“We went to a really nice restaurant, and I couldn’t understand why we were ordering such expensive wine and having such an amazing meal on a rainy night after work,” remembers Shelley. “Looking back I can’t believe I didn’t guess he was about to propose – but I genuinely had no idea and was really taken aback!” laughs Shelley.
The bride’s outfit
“I first found my Pronovias gown in a shop in France while visiting my parents, who live in Brittany,” remembers Shelley. “I was undecided so continued looking in London and must have tried on at least 20 more dresses before going back to the one I originally found in France! The only place I could find it in London was Harrods, which was quite fun for me and Jenny; my maid of honour. Lots of visits to the Champagne bar!” she adds.
Shelley’s breathtaking necklace was designed by Shaun Leane, which was a gift from her parents and Richard’s parents. “I wanted to wear jewellery given to me by the people I love,” explains Shelley.
The groom’s outfit
“Richard wore a one-of-a-kind brown suit made for him by October House. It had a subtle check pattern and gorgeous bright blue lining. When he showed me the material he had chosen I couldn’t picture it as a suit and was worried he’d be stood at the end of the aisle looking like Sherlock Holmes. Luckily it looked fantastic!” beams Shelley.
“I had four bridesmaids – my sister Theresa, Richard’s sister Rachel and two of my friends – Jenny and Bee, who supported me so well leading up to the wedding and on the day. They helped to make the planning really fun!” smiles Shelley. The gorgeous girls wore bright pink chiffon dresses bought from House of Fraser and designed by Ariella. The girls also all wore their own pearls, they wore white while the bride wore black.
The couple picked a civil ceremony, with three readings from friends and music performed by a string group. “I loved the journey to the venue with my bridesmaids and the anticipation, I also loved walking down the aisle and the whole ceremony – I can remember it very vividly. I actually loved every moment of the day, I have so many wonderful memories,” recalls Shelley.
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw my bouquet for the first time – it was incredible, really unusual and completely gorgeous. The only brief that I gave my florist was ‘bright pinks in a teardrop shape’. She used Vanda Orchids and they were just beautiful. I chose this type of bouquet because although we set our wedding in the countryside, I really wanted to have modern aspects to it and hoped that the sharp, bold colours would contrast well with the setting,” says Shelley.
“The first thing that made us fall in love with Grittenham was the donkey!” says Shelley. “A lot of the venues we visited felt very impersonal, whereas Grittenham barn is a real family home with ducklings and piglets and beautiful scenery stretching for miles.
“As soon as we arrived at Grittenham, we both felt really relaxed and at home, which is exactly how we wanted to feel on our wedding day. We wanted a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. As the space is quite small we hoped the atmosphere would be quite intimate and that our guests would feel comfortable, looked after and entertained!” smiles Shelley.
“We decided early on that we wanted to serve Indian food at the wedding. We love this type of cuisine and as my family are vegetarian it meant we were able to give them something a bit more unusual,” explains Shelley.
“We wanted a relaxed, fun and individual wedding. We always knew it would be in the countryside and a barn was the obvious choice because we didn’t want a religious ceremony. We both thought a barn would be a lovely alternative to a church. As Richard grew up in Sussex we spend quite a bit of time there and feel it is a second home away from London. We hoped our guests from London would enjoy the opportunity to get away from the city for a day. The Indian food we’d decided on ended up inspiring the rest of the theme. Strange as it sounds, the brief for our invitations (made by our friend Colin) was Sussex meets India! We wanted to combine the two influences, taking the beautiful rich colours from India, and the natural beauty of the Sussex countryside. We also featured elephants throughout the wedding, on our invites, on the cake, and Grittenham happened to have an elephant statue in the grounds so that worked brilliantly!” smiles Shelley.
“We didn’t want to spend lots of money on things that people didn’t really want so we chose things that our guests could eat and drink,” explains Shelley. “My parents made sloe gin from berries picked at their house in Brittany, and Richard’s parents made coconut ice (Indian theme!) and put it in little pink bags with labels. Both looked so lovely on the tables and it was really nice to have a personal gift from each family.”
The newlyweds travelled to Oman the day after the wedding.