Mr and Mrs Tolley – A real life wedding

Vicki and Stuart had their special day with us on Thursday 5th October. Before we indulge in their special day, lets go back to the beginning…

“Stuart proposed to me when we were right at the top of the London Eye on 4th October 2008. We had a trip in a private pod, complete with champagne which he had initially told me was won by his parents in a competition. Shortly before boarding the London Eye I received a phone call from Stuart’s Mum to say they weren’t going to make it as they were stuck on a broken down train outside of London and we would have to go on without them…. this was of course all a big fib so as not to arouse suspicion! It was all very romantic and for once in my life I was speechless…except for answering the all-important question with a big fat YES!”

8 years later, they decided that is was time to finally tie that knot and book their wedding venue…

“The first thing we did was book the venue, having waited almost ten years to the day before finally getting married! We looked at several venues in and around Essex but fell in love with Gosfield Hall almost instantly. Everyone said we would ‘just know’ when we found the right venue and we would say this is true.

As soon as we reached Gosfield Hall we were taken back by the stunning surroundings and the building itself just looked spectacular. We knew this was the venue for us even before we’d set foot into the house. We weren’t disappointed by the inside either. The building has so much character and the décor is in-keeping with its age. The exposed beams are charming and the artwork beautiful. Everywhere is spotlessly clean. Although Gosfield Hall is huge, it still feels warm, cosy and inviting. The highlight for us (and some of our guests!) was the Rococco Suite which is absolutely huge and makes you feel very grand indeed!”

With the venue found, all that was left to do was plan!

“The next thing we put together was a guest list to get an idea of numbers and cost. We then thought about colour schemes and started to pull together lists of suppliers, costs and other ideas. My best friend bought us a beautiful wedding planner which contained handy check lists and calendars. This is where we kept all our receipts, colour swatches and stationary samples.”

Lots of people research in lots of different ways… The most popular way to plan now though is by using the internet! Along with getting personal experience from friends and family, Vicki and Stuart did just that! They subscribed to a website called Bridesbook, which they found most helpful planning everything!

We asked the couple how they budgeted for their special day and if they had any top tips;

“We had an amount of money set aside which was specifically for our wedding – we had a good idea of what our wedding would cost as we had spoken to various married friends and family members beforehand. My Sister actually dug out her ‘wedding box’ which contained all manner of receipts and invoices! I set up a ‘master’ Excel spreadsheet to capture spend so I could try and keep track of the budget. I did a lot of online research and sought comparative costs where necessary. Where we overspent on some items, we managed to make savings on others which kept things in check and still allowed us to have exactly what we wanted.”

With the planning, organising and hard bit out the way, all that was left was the enjoy the fruits of their labour!

With a beautiful sunny day ahead of them, they were set for the loveliest Autumn day.

While Stuart was down stairs, composing his nerves, the girls were upstairs getting glammed up…

“My chosen wedding dress was not what I would have chosen myself… in fact it was chosen by the assistant in the shop! I wasn’t really sure what style I wanted and I was quite open-minded. I tried on several styles and when presented with what was to be ‘the one’ I turned my nose up initially! I’m so glad I gave it a chance because when I put it on, I felt a million dollars and shed a few tears, as did my Mum and Sister. I guess then I knew it was the right choice.”

“I found our photographer via internet searching and by reading online reviews. I checked out the work of various photographers by looking at their own websites and social media pages (Instagram, Facebook etc). We loved the style of photographs showcased by our chosen photographer and he appealed to us as he has worked at many prestigious events and is well renowned for his work.”

“I’m a ‘less is more’ kind of person and I didn’t want to wear lots of jewellery as I thought this may detract away from the detailing on my dress so I kept it quite simple. I wore a lovely pair of Swarovski earrings, and as my ‘something borrowed’ I wore my Sister’s jewelled head band.”

With the girls, and the little ones, ready to go there was nothing left to do other than to walk down the aisle where Stuart would be waiting…

“My partner wore a fully tailored suit which has embroidery on the inside of the jacket detailing the wedding date and our initials. The suit was a lovely royal blue colour with waistcoat underneath the blazer, white shirt and ivory tie to compliment my dress. The style of the suit was slim-fitting and looked great on my partner who is quite tall at 6ft 3.”

With the ‘I Do’s’ out the way, it was off the get some snaps out around the grounds, before then on to their wedding breakfast.

“Our ceremony was kept fairly short (approx. 30 mins) and consisted of the usual legalities and promises (which we chose to write ourselves). We had one reading which my best friend did for us. We chose out own music which was to our personal tastes and included a fun ‘walk-out’ track which was fitting of our personalities.”

