A fabulous sparkly Viva Bride A-line with a split skirt and a lace-covered sheer bodice was the dream look for this stunning Harry Potter themed wedding day.

Ara and Jack on their wedding day embracing and walking together around the grounds of their wedding venue.

"My husband and I both work at the hospital. I arrived in the UK from the Philippines in the spring of 2019 and began my job as a nurse around June." says Ara. "On my very first day at work, I met my husband in the ward. Initially, we didn't get along well; I had the impression that he didn't like me or my way of working. However, during one night shift in August, I noticed him reading a Harry Potter book. Being a Harry Potter fan myself and having recently visited Warner Bros Studios, I struck up a conversation with him about the magical world of Harry Potter. That conversation sparked a friendship between us."

Ara and Jack walking back

It was right before the pandemic that Jack finally plucked up the courage to ask Ara out on a date.

"After a few attempts, we decided to have a relaxed evening at my flat instead."

An enchanting proposal

The couple had been together for over two years when Jack proposed. "He picked me up from work and explained that he had to park far away because cars weren't allowed near my workplace due to construction. Interestingly, he parked in the very spot where he had picked me up on our first day (I was living in hospital accommodation back then). I playfully remarked, 'Aww, you parked in our spot.' Later, when we tried to start the car, it refused to budge. By this time, the car had broken down several times since we started dating and had recently been to the garage for repairs. Understandably, I felt frustrated that it was acting up again."

"He lifted the car hood and seemed to be inspecting it, then called me over, claiming he needed my help. As I approached, I found him on one knee, holding a ring. He proposed!" says Ara.

"On a humorous note, after all the hugging and kissing, we returned to the car, and I jokingly said, 'Well, what are we going to do now? The car isn't working.' It was then that I realized it had all been part of the plan! Haha, it took me a moment to catch on!"

Our lucky competition winner!

Ara heard about our 'Win a wedding dress Competition' from a friend who encouraged her to enter. After Ara had entered just two or three times before she was wed2b's lucky competition winner. "I was actually at work and just checked my phone during a bathroom break. At first, I thought it was a scam, so I didn't think about it much. Then on my break my phone is blowing up with notifications and messages of congratulations and it was then..."

"I realised that I have actually won!" says Ara.

"I was over the moon as I know that wedding dresses are a huge chunk of the wedding budget and having won one means that I have more budget for other stuff. It was truly a blessing."

"Initially, I was supposed to do my own hair and makeup as I don't have the budget for it. But because I won the dress, I was able to book a hair and makeup stylist and even pay for my mum and my mother in law!" says Ara

Shopping for the dress

Ara visited her nearest store wed2b Milton Keynes in the South East at the beginning of 2023. "After my engagement, I started following Wed2B. I had heard about it when one of my close friends got engaged around the same time, and I was helping her look for a dress." "I went there twice, accompanied by my future mother-in-law and two close friends. Unfortunately, my mum and best friends are all back home in the Philippines." says Ara.

"During my first visit, I fell in love with a dress. It was a unique piece, and although I hesitated to say 'yes' right away, it was the first dress I had tried on. Overnight, I couldn't stop thinking about it and decided it was the one." says Ara. "The staff at Wed2B were incredibly helpful and supportive during both my visits."

Discovering Viva Bride...

Ara chose our fabulous Brixx A-line, a modern princess wedding dress with a split skirt. "I love the dress more than the rest of them because it got a split and showed off my legs which is my favourite part and made me feel very confident and sexy wearing it." says Ara. "Additionally, it has a sweet heart neckline which my fiancé has asked for and in A line which hides my insecurities."

Ara personalised her Viva Bride wedding dress to suit her style. "I did add detachable sleeves with my wedding dress."

A sensational Summer wedding

The couple got married on 16th August 2023, at the beautiful Hockwold Manor in Norfolk. "The moment we visited; I had an instant feeling that this was the place I wanted to get married. Despite its grandeur and the fact that it offered everything we needed, I initially thought it might be beyond our budget. To our surprise, it turned out to be well within our financial reach, adding even more blessings to our wedding plans." says Ara.

"What made it even more perfect was the fact that my fiancé and I had already decided on a Harry Potter-inspired theme for our wedding. Serendipitously, the venue hosts an annual Harry Potter New Year Special, so they had the theme down to every detail!"

The big day

Ara got ready at the venue with her bridal party who came all the way from the Philippines, Singapore and the USA. "We were not having a great summer this year with all the rains all throughout July; it was not looking promising for August, and I was so stressed as we were having a garden wedding! Luckily, on our wedding day it didn't rain! It wasn't so sunny but that was helpful as people were not scorching with heat!"

"My mother walked me down the aisle with the I See The Light from the Disney movie Rapunzel. A few readings from JK Rowling were incorporated into the ceremony together with some quotes from the book." says Ara.

Later there were welcome drinks, canapes for all the guests and photos for the happy couple. "We didn't have wedding breakfast per se as the wedding ceremony happened at 4PM." says Ara. "We had BBQ buffet for everyone."

"It was all nice and chill, not so formal. "

Everyone loved it. My husband and I danced to Michael Buble's Everything as we wanted something fun to dance with."

Navy Blue, Gold and Harry Potter

"Due to the story of how we met, we decided to have a Harry Potter-inspired wedding." says Ara.

The colour theme was Navy blue, yellow gold and Emerald Green to complement the Harry Potter wedding theme. "Our venue was adorned with Harry Potter decorations, some of which were DIY creations by me, while others were provided by the venue." says Ara. "We had a Marauder's Map-inspired table plan, House rules from the fifth book, and even a Hogsmeade sweets cart!"

"For our wedding cake, we opted for simplicity, considering that wedding cakes are often not fully consumed. Instead, we had a cupcake tower with a one-tier cake on top, adorned with a cake topper that read 'Always,' a nod to the memorable line from the book." says Ara.

The best bits…

"The most memorable moment for me was when I was walking down the aisle. The garden has a very long aisle, so I was given a very long moment where everyone's eyes are on me but all I wanted to see was my man at the end of it."

And for other Viva brides…

"My top tip for future brides is to embrace bold choices without fear."

"Many questioned our wedding theme,"

"...suggesting it might end up looking strange. However, with the right tone and styling, it's possible to achieve an elegant wedding even with a geeky theme. My choice of vibrant colors was anything but minimal. Towards the end, I worried that the colors might not blend well, but when the photos came out, they were the most vibrant hues I had ever seen."

"My second piece of advice is to avoid falling victim to the wedding budget trap." "

You can adhere to your budget by prioritising what truly matters to both of you and being willing to make sacrifices if expenses start to rise. For us, the venue was paramount since we had guests traveling from all over the world. We wanted to ensure their effort was truly worth it, and they could experience the best of what England has to offer. On the other hand, we weren't concerned about an extravagant wedding cake, which can be very costly. We opted for a more budget-friendly option. Similarly, we cut costs on entertainment since the venue itself provided entertainment with its vast grounds for strolling, a mini zoo, and a grand manor with a games room for everyone's enjoyment!"

If you’ve enjoyed Ara's glamorouos Harry Potter themed wedding as much as we have, then please share your big day pictures too. We honestly can’t get enough of your amazing weddings and love seeing you in your gorgeous dresses! Just click here to share your story and photos with us and we’ll be in touch.

Stay fabulous!
The Viva Bride team


Ara and Jack's Dream Team