Apryl and James had the day of their dreams back in December 2018…
It all started, as always, with a proposal:
“We had taken a trip to Cornwall for my birthday. We were walking along one of the beaches in Rock. We got to a quiet cove and that’s where James proposed.”
“The first step was finding a venue. We knew we wanted a Christmas wedding, but we weren’t too particular with the date. A few friends brought me planners so I started making notes on venues in there. I knew the photographer I wanted so as soon as we got a date, Lucie was the next thing I booked!
For inspiration in planning the day, I picked up a few mags initially, but my main inspiration came from Pinterest. We knew from the off we wanted a classic styled wedding.”
With initial ideas in mind, they needed to figure out their budget:
“We had a rough budget which we had gauged on our recent close friend’s weddings. We always wanted to remain sensible but also said we would have a day to remember for not only us but all our family and friends.”
With a clear vision and budget in mind, next step, VENUE!
“The internet was mainly how we searched for a venue. I used hitched a lot! We wanted to be within 2 hours of our home town. We were starting to lose hope before we found Gosfield Hall as none of the other venues we had viewed flowed properly in our opinion. I was worried about having guests in all different places and losing guests because the bar wasn’t close to the dance floor. I loved how every room in Gosfield Hall was used and how each part of the day was in a different place.
I remember coming to an open day with my mum and dad initially as James was on a stag do. It instantly felt very homely and I knew James would like it for all the darker wood and character. I really loved the cosy library area which I knew would be perfect for people to relax in in the evening without being too far from the party! We knew we didn’t want a venue where the wedding reception wasn’t in the main house. So Gosfield Hall fit this perfectly. I booked to come back with James a few days later and we confirmed our date.”
With the venue confirmed, the date secured, it was time to plan the smaller details:
“We didn’t want to take away from the venues own character. We wanted to tie our style in with the wedding venue and the fact it would be around Christmas. We decided on a natural green theme with crisp whites. We had a large white cake with greenery and gold frames with messages and instructions in. We used candles all around to enhance the cosy-ness of the venue. Our flowers and centrepieces were white flowers and greenery, including candles.”
With the planning done, it was time to sit back and wait for the day to arrive!
Apryl and the girls, Leanne, Keilly, Sarah and Heather, arrived the night before and stayed in our Lady’s Chambers Cottage. The next morning, they were up and raring to go! Hair and Makeup were started in there before moving up to the stunning Rococco Suite, where Apryl finished getting ready and put on that all-important dress!
With the girls well on their way to being ready, the boys had arrived and were doing the same!
“James opted for a morning suit. He had a champagne waistcoat and a tie designed by our friend with a fleur de lys motif in the pale green colour to match our colour scheme.”
“James had his best Man Jack and four Groomsmen. My brother Ricky, his friend George and my two younger cousins Harvey and Archie.”
The boys were now ready and off downstairs to meet and greet their guests.
Unknown to James and Apryl, while both being upstairs, the house had been transformed with all their decorations.
Everything was in place and ready for the guests.
Apryl was almost ready, she was adding her own finishing touches…
“I wore a very long veil. I loved my veil. It was held in place with a diamante hairpiece. I wore earrings that matched the comb. I carried with me in my bouquet my something blue – a handkerchief my Grandad sent my Nan in the war, with one of her sixpences. I also had a picture of both my Nan’s tied to my bouquet.”
It was time for the big reveal…
“We had four Bridesmaids. My three Friends, Heather, Leanne and Sarah and James Sister, Keilly. I asked the girls to be my Bridesmaids with a Christmas bauble, Christmas 2017. The girls wore pale green dresses to match our colour scheme.”
“My dress was a Pronovias Drabea. It wasn’t like anything else I had tried on during my search. It was ‘the wildcard’ picked by my bridesmaids. I loved it and felt like me in it. It was fitted, mainly plain with small flower like beads around the top. It was very elegant, but a great party gown too, it didn’t stop me from dancing the whole night away!”
When Apryl was ready, Dad Dave came in to see his daughter for the first time. It was safe to say, she got the right dress and looked absolutely stunning, Dad was brought to tears.
The time was finally upon them to make their way to the ceremony, where James was eagerly awaiting!
