If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years about Essex couples, it’s that they know how to party – and party is exactly what fun-loving Sammy and Wayne did, with gusto! In fact, they partied so hard to STG Recommended Vendor, Totem‘s, set, that bride Sammy threw caution to the wind, and herself into the arms of her guests, becoming our first crowd-surfing bride!
Sammy, an assistant producer with credits on just about all of your favourite entertainment shows, and Wayne a lettings manager, met as teenagers, and these childhood sweethearts stayed together through thick and thin, tying the knot on their ten-year anniversary.
The pair chose a rustic barn theme, with an abundance of gypsophila and a plethora of twinkling fairy lights, creating an absolutely magical atmosphere.
We’ll pass you on to Sammy for the full lowdown on her and Wayne’s special day!
How we met
Sammy, the bride: We went to King Solomon High School in Essex, but Wayne was two school years above me and emigrated from South Africa when he was 14 years old. We never spoke at school.
When I was in sixth form and Wayne was on a gap year before university, we met at a mutual friend’s birthday party in a nightclub. We clicked straight away, and went on our first date a week later.
On our first date, we went to a restaurant where we chatted for five hours, we practically got chucked out of the restaurant as we didn’t want the night to end. The rest, as they say, is history.
A rustic barn venue
We got married in a gorgeous rustic barn, Tewin Bury Farm in Hertfordshire. Ever since I was a little girl I knew I always wanted this type of wedding. The barn has exposed bricks and high ceilings, and everywhere you look, it has a different feature.
The Cotswolds is one of my favourite places in the world. Me, Wayne and our family try and do a yearly visit there. When I stood in Tewin Bury Farm for the first time, I felt like I had been transported to the Cotswolds, and that’s when I knew it was the venue for me. It had such a magical and cosy feeling, and on the night, it looked like we were in a fairytale.
Lots of people told me that planning a wedding is one of the most stressful things you can do in your life, but for me, it was the total opposite. I literally loved every second of it.
I am a television assistant producer, and have worked on many exciting entertainment shows such as Celebrity Big Brother, The Crystal Maze and Britain’s Got Talent. I’m used to planning things within the hour sometimes, and my job can get very stressful. Knowing I had 15 months to plan my wedding, well, it felt like a lifetime in comparison to my fast-paced job.
I looked at it as if I was planning for a television shoot, and started off making a giant to do list with timings that I had to complete certain jobs by. We were doing dry hire which meant we had total control of how the venue would look and what we wanted to do. I would spend hours on Pinterest saving pictures of gorgeous barn weddings and made a mood mood with my family which we used for inspiration the whole time. I always knew I wanted magical fairy lights all over the barn, just like my all-time favourite film ‘Father of the Bride’. I also knew I wanted fresh white flowers and gyp has always been a favourite of mine. I also wanted rustic chairs so the theme flowed from top to bottom.
We didn’t use a wedding planner, and did everything on our own. (I actually felt a bit like J.Lo in the wedding planner so many times during the process, I thought to myself, one day I would love to do this as a career).
Our invitations were made by a lovely company called Creative Designs. We went for a white, iridescent glitter theme that run through to our menus, place cards and thank you cards. They were classy and elegant, but we’re still very fun and super sparkly.
Dewey skin with a golden glow
I love a themed party, and wanted to make our engagement party unique. We ended up deciding to have a masquerade theme party in a marquee in our garden.
For months, I scrolled through Instagram for inspiration of what mask to buy. Then, I came across one of the cast members of ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ putting up a picture of her having a masquerade mask painted on her face for one of their themed finale parties. She tagged her makeup artist and I began to look through her page of work.
Her name was Anna Lingis and she as one of the most talented artists I have ever seen. I booked her immediately, and on the night, she painted a black lace face mask on my face and added gems in the corner of my eyes. I got on with Anna so well and when I found out she did wedding makeup too I booked her straight away for the wedding. Over the year Anna and I have become great friends, she is the kindest and most talented artist. I was so lucky to have her.
