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Real weddings and wedding ideas

See how other couples celebrated their big day with wedding stories and ideas from County Wedding Magazines' Real Weddings features.

Great expectations

Caroline and George Rispin met at work in York back in 2014. Caroline tells us, "I loved George's energy and humour – he made me laugh like nobody else and I remember one afternoon we were working together and were so engrossed in conversation that we just didn't answer the phones! Everybody loves George when they meet him, he's so fun to be around and he's incredibly caring."

"We're both very ambitious and are attracted to each other's independent drive. We have such a strong bond because we share the same values – our relationship has been built upon trust, honesty, transparency, and an unwavering love and respect for one another." Just like their high expectations in life they also had the same expectations in another area as Caroline jokes! "We were also looking for a partner with height! I'm 5ft 11, so I needed a tall man and he's 6ft 5 – so I'll be forever looking up to him!"

Alexandra and Darryl: The one for me

Alexandra and Darryl met when they were children. "I was friends with his sister," says Alexandra. "We then met later at a mutual friend's engagement party. We share a love of Formula 1 and have lots of mutual interests."

Darryl popped the question on Christmas Day. "He wrote it on a card and woke me up early as he was so impatient," shares the bride. "He thoughtfully sought the permission of my dad before proposing, and it was wonderful being able to share the day with family. It was definitely a surprise, and I didn't even believe him when I read it!"

Love is in the air

Patricia and Sean first met online, where they never expected to meet their lifelong partners. After messaging back and forth, the pair set off for their first date at Miller and Carter. Patricia says, "We had a nice meal while talking and getting to know each other more. We hit it off straight away and sealed the night with a romantic kiss."

Sean was captured by everything about Patricia and he loved how good she was with his son, which made him fall in love even more. He proposed on 28th November 2019 at the Palace of Culture and Science in Poland, which was three days after Patricia's 29th birthday and she was so surprised! They were enjoying the stunning views when he pulled out the ring, got down on one knee and asked her to marry him – the rest is history!

By the seaside

Rhian and Rory met on Tinder in 2014. "Rory was attracted to my smile, and I thought he looked cheeky and loved his curly hair," says Rhian. "We spoke via WhatsApp for a few weeks and eventually went on our first date. We knew from that first meet up that we had something special."

Rory proposed during a holiday to Venice. "It was the day before my 27th birthday, and it was a complete surprise," shares the bride. "I'm in charge of packing when we go on holiday, so I was shocked he had managed to keep the ring from me. He had asked my dad's permission before the trip, so my parents knew it was going to happen, however, they started to get a bit worried when days had passed, and there was no news. Rory wanted to find the perfect moment. He tried on a gondola but got told off for moving seats and making the weight uneven! He eventually found a lovely quiet spot on a bridge with no people around and asked me to be his wife."

The perfect match of Steph and Pete

Steph and Pete both felt an instant attraction when they met at work. Steph remembers, "Pete had to conduct my induction, and neither of us concentrated much!" Two months later, the pair started dating and have been together ever since.

Pete proposed on New Year's Eve 2019. The duo were spending the night at their best friend's house as they do every year, and as the clock struck midnight, Pete popped the question. Not only was it complete surprise for Steph, but even their assembled friends had no idea of his plan.

Church on time

Lucinda and Adam met online. "I was attracted to his beard," Lucinda tells us, "and I loved her legs!" Adam adds. The couple started dating and became engaged during a surprise proposal on the beach in St. Ives, Cornwall. "It was a wonderful moment and the weather was perfect," Lucinda tells us. "Some members of the public nearby clapped and cheered us on which was very special!" The couple decided to get married at The Minster Church of St. Andrew Plymouth and host their reception at the Treasury café, bar and restaurant next door. "The church is breathtaking and both venues are very centrally located which was perfect, especially for our older guests," Lucinda tells us.

Rain failed to stop play

A mutual friend set Emily and Nathan up on a blind date bowling and they proved to be the perfect match! Their competitive nature came out during the game and Nathan was bowled over by Emily's carefree character. Romance blossomed and when the time came to pop the question, Nathan's plan was thwarted by bad weather and he ended up asking her to marry him looking out to sea in his hometown in Wales. "As we're avid walkers I was originally going to propose at the top of the Pen y Fan mountain, however when the sunshine turned to torrential rain, I had to quickly reconsidered my options," he recalls. Emily was so shocked, that she left Nathan waiting for three minutes before giving him an answer! She said 'yes', of course, and they were married exactly 14 months to the day later.

