After a thoroughly modern meeting via a dating app, Chantal and Joseph shared their first date at a bar and bistro in Chichester. “We instantly hit it off and joked about running off to Vegas to get married,” says Chantal. She knew straight away that she'd met Mr Right. Joseph remembers, “I was first attracted to Chantal because of her beautiful smile and gorgeous eyes. She's kind, caring, funny and would do anything for anyone. She very quickly became my best friend – someone I wanted to share everything with for the rest of my life.”
The pair moved into their first house in July 2017. They'd talked about getting married and had a ring designed using both of Chantal's grandmother's engagement rings, but Joe was left in charge of when, where and how to pop the question. It was that September at their housewarming barbecue, surrounded by friends and family, when Joe got down on one knee and asked Chantal to be his wife. “The room gasped as everyone reached for their phones,” the bride-to-be recalls. But there was more! Joe had booked a meeting with Edes House for the very next day to set the date.
Here the bride tells us more about the big day, 9th September, 2018…
Edes House is close to where we had our first date. We loved the fact that it's a beautiful hidden gem in the city of Chichester. We held our ceremony in the Richmond Room for 80 guests and followed it with champagne on the lawn and terrace.
Joe was dressed in a grey slim-fit suit with a lighter grey tweed waistcoat. He accessorised with a black tie, copper cufflinks, tie pink and pocket watch.
My bridesmaids wore black Bardot midi dresses with pearl necklaces and earrings that we gave them as gifts.
I wore a figure-hugging ivory lace gown, McKenzie by Maggie Sottero, with three-quarter-length sleeves and a low back. I accessorised with a cathedral-length veil, pearl-encrusted bun pin and statement royal blue heels for a pop of colour.
The table plan was handwritten on avintage-style mirror and the place names on slate. The table numbers were housed in metal and pearl frames. Our favours were scratch cards tucked inside handwritten envelopes with personalised stamps.
We wanted to focus on textures rather than colours for our reception. So we used natural elements like slate, copper and pearls in our venue styling.
Round white and green flower arrangements with copper lanterns at the centre made for beautiful centrepieces. Our bouquets were made up of white roses and foliage.
Our three-tier big-day bake was iced in ivory with pearl and copper detail. We also had a fruit cake, chocolate fudge cake and a selection of cupcakes for guests to tuck into.
Our guestbook was a surfboard Joe made by hand. We also had a mesh memory wall to which guests could add photos.
Our guests arrived on a vintage double-decker bus and were greeted by Alex Clifton, who was playing some steel drums. Evening entertainment was provided by DJ A Skillz, who kept everyone dancing way into the small hours.
The journey back to the venue on the red bus was so memorable. It was in homage to my London roots and was very much enjoyed by our guests, apparent by the level of laughter on the bus!
At our reception venue, we were welcomed by a six-surfboard salute, something Joe's parents had at their wedding.
Guests loved the giant deckchair we set up in the garden for photos and the photobooth Joe made. We also had a secret seating area under the weeping willow.
Instead of a starter, we served canapés with drinks, including mini burgers, mini dumplings, bruschetta and mini cheese beignets. The main meal was steak and ale pie with creamy mash, fresh peas, carrots and gravy. In the evening, everyone enjoyed bacon baps and a selection of cheese and crackers.
Before Joe gave his speech, his grandfather, who is 92, presented him with a gift a vintage manual on how to have a perfect marriage. It was such a lovely gesture.