If you're a venue that wants to join in
Tom and I got engaged on Christmas Day. A couple of weeks before, Tom had put two ring-shaped boxes under the tree. I was convinced that one had a ring in it. But everyone kept asking, why two boxes?
When Christmas Day finally came around, Tom asked which present I would like to open first. Naturally, I went for the ring-shaped boxes. He let me open one, it was a Pandora charm of a house (we had just put a deposit down on our first house). Then he gave me the other box. Again, it was a Pandora charm, but this time of a bride and groom. He got down on one knee and said “You can’t have a bride and groom with a wedding and you can’t have a wedding without a ring. (he took the ring box out of his pocket) will you marry me?” It was the perfect moment, just us two, in our Christmas pyjamas.
Tom and I got married at De Vere Tortworth Court. We chose this venue because it was the first hotel that we had ever stayed in as a couple. We visited other venues but none of them stood out to us. I went to Tortworth with my mum and we walked around, it just felt like the perfect place. We chose to do everything in the Orangery, the light and space was just perfect for the mid-sized classy, but not over-the-top wedding that we wanted.
When we first started planning our wedding I had a vision of a winter wedding, with a burgundy theme. I wanted silver and reds everywhere. The vision was also to have a home-made photo booth, with lots of different bits around the room for guests to enjoy.
I had always wanted a venue that could host the whole day, I didn’t want to get married in one place and then move onto another. I also wanted a venue that people could either stay in, or there had to be a nice hotel nearby. Tortworth fitted our vision perfectly.
Tom and I had previously only stayed at Tortworth in the summer, where we were able to walk through the grounds and enjoy the sunshine on the terrace, but the venue is absolutely stunning at Christmas time.
The wedding team at Tortworth put in all the little touches that make it feel magical. In front of the venue there are lit up horses and fairy lights. In the grounds there was a beautiful tunnel of fairy lights that went into the trees.
I would absolutely recommend a winter wedding to the future brides and grooms and Tortworth Court. It was truly magical and the wintery/Christmas feel made the atmosphere electric.
Tom has two favourite parts of the day. One was when he did his speech. He had been so nervous in the run-up to talking in front of everyone, but once he was up there and in the middle of his speech. He found himself really enjoying it and was glad that everyone was enjoying what he was saying.
His other favourite part was when I walked down the aisle and he saw me for the first time. Obviously, he hadn’t seen the dress before and he told me that I looked beautiful and he couldn’t wait to marry me.
My favourite part of the day was when we said our vows. I wasn’t nervous as such, but there were definitely butterflies in my stomach. By the time Tom and I said our vows, I couldn’t help but giggle. It was the most inappropriate moment, but I couldn’t help it. It was one of those surreal moments where you think, I’m doing this, I’m getting married and I can’t wait.
For other couples getting married at Tortworth Court, we recommend you use The Orangery – it was the perfect place in every single way. We also advise you to go to Tortworth on a random day and just sit in the hotel and take in the atmosphere.
Finally, stay overnight. The day after our wedding, Tortworth put on a private breakfast for us and our guests in one of the bars. It was a perfect way to finish our celebrations. We were able to sit and talk to all of the people that had celebrated with us.
We didn’t have a theme as such, but we had the colours grey and silver worked into a lot of our wedding day. Such as, our wedding invitations, the bridesmaid’s dresses, the flowers and the boys’ ties.
We did the décor ourselves. Our best man’s mum made the invitations, menus and order of service. We chose the flowers and how the room would be set out.
We found the perfect, friendly florist, in Clifton, who looked at my wedding plans (I had a whole notebook of my vision) and she gave us some ideas of what we might like. I wanted flowers that were subtle and elegant, ones that stood out but didn’t take over. Lisa made fantastic bouquets and added in purple roses to complement our colour scheme.
I’m a primary school teacher and my class had made me a book of wedding advice. We put that out for the guests to read and laugh about.
We also had Polaroid pictures of Tom and I since we met, spread out on a table. One of our family friends made us a photo-booth. It had a chalkboard background, so our guests were able to leave us personal messages. It was a perfect way for people to have some fun.
The catering was provided by the hotel, it was lovely and all of our guests enjoyed the food. We did have a wedding cake. It was a three tier cake, the bottom tier was a Victoria sponge with a raspberry jam, the middle layer was a chocolate sponge with chocolate orange and the top layer was a lemon drizzle. The lady who made our cake is a family friend and she listened to what I said we wanted and it was exactly right. It had snowflakes dancing down the sides and was dressed with glittering Swarovski crystals.
We met Martin at a wedding fair in Bath. We had been to a few other wedding fairs and hadn’t met any other photographers that we had ‘gelled’ with. From the minute we met Martin he was kind, friendly and made us feel at ease.
I am not that comfortable with having my photo taken and I wanted someone that made me feel comfortable. When we walked away from Martin’s stand I told Tom he was our guy.
We are so glad that we chose Martin, everyone that has seen our photos has said that they are some of the best wedding photos they’ve seen. He was just fantastic throughout the day!
Our top three photos are:
Tom and I in the tunnel of lights. It’s magical and different to any other photo we’ve ever seen. We also had a giggle whilst taking that snap.
Tom and I in front of Tortworth with my veil in the air behind me. It’s the two of us together, stood in the picturesque setting of the Tortworth grounds.
The picture of me with my parents having a giggle. It has captured us at a perfect moment, my parents were so happy for me and you can really see that in this picture.
Venue and catering: De Vere Tortworth Court
Cake: Jo Edwards from Cakes by Jo
Florist: Lisa Elliot Floral Design
Photographer: Martin Dabek
Hair and make-up: Vickie and Becki
Wedding dress: Allison Jayne
Suits: Dyfed Menswear Westbury-On-Trym
Bridesmaids’ dresses: The Bridal Room Westbury on Trym