A jewel-coloured, winter wedding in the north east
09 Mar 2021
Having been separated by lockdown, Kimberley Knowles and Sammy Hayward were keen to get married as soon as possible following their engagement in June 2020.
Tell us about the proposal
Sam and I had become separated at opposite ends of the country due to Covid-19 (he is from Essex and I am from the North East). We were separated from February 2020 until we finally met in June 2020 - I had been shielding with my grandfather so we were unable to meet up until restrictions were lifted and the infection rate had gone down. It was a red hot day which was lucky as Sam was not allowed in the house to protect my grandfather. I am lucky to have a beautiful garden at home so we spent the day in the garden socially distanced and catching up, I had made us lunch and cocktails etc. Sam had presented me a Rolex watch as a gift then later my grandfather joined us outside for a socially distanced drink, Sam waited until I went inside and then asked my grandfather permission for my hand in marriage. When my grandfather left us Sam went down on one knee and asked for my hand in marriage I immediately said ‘yes’ and was given a beautiful oval solitaire ring he had designed and hand made in London.
How was (if at all) your wedding affected by Covid-19?
When we first started planning we naively thought Covid would have calmed down by the end of 2020 as at the time cases kept going down. I never imagined it would actually get much worse, overall. Our wedding was cancelled/postponed around five times and the stress and upset was unbelievable - I couldn't believe it and each time felt worse than the last. We didn't live together as I was brought up old fashioned by my grandparents and we were desperate to be married and also scared we may be separated a second time. Venues cancelled on us, sometimes unnecessarily and prematurely and we were constantly being consoled by our family and guests who all understood.
What restrictions were in place at the time of your wedding?
We were in tier three, however London and Essex moved into tier four by the time of the wedding stopping Sam’s family from being able to attend which was the most upsetting thing. We were not allowed a reception but as we had already paid for our cake Sam and I had a photo cutting it by my sister. People had to wear masks in the church, we were only allowed 12 guests and we could only have people near my grandfather who were in his bubble.
Did you still wear your planned wedding outfits?
Yes, as there were so many people unable to attend we understood they could only see the wedding via photos. I also have a very glamorous family and Sam and I love a bit of glamour so there was no way we were all going to dress down because of Covid-19.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
We chose jewel colours with it being a winter wedding, myself and my sister are big Downton Abbey fans so I wanted a vintage glamour theme which I think worked well with the winter theme. I wore a Swarovski crystal dress which had to be white - it was very 'ice queen' but I incorporated the colours of the wedding within my bouquet. I also added a pink velvet cape from my own fashion website which I feel added a fairytale element in some of the photos.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We were not allowed a venue but we were given permission by a venue we both know well to have photographs taken on their grounds which we are so grateful for and I know these grounds well and find the scenery so beautiful.
Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?
The bridesmaids were my sister and my cousin- we are a very close family so it had to be them. They were very hard to buy for but my mother and I finally settled on two magenta pink dresses with delicate crystal detail - both slightly different to match each girl's personality, then we randomly came across two Biba fur jackets - the only two available in each girl’s size - they were perfect, different, very Downton Abbey and very winter wedding as I didn't want to go for the usual fur wraps you generally see at winter wedding.
Did you hire a wedding planner?
Even though the venues we chose had a wedding planner included, it was my mother who has great taste and style, she is amazing at interior design and events and everyone I know goes to her for advice so we were very lucky to have her helping us throughout all the time and styling everything, as well as helping us stay positive.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day
My stepfather handmade us a beautiful wedding arch for photographs, it was world-class and unique like something out of Vogue magazine. We had many different favours and cool items for the tables for our guests specially made with different dates on all of which are sitting in a box unused; we had vintage key favours with the date on saying 'you're a key part of our lives', we had mints in retro cream packaging saying 'mint to be' with the date, I had jewel-coloured face masks and jewel-coloured fans for guests as I read that fans were going to be the new fashion accessory due to Covid and covering the face. We had jewel-coloured floral displays with eucalyptus and ivy to display around the venue and jewel coloured chocolate and mini champagne bottles with fashion illustrations on the label and date printed, I had a ring box for the wedding rings with a date printed on, of which I designed and had custom made. I even had children's goody boxes made up for guests bringing children.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
Proud to be on my grandfather's arm after he has shielded all year and stayed strong and overcome with emotion once I saw Sam and reached the altar.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
Definitely, the constant changes in restrictions and weddings seeming to be at the very bottom of the list, watching on the news people partying, travelling and protesting in large groups yet weddings have been a constant no-no throughout the pandemic apart from a small window in the summer.
What was the most important investment for you?
I wouldn’t call it an investment but the church was the most important thing for me and the photographs as not many people were allowed to see the wedding in person.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
I wouldn't change anything even though it wasn't a conventional wedding, it was about what is important and not about a party. Also we couldn't change anything unless we waited another six months to a year when we were so desperate to marry each other as soon as possible.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Yes, stay positive - it will happen - focus on what's important.
Steal Their Style
Photography: Paul Liddement Wedding Stories
Venue: St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church
Photographs at: The Hall Garth Gold and Country Club
Cake: Burnett 4 Cakes
Flowers: Eliza Blooms
Transport: Classic Wedding Cars