Katie and James holding hands while confetti is being thrown by their wedding guests

Katie and James met through their local running club. “Our first date was a run,” says Katie. “James is a chef so, for our next date, he cooked for us. Luckily enough, since then, I’ve not really had to cook in the last five and a half years. We were going out less than three weeks after our first date, so we both knew it was something serious. My mum also predicted, before our first date, that I’d marry him. And look where we are now!”

Katie's lace wed2b wedding dress hanging up

A lockdown proposal

The couple had been together for three and a half years when James proposed. “It was on New Year’s Eve at home, as we were in lockdown at the time,” says Katie. “We got dressed up and he cooked a three-course meal. He kept joking around saying, ‘when are we going to swap New Year’s presents?’ I thought he was acting a bit funny, but I had no idea why. And then came the ring! I was so shocked that I didn’t say yes for a while.”

Bride Katie sitting while her bridesmaids fans out her bridal veil
Katie and her bridesmaids in their dressing gowns toasting on the morning of the wedding

“What James didn’t realise was that we’d then spend the next hour on FaceTime to family and friends because I wanted to tell everyone! It was so lovely. Even though we were in lockdown, we were in this happy bubble together. I couldn’t wait to start planning, so spent all my weekends in January doing research.”

Katie's bridesmaids in the bridal suite having their hair and make up done Katie in her wedding dress while the back of the dress is being fastened

Shopping for the dress

“My mum and I had a great experience at wed2b Milton Keynes.” says Katie. “I panic bought another dress, as a shop was having a sale. It was a post-lockdown experience, and I didn’t have my mum with me. I also felt rushed, as it was on offer. I wasn’t convinced about the first dress, so I persuaded Mum to let me go shopping again, just to try things on. Also, perhaps to find a veil.”

Katie with her bridesmaids and mum on the morning of her wedding

“The ladies who helped us at wed2b were incredible and I had a really positive experience.” says Katie. “We picked out a few dresses, which were beautiful but didn’t feel right. I knew I was after an A-line dress with some tulle and floral detail, but I didn’t think I wanted a big princess dress.”

Katie standing in the bridal suite in her wedding dress with the bridesmaids fanning out her train and veil

“I then put on ‘my’ dress, Mum cried, I cried and so did a lady next to Mum who was there with her sister! Even though I already had a dress, I knew I had to get this one. When I tried my dress on I was blown away. I loved how it made me feel. I was excited for James to see me and I loved all of the finer details, especially the back. It was elegant but also with enough detail to make it spectacular. I've never felt as beautiful as I did when I wore it on my wedding day.”

Katie chose Maison, for similar styles check out Siobhan, Kayleigh or Ariella.

Katie and James' Paphos wedding venue

A sunny Paphos wedding

The couple got married in Paphos, Cyprus. “When we realised how much a UK wedding cost, we looked abroad,” says Katie. “Paphos has a special place in our hearts, so we started there. We then found a rustic but modern venue called Liopetro and booked our Paphos wedding without seeing it in person. When we visited in September 2021 we were blown away. On the day it was perfect and our wedding planners were phenomenal.”

Katie and James holding hands walking out of their wedding venue
Katie and James smiling, holding hands hile confetti is thrown at them

“The wedding was on 19th September 2022, almost two years after getting engaged,” says Katie. “Our date was dictated a bit, as we wanted September but there weren’t many dates left because lots of brides were having to reschedule their weddings. The date was also the day of the Queen’s funeral, so it will be a memorable one.”

Katie and James ringing the bell at their wedding venue

The best day of our lives…

“My bridesmaids joined me for breakfast on the big day, while all of the boys went for a run,” says Katie. “Our friends also made sure we didn’t see each other in the hotel we were all staying in. I got ready with my bridesmaids and Mum at the bridal suite at the venue. It was a very hot day but we had good air con and we kept sneaking out to see the venue set up.”

Katie and James table setting for their outdoor wedding breakfast

“My dad walked me down the aisle to ‘Wildest Dreams’ by Duomo, inspired by Bridgerton. And our nine-year-old niece did a Disney themed wedding reading. Walking down the aisle to James was so scary but also so exciting, to start the next chapter as Mrs Down.”

Katie and James preparing to run in their wedding outfits
Katie and James running in the wedding outfits on their wedding day

Drinks, dancing and a saxophonist

”After the ceremony we had a drinks reception with a saxophonist, which was awesome,” says Katie. “We got to spend time with our family and friends. Our first dance song was an acoustic version of ‘One Kiss’, but then it remixed into a Calvin Harris song. We wanted our wedding party to enjoy the moment with us, so encouraged everyone to join in and dance with us.”

James embracing Katie whie both wearing running trainers

The best bits…

“Oh I really can’t pick a best moment, it was genuinely perfect from start to finish,” says Katie. “I cried more the next day because it had gone so well! James and I had so much fun reminiscing on what a good day it was.”

Katie and James holding hands while walking around Paphos Katie and James kissing on their wedding day

"I also have a lovely bond with my dad, as I lost my biological mum at 11. He walked me down the aisle and he gave an outstanding speech. Everyone came up to me afterwards and said how brilliant it was. We also got to dance together and, on the bus home, we had a lovely chat about the wedding and life."

Katie and James holding hands and staring at one another while walking around Paphos

“The next few days he kept saying how amazing it was. To have the two most important men in my life enjoy the day so much just meant the world to me.”

Katie and James kissing with the venue in the background

My top tips…

“Go abroad, you won’t regret it,” says Katie. “Although I appreciate this won’t be for everyone. Also, enjoy the planning experience, don’t worry about the small stuff. Spend time on organising the things that mean the most to you.”

Katie and James cutting their wedding cake

"And, don't train for a marathon at the same time as planning a wedding. I ran the London Marathon 13 days afterwards. Luckily both went well, but I'm never doing that again!”

Katie and James embracing with a lit up heart feature in the background
Katie and James embracing outside their wedding venue while the sun has gone down

Katie and James’s Dream Team

Photographer: Nick at Beziique

Venue: Liopetro

Wedding dresses Milton Keynes: wed2b

Wedding Planners: Marry Me Cyprus

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