A beautiful seaside wedding in North Devon

20 Aug 2021

Melissa Andrews and Martin Edwards tied the knot in an elegant intimate beach wedding infront of 30 guests

Tell us about the proposal. 

Martin proposed to me at the Tunes in The Dunes music festival in Perranporth, Cornwall in 2018. Unknown to me, Martin had sent the event organiser an email requesting if it was possible to do the proposal live on stage, but had heard nothing until the last minute. In the lead up to the proposal, Martin had been acting totally out of character and suddenly after receiving a ‘secret’ phone call he started rushing me to get ready. It was at this point I accidently spilled my glass of red wine down all over my outfit just prior to leaving. I was pretty chilled, telling Martin I was just going to get changed, to which he replied; “You can’t really notice it, you look great” - I reassured him it wouldn’t take me long (thank God I did).

On arrival at the festival, Martin was approached by a man, who he told me he knew and then we headed off to the main stage. All of a sudden, the main singer from Laid Blak called out my name, I was quickly ushered into a side entrance of the main stage, where I was told it was my birthday. Both of us where now stood in front of a crowd of more than 3,000 people and I was clearly becoming increasingly nervous.

The band were amazing and started singing a song and changing some of the lyrics to include both our names. Not knowing quite what to do, and having completely lost the feeling in my legs, we both started swinging our hands above our heads waving at the crowd, they copied, and it felt completely surreal. Martin was then passed the microphone and said a lovely little speech and got down on one knee and proposed. I couldn’t believe it, and was so shocked, I just jumped on him and of course that meant yes, as I was too speechless to actually say the words.

We were then treated as VIP guests and had the most amazing evening, being congratulated by everyone we saw, and Martin repeatedly being told that he had set the standard for every proposal.

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What venue did you choose and why did you choose it? 

The Venue at Sandy Cove was chosen because it suited all of our needs - it allowed both the ceremony and reception to be conducted with minimal logistical effort. Coupled with spectacular coastal views and clean, modern contemporary décor, this venue was our first choice.

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How was your wedding affected by Covid-19? 

Our original wedding date was the 16th May 2020. This was rescheduled to the 1st May 2021 and then eventually set for 19th June 2021 - the last available Saturday at the venue in 2021. Originally, we had 80 guests, but due to Covid restrictions we were restricted to 30 guests. The fact that we had to change the date twice meant that co-ordinating all the moving parts was tricky - ensuring the photographer, florist, magician, registrar, accommodation at the venue and guests would all be available on the final date. Fortunately, all our suppliers were flexible and accommodated our needs.

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Did you hire a wedding planner?

We chose not to employ a wedding planner, as Martin used his 27 years of military experience to produce an events list, timeline, seating plan, expenditure, accommodation and a kit list for all items that we could not afford to forget.

How did you know you’d found ‘the’ dress? 

I tried on loads of dresses, until I found the one, travelling from Wales to Barnstable, to the depths of Cornwall, until I finally found my dream dress in Amica Bridal Boutique in Plymouth. Even then the dress I loved was only available to try on in blush, so ordering it without viewing it was a gamble, which fortunately paid off. My friends had been with me on some occasions, encouraging me to buy dresses that looked great, but they just didn’t feel right for me. Attending annual military balls, I quite often get to wear beautiful evening dresses, so I knew my wedding dress had to have the wow factor and I knew instantly that this dress was extra special. As soon as I put it on it felt and looked perfect. 

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Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear? 

The bridesmaids and flower girls were our children, who are all girls. The two eldest wore royal blue dresses with the youngest in ivory dresses. We were inspired from seeing an old friend’s wedding photos and loved the blues and yellows as we thought they looked bright and vibrant; they complemented each other wonderfully. 

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Where did you find your suits?  

After attending a number of wedding fairs, Martin chose to purchase three Skopes suits from the House of Fraser for himself, his father and my father.

Tell us about your floral arrangements. 

