Bride of the Month - Lauren Duignan

Lauren, congratulations on tying the knot!

How did he propose?

It was on my birthday, in our hotel in Paris. A lot of people when they hear ‘Paris’, instantly think I would have had an inkling - but I actually booked the trip months before, it was the first holiday we had been on together, and we were both desperate to go back!

We had returned to our hotel to change for dinner, and I was so surprised when I walked into our room to see rose petals everywhere, and in true romantic fashion, a heart shape on the bed. I thought it was adorable, but I also thought the hotel just knew it was my birthday, and had incredible staff!

Jack then said he thought they were bringing champagne up, so he would just go to the bar and meet me there. I remember walking into the bar seeing him, thinking “where’s everyone else? and where’s the drink he was on about?!” He then got up from the table, and just said the most amazing things - he did have to prompt me to say ‘Yes’ though, as I was in such a shocked, happy bubble I forgot to even reply to be big question.

There is a bit more to the story, which involves him tricking me in the morning with what I thought was a ring, and some very hilarious moments, but Jack tells the story much better - as he proved in his speech!

How was your experience when shopping for your wedding dress?

I’d had a few mixed experiences to begin with, but then I came across Love in Lace. I’m so grateful for this, as they just exceeded all expectations and it made me appreciate the experience even more, plus the dress was unbelievable!

As soon as I walked into Love in Lace, I just didn't want to leave! It is truly the most beautiful bridal store and incredible wedding dress experience from start to finish, down to the smallest details. I walked in and felt so in awe of the dresses, the decor, and the sheep! Most importantly, I quickly felt relaxed and comfortable. Claire has a great eye for style, and understanding your own personal style. This made it so much fun, not only when picking the dress, but adding veils and suggesting accessories too.

Only my mum joined me, which kept the dress was a surprise for everyone. This also helped me when it came to picking the dress, as I wasn't then considering too many different opinions and options, plus my mum is extremely honest when it comes to what I suit and don’t, so I know if she loved it, then everyone else definitely would!

Did you have a ‘look’ in mind when searching for the perfect dress?

I always thought I would be a typical ‘Boho Bride’, then I started my search for ‘the one’. I tried not to overwhelm myself getting fixated on a certain style or dress, but think of elements of the dress I wanted.

I knew I wanted something unique, not a typical dress for a bride, but something I could look back on in years to come and still love. Also, I thought about shapes and silhouettes I usually find flattering, so when I first started trying on dresses I could narrow down styles I liked and didn’t. Then, I saw ‘The Aquarius’ and instantly knew - as soon as I put it on, I didn't want to ever take it off.

Tell us about your wedding day! Where did you get married and kind of style was your wedding?

We got married in Southend Barns, Chichester - such a stunning location, especially for a winter wedding. Our wedding day was in-between Christmas and New Year, so we wanted something cosy and subtly festive, a rustic wedding with a few modern twists. We kept the colour scheme to burgundy, dark green and gold, with hints of nude tones. It was all about the foliage, candles and fairy lights, with a cosy fire pit in the courtyard for marshmallow melting.

What were some of your favourite parts of the day and the most memorable?

There are so many special moments in one day, seeing all your family and closest loved ones in one place, but my favourite probably has to be when I was stood outside with Jack and our dog Manny, waiting to be introduced into the wedding breakfast. I remember looking round outside, turning to Jack and just feeling so happy. It was a small moment of peace with just Jack, and I will always remember and treasure that moment and feeling.

The music is definitely up there. We have the same taste in music, and have been to many different gigs together over the years, so we spent our time picking the band and DJ. As soon as I heard ‘Baby I’m Yours’ by Arctic Monkeys before walking down the aisle, I didn't stop smiling or happy crying. It really doesn't get much better for me than ending a night to a mix of Oasis and Rick Astley!

I could list so many more memories from the day, but I have to give a couple of special mentions - firstly for the speeches. They were all incredible and Jack completely improvised his. He did write a speech, but threw it away the morning of the wedding because he didn’t like it - people thought this was just a line he had written to start the speech, but it was very much true! I’ve watched it back so many times, he really has a hidden talent for public speaking and great comedic timing.

Second special mention goes to our dog Manny. Having him jump up with excitement when I walked down the aisle, sitting in between us at our top table, and walking round greeting all the guests he knew - I couldn't imagine our day without him!

What advice would you give to brides planning their big day?

It’s easier said than done when you’re told ‘don’t stress’, but really don’t stress! Everyone is there to celebrate you as a couple, so do the day your way. Set a little time aside to plan or go through ‘wedmin’, rather than letting it overwhelm you. Our friends got us a wedding planning book, and this is great to keep everything organised, with suggested check lists and time scales.

Add those small personal touches to make the day truly yours - Jack had beer buckets filled with cans from his favourite brewery and pork scratchings on the outside tables, I changed into my Doc Martens because I wouldn't feel me without them. Guests do notice these little things, and it’s what makes the day unique to you.

Trust your suppliers - if you need advice or recommendations, ask them! And for small decor or extra touches, Etsy is incredible.

Finally, flip flops! Your guests will thank you for it, even the best man in our case!

Would you do anything differently if you could do it all again?

On the day, absolutely not, I loved every minute! I would just have maybe taken my own advice and not stressed as much with some of the planning, because everything went better than I could ever have imagined.

Photography by Chris Giles

Sum up your Love in Lace dress in 3 words?

BEST DRESS EVER, or as I was telling everyone on the day ‘IT HAS POCKETS!!!’

Thank you to Lauren for sharing her experience with us!

Claire and Team LIL x

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