Wedding of the Week: Sarah Henning and Matthew Harris

21 Nov 2016

Disney details, DIY touches and Haribo favours made this wedding a personal celebration for the happy couple

How did you meet?

Matt and I met on our very last day of year 11 at our local park with our friends. We sat and chatted about art and life long after our friends went home and have been together ever since.

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Tell us about the proposal.

The proposal was everything to me and so important to Matt. Earlier in the year, we had booked a holiday to Disney World and little did I know he had big plans. We had arrived at the Magic Kingdom and Matt was keen to get a professional photo in front of the castle and I was more than happy to oblige. The photographer knew somehow and dragged me away in front of Matt to take a photo of just me, and then I turned back around to find Matt waiting there on one knee. It was absolutely magical.

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

We didn’t have a specific colour scheme as such; we wanted to keep it quite open so that there was no pressure to find things to match. This way we could introduce different tones and colours without a second thought. Our theme was more woodland than anything else: lots of sticks, moss and nothing too tidy.

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

Now this was the funniest part of my bridal journey as I almost didn’t believe that I would know if I’d found the dress, but apparently you do! I had been swooning over a dress online and had tracked down a boutique that stocked it, so my mum and I made our way there for our appointment and as we entered the shop my mum pointed at a dress in the window and told me that I just had to try that one on. I wasn’t convinced, but I tried it on anyway. As the lovely lady got me into the dress and braced my mum for the big reveal, I got all nervous. She pulled back the curtains and that was it, my mum’s expression said it all. That’s when I knew it was 'the' dress. I tried on a few more but I couldn’t keep my mind off the first one and I would say to anyone looking for their dress that that is how you know; you can’t get it off the brain. The funniest thing is that the dress I chose was the dress I had been swooning over online, but I hadn’t had a clue it was the same one because it looked so different on the model online. It was meant to be.

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Where did you find your suits?

We went suit shopping quite early on as we thought it would take a while to pick the colour and the style, however we stumbled across Matt's lovely blue suit in the Moss Bros sale and it fit perfectly. It was so lucky that we found it, but sometimes things just work out like that. It was the easiest decision of the whole wedding.

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Tell us about your floral arrangements.

Our florists were unbelievable; we wanted wild flowers with a lot of greenery and pops of different colours. We didn’t want anything to match or be too restrained, everything needed to move and have that handpicked vibe. We had moss covering a lot of our tables and sticks everywhere. We had pale colours with pops of purple, blue, orange and bright pink each table with their own colour. It was beautiful. My bouquet was huge. It was wild, but still soft, which complEmented my bridesmaids' flowers. Their bouquets had different pops of colours, each one unique... just like the girls.

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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.

Both Matt and I are artistic so we wanted to include this where we could. I handpainted our table plan and welcome board on canvases and I painted all of the tags and table names, it was a lot of work but it was just as we wanted it. Matt is obsessed with Haribo so it was a no-brainer to have them as our favours and we are big on the environment, so we had eco-friendly boxes and tags for them. I punched Disney ears confetti out of our leftover paper from the invites for our tables and we also had lovely little paper butterflies to sit on our huge magical books we had for the centrepieces.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

Walking down the aisle is the most incredible feeling. I clung onto my dad for dear life and took a deep breath before the big moment. I felt the happiest I have ever felt because not only was there a room full of people I love standing there looking back at me, there at the end of that aisle was the most wonderful person in my life that I was about to marry. And as soon as I saw him, I felt like everything was going to be OK and all my nerves disappeared.

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What was your most memorable moment?

I’m not sure I have one most memorable moment, but there are two that come to mind immediately. The first being my dad seeing me for the first time when I was fully dressed and ready. That was an emotional father-daughter moment I will never forget. And the second would be seeing the look on Matt’s face as I walked up the aisle. It was a look of comfort and relief.

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

The most challenging was probably managing the budget. It is amazing how suddenly things can get out of control when planning a wedding and you feel you need absolutely everything in order to put on a good show. It is very easy to forget the real reasons why you are having a wedding in the first place. My advice would be prioritise what is most important to both of you and start at number one.

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What was the most important investment for you?

The most important investment for us was our photographers. It is so important to have photographers that understand your vision and ones that love what they do. Your photos really are an investment as they are the memories you have to keep forever. I knew Lina and Tom from working with them previously and there is absolutely no comparison between them and other photographers. They are the most warm, friendly and talented photographers I have met to this date and they work together perfectly. They are true professionals and exceeded our expectations by miles. They captured our day in photos exactly how it happened on the day and brought out the beauty in everyone they photographed. More importantly, they made Matt and I feel so comfortable and confident and having them there we knew that nothing could go wrong.

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

Matt gave me free reign for the first dance as we both weren’t that keen on doing one, so I thought as we got engaged in Disney then we should honour that and go for a fairytale ending. I picked the song So Close which is the last song in the film Enchanted. It was emotional and grand… perfect.

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Tell us about your wedding cake.

We wanted an anti-wedding cake, really colourful and most importantly, not white. Our cake was from Simply Gorgeous Cakes in Hertford and extremely last minute as our wonderful friend, Julie, was going to make our cake but unfortunately fell ill last minute. They ladies over at SGC were incredible; they calmed me down and made sure we got a lovely bright cake that we wanted.

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If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

As I am a hair and make-up artist I put a lot of pressure on my own style and so I would definitely go back and tell myself to chill out about that and trust my gut. I would also have the people that were unable to come to the wedding there.

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Was there anything you wish you’d known before?

I wish that I would have known to not put too much pressure on myself. I think there is a lot of pressure to deliver a showstopper of a day for your guests and I wish that I had thought early on that everyone there loves us and they really don’t care about the colour of your confetti, or how big the bow on the favour box is... all they care about is you. The details are meant to be fun, not stressful.

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Where did you go on honeymoon?

We chose Bali for our honeymoon, and it was absolutely beautiful.

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

My advice would be to try not to forget why you are getting married in the first place and that the wedding day is going to be a reflection of you as a couple, so it is ok to do things a bit differently. Try not to worry if your ideas are different, go with it as it will make your wedding uniquely yours. Remember this is your wedding and it will be your memories forever so own it and have fun.

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Steal their style:

Venue: Gaynes Park, Epping, www.gaynespark.co.uk
Photography: Lina and Tom, www.linaandtom.com
Flowers: The Wedding Flower Company, www.weddingflowercompany.co.uk
Lighting and entertainment: LoveLightEntertainment, www.lovelightentertainment.co.uk

To see more Essex weddings, take a look at the latest edition of Essex Bride.

Meet photographers Lina and Tom and make-up artist Sarah Henning at Bride: The Wedding Show at Knebworth Barns on January 7-8 2017. Visit www.theweddingshow.co.uk for more information.

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