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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.

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!

Something Blue

Lauren and Jono met via the dating app Hinge. "I remember that one of Jono's photos was him drinking rose wine in the sunshine," Lauren says. "He seemed nice and when we met, I loved his bright blue eyes. He was interesting and easy to talk to - I was so happy when he texted me to ask me out on a second date!" Jono adds, "Our first date was at Gordon's Wine Bar in London and I thought Lauren seemed witty and cute. I had to leave the date early because work was so busy at the time so I asked her for a second date, and she accepted - a miracle!"

A Beautiful Berkshire Day

Jacqui and Jeremy live in Dubai and work in the same office. "I was attracted to Jacqui's caring nature and her energy," Jeremy tells us. Jacqui adds, "I loved how patient he was." Jeremy proposed on Jacqui's birthday in 2022 which was a complete surprise. "One month earlier, I had been looking for rings and was thrilled when I found the perfect one, which prompted me to propose," Jeremy says.

Sentimental Journey

Michelle and Paul found each other online and met up in Bath for their first date. It was intended to be coffee, but it soon turned into a small walking tour of the city followed by dinner. "From the outset, I liked Paul's positive demeanour and confidence," Michelle says.

Modern Luxury

Hannah and Tom have been together since they were teenagers. Tom would try to catch Hannah's attention in the corridor between lessons, but she was completely oblivious! Eventually, it was Hannah who decided to add him as a friend on Bebo, as she knew of him at least. He accepted and they spent the next few months messaging each other before deciding to make it official, even though they hadn't met #IRL yet.

Simply Elegant

Anna met Mat in her home town of Minehead in 2014, while he was in town for a stag do at Butlins. She was sitting outside a local pub when Mat and his mates walked in. Anna's friend caught their eye and they went over to join her table. Anna and Mat hit if off that night and kept in touch after he'd returned home.

A beautiful Buckinghamshire day

Elise and Jonny met at school when Jonny joined Elise's sixth form. "We had mutual friends and Jonny invited me to go on a cinema date on Valentine's Day," Elise tells us. "He turned up with a dozen roses and after the movie, he invited himself into my parent's house and made them a cup of tea! I loved his confidence and humour!"

Truly traditional

Charlotte and Andrew first met while working in Austria during the ski season. They fell in love with the mountains and, of course, with each other while creating the most amazing memories. Andrew proposed at the pair's favourite waterfall in Scotland called The Hermitage. He was taking photos using a tripod and managed to capture the moment he popped the question.The lovebirds set the wedding for July 2022 and created a fun day surrounded by loved ones.

Love al fresco

Carina and Matt met on a night out in Manchester when they were both at university and have been a couple for ten years. "It was our friend, Chris' 21st birthday when we met so naturally he was one of the ushers at our wedding!" they tell us. Matt proposed during a trip that he planned as a surprise for Carina's 28th birthday. "It was exactly 51 weeks before our wedding then took place," Carina says. "There was a cabin by a lake with a hot tub and champagne where we were staying. Matt had called our parents the week before to tell them and ask for their blessing so the proposal was a wonderful surprise and perfect in every way." Carina and Matt wanted to get married in Devon where Carina is from so here she tells us all about their magical day at Harefield Barn in Crediton.

The rest is history

Both working at Norfolk Museums Service, romance blossomed amongst the paintings, taxidermy and archaeological artefacts of their surroundings. David proposed to Alison on a remote beach in North Wales whilst on holiday. The fantastical village of Portmeirion formed the backdrop to the proposal on the deserted beach. Looking back – all the holiday pictures before the proposal David had one hand in his pocket– clutching the precious emerald and diamond engagement ring, just waiting for the perfect moment to pop the question. It was a surprise to Alison – although, being a traditionalist David did of course seek permission to marry Alison from her parents first.

Here comes the sun

Louise and Heather met at work in 2014, and soon became friends. Before long, Louise found herself attracted to Heather thanks to her quirky fashion sense, brilliant sense of humour and fierce sense of loyalty. Heather in turn found herself attracted not only to Louise's personality, but also her "randomness!" Heather proposed on Christmas Day, while still in their pyjamas opening their presents. She'd prepared a box for Louise containing notes telling the story of their journey together as a couple, which ended with Heather asking Louise to marry her. There was a beautiful ring in the box too! Louise was so shocked that Christmas lunch was late.

Fall in love

Summer and Samuel met during a night out in a pub. Their relationship blossomed and in May 2021, Samuel popped the question. "I was pregnant with our first child, and we had just been to our first scan," says Summer. "Once we got home, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him."

Dazzling art deco

Rachael and Marc met more than a decade ago at a meet and greet with The Libertines' drummer. The two connected instantly, but they lived in different cities and sadly lost contact. However, four years later they ran into each other again by sheer chance and have never looked back. Rachael proposed outside The Royal Pavilion on 29th February, 2020 – leap year. "I was very nervous, and it was a windy, gloomy day, but the sun came out for the proposal," Rachael remembers. The two of them both love the historical building that served as such an important backdrop for them, as well as its interiors. At the time though, they weren't aware they could get married there.

