Your Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wedding - December 2022/January 2023 (Issue 98)

Laura and Hugh met in the spring of 2016 near their places of work and, after running into each other a few times, he asked her on a date. “I liked her sense of humour (and sense of mischief) and thought that I’d better ask her out or I’d regret it,” he tells us. “I have always loved her confidence, her willingness to get involved in anything and the fact that she laughs at my jokes. She’s gorgeous too, of course!” The couple became engaged during a holiday in Northern Ireland. Hugh says, “I had intended to propose in May 2020 while on holiday in St Lucia, but the pandemic meant that we couldn’t go. We were able to take a trip to Northern Ireland in September 2020 and since I wasn’t sure when we might be able to get to St Lucia, I still wanted to propose so I thought I had better seize my chance! I asked Laura to marry me in the Culloden Hotel overlooking Belfast Lough, which was more romantic than it sounds!” Laura adds, “The proposal was a complete surprise - particularly as the waiter had accidentally been calling me Mrs Saunders all evening and it had become a running joke between Hugh and myself. That being said, overlooking Belfast Lough with a fire burning in the background, the setting was very romantic.” SETTING THE SCENE The couple chose Notley Abbey in Aylesbury as the backdrop for their Christmas-themed wedding. “It offered the perfect combination of a country house (which is what we had both been looking for) and a fascinating history,” Hugh explains. “It was in a good location for our guests and the ability to have our immediate family stay on-site was a bonus as we were all able to enjoy breakfast the following morning together!” Laura adds, “We were looking for a venue that would be intimate but not claustrophobic and, importantly, had plenty of room to dance! Having previously looked at venues where the band or DJ would be in a separate room, we quickly realised that we wanted one that could allow people to be part of the after-dinner entertainment without necessarily needing to hit the dancefloor. Also, the proximity of Notley Abbey to local hotels for friends and extended family to stay made the planning a lot easier.” The couple named their table after reindeer which set the festive theme. “We chose to have a bit of fun with the table names and our top table was called Rudolph, Laura says. “We used the same design as our wedding invitations for the table plan and continued the blue and silver colour theme. Our centrepieces looked stunning, they were candelabras with Christmas wreaths placed at the bottom. Each guest had to turn their place name over to establish who got to take the wreath home. These were chosen at random and symbolised by a blue star.” Laura and Hugh chose charity pins that donated money to Great Ormond Street and Cancer Research as their favours. These are charities that we support, so it was nice to be able to include these as part of our special day,” they tell us. The couple chose a mixture of white, pale pink, peach and deep-red flowers with touches of dark blue. “The foliage reflected the seasonal theme because it was a mixture of fir, holly and ivy with touches of thistle, berries, pine cones and cinnamon,” Laura explains. “The dark roses added a pop of colour to the blue and silver theme and hinted at Christmas, and each napkin was tied with holly berries and twine.” Their statement cake showcased a snowy mountain scene with a couple on a ski lift reflecting their shared interest “My brother carried me across the mud so that I didn’t get my dress dirty! - Laura 31 REAL WEDDINGS