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With Harry Potter-inspired shoes and caricatures of the guests, Kedington couple Sarah and Bryan Carpenter added a touch of magic to their wedding day

The venue…

Our wedding venue was Bedinghams Farm in Sutton. It was the first venue we saw – in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by fields – and we fell in love with it instantly! The barn itself was large, with spiral staircases at either end, leading up to chill-out areas and balconies overlooking the fields. The venue had a very relaxed feel, which was exactly what we were looking for. We had a Humanist wedding ceremony inside the barn, so the whole day took place there, which was lovely.

Office romance…

Bryan and I met in 2006, when I was fresh out of university and had just landed my first job in publishing. We met in the office and got together in April 2007.

The proposal…

Bryan: “In late 2016, Sarah and I had been together for some time; we’d bought a house and it felt the right time to get engaged. I had a plan to propose on Christmas morning by bringing Sarah a cup of tea in bed, with the ring on the saucer. All did not go as planned.

After buying the ring, Sarah and I were walking around Bury St Edmunds and I thought she knew I was up to something. To put her off the scent I attempted a cunning double-bluff by pointing out a jewellery shop and joking she should pick out an engagement ring. ‘Ew!’ said Sarah, ‘Those all look horrible!’

I suddenly doubted my ring choice, so two weeks ahead of schedule, on a Monday after work, I decided to ask her. Sarah arrived home and was chatting about her day but hadn’t taken her coat off yet. I got down on one knee and I’d prepared a little speech, but was too nervous and emotional to deliver it. Instead I just asked the question. Sarah was in shock and it took a second for her to realise I was serious. Obviously, she said yes! We phoned our families to give them the good news and ordered a pizza to celebrate!”

Sarah and Bryan's wedding (15891469)
Sarah and Bryan's wedding (15891469)

Dream dress…

My wedding dress was from Brides by Solo in Newmarket, which was the first dress shop I visited and Sadie, who looked after me, was absolutely amazing. I tried on so many different dresses, of all sorts of shapes and sizes, and they were all beautiful, but I eventually narrowed it down to three. When I went back the second time, I knew straight away which dress was the one. I absolutely loved the way it felt on – it was so light and soft, and had a gorgeous float to it. I also loved the sleeves and the embroidered detail.

Magical shoes…

I knew I wanted to wear flat comfortable shoes. I didn’t really fancy going for plain white ones and I searched for Harry Potter shoes on Etsy, as I am a massive fan! I eventually found my Marauder’s Map shoes. The lady who made them put little beads on them, so they felt like the perfect bride shoes!.I loved them so much I ordered a pair for one of my young bridesmaids, who is also a big Harry Potter fan.

Wedding theme…

Bryan and I were determined that our wedding should reflect us as people – both together and individually – meaning the theme was quite simply ‘us’.

We are both huge fans of the TV show Lost so the tables were named after ‘stations’ in Lost. I am a huge Friends fan too, so we had a string of lobster fairy lights on our top table (a nod to Ross and Rachel). Bryan and I love to play board games, so we decorated the tables with custom-made dice and wooden meeples (player pieces in modern board games). I made chocolate truffles, wrapped them in gold foil and added little wings, so they looked like golden snitches (Harry Potter again). Bryan is a wonderful artist, so he designed the back of playing cards for our guests to take to the bar for a glass of port on us (our wedding cake was cheese!). Bryan also decorated chalkboards with some of our favourite quotes from films about love

Sarah and Bryan's wedding (15891474)
Sarah and Bryan's wedding (15891474)

Cartoon capers…

Bryan: “We came up with the cunning idea of doing a cartoon of each guest to serve as the place card and wedding favour. What we didn’t appreciate was how long it would take! The key was identifying something unique to each guest. A simple ‘How are you doing?’ chat would become a gold mine for ideas and I found myself listening intently to every word a guest-to-be would tell me on the run-up to the wedding. By the end we had cartoons of guests running, dancing, playing instruments, riding bicycles, hugging cats, parachuting with their dog, sitting on camels and being chased by robot dogs! Once we started to get a lot done, we realised we could create ‘group photos’ as centre pieces for the tables plus a ‘wedding photo’ poster, which was displayed on the day.”

Best bits…

The whole day was amazing – I didn’t stop smiling! If I had to pick some highlights, I think they would be our ceremony, because it was so personal, the lovely speeches made by my Dad, Bryan and his best man, the confetti canons going off during our first dance, and also our last dance – being in the middle of a circle of my friends and family with Bryan, and seeing everyone dancing to Never Forget by Take That!

Photographs by John Woodward Photography/ johnwoodward photography.co.uk

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