Your Real Weddings – Liz & Ian
Liz & Ian
Happily married since 17th August 2017
The Love Story
How did you two meet?
We met online on POF (plenty of fish). Liz messaged Ian first after seeing his profile.
Liz – How did you know Ian was the one for you?
I think after you’ve been through previous relationships and with age you start to realise what you are looking for in a partner. Ian was everything I was looking for and more- kind, handsome, tall, dark, hardworking, courteous, funny and a true gentlemen, someone who I was proud to take home to meet the parents.
Ian- How did you know Liz was the one for you?
I knew that I’d found someone who really cares and would do anything for me, which I think is important in a relationship- that someone acts selflessly rather than selfishly! When you know, you know!
Liz – How did Ian propose to you?
It was a complete surprise! It was our first Christmas together and we were so excited to be waking up in our first home together. It was Christmas morning 2015, we had Christmas music on in the background, fairy lights twinkling and a glass of bucks fizz (traditionally how I started every Christmas morning at home with my family) opening our presents and having a laugh. All the presents had been opened or so I thought…. until Ian said that he had one more for me. Intrigued and unsure I did what he asked and closed my eyes. I heard him approach where I was sitting. He told me to open my eyes and I was greeted with him down on one knee with a beautiful engagement ring being held out to me. Without doubt the best Christmas present ever! And what made it more special was that no-one knew about the proposal so it was a lovely gift for everyone!
Ian – Why did you decide to propose this way?
Christmas has always been my favourite time of year and I had been planning the proposal for a couple of months. It was our first Christmas in our home and it just felt right.
How long were you engaged for before you tied the knot?
Were there any family traditions that you wanted to incorporate into your wedding?
Not really. We wanted to create our own traditions. We knew we didn’t want a religious wedding but I did want it to be personal and special for us. I knew I wanted my Dad to walk me down the aisle and for it to be relatively traditional.
Did you have any help when you were planning your day? Did anyone try and take over, if so how did you handle that?
We did most of the planning and preparation ourselves. My mom and sister were a great help with making things and running errands. No-one took over, we are very lucky to have such supportive family and friends.
How did you decide on a venue?
We had a list of strict criteria, so we wrote down exactly what we wanted which included: somewhere to get married and have the reception in one place, accommodation, local to us but also with good motorway links for our family member’s that had to travel (from Devon, Weston, Leicester, Malvern etc), somewhere with adequate seating for our elderly and disabled relatives, somewhere without lots of steps and most importantly, somewhere with exclusive use! We wrote down about 6 venues in our local area and looked at their websites, crossing off places that didn’t fit our criteria and eventually whittled it down to two. We visited Grafton Manor when they were in the middle of building work and still totally fell in love with the place so knew it would be the perfect venue for us, ticking off every single box with the addition of its own chapel to hold our ceremony in.
How did you decide on the wedding style?
We wanted traditional yet classy and modern. It took us a while to decide on a colour theme but in the end we decided jointly on different shades of purple.
How did you keep track of your budget?
We knew how much we were able to save in the time we had and stuck to it.
Did you find it difficult to stay in budget?
Sometimes, particularly when we wanted to do other things- holidays, meals out, day trips but we knew it would be worth it in the end!
If you have one tip to give to couples planning their wedding budget what would it be?
Don’t over spend on entertainment i.e. bands, sweet cart, photo booths. People are interested in seeing the happy couple, drinking and catching up with friends and don’t spend time on the ‘gimmicky’ stuff. The entertainment is for the guests to have a good time!
Were there any hidden costs you hadn’t initially planned that cropped up?
The registry office costs and giving notice of marriage were unexpected and initially more than we realised to begin with but it need to be factored in as its the legally binding marriage contract!
How did you know your dress was the one for you?
