Wedding of the Week: Hannah Richbell and William Goldsmith
01 Mar 2017
Pretty in pink with several personal touches, this Suffolk church wedding was a momentous occasion
The proposal was on New Year's Eve at midnight, 1st January 2015. My husband-to-be proposed, on one knee. We spent the evening in, watching films and waiting to see in the New Year. Little did I know what was coming although I did wonder why, as midnight drew closer, that Will started to act very oddly – pacing in and out of the room and jumping around doing star jumps.
At 11.55pm, he went outside ready to bring in the New Year, on what was our first New Year in our first home together. At midnight, I was around the corner from the front door in the hallway when he walked in, got straight down on one knee and held out a beautiful engagement ring... and said a very quick "Will you marry me?", because he was so nervous. I immediately burst into tears so Will was not sure what my answer was at first, but of course I then said 'yes'.
We then popped open the champagne and I called my parents to tell them. What I didn’t know was that they were waiting for the call as Will had been round to theirs on Christmas Eve and asked for their blessing. I couldn’t believe they had known all that time over Christmas without letting on.
I found my dream dress through Facebook in September 2015. And it was the very first wedding dress I tried on.
I went along to a wedding fair in Bury St Edmunds (Take My Hand Wedding Fair) and I joined the Facebook page. Not long after I joined, I saw a dress on the page and immediately fell in love with it. In excitement, but not thinking anything would come of it, I sent a message over Facebook asking if the fair's organisers could let me know where I could find this gorgeous dress. Matt from Take My Hand Wedding Fairs replied saying the photos were given to them by Terry Fox, who I could contact. Well, I did, and Terry asked if I would like to come and try on the dress called the ‘Pearly Queen’ (perfect for someone who loves pearls, as I do).
My mum and I were greeted by Terry Fox, an award-winning bridal designer, on a rainy day in a lovely studio in Bury filled with beads, pearls, ribbons and trimmings. I couldn’t wait to try on my first wedding dress. Terry hand-makes her dresses so you are guaranteed a perfect fit and that individual touch. I did also try one more dress of Terry Fox’s on which was a completely different style and although I did love this too, I knew instantly what style I preferred and suited me best. I also knew that I really wanted my first choice. I took a few days to think about going to other shops to try on more dresses, however I decided that I would be wasting my time and I couldn't have had a better experience trying the dresses on with Terry, who was so lovely. So with this dress as ‘the’ dress in my mind, I sealed the deal without any doubt that Terry would make me a beautiful dress.
We knew we wanted to get married at St Mary’s Church in Bury, however we did not have any venue in mind for our wedding reception so we rang round and booked in some dates and times to look around with my parents. We chose Ravenwood Hall Hotel because when we looked, it really felt like it suited us the best with the beautiful surroundings and real country feel. We loved the Edwardian Pavillion with the separate dance room and could see the live band we wanted playing outside the front of the pavilion, with everything being contained in one area but still allowing people to walk round the grounds.
The colour scheme
We wanted a traditional wedding with a country feel to it to suit the venue. We decided we wanted our bridesmaids all in summery pink. And then everything else took shape from there with our flowers, suits and homemade jams as favours.
The bridesmaids wore light pink dresses, all from Monsoon. We chose my nieces' dresses first in Monsoon in Bury St Edmunds and then went shopping with my cousin, Amy, for her dress in Chapelfields, Norwich, taking the other ones we had purchased with us so we could see that they complemented each other. We ended up getting Amy’s dress from Monsoon as well.
All of the men’s suits were from Gerald Boughton in Bury St Edmunds.
After visiting many florists (this proved to be the hardest supplier to find as we wanted someone who understood our vision), my mum and I (the husband kept out of this one) found Thrive Floristry not far from our home. We knew immediately from the first visit that Claire from Thrive was the right person to do our flowers. She was excellent – listened to what we wanted, rather than telling us what we should have and it was very reassuring to see that she understood exactly what we were after. I chose what colour flowers I wanted from a picture of a bouquet I saw in a magazine beforehand, which I absolutely loved, and the colours in it were mainly pink and peach. I wanted country, loose, natural looking flowers. My bridal bouquet was gorgeous and I was so pleased when it arrived on the wedding morning.
We wanted the bridesmaids to have real flower circlet headdresses and they all looked so beautiful with these on the day, exactly as I imagined them to look. For the tables, rather than big tall centrepieces, we wanted to use small vases and put a few different sized vases on each table with our flowers in to create a country wedding feel. We also had buttonholes and corsages for our families.
Our cake was made by the very talented Andrea Davey from Elite Cakes & Buffets in Pakenham. We wanted a four tier traditional cake and showed Andrea a couple of photos of styles of cake that we liked. We chose a fruit layer, two chocolate layers, and a gluten-free sponge layer. We loved the final result and the handmade sugar-coated flowers on the cake also matched our real flowers on the day perfectly.
As I waited with dad just outside the church entrance, I felt very nervous and just hoped I wouldn’t trip over in my dress. However, as soon as we started to walk the nerves disappeared and instead I felt extremely emotional and overwhelmed and just so very happy. I noticed my husband did not take his eyes off me, not for a second, and it was a very special moment.
The wedding service was beautiful with our favourite songs and hymns and saying our vows was very special. We had a couple of little giggles, the first when I struggled to get Will’s ring on his finger and the second when Will stood on the train of my dress... although I’m not so sure I was laughing too much at the time.
Arriving at our reception, I felt relaxed and very happy. It was lovely walking in with the live jazz trio playing and we enjoyed speaking to family and friends and also watching everyone enjoying themselves and the canapés and drinks on offer.
We had a receiving line, so it was great to see everyone before we went in to eat. Our wedding breakfast was spoken about so much by our guests as the food was delicious.
After the food came the speeches and my husband, dad and the best man all did a great job.
Martin Beard, our photographer, effortlessly went round with his camera and worked with the videographer to capture our day. They made us feel at ease throughout.
We had the Ravenwood Hall Disco and a live jazz trio to play outside. Both were excellent. The dance floor was always busy with the disco and many guests commented on the live jazz trio.
We also had fireworks at the end of the night which were spectacular and went down well with all of our guests who were not expecting them.
The first dance
We chose ‘Thinking Out Loud’ by Ed Sheeran. We love Ed’s songs and especially loved this song when it came out. The lyrics summed up how we felt about each other, so it was always going to be our first choice for our wedding day.
We left for our honeymoon in Italy, Sorrento, a couple of days after the wedding, which worked perfectly as we had time to open our lovely cards and finish packing before heading off.
Top tips for other brides:
- Try not to stress over the wedding planning; make it an enjoyable experience. I will always remember the fun times we had, including blackberry and raspberry picking for the jam making.
- Make sure your suppliers know what you want, your vision and that they work around that, not what they want to provide.
- Enjoy and take in every moment of the day and take a step back and watch all the people you love and care for having a good time. You will remember this forever.
Steal their style:
Photography: Martin Beard Photography
Ceremony venue: St Mary’s Church
Reception venue: Ravenwood Hall Hotel
Dress: Terry Fox
Accessories: Terry Fox Accessories
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Monsoon
Suits: Gerald Boughton
Stationery: ISIS Printing Ltd
Flowers: Thrive Floristry
Cake: Elite Cakes and Buffets
Venue dresser: Ravenwood
Videography: Humble Productions
Entertainment: Ravenwood Disco (via Midsummer Music) and MH Jazz Trio
For more real wedding inspiration, pick up your copy of Bride magazine.