Hayley and Andy Gore met through mutual friend Steve. “It was seven years before he decided to introduce us,” Hayley says. “Once we met, we were inseparable.” A few years later, Steve would be best man at the couple's big day.
Andy proposed to Hayley at the end of 2015. He surprised her one morning with breakfast and a bunch of flowers before announcing that he would be taking her to Berlin that day. “We went to Charlottenburg Palace, which was lit by the beautiful lights of the German Christmas market,” the bride remembers. “There was snow on the ground as Andy got down on one knee. I was so overcome with emotion that I forgot to look at the ring! When I finally did, I fell in love with the timeless solitaire style he had chosen.”
After returning home, the couple soon set the date for 16th December, 2017, with a ceremony at Holy Trinity Church in Westbury-on-Trym, followed by a reception at Kings Weston House. To reflect the time of year, they created a warm and cosy Christmas atmosphere. Hayley tells us how they did it…
We chose Kings Weston House because we loved the variety of beautiful rooms in this Grade I listed building. The suspended staircase in the Great Hall provided a dramatic backdrop for the evening, while the graceful Portrait Gallery that overlooks the grounds was perfect for our drinks reception. I visited the estate a lot when I was growing up, so I loved having that connection to it.
We created a fabulously festive feel – think soft candlelight , logs burning in fireplaces and the Christmassy smell of pine cones and mulled wine. We opted for a red palette highlighted with gold accents. This was reflected in our deep-red roses, winter berries and gypsophila layered in gorgeous greenery.
Our table plan was a large multi-aperture photo frame. We chose the theme of The 12 Days of Christmas for our table names. It's now hung in our home with our wedding photographs in it.
Andy made the centrepieces b y cutting large circular discs with a jigsaw and securing wooden logs on ea ch one. We then decorated them with pine cones, tea light holders and fresh foliage from my mum's garden.
Our place name holders were small wooden reindeers. Lots of our guests took them home and sent us photos a week later of their Christmas dinner tables with the place names on display.
Anna Cake Couture made a gorgeous four-tier cake with delicate gold detailing. We added lace-embellished hessian around the base of each tier and wintr y florals to complement my bouquet.
Andy and his groomsmen looked handsome in charcoal three-piece suits from Next. They tied in with the bridesmaids' deep-red floor-length gowns. The V-neck backs, sweethear t necklines and ruched detail looked so elegant.
As the venue is quite large, we made a map to guide our guests to where things were happening and at what time. We also hid gold envelopes around the building, containing prizes such as lottery tickets, drinks from the bar and even a dance with the bes t man! The last one went down particularly well with one of Andy's cousins!
My strapless Sincerity Bridal dress had intricate lace detailing on the bodice and romantic button fastenings. I teamed this with a pearl-embroidered veil and a delicate tiara by Jon Richards. I also wore the earrings my mum wore on her wedding day and my nan's engagement ring.
We sang carols in church and a pianist played seasonal songs during the drinks reception to put ever yone in the Christmas spirit. The casino went down a treat in the evening, and that was followed by a live four-piece band called Modern Vintage. The group played a great mix of tunes to get ever yone on their feet.
I've always admired brides who speak during the toa sts, so I wrote a poem the week before our wedding. Even on the day, I wasn't sure whether I would read it, but I'm incredibly glad that I decided to.
After the service, we served mulled wine and macaroons. We were incredibly lucky to have beautiful blue skies and bright sunshine, but it was icy cold, so the drinks did the trick and warmed everyone up.
We were both nervous before the event because we had been planning it for two years, but on the day, we just relaxed and enjoyed every moment. We have so many special memories, like coming out of church and being showered in confetti while the church bells rang for us. It was magical seeing all our loved ones' smiling faces.
Our best man's mum is one of the Knutty Knitters, a group of friends who knitted a life-size nativity scene to raise money for St Peter's Hospice. It was touring local shopping centres and supermarkets to raise money, so Steve arranged for it to be at our reception. Our generous guests raised £500 for the charity.
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Groom's and groomsmen's suits
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