Samantha and Neil were married in January at Hambleton Hall. They wanted their wedding to be intimate, classy and planned within 6 weeks… wowzers!
I love their elegant, romantic candlelit wedding, with the focus all on their love.
Names…. Samantha and Neil ‘Bez’
Wedding Date…. 22nd January 2012
The Proposal…. We were walking along a cliff-top path near Falmouth, Cornwall dolphin spotting. I glanced over my shoulder to see Bez on one knee, I’m very thankful I’m not the fainting kind – it was a long drop! We went on to buy a gorgeous Victorian French white gold diamond engagement ring.
The Vision for the day…. It was always going to be a winter wedding. I love the winter with the romance of cosy nights in and cold crisp mornings. Bez on the other hand hates winter so wanted something nice to break it up. There was a book I used to read as a child – Bramley hedge the winter story – and the pictures of the snow ball held by candle light really captured my imagination. There is something so romantic about twilight and just the tungsten light of candles.
We wanted a very small do – initially to save on costs but as time went by we realized it was so much more ‘us’ to have a small understated party, we have never been a couple to show off, we just wanted to do things how we wanted to and not because other people expected it. In fact most people did expect us to elope.
Apart from that all we knew was that we wanted a nice meal at a top restaurant as we love to eat and wanted to share that with our guests.
The Planning process…. Was interesting! We knew we didn’t want to wait long, I have never been one for long engagements – I can’t see the point of being engaged and not setting a date. So the criteria was small, intimate, classy and SOON. Originally we had wanted a late October early November wedding – beautiful warm autumn colours and cosy long nights but that quickly came impossible when a bout of man flu for Bez turned into a 4 month stay in hospital, with TB. All plans were obviously on hold as we had no idea if Bez would be well enough to even be out of hospital before the new year. He was eventually able to leave hospital at the end of November. I presumed that it would probably be another year before I became Mrs Berryman but after such a serious illness it really occurred to us that the most important thing we had in the world was each other and we weren’t going to wait any longer. So the planning started in earnest!
I’m quite strong willed and know exactly what I like and don’t, which for years has been a curse but for planning a wedding is brilliant! It saves so much time, I’m not one for maybes it’s either love it or hate it!
It took us 6 weeks to plan from deciding we were going to do it asap to arriving at the church. It seemed like a mountain to climb at the beginning but once we had the date and place sorted it was pretty easy. I think you can make the planning of a wedding what you want it to be. As long as you have a vague idea what you want and are prepared to crack on with it without getting side tracked it done it can be done, and it doesn’t even need to be stressful.
Budget…. £10,000 – it started at £8,000 (mostly due to over spend on shoes and a handmade suit)
The Venue… I’d always loved Hambleton Hall on Rutland water and knew it was the perfect wedding venue for us, the beautiful setting but more importantly the amazing food however it is incredibly expensive so we did have to haggle. By telling them they could pick a date to suit them we managed to get a deal we could afford. So Sunday 22nd January it was.
We had already found Normanton Church, an amazing deconsecrated church on Rutalnd water. It has just the most amazing setting and it really does look even more beautiful by candle light.
The Dress + Accessories….. The dress was hand made for me by wonderful God Mother. I turn up at her door in December clutching a picture of Danni Minogue wearing a black Stephane St Jaymes dress. ‘I rather like this’ says I ‘obviously not in black or quite as low cut’. I didn’t have a clue if it would suit me but had fallen in love with the cut and KNEW I didn’t want a conventional strapless dress! I was absolutely set on not falling into the trap of buying a ‘dream’ dress that didn’t actually suit my body shape or style. I have seen far too many wedding mags with usually pretty girls looking ridiculous in huge princess dresses.
We went to one wedding dress shop and I tried on the 3 dresses in the entire shop that weren’t strapless – seriously ladies out there need to start steering clear of the strap less, if you are flat chested like me you end up looking like a boy and if you are buxom you end up with a huge side boob sticking out the side of your dress, unattractive – I knew I was heading in the right direction.
My god mother – who will now be known as the fairy god mother – put together the most incredible dress in just 3 days! I had one fitting where the dress was practically perfect and told if I lost any more wait I’d look like I was wearing a sack. I then spent the week before the wedding eating burgers! My god mother is such an amazing dress maker, the dress was perfect in everyway, I really think she should make it her full time job!
The most important thing for me (even more so than the dress and only slightly less that Bez) was the shoes. I didn’t want any of those crystal encrusted monstrosities and I hate my toes so peep toe is out. This ruled out ‘wedding’ shoes and as I really wanted to be able to wear them again it was actually stupidly hard to find any shoes. So in the end ‘we’ spent a small fortune on the most beautiful pair of Valentino heels in the world. I knew Bez was going to be an amazing husband!
Finding the dress…. Obviously I didn’t have to find the dress but it was quite hard finding the fabric and choosing the colour. I didn’t want white or cream but knew Bez wanted me to be traditional so went for a gold brocade. Knowing the weight of the fabric helps hide any imperfections as well as making it look sumptuous and expensive. Gold also makes me look less pale. I got sent a few samples but as I wanted a large pattern could see very little of it on the tiny sample swatches. It was a bit hit and miss and I did almost cry when the company didn’t know if they had sent it or not! Luckily I loved it otherwise I have no idea what I would have done.
