Sally & Ross held their intimate, COVID friendly celebration at Hartford Golf Club on 26th September 2020.
Photography by Richard Wilkinson Photography.
We’d been to the jewellery quarter in Birmingham to choose a ring together because I thought I knew what I wanted, a halo or something quite unique but more than just a princess cut diamond, but it didn’t suit me at all! Ross knew a princess cut would suit me perfectly but he wanted a more unique setting. I left the details up to him once I tried some on and delivery etc. It was a few weeks later when I called him on the way home from work when he cut our conversation really short and seemed a bit flustered because he was on the phone to the house insurance. It was then I knew that the ring was in the house! I was so excited but couldn’t tell anyone yet! The weather that weekend was looking a bit mixed and the Saturday morning was miserable but we walked out to a local café for lunch and I suggested a walk after hoping he had the ring but as we turned into the houses around us I knew he didn’t.
Luckily the Sunday was glorious, I’d had some girlfriends for a sleepover so as soon as they left we went out for a walk, this time down to the river nearby. Ross hadn’t walked the route before but I hoped he had the ring! We had lovely conversation and were saying so many nice things to each other, we stopped a few times to admire the view of the woods too. I thought he was about to propose when we had stopped on a bridge but I found out later that he bottled it at the last moment, so we moved on. Just before we got to the river, he mentioned his feet were hurting and unbeknownst to him there was a bench just a few meters away. I immediately went to it and sat for a few moments with him still discussing our relationship and how much we cared for him. He then said “I couldn’t imagine spending my life with anyone else…. And on that note…” getting down on one knee,” Will you Marry me?” Pulling out a travel ring box from his pocket and presenting me with the beautiful ring we’d chosen together. The box was so discreet I had no idea that it was in his pocket!
I wanted to be as sustainable as possible, all the stationary I did myself and all with recycled card and paper. Plus we did all our invites by WhatsApp with a picture of us and all the details, we had a wedding website with all the accommodation listings, wedding list and how the day would run etc. and I sent out a Google form for RSVP’s and menu choices for all the guests which made things really easy when giving the venue all the details!
It was also really helpful for any changes we made due to COVID it was just a case of sending out a new message rather than more postage!
My maiden name is Casey-Markwell, I pulled both my parents’ names together as my mum kept her own name when they got married and the dress that by happened to be “the one” is called Casey!
I roped in friends to help dress the venue and even asked them all to make a wreath as a table decoration which we did the week before with some instruction form my mum and they all got to take them home for their own tables after the wedding too!
Ross is a firefighter so he bought a watch which features recycled fire equipment especially for the day and I bought him a matching wallet for the occasion. I asked my mum for something old so she melted an old silver necklace down and made a clock charm for my bracelet with our initials and date stamped on the back. Plus I’m originally from Sheffield (we now live in cheshire) and Ross’s ring is a Sheffield Steel Ring which is named after a park i used to go to a lot when I was growing up.
I had my bridesmaids over the night before for fizz and a chippy and fortunately I had enough rooms for them all to say over which was just lovely! I was up first at 6am as I just couldn’t sleep but my hairdresser was coming at 7am to give me a curly blow and pin up so I got to have a nice long shower and wash my hair which just felt like a nice relaxing start to the day!
In general everyone was quite calm, I’m really organised so I’d done a spreadsheet of which order everyone was going in, especially as everyone had to wear a mask to have their hair done before make up! I also did a Tesco order for breakfast items croissants, crumpets etc. and I’d organised a buffet lunch from a local sandwich shop which everyone was really grateful for!
I felt like I had a few hours to kills but I kept myself busy pressing and steaming the dresses with the girls and not really sitting down much! My parents and friends were helping to dress the venue and set up video camera’s for a zoom call with all our guests who weren’t able to make it, I think this was the most complicated and stressful element of the day so I’m glad I wasn’t involved.
The tears started to come as the flowers arrived, they were so beautiful and the emotions of the day really started to sink in! from then on everyone was trying to distract me from my emotions to stop me from crying especially when I was having my make up done including conversations about bird food and chimney shapes! The randomer the better.
One essential element before we left the house was the father of the bride moment, my dad loves that film and he’s always wanted me to have bridal stairs as he calls them, where he’s able to stand at the bottom and watch me come down, we managed it with an immense amount of tears!
I managed to hold it together when I got to the venue until I saw the back of Ross and the opening bars of “Here comes the sun” then chivied along by my dad I only let a couple of tears escape as I made my way down the aisle, focusing on Ross really helped me make it down!
My brother-in-law as a police inspector is quite a character and wanted the best of us in every way on the day including making sure any golfers on the course behind where we got married weren’t in photo’s or their equipment, hearing him debating with them was quite funny especially when one called back that he was in a competition!
My top tip for being organised is to imagine yourself as one of the people dressing the venue, what information would you want and make sure to provide it.
We always enjoy hosting and wanted to make sure our guests had a good time and were occupied, I’d ordered some dames like snakes & ladders and connect 4 to put in kids activity bags but as most of them couldn’t come I put the games on the table which everyone loved! We even had a word scramble and match the couple game for each household on the tables.
The wonderful local wedding suppliers that helped bring Sally & Ross’ vision to life are as follows:
Photographer: Richard Wilkinson Photography
Venue: Hartford Golf Club
Flowers: Hannah Williamson Flowers
Brides Dress: Wed2B
Bridesmaids & Flower Girl Dresses: ASOS
Hair Stylist: Hair by Stacey Smith
Makeup Artist: Sophie Bruno
Transport: A friend from Bentley
Cake: A friend
Rings: The Diamond Centre Birmingham
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