New Year’s Eve is an incredibly special time to throw a wedding. This poignant day was the perfect backdrop to Emily and Luke’s black tie wedding, which featured everything from a saxophone and bongo player to a sparkler send-off and midnight countdown.
The start of Emily and Luke’s relationship was a case of right person, wrong time. They began dating when they were 14 but went their separate ways at the end of GCSEs. “But we always used to end up talking at parties and he was always still the one,” says Emily. They reunited when they were 18 while Emily was on a girls’ holiday to Magaluf (“I still swear my best friend set it up that we were in the same hotel as the lads!”) and have been together ever since.
Luke proposed on New Year’s Eve 2018, during a house party with all their friends and family. After watching fireworks in the garden at midnight, Emily’s dad made her stand on a chair in the middle of the room and give a (drunken) speech. “A few second later Luke came over and I noticed our song was playing which we always said would be our first dance. Luke dropped on one knee and popped the question in front of all our family and friends! He was in tears, bless him! That’s when we knew a New Year’s Eve wedding was a must.”
Even more meant to be was that Emily’s dad owns a jewellery shop. Luke got both her parents in on the surprise proposal by having her mum help her pick her dream engagement ring out just for fun, and then getting her dad to set it aside until the time was right.
Two years to the day after the engagement, they got married at the stunning Alrewas Hayes in Staffordshire.
Photographer: Gareth Newstead Photographer
The Wedding Dress
Emily wore the ‘Athena’ dress by Suzanne Neville, bought from The Wedding Club in Birmingham.
“I had a fitted fishtail dress with a sweetheart neck, it was very simple but had all-over lace. I wanted the ‘less is more’ look. I had lost two stone so I wanted something to show that off, of course! I had two extra layers put underneath to make it more fishtail like. I also added a delicate Bardot lace sleeve to give it a more romantic look which then I could take off at nighttime for a more party look.
“My mum picked it! I tried on lots of styles and was fairly open to trying them but it soon become apparent what style suited me best. I tried on the big, fuller dresses but they swamped me because of my height. I’m only 5ft 3 so felt it was way too much. I also tried on very detailed dresses but again they just took it away from me and looked too much. My dress didn’t look much on the hanger but once it was on I absolutely loved it!
“I tried about seven dresses on before I came to trying my dress on and I loved it straight away – even more when I had made the changes to it so I could see its potential. I tried about two more on after that but kept wanting to go back to my dress. I went back two weeks later with my bridesmaids to show them my dress and it felt even more special seeing their reactions. I knew it was the one.
“I accessorised with a long veil which was bespoke to my dress. They got extra lace matching my dress and added it to the veil to bring it all together. I wore a Tiffany bracelet which had a blue love heart on it as my something blue and my bridesmaids surprised me with the matching earrings to wear on the day! With my dress being all-over lace I wanted to keep it simple.
“It was such a special moment when my dad came to get me from the room! I knew he would be emotional but not as much as he was! He was in tears and couldn’t really speak, he just kept saying I’m speechless.
“I also got my dress on without my bridesmaids or mum seeing as I wanted the first reveal photo. It was so lovely as my bridesmaids had only seen my dress when I picked it 15 months previous! So that was special to see their reactions as they had probably forgotten what it looked like.”
The Wedding Party
Emily complemented her black tie theme with no less than eight bridesmaids in stunning black evening dresses. The groomsmen wore smart black tuxes with satin lapels, hired from Moss Bros.
“Hair by Ellis did my hair. She is so amazing, I showed her a photo of what I wanted on the trial and she got it first go! It was a low, sleek bun which I had seen previous and thought it looked very classy. I have a lot of hair so I knew I could get a full look with it – which it was, the bun was massive! I had it all off my face too – I’m not a fan of loose hair down. I did my own wedding makeup, but the girls and mum had Vicki B doing their makeup.
“I had eight bridesmaids – six big and two small. I had my sister Kirsty, my sister-in-law Natalie, my maid of honour Jess, who is my high school bestie, and three other besties: Hannah, Joanne and Kiera. We’ve all been friends since school. The morning getting ready was so lovely, we were so chilled, it wasn’t rushed in the slightest.
“They wore one shoulder black fishtail dresses, with a slight ruffle on the shoulder. They were by Jarlo and I wanted black to fit in with the black tie New Year’s Eve wedding I wanted. I knew in my head what I was looking for, and as soon as I saw it, I knew they were perfect. I took my maid of honour to try it and sent the girls pictures which they all agreed they loved. The flower girls wore Monsoon dresses.”