“We took our inspiration from American, ‘New Hampshire’- style garden weddings for our own real wedding…”

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WHERE: Compton Acres, Poole, Dorset

WHEN: July 2009

PHOTOGRAPHER: Deborah Hurst Photography

The proposal

“Steve proposed on a beach under the stars in Sharm El Sheik in Egypt,” remembers Lauren. “He surprised me with a very large bouquet of red roses before getting down on one knee…”

The bride’s real wedding outfit

Lauren wore an organza and appliqué gown from Special Occasions Bridal House for her real wedding. “The flower detail with layered slits gave it a very ‘vintage chic’ feel,” explains Lauren.

“I’ll never forget the look of sheer happiness that flashed across Steve’s face as I walked down the aisle…”

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The groom’s outfit

“Steve teamed a black tails suit with a diamond-white waistcoat with a slight sparkly sheen, from Well Groomed,” says Lauren. “The groomsmen wore hot-pink cravats to match the bridesmaids’ dresses,” she adds. Linking the groomsman and bridesmaids outifts like this is a great tip for any real wedding.

The bridesmaids

“I chose two of my best friends and my two sisters-in-law who were all fantastic in every possible way,” says Lauren. Looking fabulous in fuchsia, the girls wore prom-length dresses from Pascali Bridal Boutique.

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The flowers

Lauren chose to carry a bouquet of timelessly elegant Calla lilies, arranged by Dutch Touch Florists in Poole (01202 716637). “Debbie was more than just a florist to us; she was more like a wedding planner – I’d definitely recommend her to any bride!” says Lauren

The ceremony

“Our very romantic ceremony was held in the Italian Villa at Compton Acres, overlooking a beautifully authentic Italian garden,” explains Lauren. “I’ll never forget the look of happiness on Steve’s face!”

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The cake

“Our bargain ‘buy’ was our cake,” says Lauren. “Steve’s sister made us a yummy three-tiered white-iced cake and saved us a small fortune!”

The first dance

“We chose the first song we’d ever slow-danced to together: Hero by Enrique Iglesias,” says Lauren. “The most memorable moment of the evening came when Steve and I (after a few stiff drinks, obviously) shocked everyone with a routine!”

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The favours

The couple treated their guests to three heart-shaped truffles in a vibrant pink bag from Chocolates For Chocoholics. A perfect choice for any real wedding!

The honeymoon

“We went to Cayo Levantado, a small secluded island off the coast of the Dominican Republic,” says Lauren. “With just one hotel on the island and three powdery-white beaches to choose from, we had total privacy the whole time. Pure newlywed bliss!”

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