Sail away with me

Rachel and James' wedding took place at Mercure Box Hill Burford Bridge Hotel

Rachel and James met in Southampton. "We were introduced by mutual sailing friends," says Rachel. "He was tall and handsome, and we shared lots of the same hobbies." James popped the question in the New Forest in 2016. "We went for a walk near Buckler's Hard," shares the bride. "It was witnessed by our daughter, who was a newborn and was oblivious to it all. We enjoyed a special celebratory meal and a drink afterwards at Lime Wood."

Here she shares some of her favourite moments from their big day…

Sail away with me: Image 1 The Mercure Box Hill Burford Bridge Hotel is a hidden gem. It's a beautiful structure, with wooden beams, lots of character and warmth. We've enjoyed some great family walks and bike rides there too.

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Our food was supplied by the Mercure Box Hill Burford Bridge Hotel. We had canapés, a four-course wedding breakfast and an evening buffet that disappeared pretty quickly!

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Our flowers were from Flowers by Elaine. We opted for hydrangeas, delphiniums, gypsophila, ruscus and eucalyptus.

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For the centrepieces, we chose antique cream lanterns framed with a ring of eucalyptus from To Have & To Hire Events.

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We decided to have round tables as wefelt it was more sociable. Our table plan was displayed on a wooden easel and designed by our friends at Bmore.

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We decorated the venue with gold Chiavari chairs, white drapes, fairylights, a pink neon sign and giant garden games.

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Seeing my children for the first time dressed in their outfits was one of my favourite moments. My daughter even had a tiara in her hair, which she had previously always ripped out.

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I chose a dress from the bridal outfitters at the British Heart Foundation in Redhill. I originally wanted a gown with lace flowers, but I ended up going for something completely different. It had a heart-shaped bodice and delicate iridescent sequins on the front and back. It was elegant and flattering, and I loved the back. I bought freshwater pearl drop earrings from Cry For The Moon, borrowed a bracelet from my sister and put lovely blooms from Flowers by Elaine in my hair.

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The ceremony wasn't till 3pm, but I still felt rushed to get ready. Walking down the aisle with my dad, who has recently been given the all-clear from mouth cancer, was a wonderful moment. It was very emotional and lovely seeing all of our nearest and dearest there to support us.

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Spotlight Entertainments provided a DJ in the evening and spotlights on the dancefloor. I remember dancing to the La Macarena and swaying side to side to We Are the Champions by Queen. James' dad paid for the ale and wine for the evening, which may have helped get everyone in the spirit.

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James wore a three-piece dark blue suit from Ashworth & Bird, a shirt from Eton and Oliver Sweeney shoes.

Sail away with me: Image 7 Our son gave a reading during the ceremony. Having both of my children involved in our big day was a wonderful feeling.

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I was late for my own wedding! I don't know how as I was ready early.

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My top tip for any bride or groom-to-be is book a make-up artist, hair stylist and photographer.

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The best man gave a hilarious speech and had usall in stitches. I wasn't sure what to expect, but his delivery was pure comedy gold.

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We haven't booked our honeymoon yet, but we're excited to plan another adventure.

Rachel and James' contact book

Bride's accessories

Cry For The Moon

Bride's dress

British Heart Foundation


Spotlight Entertainments

Flowergirls' dresses and page boy's outfit

John Lewis


Flowers by Elaine

Groom's shirt

Groom's shoes

Oliver Sweeney

Groom's suit

Ashworth & Bird

Hair stylist

Miss D Hairstylist

Make-up artist

Catherine Bailey Make-up Artist


Life is in the Detail


Table plan designer

Venue and catering

Mercure Box Hill Burford Bridge Hotel

Venue styling

To Have & To Hire Events