Home is where the heart is

Megan and Sam met at a wedding; Sam's brother Oli happened to be marrying Megan's best friend Steph he was the best man she the bridesmaid – and the rest is history! "When Sam proposed, it was a complete surprise," shares Megan. "Our relationship had progressed quickly, we took my family dog Henry on a walk to The Haycutter pub, in Broadham Green, Surrey. Walking across the field I was walking slightly ahead and turned round to find Sam down on one knee! Rachel Thornhill, who was to be our wedding photographer, was hiding in the bushes and captured the whole thing!

Thyme of our lives

Richard and Catherine met at university, where they were training to become actors. The pair reconnected a few years after graduation as they had lost contact, but this time saw each other in a new light. It took a while to build up the courage to admit their feelings as they didn't want to lose their friendship if the feelings weren't reciprocated. It was no surprise to their mutual friends when they finally took that next step; it was the start of something special.

Childhood sweethearts

Jenna and Rob met 20 years ago when they were just 14. "We were at a social club and got chatting about a bracelet he had on that I really liked, "says Jenna. "He said I could borrow it, and I had it for two years until we met again at his cousin's 18th birthday party. As soon as I saw him, I knew straight away I wanted to be with him. I rung him several times that night asking to meet up again. Rob took me out on our first date, and almost 18 years and two children later, we're still together." Rob popped the question on Christmas Day. "He hung my engagement ring on the Christmas tree at home," shares the bride. "I took it off the tree, and our daughters asked: 'will you marry dad?', to which I, of course, said yes!"

In the countryside

Karen and James first met at work a few years before dating. After getting to know each other, they bonded over their love of sports and the outdoors – the rest is history! James proposed just before Christmas in 2019 at Rutland Water. Karen says, "We made our way to one of our favourite spots near the water before James got down on one knee! We had picked the engagement ring together, but the proposal was a complete surprise."

Something blue

Rosie and James first met 12 years ago and were friends for years. "I allowed him to take me on a coffee date after he sent roses and chocolates to my office – how could I say no!" Rosie tells us. From then we became inseparable until James was deployed to Afghanistan in July 2019 for a four-month RAF tour." The couple became engaged when James returned to the UK in time for Rosie's birthday. "We went on holiday to Thailand to celebrate his homecoming," Rosie tells us. "We travelled to Phuket, Ko Phi Phi and Bangkok where we stayed in the tallest hotel. The suite was incredible with far-flung views across the city and just as James pointed out some fireworks in the distance, he got down on one knee!"

Love ast first swipe

We met how a lot of people tend to meet nowadays, on Tinder," says Abbey. She and Andrew were both students at the time and in Abbey's words "rather socially awkward homebodies," so the internet seemed the perfect place to find love. She continues, "My favourite thing about Andrew was how easy he was to talk to. There were never any uncomfortable pauses or lulls in conversation. In fact, we haven't stopped talking for the past six years!"

A sprinkle of sage

Katrice and James met through her cousin. "That was back in 2013, so we've been together for 10 years now," says Katrice. "He asked me to be his girlfriend on April Fool's Day, so many people, including myself, thought he was joking but clearly not!" Seven years into their relationship, James popped the question. "We had moved in together earlier that year, and after the first lockdown, he organised a trip to Athens, Greece, which is somewhere that I've always wanted to go," shares the bride.

The great outdoors

Beckie and Huw met at work and hit it off from the start. "Huw proposed to me during a walk that we love to do near my family home in Buckland," Beckie tells us. Beckie wanted to get married close to where she grew up. "I regularly attend the local church service throughout the year so it seemed like the natural choice to get married in," she tells us. "I wanted the reception to be in Buckland so hiring a marquee offered us that flexibility."

Work mates

Dani met Alex met when he started at the same company she worked at. "It was his first day and I happened to be covering reception for the morning," says the bride. "Alex's manager left him waiting in reception for a while, so we ended up chatting – and got on from that very first meeting. "Alex popped the question four years later, under the stars at the Grand Canyon. "That's what we tell people, at least!" laughs Dani. "I'd been excited about it being an amazing stargazing location, but after we'd driven out and found a place to park, we looked upto see nothing but clouds! After 15 minutes, a small clearing revealed about six stars, which is when Alex seized the moment and proposed. I had my suspicions he might ask me during the trip, but it was a wonderful surprise at that moment."

Friends reunited

Jules and Gary met at school, but there certainly wasn't an initial attraction! "Gary was loud, obnoxious and argued with the teachers," says Jules. "After sixth form we lost touch, not catching up until we found ourselves in the same school Facebook group nine years ago. By then I was a single parent, and Gary was married to his lovely wife. Tragically, she died of cancer a few years later, and our Facebook group rallied round to help Gary though this terrible time.

The one for me

Jess and Daniel first met in college and have been together ever since. In 2018, close to Christmas, Daniel surprised Jess by proposing at Disneyland Paris. "It was a massive shock," adds Jess. "How our daughter kept it quiet, I'll never know!"

Best laid plans

Yasmin and William met on Twitter in 2014. "We spoke for a year before William finally decided to visit me in London," says Yasmin. "We spent the most amazing weekend together. Following that, we met five more times before William decided to move to London and the rest is history," she says. A few years later William pulled out all the stops for his romantic proposal. "We'd planned an anniversary meal at The Shard and had gone up to the rooftop. There were other people around, so I had no idea what was coming," she says.