Dale holding their son during their wedding ceremony

Alex and Dale met in 2015 on Tinder. “Our first date was on a Tuesday evening in Birmingham,” says Alice. “Dale met me straight from work. I remember feeling nervous but we were soon at ease after a few cocktails. Neither of us wanted the night to end, so we ended up in Walkabout on Broad Street until 2am. Then Dale used his Uber account to get me home, meaning he had to call a separate taxi!”

A sweet proposal at home

“We had been talking about getting married for years but decided to put having a family first,” says Alice. "We had our first child together in 2020. On the 5th March 2022 Dale asked if I fancied going to Hatton Garden, so I immediately said yes. We went and I picked out my ring and later that evening Dale proposed in front of the fire after we had put our son to bed. Just us in our living room.”

Alice and Dale looking in one anothers eyes while on the dance floor for their first dance

Shopping for the dress

“I actually visited three different WED2B stores,” says Alice. “For the third visit I went to the Chelmsford store alone and found my dress. I’d already been and tried on a few dresses elsewhere but couldn’t find anything I liked. I just wanted to go on my own and find something without all of the stress of paying for an appointment at a boutique. I hate being the centre of attention and being able to go and do this on my own made the whole process so much easier for me.”

Alice in her simple wed2b wedding dress holding onto her unique wedding bouquet

“The dress I wanted and bought was sadly a little too big, so later that week I went to the London stores to see what they had in stock in my size,” says Alice. “They told me that the same dress was in stock in my size in Bristol. Luckily, I was already going to visit my parents in the West Midlands that weekend, so my mum, my son and I all went down to Bristol and swapped the size 10 for a size 8.”

"The staff and the laid-back, walk-in nature of WED2B was great for me on my own, but the size of the stores also means that you can easily take in larger groups of people. Or in my case a mum and a pushchair!”

My dream dress (and veil)

“I always imagined myself in a flowing boho lacy gown but when I tried them on I felt silly,” says Alice. “When I walked into WED2B Chelmsford I wanted something different. I wanted plain and I wanted fitted. They had the perfect dress for me. I knew Bekkie was my dress the moment I saw her. She was so comfortable and the stretch of the crepe fabric made it so easy to move in, essential when picking up a toddler all day. I really felt like she made me shine and I’ve never felt so beautiful.”

Becky on the morning of her wedding in her wed2b wedding dress with the buttons being fastened

“Also, I didn’t really want a veil, as I thought it would be annoying. However, the WED2B stylist suggested I try Loulou, a shorter veil, and I completely fell in love. I wore it all day long and I didn’t want to take it off. I would still be wearing it now if I could! Being a shorter veil it didn’t get in my way at all and the movement in the wind gave my photos a lot more interest. Plus, it made me feel actually like a proper bride!”

Black and white image of Alice holding a glass of bubbles while in her wedding dress

An Essex wedding

“Dale and I had always talked about getting married at a register office and then heading to the pub,” says Alice. “However, I found it hard to find anywhere suitable that gave us enough space to invite all of the children in our families. Dale decided to have a little search for local Essex wedding venues and found Leez Priory, a 16th Century mansion, about 30 minutes from our house. It was beautiful and there was so much space for all of the children to run around. They had no Saturday dates left this year, so we decided to have a Monday wedding in October half term.”

Alice and Dale's Essex wedding venue

The big day

“My sister and her family stayed at my house the night before, so that morning I drove my sister, mum and my niece to the venue and we got ready in their bridal prep rooms,” says Alice. “Dale got everything else sorted, along with our nearly two-year-old son. I always wanted to get married outside, but with a late October wedding I didn’t really expect this to be realistic. However, on the day of our wedding, the weather was glorious. I was so happy!”

Alice some last minute make up touches for her complete wedding day look

“The venue set up the seating outside in front of their tower and I could see everything taking shape through the window as I got ready. We had music played by a wedding duo called The String of Roses, who are friends of my dad, as he had worked on the cello that played in our ceremony.”

Alice and Dale's wedding orchestra playing music for their guests Alice in her v-neckline wedding dress holding her wedding bouquet

Heartfelt readings and music

“Originally my mum was meant to walk my son down the aisle as a flower boy but it soon became clear this wasn’t going to happen,” says Alice. “So, thankfully, my niece Hazel stepped up and walked Elliot down and he was happy to oblige. My sisters followed as bridesmaids, all to an instrumental version of ‘Kissing You’ by Des’ree. My dad then walked me down to an instrumental version of ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ by the Velvet Underground.”

