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His and hers: the diary of a bride and groom

Bust-ups over budget? Squabbles over style? We talk to real married couples about their wedding plans...

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Couple: Ian and Louise

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Wedding date: 27 July 2013

When and where we met: In June 2006 through mutual friends at a barbecue

Our relationship in a nutshell: Full of love and laughter

Louise’s story: Months of planning went into the proposal. Ian had been away for work on a number of occasions so I wasn’t that surprised when he said he had another trip to Nice. As it was on the Jubilee weekend he said partners could come too. I was hopeful that there might be a proposal and then I saw an email from his ‘work colleague’, which quickly dashed my dreams. Ian did his best to throw me off the scent – mainly by constant chat about the ‘new car’ he was planning to buy. The proposal in the exotic gardens of Monaco was very romantic and a complete shock. After taking a picture of a helicopter that Ian said I ‘must’ get a photo of, I turned around and he was down on one knee with a gorgeous ring in his hand!

Planning started approximately two hours after the proposal when I started making a list of the guests! I thought Ian might be a bit overwhelmed by it all but he got into it as well and we quickly established our roles. Ian was in charge of the big things (marquee, registrar etc.) and I made it look pretty. We were set on having the wedding in his parents’ beautiful garden (I was set on this the first time I went round there six years earlier!) and were thrilled when they agreed. It was lovely to have it in their home because it meant they were really involved in the planning process. Ideally, we’d marry in the garden itself but getting a licence was far too longwinded and costly. 

There weren’t many compromises. Ian chose to have a barbecue for the food and although it wasn’t my first choice I knew it was the one thing he would put his foot down on. To his credit, it was perfect for the summer and helped to create the informal atmosphere we wanted. When I first suggested my idea of using teapots as the centrepieces Ian didn’t really get it. He couldn’t understand why my mum kept sending pictures of teapots to check if they were ‘vintage enough’. It wasn’t until the day itself that it all came together he finally understood our vintage vision. 

Best bits: All the research. I stole lots of ideas from wedding mags and made things myself instead of paying a fortune. Ian did very well to look like he was interested when I showed him my ideas, but I’m sure he didn’t really mind what font looked best for the table names. One of the best things I made was a huge poster that describes how we met. I saw it online and was told they would charge £300 to create one for us. So I made my own and got our guests to sign it at the wedding. 

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Ian’s story:

I roped in Louise’s friend Vanessa to be my mole and slyly get an idea of what kind of ring she wanted. After a few trips to Hatton Garden, we found the perfect ring and it was bang on budget, too. The tricky bit was having it made to be ready by the time I went to Monaco. After a few scares – it was made in Hong Kong and delayed twice – I eventually picked it up two days before we flew out, and that was more nerve-wracking than actually proposing.

The one thing that took us the most time to agree on was the first dance. There was no way it was going to be Bublé or anything mushy like that, but we wanted something that was a bit unique – although not to the point that it was massively cheesy with everyone doing a choreographed dance. We ended up picking something that’s probably never been considered as a first dance song, John Farnham’s You’re the Voice. One of the first films we watched together was Hot Rod and this was on the soundtrack. We also roped in our mate’s band, Gran Cassa, to play for us and they were amazing. That was a no-brainer.

I let Louise get on with most of the planning, only intervening when her ideas went too far. We couldn’t afford Katie Price’s Cinderella carriage anyway. Apart from making sure we had enough money to pay for everything, I honestly felt Louise did the majority of the planning, which worked well for both of us. 

We took lots of recommendations from friends for ideas like the garden games. We borrowed lots of things from lots of people to make the reception look stunning, we got beer from a local brewery and had a local mobile pizzeria to feed our guests in the evening.

Best bits: Pretty much everything, and the fact that even when we were helping clear up the next day, we knew we were flying to Hawaii the following morning. 

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