Your Real Wedding
Victoria and Don met through Don’s sister in the summer of 2008. They went on their first “proper date” after they bumped into each other on the tube platform at Kings Cross one Friday in November 2008. They went to the ‘Made in Brazil’ bar in Camden and stayed there until they were kicked out at 2am!
Don took Victoria to Stratford-upon-Avon in February 2011 for the weekend. They went for a walk and played Pooh Sticks on a bridge over the river, which Victoria kept losing. Don made up for it thought by getting down on one knee and proposing. He produced a small box containing the most beautiful platinum and diamond ring with heart-shaped rubies. It is a 1920’s ring which belonged to his maternal grandmother. She wore it for over 50 years and left it to Don in her will to give to his bride.
“It is a million times better than anything I could have chosen myself and I absolutely love it and feel very lucky."
Hen and Stag Parties
Victoria and her hens stayed in a youth hostel near Milton Keynes, went to Go Ape and generally played silly games and ate lots. Don went to a village near Bristol but that's all that’s been revealed! Victoria thinks Don’s stags might have dressed him up and done some shooting, but it's all top secret.
Victoria and Don wanted to keep things local and source as many items as possible on the Isle of Wight, and wanted everything to be personal to them and have a “slightly homemade and old-fashioned regatta feel”. They also wanted to include as many of Victoria’s friends and family in the ceremony.
The colour scheme was developed around the bridesmaids, who all wore Navy, which worked well as they were having a seaside wedding.
The Bride and Groom’s Outfits
Victoria wanted her wedding dress to be made on the Isle of Wight by Forget Me Not Designs in Ryde. Her dress was bespoke, “absolutely beautiful and exceptionally good value”. Victoria also wore a necklace and earrings which her great-grandfather had given to her great-grandmother on their wedding day over a hundred years ago.
“London brides take note - it is very, very easy to get to Ryde on the train from London (it takes just 2 hours), you will have a brilliant day out by the seaside and you can get a beautiful, bespoke dress for a fraction of the price of one in London.”
Don and his groomsmen all wore black tails and striped black and grey trousers. Don wore a blue waistcoat and his groomsmen all wore cream waistcoats.
Ivory roses, purple freesia, navy thistles, lavender and rosemary made up the bouquets which were made by Jojo at Blushing Blooms in Ryde. The buttonholes and corsages were an ivory rose with a sprig of lavender and rosemary, and Don had a combination of all of the flowers for his buttonhole. The bridesmaids also wore these flowers in their hair.
The church flowers were arranged by the Seaview church flower ladies, who also put together a couple of lovely arrangements for the reception in the Yacht Club.
For the table centrepieces Victoria’s father grew the most amazing spiky lilac dahlias on his allotment which her mother arranged into jam jars with navy ribbon tied around them.
“It was great to have something seasonal and grown locally, even at the end of October.”
The Ceremony and Reception
Victoria and Don married in St Peter’s Church, Seaview. Don’s vicar from his home town (Shillington in Bedfordshire) took the service, which made it very special for Don’s family.
Victoria’s friend from school, Neil, played the organ and he specially learned to play a Norwegian piece by Grieg (Wedding Day at Troldhaugen), which meant a huge amount to Victoria and her parents.
They had two Bible readings, and Victoria’s friend from school, Rachel, read the poem ‘When I am an old woman I shall wear purple’.
Victoria’s friend, Philippa, played the cello while they signed the register, and her cousin, James, wrote and gave the prayers.
The reception was held at the Sea View Yacht Club, a sailing club established in 1893 which overhangs the Solent. Sailing is a big part of Seaview village life, and the Club is in a beautiful location with a fantastic view over the Solent to Portsmouth and beyond.
Slainte Va, a local Isle of Wight ceilidh band, played and called the dances which everyone joined in with. Don's friend Shane, a professional DJ, finished the evening with a two-hour set.
110 people attended the ceremony and reception.
