Real Weddings Surrey: Karlene and Alex's musical celebration
This happy couple enjoyed an emotional day topped off with show tunes and ice cream. Our WED2B Real Weddings Surrey feature reveals more:
Karlene and Alex first met when they were both taking part in an amateur production of Les Miserables. “At first we were friends but we soon began to talk more and things went from there,” says Karlene. “Two years later we started our relationship. We then went off to Chichester University and both completed a degree in Performing Arts and a Masters in Theatre Performance.”
Popping the question…
“After nearly 11 years together and lots of nagging from friends and family, it finally happened,” smiles Karlene. The couple were on the second night of a holiday in the family villa in Spain. Alex cooked a lovely dinner then they decided they would sit on the sun terrace. “Alex went to sort things out and I went to make the drinks,” says Karlene. “As I entered the sun terrace I could hear music playing and I saw candles, blankets, pillows and Alex waiting for me, holding a little black box. Inside was a small bottle with a note inside that said, ‘Karlene, you make me so happy, I couldn't be without you, will you be my beautiful wife? Alex’. Of course, I said, ‘Yes’ and ‘About time!’ Then he dropped to one knee and said, ‘Karlene, will you marry me?’ and put the loveliest ring on my finger.”
Finding the dream dress
“I first visited the Southampton store with my bridesmaids, my mother-in-law-to-be and my Mum,” says Karlene. “I tried on loads of different dresses and it was amazing. The staff were brilliantly calm and offered lots of advice.”
“A little later I went to the new Camberley store with just my mum and fell in love with the most amazing dress that I’d seen on WED2B’s Instagram account,” says Karlene. “I couldn’t wait to try it on and as soon as it was zipped up I knew it was the one. Gracie was the dress I had always pictured myself in since I was a little girl. The delicate lace and glittering sequins and beads were amazing. It had tiny buttons down the back and a supper swishy train too!”
A moving ceremony location
The couple were married at St John the Baptist Church in Windlesham, Surrey. “It’s our local church and has very strong connections to Alex’s family,” says Karlene. “Unfortunately, five years previously, we also held a service there to celebrate the life of Alex’s brother, Adam, as he’d passed away. He was Alex’s best friend and we were lucky to be able to share our experience in the church along with Adam’s spirit.”
The ceremony included readings from all the bridesmaids and musical theatre music while the couple signed their vows. “My father has passed away so my mother walked me down the aisle,” says Karlene. “We were both a wreck and I couldn’t stop crying! We also each lit a candle in memory of Adam, Alex’s brother. As we walked out hand in hand we were played out by ‘Love and Marriage’ by Frank Sinatra.”
Singing, dancing and lots of ice cream!
The reception was held at the exclusive York Club in Windsor Great Park. “We spent 12 months being thrifty and borrowing and making everything we could,” says Karlene. “The whole wedding party got involved with painting, sanding, cutting and threading the different decorations. We hired a sweetie cart, LOVE lights and also a six foot red post box.”
Guests enjoyed a prosecco drinks reception followed by sausages and chips for dinner. Then the ice cream van arrived. “They played their chime just as the best men finished their speech – it was great timing!” says Karlene. “Alex and I were treated to an ice cream pouring experience. I shuffled into the van in my dress and carefully poured the ice-cream. It was fantastic!” There was also a beautiful hand-painted cake with three different flavours; chocolate, vanilla and prosecco and jam and cream.
“Later we had dancing and Alex, who is a professional singer, sang to me,” says Karlene. “It was so beautiful, it felt like it was just the two of us in the room.”
Photography credit:// Mindy Coe
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