Real Weddings

Alex and Terry.

Alex and Terry live in the pretty town of Leamington Spa, just north of The Cotswolds. They share their home with a pair of cats called Lily and Poppy, “who refused to be flower girls at the wedding – stubborn animals”, and dream of the day that they’ll own a golden retriever. “We’ve already named him Rafiki,” says Alex. A quick Google search reveals that Rafiki translates from the Swahili as ‘a friend’, which strikes us as an excellent name for a dog.

While many of our GettingMarried couples made their way to the altar via a slow-burn, off-and-on affair, for Alex and Terry the connection was instant and continuous.

“We met just as I was finishing my university degree in Coventry,” says Alex. “I was out celebrating after completing my final exam, and I met Terry that same evening. I was about to head home to Hertfordshire, so we both assumed that the romance would be short lived; but after dating for a couple of months we agreed to give the long-distance thing a go.”

Fast-forward six years, to when the couple were living together in Leamington. On holiday in Italy, after attending a wedding in Tuscany, they went out for dinner in Bologna. Naturally enough, with their friends’ nuptials being such a fresh memory, they found themselves discussing what their own perfect wedding might look like.  

“After a few wines, I said ‘Why don’t we just get engaged, and then we can announce our engagement at your 30th birthday party next month?’” Terry was very keen on the idea, but he wanted to make it official even sooner; he suggested we bought a ring the next day and extended our stay. 

“We chose the ring together the next morning, but I had no idea when Terry was going to pop the question. I didn’t have long to wait. We were having coffee together in the middle of Bologna square, when he suddenly had the box open and was saying ‘Will you marry me?’. As soon as the ring was on my finger, the couple on the next table gave us a round of applause. Given I had never wanted a public proposal, this part of the proceedings was quite unexpected!” 

Alex and Terry both wanted a relaxed and informal wedding. “We love barns,” said Alex. “We looked at quite a few in The Cotswolds, but when we came across Kingscote Barn we decided that it was absolutely perfect. I’d always wanted a bit of a drive off the road to the actual venue, which it had. There was also onsite accommodation, so a lot of our wedding party could stay over. We had 80-ish guests in the day and about 100 for the evening. 

“Our wedding co-ordinator, Laura, was absolutely brilliant, making us feel welcome and excited from the moment we arrived. The venue is surrounded by countryside; we wanted the option of getting married outside, and they have a beautiful linhay building that overlooks the fields. A lot of our guests loved that about our venue, and said how relaxed it all felt.  

As for Alex, “Walking down the aisle was the most exciting and overwhelming part of the day for me. I cried all the way down; it was so special and emotional. 

“The day went by so fast, and we really appreciated the chance to step away with James and Kylie (our video/photography team) to have a few moments just to ourselves. 

“We had use of the outdoor games at the venue, and as the weather was lovely all day, a lot of guests enjoyed playing these during the drinks reception and well into the evening. 

“Our favours were a bit of a feature, too. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money on things most people would just leave behind, so we held a raffle for people to win various Virgin experiences. We also had a booby prize in the form of a giant canvas of Terry’s head – a present to me from when we got engaged, that had gone a bit wrong – which everyone found quite amusing. 

“Another thing our guests loved was the use of a Polaroid camera, meaning that they could take pictures of different parts of the day. We had a peg board that people could stick them on, but I know that a lot of people took them home for their own keepsakes.” 

The most important thing when planning a wedding, says Alex, is not to panic.

“Admittedly, that’s easier said than done. One useful tip is to go your chosen venue’s open days, to get details of caterers and general inspiration. It’s a good idea to work with suppliers who know your venue, although it’s not absolutely essential. 

“Ultimately, my advice is to have the kind of wedding that you want. You will never please everyone, so you may as well please yourselves. And remember; most of the little things you’re worrying about now won’t matter in the slightest on the day. 

“If you’re on a tight budget, figure out what the most important things are first and work from there. Be clever; our flower budget was quite small, so we used a supplier who reused ceremony flowers from outside for dressing the barn for the wedding breakfast. 

“And enjoy it… it’s meant to be fun….!

Images supplied thanks to Storybox Wedding and Film Photography