An Engagement in New York followed by a Summer Wedding at St Audries Park
Tell us about the proposal – how and where did it happen?
‘It has always been my dream to go to New York as growing up I loved watching Gossip Girl and fell in love with where the main characters married in the show. The proposal happened in Central Park, New York. We hired a rowing boat and my now husband asked for me to marry him there, I was never a fan of huge over the top proposals, so it was perfect for me. After I said yes, we went to watch a show on Broadway.’
What was your first step in planning your wedding?
‘Weirdly my first step was to make personal Bridesmaid boxes for each of my 4 Bridesmaids which contained little trinkets to ask if they wanted to be part of our day. We then created personalised cuff-links for our Groomsman. I also had Pinterest boards and looked at lots of wedding photos on Instagram. We also went to a couple of wedding fairs, we went to The National Wedding Show, The Winter Gardens in Weston Wedding Fair and Tracey Park Wedding show in Bath.’
Inspiration: Did you use blogs or magazines for ideas?
‘Yes, my Mother in Law literally bought me lots of magazines such as Brides, Guides for Brides, The Know and Bridal Guide. My husband also found Hitched very helpful.’
What were your wedding “must have’s”?
‘The venue had to have ground floor access for Grandparents who are extremely close to us. Also a church in close proximity to the venue as well as a separate dance floor so families could chat and not have to shout over music. The venue had to be typically classic and timeless with beautiful views of the country. The Chef also had to be able to cater for my egg allergy!’
Wedding budget: how did you organise your wedding budget?
‘We took advice mainly from family and a previous set of friends who married a year before us. It was important that we went for a venue that offered a package. We also shopped around lots of venues as well as suppliers to find the best deal that suited us.’
Wedding venue: how did you search for a wedding venue?
‘We used the internet, ordered a few wedding brochures and word of mouth.’
What made you choose your wedding venue?
‘As soon as we drove down the driveway at St Audries Park and saw the beautiful views and venue I burst into tears. I did not react like this to any other venue that we visited. There were so many things that blew us and our families away. There were the huge, luxurious rooms for our guests, the choice of food and drink as well as the stunning views. Everything was on site (the Church was a few 100 yards up the drive), the reception Dining Hall was open plan for guests, the Main Staircase was to die for and the dance floor was tucked away! Plus the Bridal accommodation (Holly Cottage) for the night before was beautiful.’
Styling your wedding: how did you personalise your big day?
‘Our inspiration was based on a typical classic English Country Wedding (just like William and Kate’s Wedding). Josie Parker Florist decorated the venue with flowers and Every Little Detail Wedding Hire provided our wedding signs throughout the venue as well as creating a table plan on a beautiful floor to ceiling mirror. Josie Parker also designed wedding favours for each guest, a personalized small candle in a lantern with Amber and JJ’s wedding – 10th May. The chairs in the Dining Hall were decorated with Gold and Ivory sashes and flowers for the table centre pieces. Each table was named after a country that I had visited, which was a lovely touch.’
Wedding photographer: how did you choose your photographer?
‘Our photographer was recommended by an old work colleague. We contacted Admiral Photography and they invited us to their photo studio to show us how they work as well as their photography style and to discuss our requirements. Their style was to capture a wedding story through photos from the moment the bride gets ready to the party at the end of the day. They were also so discreet which is something you definitely need on your wedding day!! Admiral Photography also made sure to visit St Audries Park venue before the big day as well.’
Wedding suppliers: how did you choose your suppliers?
‘We chose our suppliers purely through visiting wedding fairs. We found our photo booth company through Tracey Park Wedding Fair and our wedding décor company at The Winter Gardens Wedding Fair.’
Describe your wedding attire
‘My wedding attire was a classic A line gown with a beautiful train that followed behind me when I walked. I also wore a chapel veil, when I walked down the aisle it looked beautiful! I felt elegant and just like a Princess when I wore my dress…I did not want to take it off.’
Tell us about your Bridesmaids, Groomsmen and their outfits
‘I had 4 bridesmaids, 3 were best friends who I met at Uni and my sister in law. We had 3 ushers and 1 best man. 2 of the ushers and best man the groom met at Uni and 1 usher was my brother.’
What was your biggest wedding splurge?
‘Probably the wedding dress and photographers.’
What was your biggest wedding saving?
‘We saved money on wedding transport as everything was on site as well as the flowers as my Mum is a florist.’
What was your ceremony like?
