Tom and Samantha married with us in November last year, after looking at 30 venues (yes, 30!) here they talk us through their Autumn Wedding at Gosfield Hall…
Tell us about the proposal – how and where did it happen?
“I got Tom a gin tasting weekend away in the Cotswolds. It was one of the hottest July days of 2018. Before we left we made some sandwiches to have for lunch. When we arrived in the village we were staying there was a village fete going on. We parked up at the hotel and went for a walk, I was starving and would have quite happily eaten my sandwich on the go. Tom insisted we kept walking till we found somewhere to sit. He suggested getting back in the car and driving down the road to the river. I went along with it thinking nothing of it. We got to the river and parked the car up, walked along the river and found a place to sit with our legs dangling over the bank. I began to tuck in to our lunch. Tom didn’t! I found it a bit odd but I kept eating, opened some crisps and then polished off a nectarine. He still wasn’t eating. I put it down to England playing in the quarter finals later that day! I put my rubbish in the bag and as I turned round Tom was on his knee. He said “You know how much I love you…” I said, “I love you so much to”. He replied, “Well in that case, Will you marry me?” I was completely surprised and of course I said yes. I had no make up on, my nails weren’t done and my hair was in plaits! But I wouldn’t have changed our proposal and pictures for the world!”
So you’ve said yes, what was your first step in planning your wedding?
“When we first got engaged in July we had a lot going on, a holiday to France and in August my best friend was getting married in Mexico so we decided that we would hold off all the planning till September when we got back. Of course I began searching for venues straight away and by the time we got back from Mexico I had a list of around 30! Tom thought I was joking till he saw it. We started looking at Barn Venues, we looked at a couple but none really took our fancy. Then I moved on to country houses. We went to look at Gosfield Hall early September time, and we both instantly fell in love. We were looking round all the stunning rooms smiling more and more at each other after each one. We knew it was Gosfield!”
How did you organise your wedding budget?
“Tom took care of all the budgets. He loves a spreadsheet so the budget side of things was taken care of by him. The one thing that we realised as time went by is that our budget kept being extended. I don’t think you realise how much things cost till you start doing your research and booking things.”
Where did you go for Wedding inspiration?
“We used some magazines to get ideas, we used pinterest a lot and the internet. I found pinterest particularly helpful to get ideas and was able to save things that I liked on different boards. This became really handy when we started getting into the finer details with the florist, dress and cake suppliers. They were keen to get a vision of what we liked and were after so this became my wedding bible.”
What made you choose to marry at Gosfield Hall?
“We chose Gosfield Hall mainly because on our first visit, it completely blew us away. We both loved it and could see ourselves getting married there. The house and the grounds sold it for themselves. We really loved that fact that we wouldn’t be in the same room for the whole day. That each part of the day moved to a different section of the house to make the most of it.”
Describe your wedding attire, did you expect to pick your wedding dress?
“My wedding dress was completely different to what I thought I would go for originally. I was trying on floaty numbers with lots of lace to begin with. Then one day when I went trying on dresses with a bridesmaid they picked out a plain satin one to try. I loved most of it but there were parts I wasn’t too keen on. I went home and searched for plain satin wedding dresses online and found THE ONE! I loved it from the images and so decided to search for dress shops that had it in my size to try it on. I came across a shop called House of Snow in Bury St Edmunds. I rang them to check that they had it and booked an appointment for my mum and I to visit and try it on. From the moment I tried it on I felt like a princess it had everything I was looking for. I tried others on to check but none of them compared. All I wanted to do was to get back into the first one. The ladies at House of Snow were incredible, I instantly felt like I was out shopping with my best friends. They were so lovely and made my dress shopping experience with my mum absolutely perfect. Every time I went back to try my dress on, I didn’t want to take it off. One time I think we had a 45 minute appointment, I stood in the dress for my allotted time, adding a tiara, a fur shrug and veil. I loved how big and grand my dress was, perfect for a venue like Gosfield Hall!”
What accessories did you wear?
“I bought a fur shrug incase I got cold but on the day I didn’t need it. I wore Rainbow Club shoes that were so, so comfortable with the extra padding. My jewellery was from my brother in law’s sister who has her own bespoke jewellery company, S Dias Designs Ltd. Tom bought me a bracelet from her too as a present on the wedding morning.”
What did your partner wear?
“Tom wore a suit from Moss. He chose the suit himself and he didn’t want me to see it till the Wedding Day. He chose the burgundy colour on the back of his waistcoat to match our theme. I thought he looked amazing when I saw him, I’m definitely the lucky one.”
What were your wedding “must haves”?
“The most important things for us to have on our wedding day were to have all the people we love there to share our special day with us. I love fireworks so they were a big yes. We are also both big fans of Christmas time so when they said that the Christmas Trees and decorations in the house were up from the end of November we kind of had our hearts set on that time of year. Overall our main aim was to have a day we’d never forget and for everyone to enjoy themselves.”
What was your ceremony like?
“We had our ceremony in the Queen’s Gallery with champagne, silk rose petals scattered down the aisle and blossom trees at the entrance. My dad walked me down the aisle to ‘The One’ by Matt Johnson. During the ceremony 2 of the bridesmaids and Tom’s mum did readings and my brother and one of our groomsmen were witnesses. It was lovely to have our family and friends involved during the ceremony.”
