Bridal Diaries: Marie & Joe – Part 1

This week I’m excited to introduce you to one of A Whole Lot of Lovely’s brides to be, Marie, who will be marrying her groom, Joe, in September this year. With not long to go, over the next couple of weeks, Marie will be sharing with you a little bit about her journey so far from meeting her husband to be, to their engagement, planning their wedding and preparing for their big day.

So with introductions done, over to Marie to tell us more about their story in Part 1 of their Bridal Diaries feature…


“I first met my partner Joe in the first year of infant school, he was actually my first ever boyfriend. Check us out in our picture together from Guitar Class! I told my mum back then that I was going to marry him – all be it I told her we were going to get married at the back of our village’s local Police Station(?). As things go, later in primary school I planned on marrying another childhood boyfriend at the back of the Fire Station – he turns out to be one of Joe’s best friends and one of the ushers at our Wedding …the things kids come out with! Joe and I went all the way through school together but went our own separate ways – in fact we didn’t speak again properly again until we had left school.”


“Our first meeting as adults came on a random night out with the girls. I started up a conversation with Joe and took a liking to him.  He happened to tell me where he would be the next night, so dragging one of my bridesmaids along I took her to a local pub only to find after much waiting and drinking that he was a no show – which I still don’t let him forget to this day!  Months later our paths crossed again and during our conversation a friend of mine happened to interrupt and ask him where he was taking me out next…  from that moment on we have been together ever since.”

“As Joe is in the Navy we have always done the long distance relationship thing, seeing each other every weekend or every other weekend due to his work commitments. I’ve always tried to see this as a positive in our relationship – it has kept things exciting and even now I still get butterflies after not seeing him for a week or two.  It does have its drawbacks, he isn’t always there when I need him or just want a cuddle at the end of a crappy day and visa versa for Joe. However, we work hard to make the best of it.”

The Proposal

“I always said that if Joe ever proposed to me I sort of knew what I wanted in my head: just the two of us somewhere outside, romantic with a fairy light background, a total surprise.  Joe had arrived back early one Friday and arranged to pick me up from work. I’d had a really bad day to the point I had walked into Joes car crying my eyes out, mascara stained and not looking my best in a drab grey uniform.  On the way home, Joe asked if I’d like to go a different route home – I told him I didn’t care which route we went, I just wanted to get home and in the bath. After a bit of general chit chat and a bumpy ride down the country lanes, Joe pulled over in a dirt track lay-by. He started with what I recognised to be a proposal speech, to which I pleaded after the day I’d had “please, please don’t do this here!” Like a trooper he carried on bless him. I felt for him, he told me apparently he had planned a special setting, but seeing “the state of me” (his words not mine!) he thought the proposal would cheer me up. I said yes but I think he felt it wasn’t the proposal he’d planned or that I’d dreamed of, and he told me that he’d ask me again.”


“A few months down the line in December 2010 we stayed at Joe’s quarters in Plymouth for his team’s Christmas party. The day after as we were suffering from a bit of a hangover Joe’s mum called him. I could hear her on the phone word for word, and I heard her ask him “have you done it yet?”… so much for a surprise! That night we had arranged to visit some of Joe’s friends who lived in Exeter. Driving out of Plymouth Joe seemed agitated and told me that he needed to go back to Plymouth. By this time it was snowing, and we arrived at a beautiful snowy seafront location. He asked me to take a walk with him. He took me to the Plymouth Hoe, where he proposed in the snow on one knee, with the stars twinkling above. Whilst part of me wishes I didn’t know it was coming, the proposal was pretty much perfect. We couldn’t wait to share the news with our friends and family!”

Dealing With The Unexpected…

“We wanted to enjoy being engaged before diving in head first into wedding planning, but to throw us completely off track a month later we found out we we’re expecting our first baby together so thoughts of a wedding we’re immediately dashed for thoughts of nappies, baby grows and pushchairs. Once our little bundle of joy Thomas arrived, we knew that once we got used to parenthood we wanted to start to try and arrange the wedding.”

“Then surprise number two came along and we found out that we were expecting again. Not only this but also that Joe was being posted to serve in Bahrain for 5 months. It couldn’t have come at a worse time for us as a family. It was a tough period for us all – it meant Thomas wouldn’t see his daddy, Joe would miss out on some of his most precious moments, and my growing bump. I knew it was probably harder for Joe as although it was hard for us, he was the one missing out and not having his family around. Thankfully, he made it back in December 2012 just in time for his second son Jack to be born.”

“In July 2013 we decided that we needed to get back on track and set things in stone as we wanted to start living together as a family. Finally we were able to start planning our wedding… and it definitely wasn’t going to be behind the village Police Station!”

