Samantha Walker and Simon Prior: A summer wedding with sentimental details

06 Feb 2019

Every detail was accounted for on Samantha and Simon's wedding day, having taken the time over their three-year engagement to plan the perfect celebration

How did you meet?

At secondary school.

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Tell us about the proposal.

We were in New York and went to the top of the Rockefeller Center at night where Simon proposed. I’d always wanted a Tiffany engagement ring and he later told me that he’d secretly driven to Manchester to choose it. He’d even arranged for me go to Tiffany the next day to have it sized to fit perfectly.

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What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?

We didn’t really have a theme, but we wanted everything to have a modern edge and a touch of sparkle. Our colours were classic navy, white and silver. Everything tied in so beautifully, from our save the dates right through to the biscuit favours.

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What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?

From our first visit to Rockliffe Hall in Darlington, we just knew that we would end up getting married there. We had had many overnight spa stays and fell in love with the building and its luxury more and more. The staff have always gone above and beyond to make each stay memorable so we just knew that they would make our wedding day perfect. Our guests have been talking about how impressive it was ever since.

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When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?

I’d tried on a few different styles of dresses in number of shops but really wasn’t feeling any of them as I had a vision of my dream dress. I couldn’t find anything that was even close. As time was pushing on, I went to Y.A.P. Bridal Boutique with my mam and met with Jo, who was the most reassuring, understanding and passionate lady that I had spoken about dresses with. She knew exactly what I wanted and made it happen – she literally pulled the dress that I had envisioned and the one that I wasn’t even sure existed straight off the rail. It was a Maggie Sottero gown and was completely perfect; I knew that it was the one before I had even tried it on.

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What did the bridesmaids wear?

I had four bridesmaids (two friends and two cousins) who were dressed in beautiful navy floor-length dresses.

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What did the mother of the bride wear?

My mam wore the most amazing mother of the bride dress, which was a taupe colour and from Molly Browns in York. She looked incredible.

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Where did you find your suits?

Because the boys wanted to wear tailcoats, they chose to hire their suits. The groom, groomsmen and both fathers wore the same.

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Tell us about your floral arrangements.

We just wanted a neutral palette for our floral arrangements, with white and cream flowers as well as some greenery. There were bouquets and buttonholes, an arrangement for the register table and floral centrepieces. My bouquet had a ring attached with my grandad’s ashes inside, which was all I was really concerned about.

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Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.

I put a lot of thought into how I was going to make our wedding personal. We spent a great deal of time making our save the dates and invitations ourselves, which was the best decision as they turned out exactly the way that I had wanted. We spent most of our preparation time with a silver spray can in the back garden and making all of the signs ourselves so that every font and colour matched. I had also made a little security tag for our pageboy and bought him some personalised sunglasses to match.

We had named our tables after settings from Disney films and bought wooden table names and a cake topper from the same place to tie in with our colour scheme. I bought a few personalised items, including confetti with our initials on, our special dates frame and a street sign with our married name to display around the room. We also had a personalised drop box frame instead of a guestbook and decided to bake our own favours with navy and white marble icing to match our cake.

We had a band, magician, photo booth, candy cart and sparklers as well as an exceptional barbecue on the terrace with a chocolate fountain at our evening reception.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

The feeling that I had when walking down the aisle was very surreal and difficult to put into words. Knowing that everybody in the room has been anticipating your arrival is scary, but seeing those that mean the most to you and so much emotion is moving. I had everything that was important to me right there and then – with my friends and family surrounding me, my dad on my arm and my groom at the other end, I just felt complete. I remember saying that I would look around and smile at guests as I walked, but as soon as we began walking I couldn’t look anywhere but at my soon-to-be husband.

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How did you make the ceremony personal to you? 

We only wanted a short ceremony so chose some additional vows but didn’t have any readings. We had an acoustic singer who sang songs that meant a lot to us as I walked down the aisle and as we were signing the register.

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What was your most memorable moment?

I don’t know – it has all just combined into one huge memorable moment. Simon did have to feed me the strawberry from my champagne though as I couldn’t pick it out of the glass, which is just us all over.

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

Nothing was very challenging and I’d like to think that I was a pretty chilled bride. We had a fairly long engagement since we bought our house in the middle of it all, so we were able to save and prepare with plenty of time. We were of course lucky to have some financial support from our families, which will have taken a lot of strain off us.

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What was the most important investment for you?

Everything at our wedding was an important investment as we have always said we will only have one wedding, so we had everything we wanted. We were lucky enough to have the five-star food and service that came with our venue so would probably agree that the venue was the most important investment.

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What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?

I am absolutely not ashamed to admit that I love McFly, so our first dance was to It’s All About You and our band played this live.

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Tell us about your wedding cake.

Our wedding cake had four tiers of vanilla, chocolate, butterscotch and candyfloss flavours. I designed our cake myself to match our theme and colours before I found a brilliant lady to make it.

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Did anything go wrong on the day?

There were a few small hiccups, as there often is, but they didn’t make any difference to our experience and we have forgotten about them now. Mostly everything ran so smoothly.

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Where did you go on honeymoon?

We went to Las Vegas on honeymoon before driving to Los Angeles in a Mustang. We also had a four-day mini-cruise to Mexico to relax a little in between. We were married on the Friday and travelled to Manchester Airport on the Sunday, which was admittedly quite stressful as we were so exhausted after the wedding.

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Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?

Just enjoy every second of making the day yours and take everything in. Do what you want to do. Remember that you can’t please everyone and you will learn a lot about people when you’re planning your big day. I would also say that a videographer is invaluable but is often thought of as an unnecessary cost. I’m so glad that we decided to hire a videographer, as our wedding video is definitely as precious as our photographs.

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Steal their style:

Venue: Rockliffe Hall, rockliffehall.com
Photography: David E Williams, davidewilliamsphotography.co.uk
Videography: Total Memories, totalmemories.net
Dress: Maggie Sottero from Y.A.P Bridal, yapbridal.co.uk
Hair: Keep it Pinned
Make-up: Kelly Quinn
Suits: Slaters
Cake: The Cake Place
Flowers and centrepieces: Flower Angels
Band: The Maverick Rejects
Magician: David Diamond
Singer: Jess Avison
Photo booth and candy cart: James Entertainments

For more real wedding inspiration, pick up your local edition of Bride magazine

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