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Twas the night before

Dave and I went to school together so have known each other for around 15 years. I remember looking at him differently one day when we were 18, thinking that he was very good looking but had never appreciated it before! It wasn’t until after we had both left school and Dave was at university that one of our school friends decided to do a bit of meddling and persuaded me to ask Dave out, which I did on his 21st birthday. We went out three days later, going for drinks together although it nearly didn’t happen. I sat inside the bar waiting for him for about half an hour, all the time he was sat outside in the beer garden also thinking he had been stood up! We bumped in to each other eventually though. We talked all evening and had a great time, both being surprised by how much we actually had in common with each other, then I impressed him by demonstrating my knowledge of the offside rule and creating a complex demonstration out of beer mats, wine glasses and napkins! We had been together for 6 and a half years and had been living together for six months when Dave proposed. It wasn’t unexpected but I still couldn’t quite believe it when he got down on one knee on Christmas morning and presented me with a beautiful diamond and platinum engagement ring. We had planned to have both of our families over for Christmas morning and when they arrived, we were engaged! It was a very happy Christmas!

Brides name: Kelly Thurgood Grooms name: David Carless  Home town: Ware, Hertfordshire  Ceremony venue: All Saints Church, Hertford Reception venue: Fanhams Hall, Ware Wedding date: 23rd December 2011

We had always said that we didn’t want a really long engagement so we started thinking about a date straight away. I had never particularly wanted a summer wedding so we decided to go with December, as Christmas is my favourite time of year. We thought about getting married on a Friday to help keep costs down so when we were looking, Dave suggested the 23rd, the Friday before Christmas, reasoning that provided our friends and family could get the day off work, it would give them a long Christmas weekend and we could have a lovely festive wedding. We decided that we wanted to get married in a church and I spoke to the vicar at All Saints, where three generations of my family before me had

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got married. She agreed, even though Fridays were normally her day off! She allowed us to have carols and Christmas music as part of the ceremony and said that the church would already be decorated for Christmas, this made our decision easy. As we knew that the weather could be tricky at that time of year, it was important to us that our reception venue had a beautiful indoor space for photographs in case we couldn’t get outside. We also wanted to keep our guests warm during the drinks reception. Fanhams Hall had everything, lots of space, a beautiful room for the breakfast, stunning grounds if we were lucky enough to get out there and rooms for people who had travelled to stay in. Dave had three best men and divided the duties between them. He chose his older brother Andrew as his main best man who was tasked with the speech and handing over the rings. His younger brother Ben and friend James were the other two. I had three bridesmaids, my sister Sophie, my friend Allie and Dave’s cousin Georgie. We also had a little flower girl, Cassie, the daughter of the friend who meddled and got us together in the first place. I took my Mum, my sister and Dave’s Mum to all of my dress shopping appointments. I knew that I wanted lace and something sparkly and I also knew that I wanted to cover my shoulders in church so I was looking for long sleeves. I then ended up falling in love with my dress “Dabra” by Enzoani on their website and decided that I could never make a decision on another dress without trying that one on. I found a shop that stocked it and when I tried it on, I really did just know! When I came out of the fitting room, even my sister looked a little emotional which is quite a rarity, so I ordered it there and then. My Mum also ordered me a two tier, cathedral length veil covered in crystals to give my dress some extra sparkle. The dress was strapless so I continued searching for a shrug or jacket that I could wear with it and came across a Sophia Tollie lace bridesmaid’s jacket in a bridal shop near to my work. The lady let me take it home and try it with my dress and it matched perfectly. We wanted to choose our other suppliers based on how well we got on with them and the quality of the service that they provided. When we met Karen, our photographer, I had a similar feeling to the one I had when I tried my dress on – I just knew she was right. We were going to be with her all day so it was really important that we got on well with her. Her style is very unobtrusive and relaxed, exactly how we wanted to feel on our day. Choosing our videographer was also easy. Richard came recommended by a friend and we loved his work. Like Karen, he was easy to get on with, didn’t intrude on the day and promised a fantastic record of our day. Not everyone chooses to have their day recorded but I would absolutely recommend it as a video compliments your photographs beautifully and is such a great thing to show people who couldn’t make it to the day. We were lucky enough to have a friend who is an artist and designer and he created the most amazing stationery for us, designing a fun ‘crest’ that incorporated lots of our favourite things and became an emblem for our wedding day. He created invitations and orders of service for us which were absolutely stunning. He also created table numbers in the same style, but centering around the Twelve Days of Christmas poem to add to our festive theme. I realised that roses would be really expensive around Christmas and I’m actually not that keen on them as cut flowers anyway. Our florist, Sally at Halo Blossom was the only one that I found was willing to come up with a beautiful bouquet that didn’t feature roses and still looked just as pretty. We chose hypericum berries and ivy to look festive and she added anemones and lisianthus. She also made absolutely gorgeous candelabras for our table centrepieces that looked amazing in the room at Fanhams Hall.

