A stripped back day of love and laughter characterised Sarah Mintz and Mark Moffat's wedding, which allowed the couple to celebrate their marriage just the two of them
Tell us about the proposal.
Mark knows how much I love birthdays. However, because COVID was throwing constant curve-balls and my February birthday was during lockdown, he decided to celebrate my half birthday four months late... and planned a surprise trip to an undisclosed location. The only thing he told me was that we were flying East. Little did I know that flying East from London was really just a layover in Paris before flying west to the Caribbean. I started to sense something bigger going on, so started watching every move he made with his carry-on baggage. There had to be a ring in there!
Upon landing in St.Barts, we embarked upon the most beautiful trip of a lifetime: beautiful beaches, beautiful hotels and even more beautiful people... but nothing happened. Then on the fourth day, Mark said he had planned a day-trip for us on a yacht. Just as we set off, the clouds rolled in, the skies opened up and it poured. Mark held the bravest of faces until finally the skies cleared and the sun shone bright once again.
“Let's take out the drone on the front of the boat,” he said. So we made our way to the front of the boat and he started to un-zip the drone box. Was this the moment? He pulled out the drone, then the battery pack and I began to lose faith, until next thing I knew he was down on one knee with a ring box in his hand containing the most stunning round brilliant diamond ring. Dreams really do come true. I was stunned and breathless. And just like that, we were engaged - in the beautiful Colombier Bay with the sun shining bright, a ring on my finger, and a fiancé on my arm.
How was your wedding affected by COVID-19?
As we got engaged in the midst of global lockdown, we couldn’t celebrate with anyone; we couldn’t have an engagement party, we couldn’t even really think about planning a wedding. However it was the perfect excuse to soak up every minute together, just the two of us, a time most couples rarely get to cherish themselves.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
Only a few months into dating, Mark and I talked about how much I had always dreamed of getting married at Villa d’Este in Lake Como, Italy. So before he even proposed, and knowing how far in advance the venue booked up, he locked in the venue for Saturday 25th September 2021. Upon proposing in St. Barts, he also told me that not only were we getting married but that he ensured we would get married in the venue of my dreams. I was over the moon, but then COVID hit.
After many long and frustrating conversations and COVID updates, we decided to let the venue at Villa d’Este go. The only way we’d possibly be able to get married in 2021 was if we did it in London. So we registered with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and were scrolling through the list of registered venues and found the Belmond Cadogan. We love the Belmond brand, and if we were going to try and make our wedding special in London, it felt like the perfect alternative venue - albeit small. We live just around the corner too, so we set a date.
Then, as time went on and restrictions started to lift, we felt slightly optimistic about our dream Italian wedding once again. We called back Villa d’Este, who had told us that all dates were now booked through 2022, and luckily for us, the couple that had taken our original date backed out that same day and we could have our original date back. So with two wedding dates booked and given that we legally had to get married in London anyway, we kept both.
We were the first couple to get married in the infamous Oscar Wilde suite, where Oscar himself was arrested.
How did you know you’d found ‘the’ dress?
Mark picked it out! We were at Harrods one day and I found this beautiful floor-length beaded gown from Balmain. It was stunning: backless with long sleeves, but I didn’t need it as we weren’t engaged and we weren’t going to any events due to COVID, so I left it. Little did I know that Mark left his card without my knowledge and bought it on the spot. The dress was mine; the first and only dress I tried on.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
Moyses Stevens is our go-to florist and the team, especially Annie, know how much I love white, so they put together the most beautiful bouquet and arrangements for our day featuring white lilies, white hygrangeas and white cala lilies.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
Mark and I split one reading between the two of us. The most special part of the ceremony was that we were the only ones there. We had no guests, it was just our two photographers (who will also be joining us in Lake Como), two hotel staff (our witnesses: Lucie Faucon, assistant director of sales, and Stuart Shaw, director of sales and marketing), and our two registrars. Oh and Dash, a cockalier, our mascot and Stuart’s dog, who also ate the buttonhole straight off Mark's tux!
After the ceremony we headed off to Sexy Fish for a buzzy lunch in Mayfair, where we ended up dancing on the bar before moving onto the Connaught Bar for a cocktail, then back to the Cadogan for dinner at the chef’s table. We spent the night before the wedding in a lovely suite at the Cadogan, but after dinner, on the night of our wedding, made our way back to our own home to sleep as a newly married husband and wife in our own bed. It was perfect.
What was your most memorable moment?
By far the most memorable moment was that we turned a micro wedding into a micro micro-wedding. Bride and groom, zero guests, and essentially strangers became friends as our witnesses.
Also, the fact that we were able to celebrate the entire day just the two of us. We really struggled with getting legally married without any family and friends around, especially as my parents live in America. However, in hindsight we were able to soak up every moment and memory together. Waking up in the same bed, Mark reading the paper and watching Youtube videos to figure out his bow tie while I got my hair done, endless photos and dancing on the bar; it was just the two of us and we had the best time.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Consider what aspects of the day or what additional time you can build in to ensure you can cherish the special moments together as a couple.
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