On the wedding day, I went for a soft, dewy look but wanted to appear golden too (I’m a Essex girl of course) so Anna did lots of contouring and highlighting and I was so thrilled with the results. She used a golden shimmer on my eyes and false lashes. For my lips I used a soft pink lip liner with a browny pink lipstick over the top.
Beau Babbington did me and my girls’ hair, and she was absolutely amazing on the day. I also found Beau through Instagram as she had done hair for lots of bloggers and celebrities in Essex that I had followed. Beau styled my hair into soft waves and clipped it half up, half down as I wanted to keep it very natural.
Finding ‘the one’
My dress was from a gorgeous boutique near Chelmsford Essex called Bellissima Weddings. Before visiting Bellissima, I was actually in panic mode, I had already been to five shops and had not found the dress. I was beginning to feel really deflated and actually began to resent going dress shopping. In Bellissima, I chose about ten dresses to try on and with the first dress I put on, I just knew. I stepped out of the fitting room hoping that my mum would feel the same as me. When she gasped I just knew she felt the same.
I always imagined that when I found the dress my mum would get all emotional and cry, but instead it was the total opposite, we began jumping up and down in excitement and got totally hyper. The shop assistant thought we were insane, but for me, the relief and excitement was overwhelming.
Although I knew I adored the dress, my sister was on holiday so I booked an appointment for the day after she got home. I needed her approval before buying the dress. She works in fashion and I always trust her judgement. Thank G-d she loved it, and the deal was sealed – I had found my dream dress.
The dress was made by the designer Enzoani and it was actually one of his 2014 collections. It was a tight-fitting ivory dress with appliquÃ© lace detailing. It was very figure hugging. My favourite bit was the top of the dress, it had a sheer halter neck with subtle mesh and appliquÃ© lace flowers as details. It was super feminine and girly. The back was sheer mesh with gorgeous buttons from the neck down to the back, I felt like a princess.
My whole experience at Bellissima was amazing. The staff were so kind and helpful, and had the incredible skill of making you feel like your wedding was their only priority. I would recommend Bellissima to any girl in a heartbeat.
As the dress was super detailed I tried not to go over the top with jewellery, which I bought from Bellissima. I wore a dainty silver bracelet, small silver diamond earrings and a gorgeous Swarovski hair brooch, with a long, sheer veil. By 6:30pm all of this had fallen apart. The Israeli dancing got a bit out of control!
I am very short at five foot one, and find it hard to walk in heels at the best of times, but I also wanted to experience something I had never felt before – being tall!
I found my dream Jenny Packham shoes on the Debenhams website. They were four inches high and were ivory with an assortment of embellished silver stones and crystals. They were absolutely stunning and comfy, and I felt like a princess in them.
In the evening, my auntie surprised me with the most thoughtful gift – a pair of personalised Converse covered in crystals, just like the film Father Of The Bride. I was able to dance the night away pain free.
The handsome groom
Wayne wore a black tie, three-piece suit from Charles Tyrwhitt. He looked very handsome. It had a shawl collar with a black bow tie and a V-shaped waistcoat. My dad and his dad wore identical suits, and the ushers all wore black dinner suits too.
Bridesmaids in embellished grey
I had four bridesmaids and two flower girls. My sister was my maid of honor, and she wore a gorgeous, tight-fitting, light-grey dress with an embellished neckline and an open back. My other three bridesmaids wore dark grey embellished dresses, they all looked gorgeous.
The flower girls wore silver metallic dresses from Monsoon.
A rustic chuppah
Our chuppah was very rustic looking to fit in with the theme of the barn. The canopies were surrounded by twigs and white flowers. Even though we were inside a barn, we could have been in the middle of the countryside.
A very special ceremony
Our ceremony was so special I will remember it forever. Beauty and the Beast has always been my favourite film growing up and it felt like fate that the new version came out a week before our wedding.
