Toni and Stewart Dines enjoyed a classic Cotswolds wedding
It was a beautifully sunny spring day when Toni and Stewart said their vows at the pretty seventeenth century Swan Hotel in Bibury, Gloucestershire. “It had rained all day on the Friday before so I was getting worried,” says Toni. “However, we had been given a white umbrella from my brother that had been passed to two brides already, both resulting in beautiful days. Third time lucky and it seems we have ourselves a good luck charm!”
The theme of the wedding was Tiffany and Co, to match Toni’s Tiffany Harmony engagement ring, which she had picked out after Stewart’s proposal on a beach in Hawaii. “I never thought I would have a Tiffany ring — I’m a very lucky lady!” she says. Touches of Tiffany’s iconic turquoise colour were seen throughout the day, from the bridesmaids’ dresses to the colours used in the guest book. There were also favours wrapped up in the famous blue boxes and white ribbons.
Toni’s strapless and ruched wedding gown was from Victoria Marie Bridal in Cricklade. “Victoria was more relaxed than any of the other stores that I visited and there was absolutely no pressure from her,” says Toni. Her hair and make-up was done by wedding specialist Hayley Hewett. “Hayley understood exactly what I wanted and replicated it with ease, even adding to my expectations. In the end my hair and make-up looked better than I could have ever imagined.” For the male guests, “military uniform and traditions such as tops and tails for the gentleman was something that we both wanted, and it seemed to work,” says Stewart, adding a traditional touch to their small and exclusive wedding.
Toni’s sister-in-law Natasha made the cake – “she’s so talented!” For those couples currently choosing their cakes, the couple have a good tip. “If you want an elaborate cake but don’t want to be swamped with left-over cake afterwards, consider having an artificial top tier. The bottom cake can be the one that you cut and eat afterwards. A fraction of the cost and if made well your guests will never know!”
Capture Every Moment photography lived up to their name and the couple are thrilled with their photos. “Carissa and Paul were so easy going and down to earth that our photographs felt natural and easy which was exactly what we wanted,” says Toni. “I love looking through our photos – they literally did capture every moment perfectly!”
Toni and Stewart organised the day themselves, as they wanted to ensure that their family and friends could relax and just enjoy the wedding. They also kept some surprises for their guests, including their first dance. “We had dance lessons for this and managed to keep it a secret from absolutely everybody!” says Toni.
One surprise that the couple had themselves was the couple’s dog, Ralph, turning up as a guest. “Keira Bentley at Westland Boarding Kennels was looking after our dog after we had made a decision that we didn’t want anyone at the wedding to have responsibility for Ralph, even though we would have loved to have had him with us for the day,” explains Toni. “But Keira then surprised us by bringing him along to the end of the ceremony so he could be a part of the photos. Keira was brilliant, and so was Ralph!” “Ralph arriving was the biggest surprise and being able to have him in our photos for the rest of the day really made the wedding complete,” adds Stewart. Paw-fect!