What's your love story? How did you meet?
It's really romantic... we met over a chat programme called ICQ (pre MSN we are that old!) I was at Loughborough Uni, Duncan was living at home and going to De Monfort, ICQ was kinda cool because you could search for nearby students.
We met in real life because Duncan wanted to meet another girl he fancied so me being the helpful person I was said he could practise by meeting me! We became friends first. I moved away and then we saw each other again after like a year and something clicked. Duncan got me through a tough patch and we've been through thick and thin since!
What was the proposal like?
I hit 30 and wanted a ring on my finger! I sorted the date (my 30th birthday) and then picked the ring out all that was left was the proposal... I really should have sorted that too! The romantic proposal of “d'ya wanna?" was it I’m afraid. I knew the ring was pretty and my size so I said yes! I've never let him live that down... and never will!
How long were you engaged?
Nine long years! It got to be a bit of a family joke that we would never get hitched. Something else always came up, moving house etc! We got there in the end!
How did you find planning your wedding? Anything funny/interesting happen along the way?
Which venues did you choose and why? We chose local. When we were first engaged I wanted a huge wedding with all the trimmings, stately home, horse carousel the lot. As we got older we just wanted to have our friends and family around us and have a fun relaxed day to remember and not the stress!
We picked a little local church and a marquee in a posh pub garden across the road from the church. It was a summer wedding and we both love the outdoors so it was a perfect fit. We were pretty practical, the venue was the right size, they did a good BBQ and it was a reasonable price: no huge leap in price if you are wanting a weekend or anytime between February and November!
We did win a competition at a stately home once, we thought we might get the venue cheaper but the first prize on the year we won was a bottle of fizz. We were told to collect it so they could take our photo for the newsletter... when we turned up they looked us up and down and thrust the bottle at us saying that “a photo wouldn’t be necessary!!!!!” We thought then maybe we weren't the stately home type.
What did you both wear? Why did you choose that?
Duncan really surprised me! We stumbled across a tiny little shop in Rugby called Albie and Lonnie’s that had some beautiful Marc Darcy suits. His was a dark blue with gold check, the Roman. So beautiful and normally so not Duncan but he really worked that suit! I wore a beautiful off the shoulder princess dress with sequins and other pretty bits by Amanda Wyatt! The dress was from a fabulous wedding dress shop in Kibworth called Wedding Belles Bridal Boutique. I went back to the boutique a few times to try on different styles. I had my heart set on a 1950's style Tea Dress with straps, and ended up in a huge princess strapless dress with all of the bling and skirts! It's so worth trying on different styles and stepping out of your comfort zone as you may hit upon a gem. I didn't visit any other bridal shops. I loved the ladies in Kibworth and I knew I would find my dress there.
What sort of theme did you go for with your decor and styling? Why did you go for that?
Well if our meeting wasn't nerdy enough we had a Harry Potter theme for our wedding.
I was trying to think of an idea for table names for ages (I have been engaged for a long time so I had plenty of thinking time) I saw some ideas of different Disney film props theming each table and hit upon the perfect idea as I am the world's biggest Harry Potter fan! It started off as something discreet, just a touch of Potter and then just seeped into the whole day including the wedding invites, cake, photo booth, props, table plan, guest’s Golden Snitch thumb print canvas, engravings on the rings etc etc. A lot of guests embraced it too and came wearing something Potter! We had to have seven tables for the seven books and themed them accordingly.
We chose Sunflowers as they are my favourite and I wanted something "pow" but not fussy... we had enough Potter bling already. I had a lovely bouquet and my bridesmaids all carried a single Sunflower. It was a great pop of colour and as we didn't have a colour theme, yellow was pretty neutral. I allowed Duncan to get involved so we had Lego Men place names. I found a company online, VM Bespoke, who die cut names Harry Potter styley so all of our Lego Men were holding one of those. Yes, the Harry Potter theme was out of control, once started it was like a runaway train!
