Chloe and Gareth’s butterfly wedding theme was inspired by their gorgeous venue, Braxted Park in Essex…

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The first meeting

Chloe and Gareth’s first meeting was a true family affair. Gareth worked with his dad and Chloe’s dad and he spotted Chloe at a company bowling event and bought her a drink. Gareth then invited Chloe to his 21st birthday party. She was just 16 at the time, but remembers it well – “Oh God! We didn’t even speak at the party. But we did then go on a proper first date and talked to each other then!”

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The proposal

“Gareth took me to my favourite restaurant for my 21st birthday and proposed during the meal. I was completely shocked and cried. I phoned my mum to tell her but of course she already knew – everyone knew except me! It was a complete surprise.”

The bride’s outfit

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Chloe looked absolutely stunning in her princess dress from Belissima Weddings, even though it was completely the opposite of what she thought she would choose. “Before I went dress shopping I was adamant I knew what style of dress I wanted and it certainly wasn’t a big princess dress. But the lady in Belissima convinced me into trying on dresses of every style, including the big dresses. As soon as I tried on my princess dress I knew it was the one, despite it being nothing like I had intended to go for. I love the details on the bodice of the dress and the big skirt. I saw myself in the mirror and took one look at my mum’s expression and burst into tears.”

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The groom’s outfit

Gareth looked equally dapper in his grey lounge suit from Moss Bros. The suit choice was a team effort, although Gareth and Chloe agreed completely on the final choice. “Gareth didn’t want tails and we both wanted him in a grey suit. As yellow played a big part in our wedding theme, he matched it by wearing a champagne waistcoat.”

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The bridesmaids

Chloe had two adult bridesmaids and a flower girl for her big day: her oldest friend, Natalie, her sister-in-law, Michelle and Michelle’s daughter, Cassie. Cassie wore an ivory dress, embellished with butterflies, from BHS, while the two older bridesmaids wore long lemon-coloured dresses with a flower corsage on one shoulder. The older bridesmaid dresses were from Jane Norman.

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The ceremony

Chloe and Gareth were married at All Saints Church on the Braxted Park estate. “It was amazing – I wouldn’t change a thing about it,” says Chloe. They were joined by 60 guests for the ceremony where Gareth’s dad read a passage from the Bible and Chloe’s mum read a poem called ‘On Your Wedding Day’. The band the couple had booked for their evening reception played two acoustic songs while the register was signed.

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The reception

After the service at All Saints Church, Chloe and Gareth were taken by horse and carriage through the Braxted Park estate to the Walled Garden Pavilion where they hosted their wedding breakfast and evening reception. The 60 guests enjoyed a three-course meal of tiger prawn ravioli, followed by roast beef and then rounded off with strawberries, raspberries and cream.

For the evening reception, Gareth and Chloe hired the live band band, One Foot in the Groove, and also a photo booth, which went down really well with their guests. “People were dancing around with the photo booth props all night. There were hats and glasses everywhere – even Gareth’s nan dressed up!”

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The theme

The theme for Chloe and Gareth’s big day was inspired by the venue, Braxted Park. Chloe spotted the butterfly embellished ceiling flags in the Pavilion when they visited before the wedding, and used the theme throughout. The couple even released some butterflies into the gardens of the venue on their big day. “We ordered some butterflies from a specialist company and on the morning of the wedding, Gareth had the tricky job of moving them into a vintage cage for us to open after the ceremony. The butterflies were all released into the gardens of the venue where all the flowers were just starting to bloom so we’re hoping they all found a nice home there.”

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The cake

Gareth and Chloe’s beautiful wedding cake was made by a friend of the family. The bottom tier was a fruit cake while the remaining two were lemon sponge cake. It was decorated with lemon coloured flowers cascading down the cake, and finished off with a matching ribbon.

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The honeymoon

Chloe describes her honeymoon as “simply out of this world”,  although the two weeks in the Maldives started off on a rocky note. “When we landed the weather was too bad for our seaplane to take us to our island, so we had to stay at the airport hotel. It was horrible! We then had to be up at 5am to fly to our island, but it was well worth the wait.”

Most memorable moment

“There are simply too many to choose from!” says Chloe. “I will always remember how nervous I felt on the journey to the church – it was a little overwhelming. But if I really had to choose one moment, I would say it was the trip in the horse and carriage between the church and the reception. Those first few moments alone with Gareth as husband and wife were just lovely. ”

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To find out more about holding your big day at the same, wonderful venue, visit the Braxted Park website. Or, if you need more venue inspiration, we’ve found some secret venues that you may not have even heard of right here