A Cambridgeshire wedding with entertainment aplenty
09 Oct 2019
Jodie Thrussell and Billy Kaye made sure their wedding guests had the most memorable time with entertainment including a violinist, band, DJ and magician
How did you meet?
We met when I was 19 and Billy was 21 - ten years ago. We were introduced in a pub by mutual friends.
Tell us about the proposal.
We were in Portugal. Billy has been going to Portugal since he was born so it was a special place for him and we have been holidaying there since we met. We took our then seven-month-old son on holiday and on the first night of the holiday we went out to dinner. When we returned, the hotel bed had champagne on it. When I turned to ask Billy what this was, he was already down on one knee and reeling off his proposal speech. All the while our son Harry was still in his car seat on the bed watching it all unfold.
Our parents were joining us the next morning to spend our holiday with us. I waited until they arrived at the hotel before I told/showed them the news. Obviously my dad had known all along.
Billy later admitted that he was going to do it while we were out having dinner, however the ring box didn’t fit in his pocket and he didn’t trust himself to take the ring out alone. I preferred that it was done in private with just our little boy to witness it.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
Not a theme as such, but I like white/greys so we very much went with those colours for the day.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We chose Swynford Manor as it was modern yet had the feel of a manor house. We loved the intimacy of the venue and its exclusivity, just for us and our guests. We took full advantage of this and even booked the venue for the day before our wedding, so we could invite our wedding party for a rehearsal and a casual dinner the night before to start off the celebrations.
When did you know you’d found ‘the’ dress?
I knew straight away as it was the very first dress I tried on and the first dress I even saw in the shop. My mum and I went on our very first wedding dress shopping trip to Isabella Grace in Tonbridge Wells and I was telling my mum that I wouldn’t get anything, I just wanted to start the process of trying some on. However as we walked through the door and through the shop to where our appointment was being held, a dress caught my eye and I quickly parted the other dresses surrounding it and said that I loved that one.
I had always had a vision of what my dress would look like and what I would like to wear on the day, however I wasn’t sure if the style would suit me. I chose another four dresses including the one I first spotted, some different styles just so I could rule them out. The dress was the first one I tried on and the only one my mum cried at as I walked out from behind the curtain. Right there and then, we put the deposit down for it. This was January 2018 so 17 months before our wedding. The designer was Justin Alexander.
What did the bridesmaids wear?
I had three bridesmaids and one junior bridesmaid: the three were friends and the junior was my mum and dad's daughter. The older bridesmaids wore a high street dress from Marks and Spencer, a full-length, grey/silver colour with detailed ruching around the bust. I added a diamante belt to it which I found on Etsy to finish it off.
Choosing the dresses was surprisingly easy, however during the planning two of them became pregnant - one due in July and the other five days before our actual wedding. Luckily, neither of them had their babies before or on the big day.
What did the mother of the bride wear?
My mum wore a stunning embellished grey/silver dress by Ronald Joyce.
Where did you find your suits?
We bought Billy's suit from the Saville Row range at Marks and Spencer. His waistcoat was from Moss Bros.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
I love white flowers and my favourite flowers are hydrangeas and roses, so this was a no brainer for me. We had 12 round tables, five of which featured a tall display made up of a mixture of hydrangeas, roses, lisianthus, stock and green foilage. The remaining seven round tables were arranged with three vases of different heights: one filled with tea roses, one with hydrangeas, and the last with roses. We had stemmed candle holders surrounding them too.
Our top table was made up of 12 vases with hydrangeas, roses and tea roses, all in seperate vases. We also used the silk hydrangea runner for the aisle during the ceremony as decoration for the bottom of the top table. The same individual vases were placed around the venue too for the reception, window sills, fireplace etc.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
We didn’t really have many decorations. We had a few personalised acrylic hearts on the tables, some signs for our guestbook/letterbox etc. Our main decorations were the flowers. All of the chairs both during the ceremony and wedding breakfast were draped with chiffon material held in place with a diamante brooch.
We decided against favours too. Instead we had mirrored name places that guests could take away with them if they wanted to.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
Nervous! That moment that the wedding co-ordinators told my dad and I to go was scary, but in a good way. We walked out of double doors and had to walk down around five steps, so at first I was concentrating on not falling down them. Once I had made it successfully down them, I could see everyone’s faces beaming at me. I couldn’t see Billy though until I turned into the aisle. As I was halfway down, he turned around to see me. One of my favourite moments.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
We chose to get married outside at Swynford Manor, the weather was perfect. We were married underneath the pergola which was draped with white chiffon and two of our taller flower displays either side.
We didn’t have any personal vows, however we did have the option to select some vows that we would read to eachother. These were from a list that the registrar had. We chose a short paragraph and read the same vows to each other.
