How we met...
Chris: We met in Birmingham in 2013 at a social event. Jade had joined a law firm I had worked for shortly after I had left. A Birmingham society ran events for firms in the city which Jade and I went to, and that’s how we met - playing giant versions of garden games in a bar.
Chris: The proposal was in Italy. We took our young daughter Isabella with us to Florence, and on Jade’s birthday we visited some of the romantic hotspots in the city. Behind the Pitti Palace are the beautiful Boboli Gardens, and it was there that I proposed. It sounds romantic, but with our one year old Bella we had to contend with nappy changes, feeds and tantrums before I could find the perfect time and perfect spot to propose, beside the Isolotto Plaza. It was actually a lucky opportunity; Jade never wanted a grand public proposal, so when Bella had fallen asleep near the end of the afternoon and the Gardens were emptying out, I took my chance to propose with no one else in sight, at one of the most iconic parts of the gardens... and she said yes!
What we wore...
Jade: I had a Ronald Joyce gown from A Bride’s World in Northampton. I had the Lili strapless organza with a fitted satin fishtail gown with all over lace appliques. I had a modesty panel added on as it was a little exposed for my bust and as I’m a bit shorter I thought this would work better. In the evening I hooked my dress up at the back to allow me to do the first dance. I also added a jacket which was a Bianco Evento lace bolero; it was ivory lace with long lace sleeves and a crystal button back. I can honestly say it was so comfortable and made all the difference when the temperature started to drop in the evening.
My veil was also a Bianco Evento, keeping in style with the rest of the outfit it was a laced edge with a single tier. I really went out of my comfort zone with the length and went for a “cathedral veil” which is 110” long but as it’s the only time I plan to have worn one I went full bridal. My shoes were just a Debenhams own brand as I knew I would barely wear them - and I did! Bring flip flops ladies!
Chris: She looked perfect. I didn’t know what to expect. She looks beautiful in anything, but she was absolutely stunning in that dress. I wore a three blue piece with a cravat and tails. The father of the bride, ushers and groomsmen all wore slightly similar versions of the suit. All were worn with brown shoes, mostly tan shades. My wedding shoes were from Loakes, having a Thompson style to create something more distinctive.
Jade: He looked so handsome. I was so proud to have him waiting at the end of the aisle.
Our favourite part of the day...
Chris: The two favourite parts of the day for me, other than marrying the love of my life, were the two things I was most nervous about - my speech, and our first dance. I was unprepared to be upset during our speech and to have any applause, but both happened. It’s surprising how the moment takes you. But I read my speech out without any prompts and it went smoothly, so all my fears of making mistakes went unfounded. As for the dance, we danced to Paolo Nutini’s Better Man. I never wanted to be that couple that had an awkward first dance, so we’d had just two lessons in our local village hall with Wedding Dance Northampton shortly before the wedding. They were excellent, and I needed all the help I could get. By the time it came on the day, it went better than any of our practices, and we have some great photos and videos to show for it.
Jade: Ah, this is such a difficult question. It’s probably going to be the moment Chris (and the Reverend and my Bridesmaid) all surprised me with live singing at the end of the ceremony in the Church. If you have seen Love Actually – and if you haven’t, where have you been?! – at the end of the ceremony about halfway through the film, the Bride and Groom are surprised by a singer and a live band singing the song “All you need is love”. This is my all time favourite film and he hired some singers and musicians to sit amongst our guests and perform the same song at the end of our service. It was just the loveliest thing he could have organised and I will treasure it forever.
The plan/idea that we felt really worked on the day...
Jade: We would both say that everything went to plan really, although I’m sure a lot of that was down to the amazing Dodmoor staff (specifically Tanice, who I am sure had a much deserved gin when she got home!). We had so many different things going on during the day; Mini Golf, Garden Fête games, a children’s indoor games room and children’s garden games, croquet, indoor board games for adults, the Dodmoor gin bar, a photobooth, and a Dominos delivery for our evening meal, as well as the standard four course meal, first dance and cake cutting... timing and planning was essential!
However if we had to put one thing down to the best planned idea, it would be that when the dining room was being changed to our evening room we went and practised our first dance. This was exactly what we needed as it meant we were much less nervous when we did our first dance in front of our 170 guests. Our DJ from Potter Group was cracking and super relaxed about letting us do this.
Where we feel our budget was really well spent...
Chris: The games package was our best spend - we had nine holes of personalised Mini Golf (provided by Pure Mini Golf) as well as garden fête games (provided by Turners Traditional) which included things such as a coconut shy and splat a rat, and both suppliers were superb. We have had so many compliments on the amount of activities we had for children and adults to do at our wedding. Everyone associates Jade and me with games, and these guys did a fantastic job in providing the activities for the day to keep our guests entertained.
Jade: For me, it was definitely our photographer, Aaron Storry. I was told really early into our engagement by lots of friends, family and colleagues how important the photos would be in 10, 15, 20 years, and how these really would be everything that you would rely on in the future, so it was really important to get the right person for us both. I can honestly say that Aaron was incredible. He is one of the kindest people I have ever met. From the moment we had our first chat over FaceTime (because Aaron is dedicated to his work but also a parent of two gorgeous kiddies), I knew that he was the one for us. We ended up talking for way over the hour he put in the diary for us and that’s because he is just so personable. I’m pretty self-conscious and not a big fan of being in front of the camera so he had a fairly tough job but I love all the photos we received… of which there were over 700. I can’t thank him enough - his expertise, his chilled out personality, his direction and his ability to help us with all the different non-photography related queries made him just the perfect guy for us.
Dodmoor suppliers that we used and loved...
Jade: All of our suppliers were fantastic but that is in part to the fact we used suppliers via recommendations from Dodmoor such as Green Room Flowers, Gardners Bakery, Lemon Zest Catering and Potter Group Events. Apart from the ones already mentioned in the blog, here are a few others that we felt went above and beyond.
Alice Derbyshire from By Jodie Team, for hair and makeup for the bride and bridesmaids. This was so important for me, and Alice provided me with such confidence I didn't even look at my makeup on the day of the wedding. She also saved me from a crisis when a hairdresser cut six inches off my hair the day before the wedding and it was uneven!
Domino's Pizza (Daventry branch) for our evening food. The staff were great in advance and knew everything about our order. They even gave us 2 for 1 because it was such a large order giving us a great saving against any equivalent supplier for evening food and it was much more filling for everyone. It was so popular we only have a single shot of it even being there!
Molly Jane Lewis films for videography. Our package included bride prep, groom prep, ceremony, speeches and evening footage. We ended up with a 3 minute short video, 15 minute full feature video, as well all of our speeches in full (there were four). She’s worth every penny.
Triple White Weddings for our wedding car package. We went back and forth on this as really it was only going to be used for less than two hours over the course of the day - half travel, half photos - but in the end, the white VW Beetle Serendipity just made me fall in love with how cute and sweet it was. Once we found out that it was available there was no looking back. The driver was lovely; so helpful and even took a few additional pictures for us.
Finally, if we could give a tip to other couples...
Chris: Enjoy the day. It goes way too fast.
Jade: Try not to be restricted by your “budget”. You can always find the extra money, but you can’t redo the day, so don’t hold back.
Special thanks to Jade and Chris for sharing their story, and to Aaron Story Photography for the photos x