On a slightly overcast morning, Abby and Bernard were getting ready for a very important day, their wedding day!
Before all of this, it started with a proposal…
“We were meant to be in Barcelona the week it was meant to happen but I ended up starting my new Job on the Monday so we didn’t end up going. Instead, Bernard decided to book us in for a nice meal at the Sky Garden on Friday 13th July 2018 (unlucky date for some) where he planned to propose! He didn’t want me to catch on about anything out of the ordinary so he got his little sister to call me on the Monday before to say that her and her boyfriend had a table booked at the Sky Garden on the Friday and they could no longer go and if they were to cancel their booking, they would lose their deposit so asked if me and Bernard wanted to go instead, little did I know this was a plan and Bernard had actually booked us a table!
Bernard was saying we should go as it will be nice and we can celebrate my new job – I thought nothing of it at all.
I literally had no idea what he was planning as although we had spoken about getting engaged before, I never in a million years thought it would happen this soon as Bernard always made me think he would prefer to get engaged and married in the future, not now.
When we arrived at the Sky Garden, we got a cocktail and was just admiring the views of London and then we just sat down for a bit before our meal as we arrived a little early and was just chatting away as normal. Bernard put his hand on his pocket and said ‘sooo’ and it went quiet for about 20 seconds, he carried on… ‘You know how much I love you’ and instantly then in my head I was thinking ‘nooo, he is not going to do this right now’ (because I had always said I would never like anything public) and then he pulled out a box and opened it and there was the most amazing ring! He got on one knee and asked me if I would marry him! I thought it was a joke and left him on his knee for about 2 minutes asking if he was being serious and if it was a joke before actually saying YES! It was such an amazing feeling and I honestly couldn’t believe what had just happened. We called all our family & friends straight away to let them know the news before we went and had a beautiful meal.”
With a ring on her finger, Abby and Bernard set to organising what would be a day they would never forget!
What was your first step in planning your wedding?
“As soon as I had the ring on my finger, I was instantly planning our special day. I had started making a spreadsheet of literally everything which was probably way to intense considering we had just got engaged but the excitement just took over! I don’t think Bernard realized how on top of all of this I would be and was probably regretting proposing so soon.
Within two weeks, I had booked to see two venues, Gosfield being one of them.
Once the venue was booked, we were then on top of booking everything else and it all just fell into place. I looked on Pinterest at some ideas but didn’t really use it, I kind of knew what I wanted already and just used the spreadsheet and a wedding planner to keep track of everything.”
What were your wedding “must have’s”?
“The venue was the most important thing for us as with a stunning venue, everything else would then just fall into place. I knew for my Bridesmaids I wanted them to be in a light blue/grey coloured dress but other than this, we didn’t really have a set theme but I wanted to try and link bits into this colour but not excessively, we still wanted plain and simple. We knew we definitely wanted a Saxophonist and a Magician to perform for our guests upon their arrival and during our wedding reception drinks – these were two of the best decisions we made! We had so many compliments from our guests about both of them and they were brilliant and it just made our day that extra bit special!
Although it was totally out of our hands, we really wanted good weather! I just wanted to get the most perfect pictures outside. Luckily for us, the weather on the day was amazing and the sun was shining the whole day, we were so lucky.
The good thing about having such a stunning venue like Gosfield Hall is no matter the weather, it will still be the best day and the pictures will be beautiful regardless as the venue is simply stunning inside and out.”
How did you organise your wedding budget?
“Before we got married, some of our friends had got married and we had been told, whatever we set as our budget, we should cater for a bit more as we would definitely go over. I was adamant we weren’t going to go over and that we would stick to it, but that soon fell out the window. The budget spreadsheet just kept growing and in the end, it was basically a log of what we had spent and what still needed to be paid for rather than a budget but looking back on the day, every penny spent was worth it – the day was better than we could have ever imagined and we have no regrets whatsoever.”
Wedding venue: how did you search for a wedding venue?
“We knew we wanted to get married in Essex and within two weeks of getting engaged, I had booked to see two venues, both of them being in Essex and one of them being Gosfield Hall.
I was just looking at venues in Essex online and come across so many venues and out of all them, we picked one Barn and one Stately home just to give us an idea of what type of venue we would like and from the pictures online, these were the two venues which stood out for us both.