One of my work friends, who is an editor, kindly made us our ceremony music. The first part of the music was the prologue to Beauty and The Beast where all of my family and bridesmaids walked down the aisle. The song then merged into an instrumental version of Beauty and The Beast where me and my dad walked in. I listened to the song a million times before the day, it was so special walking down to it a moment I will never forget.
Our actual ceremony was incredible. We were extremely lucky to have Moni from Totem as our chazan, and singing throughout. Having him sing made it feel so special, and extra emotional.
Gypsophila and fairy lights
Our flowers and decorations were provided by a company called First Impressions, who were brilliant. I had made a moodboard of what I wanted, taking pictures from Etsy and Pinterest. We had a meeting last July, where I brought all my ideas and he helped bring them to life. We had a ‘gypsophila’ theme as I wanted the barn to feel crisp and fresh.
The barn itself had so many gorgeous features it didn’t need huge amounts doing up. The florist put gypsophila on the back of the rustic Chiavari chairs we hired in, tied with twine and we had big gypsophila boutiques in tall clear vases on every table. On the wall and beams, we had hanging pots of gypsophila. Outside the barn we scattered shepherd crooks and pots of gypsophila along the pathway. It was like a fairy tale. We also had hanging fairy lights that went all the way across the ceiling. Everywhere you stood in the barn, you would be under the twinkling fairy lights.
Our fabulous photographer…
We used Reportage By Limited for our photos. We had Krystian with us the whole day. He went above and beyond to ensure every moment of our day was captured, I couldn’t recommend him more.
When he first brought over his photo collection to our house, we absolutely fell in love with his classic style of capturing a moment. On the day, he worked so hard, and even after the wedding was finished, instead of rushing off, he wanted to take us on a late-night photo shoot. We absolutely adored him, and appreciate everything he did for us so much.
Our videography team was equally as amazing – Denee Motion. Dennis is such a lovely guy, and worked so hard on the night. His trailer video is so beautiful, it brings tears to my eyes every time we watch it. There is not one moment he didn’t catch, and I am so thankful for that. I would recommend them to anyone wanting to book a photographer/videographer. Even after the wedding Dennis, and I have kept in constant contact and he is a pleasure to work with.
Keeping the mojitos and martinis flowing
Our caterer was the lovely Jackie Ash. She was amazing, and we loved having her. During the reception, she provided endless platters of delicious food, and we had mojitos and martinis flowing all night.
For the dinner, we had a gorgeous vegetable tart for starter, lamb with mash potato and roasted vegetable for main and with a chocolate trio for dessert.
A sentimental first dance song
Our first dance was to Dear Life, by Anthony Hamilton. It has been our song forever and the words are so special. It reminds me of the night Wayne left me to go to university (we have been together forever), and I sat on the front gate of the wall of my house hoping he would drive back around the corner.
The first crowd-surfing bride
We had the most incredible band – Totem. They blew us away, and made out wedding feel so fun and special; we had the most amazing party. Right from the very first meeting with Totem, we told the band manager Brett Warren that as soon as the party started, we didn’t want one person on their seats – and wow, did they deliver!
When all the guests arrived for dinner, they sung Beauty And the Beast’s Be Our Guest.
When Wayne and I entered the room, the band were singing Jagged Edge remix Let’s Get Married. Everyone was on the dance floor, and it was such a fun atmosphere. That led straight to Israeli dancing, which was unbelievable. I remember jumping on stage, and running into the arms of 20 boys on the floor below. Dennis from Denee Motion said I am the first crowd-surfing bride he has ever seen, and he has done a lot of weddings. I don’t know what came over me but I was just having so much fun, and got totally caught up in the moment and let all my inhibitions go – what was I thinking?
Throughout dinner, our band sung more chilled songs with a jazz vibe. There was an amazing atmosphere and the whole room was buzzing all night.
