Set in seven acres of picturesque gardens, Ware Priory in Hertfordshire delivered a scenic setting for this summer wedding
How did you meet?
We met on Saturday 9th February 2013 in The Clapham Grand, which is a nightclub in Clapham. We met by the bar and soon swapped numbers.
Tell us about the proposal.
The proposal was in Venice on a gondola, and Carl proposed with a lid ring from an Evian bottle. Sarah still has it now, and Carl eventually bought a beautiful engagement ring the following year once we had settled into our new home.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
No major ‘theme’ as such, but the colour scheme was sky blue and pastels, inspired by the River Lea and some amazing garden areas at the venue. It fitted the location really well.
When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?
I found the dress when I went to Sara French Bridal in St Neots, Cambridgeshire. I had been looking for a while, but when I went there I tried on a few different dresses and liked them all. I thought I had decided on a dress, but when Sara picked a champagne coloured dress for me to try, it suited my colouring perfectly, and I knew it was the right dress for me.
Where did you find your suits?
One of my best friends works for Moss Bros, so Carl visited with her and chose the Newbury style tails with sky blue cravats for the groom and groomsmen. They were perfect on the day.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
My mum did our floral arrangements for our venue, including all the table centrepieces. She used artificial flowers so she could work on them in advance and she could help us with other things in the week before the wedding. She has done flower arranging courses in the past, and did an absolutely wonderful job with the flowers. The bouquets and buttonholes were supplied by a local florist called Scarlett Rose in Hereford. We wanted to have a selection of flowers in pale blue, pink and ivory, broken up with greenery, to give them a slightly more natural feel.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
We had our drinks reception outside in the gardens after the ceremony, so we had some garden games on the lawn and some duck food, so the children could feed the ducks on the river. Our friend, Meena, put together some great activity packs for the kids during the wedding breakfast to keep them entertained. For our wedding favours, we made up some little jars of sweets for everyone, all with different patterned blue fabrics covering the lids. We made some photo boards up using pictures of us and our guests, which Carl made to look like old Polaroid photographs. In the evening our brilliant photographers, The Springles, set up a photo booth for us as part of our package with them. They have a box full of fancy dress, and we got some hilarious photographs from it. We also bought light up glasses and hair bows for everyone to wear for the party which was a lot of fun.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
Excited! I wasn’t nervous at all by that point. Carl looked so handsome in his suit and I was excited to hear what he thought of my dress and the bridesmaids' dresses after keeping them secret for months.
What was your most memorable moment?
There are so many memorable moments, but if we had to choose, the ceremony was probably the most memorable, saying our vows and becoming husband and wife. We have such happy memories of the whole day, and we couldn’t have hoped for more.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
We had the reception in a room that had windows overlooking the gardens and river, but the room itself needed decorating. We hired SPJ Events to put up white fairy-lit curtains all along one wall, along with a light-up dancefloor and chair covers. Trying to visualise what it would look like was difficult, but once the curtains, flowers and all our extra little touches were set up it looked great. We also decided to do quite a lot of things ourselves, rather than hiring someone else to do it, or buying things ready made. Trying to make sure we hadn’t forgotten anything, and we had time to finish everything to a high standard was a challenge.
What was the most important investment for you?
The venue was by far the most important investment for us. We wanted somewhere that our guests could feel relaxed, had lots of space and had good transport links, as we had guests attending from all over the country. Ware Priory had all these things, was a great size for us, and we loved the gardens by the river.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
We chose 'Calico Skies' by Paul McCartney for our first dance. We listen to his records together a lot, and this is one of our favourites.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
Carl is a big fan of Lego, and had seen a wedding cake online that had been iced to look like it was built from Lego. I work for Marks & Spencer, so we bought an assorted four tier wedding cake from there and I decided to have a go at decorating it. I used a silicone mould to make the Lego bricks, and we were really pleased with how it turned out, especially since it was a first attempt.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
We wouldn’t change anything. It was the perfect day from start to finish.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
How much everything would cost. We knew it would be expensive, but we didn’t realise just how much costs are when it comes to weddings. We did quite a lot of shopping around, and managed to find suppliers who all came highly recommended, but at a reasonable cost.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We went to Santorini for our honeymoon. It’s such a beautiful island and we had a wonderful time.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Start planning early! We only booked our venue nine months before the wedding, but we started planning everything straight away, and were busy doing different things every month until the wedding. It helped that we kept getting things done well in advance as it stopped us from getting stressed and meant we could enjoy the whole experience.
Get their look:
Venue: Ware Priory: www.warepriory.co.uk
Photography: The Springles, http://thespringles.com/
Dress: Sarah French Bridal, www.sarafrenchbridal.co.uk
Suits: Moss Bros, www.moss.co.uk
Decorations: SPJ Event Specialists, www.spjuk.com
Flowers: Scarlet Rose Florists, http://scarletroseflowers.co.uk/
Wedding cake: Marks & Spencer, www.marksandspencer.com
Hair and Make-up: Leigh Stefanczyk, www.curlsswirlsandbeautifulgirls.com
Cars: Charlesworth Classics, www.charlesworthclassics-weddings.co.uk
Stationery and Printing: Mogo Design, www.mogo-design.co.uk
To see more weddings in Hertfordshire, pick up your copy of Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Bedfordshire Bride magazine or read it online.