What was your Ceremony like? What made you choose the readings that you had? What was your favourite bit of the ceremony?
We both loved our ceremony. Neither of us are religious but we got to meet our Vicar Pip lots before the wedding and he came to our house so we could go through everything. I wanted to marry in a church as registry offices didn't appeal. The venue could have married us but we didn't want to spend the whole day there so it was a good practical plan.
When it came to the service though it was so special being in a church. Pip made everything so personal, our friends and family were all part of the ceremony and we had a practice the night before with the whole of our close family there which was lovely as they come from all over the country. We felt that Pip really got to know us and it made the day very special.
Readings were done by my sister and also my best friend. We had one religious one and I wrote the other about us. A couple of close friends performed a few songs whilst we signed the register. Duncan's favourite part of the ceremony was seeing me walk down the aisle where he promptly fell to pieces! I loved the little details such as lighting family candles, having my mum walk me down the aisle and holding Duncan's hand throughout as he was in bits... bless!
What was your plan for the Reception/Party? What was it like? Did you have a favourite bit?
We wanted a chilled out reception and kicked off the afternoon with a Pimm’s reception for the guests whilst we went to a remote field to have photos taken. I had chosen an acoustic singer, Tara Simms, whom I LOVED and she was the perfect choice for a summer’s afternoon. I had been picking bits up for the wedding for a long long time including lawn games and decorations so our guests would be occupied and have fun. It was really important to me that everyone had a chilled out and fun time, which I’m hoping they did. I loved so many things about the reception. I wanted to make sure that Duncan was comfortable too as he is pretty shy and to see him relaxed and having a good time was great.
Because the venue was more intimate it was brilliant at allowing me to get round to all my guests and spend time with everyone. Everything came together and I loved that I could enjoy the day and not worry.
What was your First Dance? Why did you choose that song?
That's a funny story. Duncan isn't the most confident of movers so I wanted to make sure that he was comfortable during our first dance. We picked 'our' song ‘You're my Best Friend’ by Queen and I spoke to a choreographer I know from my musical theatre dablings for help. I thought she would just show us how to sway in time and give Duncan some confidence but she had devised a whole routine for us! Duncan was so far out of his comfort zone but I was so proud of how he embraced it and actually had fun practising and then performing it too. We kept it top secret which is a miracle for me and a great surprise for everyone else. Duncan did me proud and even managed to lift me in my huge dress!
Did you have any special entertainment? Why did you chose that?
We kept things pretty simple, games and bits on the lawn, Tara singing a couple of sets, the photo booth and then a disco in the evening. We had asked our guests what their favourite disco tunes were in the invite and the DJ had made a playlist from this, which he then gave us on CD which was a lovely touch from him. I wanted to surprise Duncan so I gathered a troop in secret to practise an arrangement of our song (You're my Best Friend.) We sprung it on Duncan after his speech and made him and a fair few others cry - from emotion not incompetence! It was great to have little surprises that popped up throughout the day and I loved seeing others reactions.
What is your advice to other couples getting married?
Definitely go with what you want to do. Be practical and organised, give your other half a list of duties and all will be well! Seriously though, decide what you want as a couple. We had so much 'advice' from other people we had to be strong keeping what we wanted for our day the focus. It was so easy to be swept away with so many things that apparently we just had to have at our wedding and what the correct thing was to do. We ended up with my mum giving me away, Duncan's sister being best woman, my Chief Bridesmaid being a Bridesman and a song instead of speeches! We loved our day because it was 'us', our guests loved the day because we did.
What would you do differently?
I'm not sure I would change anything. The only thing was that I felt that, when my evening guests arrived, I didn't get to see much of them as the disco started so everyone ended up spreading out from the garden and into the bar. Time seemed to speed up on the day and I suddenly found that I hadn't got round to see a lot of our guests during the evening.
What was your wedding budget? Did you stick to it? How did you manage it?
