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Real Weddings: Laura Hartley & Mark Crosby, The Hare & Hounds, Westonbirt, June 24, 2011

PUBLISHED: 14:50 15 December 2011 | UPDATED: 20:26 20 February 2013

Real Weddings: Laura Hartley & Mark Crosby, The Hare & Hounds, Westonbirt, June 24, 2011

Real Weddings: Laura Hartley & Mark Crosby, The Hare & Hounds, Westonbirt, June 24, 2011

Laura Crosby walked down the aisle to Elvis Presley singing 'Wise men say only fools rush in' – not something she and husband Mark could be accused of after 11 years together.

Real Weddings: Laura Hartley & Mark Crosby, The Hare & Hounds, Westonbirt, June 24, 2011

Laura Hartley & Mark Crosby

June 24, 2011

The Hare & Hounds, Westonbirt


Laura Crosby walked down the aisle to Elvis Presley singing Wise men say only fools rush in not something she and husband Mark could be accused of after 11 years together.

The song is titled Cant help falling in love with you, but the fun-loving couple couldnt resist the irony of the second line. I thought it was fun and a little bit different, said Laura. It was meant to be ironic as it had taken us 11 years to get there.

Laura and Mark kept that cocktail of magic, mischief and surprise throughout the day. By mid-evening the men were sporting papier mache quiffs and the ladies red lips and moustaches on sticks. The first strands of the web were woven 11 years ago when Laura and Mark, both in IT, met at work. They now work at different places and share a home in North Swindon.

Laura, 31, said: I suppose we just thought it was about time we got married. Mark was saying hed like a family. The proposal wasnt what youd call romantic because it was something we both agreed upon.

Annual autumnal visitors to Westonbirt Arboretum, they ambled into the neighbouring Hare and Hounds Hotel. We were curious, said Laura, Everywhere wed seen looked like conference centres, which we didnt want, and as soon as we walked in we knew it was the place we wanted to get married.

The couple hit upon a theme, the late 1950s to early 1960s, largely inspired by their love of the BBC2 show The Mad Men. Laura found the perfect dress an ivory silk Dupoint creation called Jetset by Ian Stuart, cut just below the knee and with 20 petticoats underneath. Mark was looking for French navy suit but could only find a more striking, rich blue but it worked.

It was late 1950s-style and really stood out. You knew who the bridegroom was, said Laura. Then came a last-minute hitch, saved by, not a stitch in time, but a dash to Asda. Laura had got the bridesmaids dresses and, as they live all over the country, she couldnt get them together for a fitting. A month before the wedding they discovered they didnt fit. Disaster until Laura saw the perfect 1950s number staring her in the face on the front cover of a magazine.

And, to boot, they were only 20 a gown. They were by George at Asda, coral lace with a smooth bodice and full skirt, cut just above the knee. I ordered four online and went to Asda to pick them up and managed to get another one, said Laura.

Lauras bridesmaids were her sister Alex Hartley, her brothers partner Irene Fernow, and three best friends Naomi Spears, Emma Newbury and Rebecca Barrett. All the girls helped decorate the room with lace bunting, old-fashioned paper chains saying Just Married and garlands of paper doves.

Laura was given away by her twin brother Samuel. I wouldnt have wanted anyone else to do it. We have a special relationship, said Laura. Laura and Mark chose Midsummers Day, June 24, for the wedding. Her brothers partner is Swedish and her mum Bente, flew over for the wedding. Laura and Mark had taken lessons to prepare for the first dance, At Last by Etta James, but again they had to make a hasty change. They slipped away for an eleventh-hour rehearsal with the live band.

The bands version didnt include a bit we had rehearsed at lessons and it was one of our special moves but we managed to slot it in, said Laura. Lauras twin Samuel made the papier mache 50s-style quiffs and Laura made the red lips and moustaches from modelling clay. Red scarves were an added touch for the ladies.

Laura also got an array of masks of famous faces, including Audrey Hepburn and David Bowie. Laura and Mark honeymooned in the Maldives. It was wonderful, perfect, said Laura.


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