Samantha + Benjamin


PHOTOGRAPHY Dan Sakal, D&A Photography


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Magnetic attraction: that’s what brought Samantha and Benjamin together on Australia’s Magnetic Island. “I was travelling alone and Ben was on a trip with a friend who worked in Sydney. It took three days for him to remember my name, but then he really grew on me. I dragged him round Sydney sightseeing, and for the next year we dated long distance as we both lived two hours apart in the UK.”

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The proposal happened three years later in December in Budapest. “I’d had our little boy in July that year, so we had postponed our annual date weekend until after he’d arrived. We were actually bickering at dinner because I thought he was too predictable and I always knew what he would do before it happened… he got pretty irritated and then very smugly said, ‘I’m so predictable then, am I?’ as he pulled out a ring box and proposed!”



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Suzanne Neville was this bride’s designer of choice, who picked out the ‘Splendour’ gown at The Wedding Shop in Colchester. “The simplicity of the dress appealed to me.

“I liked that it was easy to wear with lightweight fabric so I knew I would be able to dance in it, and the lace was just beautiful.”


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Once I added a veil and a vintage style belt, my mother and bridesmaids were sold.” The bride’s floor-length veil also came from The Wedding Shop, and Samantha added Glow by Carvela Kurt Geiger court shoes.


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Ben hired his suit from Anthony Formalwear in Colchester and purchased a pair of Hudson shoes to go with it. He looked the smartest I’ve ever seen him and really calm – I thought he might cry but clearly I didn’t make that much of an impact because he was fine!” jokes Samantha.


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The three bridesmaids wore the ‘Coppelia Ballet Dress’ in porcelain blue by Needle & Thread. “I loved the colour and thought they would suit all the girls despite them being so different, and they didn’t look like your traditional bridesmaid dress. They bought their own shoes, with two choosing strappy block heels with a lace effect and one wearing a strappy silver number. We didn’t have any page boys but Ben’s older son wore the same suit as the best men and our little boy George wore a little suit with a bespoke bow tie.


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We had our ceremony at Dedham Church in Essex – it’s really beautiful, huge and right on the high street so we had an audience when we walked out as husband and wife! Both of our mothers gave readings so that we could involve them in the ceremony too.”

Samantha and Ben’s wedding breakfast called for a more relaxed style of dining. “The Pig & Chicken supplied amazing canapés which went down really well, so well that I actually didn’t get my hands on any! Linda Hamilton catering then created a feast for our main meal, serving sharing boards of artisan breads, pate, asparagus and dips first, followed by chicken, ham hock and leek pies with crispy shallots. We enlisted Morris, the vintage ice cream van, for our desserts.”


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SHOP hessian decor details for your reception…



The reception was held in Ben’s parent’s garden in tipis supplied by Events Under Canvas.

“This dictated that we went with a rustic, outdoorsy theme,” explains the bride, “but we didn’t want anything that seemed too put together or staged.” Eaton Stationery provided the invitations in the ‘Sky’ design which featured a small tipi to set the scene for their wedding.

We then ordered about 170 paper pompoms from in grey, dusty blue, cream and pink and held a pompom party a few days before the wedding to puff them up and hang them in the tipis. Events Under Canvas were great, supplying the festoon lighting and even returning last minute to put up extra fairy lights for us! We hired vintage pieces like a typewriter guestbook, barrels and a big chalkboard from Anthology Vintage Hire. For our naked cake made by Sadie at Mintmaker Cakes, I ordered a personalised crate from and we bought an old suitcase for cards.


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The main thing for us was the flowers – I loved them. Fiona Sakal arranged the blooms for the wedding party and centrepieces, and the church were made by Ben’s mother and the church florists. They even created an arch of flowers over the church door!

We hired The Mementos to play for us and chose ‘Spend a Lifetime’ by The Rifles for our first dance. I’m so glad we did because although no one else has heard of it, it’s a song that is personal to us.” And as the night drew to a close? “I was adamant that I wanted to leave while the excitement was still high, so everyone made a cheesy arch for us to run through as we left. It was so funny and the perfect exit!”


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CEREMONY Dedham Parish Church
RECEPTION VENUE Ardleigh Lodge and Events Under Canvas
DRESS Suzanne Neville at The Wedding Shop, Colchester
GROOM Anthony Formalwear and Hudson Shoes
ACCESSORIES The Wedding Shop and Kurt Geiger
INVITATIONS Eaton Stationery
FLOWERS Fiona Sakal
CAKE Sadie at Mintmaker Cakes