This wedding has filled my heart with so much joy, it feels impossible to write down any words that will do it justice. Samantha and Sam have been together since they were teenagers so the ease of their relationship, and the fact that they have a shared friendship group just makes this wedding feel so relaxed and carefree. The glorious sunshine and lovely handmade details also help – Samantha has created the ultimate party in a meadow and it looks like everyone had a marvellous time.
It’s always a pleasure to read that a couple have used Rock My Wedding to inspire their big day and even more so when the result is this lovely. Samantha & Sam’s wedding is definitely going down as one of my favourites for the year, and I have a very strong suspicion that you’re going to love it too…
Samantha the Bride: Sam and I met when he had just turned 17 and I was still a ‘sweet 16’ year old. He wooed me at a mutual friend’s (Sam’s best man Ollie) birthday meal, where he made me laugh all night long and we shamelessly flirted the night away – even sharing a knickerbocker-glory…on the first date (I know, right!) Since then we have grown up together, survived University separation (albeit half hour on a train – he was Bournemouth, I was Southampton) and moved in with one another in 2013. After 13 long years, I wondered whether he would ever get down on one knee as he is so laid back that he could fall over…and that’s without being on one knee!
So you can imagine my utter dumbfounded face when he finally took the plunge and asked me to be his wife on the day of his 30th birthday party at an Islington pub called the Blacksmith & Toffeemaker – which he had hired out with the same best friend as all those years back, Ollie, who was also jointly celebrating his 30th a couple of days later. Only the pair of them knew what was coming when they had, what appeared to be rather self-indulgently, engineered for birthday cakes to come out for them. This was all part of a plan so that they could take to the mic for thanking everyone for being there. When Ollie handed the mic to Sam, he gave a heartwarming account of our relationship, but I still didn’t see it coming. Next thing I knew, he was staring up at me with a ‘token/holding’ ring he bought from a local antique dealer. Everyone we love was in attendance to witness the moment which just intensified the occasion – and I can still remember the deafening screams when he got down to present me the ring… it was as if Harry Styles had just walked in at Tammy Girl! We then headed to Brighton the following weekend to find ‘the ring’ at a beautiful little boutique jewelers in The Lanes.
Belle and Bunty’s Blossom dress was an absolute dream to wear. The silk fabric was lightweight and I felt so comfortable and free in it. One of my biggest concerns was feeling uncomfortable on the day and not be able to take part in my favourite things i.e. eating, drinking and dancing! Lucky for me it was the perfect dress and I was wondering around the meadow barefoot in no time at all.
Sam is famed for his last minute decision making, and choosing his suit proved no different. It was about a week before the wedding date when he finally found “The One’. A Charles Tyrwhitt check tweed blazer paired with Navy slim fit trousers and waistcoat from Next. Topped off with a navy velvet bow-tie from Mrs Bow Tie. It’s fair to say it was a big relief for us all that he got sorted just in the nick of time – putting an end to late-night ‘fashion shows’ of unsuccessful suit orders.
My mum and her partner, Jon, who happens to be a farmer, live in the most idyllic village in Essex called Matching. It’s a real hidden gem whereby their only neighbours are rolling fields, horses, a handful of sheep as well as a beautiful stone church. Sam and I both fell in love with the church as soon as we layed our eyes on it. Once engaged, we jokingly asked Jon one night if he could have a word with his guvnor to see if we could use the meadow next to the village church for our wedding reception. We were thrilled to bits when we received the good news that we could indeed use it.
I was determined to be as hands on as possible with the arts and crafts for the wedding – mainly to cut costs but also as I wanted to immerse myself in the build up to the wedding as much as possible so it didn’t just feel like ‘one day’. I spent every single daily train commute to London scrolling through RMW and Pinterest in search of inspiration. The problem was, I wanted everything! My friends and family were so supportive and offered me bundles of help – which I gratefully accepted. One idea I wanted to bring to life was to hang paper tassel garlands lining the roof of the marquee. To buy these pre-made would have cost a few hundred quid. But not wanting to be a defeatist, and with a lot of encouragement from my best friend, I ordered £50 worth of tissue paper in an array of gorgeous pastel colours. My bridesmaids and I then got to work on making my vision. I’m not going to lie, the process of making this took a good 6 weeks, a lot of chin-wagging with friends, and a good few bottles of Prosecco to keep us going. Despite the time it too, it was so worth it to see the marquee burst with colour, which added a real WOW factor to the venue.
Another feature we had was the wallpapered backdrop. Sam and his friends built a timber structured wall backdrop and stuck loads of wallpaper samples and offcuts on it to create a great focal point for guests to take selfies using a digital camera on a tripod. On the wall we placed framed pictures of us both from our engagement shoot. We wanted this to look like a corner of a lounge and used a mix of hired furniture and our own furniture to furnish this. Our florist filled the chest of drawers with Eucalyptus, roses and peonies. A sign made from broken up pallets with the timings of our day was displayed at the entrance of the field – surrounded by beautiful flowers that my mum planted out for us.