Think pink

Despite never hearing of any online-dating success stories, having a young son it was an easy way for Leanne to meet and chat to people in the evenings without needing to leave the house. It was here she found David and was attracted to his handsome and kind face. "I thought I had nothing to lose by sending him the first message, and here we are eight years later," Leanne tells us.

David proposed in 2018, at home with their three children. "David is quite shy and doesn't like a lot of attention on him, so the idea of proposing in a public place filled him with dread," Leanne explains. So, he chose one Sunday in October, while Leanne was in her element, using her new carpet cleaner! She remembers, "From the doorway, David asked to speak to me and I shouted at him to get off the carpet as it was still wet. I turned around to moan at him some more and found him on one knee with a small box and a diamond sparkling at me. I immediately burst into tears and asked if he was winding me up!"

Love on the slopes

With a shared love of skiing, Rosie and Ollie's pistes crossed in 2008, on a ski season in Whistler, Canada. "We both went out there to teach kids to ski with thirty other like-minded Brits," says Rosie. "We had a lot in common. Our shared sense of humour, laid back nature and appetite for travel and we still do!" she shares.

Ten happy years later Ollie proposed. "We went back Whistler where it all began on our ten-year anniversary of being together. It was a lovely surprise," Rosie recalls.

Tree of life

Lianne and James met in modern fashion online through a dating app. "I originally 'friend zoned' him for seven months," recalls Lianne. "Never meeting in person but chatting over social media in that time. After a conversation with him online one day, I realised we had a lot in common and I couldn't believe I had left it so long to actually meet him!"

Arranging their first date, a meet up in Chelmsford, they hit it off immediately. A walk around a park turned in to shopping and lunch, with conversation still flowing they headed to the cinema and went for dinner – nine whole hours later the date ended and, as they say, the rest is history!

Opposites attract

When April and Lee met up for their first date at a pub in Brighton they quickly felt at ease in each other's company. So, it didn't take long for their relationship to blossom from there and they moved in together six months later. April says, "We're like chalk and cheese, but I think that's why it works so well – being so different brings balance to the relationship. We do have lots in common though, including a shared love for our adopted Birman cat, Larry."

Floral wonders

Emily and Matt met at university. "The first time we spoke was in the library," says Emily. "We were introduced by mutual friends and chatted a little. When I got home, he sent me a Facebook message telling me he thought I was really beautiful. Turns out, he didn't think I'd respond, but we started dating and have been together ever since." Matt proposed to Emily in August 2019.

In the meadow

Jen and Jack met in high school. "We were in the same classes and became good friends when we both started attending a badminton club," says Jen. "Over the next year, we grew closer, and that summer whilst on a family holiday, I used my one hour of internet allowance a day to message Jack. One day he confided in me that he liked someone and didn't know what to do. I asked who it was, but he wouldn't say. I went through all the girls in our year until he finally said 'it's you.' That was when my internet time ran out! When we next spoke we agreed that we weren't going to do anything about it as we didn't want to ruin our friendship, so that was that. Six months later, Jack spontaneously held my hand, and I got butterflies. I didn't know he still liked me as we'd not spoken about it since summer, nor had I told him that I'd developed feelings for him too. That night we spoke, and I said 'let's give it a go, and if it goes wrong, then we'll pretend it never happened and stay friends.' Well, it never went wrong, and 10 years on, we're finally married."

Modern sophistication

According to Jason, it was love at first sight when he met Jenny online. The pair went for a meal together in Weston-super-Mare and Jenny soon fell for Jason's sense of humour, "He makes me laugh every day," she tells us.

When a friend got ill and couldn't go to see the Stereophonics with Jenny, Jason stepped in. The couple stayed in a hotel that night and on the way back to Bristol stopped at Porthcawl.

Summer loving

Growing up in the same town, Ellie and James already knew of each other but it wasn't until Ellie posted a Game of Thrones photo up online that they actually started talking and the spark was lit. "As we were chatting we realised we had both moved back to Norfolk after being away at university so we went for a drink that night and got on so well it just went from there," Ellie reveals.

James proposed to Ellie in New York

A winters tale

Beatrice and Andrew met on the dating app Bumble and enjoyed their first date in Cheltenham. "We instantly got along and felt very comfortable with each other," Beatrice tells us. "I could tell that he was a cheerful person which attracted me to him and Andrew tells me that he loved my smile and sense of humour."

