A summer garden wedding in Suffolk
05 Oct 2021
After just a year as a couple, Antonia Underwood and Brian Gobey married at their family church in Bury St Edmunds, followed by a garden reception at Antonia's parents' home
How did you meet?
Through our mutual old friend, Catherine Peck from Undercover Glamour. She is my best friend who I grew up with and Catherine was in the same form and classes as Brian at school in Bury. He reconnected with her while single and she played Cupid and introduced us to one another.
We had a blind date on 31st July, 2020 at Brian’s house in Leigh-on-Sea where we had a Thai takeaway in his garden overlooking the Thames Estuary. We clicked straight away, sharing the same taste in music, the arts, lifestyle, people, and the rest is history.
I had it in my head at the time that I wanted to learn guitar and Brian both taught guitar and is an amazing guitarist, who has been classically trained. Everything seemed to tie up between us. It felt right from the get go, so we talked about marriage very early on. We knew we were made for each other and were meant to meet at some point, which we did.
Tell us about the proposal.
We went for a walk in the Ickworth Park, the former home of the Marquis of Bristol and now a hotel, and passed by St. Leonard’s Church. Brian was eager to see inside as his parents were married there, and my father has been a church warden there for 19 years.
Brian happened to have the church door key in his pocket, which was part of the plan. We walked in and I began to talk about the history of the beautiful stained glass windows, and when I turned towards Brian I found he was down on one knee with a ring in his hands. He formally proposed that we would be married. He followed this with a very romantic speech about marriage and what it means to him/us, about me and our future together. I was thrilled and had no hesitation in accepting.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
It was a natural, summer garden wedding, so we chose lilac, lavender and white as our main colour scheme. We added pastels and lots of greenery to complement.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We chose my parents’ local church, St Leonard's Church in Horringer, Bury St Edmunds, as it is where my sister is buried and my dad, Philip Underwood, has been church warden there for 19 years. Brian’s parents and aunty all got married there too.
The reception was at my parents' house, a five-minute drive down the road. We travelled there in a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. We had a marquee on the lawn and everyone walked up through the walled garden where we had set up a bar. Brian’s friend, Al, played guitar while everyone arrived.
How did you know you’d found ‘the’ dress?
I had two bridal appointments in the two bridal shops in Bury St Edmunds. The second fitting in House of Snow with Harriet Faux was the successful one. Harriet told me to have a good look around the shop and pull out the dresses I wanted to try, which I did – about three.
Harriet mentioned one dress she wanted to show me to try on, and as soon as she said this, I knew it would be the dress for me – it was just a feeling. I fell in love with it. A few alterations had to be made and we extended the chiffon line towards my feet to make it a bit ‘sexier’ but that was all. It was so beautiful. I loved everything about it and it was the perfect fit for my body and figure.
I found a perfect pair of shoes to go with it – white and gold lace tie platform sandals that were perfect for the garden and all the dancing.
Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?
I had 12 bridesmaids. My older sister, Susanna Heath (43) and her two girls, Mia (6) and Eva Heath (4); my older sister-in-law, Bryony Underwood (45), and her three girls: the twins, Olivia and Amelia (10), and Georgina Underwood (8); my other sister-in-law, Asia Underwood (34) and her eldest Beatrice (2). Also, Brian’s two nieces, Danielle Gobey (27) and Charlotte Anderson (20).
The little girls wore a knee-length lilac dress in chiffon with silver sparkly shoes. The older bridesmaids wore a long lilac chiffon dress from Coast with their own choice of sparkly shoes. Their hair was half up and tied back with sparkly hair pieces. They did their own make-up and all looked lovely. It was very fitting that Danielle, Brian’s oldest niece, caught the bouquet in the end.
What did the mother of the bride wear?
She made a special trip to London to buy a beautiful pale grey and pearl embroidered dress from Nigel Rayment Boutique, which she wore with elegant lilac coloured shoes. Kathryn Diaper also did her hair and make-up.
Where did you find your suits?
Gerald Boughtons Hirewear in Bury St Edmunds. The lilac ties were rented and given to the ushers, fathers, and the page boy – my ten-year-old godson Jasper. Brian and his best man both wore matching classic black tails. The dress code was lounge suits or tails for the men.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
For our flowers we chose lilac roses, lots of gyp, pink flowers, daisies and lavender.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
Extremely excited, happy but also nervous as you are in the limelight.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
We had a young female barn owl called Bow deliver our rings in the church. We also had a professional organist, Kevin Slingsby, and a professional local church choir who sang our music theme of the day, which was The Beatles. We all sang Love Me Do as we Brian and I exited the church while dancing, and we sang the favourite hymn of my sister who sadly passed away, Lord of the Dance. We even had the same bell ringer as Brian’s parents at their wedding in 1974. We had three readings and I gave the first, which was a poem to my husband.
What was your most memorable moment?
There were so many. Looking into my husband’s gorgeous eyes during the marriage ceremony while saying our vows, the reading, dancing down the aisle, the owl delivering our rings in church, the speeches... the list goes on.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
Finding the right people to do the jobs based on availability and pricing, especially in the short timeframe we had and post-lockdown.
What was the most important investment for you?
All of it! The catering was spot on and extremely professional and well run. The food and wine was all delicious. The honeymoon will be a real treat when we go, which will be to the States.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
Hey Jude by The Beatles as that was the theme of the stag party in Liverpool. Brian’s mum also loves The Beatles, as do we all, so it seemed to be a fitting choice – a classic.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
A local DJ from Bury St Edmunds called Night to Remember. He played a mix of music that got everyone dancing after Hey Jude. Everyone danced the night away, from after the meal until midnight, when the wedding finished.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
It was absolutely delicious and beautifully decorated according to my main colour theme. It was a vanilla sponge with raspberries, which went well with the Moët & Chandon champagne.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
To be able to hear our friend, Al, play the guitar to the guests, and that I ate more and drank less. It was perfect from start to finish, though – truly magical.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
The cost of everything. The cost of items such as the cake, dress, flowers etc and the lack of time we had made things difficult, but we were very lucky with the people who helped us.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Seek help and support from others, especially in the lead up to the day. It’s really nice to have close friends and family involved with your special day and adds a personal touch. You need a fair amount of free time to plan and prepare, which we sincerely lacked, so welcome the help and expertise and don’t put too much pressure on yourselves. Give yourselves time, too!
Steal their style:
Photography: Sara Platt Photography
Dress: House of Snow
Shoes: River Island
Bridesmaids' dresses: Monsoon and Coast
Hair & make-up: Kathryn Diaper, Doll Creative
False lashes and stick-on-bra: Undercover Glamour
Groom and best man's rented tails and lilac ties: Gerald Boughton Hire Wear
Cake: Flower and Flour
Catering: Stock & Bailey Catering
Flowers: Angela Hudson-Evans in the marquee, and Lady Anne Thorne in the church (family friends)
Marquee: Hadleigh Marquees
DJ & disco: A Night To Remember