Groom’s attire… This caused me heart failure! As Bez announced that if I was having my dress hand made he could get his suit made- he decided it the week between Christmas and New Year. I did point out there was a bit of a difference between the fairy god mother who I knew would stay up all night every night for as long as it took to make sure I wasn’t naked and a faceless company. He ignored me and found ‘a suit that fits’. ‘We’ decided (i.e I told him) that he would look great in a 3 piece slim fit grey suit. Bez then chose lining colour, stitching colour, lapel width etc etc, Bez is now an expert suit designer.
The Readings + Music…. We weren’t very worried about reading – we know how bored people get through a drawn out ceremony (we’ve been there a fair few times). The only person who we did want to say a few words was my God Father but as he’s a vicar and we had a non religious ceremony he had to wait to say a blessing at the meal.
There are 2 songs that have always meant loads to us, Take That Rule the Word and Ewan McGregor version of Your Song from the Moulin Rougue. So I walked down the aisle to Ewan and as we kissed we had Take That.
The Flowers… The bit we saved money on. I just wanted a beautiful bouquet, a few bunches on the table and some button holes. As the church was to be candlelit we felt there was no need for extra decoration there.
I used the wonderful Tracey at Foxtail Lily in Oundle – about 1 mins walk from our house. I told her I would like roses that smelt beautiful in pink/vintage pink and then let her work her magic and she did an amazing job!
The Cake… Stupidly I took that on myself. I love baking and cake decorating but had never taken on such a large task before. I had 3 sleepless night before the wedding – the night before the wedding was due to a hen party, the other two were due to making marzipan roses. In the end it took 500 roses each made painstakingly made by hand. It was well worth the effort, but did cause some tears!
Your Photographer…. Was amazing! Absolutely amazing. The whole day would not have been nearly so memorable or magical without him. From the start we were insistant that we want to spend money on the right things and having amazing pictures to remember the day was so important. we also wanted a photographer who could capture the ‘real’ moments of the wedding, the giggles and tears not just formal awkward shots. Sean Gannon did all this and more. Simply fantastic!
The Details + Decor…. The real ‘theme’ of the wedding was of vintage elegance. Nothing showy or flash, that’s just not us. There was actually very little in the way of décor. The ceremony was candlelit so there were hundreds of candle – and I mean hundreds! Apart from that there were no flowers or seat covers or anything like that in the church. At Hambleton there were candles and flowers on the table but that was it. As for wedding favours we just went for the classic handmade truffles in pretty little boxes.
As we were only having an evening meal we didn’t have to worry about our guests going hungry later on but we really wanted some sweet trees – as Bez is a sweet monster particularly when it comes to flying saucers and shrimps – so I made them. They took about 20 mins each to make and cost about £8 in total to make. Bargain!
Less is definitely more! And cheaper!
The Honeymoon…. The honeymoon was booked on the morning we went away. We spent a couple of nights at Hamleton Hall in there Croquet Pavilion and then booked a week in a cottage in the Peak District. Just to chill out and be alone. It was lovely!
Memorable moments… It has to be one of our friends having 2 glasses of champagne spilt down his back by a waiter during the speeches. Everyone was crying with laughter! Hilarious reaction at:
Writing my vows in the OK diner on the A1 over breakfast with 2 of my best friends also stands out. Breakfast the day of the wedding that is…
Advice for other couples… Spend your money on important things! Wonderful photos is important, feeling like a prince or princess for the day is what it’s all about but spending a fortune on flowers that will be dead within a week, on favours that no one really cares about or ridiculously over priced transport that is taking you half a mile isn’t.
Also remember it is about you as a couple don’t get shoe horned into doing things to try and keep everyone happy. We had 28 people at our wedding, 28 people that mean a great deal to us. There were hundreds of people we could have invited but we didn’t want to have to invite all those random relative that always seem to appear for a free meal. I know it can be tough to draw the line and you may offend a few people along the war but you know what? It isn’t about them!
Don’t be frightened to have a shotgun wedding, it really isn’t that hard to plan. It wouldn’t have been possible to get all the amazing people at the height of wedding season but it still would have been possible. Think outside the box, get married on a Sunday or Monday not a classic Saturday, it’ll be cheaper and you’ll be able to get photographers, beauty artists etc that would normally be booked up months in advance at short notice.
Oh and the most important thing is enjoy the day as a couple. I spent as much time with Bez as possible, after all I quite like being with him. I’ve been to far too many weddings were the bride and groom don’t speak all day, I think it’s a little weird or maybe just a sign of things to come….
Credit where credit is due…
Sean Gannon – Photographer www.energyphotographic.co.uk
Elizabeth Clare – Hair and Make-up www.elizabethclare.co.uk
Favours – Palmers chocolate, Oundle www.palmerschocolate.co.uk/
Thanks so much to Samantha and Neil for sharing their beautiful wedding with us today XOXO Lou
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