"We had always discussed the idea of getting married one day but because we are two men, we were not sure who was meant to do it!"
Ashley & Joseph later tied the knot on 24th May 2018 at Careys Manor Hotel. Here is their 'real wedding' story.
Ashley decided to surprise Joseph with a leap year proposal in February 2016.
"We were both so happy it felt like the natural step in our relationship".
On a cold and windy day, Ashley and Joseph wrapped up warm and set out on a long walk from Joseph's parents' house in Plymouth to Bovisand Beach. Ashley had secretly packed a picnic in to a bag, along with some personalised messages and a bag of Haribo Starmix© (for the rings), ready for the proposal.
After a romantic alfresco lunch on the beach, Ashley plucked up the courage to reach for the message cards and give them to Joseph, telling him to open them and read what was on them. There were nine cards in total, each telling him something Ashley loved about him and how much he meant to him. The final card popped the big question.
"Luckily, he said yes and we both wore the Haribo rings...for about 5 minutes before we ate them!"
"We had previously visited SenSpa at Careys Manor for a spa day in August 2013. It was a sunny Summer’s day and we fell in love with the beautiful red brick Manor house as well as the colourful landscaped gardens and mature trees. The New Forest scenery and wild horses only added to the beautiful experience we had. It was perfect for us."
Ashley told Joseph that this is where he wanted to get married one day.. so they went home and started researching and decided the 'Complete Celebration Wedding Package' was perfect.
The celebration package is a great idea because the couple dont' have to worry about anything because it’s all included, even the cake stand!
The couple booked a date shortly after getting engaged and then attended Careys Manor’s next wedding fair which only confirmed that it was the right decision. This is also where they fell in love with the woodland themed for the ceremony, design by our in-house florist, Owen Lavin - it took Ashley’s breathe away.
Ashley and Joseph both wore traditional dinner tuxedos from Moss Bros with Ashley opting for a navy blue suit with brown Ted Baker shoes and Joseph going for burgundy with black Ted Baker shoes. They both wore Ashley’s late granfather’s socks, as a way of paying homage and cufflinks that were given to them as gifts.
"We both felt really smart in our tuxes. It’s not often you get to wear a bow tie so it felt very special".
The Bridesmaids were Ashley’s childhood friend Emma, his University friend Megan and his older sister Jess was Maid of Honour. They wore maxi-dresses with rose gold sequins and tulle skirts from ASOS.
"They all looked beautiful in their dresss and the sequins sparkled in the video and photos- it looked amazing!"
Joe’s niece was a flower girl who wore the 'Estella Sparkle' maxi-dress from Monsoon that had rose gold glitter in and a Ted Baker cardigan with rose gold buttons and sparkly rose gold Ted Baker shoes.
"She looked very beautiful and was twirling for people all day."
"What can we say? WOW! I think it was my favourite part of the whole day."
The couple opted for woodland theme for the ceremony room which included beautiful tree arches, an ivory carpet lined with logs and rustic candle holders and whicker stars suspended from the ceiling.
The ceremony was very intimate with only close family and friends. Joe greeted the guests before the ceremony and Ashley chose to walk down the aisle arm in arm with his Nan and pageboy to Madilyn Bailey’s cover of Perfect by Ed Sherran.
The registrars made a few jokes during the ceremony which broke the ice and cured the couple's nervs, before bridesmaid, Megan shared a reading she had written especially for the occasion. It was very emotional and personal and brought tears to everybody's eyes.
To dress the room for the wedding breakfast, Ashley and Joseph chose round tables with candelabra centrepieces and delicate tealights on the tables with backlit drapes hanging from the walls. They enjoyed a 3 course meal together followed by speeches from Ashley’s nervous Dad, Joseph and the best man, all of which did not disappoint.
"Afterwards, everyone said how amazing Joseph’s speech was. It is definitely something I will remember forever."
For the evening reception, the disco was provided by the brilliant Your DJ (included in Complete Celebration Package) followed by Ashley and Joseph's first dance together to Perfect/Can’t Help Falling in Love by Joey Stamper. They later enjoyed an informal BBQ within their own private walled garden.
"We chose Owen at Little Lillie’s for our flowers because of Owen’s unique and creative perspective that stood out from any other wedding florist".
The bridesmaid’s and flower girl bouquets had King protea, Vuvuzella roses, aiplants, succulents and eucalyptus.
"They were so beautiful. Its great that we got to keep the succulents and airplants. They will last forever and will also be a memory of our special day."
The couple opted for a mixture of rustic woodland and romantic glamor with log candle holders, gold tealights, rose gold foil placecards and menus and a gold glitter doughnut cake.
After the ceremony they had a ‘Pimp your prosecco’ station outside and in the evening, they had a cookie bar where people could help themselves to bags of biscuits and cookies from jars on a table.
"Quickly! People always said to take everything in because it speeds by and it definitely did but we enjoyed every second. The whole day was so beautiful. We will remember it forever."
"I remember the front of house and reception staff being very helpful and charming all day. It was lovely because I am a worrier and a bit of a stress head so they definitely helped that! Basha, the Master of Ceremony’s did his job excellently and made sure I was happy with everything through the day. I felt like everyone cared so much."
"I was also dreading our first dance but it was actually one of my favourite moments. Although we were centre of attention, it felt very intimate and romantic."
To start planning your dream wedding at Hampshire wedding venue, Careys Manor Hotel, book a peronal show around with our wedding Coordinator.
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