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.
They started planning their big day at the beginning of 2020 before the pandemic struck. "We originally intended to have 120 to 150 guests but with all the uncertainty at the time, we decided in December last year to have a small, intimate wedding instead with just our parents, siblings and their partners. Then, once restrictions are lifted, we plan to have a big evening reception party with all our extended family and friends," explains Zoë.
When it came to choosing where to wed they had their hearts set on Hampshire's beautiful New Forest. Zoë explains, "When we were dating and living in Bournemouth we used to take day trips to the New Forest. I also used to go there on family camping holidays when I was a child, so it holds lots of happy memories for us."
They set the date for 4th June this year at the Balmer Lawn Hotel & Spa, Brockenhurst in the heart of the forest and opted for a stylish green and gold colour scheme. Zoë adds, "Ruth, the wedding coordinator at the venue, was so helpful and reassuring during what could have been a stressful time to plan a wedding."
Zoë bought her dress from ASOS and her mum made alterations to personalise it. As her something old and something blue, she wore her grandmother's sapphire bracelet, a sentimental family piece, as her mum also wore it on her wedding day. Her something borrowed was a gold sweetheart necklace which her dad had given her mum as a Valentine's present and gold cuff earrings, a wedding day gift from Steve, completed the look as her something new. A family duo was on hand for the finishing bridal touches with Zoë's sister Charlotte on hair and sister-in-law Kimberley on make-up.
The bridesmaids wore dresses from high street stores in complementary shades of green to go with the colour scheme. Steve and both dads also looked dashing in matching Marc Darcy three-piece suits with gold ties and pocket squares.
The couple were able to put their own stamp on the day, thanks to the accommodating team at the venue. Zoë's mum Margaret did the floral arrangements for the candelabra as an added personal touch, Steve's sister Kimberley made their Victoria sponge cake and his dad lent them his Bentley car. Zoë's sister Charlotte designed the table plan and menus and created the place names using rhododendron leaves from their parents' garden.
"The accommodating chef also amended their seven-course taster menu to cater for guests' dietary requirements and included a selection of curated wines to complement the food," adds Zoë.
To add to the atmosphere pianist Mark Busell played during the champagne reception and wedding breakfast. Afterwards everyone had fun chatting and playing table games.
"Sitting down for a meal in the company of our closest family, after having not been able to do so for almost a year-and-a-half due to the pandemic, was really special," remembers Zoë.
"Our family made our day. It was a labour of love and they all contributed to the preparations in some way and we felt so grateful to them for all their help and support."