The Couple: Louise & Mark
Length of Engagement: 10 years (to the day)
Where it started…
We met back in November 2008 when Louise was working in a cafe in Broadway, Small Talk, at the weekends and Mark used to pop in after football for food.
We took a liking to each other and started talking over the old school messaging platform, MSN; we haven’t stopped since.
Popping the question…
One of the first dates we went on was a walk to the top of the Malvern Hills. We packed a picnic and stayed up there for hours, we loved it. On our way back down, we saw a lovely tree overlooking a quarry lake. Mark carved ‘MARK LOVES LOUISE’ into the bark with a sharp rock; I remember thinking it was very sweet.
We returned to Malvern Hills many times throughout our years of being together, but with the constant changing of the seasons we never did find our tree or see that engraving again.
Little did I know, Mark took secret trips up the hills and managed to locate it. He spent the next few months planning a specific route and booked a photographer to pose as a dog walker when the time came.
On the eve of our 10th anniversary, we went out for a meal to celebrate at the Indian restaurant where we had our very first date. The following day on March 3rd 2019, we decided to take my brother’s Frenchie, Alfie, for a walk up the Malvern Hills. The weather wasn’t great but as we hadn’t visited for a long time, it felt right to go again.
We walked for a while until Mark suddenly realised, we stumbled upon our tree! In excitement, he told me to see if the engraving was still there. When I looked, I could see the darkened markings of our names scarred into the tree, still visible over all this time. It was then that I saw it, right next to the original carving, ‘LOUISE WILL YOU MARRY ME?’. I turned around and there he was, on one knee, with the most beautiful yellow sapphire ring I’d seen 5 months ago.
I then realised the dog walking couple we’d been following the whole time was a photographer who captured the whole moment. I don’t remember much from then other than pure shock!
We wanted a venue which was the perfect combination of countryside and modern and offered a blank canvas for us to create our vision. The Barn at Upcote offered this, along with beautiful uninterrupted views, separate rooms for the wedding breakfast & evening dancing, a convenient wedding suite within walking distance; the list could go on!
Looking the part…
I always knew I wanted an understated stylish gown and I found the ‘one’ on my first visit to ‘Tilly Trotter Brides’, in Leamington Spa. I loved every single dress I tried on but when I wore the very last one, I knew it was the one. The gown was from Charlie Brear; the top half which I removed in the evening was from Zetterberg Couture. The dress suited my personality perfectly and was so comfortable to wear all day. It also matched the relaxed atmosphere of the Barn.
Literally every moment of the day seemed perfect. We smiled all day, our mouths hurt so much by the end of the night.
One of the moments that stood out most was our first dance. We took secret lessons and surprised everyone with a rumba to Stand By Me by Ben E King. We performed a full routine which ended in a lift – nearly! It was a complete surprise to everyone.
We’re both lovers of nature and wanted the whole day to be super relaxed, modern with a scandi look and feel.
We kept decorations simple with giant balloons and ivy tails, a foliage wall, house plants in abundance, single stemmed white and green flowers in vases, brass candlesticks, tea lights, blankets and glittering fairy lights. We also had some fabulous lanterns hanging from the barn ceiling.
Two days after the big day we went on a mini moon to Cornwall, where it rained from the moment we arrived to the moment we left. It wasn’t at all disheartening as we were still buzzing from the weather we had on our wedding day.
It was a great time to reflect on such an incredible day. We’ve booked a proper honeymoon for May 2020 where we’ll be embarking on a self-drive road trip around Western USA; starting with a coastal drive from LA to San Fran, followed by RVing across the desert and hitting spots like Yosemite National Park, Death Valley, Grand Canyon and Vegas – before finally stopping off for a bit of luxury in Miami Beach! We cannot wait!
Advice for other couples…
Enjoy every moment of the planning because time flies by!
Don’t get upset if something goes wrong because memories are made in those quirky stories. Try to take some time out as a couple, it’s great to just nip into the bridal suite for a minute or two to take a break.
Wear flats! Best decision I ever made, and I think I was the only girl still in her shoes by midnight!
Caterers Orchard Catering
Florist Vale Garden Flowers
Photographer Dave Stokes Photography
Cake Vintage Couture Cakes
Balloons Vale Balloons
Decorations Every Event Hire
Hair Libby at Hygge and Lykke
Makeup Makeup by Alexander Sinclair
Dress Tilly Trotter Bridal gowns
Suit Moss Bros
Entertainment Nero String Quartet
Music Cotswold DJ, i.am.Will