Charlotte and Ross met at university in Newcastle when Charlotte ended up in Ross' flatshare for a gathering. “She mentioned that she needed her laptop fixing,” Ross remembers. “Ever the opportunist, I jumped at the chance to help. I somehow talked her into letting me go to hers on a Saturday afternoon. I failed in fixing the laptop but I asked her if she wanted to get a pizza and watch a film – the rest is history!”
A proposal had been on the cards for a while; Charlotte was convincing herself it was going to happen every time they went away together. “I dropped subtle hints that I wasn't particularly interested in marriage to keep her off the scent,” Ross says. “We went to Cornwall in August 2016 and I figured I'd find an opportunity to pop the question, rather than plan it in advance.” That opportunity arose when they travelled to the picturesque Porthcurno beach for a picnic. A bag of nerves, and the tension palpable, Ross removed the ring from the basket just as Charlotte shrieked. “She'd cut her finger,” Ross tells us. “Hiding my frustration – and the ring – I helped her wrap it up before building up the nerve to ask again.” It all paid off though, and she had no idea!
Back at home, the pair got cracking on planning their dream day for 25th May, 2018. Charlotte fills us in on the details…
It was love at first sight when we visited East Riddlesden Hall. The idyllic garden and duck pond sealed the deal as we'd booked a Friday when it's closed to the public. It meant our guests could walk around without being disturbed and the children could go and explore. For Ross, the gin bar was also a winner!
Initially I was searching for a simple lace dress, but when I saw the Venezia style by Sophia Tolli I fell for its beautiful floral design. Angel Brides created straps for it, which blended seamlessly to make them look like part of the design. The gown was so decorative that I kept my accessories pared-back.
The Grade II listed barn has a rustic atmosphere, a theme that would later feature prominently in the day. It's a blank canvas, so we could make it personal to us with lanterns, bunting and other décor. Fairylights hanging over the stage complemented the ambience we were trying to create.
We went non-traditional with a cake made from layers of cheese. It was decorated with a gorgeous selection of fruit.
Our talented florist created beautiful bouquets containing roses, stocks, peonies, gypsophila, sweet peas, ranunculi, freesias and thistles. The bridesmaids wore flowers in their hair, while the men had a pink rose buttonhole. To go with the vibe, we had log slices on the tables adorned with jam jars, tea lights and pretty blooms.
Lots of people demonstrated great generosity by helping to set up the venue, despite some having travelled great distances to be there. Our suppliers were brilliant. A special thanks has to go to Katherine Cocksedge from The Bridal Market for all her time and effort. She was an enormous help and sorted out any problems along the way.
The tables were named after places we'd visited, with photos of us at each location. The table plan was written on a large blackboard, which our florist decorated with coordinating flowers. The place settings were made from luggage tags and we gave our guests a Cancer Research UK pin badge in honour of my dad.
We put our own stamp on the venue with photos of family and friends,a Polaroid-camera guestbook, a sweet stand, blankets for the evening and a basket of flip flops for when our guests wanted to remove their heels. I arrived in style in a fabulous 1969 bay window VW Camper Van in cream.
The men wore a rather fetching grey kilt with a dusky pink tie. To stand out, Ross donned a tartan fly plaid a cape-like accessory, which is worn across one shoulder. My bridesmaids wowed in navy floor-length dresses with lace.
We planned to have an al fresco drinks reception with a pianist performing and our loved ones exploring the grounds. Unfortunately it rained, so we had to change plans promptly.
The pianist played in the barn while our guests were served entrées. This was followed by the wedding breakfast, which was served on big sharing platters in the middle of each table.
As the sun set, a live band called Undercovered took to the stage. They absolutely smashed it playing beloved classics that got everyone on the dancefloor until late.They finished with our request, I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers. We're sure it must have prompted neighbours to file a noise complaint!
Bride's dress and accessories
Catering and cheese cake
Hair and make-up