*          *          *

I hope you loved the first part of Marie’s story – a great reminder that marriage isn’t just about the wedding day, it’s about two people’s bond, how they face the unexpected and how they have a stronger relationship for it. Join Marie next time to find out how the planning for their special day has progressed since then in Part 2 of her Bridal Story.

Now over to you – what’s your story? How did your groom propose? Have you had to overcome the unexpected? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

And if you don’t want to miss out on Part 2 (as sometimes Facebook doesn’t show everyone business posts), be sure to sign up for A Whole Lot of Lovely Updates below, in the opt in sign up at the bottom of the page – you get a free guide at the moment too!

Emma xoxo

header-for-bridal-diariesThis week we meet A Whole Lot of Lovely couple Carla & Nicholas, in their beautiful wedding amongst the snowdrops at Hodsock Priory. There are so many gorgeous details in this wedding I can’t wait to share with you! Read on to hear their story….


So Carla, tell me, how did you and your new husband meet?
We met on holiday in Spain.

And tell us a little bit about your engagement…
It was a bank holiday weekend, we both got home from work and we were going camping with friends for the weekend. We were up and down to the loft getting the camping gear organised. Nick said he was going to empty his car boot (to make room for the camping equipment) so he bought his golf clubs into the house from the car. He was faffing around with his golf bag for ages, I wondered what he was doing! Time was ticking on and we hadn’t organised any supper, Nick put a pizza in the oven, I put my pjs on and we sat on the sofa (surrounded by camping gear!)

Nick asked me to check the pizza, my answer “you wanted the pizza, you check the pizza” after he asked a few more times, I stomped into the kitchen. There was a shiny engagement ring sitting on the hob I screamed and ran up and down the kitchen through to the living room. I then calmed (a little), Nick said say something then……..I screamed, he said, “will you marry me”, I said, “yes”! We ate cold pizza and drank champagne! Low key, but a total surprise. I never wanted it to be a public thing, so it was perfect, I was very shocked, which is what he wanted!

How did you initially feel about planning your wedding?
Very excited! Slightly overwhelmed, but most definitely excited, every girl has dreamed of planning their big day and I was about to get my chance!

So what did you do first?
On the night I got engaged I called my sister and my best friend, rather than saying, I just got engaged, I said “will you be my bridesmaid” there was a lot of screaming! I remember my sister was on holiday in Turkey and the telephone reception was poor, so I had to ask her about three times!

The first proper planning we did was to go to a wedding fayre. The week after we got engaged the big wedding fayre was on at Ice Sheffield, so my best friend, Laura, drove up from Kent for the day and the three of us (Nick, Laura and I) went to the wedding fayre, we got lots of ideas and that’s where we first saw the band we wanted!

What was important for you both?
Having fun, making it personal and wanting everyone to feel relaxed. It’s a bit of a cliché but we wanted our wedding to feel like our wedding and not just any wedding. We didn’t worry about what others thought we should do, or should invite, it was our day, our way and we loved it. We both have lots of amazing friends and great families and we just wanted to have a good time with everyone. We have a lot to thank our friends and family for, with the long distance relationship at the start, it wouldn’t have been possible without them, so we wanted to say thank you and to all have a great time. The other thing we were both agreed on was wanting live music, so we picked a band that also did a secret waiters singing section after dessert, which was a BIG HIT!

Did you have a particular theme / colour scheme that ran through your day?
We didn’t have one colour, but the themes were dusky pink, lace and tweed.

That sounds gorgeous! What made you choose those themes?
We wanted an English country type theme.

So tell us, how did you implement this into your day?
Nick had a tweed suit made for him. I originally wanted a light coral/peach colour for the bridesmaid dresses, but the dresses we liked didn’t come in that colour, they came in the dusky pink though so we went with that! They also had a lacey overlay to tie in with my dress. Our mum’s dresses also had a lacey type overlay too. I got the soft coral into the flowers though, with the dusky pink. I also had buttons and a hessian tie around the bouquet to add to the classic English vintagey feel.


Tell us more about your beautiful venue! 
Hodsock Priory, is famous for its snowdrops, we went for a walk there in the snow drops about 2 years before our wedding. At that time I was working in London, so the distance and the stress of our jobs was making us unhappy! It was whilst sitting in the snowdrops that we made plans for me to try and leave London, to get a job up north and to try and make the north our permanent home. I felt a sense of calm and release and I hoped then that one day I could come back and celebrate our wedding there. I picked up a wedding brochure that day and snuk it in my hand bag. When Nick popped the question about 18 months later, I got it out of the drawer and said, “I’ve picked the venue”. Eager!
We checked out some other venues before booking, but for me, nowhere came close. It is such a pretty place and somewhere I will always associate with our big decision making time!

