A power-cut on a rainy Wednesday evening may not seem the most obvious time to propose but for Dave Lambourne it turned out to be the perfect moment. Add some music from the 28-year-old engineer’s mobile phone, a touch of candlelight and it’s no wonder that Emily Stafford couldn’t wait to say yes – especially after dating for eight years.
“Dave and I first met 12 years ago when we were 16, through mutual friends,” said Emily.
“It wasn’t until two years later that we started dating. I guess eight years would be a long wait for some women before they got a proposal, but for us it was the perfect amount of time to grow up and mature enough to be able to handle the responsibilities of a life-long commitment!”
Once wedding planning started, the couple from Gillingham quickly found they had some big decisions to make. A guest list of 120 with an extra 50 in the evening gave them the first of their ‘venue must-haves’ – enough room!
The next big challenge was keeping the costs down.
“After searching for wedding venues within Medway, we decided to look for a blank canvas where we were free to decide on some of the pricier elements such as catering ourselves.
“A lot of venues had set caterers and weren’t flexible enough for what we had in mind. We started to look at village halls but many were a bit too small. We knew we had to think outside the box a bit more to find a place that ticked all of the boxes. After a lot of searching we came across a real hidden gem – Riverview Manor in Rochester.”
Following the lead of the Great British Bake Off, the couple opted to have their venue in a countryside marquee and with wedding shows, social media and a whole lot of Pinterest to support them, things slowly started to fall into place.
“After searching high and low I eventually found the perfect dress on Ebay for just £88,” said Emily, 28.
“It was made to measure, although when it arrived it was a bit too small. This didn’t really worry me too much as it gave me more motivation to slim down before the big day.
“I was lucky enough to have an incredibly talented friend Emily Shuttleworth. She did several rounds of alterations on the dress and embellished it with beads to give it that Wow! factor and was an absolute godsend.”
THE BIG DAY
“The morning of my wedding I was the most relaxed I had been in months, recalled Emily.
“I had planned and over planned and all there was left to do was sit at home and get pampered for the morning with the people I love. The journey to the church in Luton, near Chatham, was lovely, the sun was shining and me and dad were being driven to the church I was christened in, through roads filled with memories.
“I also had the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen in my hands too. The ceremony was beautiful. The church had changed all of the banners, candles and flowers for us to match our colour theme. I was so pleased that we could get married in that church as I felt so at ease walking down the aisle. It was a fairly short service that was personal to us as much as it could be.”
SPEECHES AND SONGS?
In their new married status, the couple couldn’t wait to get the party started and made the short drive to Riverview Manor for the reception.
“Everything was beautiful - the room was filled with the people we loved, and things that were made with love from the dress, to the cake, the cupcakes, the décor - all of it was so personal to us,” said Emily who works as a graphic designer.
“My dad’s speech was about half an hour long and hilarious – a tribute to the 28 years I’ve spent embarrassing myself, and the years that Dave and I have been together.”
In contrast, the groom only said a few words before handing over to The Locksmiths, a barbershop quartet, to deliver his speech.
“To say I was surprised is an understatement,” said Emily.
“They really blew me away and despite the tears, that was one of my most treasured memories of the best day of my life!”
HAPPILY EVER AFTER
As the couple danced the night away, they made use of the tea-party style catering and “pimp-your-prosecco” stations that they had arranged. A photobooth went down particularly well and captured the smiles of all the guests.
Emily and Dave stayed with their guests until the very last dance at around 2am before heading off.
Their wedding had been the perfect combination of meaningful tributes, shared happiness and quirky brilliance reflective of everything important to this wonderful pair.
“As we arrived home that night, we poured our final glass of prosecco, took off our shoes and decided to have our first dance in our living room. Our wedding story ended just as it had begun and in the same spot - spontaneous, unplanned and just the two of us, and it was the perfect ending to the perfect day.”
Pictures by Edward Solly Photography from Boughton Monchelsea, near Maidstone. More details at www.edwardsollyphotography.co.uk or call 07590017483
Suppliers and contacts
Barbershop quartet: The Locksmiths, check out their Facebook page
Car and chauffeur: Kevin at Forever Wedding Cars - www.foreverweddingcars.co.uk
Florist: Most Curious Rose - www.mostcuriousrose.co.uk
Lighting and sound: Phonophobia Productions - www.phonophobia-online.co.uk
Magician and light up love letters: CEP - corporateentertainmentprofessionals.co.uk
Venue: Riverview Manor, Rochester - riverviewmanor.co.uk