Emily and Phil
Firstly let’s find out about our couple:
- How did you meet?
We met through mutual friends in a StarWars costuming club, called the UK Garrison, that raises money for charities through Geeky replica-costume wearing. I used to be a Stormtrooper! Our first date was 21st September 2002, so we’re not exactly ‘Newly Weds’ in the traditional sense, just in the factual sense!
- What is your favourite thing to do on a date night?
We enjoy eating out, but it doesn’t have to be a fancy restaurant- a romantic picnic is always a winner, or fast-food after the cinema!
- Sum up your husband in three words?
Beacon-of-loveliness, Multi-faceted, calming.
Also; mesmerising, cheeky, waffly, twinkly, geeky, funny, perceptive, observant, tenacious, patient, strong, wise, gentle and child-like. As I said, Phil is multi-faceted and impossible to describe in three words.
- Sum up your wife in three words?
Wonderful, fun, silly.
- Can you tell us a little about your engagement story?
I proposed to Em on May 4th, mainly so that every year I could say “May the Fourth be with you”!
Without realising it, Em had designed her own engagement ring as she was doing a jewellery-making evening-class and they set an exercise. I secretly contacted her tutor and commissioned him to bring her design to life.
I then took Em on a surprise holiday down to Padstow in Cornwall under the pretence of her birthday (which is May 7th) and we had dinner in Rick Stein’s seafood restaurant, as Em had always wanted to go there.
At dessert, the waitress brought the ring box out and I got down on one knee in front of the whole restaurant. Em cried and hugged me so much that she didn’t even notice the ring was her own design. I had to tell her to stop crying and look at the bloody thing!
Here’s all about their magical big day:
- Where did the ceremony take place and how was the experience of saying ‘I do’?
- Where did the reception take place and what are your favourite memories of the reception?
We had the whole day, Ceremony and Reception, at High Rocks in Tunbridge Wells. It’s a fantastic venue, slightly magical and fantastical, with the beautiful High Rocks opposite.
Saying ‘I Do’ felt wonderful, it was such a natural thing to do, and we were surprisingly calm. We both absolutely loved our vows, which we wrote ourselves.
After the Ceremony, we absolutely loved calling each other Husband and Wife all the time. I don’t think it will ever wear off!
One of our favourite parts of the reception was our first dance to Phil Spector’s ‘To Know You Is To Love You’ performed by Marc Bolan, which we had rehearsed in the lead-up to the wedding. It involved a little Viennese Waltz, a little Quickstep, and was really fun!
Emily’s favourite part of the reception was when I, along with my Best Man and my old Schoolmate, performed a surprise Breakdance routine that we had put together! We had got changed into hooded jackets, and the staff at the venue rushed in because they thought we were criminals out to steal unattended bags! Once they realised who we were, they stayed to watch us and loved it!
For our guests, we can honestly say that one of the most popular and talked-about things was the temporary Tattoo station. It was a HUGE hit with everyone! Even the next morning, at our big group breakfast, everyone was still comparing tattoos!
- What surprised you the most on the day?
Nothing really surprised us, we were very lucky as everything went to plan. But then, we’d had a year and a half to plan it!
- How would you sum your wedding up in one sentence?
Very Emily & Phil!
- What one piece of advice would you give to anyone planning a wedding?
We researched lots of weddings to see what we did and didn’t like, and to soak up advice from others. We had a long time to plan; a year and a half, and that gave us the time to work on lots of detail that we made ourselves. We think that putting your own details into the wedding is important, as then the wedding reflects yourselves more and your guests will appreciate the ‘You-ness’ of it. It’s clichéd to say you should do what you like and not what you think others expect, but it’s so true.
Having said this, the importance of the day is not the flowers, food, music etc., but the ceremony itself, including the vows. For us, the fun stuff was for our guests but our vows were for us, and the rest of the day seems un-important compared to this. We wrote our own vows separately but then ‘edited’ them together. We alternated a paragraph each, and it was the highlight of the day for us.
A great piece of advice we received is to ‘work the room’ between meal courses. As everyone will tell you, it’s impossible to chat to every guest for any length of time throughout the day, so between each food course we went from table to table as a couple to at least say hello to everyone. This meant we didn’t feel guilty afterwards for missing anyone out!
Another piece of advice we can give is to stress the importance of the photos and rings. Our day was wonderful and has given us such amazing happy memories, but the only physical reminders of our day are extremely important, and worth getting right.