Who made up your wedding party?
I had three adult bridesmaids; my sister Gemma, she is a couple of years older than me and the best big sister I could have wished for, my best friend Laura, we lived opposite each other since she was born 6 months old and we have done everything together, I couldn’t have imagined doing it without her, Nick’s sister Louise, she is a year younger than me and we get on really well. My flower girl was Elodie-Rose who is 4, she is our friends’ daughter, who I have always been very very fond of, she is a little star.

We had two best men, Nick’s two best friends, Michael and Richard, he couldn’t have chosen just one of them, so he decided to have two best men, and no ushers.

We need to know about that gorgeous dress and your accessories!
My dress was Pronovia fantastica, in ivory, it was strapless with lacey detail at the top and had many ruffles on the bottom! My shoes were cream and gold by irregular choice. My veil was borrowed from sister. My tiara, earrings and necklace were from glitzy secrets and bracelet was designed and made by Lucy with Diamonds. I loved all of my things! My hair and makeup girls were also so key in making my morning perfect. I would definitely recommend Kirsty & Sarah from Ikizler!

What flowers did you choose?
My flowers were done by Flowers by Kay, they were soft pinks, peaches and creams. The flowers included David Austin Roses which are beautiful. They were tied with hessian and had buttons within the bouquet. The men each had a white Yorkshire Rose in memory of Nick’s dad and as a symbol of how we love Yorkshire!

Tell us about your wedding stationery…
We chose A Whole Lot of Lovely! I had luggage tag style save the dates which I loved! I then had folding invitiations with inserts for guests to return with their menu choices. It was a brown vintage theme, with swirls of peach/dusky pink to tie in with the overall theme.

Who did your speeches on the day?
They were traditional - father of the bride, groom and bestmen. They all did really well, my dad isn’t a public speaker and he did great I was very proud. Nicholas said some lovely things too. The bestmen did great, they were actually really nice and didn’t embarrass us, which was a relief!


What did you decide for Photography or Videography?
Our photographers were our family, they did an amazing job, they made us feel relaxed and they got some great pictures. Our videographer was Picture House Wedding Films, from Wakefield, we absolutely love our wedding video.

Did you have transport on the day?
I finished getting ready at the venue, so I travelled there part ready in my brother in laws car, he trimmed it up with ribbons which was lovely. Nick was meant to arrive in a helicopter, but it was very windy so that got cancelled – he was pretty disappointed about that!

Did you need to book a caterer? 
Yes, we used Gail Dandy, she was fantastic - we got to pick our own menu and we were able to give our guests a choice at each course.

You mentioned that Entertainment was important for you both – tell us a bit more!
We had a band, the English Country Gentleman and a DJ at night. We also had a secret waiter singing section after dessert which was fantastic. They got everyone up on their feet waving their napkins and dancing!

What were your special touches?
I tried to make lots of little things to make it personal. I designed our table centre pieces which were trees decorated with fairy lights, pearls and flowers, with a picture of everyone on that table hung on the tree. I made our table plan, which was a large frame with a photo of every guest, it said “find your face to find your place”. A Whole Lot of Lovely created the signs. Guests found their faces (which were all funny photos) then opened their envelope to find out where they were sitting. I also made the table place names, which were scrabble racks with everyone’s name in scrabble squares. I’m a bit pick and mix fan so we had a pick and mix table! Our cake was a bit different too, we both love cheesecake so we had half the cake sponge and half was mini cheesecakes.

It was such a beautiful venue – how did the weather treat you on the day?
Good, for February! It was windy, so Nick’s helicopter was cancelled, but it was blue skies and crisp, could have been much worse. Some thought we were mad for having a winter wedding, but we wanted it in the snowdrop season.

Your day sounds amazing Carla! Tell us how you got on against your budget?
We blew the budget! But it was worth every penny!

What are your final pearls of wisdom for brides and grooms out their getting ready for their big day?
Enjoy it, from the moment you get that ring on your finger, to the moment you get back from honeymoon, it’s all amazing, make a scrap book of your planning process, the planning is all part of the fun. Involve your willing friends and family in the planning, sharing the excitement is all part of it. On the big day, enjoy it, take time to think about how you feel and to take it all in, as it passes in a flash!


Thanks to Carla and Nick for sharing a little bit about their day with A Whole Lot of Lovely. This lovely couple will be back very soon with their Top Tips For Planning an Amazing day – subscribe to my updates in the sign up form below to ensure you don’t miss out!

If you’re A Whole Lot of Lovely Bride or Bride to be and would like to feature on the blog, just drop me an email to I hope you’ve enjoyed this real wedding feature, if you have please share it using the buttons below with your friends, and leave a comment!