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Wedding of the Week: Leah Thompson and Grace Irvine

06 Aug 2018

This country fete wedding was packed with unforgettable moments, with a surprise drag queen act planned for the evening... much to the amusement of all in attendance

How did you meet? 

We first met when Leah visited the Royal Military Police (RMP) as a civilian researching her preferred cap badge before attending the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst (Officer Army Training). Grace was the recruitment officer, a long standing joke continues that Grace groomed Leah into the RMP.

Of course, it was completely professional and so three years later, our paths never crossing, our fate was sealed when we met again at an RMP evening function.

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Tell us about the proposal.

We love to travel and Grace had suggested Brussels as a Christmas, winter city break.  As we arrived at the hotel, Grace ordered a bottle of prosecco; Leah naively thought this was a gift from the hotel company. Still none the wiser, Grace proceeded to give Leah a small present to open which revealed a tiny message in a bottle saying ‘Will you be my forever egg?’. Leah, appearing confused, looked up to see Grace holding open the ring case. Leah blurted in panic: "What? No? I mean Yes!". 

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What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?

Country fete, with the sunflower as the key feature.

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What venue did you choose and why did you choose it? 

Kingscote Barn, Tetbury, for its outstanding beauty amongst the Cotswold hills. As country girls, the venue was always going to reflect our upbringing.

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When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?

Leah: I chose my dress online from Monsoon. I knew I didn’t want to spend a fortune because of the budget and I knew I wanted something simple. I tried on a total of two dresses (the other from Monsoon) and knew that mine was for me straight away (plus it was reduced by 50% the next day).

Grace: Mine came from The Bridal Boutique, Barnham. I tried on about 10 before finding the one

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What did the bridesmaids wear?

Leah: My theme was baby blue. I had three bridesmaids: two university best friends, Lou and Lisa (maid of honour), while the third was my sister-in-law, Claire. My brother, Josh, was my bridesman. 

Grace: My bridesmaids were two childhood friends: Georgina and Emma (maid of honour) while my two bridesmen consisted of Adam, my brother, and my best Army friend. All were themed in a turquoise green. 

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Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.

  • We had to ensure there were a few details that reflected us, so we started with the invitations. They were created by Leah’s bridesmaid, Lou, using excellent graphic design to produce rustic custom-made invitations with Lou’s hand-drawn woodland creatures (a hare for the day guests and barn owl for the evening guests).
  • The table name theme was orientated around Leah’s passion for gin, whereby each table name was identifiable by the centre gin bottles lit up in fairy lights.
  • The table place names took the form of the Royal Military Police exhibit labels, giving our guests a taste of the detective life.
  • Our favours took the form of homemade Cassis liquer, compliments of Grace’s mother.
  • We wanted everyone to feel and share the love, so for the day we had a customised Snapchat filter with ‘Leah and Grace got married’ that people could use when posting their photos.

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How did you make the ceremony personal to you?

We had an acoustic duo (Soul Front) singing our aisle songs: Eva Cassidy – Songbird, for Grace, and A Thousand Years – Christina Perri, for Leah. This made the whole experience so beautiful and sentimental, we both choked up walking down the aisle.

Our Military Guard of Honour made the whole occasion very special and unique to us. Comprising four Royal Military policemen (and women), one royal engineer and one royal electrical and mechanical engineer. These people were a combination of family, colleagues and great friends.

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What was your most memorable moment? 

Leah: When our dads and my brother walked in to their speeches in hired out military uniform. The surprise to Grace and I and the guests was terrific, with everyone grinning from ear to ear as they marched in. Having both military backgrounds (my dad was in the Navy and Grace’s dad was in the Army), it was so fitting for them to dress up and bring their speeches alive. Using a projector screen, they proceeded to launch into a show using our childhood photos to embarrass us.

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What song did you choose for your first dance, and why? 

Hey Ho – The Lumineers; a slow, beautiful song with meaningful lyrics, it was the perfect trickery for the evening entertainment’s entrance...

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Did you have any evening entertainment?

Yes, indeed. Fanny, our drag queen, made her entrance half-way through our first dance (don’t worry, we planned it). The guests were shocked with surprise and delight, which made for an excellent ice-breaker between day and evening guests.

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Tell us about your wedding cake. 

Hayley of H.S Cakes made us the most beautiful three-tier semi-naked cake, with the first two base layers as Victoria sponge and the top layer flavoured with lemon. It was decorated with a beautiful, life-like iced sunflower.

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If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

Having already moved our ceremony back to 1pm, we would like to go back and start the day earlier... the hours go so quick, we had wedding withdrawal symptoms for days.

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Did anything go wrong on the day?

Leah: Absolutely nothing! Although, you could say spilling port on my dress before the first dance wasn’t ideal, but our drag queen soon detracted any attention from that.

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Was there anything you wish you’d known before?

That the rumour you cannot get drunk at your own wedding is an utter lie.

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Where did you go on honeymoon?

We jetted off to travel around Bali, exploring both land and sea (scuba diving). We gave ourselves two days to recover, watching the Royal Wedding before we left on Sunday 20th May 2018.

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Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages? 

Use Excel spreadsheets to make estimates for the budget and keep track of your expenses. 

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Steal their style:

Venue: Kingscote Barn, www.kingscotebarn.co.uk
Photography: Natalie Martins, www.ndcphotography.co.uk 
Catering: McBaille, www.mcbaile.co.uk
Band: Soul Frount Band, www.bandsforhire.net
Evening drag queen: Fanny Burns Drag, www.fannyburnsdrag.com
Cake: H.S Cakes, www.hscakedesign.com 
DJ: Steve Cripps, Music First

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