Tell us about your Bridesmaids, Groomsmen and their outfits
“Having 7 bridesmaids proved quite difficult to get together at the same time. We managed to do dress shopping for them once but didn’t find a dress the first time. Like I said earlier I was a bridesmaid the year before I wore a multi-way dress for my friend’s wedding and loved how flattering it felt on with no alterations other than the length of it changing. I really liked the multi-way dresses but they were quite expensive. I talked this over with Tom and found a place that did a buy 6 get 1 free deal. The girls were happy with them and so we went for those. I loved the burgundy colour and the fact that the bridesmaids could choose the style they wanted. They looked stunning in them, they really did.
The groomsmen’s suits were Ted Baker ones that we hired from Moss. They were a similar colour to Tom’s but a different fabric so that Tom stood out on the day. Our little page boy wore a navy suit and waistcoat from Next, he definitely turned some heads with how cute he looked in his suit and little bow tie.”
How did you choose your wedding photographer?
“Choosing our photographer was easy. Our close friends got married 2 years before, Tom was a best man and I was a bridesmaid. One of the photographers they had was a friend from school and on the day it felt like they were part of the wedding with us. Everyone felt so comfortable around them and there was absolutely no pressure throughout the day. We loved the way that Jordan took natural shots as well as the formal ones.”
Styling your wedding: how did you personalise your big day?
“We had a theme of navy, burgundy and gold. We tried to stick to these colours throughout our wedding, with the bridesmaids, groomsmen, flowers, cake and table decorations. Our favours were bottle openers in the shape of a key which had a poem on that said ‘the key to happiness is love and the ability to open a bottle’. We thought it suited us both as we are partial to a weekend drink with friends and family. We used JF Styling for the blossom trees and the LOVE lights on the dancefloor too.”
How did you find your wedding suppliers?
“Some wedding suppliers we searched for online and others were word of mouth. I found out about Luca’s cakes from the shop that I got my wedding dress from. The lovely lady that owned it recommended Luca’s cakes so we went with her after seeing her attention to detail and tasting her delicious samples. We are lucky enough to live next door to Martel’s a wedding outlet so we managed to get our flowers, mother of the bride outfits and make up through them.”
What was your biggest wedding splurge?
“I think we spent the most amount of money on the fireworks. We didn’t have a band and I love fireworks so we made sure there was enough in the budget to do this. We loved watching the fireworks together with both of our family and friends. It was a perfect way to celebrate our day.”
What was your biggest wedding saving?
“The place names. My brother has a 3D printer, so he managed to make 100 golden place names for us. It may have taken him hours, days, weekends! But they were worth it and everyone commented on them. I have had guests ask me where I got them from because they’d like the same for theirs. We saved on the wedding welcome sign and table plan too, asking my sister in law to do the writing with chalk pens and a bridesmaid helped with the labels on the wine bottles for our table plan too. Everyone was so kind in giving up their time to help us.”
Tell us about your Wedding Breakfast, what did you choose?
“Our menu choices were:
Smoked Haddock Rarebit
Ham Hock Terrine with Piccalilli
Traditional Roast Topside of Beef with Yorkshire Pudding
Forestiere Style Free Range Breast of Chicken
Sticky Toffee Pudding
The food was incredible and far exceeded our expectations of which were high anyway. We have had so many comments from guests about how great the food was.”
Did you have a band or DJ for your evening reception?
“We decided to have fireworks over the band for entertainment. The DJ at Gosfield did a great job and kept everyone partying hard till the end!”
Tell us about your first dance – what song did you chose and why?
“Our first dance was called Black and White by The Shires. We wanted a song that meant a lot to both of us and also one that people wouldn’t predict. We didn’t choreograph a dance, that really isn’t us. We just went with the flow of the music”
Based on your own experience, give us some top tips:
“We tried not to get too carried away with the wedding planning and didn’t want it to take over our lives. So we just did a bit at a time when we felt like it. When we made big decisions or paid something off we would celebrate by opening some fizz.”
“If we could do it all again, we’d…”
“Change absolutely nothing unless we could have made the day longer. We loved every moment of our wedding day, like everyone always tells you, it just went too quickly.”
Did you go on a honeymoon or mini-moon?
“We haven’t been on our honeymoon yet. But we are going to the Maldives in April for a relaxing break in a water villa. We cannot wait!”
Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us Samantha and Tom, we hope you have a fabulous honeymoon!
Wedding Shoes: Rainbow Club
Bridesmaids Dresses: Eliza and Ethan
Pageboys Suit: Next
Groom’s and Groomsmen’s suits: Moss Bros
Samantha’s Wedding Ring: Taylor and Hart
Tom’s Wedding Ring: S Dias Designs Ltd.
Samantha’s Jewellery: S Dias Designs Ltd.
Wedding Cake: Luca’s Cakes
Wedding Invitations: Papier
Wedding Photographer: Capture House Weddings
DJ: Gosfield Hall’s In-house DJ
Wedding Favours: Amazon
Wedding Flowers: Alison White
Make Up: Positively Peachy
Hair: Light Box
Bridesmaids Robes: Etsy