Michael Edward Coote and Elaine Anne Hanzak won Bride's '£2020 off your 2020 wedding' competition, in conjunction with Hotel du Vin Bristol City Centre
Tell us about your venue and why you entered Bride's online competition
Mike has family in Cornwall and we live in Cheshire. Bristol is between the two areas. We won the ‘£2020 off your 2020 wedding at Hotel du Vin Bristol City Centre' competition and as soon as we visited, we knew it was perfect for us. It was exactly the type of wedding we wanted; both of us work in many corporate venues and we wanted something more personal and different.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
Elegant and intimate. The colour scheme was based on dark red/burgundy to match the dress.
How did you know you’d found ‘the’ dress?
We were on a narrowboat holiday and stopped at the tiny village of Chirk, Wrexham. We stumbled across Gwen’s Wedding Specialists and both knew the red dress was the perfect one. I tried on a number of white/ivory ones and wasn’t sure about any of the designs. Once I put the red dress on, the search was over. Being an older bride, I knew I wanted to find something that I felt suited me and made me feel great.
Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?
My 11-year-old niece, Sophie Jones, who wore an ivory dress by John Rocha. Gwen’s Wedding Specialists made a matching sash to my wedding dress.
What did the mother of the bride wear?
My mum, Maureen Walsh, wore a long metallic dress from Coast.
Where did you find the suits?
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
We wanted to give a newly qualified bridal florist the opportunity to create our wedding flowers and Bristol Flower School recommended Camilla Aslett, who was incredible.
We had a bridal hand-tied bouquet and smaller one for Sophie. The groom and main family members had buttonholes and corsages made from a selection of flowers from the bridal bouquet. There were two huge vases of flowers in the main reception room and foliage on the staircases. The reception table had candelabras decorated with foliage, flowers and blooms in tiny vases. Camilla used many flowers from her own garden and even indoor plants.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day
We asked Bristol University if any of their music students would like to play for us. We had delightful music by Stephen Nurse (violinist) and Clara Neather (cellist). For our evening entertainment, Mike put together a slideshow of music videos that had been requested by the guests as restrictions at the time did not allow us to dance.
Our personal touch were glass bottles with lights inside and a ribbon around the top. These decorated the evening area and guests took them home.
My son, Marius, took a pre-wedding photo and had it made into a canvas sign, which read ‘Welcome to our wedding’.
My sister, Claire Jones, read a poem during the ceremony called ‘Wait For Someone Kind’ by Maria Binas.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
Both of us had been ill with COVID-19 followed by months of Long-COVID since April 2020, so to have the health and energy to enjoy the day was incredible.
We both had expected tears of joy and relief. As soon as I put my dress on, I felt ecstatic and I was told I radiated love and joy all day.
What was your most memorable moment?
Saying the vows
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
Both of us being unwell and then having to rearrange the wedding four more times.
What was the most important investment for you?
Our honeymoon – to spend time together as husband and wife. Shortly after the wedding day, we had three nights at Lion Quays Resort and Spa in Shropshire. The honeymoon suite is wonderful. We came home briefly, then drove down to Cornwall for a week at Trenython Manor.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
Broken Road by Rascal Flatts, as the lyrics express how we feel about one another.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
During our long illness, one of our neighbours, Stephanie Shuker who is an excellent home baker, would leave us delicious cakes on our doorstep. She was the obvious choice to make our two-tier fruit cake. Our florist Camilla provided the floral topper and Mike surprised me with the wooden personalised topper.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Enjoy it, as it is part of the pleasure.
Steal their style:
Photography: Adam Jones, West 70
Dress and flower girl sash: Gwen's Wedding Specialists
Make-up: Jax Glam Beauty
Hair: Bobbie Leah Wrixton
Nails: Eleanor Povey
Suits: Racing Green
Flowers: Camilla Aslett
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