Friendship blossomed into romance for Sophie and Andrew. They shared similar interests and hobbies and were close workmates for a long time before they actually started dating. "We made each other laugh and have always been a great support for each other," says Sophie. They were together for nearly two years before getting engaged. Andrew popped the question while they were on holiday in Mauritius over an incredibly romantic private dinner underneath the stars at the end of a beach jetty. "I was completely overwhelmed and Andrew was delighted not to have dropped the ring through the slats of the jetty into the sea," laughs Sophie.
They visited a number of venues before finding Cain Manor, which ticked all their boxes. "The whole set up worked for us – it was all really well organised and coordinated with an online planner, dedicated event manager and a beautiful setting. There were enough bedrooms for our immediate family, the bridal party and some of the groomsmen to stay which really helped us too," Sophie explains.
"I was so excited after we got engaged that I booked a dress fitting for a few days after we got back from Mauritius – in fact it was on Valentine's Day. I went to Carina Rose Bridal in Stockbridge as I'd often driven past there and thought how beautiful it looked. I tried on a number of dresses but fell in love with Bamba by Pronovias. It was perfect, fitted my shape and was really simple with a beautiful sweetheart neckline." However, as she was living in London part of the time looking after her mum who'd had a fall and couldn't get about, she ended up buying the dress from Cherished Bridal Boutique just around the corner from her mum. "It meant my aunty was able to come and see the dress with me, so I have to credit both stores with my purchase!" she explains.
Andrew, his dad and best man wore three-piece Jeff Banks suits while the other groomsmen chose their own for a more relaxed feel. They all had matching blush pink ties and pocket squares to complement the wedding flowers.
Choosing the bridesmaids' dresses was fun, trying on lots of different styles in a dressing room set up in a spare bedroom at Sophie's home. After experimenting with different looks, they opted for a classic beaded SilkFred number, which all the girls loved. They also carried hand-tied bouquets with blush pink ribbons.
The flowers added a beautiful natural touch to the venue décor with lots of gorgeous neutral and blush blooms and foliage. Amazing centrepieces in tall frames also added depth and interest to the reception tables. "The floral arrangements were tied so they could be taken out of the frames and we gifted them to people who'd helped us with the wedding and in our lives," adds Sophie. The ceremony blooms were reused for the top table and the design on the place names tied in with their use of greenery. Instead of traditional favours they donated to The British Heart Foundation in memory of Sophie's dad.
"We had an amazing gin horsebox for our reception drinks which was definitely a standout feature. We also had a vintage cream postbox for our wedding cards," adds Sophie. Their three-tier semi-naked cake included carrot, lemon and raspberry Victoria sponge, which went down a treat with some to take home too.
Guests were able to enjoy outdoor garden games and the gin horsebox went down a storm. "We were so chuffed the weather held out for us especially as it poured down the day before and after the wedding," recalls Sophie.
The evening celebration kicked off with their first dance to Ain't Nobody by Jasmine Thompson. "We love thelyrics and the Chaka Kahn version is a dancefloor anthem," says Sophie. "Some very talented friends helped us choreograph the routine and we were so proud we managed to remember and perform it! We also had a friend who did a grand job as MC, and another controlling the music – both high pressure roles which they performed amazingly."
The DJ kept the party going with a great light show too. "He definitely played to the crowd, ensuring there was something for all ages to get up and dance to," adds Sophie. "The venue's wedding team made everything run so smoothly, the prosecco flowed and the food was outstanding. The whole day was as perfect as we could have imagined."