With talking points galore, Paige Harrison and Gavin Hogsflesh's big day featured a choir surprise, a DIY prosecco van, an extra memorable edition of Marryoke and an unforgettable flash mob
How did you meet?
Gav and I met in my second year of university, a relationship I was in came to an end and I asked my housemate, Joe, if he knew anyone that might like me. He passed Gavin my phone number, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Tell us about the proposal.
Gavin proposed to me in New York at the Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately he didn’t get down on one knee as I saw him pull the ring from his wallet and jumped up and down with joy screaming "yes".
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
I’m an event stylist so I always had a clear vision of what I wanted, and I wanted to have a rustic theme done to the nines, ditch the jars and milk bottles and do an over the top rustic affair. But Gavin put a stop to this plan when he disagreed. After chatting and looking through Pinterest for hours on end we came across a lavish gold and blush pink theme which we fell in love with and had never recreated before for any of our brides, so we set about bringing our vision to life.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We held our ceremony at St John’s Baptist Church in Corby, this was the church my mum and dad held their ceremony in and I just had to get married here - there was no question about it. My mum and dad have been married for 25 years and have been together since they were 16-years-old. Their relationship and love for each other is beautiful and exactly what me and Gavin strive to have, I think coming full circle and getting married at St John’s was so important.
Our reception was held at Barton Hall in Kettering. As we decorate weddings all over the country, we knew Barton Hall was the place for us when we met the staff while decorating a customer's wedding. The team go above and beyond for all of their couples and suppliers, a service that we rarely see in other venues. Barton is a stunning venue in its own right there is no other venue like it, but as mentioned the staff really pull out all of the stops to help their customers and suppliers.
When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?
Finding my wedding dress was a process I was absolutely dreading, I was super unhappy with the way I looked and didn’t think I would find a dress. We visited three different boutiques and tried on more than 20 dresses but I finally found the perfect Morilee gown in Stunning Bridal in Northampton. I knew it was the one when I couldn’t stop looking at myself in the mirror, happy tears from my mum and dad... we had hit the jackpot. My sister actually picked the gown that I wore, it was a lovely family moment with my sister and parents - the only entourage I took with me.
What did the bridesmaids wear?
The bridesmaids wore dresses from Dorothy Perkins. I fell in love with a picture I found on Instagram and searched the internet to try to find them. I didn’t want the stereotypical floor-length, lace dresses and I wanted dresses that would fit our theme; these dresses were perfect and I just adored them. My lovely friend, Bonnie, created underskirts for them to take the dresses to the next level, I was over the moon with them.
Where did you find your suits?
After picking my dress and when the bridesmaids were all sorted, we realised we were heading towards a formal, glamorous look for our day, Navy suits just wouldn’t do and the boys shouldn’t be left out. We had a look online at couples and saw a stunning photo of a couple with the groom in a tuxedo... it was perfect. The suits were just as hard work to find as the bridesmaids' dresses as hardly any suit hire shops hired out tuxedos. Moss Bros were actually the only local shop we could find to offer this. The groomsmen’s suits were hired and Gavin purchased his as we wanted to make his suit a little different from the other guys as he was the groom.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
Forget the dress, forget the cake, the flowers were by far the most important part of our day for me. I work with a fantastic business, Flowertime in Corby, and they provide my business with all of the floral arrangements I need for events that I am decorating. They are an incredible team; from working alongside them for so many years, they can see my visions and get inside my head to provide me with exactly what I’m looking for. I went in the shop with a list, a million photos and a vision and gosh did they go above and beyond what I was expecting. I wanted pink, elegant, huge arrangements on every empty surface in the venue and I wanted the biggest bouquet they had ever created. I was just in awe of everything when we were bringing it all together on the morning of the wedding.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
From decorating weddings week in and week out, I had seen a lot of weddings without personality. I knew Gav and I had to go that extra mile to make our wedding our wedding, not just a stunning wedding at Barton Hall. We created a beautiful memory table that was filled with pictures of us from the beginning of our relationship to the present day, we also included photos with some of our wedding guests (pictures they wished we didn’t take). And we also included pictures of my beautiful nana, uncle and our dog, Doug, who had passed away. Fom decorating weddings I had seen the candle lit in memory of guests, the empty chair and the frames, I wanted to combine the two; fun photos and memory photos to create a less upsetting impact for the guests that would miss them the most, and this was great. Guests giggled and pointed, it let them know how much we love them.
We numbered our tables, but each number represented something important in our relationship. For example, table four - the amount of months we spent decorating our first home. Table seven - the amount of days we spent in New York, Gav proposed on day 2 and so on.
I booked a choir to sing at our ceremony and Gavin and our guests had no idea. I walked down the aisle to Sparks Fly by Taylor Swift which is a song that we listened to a lot and it reminds us of our relationship. The choir were able to sing it to an acoustic backing; it was really emotional and beautiful.
My aunty makes the most amazing shortbread and she offered to make shortbread biscuits for our wedding favours, they went down really well with our guests and saved us some money too.
I have the most amazing DIY dad and he built the most epic prosecco van you could ever imagine. It was his project, from buying a wrecked van off eBay to installing the pumps and purchasing the prosecco. The van was such a talking point with our guests as they had never seen anything like it. The van was parked outside of our church so as me, Gavin and our wedding party were busy taking photos, our guests were able to help themselves to a glass or two and chat amongst themselves. This van was so fantastic that my mum and dad have been able to create a business and now supply prosecco and drinks to lots of lovely wedding guests.
