Charlotte & Lewis’s Real Life Wedding

‘We had actually booked the wedding before the proposal, we decided together that we wanted to get married to make our family one and to all be able to have the same name. We booked the wedding and then a month later Lewis got down on one knee and proposed. We were in our bedroom getting our little girl to sleep, who was 3 months old at the time. He had made a beauty and the beast type enchanted rose and gave me that along with asking me to marry him with the ring box open in his hands. Of course I said yes as the wedding was already booked!’

What was your first step in planning your wedding?
‘The first thing we did was sort out how much we were willing to spend on a venue and what we wanted the venue to look like & include. We went on to google and started looking at venues in Essex straight away’What were your wedding “must have’s”?
‘The must haves for our wedding, was choosing a venue that could cater to the needs of all of our guests. From food preferences to disability needs. We also knew we wanted somewhere that would all be in one place. I knew that I wanted the old style Tudor look and Lewis wanted the rustic barn feel. So Leez Priory was perfect for us.’Wedding budget: how did you organise your wedding budget?
‘Our wedding budget was set by knowing how much we had saved at the time of booking and how much we could save further towards our chosen wedding date. We had advice from family that you can make it as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. We chose to set rough guidelines to what we were looking to spend, knowing we would probably spend much more than this. Lewis was always keen to keep track of our budget on a spread sheet, where  I  had it all saved on a note on my phone, for the duration of planning so I could keep an eye on it.’

Wedding venue: how did you search for a wedding venue?
‘We knew that we didn’t want a wedding venue that was too far away for our guests to get to and home from so searched for venues in Essex.’
What made you choose your wedding venue?
‘When we first saw Leez Priory online, I fell in love instantly, but Lewis on the other hand needed some persuading. We emailed the day before an open event and were waiting for a reply, we were viewing another venue the same day. After seeing the other venue, we got into the car a little deflated by the price and was about to head home. I quickly checked my emails and then I realized that we had a reply from Leez Priory, saying to come for the viewing of the venue for 1pm. After we were taken up to the coach house and we walked inside, Lewis’ face lit up and at that point we both knew that this was the venue for us.’Styling your wedding: how did you personalise your big day?
‘We took a while to be able to decide on a theme for our wedding, we just couldn’t decide if we wanted the traditional flowers on the tables or something different. We went through a few themes, one being a Cornwall theme, as this is where we had our first ever holiday together and we are very big Cornwall fans. We didn’t choose this in the end as we felt it was too much of a summery theme for our November wedding. We remembered that during our viewing, that it was mentioned that the Christmas decorations would be up by our wedding date. So what other theme would be suitable … than a Christmas theme!!! We chose our colours as Navy & Gold and went from there.’‘Everything for our wedding was created by us, minus the cake! We wanted it to be as personal as possible, and as cheap as we could make things. Our centerpieces, we bought the vases and martini glasses from Ikea & Ebay, and filled them with navy & gold Christmas baubles. We had wreaths around the bases of the centerpieces which we purchased, and filled with fairy lights. They were placed on a glass mirror plate surrounded by navy and gold table gems, with gold tea lights in ivory covers.’
‘Our table plan was created with glass bottles from Ikea, and we filled them with fairy lights. The wording on the bottles was from a local seller on the app Etsy and we placed these on ourselves once they had been created and sent to us. The table number was a wooden bauble, spray painted by Lewis, tied onto the tops of the bottles with their numbers on. The stand that we placed our table plan on, was actually a plant pot stand that we purchased and painted grey ourselves, then we chose to glue gun some flower arrangements on to brighten it up a little.’‘Our table numbers & menus on the tables themselves, were the cheap £2 frames from Ikea that Lewis spray painted gold with a glittery finish. Inside these frames were photographs created by me, I selected a glittery navy background and used an App on my phone to add wording to this to create the desired table numbers & menus. The menus filled the frames so we had 2 menus on each side, but the back of the table numbers were just plain, so we decided to add family photographs of us to them.‘
‘For place cards we used a gold Christmas bauble holder, with place cards with names written on in navy script writing. The place cards were written by Lewis’ sister Hayley, and they looked amazing in the baubles.’
‘We also added navy and gold Christmas crackers from Aldi to everybody’s place setting, with a well wishes card that people could fill out and place in a box by the exit for us to read after the wedding. We also bought navy napkins to have in the glasses, to add a bit more navy to the tables.’
‘For the ceremony we purchased glass jars from Hobby craft and filled these with fake snow & gold trees, we then decided to surround them with fairy lights to really make them pop down the aisle. We also had gold, navy & ivory petals to line the aisle with them.’

