29th Jan 2018

Claire & Ben

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The Big Question

Ben and I were on holiday and staying with family in Texas, we have been out there 3 times now and fallen totally in love with the place!  Every time we go there is more we want to do and finally on our last trip we got to go to Enchanted Rock National Park just outside of Llano in "Hill Country".

We set off with Ben's cousin Emily and her husband Ross who was armed with a backpack filled with water (or so I thought....) at 10am before it got too hot, and started our rather steep ascent up the rock.  As we reached the top 1 hour later now at a height above the soaring birds, there was a dip in the rock filled with a cluster of cactus and flowers which I was trying to take a picture of when Ben kept calling me over to him, Emily said she would take a picture on her professional camera for me and told me to go to Ben and she and Ross would catch up in a minute.... so I did!

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As I walked over to him he kept moving further away from everyone to a spot on our own with an incredible view, as I turned to face him he held my hand and said "I think you know what I want to ask you" while holding a ring box in his other hand, I then told him through (happy!) tears, "of course!" he replied "You have to say the word..." so naturally I said "YES!!!". 

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I then found out that Emily was in fact taking the picture of Ben down on one knee and not the flowers, and that Ross had actually snuck a bottle of champagne in the backpack hidden under the water.

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Shop 'Til You Drop

I was lucky that my dress hunt was relatively un-stressful, Ben suggested I go and see my godmother - Christine who owned White Mischief Bridal in Henfield, so I looked up the shop and perused the dresses on the website, they were a bit more than I ideally wanted to spend.

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From the very first contact I was treated like an individual and someone special which was lovely.  I put together my wishlist and went to the shop armed with my mum Lyn, Ben's mum Carole, my Maid of Honour Kylie and my very close friend Emma, we were all greeted very warmly by Christine herself and supplied with Tea and Coffee before getting down to the exciting business that was dress shopping!

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We tried a selection of designers but the Augusta Jones ones seemed to be the ones that excited me the most as they had the beautiful lace detail that I love and gave the dress the country and western look I wanted, we found 2 which I loved but weren't quite right, one the neckline was too high and the other the lace wasn't quite heavy enough.... that was when Christine pulled out "Marsha", the dress was beautiful and I couldn't understand why I hadn't seen this one before.

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We shot back into the changing room and tried on Marsha, straight away it gave me the shape I wanted, the lace look I loved and the elegant yet country look, but most of all.... I felt comfortable!  I walked out and knew straight away this was my dress, this was what would make me a bride there was just one thing missing..... sparkle! Christine came to the rescue and advised I could get it beaded and that was what sealed the deal, my own custom Marsha with sparkles!

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The Perfect Day

We were very lucky to be able to have our wedding at South Lodge Hotel.  I stayed the night before at the venue, and from the moment I woke up on the Saturday morning, had a shower and looked outside to see the sun shining over the stunning grounds, I was relaxed, calm and ready with 10 minutes to spare!

My dad came to the room just before 1pm to meet me and walk me to the ceremony room, that was when the emotions hit for the first time, we all had a little tear, checked make up and headed off to meet my groom - I was so excited.

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As I walked down the aisle on beautiful white carpet emotions nearly took over as I looked at the guests and I had to bite my lip and stare straight ahead at Ben, who after risking a glance in my direction was now facing the front fighting his emotions too! The ceremony was beautiful and ran very smoothly, although I did get the giggles badly when Ben referred to me as his "bedded wife" in the vows instead of "wedded wife", needless to say the guests also found it highly amusing and when all was completed we headed out for a glass of champagne and a Pimms reception in the sunshine, and of course the confetti shot. My dress received compliments left, right and centre and it's safe to say I felt a million dollars in it!

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The wedding breakfast was great fun, the food and service was exquisite, the wine well received and the speeches were superb despite the nerves!  After the breakfast Ben and I were whisked off to finish the photographs with just him and I, the photos came out perfectly with the sun catching the sparkles and showing off the lace detail beautifully!

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The reception started at 7pm and the cake cutting and first dance at 7.30pm, we chose a country and western song to do the "Texan Two-Step" to which was "Today" by Brad Paisley, not only are the words are beautiful, it was playing in the car when we drove back to the ranch after the proposal at Enchanted Rock.

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We had a band for the evening called Riptide and they were superb, everyone was dancing and having fun and the atmosphere was incredible, the magic mirror we hired from Krazypikzphotobooths proved very popular and certainly added to the fun, I switched from heels to my trusty and most favourite cowgirl boots about 9pm and danced the rest of the night away feeling on top of the world.  All in all it was the most incredible and perfect day which will be impossible to top!

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Wise Words

If you need help with planning and organising, don't be afraid to ask your husband-to-be/bridesmaids/parents but also remember sometimes less is more.  Don't sweat the small stuff - if something isn't perfect on the big day, remember that no-one else knows that!

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Make sure you spend time together with your Groom throughout the day, it will be a whole lot more special if you take it all in together - we managed to do exactly that and looking back I wouldn't have changed a single thing!

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Photographer: Scott Wright
Dress: Marsha
Location: South Lodge Hotel
Stockist: White Mischief Bridal
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