Aimee and Alan – the proposal
Photography: Andy Catterall
Wedding planner Aimee Dunne met her husband Alan, a footballer for Milwall FC, in a Bromley nightclub. “It was very tacky and somewhere I wouldn’t usually go, but a friend persuaded me,” she says. “Alan and I have been inseparable ever since and now have a three-year-old daughter, Lola.” Alan proposed on a romantic night at the Ritz in Paris on Aimee’s 30th birthday. “He even had the ring engraved with ‘Paris’ and the date – so he really had to propose that night!”
Aimee and Alan – the ceremony
The couple were married in June 2009 at Our Lady Of Lourdes RC Church in New Milton. “It’s beautiful: on the edge of the New Forest and only five minutes from the beach,” says Aimee. “Both being Irish Catholics, we’ve always wanted to get married in a quaint church – when we first saw it, I almost cried!” Large arrangements of pink and white peonies, roses, hydrangeas and delphinium stood beside the altar and pew ends were white hydrangeas wrapped in rafia. “It was a lovely day and the sun shone through the stained glass windows and lit the place up magically,” says Aimee. “We exchanged traditional Catholic wedding vows. I was nervous as I was conscious of everyone looking at us but I also loved every minute. My father walked me down the aisle and gave me away – that was a very special moment for me.”
Aimee and Alan – the dress
“My dress was by Benjamin Roberts,” says Aimee. “I wanted a full-on traditional wedding dress and I like a princess – when I put it on the morning of the wedding I screamed ‘I’m a bride’!” Aimee teamed her dress with simple pearl and Swarovski crystal earrings and a bracelet from Chez Bec and a tiara, which she bought from the same shop as her dress – Bell’amoré, in Bexleyheath. “One of my bridesmaids, Francesca, leant me a blue hairclip which I wore in my hair as my something borrowed and blue – it had sentimental value as my other bridesmaid Kate wore it at her wedding. I also wore some very high ivory leather Christian Louboutin shoes with bright pink soles and heels!”
Aimee and Alan – the bouquet
“I carried a light pink peony bouquet with white satin wrapped around the stem pinned with pearl and diamante, by Corbin Florists (01425 615296),” says Aimee. “It was stunning – very simple, pretty and elegant and exactly how I had hoped it would look.”
Aimee and Alan – the groom’s outfit
Alan wore an ivory made-to-measure suit with a waistcoat and ivory tie from Bespoke Suit Company. It had subtle pink detailing and his name sewn into the suit and his shirt. He wore an ivory rose buttonhole and the ushers and Aimee’s two younger brothers, who were pageboys, wore antique pink rose buttonholes.
Aimee and Alan – the bridesmaids
“I had two adult bridesmaids, my two best friends Kate and Francesca, friends from Uni,” says Aimee. “They both wore short pink dresses from Warehouse, pink shoes from Jones Bootmaker and ivory flower hair clips. They carried ivory peony bouquets, wrapped with antique pink satin pinned with pearls.”
Aimee and Alan – the flowergirl
“Lola, our three-year-old daughter, was flowergirl and she wore a gorgeous ivory satin dress from Dessy with a pink sash which matched the bridesmaids’ dresses and the ushers’ cravats. She carried pink and ivory peonies and bouvardia in her bouquet.”
Aimee and Alan – the venue
The couple held their reception at Chewton Glen in Hampshire. “We wanted to get married outside of London at a country retreat, so our guests felt like they were having a holiday, but also somewhere very luxurious, as we both love nice hotels and good food and wine,” says Aimee. “As soon as we saw a picture of Chewton Glen we instantly knew it was perfect. The staff were quite simply amazing – every detail you can think of is covered before you can even think of it! After the ceremony, we met our guests at Chewton Glen for a champagne reception outside on the terrace. We had a long pink carpet laid out for us to walk along on arrival, which perfectly suited the theme. We had magnums of champagne, pimms and canapés, and a pianist played throughout the reception.”
Aimee and Alan – the wedding breakfast
Guests enjoyed a three-course wedding breakfast, catered by the hotel, including a cheese and tomato tart to start, braised beef, followed by a lemon tart, coffee and chocolates. “We also had bacon butties served later on in the evening when we thought our guests might start to get the munchies!” says Aimee. “We followed the meal with the (very amusing) speeches– we couldn’t get Alan away from the microphone once he started talking! Alan had put a DVD together to also show during his speech which had various photos of us since we first met and was a complete surprise to me.”
Aimee and Alan – the theme
“The look of the day was based around pink peonies, which I love,” says Aimee. “Pink peonies and pink hydrangeas made up both the low table arrangements and the tall arrangements on glass vases. The mixture of the tall and shorter centrepieces worked really well. We also had tea light holders scattered on the tables filled with small pieces of lisianthus, which also worked really well and looked very pretty. We had other larger arrangements around the reception room with peonies, hydrangeas, roses and delphinium.”
Aimee and Alan – the details
“My bridesmaid Kate helped make a table plan using fresh antique pink roses, which she tied to the table name cards on the morning of the wedding with antique pink satin ribbon – it fitted in perfectly with the other flowers and feel of the day. The table names were all places in Ireland as we are both originally Irish and had many friends and family coming over from Ireland for the wedding.
I made the stationery with ribbon and ivory card. It was simple, pretty and elegant, to fit the rest of the theme. We didn’t have a wedding planner but I loved every minute of it – so much so, I’ve since set up a wedding planning company (www.aimeedunne.com).”
Aimee and Alan – the cake
The stunning three-tier white chocolate wedding cake was made by Cakes 4 Fun. “Fresh peonies were placed between the tiers, which looked gorgeous,” says Aimee.
Aimee and Alan – the party
The couple’s first dance was Have I told you lately that I love you by Van Morrison, followed by plenty of dancing. “We did book a DJ but his wife went onto labour that day so he was replaced with an iPod and CDs! We literally danced the night away, with more champagne, and quite a few shots of Jägermeister – we actually drank all that the hotel had!” says Aimee.
Aimee and Alan – tips from the bride
“Planning is key. It’s never too early to plan the day and the earlier you do this the less you have to worry about and the more you can enjoy it all. Think about what really suits you and your partner and try to fit that into the theme – it’s your day and it should reflect you both. Enjoy every minute. If in doubt hire a wedding planner so they can do the worrying for you and you can sit back and enjoy it all!
I can quite honestly say I enjoyed every single moment, as did Alan. We always say we just can’t put into words what an amazing day it was. Such a special, happy occasion, surrounded by all our closest family and friends… how could we not be ecstatic!”