Our Love Story: Alicia & Mark

Sarah Symonds

Today’s Love Story is that of Alicia and Mark and spans years, from university to present day, telling a tale of love and friendship that truly radiates from these snaps of their engagement shoot.

As well as swooning over the photos, we’ve loved hearing how life’s led them both to this point, on the cusp of tying the knot; finding out all about their romantic proposal, their hopes for the future and expectations for married life.

Also, stay tuned for the top tips and advice from a couple who are currently in the midst of wedding planning chaos! Why remembering what’s important to you as a couple is paramount when it comes to making decisions for your own big day, and then considering the ‘nice to haves’ after the essentials are locked down. Let’s dive in!

With photography by Ruth Gibson Photography


Alicia says: We’d had a wonderful day on holiday in Albania, staying in a rural and secluded guesthouse. We were eating a meal on the terrace as the sun was going down across the valley. It was a spontaneous proposal, he had no ring, it was understated but perfect. After saying yes, and following a power outage across the valley, we continued our evening in the moonlight!

Big Day Setting

We are getting married in the beautiful setting of St Chad’s College, Durham. We have our fingers crossed for good weather as we would like our humanist ceremony to take place in their gardens. After a difficult year, we just want to have a fun-filled day. Music, dancing and garden games will be the order of the day!

How We Met

We both attended the same college at Durham University. We were both Freshers reps and met at the welcome social. We hit it off from there!

First Date

It took a year of being friends and several mini-dates before we went on a first proper date, a romantic meal in a nice restaurant where we spoke for hours.

The chemistry was just ‘right’. Falling for each other after exam season in summer, our early dates were filled with lazy walks, picnics by the river and college balls. Being with each other was easy and it didn’t take us long to realise!

What We Love Most

We both have a curiosity about the world around us and a passion for trying new things and experiences. We have a relationship based on equality and respect. We are both different in a lot of ways too, and we love this about each other.

Our first holiday felt truly special; we travelled to Romania in winter, staying in an ice hotel. It was like a snowy wonderland – so romantic!

About The Shoot

A photographer is such a big part of your wedding. They are with you all day, capturing the special moments that perhaps other guests don’t see, and it was important to us that we could meet Ruth, our photographer, before the day and get to know her. We are also not particularly comfortable in front of the camera so we wanted to practice.

We chose to show off the city that meant so much to us. Ruth was so chatty and relaxed it put us at ease and it felt like we were wandering around Durham with someone we had known for a long time. She gave us space to have fun. Durham holds so many special memories for us and it was wonderful to go back and allow ourselves to be nostalgic. Ruth captured that nostalgia perfectly in her photos.

Wedding Planning

We are most looking forward to seeing all of our friends and family together for the first time in a long time. We are having a band and we are so excited to listen to live music again, have a sing and a dance!

Our top tips

Decide on your essentials and your ‘nice to haves’ for your perfect wedding day. Planning can become a bit overwhelming, particularly when lots of people offer ideas! It’s good to go back to your list and remember what is really important to you. The rest is just added extras. Also, don’t be scared to ask for help. Our family has been invaluable in helping us with the little details and have loved being involved!

Wish For Married Life

We want to publicly demonstrate our commitment to each other, our friends and family. There are always new adventures on the horizon and, for us, marriage brings that security of knowing that you will always be experiencing them together.

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