A relaxed, Easter wedding in Norfolk
08 Oct 2020
Holly Gladwin and Thomas Driver chose Good Friday to hold their special day at Pentney Abbey, when guests were able to dance all night
Photography: Paul Stearman
What venue did you choose and why?
We looked at several, but Pentney Abbey stood out to us as we had seen nothing else like it. As you drive up towards it the gatehouse reminds you of a castle and looks amazing surrounded by the countryside. It has beautiful windows and stonework and a spiral staircase that leads towards the ceremony room. It truly is a unique venue with lots of character, plenty of space for guests to relax, onsite accommodation and great settings for photo opportunities.
What was the theme for the day and did you have a colour scheme?
The venue was beautiful with its gatehouse dating back to 1380 and lots of exposed brick and original beams in the barn, so we didn’t want anything that would distract from this. Our theme for the day was very relaxed and rustic with seasonal flowers and neutral colours. The colour scheme was navy and daffodil yellow – worn by the men and visible in smaller details, like the ‘advice for the bride and groom’ cards.
Tell us about the dress
I had several days of searching for my dress with my mum. I didn’t really have a clear picture of what I wanted, so I made a point of trying on lots of different styles, shapes and details. I bought it from Pure Brides in Norwich, where they had a system of comparing each dress to the previous one tried on – whether you like it more or less. This really helped as I can be quite indecisive. My wedding dress was perfect because it contained a mixture of details from dresses that I had previously tried on and liked.
Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?
My three sisters and Tom’s sister were bridesmaids. They wore pale blue dresses with a dip hem. The best thing about the dresses was that the sleeves/straps could be worn and styled differently which meant all the bridesmaids were happy.
What did the groom wear?
Tom wore a suit from Moss Bros. It was navy with a peacock patterned inner layer and his tie was yellow.
Tell us about your floral arrangements
Our flowers were done by Jane from Daphne and Doreen Flower Studio. She favours working with seasonal British flowers and was so knowledgeable that, apart from a few basic ideas we let her run with what she thought was best. She created beautiful Easter basket table arrangements that guests later took home. We also had posies of blooms in jam jars around the barn and on the top table. Jane also planted up some large pots which we placed at the entrance to the barn and were then taken home by my mum for her garden.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original is the details. Tell us about the details of the day
We had a sweet table for the big kids and also a ‘pimp your prosecco’ station, which I took full advantage of! There was a photobooth for guests which was popular and we had sparklers during the evening. As our wedding was on Good Friday there were Mini Eggs for the guests on their tables and we also had seasonal flowers like daffodils and hyacinths planted into Easter baskets for the table arrangements.
How did you feel walking down the aisle?
By the time I walked down the aisle I was very excited and just wanted to start the day and celebrate with family and friends. I had enjoyed getting ready with the bridesmaids and was ready for the ceremony and to see Tom.
What was your most memorable moment?
The best man and one of the groomsmen wrote and performed a song all about Tom for the best man’s speech. It was so funny and had everyone clapping along. It was a total surprise.
What was the most important investment for you?
The venue. As our whole day was going to be spent there, as well as the night before and the night of the wedding, this was most important to us.
What song did you choose for your first dance?
Sam Smith’s Latch. We liked it because neither of us really wanted to be dancing with everyone staring for too long, so we got the band to start it as the acoustic version and then merge it into the dance version, which got everyone else dancing.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
A band called The PYTs (now called Elevate) who played during the evening and also provided a DJ set. The dancefloor was full from their first song until the very last.
Was there anything you wish you’d known beforehand?
I used an app to help me with the planning and it allowed me to work in manageable steps. We weren’t really aware of the legal side of things, like giving notice and what documents to provide the registrars, but there is loads of advice online and in magazines to help with this.
Do you have any advice for other couples planning their wedding?
The night before the wedding we invited our guests to meet us for dinner at a local restaurant. It was great because we had already said hello to and had time to catch up with friends and family before the big day. It also meant that some of our guests, like the hen and stag parties had a chance to get to know each other better and then enjoy being together the next day.