Tom proposed to me in Namibia whilst we were on Safari. I had just completed a multiday, self-sufficient Ultramarathon across the Namib Desert and he flew out to meet after the finish. He always jokes that he got me whilst I was weak and tired!
The proposal was at the start of our safari holiday, after we had spent the evening leopard tracking. It made the rest of the holiday so special as we were so excited. We were driving between different
lodges so it meant long hours on the road were made really fun as we discussed different aspects of our dream day. By the time we got home 8 days later, we already had a venue booked!
As serving members of the armed forces, our wedding date was extra meaningful to us as it was on Remembrance weekend. We had a church wedding at Knowle Parish Church, and the vicar held a short remembrance service for Tom and our guests and Tom lay a wreath prior to the ceremony. I also lay a bouquet on the cenotaph prior to our departure to our reception venue. Our Reception was held at Shustoke Barn in Coleshill. Here, we had African animals as our table names with original carved animals as table centrepieces from Kenya – a nod to our engagement location and Tom’s childhood in Africa, a continent very close to our hearts.
Our wedding ceremony was quite formal with amazing singing by Caerphilly Welsh Male Voice Choir (the choir my grandad sang with before he passed away). However, the reception was very relaxed and had a really fun vibe. It was such a good party – the dance floor was always full!
Telll us about dress shopping?
The part I loved the most about dress shopping was that it was something unique for my mum and I to do together. It was our own special secret mission! I loved trying on different dresses. I didn’t hate any part of the process, but as someone who cringes at the thought of being centre of
attention, I was worried about the whole process being focused on me. I thought I would feel really pressurised. However, Madi and the girls made me feel so relaxed about it all – It felt like I was there with a friend; an experience I hadn’t had at a previous dress shop I had visited!
I picked my Aleena Leena dress because I felt beautiful in it, and my mum’s reaction helped to seal the deal! It was not at all what I originally thought I would have gone for, having much more traditional styles in mind prior to shopping. I loved that the shape was simple, flattering and comfortable (I did not want to suck in all day), albeit with the most show stopping fabric around! I think if I hadn’t felt so comfortable and reassured in Madi’s presence, I would not have felt confident enough to choose the dress as it is quite eye catching for someone who would rather everyone looked the other way whilst I walked down the aisle! It definitely competed with the boy’s beautiful military uniforms for attention.
As the material on the dress was very sparkly, I chose to go with elegant but simple jewellery, makeup (by Hayley Thompson MUA) and hair (by Lucy at The Boutique, Knowle). However, I couldn’t resist choosing a gorgeous Victoria Percival pearl crown and veil with pearl detailing – I had to live up
to the princess dress after all! I also had gorgeous red velvet shoes by Harriet Wilde – a nod to my red military Corps colours.
Any Advice for new brides?
Don’t bring too many people to your wedding dress shopping – too many opinions can be overwhelming and might pressure you into choosing something you are uncomfortable with. Instead choose 1 or 2 select people who’s opinions you trust, and importantly, are aware not only of your
vision but your own insecurities or areas of confidence Make sure that if you love the dress but there are parts of it that you aren’t too happy with that you speak up! Abi, the amazing seamstress from Make It Sew, will either be able to do it for you or offe an alternative expert opinion if it isn’t possible. You want to feel unconscious and your best you on the day, an ill-fitting dress won’t help that.
Ultimately, I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason and it will all be ok in the end.
Even with Covid-19 impacting on our planning, I knew that I would eventually be able to marry the person I loved, and really that’s all that mattered.
Due to Covid 19, we had to plan, and re-plan, our wedding 3 times before finally getting married on our 4 th attempt! Although frustrating and a little stressful at the time (having to find new suppliers who could make our new dates and communicate with guests and venues etc), it actually worked
out better than our initial date would have! Not only did it end up falling on remembrance weekend, as mentioned, but more of our loved ones could attend our new date. As we had made the decision to delay it until November, nobody had to socially distance or wear face coverings, except for in the church when singing. As most people had been double or triple vaccinated against C19 at this point, we felt less uneasy with grandparents, pregnant guests and vulnerable guests attending.
I think the fact we had to wait and work harder for our wedding made us love and appreciate the day all the more. It really was the best party of my life and, nearly 2 weeks later, I am still on a high! I just want to do it all again.
I can’t wait for my HUSBAND to get home from military duty abroad so that we can go through our wedding photographs together (shot by the amazing Chris J Turner ) and reminisce on a wonderful day…. Who knows, I might even pop my dress back on!