Sandra and Andy met at a friend's birthday party in August 2008, while they were both working in the hotel industry in Dubai. From that moment on they were inseparable, until Andy announced he'd resigned and was returning to England. “I was shocked and upset and thought that would be it,” remembers Sandra. However, they kept in contact and when Andy invited her to visit, Sandra jumped on a plane and never looked back. “I planned a fourday trip, which included an interview at London's Dorchester Hotel. We had the most amazing time and I got the job,” she recalls.
Sandra handed in her notice as soon as she returned to Dubai and was back in time to celebrate New Year with Andy. “Apart from Andy's four-month trip to South America, which he'd had planned for ages, we've been together ever since,” she adds.
Andy proposed on September 11th, 2012 with breakfast in bed after their first night together in their newly refurbished house. He'd written a romantic message on one side of the coffee mug and, 'will you marry me?' on the other. She said 'yes', of course!
Due to Sandra's German roots and with relatives of different nationalities, they opted for a relaxed fête theme to help combat language barriers and to bring everyone together. “We had so many crazy ideas, trying to combine the best of them and, at the same time, keep elements of it secret to wow people on the day, proved tricky,” adds Sandra.
Read on for more of her account of their big day...
Andy has always been the best at choosing my clothes and with him and my chief bridesmaid Julia, I had the best time ever trying on different dresses and shortlisting between a fishtail design and the one I finally chose – an A-line, strapless gown embellished with swirled roses.
We knew about the pick-your-own fruit farm at Sopley, but not the hidden treasure behind the trees – the beautiful fishing lake.
I fell in love with a rose fabric and decided to have the bridesmaids' dresses made. I found a local dressmaker, who did an amazing job.
We used lots of plants and natural material to make the marquee feel fresh and alive to complement our country theme.
The centrepieces were pots of herbs, which also doubled up as favours.
I travelled in a vintage Cadillac as we didn't want anything too traditional.
Our main cake was a five-tier pavlova, which is our favourite dessert and tasted amazing.
Our bridesmaid Julia spent three days baking eight different cakes – all German-inspired, which provided our dessert station.
We had alcoholic ice lollies as welcome drinks and gorse flower-ade which we made from foraged ingredients.
Our bridesmaid Julia spent three days baking eight different cakes – all German-inspired, which provided our dessert station
The Christchurch and District Band played during the day to give a fun, fête feel to our celebration.
For the evening party, Riviera performed a range of modern covers. We'd heard the band live before and loved its laidback, busking style.
There were three different types of food stands during the day: Lebanese, Thai and Spanish, and a German sausage stall in the evening.
We had a double decker bus bar, a photo booth in the summer house for guests to leave us personalised messages and a coconut shy, tin can alley and cork shooting booth to add to the fun.
Our 'first dance' was in the bumper cars, after letting off 99 red balloons – the title of our chosen song.
Bride's hair and make-up
Fancy That Dress
B. Cole & Sons Fairground
Hop On Inn
Christchurch and District Band
Pavlova cake and food stalls
Red Cherry Catering
Capture Your Night