Sammy met Liam through work. "He called 'dibs' when he first saw me," she says. "But we didn't actually have our first date until six months later."
The couple were like two peas in a pod even during those early days and they shared plenty of laughs together. Sammy was standing in her pyjamas trying to sort out last-minute laundry and packing for their holiday when Liam proposed. "We both knew we wanted to be together, so getting engaged felt like a natural progression, but I hadn't expected it to happen at that moment," Sammy shares.
Neither had Liam in fact! He'd asked his dad to pick up the engagement ring from the jewellers before making the excuse to Sammy that he was going to play football so that he could slip out and collect it from him. He even went to all the effort of putting his sports kit on. This was all so that she wouldn't suspect his intention to propose while they were away. "But when he saw the ring, he got so nervous he ended up asking that night before we left," she says.
The pair had just one requirement for the venue: it had to be possible to host the whole day there, including rooms for guests to stay overnight. The moment they met the team at The Shrubbery Hotel it felt like the place for them. "Instead of explaining how they ran weddings there, the first thing they asked us was how we wanted our day to go. So, it felt much more like we could have our wedding, not just a wedding," Sammy tells us.
Read on as the bride shares her account of their autumnal big day, 15th October, 2022...
I chose dried flowers as these reflected the autumnal theme better than fresh. Also it meant we could have lovely keepsakes from the day. I was pleasantly surprised that I was abled to get dried flowers in such bright colours. I put all of the arrangements together myself with help from my mum and sister, with the exception of the bouquets, which I purchased from Etsy – they were a bit beyond our abilities!
I kept my accessories simple and wore the sapphire necklace and earrings I inherited from my nan, so it felt like she was with me.
My shoes were a fab pair of heels from Esska, which were the most comfortable I've ever worn. I also wore a veil and even managed to keep it on the whole day.
Liam wore a green, tweed, three-piece suit. Originally he was going to wear the brown to match the groomsmen, but after we saw the green we decided on the change, which allowed him to stand out more. Luckily the orange ties looked good with both colours. Meanwhile, the groomswoman wore a brown dress to coordinate with the groom's party.
We went to an Imagine Dragons concert on our first date, so we tried to incorporate their music into our day.
Our pianist played On Top of The World as we left the ceremony.
I went into Eleanor Florence in Yeovil with every intention of buying a very boho, relaxed dress with some lace, but came out with something much more structured and formal. I only tried on four, but knew this was the one I wanted Liam to see me in.
The bridesmaids wore burnt orange floor-length dresses. I decided on the colour and let them pick their own styles – they both ended up wanting the same one! We left also left the accessories up to the individuals so that they could feel like themselves.
We decided on table numbers rather than names, but included funny photos of the two of us at that age. My mum made match boxes that when opened, photos of myself and Liam popped out!
One of our most memorable moments was walking into the hotel and seeing it decorated with all of our personal touches. For Liam it was also seeing me walk down the aisle. In his words: 'I was an absolute wreck of nerves before you arrived, but seeing you centred me and I calmed down.' For me it was sitting at the top table, seeing our loved ones having made the eff ort to come and celebrate with us.
My sister designed and printed all of the stationery and invitations, my dad built the arch and stands for the large metal hearts, Liam built the copper pipe frames for all the signage, my mum made the table decorations, and my mother-in-law cut all of the fabric for the ribbon garlands as well as for the table runners, which she also hemmed. It was a real team effort!
I crochet a lot, so I made mini dolls of Liam and I in our wedding outfits for the cake topper. I started them with plenty of time, but a week before they still weren't fully dressed, so I was worried they'd be in their undies on the day! Luckily I got them done in time and they were my favourite part of the styling.
We made a snug area in the corner of the room for the kids, with a house den frame, a mini table and lots of cushions and blankets. I put in some wedding-themed activity books, colouring pages and pencils. It gave them something to occupy themselves with during the speeches.
We each picked an element that was non-negotiable for us and that formed the basis of our planning and budgeting. Liam's was that the venue had to be able to host the whole day, and mine was to have a live band rather than a DJ. Also, remember to have fun during the planning stage, it's not just about the day but all the build up too.
I really enjoyed it when Victoria took us outside to catch the sunset for some extra couples photos. It gave us a few minutes to be present in our day. She was brilliant both before and on the day, making us feel completely relaxed.
A pianist entertained us all during the ceremony and drinks reception. She really set the tone for a relaxed, fun day, it was lovely having her play in the background and I was very impressed. Then, we had a live band in the evening, they were fab at getting everyone up and dancing. I had loads of people asking about them. They were all incredibly professional and talented musicians.
The staff at The Shrubbery Hotel were so kind and helpful, particularly Ashley who helped us through all of the organisation and planning.
We spent 10 days in Belek, Turkey for our honeymoon. It was the perfect place to relax and celebrate the first days of married life together.
Bride's and bridesmaids' dresses
Flowers for arrangements
Venue and catering