A DIY spring wedding in Norfolk

07 Jun 2022

Childhood sweethearts Gina Palffy and Oscar Hursey married in an intimate ceremony of 47 guests, before celebrating with more friends and family at the evening reception 

How did you meet?

In high school when we were 15, in maths class.

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Tell us about the proposal.

During the Covid lockdown of 2020, we ventured out to the local countryside and found ourselves a tranquil hidden corn field behind a horse stables, which provided us with peace and freedom during a really difficult time for our family. We have two young boys (at the time, aged eight and three), who thrive off being outside, playing with sticks and exploring between the trees, studying the bugs and beetles that cross their path. Over the year, we visited that place many times: in the snow, in the summer, in the crisp autumn leaves. It became our place.

Shortly after my 26th birthday, Oscar suggested we go to our place for a walk. It was covered in snowdrops at the time and I remarked at how romantic it was. Oscar smiled as I had no idea. We got to our spot and he handed me a birthday card, which featured a beautiful illustration of the night's sky with the words 'lovely wife, lucky husband'. Inside it read 'Well...' and Oscar got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. 

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What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?

I wanted to fulfil a vibe that was organic, natural and comfortable. The colour scheme was, as best as I could describe it, sunset colours. Sunset in the spring, particularly at the coast, is my favourite, so I incorporated a lot of sandy tones and pampas grass.

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What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?

Curds Hall Barn in Dereham, Norfolk. After searching endlessly, I started getting frustrated because nothing matched our budget. I wanted full creative control and, knowing we wanted a smaller guestlist, places were either too small and insignificant or way too large. I revisited Curds Hall Barn and properly looked at the website before booking a meeting. It was a stunning yet affordable venue and the service was second to none. The three-day venue hire enabled me to really make the most of my creative design.

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How did you know you’d found ‘the’ dress?

Choosing the dress was much harder than I first anticipated. Going in with an open mind was helpful for me. However, as I have an hour-glass figure I found it really hard to find something that truly made me feel perfect. I visited a few bridal boutiques and tried on lots of dresses before finding the one at Adella Bridal near Norwich. I chose the 'Louie' dress by Made with Love; it was everything I had been looking for and I felt perfect in it. 

My veil was an Italian pearl ombre veil from Abigail’s Collection, which I paired with a chunky pearl headband that was gifted to me from By Malina Bridal in Sweden.

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Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?

My husband wanted to keep the ceremony small, so we agreed to each have one person. I chose my sister to be maid of honour and she wore an elegant, satin gown in blush pink with 1940s button detailing from Zara, which only cost £19.99. 

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What did the mother of the bride wear?

The mother of the bride wore a Reiss paisley gown, which really suited the neutral colour palette, with Oliver Bonas sandals. She looked very beautiful.

Where did you find your suits? 

The groomsmen wore Oat Herringbone 1871 suits from Moss Bros. Oscar wore a three-piece suit with a contrasting waistcoat. It really set him apart as the groom, and he looked very handsome. Our two sons wore matching linen suits with great white shark ties from John Lewis and white sneakers from Next.

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Tell us about your floral arrangements.

We were on a small budget for the grand plans I had and flowers are not cheap, so I knew it would be a more minimalistic approach to pitch to local florists. But still, the price exceeded far beyond what we could afford.

In the end, I asked a good friend of mine, Cicely Ryder-Belson, who used to work in a florist in Manchester; she agreed to meet my budget and do what she could with it. The outcome was simply stunning. We had a flower garland arrangement at our altar, the bouquets, buttonholes and a centrepiece for the top table. I sourced and dried all my own flowers over the year I was engaged, to be used down the aisle, on the tables and for a photo booth. The flowers were so magical.

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Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day

All the décor for the wedding was sourced by myself, which I collected from thrift shops, antique markets and IKEA. It gave a really nice personal touch to the day. It almost felt like home. I have sent off the lanterns and vases we used to close family and friends as gifts and as a memento of the day. Instead of favours, I also bought mini Polaroid-sized frames and sent pictures of our wedding day out to friends.

We had a Polaroid guest book, where guests could take their photo and leave a message for us. This was set beneath a blush/nude balloon arch with a neon Mr & Mrs sign above. It was awesome.

