Nicky and Richard kissing in front of their wedding guests

Nicky and Richard first met aged 18 at college. “We were in the same maths class,” says Nicky. “We kept in touch and headed off to different universities and then got together several years later. On our first date we realised how well we got on and immediately felt a strong connection. From there we grew closer and closer and eventually started dating.”

Nicky and Richard takign a selfie after the wedding proposal

A proposal with a view

Rich proposed in August 2019, the day before the couple’s fifth anniversary. “We were in Peru on a backpacking holiday and on a four-day Salkantay trek up to Machu Picchu,” says Nicky.

Groom Richard jumping for joy at his proposal to Nicky

“Rich proposed at the viewing point where you get a first peek of Machu Picchu. We were taking jumping photos on a timer and then, on one of the jumps, he got down on one knee. I was so shocked and the photo was so perfectly timed that it shows my shocked face. I was overcome with emotion and happy tears."

Groom Richard down on one knee proposing to Bride Nicky

“Rich says it took me a while to say yes. He was keen for an answer, as he had accidentally put his knee in an ants nest! We hugged and it was just the most amazing incredible moment, with no one around apart from some chickens.”

Richard and Nicky embracing after she said the all important yes to Richard's proposal

Shopping for the dress

Nicky visited WED2B’s London store first. “I didn't find ‘The One’ at the first visit, but later I was browsing the website and found the exact dress I was looking for!" she says. "I then went to WED2B Southampton and I loved the staff, who were really helpful. It was also great to be able to buy the dress and take it home the same day.”

Nicky in her simple classic wedding dress and plain tulle bridal veil Nicky's bridesmaids fastening the buttons on her wed2b wedding dress

Nicky chose Bekkie. “I loved the simplicity of it,” she says. “The dress wasn’t wearing me, I was wearing the dress. The fit and the style really suited me and it was just such a classic design. I felt amazing in it! In the evening, before the first dance, I also added a sparkly belt.” (For similar styles try Gisella, Rio or Domenica)

Nicky securing her wedding earrings on the morning of her wedding

A beautiful venue

“How can you not fall in love with Hale Park in Hampshire?” says Nicky. “As you travel down the driveway, the view is so stunning. We loved how unique and flexible it was. We could also camp in a field nearby and play music until the early hours (we partied until 3:30am!). There was no corkage too, which was a big plus. It had lots of grounds and the beautiful house for photos, as well as the sweetest church to get married in. Neither of us our religious but it was just the quaintest little church!”

Nicky posing with her 4 bridesmaids and their wedding bouquets

The big day

“I got ready with my four bridesmaids at the venue,” says Nicky. “My dad came to meet us and then we walked to the church. Seeing my dad for the first time was such a special moment. The weather was dry and warm but not too warm (it had been 40 degrees just five days before).”

Nicky posing in the grounds of her wedding venue holding her wedding bouquet

“During the ceremony, one of my bridesmaids sang a solo of 'What a Wonderful World',” says Nicky. “We also had two readings,’Everything I Know About Love' by Dolly Alderton and then 'The Adventure had Begun'. We also had hymns, 'One More Step Along the World I Go' and ‘Jerusalem’, one of my Nanna's favourites.”

Bride Nicky walking down the stairs to her wedding ceremony with her bridesmaids

“The most special moment was seeing Rich at the end of the aisle, all I saw was him,” says Nicky. “And then my bridesmaid’s singing was stunning! Also, seeing my Nanna there during the ceremony and the cheer from everyone when we were declared married. That will live with me forever.”

Nicky and Richard holding hands during their wedding ceremony

Party time!

After the ceremony there were canapés and drinks out on the lawn, accompanied by a band, and then a three-course, sit-down meal. “All the food was delicious,” says Nicky. “In the evening, we also had noodles in takeaway pots with chopsticks, which went down very well.”

