Suzy Cole and Stephen Boot first met back in 2006 at Staffordshire University when he showed her around a student house. But after graduation, Suzy moved back home and it was only when she moved back to Staffordshire in 2011 that she gained contact with Stephen again. "I went on a dating website to meet new people where Stephen contacted me," Suzy adds. "We met up fairly quickly and found out we have a lot in common: we both love animals, plants and nature." The couple's relationship developed fast and the bond between them grew stronger. After six years Suzy questioned if Stephen was ever going to propose and gave up on the idea. But the wait was all worth it when Stephen had a big surprise waiting the day before her birthday.
"We were shopping in Sutton Coldfield town centre where Stephen claimed we were there to get my birthday present but we were choosing my engagement ring! It took me by surprise so I started crying and I have since learned that Stephen had been trying to propose for a few years."
The big date was set for the 25th May, 2019, at Hogarths Hotel, Solihull. Here, Suzy tells us more about their enchanted forest-themed day...
When we visited Hogarths, it was the outdoor woodland ceremony area they call The Island that sold it to us. The licensed summer house and under-cover guest seating area were surrounded by beautiful trees and a moat of water. It had the magical woodland feel we were looking for.
The floristry work was really out of this world, we were blown away by it. My bouquet was full of stunning flowers including roses, peonies and amaranths, in my favourite colours of plum, pink, burgundy and peach.
The centrepieces were a combination of lanterns surrounded by jam jars of flowers and arrangements, all sitting on wooden blocks. The top table had a large swag of greenery and featured a stunning long and low arrangement.
My absolute favourite decor item was the archway for the ceremony, laced with the same flowers and faux butterflies. It took my breath away and all the guests commented on how amazing it was.
We made a donation to RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) and had their charity pin badges as our favours. I handmade mini pillow boxes decorated with different patterned papers, twine and brass keys and randomly placed a different animal, bird or flower badge inside. The guests loved finding out which badge they'd received.
We remembered our late dads by putting little pictures of them on the top table.
We decided early on to name our tables after animals you would find in British woodlands and the wooden table names were hand drawn with the name and animal.
Stephen handmade the wishing well post-box and created the photo display using a garden trellis, twine and pegs. Our florist embellished it with more greenery.
Our cat Salem is very important to us so we took his portrait wearing a bow-tie and put it on display – a talking point of the day.
We made a DIY sweet table, using jars and crates we already had and filled them with our favourite sweets and chocolates.It was very popular and was empty by the end of the night.
The groomsmen wore the same suit as Stephen but with anamethyst-colour tie and white spray rose buttonhole. The groomsmen had cufflinks featuring their role in the wedding such as best man and brother-of-the-bride.
Our three-tier cake was completely gluten and lactose-free, in the flavours of Jack Daniels and fudge, strawberry and champagne, and vanilla and raspberry. It was decorated in textured royal icing and fresh flowers.
The groom wore a blue Shrewsbury tweed three-piece suit with ivory tie, stag cufflinks and brown shoes. He had a different colour tie to the rest of the groomsmen and had a buttonhole featuring a peach rose that matched a feature flower in my bouquet.
I chose to wear a finger tip-length veil with pearl detail and a simple handmade pearl and glass beaded jewellery set.
I wore a fit-and-flare strapless lace gown by White Rose with a lace-up back. I chose it because as I put it on I was amazed at how I looked in it – the dress seemed to emphasise my curves in all the right places!. The lace and pearl detail appealed to me because I hand-make lace as a hobby, and I loved that it had a small delicate train.
The bridesmaids wore a plum coloured short maxi dress with silver shoes and wore a pearl and crystal headband and silver drop pearl jewellery.
It was really special that Stephen's nan was able to make the day, she is in her nineties now but she had a wonderful time and it was lovely to see her smiling and laughing.
Top tip: Choose your DIY battles. It may seem a good idea to hand-make everything but it can add a lot of added pressure and stress. Also, check that you're not spending more by doing it yourself. Craft materials aren't cheap.
Neither of us had much sleep the night before from excitement. I expected to be stressed out but I was so calm on the day. With an outdoor ceremony, I had been worried about the possibility of rain and being cold, but it was gloriously sunny.
We had a live acoustic singer Megan Kate for the ceremony and drinks reception. She was truly amazing, and so note perfect that a lot of guests thought it was a recording at first. It was truly memorable to walk down the aisle to her singing A Thousand Years.
As I make biodegradable confetti for a living, confetti was a significant part of the day. We had real petals which was really fun and a confetti cannon during the first dance. It was kept a surprise from our guests and when it was let off it made everyone jump, including us!