After seven wonderful years together, Lee took Nina on a surprise trip to Paris – and proposed during a romantic dinner cruising on the Seine, past the Eiffel Tower ‘It was the start of 18 months of exciting and full-blown wedding planning,’ says Nina, ‘to create our most perfect Devon fairytale wedding.’
The couple both grew up in Teignmouth and Nina wanted the few days before the big day to be special for the whole family, so she booked a penthouse overlooking Teignmouth seafront. She said: ‘Getting ready there on the morning was brilliant! The place was filled with the buzz of our wedding party and the views were stunning as the river mist lifted and the sun shone through!’
Nina chose a stunning Sottero & Midgley strapless ballgown with a sweetheart neckline to which she added extra sparkle, also choosing a Swarovski crystal belt to match her Swarovski diamond drop veil.
Vintage bridal cars took the wedding party to Our Lady & St Patrick’s Church for the ceremony in front of 80 friends and family – Nina was sung down the aisle by the Devon Wending Singer – then it was on to the seafront for photographs of the happy couple, while the guests made their way to the beautiful Deer Park Country Hotel for the reception.
There it was canapés, Pimms and summer cider in the garden before moving into the hotel’s newly Georgian-style Orangery.
‘When I walked in, it took my breath away,’ said Nina. ‘It was jaw-droppingly gorgeous. I had a vision of how I wanted it to look, but nothing prepared me for how beautifully it all turned out.’
Instead of the usual named place cards, Nina chose photos of each guest, which she had spent months secretly collecting. ‘They loved it,’ she said. ‘We also personalised the tables with Cancer Research favours. This was really important to us as everyone in the room had been or had known someone affected by cancer.’
After the dinner and speeches and photographs in the beautiful gardens, the coach bringing the evening reception guests from Teignmouth arrived.
‘We cut our heart-shaped cake and had our first dance to the same song that I walked into the church to.’ said Nina. ‘I cried again! It was such an emotional day!’
They danced to the Mafia 4 band in the candlelit Orangery, then everyone was called to the wood-burning pizza ovens in the gardens for homemade pizzas and chip cones. Nina had collected and decorated And for the finale, there was a spectacular surprise fireworks display, set to the couple’s favourite song A Sky Full of Stars. They even had their initials and a spinning firework heart on the lawn.
Nina summed it up: ‘It was a beautiful setting and a glorious summer’s evening. People are still saying to us that it was the best wedding they have ever been to! This means so much as we wanted it to be special for everyone else and not just about us two. ‘
But to us, it couldn’t have been more perfect.’
VENUE: Deer Park Country House Hotel FLOWERS: Hollyhocks at Fermoy’s Garden Centre CAKE: Carole’s Cupcakes DECOR: Pop Goes the Weasel