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Wedding Ideas

Amanda & Steve

A wonderful spring wedding for this lovely couple followed a romantic, overseas proposal.

The Wedding & Reception Venue

After a sunset proposal in Thailand, Amanda and Steve knew that they wanted a wedding venue that was close to their London home but also had a fantastic countryside location. After searching online, they found Gaynes Park:

“We booked 14 months in advance and ended up booking for Good Friday. We’re really pleased we booked this date because it had a spring feel to it. Also, all our guests could enjoy the long weekend and this was great for people travelling from further afield.”

“We chose Gaynes Park because it was just the style we wanted – a contemporary barn and we also liked the Orangery for the ceremony as it just felt so light. When we first walked into the Mill Barn, we looked at each other and had pretty much decided then that this was going to be our wedding venue.”

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The Gather Barn at Gaynes Park wedding venue in Essex
© Fiona Kelly Photography
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© Fiona Kelly Photography
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© Fiona Kelly Photography
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© Fiona Kelly Photography
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Bride and groom exchanging vows in the Orangery during their Gaynes Park wedding
© Fiona Kelly Photography
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The Mill Barn set up for a wedding reception at Gaynes Park – wedding venues in Essex
© Fiona Kelly Photography

Bridesmaids

When it came to choosing who she wanted by her side on the big day, Amanda knew exactly which of her friends she was going to ask to be her bridesmaids:

“My bridesmaids were an obvious choice – three friends from school and one university friend.”

“The bridesmaids planned my hen do in Madrid and although I didn’t ask them to do a lot for the day, they helped with anything that was needed on the morning of the wedding.”

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© Fiona Kelly Photography
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© Fiona Kelly Photography
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Bride and groom with their bridesmaids and groomsmen in the gardens of Gaynes Park
© Fiona Kelly Photography

“My bridesmaids wore light mint green dresses from Hobbs. I’d found the dresses online and ordered them into the shop. We then arranged a shopping day to try them on and luckily, they looked good!”

The Men

After deciding that tails would be too traditional for their countryside wedding, the search was on for something special:

“We chose the Steve’s outfit together and went for a navy blue three-piece suit from Ted Baker at Moss Bros, which he wore with a grey tie.

The Gaynes Park staff made sure that the groomsmen could enjoy the day as well:

“The staff at Gaynes Park were so helpful that there wasn’t much the groomsmen needed to do! We didn’t ask guests to sit on ‘sides’ during the ceremony so everyone could sit where they wanted. The groomsmen just helped to usher everyone into the Orangery when the time was right.”

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© Fiona Kelly Photography
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© Fiona Kelly Photography

The Dress & Accessories

After visiting a few bridal boutiques without success, Amanda found ‘the one’ at Angelica Bridal in Islington when the assistant suggested an Essense of Australia gown that she thought would suit Amanda:

“When I put it on, I loved it and thought it looked better on me than any others I’d tried. On the day, I wore diamond earrings (borrowed from my Mum) but no other jewellery as I didn’t feel it went with the dress.”

“I also wore Jimmy Choo bridal shoes. I’d not planned this but just loved the pair I wore and they were my biggest wedding splurge.”

Florists Lily & May definitely brought spring to the wedding and provided flowers that worked really well with the theme of the day. To work with the rustic theme, the couple filled lots of jam jars with pretty pastel-coloured flowers for their table centrepieces in the Mill Barn. The jars sat on wooden slices and looked perfect.

“In the Orangery, we had a vine around the ceremony table arches, flowers on the chairs and on the registrar’s table too.”

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Embellished belt on bride’s wedding dress
© Fiona Kelly Photography
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Rustic Mason jars used for wedding flowers and decorations
© Fiona Kelly Photography
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Small bunches of flowers tied to the ceremony chairs
© Fiona Kelly Photography
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Ceremony chairs decorated with flowers ready for a ceremony at Gaynes Park wedding venue in Essex
© Fiona Kelly Photography
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Jimmy Choo wedding shoes for bride
© Fiona Kelly Photography

The Decorative Touches

Amanda and Steve bought lots of personalisation to their wedding with a whole host of special touches that ran right through the day:

“Our table names were holiday destinations that we’d visited together so we had vintage post cards from each location on the tables. There was festoon lighting and for the evening reception, we had a lit dancefloor with cocktail tables around it. This worked really well because it meant that guests stayed close to the dancefloor rather than going to sit down.”

