Having met through mutual friends as teenagers, Holly and Josh were together 10 years before becoming engaged. The couple were living on the West Coast of Australia at the time, when they decided to take a month-long road trip over to the East Coast. Holly remembers, "On our second to last day, we were driving to Cairns and Josh pulled over so we could have one last walk on the beach. There wasn't another soul in sight and that's when he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him!" Although her family in the UK had known of the proposal plan for three months, it came as a complete surprise to Holly.
St Peter's, Henfield, was an easy choice for the ceremony as the bride had grown up in the town and her parents still live there. Naturally, the church was very personal to them. Likewise, the decision to celebrate at South Lodge seemed straight forward as it ticked all the boxes for the couple straight away. Holly explains, "It complemented our classic black tie Christmas theme wonderfully, and because we chose a date in December, we knew if the weather was bad we'd still have plenty of space inside for us all to enjoy."
Read on as Holly shares more memories of the big day…
I wore an ivory A-line gown designed by Mark Lesley that complemented my figure. I accessorised with a floor-length veil adorned with Swarovski crystals for the ceremony and drinks reception. I took it off for the evening and wore an embellished comb in my hair.
Josh wore a black tux as did the groomsmen. The groom and the best man accessorised with black braces and a slightly different buttonhole so that they stood out.
The ceremony was the highlight of the day for me. It was incredibly meaningful and we both felt very emotional saying our vows to one another.
We created our own favours, which doubled up as place names. We bought baubles and ribbons, and a friend calligraphed guests' names on tags for each one. They looked great on the tables and everyone could take them home to decorate their Christmas trees
My bridesmaids wore silvery-grey floor-length dresses with a grey silk sash, while the flowergirls wore ivory.
Our florist, Sam, from The Crazy Daisy Company really understood our vision of 'Classic Christmas.' She created wreaths with a candle in the middle for our centrepieces, and incorporated similar flowers to my bouquet.
Originally we'd planned to go with a neutral palette –white, cream and plenty of foliage. However, two month sbefore the big day I found a picture online that completely changed everything! I approached Sam with it and she managed to incorporate the subtle reds and used coffee coloured roses to create a really different look.
We had a nine-foot Christmas tree in the room where our wedding breakfast was served and the venue had added garlands to the doorframes, which complemented our theme beautifully.
Our table plan had the same dove grey and fairylight design as our invitations so everything matched. We continued the seasonality by naming each of our tables after a Christmas flower or theme.
We hired our transport from Falcon Wedding Cars. Pete Cook,the owner, has three stunning Beaufords and we chose the burgundy and cream one, which we felt worked brilliantly with the feel of our day.
We hired a photo booth from PhotoBot, based in Hove and alive band from the Brighton-based Hotrox Music agency.
We had a toastmaster for the reception and he was nothing short of fantastic! He made our day flow seamlessly and everybody knew what was supposed to be happening at all times. He added humour to the day and had a wonderful laid back approach, so we didn't have to worry about a thing.
It pays to be organised for months before the wedding so that you can enjoy the lead up. Once the day arrives you can't change anything, so just try to relax as much as possible and enjoy every second.
We were both so relaxed and relieved that the day had finally arrived. We made a pact to enjoy every single moment and have fun.
Bride's dress and accessories