KELLY AND MICHAEL PALMER are a Match.com success story.
"My friend was getting married down in London, and I really wanted a date for her big day," recalls Kelly. She joined the popular dating website, and started to message Michael.
The two soon became an item. In the next year, they attended many other weddings together. "A week before my birthday, another close friend was tying the knot. Everyone at the wedding kept asking: 'When's it your turn?'; or 'When are you two getting engaged?' and all I could reply with was that I had to be asked first!"
Michael kept quiet very quiet while Kelly was being quizzed. Two days later, the couple travelled from Milton Keynes to Norwich to visit family for Kelly's birthday. On the way back, Michael took her to a cottage where they had enjoyed holidays together before. "And he just got down on one knee! He had had it planned all along." When everyone had been asking at the wedding, he'd managed not to give the game away. The ring had a princess cut three carat diamond set into white gold. "It's beautiful," Kelly smiles, "He did a good job!"
The couple chose Highgate House, near Northampton, to host their special day. "The place is beautiful, and we managed to get a cancellation, so we booked the venue with only six months to go until the date!"
A butterfly theme was decided upon, with purple and white accents. Kelly hung butterfly decorations from the ceiling, and each table was named after a different species accompanied by information about the insect for guests to read during the wedding breakfast.
"I had planned to get married in purple," Kelly says."I ordered a big, handmade evening gown from Hong Kong. But once it arrived, it just wasn't quite right."
Instead, she chose an ivory, strapless dress. The corseted bodice was embellished and it had a full skirt. "I carried a purple bag, though, to still get a bit of colour in there!" Her two sisters were chosen as bridesmaids, and they were gowned in a lovely matching purple. There were also three flower girls, who wore white party dresses.
Michael's outfit also co-ordinated well with the theme with a purple pocket square poking out of his silver morning suit. The groom had a best man and three ushers, who were dressed similarly.
Kelly stayed at Highgate House the night before the wedding. In the morning, she had her hair styled by Peter Hatter of Hair Rouge, Stony Stratford, and her makeup was completed by Northampton-based Julie Allen from Glow Tanz. "I wasn't nervous at all, which was really bizarre," remembers Kelly. "But as I started to make my way towards the ceremony room, the tears started to come! The grounds of Highgate House are beautiful, and the whole occasion was just so overwhelming."
Kelly's 63 - year old grandfather gave her away, and they entered the hall to the soaring beautiful tune of Ave Maria. Before the day, Kelly and Michael had planned to dance back up the aisle together after saying their vows. "I'm a Pilates instructor and I wanted to do something a bit unusual," says Kelly, mischievously. "But on the day, Michael whispered to me that he didn't think he could do it in front of such a big room of people. I was determined, though! I gave the nod, the registrar pressed the button, and I led us both out to Forever by Chris Brown."
Following the ceremony, more than one hundred guests sat down to a three course meal. To start, they enjoyed wild mushrooms in a garlic sauce, followed by pan-fried chicken with seasonal vegetables. For dessert, there was a magnificent New York-style cheesecake. "We left a disposable camera on every table, so that our family and friends could take photos during the day. When we got the pictures developed, every single camera had an image of the cheesecake on it! I'm thinking this must be a good sign!" laughs Kelly.
While people were eating, she played a slideshow that she had put together which tracked her and Michael's relationship. It began with their Match.com profile photos, and included holiday snaps, family portraits and also pictures of colleagues from her health and nutrition business. Meanwhile, professional photographer Simon Hills of 2SH Photography in Milton Keynes, captured magical moments from the day itself.
In the evening, there was a disco. The DJ played from a list of music requested by the guests, who had all emailed him three of their favourite songs. "We thought it would be another touch to make the day unique. We wanted our family to leave saying 'The Palmer wedding was the best I've ever been to!' "
Left in charge of planning the honeymoon, Michael booked a magical break to St Lucia for him and his new wife. "It was just fantastic,"Kelly enthuses, "he even organised helicopter transfers, which was something we'd always wanted to do!"
Photographer - Simon Hills
Tel: 01296 711029