Alice and Dale kissing in front of all their wedding guests outside Alice and Dale holding hands and looking at one another during their outdoors wedding ceremony

“During the service our friends Immy and Ross (who the registrar comically called Rose during the ceremony) read an extract from The Pearl by John Steinbeck. It’s a book that Dale had given to me in 2016, and he had highlighted a sentence of that extract in a note he wrote in the cover. After we married, Dale held Elliot up Lion King style for everyone to see, which he loved. I will never forget that moment.”

Alice and Dale with their son during their wedding ceremony
Alice and Dale kissing with their guests looking on during their wedding ceremony

Party time!

“After the ceremony we had drinks, canapés and, of course, soft play,” says Alice. “We had eight children under two at our wedding and the soft play room went down a storm. Everyone then moved up to the Coach House where there was more soft play, while Dale and I had a quick photo shoot around the grounds.”

"After our meal we came back down to the main house for the evening party and we had our first dance, to ‘Real Love Baby’ by Father John Misty. Dale and I are not natural dancers but my dress was so comfortable it felt easy to move around in. I had no worries about any wardrobe malfunctions!”

Alice and Dale's wedding guests sitting at their tables during the wedding breakfast

Long-lasting flowers

“The bouquets and buttonholes were custom-made dried flowers from Dried UK, a company I found on Instagram. I also had dried flowers in my hair along with my veil. I love my flowers and, as they were dried, I still have them on my kitchen table today.”

Alice and Dale holding handswhile walking on the grounds of their wedding venue Alice and Dale kissing with their wedding venue visible in the background

Fun for all the family

“Other than my flowers I wanted a wedding with minimal faff and wastage,” says Alice. "We used all of the venue's own decorations and used their candle package for our tables."

“I spent a lot of time planning favours though. All of the adults had a name card, which contained a scratch card and a penny. I was hoping that someone might end up paying for our wedding! The teenagers had sweets and glow sticks and the babies had rattle eggs, mini pop-it toys, word books and baby snacks. I had a lot of compliments on our baby bags. For me, a wedding is all about friends, family and children. I wanted to make sure everyone felt wanted and accommodated for.”

Alice and Dale's outdoors wedding ceremony with their guests waiting for the bride

Happy kids, happy parents

“Of course, these favours went alongside the two lots of soft play we had set up at the venue,” says Alice. “In the evening, we had a DJ and we had a dance but what I loved most about our Essex wedding venue was that it also gave us the pub vibe we wanted. They had a club-style dance floor and many had a good party but I didn’t want to miss my whole wedding dancing. I wanted to catch up and speak to old friends and family. This was the first time I had seen many since before the pandemic. So I spent the whole night chatting to everyone I could!”

Alice and Dale enjoying dancing on the dancefloor

The best bits…

“It seemed like the whole day was running in triple speed. I wanted to take it all in but it was over way too quickly,” says Alice.

"I will never forget the cuddle I had with our son during the wedding breakfast. He was starting to flag a little then, so he came up onto my lap for a rest and the photographer managed to capture the moment I breathed him in. My dress made picking him up and moving around so easy. It really meant the world to be able to have him on my lap without worrying about a super expensive gown. I could enjoy my day and enjoy my son and be in the moment. I don't think I would have been able to truly relax if I'd spent a fortune on a dress.”

Alice and Dale embracing outside under a light feature

My top tips…

“Get a hair and makeup stylist on the day,” says Alice. “It saves so much stress in the morning. If you like a WED2B dress but it isn’t in your size in store ask them to check stock elsewhere. You may be able to pick one up in one of the tons of stores they have across the UK. Don’t be shy about trying a veil, either. I loved mine!”

Alice and Dale posing in front of their wedding venue while it's dark outside

Alice and Dale’s Dream Team

Photographer: Chris Woodman Photography

Essex wedding venue: Leez Priory

Wedding dresses Chelmsford: WED2B

Dried flowers: Dried UK and Hidden Botanics 

Hair/ makeup stylist: Emma Victoria (Chelmsford)

Live music: The String of Roses

Softplay: Puttmad 

Alice and Dale's first dance
Dale waiting for Alice to walk down the wedding aisle

If you would like us to feature your big day, like this Essex wedding, then please click here to share your story and photos with us and we’ll be in touch. Your nearest WED2B is closer than you think, click here for more details about WED2B’s bridal shops Chelmsford