Our day, our way

13 Dec 2013

Our day, our way

Mark Turley and Nicola Dylong

Where: Ceremony at St Mary’s Church, Sturmer Hall, followed by reception at Sturmer Hall Hotel

Photography: Peter-John Knight

Mark and I met in 2004. Following the birth of our children, Mark finally proposed on my 40th birthday in 2012. After waiting eight years I wasn’t going to hang about with the wedding preparations - I had a wedding venue in mind and had admired a dress in the window of the local store for months.

Sturmer Hall is just a few miles from our home and after our first visit we knew it was the place that we wanted to celebrate our wedding. St Mary’s church is right next door and we could have our wedding ceremony there (although Sturmer do have a licence for weddings in the hall) and then walk to Sturmer Hall and continue our special day and party into the evening. Everything would be contained, there was no cars to worry about and many family and friends could stay at the Hall for the night or weekend. Sturmer’s main entertainment area is a huge Pavilion with a bar, dance floor/stage, music and lighting and there are beautiful gardens and rooms for all the photos

The wedding planners and management at Sturmer were so helpful and very knowledgeable, they helped us whenever we had questions. We discussed the various options and decided on a banquet buffet for our wedding breakfast and a hot buffet for our evening reception. We knew that everyone, guests and the both of us, would feel special.

Next was the dress. I tried many on but was always drawn back to the dress that I had admired in the window of Amanda Julia Couture. It was pale pink and princess style and as soon as I put it on I knew it was ‘the one’. I then bought the matching flowergirl dress for our five year old daughter, Amelia, and a pale grey dress for one of my sisters, Janine Cannon, who was to be bridesmaid. My other sister, Davina Cannon, was going to be busy with a newborn at time of wedding so she was spared such duties, though she helped me on the day.

Mark and the groomsmen hired suits from Amanda too. Mark had one of his sisters, Susan, be his ‘best man’ and she chose a dark grey dress that matched the suits well.

We chose our photographer, Peter-John Knight following a small engagement photo shoot. Peter and his wife Veronika were easy to get along with, professional and knew how to get the best photos from a camera shy couple like us. The added benefit of having two photographers on the day also meant that they could capture both Mark and his groomsmen getting to church whilst photographing me and the bridesmaids getting ready in the hotel.

Flowers were going to be tricky as we needed height in such a large room. Our florist, Sally of Flower Power took my very basic thoughts on wanting orchids and roses, and suggested very tall vases with willow, orchids and hanging crystals that would catch the lights and sparkle. The bouquets were a mixture of orchids and roses too in pinks and creams.

The cake was supplied by Beautiful Tiers, we wanted a mixture of cupcakes and a tiered cake and this was decorated with sugar flowers cascading down the side. The cakes were a mixture of flavours, vanilla, chocolate and raspberry and white chocolate. It was such a shame to cut it on the day as it looked so beautiful.

On the day I was glad I chose to stay at Sturmer the night before, we had lots of space to get everything done and it stopped us from feeling too rushed. I was not at all nervous until it came to the walk down the drive to the church and then the nerves started, they only lasted a minute or two though as I knew Mark was waiting for me at the end of the aisle. I didn’t even register the guests in the church, I just wanted to get to the front and to Mark’s side.

We couldn’t have asked for a better day, the sun shone, we were surrounded by family and friends all day and eve, though we did miss family that had not been able to travel from abroad. There were games set up for the children (and grown ups) on the lawns, cricket, tug of war etc and the children loved being able to get in the fresh air.

Our wedding favours were small photo frames with a message saying “Thank you for making this a picture perfect day” and our tables looked stunning with the flowers and some unique menu stands which we had made by the lovely Cannon House Crafts. They were engraved Perspex stands and some even had the Hall silhouette cut into them which just set them apart from any others we had even seen. The effect was simple but striking.

In the evening, just after cutting the cake, I read a poem to Mark, describing how we met and how I felt about him, it had a little comedy in it too and it just filled the moment perfectly, many a guest welled up a bit. Our first dance was to Eyes Wide Open by Creed which has always been our song and then we also danced with our son, Matthew and daughter, Amelia, to Little Wonders by Rob Thomas. Some of these photos of our family unit are my favourites.

We really could not have imagined how well all the little details would come together in the eight months of planning that we did. But as we sat outside the front of Sturmer Hall at 1am, drinking hot cocoa after all of our guests had retired for the evening, we agreed that everything had been just perfect.

Top tip

Make sure that you take time through the day and evening to talk to each other, its easy to be separated when greeting guests so spend a few minutes here and there sharing your thoughts on the day.


Photography: Peter-John Knight, 01440 768861, www.peterjohnweddingphotography.co.uk

Venue: Sturmer Hall Hotel, 01440 705368, www.sturmerhall.com

Dress and suits: Amanda Julia Couture, 01440 714334, www.amandajuliacouture.co.uk

Make-up: Michale Kenward, www.facebook.com/home.php#!/makeupmichalakenward?fref=ts

Flowers: Flower Power, 07870 837293, www.itsflowerpower.co.uk

Cake: Beautiful Tiers, 07514 304316, www.beautifultiers.co.uk

Menu stands and cake topper: Cannon House Crafts, 01760 725478, www.cannonhousecrafts.co.uk

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