Picture the scene: gym, leg curl, and the inevitable personal trainer x client cliche – the perfect ingredients for romance, yet it took four years for Alex to have Ellie’s heart racing from more than just cardio. They say love is blind, yet Ellie must have been blinder than most. Legend has it that Alex fancied Ellie from the start, but it took a full four years for Ellie to recognise Alex’s flirtatious signals. Alex invited Ellie to be his plus one to a fellow PT’s wedding and the match was lit. Sparks were finally flying and both quickly realised love was in the air, leading to their Cotswolds wedding which was full of charm and many surprises.
The best part of our day was…
Easy! Seeing each other’s faces at the end of the aisle. It goes without saying, we’d expected it to be one of the many highlights of the day, yet words cannot describe how spellbindingly dreamlike that moment was. As we caught each other’s eye as I began to walk down the aisle – to Craig Armstrong’s Portuguese Love Theme – it felt as though it were just the two of us in a church filled with people. In that moment, nothing else mattered and the friends, family and flowers filling the church faded out of focus. Despite our nerves, we each saw our best friend looking back at us and knew everything was right with the world.
Despite the day being about us, it was important the celebration be for our guests. Alex’s brief to me when planning the wedding was “I want a party”, and with events being part of my working remit, I took great pleasure in planning plenty of surprises for both him and our wedding party throughout the day.
The first began in the church – a surprise brass band springing from the congregation to accompany our final hymn – Bring Me Sunshine, popularised by Morecombe and Wise. Disguised as members of the congregation, the expressions of pure joy on our guests’ faces and Alex’s amazement was something to behold. The band went on to lead our wedding party in a traffic-stopping street procession from the church to the marquee, with local villagers looking on. Richard Curtis himself couldn’t have written it!
We chose to get married at…
St Mary’s Church, Fairford. Ellie’s family church, it has fond memories from her childhood: Harvest Festivals, Carol Concerts, her brother’s Christening and Nanna’s ashes being laid to rest in the church yard. It is also within walking distance of Ellie’s parent’s house – the former White Hart pub on the high street – where the bridal party were getting ready on the morning of the wedding. As a little girl, I had always dreamt of walking up the high street to get married at St Mary’s, so really there was no other option. From a practical point of view, it also meant our wedding was walkable for guests and bridal party alike, as we didn’t like the idea of a relocation after the ceremony to another venue. We felt you lose some of the hype from the ceremony in the travel between the two and we wanted to continue the good vibes and party on!
I knew I found ‘The One’ when…
My final dress was everything I’d said I didn’t want: sleeves, full skirt, fully covered at the top. I had my heart set on the slinky, figure-hugging Halfpenny Bridal changeable separates. But when trying these on, I was underwhelmed and didn’t get the magic moment. My reflection wasn’t as I’d imagined it would look in that style of dress and I instantly felt I’d need to change who I was to fit the dress. So instead of changing me to fit into the dress, the dress style changed instead.
Now in the wilderness and unsure what I wanted, my hairdresser recommended I try Carina Baverstock Couture in Bradford on Avon. Carina came highly recommended for her experience! And I can say, what an experience it was! Carina chose the dresses for me, taking into consideration the vision for the day, my body shape, likes and dislikes, character and personality, and the overall impact I wanted the dress to have on the day. Such important things that so many overlook when helping brides to choose their dress. I tried a range of dresses, yet the minute I saw my Sassi Halford gown, I was smitten, before I’d even got it off the peg. It was the first dress to catch my eye on the rail, and when I slipped it on, it was as if it were meant to be. I skipped from the changing rooms: it was playful, fun and full of live. It was perfect – a dress with drama, character and WOW for the church service, but with agility to have the sleeves altered to be removable, giving a relaxed, freedom for the dancefloor and evening. I just wish I had another excuse to wear it!