Choosing the right florist was extremely important and Deryn from Twigs Flowers in Barnstaple was extremely accommodating from start to finish, giving excellent advice in the planning stages. To my utter dismay on the morning of the wedding, I realised (due to so many changes) I had missed two bouquets off the final order. Deryn was outstanding, rushing back to the florist to create two additional bouquets - I cannot thank her enough. The floral arrangements looked absolutely stunning. Deryn was flexible and supportive in changing our requirements due to Covid.

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Tell us about the details of the day. 

Due to the restricted numbers, we decided to make the table favours very personal, by placing a photo of guests with a personal message on the back. As we love our van life, the photos were held by mini-VW vans. The centre pieces were glass bowls with sand and shells to represent our love of beach life. We had studied many other weddings for ideas on guest books but decided on using an old surfboard of ours and getting all our guests to write a message using Posca pens to ‘wish us on our way'. Martin made a LOVE sign from old pallets which were a central feature at the reception. 

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What was the most important investment for you?  

The venue was truly spectacular and was worth every penny. The staff at Sandy Cove were extremely accommodating to all of our needs which enabled the day to run smoothly. The food tasted amazing, was eloquently served and could not be faulted. 

Tell us about your wedding cake.  

The original wedding cake was three tiers and would have fed the 80 guests as per the original requirement. However, due to the restricted numbers, Mandy from Mandy’s Classic Cakes was completely flexible to refining the requirement to two tiers and created a most sensational sea-themed cake. I sneakily had Mandy insert an edible Royal Marines Globe and Laurels crest into the cake, which was a lovely surprise for Martin. 

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle? 

I did not anticipate the anxiety and stress I would feel leading up to the wedding day. On the morning of the wedding, I put my dress on and as Ashleigh (Martin’s eldest daughter) buttoned it up, I suddenly couldn’t breathe, I was worried I had put on weight. The photographer of all people reassured me he had seen this a thousand times before and it was very common. It was at this point I decided it was time for a prosecco. Once ready, we made our way down to the ceremony.

As soon as I took my father’s arm and stepped on the aisle, all of the anxiety completely fell away, then my vail got caught on a step and my father started to fuss around behind me. I started instructing him to stop, he looked up at me and said, “Shall we have a row, then I can just leave now?” - we both burst into laughter and my nerves were completely gone.

He walked me down the rest of the outdoor aisle. We smiled, laughed, took in the sea air and view and I knew in that moment I was exactly where I was meant to be, there is no feeling like it. My father unfortunately had a stroke not long before the wedding and had said it was down to having to write the speech. Dad being by my side made that moment feel all the more special. 

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What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?  

For the first dance, Martin's daughter Ashleigh and her fiancée Joshua played and sang an acoustic version of Nothing Holding Me Back by Shaun Mendes. We had listened to many songs before choosing this particular one, and simply loved all the lyrics.

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What was your most memorable moment? 

We wrote our own vows, and Joshua played an acoustic version of Magic by Coldplay as I walked down the aisle. Going against tradition, Martin chose his daughter to be 'Best Lady', as opposed to having a best man. She then decided to sing her speech which was highly emotional, brought a tear to most eyes and was regarded by all as the most memorable moment of the day. Her voice and words were sensational and she had pre-recorded the piano notes she had created herself as there was no piano.

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Where did you go on honeymoon? 

The honeymoon will have to wait as work and Covid restrictions have delayed our departure. We plan to honeymoon in the Maldives next Easter.

The celebration is far from over as we will be holding a blessing in the Sergeants’ Mess at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines base at Lympstone, Devon in June 2022, which will include more than 100 guests. 

Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?  

Use local suppliers to the venue, therefore, if anything doesn’t go to plan it can be re-organised quickly.

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Steal Their Style

Photographer: Yeti Photography
Venue: The Venue, Sandy Cove
Dress: Lady Bird, by Amica Bridal Boutique
Hair: Elysian Hair and Beauty
Make-up: Melanie Thornton MUA
Nails: Zoe Lavender
Bridesmaids dresses: Pink Boutique
Flower girl dresses: John Lewis
Suits: Skopes
Stationery: Canva
Cake: Mandy's Classic Cakes
Flowers: Twigs Flowers
Entertainment: John Wheaton Band
Magician: Dan Brazier

Click here for more real wedding inspiration! 

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