Louise and Cliff had their real wedding at St Michael’s Church, Colchester, Essex in August 2008.

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WHERE: St Michael’s Church, Colchester, Essex

WHEN: August 2008

PHOTOGRAPHER: Paul Cudmore

How they met

Friends introduced the pair on a night out. “We had our first date on Christmas Eve,” remembers Louise.

The proposal

Cliff whisked Louise away on a surprise trip to Fitzpatrick Castle near Dublin. “After dinner, Cliff took me to a romantically lit turret within the grounds of the castle, then he got down on one knee and proposed. It was perfect!”

The bride’s real wedding outfit

“It was love at first sight,” says Louise. Her stunning Justin Alexander strapless gown was perfect – bought from The Wedding Dress Shop, Colchester, the dress features some pretty, detachable silk flowers at the bottom of the apron. Louise completed. her look with a full-length veil and shoes from Next. Her matching necklace and earring set was from Elizabeth Cannon in Colchester.

“Cliff asked for my dads permission to marry me. I was thrilled because tradition is important to me”

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The groom’s real wedding outfit

Cliff looked handsome in a Prince Edward-style suit from Abigails Collection. The groom chose the suit himself and completed the look with a taupe cravat and ivory waistcoat.

The bridesmaids

The four bridesmaids elegantly complemented Louise in their pale green, satin Alfred Angelo dresses. They customised the younger bridesmaid’s dress by adding straps. “It was brilliant having them so involved in the wedding – they were incredibly supportive,” says Louise.

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The flowers

The wonderful Fleur Provocateur created the beautiful flowers for the real wedding. Fiona’s bouquet contained Avalanche roses, Akito roses, Trachelium, Limonium, Italian ruscus and purple Vanda orchids. The pew ends and windowsills were decorated with white candles, organza, ivy and white ribbon. The buttonholes were white roses and to differentiate the groom, they added lavender sprigs.

The transport

The bride arrived in an amazing 1930s open-top Beauford with burgundy interior, hired from Beauford Brides Wedding Cars.

The flowers

Louise and her bridesmaids carried small posies of white and cream roses, white gladioli, large white hydrangea heads and white lilies, created by W Fowers.

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The theme

“Natural, traditionally English but with an elegant and modern twist. Inspired by Jane Austen and English gardens,” Louise says.

The ceremony

Louise chose their local church for a traditional, personal ceremony. Her dad walked her down the aisle to Wagner’s Bridal March. The couple chose two readings: 1 Corinthians 13, and a verse about love and marriage that Louise’s uncle and Cliff’s grandad lovingly read.

The reception

Ninety guests made their way to the walled pavilion in the beautiful grounds of Braxted Park , where canapés were served during the welcome drinks. Each table had a tall vase with flowers, while the top table was decorated with tealights and ivory rose petals. Pretty gold butterflies were dotted around the room to add simple elegance. Their three-course meal started with prawns, followed by guinea fowl, and ended with some fresh summer berries – delicious! Another 60 guests arrived for the evening buffet.

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The favours

Female guests received a heart-shaped glass bottle filled with scented bath salts and decorated with ivory bows and a thank you tag.

The cake

A three-tiered lemon sponge cake was decorated with fresh ivory roses. The top tier’s posy was decorated with small, fabric, gold butterflies, made by Cake Flair. “To go on top, we designed an ‘F’ for Fitzpatrick,” says Louise, to remind them of the beautiful proposal in Dublin.

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Entertainment

As guests arrived at the real wedding for the drinks and reception, a harpist from 1st Choice Entertainment provided some lovely background music. In the evening, a DJ from Four Decades Disco and an eight-piece band called Skandal got everyone on their feet. “Our first dance was played live by a friend (guitarist and singer) and the song was Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together”.

“Entering the room and being announced as ‘Mr and Mrs’ was just incredible”

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Special moment

“A wonderful moment was actually when all the guests had gone home. Cliff and I walked through the grounds together with a glass of Champagne – just the two of us – reflecting on the day and feeling completely overwhelmed with happiness.”

The budget

The wedding and honeymoon combined came to £35,000. “We exceeded our budget but it was worth every penny,” says Louise.

Honeymoon

The happy couple flew to Hong Kong for three nights and then onto Bali for nine more.

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