Until the stars fall...

Sooooooooo, I have been a member of this forum since 2009. Long time 'lurker' (although I hate that word it's probably true of me - I tend to absorb more than I participate) and then in 2012, the year of our wedding, I began writing more. 

The advice I received from many different brides and brides-to-be was amazing and it is with this support in mind that I write my own report. Just three months after our wonderful, perfect day! I literally could not have asked for any more. 

I will keep it as brief as possible and provide links to suppliers. It will be very picture heavy and won't have too much background info. I will also do it in logical (well to me anyway!) sections. I am also willing to answer any questions if anyone has any either on board or by PM. 

Hopefully, by writing this I can also relive the day a little. Enjoy! C


Bride and Groom: Carla and Mike

Wedding Date: 22 September 2012

Venue: Warwick Castle (Warwickshire)

Length of Engagement: 3 and a half years!

Together Since: March 2006

Theme: Vintage Fairytale (but we used this very loosely to tie things together as I have always felt the 'getting married' part is the main theme!) 

Colour Scheme: Neutrals including various shades of brown (mostly chocolate), ivory and gold

Here are a couple of photos of us to get started! All pictures of the day itself taken by Steve Gerrard Photography (http://stevegerrardphotography.com/)





  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700

    How we met:

    Boy sees girl across a crowded room, eyes lock, sparks fly, blah blah! Actually, we are a proper 21st century couple and met on the internet! After several months of sifting through weirdos we met each other...and had the worst first date ever! M actually says it was his second worst ever (after the one where the girl tried to score drugs!). We decided to be friends and saw each other as mates for about three months. Then, quite out of the blue after chatting one lunchtime the sparks did fly and the rest as they say is history! 

    This is a bad picture of me...I have lost 8 stone since then but that's another story for another time and in the interest of the whole story here we are after we'd just got together! I cannot believe how young we look! 



  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700

    The proposal:

    So I had a long list of when 'not to prose'. No special occasions (birthdays, Christmasses  etc.) and not in public! In the end it was absolutely perfect. We went to the Chateau Impney for our anniversary (but not the exact day so it wasn't already a special occasion image) and he took me out on to the balcony of the suite room he'd upgraded us to, got down on one knee and popped the question. I may have cried a little and said yes immediately! He had bought me a charm for my Thomas Sabo bracelet (a gift from him for our 1st Christmas together) so we chose the actual ring together (bottom pic)  







  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700

    Engagement Shoot:

    This is out of sync as we actually had this done about 6 weeks before our wedding and 3 years after our engagement but here seems a better place to put it. 

    If your photographer offers you an e-shoot/love shoot/get to know you shoot then definitely do it. I had reservations, mostly about how much I hate photos of myself but we had pretty much the most fun day we'd had together in weeks! We went to Brighton which has some wonderful memories for us. It was a wonderful break from all the wedding planning and we laughed and loved for the whole day and have some wonderful photos. I have uploaded a couple (the bottom one is my favourite!), there are some others on Steve's blog here-





  • Ooo a local bride I can't wait to hear more x
  • Tilly17Tilly17 Posts: 99

    Gorgeous photos, love the first one of you both in the woods! x

  • Thirdthing2Thirdthing2 Posts: 1,288

    Lovely pictures - looking forward to seeing more - I was a regular visitor to the castle whn I was a student and later with my Dad and my children for family outings! x

  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700

    LouLa-Belle, where abouts are you? We grew up in Birmingham!

    Tilly17 - Thanks. It is one of our favourites although my mind changes everytime I look at them! 

    Thirdthing2 - We love the castle and also went lots as children. I was also keen to pick somewhere we could just pop and visit! 

    In fact I'll do picking the venue next...

  • Yay! Gorgeous photos! Well be watching this is relatively local to me image
  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700

    The Venue:

    We looked at a couple of venues online and got brochures for about 10 but there was one stand out for me, Warwick Castle (http://www.warwick-castle.com/). By chance they were having an open weekend a couple of weeks after I enquired so we went to meet the wedding co-ordinator there!

    We were blown away. It ticked lots of our boxes, including a late ceremony (5pm start), definitive end time, variety, ability to visit again in the future, excellent menu choices and somewhere that was visually striking. 

    We booked it over two and a half years in advance and just randomly picked a date. We knew we wanted Sept...and then I looked at 5 years worth of weekend weather/sunset times and chose the 22nd (loser!)



  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700

    Whatgraciedid - where are you based? I think I chatted to you on one of the West Midlands boards when you were just starting to plan! 

  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700

    Invitations and Stationery:

    This was one of my favourite parts of the whole process. I love beautiful stationery. I think it sets the tone for the whole day so even though we were only having 60 guests we really did splurge on this area! No regrets! 

