Just a little over a year ago, a very special couple had their magical wedding day with us…
On the 24th June 2017, Dan and Ben tied the knot at Gosfield Hall, surrounded by their friends and family. What more could you ask for?
Before the wedding day, before the planning, before anything was organised, it all started with a proposal…
“We have been lucky enough to travel the world and see some of the world’s wonders, “we are known for being over the top” amongst or family and friends, but our engagement was nothing but pure love based in our new home together! It was just me and Ben at home in our living room with no one around.
Ben completely caught me off guard and I’m generally ready for every situation…. My nails were disgusting, I was wearing pyjamas that didn’t match and my hair was in full frizz from drying naturally just out the shower… I wouldn’t have gone to the shops to buy an emergency loaf looking how I was! But Ben sees me for who I am inside and chose a moment where nothing mattered but us being together.”
How romantic! After being together for such a long time, that’s all that you need, just the two of you.
So, with the proposal done, preparation was in FULL swing!
“In prep for my first night of planning I went to WHSmiths and purchased every wedding magazine I could find (enough mags that my plastic bag split and I struggled getting them all back to the car), I read them all back to front, ripped out pages and stuck them on my inspiration book (because that’s what they do in the movies!).
I had a pinterest board for every wedding option, flower board, suit board, Bachelor maid dresses (equivalent to brides maids dress (but I’m not a bride). Cakes, centrepieces, absolutely everything. This helped as when talking to suppliers – showing them images can help when explaining what you want. My suppliers where very patient as I never changed my mind with what we wanted and kept on until we got it – everything is possible with the right supplier!
We had everything!!! Mood boards, scrap books, mates came over, pizza was ordered and we started planning! OMG we did it all! My Man of Honour equivalent to “Maid of Honour” came round for a strategy evening and we discussed everything!
Me and Ben had been together 9 years before we got engaged, so we had a lot to discuss. Ben went to his study while me and my mate went through everything from the theme, to who will be in the wedding party, what people will wear, venues, magazines, stressful moments, flowers, relatives who hate each other. I was finally allowed to talk about the wedding of my dreams and wasn’t coming across like a crazy person as I was finally engaged!
I then had fortnightly nightly meetings with Ben so I could update him/ agree finial decisions for the big day. This worked well for Ben as it reduced the constant conversation regarding bows on chairs and roses or hydrangeas…Neither topic are very high on Ben’s agenda. It can get overwhelming, so having agreed times to discuss it can make it feel more manageable and not let it take over your life. I also spent various evening round my Head bachelor Maid, equivalent to Head bridesmaid, discussing my constant issues and looking through 1000’s of pictures of cakes and flowers – having a good team around you mean a lot!”
Dan had everything under control! When you dream about your wedding for so long, it makes it easy when it actually happens… You want what you want!
Everyone has a ‘must have’ when it comes to their special day, for Dan, it was flowers!
“For me it was flowers, for Ben is was food and drink, together we decided that tradition was also important to us. Flowers were everywhere! I wanted flowers on the tables, up the walls, hanging from the ceiling! My Husband wanted beer and food! So we met in the middle and made sure there was drink and food for everyone and then surrounded them with flowers! We actually wanted a traditional day. Even though we are not a “traditional” couple, we wanted our wedding to feel like a wedding and not just a massive party.”
We asked Dan and Ben if they had a budget when in their planning stages…
“Oh dear…. Well that didn’t really last long….By the time I had booked 75 different suppliers and confirmed flowers and fireworks… The budget went out the window. Go BIG OR GO HOME!”
Oh well, it’s not for everyone… As Dan has said, go big!
With all the planning well under way, the next and most important decision to make was the where!
“I first found about 100 venues in the surrounding areas, got them down to 30 then showed them to Ben, who got it down to 5 and then we went looking.
Our first choice at the time (a venue we didn’t chose) was so focused on the party and seemed to forget about the actual wedding ceremony. I didn’t want to get married in a small lifeless room and then crack open the beers, what we were looking for was each moment to be as special as the last. We visited the 5 venues and completely fell in love with Gosfield.
For a same sex couple it was important for us to feel comfortable and choose wisely with our special day. When we arrived at Gosfield we were made to feel comfortable and treated like any other couple (just two people getting married)
The ceremony room had such a historical feel and had a real church feel. The entire venue matched our Regal wedding theme.”
With the venue booked, the next step was to send their save the dates…
“We had a crest commissioned, that represented our two family coming together.”
With all the organising in full swing, save the dates sent, all that was left was to enjoy the process and countdown to the big day!
The big day finally arrived! Dan, his mum and man of honour, Sam, arrived at Gosfield Hall the night before and stayed in our Lady’s Chambers. They relaxed their together and counted down the hours to the following day!
Excitement was in the air for sure! Dan was getting ready here, whilst Ben, Best Man Ryan and Groomsmen James, Alan, Rob, Grant, Jon and Dan’s Brother Joe got ready elsewhere, then arrived at the house suited and booted, ready for the ceremony.
The boys arrived in style. There were smiles all around in the anticipation of what was to come.
With Ben safely at the venue, Dan was in full swing of getting ready.
“I was lucky enough to have a custom made white suit designed by myself and Anthony formal wear, creating a suit I have always dreamed off. My suit was 3 piece with a tail and completely white from head to toe.”
