Home Real Life Invitation to a Real Wedding: Sarah & James!

Invitation to a Real Wedding: Sarah & James!

by Lucy Hope

We absolutely LOVE Sarah and James’ wedding story – the pictures are incredible!

Thank you both for sharing your story with us!

Find out all about their amazing big day here…

How did he ask?

James proposed to me on 4 August 2017. We had gone out to celebrate my upcoming birthday on the 7th. We went to Miller & Carter one of our favourite places. After ordering drinks James said he had a birthday present for me. He pulled out the ring box pushed it across the table towards me – and told me not to make a scene! 

James is quite shy and doesn’t like being the centre of attention so he didn’t want to draw any attention to what was going on. I opened the box to a ring which I put on – the then asked if that was a yes – to which I told him I can’t say yes unless you’re asking a question – so he did eventually say will you marry me! 

Tell us about the ceremony?

The ceremony was held in a lovely conservatory called the Novello Room at the Upper House in Barlaston. I didn’t realise it but I was 20 minutes late ( which is the same amount of time I was late for our first date as well).

I was ok all morning until I heard the music playing (my entrance song was Elvis Presley can’t help falling in love with you) then I was on the verge of tears. However, as soon as I saw James nodding at me that turned to laughter. 

When I got to the top of the aisle James made the joke that it was about time. Both our mums did lovely readings – A Realistic Wedding Poem and a Wedding Wish. 

We had the pianist play beforehand and during the signing of the registrar. Our exit song was the same as from Love Actually – All you need is love by the Beatles. The film was a loose inspiration for the day with it being a Christmas themed wedding.

What about the reception?

The wedding breakfast and evening reception were both held in the Woodland Suite at the Upper House – It was beautifully decorated by the lovely wedding planners Ellie, Sam and their team plus the venue dresser Laura. Everything tied in with the Christmas theme. We went with Burgundy and Silver colour them as nice warm Christmas colours. The table names were all after Christmas films – The top table being Love Actually which is my absolute favourite. We also had quite a discussion over which films to use for the other 6 tables, however, in the end, we each picked our favourite three Christmas films and went with Bad Santa, Home Alone, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, The Snowman, and The Santa Clause.

What entertainment and food did you have for your guests?  

We had a pianist in the day she played from before the ceremony to the end of the wedding breakfast. We were able to pick which songs we would like which was lovely. We had a DJ for the evening party as I love a good dance, we decided to pick the first 4 songs to start the evening off as Writing on the Wall by Sam Smith which we had as our first dance song. The film Spectre was the first one we saw together at the cinema as a couple so we thought it tided in nicely.

Next up was Sarah by Thin Lizzy, my Dad joked in the speech that I was named after this song as it was one of his favourites. It was followed by You never can tell by Chuck Berry and James favourite Boom Boom Shake the room by Will Smith. The rest of the evening was a mix filled with 90’s pop, 60s classics and Christmas songs of course!

The evening buffet contained some of our favourite things from beef burgers, mini pizzas, cheesy garlic bread to pigs in blankets ( my favourite thing ever). The venue did a drink and canape reception after the ceremony with prosecco & kir royales for the ladies and bottles of buds for the men. Canapes were duck spring rolls, beef & horseradish finger sandwiches, chicken & stuffing bites & cheesy oatcakes 

For the wedding breakfast, we had a venue that allowed us to give guests a choice per course. They were the starters; Katsu Chicken, Deli Board & Leek & Potato Soup; Mains – Beef Bourguignon, Roast Pork & Minted Cod; and the desserts were Salted choc pot, Limoncello Cheesecake and Fruit Crumble. We also had a chocolate table and photo props so guests could entertain themselves throughout the day as well. 

Bridesmaids – How did you ask them? 

I had my sister, Sophie, as my maid of honour, my best friend Lisa as bridesmaid and my cousin Codi as flower girl. I bought cards for Sophie and Lisa as soon as I got engaged and gave them to them. They then had several items on the day from gowns to glasses to help us celebrate

James had his brother, Mike, as his groomsman and his two best friends Ellis & Ade as best men they did a fantastic speech stating I was no longer to change my mind and return James to them – oops! 

How did you know your dress was the one? 

We visited Lucy Alexander Bridal in Stafford just to have a look really – they stocked Mori Lee dresses and I always thought they would suit me the best – the shop was so friendly and helpful that we went back a second time to try more dresses on. I was initially torn between two however after trying them both on for what felt like the millionth time, I knew the one I picked was the one for me – I could imagine spending all day in it as it was so easy to wear.

I have ulcerative colitis so while comfort isn’t always up there on a brides want list for a dress I needed something that I was going to be able to manage in all day because of this. It was also so different than anything else I had ever seen and sparkly that I just knew it had to be my dress. 

Any advice for other Brides-to-be? 

At the end of it all, it’s your day with your future husband, please don’t people please. You will be the one looking back on it and you want to be able to say you loved every minute of it – which I did. It should be the best day ever and the start of something fantastic with your new husband.

What do you wish you knew before tying the knot? 

Luckily I have had quite a few friends who got married before me so I don’t feel like anything came as a surprise –but my best advice would be write down what is key for you and your partner on the day – this will help you make key decisions to fit in your budget. 

James even had a tweet off Marcus Rashford and a card of Alex Ferguson – he is a big United fan so I sent some wedding cards and tweets out to try to get replies! 


Venue – Upper House – Barlaston – Sam & Ellie were fantastic. Ellie helped in the build-up so much with my endless emails. 

Photography – New Road Photography – Craig was so easy to work with on the day.

Pianist – Karen Daniels. Karen was lovely and she learnt a few new pieces of music for us as well which was fantastic.

DJ – Stoke Discos – Geraint was fantastic, we sent him a list of songs but he played requests too.

Dress – Lucy Alexander Bridal Boutique Stafford – Tracey and Lucy were so helpful and friendly, it was such a lovely relaxed experience and nothing was ever too much trouble for them.

Suits – Chaplins Menswear Leek – the guys were very helpful and knowledgable about all the suits. 

Bridesmaids dress – TFNC London 

Flowers – Blossoms Florist leek. Lucy was so helpful and the flowers lasted what felt like forever.

Venue Dresser – Elegant Affair. Laura helped make my dreams and ideas a reality. She was so helpful when showing me what would work and suggesting ideas.

Cake – Eat My Muffin Bakery. The cake was better than I ever imagined and every guest said it tasted fantastic – especially the red velvet ( my favourite!) 

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