Shelby and Chris met through a mutual friend, when Chris was serving in the armed forces back in 2017. "It was an instant attraction," remembers Shelby. "We both knew straight away that we were soulmates. I messaged Chris via Facebook and the rest was history!
One of the main things that attracted me to Chris was how amazing he was with his daughter, Esme, as I always knew children were in my future. Within a year we had our own home, and I’d fallen pregnant with our little girl, Romee. Chris decided to leave the army when he found out I was expecting, which is something I’ll be forever grateful for, as the army was all he’d ever known.”
Chris proposed in November 2018 at Whinstone View during a romantic weekend away. "I was pregnant at the time so wasn't drinking, but Chris was knocking them back, which was really out of character," continues the bride. "I was very confused as he doesn't usually drink – if anything, he was beginning to annoy me! We sat down to watch a film when he suddenly produced a bag full of wooden hearts listing the 10 reasons why he loved me. I got to the end and realised I'd only looked at nine, with Chris getting down on one knee with the final heart in his hand that read, 'Will You Marry Me?'. It was the most amazing moment that I'll never forget." The couple set the date for the 9 April 2022, choosing South Causey Inn for their big day. Here, Shelby tells us more about their amazing wedding...
A DAY TO REMEMBER - Shelby and Chris started planning their wedding soon after their engagement, looking around a few venues before deciding on South Causey Inn. "We both wanted a boho-style day, and the décor inside The Old Barn was perfect, with hanging flowers, foliage and wooden beams. We decided to opt for the venue's Platinum Package, which included lots of extras, such as venue styling, welcome drink and canapés, a four-course wedding breakfast with wine, DJ, evening buffet and even an overnight stay in the deluxe honeymoon suite."
With a boho wedding in mind, the couple set about planning how they wanted the venue to look on the actual day. "We were lucky that South Causey Inn's package included centrepieces for the tables, choosing pampas displays which looked incredible," says the bride.
"As for flowers, I was always desperate to have a waterfall bouquet, wanting one ever since I saw a picture on Pinterest! I chose a smaller version of my bouquet for the bridesmaids; our flower girls wore gypsophila headbands with ribbons on the back; and we kept the buttonholes nice and simple, with a rose tied with eucalyptus."
When dressing the tables, it was also important for the couple to highlight Chris having served 14 years in the army. "I know from previous celebrations that favours are usually lost or forgotten about," continues Shelby. "We therefore chose to donate to the SSAFA – The Armed Forces Charity – instead of gifting guests actual favours. We placed handmade cards on the tables, designed in the same theme as our invites and other wedding stationery, to tell our guests our reasons for donating."
ALL DRESSED UP - Shelby found her dream dress at Corbridge-based The Wedding Dress Company. "As soon as I put on the Lauren Martina Liana design it made me feel like a Princess, so I knew it was the one for me!" says the bride. "I wanted a fitted dress with a large train and detail, which was everything this style had. I also purchased a beautiful hair vine which matched my dress perfectly, and wore a small pair of round droplet earrings with a bracelet to match. It was just the added extra sparkle I needed."
Chris and his groomsmen also made sure they looked the part, heading to Newcastle's Master Debonair for their wedding outfits. "Chris wore a Marc Darcy brown tweed suit with blue waistcoat and tan tie," says Shelby. "It really fitted in well with the theme, while the rust colour on the shoulders and elbow gave it the 'pop' we were after. My dad and groomsmen wore the same style, but with tan waistcoats and blue ties; while my bridesmaids all got to choose their own dresses, as long as one wore sage, one wore Champagne, one wore rust, and one chose a mauve colour."
LET'S EAT! Great food and good drinks were an important part of the couple's April celebrations, beginning with South Causey Inn's wedding co-ordinator bringing in tequila shots before everyone walked down the aisle! "I must say it really calmed the nerves – I've never seen a happier group of ladies over a shot!" laughs Shelby. After the ceremony came reception drinks and canapés, before it was time for the guests to enjoy a delicious wedding breakfast. "We were very fortunate to be able to give all guests a choice between four starters, four main meals and four desserts, which went down a storm," continues Shelby. "They could decide between prawn cocktail, vegetable soup, Cajun chicken strips and bruschetta, moving on to either beef, lamb, pork or chicken. The desserts were incredible, too, with Eton mess, chocolate brownie, raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake or a trio of desserts. For the evening we then opted for the world-tour buffet, which included homemade lasagne, burgers, chips, curry and much more – it was fab!"
However, the food didn't end there, as when it came to Shelby and Chris's wedding cake it seemed not many could resist. "We chose a two-tier cake in sticky toffee and lemon flavours," says the bride. "It was covered in white chocolate ganache and featured green and gold textured icing around the bottom. I've never tasted anything quite like it!"
Every couple's wedding day is packed with emotion, with Shelby and Chris's certainly no exception. "I was so nervous that I was actually sick a few times before the ceremony!" remembers the bride. "I was stressed about something going wrong, but I was also worried at the thought of it all being over too soon. We'd spent so much time planning that the idea of the day coming to an end was quite sad. My parents also shed a few tears when they saw me in my dress, which was hugely emotional for me. My dad never gets upset and is usually very reserved, so seeing him break down was so special to me. Chris was just the same. I've never really seen him cry apart from when Romee was born. To see him sob when our daughters and I walked down the aisle was a moment I'll always cherish."
Tears well and truly over; the tissues were binned, and it was time to get the party started. "We hired an amazing singer, Christy McAllister, who sang all of our chosen songs perfectly," continues Shelby. "We also had a magician, Stevo, to perform during the reception – he blew everyone's minds with his incredible tricks! We even hired a saxophonist for three 30-minute sets throughout the evening. He had every single person up dancing – literally the entire wedding party! We'll never forget seeing our two families come together on the dance floor, getting on as if they'd been friends forever. There are no words that can even begin to describe how amazing it was."
SHELBY'S TOP TIP - "Always include your partner. It might be hard not to take control, but including your other half really brings you both closer. Plus, there's no better feeling than seeing your plans come together."
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