Weston Park provided the backdrop to this showstopping wedding in Shropshire - Bride's Wedding of the Week
How did you meet?
We know each other from attending the same secondary school, albeit not well enough to talk to or even say hello. After leaving school, both of us went out for a night out with our separate groups of friends in Wolverhampton where we bumped into each other late on in the evening at a bar of a night club. We subsequently got talking for the remainder of the night. We didn’t actually exchange numbers, but actually tracked each other down six months later via social media and have been together for 10 years since.
Tell us about the proposal.
In May 2015 we put a deposit down on our first home together, having rented for the previous five years, while saving hard. Once the house was completed, we got the keys on the 14th August 2015. We had always said that we would not even think about marriage until we had brought a house. We drove to the sales office on the construction site and picked up the keys, then drove down to our new home. At the front door to our new home, Victoria was very eager to get inside, and while looking through the front door, Ian got down on one knee, and pulled out an engagement ring - completing our new home together. Before even seeing the ring, Victoria was screaming 'yes'. The sales advisor came running down the road thinking there was something wrong with the house to see Victoria in tears and Ian getting up.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
There was a traditional colour scheme, suiting that of the reception venue and our personal taste. We chose gold, ivory and sage green, with tweed waistcoats for the groomsman.
When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?
Victoria, her mother Alison and sister Emily went to a local bridal shop in Newport, Shropshire, called Muse Bridal. Melanie, the shop owner, was so welcoming and made you feel so special. Victoria tried on an array of dresses. From those dresses Victoria had chosen to try on, Melanie actually went away and also cherry-picked two special dresses which she thought would meet the taste and style of those previously chosen. Out of the two special dresses, as soon as Victoria came out of the dressing room wearing the first dress her mother was crying. This expression instantly made that dress the one.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
Our chosen colour scheme conveniently also led us to some of our favourite flowers and colours. Weston Park regularly has flowers produced for the house so we knew they would be of excellent quality and arrangements which fitted the surroundings. Having met Lynne of Fine Flowers, Rugeley, she listened to our wants and thoughts and showed us pictures of exactly what we wanted. Instantly, we knew Lynne would be able to give us the flowers we desired. We had an array of white and green to include our favourite flower, lisianthus, all of which were incredible arrangements as well as fresh flowers. We had flowers prepared for the groomsmen, incredible bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids, church flowers and candelabras throughout the venue. Lynne also made a replica fake flower for our young nephew page boy. Due to the relationship, Weston Park and Fine Flowers already had all our flowers set up on the day, not only at Weston Park but also at our church - ready and waiting without us ever having to worry about them.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple are the details – tell us about the details of the day.
- Personalised sweet bags and a hidden away sweet trolley, which got brought out following the wedding breakfast.
- Live band in the Weston Park Orangery – our live band just let the night flow from the first dance to the last, providing entertainment for all to enjoy, keeping it modern however throwing in a few classic songs.
- Wedding breakfast in the Weston Park house dining room – this incredible room, with its tail ceilings, artwork and chandelier provided us with the exquisite wedding breakfast we were after. Mixing this with the quality of food and drink provided by Weston Park and the harpist gave us the relaxed, yet smart, beautiful dining experience we dreamed of.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
Ian – I got to the church in plenty of time so I could familiarise myself and be there to welcome all our guests. By the time I had welcomed our guests and had a few pictures, the ceremony time was soon upon me. This is when the nerves really starting to kick in. Victoria was 24 minutes late and these were the longest 24 minutes of my life. I had to ask my dad to go get me a bottle of water, luckily he had one in his car. I knew as soon as Victoria turned up as the whole church went silent. I couldn’t help but smile and feel the happiest I’ve ever felt to watch the bridesmaids and then Victoria walk down the aisle, concluding with excitement as soon as I shook her father's hand and we moved forward to the altar.
Victoria – As I entered the church with my father, all I can remember is seeing Ian at the bottom of the aisle, everyone else was a blur. I remember feeling overwhelmed and my eyes were full of tears but when I was walking towards Ian I couldn’t help but smile, grinning from cheek to cheek, yet being tearful at the same time.
What was your most memorable moment?
Walking into the Weston Park dining room for the wedding breakfast with all of our guests stood by their seats cheering, in that marvellous room, and being announced by the head butler as Mr and Mrs Bissell, with a glass of champagne in hand.
What was the most important investment for you?
This is such a hard question; everything was important to us. We wanted everything to be just right. So much so that our most important investment was to have Weston Park as our reception venue. We actually only live adjacent in Shifnal, and as soon as we went to view Weston and spoke with the team there we knew that was the one. So much so we never looked anywhere else. Weston Park look after and managed the whole aspect of the wedding reception for you; from the flowers, food and drink, to the stationery and service, and also all the other extra items you add in with their dedicated wedding planner. This is an incredible help and we would not have changed the Weston Park experience.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
Bryan Adams – All for One (from the film – The Three Musketeers).
Ian – The Three Musketeers is actually the first ever film I watched at the cinema as a young boy, as well as, still to this day, one of my favourite films.
We have always had a Bryan Adams album in our cars to listen to on journeys and when you listen to the song not only does the track song good, but the words mean a lot too.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
Our wedding cake was the hardest item to arrange. We actually had two cakemakers cancel on us, even after having signed a contract and paid deposits. We began to get quite desperate and asked Weston Park if they had any contacts and recommendations, to which they gave the name of Diane of Miss Lola’s Bakehouse. Diane quickly invited us to try the different flavours of cakes and preview the ones she was currently working on. Our cake consisted of four tiers: lemon, Victoria, chocolate and fruit. The flowers on the cake were all handmade and looked incredible to match Victoria’s bouquet and the house flowers.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
We actually wouldn’t change too much. If it were to be anything, it would be as picky as having the bridesmaids walking down the aisle one by one instead of pairs.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We went on a mini-moon as we didn’t have a summer holiday in 2016, so we went to a fantastic five-star hotel in Cyprus to enjoy the rest, relaxation, sun, sea and sand. For our honeymoon we are going to Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Dubai. We wanted to mix a bit of culture and adventure with rest, relaxation and peace, and as we are stopping in Dubai due to our flights, we will have a quick stop there also.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
- Do your research – understand what you need to look at, review, confirm and have an idea of how long this process takes. There will always be things that come out of the woodwork that need to be dealt with in planning and achieving your wedding. The last thing a couple wants to do is to deal with unplanned items a week or two before the big day.
- Entrust a whole package to a spectacular place like Weston Park – Due to Weston Park having its very own dedicated wedding and events organiser, the team provide everything: wedding breakfast, food, beverages, stationery, accessories, canapés, flowers etc. They also co-ordinate, communicate and set up and remove all further items added in to personalise each and every wedding: entertainment, evening guests, parking, sweet trolley, cake etc. This approach completely de-stresses the day as much as possible, with no worrying about organising or setting things up, as well as the next day in having to clear them away.
Get the look:
Reception venue: Weston Park, Shifnal, Shropshire
Band: Hard to Handle Band
Photography & videography: Finlay’s Imaging & Unity Wedding Videos, Wellington. Shropshire
Sweet trolley: Sweet Retreat, Shifnal, Shropshire.
Wedding dress: Muse Bridal, Newport, Shropshire. TF10 7BB
Cake: Miss Lola’s Bakehouse, Hollywood. Birmingham
Harpist: Adele Burnett Harpist
Hair: Jenny Spoon’s Hair Boutique, Wellington, Shropshire
Make-up: Bridal & Beyond
For more real wedding inspiration, get your copy of Bride magazine.