Wedding of the Week: Kirsty Saville and Sam Roberts

19 Nov 2018

With dazzling details aplenty, Kirsty Saville and Sam Roberts' wedding day perfectly fulfilled the couple's 'fun and bright' brief

How did you meet?

Kirsty: I moved to Exeter in March 2015 after starting at the university as a lecturer. Sam and his brother owned and lived at the house I moved into. Sam offered to take me kayaking on the River Exe to show me around and to help me feel settled in the house. We then got on so well we went to a roller disco, then he took me to meet his whole family the next day.

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Tell us about the proposal.

Kirsty: We were on holiday in Lake Bled in Slovenia; we had spent the day tobogganing down a hill, stand-up paddle boarding across the lake and had taken a walk up to the castle. Sam found a secluded corner in the castle and asked someone walking past to take a picture (which was a video). I squealed a lot; it is one of my favourite memories, I was genuinely really shocked.

Sam: I had carried the ring around with me all holiday to find the perfect place to propose. Kirsty and I rowed to the island a few days earlier but there were too many wasps and she was stressed. The next day we paddle boarded to the island but there were too many tourists on the mini island, so I waited until the castle.

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What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?

We wanted everything to be fun and bright, so we had lots of garden games (including boxes with our faces on with our mouths open as the holes for bean bags to be thrown into, a coconut shy, giant wedding noughts and crosses, a tin can ladder, coites and croquet). Our colour scheme was navy and hot pink to bring colour and vibrancy. I had researched photographers’ advice on confetti and, luckily, it said the brighter the better for the photos which suited the colours – given out in buckets rather than confetti cones to ensure everyone got a good handful.

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

We chose the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Exeter for the ceremony as it is truly beautiful and we love the priest – Father Jonathan. He is really funny and always knows what to say; he did our ceremony so well after getting to know us. We went to a lot of reception venues and chose the Deer Park Country House as it had an impeccable planning team (Kate was our co-ordinator). We could tell they would take the stress away as well as being very child-friendly and wet-weather friendly, with accommodation for everyone and lots of hidden treasures. It was by far our favourite venue that we went to see. The size of the dining room was a big factor for us and the pizza oven at the bottom of the garden and the bridal treehouse made it very unique.

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When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?

Kirsty: I went to 17 dress shops and tried on approximately 120 dresses! I knew I wanted a Mikado silk dress with a square front and a fishtail. I would go to bridal shops and because it was so specific, I would try on other dresses if they didn’t have anything similar but I knew what I really wanted. I was with my mum in my hometown of Weston-Super-Mare when I found the one – Pronovias Agnes. We both knew it was, it was so beautiful – we called my sister and she came to see it after work at the shop. I then researched stockists for Pronovias to compare the shops that had a reputable seamstress and came across Sassi Holford in Taunton. The Pronovias flagship store is in Barcelona by my auntie’s house so when I went to visit I bought the matching headband from the dress, which wasn’t available in the UK.

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What did the bridesmaids wear?

Kirsty: I had my older sister, Becki, as maid of honour; Sam’s sister, Jo; my cousin, Hannah; and best friend, Charlie, for my bridesmaids. The bridesmaids wore navy Sistaglam Aston dresses which were also with the same square front and featured a fishtail design – it complemented all of their figures – even my maid of honour who was one week before her due date on the day. My flower girls were Jo’s daughters, Megan and Olive, alongside my cousin Jen’s daughter, Esmae. They wore hot pink flower girl dresses to match our bouquets with little love heart open backs.

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What did the mother of the bride wear?

Kirsty: The mother of the bride also tried on a lot of outfits. She chose a floral ivory and hot pink Jacques Vert dress, with a matching pink jacket, an ivory fascinator and shoes.

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Where did you find your suits?

Sam: I had a lot of help from my groomsmen and Kirsty’s step-dad. We decided to buy navy suits from Next with hot pink ties and light tanned shoes for all of the groomsmen. I would advise anyone to get two wedding shirts as you’ll need one to change into for the evening.

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Tell us about your floral arrangements.

We had 12 silver candelabra table centres with hot pink roses and carnations, white lisianthus and gypsophila with added soft ruscus and eucalyptus foliages. There were three little jars with sprigs of flowers underneath each candelabra. My bridal bouquet had David Austin hot pink roses (Darcy rose and Capability rose), white lisianthus and gypsophila. The bouquet was wrapped in and navy ribbon and secured with pearl pins. The bridesmaid bouquets had hot pink roses, hot pink carnations, white lisianthus and gypsophila. The groomsmen had a single David Austin Capability rose.

We met with several florists but I had a clear flower style in my mine to match the structured feel of the wedding dress. It was difficult to try and explain what I had imagined to Sam without giving away what my dress was like. We used the same florist as my older sister after a meeting – Flowers by Gem - she was spot on with what we wanted. Nothing was too much bother and she even gave me a scented bridal bouquet as a surprise. Gem kindly agreed to drive the flowers to the Deer Park from Weston-Super-Mare and was excellent all along – her candelabras were amazing.

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Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.

  • My brother and brother-in law are carpenters and made the photo booth, designed to look like a Polaroid frame with some writing on which we loved. This writing matched the table centre font and the font of the table plan.
  • My mum hired a wood recycling company to make the games from scratch.
  • Wedding favours for the children on the table were hot pink striped bags, filled with sweets, stickers, glow sticks, a personalised colouring book or 'spot the difference' book (depending on age) which we had drawn on the computer and printed onto sticky paper to make the front cover.
  • Adults had silver boxes containing Love Hearts, mint imperials and hot pink sticks of rock saying ‘just married’ from John Lewis. We also stuck a lucky chocolate sixpence to the back of everyone’s place card as a little extra.
  • Each person had a menu with their order in the same design as the invites, table plan and place settings.
  • My mum made the table plan with a floral archway which was amazing.

