Date of wedding: 19th July 2022
Photographer: Michelle Lee photography
Venue: Millbrook Estate
Wedding Co-ordinater: Maddy at Millbrook
Tell us about how you and your partner met & how your love story began?
Scott and I had our first date on the 19th July which is my grandparents wedding anniversary and they have been married for 64 years so we decided it must be a lucky date and chose that date for our elopement. I finally agreed to a date with Scott after weeks of him asking! After 2 years together we decided to move to Canada which is where we fell in love with nature and the outdoor life style.
Was your engagement a surprise and how did it happen?
We got engaged in Canada on my Birthday one year on a small island while camping with a group of friends. I had no clue Scott was going to propose. I was sat looking out at the ocean watching the most beautiful sunset and happened to say that this would be the perfect place to propose and I turned around to see Scott down on one knee! He had phoned my Dad a few weeks previously to ask his permission and spoke to his family so they all knew it was going to happen soon. It was such a beautiful day.
Why did you choose to elope?
We chose to elope for many reasons. As a beauty therapist I’ve spent 15 years getting excited brides ready for their big day and have loved hearing about all the details. I’d always had in my head that if it came to my turn, I would have a massive fancy wedding. However, once my turn came, I realised that a big wedding wasn’t us, but would have found it so hard keeping it small. We have friends and family all over the world now so we agreed if we couldn’t have everyone there then we wouldn’t have anyone. I’m forever hearing brides say that afterwards they realised they hardly spent any time with their partners on the day because they were so busy entertaining everyone else and we wanted to be selfish and just have an intimate day focused on each other, celebrating our love, our way. We didn’t have to worry about pleasing other people or worrying about any of the stress that can come with a wedding.
Where was your venue and why did you choose it? explain what it's like?
Our venue was Millbrook Estate in North Devon. It’s a beautiful, private venue set in gorgeous green woodland. We were blessed with the weather and got married outside surrounded by bright flowers and birds singing. We spent 4 nights here and got married the day after we arrived. Maddy, our wedding co Ordinator literally organised it all. She sent me emails with the list of suppliers allowed on site so you can have as much or as little as you want on the day. I done my own hair and makeup but you can have stylists on the day, same with florists and photographers and food. I was browsing elopement packages at the start of the year and this one gave us such a Canadian feel with the ferns and woodlands so as soon as I found out the date, we wanted was available I knew it was fate!
How was your experience finding your dream dress? Was the dress what you expected?
I was so nervous before walking into Brides By Solo to find my dress. Initially I was planning on just ordering a pre loved dress online without even trying it on first. But thankfully my mum talked me out of that. I ended up telling my mum about our plans to elope because even though she would have loved to be mother of the bride and share our day with us she respected our wishes but she probably would never have forgiven me if she didn’t get to help her only daughter find her dream dress! When I walked in, I was terrified I would be judged for not having a traditional wedding. Sadie couldn’t have been any less judgmental. She was so calming, excited for me and made me feel just like any other bride! She listened to what I wanted but also encouraged me to try dresses that I thought wouldn’t suit me. I really feel like I got to try every style and was shocked by my choice. I had a selection to try but one gown in the window with a stunning lace trail caught my eye. It was the first dress I tried on and I just knew it was the one. I tried all the others to make sure but knew the first one was the one for me. I thought I would go for something plain and simpler but the embroidery and style suited the woodland venue theme and I felt like a princess, or as I said to my mum “a proper Bride!” Sadie herself altered my dress and she was amazing, especially since it was a super busy time for them and she had not long got married herself! Her professionalism was outstanding and I can’t recommend Brides By Solo enough.
What was your itinerary for the day and was it what you'd hoped for?
Once we had finalised all plans for the big day Maddy emailed me over the itinerary, it was also printed out in the room on our arrival. We ordered a breakfast board from a recommended local company and started our day with mimosas while grazing. Our ceremony was at 2pm so at 11.30 I went down to the bridal suite to get ready. I loved getting ready by myself, I took my time with my make up whilst blasting out my favourite songs and didn’t feel stressed at all. Half hour before the ceremony our registrars arrived to go through some paperwork with us separately and our photographer Michelle arrived to take some photos while I was finishing getting ready. Maddy came to collect me for the ceremony where Scott was stood waiting for my entrance. After the short but sweet ceremony we had champagne and an hours' worth of natural photos taken around the grounds. Michelle captured us and our love for nature perfectly. Once we were finished with photos, we Face Timed our families to surprise them and they were all overjoyed for us (and shocked!). We have a private Cheff for the evening and ate outside where the ceremony took place. Since it was the hottest day of the year, we could hardly eat so we took a walk around the grounds taking it all in and feeling gratitude for the special day. We ended the day with champagne in the hot tub in the garden of our accommodation looking out to the beautiful north Devon scenery.
What is your favourite memory from the day?
My favourite memory of the day was seeing Scott waiting for me at the top of the stairs and feeling like the only two people in the world. We also loved Face Timing our loved ones. Especially my grandparents on their anniversary. Scott's mum who we called first and she was just so happy for us and my Dad who was on a zoom work meeting and was showing his colleagues because he was so proud which made me well up. It was an emotional, beautiful day.
Did you go on a honeymoon, if so where & why did you choose this place?
We haven't booked a honeymoon. We spent the rest of the week after the elopement exploring Devon and Cornwall so that was our “mini moon” but in our unconventional way we would really love to buy a van and travel Europe!
Do you have any tips or advice for other couples who want to elope?
My advice to anyone wanting to elope is to go for it! Recently I had a client tell me that the three most stressful life events are buying a house, having a baby and getting married. I can safely say that getting married was the most stress-free event of my life so far! You may upset some people but at the end of the day your love is all that matters on your special day. However, you chose to do it. Luckily, we had the full support of everyone afterwards and have had so many well wishes. We woke up the following morning and both said how relieved we were that we done it our way and that we wouldn’t have changed a thing.