Cowboy boots & Denbies Wine estate. Michlyn & Darren, February 2022.

ABOUT US. Darren and Michlyn met twenty years ago at St Mary's University in Twickenham:

"He was talking very loudly with his friends and I told him to be quiet as I was revising for an exam! We started seeing each other on and off but were too young and immature to commit. We remained friends and in 2006 after we had left Uni, we got back together and have been together ever since!"

In that time, Michlyn trained to be an English teacher and taught at secondary school for 13 years. Before lockdown, she left the classroom and now designs and delivers English curriculum resources and professional development to teachers across the country. Her partner Darren left a career in engineering and is now a Science teacher.

The couple got engaged on their 10 year anniversary. By that time their daughter had been born and the couple has just bought a house. As Michlyn says, "...there was no romantic proposal, just a 'let's do this' conversation!"

Although they got engaged in 2018, the couple didn't start planning the wedding until after lockdown in 2020. The plan was always for the wedding to be in 2022 - in a hope that any Covid restrictions would be gone. Thankfully, they did not have to reschedule their wedding, however the day after the nuptials Storm Eunice happened!

WEDDING PLANNING & VENUE. Michlyn had secretly been planning her wedding for a long time and, as a result, did not feel that she needed a wedding planner:

"Dawn and her wonderful team at Denbies sorted out the logistics at our venue and I used Pinterest to save general looks and ideas for themes. The most useful tools I used were the Bridebook app and a very detailed excel worksheet which had everything on there that I downloaded online. In terms of inspiration, I followed @rocknrollbridemagazine, however in terms of music and decor, Darren and I knew what we wanted. We both love films and are children of the eighties, so our talented best friends @thewestwoodcreative designed our table decor as their wedding gift. I was adamant on not spending ridiculous amounts of money on flowers, so we collected gin bottles and filled them with faux flowers for our table decorations. Instead of fancy place settings, we bought a load of Tunnocks tea cakes as a nod to my Scottish heritage and stuck little flags with our guest's names. I also ordered a batch of personalised wildflower seeds as our giveaways for each guest from Etsy. The bridal bouquets were dried flowers and also purchased on Etsy and my bouquet is now on display at home. Our beautiful cake was designed by @brownsugar_cakes and it honestly was the best cake I've ever eaten. The only other thing I wanted was a memorial table with pictures of family members who couldn't join us on our special day."

The couple's overall wedding budget was £15,000 and they managed to be under budget by £5000. They decided to use that money on a Family Moon and booked a Mediterranean all inclusive cruise. Michlyn thinks that booking the wedding in February made the biggest difference to their wedding budget, as well as having it on a Thursday rather than the weekend.

Wedding venue was at Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking

"We chose this venue as we regularly visit the grounds for walks and wine and beer tours. The views on the estate are spectacular all year around and it is only a 20 minute drive away from home. The Surrey Hills and the surrounding areas of Box Hill hold a special place in our hearts as a family so it really was an easy decision to choose our venue." THE DRESS. Michlyn's dress was designed by WToo and purchased at Helena Fortley Bridal in Caterham. She had a decent budget of £2000:

"Initially I thought I wanted a loose fitting, flowy boho-style dress but when I tried them on they just didn't feel right. I whittled my choices down to two dresses even though in my heart I didn't feel like any of them were 'the one'. On my second fitting I randomly asked to try on a dress I saw online and as soon as I put it on, I knew it was my dress. In the end I went for a fitted, spaghetti strap dress with a low neckline- the complete opposite to what I thought I wanted! I also didn't think I wanted a veil as it was too traditional, but I tried one on in my second fitting and I couldn't resist it. Sally and her team at Helena Fortley were so right in their choice of veil! I balanced my traditional veil by wearing a custom painted leather jacket."

As venue was a vineyard, Michlyn wanted the color scheme to be quite natural and botanical. The bride and her bridesmaids decided on the color Hunter green and then they found their own dresses online; they all had very different styles and body shapes. Michlyn bought her daughter's flower girl dress from Etsy.

BRIDAL SHOES. Michlyn wanted to feel comfortable on the wedding day, so in the end, she chose some flat, white cowboy boots. They were super comfy and definitely paid off when they had to take pictures out on the vineyard in February!

"...I think I only paid £35 for them on Amazon!" - she says

MAKE UP ARTIST. Chantelle from Suzanne Dusek Makeup Chantelle made the bride and the bridal party feel very relaxed and their makeup lasted all day and night, even through the speeches and dancing.

PERFUME. The bride chose to wear Lady Million and the groom Darren wore Hugo Boss Man (Green), the bride's favourite.

"Darren and I actually spent some of our budget on matching Hamilton watches. Darren loves his watches and thought it would be a nice thing for us both to have on the day. He and his groomsmen actually wore matching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles socks which Mick, our photographer, managed to capture. They all wore dark blue suits and one of the best men splurged for all of them to have matching shoes from Jeffrey West for the day. Darren's suit was from Hugo Boss."


The highlight was just to have closest family and friends to celebrate with them. It was the first event after lockdown to get all of their family and friends together.

WORDS OF ADVICE. Michlyn's advice is to design your day around you and what you like:

"Your guests honestly won't remember what flowers or fancy table decor you had, so if you're going to spend a lot of money, spend it on a great menu, DJ and a photographer like Mick from The Kensington Photographer. In hindsight, I wish I had spent a little extra on the Videographer as well! One thing we also did was spend time alone as a couple with our daughter the night before the wedding. It was lovely having dinner alone and having time just to relax on our own before the craziness of the big event. Also, enjoy your time alone together when you have your wedding photos on the day!"

"I just want to thank Mick again for the truly beautiful pictures he took on our day. He was so kind, fun and professional and not once did we feel like we were constantly posing for the camera!"