True to form, Amanda Young and Evan Sampson's wedding didn't go without a hitch but the happy couple saw the funny side and made the most of their very special day
How did you meet?
I used to date my husband's best friend when we were younger and they're still friends!
Tell us about the proposal.
Our first initials spell A and E and it is a common joke with friends and family as we are clumsy and things are never simple with us. The proposal plan was one such example...
My husband told me to pack a suitcase to take to work with me on the Friday, as he would pick me up at 5pm and we’d be on our way for a little surprise. We were heading towards Gatwick airport when I started to realise we could be flying. Evan got stopped by customs for a suspicious item in his hand luggage; I didn’t realise, but he had been stopped to show a man what was in this wooden box. Evan got taken to a side room which made me very nervous as I had no idea what they had suspected.
He had to explain to the man that he did not want to present the box in the open as I would see. Evan said the man was very understanding after he realised and congratulated him in advance. Evan presented me with my boarding pass and I saw that the airport I was travelling to was Marco Polo, although I had no idea until we arrived in Venice where I was going (geography has never been my strong point).
We went to catch the public boat, the vaporetto, which Evan thought would be romantic but took a lot longer to arrive to St Mark's Square than Evan had anticipated. We landed at 1am but didn't arrive in the square until 3am. The next day we had glorious sunshine until the afternoon. We fed the pigeons in the morning which was lovely, looked around the quaint little shops, went up the Clock Tower (mostly to escape the rain) and then we retreated back to the room to have a bath to warm up and relax before getting ready for the evening.
Evan had disappeared from the room for quite a few hours claiming he was looking for a nice restaurant for us. He had actually planned to take me on a gondola but because of the torrential rain, locals weren't taking their boats out at the risk of damage. Evan was frantically searching for a local down the side canals off the main streets who would be willing to take us and he managed to find someone. He had told the man: “I have wrote a poem I would like to read to my girlfriend and propose”, to which the local replied: “I will whistle when we go around a corner to a very nice part of the canal as it's quiet, and that will be your cue”.
Evan paid a deposit then came back to the room to tell me he had found a nice place to eat and we should get ready quickly. We sat on the boat as we travelled along the canals, and Evan's hands were shaking; I thought he was just cold or nervous of the boat. He passed a hand-written poem for me to read which was beautiful, it ended with “But one thing I never want to find out, is what I would do if I had to live without you, there are just some things, I don't need answers to, I love you.” I was so touched but when my eyes met his, he looked like he was having a nervous twitch... I soon realised he was trying to get the gondola driver's attention who was on his mobile phone having an argument with someone in Italian. We got off the boat, Evan shook his hand and paid him. It turns out the driver hadn't recognised Evan who had changed into smarter clothes for the boat ride.
After Evan's first failed attempt, we walked the canals having had an Italian meal of spaghetti and seafood and stopped at a table in St Mark's Square. We ordered drinks while listening to the beautiful live orchestra playing. It was getting late, almost 11pm, and I wanted to go back to the room as we had not got much sleep from working a full day, travelling that same evening and our arrival time of 3am.
Evan suggested we walk to the Bridge of Sighs and sit there for a while as he wanted to make the most of Venice before our departure tomorrow afternoon. We sat on a bench and listened to a busker playing on a Spanish guitar, it was beautiful and he kept us entertained for a while. Evan stood up and took my hand and led me to the front of the water with the Bridge of Sighs behind us and started talking. He stood holding me from behind, facing the water to look at the lights twinkling on the water.
He said “You know our saying ‘Time is precious, waste it wisely’, well, I don’t want to waste anymore time being your boyfriend and I don’t want you to be my girlfriend anymore". My heart thudded and I felt like I had swallowed my whole life, he was dumping me? I started sobbing so loud as he turned me to face him, but he was on his knees and he was talking but I couldn’t hear anything just lots of people watching us. He repeatedly said “What do you say? What’s your answer?”, and I blurted out “You want to dump me”. He said “I don’t want to waste time being your boyfriend anymore, I know what I want and I love you and time is too precious to waste, so I’m not wasting anymore time, will you marry me?” The Clock Tower - Torre dell'Orologio, started chiming really loudly as it struck midnight and he said: “I met you on this day 11 years ago, please say yes”. Of course I said yes.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
Our theme was rustic/natural and I chose lemon yellow in remembrance of my nan who loved the colour.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We chose Audleys Wood Hotel in Basingstoke because we liked the fairytale package they offered and the pavilion covered in fairy lights. We also noticed that they had Venice paintings on the wall in the ceremony room, which reminded us of the proposal.
When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?
My bridal party all came with me to Dorking to look around wedding shops with my vision for a simple, bohemian/Grecian dress. I soon realised that such a dress would suit someone taller, being just short of 4ft 11inches. One of my bridesmaids got me to try on one that looked like a loo roll holder from the '50s. I never imagined how hot, tiring and sweaty the day would be; some dresses are so heavy.
We decided to head to WED2B in Camberley, Surrey, where my bridal party all picked a dress for me to try on. We arrived 20 minutes before the store was about to shut, so I tried on a gown that kept catching my eye called Leah by Anna Sorrano and all I could do was smile. It was perfect. Everyone was crying.
What did the bridesmaids wear?
