See how other local couples celebrated their big day with wedding stories and ideas from Your Kent Wedding Real Weddings features.
Lizi and Jack met during their third year of university, at one of the first social nights after the Christmas break. Lizi says, "I didn't take to him immediately, but he won me over when I realised we were both as socially awkward as each other! His Geordie accent was, and still is, a winner for me."
Ant proposed to Amy in front of the tree that first Christmas morning in their new home. Once the season and their incredible news had been celebrated and decorations were packed away, thoughts turned to wedding venues. They discovered Wilderness Weddings at Preston Court and were instantly attracted by the peacefulness and natural beauty of its outdoor setting. Ant says, "We love how relaxed it made us feel. The ceremony area really sold it for us, with the water in the background. We also loved how there was a clear flow through the venue and could easily picture how our day there would be. During our first visit Amy cried as she loved it so much, so it had to be done!"
Keen to know more, we got the lowdown on W-day from groom, Ant...
Becky and Mike met at a friend's 21st birthday party almost a decade ago. They discovered they were born on the same day of the same year in the same hospital, "So maybe our paths crossed way back then," Becky says.
Mike had originally planned to propose on a ski trip in March 2020, but as the country was plunged into the first lockdown at the time, the holiday was sadly cancelled. He still managed to keep his intentions quiet though and eventually succeeded in popping the question while on a break in The Cotswolds. During a beautiful autumnal walk from Stow-on-the-Wold to Bourton-on-the-Water, on a little bridge crossing a stream, right in the middle of nowhere, he asked Becky to be his wife. "We cried tears of joy – I've never been so surprised in my life, it was such a beautiful and happy time," Becky says.
Despite never hearing of any online-dating success stories, having a young son it was an easy way for Leanne to meet and chat to people in the evenings without needing to leave the house. It was here she found David and was attracted to his handsome and kind face. "I thought I had nothing to lose by sending him the first message, and here we are eight years later," Leanne tells us.
David proposed in 2018, at home with their three children. "David is quite shy and doesn't like a lot of attention on him, so the idea of proposing in a public place filled him with dread," Leanne explains. So, he chose one Sunday in October, while Leanne was in her element, using her new carpet cleaner! She remembers, "From the doorway, David asked to speak to me and I shouted at him to get off the carpet as it was still wet. I turned around to moan at him some more and found him on one knee with a small box and a diamond sparkling at me. I immediately burst into tears and asked if he was winding me up!"
Hannah and James met in the oh-so modern way – online. When they met for the first time, it was clear the match was one made in Heaven. Hannah tells us, "James is everything I was looking for: caring, chatty, good family values, ambitious yet grounded, plus he dressed really well!" While James says of his first impressions, "Hannah is beautiful and we have a lot in common, including our outlook on life. So you could say it was love at first swipe."
Steven met Charlotte while in Chatham for a course in 2009. Their relationship met with early challenges however, when dance teacher Charlotte became wheelchair-bound after breaking her back; and paratrooper Steven was injured in a bomb blast in Afghanistan. "We stayed in contact the whole time and met up again a few years later. The rest is history – he's my lobster," Charlotte says. Steven decided to propose on Charlotte's birthday. She peeled off the wrapping paper of her last present and found a BeaverBrooks box inside.
Abby and Jake remember making each other laugh right from their very first conversation about basketball as teenagers, and they've been doing the same ever since. Now aged 25 and 26 respectively the couple have been together for a decade. Absence truly did make the heart grow fonder for Jake as having spent three months away in Canada for work, he proposed to Abby over a special dinner to celebrate his return. After a meal at The Shard he surprised her with a private pod on The London Eye. Abby remembers, "We were nearly at the top and as the sun set Jake got down on one knee. It was utterly amazing and so much thought had gone into it that it was even more special."
Jackie and Graeme met via a dating website, My Single Friend. "Some people are sceptical when it comes to online dating, but at the time Graeme was living in Hythe and I was living in Orpington, so without it we'd never have met," Jackie says. After several weeks of exchanging messages, the pair arranged to meet up one Sunday lunchtime and spent the whole afternoon chatting and laughing together. "We found that we had so much in common and that there was a real connection between us, so we couldn't wait to see each other again," Jackie explains. After a year of whizzing back and forth up and down the M20, the couple decided to move in together, and the rest is history.
Christina and Andrew met in Berlin in 2016. Andrew was there on a business trip, and Christina, who is German, was on a weekend away celebrating her friend's birthday. Both were sitting with mates at neighbouring tables when the two groups got talking and the pair noticed each other straight away. "We had a really great night, dancing and laughing, and ended up swapping numbers," Christina says. At that point Andrew was living in Helsinki, Finland, and Christina in Frankfurt, so despite not being able to see each other for a few months, they managed to keep in touch. "Andrew was travelling a lot for his job and I'd meet him at some of the destinations where he was working at the weekends. So, our early days were spent on really cool city breaks, which we still love to do," Christina explains. Following several months of long-distance dating, during which time Andrew had moved back home, Christina got the opportunity with her job to relocate to the UK also, and so they lived happily ever after!
Sandra and Lyndon met online three years ago where they discovered a mutual love of cooking, walking, keeping fit and dogs. By 2019 the pair were discussing marriage plans and became engaged on Sandra's birthday that year. Dreams of a fairytale castle wedding started to become a reality when they booked Lympne Castle for the big day. "Dating back to the 12th century, it has a delightful great hall with panelling, beams and Medieval windows. It was ideal for us," Sandra says.
An online introduction led to a first date for Lian and Mark, at Pippin, Maidstone, one bank holiday Monday. "Bottles of prosecco were consumed, chips were shared... We chatted and laughted with no awkward silences, and there was even a little kiss! It was a great first date," Lian remembers. Their relationship grew strong, and after five years together Mark proposed in Gran Canaria, where the pair were on holiday. As Lian works for her father at their family-run bespoke jewellers, Mark understandably, felt the pressure of choice. So wisely, he opted to pop the question with a can ring pull, allowing her to select her engagement ring at a later date. "He asked twice in Spanish first, but I had no clue what he was saying! Then, he got down on one knee and asked again in English. It was a complete surprise," Lian tells us.