The band sung modern chart music for the party, and I don’t think one person wasn’t on their feet having the best time. Moni Tivony even did a 20-minute garage set, which was incredible. I remember looking at my mum at the opposite end of the dance floor and we both mouthed ‘OMG’ to each other because we couldn’t believe we had pulled off such a fun party.
Gingerbread table plan favors
For the favors, we wanted to do something personal, so we incorporated it into our table plan.
My auntie is very creative, and as a gift to me, she baked heart-shaped cookies. On every cookie she stuck on two mini gingerbread man and woman, and put our initials on it with the date in icing. She then wrapped each individual cookie in cellophane and tied it with a hessian ribbon. Each cookie had a label with the guests name and table number on it. We laid them all out on a table next to the bar at the entrance of the barn.
Father of the Bride Three?
One of my favourite moments was my dad’s speech. Anyone that knows my dad knows he has the most wicked and dry sense of humour. Me and my dad’s ‘thing’ is that we always watch Father of the Bride together. He says I remind him of Annie Banks and I think he is the same person that Steve Martin plays in the film. Our favourite part of the film is the scene where the daddy and daughter play basketball together to the song My Girl. It is our song and I think of my dad every time it plays. We have even stupidly learnt the dance moves to their little dance in the film.
My dad’s speech was hilarious, and he had everyone in stitches. Then, as he finished the speech he said ‘…and Sammy… you will always be my girl’… at that exact moment the band started playing My Girl and Moni Tivony came out to sing the song. I couldn’t believe it. My dad beckoned me over to the dance floor and we did our mini dance with everyone watching. It was very emotional and very special, I couldn’t believe he had organised this without anyone finding out. I will remember it forever.
A sparkling exit
After the Israeli dancing, we brought everyone outside the barn to light sparklers. Then, Wayne and I walked down the long path of sparklers and everyone was cheering us. It was the most magical way to end the most perfect day of our lives.
Other special moments…
– Standing in a line up with all my girls and having a dance off with all of my mum’s friends – priceless.
– Having ten girls in one cubicle with me trying to lift my dress up while I was on the loo.
– Everyone coming back to me and Wayne’s room after the wedding and having a McDonald’s after party. I was fed chips by Wayne’s best man and tucked up in bed by my best friend’s husband – so unromantic but absolutely hilarious.
Advice to brides and grooms currently planning their wedding
Don’t take yourself too seriously, enjoy every single second! By 6pm my hair was less than perfect, but it didn’t matter, I was too busy dancing my heart out to notice!
Just try and live in the moment as much as you can and don’t worry about any of the timing of things that you think aren’t going perfectly. Everyone is there for you because they love you and want to see you have fun and enjoy every little moment. If you’re having fun, everyone else is!
Enjoy the planning too, as long as you give yourself enough time, it will all go seamlessly. I found I had a constant ‘to do’ list for a year and a half, but it meant I always stayed on top of things.
Also my advice is not to book your honeymoon for straight after. We were still buzzing seven days later, and I couldn’t concentrate on anything else apart from reliving the wedding. Enjoy the aftermath, seeing all the photos and being with your family. It really is the happiest and most fun time ever. We booked ours three weeks later, and by then, the wedding madness had totally calmed down, but we were still on such a high because of the honeymoon countdown.
Sammy & Wayne’s little white book
Photographer – Reportage By Limited
Videographer – Denee Motion
Venue – Tewin Bury Farm
Bride’s dress – Enzoani purchased at Bellissima Weddings
Bride’s shoes – Jenny Packham purchased at Debenhams and Converse
Groom’s attire – Charles Tyrwhitt
Flower girls – Monsoon
Hair + Makeup – Anna Lingis and Beau Babbington
Flowers – First Impressions
Chuppah – Flowers by Alina
Catering – Jackie Ash
Band – Totem
Toastmaster – Jamie Paskin