The Bride & Groom
Marie Leahy & Paul Davies, 18th October 2008, Mountains Country House, Hildenborough, Kent
Paul proposed on the beach of our hotel in Antigua. It was the last night of our holiday in March 2008
Planning the day
We booked the Church & venue in April 2008 and the catering was decided in August. Flowers, wine suppliers & the band were also booked around July/August time.
Some initial suppliers we spoke to (at wedding fairs) tried to panic us into booking things saying that time was running out. Any supplier that used that sort of pressure as a sales tactic we decided not to go with !! Shirley at Mountains gave us so much help with the list of suppliers that we decided to go with a lot of the people she had worked with already.
The hen and stag nights
For the hen, I went to Valencia in Spain with 8 friends for the weekend. We had a brilliant time! Lots of champagne, tapas, shopping, sangria, sunbathing on the beach and lots & lots of laughter (and we managed to escape from lots of crazy Spanish men on a couple of occasions!) My hens were very good to me so I had no mean tricks played on me or L plates thank God !
Paul was supposed to go to Berlin for his stag weekend....until European air traffic control decided to strike so all the flights were cancelled out of Gatwick. Secretly Paul was relieved they didn’t make it through to the departure gates as he was told he was going to be dressed up as Boris Becker !!!!
Unable to move from British soil, Paul & his stags headed back to Brighton where they made him eat/drink all the things he hates: eg trifle, cheese & gin & tonics ! On the Saturday evening his stags took him to London dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Amazing that he made it back in one piece! He even had Toto in the basket and wore red heels with white tights - nice !!!
We chose Mountains because of the beautiful building and grounds. The surroundings were perfect and the fact that there was a marquee there made it even more special.
I had always dreamt of a wedding in a marquee and we had the perfect weather for it. We also chose it because Shirley & her team were so professional and took charge of every small detail.
I felt surprisingly relaxed in the morning and euphoric when I arrived at Church. Words cannot describe the excitement and adrenaline rush. I had totally underestimated the height of my feelings that day.
The weather was beautiful too. Not a cloud in sight. Stunning weather, crisp, sunny & blue skies. Everything went so perfectly that day. If there was a problem I didn’t know about it. Shirley & Helen at Mountains did an amazing job. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
My dress was a beautiful oyster coloured halterneck beaded gown with a mermaid style tail, buttoned all the way down the back. It was a vintage style dress by Justin Alexander, very fitted and very glamorous ! The boutique where I bought the dress in Brighton made me a gorgeous organza bolero with scalloped edges, so pretty and delicate, it covered my shoulders in the church and was the perfect finishing touch to my bridal gown.
My shoes were silver satin heels from LK Bennett. For the bridesmaids I chose beautiful pale pink silk dresses. The smaller bridesmaids’ dresses were pale pink crushed silk with netting under the skirts and they had pale pink bolero cardigans to cover their shoulders. My sister Siobhan wore a pale pink and oyster silk dress which tied the whole colour scheme together perfectly.
Paul chose the car – a black convertible VW Beetle – very cool. We saw it at the Mountains wedding fair and just thought it was so cool, youthful and fun!
Even though it was October, we drove with the roof down as it was such a sunny day
The flowers and table decorations
I chose sweet avalanche roses (a beautiful pale pink, very antique looking) for my bouquet and for the bridesmaids posies. The bouquets were tightly tied pink roses, just gorgeous. The groom had a pink rose and the wedding party/ushers had white roses.
We had the most fantastic flower displays in giant martini glasses ! They really looked amazing. A glorious display of white & pink gerberas, white & pink roses and ivy. The top table had ivy draped all the way down the front of it. The table displays added height, impact andfloral grandeur to the marquee
The cake was a delicious castle of chocolate ! White chocolate tiers, with rolled white chocolate swirls on the icing and dark chocolate sponge on the inside – absolutely gorgeous ! We decided to break with tradition and opt to actually have our guests eat the wedding cake ! We served it for dessert and everyone said it was lovely.
The first dance
We chose an Elvis number ‘Marie’s The Name’ as Elvis is the King and my name was in the title ! We definitely did not have any dance lessons, it was ad libbing central!
We had a Spanish guitarist for the reception drinks, he played some classic flamenco and bossa nova, very nice as background entertainment. Our band ‘Hussy’ were brilliant!
They did some classic indie covers, The dance floor was constantly packed so I can recommend them very highly!
The memorable moments
There were so many memorable moments it’s really hard to narrow it down but I will definitely never forget the feeling of arriving at the church, seeing the priest and all my friends, family and most of all seeing Paul and thinking – Oh my God this is really happening to me !!!!!! I am actually getting married. I felt so excited.
There was so much excitement too getting ready that day, the bridesmaids arriving, putting on the dress, the flowers arriving, seeing my brother who was giving me away, who looked so smart. I felt very proud. There was definitely a special moment when we were exchanging vows, a huge burst of sunlight came through the windows. I thought it was a sign from my dad who passed away in 2000. I knew he was there in spirit.
There were lots of funny moments too, Molly & Alice (our young nieces, who were bridesmaid) fighting over who got the biggest bouquet! The speeches obviously were very funny and so were some of the dance moves towards the end!!
We went to California for the first week and did the famous Highway 1 coastal road drive. We hired a convertible and drove from San Francisco down to LA, stopping along the way at Monterrey, Carmel, Big Sur and Santa Barbara. The scenery was stunning. The 2nd week we spent in Tulum in Mexico at a beautiful and very exclusive resort ‘Escencia’- the epitome of luxury.
Don’t let suppliers panic you into agreeing or buying something you are not sure about. There is plenty of choice out there and ALWAYS negotiate with the suppliers. Make sure you take some time out on the day with your new husband, even 10 minutes alone just to soak up the atmosphere and to enjoy a moment of calm together.
Venue – Mountains Country House, Hildenborough, Kent www.mountainsevents.co.uk
Brides dress – Leonie Claire Bridal Boutique, Brighton www.leonieclaire.com
Grooms suit – Moss Bros Brighton, www.mossbros.co.uk
Photography – Helen England Photography www.helenenglandphotography.co.uk
Flowers – Helen Tinworth (table displays) firstname.lastname@example.org
Caroline Grimble (bouquets & button holes) – www.carolinegrimbleflowers.co.uk
Entertainment – Hussy (Indie band) – www.hussyband.com
Bob Hooper (Spanish Guitarist) – www.wedding-music.biz