Having known each other throughout university, it wasn't until the final year that the pair became close. Stephen invited Charlotte out for dinner, but setting the date proved more difficult than expected, so he offered to cook for her instead. “He's always been extremely thoughtful,” says Charlotte. “I was suffering from a cold at the time and he came to my house with Lemsip, flowers and chocolates, before cooking us both fajitas. I barely ate anything though as I was so worried about getting messy!”
Seven years later, Stephen planned a romantic weekend in London – complete with Tower Bridge views from their room – to treat Charlotte because he'd been so busy at work, but there was another reason too.
“The next day we had afternoon tea and after we finished, Steve surprised me with a Tiffany & Co. box. As I removed the bow, he took it from me and unfolded a two-page poem,” recalls Charlotte. “Each verse was a different chapter of our relationship, from university, travelling and our new house to talking about our future. By this time I was so emotional, I blinked and Steve was on one knee!”
The couple spent the next nine months organising their nuptials, which incorporated Charlotte's love of Tiffany & Co. – the colour and the diamonds. Here, the bride shares all the details of their day…
Charlotte Lailey de Ville, 29, married Stephen Ashley, 32, at The Orangery at Margam Country Park, on 26th July, 2015.
After visiting Margam Country Park through work on a glorious sunny day, I knew it was the place I'd love to get married. Steve and I drove up to the venue the following Saturday, and after checking out the distance from the bar to the dancefloor, Steve was sold.
I never wear make-up so I asked for just a little to be applied on the day, and my hair was styled in a side plait, finished with a sparkly, pearl-encrusted hairband.
Steve was unable to choose just one best man, so he had three – his friends Mark, Gethin and Samuel. Plus, my brother and Steve's friends Andy and Dave were his ushers. They all wore grey three-piece suits with Tiffany blue cravats.
I only went to one wedding dress shop and I went in with an open mind. When I tried my gown on – one of about 15 – I felt a million dollars and my mum was overwhelmed and emotional, I knew it was the one.
I was really chilled about the flowers, I wanted pink and pastel-coloured blooms in a vintage style. I incorporated my mum's favourite flowers into my bouquet, including lilies, roses and peonies. The flowers for the aisle arrangements, bridesmaid posies and table decorations all tied in.
My university friends Sandra, Clare, Lesley and Allyson, and school friend Kimberley, were my bridesmaids. They looked stunning in Tiffany blue knee-length dresses with bows around the waist.
Continuing the theme, our cake was a giant Tiffany & Co. box with over 100 mini cupcakes.
My god-daughter Ellen and nephew Samuel, both two, were our flowergirl and pageboy.
My dad made us an amazing Tiffany blue-coloured life size post box.
My Dad's Lotus Cortina was our wedding transport – driven by my dad – and as soon as I heard the engine roar, my nerves disappeared. Guests travelled to the venue from their hotel in a coach.
We had a close-up magician for during the photos, which was a great ice-breaker and talking point for our guests, and in the evening, a DJ kept everyone entertained, as well as a sweet table.
Large love letters were the focal point for our light-up dancefloor – we spent two months before the wedding going to private dancing lessons and even took two exams to boost our confidence!
Bride's dress and accessories
Hannah Emily Bridal
Bride's hair and make-up
Not on the high street
Little Spoons Cakes
Tel: 07713 499 131
Groom and ushers' suits
Phil Jay Magic
Tiffany & Co.
The Orangery, Margam Country Park