Gaby and Zac’s uniquely personal wedding
These newlyweds incorporated a few of their favourite things into their big day for a truly personal celebration. Our WED2B Real Weddings feature reveals more…
Gaby and Zac first locked eyes in 2013, over the tills of the supermarket where they both worked. “I was really nervous to talk to Zac but he broke the ice by writing a note on the back of a receipt, asking me out,” says Gaby. “Our first date was to the cinema followed by a late-night drive to talk about what was most important to us. We clicked instantly and ended up back at Zac’s to watch another film… it was Bridesmaids!”
A romantic proposal
“Zac knows I'm a bit of a homebody, and he also knew I had a bit of a timeline plan for life,” says Gaby. “When he proposed we had been living together for four years and had recently bought our first home. I'd just got back from work when Zac told me he wanted to go hunting for Pokémon on his phone. I reluctantly agreed and we ended up driving to my favourite spot on Harwich Pier. Zac led me to the end, there was nobody around, and it had just started to drizzle.”
“Lots of people have added locks to the pier’s fencing, as memories and to declare love. Zac pointed to one and got me to look at it. It said, ‘Gaby, Will you marry me?’. I then turned round and he was there with the ring! It was totally unexpected and I couldn't quite believe it. Even more romantically, he'd booked a private table for us in the restaurant overlooking the harbour for that evening. It was perfect, for just the two of us. I couldn't stop grinning from ear to ear.”
Bridal shops Essex
“I had an amazing experience at WED2B’s bridal shops Essex,” says Gaby. “Jess at the Chelmsford store was absolutely amazing. I was first in the door and she instantly helped me find styles that I wanted to try and a few that opened my eyes to something new. I felt so safe and put total trust in Jess. My mum was with me but we were sad not to have other members of the bridal party there. Once I found a dress, Jess allowed me to FaceTime them. She even took the phone to give them a tour of the dress and all the detailing!"
The perfect dress
Gaby fell in love with Lizette, a strapless mermaid dress (for similar try Constantina, Elly or Milani). “I wore it with a beautiful Lou Lou veil but I felt something was missing,” she says. “So I added the Alexandra bolero jacket, which went so perfectly with Lizette that my Mum thought it was all one piece! This also meant I could take the bolero off in the evening to have more of a dance. I love how flexible WED2B is, because I actually returned to the store one year later to purchase the Estella belt. Postponing the wedding gave me time to think, and adding the belt meant my look had another changeable element. Jess gave fantastic advice on how to get into the dress on the day, plus guidance on the underskirt. I simply loved it and would definitely recommend WED2B's bridal shops Essex to other brides.”
A beautiful mill venue
The couple married at Kersey Mill, Suffolk on Saturday 20th November 2021 after postponing due to the pandemic. “It’s an old converted mill and kiln, so it had a lot of character with low wooden beams but with modern comforts too,” says Gaby. “There were private gardens for the photos and we loved the striking red door on the manor house. We knew it was the venue for us because we could instantly imagine our family and friends there. The venue was tucked away from busy roads too, so when we were outside we could close our eyes and hear the birds singing. It was simply wonderful.”
The big day
Gaby and Zac both got ready separately at a private manor house and it was all hands on deck to get the bridal party ready. “We had hair, make up and flowers, but despite the multitude of people helping out, the morning was so relaxed,” says Gaby. “My mum drove me and my dad to the venue in her car, complete with a bow, and we arrived at Kersey Mill for the ceremony at 1pm. My dad walked me down the aisle to a piano instrumental of "A Million Dreams' from The Greatest Showman. I had spent weeks listening to the song on repeat and weeping so, of course, I cried down the aisle too!"
"We had the most perfect ceremony where my mother-in-law read a piece I had written as a surprise for Zac. It was a metaphor for how finding love is like searching for the perfect car to buy. But in the end, it turns out it isn't really about the car, but in fact about who you want sitting in the passenger seat beside you on the journey of life.”
Afterwards everyone headed out for canapés, confetti, and drinks. “This was a great opportunity to greet every guest personally before the wedding breakfast,” says Gaby. “Zac had two best men and they did their speech as a duo. It was hilarious and lots of the photos are of Zac and I roaring with laughter. My dad made a heartfelt speech too, and my grandad came in at the end to remind Zac to take care of me, as I’m his only granddaughter. All the while he had his hands jokingly clasped around Zac’s neck!”
Unique personal touches
The couple wanted their day to be reflective of them. "So we took our favourite things - books and Pokémon - and merged them,” says Gaby. “It resulted in a beautiful colour palette of burgundy and navy with vintage books and pages scattered across the tables, but with Pikachu figures and Pokémon balls dotted in the centrepieces. It was very subtle but worked brilliantly. Our favours were personalised bookmarks, thanking guests for sharing our next chapter with us, and a pack of Pokémon cards. I created the packs myself and one lucky guest bagged the best card - a Charizard!"
"Our three-piece wedding cake was made by Zac’s mum and had a layer of Zac’s favourite lemon drizzle, red velvet for me and a third chocolate layer. It was iced in navy and elevated on a stand made of books with the pages folded to spell out our names and hearts.”
If music be the food of love...
“The three-course meal was incredible and with my Italian background I even put mac ’n' cheese on the menu. It went down a treat. We had a live singer play during dinner to set a romantic tone, so in-between courses people were humming and singing along to the love songs. One of my most treasured memories is seeing guests arm in arm singing along and looking into the eyes of their loved ones.”
“Our first dance was to ‘All About You’ by McFly, which was performed by our singer and guitarist. It’s a song I’d dreamed of having on my wedding day since I was 11 years old. It was a beautiful moment and after that it was straight into partying the night away! One of my favourite moments was when we all got on the floor to dance to ‘Oops Upside Your Head’. And, yes, we were the leaders at the front, in my wedding dress and all!”
My top tips…
“Stop and take a mental snapshot. The day goes so quickly and being at the centre of it all can often mean you miss things,” says Gaby. “Get a very large plastic bag from a Swedish furniture store, cut a hole in the middle, and step into it when you need the toilet! It’s the perfect way to hold up your dress and underskirt to protect it from the bathroom floor. It also meant I didn't have to pester my bridesmaids every time I needed a wee. Oh and sit on the toilet backwards! Sounds nuts, but it works - trust me!"
"Also, get photos of the little things. If you spent time putting them together, then seeing professional photos will just bring to life the memories in so much more detail. Lastly, do you. It's your wedding. Create it to celebrate the couple you are. Do it your way, even if other people have other ideas. I am so glad we had a day that was 100% us. Nothing was for show, it was all from the heart and once our guests experienced it they said they wouldn't have changed a thing. And neither would we.”
Gaby’s Dream Team
Venue: The Venue at Kersey Mill
Photography: RS Photo
Videography: Luxe Wedding Films
Bridal shops Essex: WED2B
Flowers: Fancy Little Flowers
Hair: Hair So Boho
Make Up: Emma Rhianne Brow Specialist
Suits: Moss Bros
Live music: Liam Fitzgerald
Chairs: Table Angels
Catering: Jamie Lee Smith Catering
Confetti: Shropshire Petals
Rings: C.J. Brooks
Accommodation: Holbecks House B&B
Dress alterations: Created By Ruth Carter
Registrars: Suffolk Registrars
If you would like your big day to be one of our real weddings please click here to share your story and photos with us and we’ll be in touch. Or click here for more details about WED2B’s bridal shops Essex.