The Wedding Cake
Victoria and Don had three cakes in the end! Victoria and her parents lived in Norway for many years and so her mother made a surprise, traditional Norwegian wedding cake called a ‘kransekake’, made with almonds and decorated with little Norwegian flags. They also had lilac cupcakes in light blue spotty cases made by Miss Dotty's Cakes in Cowes. The deli in also made a cake of cheese, with an entire Isle of Wight Gallybagger round cheese at the bottom and two other Island cheeses, which was served instead of an evening buffet.
The wedding photographers were Ian and Wayne from Peartree Pictures, who Victoria found at a wedding show at London Olympia. As well as their wedding day photographs, Ian took some engagement photos for Victoria and Don in central London before the wedding.
“I think our favourite photos are the ones in the church because our ceremony was so important to us and those photos really capture the special atmosphere.”
The Wedding Details
The table plans were made by drying out fallen twigs, spraying them silver, placing them in buckets of sand and hanging the table details from them on yellow and pink ribbons. Victoria and Don wrote and decorated the place names, which were shaped like butterflies and hooked onto the side of wine glasses. Bunting and sticks of rock were used to tie in with the seaside feel, and Victoria’s father hoisted nautical flags at the Sea View Yacht Club spelling out their names.
Victoria and Don went through old family photo albums and took copies of photos containing pictures of all of their guests and old childhood pictures of themselves. They also copied photos of their parents' and grandparents' weddings and other important family photos. They then made four large photo boards which were displayed at the reception for their guests to fun with, searching for photos of themselves and laughing at Victoria and Don’s baby photos.
Victoria and Don spent just over three weeks travelling independently in the north of Madagascar. They did lots of tough trekking, saw the most amazing wildlife and plants, and then spent a week relaxing by the sea.
“Walking into the church with my father, with my great friend playing an unforgettable piece of music and seeing so many important people in the same place at the same time, all grinning at us; just incredible. Also, it was lovely when we came out of the church and the sun came out; we were so lucky with the weather.”
Tips and Ideas
“Keep hold of the orders of service for weddings you go to - it's incredibly useful when you come to design your own.”
“Think about the lighting for your venue, as nothing kills the party atmosphere more than super bright lighting which can make people feel self-conscious. We used uplights and coloured filters over the wall lights to tone down the lighting and get people onto the dance floor.”
“Consider whether to hire electric heaters so that guests can sit outside. We hired ours very cheaply from HSS and it meant that our guests could sit outside by the sea all night and we could really make the most of our venue.”
Bride’s Tops Tips
“Allow yourself more time than you think is humanly possible on the morning of the wedding to get ready. It is truly amazing how long everything takes and getting into your dress will take four times longer than you think. If you have photographers at the house they will (in a nice way) get in the way and slow things down, so bear that in mind and have another room ready where your mum and bridesmaids can get ready out of the firing line.”
“Plan and type up a timeline for the day, include mobile numbers for all of the wedding party and all of your suppliers and give it to your husband-to-be to distribute amongst his ushers as he sees fit.”
“Ask one of the ushers to guard parking spaces outside the church.”
“Don and I went for a 4-mile walk by the sea with our best man and his wife the morning before the wedding; take advantage of the calm before the storm. It also ensured that I slept well the night before the wedding.”
Groom’s Top Tip
“Have your wedding rings made by a jeweller rather than going to a shop - you get exactly what you want and they are much better value for money.”
“Definitely my beautiful, bespoke dress which was amazingly good value and exactly what I asked for. Also, the photo boards at our reception cost hardly anything to make and everyone loved them.”
Money Saving Ideas
“Think about whether you can borrow anything - I borrowed my beautiful veil and tiara, plus lots of the decorations for the venue, and this made our wedding more personal to us. Also, our friends who lent us things were really happy to have played such a special part in our day.”
“We had brilliant quizzes about us designed by Mooks Design. They put them in envelopes with our table names printed on which looked fantastic and saved us the time and money of having to print or design our own table names. The quiz was great fun for our guests to think about during the meal too and it was a lovely surprise for everyone to find the quiz hidden inside the table names. They were very good value and an effortless and cheap way of making the tables look great.”
“We grew the flowers for the table centres on my father's allotment which was another lovely personal touch which saved us money.”
Photography: Peartree Pictures