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My final night as a single girl saw me in my old bed at my parent’s house, after a quiet drink in our local pub. I wasn’t really nervous at all and when I woke up the next morning, I actually sat in bed and read for a while before being shouted at by my sister to get in the shower! The wedding wasn’t until 2pm so we were ok for time. Dave’s Mum is my hairdresser and I wouldn’t trust anyone else with my hair now. She arrived early so that she could get back home for Dave and the boys, who had used the morning to have a proper wet shave and be pampered a little. It was so lovely to see my future mother-in-law on the morning. A friend of the family who is a beautician did my makeup which was nice as she has known me for a long time. I had no idea what Dave and the rest of the boys in the bridal party would be wearing as that decision had been left with Dave and kept as a surprise. When I saw my Dad, that was the

first time I had any idea what they were wearing and he looked amazing. Likewise, he hadn’t seen my dress so it was a big reveal in the morning and very emotional.

in between me and the vicar to rectify it. Dave looked round, expecting to see me for the first time and instead seeing his own Mum!

A Rolls Royce Phantom IV picked my bridesmaids and my Mum up then came back for me and my Dad. I was actually really early arriving at the church as I was paranoid about being late. I remember seeing my work friends standing outside with an umbrella, waving at me as I pulled up and me grinning back at them like a loon!

The rest of the ceremony went perfectly and we left the church to the sound of Joy to the World, only to find that the heavens had opened and we couldn’t go outside for fear of being absolutely soaked! The church allowed us to have our group photo taken inside the church and it’s actually a really beautiful picture.

Just before I walked down the aisle, I realised that I hadn’t pulled my veil forwards to cover my face so my Dad quickly yanked it over me. Unfortunately, it got dislodged from my hair as I walked down the aisle and started to slip out! By the time I had reached Dave, it had come completely loose and my mother-in-law appeared

When we got to Fanhams Hall, we had some pictures taken in the grounds despite the rain. Karen had a huge white umbrella which we stood under the whole time and it made for some brilliant quirky photos. Inside, our guests were nibbling on some canapés and little shot glasses of hot soup, washing it all down with mulled wine. We chose winter vegetable cakes for starters and a hearty beef pie for the main dish, after deciding that most people would be having a proper roast dinner a few days later. We then had a yummy chocolate brownie for pudding. The food was amazing and lots of people commented on how great the service was by the staff. My Dad delivered a lovely sentimental speech, and upon mentioning was a great guy he thought Dave was, our little flower girl cheered very loudly, which got everyone laughing. Dave’s speech was very touching, recalling how long we had known each other and some funny memories of our time at school together. Finally, Andrew, Dave’s best man, gave a beautiful speech that quoted Harry Potter (I’m a huge fan), welcomed me in to the family and referenced the Nativity story in a very emotional ending to his speech. Dave and I are huge music fans and throughout the dinner, we had a playlist of a string quartet, playing covers of our favourite rock and pop songs playing. Apparently, lots of people were sat at their tables trying to guess what the songs were so it turned out to be a great icebreaker. We booked a DJ for the evening, again, on recommendation. After our evening guests arrived, everyone was ushered in to the Great Hall to wait for us to cut the cake, which had been made by my auntie. Dave and I then walked in to Huey Lewis and the News, The Power of Love (a nod to Dave’s favourite film Back to the Future). After cutting the cake, we had our first dance to Elbow’s One Day Like This, then I had a special dance with just my Dad to Don McLean’s American Pie, something we danced to many times when I was a little girl. Fanhams then served up an amazing evening buffet of fish and chips and bacon and egg rolls, yum. We went on honeymoon a couple of days after Christmas. It had been organised as a surprise by Dave so I had no clue where we were going until we got to the airport. He had arranged for us to spend 10 days travelling around Sri Lanka and then 4 days relaxing in the Maldives. It was an absolutely incredible experience, not least because I never knew where we were going next; he kept me guessing the whole time!


David and Kelly’s

W e d d i n g

Photographs Karen at Parkwin Photography Videographer Richard at White Dress Films DJ Lovelight Entertainment. Stationery James Bragg at Popcorn For Your Eyes Flowers Halo Blossom

Married life has been lovely, it feels very different and I have loved every minute of it. We have spent most of our first year decorating our house which has been great. My advice... Decide what the most important aspects of your day are and apportion your budget accordingly. We wanted to get married in my childhood church, make sure that all of our guests were well fed with good quality food and had a great DJ to dance to in the evening who didn’t sound too cheesy. So these were the aspects of the day that we spent the most money on and it was worth every penny. Also, it’s nice to have some surprises. You can easily get caught up in controlling every aspect of the day but it was great for some things to be decided by someone else, like the honeymoon and the suits.

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Dave & Kelly BE16