99 Days Proposal to Vows in Real Wedding: Andrew Miles & Hazel Pratt
30 Apr 2015
Blue, red and gold wedding inspiration doesn’t get much prettier than this Suffolk wedding
An online match.com made in heaven, Andrew Miles and Hazel Pratt’s Henley, Suffolk, wedding was brought together in only 99 days, with the ceremony at The Swan in Lavenham and the reception at All Manor of Events.
Photography by Katie Drouet
Hazel lets us behind the scenes to tell us about their big day on 3rd April, 2015.
Tell us how you met, I hear it was quite modern?
We met online through Match.com in 2009.
When did Andrew propose, and how?
It was Christmas Day 2014. Andy had been to see my Dad a few days before to ask for his permission. We’d had lunch and were having a relaxing afternoon together before heading out in the evening. Andy was restless and pacing about, so I asked him if he was going to come and sit down - he said he’d be in in a minute. Several minutes passed and I asked again, little did I know he was practising getting down on one knee in the hall. More time passed and I told him to come and sit down because he was making me feel uncomfortable, at this point he walked in, stood in front of me, took a ring box out of his pocket, opened it as he got down on one knee and asked me if I would spend the rest of my life with him.
What was the theme for the day?
We didn’t have a theme as such, it all evolved as we started to plan things, but it ended up being blue, red and gold. Andy wanted a navy suit and I was drawn to navy for the adult bridesmaid; she’s not a girly girl and I didn’t want anything pastel. For our little bridesmaid (Andy’s niece) we went for ivory – the same as my dress. I love stripes so added navy and white ribbon to the bouquets after seeing a picture on Pinterest. My cake designer suggested adding ribbon to the cake, so I added stripes to the invites (designed by me, I’m a graphic designer) and the buttonholes too. I added a gold element to the invites and place cards because I’d chosen gold leaf for the cake, and this is how Andy and the two Dads ended up with gold ties. The evening venue also had gold chairs, but this was a happy coincidence. The flowers where a mix of white and soft peach tones with a touch of red for contrast, as these worked well with both the ivory and navy dresses. The flowers on the cake where made to match.
For me, it was about having tying everything together without being too rigid or matchy-matchy.
What was your most memorable moment?
The day had so many lovely moments, but both of us fondly remember the first time we were completely alone after the ceremony. We found ourselves in a corridor and were giddy and chatted away excitedly.
Where did you find inspiration for your decorations?
The very first decision we made about the wedding was to have Andy’s nephew (Henry, 5) write the place cards for the wedding breakfast. Decorations came down to flowers, tea lights, photos and a few cute table signs. Andy’s only stipulation when it came to decorations was that he wanted lots of flowers and his Aunt did an amazing job, creating the most beautiful bouquets and table arrangements and a huge ivy swag to go over the 8ft fireplace in Lavenham, that was then transported and used in Henley too. We had 4 styles of centrepieces for the tables in the evening – tall vases, storm vases with candles, jugs and mirrored cubes (which were used at Andy’s sisters wedding 6 years ago). I wanted the evening venue to twinkle and we had well over 100 tea lights burning in a mixture of white, red, blue and gold voltives, mixed with the flowers it looked stunning. A lot of my inspiration came from Pinterest – I sent Andy’s Aunt a 10 page pdf showing my ideas and pins for the bouquets, button holes and centrepieces!
At the back of the room we had a table with lots of photos of us growing up and pics of us together. The guest book was here and, as it was Good Friday, we had lots of mini eggs and striped candy bags, for people to help themselves instead of individual favours.
What was the most important investment for you?
Finding the right venue was important for us; we wanted somewhere during the day that was suitable for a small gathering of 19, and then a larger venue for the evening with 130 guests. There are a lot of wedding venues locally but not many that cater for small weddings and we wanted to be sure the food would be really good.
Lavenham ticked all the boxes for us, we’d been there before and knew the food was excellent and we were shown three function rooms that would’ve been suitable for us.
In the end we booked two of the function rooms, one for the ceremony and wedding breakfast and another for drinks in between. Being early April we couldn’t reply on the weather so we booked the second room just in case. We could’ve mingled in the lounge area but we wanted privacy, also having exclusive use of the courtyard garden was lovely and as it turned out the weather was kind, which made it the perfect spot for outside photographs.
We have a connection to Manor Farm so this was an obvious choice for us for the evening, the venue is perfect for a party, it looks stunning and has an amazing dance floor, plenty of space and toilet cubicles big enough to fit a big wedding dress comfortably!
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
It would have been lovely to be able to speak to everyone at the reception, but it just wasn’t possible. Other than that we wouldn’t change a thing, it was a pretty perfect day.
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
We decided to wait and think about the honeymoon after the wedding. We had 99 days from proposal to vows, which was a challenge in itself! We’re thinking about going to Norway in June – possibly being in the Arctic Circle for the summer solstice.
Do you have any advice for brides and grooms-to-be?
Enjoy it! The planning, the endless questions and decisions, to the day itself. It’s a once in a lifetime thing and as long as the channels of communication stay open (and honest) there is no reason why it can’t be fun. Sure it can be frustrating trying to get venues and registrars booked but once that’s done, everything falls into a natural order. Sure there will be days when you get decision fatigue (especially if you’re planning a wedding in a short space of time) and you feel like you really don’t care what colour the table cloths are, and it’s at that point you take a break.
And don’t sweat the small stuff; people won’t notice the finer details. It doesn’t matter if the napkins don’t match the bridesmaids exactly, keep it all in perspective – the most important thing at the end of the day is that you will be married. It’s pointless to let a slight hiccup, or a minor detail, spoil a wonderful day.
Steal their Style:
Bride’s hair accessories: Two small flowers from H&M.
Bride’s evening clutch: TK Maxx
Jewellery: A surprise gift from the Groom, he popped to the hotel the day before and asked them to leave the gifts in the room for me. I wore pearls, single pearl earrings and a string around my neck.
Bride’s shoes: Silver peep-toe sandals from Zara. These were my ‘old’ as I’d worn them before to a ball, I love them and knew they were comfortable so I didn’t even consider anything else – much to the surprise of many!
Groom’s three-piece suit: Debenhams, Red Herring. His shoes and tie from Next.
Bride’s wedding dress: Ellis Brides from Suffolk Bridal Company, Ipswich
Little bridesmaid, Emma (2 ½ yrs): Debenhams dress, bolero, shoes, headband, tights and basket (for the flowers)
Bridesmaid, Siobhan: Phase Eight Cecily maxi dress
DJ: Flame Entertainments
Make up and hair: Clare Swann, CS Make Up & Hair
Wedding cake: Helen Ward of Amelie’s Kitchen – 2015 Wedding Industry Awards Best Wedding Cake Designer. Not only did it look stunning but it was by far the most delicious cake I’ve ever tasted – and many of our guests agreed.
Photographer: Katie Drouet of Katie Drouet Photography – it was an absolute pleasure to have Katie take our wedding photos, not only is she amazingly talented, she is also the sweetest person and brought something special to our day.