We both love to go on holiday – it’s bit of a joke between our friends and family as we like to be on a plane at least every 12 weeks (if we don’t, we start to get palpitations!) so naturally, everyone (including me) thought he would propose on a holiday somewhere.
However, he decided to take me out for a meal where we went on our first date and treat me to a gorgeous 3 course meal, the day before we were jetting off to Turkey in May 2018. We walked home and, because I had eaten far too much food, I darted straight for the sofa.
I didn’t know it but at the same time, Rich was setting up the proposal in the kitchen with champagne and the ring. When he came back into the living room, I just lay there showing him my massive bloated belly! Rich was mortified but I carried on grabbing my belly doing ‘fat walrus’ impressions at him!
After a good 5 minutes of him pacing around, he picked me up off the sofa and took me into the kitchen, banging my arm on the door frame on the way! Whilst cursing him for banging my arm, I saw the ring and I couldn’t believe it! He carried me over to the ring and got down on one knee, with me still in his arms… I said yes (of course) and couldn’t believe what a beautiful ring he had picked. I wouldn’t have wanted the proposal to have gone any other way because that’s totally us as a couple!
Why did we choose the Boat House?
We have a lot of close friends and family, so had to choose a venue that could hold around 100 guests in the day and 175 in the evening. Venues able to hold this number of guests comfortably can be difficult to find.
We’d heard a lot of good things about Aston Marina as it’s only a 20 minute drive from home, so we booked to meet with Nicki, the wedding co-ordinator at the Boat House. As soon as we walked through the doors, the bright and airy room with its bare brick walls, modern lighting and stunning floor to ceiling bi-folding doors, we knew it was the venue for us.
In addition to the beautiful room, it has a lovely outside area with lots of grassed and patio areas for guests to be able to enjoy. You have the option for an outdoor ceremony too, which was on our bucket list as that was something we really wanted to do. The bar selection is also very good – a range of spirits, good beers and ales and cocktails. We both like to enjoy a drink with friends and this was another big plus for us (who wants to go to a wedding with a naff beer)?!
We were given the wedding options booklet and were delighted to see that we could customise the food and drinks we wanted for our wedding. There were lots of options to choose from, everything just seemed so simple and fell into place so we decided that this was 100% the venue for us.
During the months leading up to the wedding, Nicky was constantly communicating with us, helping us and generally being an angel. Aston Marina genuinely care about your wedding day and we cannot recommend them as a venue highly enough.
Our wedding theme
We wanted the ‘theme’ of the wedding to be relaxed with all of our friends and family being in the same place, some meeting for the first time, and just having a wonderful day.
It probably sounds strange but neither of us are into ‘things’ and we are not fussed about the little things which the guests probably wouldn’t remember anyway. The Boat House is so breathtakingly gorgeous, you really don’t need to ‘dress it up’, so we went for simplicity. As we were getting married in June, we went for pastel colours including greys, blues and pinks.
We had a simple wooden slice in the centre of each table, with a variety of small candle holders, 2 jars filled will the most beautiful flowers, supplied by Parsley and Sage and used gin bottles to hold the table numbers in (I do love my gin!). The florist came to my parents’ house in the morning to drop off my bridal flowers, which were stunning, and also went to the venue to help set up the room – this was so helpful as we didn’t have to worry at all about going to the venue early in the morning.
All decorations were supplied by Vintage Venue Dressing, who also came in early in the morning to set everything up for us – again a massive stress off our hands. We kept the table decorations low so all members of the table could talk to each other throughout the wedding breakfast. Our favour boxes/name tags were little suitcases – as we love to travel – with a selection of Ferrero Rocher in them. Everything about the theme was personal to us.
To pay tribute to the Grandparents we have lost, we painted a ladder and placed pictures of us as children with our grandparents on it and positioned it near to the top table, so they were with us in spirit.
As we had a few children at the ceremony and wedding breakfast, we had a ‘kids only’ table, with mini games, colouring books, activity books and colouring in pencils to keep them entertained.
My talented Aunty made our beautiful wedding cake, which was 4 scrummy layers of fruit cake, lemon drizzle cake, coffee and walnut cake and Victoria sponge. It was so big that it had to be separated into two! The cake fitted our colour theme perfectly with greys, pinks and blues and went down a storm, as there was none left for us to take home!
Following the theme of everyone just having a fun, relaxed and enjoyable day, we hired a photographer who specialises in natural photos. We’re not fans of ‘posed’ photos, as we don’t feel that you get a sense of how the day actually was. As well as this, we wanted to spend our time with our guests, not with our photographer!
This led us to hire a gentleman called Chris Lowis and, all l I can say is, if this is the style of photography you would like – book him! On the day, we kept calling him the ‘ninja’, as he was here there and everywhere… without you even knowing! We now look through our wedding photographs and they just take you back to the moment – they are more than we ever hoped for.
My parents surprised me to a beautiful wedding car, so I nervously travelled the 30-minute journey with my Dad, while my Mum and bridesmaids followed behind.
Rich was at the venue welcoming our guests, who arrived to music by Jason Huxley – an amazing singer and guitar player, who treated our guests to 3 sets of songs throughout the afternoon, picked by us a couple of weeks before the big day. Luckily the weather was perfect, so we were able to marry outside – our dreams had come true! However, the wind enjoyed blowing my veil everywhere throughout the ceremony, which everyone found hilarious.
Once we had said ‘I DO’, guests could then enjoy the sunshine with a glass of bubbles or a bottle of beer until we were called in for the wedding breakfast.
We decided to pay a little extra and give our guests the option to choose their menu from four starters (Duck leg, pate, soup, onion tart), four mains (lamb, beef, seabass, risotto) and three desserts (brownie, crumble, lemon posset). We did this because the food at Aston Marina is so FANTASTIC we felt that the guests should be able to fully enjoy a meal of their choosing.
I have to re-iterate here how absolutely beautiful the food is, it is restaurant quality and the portions are very generous. We would give you a recommendation, but as we had tasted all of the food at a tasting night a few months before the wedding, we generally couldn’t give you a favourite – they were all FAB! Guests also enjoyed half a bottle of wine and a glass of prosecco to toast during the speeches.
During the meal, we gave out a quiz for guests to answer – we thought that this would be great for those tables of guests who didn’t know each other. The winner of the quiz won a bottle of prosecco. Once we had all eaten, everyone went back outside for more sunshine and to play giant Jenga and lawn games.
Before we knew it, the evening guests were arriving and we enjoyed music from the resident DJ, Andy, supplied by the Boat House. Andy was absolutely fantastic – he seemed to get the balance right so you could be up dancing the night away, or be able to converse while sitting down at a table. We also hired Stoke Photo Booths, which was a great hit with everyone. They give you options for your wedding and we chose unlimited photos with a guest book – this was the right choice for us and was hilarious to look at the next morning!
Evening guests enjoyed a hog roast, which came with a variety of sides including wedges and coleslaw, which was catered by the Boat House.
We were thrilled that there was always someone on the dance floor and just like that, it was 1am and everything was being packed up behind us!
Highlight of the day
We genuinely couldn’t not pick a highlight as the whole day was perfect from start to finish.
When people say it is the quickest day of your life, they are not wrong. But our day was extra special because of the amazing staff at the Boat House, the amazing food they serve, their amazing venue and surroundings and the care and dedication they put into making your day all about you.
We were also very lucky with the suppliers we used, as they were all fantastic!
Photos provided by Chris Lowis Photography – https://www.lowisphotography.co.uk/