A moving outdoor wedding ceremony followed by a rocking reception was perfect for these newlyweds. Our WED2B Real Weddings Milton Keynes feature reveals more:

Karen and Laimy met at work when they were both forklift truck drivers for Sainsbury’s. “Laimy saved me from dropping many pallets of stock that were teetering high in the air,” says Karen. “His forklift skills were much better than mine! He took me to a rock bar for our first date and we went in our warehouse uniforms straight from work. Glamorous! We still enjoy rocking out at the same place today, and we actually had a wind-down party there the day after the wedding.”

Real Weddings Milton Keynes: Karen and Laimy’s romantic outdoor wedding - Amore

Popping the question

Laimy proposed to Karen in a car at Riga airport in Latvia. “Laimy is Latvian and had been visiting family,” says Karen. “I’d gone to meet him for a few days and he met me off the plane. He was acting all shifty and I was actually worried he was going to dump me!  Then he said he had something for me. We got in the car and he pulled out an antique garnet ring he’d chosen for me during his trip. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He’d always made it clear that marriage wasn’t an option, which I was fine with. So, you can imagine my shock when he pulled out a ring after three years together and asked me to be his wife!”

A dream shopping experience

“I started looking for wedding dresses almost immediately, about 18 months before the wedding day,” says Karen. “I actually chose a dress that I never would have considered, and this is all thanks to the staff at WED2B Milton Keynes. They suggested Anna Sorrano’s Amore dress, having seen me struggling with lots of different styles to no avail. The sales assistant said she thought it would suit my shape and, although the dress didn’t ‘wow’ me on the hanger, I tried it on and she was absolutely right! It was the first dress I’d tried on that really made me feel like a bride. It was also figure hugging in all the right places and classic at the same time. I never thought I’d choose a sleeveless satin dress, but before I knew it I’d paid the deposit!”

Real Weddings Milton Keynes: Karen and Laimy’s romantic outdoor wedding - Amore

Some added extras

Karen also bought a diamanté belt, an underskirt and an Amixi veil to complete her look. "The staff in both the Milton Keynes and Northampton stores made me feel very welcome  – unlike other bridal shops I’d tried,” says Karen. “I almost bought a £1,600 gown from a different bridal boutique, but didn’t go through with the purchase because of the attitude of the owner. Making the customer feel comfortable and not like an inconvenience is so important and WED2B are brilliant at this. I love the relaxed feel around the store. You can browse at your own leisure, try on as many dresses as you like and there are plenty of comfy sofas for family and friends to enjoy the experience too.  The staff will also help you get into the dresses, but only if you want them to, so it’s not intrusive at all.”

Finding the outdoor wedding venue…

“I searched the internet for an outdoor wedding venue that looked the part,” says Karen. “I wanted something romantic that stood out and that’s when I found Ettington Park Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon. It’s a gothic mansion about an hour from our home in Northampton. The approach, a private road lined with trees and grazing wild deer, was magical. The hotel itself is stunning and the fact that it had lots of options for our ceremony was important, as we wanted an outdoor wedding. Despite Laimy hoping he could persuade me not to have a big wedding he was instantly smitten with it too. We chose Friday 17th August 2018, as 17 is Laimy’s lucky number, apparently!”

Real Weddings Milton Keynes: Karen and Laimy’s romantic outdoor wedding - Amore

The perfect outdoor wedding

"Although I never imagined I’d get married, I had always pictured having three flower girls in tutus and trainers, if I was ever lucky enough to be asked,” says Karen. “My stepdaughter, cousin’s daughter and friend’s daughter were my flower girls, aged 6, 8 and 10. I also had three grown-up bridesmaids.” The flower girls wore custom-made, blush pink tutus with pink glittery trainers, a simple white vest and bespoke flower headbands. The adult bridesmaids wore matching long rose-pink dresses with wrist corsages.

Happily ever after

From the moment Karen started planning her outdoor wedding she knew she wanted a Love Story/Happily Ever After theme. “I made my own wedding invitations from antique books, which took hours but was so worth it,” she says. “Our wedding breakfast was in the library so I continued the vintage book theme for our table centres too. I also decorated the ceremony area with lots of candles and hurricane vases.”

The ceremony

The couple chose to use the beautiful church ruins of the Bell Tower for their outdoor wedding ceremony, which gave it a really romantic feel. “We had acoustic duo Bird & The Badman perform some songs while the guests were seated, and they sang ‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran as I walked down the aisle,” says Karen. “My flower girls walked in front of me, spreading petals from a basket with one carrying a sign that said, ‘Last chance to run!’. We wanted to have a little fun with the wedding and this made everyone smile. Fortunately the groom didn’t run!”

Real Weddings Milton Keynes: Karen and Laimy’s romantic outdoor wedding - Amore

A lovely touch

Karen’s stepdad gave her away. “Both of our fathers have passed away, as well as one of my sisters, so we honoured them all by displaying framed photos in the church ruins,” says Karen. “This brought tears to the eyes of a lot of family members before I even walked down the aisle. I also had a photo of Laimy’s late father made in to a pin for his buttonhole, which I gave to him the day before the wedding. Laimy was very emotional as he waited for me, which was so lovely to see.”

A candle-lighting ceremony

In the church ruins there is also a little Norman chapel, so the couple invited guests inside after the vows for a candle-lighting ceremony. “Our mothers both lit a candle and we used these to light the main candle together. We plan to light this candle again every year on our wedding anniversary at 3pm, the time we got married. I also wrote a letter to Laimy’s mother, which he read to her in Latvian, as she doesn’t speak English. Even though most of the guests couldn’t understand a word, there were tears all round!”

Let’s rock!

After the ceremony, guests enjoyed an outdoor drinks reception with champagne, canapés and live music by Bird & The Badman. The wedding breakfast was a three-course dinner followed by the speeches, cake cutting and the first dance. “We chose ‘Zombie’ by rock band Bad Wolves for our first dance and the DJ provided a confetti cannon for extra wow factor,” says Karen. “The DJ played until 11pm and we ended the night with a live rock band, The Jellyheads, until midnight. We then stayed up until 6am drinking and chatting with our guests in the hotel bar. There was no traditional ‘wedding night’ for us! There were so many memorable moments! One of the funniest was Laimy splitting the backside of his trousers while Kozac-dancing with his friends!”

Karen’s Dream Team:

Photographer: Hannah Smith-Chilton (hannahsmithchilton.co.uk)

Venue: Ettington Park Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon (handpickedhotels.co.uk/ettingtonpark)

Florist: The Great British Florist (greatbritishflorist.co.uk)

Videographer: Dean Alexander at Time Code Pro (timecodepro.co.uk)

Entertainment: Bird & The Badman (birdandthebadman.co.uk), Rob Lawes Entertainment (roblawesentertainments.com), The Jellyheads (facebook.com/thejellyheads)

Did your wedding have the wow factor like our outdoor wedding feature? If you would like to be a part of our real weddings feature send your favourite photo to info@wed2b.co.uk and we’ll be in touch!