Real Life Wedding

Name of Bride: Stephanie Lewis

Name of Groom: Thomas Windsor-Lewis

Date of wedding: 21.06.2014

Wedding venue: Oxnead Hall

Tell us about the proposal – how and where did it happen?

In Castell-y-Bere, a castle ruins on a hill in the middle of Snowdonia. We decided to go for an early morning walk and Tom suggested we go there with a flask of tea and a couple of camping chairs. After a cuppa, I went to the edge of the ruins, he followed and we had a cuddle looking at the view. I mentioned how fast his heart was racing in his chest, he said it must be the caffeine! A few minutes later he asked me if I would marry him, got down on one knee and presented me with a beautiful sapphire and diamond engagement ring. Of course I said yes!

What was your first step in planning your wedding?

I think we booked the church and venue first. I had a scrap-box full of stuff for the wedding, I couldn’t have lived without it on the build up to the wedding.

Inspiration: Did you use blogs or magazines for ideas?

I was bought three wedding magazines by my sister-in-law which gave me a huge amount of inspiration, in particular for diy projects.

What were your wedding “must have’s”?

Champagne!! Also the type of venue was important to us as we wanted somewhere classy and traditional, like Oxnead Hall.

Wedding budget: how did you organise your wedding budget?

We got an idea of what the costs would be by speaking to friends. We kept the costs down by making a lot ourselves (for example the wedding cake, the flowers, the cravats, the bunting,etc).

Wedding venue: how did you search for a wedding venue?

We used the internet and found our perfect venue through Unique Norfolk Venues.

What made you choose your wedding venue?

We wanted our wedding in a Hall or Manor House, but didn’t like the ‘hotel’ feel that we found in a lot of them. Oxnead Hall felt like a private home and we loved having the freedom to make the venue work for us and our ideas. It’s such a versatile venue, with the accommodation, The Barns, The Grounds, The Orangery and The River.

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Styling your wedding: how did personalise your big day?

There was no theme as such, certainly not for a particular colour scheme as I didn’t want it to look too uniform. So lots of different colour pastels (my bridesmaids also wore different colour pastels).

The tables were decorated with flowers in jugs (arranged by my aunties), and antique or ‘shabby chic’ candle holders. The marquee was decorated with bunting and hay bales.

Wedding photographer: how did you choose your photographer?

DK Photography were recommended to us by Unique Norfolk Venues after a rather bad experience of a dishonest photographer we found on the Internet.

We adored our photographs and had a huge amount to choose from (over 1000). They were very natural and not posed. We were pleased not to have had the day broken up with a long photography session with just the bride, groom and photographer. He just took the photos as the day progressed and stole only 10 minutes of our time for a quick shoot.

Wedding suppliers: how did you choose your suppliers?

As before (venue)

Describe your wedding dress (Was it the style you thought you’d have? How did you feel when you put it on?)

I found the perfect dress I had in mind; lacy, full skirt with sleeves. I’m an opera singer and therefore have to wear concert dresses fairly regularly, I wanted to find something totally different from the dresses I wear to sing in.

What accessories did you wear on the day? 

I had a long veil trimmed with lace (which I only wore for the ceremony), and simple pearl drop earrings. I wore some beautiful Ivory satin Louboutin or ‘Loubies’ as my American friend called them.

What did the groom and groomsmen wear?

Tom bought his tails for the wedding and hired something similar for his best man and ushers. Their cravats matched the colour of the bridesmaids dresses, i.e they were different colour pastels.

Tell us about your bridesmaids and their outfits

The dresses were all by Dessy in the same delicate crepe material. However, they were all different colours and different necklines to suit each of them. Jade and Olga were my maids of honour, J best friend from Uni and O best friend from the years I lived in Italy.

What was your biggest wedding splurge?

The venue, totally worth it!

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What was your biggest wedding saving?

Bridesmaids dresses, I managed to get factory seconds so paid only £30 per dress!

What was your ceremony like? 
(Did you have a church or civil? Did you have readings/music? Who walked you down the aisle?)

We had a church ceremony at my parents parish church where I was christened. We were lucky enough to have two vicars conduct the ceremony; the vicars who christened us both respectively.

We had lots of music in the ceremony and a choir made up of my singer friends. I was Glad, Pur ti miro, Hamba Lulu, and the hymns Jerusalem and Land of my fathers.

Tell us about your drinks reception and wedding breakfast

Prosecco and homemade afternoon tea was served by The Orangery in Oxnead Hall with lots of goodies made by friends and family. Then we had our wedding breakfasting The Great Barn. The only unfortunate part of our day as it was sweltering in there! (Oxnead Hall are now installing roof ventilation to resolve this problem).

Did you have a band or DJ for your evening reception?

We had a Ceilidh for the first part of the evening in a marquee on the lawn, and then a disco in The Long Room.

Tell us about your first dance – what song did you chose and why?

No routine! We danced to Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole’s ‘Somewhere over the rainbow/what a wonderful world’.

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Based on your own experience, give us some top tips 

Keep people hydrated (and by hydrated we actually mean with alcoholic drinks). We loved the hour’s journey between the church and the venue as it gave us some quality time together just the two of us.

Choose great photographers who can take perfect shots in no time as we didn’t want to miss too much of the drinks reception by doing a long photoshoot. This was our chance to catch up with everyone!

 “If we could do it all again, we’d…”

Have a cooler wedding breakfast!

Did you go on a honeymoon or mini-moon?

We went to Dubai and The Maldives. We scuba-dived, went fishing, visited other islands, had lots of couples massages, went to the top of the hugest building in the world…oh and fell pregnant!!

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Purchase & Hire

Wedding venue: Oxnead Hall
Bride’s dress:
Bride’s accessories: Loubies!
Groom’s suit: Own
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Dessy
Other outfits:
Wedding rings: Welsh Gold
Wedding cake: By my godmother
Cars: Rolls
Invitations: Handmade
Photographer: DK photography
Band/disco/DJ:  Live Lounge
Wedding favours: Handmade traditional sugared almonds