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As the couple's relationship developed they had spoken generally about marriage, but it still came as a wonderful surprise for Alison when Peter proposed. He had wanted to pop the question while on holiday in Chile, visiting the Atacama Desert, however, things didn't quite go to plan. Alison explains, "When we arrived, the driest place on earth was flooded and declared a catastrophe zone, so it didn't seem appropriate." All was not lost though, as the day they were due to return to the UK happened to be Valentine's Day, and Peter already had a table booked at the Salt Room, their favourite restaurant. It was here that he asked Alison to be his wife. Join us as the bride shares her memories of their very special day on 11th September 2019…
Brighton is the town that this couple calls home, so naturally it's where the venue search began. On the wish list for the ceremony was a romantic setting with a sense of drama and occasion, and there's somewhere in this iconic seaside location that can tick all of these boxes with ease – The Royal Pavilion. Next on the agenda was a space to host the celebrations and where better than their favourite eatery and romantic engagement spot. Alison says, "We wanted a restaurant with fantastic food, and an edgy vibe. The Salt Room has exposed brick walls, with industrial copper light fittings, which contrasted fabulously with the soft glamour of the roses used in our venue styling."
Flowers were integral to the wedding's theme, and were a priority for the pair right from the very beginning of the planning process. Alison explains, "We wanted them to be glamorous, romantic, dramatic, and luxuriant, with a real wow-factor. Because the tables were narrow, we knew the main arrangements had to hang from above. It wasn't possible to suspend anything from the ceilings, so I had the idea to use an industrial-style copper pipe frame that would stand over the tables.
These didn't seem to exist, but Steph and Tim from Chirpee Flowers, who more than fulfilled our brief, found someone who could make them for us. Draped with roses and candles hanging in glass baubles, they really gave the venue a spectacular fairytale-effect. It was magical." Further glorious floral features were used to book end the toptable, with guests being met by the heavenly scent of roses by the entrance. The bouquets included more roses with dahlias, lilies and grasses, in red, burgundy, pink and blush, which all looked stunning against Alison's red dress.
The guest list was kept to 60 to maintain the intimate restaurant atmosphere. The wood and metal tables contrasted beautifully with glamorous etched wine glasses, blush crystal water glasses, copper candlesticks and cutlery. An abundance of candles made everything sparkle and gave the space a warm romantic glow.
The menus had each guests' name printed at the top accompanied by their food choices, and the place cards were embossed with copper foil on blush card with a subtle green wash. The tables were named after different rose varieties, which featured in the arrangements. Alison remembers, "Steph came up with some fabulously named red and burgundy roses for us to use. The top table was Flaming Love, and the others were: Kiss, Blooming Romance, Blind Date, Black Tie, and Passion."
The big-day bake was a simple yet beautiful design with three layers. Eachtier was a different flavour sponge: cherry bakewell with kirsch cherry compote and amaretto icing, red velvet with white chocolate icing, and blueberry crush with fresh blueberries and vanilla icing.
It was topped with red roses and dahlias, mirroring the bride's bouquet. Alison says, "We remembered to have some saved, which we froze and enjoyed when we returned from our honeymoon.” An excellent tip.
A silver vintage Jaguar 1964 3.8 S-Type with red leather seats served as amost fitting means of transport for the newlyweds. The bride recalls, "David, the owner, had put red ribbons on her to match my dress."
The catering is where the Salt Room really came into its own. The venue's chef created a menu for the pair based on their own ideas, which gave loved ones a choice of four starters, four mains, and three desserts. Main course options were venison, squab pigeon, sea bass or turbot, and we're reliably informed that each was exquisite.
Giving guests a choice may sound complicated, but it was a process made all the easier by the venue staff who coordinated the responses via an online ordering system. Special mention should go out to bar manager Kriss, who created a red cocktail especially for the event, which was named "The Great Godsby," a play on the newlyweds' surname. It contained vodka, chestnut liqueur, vanilla, lemon and raspberry.
Alison knew exactly what she was looking for when shopping forher wedding dress began: a glamorous red ballgown. Despite this proving a little tricky in reality, she did find the perfect design in the shape of Laguna by Ian Stuart. Alison tells us, "I asked him to make it for me in scarlet dupion silk, minus the long train so I could dance in it. It was a bit nerve-racking as I didn't get to see it until four weeks before the wedding, but it was absolutely my fantasy dress, so fabulous that it needed minimal accessories."
Peter has a great sense of style and put together a coordinated blue jacket and waistcoat by Ray Robson with Boss trousers and some super-stylish Jeffery West shoes. He paired the ensemblewith a red silk tie to complement the bride's dress, as did the best man and his son, Sam.
The bride's 16-year-old niece performed bridesmaid duties and wore a beautiful blush gown, the top of which was adorned with rose gold sequins.
The fabulous soul singer Alison David got everyone dancing from the moment she started singing until the night drew to a close. Alison remembers, "She has the most fantastic voice and with the cordless mic, she was down on the dancefloor, joining in the festivities as she sang. We felt very lucky to have someone so talented and charismatic to make our wedding reception so memorable."
Alison reflects on the day's highlights: "I was a bit late arrivingat the Royal Pavilion for the ceremony, thanks to Brighton's newone-way system. So when my entrance song started, At Last byEtta James, everyone erupted into fits of giggles! No doubt itwas also something to do with the fact that I waited until the ageof 58 to get married for the first time!
I waited for the laughterto die down before walking in, but it did put a smile on myface too. Seeing each other for the first time was an incrediblyemotional moment. Amy, my niece and bridesmaid, who hasa beautiful soprano voice, sang A Thousand Years by ChristinaPerri as we signed the register."
"Choose your florist carefully, as they absolutely set the atmosphere of the wedding. They make dreams come true soit's worth making them central to your budget. Chirpee Flowers really did make the impossible happen.Hire a wedding planner, or at least on-the-day coordination. It was such a relief only having to think about getting myself ready. Sally Gallis of Events by Design brought everything together beautifully. She worked 15 hours that day and still found time to look glamorous when the guests started arriving!"