A traditional church wedding with a fun-filled reception in Suffolk

29 Sep 2021

Postponing their wedding once due to Covid, Sarah Sheldrick and Neal Beavis' wedding plans finally fell into place... and for the better

The proposal

It was Christmas Eve 2017. We had been to Mass and were on our way home from church. Neal had done subtle things throughout the day such as wear the jumper he wore on our first date and made a playlist of our songs in the car. On the way home, Neal took me to the bridge on which we first met and got down on one knee. When he asked me to marry him, I was so surprised I forgot to say yes.


The planning

We were originally supposed to get married in August 2020, but unfortunately, due to covid, had to postpone. All of our suppliers were amazing and we only had to postpone once.


The dress

When I went to look for my dress in January 2019, it was a spur of the moment decision as the wedding dress shop had a sale on. The dress I fell in love with, however, was not in the sale. I tried about ten dresses on and I was torn between mine and another one. Everyone in the shop kept telling me how much my face lit up when I had my chosen dress on as I loved the sparkle and the princess style... I just knew that was my dress.


The venue

We booked a venue in 2018, which actually fell through through six months before our wedding due to Covid. We had already chosen Jamie Lee Smith Catering and had built up an amazing relationship with Jamie and his team. Jamie had recently taken over Venue 16 and when he found out about our reception venue, he invited us to go and have a look.

After showing us around, I fell in love with the whole place, probably more than the first venue we were supposed to have. Jamie, Claire and the team went out of their way to give us the day we wanted. If it was possible, Jamie would deliver.

We had a very bespoke package made and I knew on the day I could 100% relax as my wedding was in safe hands. The team at Venue16 were attentive and organised with impeccable service and delicious food. We still have comments from our guests about what a flawless day it was.

Although, at the time, my original wedding venue falling through was a moment of despair, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I’m a great believer that everything happens for a reason. Now, we can go back to Jamie’s restaurant for a meal on special occasions with happy memories.



The colour scheme and theme

Pink and mint green colours with a rugby theme, as we love rugby.


The bridesmaids' dresses

The bridesmaids had floor-length dresses with beaded detail in pink and mint green.

The suits

The groomsmen wore navy suits with pink ties, and Neal wore a different suit with a mint tie. 



The flowers

My flowers were pink, mint green and ivory and were artificial as I wanted to keep them. 


The cake

We chose three cakes in our wedding colours with salted caramel, lemon and chocolate orange as the flavours.


The ceremony

We had a church ceremony at St. Peter's Church in Copdock. Reverand Annette Shannon is amazing. We have built close relationships with the church and our ceremony felt personal and was delivered with such warmth and love. Walking down the aisle was surreal. I can remember seeing a sea of faces but I was not actually able to digest who was there.

We had a reading by one of the best men, Tom, and Reverand Annette put in a quote from Harry Potter as we are big fans: 'Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if One only remembers to turn on the light'.


The reception

The drive from the church to the reception was amazing, as it was a point in the day we got to spend alone with each other. We had a glass of champagne and had that realisation of 'we’ve done it'!

Arriving at Venue16 was amazing. We were able to pull up right outside our garden area and there was a waiter ready with arrival drinks. We walked in to our saxophonist, David Walker, playing Can't Help Falling in Love, which was a song we had at the church. We had a bouncy castle, a rodeo and we let off smoke grenades for our photos, which was loads of fun.

We had canapés outside with Pimm's and beers before we went in for our three-course wedding breakfast, which was incredible. 


The entertainment

In the evening we had a local band called Jolly Polly and the Pirates. They were amazing. We also had a chocolate fountain and a selfie mirror.

The first dance

We danced to Justin Timberlake's Mirrors.


The honeymoon 

We went to the airport the next day and then flew to Mexico on the Monday. Our honeymoon was incredible, but we had to cut it short due to it being put on the red list while we were there. 


Advice for brides-to-be:

Don’t worry about the small stuff; no one will notice. Enjoy your day, and make sure you stop and just take it all in. The day goes so fast, take time with your new husband or wife. Stay relaxed. All the final decisions you make have to be what you want as a couple, not because you are trying to keep people happy.

Steal their style: 

Photography: Richard Sheldrick
Videography: Amy Gilson
Venue: Venue16
Dress: Art Couture (AC510), from Just A Day Bridal
Wedding rings: Smooch Rings
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Roman Orignals
Hair & make-up: Sharron at Elegant Hair and Beauty
Groom’s outfit: Red Herring
Flowers: Boutique Bouquets
Cake: Gills Cakes, Ipswich
Catering: Jamie Lee Smith Catering
Transport: Beautiful Day Wedding Cars  
Saxophonist: David Walker
Band: Jolly Polly and the Pirates 

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