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Leah and James’ traditional day

Llangybi, Hertfordshire

Leah and James – The Proposal

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The Couple

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Leah and James lived in the same village as children but lost contact until they bumped into each other in a nightclub in Bristol, where they were both at university.

James proposed during a special meal at the house where Leah’s mother and father had married in 1969 and where her family had lived for 20 years. “I said yes straight away and was very touched with his careful choice of venue,” says Leah. “He used his great grandmother’s antique ring at the time and we later chose an engagement ring together. It was a complete surprise – but my family knew as James had already asked my father for his permission!”

Leah and James – The Ceremony

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The Wedding Ceremony

The couple were married in a traditional ceremony at the village church of Llangybi in Hertfordshire, where they had both lived as children. Leah arrived at the church in a horse drawn carriage and walked down the aisle to the hymn “Morning has broken”, a favourite of her grandmother’s.

After the ceremony, Leah was greeted by one of the locals from the village dressed up as a chimney sweep, who gave her a kiss for luck. “I felt completely overwhelmed by it all!” says Leah. “It was lovely to see everyone and I was excited and nervous about being the centre of attention.”

Leah and James – The Style

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The Wedding Style

Leah and James chose a rural, Christmas theme for their big day with an emphasis on country life, winter berries and fruits. Small ivory rose bunches tied with raffia decorated the end of the pews and the main pedestal arrangement had Christmas colours with red berries and flowers surrounded by green foliage.

“Guests dressed to reflect the Christmas theme with lots of reds and greens,” says Leah. “We also arranged for mulled wine and mince pies to be served on trays outside the church by the next-door pub.”

Leah and James – The Dress

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The Wedding Dress

Leah’s ‘Eva’ dress, from Pronovias, was made of ivory silk, with a lace jacket. “I bought it from a shop in Abergavenny called Magic Moments.

“When I first started looking earlier in the year for a dress I had always liked the Pronovias style, although Eva was much grander than I had imagined my wedding dress would be. The fact that it had a matching long-sleeved and high-necked lace jacket was important to me because it was so cold and I loved that I had two looks with the same dress.”

Leah and James – The Bridesmaids

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The Bridesmaids

Leah had four bridesmaids and chose red/brown velvet dresses with high-necked velvet jackets for the two adult bridesmaids, and Jasper Conran pleated ivory dresses with velvet jackets for the younger bridesmaids.

Leah and James – The Bouquet

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The Bridal Bouquet

For the brides bouquet, the winter theme of ivy, holly, foliage, hypericum berries and twigs was offset with two roses ‘avalanche’ and ‘champagne’, with ornithogalum (black-eyed Susie) all loosely tied with raffia. The bridesmaids had smaller versions of this

Leah and James – The Reception

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The Wedding Reception

The reception was held in the dining room at Bishopswood House (01594 542 485), above the River Wye. For Leah and James, it had just the right blend of ‘grand’ and ‘homeliness’.

Ninety guests were invited to the formal wedding breakfast and an extra 40 joined the couple for the evening entertainment. The wedding party were served Winter Pimms and canapés, while a jazz band played beside an enormous Christmas tree.

In the dining room, the centrepieces were arranged around a large candle and were raised to allow holly and ivy to drape down. The chairs had red chiffon ties on them with ivy, in keeping with the winter theme.

Leah and James – The Cake

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The Wedding Cake

The chocolate wedding cake, made by Emily Rose of Hereford, was decorated with cream and green flowers and ribbon. The guests were served this for dessert after the evening meal, with marinated oranges and crème fraiche.

Leah and James – The Men

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The Men

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James wore a grey morning suit with tails and a top hat and gloves, complimented by a green waistcoat and a silver tie. The ushers, best man and the bride and groom’s fathers wore matching grey morning suits with silver waistcoats. Tom, the pageboy, wore a hunter green velvet waistcoat to match James.