The most enjoyable moments of planning were…
Sourcing suppliers who got our vision! No one more so than our florist, Hollie of Blue & Bohème. She truly encapsulated the dream and went one further. Hollie invited my mum and I to join her at the flower market to pick the varieties of key flowers that went throughout our arrangements, including the stunning mink roses we had within our bouquets. I never could have foreseen how Hollie would evolve our choice of flowers into the outstanding dramatic displays at the church and in the venue, including the wildflower meadow at the altar and wild foliage arch adorning the doorway to the church. Flowers were the first thing people commented on and Hollie’s installations had exactly the impact we wanted… and some! I now count Hollie as a dear friend and will be forever grateful for her hard work and creative excellence to produce our wedding florals.
The hardest part of planning was…
Stopping myself becoming overwhelmed! Unlike with work events where I have a team of support and healthy budgets on my side, planning a wedding is something else. I could never have imagined how emotionally invested it would be and how the costs scarily stack, quickly blowing the budget out of the window. Weddings are a big investment and so would recommend couples prioritise investments that allow YOU as a couple to enjoy your day.
I am so grateful to have found Addo Events, who allowed me to be the bride. Effortless take a whole lot of effort and it is thanks to ADDO Events, that things ran seamlessly. The attention to detail, the creativity and sounding board these guys bought to the table was invaluable. It was the best money I spent and worth every penny. If you’re a bride thinking about taking the plunge, DO IT! Trust me, you won’t regret it and it will only enhance your enjoyment of the entire wedding, allowing you to fully experience your wedding.
It made us feel like we had a real team behind us and gave us confidence to relax and enjoy the excitement of the lead up, knowing the day would be executed with the meticulous precision. Making something look so simple takes skill and I’m so grateful to have found such a wonder group of people who made our day possible.
The best accounts to follow on Instagram for big-day inspo are…
For overall wedding styling, follow your photographer and others of a similar style: https://www.instagram.com/chloeelyphotography/
Wedding planners: https://www.instagram.com/addoevents/
Wedding menu highlights…
The cake, which we served for dessert! Three tiers, three flavours and it utterly was incredible. Summer Raspberry and White Chocolate, Curious Carrot Cake, and Decadent Double Chocolate.
For our honeymoon we chose…
With plans for an international mega-moon next year, we escaped on minimoon to Nymetwood Treehouses in Devon for a few days to recharge after the wedding – Blissful days hunkered down within the rolling Devonshire countryside. Star gazing through the bedroom skylight, sinking into bubbling balcony baths, and detoxing from the digital world, whilst basking in the warmth of the wood burner and wedded bliss. The most idyllic start to married life.
My top three tips for any couple would be…
Remember why you’re marrying one another! Don’t let the wedding stress dilute the real romance. The wedding is just one day, but a marriage is for life. Take time in the lead up to recognise and remember what the big day is all about.
Focus on memorable moments and save sweating the small stuff. Consider how you want to leave people feeling on top of the world at the end of your day – what will be the hangover conversation over breakfast the next day? Trust me, it won’t be the colour of your napkin, but it could be your choice of entertainment! The Brass Band in the church was exactly this for us.
Trust word of mouth recommendations. Your suppliers are your army! Particularly if you’re working with a planner like ADDO Events, their recommendations are tried and tested, and whilst your preferred supplier may have a super sexy social media, they may not deliver on the day.
If I was able to do it all over again, the one thing I would change is…
If I had a magic wand, I slow the pace of the day or have an unlimited rewind. It’s such a cliché say it goes by so quickly, but truly, it feels like a hot minute! You don’t want to miss a moment but it’s inevitable with you being pulled in so many directions on the day. I’d give anything to relive every second.
List of suppliers
Caterer: Fosters @fosterscatering
Bridesmaids: Six Stories @sixstories
Groom outfit: Moss Bros @mossbros
Florist: Blue and Bohème @blueandboheme
Photographer : Chloe Ely Photography @chloeelyphotography
Videographer: Bullit Photography @bullitphotography
Wedding rings: Sophie Cudworth @sophie_cudworth
Makeup: Jade Johnson @jadejohnsonmakeupartist
Hair: Gee Hair And Beauty @geehairandbeauty
Stylist: ADDO Events @addoevents
Wedding Planner: ADDO Events @addoevents
Production: TH Collective @_thcollective
Related Article: Inside: An Elegant Wedding In Oxfordshire