate Hopewell-Smith Photography,
Who’d have thought that a blind date to play crazy golf could lead to such great things? For wedding photographer Laura and husband Craig, this was the beginning of a love story that would turn into marriage. But, while their first date was full of surprises, the groom’s proposal plans were almost given away…
“I knew Craig had bought a ring – we’d chosen it together – so it was just a question of when he would ask. We’d been out for the day with my family, and he’d asked my dad’s permission to marry me. Later that evening, dad asked when we were thinking of getting married. I laughed and said Craig would have to ask me first, but that gave me a good idea the engagement was coming,” Laura smiles. “Craig surprised me on our road trip around the USA with the perfect proposal over dinner.”
The bride found her ‘Chesney’ Maggie Sottero dress at the Ivory Wardrobe in Woburn Sands.
“I’d tried on every dress that fit in every Milton Keynes boutique, so my sister stepped in to help!”
The diamante capelet was beautifully blingy and the fishtail silhouette showed off my curves. This style does take a bit of practise posing in though.”
Laura accessorised with a single-tier, cathedral-length veil, gold glittery shoes and earrings borrowed from her grandmother. “Craig gifted me a crystal snowflake necklace a few days before the big day. It was gorgeous and went with my dress and our festive winter wedding perfectly.”
Craig and his groomsmen wore blue tuxedos teamed with black bowties. “It proved a challenge to find blue tuxedos available to hire, so we bought them in the end. I’ve photographed so many grooms at the end of the aisle and when they cry it’s always so romantic. Needless to say, when I saw Craig wiping away tears I couldn’t stop smiling.
“When I reached Craig at the end of the aisle, he said, ‘I’m so glad you’re here’ – where else did he think I would be?!”
“My bridesmaids had a huge mixture of sizes and shapes, so I let them choose their own dresses. I didn’t want to force them to wear something they didn’t like. They all loved the idea of gold, pink and glitzy gowns, so they took it from there and looked amazing.” Sarah Evans Makeup and Hair By Gemma created the bridal party’s smoky eye looks and up-dos.
Having chosen a festive winter wedding, the couple cleverly opted to have a civil ceremony so that their guests could stay warm and cosy in one venue.
“The Leos Strings quartet played my dad and I down the aisle to Beyonce’s version of ‘Ave Maria’ while my cousin sang. It was the best part of the day! She was incredible and it was such a personal touch. The string quartet then played tunes from Game of Thrones and we chose ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day’ for our recessional.”
Rather aptly, Passion for Food served a Christmas dinner to guests after the ceremony. “We had canapés as the starter so that we could sit straight down to the main course. The food was amazing and everyone loved it.”
The speeches were an exciting affair. The father of the bride had lost his voice, so Laura’s mother stepped in to read the speech on his behalf.
Next up for the speeches came the groom, who had penned a speech 12 months previously… and lost it!
“The night before the wedding I was emailing Craig pointers,” the bride laughs. “By the time it was the best man’s turn, my mum and Craig had covered most of what he’d planned to say, so he was a bit panicked but he said wonderful things.”
Having sent out Christmas cards in August for their invitations, the gold and glamorous winter theme was already in full swing. “Our brilliant florist Sue Billington created festive arrangements, entwined with fairy lights, from blue spruce, avalanche roses, thlaspi, gypsophila, black baccara roses, white hydrangea, eucalyptus and others. We also had a real Christmas tree and handmade our own seasonal decorations.”
“Wedding Ideas helped us to pull our quirky ideas together.”
The bride’s mum created a wedding cake with a twist, baking cheesecakes for each tier. “We had passion fruit and white chocolate, caramel and fudge and chocolate with a caramel glaze, with a floating sponge cake at the very top.”
Tess and the Durbervilles, the couple’s band of choice, learned not one but two songs for their first dance. “Just Dance choreographed a Waltz to ‘Real Love’ for us, before we broke into a Cha-Cha to ‘Save The Last Dance’. At the beginning of the second dance, Craig spun me around and pulled my over-skirt off – we went for the dramatic and fun approach!”
Despite booking their Bali and Malaysia honeymoon for the wet season, the newlyweds had a stroke of luck, enjoying warm temperatures and sunshine.
“Don’t skimp on your photography. The day rushes by, so photos are the key to savouring all those happy memories.”
VENUE Wrest Park
DRESS Maggie Sottero at Ivory Wardrobe, Woburn Sands
GROOM For similar, try Slaters
HAIR Hair by Gemma
MAKEUP Sarah Evans Makeup
CATERING Passion for Food
ENTERTAINMENT Leos Strings, Tess and the Durbervilles
FLOWERS Sue Billington
VIDEOGRAPHER Coconut Photography