From photos, it was onto the wedding breakfast, where food was enjoyed by all… Vicki and Stuart put together a rather tasty menu;


Beetroot Gravlax 

Home cured salmon in beetroot served with a warm potato & grain mustard salad

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


Main Course

Forestiere Style Free Range Breast of Chicken 

Stuffed with mushrooms and served with a rich red wine jus, baby onions and thyme

Roasted Vegetable Wellington (V) 

Roasted seasonal vegetables encrusted in puff pastry served with a cranberry reduction

Pan fried fillet of Sea Bass 

Served on saffron crushed potato with a prawn and dill cream sauce



Dark Chocolate Fondant

A dreamy chocolate dessert with cherries and mascarpone cream

Crème Brulee

Rich vanilla custard served with lemon shortbread

“We are both well-travelled and have been lucky enough to have eaten at some Michelin standard restaurants. We have quite high standards when it comes to food and wine and we wanted a venue that offered just that… Gosfield Hall did not disappoint. It was important to provide our guests with a good menu to choose from. Gosfield had lots to offer to suit all palates!

Speeches were carried out by the Groom, the Best Man and my Father. The most memorable I think was the Best Man’s speech (my Partners 17-year old Son). There wasn’t a dry eye in the house – even the burliest of our guests reached for their napkins!”

After the speeches had concluded, it was then down to start the evening reception, cut the cake, the first dance and then party the night away!

“We chose to use Gosfield Hall’s resident DJ who was absolutely brilliant. We sent him a playlist prior to the big day and included songs we liked / disliked.

Our first dance was to Nathan Sykes, Over and Over Again. We chose this track as the words were so fitting. It’s always made me emotional listening to it and so it felt like the right choice. There was no fancy choreography – just my new Husband and I and it felt like no-one else was in the room.”

And the rest is history!

We asked the newly weds, from their own experience, what tips could they give future Brides and Grooms;

“Stuart said ‘let your Mrs do it!’

On a serious note:

  • Do your research on suppliers – some who appear cheapest may not always be the best.
  • Be prepared to have your mind changed and be open to other people’s advice/ideas – you might not want what you think you want…. you might find something better.
  • If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is… read the small print
  • Don’t leave everything to the last minute, plan everything and give yourself deadlines – we found using spread sheets was a good way to keep track of things. The wedding planners at Gosfield have a wealth of knowledge and experience – use them if you need to!
  • Set up a dedicated email address for guests to send their menu choices and RSVP’s to – it makes correspondence so much easier and you’re not left waiting for the ‘snail mail’
  • Have at least two makeup trials and if you find some particular makeup you like and that suits your skin, don’t be afraid to ask your chosen MUA (makeup artist) to use your own instead of theirs. You want to look and feel your best on your big day
  • On the day itself, make sure you take at least half an hour out by yourselves, away from your guests to just take it all in – it’s such a whirlwind of a day and it’s over in a blink. Take time to appreciate it!
  • Don’t stress if you don’t manage to get round and talk very much to every single person who attends your wedding – your guests will totally understand!
  • It’s YOUR day! Do it however YOU want!”

“If we could do it all again, we’d…”

“do it all again in a flash – we enjoyed every single moment and we wouldn’t change a thing although we wished the day lasted longer!”

We hope that married life treats you both well and you enjoy every second of your lives together! Thank you for choosing Gosfield Hall to share your special day with!


Bride’s DressGrace & Lace, Chelmsford
Groom, Best Man & Father-of-Bride Suit – Dress2Kill, Southwark, London
Bride’s shoes – Grace & Lace & wedding trainers – Kurt Geiger
Groom’s shoesCoogan, London
Bride’s Earrings – Swarovski
Bridesmaids – Maid of Honour’s DressBirds Bridal
Flower Girls Dresses and shoes – Primark
Wedding ringsGoldsmiths, Chelmsford
Cake made by Bride’s SisterCocoadotz
Cars – ‘Mrs’ Car – Bride’s own (Mercedes Benz of Bishops Stortford) ‘Mr’ car – provided by Mercedes Benz of Hertfordshire
InvitesAdorn Invitations
PhotographerMartin James
Favours – Favour bags by Crafty Adana
Makeup – Natalie Webb
Hair – Toni & Guy
Flowers – (Bride and Bridesmaids bouquets and Groom’s party’s Buttonholes) by Bernard Chapman Florist, Braintree
Cascade of Flowers – For the cake by All Things Bride & Beautiful, Braintree

To get in touch with a member of the team, please email or call us via the contact details below. Alternatively, if you'd like to request a brochure or enquire about date availability, please click 'request a brochure' in the menu at the top of this page.


T: 01787 472 914

Winter weddings from just £6,995 plus free £2,000 upgrade included!Tell me more