Hatti & James
James came to visit me in Plymouth and we went to a Japanese restaurant on the Barbican. We were the last people in the restaurant and talked all night. I remember thinking, ‘this is something special’.
HOW DID THE PROPOSAL HAPPEN?
We were on holiday in France and had taken a day trip to the wine region of St Emilion. We were looking down on the beautiful architecture and vineyards when he got down on one knee and popped the question – it was perfect! We had brought a picnic so we sat down and had Camembert and St Emilion red wine. When we got back to the converted barn we were staying in, there was a trail of candles and a bottle of Champagne waiting for us!
I found my Charlotte Balbier ‘Anabelle’ dress in The O Zone in Brighton. It was French lace, had a traditional A-line shape with a satin belt and sweetheart neckline. The satin lining made it feel so soft and light to move around in which was really important to me. It was the only dress I could imagine marrying James in. Originally I didn’t want a veil but when one of the ladies in the shop put one on me I felt like a real bride for the first time.
I had five bridesmaids and loved having all my best friends there with me on the day. They wore dusky pink floor-length dresses found in Debenhams, had hair slides from Highland Angel Jewellery and pashminas from Accessorize.
James wore traditional black tails with striped trousers, an ivory waistcoat and grey cravat. We hired the suit from The O Zone and bought Kurt Geiger shoes.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CEREMONY?
Reaching James at the end of the aisle and hearing him say, ‘you look beautiful’ felt amazing. It was also lovely to see James’s nan beaming at me as I walked back up the aisle with James by my side.
James loves cars. He found our 1959 Jaguar Mark II which was a real treat to ride in. The Brighton Mini Club also provided more than 10 Minis for our bridesmaids – they caused quite a stir turning up at the Grand and people on the seafront were stopping to take pictures.
Our wedding colour scheme was pink and grey with a whimsical seaside theme for the reception. I bought bird shaped place cards for the tables and we had drapes and fairy lights hanging from the ceiling. James made a light up ‘love’ sign for the bar and bridesmaid, Zoe made a beach hut post box for our cards as we met at a nightclub on Brighton seafront.
I bought Wedding Ideas religiously and even kept my copies because I didn’t want to part with them! I got the idea for my birdcage table plan from the magazine and also used it to find the birds that I tucked into the flowers.
James’s best man gave a fantastic speech as did my dad who brought out all the Father’s Day cards I had given him over the years, including the one that said ‘I love you dad – even though you didn’t buy me a pony!’ James then gave a heartfelt speech and my bridesmaid Sonia surprised us with a speech too!
My dad made a traditional fruit cake for us and the Angel Food Bakery made our three-tier cake. We also had macarons from a local patisserie because they are my favourite and a reference to our French engagement. All our cakes were pink, grey or white to match the colour scheme.
We used Not On The Highstreet for our wedding invitations and save the dates and the church provided our order of service. I added a picture of each bridesmaid to the order of service and a fact about them to help guests get to know them.
THE FIRST DANCE
We danced to ‘Love Song’ by The Cure. It has always been our song and meant a lot to us because our relationship was long distance to begin with.
Having photos taken with James on Brighton beach was so romantic. It was lovely to
return to the place we first met and see our relationship come full circle. My sister-in-law told me to do one thing per month and it really worked! I set a timeline for when things needed to be done by and tackled one thing each month. This meant I didn’t set myself too much at a time and could enjoy the planning.
CEREMONY St Andrew’s Church, Alfriston, East Sussex | RECEPTION VENUE The Grand, Brighton, East Sussex | DRESS The O Zone, Brighton | BRIDESMAID DRESSES Debenhams | GROOM The O Zone, Brighton | SHOES Kurt Geiger, kurtgeiger.com STATIONERY Not On The Highstreet | CAKE Angel Food Bakery | TRANSPORT Brighton Mini Club, twitter. com/brightonminis PHOTOGRAPHER Andrew Squires