Anna & James
We lived on the same street for years, but didn’t start dating until 2009. James took me out for dinner a few days before Christmas and met me at the door with some Christmas gifts, which I thought was very thoughtful. I just remember laughing all night, we laugh so much together still.
HOW DID THE PROPOSAL HAPPEN?
Every year for my birthday we go to London and enjoy being tourists. It was the day after my birthday in the evening and we had just bought a bottle of Champagne when James took me outside into the park. I turned around and found him on one knee. He passed me a second birthday card that said, “to my beautiful fiancée” and then proposed! We were crying and laughing and smiling so much. Once we’d finished the Champagne we went to our favourite London pub, only for me to find both of our parents upstairs waiting to congratulate us!
I tried a few dresses on before I found my dream gown at Heart Brides who were exhibiting at a local hotel – my mum picked it out. It was strapless and hugged my hips, waist and bust, before flaring out princess-style at the bottom. I added a sparkly belt and had a hidden pocket put in to carry pictures of my late brother, James’ late sister and my grand parents. It absolutely blew me away.
It took six months for me to hand make my brooch and pearl bouquet from both of my grandmothers’ collections, but it was beautiful. I sourced simple teardrop diamond earrings to go with it, and I also had a classic cream rose bouquet and a floor-length simple veil. Freya Rose supplied my pretty peep-toe ivory heels.
James looked so handsome in a navy blue three-piece suit from Ben Sherman with tan tassel loafers. He wore a pink tie to match the bridesmaid’s bouquets and a double rose ivory buttonhole to complement my gown.
I wanted classy dresses for my maids, so I opted for navy satin dresses with prom style skirts that fell just below the knee. The dresses were teamed with sparkly silver peep-toes and jewellery from Debenhams. I gifted a Pandora heart ring to each of my maids.
HAIR AND MAKEUP
Laura Ryan, a close friend of mine, from All About Hair did our hair and Joanna Mary, another good friend, did my makeup beautifully and naturally.
WHAT WAS THE BEST PART OF THE CEREMONY?
I arrived at the church and started to walk down the aisle. James turned around to see me for the first time – his face was amazing! His reaction took my breath away.
WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR YOUR WEDDING BREAKFAST?
We chose breaded mushrooms to start followed by a traditional chicken roast with all the trimmings and a choice of apple tart or profiteroles and cream for dessert.
My dad usually gets emotional when speaking about our family and my mum often has to nish his speech for him. For our wedding he stood up and thanked everyone for coming, then asked everyone to open an envelope they’d just been given – it was a printed copy of his speech! The sound of paper turning soon turned into laughter, tears and a massive round of applause – it was amazing!
Our venue, Forest School in Woodford, was very grand and also a little reminiscent of Hogwarts, so we decided on a magical sparkly woodland theme.
I sourced candelabra for each table, bunches of twigs, hundreds of fairylights and light-up blossom trees. We also had our table names laser cut from wood, my mum made table runners for the long banquet-style tables and I decorated 70 pots in silver glitter. My dad also made us giant LOVE letters, painted and covered in glitter, to finish the hall perfectly.
Kelly from Daisy Chain Flowers in Harlow, Essex, provided our beautiful blooms. So much thought went into them and Kelly completely understood what we wanted and brought it all to life. She also dressed our candelabra in cream roses and gypsophila, which nished them off beautifully.
Our cake was nothing short of amazing! It had tiers of chocolate, Victoria sponge, lemon and bakewell tart avours. Roxanne’s Cakes of Harlow created it for us, adding just the right hint of navy using ribbons and antique brooches to give it a really classic style. They complemented the icing ruffles perfectly.
CEREMONY St Mary at Latton Church, Harlow | RECEPTION VENUE Forest School, Woodford | DRESS Heart Brides | BRIDESMAID DRESSES ASOS | GROOM Ben Sherman | ACCESSORIES Freya Rose | HAIR Laura from All About Hair, Harlow | FLOWERS Kelly from Daisy Chain Flowers, Harlow | CAKE Roxanne’s Cakes of Harlow | PHOTOGRAPHER Matt Heath Photography