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Real Wedding: Kimberley and Chris's Story

Weddings, Real Weddings

Kimberley and Chris married at Woodside on 26th May 2014. With a fun and retro vibe, the couple added their own unique touches with old romance comics, LEGO figures, board games and an evening packed with rock songs.

Tell us your story (how did you meet, how did he/she propose?)

Chris and I met through a mutual friend at a pub in Sheffield. His band was co-headlining with our Best Man’s band while I was visiting for the weekend.  I couldn’t stop staring at him but we were both with other people so I didn’t think anything of it until months later when I found myself newly-single and he offered to take me out for the day to cheer me up. Four years on, he took me out for a walk in the moonlight to our favourite local park, but discovered it was shut for the night. He dropped to one knee on the beautiful Victorian suspension bridge that leads into it, making an unplanned speech that had me in tears.  The poor man had to wait for every cyclist, dog-walker and group of teenagers to trek past until he had a clear shot!

Please tell us the suppliers you used?

I picked my dress in five minutes at Regency Brides in Leamington Spa, thanks to Donna (the designer) and her team. Flowers were from Sarah Horne Flowers, our photographer was Adrian Brown, and the table plan, place cards and table names were made by Wee Bizzum. Our wedding rings were from Wightmans in Leamington Spa, my shoes and a lot of the other accessories and decorations were from eBay or Amazon and our Best Man and a close friend designed our comic-themed invitations and wedding stationery.

What made you choose us as your wedding venue? 

I really wanted to get married close to our home in Leamington, in beautiful surroundings.  Woodside is gorgeous, without feeling overblown or gaudy, and felt right for us – it was a gut feeling that hit the moment we arrived.  We loved the airy white beams over the Garden Room, our chosen ceremony room, and knew that our wedding would be weatherproof, due to the conservatory.  Everything is so tastefully furnished, without being bland, and the rooms all flow together so well, it felt like we’d hired a large, private home for our wedding!  On a practical note, it was clear within minutes that our wedding planner knew exactly what she was talking about, that Woodside doesn’t believe in squeezing extra charges out of every adjustment or new idea, and that we could expect a very personal service – all things that added value to the package we selected.

On the day, what were the best bits & what made the day memorable?

Chris and I did a ‘First Look’, where we saw each other for the first time, before the ceremony.  It’s a relatively new American fashion, but we felt so excited to share that moment of ‘We’re getting married today and you look incredible!’ It relaxed us both, and we have some lovely photos as a result.  Some of our guests had arrived the night before so we could have a low-key Stag/Hen night and hang fairy lights and paper decorations around the ceremony area.  Walking into the ceremony and seeing all our brightly-dressed friends and family, framed by the colours they had hung for us the night before, was so moving. 

What was your vision/theme and how did you make it happen?

We wanted a small, fun wedding that reflected our tastes and interests rather than anything we thought we ought to have, so we incorporated 1960s romance comics and sheet music into our decorations, a bright floral colour scheme in pink, yellow and blue, gin bottle centrepieces and had Batman and Wonder Woman LEGO figures singing and playing bass guitar as our cake toppers!  The cake itself was a pink and yellow sponge covered in hundreds-and-thousands, rather than a traditional wedding cake, and I wore flowers in my hair crocheted by a friend, as well as throwing a bouquet made of the same flowers.  My bouquet for the ceremony contained roses I had folded myself from the pages of the first sci-fi novel my father recommended when I was a small girl, The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey.  We also chose music that referenced our interests including Jurassic Park, the Lord of the Rings, Disney themes and an evening packed with rock and metal tunes that gradually got heavier throughout the night. A good friend redecorated a doll’s house for us to use as a card box and we put out board games to encourage people to interact and get to know each other.  The whole day was full of fun, with a retro vibe!

How was the food on the day?

The canapés were a well-timed treat and our wedding breakfast was so delicious that people are still talking about it wistfully six months later! I hear the evening buffet was to-die-for as well, although we wouldn’t know as we were on the dancefloor or talking to friends for most of the night!

What/who helped during the planning process?

We didn’t really involve our families in our plans, it was something we wanted to do ourselves, and we had two Woodside wedding planners, Becky and Andra, who anticipated every last detail. They didn’t bat an eyelid at any of our non-traditional ideas and were able to make some really effective suggestions to make everything happen smoothly.  We used Trello to plan everything online which was a lifesaver, and we had a free wedding website that our invitations shared a link to.  This meant we printed our invites nice and early, without having to pay for pages of information that we hadn’t agreed on yet!  Everything just went on the site as it became fixed and we were able collect RSVPs and food orders in one place. 

What's the best advice you can give a couple planning their wedding?

You should always write your absolute minimum guest list first, as this will tell you how to compare costs across venue, food and drink (the biggest costs).  Start with your DREAM wedding, identify what it is about that vision that makes it feel right, and work out how you can bring it within budget.  Get a free wedding website and stay organised using things like Google Drive and Trello. On the day, make sure you get a few minutes to look at each other and realise that this is your wedding day.  Dance with as many people as possible so you all have memories of sharing a moment together on your wedding day!

What (if any) comments would you like to add about us and the staff involved in your big day?

Both Becky and Andra were incredibly organised and pro-active, so we never felt stressed or behind with our planning.  They were excellent at anticipating our needs and making suggestions that resolved any issues that cropped up.  A good example was Andra suggesting that they turn one of their conference break-out rooms into a Family Room for the day, complete with comfy chairs and two travel cots, so that the parents and babies had space to escape to when they needed a quiet spot.  Our guests were amazed and delighted that we could provide this at a wedding, and were able to stay for longer because of it.

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