Sean and Neil first met while working in London, embarking upon a variety of first dates that included “ten pin bowling, ice skating, cinema trips, meals out and cocktails!” reveals Sean.
The Valley of the Rocks in North Devon was the breathtaking backdrop for their springtime proposal, during which Sean surprised Neil by popping the question overlooking the sea in the company of one of their beloved dogs, Max. “This location has significant meaning to us as it’s the first place we went when visiting my family for the very first time together,” elaborates Sean.
Rockbeare Manor made the stunning setting for their naturally styled wedding, which saw a fresh palette of botanical greens and white carry from the floristry to the tablescapes. Meanwhile, the wedding outfits and stationery injected a hint of modern glamour with shades of light sage green, dusky rose pink and gold.
“We both got ready separately at the venue, which was good as it built suspense for the ceremony,” says Neil. The ceremony took place in the dining room as they made their separate entrances with their mums to a stirring violin soundtrack. “It was very emotional, especially during our personal vows we made to each other – and was made extra special as Max was our ring bearer,” adds Sean.
Everyone spilled out onto the lawn for drinks, canapés and garden games, after which the newlyweds relished some together-time for photographs in the picture-perfect grounds.
“The wedding breakfast was amazing as the food was incredible and it was our first chance to sit down and digest everything that had happened so far,” says Neil who mingled with guests between courses of confit chicken leg and bruschetta of chargrilled Mediterranean vegetables, Creedy Carver chicken supreme and pave of Devon beef. Baked chocolate cheesecake and sticky toffee pudding provided the delectable finish.
The speeches provided a particularly fond memory from the day – “it was lovely to break from tradition and hear from the mums” – and included a speech in Maltese from Neil’s mum as a nod to his family’s heritage. Another standout moment followed: Sean and Neil’s dress change into tuxedos for the evening festivities.
“We wanted the evening to be a big party, so we had a big LED dance floor, amazing DJ with a custom playlist and photo booth,” says Sean, who delighted in his first dance with Neil to As Long As You're Mine from Wicked – a hugely significant song for the couple who are huge fans of the musical. Gourmet burgers kept appetites at bay, and after midnight guests that were staying at the venue were treated to a special ‘nightcap’ service. “This was a nice touch as it enabled us to reflect on the day with our family and not feel like the day had suddenly stopped,” reflects Sean.
A sit-down breakfast the next morning with family and friends “was the perfect way to end our special weekend”, leaving the blissed-out newlyweds full of advice for other busily planning couples.
“Take your time and don’t rush any decisions. Consider all your options and make sure you’re both happy with what you have chosen,” urges Neil. “Use suppliers that already know your venue; it makes planning so much easier, because they can give you great ideas on how your day could look as they already know what works well and what doesn’t.”
Photography & videography Rolling Pictures rollingpictures.co.uk
Venue Rockbeare Manor rockbearemanor.co.uk
Suits Hawes & Curtis hawesandcurtis.co.uk ASOS asos.com
Hair Cassi Joy the Hairstylist
Make-up KL Beauty klbeauty.co.uk
Flowers All Floral allfloral.co.uk
Cottage Flowers cottageflowersandmore.co.uk
Cake Barney’s Cakes barneyscakes.co.uk
Stationery ABM Prints abmprints.co.uk
Entertainment DJ Events djevents.co.uk