Real Bride Stories: Paige & Lewis

When real Morilee bride Paige tagged us on Instagram in her amazing wedding photos we got in touch to find out more. Paige explained that originally her marriage to Lewis was meant to take place on Sunday 12th April 2020. They then moved it to October 11th after lockdown began, then again to March 14th 2021. After hearing that March would be no better, they decided with just 12 days to spare, to bring it all back to October and go ahead with just 13 guests at Crondon Park, in Stock, Essex.

We met when I took on a bartender job at my local toby carvery. He was the assistant manager there and it was pretty much love at first sight. After around a year and a half of dating he proposed. It was Christmas Eve, he took me to the beach opposite the toby carvery in question and asked me to marry him.In the build up to the wedding we visited so many fairs. I can’t even begin to list them. The best ones had to be the Heart Wedding Fair in Brentwood and The Wedding Fair at Trinity Park in Ipswich.

I think I sort of knew what I wanted in a wedding dress. I went in with something in mind, but it soon went out the window. I assumed it would be a hard job finding the perfect dress because I’m quite tall. However, it was hard because being tall means you have more options – but when I was told this, I knew it would make things harder. I originally wanted long lacy sleeves and a thin, plain skirt – think Stevie #5816.

I tried on a total of 113 wedding dresses over a month or two… countless shops. I took my mum only to each one as I knew I’d be a pain so didn’t want to drag my bridal party everywhere until I found the one.

I chose Krystal #8218, from Confetti and Lace in Lakeside (home of Say Yes to the Dress UK) I didn’t even pick it, my mum did. I had about 12 dresses to one side and my mum pointed it out, I shrugged and said “sure, why not” although I wasn’t quite convinced to start with. I tried it on first and felt like a princess but didn’t say yes out of fear that I was making a wrong choice (overthinker, over here). I put it back on at the end and the wonderful assistant passed me a bouquet and stood me in front of the mirror. It was then I realised it was the one. It is a fit & flare silhouette dress in ivory lace. I fell in love with the long train and the backless look. The whole experience was so lovely, and when I had to return to collect my dress after the first lockdown, all the staff were incredible, and I felt so safe.I consciously fought over the concept of a veil for quite some time. I didn’t like the idea of it being in my hair, as I get headaches easily and certainly didn’t want something giving me pain on my big day. Thanks to Pinterest, I then discovered capes. As a test run, I ordered an ivory lace cape from eBay, which happened to be so nice that I decided to just keep it. It added the extra bit of magic on the day, I felt like a princess (and perhaps a superhero). As for my jewellery, I wore some simple drop earrings and a blue gem necklace, borrowed from my mum, which contained my nans ashes, so she was with me as I walked down the aisle.

I changed colour schemes a few times, I did not want to fall into the traditional blushes and whites like most brides do… yet I did just that. Once our day was postponed from spring to autumn, however, I decided to change it all once again. I went ahead with burgundy and sunflower yellow. My best budget advice is if you can do it yourself – do so. Our venue was a little over what we originally budgeted, so needed to figure out where we could make cuts. My dad built me a sweet cart and post box out of an old bed, we ordered all the flowers from a wholesaler and made the bouquets the night before, and the cake was ordered from a company in Scotland which had three plain iced tiers delivered days before the wedding. We then added our own décor and cake topper. We saved thousands by doing a lot of things ourselves – more money for the honeymoon, when we can finally have one.The best part, besides the obvious of marrying my best friend, was having the ceremony live streamed to all our guests who were cut due to covid. It also meant we could watch back the next day and relive every moment. The funniest bit was probably our god son. He was our ring bearer and super shy, when he reached the end of the aisle he stared at the registrars with an awkward shy smile and my husband had to assist in him placing the ring box on the table. Fortunately for us, that bit was caught on camera, so I was able to watch it back. Another moment that was wonderful, was soon after the ceremony a double rainbow formed over our venue. I lost my grandad to COVID-19 just weeks before my original wedding date, and my nan to a 19-year cancer battle back in 2016. I was sad they would never see me get married but, in that moment, I realised they were watching over me the entire time.Photographer: Martin Cartwright