Ashley & Paul, both 29, married at the Constantinou Bros Athena Beach Hotel in Paphos on the 14th September 2014.
Paul and I originally knew who each other were from our sixth form days though we were never really friends; we just knew the same people. It wasn’t until I was back in Chalfont St Peter after University that we were put on each other’s radar! One night we were out for our mutual friend’s birthday in July at Roadhouse in Covent Garden, at the time Paul smoked and said he was popping out for a cigarette, I took the opportunity to go with him as it was incredibly hot in the underground club! We sat on the steps and began chatting away, as Paul will tell you; I like to talk a lot! I remember thinking that this guy was good looking and fun to be around, before we knew it, the others were leaving the club as it was closing! Paul proceeded to put his number in my phone and said to text when I got home. When I did get home, I looked for his number but I couldn’t find it! I thought maybe he hadn’t saved it properly, I wasn’t impressed! It wasn’t until about 2 weeks later that I found it, he had saved it under ‘The Snapetrix’ (Snapetrix being a nickname for him since his school days), by then I couldn’t text, I had to stick to the dating protocols and it was far too late!
That September, a group of us went to Zante for a week’s holiday, Paul and I included! As we had done before in London, we got on extremely well and every so often it would get a bit flirty. I remember my friend who I was sharing a room with continuously kept saying ‘you fancy Paul don’t you?!’ I kept saying no which was a lie! A few nights in, we held hands walking to the main street and I remember having butterflies and thinking that this was all very exciting. It wasn’t until our last night that we finally kissed!
When we got home, I was asked out on a date and we have been together ever since, that was over 7 years ago!
Paul and I first said I love you to each other about 3 months after we became ‘official’! A few of us had gone away for New Year so we were staying in a hotel in Northampton. After the bells and the party had finished we all headed back to our rooms, Paul and I stayed up that night talking until about 5am, during the course of that conversation the ‘I love yous’ were said!
Paul proposed to me on Valentine’s Day in 2013 – it was a complete surprise! We have never been one for celebrating Valentine’s Day, our ritual is a Chinese takeout as it is Paul’s favourite – he gets very excited when we get one! That day I had been to work, I came home with Paul waiting for me at the door wanting to order the Chinese, I responded that I needed to go to my slimming class first but asked him to order it because by the time I would be back it would be nearly here. I get back from class, I was pretty happy already as I had received my half stone award that day, I went straight upstairs to change into my lounging clothes and took off my makeup and we sat to eat!
After we had finished eating, I was sat on the sofa, Paul comes up to me and says I have made you something on the IPad….if you knew my husband you would understand he really is not a dab hand when it comes to technology, he is not allowed near my laptop without supervision!……he had put together a video – the first slide saying ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ and the rest were pictures of us all through the years with Rod Stewert Have I Told You Lately playing in the background, I remember feeling very chuffed that he went to all the effort and knew it probably wasn’t the easiest thing for him to do! The last slide was a picture of him holding up a sign saying ‘Will you marry me?’
I was speechless…..no words…..nothing….I don’t even think I said yes for nearly a minute, Paul says now that was the longest minute of his life! He pulled out a massive Tolkowsky box and up popped a beautiful white gold solitaire diamond ring! I still couldn’t quite believe it, it was our turn!!
Before I start this story I should probably tell you that I love ducks, it is a known facts among my friends that they make me happy!
I had 4 bridesmaids, my sister Philippa, and my friends Helen, Nicola and Victoria, they organized my hen do for me, I had no involvement! I was picked up from my house and driven back to my parent’s village in Chalfont, I was told we would be making a stop at Vicki’s mum’s house and then it would be onto a secret location.
When I arrived at destination 1, I was blindfolded and dressed up in an outfit which I had no idea of what it was! I just kept laughing the whole time, I was then put in the car and driven around, my bridesmaids asked if I had any idea of where I was and at that point I just happened to guess where we were due to road, I had been driving that area for 10 years! They were not impressed…after a lot of turns so I would lose my bearings and 20 minutes later, we arrived at destination 2.