The couple’s favours were mini eggs, which they both loved. They filled small mason jars with the chocolate treats in a fabulous nod to the Easter weekend.

A friend of the bride’s Mother made the wedding cake – a naked three-tier delight that was then decorated with flowers, fruit and a wooden cake topper.

Candles featured right throughout the day and all the floating candles in jars were actually the couple’s biggest wedding saving:

“Amanda works as an accountant for Pizza Express so collected up lots of mason jars that had been used at Christmas. If we’d bought all the jars ourselves, it would have cost us around £500!”

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Looking down from above in the Mill Barn in Gaynes Park
© Fiona Kelly Photography
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Travel inspired table names for a wedding at Gaynes Park
© Fiona Kelly Photography
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Naked wedding cake and cake topper
© Fiona Kelly Photography
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Bride and groom cutting the cake while guests watch
© Fiona Kelly Photography

The Wedding Day

As huge music lovers, there was plenty of music right throughout the day from the ceremony through to the evening reception:

“Our first dance song was ‘You and Me’ by Penny and the Quarters. We first heard it not long after we got engaged and we liked it because it’s quite upbeat but not too well known. We didn’t choreograph our routine but had a little practice in the kitchen before the wedding! All we planned was that we would do a spin at some point and this got us a big cheer!”

Guests were treated to lots of delicious food and drink throughout the day with Kir Royale and White Sangria flowing during the drinks reception. For the wedding breakfast, the couple decided on a menu featuring ham hock croquette to start followed by fillet steak with chocolate brownie for dessert.

Another highlight was definitely the speeches:

“All the speeches were really good. A memorable moment was when Steve accidentally referred to his brother’s funeral rather than to his wedding! There were lots of funny stories in all the speeches with some emotional moments too.”

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Father of the bride walking the bride down the aisle
© Fiona Kelly Photography
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A rose buttonhole for the groom
© Fiona Kelly Photography
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Drinks ready for a wedding reception at Gaynes Park
© Fiona Kelly Photography
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Bride and groom entering the Mill Barn at Gaynes Park in Essex
© Fiona Kelly Photography
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Bride arriving into the Orangery at Gaynes Park for their wedding ceremony
© Fiona Kelly Photography
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Bride and groom enjoy their first dance
© Fiona Kelly Photography
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The Mill Barn and Gather Barn at Gaynes Park at night
© Fiona Kelly Photography

“The most memorable part of our day was when we saw each other for the first time at the start of the ceremony. We also loved dancing with our friends and family during the evening reception, so much fun.”

The Honeymoon

The newlyweds and guests stayed at Gaynes Park on the night of the wedding and this worked really well:

“We stayed in the Apple Loft and our guests stayed in The Coach House. The Apple Loft felt really cosy and it was good to see everyone the next morning for breakfast.”

After that, it was time for the honeymoon and what a honeymoon it was:

“We went to Malaysia and Bali, staying at Pangkor Laut, a private island just off Malaysia for five nights before going to Kuala Lumpur for three nights. We then flew to Bali for five nights in Ubud and six in Seminyak.”

“We wanted our honeymoon to include a mixture of lively locations and relaxed destinations and this worked really well.”

Wedding Planning Tips

“A spreadsheet is also a really good way of tracking costs throughout the planning process. To get ideas of budgets, speak to recently married friends or research articles in magazines and online.”

“We worked out how much we needed to save each month at the outset so we were always within our budget.”

“Consider a round table for your top table rather than the traditional long style which was good for the speeches but a round table would have been better to get everyone talking.”

For even more real-life inspiration for your wedding at this amazing Essex wedding venue, take a look at Danielle and Charley’s Autumn Wedding.

“We booked what we thought were the most important things first – the venue, photographer and florist to try and avoid any stress closer to the wedding.”

Suppliers

Photography :  Fiona Kelly Photography
Flowers :  Lily & May
Bride’s Shoes :  Jimmy Choo
Wedding Dress :  Angelica Bridal
Bridesmaids Dresses :  Hobbs
Groom’s Suit :  Ted Baker at Moss Bros
Disco/DJ :  1 Entertainment
Entertainment :  Laura James
Stationery :  Olive Weddings
Rings :  Harmony Jewels in Hatton Garden
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Amanda and Steve's real life wedding at Gaynes Park in Essex

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