During his third year at the University of Nottingham, James joined the engineering society. The socialising and events that entailed allowed James to meet life-long friends and create everlasting memories, but little did he realise one of these friends would have a particularly large role to play in the rest of his life. When James met the second-year student, Ayse, they bonded instantly and became good friends straight away. It wasn’t until after graduating from university that James and Ayse became a couple, but they both knew they’d found the one. The couple embarked on a beautiful relationship, falling deeper in love with each other every day. So, when it came to the proposal, James pulled out all the stops to create the perfect plan. Having fashioned a hand crafted, advent calendar, James gave Ayse a present every day throughout December. Attached to each present, a gift tag with a clue on it, leading up to a cardboard question mark that hung on the back of the door, ready for Christmas day. The only hint James would divulge is that the final present was ‘more for him than her’. Ayse began to imagine tickets to his favourite band or destination. When the day finally arrived, James woke up at 4am to attach the ring box to the cardboard question mark, however, this less than stealthy mission woke up a sleepy and confused Ayse, who was then allowed to receive her final gift early. As she read the heart filled love letter that was placed on her bed side table, Ayse’s sleep-daze past and her eyes began to fill with tears of joy. Turning back to James lying next to her in bed, Ayse was met with a beautiful wedding ring as James asked for her hand in marriage.
On the day of The Crossland’s wedding, James dressed in his tweed, three-piece suit, waited patiently at the top of the aisle for his wife-to-be. Set on the beautiful Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire, the red-brick Hazel Gap Barn is a striking and magical wedding barn, that was filled with 110 of the couples nearest and dearest wedding guests. The wedding barn was dressed in navy, burgundy and cream to represent James’ national flag of Great Britain and the Turkish flag to signify Ayse’s origin from Turkey. These two flags were placed decoratively throughout the centrepieces and matched the burgundy in the groomsmen’s attire and the bridesmaid’s dresses, perfectly coordinating with the floral décor. Ayse arrived and took everyone’s breath away. Wearing the Lou Lou bridal gown from The Wedding Room, Ayse looked stunning from head to toe. With a silk belt and white silk shoes, this ¾ length tea dress was perfectly suited to Ayse’s personality and figure. The hand-crafted veil that Ayse wore complimented the sweetheart illusion neckline and polka dot details. As she walked down the aisle, the guests and groomsmen were left in awe. James couldn’t wait to say yes to the rest of his life with the girl of his dreams.
How did you choose the style of your wedding shoes?
I have a few evening dresses that are 1950s tea length dresses so I knew I wanted something along the lines of that. I also don't consider myself a girly girl so I knew that I was not going to have a long, grand wedding dress. I wanted to feel comfortable and like myself even on my wedding day. And as soon as I saw the Nellie dress I knew it was the one!
Did you have a dress budget, and did you stick to it?
I did not plan on spending as much as I did initially. But when I found the right dress I knew it would be worth it. I also justified it by thinking that I would turn it into an evening dress after the wedding and maybe get it dyed! I haven't got around to it yet though...
How did you choose the style of your hair?
I had two hair trials. A few hours after the first one I kept looking in the mirror and thinking I did not look like my usual self. It was important to me that I looked "done up" on my wedding day but still had a hair style and make up I would wear on a day to day basis. So, I went for a second trial and asked for something a lot more simple and it definitely paid off. I'm also not great with taking numerous hair pins out of my hair at the end of the night (especially after a few drinks!) so I knew I didn't want anything that would require a lot of hair spray and hair pins!
What was your favourite moment of your wedding?
Although it's not a "moment" the ceremony was my favourite part. Although we had 110 people watching us it felt very intimate, special and emotional. We had been looking forward to that moment for months. Other than that, there was one other moment that I very clearly remember from the day. I was not nervous at all the evening before or the morning of the wedding. I was fine on the way to the venue. Once we got to the venue and my car stopped outside and all the bridesmaids and my mum got out I was left on my own for a few minutes. That was the first time that I'd had to myself all morning and that's when it all hit me and I could not wait to go inside and marry James.
What was your favourite flower in your bouquet?
Daisies. They are my favourite and they always have been.
Were you nervous the night before your wedding, if so, how did you overcome the nerves?
I don't think I had a chance to be nervous to be honest. We had a gathering at the local pub the night before with quite a lot of our guests. I was pretty much ready for bed by the time I got back from that.
Do you have any top tips on how to get the most out of your photographer?
Our photographer was very organised which was very helpful. We filled out a questionnaire she sent to us before the wedding which had some personal questions as well as what we wanted for our wedding photos. We had decided on six groups shots prior to the wedding which helped as we didn't have to worry about whether or not we had missed anyone on the day. Having said that we were so concerned about making sure all the family members were in the photos that we didn't actually have any group photos with different groups of friends (apart from bridesmaids and groomsmen of course). So, I would definitely recommend including some groups of friends shots.
If you could go back to the planning stage of your wedding, what would you do differently and why?
To be honest we would do it all the same. James and I have organised events for 300 people at university so when we first started talking about planning the wedding we knew exactly what we needed to do! Straight away we put a guest list together and everything else went on from there. There were a lot of Excel sheets by the end of the planning.
What is the best piece of advice you could offer another bride?
Don't feel like you have to do stuff a certain way or look a certain way because you are a "bride" and it's your wedding. We had a few people say things like "Ah you MUST have a first dance" (we didn't really want to) or "you MUST get your make up done professionally" (I did a make up trial and was not happy at all and knew that I wanted to do my own make up from then on). But at the end of the day we're so glad we did things our way because everything about our wedding was very "us".
How did you choose your suppliers?
Mostly we looked suppliers up on the internet.