A springtime wedding in Essex with pink details

04 Oct 2021

Jaimie McCabe and Michael King invited 90 guests to their church wedding, followed by a further 40 for the evening celebrations at Friern Manor

The proposal

Michael knew a public proposal with an audience would have been a sure-fire way for me to say 'no', Michael clearly knows me very well, because flowers arrived at my work that day with a note saying 'Tonight we are going back to where it started', and he took me out for dinner to the restaurant where we had our first date.

I still didn't think a proposal was planned, as he knew I would hate that sort of proposal, especially if the audience was strangers. When we sat down I did think to myself, 'where is everyone?', as no one was sitting at any other table I could see. He later told me he spoke to the restaurant and asked to be seated on our own. 

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The venue

We took a few years and enjoyed just being engaged, then at Christmas 2018 we decided to look around Friern Manor in Brentwood. We lived very close to the venue and drove past it often, it always looked so magical and we just walked in that Christmas and booked the date for four months later. It is traditional yet glamorous; the epitome of luxury. 

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The theme

We both love tradition and wanted the church wedding, and the vintage cars to take us to the reception, so we tried to keep it timeless and classic.

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The dress

I never planned to go wedding dress shopping the day I found my dress. I was with my mum and sisters shopping around for bridesmaid dress ideas, but with no luck, and we felt it was a bit of a deflated day. Then we strolled past Confetti & Lace, and one of my sisters suggested we just pop in and have a browse. I knew the shop had featured on the programme 'Say Yes to the Dress', but I didn’t think they would let me try anything on without an appointment. However, we were met by the most helpful lady, who advised to 'leave it to her' when I explained I didn't know where to start. 

I ended up falling in love with my perfect dress. It was an A-line satin dress, with a V-neck and pearl and diamante detailing at the waist. I chose a long veil and gemstone crown to match the dress detail. I remember trying on so many dresses, but the first one I tried was met with a "wow". We all poured a glass of fizz to celebrate. 

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The outfits

My bridesmaids were my three sisters, who are also my best friends. I wanted them to feel comfortable and amazing and gave them free rein on the bridesmaids' dresses – I just asked that they were pink. When they told me they had found one they all loved by Chi Chi London and it was a pink floral print, I was unsure. However, when I saw them I loved them as much as they did, and I really loved the fact that they were a bit more unique.

The suits were from M&S, and Michael customised his suit with a tweed waistcoat.

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The details

My 'something old' was a locket with two pictures of my nans inside, who sadly passed away, which I tied around my bouquet and added a personal touch. 

As Michael is a carpenter we decided to base some details on this. We had a wooden crate filled with flowers in front of us on the top table, with Mr and Mrs King and the wedding date, as well as wooden details and a log slice for wedding cake to sit on.

We hired light-up letters spelling KING for the dance floor, so that was the backdrop for our first dance,

We also hired two cream 1950s Rolls-Royces for the journey to the church and to the reception, during which we stopped for photos in a field of vibrant yellow rapeseed. 

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The memories

Michael had arranged a surprise bridal box for me when I was getting ready that morning. It contained perfume, prosecco, a jewellery box engraved for my rings, personalised trainers for the evening and an eternity ring. I couldn’t believe it, it was the most thoughtful thing. I had also bought him a watch, which I left under our son's pillow for him with a note that said 'See you at the church at 1pm'… the irony is, I was really late! 

Another one of my most memorable moments was the drive to the church with my dad, and he was talking to me about his wedding day to mum. It was lovely. 

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The challenges

The most challenging aspect was our seating arrangements, as so much thought went into it. You have to think about personalities, if they have children sitting with them, also the seats that face the top table and the seats where guests would have to turn in their seat to see the speeches. You can’t just throw people together.

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The most important investment

For us, it was music, drink and food. We wanted people to dance all night and enjoy the food and drink. We upgraded on the wedding breakfast as we saw it as an investment and you only do it once. As well as the buffet in the evening, we also had miniature fish and chips as the night drew in and a sweet cart and doughnuts to keep the children (and adults) happy.

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The first dance

Our first dance was to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons' Can't Take My Eyes Off You. Michael chose the song as we saw Jersey Boys in the theatre when we first got together, and the songs are special to us. 

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The cake

Our wedding cake was five tiers tall as we had a lot of guests. We decided on a different flavour for each tier: chocolate orange, champagne and strawberries, sticky toffee, lemon and vanilla, and raspberry sponge. We opted for a semi-naked cake as we aren’t overly keen on icing and thought it looked more rustic with the log stand. It was exceptional to look at and even better to eat. 

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Advice for brides and grooms:

Eat the buffet! Neither of us even tried it. On a more serious note, take time out with each other. Go outside for a moment if you have to. You won’t have the day again, so just enjoy it as it’s your day.

Also, it's pointless obsessing about the weather, and I wish I had researched posing/poses for photographs, but luckily our photographer was amazing. Do not try to save money on your our photographer; you can't re-take those photos, they are your memories forever. 

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Steal their style:

Photography: Ebourne Images
Venue: Friern Manor
Dress (and veil and tiara): Orleans by Ronald Joyce, Confetti & Lace
Shoes: Rainbow Club
Bridesmaids' dresses: Chi Chi London
Hair: Shannon's Salon
Make-up: Flawless Faces
Cake: Cookie Delicious
Sweet cart: It's In The Party Bag
Cars: Arrow Vintage Cars 
DJ: Specialist Discos
Light-up letters: Limelights Essex

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