How to arrange a wedding in 21 days

IMAGINE having to choose your fiancée's wedding dress - and then with 24 hours to the big day she sees the gown…and hates it!

IMAGINE having to choose your fiancée's wedding dress - and then with 24 hours to the big day she sees the gown…and hates it!

For Tony Hawkins choosing his wife Pippa's dress was just one of many tasks in a frantic three weeks as he organised the whole wedding from scratch.

He had to find a venue for the ceremony and reception, organise the cake, invitations, dress, photographer and more to create the dream wedding for he and his bride while being filmed for a BBC TV show.

“When I saw the first series of the programme I thought I could do that, no problem,” said Mr Hawkins, 24, a sales exec.

“But when you only have three weeks to do it, it is very different - I was completely wrong because it's a hell of a task.

“Even trying to find a venue at such short notice was a nightmare because there is nowhere available, and I only got the paperwork from the registrar the day before.”

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The couple, of Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, were given £12,000 to spend on the wedding by the Don't Tell the Bride show - which is screened tomorrow on BBC3 - but only Mr Hawkins was allowed to spend it.

Pippa, 25, a nurse, was sent away to her parents - and the couple were not allowed to text, talk or e-mail during the three weeks.

“It was very frustrating for Pippa because she is an absolute control freak,” said Mr Hawkins, who was previously Tony Hessey and took his wife's name when they married at Boreham House, Chelmsford.

“I wanted it to be a very nice and traditional wedding to make Pippa happy and then to make the reception really fun so that everyone would go away saying that was the best wedding they had ever been to.

“So at the reception we had a fun casino with roulette, poker tables, black jack, a bucking bronco, fire eater and fireworks. The whole day was just brilliant.”

The only hiccup was the dress.

Mr Hawkins said: “Pippa didn't see it until the day before and then I got the phone call and my heart sank - they said she hated it.

“To be honest, I think she would have hated anything I chose because choosing your wedding dress is something so special for a bride.

“They rushed round and got another and the great thing was that when she arrived for the wedding the next day I had organised everything but hadn't seen the dress, which was lovely.”

Have you organised your wedding in an unusual way? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail