Helen and James met on an acrobatic gymnastics coaching course in 2006. Helen was James’s course tutor, and, trying his best to impress her, James volunteered to demonstrate a move and tore the cartilage in his knee.
Fast forward five years, and, after proposing to Helen with a ring that was carried in an chocolate egg by their cocker spaniel, the couple decided that they wanted to celebrate their marriage in action-packed style with a large scale celebration before friends, family and the children they coach at Honiton Gymnastics Club.
ith a gymnastic-themed wedding in mind, and the need for a spacious and exclusive venue, they fell for the fairytale 14th century setting of Bickleigh Castle. Helen walked through a ‘guard of honour’ – lined by 80 children – into the castle’s Great Hall. Rock band The Indie Killers sang an acoustic version of ’When We Collide’ as Helen entered the ceremony, and a blessing in the 1,500-year-old Saxon Chapel followed, which was attended by all the children.
A day full of surprises, next on the agenda was a live show by European champion acrobats Jack Atherton and Justin Beardsmore on the croquet lawn. The adults tucked into a wedding breakfast of fish and chips or beef bourguignon, while the children played tennis and enjoyed a barbecue outside.
For the evening activities, Helen and James organised a casino while the band played in the venue’s new orangerie. “We’re big music fans, so getting a good band was a key consideration for us,” says James. “The Indie Killers played for the ceremony, drinks reception and evening do. They were sensational.”
The penultimate surprise of the day came as the bridesmaids and ushers had a dance-off in front of the guests, and Helen and James entered in bathrobes, before throwing them off to reveal gymnastics leotards and performing a mock routine. A spectacular ten-minute firework display proved a spectacular conclusion to the celebrations.
“It was an action-packed wedding,” said James, “but those who know us well also know that we wouldn’t have had it any other way, as it was a day that left everyone smiling from ear to ear.”
Reflecting on their day, Helen comments, “The most important thing is to make your wedding an occasion that is special to you. If, like us, you want to have a bespoke wedding, it’s essential that you go to a venue that can offer you exactly what you want. It really was the fairytale wedding I’d always dreamed of.”
Bickleigh Castle, Tiverton
Dizzie Lizzie Couture, Torquay
Westcountry Wedding Flowers
© copyright WED Magazine 2012