I was led into a room and I was then allowed to remove my blindfold, I was standing in my Mum’s front room (normally a 2 minute drive from Vicki’s mums!) with all my lovely ducklings yelling surprise, and I of course was dressed up as a duck! So today was my duck do rather than my hen do J
The activity planned for the day was knicker making, we had lots of giggles, Prosecco, pimms and rude jokes of course! We had a few games, a piñata and my mum laid on a spread of lovely food to fill everyone’s bellies! The weather was beautiful that day, so we were all sat outside together, it was a lovely sight. I was so touched by everyone’s effort and some had travelled quite far for only a couple of hours!
I was then told to get ready for the evening shenanigans, where I was put in a mini bus with drinks to send us on our way, everyone was dressed in black and given pink tutu’s, I had a white one! We played Mr & Mrs with some rather rude questions! We arrived at our destination in Shoreditch, went to a fab bar called Bar @ One where the staff were great and then onto our final destination of carwash where we danced the night away to cheesy music!!
Paul and I had been looking at venue’s in the UK, we had come across one that we really liked but the bar was to shut at 11.30 and the cost was quite high! Both of us had always wanted to get married abroad, but we thought it would be far easier to get married here. After we looked at one venue which I was thoroughly disappointed with, Paul ended up saying ‘you are going to get your own way anyway and we’ll be going abroad, why are we even looking here?!’ I had my green light to go ahead!
I didn’t look very far, I had stayed previously at the Athena Beach Hotel and it was lovely, I simply emailed the hotel asking for a rough quote, this is what I think persuaded Paul!
Our group do like a bit of a boogie! We had a space on our RSVP’s that asked
‘We promise to get up and dance if the DJ plays this song……’
We had a lot of songs that we put forward to our DJ which were played throughout the night. Our last song was meant to be Bryan Adam’s Summer of 69, this was played, everyone came together as they do for the last song and crowded round us, it was very memorable! The funny part was, when the song ended, one of our friends kept shouting out his song choice that hadn’t been played ‘Will Smith – Boom Shake the Room’ rather squeakily at the top of his voice! The DJ finally caved and played it, I have never seen a room erupt and jump about!
Our reception was held outside on the grounds, just next to the gazebo where we got married. We had a long top table with 8 people, then 6 more tables with 8-9 people on them. We were very blessed, we had an abroad wedding and there were nearly 60 of us!
All the tables had white table cloths with chair covers, with a white bow. They were decorated with scattered royal blue crystals. My mum had crossed stitched name tags for the girls which were mounted onto royal blue card. The boys name tags were the funniest photo’s we could find, again mounted onto the blue card!
My mother-in-law had made some activities for the table; we had the ‘I Spy’ where our guests had to take various different photos’. We also had a little booklet of brainteasers which kept everyone guessing. They kept coming up to our table asking for the answers!
Our centerpieces were tall candelabra’s that could hold tea lights, the hotel had placed colour changing tea lights in them with tealights round the stand too, so in the dark it was just a scene of colour!
Our favours were miniature bottles of spirits, Paul had Jack Daniels and I had Honey Jack.
We ordered cupcakes and a small top tier cake to cut. Half chocolate, half vanilla, they were decorated with butter icing. The top tier was vanilla too with our bride and groom ducks as centerpieces on top! We had to cut the cake fairly sharpish after the ceremony as I was told the icing was starting to melt due to the heat!
I was quite nervous and fidgety throughout the whole day, much more so than I thought I would be. I think my favourite part of the day was probably when everyone had eaten and we were about to start the speeches. I was able to relax a bit more at this point because after this I knew the dancing would be coming!!
I do have to say though, throughout the whole day, and especially in the morning in my nervous state, our photographers were excellent. Nick & Aimie are just as crazy as us, so they fitted right in! They kept explaining what would happen at each part of the day, and not just to do with the photography, that did help to keep the panic from boiling over!
My Advice: As a bride, I was given the advice that before you leave for the ceremony, take a breath, look in the mirror and appreciate how beautiful you look because you probably wouldn’t get another chance, they were right! Also, to try and remember the day, it passes in the blink of the eye, Paul and I were still remembering things days later!
Photographer: Beziique by Nick Wild Photography
Cake: The Cake Lady Cyprus