‘Our welcome sign was created by me, using the same app that I created the table menus with. We bought the frame from Ikea, and Lewis decorated the frame by gluing navy and ivory flowers all around 2 sides of the frame.’
‘Our cake was designed by Lewis and me, but we chose Kelly’s Cake Boutique to make it for us, we looked at her cakes and loved her pristine work. We went through multiple designs to then finally decide on something that represented Lewis, which was Marvel & Lego. We bought the Marvel Lego characters, and then we also bought the cake topper set from Lego. We built and glued this together ourselves, it was the original Lego cake topper set. We then also created mini figures of ourselves and Thea, and we added these onto the cake topper. We sent this all to Kelly in the post, and we couldn’t wait to see what they looked like on the cake on the wedding day.’
‘In front of this was also a light box that read “Baby #2 Due April 27th” with a scan photo on for our reveal to our evening guests that we were expecting out second child. ‘Wedding Photographer: how did you choose your photographer?
‘Lewis’ sister got married in September 2017, and we chose to have the same photographers that they had. After seeing the way that they worked, and the work that they produced firsthand was amazing, so there was no doubt in our minds that we wouldn’t choose them. Their style was very clean and candid, much more of a documentary style photography than intrusive and in your face, which we knew we didn’t want.’

Wedding suppliers: how did you choose your suppliers?
‘Our wedding suppliers were mostly found online, or social media. Mine and the girl’s hair and makeup, I found the ladies on Instagram, and absolutely loved their clean and detailed work. The photo booth, videographers, cake maker, bridal party flowers and invitations were all found online. We also had a swing at our wedding, which I was approached by an old school friend, who had started up an events business and wanted to advertise their new swing.’
Describe your wedding attire
‘Finding my dress wasn’t the dress buying experience that most brides have, I ordered my dress online from JJ’s House. I searched for months to find the perfect dress, and the dress I chose is the one I fell in love with. Every dress I looked at after that, I kept finding myself comparing it to the dress I fell in love with. So I ordered it and waited for it to arrive. Once it arrived, I tried it on and was not disappointed, I fell in love with the dress even more! But all was put on hold when it came to August before the wedding, and we found out we were having baby number two. I quickly realised that I would need a new dress, as the original dress would not fit me. I knew I would show a baby bump very early on, and by 18 weeks I would be fairly big. I ordered the exact same dress, just in a custom size. It arrived just 4 weeks before the wedding! But fit perfectly, and I knew I would be comfortable on the wedding day.’
‘I chose to not wear a veil, as it was too heavy and felt strange on my head. So I decided have a gold hair piece in my hair, to add a little sparkle. ‘
‘I have my left ear pierced the whole way up my ear, so I had little silver studs in these. Lewis bought me a pair of earrings as my gift on our wedding day, to match my engagement ring. And my parents bought me a Swarovski bracelet to also match my engagement ring. ‘
‘My underwear was just comfortable, as I was supporting a growing baby bump. My shoes were gold converse with navy ribbon for the laces, I chose to wear converse as I am not the type or girl to wear heals. I cannot stand them, and the one thing I wanted to be on my wedding day was comfortable.’
‘The other accessories I had were hidden in my bridal bouquet, my something old was part of my mums wedding dress & buttons from the back of her dress, wrapped around the handle of my bouquet. I also had a flower from my mum’s dress integrated in with my flowers. Another item in my bouquet was a locket with all my family’s birthstones in, along with paw print gems for my pets. The last thing in my bouquet was an earring in the shape of the Disney castle and a Mickey Mouse head for my love of Disney.’

What did your partner wear?
‘My partner wore a tweed style suit, it was grey with a navy tie and he chose the suits himself.  It was from an online store called Tru Clothing. When I first saw him down the end of that aisle, he looked very smart, handsome and warm!’~
Tell us about your Bridesmaids, Groomsmen and their outfits
‘I had a Maid of Honor, 2 Bridesmaids, and Lewis had 2 Best men and 1 Groomsmen. My maid of Honor was a very close friend called Jade that I have known for 9+ years, my other 2 Bridesmaids were my husband’s sisters, Hayley & Seana.
Their outfits were from an online site called Ever Pretty, they were floor length, navy, long sleeve, lace top gowns. They also had navy shawls to keep them warm, gold high heels & a gold sequin clutch bag.’
‘We had 3 Flower Girls, 1 Ring security & 1 Pageboy. Our first flower girl was our very own daughter Thea, she turned 2 the day before the wedding. Our second flower girl was a little lady called Ava-Rose, she was the daughter of my Maid of Honor and she was 4 Years old. Our third and final flower girl was a very close family friend’s daughter called Daisie-Mae, and she Turned 6 just after the wedding.’
‘Lewis had 2 Best Men, Connor who is a very close family friend. And Sam, who is his Brother in law, his sister Hayley’s husband. His Groomsman was Shane, brother of the bride. They all wore navy tweed suits with grey ties, the opposite of the groom, with black shoes. ‘What was your biggest wedding splurge?
‘Other than the venue, the biggest wedding splurge was the photographers, followed closely by the fireworks.’