We didn't really have a budget, which was a bit dangerous I guess! As we booked the venue 18 months before the wedding we got a really good price on it, all in (food, drink, venue, DJ etc) came to £3500ish. We also picked up lots of bits along the way and I am a huge bargain hunter! My dress was a bit of a bargain as it was in a sample sale at half price £649, we ended up buying Duncan's suit which was around £250 including the shoes.
We had a spreadsheet and kept an eye on what we were spending. There were things we ditched if we felt we were spending too much or others that we added in. Towards the end of the planning as we got nearer to the wedding the spreadsheet went out of the window a little to be honest.
What was it like to work with me?
Ben at Shot Differently was a real find. We met him at a wedding fair at a different venue and whilst Duncan scoffed all of the free canapes I had a good look through the sample albums and chatted.
Both myself and Duncan are not great at posed shots and I loved the fact that Ben got some great impromptu photos which is what I really wanted for the wedding. Ben was approachable and shared the same sense of humour as me so I felt we would get along.
We actually 'interviewed' three photographers as we had no idea what we were doing and we wanted to be comfortable with this random person who would be part of our day. Ben put me at ease and was relaxed and easy to get along with so was our first choice. On the day he was brilliant. It was great to have him as part of the day and he just fitted in and got on with it. In the church there was no distraction of 'where is the photographer?' as he was really discreet and got some great shots. On the morning when I was getting ready he was a calming influence amongst the family flapping, which kept me calm and level headed. I felt that he really looked out for me in the day and made sure that we got the shots we wanted and that we were happy. I really hope he enjoyed spending the day with us as much as we enjoyed having him there as he was a very important part of our day.
How would you describe my style of photography?
I love Ben's style of the captured image. A fleeting look between me and Duncan, comical moments, families and friends playing around were all beautifully captured to make a great memory of our day. As the images were very spontaneous we got some amazing photos of every aspect of the day. I was worried that photos would look staged as I really cringe when I see photos of me trying to pose but I just love the photos as they have captured how happy and relaxed I was. They are probably the first photographs I truly like of myself and I can't stop looking at them.
Credit where Credit’s Due.
Accessories - Our gifts to one another, a necklace for me and a tie pin for Duncan, were both bought through Etsy which has some great bespoke and original items. Neither of us knew we were using Etsy, it was more of a statement of how much Duncan knows me and knows how I like something different and original.
Shoes - Joe Browns for me: really beautiful shoes that look very much like Irregular Choice but at half the price. They were whipped off pretty quickly to be replaced by bright yellow Converse! Duncan's chestnut brogues were bought with his suit from Albie and Lonnie’s.
Flowers - The Flower Pot in East Carlton
Venue - The Oat Hill, Market Harborough
Rings - M&M Jewellers, Rugby - a brilliant family fun shop who embraced my requirements and went above and beyond to create what I wanted at a brilliant price.
Wedding clothing - Dress from Wedding Belles Boutique, Kibworth. Suit - Albie and Lonnie’s, Rugby. Bridesmaid dresses bought online at Little Wings Factory - very good quality dresses at a very reasonable price.
Catering - done by venue
Cake - Hazel at Fabtastic Cakes, Fleckney. We had her cupcakes for dessert and they were amazing as was the Harry Potter cutting cake. She was brilliant as I am gluten and dairy free so she went all out to make sure I got a cake I loved and could eat!
Stationary - all homemade by us!
Entertainment - Tara Simms, guitar/vocalist
Transport - a beautiful car supplied by my chief Bridesman's dad!
Anyone else that deserves a shout-out - VM Bespoke for name places, they do all sorts of quirky bits for weddings.
Your occupations- Katy: Nursery Manager, Duncan: Service delivery manager
How did you research and source suppliers for your wedding?
Some were word of mouth and recommendations. Photographer was through a wedding fayre. Others we picked up at wedding faryres, are local or found online.