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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.

A right royal affair

Kerry and Mark met through a mutual friend, and on the first night they met went for a few drinks and a game of doubles pool. Once they got talking Kerry learned that Mark was a plumber, so when they all went back to her apartment to continue to the socialising, he fixed her sink! One week later Mark asked her for a date, and they haven't looked back since.

A Cornish love story

Jess and Laurie met through work and became good friends before becoming a couple. They became engaged on Porthilly Beach after enjoying a swim with their dog, Pugly. "It was a sunny day and when we got out of the sea, Laurie wrapped me up in a blanket, got down on one knee and popped the question," Jess tells us. "He had a bottle of champagne that we enjoyed as we watched the sun go down."

Love At First Swipe

Thank goodness we swiped right!" says bride Lucy. She met Daniel on Tinder after her best friend insisted she sign up. It was actually she who swiped right for Dan as Lucy didn't think he was her type on paper. The pair met up for their first date in Shoreham in 2017 and by the July had moved in together. "We were the perfect match. He's calm, funny and thoughtful. I'm slightly less calm, but much funnier!" Lucy says.

A Never-Ending Love

Nicole and Sam met during a night out in Coventry in 2015. "Sam arrived with a friend of mine, and we instantly clicked," says Nicole. "I was drawn to his upbeat personality and sense of humour. Sam was always the loudest in the room; he was never afraid to laugh at himself, and he was so kind. He was drawn to my smile and my sense of humour. He's always been able to make me smile. We talked all night and laughed a lot. Eventually we swapped numbers and started as friends before becoming a couple in June 2016."

We Are Family

Daisey and Lee met on the school run – Lee was collecting his nephews while Daisey was picking up her kids. "Lee didn't have any children of his own, whereas I have four who were aged four, five, six and seven at the time, but this never phased him. Little did I know that he would eventually join our family," Daisey tells us.

Blooming Marvellous Day

Leanne and Alex knew of each other from a young age when Alex played cricket with Leanne's brother. It wasn't until 2018 though that Leanne received an Instagram follow request from Alex, which is when the pair started messaging and meeting up.

You're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat!

Matt and Sophie have a shared love of music and had been going to the same concerts for most of their adolescent years without meeting. "When we were both in our twenties a mutual friend introduced us, and we've been inseparable since!" says Sophie. "We both have lots of things in common, our love of music, craft beer and films. On our first date we both realised we had a passion for the movie Jaws!" she says. The duo had always talked about getting married, but it was on Sophie's birthday that Matt popped the question. "I'd asked for a jewellery box for my birthday that I'd had my eye on, which Matt gave me. I opened it, said thank you and moved on to the next gift to unwrap," Sophie explains. "Matt then told me to open the jewellery box and he'd placed my Tiffany's engagement ring inside with a little post it note saying 'To Do: Marry Matt?'," she says. "We celebrated by meeting our best friend in Kingston (and subsequent Best Man and Creative Director), and went to O'Neill's to drink Guinness and eat pizza!"

I Couldn't Come To Italy And Not Do This...

Ayesha and Oscar met online and it was obviously meant to be because Ayesha was the first person that Oscar matched with! "Once we met in person, it was clear very early on that we shared the same values and thoughts on family, partnership and what we were looking for," says Ayesha. "He made me laugh, and feel safe and accepted so we were drawn to each other from the start. So much so that we decided I'd move in with him at the start of the first lockdown and we haven't looked back since," she says.

Sealed With A Kiss

Fran and Tommy met in the Terrace Bar in Wimbledon on New Year's Eve 2014. "Tommy's friend Mark asked if he could use our table for their drinks. Tommy got chatting to my best friend Helena and I got talking to Mark," says Fran. "Midnight struck and everyone kissed. Later Tommy approached me, we got chatting and the rest was history," she says. They went on to enjoy multiple dates and then Tommy made it official by asking Fran to be his girlfriend.

Back To Nature

Kerry and Scott met 16 years ago. "I was attracted to Scott's sense of humour; if you ask Scott what he was attracted to, I'm pretty sure he would say my behind," laughs Kerry. "Scott proposed in October 2020 with the help of our eldest son. We were at home, and Scott got our eldest to spell out 'marry me' in wooden letters, and then they presented me with a ring."

Classic Elegance

Sophie and Graham met through her mother. "As cliché as it sounds, we fell in love at first sight," says Sophie. "Graham worked with my mother, and we met at her leaving do. We fell in love over jelly and ice cream. The day we met, I went home and told my family I was going to marry him."Graham proposed during lockdown. "We were meant to fly out to Iceland; however, the flights were cancelled as we went into lockdown that day," shares the bride. "Graham decided he couldn't wait any longer and popped the question in our living room. I cried a lot and was very surprised."

In The Country

Emma and Mark first met on a dating website. "We were attracted to each other's smiles and had a mutual love for food, travelling, and running," says Emma. "Mark proposed on Lytham St. Anne Beach in the middle of a rainstorm. It was a complete surprise. I was chasing around the dog we were looking after at the time, hopping over puddles on the beach in the downpour! To celebrate, we got a chippy tea."

