'It took nine years to have a second date,' say newlyweds Kate and Ben Woods

For HELLO! Online readers Kate and Ben Woods, who first met in 2001 but didn't go on a second date until nine years later, the couple didn't have the typical romantic fairytale wedding. Fate intervened though, and the couple are now happily married.



Little over a year into their second-chance romance and Ben was planning to propose. "He wanted to propose on Christmas Day, but the day before he was acting very strangely and I thought something was wrong, so he just walked downstairs holding a ring box! It took me a while to take in what was happening," said the bride.

"Christmas was really special that year. I had as many engagement cards as Christmas cards, and it was snowing. It made me feel like I'd really like to have a winter wedding," said Kate.

The bride

The wedding theme was 'vintage ice', and the freezing weather certainly provided the ice, but bride Kate said, "I didn't feel it. I was pumped up with adrenaline, nerves and excitement."

The bride wore a stunning Pronovias dress, although choosing it wasn't easy at first.

"I hated the dress I had originally picked out. I found that it didn't suit me at all. Thankfully I found another, and I only had to try on a handful before deciding," she said.


Kate accessorised with simple Tiffany jewellery — a mixture of pearls and diamonds. "I wore a multi-strand pearl bracelet and plain cut princess diamond earrings to match my gorgeous engagement ring," she said. "I wanted a less-is-more look."

While Kate opted for an effortless, vintage-chic style for her big day, she wanted her five young bridesmaids to look "a bit messy".

"The bridesmaids were mine and Ben's goddaughters. They were all lovely and very cute, except for my two-year-old niece Ella who refused to walk down the aisle, and said 'no' to a lot of the photos!" laughed Kate.


The girls, all under the age of eight, wore a mixture of dusky pink and ivory dresses with big, fluffy underskirts, and carried gypsophila (baby's breath) posies.

"They all looked so gorgeous," said Kate. "I'd always liked the idea of a winter wedding. We had lots of gypsophila, and greenery, and dusky pink roses."

The ceremony

The couple opted to marry in St Edmund's Church, Emneth, Cambridgeshire, where the bride had been christened and where her sister had previously married.

"Walking into the church was like an out-of-body experience," said Kate. "It's like you're looking down on yourself. Our ceremony was perfect."


And apparently the father-of-the-bride was perfect too. "He's a dab-hand! He's walked three of his daughters down the aisle in just three years. He can relax now!" said Kate.

The organist played traditional hymns including Lord of All Hopefulness, and Jerusalem, and the happy couple left the church to the sound of Wagner's Wedding March.

"I was so nervous when I saw Ben waiting at the end of the aisle," recalled the bride. "He said that he was probably meant to face the front but he couldn't bear everybody else turning to see me and him not, so he asked the vicar's permission. My favourite part of the wedding ceremony was definitely walking back down the aisle as the new Mrs Woods."


The reception

The couple travelled to the reception in a vintage Jaguar XJ. They held the celebrations at the Crown Lodge Hotel, a decision they made because they wanted their guests to be in an open space without feeling overwhelmed.

"We wanted everyone in one room," they said. "But with the option to get away from the music, and sit, relax and chat if they liked."

Guests were treated to warm and hearty winter dishes for dinner — tomato and vegetable soup, followed by posh bangers and mash with mushy peas. "The food was amazing," said the bride.


Kate and Ben opted for a modern twist when it came to the wedding cake, treating their guests to cupcakes instead of the traditional tiered affair.

Newly-weds Mr and Mrs Woods danced to John Legend's Ordinary People, but their decision was last minute.

"We had a choice of three which we had a lot of memories about. We decided on the day what our first dance song would be," said Kate.


The best man, Ben's brother and close friend, delivered speeches that revealed the groom's traits, both good and bad.

"The groomsmen played good devil, bad devil and picked up on all Ben's sides," said Kate. "They were brilliant, supportive, and we couldn't have asked for more."

"Everyone was amazed at Ben's speech too," said Kate. "I loved seeing his post-its as he flicked through them. The final one read, 'Thanks Kate, don't cry!'"