Emma and Jack tied the knot here with us at Gosfield Hall back in May last year on a beautiful spring day. Here they tell us how their wedding plans began….
Tell us about the proposal – how and where did it happen?
“I proposed to Emma in Canada in the Rocky Mountains while on holiday in 2017.
We were in a town called Banff and I said that I had some plans for the day and we should hike to the top of ‘table mountain’. So, we approach the top and the nerves start creeping in. This was my first so I was a bit of a novice…. Anyway, as we near the top there’s about 50 people running around with selfie sticks. Not one for public displays I thought maybe I’ll go to plan B. Which was equally as good. Or at least I thought it was.
Plan B – The canoe, picnic proposal.
We get back from the mountain and I suggest hiring a canoe and going up the river for a picnic for lunch.. to which Emma replied ‘I’m not hungry!’ ‘but we can still get a canoe out…’ That was Plan B ruined.
On to Plan C.
The picturesque lake picnic proposal. We arrive at the lake and find a nice dock on the water and sit at the end of it on a blanket and have our lunch.. and everything was going well…until the dragon flies. Before we knew it there were dragonflies coming from all angles quite literally hitting into the side of our heads. We had to evacuate. Plan C ruined.
This proposal day was turning into the biggest disaster of all time. We got back to the hotel room and had a couple of hours to kill before I had our big celebratory dinner booked…! Which was obviously a secret!
So I suggested we drive to a mountain look out spot just outside of town before dinner to take some nice pictures of the sunset.. Usually this type of request would raise alarm bells in most relationships but Emma is more than used to my photography trips by this stage so it was just like any other day on holiday to be honest!!
So we walked out on to the track and found a spot to set my camera up on its tripod and took a few test shots – I then say oh I’d like to get one of us together looking out at the view with the background.. so I started taking the photos and then got down on one knee and finally said will you marry me?
She said yes… luckily / finally!!! It was a very stressful day but I got there in the end and we had a fair few glasses of champagne that evening to celebrate!”
After a very stressful day for Jack, but what turned out to be a perfect proposal, it was time to put a plan together for the big day itself…
What was your first step in planning your wedding?
“To start our wedding planning we first started to think about themes and styles. Then decided we didn’t want a theme and just wanted to focus on colours we liked. We had a night in just us and talked about what we wanted with a bottle of champagne from our engagement and an amazing book Rock my Wedding which is definitely recommended and that’s where everything stemmed from.
We used numerous bridal magazines, Instagram and Pinterest a little bit but a lot of ideas were found from internet searches.”
What were your wedding “must have’s”?
“The most important things to us were the venue, the photographer, the dress and the florist. We both work in design and fashion and had a particular style we wanted so we were keen to find the right suppliers to work with.”
How did you organise your wedding budget?
“Emma managed the budget as she does this for a living, both at work and at home! I researched how much suppliers should cost roughly in magazines to set an ideal budget then created our own budget which was basically a stretched version for certain elements based on the types of suppliers we wanted to use. Then I created a monthly savings plan to make sure it was all affordable. We remember how daunting it felt having to save for the wedding at first and everyone telling us it just happens, you find the money and its true you just make it happen.”
Once these important items were put into place it was time to start putting plans into action…
What made you choose your wedding venue?
“We didn’t want a marquee or anything blingy and found that quite hard to find. We wanted a venue that had something different about it, was stylish and people could stay the night. None of the others we saw were anywhere near the levels of Gosfield Hall and as soon as we walked in we knew. For us it was the interior features, the coloured doors and when we we’re told we could get married in the Grand Salon that sold it. Jack’s mum really sadly passed away just after we got engaged and she had told Jack that she loved Gosfield Hall too so for us that was the blessing we needed to go ahead with Gosfield Hall.”
So, once you have chosen your perfect venue your next step is to think about how you would like to personalise your day…
“We chose colours over a theme then chose to use special touches that meant something to us throughout the venue. Our colours were muted pinks and grey lilac with little pops of yellow and blue in the flowers to lift everything.
We chose to focus on photos and travel as an underlying theme as these are two things special to us. We scented the wedding with candles sourced from Saint James Paris, a hotel Jack took me to for my 30th Birthday. As guests entered they could see photos of us at different points of our life together; when we met, making it official, when we moved in together, buying our house and our engagement.”