    I knew I wanted laser-cut and we had agreed by this point to go for neutral colours (mixture of browns, ivory and gold) so I googled a few different companies and found The Hummingbird Card Company http://www.hummingbirdcards.co.uk/. I worked on bespoke design with the endlessly talented Sally-Ann (although I will put my initial sketch below and see just how little I had to do with it! 

    There is the full story on their blog here http://www.hummingbirdcards.co.uk/blog/page/8/ 

    But basically we wanted a vontage looking fairytale theme and we wanted us on the card (Except I gave myself much more luxurious locks than I have in real life!).

    The main personalisations were 

    - the castle is Warwick taken from a photo not just a castle silhouette

    - the tree has our initials carved into it

    - the owl is a nod to Mike's footy team! It saved me having to put the maids in blue anyway! image We still giggle how on my sketch it's bigger than the castle! 

    My rough sketch


    The final design






  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700

    We also did RSVP cards which I spent ages working on the wording for!

    This was the front...

    Accept - We/I will be there... 

     ___ Only if there's cake! 
     ___ it's been in the diary since 2009 and it's about time! 
     ___ I wouldn't miss it for the world! 
    ___ PARTY...PARTY...PARTY! 
     ___ 'Cause life is the best fairy tale of all! 

    Decline - We/I will NOT be there... 

     ___ Kisses in public are overrated...even at a wedding! 
    ___ Allergic to love! 
    ___ I don't do weddings! 
    ___ having pumpkin and mouse problems! 
    ___ but will be thinking of you and wishing on a star on the day!

    Then on the back we had a picture of a cow/carrot for meal preferences and a space for favourite songs! 

    We got so much feedback about the invitations, especially the RSVPs and someone even used it to tell me they had actual mouse problems in their kitchen! Nice! 

  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700

    We also had OOS printed and place cards (although we used these for seat reservations in the end)

    Happy to share our wording if people want it but 8 pages seems bit unnecessary for here! 


    We also had a wood design cut for our cake table and it has proud of place in our house! 




  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700

    Finally Hummingbird also did all our signage for the wish tree, menus and the table names for our trees (more information about the decorations to follow but here's a sneak peek!) 




     Hummingbird were without question one of the best suppliers we worked with. They were incredible and they are super talented. I cannot recommend them enough. 


  • I'm over in Worcester, but grew up in Birmingham image Absolutely love the invitations, they are gorgeous!!!!
  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700

    My nan lives near Worcester and we go quite regularly! I went to school in Hagley and had friends their too! Small world1 Thanks for the compliments on the invitations! I loved them too. They were even more beautiful than I expected - when they arrived I teared up a little! 

  • Steph2913Steph2913 Posts: 352

    Sadsack, you're right about the stationery setting the tone; and yours is gorgeous!!  Beautifully personal and very professional and classy.  Love the fairytale theme. 

    RSVP wording is brilliant!

    Can't wait to read more x

  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700


    This was one of the first decisions we made once we had a date a venue and booked nearly 2 and a half years in advance! 

    I stared off with a list of 30 and narrowed it down to two that I was going to meet face to face to see if we got on and look at more of their work. In the end I only met Steve as the other man (who shall remain nameless but is a well known wedding photographer) was not very friendly on the phone and to be honest during the planning process you make quick decisions if you get a negative reaction! 

    As part of the package with Steve you get a second shooter that you find out nearer the time. Ours was Paul Clapperton http://pauljosephphotography.co.uk/ 

    Both of them worked incredibly hard on the day. We love our photos. We have had so many compliments about them. They have made us look far better than we do in real life! I look at some of them and don't even recognise myself! image

    My advice about photography would be choose the best you can afford - we would have sacrificed almost anything to get photos we loved! Oh and meet the photographer. Also look at a full wedding - It is easy to get a couple of lucky shots! 


     This was at the end of the night so we both look a little dishellved! 

    We decided not to get a videographer as I felt we'd never watch it. I had no regrets at all. Apart from the gap between the wedding and receiving our pro-photos when it would have been lovely to relive the day! The photos are enough for me and that is thanks to both Steve and Paul (on the day). 

  • I'm not surprised! They look amazing and we'd have similar if the budget allowed - Cant wait to see the rest image
  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700

    Steph2913 - Thank you. Hopefully, the rest will be interesting too! 

    Whatgraciedid - Thanks. It is so lovely to be able to be seeing it all again! 

  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700

    The Dress - my weight loss journey:

    So this was the bit I was most scared by! As I mentioned earlier I lost 8 stone. This was me then in 2008 and the photo that made me change my eating habits and get to the gym...


     And this is me now looking thinner (!!!!) in my tri-suit!