One of my favourite movie scenes is in Tangled, when they release the lanterns for the princess, so I recreated this vibe with festoon lighting and paper lanterns in the beams of the venue.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

I walked down the aisle by myself. It felt very empowering, but also very overwhelming having a room full of people waiting in heavy anticipation to see your dress and to watch you do something that is a once-in-a-lifetime moment. It was magical. Though I could see everyone, I saw no one. All I could do was focus on one thing: the man at the end of the aisle, who was waiting for me, about to become my husband.

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How did you make the ceremony personal to you?

I walked down the aisle to the soundtrack from the television show, Detectorists, which we enjoyed watching together. We also wrote our own vows, which was enormously special as it is rare to look at someone and put into words how much they mean to you.

Our nine-year-old read a piece from House at Pooh Corner, a book that I read to our children most nights, which left not a single dry eye in the room. And both our boys presented the rings to their parents; my nine-year-old wanted to kneel and bow down before me to present his dad's ring to me in the most majestic of ways.

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What was your most memorable moment?

I concluded the speeches by making a speech myself, in which I turned to my oldest son and told him that he changed my life into something immensely beautiful and thanked him. I was 16 when we fell pregnant and naturally, I didn’t know what would become of my life, but my son changed everything for the better. He is the reason his dad and I were standing next to him as husband and wife. When I said this, he looked at me confused while the whole room of 50 people were in tears and said: “You’re welcome?”. We all laughed.

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

Planning it while studying for a degree, working and running a family home. More specifically though, the pressure of making the day special for my guests became stifling at points and I really had to take myself away from it and ask myself: 'is this important to me?' and 'are they going to care if they get oat napkins or blush napkins?'. Really sifting through what was important and what was not, and the stress that comes with decision-making, was really challenging.

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What was the most important investment for you?

Our photographer. To capture our day exactly as it was and to be able to relive it through the beauty of her work is an investment no one would ever regret.

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What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?

Elvis Presley's Can’t Help Falling in Love with You. We decided to have the first dance 15 minutes before it started and we are so glad we did it. It is a song we both drunkenly sang to each other over lockdown that made us laugh and love each other in the moment.

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Did you have any evening entertainment?

We had a DJ, which was invaluable. Oscar didn’t want one, wanting to save the money and play our own choices on Spotify instead, but the DJ was brilliant and read the crowd really well. He played the music we all wanted to hear when we were each 27 glasses of wine down.

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Tell us about your wedding cake.

I was a pastry chef for seven years and do celebration cakes for friends and family. I was not willing to pay someone a hefty sum to do something I could do very well myself, so I designed my wedding cake and ended up creating a wedding cake table with multiple options for my guests.

This included a two-tiered cake and a large four-layered cake, filled with flavour combinations such as pistachio and blackberry with a mascarpone cream cheese filling and blackberry compote, caramel hazelnut praline cake with a praline buttercream and a dulce de leche centre, and an ultimate chocolate cake with a double chocolate ganache and a vanilla crème centre.

Unfortunately, the cakes were so delicious I didn’t even get to try all of them before they ran out. The cakes took over 18 hours to produce, which I did two days before the wedding.

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Was there anything you wish you’d known before?

I spent 14 months researching, binge watching YouTube, Instagram reels and reading endless bridal blogs so I feel I was very well prepared and didn’t have any nasty surprises.

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Where did you go on honeymoon? 

Due to work and studies, we will be taking our honeymoon at the beginning of next year. Instead of a registry of gifts we didn’t need, we instead asked for monetary contributions towards a honeymoon, which was one of the best things we did.

After the wedding, we arranged a nearby Airbnb in a gorgeous, cosy and intimate cabin for a little mini-moon. I do advise couples to baste in their post-wedding joy for at least two days after the wedding to really absorb it, take it in and have some quiet time just the two of you before returning to reality. And, quite frankly, just rest, because the whole day takes it out of you.

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Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?

Planning a wedding is really stressful and very expensive, but it is the best time of your lives so take a step back and really enjoy the process. Do not be afraid to ask for help; everybody likes to be involved in your special day in one way or another, so be sure to delegate to relieve some of the pressure.

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Steal their style: 

Photography: Georgia Rachael Photography
Venue: Curds Hall Barn
Dress: Adella Bridal
Make-up: By the bride
Suits: Moss Bros
Catering: Florentina Events
Lighting: Quirk Events

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