“My accessories I had on the day were my Platinum Engagement ring, (9 diamonds to represent 9 years) before we got engaged, a silver pocket watch in my waist coat and personalised cuff-links with our wedding crest on them.”
The house was beautifully decorated with their carefully picked decorations.
With Dan and his party ready, it was onto the ceremony! The moment that they had both been waiting for and what was most important to them both.
At 12.30pm, Dan was escorted down the aisle by his mum to an eagerly awaiting Ben.
“One of my favourite moments of the wedding… We had a string quartet playing throughout the ceremony, large floral displays at the beginning and end of the aisle with white and cream roses scattered on the floor. We gave all our guests the opportunity to sit where they wanted with the first few rows reserved for the Wedding Party. We had the music playing down the aisle that we both spoke about 12 years ago, when we first met.”
And that was it! The most nerve racking bit was over, they were now Mr & Mr!
It was then off to have pictures taken around the ground with Wedding Party, before enjoying their welcome drinks and canapes reception.
“We had two options and branded them Bachelor “Unicorn Champagne” with gold and pink sparkles with Champagne or a Groom “Velvet Elvis” Jack Daniels, Chambord and Lemonade.”
“My Uncle, David Cheskin, was our photographer, who a year later was asked by the royal family to do “Megan and Harry’s” wedding. We also had another photographer I found online (Paul Grace) who seemed to capture the pure joy within photos. I completely fell in love with his style. Find a good wedding photographer as its one of the only ways you get to look back on a magical day.”
After everyone had a catch up, discussed how lovely the ceremony was and had their fill of the rather yummy personalised welcome drinks, it was onto the wedding breakfast!
“For the tables, we bought everyone within the wedding party gifts from Fortnum and Mason. F&M Gifts for everyone!”
“We also had a thank you scroll, Ring box with personalised crest with personalised M&M for the favours inside too!”
“I’m going to get to the point… Our flowers were our biggest splurge… £6k of flowers!”
Dan and Ben hand picked their menu for their friends and family to enjoy…
Pesto Roasted Salmon
Served with Roquette Salad Parmesan Shavings & Basil Oil
Mozzarella and Rocket Salad with Tomato and Chilli Salsa (V)
Toasted garlic bruschetta, topped with rocket salad and slices of creamy mozzarella, garnished with tomato, red onion and chilli salsa
Pan Fried Chicken with Char-grilled Asparagus
Served on wilted Spinach with Roasted Shallots and Thyme Jus
Roasted Vegetable Wellington (V)
Seasonal vegetables, blended and encrusted in puff pastry, finished with red wine and cranberry reduction
Strawberries & cream simply irresistible
With everybody feeling lovely and full, it was onto the speeches!
“We had most of the top table do a speech and it was the first moment of the day when we could relax!”
After the speeches were complete, everyone then made their way downstairs to see the newlyweds cut their gorgeous cake!
After that, the party was in full swing! The photobooth was set up, the candy cart was ready to go and the string quartet was playing for evening guests arrival. What a perfect way to end the day.
Soon after everyone else had arrived, Dan and Ben had their first dance
“Emily Sande “Breathing under water”– One weekend we was doing our prep for all the invitations and had some music playing full blast and heard this song and both felt it was perfect, celebrating being able to breath again felt like it it was significant to Same sex couples being able to get married legally.”
They also had a little surprise for their guests… Fireworks!
Then, it was onto the dance floor to bust some moves!
“We had Austin Drage (X Facor finalist) and then the resident Gosfield Hall DJ – who was cracking! I made albums up asked him to play them in the order and he did as I asked (cant ask for more that)”
And that was that. They tucked into a suckling Hog Roast for their evening buffet and partied on until bedtime! What an amazing day both Dan, Ben and all their friends and family had. A day to remember for sure.
We asked Mr & Mr Faulkner;
Based on your own experience, give us some top tips:
“Don’t worry about bows on chairs (you wont even notice them) Try to use as many suppliers from Gosfield Hall, they will know the venue and know how the venue works! Spend your budget on things that help you remember the day, it’s all over before you know it!”
“If we could do it all again, we’d…”
“Wouldn’t change a thing! The day was completely perfect in EVERY WAY”
Did you go on a honeymoon or mini-moon?
“The day after the wedding, a few people came back to our house to wind down after the big day, as we didn’t want to be alone. We then got a business class flight to Bangkok for 2 nights and then onto Koh Sumi for two weeks, where we had the holiday of our dreams!”
Congratulations on your 1 year Anniversary, may you have many many more to come!
Wedding attire: Anthony Formal Wear
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Cant Remember – Altered by Faye Brocklebank
Wedding rings: Cartier
Wedding cake: Pretty Gorgeous Cakes
Invitations: Foil Invite
Photographer: David Cheskin, Paul Grace
Band/disco/DJ: Austin Drage
Balloons – Bubblegum balloons
Fireworks – Dynamic Fireworks
Flowers – Redfloral
Gifts – Fortnum & Mason
Harpist – Maria Beattie
Photobooth – Photobooth events Essex
Piano – Piano perfection
String Quartet – The Lancashire String Quartet
Videographer – Peter Cox