When Sally finally got her dream proposal, she couldn’t wait to start planning…


WHO: Sally and Matt

WHERE: Gaynes Park, Epping, Essex

WHEN: July 2012

PHOTOS: Justin Bailey Photography

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How they met

Sally and Matt met on the touring production of My Fair Lady – he worked on the lighting and she was a performer. They got together officially a year after they first met

The proposal

This is quite a story, so brace yourselves! “For years I had wanted to get married,” remembers Sally. “It was all I could ever think about, I’d made up guest lists, dress ideas and colour schemes – you name it, I’d planned it! However, Matt didn’t view marriage the way I did, he wasn’t that interested. But as all our friends and family kept getting engaged or married, I hoped he’d change his mind. Then, for my birthday Matt said he’d like to buy me a ring. Well, I nearly exploded I was so excited – until Matt made it very clear it wasn’t an engagement ring. To the amusement of all our friends the ring became known as the ‘shut Sally up ring’! It wasn’t until nearly two years later, while out walking the dog, I just thought I’d ask Matt again whether he’d want to get married. To which he replied; ‘Oh, okay then’ – just like that! That simple and that throw away, after waiting all that time!” laughs Sally.

The bride’s outfit

Sally’s stunning strapless gown was found at Fleur De Lys Bridal in Saffron Walden. The gown was by fashion-forward designers Benjamin Roberts. “My initial feeling towards the dress was how wonderfully it suited the shape of my body,” remembers Sally.


The groom’s outfit

Matt had always wanted to wear a tailored suit, made perfectly for him, and the wedding was the perfect way to indulge this. “The lining was actually his favourite part of the suit because it was the colours of his football team,” recalls Sally. “The only blue and yellow I was allowing at our special day!”

The bridesmaids

“I had six bridesmaids – four adults and two children, but I ended up telling everyone it was eight, because two of the bridesmaids were pregnant,” smiles Sally. To avoid the formality of matching dresses, Sally let her girls choose their own outfits from Debenhams, Jane Norman, Asos, Littlewoods and Very. “I liked the mis-matched look, it fitted in with our shabby chic theme perfectly,” she adds.


The ceremony

Sally and Matt’s ceremony was a fun mix of serious and silly, with their friends and family utilising their performing skills! “As I walked down the aisle a friend of ours sang The Love of My Life, followed by Matt’s mum reading us a poem she’d written, called An Ode To Sally and Matt. Afterwards, two of our ushers Craig and Paul read a poem they’d written called When Marr…iage Met Sally. One dressed up as me, and the other as Matt!” she laughs. “Personally, my funniest memory was when they announced us as husband and wife and I shouted ‘finally!’ – everyone was laughing!”

The flowers

Sally and Matt’s darling blooms were provided by a local florist; Emily’s Flowers.

The stationery

Sally designed all her own stationery for the day.

The reception

Took place at the glorious Mill Barn at Gaynes Park. Catering was provided by Galloping Gourmet. “A lot of our guests said it was some of the best wedding food they’d ever tasted. The scotch eggs were amazing, so fresh, and every single one was runny in the middle!” says Sally.


The decor

I bought a lot of the reception centrepieces online, and picked the odd thing up here and there, if something caught my eye,” explains Sally. “A friend made the ‘Just Married’ bunting and we bought cosy beanbags from Cushion Lane for people to chill out on. The majority of the DIY items I made myself. I decorated 400 jars with ribbon, lace and pearls that became lanterns. These lined the aisle and decorated the Orangery. Also the confetti, confetti cones, dried flowers, Beanbag Toss games, table plan and all the signs were made by me,” adds Sally.

The first dance

Very appropriately, Sally and Matt danced to Etta James’ At Last.

The honeymoon

Is still being planned, but could potentially be a motorhome trip around Canada.

Sally and Matt’s real wedding gallery