I had all my bridesmaids' dresses custom-made. I had four bridesmaids: my two best friends, Sam and Amanda; my daughter, Mia; and my maid of honour, Jade.
What did the mother of the bride wear?
She wore a black dress with a hummingbird kimono.
Where did you find your suits?
Evan thought he was being thrifty and decided to have his custom-made from China to keep costs down. Although he clearly didn’t look at the colour swatches properly or get the measurements right for him and my dad (father of the bride), as when they eventually turned up weeks before the wedding, my dad couldn’t move his arms or breathe and found out his navy blue suit was actually neon electric blue. They both brought new three-piece suits from Topman and Evan wore his suit with a Ted Baker shirt.
Did you hire a wedding planner?
My parents have a business that they are in the early stages of setting up and my wedding was their guinea pig - Lily’s Rustic Weddings.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
I went to a local garden centre in Surrey called Longacres for inspiration and they helped me select my wedding flowers.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
- We had biodegradable confetti (real flower petals) for all our guests
- We had a sweet cart filled with sweets, activity books and crayons for the children that attended, and a photobooth
- The most special detail of the wedding for us was that my mum and dad understood how important it was for me to have raw materials, environmentally friendly sourced wood, upcycled, recycled, handmade venue styling decorations. They made personalised signs, decorated ladders, picture frames, mirrors, and cut fallen log slices to create my table centerpieces.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
Tall (I was wearing five-inch custom-made Superman wedges). My dress was beautiful and I had gone more than 24 hours without seeing Evan, so when I reached the aisle I let out a cry that sounded like a dying animal. It was the release of all the things that had gone wrong, people not able to attend, missing my fiancé and suddenly having the relief that everything was OK as he was standing there waiting for me.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
I had a chair that was reserved with my late nan’s blanket, photos, a poem and a pint of Guinness (she had it for 'medicinal purposes only'.
What was your most memorable moment?
Our vows - the registrar said to me “Do you take Evan Ross Sampson to be your wedded wife”!The ceremony filled with laughter and the registrar was so apologetic but that is what made our day imperfectly perfect. Our initials, A and E, never escape us and it made the day for us.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
We experienced family loss and emergencies just before the wedding, people dropping out last minute and panicking trying to fill those spaces that were already paid and non refundable.
What was the most important investment for you?
Our photographer; he is the best. I hate my photo being taken and wanted the wedding to be relaxed, so I wanted natural and unposed images. I also wanted to retain the bohemian, free-spirited and rustic feel, and that’s when I came across Manu Mendoza’s website which states exactly that. Plus, he’s gorgeous too.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
We Have All The Time in the World by Louis Armstrong. Time is a very important word for Evan and I. He mentioned in his proposal that he didn’t want to waste time being just boyfriend and girlfriend and our favourite quote is 'Time is precious, waste it wisely'. It was also the song that came on during our first date.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
We had a photo booth and an amazing Surrey-based band called Gentlemen Of The Road. They played a two 60-minute set; the first half comprised a stripped back, Mumford and Sons styled set (indie/acoustic is my favourite genre) and the other included rock and pop classics.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
My bridesmaid's sister, Emma’s Cake Creations, made it for us. It was a three-tier naked wedding cake with fresh flowers as decoration on a wooden log slice.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
Not to worry about all the little things and worrying about what our guests would be happy with. You hardly use all the little things you buy, thinking it will add to the day. You just realise on the day that as long as everyone is fed, has a varied choice of drinks and there’s plenty of laughter, all the finer details you obsessed over are just needless and wasted energy.
Did anything go wrong on the day?
Evan shaved his face while getting ready with his groomsmen and applied aftershave which caused his skin to react and bleed all over the collar of his WHITE shirt. Our photographer had to edit EVERY photo with him in.
Also, no one knew how to put my veil on - thank god for our photographer who has witnessed many weddings.
The registrar made a hiccup with our vows (as aforementioned), my bridesmaid set her alarm for a 7am wake-up but we overslept for more than an hour, Evan forgot all the thank you gifts so there was a massive panic just before the ceremony and his best man (and dad) had to collect them, I forgot to throw the bouquet and we nearly forgot to cut the cake.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
We wish we had spoken to our families and friends sooner and asked for help rather than trying to do it all on our own.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We went to Bali, Indonesia. We had breakfast in our hotel the morning after the wedding and left for the airport. It was such a beautiful country.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Not to worry about worrying. Things go wrong but it makes the day unique to your wedding and sometimes adds humour to what guests may feel is quite a serious formal day.
Steal their style:
Venue and catering: Audleys Wood Hotel, www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/audleyswood
Dress and accessories: WED2B, Leah by Anna Sorrano, www.wed2b.co.uk/leah
Photography: Manu Mendoza, www.manumendoza.com
Make-up: Polly Earnshaw, my sister-in-law, www.imdb.com/name/nm0247442/
Cake: Emma's Cake Creations, www.emmascakecreations.com
Hair: More Good Hair Days by Paris Quarterman, www.facebook.com/paris.quarterman
Venue styling/bespoke décor hire: Lily's Rustic Weddings, www.lilysrusticweddings.co.uk
Photo booth: Disco Photobooth, www.discophotobooth.co.uk
Band: Gentlemen of the Road, www.gentlemenoftheroadband.co.uk
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