Real Weddings

Katie and Tom.

Tom and Katie are both civil servants, so you’d expect that particular marriage to be supremely well-organised and to go off without a hitch. Even Covid didn’t manage to put a spanner in the works…

The couple first met at work, but given that their office has around 300 staff, it took them a year to properly notice one another. “We met one day during office hours, and it was an instant connection,” says Katie.

“By the following week, we’d already been on our first date.”

Tom proposed in August 2019, in the most romantic setting. “We were on the beautiful Dedham River. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect proposal; it was stunning. 

“I had no idea he was planning to do it, even though I’d already tried on the ring while shopping with my mum – sneaky! Everything had been planned perfectly.” (See – that’s civil servants for you…) 

Tom and Katie chose to get married at Parklands Quendon Hall, set within a beautiful deer park in Essex. “It felt so private, and the drive up to the venue was amazing. The showstopper pavilion was what ultimately made us choose this venue, along with my love for white interiors and my vision of a white wedding”

Amazingly, this couple didn’t have to move their date once. “We booked it in October 2019 and had it in August 2021. So many of our other friends had to move their wedding dates. We’d witnessed the devastation and anxiety other couples had gone through, and never knowing what the government were going to do or say at each briefing was so worrying, but the restrictions were lifted exactly one month before our wedding, and we felt so lucky to get the day we’d planned. After lockdown, it felt so surreal to have all of our 80-day guests, and an extra 60 in the evening, to celebrate with us, with no restrictions.” 

They loved every part of their day. “I’m a very organised person,” says Katie (we rest our case). “It was amazing to see everything that had been planned come together so perfectly; the day went so smoothly from start to finish.”

And a lot of that, reckons Katie, came down to making good choices early on.

“Make sure you have the wedding that you both want as a couple,” she says. “Try not to be influenced by other people’s preferences and food choices. Choose the guests you actually want to be there, not just people you happen to be related to, who you haven’t seen for decades and who may never have met your partner. I know that sounds harsh, but it made our day even more enjoyable to know that everyone was really there for us, and we knew every single guest.” 

Katie was one of the first customers to sign up for the new, refreshed GettingMarried site. “I had so much fun, logging on and creating the website. It was exactly what I needed to get organised.”

“The menu choice pages and the seating plans were incredibly useful. We’d opted for a multi-choice food option, and it made it so easy to get people to choose. Once they’d made their choices, I was able to download this as an Excel document and send it straight off to my venue.

“The table planning section was useful, too; we were also able to download this as a document, and send on to our suppliers, who were doing the physical table plans and centrepieces.”

“Everyone told me how stressful it was to plan a wedding, but I can honestly say that this website took that stress away; having an online platform meant we could communicate all the information our venue and suppliers needed.”

“Our guests know how organised I am, so it didn’t surprise them to discover that I had an amazing website where they could simply RSVP. We had a lot of early RSVPs early on, which really helped with the planning process: I strongly feel that this was because the website made it so easy, and took away the hassle of physically sending a card back in the post. 

“A lot of people commented that the GettingMarried site was a great idea, and two other friends went on to create their own website, too.”