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 woodlandceremony area they call The Island that sold it to us. Thelicensed summer house and under-cover guest seating areawere surrounded by beautiful trees and a moat of water. Ithad the magical woodland feel we were looking for.
The floristry work was really out of thisworld, we were blown away by it. My bouquetwas full of stunning flowers including roses,peonies and amaranths, in my favouritecolours of plum, pink, burgundy and peach.
The centrepieces were a combination oflanterns surrounded by jam jars of flowersand arrangements, all sitting on woodenblocks. The top table had a large swag ofgreenery and featured a stunning long andlow arrangement.
My absolute favourite decor item was thearchway for the ceremony, laced with thesame flowers and faux butterflies. It took mybreath away and all the guests commented onhow amazing it was.
We made a donation to RSPB (Royal Society for the Protectionof Birds) and had their charity pin badges as our favours. Ihandmade mini pillow boxes decorated with differentpatterned papers, twine and brass keys and randomly placed adifferent animal, bird or flower badge inside. The guests lovedfinding out which badge they'd received.
We remembered our late dads by putting little pictures of themon the top table.
We decided early on to name our tables after animals you would find in British woodlandsand 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 wetook his portrait wearing a bow-tie and putit on display – a talking point of the day.
We made a DIY sweet table, using jars and crates we alreadyhad 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. Thegroomsmen had cufflinks featuring their role in the weddingsuch as best man and brother-of-the-bride.
Our three-tier cake was completely gluten andlactose-free, in the flavours of Jack Danielsand fudge, strawberry and champagne, andvanilla and raspberry. It was decorated intextured royal icing and fresh flowers.
The groom wore a blue Shrewsbury tweedthree-piece suit with ivory tie, stag cufflinksand brown shoes. He had a different colourtie to the rest of the groomsmen and had abuttonhole featuring a peach rose thatmatched a feature flower in my bouquet.
I chose to wear a fingertip-length veil with pearl detail and a simple handmade pearl and glass beaded jewellery set.
I wore a fit-and-flare strapless lace gown byWhite Rose with a lace-up back. I chose itbecause as I put it on I was amazed at how Ilooked in it – the dress seemed to emphasisemy curves in all the right places!. The laceand pearl detail appealed to me because Ihand-make lace as a hobby, and I loved thatit had a small delicate train.
The bridesmaids wore a plumcolouredshort maxi dress with silvershoes and wore a pearl and crystalheadband and silver drop pearljewellery.
It was really special that Stephen's nan was able to make theday, 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 tohand-make everything but it can add a lot of added pressureand stress. Also, check that you're not spending more by doingit yourself. Craft materials aren't cheap.
Neither of us had much sleep the night beforefrom excitement. I expected to be stressed outbut I was so calm on the day. With an outdoorceremony, I had been worried about thepossibility of rain and being cold, but it wasgloriously sunny.
We had a live acoustic singer Megan Kate for the ceremonyand drinks reception. She was truly amazing, and so note perfectthat a lot of guests thought it was a recording at first. Itwas truly memorable to walk down the aisle to her singing AThousand Years.
As I make biodegradable confetti for a living, confetti was asignificant part of the day. We had real petals which wasreally fun and a confetti cannon during the first dance. It waskept a surprise from our guests and when it was let off it madeeveryone jump, including us!