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!
The proposal almost came as much of a surprise to Andrew as it did to Christina! The couple were enjoying a mini-break in the Cotswolds to celebrate the date they met, and while enjoying a lovely evening meal, they joked about how there had been much speculation from friends and family about whether Andrew would pop the question at some point over the weekend. Although he hadn’t planned to, this sent his mind into overdrive: “Why wouldn’t I ask this weekend?” he thought. So, while strolling back to the hotel and without any further ado, he asked Christina to marry him. They chose the engagement ring together in Oxford the very next day.
On the venue checklist was somewhere they could host the whole day from ceremony to celebrations, was big enough to accommodate 150 guests, had a relaxed atmosphere, and was somewhere they could decorate themselves. After much research, they both liked the look of Ruffynes Barn, Ashford, and as soon as they arrived for a viewing, they were in love. As luck would have it, a date had just become available following a cancellation that was right around the time they had their hearts set on, and they booked it on the spot.
Join us as we find out more about the big day from bride Christina…
Since the barn was a blank canvas, the couple got their wish and were able to create the venue styling themselves. Christina planned everything to perfection from the table layout to the floral pieces created by her mum and sister.
The pair designed a wedding logo, which adorned the stationery suite including invitations, menus, and thank you cards. It also featured on their wedding favours – small round magnets in their palette colours of navy and burgundy. The idea was that guests could use it to hold their pictures from the photo booth as a lasting memory of the day.
The centrepieces were large floral arrangements featuring burgundy blooms. "We didn't have a particular type of flower in mind, it was more about the colour and what we could get hold of in burgundy at the flower market at that time of year," Christina explains. The table centres were accompanied by a menu, along with a signature wedding cocktail list, candles and some small decorative copper ornaments.
In keeping with the relaxed vibe for the day the couple decided only to show guests which table they should sit at, rather than assign particular seats with place names. They chose English and German cities for the table names, with guests from the UK sitting at tables with German names and vice versa. "We used travel guides from each city to show which table was which accompanied by a note to tell guests they could take them home, as long as they promised to send us a postcard if they decided to visit," Christina tells us.
The couple opted for a buffet wedding breakfast. Guests were offered a delicious selection of dishes and sides, finished off with dessert. “The highlight was a little freezer with a selection of ice cream pots, provided by our excellent caterer, Sally from Simply Catering Kent, who also owns Simply Ice Cream,” the bride explains. Later in the evening everyone enjoyed a selection of cheese and crackers.
As neither bride nor groom have a particularly sweet tooth, they hadn’t planned to have a wedding cake, but this disappointed Andrew’s parents so much that they handed the responsibility over to them! The result was an elegant square-tiered fruit cake, decorated in the wedding colour palette, complete with a picture of the happy couple printed on it.
Christina looked stunning in Morilee by Madeline Gardener creation, Laurie. During her dress research she'd fallen in love with the idea of pockets. She tried on a couple of different styles at her Bromley Brides' appointment, but ultimately fell head-over-heels for this pocketed design.
Andrew wore a three-piece navy suit with a grey waistcoat, burgundy tie and white shirt paired with brown shoes. The groomsmen all wore the same with the exception of their waistcoats, which were blue, allowing the groom to stand out in his grey version.
The beautiful bridesmaids wore long burgundy dresses, which they chose themselves. "We wanted everyone to feel comfy and happy on the day," Christina explains.
A live bagpiping band provided a fanfare to the bride's entrance, as well as playing for an hour or so following the ceremony. This was one of Christina's highlights, "They really created a special atmosphere," she says. It was similarly a special moment for Andrew who says, "I have Scottish heritage on my grandad's side, so it meant a lot to my family."
Later on, a DJ kept everyone entertained and on the dancefloor. "Dale understood the mood we wanted to create for the evening straight away. He had a feel for the direction to take it in to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves," Christina recalls. The dancing was fuelled by the super-fun cocktails created by the bride and groom, since the barn permitted the couple to stock the bar themselves.
A highlight of the evening was a flashmob dance routine organised and choreographed to Starships by Nicki Minaj by the maid-of-honour. “She sent all the guests a video teaching them the dance. It was really surprising and so much fun,” Christina remembers.
The bride says, "The first time I got really nervous on the day was the moment I arrived at the venue and saw everyone. Then the bagpipers started playing as my bridesmaids walked down the aisle, and I still had to wait behind the building!"
For Andrew, the morning was the most nail-biting time. He says, "I just wanted everything to go perfectly. Christina had worked so hard on the preparations and I was worried it might rain, or the bus might break down! But as soon as I saw her walk down the aisle toward me, I knew the day was going to be perfect."
The couple would especially like to thank their photographer Nicola Tulip. Christina explains: "She offered us a pre-wedding shoot, which allowed us not only to get comfortable with her, but also put us at ease ready to be in front of the camera on the big day. This meant that everything went brilliantly and the results were amazing. We now have our special day captured perfectly forever. Plus, so many of our guests complimented her on her style of staying in the background while being able to control the crowd for group shots when needed."
"Get all of the planning out of the way early. Ask friends to help and have suppliers that you have a good feeling about and can trust, allowing you to relax and enjoy the day. "Don't worry about what might go wrong on the day. If something does go awry, it doesn't matter. Just enjoy every single moment with the love of your life and your guests."
Dale at All Night Long