American fairytale

17 Mar 2014

American fairytale

The wedding of Duncan Ballard of Hastings and Alyssa Passey of Virginia, USA, sealed their special relationship

Duncan Ballard and Alyssa Passey

Where: Ceremony at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Eastbourne, followed by reception at Ashdown Park Hotel and Country Club

Photography: ESP Photographic

It was truly a marathon day, which started at 5am. I was a little nervous but I wanted to enjoy the day and soak it all in.

Walking into the church with my father, Duncan’s jaw dropped when he saw me. We hadn’t seen each other for a few days due to greeting our out-of-town guests so it was a perfect moment.

I walked down the aisle to a bridal version of ABBA’s Dancing Queen, from the Muriel’s Wedding soundtrack. It suited me perfectly to start off the wedding day with a little surprise song like that.

We had a fun, relaxed but beautiful reception at Ashdown Park Hotel. We loved celebrating with all our loved ones but we just felt like it all went by so fast.

We met when I gave Duncan a towel at a church project, so it seemed perfect to give our guests tea towels as favours. They had a sketch of us on them with Duncan (from Hastings holding a Union Jack and me (from Alexandria, Virginia) holding the American flag. Underneath was our wedding date and the words ‘Our love story started with a towel’.

We had popping candy in our cake as Duncan fancied the idea of the cake exploding in his mouth. We also had Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from the US included on one layer.

I had my bridal bouquet and Duncan’s buttonhole preserved after the wedding. I included the lace from my veil and our announcement in a frame, which is a lovely memento of the day.

Our first dance was to Storybook Love from the movie The Princess Bride. We worked with a dance student at Brunel University to help us look like we had some co-ordination. After the dance we cut the cake and then joined all our guests in a barn dance which was great fun. I danced with my father to I Loved Her First, by Heartland. It is a perfect song for a daddy-daughter dance.

While I wore ‘proper shoes’ for the ceremony, my sister-in-law, Sara Passey, surprised me with a pair of custom-made Converse All Stars to change into for the barn dance. The shoes were also done up in my wedding colours and on the heel stripe, it had my new last name. They were perfect and so fantastic to slip into after many hours in the other shoes.


Photography: ESP Photographic, Newchapel, Surrey, 07745 092955,

Venue: Ashdown Park Hotel and Country Club, East Grinstead, 01342 824988,

Dress: ‘Ghislaine’ by Enzoani,

Alterations: Bridal Alterations of London, London, 020 7498 4360,

Groom’s outfit: Dickies Mens Suit Hire, Eastbourne, 01323 729315,

Make-up and hair: Olivia Smith, StyleMe, Surrey, 07877 318406,

Favours: Bryan Franks Promotions, Middlesex, 0845 180 1122,

Cake: JaneyMac Cakes, East Grinstead, 01342 316428,

Flowers: Zara Flora, East Grinstead, 01342 300500,

Venue Dressing: Pete Williams, West Sussex, 01444 401181,

Transport: Silhoutte Wedding Cars, Eastbourne, 01323 460286,

Entertainment: Square the Circle Folk Dance Band,

Wedding Planner: Ros Lowther, Essex, 01206 820495,

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