Wedding of the Week: Leasha Fry and Ben Ridgers-Steer
07 Feb 2017
'Traditional with a personal twist' was the theme for this Wedding of the Week, which featured sentimental touches and charitable favours
How did you meet?
Ben (B): We worked together at an Italian restaurant at Center Parcs.
Leasha (L): I was a student nurse and Ben had returned from Australia travelling. We had been together about eight years before we got married, we both had started our careers, travelled, moved into our house and had many adventures before starting our next chapter.
Tell us about the proposal.
B: it was an autumn picnic at Hanging Langford Lakes. I felt excited but apprehensive at the same time.
L: I had no idea. It was on a Wednesday evening, I had been to work and Ben text me to say he had picked up food for a picnic. When we arrived, Ben noticed that the gates closed at dusk, he seemed unsettled as to when that may be (I didn’t appreciate the worry for him at the time). He handed me all our favourite foods to enjoy while I watched the wildlife and we reminisced about the first time we kissed (at another nearby lake) and then he handed me a little box with my beautiful engagement ring in it - that he chose himself. I cried and accepted his proposal.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
L: it wasn’t so much a theme but it was important to us to use lots of local suppliers; it really made a difference to use things we loved. Traditional with a personal twist.
B: I felt our theme was 'enjoy yourself'; we used navy and sunflowers as a colour scheme.
When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?
L: I had seen my dress online before we got engaged. We had talked about getting married for a while before getting engaged, so after Ben proposed I ordered it. My mum and I went dress shopping to make sure I had the right dress and had a lovely time. There were some beautiful gowns, but I kept comparing them to the one I had ordered. My mum arranged for me to have the dress fitted and that made a huge difference. It was so comfortable, I could dance and not worry about it at all. I still put it on now to do the housework in from time to time.
Where did you find your suits?
B: Squires of Shaftesbury. They offered a more individual service and were very flexible. The gentlemen in there really helped us to choose something personal for me to feel good in. I found the waistcoats after seeing some pictures online and wanted to make sure that we stood out as the groom and groomsmen.
L: It was really nice that we made a day of it when we went with each of the groomsmen. We had some lunch in Gold Hill Café and went for cake at The Udder Farm Shop after.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
B: when we met with the vicar he suggested we used the ladies of the church. The marquee flowers were arranged by friends and family the day before the wedding. They all spent time helping us to set the marquee up.
L: Daphne lives a couple of doors down from the church and her local knowledge of the church was amazing. It meant we could just ask her to use her amazing creativity and knew that it was all in hand. Sunflowers were significant to me as they were my nan’s favourite flower. The whole day had little sentimental bits throughout.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail.
L: Sentimental values:
- Our family helped with the flowers
- We borrowed the bunting from friends
- We both love cheese and Ben loves port, so we had to include that somewhere. Our food was a little like the picnic we had at the lake but a lot more posh.
- We used items from our house to decorate the venue; it’s so nice to see them in our home and remind us of our day.
- Ben also spent hours compiling a list of music for when guests arrived at the venue and for when the band finished, it was a fabulous mix of all our favourites.
B: The ice cream van. I do have a love of ice cream. It helped to continue our relaxed feel to the day too. My family performed as a barn dance folk group so that was important to me to have them involved, again continuing the sentimental and fun theme.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
L: So excited. I’m not one for being the centre of attention but all that mattered to me was that Ben was there waiting and how important our vows were to becoming husband and wife.
What was your most memorable moment?
B: I remember it all very well, arriving at the church especially. I was excited. I also remember sitting back in the marquee and watching everyone having fun and hoped that they remember the day as fondly as I do.
L: There's so many. When I recall it, I split it into so many parts of the day and process. We tried to make events of certain things like purchasing our rings, trialling the food and they are all amazing memories too.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
L: Trying to please everyone. My grandma advised me: "Although it’s your big day, it’s a big day for everyone too”.
B: Trying to manage everyone else’s opinions.
What was the most important investment for you?
B: Choosing a photographer to capture all of our precious moments, as we will always have these to look back on.
L: Our rings, as we will wear these forever. It was more tricky than I ever imagined.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
L: it was a barn dance. Ben isn’t a fan of dancing and we both didn’t want the pressure of the limelight so everyone got up and was instructed how to dance, it was so much fun. Anyone who hasn’t tried it - should, it’s a great way for your guests to get to know each other and loosen up.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
L: The cake was more important to me than the wedding dress. We have several friends and family who are fantastic at baking and we were so lucky that they wanted to contribute. Each tier was a different flavour, made by a different person. I gave each person an idea of how the cake could be decorated and put a picture of the cake with who made it and what type of tier it was as a sort of menu. The top tier was tied with a navy ribbon and fastened with a brooch that had belonged to Ben’s nan.
The cake topper was amazing. The lady who crafted it had never met us - or the cats. She used photographs that we sent her and did an absolutely fantastic job. The cake slicer was from a local crafts lady; we use it for birthdays and Christmas (and Sunday afternoons). I made the flower ring; I wasn’t sure what I wanted for the cake to stand on but when I saw one in Bride magazine I knew it would finish the cake off perfectly.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
B: I wouldn’t cry in my speech.
L: Nothing... or maybe I would have had a wee before arriving at the reception. That was poorly planned and I had to run past everyone before I could concentrate on the next part of the day.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
B: That it would all go to plan.
L: I enjoyed the whole process.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
B: We went to New Zealand for three weeks in a camper. We were so lucky to share this experience. It was such an amazing time. We left on the Monday after the Saturday that we got married.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
B: Do what you want and put the effort into planning the day so as it pays off you can relax and enjoy yourself.
L: Consider opening a separate current account to keep track of finances a bit easier. Make sure you have the most important bits organised or thought about as everyone will give you their opinion and there is so much choice that it's easy to lose whats important to you and your day. Give people jobs. They want to help and you can make sure that they do with the right things.
Steal their style:
Photography: WistfulTwo Photography, www.wistfultwophotography.com
Church: St Giles’ Church, www.twovalleys.org
Reception venue: South Newton Village Hall and Green
Marquee: Occasions Marquees, www.occasionsmarquees.co.uk
Stationery: Simply Bluebell (invitations and thank you cards), www.simplybluebell.co.uk
Catering: The Pelican Inn, Stapleford, http://thepelicaninn.co.uk
Band: Steer family band
Cheese: Godminster Cheese, www.godminster.com
Flowers: Daphne Smith, www.daphne-smith.com
Menswear: Squires of Shaftesbury, www.barbour.com/shop/squires-shaftesbury Favours: British Heart Foundation, www.bhf.org.uk
Favour pegs: Timber Treasures, Salisbury, www.timber-treasures.co.uk
Cake slicer: Ooh Shiny Stuff, www.oohshinystuff.co.uk
Cake topper: Em's Crafts, www.facebook.com/Ems-Crafts
Camper: New Zealand Camper Vans
For more real wedding inspiration, pick up your copy of Bride magazine.