“We had a string quartet playing whilst our guests arrived. They then played for my entrance with my dad walking me down the aisle. A Thousand Years – Christina Perry.
Then they played for the signing of register; Hey there Delilah – Plain white tee’s Can’t help falling in love with you – Elvis All you need is love – The Beatles She’s always a woman to me – Billy Joel. My Auntie read a beautiful poem, Falling in Love is like owning a pet. It was so funny and relevant to us. Just perfect!”
Congratulations to the newlywed Mr & Mrs Sparkes!
After the ceremony was finished, it was time to make their way downstairs for their welcome drinks and canape reception.
Rare roast Beef served on Rye bread with a Horseradish cream mousse
Basil crostini with Feta and Tomato Pearls
Free range honey chilli Chicken skewers
Salt and Pepper Squid
Tempura King Prawn
Brie and Red Onion Crouton
During this time, Apryl and James then headed off around the house and grounds for some pictures with family, but on their own too, to have a bit of ‘them’ time.
“Our florist I found on Instagram. She had previously done a few weddings at Gosfield Hall and had married there herself a few years previous.”
“My best friend had Lucie at her wedding the year before. I was a bridesmaid. She was so relaxed and her pictures were so natural and soft. She made us all feel at ease and did some really fun shots. So I knew there was no debate on our photographer.”
After pictures, it was time to then head on indoors and up to the Ballroom for the wedding breakfast.
“Our wedding breakfast was then held in the ballroom. We opted to have our speeches first so everyone could enjoy there dinner and drinks without any nerves. James, my dad and the best man Jack wrote some lovely, heartfelt and funny speeches. It was so lovely.”
After the speeches, dinner was promptly served!
Wedding Breakfast Menu
On a bed of pickled red cabbage with a toasted sesame and honey dressing
Roasted Butternut Squash|
A thick, rich soup with a subtle flavour and velvety texture – made with delicious roasted butternut squash and selected vegetables and spices
Traditional Roast Topside of Beef with Yorkshire Pudding
Served on a bed of horseradish mash and a rich red wine jus
Roasted Vegetable Wellington (V)|
Roasted seasonal vegetables encrusted in puff pastry served with a cranberry reduction
Apple and Rhubarb Streusel
Sweet pastry with an apple & rhubarb compote topped with cinnamon-spiced crumble
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Served with toffee sauce and Baileys cream
After dinner, Apryl and James, accompanied by their guests, head downstairs for the cake cut, first dance and for the disco!
“We went to a few wedding fairs, that is where we found our cake designer Claire. She had James and me, plus both our parents, over for tea and cakes to try all her lovely cakes. It was a lovely touch. She created my vision perfectly!”
“We choose Mumford and Sons – Forever for our first dance. We both love Mumford and Sons and this song was quite new at the time from there new album.”
And that ladies and gentleman, was that! What a brilliant day they had, with their loved ones around them!
We asked Apryl and James;
Give us your Top tips:
“What will be will be – My Bridesmaid said to me: ‘be prepared for something not to be right, there will always be something’. You have to remember, no one else will know if something isn’t quite right and the most important thing is your both enjoy YOUR day! Embrace every second. When planning, keep a spreadsheet of spends and what’s left to pay so you can see your budgets going and what still has to be outlaid.”
If we could do it all again we’d…
“Literally just do it all again! I wouldn’t change anything.”
Where did you go on honeymoon/mini-moon?
“Straight from the wedding, we went to the peak district with our dog and stayed in a lovely cosy cottage to see in the new year. Then in March, we went to South Africa. We started our trip in Cape Town, then went north to the Madikwe Game Reserve where we went on safari. From here we flew to Mauritius.”
From all of us here, we hope you had the day you had dreamed of and wish you all the best for the future
Wedding Dress: Pronovias Drabea
Veil: With love Bridal Boutique – Sidcup
Ties: Personally made by Faye our friend
Bridesmaid dresses: Asos
Wedding rings: 415 Locksbottom
Wedding Cake: Glorious & Good cake Co
Invitations: SJ event stationery
Photographer: Lucie Watson
Wedding favours: Scratch cards for each guest
Florist: Isla flowers
Photo Booth: Open booth
String Quartet: Scintillo
Makeup: Kelly Jenner
Hair: Carly Williams