The Real Wedding Story of Gemma and Rob
"I opened the front door of our house ... and walked straight down the aisle"
Images by Phil Rees Photography
How and when did you get engaged?
27th December 2010, at my parents house. Rob had already asked my dad if he could marry me. He got down on one knee in front of all my family, gave a little speech on how he wanted to keep me forever and popped the question!
Where and when did you get married?
25 July 2015, at home, in the garden, with all of our closest friends and family around us. There was straw bales for seating, a live band (which included our 8 year old daughter on drums) for entertainment and our pet dogs watching the whole thing.
What was your budget?
We didn't have a budget.
How did you pick your venue?
We had been looking at venues for two years, from private mansions to sun, sea and sand in the Bahamas. But nothing really grabbed us. But what we did decide was that we wanted a marquee, a country theme and as much personal touches as possible. So that's when we decided that there is no place like home and it was a complete blank canvas.
Tell us about the ceremony
The ceremony was held on one side of the garden, the guests were asked to arrive half an hour early so people could mingle and settle down (and the bar was open). The scene was set with straw bales for seating, the aisle was lined with tree stumps, with home made vases on top holding blue and cream flowers picked from the garden, there was an arch with ivy, white flowers and twinkling lights (all hand made) at one end of the aisle.
I opened the front door of our house (where I got ready) and walked straight down the aisle. It was a very relaxed ceremony which included Celtic handfasting.
Tell us about the reception, and evening reception
The reception was as informal as the ceremony, in a marquee on the opposite side of the garden, it included a hog roast, a cake buffet, a cake made from cheese, a home made candy cart and a camo wedding cake. The tables were dressed in lace with tree stump (from the garden) centre pieces, with homemade vases holding blue and cream flowers and candles. Lanterns and floral bunting hung all around the inside while big blue uplights lit up the outside.
What was your first dance song and how did you choose it?
The first dance song was Bon Jovi - Make a memory. It is a song we discovered together at a Bon Jovi concert, neither of us had heard it but it was just us.
What was your favourite part of the day?
I don't think we can single one part of the day out. We loved every part of it! From peaking out of the window when everyone was arriving and feeling beyond nervous, to the amazing vows Rob had written (I didn't do any and had to fess up right there and then!) and then the father/daughter dance.. not a dry eye in the marquee!
Did you go on honeymoon? If so, where?
Well, the story behind this is: our children's Nain passed away on Boxing Day last year, she was a big part of all our lives and had SO many ideas for the wedding. One of the things she had said was that she wanted to send us on our honeymoon and she would come out for a few days to watch the children and give us some 'us' time. Well obviously this couldn't happen, but what she had done was left us some money for the holiday. We decided as this was that last thing Nain would give to the children we HAD to make it special for them. We made a DVD (as though it was a message from Nain) it told the children how much she loved them, how proud she was of them and that she would always be watching over them from her star in the sky, it then went on to tell them that she wanted to give them one last present, she was sending them to Disneyland Florida. So not only is it our honeymoon it's a gift for the children. (I'm crying now).
Where did you get your dress, flowers and rings from?
We wanted to keep everything as local as possible. We got the rings from Richard Hughes Jewellers in Wrexham, we got the flowers from the garden and from gardens of family and I got my dress from Cameo Brides, at the Plassey in Wrexham.
Which wedding suppliers would you recommend and why?
Everyone we used for the wedding was absolutely fantastic, I would recommend every single one of them
Don't tell Porkys Hog Roast
Paul G Roadshow
Anna Greenland celebrant
Melody Corporate Marquees
The Rock Project, band
Phil Rees Photography
Richard Hughes Jewellers
Siobhan Weston hair
Head office, hairdressers
All these companies are local, family run businesses who really care about what they do and what they can do for you.
Do you have any tips or recommendations for other brides or grooms?
Look around, choose only things that make you think 'YES' straight away. If you are unsure, think on it, chances are it's not what you really want! Always choose what YOU want and not what someone else thinks you want or need. It's your wedding, your day, your choice!! Also if you forget something on the day, don't worry about it, chances are it's not detrimental and only you know it's been forgotten.
Did you have any wedding bargains?
Homemade is the best bargain! We used sauce jars for centre pieces and isle decorations, decorated with lace, twine and a button. The cost of a jar which would have been thrown away, £3 for a length of lace, twine and buttons for a couple of pounds, then filled with flowers out of the garden, placed on some thin cut pieces of tree stump from the garden, put in the centre of tables. It must have only cost us £10 max for all the table centres.
Did you make anything for the wedding yourself?
The best thing we made was the candy cart! It looked amazing, with big old horse cart wheels on it. We worked out that it would be cheaper to make the cart and buy the sweets that actually hire one. Another amazing thing we make was a three tier cake stand, made entirely from the tree wood in the garden, it is just beautiful.
Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about your big day?
Millions! The mission ... it was not only planning the big day, but having to redecorate the whole house two weeks before - just in case! The weather ... terrible the week before and after, but perfect on the day! The garden make over, with all our friends cutting, digging, mowing, levelling, painting, with only the reward of tea and biscuits! Lugging straw bales around in my wedding dress (I'm that type of person), my cowboy boots for shoes, the boys in tweed and my three beautiful daughters making the most perfect bridesmaids!!