Sounds like a fairy tale, but we were 200 miles apart and my son was settled in school, so it took a while to finally be together (after two house moves!).
My husband's father is half Italian, so he wanted an Italian touch to our wedding. While I wanted something quite simple yet perfect for us, it was set out in the sticks of Lincolnshire where my husband grew up. My family are quite 'scattered' with some in the north and some in the south, so we stuck to this beautiful destination.
Of course running off to Italy to get wed did cross our minds - but our family had to be present and having it here was far less complex.
Although there are very few Italian members of the family over in Italy, we welcomed some friends over, as well as having close friends and family from this country.
After sending out numerous emails and checking out wedding venues, we picked one place which meant a lot to my husband and another which was set in an ideal place for us. Our ceremony actually took place in a registry office - usually not my first choice to walk down the aisle. But the old building sets on quite a pretty location, behind which is where my father in law lives and where my husband's Italian grandmother once lived when she was around. The one person he would have loved to have been there.
We then decided on an old country pub, with a big garden and a hundred year old oak tree. The food had an excellent reputation and it was the kind of nice, simple day we wanted. Nothing fancy or over the top. It was a day to relax - and after such a bad summer, we hit lucky with 30 degrees of glorious sunshine.
I had a list with all of my wedding planning which was getting ticked off throughout the year before the big day.
My husband's best man was his best friend, my bridesmaids were his sister and my niece, both teenagers and then my son was to be page boy.
Our florist was an old family friend in Lincolnshire and managed to do lovely gerbera's in a hand held bouquet. I wanted fuschia pink and I wanted the same colour for the bridesmaid dresses, although in the end it was a brighter, less deep shade. My shoes were also fuschia...
The dress was the first one I tried on! I went around a few of my local bridal shops, and went back to get the first one in Ribbons and Pearls in Cookham. I was wanting a corset style top and a ruffle skirt - plus the roses on the dress meant having white roses in my bouquet and for the button holes.
When it came to veils, I wasn't intending on wearing one. I wanted my straight long hair to have glorious curls and not to be covered by a veil. But my parents asked my to try one on when they came with me to try on the dress. A tiara was always going to be, but when they teamed it with the veil I was quite surprised. I would only have gone with a single tier, shoulder length and not to cover my hair.
I still didn't make up my mind until two weeks before the wedding day - they had to order it in as well, but it came on time...
The rings were going to be palladium. We don't like yellow gold and we wanted something harder wearing than silver or white gold. Darrel found loads of palladium bands, all in different styles. But we didn't actually get engaged - officially. Darrel knew he would 'pop the question', but being a little old fashioned wanted the perfect engagement ring, but with moving costs it was put to the back burner. So I suggested that we skipped that part and go ahead with the wedding without the fuss of the engagement.
Because of that I did want a ring with some small diamonds on - white gold, yes, platinum yes, but not so easy with palladium (unless I was ordering online). So I did have platinum and it is perfect. The diamonds around the band make up for the lack of engagement ring.
Then for my husband's big excitement for the day - to get some kind person to take him and his best man to the wedding riding on Vespas. He was lucky to get in contact with a motorcycle club who took them there - a sight I missed, but the Italian guests were quite impressed by all accounts!
We didn't really have a 'theme' as such. I like a bit of boho, bit of classic and a bit of vintage. I made all of my invitations, I did the menu's and made the sweet trees for the centre pieces (see my sweet tree blog). We had a bouncy castle for the children in the pub garden which was a fab idea. I planned to go on it, but I guess it was a bit too hot on the day!
The personal touches from my hand made centre pieces went well with my husband's home made seating plan - all done in the style of the periodic table (of yes, there is a geek side to him too!). His Mum went to a huge effort of making pink and white glittery cupcakes.
Looking at cakes, they can be at any cost perhaps from £10 upwards for the different sizes. But for a 'wedding' cake, you are talking hundreds. For our low key affair it didn't really make sense, so we opted for a plain iced sponge from Marks and Spencer. I added some glitter and the colourful cupcakes around it looked fine.
All in all, the biggest costs were probably the venue, DJ, bouncy castle and the dress. My bridesmaids dresses were purchased online from Light in the Box. A risk for curvy teenagers, but they fitted wonderfully.
Darrel's suit was from Next. His request was to have anything but black or grey - and to go with the Italian flag he went red (more like burgundy), white and green with a green tie. Burgundy must have been the in trend, as my son Kyle had a burgundy waistcoat and tie from Debenhams.
Our photographer was just amazing that day from MJR photography. We had some gorgeous pictures and she kept everyone in line.
The day from beginning to end was great. We had our photos taken in the garden of the registry office, then we went to Tattershall Castle for some sneaky pics. I say this because we didn't ask permission until we rocked up all in our attire. They couldn't say no, but we gave a generous donation of thanks.
Then at the reception we had glasses of Pimms. I had some fantastic snaps taken of me on the vintage car, which belongs to Darrel's cousin and her husband. He was a star to pick me up and drive us to get married.
After a filling wedding breakfast on such a warm day, everyone enjoyed lollipops from the sweet trees and loads of cake out in the garden. We then had our first dance inside to Paul Weller's 'You do something to me'.
We don't live in Lincolnshire, so we headed home the next day after thanking all of our great guests for the best day. Darrel though still had one person to thank, even though she sadly couldn't be there - and that what his Italian Nan, whom I had never met.
I saved my bouquet for her which was a promise I made before the wedding. It was wrapped in pink ribbon secured with diamonte pins. As she loved flowers we stopped by her grave on the way home and Darrel went alone to give to give her the bouquet as a gift.