“We made little touches like heel protectors, tissues, fans, confetti, packs for girls and boys in the toilets and hangover kits in the rooms. Myself and Jack also made the welcome A-board, the postbox and Jack made all of the order of service, table plan, drinks signs this helped us save a lot of money.
We used our flowers from the ceremony all day and moved these from room to room to make good use of them, they looked amazing right to the end.
Our cake was by Fifis cakery, she makes the yummiest cakes! We had a hexagon tier covered in little leaves and two circular tier’s at the top and bottom and had flowers cascading down. The flavours were red velvet and carrot cake and we’ve saved the top tier of Raspberry and vanilla for our anniversary.”
It is very important to have a super photographer to capture all elements of your big day, especially when you put in so much effort in to making that day memorable, who did you choose to capture your big day?
“We searched for months for our photographer as Jack’s really into photography and came across the recommended suppliers in the Bride’s book. We chose Tom Halliday, his style was everything we’d been looking for.
We had talked about a videographer before but put it to one side as the budget was getting a bit high but when myself and two of my bridesmaids went to a wedding fair and met RJ Films I knew he was perfect. I booked him as a surprise for Jack and am so happy I did. We have lost count of the amount of times we have watched our video and have had so many comments on it. I would definitely recommend a videographer as its a memory you will have forever. And its only a little stretch to the budget…”
A very important part to your big day is choosing your wedding attire, what made you choose your wedding attire, Emma?
“My wedding dress was nothing like the one I planned. My dress was from the amazing Mirror Mirror and when I described what I originally wanted my fitter brought in another dress ‘just to try’ I said I didn’t like it, anyway an hour later I was warming to it and two appointments later and I was in love and had purchased it. I still stare at photos of it. It is by Gemy Maalouf and has a separate structured fitted lace dress underneath with a customised low back. Then my favourite part is the huge silk skirt that goes over the top and can be worn down as a huge train or slightly shorter. Obviously it was trodden on all day and was a nightmare to walk in but who cares it was amazing.”
What accessories did you choose?
“I wore chunky blue suede Jimmy Choo heels as my something blue. Jack bought me a Tiffany pearl necklace and bracelet as my something new and I also had my Links of London pearl earrings one of my closest friends had bought me for my 30th birthday. I wore my Nan’s beautiful watch as my something borrowed. For my hair and makeup I wanted to stick to styles I was used to so had natural makeup and a messy bun with no hair accessories. I decided as I was getting ready not to wear my veil as the dress was too pretty from the back.”
And what did you choose to wear, Jack?
“I wore a tailored Navy Blue suit with a contrasting grey flannel waistcoat from Anthony’s Formal Wear in Billericay. I don’t wear suits very often so for me comfort was a big thing. The suit was amazing and the service was great from start to finish I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking to get a tailored suit.
In terms of accessories I wore a navy polka dot tie also from Anthony’s, Black Monk shoes from Dune and Ted Baker dragonfly cufflinks in honour of the failed proposal attempt.
Emma had surprised me with an Omega watch the morning of the wedding and a locket with a photo of my Mum inside to wear inside my suit.”
Tell us about your ceremony, did you have live music? How did you personalise your ceremony?
“During the ceremony we had a violin and piano duo which was such a nice touch. We didn’t want too much classical music so we had a mix of classical and modern which made it more our style. We had candles burning for those that couldn’t be with us and requested an unplugged ceremony.
Our 4 nephews walked down the aisle first the youngest carrying the rings on my mum’s book as our something old. Our bridesmaids followed and finally Emma with her Dad.
We had two readings during the ceremony by two of the bridesmaids and wrote our own vows which all made it very personal. The whole thing was so emotional and the Grand Salon was perfect, it looked stunning.
At the end of the ceremony we went outside for the confetti shot as Mr & Mrs Mihlenstedt.”
Tell us about your drinks reception and wedding breakfast, what food and drink choices did you make?
“For the drinks reception it was important to us to make sure everyone had enough to eat and drink. We served a favourite drink for each of us and one for both. Prosecco, Aperol Spritz and Mojito and also some beers and non alcoholic available.
