Here’s the Sutton Bonington Hall Wedding of Beth and Antony, a summer wedding to cheer us all up during the gloomy winter months.
This was my first time back at Sutton Bonington Hall after the owners decided to open its doors again as a wedding venue. It felt so good to be back in such a perfect setting for those smaller, more intimate weddings. Such a good day, with a great bunch of fun-loving people who really knew how to enjoy themselves!
So, how did you meet?
“I moved to London in 2005 and was out house hunting with my sister. We bumped into someone my sister knew who not only happened to be looking for a new flatmate (her flatmate had handed in her notice that morning) but was also Antony’s sister. I finally met Antony around five years later at her birthday drinks. The rest, as they say, is history.”
The proposal – who proposed, where, when, how?
“Antony proposed while we were at the top of Mount Washington in the White Mountains in the US in September 2015. I was not expecting it to happen then (although was hoping it would happen at some point!). There might have been some tears. It was amazing and more incredible that he had designed the ring, had it made and carried it around for a week in the US without me knowing.”
How was the wedding planning process for you?
“I loved the wedding planning. Antony loved it (slightly) less. That might have had something to do with the spreadsheets I kept on generating. Overall it was all straightforward. There were a few bumps in the road, but when trying to please 100 people, you are bound to encounter some.”
Where did you get married and what was it about the venue(s) that appealed so much?
“We got married at St Anne’s Church in Sutton Bonington followed by a reception at Sutton Bonington Hall. Having a religious ceremony was very important to both of us, and Reverend Michael Brock was so welcoming it cemented our decision to have the wedding at St Anne’s.
As soon as we both saw Sutton Bonington Hall, we knew it would be the perfect place for our reception. We could just about squeeze everyone in, and the gardens were gorgeous. We then only needed to hope for a little bit of sun on the day.”
How would you describe the style of your wedding and what made you decide to go down that route?
“We just wanted everyone to have a relaxed and enjoyable day. We didn’t want too much structure to the day or it to be too “themed”. The closest we probably got to a theme was loosely around an English Country garden party.”
Cuisine. What kind of food and drink and why?
“We used Dimblebees Catering for our food, and they were fantastic. We decided to start with canapes, Pimms and jazz in the garden which was amazing. The drinks had to be moved from outside to inside and back again to account for a few rain showers, but everyone was so accommodating and lovely – it all happened without us noticing.
The jazz band were brilliant and very versatile – one moment they were playing on the stairs, the next outside and whenever I walked past they started playing Here Comes the Bride. They were great.
We then had afternoon tea as we wanted people to be able to mingle during the day and enjoy the gardens, rather than being stuck indoors on (hopefully) a lovely English Summer’s Day. It wasn’t a beautiful English Summer’s Day, but we managed to dodge the worst of the rain.
There was then paella with salads and bread in the evening, followed by cheese and cake.
The cake, or cakes as there were many of them, were incredible and were made by our friend Rhiannon.
I don’t think anyone went hungry!”
What was the most memorable part of the day and what was the funniest moment?
“The most memorable part for me, as cheesy as it sounds, was walking down the aisle to Antony and the wedding ceremony.
We also had an all-male choir formed of Antony’s friends singing during the service who were fantastic. The amount of practice that they put in and the boost they gave to the hymns was great. They made the day special.
The funniest moment I heard about after the wedding was from Antony. He went for a coffee to the Sutton Bonington Gallery before the ceremony, dressed in his finery. He bumped into my Dad’s cousin who asked if he was going to the wedding and how he knew me!
Also, the “games” in the afternoon were great. Along with some croquet, petanque, skittles etc. There was also some spontaneous three-legged and wheelbarrow races from some of the guests. And they followed on with some very energetic dancing until the carriages came at midnight.”
Did anything go wrong on the day and were there any surprises?
“Not that we know! Things probably did, but no-one told us anything about them which I appreciated. Antony’s biggest surprise was that I didn’t cry, I was just so excited!”
Is there anything you would have done differently?
“No. It was a perfect day for us. We planned the wedding in 8 months which lots of people said would not be possible but it was.”
Do you have any advice for other couples in the stages of planning their wedding?
“Don’t stress about the small things. They just don’t matter.”
“Ian was brilliant. He took everything in his stride. I had no idea he was there for most of the time, and the photos are fabulous. We are not good at posing! So Ian’s approach to documenting the day naturally rather than just having staged shots was excellent. Ian was very easy to deal with, immensely likeable and helpful before, during and after the wedding. We really would highly recommend him.”
- Catering: Dimblebee Catering
- Dress: Pronovias, New Bond Street, London
- Suit: Groom’s own
- Shoes: LK Bennett
- Flowers: Justine at Just Flowers
- Makeup: Wendy Hemmings – The Lakes Beauty Room
- Hair: Melanie Rhodes – The Bridal Hairstylist
- Cake: Beth’s friend Rhiannon
- Jazz Band: Ben Martin Jazz Band
- DJ: Bliss Wedding DJ