Life's Better With You By My Side

Leanne and Jonathan met through friends on a night out. "We didn't have mobile phones at the time, so we had to message each other through MSN at first," laughs Leanne. "After 14 years together, Jonathan proposed on holiday in San Diego on a gondola at sunset. It was a surprise, as after so many years together, I didn't think it was actually going to happen."

Meant To Be

Katie and Mark met in 2014 on Grand National Day. "I was working at Claire's Accessories, and Mark worked at the William Hill across the street," says Katie. "I went across to the bookies to put a horse bet on, and Mark started making small talk with me. A few minutes after I'd left and gone back to work, Mark came in looking for a gift for his mum's birthday. We were chatting for a while, and he eventually asked me out on a date. Mark said he thought I was beautiful the moment he saw me, and I thought he was really funny and cute."

Wedding Belles

Becky and Andy became legally married in Qatar and wanted to hold a wedding reception in Wiltshire to celebrate with their loved ones. They chose Bowood hotel, spa and golf resort as their venue, which has recently won VisitEngland's Silver Award for Large Hotel of the Year 2023. Here, Becky tells us all about their special day.

A Modern Fairytale

Rhianna and Joseph met through his mum. "Joseph's mum was a client of mine at my beauty salon," says Rhianna. "Joseph came back from New Zealand for his sister's wedding, and I was asked to do the beauty treatments for them at his parents' house ahead of the wedding. When I arrived and met Joseph, we instantly clicked. His words in his speech were that it was love at first sight, and he knew that I was the one."

A Waterside Wedding

Leah and Ryan chose to get married at the stunning De Vere Cotswold Water Park, a hotel and event venue that overlooks the lakes which spread across the Cotswold Water Park, with 152 in total. Turn to page 25 to read all about De Vere Cotswold Water Park as a wedding venue.

A Grand Affair

Bree-Anne and Harry met in 2014 through her cousin. "We instantly clicked and always had a laugh when we were together," says Bree-Anne. "We were best friends for a few years before getting into a relationship in May 2016."Harry popped the question in 2022 in Corfu. "It was a complete surprise," shares the bride. "It was the beginning of the holiday, and Harry took me to a clifftop as the sun was setting, where he then got down on one knee. I was speechless, but of course I said yes!"

Love is all around

hese lovebirds met on Bumble in 2018! Jen had given up all hope of meeting anyone online and was pushed by her sister to give it one more try, and that last chat was Darren! After meeting up, Jen introduced him to pink gin as well as kebab wraps with halloumi. After a quick check of Jen's Spotify playlist, Darren realised they had the same taste in music and the rest is history! Darren proposed on their anniversary during a trip to a log cabin. Jen says, "I was 12 weeks pregnant and unwell, but we agreed on small gifts. I got him some socks, and he got me an engagement ring!"

Where The Wildflowers Grow

Molly and Zach met in a beer tent at Suffolk Pride. "I noticed Zach was wearing shorts, flip-flops, and a pink glittery beard," says Molly. "I asked Zach to wait a month for our first date, as I was about to hand in my dissertation and my degree was important to me. We ended up texting every day, getting to know each other.

Love All Around

Siobhan and Dale first met on a dating website before spending hours together at a pub for their first date. It's safe to say the pair hit it off as Siobhan jokingly messaged a friend saying, 'I just met my husband'. They shared similar interests and weirdly had the same address with a matching door number and road name in different areas. Dale proposed in Devon at South View Lodges in Exeter. Jill, the owner, helped him secure the perfect surprise proposal and then hid in the bushes to get it on camera – of course it was a 'yes' from Siobhan!

Autumnal Dream

Emily and Owen met at the University of Nottingham while studying music and were friends for several years before they started dating – the rest is history!Owen proposed back in 2020 at the Great Orme in Llandudno. He fell into a bush beforehand because he was that excited to propose, and Emily suspected something special might be about to happen. Of course she said 'yes', and together they planned a fun wedding surrounded by loved ones.

A Day To Cherish

These lovebirds met at the local gym, somewhere neither returned to once they got together! Lewis smiled at Holly while walking past a machine, and she had a Facebook add later that evening – it was obviously the smile that did it!"

Love at first like

These lovebirds first met on Instagram when Ollie messaged Beth with a cheesy pick-up line about her eyes. The pair arranged to meet at the cinema, but Ollie confessed to messing up the timings when Beth arrived. They ended up spending two unexpected hours together in McDonald's beforehand. They'd already fallen for each other after plenty of laughter and a spilt coffee. Beth says, "He made me laugh and still manages to nine years later, even when times are hard!"

Rustic Romance

These lovebirds met at work and despite knowing each other for years, they only started dating after working in the same office. Lou says, "I loved how funny and sweet Col was; he genuinely seemed interested in getting to know me." Col proposed to Lou shortly after her birthday! She says, "We'd had a lovely romantic weekend in York, but Col waited until we had got home to completely shock me by getting down on one knee and popping the question while we sat chilling on the sofa!"