Happily married since 5th August 2017
The Love Story
How did you two meet?
We worked in a local shop together during the summer holidays. Ben went off to University in Plymouth and I went to University in Kent the year after, so we didn’t get together right away. We both returned to work in the shop to make some much needed drinking fund money and after a night out clubbing decided to give it a go on 4th July 2009.
Chelsey, how did you know Ben was the one for you?
We spent a lot of time apart at different ends of the country and at first we weren’t sure if it would work, but I missed him so much that our time together was so exciting and special and we just fell in love. After University we just carried on and while it’s not always plain sailing, it’s been such an amazing rollercoaster and there is nobody I’d rather spend my life with.
Ben, how did you know Chelsey was the one for you?
We had been seeing each other for a few months and I had been travelling between Plymouth and Essex to see her. We would steal any moments we could to hang out more and it just happened. One day I accidentally blurted out ‘I love you’ and although visibly shocked, she did say it back! I knew she was the one because if I was down, she’d be there to pick me up and I have never felt the way I do about anyone else.
Chelsey, how did Ben propose to you?
Little did I know he’d been secretly planning a trip to Santorini with help from my best friends! We stayed in a hotel and they helped Ben get me ready on time to head to a little place called Dana villas. We had to walk down the mountain and I had to take my shoes off, which I was moaning about the whole way down! Then we stopped at a tiny metal gate in the rock and a man waving at us. I looked at Ben and said ‘where the hell have you taken us?’ and he told me to trust him and took my hand. We had a private three course dinner and then he took me to the side while the sun was setting and got down on one knee!
Ben, why did you decide to propose this way?
I thought it was such a special place and I wanted the proposal to be the most amazing experience for Chelsey.
Were there any family traditions that you wanted to incorporate into your wedding?
Chelsey’s family are Irish so we wanted a big Irish church wedding with lots of guests and partying.
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 had to curb a few unhelpful people trying to take over, we just had to talk it through together and work out how best to handle them. Other than that we had a lot of welcomed support, especially from our Maid of Honour! The planning was all going ahead overseas so we had a lot of support from family in Ireland.
How did you decide on a venue?
One day we were in Ireland visiting family in 2015 and we were staying in a hotel that did weddings, for some reason we just thought we’d have a look and it was the first time we had even thought about booking our wedding! We just decided to keep looking from then on and found the beautiful Amber Springs Hotel in Gorey near Chelsey’s grandparent’s house. Ben actually picked the venue, after we walked in to the incredible ballroom, it just felt right.
How did you decide on the wedding style?
We went to the Heart Essex Wedding Show and saw a lot of different styles. We really liked birdcages and Chelsey wanted very neutral colours to match her style and the venue, so it all started from there.
How did you keep track of your budget?
We had a spreadsheet (Ben loves a spreadsheet!)
Did you find it difficult to stay in budget?
Yes!! It’s so, so hard when you just see so many things you like, and everything costs so much more than you think it will.
If you have one tip to give to couples planning their wedding budget what would it be?
Remember it is only one day! While you will feel happier than you have ever felt on that day, it won’t be the small things like the decorations or favours that make you feel that way. It will be the wonderful person you are marrying and the family and friends around you that makes your day perfect. Think about that every time you want to make an impulse buy and you might save some money.
Were there any hidden costs you hadn’t initially planned that cropped up?
We got married in Ireland and so we had to register our marriage 6 months before the wedding, just like in the UK. However, their system is different and you have to attend meetings on several occasions with the Registrar to get permission to marry. We had to make three extra trips just to get the ‘ok’ to get married. Also we had to get special stamps on our birth certificates to prove they were legitimate before we got married, all couples marrying outside of the UK need to do this, so check before you book!
How did you know your dress was the one for you?
I hadn’t planned on going dress shopping, but saw Serena Bridal of Wickford at the Heart Essex Wedding Show and they booked an appointment for me, over a year before our wedding, so I thought there was no way we would find one! Me and my Mam went there and I tried on my dress and everything went quiet. The consultant and me both had goosebumps, I felt so overwhelmed and Mam just said ‘it’s the one!’ It’s so true when they say ‘you just know!’
How many dresses did you try on?
About 20 I think.
Did you decide on a ‘traditional’ wedding dress style?
Yes, I knew that I wanted something really traditional to match the wedding. I’d been dreaming of my wedding dress since I could remember and my dress just fitted the bill.
What’s your top tip for a bride trying to find the perfect dress?
Try on everything! You may have a style in mind, but you might not like it when it’s on! Give the dresses a chance that don’t have ‘hanger appeal’. Also, don’t judge it before you see it with a headpiece or veil and shoes – they look so different with them on!
Did you decide on a ‘traditional’ suit style?
Yes we had morning suits, again to match the style of the wedding. All the boys just wanted an excuse to wear one and especially a top hat!
What’s your top tip for a groom trying to find the perfect suit?
Get measured well and lose as much weight as possible!
The Big Day
What was the best part of the day for each of you?
Chelsey - The seating plan! It’s unbelievably stressful trying to work out where everyone should sit. I didn’t get nervous until I put my dress on and walked down the stairs to see my Dad. I was so overwhelmed and had to keep trying to hold back the tears! The whole thing was incredible, I did do a little dance when the Priest pronounced us husband and wife, so maybe that bit was the best part!
Ben - The week before the wedding, when we had to get everything over to Ireland and ready for the big day! I was nervous from the moment I woke up until after my speech!
Ben, did you cry when you saw your bride walking down the aisle?
welled up! She looked stunning!
Is there anyone that made your day extra special? A really helpful bridesmaid, or any funny moments that you weren’t expecting.
Absolutely! Our Maid of Honour Bianca went above and beyond, she was an absolute diamond, as were our parents, Chelsey’s brother and the whole family in Ireland. We didn’t think we’d have any trouble in church but nearly everything went wrong!
Two Groomsmen went missing in the morning, the Best Man got lost while taking the priest to the church, the Priest’s shoes fell apart and everyone was late. Then a candle nearly caught Chelsey’s Mam’s dress alight and nobody knew the first hymn! Chelsey’s brother’s band (River Becomes Ocean) were in charge of the music and after the wedding Chelsey’s brother told us that the wedding march had nearly run out by the time she’d got to the top of the aisle, so he was relieved she had walked so quickly!
Is there anything that you wish you had known when you were planning your wedding?
The wedding isn’t about the wedding day it’s about the marriage. Chelsey’s Grandad passed away a few months before the wedding and we nearly cancelled the whole thing. We realised that all we wanted to do was get married with our loved ones near. We wouldn’t change the wedding for the world, but we are glad we realised that during the process.
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?
It’s such a come down after the wedding! We spent all our evenings planning and saving for over a year. I was so weird not being busy! Just be as happy everyday as you were on your wedding day and you’ll have a fabulous life together.
If you could go back and give yourself three pieces of advice what would they be?
Don’t worry as much about the small details, things will go wrong but you won’t care at all and take absolutely everything in and savour every second, it goes so fast!
Looking back on the whole experience, is there anything that you wish you worried about less?
Everything! Generally it’s a new experience and you worry about everything going right, but the day wouldn’t be half as special if something didn’t go wrong. The wedding day is almost a reflection on your life together, there will be things that go amazingly and things that go slightly wrong! Also don’t worry about what anyone else thinks, you won’t know or care what they’re thinking on the day!