The couple became engaged on 24th August 2020. "We had been out for dinner at Gallimores Kitchen in Cheltenham and decided to go for a wander around the Imperial Gardens which is where we had enjoyed our second date," Beatrice tells us. "Andrew got down on one knee and surprised me with a beautiful ring and those four words!"

Once upon a time for Amy and Benjamin

Amy and Benjamin first met on a blind double date with friends at a cocktail bar in St Albans. Amy was instantly attracted to Benjamin's smile and eyes while he loved her appearance. The pair shared so much in common, and it was like they'd known each other for years – their conversation flowed so effortlessly.

Benjamin proposed on Amy's 29th birthday while away in Barbados. She says, "We had arranged dinner on the beach on our first day, and that's when Ben walked over to me and asked if he could kiss me.

Love train

Pippa and Ollie met in 2015 at their friend's wedding. "We moved in together in 2018 after enjoying a long-distance romance for three years," Pippa tells us. "Then, in 2019 our Fox Red Labrador who we named Juniper joined our family."

Ollie proposed to Pippa on the beach at Felixstow during the summer of 2019. "It was a wet and windy day and we were trying to introduce Juniper, who was a puppy at the time, to the sea," Pippa tells us.

Small but mighty

Holly and Jonathan first met while studying for a nursing degree at Northumbria University in 2013. After sitting at her first lecture, Holly noticed a good-looking guy sitting in a sea full of women. She says, "I was first attracted to Jon by his handsome looks, his ability to make me laugh and his Biffy Clyro band tee-shirt."

Jonathan knew Holly was special from the start. He says, "Holly is never afraid to get stuck in and she means the world to me. Her positive outlook and willingness to do the stupid things I enjoy doing, like plunging into the North Sea for a spot of surfing, really shows how much she cares."

Isn't she lovely

Both working in the insurance industry in London, Abi and Andy's paths were destined to cross. "We were introduced by a mutual friend one evening in a bar after work when Andy asked for my number. I took his business card and sent him an email after a few days," Abi shares. Their first date was at Mews of Mayfair and then Hakkasan where they soon realised they had a lot in common – they shared a taste for great food and wine, both love cooking and going to Ibiza. "I knew he was the one when he never complained about all of my partying. He's an only child and I come from a very big family, so it took a while for him to adjust to the mayhem that brings!" she adds.

Made you blush

Jordan and Adam met in old-school fashion on a night out at Faces Nightclub, Essex. "I was a regular there and spotted Adam one night and, after a few vodkas, was the one to approach him!" recalls Jordan. "However, nothing developed from this particular night. Fast-forward a few months and we was both in the same venue once again, this time we exchanged numbers and the rest is history."

Luxury holiday destination Barbados set the scene for Adam's proposal..

Best day ever

Laura and Neil met through mutual friends and from the moment they started chatting it was clear they had a lot in common – it even turned out that they'd actually been living around the corner from each other for the past two-and-a-half years. Neil won Laura over with his cooking and prepared her a chicken pesto pasta dish on one of their first dates. "We don't know what would have happened if he hadn't made me that meal," Laura laughs.

All you need is love with Lisa and Simon

Lisa and Simon met on a night out in London with her growing up in Devon and him in North Yorkshire. "After moving in together, Simon proposed to me in our garden which was perfect because I had been dropping hints about getting engaged for a while but he knew that I wouldn't want a public proposal!" Lisa tells us. "He had secretly been visiting a jeweller in Bournemouth to design an engagement ring for me and presented it to me on one knee."

Once upon a time

Zoe and Dan met on Bonfire Night in 2004. "A friend of mine asked Dan for his number," says Zoe. "Dan shouted asking for a pen and paper as everyone was leaving, and a lady handed it to him and said 'invite me to the wedding.' We didn't contact each other for nearly a year, but we've been inseparable ever since."

Dan proposed on Valentine's Day in 2018. "I wanted to get married before I was 30, so I told Dan he needed to pop the question soon," laughs the bride. "He asked me to be his wife while we were in bed with our three kids."

Love at first sight

When Carli met Alex she knew instantly that he was the one. "I fell head over heels for his blue eyes. It maybe a very cliché thing to say, but as an American his British accent was like kryptonite to me," recalls Carli. "I then became entirely smitten as I discovered how caring, considerate and fun-loving he was. I was also terribly forward and told him the day after our first meeting that I'd fallen for him and he was very British and said, 'Oh, thank you," she laughs. Despite his natural reserve, he was feeling the love too and romance blossomed.