An Exclusive real life wedding - Jacob and Alexander
The path of Cupid’s arrow...
We met online, after we both made a profile on “OKCupid” I messaged Alexander with the award winning opening line: "Hi." A month of chat ensued, and after many attempts on Alexander's part to get me to ask him out, Alexander finally bit the bullet and suggested we meet in person. I picked a cute corner Mexican restaurant in Covent Garden and in February 2013 we met, we ate, we drank, and then I asked Alexander if he could read lines for my upcoming audition (something Alexander got a little too into, reading Maria from West Side Story). It's been a crazy journey ever since.
18 months later while visiting Paris for a few days Alexander proposed! Unbeknownst to me, with a great deal of help from our friends and family, Alexander managed to smuggle my engagement watch to Paris. And on a warm summer evening, Alexander plucked up enough courage to pop the question in one of his favourite courtyards.
A ‘fait accompli’
Interestingly, when it came to choosing a venue for the big day, The Manor House in Castle Combe was in our sights well before we were engaged...
A few months after we had met I took Alexander to meet my family, and with him coming from the United States I was ready to show off the English countryside in which I had been brought up. My mother lives in Wiltshire, only a short distance from The Manor House, which was an obvious choice for showing off. After sitting down to an Irish Coffee, we asked for a tour of the hotel. Marta from the front of house team kindly took us around and about half way through, after being shown the Dunstaville room, it became clear that we were being given a wedding tour! Both Alex and I looked at each other in shock, not once had we discussed marriage, as we had only been together for a few months!
We let the tour continue as we didn’t want to embarrass her, however it didn’t stop there... Marta continued our tour to the Lordsmeer suite where the wedding couple stay, The Bybrook where the Wedding Breakfast would be, and finally we ended up back at the front where Marta was very apologetic “I’m so sorry we weren't prepared for your tour, however I will show you some of our wedding albums and have some tea and biscuits.” At that point we made our excuses and hurried home, too awkward to even bring up the subject of marriage!
Funnily enough, however, in the car back to London, Alex turned to me and said “you know what though, if ONE was to get married, that would be a great venue, no?” and so started the first conversation. The rest, as they say, was history...
The perfect destination
Due to its proximity to my mother’s, we frequently returned to The Manor House, and have loved every stay. We tried to stay in a different room each time, matching each room to a different guest on our then evolving wedding guest list. We loved that every room is completely different! It was almost as if The Manor House choose us for our wedding, rather than the other way around.
The Manor House provided the perfect solution to our guest list problem too. From Alexander’s family spread out across the globe to the friends I had met on tour, the vast majority of our guest would need to travel to our wedding, so naturally a hotel setting was perfect! But more than just a hotel, The Manor House provided the quintessentially beautiful English country setting that we were looking for. And with the “Exclusively Yours” exclusive use package, we knew that we could celebrate till our heart's content without the more boisterous of our guests disturbing anyone else in the hotel.
We chose to celebrate our wedding over a weekend, rather than pick a single day. We had so many loved ones coming from so far, we thought it wouldn’t do justice to only have them for a few hours! We picked a date in September ensuring the weather was neither too hot nor too cold which surprisingly, is exactly what we had! Over the weekend we had an afternoon tea when we arrived on the Friday with parents, dinner in the evening with family followed by drinks in the Full Glass Bar that went into the early hours. Saturday we had organized both a golf tournament and an old fashioned bus tour around the area for our guests, and finished with a party in the evening. We chose Sunday for our big day and to close the weekend.
We didn’t really have a theme as such, but rather a clear understanding of what we didn’t want and we worked back from there. Right from the start we wanted the ceremony to be outside at the Pavilion, everything else came up quite naturally. For instance, we knew we didn’t want anything too flowery so we had more foliage mixed in with berries and twigs rather than a traditional wedding bouquet.
Needless to say, everything over the whole weekend was perfect. Emma Martin, our dedicated wedding coordinator, is simply amazing! All of the staff really went to new heights to take care of our guests.
...and what to wear!
Our suits provided one of the greatest challenges. We knew we wanted to wear suits that complimented each other, without being identical. We interviewed and met with a whole host of tailors and clothing brands, both off the rack and bespoke. In the end, we settled on a bespoke tailor that was recommended to us by one of Alexander’s colleagues. It is called Beggar’s Run, and after meeting with them we caught our eye on a material we both loved. It was a contemporary twist on a classic black tie tuxedo.
Ask anyone that knows me and they’ll tell you the last thing I am is emotional. I may be dramatic at times, but never overly emotional. But I was totally unprepared for the wealth of feelings I faced during our wedding, and I know the same can be said for Alexander. We couldn’t help ourselves! It could have been a friend who we saw the week before, family from across the globe or ten minutes away, anyone near and dear to us and all we had to do was say hi and the waterworks would begin! In the end I found myself running from person to person just to keep my composure!
By far and above the most memorable event from our wedding was my mother forgetting Alexander’s ring in her room! I had given it to her earlier to give to me during the ceremony, and during the excitement of it all she forgot it! But rather than be angry, we couldn’t have been happier. It put a totally light-hearted feeling on the rest of the ceremony and gave us all a good laugh. What’s more, hearing stories after the ceremony of how Emma and the staff had to ransack my mother’s room with my stepfather to find it was one of the funniest things I could have imagined!
Jacob's tips to couples who are planning their big day...
Get a joint Google email address! That way you can both have access to all the spreadsheets and documents you’re going to create in your wedding-planning process and if changes need to be made, you both can make them and always be working off of the most update version.
Front load as much of the work as possible, then come arrival have a drink and enjoy yourself! With a venue as good as The Manor House, plus a wedding coordinator as AMAZING as Emma, you will have nothing to worry about come your wedding.
Remember that your wedding day is really YOUR day, and you have a right to be a little bit selfish, especially if you’re normally overly-accommodating. Only invite the people you truly want to be there. Your wedding day is too special to waste money and energy inviting guests for political reasons. In the end, the people who are meant to be there will be there.
Lastly, savour the menu tasting. The food at The Bybrook is so unbelievably good, and if you’re anything like we are, on the big day you may not be able to eat at all you’ll be so pumped up on adrenaline. With the menu tasting under your belt, even if you don’t get to enjoy everything on the wedding day, it won’t matter because you’ll have enjoyed it before, just you two.