Sarah and Jonathan started their married life here with us at Gosfield… And what a way to start it!
If we rewind just over a year, Jonathan had a secret plan up his sleeve…
“Jonathan proposed on the 15th October 2016. We were going away glamping that weekend to ‘The Hideaway’ near Thornham, North Norfolk for one of our closest friend’s 30th birthday. It was beautiful, and we stayed in a Serengeti lodge that had all the luxuries including a log burner to keep us cosy during the autumn evenings. Our friend James (the birthday boy) popped the question the night before and we had a night of celebrations. Little did I know Jonathan was going to do it too! On the Saturday night we sat down for a lovely meal cooked on the fire pit outside and Jonathan started to make a speech that went along the lines of:
“I would like to tell a story about the number 8. I’d like to check that it’s after 8pm, so we can all have an after eight. Sarah was born on the 8.8.88. I was also supposed to be born on the 8.8.88 but I decided to arrive early. Me and Sarah have been together 8 years, this has also taken 8 weeks to plan and in front of 8 witnesses, Sarah will you continue our story…and marry me.”
I was so excited that I snatched the ring out the box and firmly placed it on my finger! It was wonderful to spend the whole weekend celebrating with our closest friends and even better to be able to plan both our weddings together!”
Before the big day however, there are lots of things that need to be organised… The budget, how many people, who to invite, invites themselves, what kind of colour scheme, the dress, do we want a band, what photographer to choose, but most importantly… THE VENUE!
Planning was then in full swing and they both started to look for inspiration…
“I was so excited by the thought of getting married that the first thing I did was buy an off the peg wedding dress a week after getting engaged but soon realised a few days later that I was a bit too keen and it wasn’t ‘the one’ so it went back. I took a few deep breaths and calmed myself down and that’s when we started planning the wedding properly. We both knew we wanted to get married on the 6th January 2018 as this would be our 10yr anniversary and luckily enough it happened to fall on a Saturday.
A friend gave me a few wedding magazines to flick through but some of the ideas in them were a bit ridiculous, so I stuck to using Pinterest. I had different boards for different parts of the wedding e.g. flowers, hair, makeup etc. This made it really easy to share with each supplier what I liked and the kind of thing I was after.”
We asked the lovely couple what their ‘must have’s’ were when looking to book their wedding…
“My wedding must have was to have the band that played at my 21st. They are called ‘Batman’s Cat.’ We even had them learn our first dance song.
Jonathan’s must have was to have some of the wedding superhero themed. Some of my friends said I must be crazy letting him do that, but it’s important to remember that it’s his day too and that’s what he wanted. So, I allowed 10% superhero for the day. We had superhero logos as the table numbers and the groomsmen were all assigned a character with cufflinks to go with it. I did make the logos greyscale to look classier with such a beautiful venue. But I drew the line when he mentioned bats in my bouquet!”
With inspiration under their belts, a budget in place and a few weeks having passed after popping the question, they made the plunge and started looking at venue…
“We searched online for local wedding venues with accommodation as it was important for us and our guests to be able to stay the night, so they can have fun without worrying how they were going to get home. It also meant that we could all catch up at breakfast altogether in the morning and carry on the celebration. We also wanted a venue that we could have the whole wedding in one location.
We picked out 6 venues that had our wedding date available and arranged to go and visit them. Gosfield Hall was first. I remember it well as it was Halloween and it was really foggy. We sat down in the Grand Salon unable to see the grounds as the fog was so thick but from what we saw of the inside we both fell in love. Approaching the house down the long driveway takes your breath away. Even though it was winter the grounds looked beautiful. We loved that even though the venue is huge it felt intimate. We liked that each part of the day took place in different parts of the house which meant no waiting for staff to set up the same room for the next part of the day. There are lots of areas for guests to chill out in if they wish to get away from the music which is great for older relatives. The house is so interesting, and I love that you can see different eras in the architecture around different parts of the house. The view of the lake from the bridal suit is so pretty.”
So… With the venue chosen, the next job was to start deciding what they wanted for their menus, how they wanted to decorate, what style of flowers, to get their suppliers booked for the day, what photographer to go with… Lots of decisions to make!
The day was finally upon them and all their hard work into the planning of this special day was all about to come to light. With the scene set, it was all systems GO!
Sarah and the girls arrived the night before and stayed in our lovely Lady’s Chambers Cottage where they could make sure Sarah was relaxed before the big day.
In the morning, it was an early rise and with breakfast done and nerves in check, it was time to get ready!
While the girls were making themselves beautiful, the staff were setting up the house, ready for the celebrations…
“We also had a guest book with Polaroid camera so guests could take a selfie and leave a message. We also had a gift crate made with Gosfield hall hand painted on the front with our names and wedding date from Not on the High Street.”