‘We had a church ceremony at St Etheldredas Church which is onsite. It lasted about 40-45 minutes. My Dad walked me down the aisle to Canon in D Major by Johann Pachelbel, we then had a welcome speech by our family’s vicar who came out of retirement just to conduct the wedding. We had 3 hymns and 2 readings from my God Mum’s young daughter and the Groom’s Aunty. During the signing of the register there were 3 songs, Taylor Swift – “Wildest Dreams” (piano version), Ed Sheeran – “Photography” (piano version…the song meant a lot to us due to 1 year of long distance relationship back in 2014) and “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman (acoustic version). The procession of the wedding party was Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March”. Our wedding program was hand painted and designed by Meg Hampshire Illustrations, they were beautifully painted in the colour of the Bridesmaids and gold to match the groom’s ties.’
Tell us about your Drinks Reception and Wedding Breakfast?
‘The food was amazing and Chef catered for my egg allergy!’
‘We enjoyed Fruit Cider, Passion Fruit Martini’s as well Sparkling Elderflower.’
Mini Wild Mushroom and Truffle Arancini with Lemon Mayonnaise
Baked Prosciutto Ham and Parmesan Cheese Palmier
Thai Spiced Chicken Breast Skewers
Duck Rillettes on Crostini with Orange Salsa
Somerset Brie and Red Onion Marmalade on a Toasted Crouton
Garlic Crostini topped with Sun blushed Tomato, Avocado, Olive and Basil
Atlantic Prawns and Crayfish in Marie Rose Sauce
Home cured Gravlax Scottish Salmon
Sun blushed Tomato, Bocconi Mozzarella and Olives
Roast Leg of English Lamb studded with Rosemary and Garlic
Slow Roast Somerset Pork Belly
Grilled Fillet of Sea Bass
Homemade Potato Gnocchi
Classic British Eton Mess
Warm Double Chocolate Brownie~
Fresh Fruit Salad
‘Guests enjoyed the flowing wine and were offered white crisp Pinot Grigio, robust red Tempranillo and light rose Zinfandel’
‘There were 3 speeches…my Dad reflected on me growing up, meeting JJ and getting married. What made me cry was seeing how Dad was visibly shaking when reading his speech and holding back emotion. The Grooms speech was good and he teared up and blamed his Mum because she “looked at him” during the speech which has now become a family joke. The best man’s speech was funny and so sweet. The best man met his first girlfriend at our wedding who he is still with now, amazing!
Tell us about your first dance – what song did you chose?
‘Our first dance song was “1000 Years” by Christina Perri.’
What was the most memorable moment of the day?
‘There were so many memories that stood out. After the ceremony were greeted by all of our guests, families and friends and it was amazing. Sitting in the wedding breakfast and seeing all your loved ones in one room and finally throwing my bouquet on the grand staircase.’
Did any members of staff stand out to you in particular?
‘Yes Alyson was amazing, we loved her as she was as so friendly, helpful and went above and beyond.’
What did you enjoy the most about St Audries Park?
‘There is so much that we love about St Audries Park. The views, the rooms, the driveway, the food and drinks, the Great Hall and the Main Staircase. Such a beautiful venue and grounds with amazing memories that will be last a lifetime. Thank you for making such a beautiful day amazing there are no words to explain what an incredible day we had, a year on and everyone still talks about the wedding day!! Thank you.’
Based on your own experience, give us some top tips:
‘Top tips are, shop around, take friends and family with you for a second opinion when buying things. Do not be afraid to ask for help on planning as it can get stressful and mainly enjoy every second of the day and take it all in. We would also recommend using the Getting Married website which collates RSVP information in one place – this would have made life a little easier as were between moving homes’
“If we could do it all again, we’d…”
‘Get married in the Orangery, hire a wedding videographer and have a hog roast!’
Did you go on a honeymoon or mini-moon?
‘We went to Mallorca and stayed in a private apartment in Calla Anguilla. We were lucky as the villa was a wedding present from the Groom’s God Father.
Purchase & Hire – Tell us who your suppliers were:
Photographer: Admiral Photography
Flowers: Westcotts Flowers & Joise Parker Floristry
Wedding attire: Somerset Bridal (Brides dress) and Slaters (Men’s attire)
Decor: Every Little Detail Wedding Hire
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Quiz
Hair and Makeup: Beauty Spot Weston (Amber – Make up…Naomi – Hair)
Wedding rings: Clogau
Wedding cake: The Pink Rose Cake Company
Cars: Age of Elegance
Wedding Program: Meg Hampshire Illustrations