Nicky and Richard celebrating after they've said their wedding vows

“Outside we supplied lots of garden games, including corn hole (a beanbag game made by Rich), table football, a pinball machine, giant jenga and bubble machines for the kids.”

Nicky and Richard kissing outside their wedding ceremony venue

“Our first dance song was ‘Send Me On My Way’ by Rusted Roots. We chose this song because if we ever have a rubbish day we put this song on and dance around the kitchen! We still do this after more than eight years together.”

Nicky and Richard walking through confetti thrown by their wedding guests

A boho chic wedding

The couple went for a boho chic wedding vibe with a festival twist. “The venue itself looks almost French,” says Nicky. “We also both love live music and like to be different, so it was very much about what we liked. We wanted to go very natural with all the colours. Our bridesmaids were in sage green and the flowers were pale pinks and whites with lots of green foliage. There was lots of eucalyptus with whites, creams and pale pinks. Our florist got it spot on.”

Nicky embracing her wedding guests at her boho chic wedding

“My mum made our four-tier cake with traditional fruit cake, strawberry and vanilla, Seville orange and lemon and elderflower layers. For favours, we bought a secondhand Cricut machine (best investment for the wedding). Then we cut out our guests’ names on vinyl and transferred them onto small bathroom tiles that we bought from B&Q. People could then take the tiles home and use them as coasters.”

Nicky and Richard embracing on the grounds of their wedding venue

“There were also printed photos of each person, which sat in a stump of wood that we cut and made. The photos were a great talking point, trying to work out what event the photo was from! Plus, we had homemade candles with labels from the Cricut machine.”

Nicky and Richard smiling at one another while posing outside their wedding venue

The personal touch

“The table plan  was a wooden board made out of pallets, string and pegs, decorated with foliage. The centrepieces had beautiful flowers in rustic stone vases, perfect for the boho chic wedding feel. Table names were all mountains we had trekked across the world, from Wales to the Lake District and Peru,” says Nicky. “Machu Picchu was the top table, of course!”

Nicky and Richards table setting for their boho chic wedding

“We also made a bar from scratch and we had photos everywhere of family and friends. There was a video booth where people could record a message on an iPad and an instax camera for photos. I printed menus for each of the tables and used sprigs of rosemary to decorate the napkins. The church flowers were all done by family members, too. Some flowers even came all the way from Ireland with a family member who drove over.”

Nicky and Richard posing in front of all their wedding guests

The all-important music

“We had a fantastic live band from Reigate,” says Nicky. “We live in Reigate and had seen Alice Dale perform at various pubs. The first time we saw her we complimented her on how amazing her voice is and we just kept in touch, joking after a few drinks that she would perform at our wedding. When planning our wedding, I asked and I was thrilled she said yes and put a band together for us! We had a singer, saxophonist/keyboard, bass player, and someone on a box drum.”

Nicky and Richard posing with family and friends outside their wedding venue

The best bits…

“The most memorable moments were walking from the venue to the church with my dad and bridesmaids and my bridesmaid singing a solo,” says Nicky. “I loved walking into the venue for the wedding breakfast and everyone waving their napkins above their heads. Plus, during a group photo on the steps, we turned around and heard all the guest cheering and shouting our surname ‘Varney’, which was the best feeling in the world! To have that much love and support was insane. Dancing on the dance floor with all our family and friends was great. Everyone said, the love in that room was amazing!”

NIcky and Richard embracing outside their boho chic wedding

My top tips…

"We were given the same tip by almost everyone,” says Nicky. “Make sure you take some time together to soak up the day. We found that in between getting our photos done was a great moment to do this.”

Nicky and Richard’s Dream Team

Photographer: Rachel Jane Photography

Venue: Hale Park Weddings

Wedding dresses Southampton: WED2B

Groom’s suit: Cavendish Romsey

Flowers: The Forest Florist

Make-up: Skin Glow By Jo

Hair: A. Jones Hair Designs

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