We spoke about what we would like beforehand and both agreed we would like to get married in a venue where everything happens in one place rather than have to travel between the ceremony and reception so we booked to view both of these venues on the same day. We also wanted a venue which had hotels nearby for guests to stay over as we live in London and had guests travelling from all over the world.
We went to the Barn venue first and then went to Gosfield Hall and as soon as we saw Gosfield, we just knew this was the venue of our dreams! There was literally no comparison between the two. We were both stunned at how the venue looked in person compared to the pictures online. We loved the pictures but seeing the venue in person was breathtaking – it was literally more than we could have ever hoped for.”
What made you choose your wedding venue?
“We knew we either wanted a Barn or a Stately home and we instantly fell in love with Gosfield Hall before we stepped inside. Just everything about it was picture perfect, we couldn’t fault it at all! We spent hours looking around as there is just so much to see and we kept going back to the Roccoco Suite. I’ve never seen a room like it before, it was just a dream! Even the small things, like the details of the paintings on the ceilings, the surrounding grounds, the Queens Gallery and the long aisle, everything was just perfect! We just knew this was where we wanted to get married.
We weren’t planning on booking our wedding on that day we just wanted to have a look around different venues to see what was out there and then shortlist our favourites and then come back and view the ones we liked most.
We knew we would want to give ourselves about two years before actually getting married so we were looking to set September 2020 to be our wedding date. We ended up sitting down with the sales team to go through available dates towards the end of 2020 but ended up booking our wedding on that day and we set the date to be Friday 26th April 2019 only giving us 9 months to plan a wedding!
This moment was surreal for us, as we had only got engaged two weeks ago and had just booked our wedding venue for nine months’ time! We had mixed emotions but knew we had made the best decision.”
With everything in place, all that was left to do was look forward to the day, as it would come around quick enough!
Abby and the girls arrived the night before and stayed in the Lady’s Chambers Cottage, they had a night of chatting, chilling in the jacuzzi and getting their beauty sleep, for the next day was the big day!
Preparations started early, the girls were up and getting their hair and makeup done. Later in the morning, they moved into the stunning Bridal Suite, The Rococco, to get their dresses, have a few pictures taken before the most nerve-racking part of the day… The ceremony!
“I found our hair stylist and makeup artists on Instagram. One morning I was looking for a hair stylist & makeup artist and I had come across Claire (webbymua). I then come across Anna (weddinghairboutique) and when I looked at one of their insta stories, I saw they were both working on a Bride at Gosfield that morning and I knew it was meant to be! I messaged both of them and booked in for trials and never looked back! They were both brilliant and they also know each other too which was just brilliant!”
How did you choose your suppliers?
“We knew we wanted a Magician and a Saxophonist to perform as guests arrived on the day and also during the wedding reception drinks. When looking for suppliers, it’s difficult to know who is really good and also, which ones you can trust as you don’t want to pay for something and then on the day they don’t show up which was my worst nightmare as you do tend to hear stories like this so that’s when we decided to look at Gosfield Hall’s recommended suppliers.
I also joined the Gosfield Hall family Facebook page which was really useful as brides who had got married at Gosfield Hall in the past help brides to be by giving their recommendations.
We come across Saxman Justyn and Gavin Davey to see if they were available for our date and instantly booked them up. We also used Willows florist, another recommended supplier from Gosfield to do all of our beautiful wedding flowers and Lavenham Photography as our Photographer.”
“On the day, I got all of the Bridesmaids personalized gift bags which contained a personized card with a personal message, matching sterling silver earrings from Debenhams and they all got a matching crystal bracelet from Clear Crystal. I got them all personalized hangers & champagne glasses with their names, role and date of the wedding.
We all had matching slippers and pyjamas for the night before the wedding while we stayed in the Lady’s Chambers and matching robes for the morning of while we were getting ready.”
“Bernard wanted to have his suit made from scratch and tailored to his wants and needs so he decided to get his suit custom designed at Saville Row. He wore a three-piece Navy suit and wore a burgundy tie which matched the back of his waistcoat. His shoes were from Magnanni and were dark brown in colour to link into the back of his waistcoat and tie. He wore personalized cufflinks which I had got him as a small gift to wear on the day with our initials and date of the wedding from Merci Maman. He also wore a personalized Tassel suit chain with the initials of his Grandparents and his Uncle who were sadly not with us on our special day.”
