What are your full names? When, where and how did you meet?
Kirsty Smith and Mark Cooper.
We met on a night out, 5 years prior to our first date – there was instant attraction that night! We became engaged within a year of being together, and after living together for 2 weeks. Mark had been looking for the perfect ring for 7 months, in the end he went to a ring designer to have it custom made.
Tell us about the proposal…
Mark booked a surprise trip away for our 1 year anniversary. He took me to The Shard for lunch followed by Champagne and Cocktails on the Madison rooftop gardens. Finally we went to Sushi Samba and were taken to a small room that overlooked the city. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I had no idea and was completely shocked. At first I thought he was joking and told him to get up and stop messing around until I saw the ring.
And the venue…
We were married at Wynyard Hall. Although it was 1.5 hours away from where we lived, it took my breath away the very first time I walked inside. Plus, it had the added bonus of the Chapel being on-site, for a religious ceremony and not just a blessing which was very important to me. My sister sang the final hymn and her voice blew everyone away! After the wedding, so many guests said it was the grandest wedding they had ever been too, and the venue was the most luxurious. At first people were sceptical about the venue being a little far away, but when they arrived, they understood that it was the perfect venue!
What theme and colours did you go for?
I wanted it to be an elegant sophisticated wedding, then great party for the evening. Our colour scheme was pale blue – our favourite colours.
Tell us about your wedding dress…
I chose ‘Pracatan’ by Ian Stuart with some bespoke aspects. It had a fitted bodice and a long train which fell in waves. The waist was slightly lower than most ball gown styles which showed off my figure. It flowed in waves, and I had a sparkly veil and a delicate silver and crystal head piece.
What did the rest of the party wear?
Mark wore a blue Ted Baker suit with tails and a bespoke pocketchief. The groomsmen’s outfits were from Swagger and Swoon, and the bridesmaids dresses were by Vera Wang.
How did you travel to your venue?
We stayed over at Wynyard Hall the night before and my parents organised a pre-wedding dinner for all the bridesmaids, groomsmen and family that were staying over.
What wedding stationery did you opt for?
The stationery was from Rosewood Co. The paper was incredible, with a delicate sparkle and a sketch of Wynyard Hall on it. Our table plan was a copper frame, with Perspex squares to mark each table and blue chiffon to complement our colour scheme. We added a lovely little touch to the table numbers – they had blue flowers in the background and quotes from our favourite films and books at the bottom!
Tell us about your flowers…
Twisted Willow was our florist. I had a large white bouquet, with plenty of grey and green foliage to match the bridesmaid’s flowers and men’s button holes. I had a locket containing a photo of my grandparents and uncle around me bouquet, and Mark carried a photo of his grandad inside his pocket watch.
The centre-pieces were crafted from tall clear vases, with a mirrored based and twinkling fairy lights, we switched them for the evening do, using glass bowls and flowers. For seating, we chose chivari chairs with white sashes.
Did you give out favours?
Yes, we treated our bridesmaids and groomsmen to a tipple! The girls had mini bottle of Lanson Champagne, and the men had gin miniatures – our favourite drinks.
What cake did you choose?
Wynyard Hall’s recommended supplier, Burnett 4 Cakes, provided a 4-tier cake with ruffles across the bottom to match my dress. The 2nd layer had intricate lace detail and tiny edible crystals. The 3rd layer had a gorgeous pearlescent sheen and silver glitter with a large edible flower and ribbon.
We also had a cake of cheese in the evening. A friend made the cake topper, which had Mark as a policeman and myself in scrubs (as I’m a doctor) holding a bouquet!
Tell us about your food and drink…
We ordered additional canapés to give our guests more choice. We had salmon roulade, duck arancini, chicken satay, mini Yorkshire puddings filled with beef and horseradish, pâté and bruschetta with mozzarella and tomato.
Our starter choices were cheese soufflé or white onion and truffle volute. Mains were chicken or sirloin steak, with all the trimmings of course! Dessert was sticky toffee pudding or passionfruit cheesecake.
Later in the evening, we had the cake of cheese, and also a delicious Italian buffet.
We didn’t want the cake to be wasted, so we provided small cake boxes with our names and the wedding date on them for guests to take some home – EVERYONE loved it so much there was no cake left at the end of the night!
Drinks wise, we offered a choice of red, white and rose wines, plus Prosecco at the drinks reception and for the toast. We had a cocktail hour too, with Strawberry Bellinis, Cucumber Collins and Espresso Martinis.
What entertainment did you choose?
During the drinks reception we had Trio Vivo (violin, cello and piano) who played a mixture of classical music, movie themes and chart hits. We also had Spoolfrog videographer from Bristol. They specialise in marry-oke and asked each of our guests to sing a line. (Sounds cheesy, Mark was a bit apprehensive prior to the wedding, but everyone loved it, people kept looking for him to try to perform another line!) The editing is the best you could possibly get and when the video arrive it actually looked like my guests were singing the tune and also just having fun.
After the cocktail hour, a jazz duo played.
What other special touches did you add?
We had a large cocktail sign in the Mirror Room, K & M light-up letters and a photo booth. Boothalicious were great at encouraging guests to try on props.
We had silent fireworks and sparklers at 10pm which were set to two of our favourite songs, a personalised post box for wedding cards, and a guest book. My sister took snaps with a polaroid camera, so people could put photos and messages in the book.
There were also boxes near the stage with blue and white flip flops inside, bespoke shot glasses, and a sweetie table containing our favourite childhood sweets.
How would you rate your wedding venue?
I would 100% recommend Wynyard Hall. I might be biased, but I did look around at multiple venues including some in Leicester and this was by far the best. It was made even more perfect by being able to get married in the Chapel, so guests did not have to drive from the church to the reception. We will be going back there to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.
What was your favourite part of the day?
The first dance! Mark and I had a couple of lessons, as we didn’t want to stand and sway, it was to David Bowie Heroes. One of my favourite wedding photos is of this moment.
Tell us about your honeymoon…
We had an exotic honeymoon. First stop was Singapore, then we flew to Borneo where we were lucky enough to see orangutans in the wild, we also went scuba diving and saw lots of beautiful coral and exotic fish. Next stop we flew to Ubud in Bali, climbing Mount Batu which was one of the volcanos and watched the sunrise, we also went to the monkey sanctuary, trekked through the rice fields and had a drink at the famous Potato Head Club. Next stop was the Gili Islands, which were pure paradise – no cars on these island so transport is via horse and cart. We were lucky enough to go snorkelling and swim with turtles. Our final stop was back in the honeymoon part of Bali – Nusa Dua – where we had a private villa that was amazing. Our final day was spent at Bestival Bali – a music festival where we saw Alt-J and Pendulum.
Do you have any tips for other brides and grooms?
My top tip would be to do everything that you want to do on your wedding day. I remember some people thinking a glitter table was not suitable for a wedding, however after they said it was one of the best things about the evening and everyone got involved!