Suzie and Ben connected on the dating app Tinder. It didn’t take them long to fall in love, and just three and a half short years later, Ben took Suzie away for an unforgettable birthday weekend. They stayed in a picture-perfect cottage in the woods and after dinner one night, Ben, who had previously lit lots of little candles on the patio, proposed under the stars. It was all Suzie had ever dreamed of and the newly engaged couple wasted no time when it came to planning their wedding, in fact, they started the very next day and were married at Farnham Castle within 12 months.
Finding a Large Wedding Venue
The couple commenced their search for the ideal wedding venue on Google and narrowed their shortlist down to just three venues to visit in person. Farnham Castle happened to be the first venue on the list, but soon became a firm favourite as it was beautiful, was a venue where guests didn’t have to move from one location to another after the ceremony, and it had the benefit of being large enough to fit the couple’s guest list of 145. As the couple knew they wanted to get married in the spring and didn’t want a long engagement, they jumped at the chance of snapping up Farnham Castle’s last available wedding date in May.
Wedding Day Fashion
Suzie ended up buying a wedding dress that was the total opposite of what she had imagined herself wearing down the aisle. Although she tried on 15 different styles in total, she did end up buying the very first dress she tried on. Suzie’s Maggie Sottero gown featured capped sleeves and was embellished with stunning sequins and beading. As soon as she stepped in to the dress it just felt right and her bridal style was complete with her sister’s pearl necklace and a lucky sixpence from her grandmother that was sewn in to the lining of her gown. The bride wore glamorous shoes during the day but changed in to flats later in the evening for dancing.
Suzie’s bridal party consisted of her sister, cousin and two best friends and described them all as her favourite people on the planet who she simply had to have by her side on the big day. Plus, she knew they’d organise a great hen do! The bride-to-be browsed online for bridesmaid dress inspiration but in the end decided that trying dresses on in person was the only way to go, and therefore ventured to a bridesmaid dress specialist in Chelsea, Maids to Measure.
Ben bought himself a smart new suit from Hugo Boss and decided to have 3 best men who all wore navy suits with green ties. The couple also had a little page boy who wore tartan trousers from Suzie’s Scottish clan.
Spring Wedding Flowers
Ben’s mother kindly created all of the floral arrangements for the wedding. Suzie wanted spring colours featuring lots of eucalyptus, white flowers and purple thistles. Lanterns filled with flowers sat on the Lancet window sills and the chairs lining the aisle of the Lantern Hall featured hessian-tied bouquets of white florals. Garlands were wrapped around the handrails leading down the Fox’s Steps and wedding reception tables were decorated with spring flowers, loosely arranged in a variety of different shaped vases.
Getting Married in May
On the morning of May 18th, 2019, Suzie and her bridesmaids arrived at Farnham Castle and headed straight for the Gatehouse to prepare for the 1pm ceremony. Once their hair was styled and makeup had been touched up for the last time, the bride and bridal party put on their dresses, celebrated with a glass of fizz and then walked across from the Gatehouse and up the Fox’s Steps and in to the Stone Hall, where moments later, they’d be walking down the aisle to the sounds of ‘Brighter than the Sun’ by Aqua Lung. Lots of Suzie and Ben’s friends are actors in the West End and during the signing of the register they performed ‘And I Love You So’ by Don McLean and ‘From Now On’ from The Greatest Showman. Both performances were unforgettable and a real highlight of the day for everyone!
After the ceremony, the newlywed couple were showered with confetti on the Fox’s Steps, before heading down on to the Great Lawn to join their guests for drinks and delicious canapés. They’d hired a lively band who played under a gazebo which really added to the atmosphere. Plus, a selection of garden games were set up on the Great Lawn, including a table tennis table so that they could have a huge family round the table tournament ahead of the wedding breakfast.
Fairy lights, table décor and lanterns looked sensational in the Great Hall, and reception tables were named after all the dogs that Ben and Suzie had owned throughout their lives.
“The food is one of the things that people have talked about most from our day” said Suzie. “It was honestly the best food I’ve ever had at a wedding.” The couple decided to have their wedding speeches before the meal so that everyone could enjoy the food to the max.
Starter: Chicken and duck liver parfait with shallot and ginger relish, cornichon and fig on sourdough bread
Main course: Pan seared marinated lamb rump and potato rosti with pea puree, mint salsa verde and rosemary jus
Dessert: Sticky toffee pudding, hot butterscotch sauce and vanilla pod ice cream
The couple cut through a lemon drizzle and ginger wedding cake, made by Ben’s mother, which featured a very appropriate cake topper symbolising the couple’s original match making on Tinder. Meanwhile, as guests were enjoying refreshments in the Stone Hall, the Great Hall was being prepared for the evening reception. Once the sun had set, the black and white dance floor, together with twinkly fairy lights, looked absolutely magical. The couple danced their first dance to ‘In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning’ by Frank Sinatra before the band took over and the dance floor remained full for the rest of the night.
Suzie and Ben wanted to combine adventure and a relaxing beach holiday when it came to booking their honeymoon, so they opted for the Lares Trek in Peru and a trip to Machu Picchu, before travelling to Mexico to spend a week sipping Margaritas.
Final Thoughts from the Bride and Groom
“The bridal suite is utterly gorgeous – we didn’t want to go to sleep as we were running around the room taking in the day and thinking how lucky we were! Also, it was so special to have so many of our friends and family sleep at the venue, and to then all have breakfast together the next day was brilliant. The staff at Farnham Castle are all just so amazing, kind and generous. Heather, Allie and the planning team were all so patient and kind helping us with our endless questions and Daniel was so brilliant helping us around and telling us where we should be and what we should be doing during the day. We didn’t have to think for a moment and our hands were never empty of a drink! We’d pre-ordered a bucket of beer during the reception which we know was very much enjoyed as not all the guys in our group like prosecco, and the evening food was well worth it too! We had the wood-fired pizza oven and the line for a slice of delicious pizza didn’t stop – it was just what everyone needed. Our wedding day just flowed beautifully because of the fantastic Farnham Castle team and we wouldn’t change a thing about it!”
Wedding Photographer: Annamarie Stepney Photography
Wedding Dress Designer: Maggie Sottero
Hair/Makeup: Stephanie Dorelli
Wedding Dress Shop: Wedding Frox
Bridesmaids Dresses: Maids to Measure
Groomswear: Hugo Boss
Entertainment and lighting: Farnham Sound and Light
Wedding Gift List: John Lewis