With Hair and Makeup well and truly on the way, they moved into the main house to finish the beautifying process and to finally get that wedding dress on she’d struggled so much to find…
“Finding my wedding dress was a bit of a mission. Me and my Maid of Honour went to quite a few shops to try and get an idea of the style I wanted but none were ‘the one.’ They were pretty but something wasn’t quite right with them all. Me and my mum ended up going to Fleur De Lys Bridal in Saffron Walden, after my neighbour recommended them. That’s where I found the one!”
“It was called Marquesa by the designer Sophia Tolli. It was a mix of taffeta and tulle. It had quite a full A-line skirt with dropped waist, sweetheart neckline trimmed with crystal and pearl hand-beading and beaded lace appliqué cascading down the skirt and chapel length train. I added off the shoulder beaded tulle cap sleeves. It wasn’t the shape I was originally going for but it went in and out in all the right places which suited my body shape.”
“I had a beautiful hair vine from Ivory & Co which I found at a wedding fair. It fitted in perfectly with the frosty theme we had going. It wove around my hair and under my veil and picked out the beading on my wedding dress.”
“My shoes were from Rainbow Club and a perfect match to the colour of my wedding dress. They were padded and really comfy. I don’t usually do heels but these I kept on all day. They also have a blue gem on the sole which counts for your something blue.”
“I had originally found some pearl earrings to wear on the day but my wonderful husband surprised me on the morning of the wedding with diamond earrings that matched my engagement ring so the pearls went out the window.”
With the girls getting Sarah ready, Jonathan and the boys downstairs were doing exactly the same…
“Jonathan got his suit from Anthony Formal Wear. We kept seeing it pop up on Facebook and the suits looked well cut and smart and they happened to be in Billericay, which is where Jonathan’s nan lives, so we could tie in a visit. They are a traditional family run tailors and had so many suits to choose from. In the end we went of a formal slim fit French navy lounge suit with grey waistcoat and pocket square. We got his tie from T.M.Lewin which was a perfect match to the navy suit. He looked so handsome.”
With the boys suited and booted, the next thing on the agenda was to give the Bridesmaids and Groomsmen a little something…
“I had three Bridesmaids, Louise who was my Maid of Honour. We have been friends ever since she started dating my friend James. I knew she would look after me on my big day. Olivia, who I worked with in London before she went back home up north, we had so many adventures together that we kept in touch and Kathryn, Jonathan’s sister. I sent them all a lovely card asking them to be my Bridesmaids.”
“Jonathan had three Groomsmen and one Groomswoman. Martin was his best man, who he has been friends with for years, James, who is a close friend, Jonathan’s brother Christopher and Sophie, who is also a close friend. I’m quite artistic and good with photoshop and illustrator so we got Jonathan dressed up in a suit, batman mask and got him to shine his ‘Bat Signal’ onto the wall calling for his ‘Groomsquad.’ I then transferred this onto a card comic book style asking each one to be part of the squad with superhero logo cufflinks of the character they would represent.”
With everybody ready, all that was left was to go and collect Sarah’s Dad, Steven…
And then onto the ceremony…
“We chose soft grey and lace as the colour palette to suit the season we would be getting married. We wanted a soft frosty feel.
We had the ceremony in the Grand Salon, as this room is just beautiful. We loved the neutral colours, the painted ceiling and the grand piano. We picked the gold Chivari chairs and had lace ties. We chose not to have the red aisle runner as the floor is beautiful in itself and it didn’t fit with our colour scheme.”
“I found their bridesmaids dresses in Quiz when I was shopping with my mum in London. They were a nice soft grey and had silver trim around the neck and armhole that caught the light like frost, so I thought they were perfect to suit our theme.”
“We had Peter Durrent play our music during the ceremony on the grand piano. He is the husband of a lovely lady I work with and also had played at a previous family wedding. He played ‘Heartbeats’ for our entrance music, ‘Just the Way You Are’ whilst we signed the register and ‘Many of Horror’ as our exit music. It was lovely hearing the instrumental version of these songs. It worked out well having a pianist as one of the bridesmaids fainted during the ceremony and he was able to play a few songs while she came around.”
“My dad walked me down the aisle which was lovely and passed me over to Jonathan. We didn’t have any readings as we didn’t want a long ceremony and we had people sit where they liked as we have been together so long we are all family.”
And that was it! The hard part was over… Congratulations to the new Mr and Mrs Bash!
After the ceremony, the happy couple mingled with guests, enjoyed the carefully picked canapes and welcome drinks and then had some lovely shots taken with their very talented photographer Kathryn…
“For our welcome drinks we went for Kir Royale, Mojito and Bottles of Strawberry and Lime Kopparberg which went down well with the boys as not all are fans of sparkling wine.”
“We chose Kathryn Hopkins as our wedding photographer. She photographed a university friend’s wedding and I remember thinking, wow, they are beautiful photos. Her style was soft and light unlike other photographers we have come across. Her style is about capturing natural poses rather than staged. Rather than standing being forced to smile and pose she lets you be natural with each other and captures true emotion. She quietly snaps away while you walk and talk together creating a real intimate image.”
“We collected petals out of my mums garden over the summer and used them for our confetti and dried them. This saved money and was a personal touch.”
