When Kimberley Tyler and Tom Unsworth got married they tried to keep it all quite formal, keeping traditions like the bride’s dad giving her away.
Tom and I went to school together and although we knew of each other we didn’t really speak. It took him two years of persuasion until we got together, but then he went away to study for a year — and that’s when we actually started talking properly.
When Tom came back we didn’t really have a first date as we had already been out together as part of a big group of friends.
We have now been together for five years and on our two year anniversary Tom proposed which was a total surprise.
We had booked to go for a meal in the Swan, in Stafford and he proposed then. I couldn’t eat after that!
We got married one year later on October 2 as we wanted the wedding to be as close as possible to our anniversary which is on September 28.
We decided to make all our own invites and painted lanterns for the table decorations and I also made my own confetti and provided the material for the top table, as well as buying our own champagne glasses and writing all of the name cards ourselves. We even held some workshops to get people to make things for us and my mum and mother-in-law helped. Although It took ages, I’m glad that I did it.
The designs on the invites were quite elaborate and a lot of people said they couldn’t throw them away because they were so nice. After all that effort I told them they had to keep them anyway!
We bought our wedding rings from Plants Jewellers in Stone. The staff were lovely and went to a lot of trouble to have my ring made to fit around my engagement ring.
Planning the wedding was both stressful and fun! I had a real stress with the bridesmaids’ dresses as I had bought two of them from BHS. When I went back to get the rest they had been discontinued, so I had to ring round lots of shops to try and find them.
I bought my dress from Princess Brides in Stafford. I had driven past the shop lots of times and I had seen the dress in the window — which I later saw at a bridal fair with my mum and my mother-in-law who actually weren’t sure of it at first, but when I put it on it just felt right.
As I had chosen a burgundy and gold theme, for my bouquet I had roses with diamantes, leaves and red berries to fit the theme. The bridesmaids were also colour coordinated and had beautiful small posies of roses with burgundy ribbon and the groomsmen — who got their suits from Greenwoods — all had roses in their top pockets.
As regards the venue, we are both big fans of stately homes and are members of the National Trust. Neither of us are religious so we didn’t want a church wedding instead we made a few appointments to view different venues. However, when we went to visit Sandon Hall we fell in love with it straight away and cancelled all the other appointments!
I think one of the main factors that put us off the other venues is that they were open to the public and we wanted exclusive use. We tried to keep the wedding all quite formal, keeping traditions like my dad giving me away.
There were 80 people at the ceremony, and 130 for the evening. We had a wedding breakfast and reception, both of which were held in Sandon Hall.
The night before the wedding, I was really quite nervous — although I’m not sure why. I stayed at my parents’ house and in the morning nine of us went to Essalon in Stafford to have our hair and make up done. I’ve been going there for years and on my wedding day they were really good as we had drinks and lots of fun — so my nerves went.
The photographer, Bev Holden, from Derrington did our engagement pictures and so we booked her for the wedding too. She was really nice; and took a mixture of group shots and candid shots.
With regards our transport, we used Heritage Cars in Acton Trussell to take us to Sandon Hall in a limo and a Rolls Royce.
As we didn’t change venue, they offered us the service of the Rolls Royce picking Tom and I up after the ceremony and taking us around which meant that we managed to spend some time alone together.
When we arrived at the venue it looked lovely, I really liked all of the different parts to it — we had the ceremony in the library and we got some really nice photographs on the marbled corridor. Tom cried during the ceremony which was really sweet!
Jenkinsons provided the catering and they were great. We didn’t want a set menu and they were really good about that and let us have some choices. I had a melon starter, a main of salmon with champagne and pink peppercorn sauce and a chocolate torte for dessert.
We also bought our own alcohol for the meal and drinks reception. My dad came back from France not long before the wedding and bought lots of wine which we put on the tables for people.
The speeches went really well. I’d been good all day and hadn’t cried but then my dad made me cry during his speech. The best man’s speech was hilarious!
We also had a wonderful wedding cake — made by my mum. The top tier was an 8 inch round cake and then the rest was little 2 inch cakes. She made them in a creamy ivory to match my dress and decorated the cakes in roses with a personalised cake topper and sugar craft surrounding it.
The entertainment for the day was a mixture as, during the ceremony and wedding breakfast, we listened to a couple playing piano and cello and for the evening we had a live set from Tom Bourne and DJd.
Our first dance — like every married couple — was special to us as we chose Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls.
The day couldn’t have gone better, everything just slotted into place. I do normally worry about things but it was just perfect.
Afterwards we went on our honeymoon to Jamaica which was lovely — especially after the stress of wedding planning!
A Note from the Groom
In the morning the best men and I got ready and spent time together before our arrival which was really fun.
I was really excited all day up until we arrived and when I got into the room the nerves started to kick in. I’ve got a bit of a history of emotional displays so I kept some tissues in my pocket!
But for anyone that hasn’t done it before, they guide you through everything and everyone is put at ease.
After the ceremony everyone was clapping and I felt a huge sense of relief and happy that we had such a great day and night ahead of us. It was just the culmination of all of our planning.
I was taken aback by the irony of not seeing Kimberley as much as I’d have liked, but I had a fantastic time.