Winter Wonderland Wedding

Dawn and David's starry New Year's Eve wedding

How They Met

Photography by Lloyd Goodall.

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Dawn and David met through friends in a club. After living together for six years, they split for seven, but kept in touch. “We used to holiday together and go to events together,” explains Dawn. “Then just before my 30th birthday we decided to give it another go.”

The Proposal

The couple had agreed to have a ‘posh night in’ at David’s cottage, but, exhausted, Dawn arrived in her scruffs; only to find David and a colleague had covered the house in 300 candles and fairylights, and sprinkled rose petals all over the floor.

“When I walked in and saw Dave in his dinner jacket with a bottle of Krug I knew,” says Dawn. “As I walked round the corner and saw the candles and petals I was amazed; it looked so pretty and was so unlike him!

“He led me into the lounge – where he had lit a log fire – and then proposed. He didn’t make it to one knee and we both burst into tears.”

The Dress

Dawn and David married in a church ceremony on New Year’s Eve 2008. “I wore a Hollywood Dreams dress which I got from Once in a Lifetime Bridalwear in Milton Keynes,” says Dawn. “I also wore a fur waistcoat with a huge collar to give me the ‘ice queen’ feel for the winter, plus my late grandmother’s ring, and the star necklace that was a gift from David for my 30th birthday.”

The Groom and Groomsmen

“David wore a morning suit he bought from Hackett with a top hat,” says Dawn. “He had a waistcoat made in the same material as the bridesmaids’ dresses and a silver cravat. The best man and ushers also wore the same.”

The Bridesmaids

“We had my best friend Nicola – who has since become my sister in law; she has married my brother! – and our nieces Jessica & Victoria,” says Dawn. “They all wore red silk knee-length dresses with ivory faux-fur wraps and red strappy shoes.”

Wedding Favours

After two other wedding venues fell through in the same year, the couple had to call in a few favours. “David’s mum is well-known in her village and she spoke with the local vicar, organist and church florist, who all agreed to be part of our ceremony,” says Dawn.

“We also have some friends, Steven Hancock and Greg Pounds, who own and run a company called Zest Caterers. I came home from work in floods of tears after the second venue had fallen through to find Greg and David pacing around the garden with clipboards measuring the space for a marquee. Greg and Steve were absolute lifesavers; they organised everything from the catering to the marquee; even the flaming woks we had at the marquee entrance!”

The Ceremony

So how did it feel when it all worked out and they were standing at the altar? “I felt delighted that after 12 years we were finally getting married!” Dawn says. “David was very nervous and shed a few tears as did all of his family. One of David’s favorite parts of the day was when we walked back down the aisle; he said he felt like he was being ‘papped’!”

The Flowers

“My bouquet was red roses with stars on wires running through them,” Dawn explains. “I wore an ivory dress with a red bouquet, and the bridesmaids wore red dresses with ivory bouquets; they had stars on wires running through their flowers too.

“The flowers on the tables and in the church were red roses with lime green chrysanthemums to give them a bit of a contrast, this was a suggestion of the florist, Carolyn Cranswick of Clophill & District Flower Club.”

The Wedding Theme

“I had always wanted to get married on New Year’s Eve, to have a big party for all of our friends. And I liked the idea of a winter wedding as so many people go for summer weddings so I thought it would be different,” says Dawn. “David and I describe champagne as ‘stars’, and we decided to include stars in the wedding wherever we could.”

The Reception Venue

“The reception was in our garden,” says Dawn. “The tables had hurricane lamps with candles in them and rings of red roses and green chrysanthemums around them. We had a beautiful starlight ceiling in the marquee which made it feel very winter-wonderland; cream carpet to keep it light in there; three great big red stars behind our top table, and twinkly little lights in our table decoration. All our table centres were from Wedding Day Hire.

“Our photographer came up with the idea of having a ‘love booth’, an enclosed area within the marquee with a standalone camera in there. There was a wire from the camera to a heart on the floor where the guests had to stand and could take pictures of themselves. The dance area had black walls and a see-through roof, and the dancefloor had twinkly lights in it too.”

The Reception

“We offered champagne, mulled wine & canapés before we sat down to eat,” says Dawn. “We didn’t want lots of staged photographs so the photographer did a few official ones while we chatted and met with the guests. When everyone was seated we were piped in to the reception by my brother-in-law Tom; he was in his kilt and did a fantastic job.

“David and one of our friends had dressed up my oldest teddy bear in one of the cravats and sat him on my seat, so I was delighted to see he was part of the ceremony when I went to take my place!

The Best Bits

What was Dawn’s favourite part of it all? “I’m stuck between the first dance and the best man’s speech,” she says. “The first dance was such good fun. Everyone gathered around to watch us dance – we had told them we wanted them to join in but I don’t think anyone knew what to expect – and then YMCA came on everyone got their hands in the air! We have some great pictures of that moment.

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“The best man’s speech was very funny. We have holidayed and socialised with the best man for 12 years, so he had some very funny stories of past events and he delivered them incredibly well. I was cringing lots during it though!”