We love that this real bride had a fairy-tale engagement at Disneyland and an extra special cake topper to honour a beloved friend! A royal blue and white wedding for the bride’s favourite colour and the groom’s favourite team.
My husband Liam and I had been together for 5 years before we got engaged. Liam had always wanted to travel to Japan so we decided to use our savings and go! We went in September 2013 and stayed in a Disney Hotel which I was very happy about. On one of the days, we went to Disneyland Tokyo. I love the Disney Castle; there is something about it that makes me feel so happy and calm. I am a big fan of Cinderella so I was very excited when I walked into the room with the glass slipper in the castle. I went and sat on the chair and pretended to put the slipper on, I looked for Liam to see him kneeling next to me with a beautiful ring in a box and he said ‘Carly, will you marry me’.
It was such a shock; I was not expecting it at all. Of course, I said yes and then the next thing we knew we had flashing lights in our eyes due to the Japanese public taking photos of us topped with a massive applause. We felt like celebrities! It really was the perfect engagement. I never liked the idea of a long engagement so got started on plans as soon as we arrived back home. We got engaged September 2013 and got married on September 2014.
We always said we wanted our guests to have fun at our wedding and not be bored. To do this we hired a magician to entertain the guests during the professional photos, we had a slide show of our life together so far, and we made goody boxes for the kids with colouring activities, little games, sweets and loom bands (which were very popular at the time).
We also felt as though the first dance can be boring for the guests and no one really looks forward to it so we started our dance slow then the music changed and we did a dance routine to silly music! No one expected it and it was so much fun! It was the first time I did the dance in my dress so I was trying so hard not to trip over. It was great fun and great entertainment for our family and friends.
The colour scheme for the wedding was royal blue and white and that was because I love royal blue. Liam pointed out it was also the colour of his supported football team Chelsea, which was a nice touch for him. We had a big wedding inviting many family and friends.
If I had to describe my wedding day in three words it would be The Perfect Day. From the moment I got up, I honestly did not stop smiling. I am even smiling on photos I didn’t even know was being taken and that is because I really was truly happy.
THE VENUE & CEREMONY
We decided to get married at The Westmead Hotel as this venue ticked all the boxes. It was close to home so easy for our guests to travel there, great reasonable wedding package price and we had the hotel to ourselves on the day. It was lovely walking around whether it was going outside for fresh air, the bar or the dance floor and knowing every face. I stayed at the hotel the night before with my bridesmaids and had my hairdresser come to the room on the day. This kept us in our wedding budget as we didn’t need wedding cars as I was already there plus British weather could do whatever it liked because my hair would not get frizzy as I could stay indoors! We had the ceremony and reception at the hotel. This meant that the moment guests arrived they could relax and start drinking as they knew they didn’t have to drive to another place.
I purchased my wedding dress from R&Z Dress World for £500. I was with my mom and it was the third wedding dress I tried on. I just knew it was the one. My mom’s face confirmed it too and she said that it looked like it had been painted on my body because it was perfect for me. I loved it! There was no doubt, if you have to question if it’s the one then it isn’t. It is strange because I did not want a strapless dress and that is what I ended up buying. It just felt right and it was different to the other dresses. For the first time in my life, I felt pretty. I had to get it.
GROOM AND HIS MEN
My husband Liam purchased his suit from Debenhams for £80. It was a simple grey suit with a black lining. The rest of the groomsmen’s suits were bought from BHS for £30. We then bought silver waistcoats for £9 each and cravats to make the outfit look fit for a wedding. I was involved in the groomsmen’s suits but not the grooms.
I had my two sisters as my bridesmaids and I let them decide on the style of the dress, all I asked for was that it was royal blue. They decided to go for a short blue dress with one strap. It was so much better on the night as they were able to dance freely without tripping over. Also, the short dress enabled you to see their lovely shoes.
HAIR & MAKEUP
I had a hair trial at a hairdresser salon my friend recommended called Total Image in Bromsgrove. I took my sister and mom too. There was no way I was going to attempt to do my hair on my wedding day. I was so happy with my hair and very glad I had a professional do it. However, we did decide to do our own makeup. A couple of weeks before the wedding I went to The Body Shop with my sisters. They gave us a makeup tutorial in the shop and helped us choose all the right shades and products. It was a much cheaper option than getting someone to do it on the day and I was happy with it.
