We got engaged in 2016, on a beautiful Christmas morning in Sydney. We had planned to do a coastal walk, and Emma had picked the proposal spot by some cliffs and prepped our friends to walk ahead. It was all really emotional and I knew straight away I wanted to ‘propose back’ to Emma, too. Just over a year later, we went to The Pig in Bath for New Year. After dinner I got down on one knee and asked her to be my wife.
Both our rings are from Anna Sheffield. Emma’s is a Bea Three Stone (a black diamond, surrounded by two white diamonds) and mine is a Bea Arrow (a sapphire with black diamonds).
Fortunately, we had pretty similar ideas about what we wanted: we both fell in love with the venue straight away; agreed the flowers had to make a statement; and wanted the music to set the right tone, while reflecting our personalities.
We love visiting Somerset, and Babington House is so special. It’s an old country house with a relaxed atmosphere, contemporary interiors and beautiful grounds. We really wanted to get married outside under a floral arch.
We didn’t have a wedding planner but Babington has an in-house team who were wonderful. They helped us to plan out the day and made sure we had thought of absolutely everything. They were there on the day too, always calm and smiling, making sure it all ran smoothly.
We both wore dresses by Yolan Cris – which was actually a total coincidence. Our dresses were the one thing we kept a secret from one another, right until the day of the wedding. I tried on so many dresses and wasn’t content until I’d been to every shop in London. Emma went to one shop, tried on one dress and bought it there and then. It turned out to be the same shop: London Bride Couture in Pimlico.
I was desperate to have a Juliet veil, but couldn’t find one I liked, so my mum (a keen seamstress) offered to make it. I think she might have underestimated the stress involved, but I was so pleased with the result – and I’m sure she agrees it was worth it.
Emma wore an elbow-length veil and accessorised it with Luna Bea white floral hairpins and earrings. We both had fresh flower crowns for the evening reception. Emma wore silver platform shoes by Mulberry and I wore gold block-heel sandals by Gucci.
The Décor & Flowers
We worked closely with Passion to create beautiful floral touches throughout the venue: the rose flower arch at the ceremony; shepherd’s hooks with hanging posies running down the aisle; and the bridal bouquets and fresh flower crowns for the evening reception.
Dinner was served in the Orangery, where we had olive branches trailing down the centre of the long tables, accompanied by small bud vases of dusky pink flowers and greenery, accompanied by single brass candlestick holders and grey tapered candles.
Menus and table-number cards featured watercolour artwork, which we’d commissioned from one of our favourite artists, Lisa Hardy, to create for our wedding stationery. Our best man and graphic designer extraordinaire Ian Ritch designed them around the artwork. This carried through from the invites and table plan to the welcome sign.
The ceremony was outside on the lawn at Babington. We had the amazing Alive Band performing an acoustic set. They played us down the aisle to one of our favourite songs, ‘First Day Of My Life’ by Bright Eyes. After the ceremony, they followed us back down the aisle singing ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’ by The Libertines. They also played during the drinks reception on the lawn and then as a four-piece band at the evening reception.
We chose Samuel Docker to take our wedding photos. We found him through friends – we loved the photos of their wedding, and also him! He made us feel incredibly relaxed on the day and he’s brilliantly clever at capturing the moment. We’re so happy with the photos he took.
The Food & Drink
The food was served family style. It included prosciutto with melon, feta and hazelnuts; heritage carrots with whipped goats’ cheese, bulgar wheat and dukkah; pea and mint risotto; and roast rib of beef with duck fat potatoes, followed by a selection of English cheeses and Eton mess. After dinner, we served espresso martinis as everyone left the Orangery. The chef at Babington made the most beautiful naked tiered cake, which Passion then decorated with fresh flowers to tie into the scheme.
The band played a two-hour live set, then the Babington House DJ Nigel Pearce played from midnight until 2am. The dance floor was packed all night!
The Day Before
Because the main wedding was outside, we got legally married the day before. The ceremony took place in the Library at Babington House in front of our immediate family, our bridesmaids and best man. It was really-intimate and emotional, which we hadn’t expected – we had wanted it to be as low key as possible, so the emphasis would be on the following day.
Afterwards, we had a small rehearsal dinner in the walled garden – a magical little secret garden at the bottom of the house’s grounds. We set up a long table and ate delicious BBQ food. After the meal, we invited all of our wedding guests to join us for drinks and more food. We had planned to wrap up at 10pm, but in reality we were far too excited to see everyone, and sat up until the early hours drinking wine and catching up – my 85-year-old grandmother included.
Drag out the celebrations as much as you can. It’s not very often you get everyone you love in the same place at the same time. Plus, the day itself flies by, so make the most of it.