     But becuase of losing such a lot of weight and spending all my childhood obese it has made me very unsure of how I look so I was very nervous about trying on dresses in what I considered shops where people were going to be judgemental and the dresses were all for models! 

    The truth/ actual experience couldn't have been more different! 



  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700

    The Dress (Again):

    So with two years till the big day I decided to bite the dress shopping bullet. I was so nervous about it despite living round the corner from my best friend and having the most supportive mom I decided to go by myself. I had a sleepless night the night before too and really got my knickers in a twist (literally!) trying to decide what to wear underwear wise (especially to cover my excess skin which is the bane of my life and makes me really self-concious!).

    I went to the designer Johanna Hehir's shop. I had seen her dresses in magazines and absolutely loved them so made an appointment. I really wanted British designed and made and wanted a designer dress but one which I wouldn't see lots of brides wearing and which would not age at all. My second favourite designer has very 'now' dresses which are absolutely gorgeous but I wasn't sure about looking back 25 years from now! 

    It happened to be a sample sale and the one I bought was the second one I tried on, Cassandra. It was reduced from £3,800 to £1,400 off the peg and I fell in love and bought it there and then! I didn't even get a second opinion from anyone. 

    I did try on a couple of other more 'Princess' gowns after I'd bought it as I did worry it was too 'boring' and it wasn't at all what I thought I'd go for (fishtail and tight fitted!) but it was perfect for me! 

    I then went back in 2012 to see if it needed alterations (it didn't), to reattach some of the lace (because it was sample) and to get the new bolero measured for and made. 

    I also bought the silk sash from the shop as I loved the colour. 

    I couldn't recommend the shop or the girls their highly enough. All their gowns are beautiful. http://www.johanna-hehir.com/ 



  • Thirdthing2Thirdthing2 Posts: 1,288

    Just one word - wow!

    Oh and another two words....... 'more please!'

  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700


     From the back









  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700

    Bless you Thirdthing2. That is one very kind word! 

    I was bit nervous about putting up a report incase no-one read it - or worse people did and hated everyting! image

    When is your special day? 

  • SP2013SP2013 Posts: 857

    Wow this is so lovely to read through, and what an amazing weight loss, well done, you look amazing in your dress! Can't wait to read more!

  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700

    My tiara:

    So I was adament from day one I didn't want to wear a veil. So I started looking early on for a tiara. The problem I encountered was they all looked the same. A little to diamante and blingy for my personal tastes and I was desperate for something gold with pearls but a little unusual. 

    I wrote to Flo and Percy and asked them if they would be willing to do a besoke one for me. Unfortunately at that time they weren't doing comissioned but I continued to look at the site. 

    The wedding got nearer and I still didn't have anything. Then, by chance Flo and Percy released their 'Black Label' range. This was a range of one off designs and I fell in love with the Gold Eclectic Headband. I ordered it that day. 


     It was beautiful in real life and so comfy. It also fit our colour scheme perfectly and was a little bit unusual - it even has kissing love birds on it and has a fairytale apple! It came beautifully presented (with the shilling!) and is one item I wouldn't sell! 

    I'll include some pictures of me wearing it when I do hair and make-up. 

  • Steph2913Steph2913 Posts: 352

    i love your....'I loved it so I bought it then and there' approach image

    and well done you on the weight loss.  You're obviously a very determined lady when you set your mind to something image

  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700

    Bouquet and Buttonholes:

    This was another area where I had a fixed idea of what I wanted. A bead bouquet and matching buttonholes. I have ALOT of respect for the girls that make their own but I lack the time and talent to even try! Mine was made by the wonderful Vintage Magpie http://www.vintagemagpie.co.uk/. I contacted her about 2 years in advance and commissioned her to make me a bespoke teardrop bouquet. It was absolutely stunning when it arrived. Another parcel I cried in work over! image

    I also had a locket that I attached to the stem with a photo of my grandad in as recommended from Etsy (Aristocrafty) by a fellow Sept bride on here. 

    It was a circle but similar to this -

     The bouquet (it was pretty heavy!)

    The buttonholes were all different but in similar colours.

     Here's my wonderful groom's.

    The bridesmaids had wrist corsages (again all different)






  • SadSack83SadSack83 Posts: 1,700

    SP2013 - Thank you. That's very kind of you to say. 

    Steph - Ha ha - determined is one word. Stubborn as a mule is another! I am coming up to my 5 years since I lost it date. I am proud not so much of the loss itself but keeping it off and getting fit. I ran the London marathon in 2011 and exercise regularly. I am a different person and while it's a journey and I still have to conciously work to keep it off I am settling into it slowly and also finally starting to see myself as a thinner person. It took my mind a long time to catch up with that. I still feel big even though my wedding dress was a 10. It's really strange but I am getting there! image

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