The wedding cake was served on the 'carb table' featuring a doughnut wall, brownies, flapjacks, gingerbread men and rocky road. We also made a ‘guess the first dance’ frame with the same design as the table plan to win a bottle of prosecco. We had a big box of fleecy blankets for the guests to use to keep warm by the pizza oven which people appreciated. We then finished with a silent disco at midnight after the band had finished for those not ready for bed.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

Kirsty: I thought I would be calm, but as we pulled up the anticipation of walking in made me start getting very shaky and nervous. My bridesmaids hugged me and did some deep breathing and the priest came out and calmed me down too. As I came in it was so beautiful, with Sam’s cousins forming a quartet playing Canon D. I loved seeing my friends and family as I walked down the aisle and I was calm as soon as I reached Sam.

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How did you make the ceremony personal to you?

We met with the priest first and looked at the traditional Catholic service. We chose readings and hymns that we liked which were performed by the quartet alongside the organ, also played by one of Sam’s cousins. We had Sam’s dad, Chris, and my sister each give a reading to represent both parties. The exit music was played on a trumpet by Sam’s cousin’s partner, which was amazing and felt very majestic.

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What was your most memorable moment?

We both agree that walking back up the aisle to the trumpet playing, then going outside through the big church doors opened by Sam’s groomsmen to be met by a long confetti line was the most amazing memory. We wanted really bright confetti so it was super exciting to see it all come together and take it in.

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

We struggled with so many different details for the day – even down to making different menus for vegetarians, vegans, coeliac and people’s food preferences and ensuring they were in shoe boxes for each table. It was all worth it in the end as a lot of people mentioned the effort we had to gone to for everyone. The table plan was quite hard too, waiting for RSVPs on our wedding website (very handy by the way when people lose their invite to send a link).

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What was the most important investment for you?

For Sam, the most important investment was the band – they were very expensive (double our budget) but we really enjoyed them when we researched bands and went to watch them. They were the Blue Lion Band and there was a male and female singer which meant there could be a wider selection of songs which was great (we took song requests on our wedding website). They were an experienced wedding band and knew the venue well which helped, alongside every song they sang being brilliant – many guests said theyd never been to a wedding with a full dance floor.

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

Ellie Goulding - How Long Will I Love You, sung by the female singer of the band we had. We saw Ellie together at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Exeter and both love the song. We tried a few songs but liked how it sped up a little halfway through for some spins.

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Tell us about your wedding cake.

We agreed that the way we would cut back would be on the cake as we weren’t too worried about this. We asked for Marks & Spencer vouchers for Christmas and birthdays and the florist added hot pink roses and coronations to the cake, with a Ginger Ray ‘Just Married’ topper painted navy to match the table centre numbers. The cake was a five-tier ivory cake with floral icing detail. There were layers of chocolate, victoria sponge, carrot cake, lemon cake and fruit cake. 

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If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

Me and my dad say we wish we had a dance together. I had been told by so many people that you spend the whole evening doing small talk. I wish I’d asked Dad to grab me for a dance before the day.

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Did anything go wrong on the day?

When I put my dress on there was a tear in the seam which created a hole. Luckily my mum noticed and we had a quick panic, but Kate from the Deer Park came to our cottage with safety pins. With the help of my handy bridesmaid Josephine, we managed to mend it temporarily. 

Also, when I got to the church in the bridal car with my dad, one of the groomsmen came over because Sam had left the church to go to the toilet in the building next door. We had to reverse the wedding car and hide. I also heard that Sam had left the price tag on his shoes which showed as we knelt down.

Lastly, the venue had to bring some of the garden games into the drawing room due to intermittent rain. It worked out well though as people could go and play the games if they wished to.

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Was there anything you wish you’d known before?

I would have told myself that anything that goes wrong is completely out of your control, so let it be. Also, maybe I shouldn't have bought so much to replenish the carb/sweet table... we’re still eating it now.

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Where did you go on honeymoon? 

We went to Cornwall a week after the wedding as we wanted to wait for my sister to have her baby and we had things to take back to vendors in the van we had hired. Baby Liam was two weeks late so we saw him after getting back, then we went to North Devon and had some spa days and went surfing to relax. We will go abroad over Christmas 2018 once we can re-save.

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

Sam: Start early. We also got told to get the wedding rings first as the price goes up every six months but I’m not sure if that’s true. For guys getting an engagement ring – don’t worry about the size it can get resized, but also get a pouch so it can go in your pocket at the airport.

Kirsty: Go with your gut feeling on things but be open to people’s ideas. Also, don't get bogged down with tiny details (such as getting the menus reprinted when they didn’t say ‘green beans’ – no one would have cared but it feels like a big deal at the time). Barter for everything if you can – honestly absolutely everything is negotiable. Try to resist panic buying right before the wedding with things that might not be needed.

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Steal their style:

Photography: Venetia Norrington
Venue: Deer Park Country House, Honiton, Devon
Videography: Visions UK Wedding
Band: Blue Lion Band

For more South West wedding inspiration, pick up the latest edition of South West Bride magazine

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