I had faux flowers for my bouquet, bridesmaid flowers, centrepieces and the button holes for the men. For bridal bouquet, three bunch of flowers, central piece, mother of the bride flowers and 6 button holes it cost £110. Not only did I save money but it also meant I could have blue flowers to match my theme and I didn’t have to worry about the delivery on the day of the flowers or worry about them getting damaged. It also means you get to keep them after the wedding.
We decided to have a buffet for our wedding with the good old favourites – sandwiches, sausage rolls, cheese and pineapple etc. I liked the idea of people being able to eat freely and choose their quantity. As the night went on and the drinks triggered the munchies we then had sausage and bacon baps brought out for the guests to eat.
I loved my wedding cake that a family friend made for us. It was a three-tier wedding cake with white icing and royal blue ribbon around it. Two layers were chocolate and another layer was jam. The cake topper was two Bearded Collie dogs in a groom hat and veil. I had a dog called Molly and she meant so much to me. We had to have her put down the month before we got married due to ill-health so this was my way of making her part of my special day.
I didn’t bother with save the dates as we were having a short engagement we sent wedding invitations out as soon as the venue was organised. I was so happy with my wedding invitations. They were silver and white with a blue ribbon. I had so many compliments and people asking me where I bought them. I actually ordered them from a shop on Etsy in New Zealand and was worried they would get lost but they didn’t.
As I mentioned earlier we had a magician, Mark Lavelle, at the wedding that did close up magic mainly during the professional photos. It was nice knowing that guests weren’t getting bored waiting around for the next part of the day. Then we had a DJ for the evening and our first dance to entertain.
The year before I got engaged I was in my sister’s garden talking to my cousin who is really good at photography. He was talking about going into photography professionally and I suggested that if I was ever to get married I would let him be my wedding photographer to help him practice and get some work. We hand shook on it and he kept his word. I am so pleased I had my cousin as my wedding photographer because he started taking photos at 9am in the morning. He was able to capture moments that another photographer would not have had the opportunity to. He was there when I was having my makeup done, messing around practising my walk down the aisle with my bridesmaids and he knew me on a personal level as we grew up together so the photos had that special touch to them. I really love my wedding album.
We also decided to get a videographer as we knew we really wanted to be able to look back on our wedding video for years to come! We used Brian Wheatley.
The thing that made my wedding day so memorable was that I was not stressed, not once! Anyone that knows me knows that I stress very easily and the tiniest thing can set me off. I had many comments leading up to the wedding with people saying how unbearable I was going to be so it was a right shock to everyone when they saw how happy and stress-free I was all day including the build-up in the morning. It has still remained the only day in my adult life I have not felt stressed and to me that highlights The Perfect Day.
BRIDE TO BRIDE
- The advice I would give to another bride would be to honestly enjoy the day because it really does fly by.
- I have always been up and down with my weight but I lost the weight I wanted to for my wedding and it really was worth it. Looking back at my wedding photos I am so proud of what I achieved. So if you are like me and feel as though you would like to be a different shape for your wedding day I would recommend you to go for it! Even if you end up piling on the weight again on your honeymoon it is still worth losing because it is so nice looking back on the photos with happiness about yourself.
- Even though they are expensive I would say try to get a videographer. Photos are wonderful but in my opinion, you can’t beat a wedding video. I lost my Nan after my wedding so it is lovely to have footage of her. It’s nice to see children running around that will soon be adults themselves. It is also a laugh watching our wedding dance again too.
Venue & Ceremony: The Westmead Hotel
Wedding Dress: R&Z Dress World ♥ Accessories: eBay ♥ Hair: Total Image
Groom: Debenhams ♥ Groomsmen: BHS ♥
♥ Stationery: Etsy ♥ Entertainment: Mark Lavelle Magician
Videographer: Brian Wheatley
Photography: Jordan Roberts