We also created a Marryoke video which was so much fun. Our friends, Dan and Callum, had come across something similar on YouTube and asked if they could create one for us. It was brilliant. Our guests miming to Carley Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe and dancing around it really generated such a buzz throughout the day and the finished video is hilarious and something we can look back upon time and time again to remind us of our day.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
As mentioned, I had organised a choir to surprise Gavin and our guests. As me, my dad and bridesmaids waited behind the entrance door we were singing and dancing along to the choir signing Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream, no nerves at all just lots of excitement. Once the doors opened and the song changed to Taylor Swift’s Sparks Fly, the atmosphere totally changed and once I saw Gavin’s face I was overcome with emotion. As I walked down the aisle with my dad I was super excited to cuddle Gav and marry the man of my dreams, we raced down the aisle to him.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
The choir singing our songs was super emotional and totally unique, it made or ceremony stand out. We also asked my little sister and maid of honour, Chloe, to read a poem; she was really nervous but she did a fantastic job and I was so proud of her. Gavin’s mum, Lynne, also read out a beautiful passage from the bible.
What was your most memorable moment?
My most memorable moment by far was the surprise flash mob our family and friends had organised. It was a complete shock and just amazing. Once our first dance was done, our friends dragged us to chairs and family and friends started coming out from the crowd and dancing to some of my favourite cheesy songs such as Steps and Glee... it was just spectacular and something I’ll never forget. How lucky are we to have such amazing friends and family that would spend their time organising and practising a dance routine?
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
Guests! Oh my goodness, no matter how early on you send out your invitations, you are always chasing people for their response. A few days before the wedding we also had a few guests that unfortunately could no longer attend. I had already made my table plan and it couldn’t be remade as it was screwed and glued down to a board. This caused so much unwanted stress, the fact it was wrong and I couldn’t change it. On the day of course no one cared and it was the last thing on my mind.
What was the most important investment for you?
The most important part of our day was the décor, dressing weddings is what I do for a living so I felt I had a point to prove and an opportunity to do exactly what we wanted. Everything from the sashes to the centrepieces I brought specially for our wedding day, the reception venue and the church looked fantastic. And I now miss the Sunday afternoons trailing through TK Maxx and Homesense looking for unique touches and pieces we could add to the décor.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
We chose The Corrs - Runaway for our first dance. We used to spend Sundays cuddled up listening to them at uni and it just takes us back to when we first started dating. Our family love the song too so it was lovely when they joined us on the dancefloor.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
We had a silent disco in the evening which was a blast. Guests dancing around with headphones on screaming the words to songs was so funny and another unique touch that we added.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
Our wedding cake was based on an image we found on Pinterest. Once again we wanted something different and a masterpiece that would complement our décor and overall theme and vibe of the day. Melody at Melodycakes created exactly what we wanted and hoped for. The top tier was fake so I was able to keep it after the day, it now sits under a glass bell jar in our kitchen.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
The only thing that irritated me on the day was my veil. It was cathedral length so every time someone cuddles you it feels like your hair is being ripped out. It was such a pain and not to mention the amount of times someone stood on it. As soon as dinner was over, it came straight off. However, now looking at our wedding photos I adore it and the pain was so worth it.
Did anything go wrong on the day?
Absolutely nothing went wrong. Preparation is key. I knew I had to decorate the venue with my team on the morning of the day; we were up bright and early at 6am, I had done everything that I could prior to that day e.g. cleaning picture frames, candles already in tea light holders and so on. It was a case of putting things on tables and getting the chairs dressed, I also had my trusty list and labels to get me through. I actually really enjoyed decorating it all on the day. If anything did go wrong on the day we didn’t notice at all.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
From working in the industry I had gained a lot of advice from my previous customers and from dressing weddings for five years, I had lots of knowledge to help us. There were no surprises for us prior to the day.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We went to Disney World. It was incredible; we had never been and I had always wanted to go since I was a child. I cried more on the honeymoon then I did on the wedding day. The castle, the characters that place is just a fairytale. We also wore badges that lets everyone know we were celebrating our marriage, which meant lots of kisses and cuddles from the characters and even free snacks.
We went on honeymoon the day after the wedding; we drove down to the airport, stayed the night and flew out to Orlando in the morning. This would be my biggest piece of advice: book the honeymoon for straight after the wedding, keep the hype and excitement going. We were floating on a cloud the whole three weeks of the wedding and honeymoon. I see so many brides just lost and down in the dumps from the come down of the day, so get your honeymoon booked and get the cost of your honeymoon included in your overall wedding budget.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
- Listen to each other. Do what is right for you two as a couple; your guests are there to celebrate with you. Pick the food you like not what most people like, pick a band you love - if your guests love you they already know what they are in for.
- Invest your money in a fantastic out of this world photographer. Latzo at Latzo Photography is phenomenal, and our pictures are stunning. Once all is said and done and your day is over, your photographs are all you have left and all you have to show for the fantastic day you had.
- Book a honeymoon close to the wedding date to avoid the wedding blues.
Get the look:
Event styling: Paige’s Elegant Occasions: www.paigeselegantoccasions.com
Reception venue: Barton Hall, www.bartonhall.com
Photography: Latzo Photography, www.Latzo.co.uk
Photobooth and music video: Pic N Clix, www.photoboothhire.pics/features
Cake: Melody Cakes, www.melodycakes.co.uk
Wedding dress: Stunning Bridal, www.stunningbridal.co.uk
Wedding party hair: Halo Hair, www.facebook.com/stylesbyalicia88/
Wedding party make-up: Beauty Angels, www.bridal-hair-and-make-up.co.uk
Suits: Moss Bros, www.mossbros.co.uk
Wedding car: Bridal Carriages of Northamptonshire, www.bridalcarriages.co.uk
Prosecco van: The Vintage Fizz Company, www.thevintagefizzcompany.co.uk
For more real wedding inspiration, pick up the latest edition of Bride magazine.