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Posted by Danielle Harvey on 12 January 2023
Jessica and Hayden met at university. "Even though we are both from the Telford area, we actually met whilst at Leeds university," says Jessica.
"I was working in a nightclub when Hayden came in for a night out and a colleague of mine introduced us. We got talking and hit it off right away. After we fi nished university, we moved home together and are best friends, we get on really well and are always laughing and being silly."
Hayden proposed but not in the way he had originally planned. "We were meant to fly to Rome in March 2020, and he was going to propose there," shares the bride. "Unfortunately, the trip got cancelled due to COVID-19, so Hayden decided to wait until we could go again, but the pandemic meant we couldn't reschedule!
In the end, Hayden popped the question on Christmas Day 2020. We had already exchanged gifts and were having a coffee in the kitchen when he said he'd forgotten to give me one more gift.
It was an A4 sized box, and when I opened it, I saw a picture of Rome. He told me to dig underneath the shredded paper, and I saw two plane tickets which said: 'where will our next adventure take us?'. He told me to turn it over, and it said flying from 'Crofts' (my former name) to 'Riley' and the words 'will you marry me?'.
When I looked up, he was on one knee with a ring and asked me the question. I didn't even look at the ring before hugging him, crying and screaming 'yes'. I was really surprised!"
"Weston Hall was the last venue that we saw, and as soon as we walked through the front doors, we exchanged a look, and just knew it was the one," explains Jessica.
"We were wowed. The staff made us feel so at ease and sorted everything that we needed. They were so attentive and made us feel special.
"For our favours, we chose vintage key-shaped bottle openers for the men and Christmas-scented tea lights for the women," continues Jessica.
"We decorated the space with a welcome sign, a white post-box for cards and a display for photos of my mum and Hayden's grandma who couldn't be with us. We also had a beautiful arch and faux petals running down the aisle with candles and pinecones."
The happy couple opted for a large printed table plan which they placed in a silver frame.
"Our centrepieces were mirror plates with big candelabras in the centre of the table," adds the bride. "We then had wooden tea light holders, pinecones, faux pink and white roses and a light-up robin near me to represent my mum."
Jessica and Hayden purchased a three-tiered bake from Amy Bakers Cakes. "It was white, navy and baby pink with our initials on the centre tier," recalls Jessica. "One tier was fruit cake, another rum and raisin, and the last was chocolate and raspberry.
For our catering, we opted for ham hock to start, farmhouse chicken with all the trimmings for main and passionfruit cheesecake for dessert."
"My dress was called Mel Amanda from Heavenly Wedding Belles under their platinum range," remembers the bride. "I have always wanted a princess dress, and it was lovely and sparkly. I did customise it, however, by adding a sparklytulle layer and more diamantés to the appliqués. I also wore a tiara, a churchlength veil with beading, a fur shawl for the photos outside, my mum's wedding earrings and a pearl bracelet with my new last name written on it."
Hayden chose a navy-tailed suit with an ice blue waistcoat, baby pink tie and brown shoes from Peter Posh Formal Suit Hire.
The bridesmaids looked beautiful in navy chiffon maxi dresses with ivory shawls.
"We had a magician called My Its Magic Entertainment after the wedding breakfast and throughout the evening," says Jessica.
"Our guests loved him and he spent time with each group doing tricks.
We also had a photo booth with props in the evening from Blaze Entertainment.
There was a big queue to get photos taken and we have a copy of all the photos from this, and there are some very funny ones!
For music entertainment, we had a DJ who took requests, and he even threw in a few Christmas songs!"
"We felt like we were in a fairytale on the day," shares the bride. "We were both nervous before the ceremony, but we soon relaxed when we were together.
Our favourite moment was when we were having photos outside in the evening, just the two of us. We had some time to take it all in and spend some time alone. It was magical with all the Christmas lights.
The first dance was amazing too and I loved it when everyone joined us at the end.
"Hayden and I gave boxes of decorations to the team at Weston Hall to put out, and my bridesmaids went to check everything looked good downstairs in the morning whilst I was getting my hair done," continues Jessica.
"They came back up with a Mrs & Mrs sign that was on the top table. We hadn't opened the pack and checked if we'd bought the correct ones! Another funny moment, was at the end of our meal, our arch behind the top table collapsed behind us!"
"After Christmas, we went on a minimoon to a hotel in the Wirral and then in April 2021, we did a tour around Sri Lanka for two weeks," explains Jessica. "We stayed in seven different hotels, and each one did some extra touches for our honeymoon, such as cakes and flowers.
We had a lovely time exploring the country."
Bride's dress and accessories
DJ and photo booth
Venue and catering