What was your ceremony like?
‘Our ceremony was Rustic, Christmas theme and family orientated. We had violin and cello covers for all of our chosen music, I walked down the aisle to a cello and piano cover of Christina Perri’s ‘A Thousand Years.’ We also had covers of Beauty and the Beast and John Legends ‘all of me.’ My dad walked me down the aisle.’
Tell us about your drinks reception and wedding breakfast
‘Our wedding breakfast food was so yummy!  Starters we had Crayfish Cocktail, and a vegetarian option of Tomato and Red Pepper Soup. Our main we had Roast leg of lamb, with roast potatoes and stuffing. The vegetarian option was a roasted Vegetable Wellington. Our desserts were a choice between a Chocolate and Salted Caramel Brownie, and a White Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecake.’
‘Our speech was delivered by the groom himself, it was difficult for him to begin with as he had a part about missing loved ones, that couldn’t be with us on our special day. It was even more difficult as his aunt that was poorly sadly passed away the day before the wedding.’
‘The biggest, most memorable part of our wedding day was announcing to all our family and friends that we were expecting our second child. Lewis did this at the end of his speech, by inviting me up to say a few words. We announced it by saying that our little girl “Thea is going to be a BIG SISTER!!” Nobody knew and we had managed to keep it a secret for 18 WEEKS! we also managed to have a private gender scan before the wedding day, so that we could do a surprise gender reveal too. Lewis and I also did not know the gender, and we found this out with everybody else when we pulled the confetti cannons. IT’S A BOY!’
Did you have a band or DJ for your evening reception?
We had the Leez Priory DJ for our evening, he was brilliant and played an amazing range of music. He also added the perfect touch of finishing the night with the same song we started with, our wedding dance song.’

Tell us about your first dance – what song did you chose and why?
‘We chose a cover by Boyce Avenue and Bae Miller, of Ed Sheeran’s song Photograph. We close this song as we felt the lyrics fit with us and our story perfectly. Also with me being a trained photographer, and Lewis has a passion for it too, a song about a photograph seemed very fitting. No we didn’t choreograph a routine, if you saw our wedding video and watched how many times our daughter switched parents, and ran in and out, there wasn’t much dancing going on, but we would have had it any other way.’
Based on your own experience, give us some top tips:
Our advice would be to stick to a plan of when you want things done and paid by. Stay calm and enjoy every second of it as it FLYS BY!!’
“If we could do it all again, we’d…”
Have our fireworks choreographed to music! Even though we had a song playing in the background, you couldn’t really hear it. So that is the only thing that we would do differently.’
Did you go on a honeymoon or mini-moon?
‘The February after the wedding we went on a mini family moon to Elvedon Forest Centerparcs. We had a lovely time visiting the zoo and going swimming, but the biggest storm to hit Britain decided to hit during our stay, so that a lot of things we wanted to do we couldn’t. In March we had our main family honey moon to DISNEY LAND PARIS! It was our daughter’s first visit, along with my husband. And the last time that I went to Disney I was 7 years old, so it was all like new again for me to. We met the characters over breakfast, Thea wasn’t too keen and cried, but she cheered up when she saw Mickey Mouse though. We enjoyed the rides, the ones I could go on anyway, being 32 weeks pregnant was a bit of a challenge. We also enjoyed the shops, the parades & shows! We all had a lovely time! ‘

Tell us about your suppliers:-
Photographer: Sam & Louise Photography
Wedding cake: Kelly’s Cake Boutiqu
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Every Pretty
Invitations: Pure Invitation
Video: Video’s of Elegance
Wedding attire: JJ’s House & Tru Clothing
Flowers: Petals Polly
Photo Mirror – The Magic Mirror Co
Fireworks – Dynamic Fireworks
Hair – Carly Williams
Makeup – Bride Beautiful, Karen Pyman

If you have any questions relating to having your wedding at Leez Priory, please don't hesitate to call Gemma via the contact details below:


T: 01245 362 555

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