For canapes we chose Smoked Salmon Blinis, Mini Scotch Eggs, Blue Cheese & Fig Crostini, Brie & Red Onion Crouton, Duck Croquette, Bang Bang Chicken. For entertainment we had a jazz quartet who were brilliant and were lucky enough to have the most amazing weather.”
“The theme of the wedding breakfast was a subtle play on our holidays together for example table names were locations and photos of us on holiday were displayed on the table.
Salmon & Cream Cheese Timbale or Mozzarella & Rocket Salad.
Chicken Stuffed with Leek wrapped in Parma Ham or Roasted Vegetable Wellington.
Chocolate Fondant or Pannacotta.
For us the wedding breakfast was a chance to honour those who couldn’t be with us so we chose to use Cancer Research pins as favours for Jack’s mum Rose and Battersea Dogs and Cats pins for our recently lost Cat and Dog. We also gave everyone drinks tokens to use at the bar later and kids their own presents.
Tell us about your evening reception, did you add any additional entertainment?
“We just had the DJ for the evening reception, we gave him a (very long) list of songs we liked and also asked our guests to request their favourite song on their RSVP. We were quite worried about the music as Jack used to DJ, but it was great on the night, everyone was having an amazing time.
We had Canary Photobooths as our evening entertainment and they were amazing. People still tell us they were the best photobooth and props they’ve seen.
What did you choose as your first dance?
We chose Lily Allen ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ because it reminds us of our favourite place we used to walk to at the river in our town with our dog Jada. She sadly passed away the November before the wedding but we still wanted to use the song as she was such a huge part of our lives and it’s still somewhere we like to go to escape everything.
If you could give any advice, what would you suggest?
“We spent a lot of time researching our suppliers and booking way in advance and this definitely paid off as we don’t have any regrets in terms of the people we used. They were all amazing. We also spent more money on what was important to us eg the dress, photographer and we are so over the moon we did.
We had a really in depth planner/budget also and although at times Jack said it was too much (Emma is a Project Manager) on the run up and on the day everything in our control went to plan and there was no confusion with regards to finances.
We printed our vows, speeches and all of the ceremony details so our older guests and anyone hard of hearing could still follow the day, which was well received.
Definitely take some time for yourselves and also your bridesmaids/groomsmen its nice to relax and reflect on the day.
Things will go wrong on the run up and on the day and people will behave badly. What we’ve learnt is that it doesn’t take away from all of the good things and just how perfect the rest of the day was. Try not to get stressed over the little things and focus on the real reason you’re there, to marry the person you love and have the best day of your lives.”
Would you change anything about your big day?
“I don’t think we could it wouldn’t beat the day we had. But if we had to do it again we would definitely have Gaynor as our planner, she was amazing!”
Where did you choose to spend your honeymoon?
“A couple of days after the wedding we flew to Saint Lucia where we spent 14 days traveling around the island in the most amazing hotels. The first was a boutique hotel in the north of the Island which was really relaxing. The second was the actual Hotel Chocolat, where we ate our body weight in chocolate. And the third, which was the best by far, only had three walls, a swimming pool in the room and the most breathtaking views of the famous pitons. We explored, snorkeled, made our own chocolate and ate and drank a lot! It was so beautiful and so relaxing, we cant wait to go back.
We then spent a further week at a private island called Petit St Vincent which was also stunning. We had our own cottage on the beach and spent the days cycling from the beach to restaurants and even got to snorkel with turtles.”
For a stunning day there was also a beautiful wedding video…
Wedding Dress: Gemy Maalouf – Mirror Mirror
Groom’s attire: Anthony’s Formal Wear
Accessories: Bride’s Shoes – Jimmy Choo
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: TFNC Halannah
Kid’s Suits: Occasionwear for Kids
Wedding Rings: Fraser Hart
Wedding Cars: Regency Reservations
Invitations: Designed by Jack and Friends printed by printed.com
Florist: Violets & Velvet
Hair & Make-Up: Bumble Bee Bridal
Photographer: Tom Halliday
Videographer: RJ Films
Photobooth: Canary Photobooths
Music during Drinks reception: Music Students for Hire
DJ: Gosfield Hall
Wedding Favours: Battersea Dog & Cat’s Home & Cancer Research Pins. Tree of Heart Drinks Tokens.