Bride and groom stood outside venue with bridal party

Annie and George first met at Annie’s cousin’s wedding. “George was helping out with the bar at the time,” says Annie. “We spoke a bit but nothing really came of it. Then, a year later, we were both at Center Parcs in the same week. Things sort of went from there. For our first date we went to Trent Lock, a beautiful restaurant right next to a scenic canal, and he gave me a promise ring.”

Bride in wedding dress getting ready

A surprise proposal

The couple got engaged on 19th December 2020. “We went to beautiful Bradgate Park with my family and walked up a huge hill to get to the top,” says Annie. "At the top there was a picnic blanket with a hamper full of goodies, plus candles and fairy lights making a path to a sign saying, ‘Will you marry me?’. I turned around and George was on one knee. As soon as I said yes, his family jumped out from behind a rock and surprised us. It was lovely spending that precious moment with both families. He also had videos of close family and friends, who we hadn’t seen for a long time, saying congratulations. At home, later, we had a party with the family with balloons and banners and sparklers. It was such a beautiful day, I couldn’t have asked for a better memory.”

Bride with bridesmaids and family

Bridal shops Derby

Lots of friends had told me about WED2B bridal shops Derby,” says Annie.

“They had all loved the experience. My bride squad and I went to the Derby store and we were greeted by such lovely staff. I was very nervous but the staff made me feel extremely calm and comfortable. Due to Covid the experience was slightly different. Despite this, the staff did their best to make it feel normal and they were all so amazing.”

Inside wedding venue at Dodmoor House

Finding ‘The One’

Annie chose the Lennox dress. "I had seen quite a few online that I really liked,” she says. “All the dresses I liked were in store and available to try on in my size, which I loved. I tried Lennox on second and I fell completely in love with it. I felt so special in it and I wasn’t worried about how my body looked with it on. It was flattering, as it cinched me in at the waist, didn’t cling to my stomach and made a feature of my chest. I love the lace detailing and the slight shimmer, but most of all the fit and colour. It made be feel like a princess. I also added lace straps and bought a veil and hair clip.” (For similar styles from WED2B bridal shops Derby try Marissa, Adie, Ariella)

Bride being walked down the aisle by her dad

A rustic venue

The couple married at Dodmoor House in Northampton on the 22nd of June 2021. “My husband’s twin brother and his wife got married there the year before,” says Annie. “It's stunning and, as soon as we went to visit, we fell in love with it all over again. Due to Covid, a lot of venues were charging charge the same but for fewer guests, but Dodmoor House could cater for our 30 guests and also give us the flexibility to add more if needed. The grounds are beautiful and it made for some great pictures. The main thing that made it was the staff, who were so helpful and kind throughout the day.”

Bride and groom smiling holding hands during ceremony

The big day

“My family got the reception hall ready the night before, while my best friend and I stayed in a hotel in Northampton, so it would be a surprise,” says Annie. “We went to Dodmoor House in the morning to get ready in the honeymoon suite with my four bridesmaids (two of my sisters, my sister-in-law and my best friend) and my mum and mother-in-law.”

Bride and groom signing register smiling. Dog wedding guest wearing bow tie and suit

“I walked down the aisle with my dad and I surprised him by choosing ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’, the Kina Grannis version, as he absolutely loves it,” says Annie. “Then I said my vows with my beautiful husband, which I was quite nervous about. Afterwards, the Prosecco flowed and we had lots of photos on the lawn area before heading off to our reception. It was lovely having a smaller number of guests, as we were surrounded by all our close family and friends.”

Bride and groom posing for photo smiling at each other

A pretty village hall reception

After the ceremony at Dodmoor House, everyone made their way to the village hall in Farthingstone. “Farthingstone is a very Old English town with lots of stone houses (it looks like it’s out of the film The Holiday). My family and my husband’s family had been at the hall the night before setting it up. They completely transformed it.”

Bride and groom stood together holding hands smiling

“After beautiful photos in this park we went back to the village hall and my husband and I made our entrance to ‘This Will Be (an Everlasting Love)’ by Natalie Cole,” says Annie.

Bride and groom holding hands walking away, kissing outside barn

“We had a BBQ and lots of Prosecco and summer punches. Most people knew each other, as it was mainly close family and friends, which really added to the atmosphere. The weather was stunning too, and it was so great to be together after everything with Covid. Our first dance was to Ed Sheeran and then got the music turned up so all our guests could have a dance. Afterwards we went back to Dodmoor House to the honeymoon suite.”

Farthingstone village hall

The personal touch

“Right from the start we wanted to make our wedding very personalised,” says Annie. “We got all the groomsmen hip flasks with their names on. The bridal party (including mums) got personalised dressing gowns, flutes and lots of little presents. On the morning of the wedding, I got my brother-in-law to give my husband some essentials for the day, plus some presents he had wanted for a while. For the decorations we had lots of photos of all our favourite memories with our favourite people.”

Welcome sign decorated with foliage. 2 tiered naked iced cake decorated with roses.

“Our guest book was a Jenga tower,” says Annie. “We also had a box for guests to write tips for marriage. The village hall was completely personalised. My dad put up voile and hessian and kitted the hall out completely to make it feel like a wedding. Our cake was delicious and had a rustic look with the exposed buttercream and a topper with our names on.”

Photos of the bride and groom over the years strung on a board

“All in all, we tried to make everything as personalised as we could,” says Annie. “We made two wedding signs for decorations, the table seating board, personalised hangers for the bridesmaids, the name placement cards and a few other parts. Initially we wanted to save on cost but looking back I am so glad we spent so much effort making things ourselves. It meant so much more and people took these bits away as keepsakes of the wedding.”

Bride and groom laughing cutting cake while guests look on cheering

The most memorable moments…

“A few parts really stick out,” says Annie. “The first one was when my bride squad was getting ready. We had a blast dancing around with all the music on and having a proper girly time. The second one was probably my dad’s face when he heard the song I had chosen to walk down the aisle to. We had told him it was a different one the whole time, so he got quite teary. The best part was definitely walking down the aisle and seeing George’s face. The moment I saw him I felt calm again and wasn’t nervous to say the vows. I just knew that this is what I wanted. I felt so happy the whole day and everything worked out perfectly for us. The weather was great, our guests were the best and we all just had fun.”

Bride and groom having first dance in village hall surrounded by guests

My top tips…

“Create a detailed schedule with all the times of when things are happening and where people need to be,” says Annie.

“Get as many people to help as you can. Also, put on the schedule what jobs your wedding party are doing, such as handing out drinks or keeping the punch bowls stocked up. I gave the ushers the job of tidying up the plates after everyone had eaten and I found that really helped the day run smoothly with no wedding planner. Luckily, the bride and groom squads were very willing to help out. I think, because we had so many people helping, George and I didn’t have to think about anything on the day, we could just enjoy it.”

Annie’s Dream Team

Photographer: Keagan Badenhorst

Ceremony venue: Dodmoor House

Reception venue: Farthingstone Village Hall 

Bridal shops Derby: WED2B

Florist: Berry Fields Florist 

Caterer: Brads Banquets 

Cake: Sweet Caroline

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 Derby