J & K contacted me about their wedding plans, after I had previously organised a couple of other parties for his family at their beautiful house on the Suffolk/Essex borders (including his 21st birthday party 8 years previously!). Both of them are busy equine vets, based in Suffolk, but which often involves travel during the winter to studs in the Middle East, so having become engaged in the Autumn, they were concerned as to whether they would have time to organise their July wedding before the following summer.
Additionally, they were in two minds as to whether to get married in London or the Country. After several discussions, I provided them with quotes for the two options; with a range of possible venues for +/- 180 guests to consider in London and marquee quotes for the home option. Quite apart from the inflated cost of getting married in London, there was the issue of the finishing time being restricted, and with some venues wishing to provide and often serve the drinks, this was an added inflated cost beyond purchasing the drinks themselves.
It soon became certain that the country option was their top choice – and why not with such a stunning garden – with a lawn almost made to measure, being the same length of their chosen tent less half a metre!
We looked at framed marquees which are the most practical (weatherproof and versatile) and make the most use of space with angular corners, and no guy ropes, but the bride, understandably, had her own ideas of what she hoped to achieve and a sailcloth tent it was! There was hardly any room within for the reception element should it have rained upon their arrival from church – but it didn’t! Theirs are the most lovely kind and generous families and the sun shone on them (well almost – the photos have the contrast of a rather dark sky at some points in the afternoon)!
I loved liaising with J & K as they were so interested in the finer details of their wedding, for example the table and chair designs, and layouts, the table linen and choice of cutlery and glassware – and they too took so much care with getting their guest’s names calligraphed and an intricate table plan to assist guests with finding their way to their place at the table. The tables looked stunning; the bride had purchased hundreds of weathered old terracotta pots, and a local nursery specialising in herbs kindly grew, nurtured and transplanted them enabling these perfect specimens to be clustered along the lengths of the tables.
J & K elected to have a top table, but sensibly had their nearest and dearest sitting on both sides; I can never understand this tradition of all the VIP’s sitting along one side looking out at everyone else often having more fun at their tables!
I obtained several catering quotes for them as they were so very keen on having plentiful, exquisite canapés of a very high standard in the garden upon arrival from church. Really beautifully presented and delicious zesty one bite creations. But they were reluctant to choose a London caterer as there is so much cost involved with staff, lorries and equipment travelling up to East Anglia.
We need not have worried as the most creative, diligent caterer and his team of exceptionally good staff looked after all guests exceedingly well, not just at dinner, but with a very busy after dinner bar serving, amongst other things, Dark & Stormy cocktails, and Irish Coffees.
After some very amusing, well rehearsed, and not too long speeches, and a tailor-made song to the bride and groom, by some of her best friends, the dancing began. A band whom I have used on numerous occasions provided an exceptional performance, intermingled with a superb DJ who also provided all marquee lighting. Good lighting can turn an event into one to remember for all the right reasons – and after a wonderfully romantic afternoon – almost every single guest took to the floor – some dancing on the coconut matting, and others it would appear later, had tippled over into the luscious lavender beds surrounding the tent! Huge dips in the plants could be seen here and there as my team and I cleared up well into the night!
I arose very early, after a few hours of snatched sleep, to welcome a team of cleaners in to help transform the setting ready for lunch for over 100 guests! The table layout was changed from long rows to a herringbone pattern, the cloths were a different colour, glassware a different style and by late morning we were ready to welcome everyone!
The same caterer provided a delicious simple but tasty, curry lunch accompanied by chilled wine and champagne and everyone enjoyed a relaxing few hours once again, in a beautiful setting and glorious sunshine.
It had been the most exceptionally happy weekend and when I finally collapsed at home, early evening, I was thrilled to find that the Wimbledon final was still being played!
With many best wishes and happy years of married life ahead to J & K, and their loving families.