Alex Kolubayev was a professional musician but currently runs her own copywriting business. Justin Hammond owns Forta Productions which is an event production company working on weddings and events globally.
The Hammond and the Kolubayev families met through nursery school in 1993 and have been family friends ever since, spending every Christmas, New Years and Easter together. Going into their adult lives, both Justin and Alex traveled a lot for work therefore their paths didn’t cross all that often; until 3 and a half years ago they finally managed to catch up one night over dinner and the rest is history!
About the proposal…
Alex had a very bad week leading up to a weekend trip away with Justin at Soho Farmhouse – she was struggling to keep her spirits up as they approached Farmhouse on the Friday afternoon to check in. Justin had arranged the proposal for Saturday morning, including a surprise appearance from friends and family afterwards. The surprise entourage was checking in the same afternoon at 4.30pm. Justin had intended to check in earlier and, under the guise of a relaxing spa treatment at 4.15pm sharp, He wanted to send Alex away to decompress after a tough week keeping her away from reception and therefore avoiding everyone involved in the surprise.
Sod’s law… Justin and Alex, stuck in Friday afternoon traffic, were running very late. Panicking that they might bump into everyone during check in, Justin proceeded to drive like a maniac to beat the surprise entourage. By this point, it was 4.30pm and Alex was 15 minutes late for her appointment, which she was quite happy to cancel, however Justin INSISTED she go. Not understanding why he was in such a rush, nor why he was so adamant she attend the appointment, Alex grew more frustrated, especially after the awful week she had as all she wanted to do was relax. Instead, Justin dropped her in the parking lot, in the freezing cold at the end of February and shouted “run to your appointment”!!! Taken aback at the abrupt order, this is exactly what she she did and ran to the spa. Unbeknownst to Alex, all her friends and family were in the cars directly behind them in the queue waiting to access the car park.
Fast forward to the next day, Justin took Kingsley, their Boston Terrier, for a walk whilst Alex had a lie in. He used this opportunity to locate the perfect place for the proposal. Later that morning, Justin took Alex for the same countryside stroll. As it was the end of winter/beginning of spring, there was little to look at other than dead underbrush and bare tree branches. However, a little way back from their path, in the middle of a tangled web of lifeless brown bushes, was a dainty patch of green and white, which upon closer inspection was a single bulb of snowdrop flowers. Justin coaxed Alex into the tiny clearing as the lone flower amongst the inconspicuous branches was strikingly beautiful. As Alex ventured further into the underbrush, her attention turned to a pathway of more green and white flowers opening up to a little meadow full of the delicate little snowdrop flowers. The stark contrast of the flowers set against the dead winter woodland was breathtaking and little did Alex know, as she was exploring this unexpected oasis, Justin was getting a ring box out of his pocket. Justin called her name and upon turning around she saw that he was down on one knee. Despite preparing an entire speech, Alex’s instant reaction of happiness, shock and tears lead Justin to simply ask “will you marry me?”, to which Alex replied, “yes”.
Back at their room after the walk, Justin dialled room service to order champagne to toast the occasion. Five minutes or so later there was a knock at the door. Much to Alex’s surprise and complete and utter delight, rather than room service delivering the bottle of fizz, it was a bunch of friends and family all screaming with excitement. It was the perfect proposal… (and Justin really lucked out with the meadow of snowdrops)!
The best part of our day was…
Rather than having a traditional wedding dinner, we surprised our guests with a cabaret club featuring burlesque performances complete with a giant martini glass, can-can dancers, contortionists and circus acts.
We choose to get married at…
Babington House. It is a regular yet special weekend getaway for us therefore it was no brainer. We wanted friends and family to experience why we had come to love it. As mentioned on our wedding invitation; “join us for an unforgettable winter getaway…” and that’s exactly what Babington House offers.
I knew I found ‘The One’ when…
I found the process more stressful than initially expected. Lots of opinions to juggle, tight time frames… it’s an overwhelming part of the wedding planning experience. So one afternoon, I went rogue and went by myself to a fitting. I tried the dress on, loved it, and walked away with it the same day. I felt confident in my decision and that’s when I knew I’d found ‘The One’. One really helpful question someone asked me was “what would you like to say with your dress?” or “what would you like your dress to say about you?”. Suddenly all my thoughts and ideas about the dress came into focus and I knew exactly what I was looking for.
The most enjoyable moments of planning were…
Planning the wedding dinner/cabaret club… what we wanted was so outside the box so it was really fun letting our imaginations run with the concept.
The hardest part of planning was…
Table plans. We lost count of the number of iterations we tried – it was a very tricky puzzle to get right. I think it all came down to persistence and determination.
My top three tips for any couple would be…
It’s your day – don’t try to make other people happy.
After the ceremony, make sure you have a moment of reflection alone with just the two of you.
I’ll repeat no. 1 again… it’s YOUR wedding day. Do what will make you happy and don’t be afraid to throw the rule book out the window and do something different. Little did we know, going outside the box is what ultimately made our wedding so special for us.
If I was able to do it all over again, the one thing I would change is…
Despite thinking quite seriously about this, there’s nothing we would change!
List of suppliers:
Fashion & Jewellery:
Cabaret Host – Carl Mullaney @carlmullaney
Staffing – Splendid London
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