The couple were on a mini-break in the Peak District when Jonathan decided to take another stab at proposing. He took her to the peak of Thorpe Cloud and that’s where he asked his all-important question again, this time in earnest.
Attention turned to the venue search and Laena and Jonathan had lined up a number of options, but once they’d viewed Worthing Dome the rest were forgotten. Not only did the beauty of the building sell itself, but it also held meaning for the pair since they’d been to see Despicable Me 2 there on their first date. By the time these enthusiastic foodies had seen the incredible menu options it was a done deal.
We were excited to find out more about this big day and caught up with bride Laena to get the lowdown…
The pair opted for an earthy yet vibrant palette of yellow, orange and teal, and the chair sashes in particular really made the latter pop when it came to the venue styling. Laena created the centrepieces herself using copper lanterns, fairylights, pine cones and wooden wreaths embellished with faux flowers complementing the palette. She was then able to get in touch with local florist Greenfingers to match the colours in fresh blooms for the bouquets.
The bride joined forces with her sister to design and create the table plan. She kept to the natural theme by painting circles of leaves and utilising spare faux flowers. Her sister then calligraphed the guests' names. The wooden table numbers were suspended inside the centrepiece lanterns and Laena's sister again used her calligraphy skills to write out the place names on small wood pieces.
The favours were super-cute bags of coffee from a supplier in Hull, a favourite with the couple. "We would proudly say we're coffee snobs," says Laena. Each one was labelled with their guests' names along with a personal message thanking them for being part of the special day.
The cake was all about the flavour. "We had cupcakes with a large cutting cake presented on a large hand-carved wooden stand. The cupcakes were flavoured with elderflower and raspberry, and lemon and white chocolate, while the cutting cake was a delicious chocolate bake with orange curd," Laena explains.
The bride wore a tea-length dress, Rosalyn from True Bride's Brighton Belle collection. "As I'm quite short, I didn't want to go for a full-length dress," she explains. "I knew what I was looking for and tried on a few from this retro-style collection, but the one I said 'yes' to was head and shoulders above the rest. The reaction from my mother and my bridesmaids confirmed it," she continues. Jonathan wore a navy blue tail suit paired with a grey tweed waistcoat, teal tie and pocket hanky. His look was kept from Laena until the wedding day as a surprise for her. The groomsmen were dressed similarly, but wore their suits with navy waistcoats instead.
The reception was kept simple given the restrictions in place at the time. The wedding breakfast was followed by speeches, cake and coffee, and the day drew to a close at 8pm. "It was a wonderful opportunity to spend time with our closest family and loved ones," Laena says.
The most memorable moment of the day for the bride was reaching the top of the staircase to see her groom across the room. She tells us, "I really had to try to stop myself crying with so much happiness. My cheeks hurt by the time I was standing next to him. The relief we felt having finally made it to the altar was overwhelming. Once the registrar announced us as husband and wife, we looked at each other and said: 'we did it!"
Laena tells us more about the challenges faced when the Covid crisis destroyed the plans of so many: "We were actually already planning an intimate wedding of 30 people and had booked our suppliers well in advance of the pandemic hitting. The biggest adjustment was to the ceremony as the 30 permitted by the government had to include suppliers.
Our venue suggested we stream the ceremony to some of our guests in the downstairs room and Jonathan was able to make this happen thanks to his knowledge of computers. We made the best of the situation for the guests watching the live stream providing them with popcorn and 3D glasses.
"We also needed to spread our guests out across more tables to ensure the social distancing rules were met. Fortunately all I had to do was make more centrepieces, which I enjoyed doing. Our venue was extremely accommodating with the necessary changes, and the team was constantly on standby for us whenever new announcements were made.
"The lead up to the big day was a complete rollercoaster. It was tough with so many constant unknowns, but the support we were able to give each other made us realise how important this day was to us and that we were definitely doing it for the right reasons."
Laena says, "The most important piece of advice I can offer is not to do everything alone, and trust your suppliers – they can give you the best guidance based on years of experience. If plans have to change, before you start contacting suppliers and guests, just take a step back and let yourself process it. A good G&T will always help too!"Booking as many suppliers as possible well in advance makes a huge difference. Going to wedding fairs really helps with inspiration, and be sure to load up on magazines, they have great stories and ideas through all seasons."
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