We asked our mums to choose a reading for us and to read it out. My mum chose a reading called ‘The One’ and Billy’s mum chose a reading called ‘To Our Son and Daughter in Law on your Wedding Day’.
We walked back up the aisl to ‘For Once in My Life’ by Stevie Wonder, played by the electric violinist.
What was your most memorable moment?
As mentioned before, walking down the aisle – as nerve wracking as it was, seeing everyone’s faces looking at you, the walk with my dad and seeing Billy’s face – everything about it was memorable. And of course, when we were pronounced as husband and wife – it felt amazing. We had done it!
Just before the wedding breakfast, the manager of the band told Billy and I that we needed to gather our parents and join him in the Garden Room where the breakfast was to be served, as there was some bits he needed to run through with us. Strange, we thought – why would he need our parents there too, but we did as he asked and to our amazement, it was our room reveal. The room was finished, the singers and other band members were dotted around the room on podiums, singing ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ to us all while we danced in the room. It was such a special moment with our parents, one we will never forget.
Also, dancing on the podiums just after the main course. All of our guests were standing on their chairs, singing and looking towards Billy and I. I even turned to him at one point and said: "This is AMAZING!"
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
To be honest, it was trying to plan this wedding while juggling life as a mum to a two-year-old and at the time, a nine-month-old. Finding the time to get into the wedding planning was hard, so I used to go through phases of organising.
What was the most important investment for you?
Entertainment! The music/entertainment played a huge part in our day. We hired a violinist to play as guests arrived at the venue and during the ceremony.
We hired The Function Band for the rest of the day and what a day they made it. During the drinks reception the guitarist and saxophonist played. They then moved into the Garden Room for the wedding breakfast and joined by a DJ and three singers. They sang guests into the room and during the starter and main course they sat on their podiums at the side of the room and sang to everyone. As the main course was ending they started to move around the room and interact with our guests including sitting on their laps.
They then blew us away by asking Billy and I to stand on the podiums just in front of the top table and they made the whole room get on their feet and sing ‘Stand By Me’. They then got the guests to stand on their chairs for a rendition of ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You’. The atmosphere in the room was something else.
As for the evening, we had a dancefloor and white chiffon backdrop installed. The podiums were positioned for the singers and they sung our guests back into the room to gather for the cutting of a cake and first dance. From that moment on, the dance floor was never empty.
We also hired a magician who just blew our guests away. He took my dad's cuff links from his shirt and a friend's tie from around his neck without either of them noticing... it really was a WOW moment.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
It Must Be Love by Madness. We didn’t want a slow song, something upbeat but still nice words. The band sang this for us too which made it even more special and we also had a confetti cannon go off just before our guests joined us.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
We had a three-tiered cake; the top and bottom tier was white and the middle tier was silver. The cake was dressed with sugar flowers from the top tier going to the bottom. The flavour was passionfruit and white chocolate flavour but, annoyingly, we didn’t even get to taste it on the day! I heard from the guests that it was very tasty.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
The only thing I would change is that I would have loved to have had a group photo of us and all of our guests. We didn’t request it and we were so caught up in the excitement of the day that we didn’t even think. I know it’s so cliché to say it but it was truly the most magical, best day of our lives and we only wish we could relive it.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
The wedding blues! After we came back from our minimoon, they really set in. Back to normality and I had nothing to plan anymore. I felt really lost and asked a few of my friends who are already married when they would disappear. It took a good few weeks, but now I love to re-live it through the wedding video and photographs.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We had a minimoon instead. With two small children we didn’t want to go anywhere too far so we went to Ibiza the day after our wedding. I really didn’t want to go home and walk back through our front door as it would have been all over, so we arranged for friends and family to join us for a drink the day after the wedding at a local pub. We left and headed straight to the airport and stayed at The Sol Beach House in Ibiza for five nights. It was amazing and pure relaxation. Just what we needed. We are hoping to go on a bigger holiday next year and combine it with my 30th.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Trust the team at your venue. The control freak I am found it hard to let them take over on the day and set everything up just as I imagined. I was hoping to do this all the day before, but we couldn’t so it was all in their hands. I am SO glad I did. It looked beautiful and was even better because I saw it finished, not the in between/messy stage where it's all still coming together. They do this day in, day out, so they know what to do. Trust them.
Steal their style:
Photography: Hollie Carlin
Videography: Zade Cross
Floristry: Stacey Stevens, Designer Flowers Essex
Dress: Justin Alexander from Isabella Grace Bridal
Bride's hair: Stacey Elliott
Bridesmaid and MOB hair and make-up: Lightbox Studio
Cake: Amelie's Kitchen
Music: Violinist, Sally Potterton and The Function Band
Magician: James Brown
Table plan/signs: The Perfect Wedding Shop
Name places/hangers: Hannah Lauren Designs
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