“The Groomsman suits, shirts & ties were all from M&S. They wore a blue suit to tie into the blue colour scheme and wore an orange tie, they all looked great!”
“I knew I wanted my bridesmaid’s dresses to be a light blue/grey colour and the bridesmaids went on a hunt for the dresses – I wanted them to have a say in the type of dress they would be wearing as they needed to be happy and comfortable as they were the ones
wearing them after all!
The dresses they wore on the day were from ASOS and they all looked absolutely stunning, they all had matching matte silver sandal heeled shoes which were from a shoe shop in Lakeside.
Kady (my flower girl) wore a beautiful white dress from Next, her cardigan & socks were from John Lewis and her
shoes were from Monsoon.”
“I went dress shopping with my mum, two of my sisters, Bernard’s mum and Bernard’s sister. I knew by the look on everyone’s faces when I tried this dress on, it was the one.
The dress I opted for was the London Charing Cross column-style gown by Christine Dando (Dando London). The dress had an illusion sweetheart neckline and illusion back with a feather detail design. I decided to add on the detachable glass train which literally made the dress. I also had some extra alterations made to the dress to make it bespoke to me.
Once I tried it all on together, I just knew this was the one!”
“One of the most special things was, I had a photo charm of my Nan wrapped around my bouquet. I was so close to my Nan and I know she would have loved to of been there on my special day, she would have been so proud.”
With everybody ready, Abby’s nerves were at bay, it was time to take to the aisle where Bernard was waiting for her.
“When I and the girls entered the ceremony room, we walked down the aisle to John Legend – All of me. I absolutely love this song and the words are so meaningful. My flower girl walked down first, followed by the Bridesmaids who walked down in twos.
I was then walked down the Aisle and given away by both my Dad and my Grandad which meant the absolute world to me as these are two of the most important men in my life so this was such an amazing feeling to have them both with me every step of the way. When I asked them to walk me down the aisle, I got them both a personalized card with a personalized message which was so special.”
The hard bit was over, congratulations to the newlyweds Mr and Mrs Perera!
After the ceremony, everybody made their way downstairs to the Library Terrace to enjoy the welcome drinks reception and canapes.
Welcome Drinks and Canapés
Basil crostini with Feta and Tomato Pearls (V)
Roast Peppadews stuffed with a Goats’ Cheese and Black Olive crumble (V)
Buckwheat Blinis with Smoked Salmon and Sour Cream
Smoked Duck Croquette
Free range honey chilli Chicken skewers
Rare roast Beef served on Rye bread with a Horseradish cream mousse
During this time, Abby and Bernard had a few group shots with their family and friends
“We chose our Photographer by looking at Gosfield Hall’s recommended Suppliers. We went with Lavenham Photographic (Ben Brown) who was absolutely fantastic! We went on his website and social media pages and I just loved his style and the quality of his photos.
He captured the most amazing photos from our day which we now have as memories forever!”
It was then time to go off and have some time alone (with their photographer Ben!) and get some pictures out in our gorgeous grounds.
They then headed up to our stunning Ballroom, to admire their decorations before greeting all of their guests upstairs for dinner.
“For our wedding favours, we went for personalized candles by Sandy Bay London which had ‘Mr & Mrs Perera and the wedding date’. We opted for two different scents; Vanilla which was wrapped in a silver ribbon and Mango & Nectarine blossom which was wrapped in a light blue ribbon – linking into the colours of the bridesmaid dresses. We wanted to have something which our guests would take away with them and actually use plus, they smelt amazing!”
Wedding Breakfast Menu
Pesto Roasted Salmon
Served with Roquette Salad Parmesan Shavings & Basil Oil
Beetroot Carpaccio (V)
Thinly sliced poached beetroot with Goat’s Cheese Mousse & Balsamic Glaze
Stuffed with Spinach and Pine Nuts wrapped in Parma Ham served on Potato Soufflé with a Sage cream sauce
Roasted Vegetable Wellington (V)
Seasonal vegetables, blended and encrusted in puff pastry, finished with red wine and cranberry reduction
Chocolate and Salted Caramel Brownie
With dark chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream
Baked New York Style Cheesecake
Finished with summer berries- just like in the Big Apple!