The rings you will wear daily for the rest of your lives, so make sure you love them and that they’re meaningful. They don’t necessarily have to be expensive (mine is titanium, which is relatively cheap) but they are a daily reminder of your big day so make sure it’s right.
Finally, be sure to make some time for yourselves during the day. It’s great being centre of attention, but of course everybody will want to talk to you, so you really need to step out for a short period to reflect on the occasion and talk to each other.
Want to see more? Well their wedding was also featured on Offbeat Bride
Our suppliers are listed below:
(Note from Amanda: this section is a little longer than normal, but I just love how Phil and Emily want to give such a personal shout out to their suppliers, so I just can’t bring myself to edit it!)
Photographer: Tino And Pip Photography
Venues: High Rocks, Tunbridge Wells
Dress: A huge, gorgeous, red dress by Hollywood Dreams.
Suit: Suit hired from Moss Bros, it’s a modern style Tux called Venturo.
Shirt and tie from the same range.
Leopard print shoes from Apogee footwear, in Penge. 128 High Street, Penge, London, SE20 7EZ. They sell mail-order through eBay here.
Buttonholes were handmade, they were Emily’s fabric flowers made of red, black and leopard print fabric with a Star Wars insignia in the middle.
Stormtrooper Cufflinks were a gift from Matt, husband of one of the Bridesmaids.
Bridesmaids dresses: Leopard print circle dresses from Vivien Of Holloway, with red petticoats, black belts and black boleros from the same.
The girls particularly liked spinning around on the dancefloor in these dresses, and the red petticoats looked amazing peeping out from underneath.
Glitter heart Hairbands were from Janine Basil on Etsy.
Black shoes were the girl’s own.
Bride’s accessories: Red head-dress from Pearls & Swine
Collar and cuffs from Lulalupin, with flowers made from off cuts of the dress after it was altered down in size.
Hair and Make-Up: Sam of Slap Artists
Cake:Our mountain of amazing cupcakes were made by our good friend and guest Lauren Ashley-Boyall of Wicked Cupcakes
My Groom’s cake was a jaw-dropping Millennium Falcon, by Michelle Wibowo
It wasn’t cheap, but was absolutely stunning, and perhaps surprisingly tasted great too, which isn’t always the case with good looking, thick icing cakes.
Flowers: We decided early on that we didn’t want real flowers, because as beautiful as they can be, they’re expensive, need caring for, and won’t last forever!
Emily’s handmade fabric flowers were made of red, black and leopard print fabric from a great shop in Lewisham called Rolls And Rems.
The bouquet centres were made from various buttons, brooches or beads. I made the bouquet’s frames using Em’s flowers and some wire and ribbon around foam florist’s balls. (Ooer).
The men’s buttonholes were the same but each had a personalised centre (Star Wars designs for Phil and the best man, a Cornish flag for Em’s Stepdad and a Millwall badge for Em’s brother).
Catering: The venue, High Rocks, do all their own catering as it has an Italian Restaurant there during the week. The food is superb!
We did add to the evening buffet with a magnificent cheese stack, however, from The Cheese Shed to which High Rocks added crackers and chutneys. It was all VERY popular with our guests!
Travel (cars/buses etc.):Em was transported to High Rocks on a Steam Train! We Chartered it from Spa Valley Railway
High Rocks has its own station platform at the end of its garden, so it seemed wasteful not to use it!
Any others you would like to mention:We ordered personalised mini rolls of love heart sweeties to be served alongside mints and coffee, from an Ebay seller. The labels had our names on, and were of course leopard print.
For our first dance we had a great teacher and choreographer named George Bowyer
Star Wars has been a huge part of our lives and it was through Star Wars that Em and I met, so it seemed fitting to have Darth Vader and Stormtroopers at our wedding! They are part of the UK Garrison, a club I used to belong to which raises loads of money for various worthy charities.
The Bikini Beach Band. They are amazing, great musicians, very funny, great choice of covers, we were honoured as they’ve supported the likes of Pulp and Sparks.
Linen comprised of black tablecloths with red sashes, ribbons and serviettes by Vivienne Brewer of Chair Cover Chic
Em’s was her Grandmother’s platinum ring which had a rather worn flower design on it. My Step-sister Kari, who is a jewellery-maker, re-worked it smooth and re-sized it.
My titanium ring has our names and wedding date written in Aurebesh (a fictional Star Wars language) and was from RING of Brighton