See how other local couples celebrated their big day with wedding stories and ideas from Your Hampshire and Dorset Wedding Real Weddings features.
Maddie and James first met when she moved to London for her first job as a junior doctor. "A mutual friend cunningly arranged for us to attend the same party knowing we were both newly single and had a shared love of art, nature and general goofiness," Maddie recalls. The matchmaking worked and they got together as a couple. However, when the time came for James to pop the question, things didn't quite go to plan. Three days into a two-week road trip in California he intended to surprise Maddie with a romantic proposal during a 5am hike in Joshua Tree National Park. The idea was to trek to the top of the highest rock and persuade her to pose for a photo looking out over the edge, to then find him down on one knee when she turned round. He hadn't counted on her being frozen to the spot with crippling vertigo though! "Poor James had to get back up to retrieve me. Luckily photo attempt two was more successful and we enjoyed a special moment together on top of the rock as the sun came up. I later had an image of the rock engraved on to a silver signet ring for James as a memento," adds Maddie.
A mutual friend set Emily and Nathan up on a blind date bowling and they proved to be the perfect match! Their competitive nature came out during the game and Nathan was bowled over by Emily's carefree character. Romance blossomed and when the time came to pop the question, Nathan's plan was thwarted by bad weather and he ended up asking her to marry him looking out to sea in his hometown in Wales. "As we're avid walkers I was originally going to propose at the top of the Pen y Fan mountain, however when the sunshine turned to torrential rain, I had to quickly reconsidered my options," he recalls. Emily was so shocked, that she left Nathan waiting for three minutes before giving him an answer! She said 'yes', of course, and they were married exactly 14 months to the day later.
When Carli met Alex she knew instantly that he was the one. "I fell head over heels for his blue eyes. It maybe a very cliché thing to say, but as an American his British accent was like kryptonite to me," recalls Carli. "I then became entirely smitten as I discovered how caring, considerate and fun-loving he was. I was also terribly forward and told him the day after our first meeting that I'd fallen for him and he was very British and said, 'Oh, thank you," she laughs. Despite his natural reserve, he was feeling the love too and romance blossomed.
Danni and Rich met through a dating app; she liked his cheeky-chappy look, he fell for her smile and the rest, as they say, is history! Rich popped the question during a weekend away glamping. "While it was a very romantic setting, his timing wasn't particularly great as I was doing the washing up at the time!" laughs Danni. She said 'yes' though and to celebrate, they spent the day riding the rollercoasters at Alton Towers. They tied the knot at Careys Manor in the glorious New Forest on 3rd July this year. Read on for Danni's account of their big day...
After getting together as students at Bournemouth University in 2012, Zoë and Steve got engaged in New York six years later. The trip was a surprise for Zoë who was blindfolded at home in the kitchen before being whisked off to Heathrow Airport. "Steve revealed the destination under the departures board holding an apple with the word 'big' written on it," recalls Zoë. While they were there, Steve popped the question in Central Park, and the proposal was photographed by a passer-by walking their dog. "It was a complete shock as we'd just bought our first home together, a major renovation project which took us 10 months to complete before we could move in." adds Zoë.
A two-week road trip around France in June 2019 turned into a happy ever after for Erin and Pete. During a stopover in Bergerac on the second night, while on a romantic pre-dinner walk down to the Dordogne River as the sun was setting, Pete popped the question. The proposal was a complete surprise to Erin who first met Pete in 2017 while they were both working for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance. "I had no idea," she exclaims. "It turned out to be a very happy evening and an amazing holiday, taking in Toulon, Cannes, Nice and the Alps."
Kelly and Andrew planned to have a spring wedding but when COVID struck they switched it to the autumn instead. They tweaked their original dusky pink colour scheme by including warm burgundy shades instead of white, slashed the guest list by 100 to just 15 family and friends and enjoyed an intimate wedding full of magical moments.
Katie and Ed met at work but nothing happened between them until sometime later, even though they worked on the same floor. "Ed runs the IT department and I'm a nurse and even though Ed claims he hadn't noticed me until about a year after I started there, I was instantly attracted to him," says Katie. "It helps that he's the tall, dark, handsome type and is always smiling, which lights up his whole face. Ed was won over by my big eyes and magnetic personality apparently," she laughs.
Jodie and Duncan first met 10 years before they started dating, at a get together before they left for university and went their separate ways. A decade later their paths crossed again at a mutual friend's birthday party at the Foresters Arms in Gosport. "We've been together ever since and two houses and two children later, we're now married," says Jodie.
Teenage sweethearts Jess and Jack were together for 10 years before getting married. Jack popped the question at one of their favourite places, local beauty spot Farley Mount in Winchester. "It was a cold, crisp day just before Christmas and we were walking our black labrador Darla whose tail wouldn't stop wagging when Jack got down on one knee," laughs Jess. She said 'yes' of course and they went to the luxury Lainston House hotel afterwards for a surprise champagne afternoon tea.
Although Hannah and Alex both went to the same school, he was in the year above and it wasn't until Hannah's friend's 17th birthday party that they met properly. They chatted all night and ended up exchanging numbers. Two weeks later it turned out they were both going to Reading Festival with the same group of friends. "We really hit it off, spent most of our time there together and shared our first kiss," remembers Hannah. "We felt a connection straight away and really enjoyed each other's company and making each other laugh."
Soft neutral and blush shades set the tone for Sophie and Andrew's romantic wedding. Friendship blossomed into romance for Sophie and Andrew. They shared similar interests and hobbies and were close workmates for a long time before they actually started dating. "We made each other laugh and have always been a great support for each other," says Sophie. They were together for nearly two years before getting engaged. Andrew popped the question while they were on holiday in Mauritius over an incredibly romantic private dinner underneath the stars at the end of a beach jetty. "I was completely overwhelmed and Andrew was delighted not to have dropped the ring through the slats of the jetty into the sea," laughs Sophie.