Rachel and Steve first met at work and romance gradually blossomed after they'd known each other for about four years. 'Our desks moved pretty much next to each other and the rest is history!' says Rachel.
Steve's proposal in December 2017 was as thoughtful as it was romantic. 'Over dinner the night before, he told me that I had the next day off and that I was going on a spa day with my friend,' explains Rachel. 'The next morning, I woke up to four envelopes that had to be opened at certain times throughout the day. The final envelope told me to go home and get ready for dinner at my favourite restaurant. I walked through the door to find our house lit by candles and Christmas lights. Ribbon with lots of pictures of us was attached to the front door and led me to the kitchen and then to the Christmas tree. He was down on one knee waiting for me.'
The couple chose Rockbeare Manor as their venue. 'The team at Rockbeare were incredible; they take so much care in making your day perfect and looking after you in the lead-up to the day and on the day itself,' says Rachel.
Choosing a colour scheme of rose gold, pinks and a hint of burgundy alongside lots of greenery, the country house venue and time of year provided much of the day's aesthetic inspiration.
'We got married at the end of August, so I wanted the flowers and colours to reflect summer and the elegant venue. The nude pink bridesmaids' dresses just sparkled so beautifully in the August sun. I wanted the wedding to ooze glamour and elegance, because the venue certainly did,' says Rachel.
A group of friends and family were invited to Rockbeare Manor to celebrate Rachel's birthday the night before ' 'The best way to kick-start the celebrations, full of fun and laughter!' she says ' ahead of the al fresco ceremony the following day.
Rachel walked down the aisle to The Calling's 'Wherever You Will Go', the song that was playing when Steve proposed. 'My dad passed away 10 years ago so my two older brothers walked me down the aisle, which was a really special moment for me,' she reflects.
After the ceremony, guests enjoyed Bellinis, beers and an array of garden games alongside Prosecco stations complete with syrups, fruit and garnishes. The wedding breakfast was a celebration of West Country flavours, including platters of local cheeses, Devon glazed ham, roasted belly pork and cider chutney, and an English afternoon tea complete with Cornish clotted cream and jam, and mini pavlovas.
'Our first dance was slightly unusual: 'You Give Me Something' by Jamiroquai, but slowed down and sung by a live singer,' reveals Rachel of another personal highlight. 'It's a song that we both bonded over in the early days. We then went out for sparklers and danced the night away, which at one point included a dance-off!'
Considering some of her favourite moments, Rachel says: 'Walking into the dining room and just seeing everything come together was so lovely. It's hard to picture how it's all going to look after 18 months of planning but seeing the flowers, candles, menus, name tags and little pieces of greenery that had been placed on each setting was lovely,' she adds.
'If you're having readings ' and if you trust them ' let that person choose it,' she suggests. 'We let my oldest school friend choose the reading and it's even more special knowing that those were the words she wanted to say to us.'