Laura tells us all about her proposal below:
We were lucky enough to travel to Japan in March 2020. Towards the end of our trip, we went to Ueno Park in Tokyo. This park is famous for its cherry blossoms which had almost reached full bloom. In Japan, there is a custom called “Hanami” which means flower viewing and they’ll sit underneath the trees and basically have a party. While we were walking around, Matt was acting slightly odd, and kept backtracking but I put this down to us being slightly worse for wear having celebrated St Patrick’s Day the previous day. Matt then suddenly stopped in a quieter area of the park underneath a tree which had reached full bloom, looked over his shoulder and then got down on one knee. I completely misunderstood what was going on and thought he wanted to do our very own Hanami so kept telling him to “stop being weird” and “to get up”. I eventually clocked on and of course said “yes”. We were then able to enjoy a final few days in Tokyo, with the Cherry Blossoms reaching full bloom while we were there. Although we had to deal with a couple of cancelled flights, for the most part, we were blissfully unaware of everything that had been going on in the UK and in other countries – we landed back in the UK on the day the first lockdown was imposed, a very surreal experience!
The Big Day.
Lockdown made it a little challenging to plan a wedding and it felt like every time we started to plan, new restrictions would be put in place. This meant that we went from trying to plan a large traditional wedding, to trying to find venues to cater for a very intimate wedding. What we eventually settled on was a “hyrbid” approach! The ceremony and wedding breakfast would be attended by immediate family and then we would have a party in the evening for everyone else.
Our wedding ceremony was held on 18 September 2021 at Olton Friary. Despite there only being 9 of us at the church, we were still able to share the experience with our friends and family as there was a camera livestreaming. We decided to only have our photographer, Dita Bowen, who was amazing, for this part of the day.
Our wedding breakfast and reception were held at The Townhouse in Stratford-upon-Avon, and it was the perfect venue for us. The venue had lots of different areas and a courtyard which we loved. We forwent with most of the traditions, no groomsmen/bridesmaids, there was no first dance and only my dad gave a speech at the wedding breakfast. We wanted it to be stress free and we saw this mainly as an opportunity for our friends and family, many of who we hadn’t seen for long time, to catch up.
What did you love/hate about dress shopping?
To be honest, I loved the whole experience. The Bridal Boutique was the first and only shop I went to. From the moment I went into the shop I knew I wanted to get my dress from there. Madi was so personable and so so so knowledgable that I didn’t want to go anywhere else.
What made you pick your dress?
I knew I wanted a dress with sleeves and although we hadn’t booked a venue when I first went shopping in April 2021, at this point I knew that we were likely to have a less traditional wedding venue so I wanted a dress that I could easily move around in. I tried on a lot of dresses and am still amazed at the speed with which Madi was able to get me into and out of dresses! I didn’t cry when I tried on the dress, nor did my mum, but I knew it was probably the one. I left the Bridal Boutique having narrowed it down to two Jesus Peiro dresses which were quite different, knowing that I was coming back in a months time for the Jesus Peiro trunk show. Madi had asked me during the first visit, what my now husband would think I would wear and I had no idea. That evening I asked him what he thought I would pick and he described EXACTLY the other dress which was on my shortlist, although not in a positive way… and what he thought I should pick and he described something which was similar to the dress I ended up choosing. This helped me make up my mind.
We wanted a very relaxed and simple day. My make up, done my the brillaint, Naomi Halliday, was very natural and fresh. I wanted whites and greens for the flowers which were done by Urban Design Flowers, with those in the church being done by a team of volunteers at the church led by Shirley. We chose to weave in where we got engaged to parts of the day, so the cake, wedding stationary and lining of Matt’s suit all had cherry blossoms incorporated into them.
Advice to brides: Do what makes you happy, you will never be able to please everyone and the most important part is remembering that this will be YOUR best day so don’t try and make it someone elses. Don’t feel that you have to follow the status quo of what a wedding should be like. And always remember that ultimately this is all about you marrying your love so nothing else really matters.
We didn’t have to deal with moving our wedding, but trying to plan a wedding was difficult. Saying that, at start of May 2021 we settled on September 2021 as when we wanted to get married. Having to work to such a short a timescale meant that we had to be decisive so I didn’t get the chance to overthink things (which I’m prone to do) and in a strange way it actually made it less stressful.
Your Photographer: Dita Bowen PhotographyMake up artist: Naomi HallidayFlorist: Urban Design FlowersHair: Naimh at Aesthetics Dress: Jesus PeiroAccessories: Megan Therese, Victoria Percival headband. Shoes: Di Hassall