A family affair for Zoë and Steve

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.

Just married 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.

Signing the register

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."

Father of the bride

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."

Bride 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.

Bouquet
Welcome sig n

Couple 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.

Ponies
Bride and groom walk away after the ceremony

Garden 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.

Champagne reception

"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.

Placenames

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.

Couple walk with horses "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.

Garden shot "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."

Zoë and Steve's contact book

Bride's dress

Flowers

Jo Hicks Flowers
www.johicksflowers.co.uk

Groom's suit

Lashes

Nails

Illumine Aesthetics
www.illumine-aesthetics.co.uk

Photography

Picture Purple Photography
www.picturepurple.co.uk

Pianist

Stationery

Charlotte Cooke Photography
www.charlottecooke.co.uk

Table styling

Linen and Lace Events
www.linenandlacehire.co.uk

Venue

Balmer Lawn Hotel & Spa
www.balmerlawnhotel.com
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