Wedding of the Week: Hannah Jones and Katie Gregory

10 Oct 2016

It was Viva Las Vegas for these Dorset brides, who incorporated the delights of the city into their big day

How did you meet?

Through friends, at a party.

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Tell us about the proposal.

Katie took me to a luxury treehouse, pretending it was for my 30th birthday. She had already asked my parents' permission before we went. We shared romantic moments, such as having champagne in the hot tub, but Katie didn't think that was the right time so left it right until the last minute on the last night. It was so late, I couldn't tell anyone, as everyone was in bed. My parents must have thought she'd changed her mind.

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

It was a Las Vegas theme as we went there a few weeks after we got engaged and is one of our favourite holidays. The colour scheme was royal blue and lemon.

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

Hannah: When I found my dress it wasn't exactly in the most magical setting. The shop was really busy, which meant customer service was lacking and it was going through a renovation yet when I put the dress on and stood on the platform I couldn't stop smiling and my now mother-in-law said I was beaming.

Katie: I'd been to another shop first (the same one Hannah bought her dress from) and found a dress I really liked, but wanted to see what else was out there so tried another place. I tried on about eight dresses there which looked OK. The sales assistant asked me to mark each dress out of 10 and none were more than a 7. When I tried my dress on I loved everything about it, the way it looked and the way I looked in it. It was a 10 out of 10!

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Tell us about your floral arrangements.

When we met with the florist, the brief was 'bright and fun' and that's exactly what she did. The centrepieces were in large martini glasses to go with the Vegas theme and then filled with lemons, limes and oranges to give a fresh and bright touch.

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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.

We wanted the day to be as fun and relaxed as possible for everyone. On the way to the ceremony we had signs such as 'pick a seat not a side, either way it's for a bride'. Hannah walked down the aisle to the instrumental version of Trouble by Taylor Swift, as we often joke I'm always in trouble with Katie and one of the readings was from The Wedding Singer film.

Keeping with the Vegas theme, we made the table plan from the felt used on a black jack table and playing cards. The table names were Vegas hotels placed in champagne corks. We wrote a quiz about us for the tables to play together and get to know each other. That got quite competitive! The kids had their own play pack for the tables whilst this was going on.

We had a casino table in the evening that children and adults alike could enjoy. We also had a photobooth and it was fantastic seeing the random mixture of people that went in together. The other small touches that our guests commented on afterwards were the toiletries that we out in the bathrooms and the decorations such as the fairy lights and giant LOVE letters.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

Katie: I was walking down first and felt very nervous. I thought I would fall over my dress even though my heels weren't that high so I told my dad to make sure he held onto me. It was nerve-wracking, but hearing my aisle song and seeing everyone smiling as I walked down eased the nerves.

Hannah: I was so nervous all morning, I couldn't eat and was worried about slipping when walking down the aisle. My nine-year-old goddaughter tried to calm me down by saying: "It's ok, you've spoken to Katie before". As soon as I saw Katie waiting at the aisle, I had to catch my breath and then I knew everything would be just fine.

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What was your most memorable moment?

Towards the end of the evening the band played I've Got a Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas. We had both changed into our Converse by this point and were dancing around whilst watching our guests jumping about with massive smiles on their faces.

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

We had seven adult bridesmaids and four flower girls which was a nightmare to find a dress that looked good on them all. We toyed with different ideas like having the same colour but different styles or all different shades of blue, but we ideally wanted them in all the same. We ordered so many different ones and sent them to the bridesmaids, but often they weren't right on all of them. As we started to lose the will to live we finally found ones from Little Mistress and on the day they all looked gorgeous. The three younger flower girls wore the same dress with a lemon sash and the nine-year-old bridesmaid wore her own lemon dress which tied everything together perfectly. The next challenge was to find presents for them all!

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What was the most important investment for you?

The venue was the important for us. We'd seen quite a few venues local to were we live but then our friends recommended The Italian Villa and when we saw it we just knew. It was near the beach, had beautiful gardens and the team were well experienced in running weddings. From the moment we booked, the staff were incredible and the in-house caterers did the food which a lot of our guests said was the best wedding food they'd had.

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

We tried to practise dancing to a slow song in our front room, but felt really awkward and that was just the two of us so we decided to do a silly one. We started off with Me and Mrs Jones for 10 seconds before we re-created the end scene from Hitch which involved our wedding party standing either side of the dance floor whilst we made our way down the dance floor in the most silly way possible, shortly followed by our bridesmaids and ushers. This made it fun and took the pressure away from us.

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Tell us about your wedding cake.

We had a cake topper and a cake. For the cake topper, Katie's sister-in-law's friend made sugar figurines of us with the backdrop of the Vegas sign, but changed to the words to 'Welcome to our fabulous Wedding' instead of 'Welcome to the fabulous Las Vegas'. Her work was incredible; she went into so much detail on each of us. We couldn't see the topper before the wedding because we'd know what each other's dresses would be like. Our friend, Karen, then made the cake and matched it perfectly to the topper. We had one layer of chocolate cake and one layer of carrot cake. It was delicious.

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

Hannah: As I was so nervous in the morning I forgot to give my ushers their presents and we didn't give Karen her present for making the cake. I should have been a bit more prepared and done it the night before so I didn't have to worry about it in the morning, but that is the only thing the two of us could think of so we were very lucky.

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Was there anything you wish you’d known before?

We were fortunately given lots of good pieces of advice beforehand, which we took on board. The day goes so quickly so it is important to step back on the day as a couple and just take it all in, and watch everything going on around you. The other advice we were given was don't get worried about the little details that go wrong because nobody will notice. We were an hour late for the wedding breakfast, but nobody knew as they didn't know what time we were supposed to be sitting down in the first place.

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Where did you go on honeymoon?

We went to Brazil. We started in Rio de Janeiro and enjoyed the build up to the Olympics whilst seeing the sights of Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf mountain and Copacabana beach. We then travelled to the north of Brazil and place called Jericoacoara which has no roads and is built entirely on sand dunes. We then spent five days in the Amazon: swimming with dolphins, learning about the wildlife and saw monkeys, sloths, caiman and piranhas to name a few. We stopped off in São Paulo before flying home.

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

Delegate as much as possible! We had quite a large wedding party but it helped us massively by assigning people jobs. It can be quite time consuming, so we would often head to a coffee shop on a Sunday to make it more of an enjoyable time. Do things early. We were engaged for almost two years so could have spread things out a bit more. As the wedding got nearer, we had to set ourselves daily tasks to make sure we got everything done.

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Get the look:

Venue: The Italian Villa, www.the-italian-villa.co.uk
Catering: Beales Gourmet, www.bealesgourmet.com
Photography: Devonshire Photographic, http://devonshirephotographic.co.uk
Band: Pop of Ages, www.popofages.co.uk
Casino and Photobooth: Absolute Fun, www.absolutefuncasino.co.uk
Flowers: Simply Flower www.simplyflower.co.uk
Make-Up: Eye Candy, www.eyecandy-makeup.co.uk
Car: Superwed Cars, www.superwed.co.uk
Hotel: The Plantation, www.the-plantation.co.uk

To see more Dorset weddings, pick up the latest copy of Dorset, Wiltshire & Hampshire Bride magazine.

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