Several friends had recommended me to use Sue’s Flowers, a local florist. As soon as I spoke to her on the phone I knew she would be the perfect florist for us. She totally understood my ideas…even when they changed on a monthly basis. We decided on coral peonies, eucalyptus, asparagus fern, wild berries and gyp. Everyone commented about the bouquets being the most beautiful they’d ever seen. The church, field and marquee came to life as soon as Sue had worked her magic on them.
The Wedding Party
I wanted to ensure that every single one of my bridesmaids felt amazing on the day and I didn’t want to put anyone in a dress that they didn’t feel their most fabulous in. So after a lot of browsing we decided on a light grey maxi dress with crochet waist detail from ASOS. Sam’s two best men, Ollie and Marc wore matching slim fit navy suits from Next with dogstooth waistcoats from River Island. The ushers all wore a navy suit with matching polka dot ties from River Island. They looked a very handsome bunch!
My dad passed away when I was a teenager and I knew I wanted to honour him during the wedding. We decided to get married on his birthday. This meant the world to me, and my family. During the ceremony one of my best friends Charlie did a reading. She has the loveliest voice and had the whole of the church hanging on her every word. She wrote the most beautiful tribute to mine and Sam’s relationship and had us, along with many others in floods of happy tears.
A few weeks before the wedding I asked our best man, Ollie, if he would be willing to sing a Frank Sinatra (my dad’s favourite) song during the church service. Ollie and his wife Helen sung ‘Somethin’ Stupid’ and were absolutely spellbinding.
Another stand out moment for me was the toast. As a self-proclaimed ‘Jager queen’ I wanted to get all of the guests to stand up and toast a Jagerbomb all together after the speeches. To make this possible I designated a ‘Jager master’ to each table. They each had a kit under their seat with all they would need to pour drinks for their table. This was a really fun moment and started the evening celebrations off with a bang!
We first heard of John Bull and the Bandits at our friend’s wedding a few years ago. We loved their selection of great tunes that kept guests dancing, and loved the fact they avoid the cheesier wedding classics. We booked them up as soon as we had our wedding date and they didn’t disappoint! Our guests arrived to the meadow to hear the band playing jazz classics in the roaring sunshine. Hearing the saxophone mixed with our friends and family have the best time gave us goosebumps! They also did an evening set and had every single guest rocking out on the dancefloor!
Our best man, Ollie, also got up on stage and dedicated some songs to us from our favourite artists, including ‘Lucky Man’ by The Verve, and Fat Boy Sim’s ‘Praise You’. An unforgettable moment was at the end of the night when it was lights out and we all jammed around a guitar singing half a dozen Oasis tunes at the top of our lungs!
Food was a big deal for us as we are both foodies and fully appreciate the way to people’s hearts is through their tummies. We used a local company, Premier Crew Hospitality, who absolutely nailed it!
Canapes were served in the meadow along with bubbles and beers from an old horse trough we salvaged. Once in the marquee we enjoyed sharing platters of antipasti, followed by a mouth-watering BBQ. We wanted the food brought to the tables as opposed to a buffet style, so opted for skewers of lemon and herb chicken, marinated steak, minted lamb, harissa king prawns and falafel and halloumi. These were served with beautiful salads and potatoes.
For dessert, we had a super cute vintage ice cream van pitch-up on the meadow complete with an old-school siren, which offered 7 delicious flavoured ice creams along with a selection of toppings and sauces.
Our evening food was supplied by Pizza Pigs who offer the most delicious rustic wood-fired pizza, cooked out of the back of a Land Rover Discovery. Our guests still rave about this pizza saying it’s the best they’ve ever had. The pecorino, rosemary and honey pizza proved to be the winning flavour!
We used The Cocktail Car Company to serve cocktails to our evening guests. These were served out of a red VW campervan and looked so cool. We named all our cocktails after things that were special to us – to add a personal touch.
A friend of ours recommended our photographer – the lovely Magda from Love That Smile Photography. Once we saw her portfolio, we knew we had to meet her. There was simply no contest as to why we chose her. She completely stood out to us, her style of photography is so natural and she captures the little moments that often pass you by. Whenever we watch our slide show back it’s like reliving the day all over again.
Photography by Love That Smile Photography
- Second Shooter Clare Tam-Im
- Dress, Veil & Headpiece Heritage Brides
- Hair Sarah Catherall
- Groom Charles Tyrwhitt
- Bowtie Mrs Bowtie
- Bridesmaids ASOS
- Groomsmen Next
- Marquee Ambassador Marquees
- Flowers Sue’s Flowers
- Catering Premier Crew
- Evening Food Pizza Pigs
- Drinks The Cocktail Car
- Ice Cream Van Molly Moo’s Ices
- Band John Bull Bandits
- Furniture Hire Anthology Vintage Hire