In all honesty I really didn’t enjoy dress shopping in the beginning. Being a curvy and ‘larger’ lady I was restricted anyway with where I could get my dress from. The first few shops I visited I was given a choice of about 5 dresses and made to feel inadequate due to my size. It was really demoralising and not an enjoyable experience. I did find a Bridal shop that did stock a range of plus size bridal gowns and when I went into the shop I immediately felt comfortable- the staff were so friendly and welcoming and were real women themselves who understood that people are different shapes and sizes! It was so refreshing! After trying on a couple of dresses I felt like I was spoilt for choice so I left the shop with a difficult decision to make. Having decided to go back and try on my favourite dress, the shop assistant threw a curve ball and showed me a dress, still in its packaging that they had had delivered that morning! When I saw it out if the bag I was unsure but put it anyway, as I couldn’t see myself in the changing room properly I still didn’t really know what it looked like. When the curtain opened and I saw my mom and sisters reaction I knew it was the one for me. I truly felt special and like a princess, I couldn’t stop swishing! It was simply stunning and I felt like a million dollars.
How many dresses did you try on?
About 10-15 in a variety of different shops!
Did you decide on a ‘traditional’ wedding dress style? If not, why did you choose this?
Originally I fancied lace with long sleeves but after trying one on it didn’t suit me. I ended up with a dress that was strapless and had no lace! Lots of people had told me that the dress you think you want isn’t the dress you’ll have!
What’s your top tip for a bride trying to find the perfect dress?
Keep an open mind and take advice from the shop staff. Find a bridal shop that suits you, that feels right and has what you want. Its a big decision and a lot of money to be unhappy!
Did you decide on a ‘traditional’ suit style? If not, why did you choose this?
Yes it was a traditional 3 piece top hat and tails suit with a cane. It was important to have a waistcoat as I wanted a place to wear my grandad’s pocket watch
What’s your top tip for a groom trying to find the perfect suit?
Know what you want, do some research and stick to your guns.
The Big Day
What was the most stressful part of planning your wedding?
Ensuring that everything would run smoothly and that I hadn’t forgotten anything. Also worrying that people would enjoy themselves and have a good time!
Were you nervous on the day? How did you overcome this?
No I wasn’t nervous, I was so excited and had butterflies of anticipation! I enjoyed a leisurely morning with close family- listening to a cheesy playlist and drinking a couple of glasses or prosecco! It was the perfect morning.
What was the best part of the day for each of you?
Liz – Walking down the aisle with my proud father to be greeting by my handsome groom and seeing all my close family and friends altogether in one place smiling and being happy.
Ian – The evening because I could let my hair down and feel relaxed as the attention was taken away.
Ian did you cry when you saw your bride walking down the aisle?
I had to hold back tears, yes.
Is there anything that you wish you had known when you were planning your wedding?
That we didn’t need to spend a lot of money to have a perfect day. The small personal touches were special enough without spending a fortune.
Do you have any tips on life after the wedding? Has it been difficult to adjust back to ‘normal’ life, where you don’t need to spend all your time planning?
Enjoy spending time together after the stress and the pressure has been lifted and enjoy your life as man and wife. Have a wedding de brief but don’t dwell on the… what if or ….how about.
If you could go back and give yourself three pieces of advice what would they be?
- Trust the professionals- they do this as a job 365 days a year!
- Eat a decent breakfast!
- Take a mental image of special moments throughout the day- ones that wouldn’t have been captured by a photo
Looking back on the whole experience, is there anything that you wish you worried about less?
The weather- there is always a plan b in case of rain and photographs would be fun in the rain- as it happened we had an absolutely glorious day! Don’t worry about what other people think- they are there because they want to be and they love you and want to see you happy.
Dress – Christina Wu Love 29233 strapless organza wedding dress from www.tamsinsbridalboutique.co.uk
Accessories – from www.tamsinsbridalboutique.co.uk
Suits – www.dancersltd.co.uk
Venue – www.graftonmanorhotel.co.uk
Make Up & Hair – Amanda Young make up artist and hair by Lisa Sibley
Photographer – Lisa Bee Photography https://www.facebook.com/LisaBeePhotos/
Videographer – http://www.ourbigdayonfilm.com/