With all the gorgeous pictures taken, we took Sarah and Jonathon upstairs to seethe Ballroom before we invited their guests to come and take a seat…
“Our florist, Rebecca Avery, made beautiful displays across the venue. The chairs down the aisle had bunches of flowers tied in the lace chair ties. We had a floral piece down the stairs near the cake and the table centre pieces were a mix of small antique jars with flowers in. We didn’t want anything too high as we wanted guests to be able to speak to each other without having to peer around huge displays.”
“For the table plan and table numbers we used superhero logos but I turned them different shades of grey to tie in with the colour theme.”
After getting an extremely warm welcome into their fabulously decorated Wedding Breakfast, Sarah, Jonathon and their friends and family tucked into a mouth watering 3 course meal;
On a bed of pickled red cabbage with a toasted sesame and honey dressing
Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup
Slow oven roasted tomato soup
Roast Leg of Lamb
Served with redcurrant & rosemary stuffing and a rich roast jus
Roasted Vegetable Wellington (V)
Roasted seasonal vegetables encrusted in puff pastry served with a cranberry reduction
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Served with toffee sauce and Baileys cream
Crisp sweet pastry filled with a rich lemon custard served with clotted cream and raspberry
After dinner had been completely devoured and bellies were full, it was onto the speeches… Sarah’s dad had a little surprise up his sleeve, or should we say Lycra?!…
“We had my dad, Jonathan, the Best Man and my Maid of Honour do speeches. My dads speech was hilarious as he disappeared into the kitchen and came out as Captain America to fit in with the superhero theme. He then had to take his mask off as his reading glasses and superhero mask weren’t compatible.”
From there it was off to get the Evening Reception started! Cake Cut and First Dance were next on the agenda…
“For our cake we went for 3 tiers consisting of carrot cake, maple and bourbon fruit cake and vanilla. We loved the idea of ombre effect so we had the sponge layers soft grey ombre to white buttercream and the middle layer soft grey fondant with shimmery white edible cake lace overlay. We hired the Gosfield Hall silver cake stand and knife to finish it off.”
“We had our band learn James Arthur ‘Say You Won’t Let Go.’ It was released around the time when we had just got engaged and the words were so similar to how we met and our relationship and knew this would be our first dance song. We didn’t choreograph a routine but we did practice a little in the kitchen with my bridal shoes on which the dog found highly amusing and fun.”
“We had the band that played at my 21st. They are called ‘Batman’s Cat’ and are a really entertaining indie style band that turn into the Blues Brothers halfway through their set. Coming out in suits, sunglasses and hats. They are talented and can get anyone dancing including the bar staff. I first came across them when I was at college when we found out our Head of College was a bass guitarist in it. My 21st was his last ever gig with them before he went off to teach in Shanghai.”
“We also had a guest book with Polaroid camera so guests could take a selfie and leave a message.”
With the evening drawing to a close, it was safe to say they had the most amazing day, made a lot of memories and the smiles on their faces will last a lifetime!
We asked the couple, based on their own experience, what were their top tips…;
“Don’t go crazy with entertainment. Guests were kept busy catching up with family and friends they hadn’t seen for ages and the time just flew by. No one was bored.
The day goes so quickly and it’s a bit of a blur so it’s worth having a videographer so you can watch back the day and take everything in.
The welcome line is worth doing before the wedding breakfast as it gives you a chance to say hello to everyone as it’s hard to get round everyone during the gap between the ceremony and wedding breakfast.”
“If we could do it all again, we’d… have a chair for the bridesmaids in case any feel faint!”
With the wedding done, they still had something to look forward to… The Honeymoon!
“We are going on honeymoon at the end of the month. We are travelling across Sri Lanka passing through Yala, Udawalawe and Kalutara. We will be visiting the national parks to go on safari to hopefully see leopards, Elephant Transit home where they rehabilitate orphaned elephants and the turtle hatchery. We then fly to the Maldives where we will be staying in a water villa on Kuramathi island for some down time. Have a few spa treatments, private dining and do some snorkelling.”
Congratulations again to Mr & Mrs Bash, we hope you both enjoyed your wedding day and that we can hopefully welcome you back here again some time in the future!
|Wedding attire: Brides Dress Designer Sophia Tolli from Fleur De Lys Bridal Grooms Suit from Anthony Formal Wear|
|The accessories: Ivory and Co, Vintage, Rainbow Club, Chisholm Hunter|
|Bridesmaid’s dresses: Quiz Clothing|
|Other outfits: Anthony Formal Wear|
|Wedding rings: Chisholm Hunter|
|Wedding cake and Favours: Blondi’s Bakery|
|Florist: Rebecca Avery Flowers|
|Invitations: Designed by the bride, printed by Printed.com|
|Photographer: Kathryn Hopkins Photography|
|Band/disco/DJ: Batman’s Cat and Gosfield’s resident DJ|
|Hair & Makeup: Aimez-Vous Hair & Beauty|