“Bernard, my dad and both of Bernard’s best men did a speech at the wedding – they were all fantastic. There were tears and laughter throughout – everyone absolutely smashed it, I’m so proud of them all. A couple of days before the wedding, we asked one of Bernard’s best friends if he would be our master of ceremony. This actually made the day! He had a bell which he would ring to introduce us into the wedding breakfast and to introduce the speeches – He has brilliant and smashed it! He had everyone in fits of laughter, this was an added touch which made our day that extra bit special.”
After the speeches, it was then time to head back downstairs and start the evening reception and get the party started… But not before cutting the cake and the first dance!
“Our beautiful wedding cake was made by Bernard’s Auntie and his Nan. His Auntie has her own cake shop and has been making cakes for many years and when she offered to make our cake, it meant so much to both of us. I had told his Auntie about the style of cake I wanted and she exceeded my expectations – the cake looked beautiful and tasted amazing!”
“Our first dance was to Miguel – Adorn. We both absolutely love this song and before the wedding, we listened to it a thousand times over – we knew this was the one. When we were making the decision on what we should choose, we knew straight away this would be it.
We didn’t practice a dance routine before, we just thought we would go with the flow on the night. Halfway through, our guests joined in with us which was special.
I also had a special dance with my dad which was to The Temptations – My Girl which he chose.”
“For the evening, we had the Gosfield DJ who was brilliant! He requested a playlist beforehand which he stuck too and also played some extra songs which we didn’t request in there as he was working off of the crowd – the dance floor was never empty and everyone was up dancing by the end of the night and absolutely loved it.”
Based on your own experience, give us some top tips:
“Enjoy every minute as it literally flies by and goes so quickly and if possible, take 10 minutes out on the day and go for a walk with your Husband/ Wife to have some alone time and take it all in – it literally is the best day ever!
I was worried in the lead up to the wedding about things going wrong on the day as I just wanted my guests to have a good time and I was given some advice…. The way you visualize your day to be is completely different from how your guests will view it. You are the only one who knows how the day is meant to run so if there any little hiccups, only you will know about it, your guests will still have the best time.
Our day went better than we ever hoped for and if anything did go wrong, we didn’t know anything about it!”
“If we could do it all again, we’d…”
“Change NOTHING! The day was better than we could have ever imagined – we just wish we could do it all over again.”
What was your biggest wedding splurge?
“Apart from the Venue, we spent the most on our wedding outfits. I went way above budget on my dress as I had some additional alterations and Bernard had his suit custom made which cost more. After all, you only get married once and looking back, it was so worth it.”
What was your biggest wedding saving?
“The biggest saving would definitely have to be the cars and the cake! Both my Dad and Bernard’s Dad have classic cars so we used these on our special day and Bernard’s Auntie is a cake maker so she made our beautiful wedding cake.”
Did you go on a honeymoon or mini-moon?
“As we got engaged then got married nine months later, with the wedding planning in full swing, we didn’t have a chance to sit back and decide on where we wanted to go on a honeymoon so we decided to go on a mini-moon. We chose to go to Barcelona as we have been talking about going for ages but never got round to it so we booked to stay in the W hotel for a week.
We went on the Monday after the wedding which was the best idea as although the wedding was over and we had wedding blues, we had something to look forward to.
We were able to go away and relax for a week and reflect back on the most amazing day. We plan to do a proper honeymoon next year.”
We wish you all the best for the future and we do hope to see you back here again in the future
Bridesmaid’s dresses: ASOS
Groomsman Suits: M&S
Flower girl outfit: Next
Flower girl shoes: Monsoon
Wedding rings: COO Jewellers Hatton Gardens
Wedding cake: Bernards Auntie
Invitations: Pure Invitation
Photographer: Lavenham Photographic (Ben Brown)
Wedding favours: Sandy Bay London
Flowers: The Willows
Saxophonist: Saxman Justyn
Magician: Gavin Davey
Makeup: Claire (Insta: webbymua)
Seating plan / Name cards / Table name cards: Norma & Dorothy
Photobooth & LED ‘LOVE’ letters: Picture blast