Dunstan and I got engaged in April 2016, after two years of not-so-subtle hinting on my part, whilst out paddling in his self-built Canadian canoe on the River Blackwater in Essex. Although I had been eager to become engaged it came as a complete, and wonderful, surprise! We had already tentatively decided on a date the following the summer and soon after getting engaged started visiting reception venues…
We knew we wanted to have our reception in a marquee and were looking for a venue which was outdoorsy, natural, romantic and a bit whimsical, but that would also complement our laid back nature and desire for a touch of formality. Nymans at Handcross in West Sussex ticked all of those boxes and was available on our date! We also got the church, Worth Abbey in Crawley booked.
As soon as the church and reception venue were ﬁnalised we booked our wonderful photographers Jenna and Ewan of Jenna Woodward Photography, a husband and wife team based in Leeds. Many of our friends had used these guys before and we loved their beautiful and natural photos; there was no question in my mind about who would be able to capture the essence of our day in an understated, natural and stunning way. We hired a marquee from one of the recommended suppliers of Nymans, Ground Control Marquees, and then began getting quotes from caterers.
We had experienced Super Event’s delightful food and highly professional service at another wedding a few years previous and sought a quote from them. To reassure my parents, we had a special mini tasting with them which was very kindly suggested by Chrystelle and Tony; it was such a success (and the food delicious) that the caterers were booked! The following spring my parents attended the fabulous Super Event tasting event with us to help us decide on our food and drinks choices. We had already decided on a drinks and canapé reception, a sit down three course meal followed by tea, coffee and chocolates as well as evening food.
For our canapés we opted for: mini Yorkshire puddings with beef and horseradish, mini croque monsieur’s (and requested that half were cheese only as a vegetarian option), mini ﬁsh and chip cones, chicken satay skewers, Thai spiced tiger prawn sticks with Tom Yum dip and parmesan and rosemary shortbread with sun-blushed tomato, feta cheese and black olives.
We were unanimous in our decision for beetroot cured smoked salmon with celeriac remoulade as our starter (in fact we now have the recipe!), a dish both aesthetically stunning and delicious; followed by Southdown lamb shanks cooked in red wine, garlic and rosemary, served on creamy crushed new potatoes with a medley of vegetables to share and then we personalised a trio of desserts to include: a mini lemon posset, a mini raspberry pavlova and a mini rich chocolate trufﬂe.
For our vegetarian guests we decided on a warm goats cheese bruschetta to start, followed by a spicy root vegetable, lentil and tomato tagine with our customised trio of desserts. For our evening food we went a bit off piste and asked for chicken shish kebabs, a favourite of ours which we think offered that late in the evening comfort needed without being too greasy and Super Event were more than amenable to our suggestion.
We decided on the Platinum upgrade drinks package serving Pimms and lemonade, sparkling wine, soft drinks and beers on request as guests arrived and Baron Philippe de Rothschild Merlot and Pinot Grigio Cortestrada, with still and sparkling mineral water during the meal. We provided our own champagne toast and the evening bar was stocked with Doom Bar and Fosters, red, white and sparkling wine, Pimms, gin and vodka a mix of Super Event and us!
The tasting event was a brilliant day , make sure you go hungry and thirsty! If you haven’t seen a marquee set up for a wedding it also provides an exciting preview of what you can achieve! A friend of my mum, Tracy Marshall of Flowers by Design, decorated the marquee with stunning arrangements for the tables, walls and even the ceiling. The theme for the ﬂowers was natural, romantic and elegant with lots of green foliage with ﬂuffy white ﬂowers (roses, peonies and hydrangeas) which beautifully completed the sparkles of our dresses.
The interior of the marquee was neutral, with silver chairs and cream seat pads. We had a mixture of tall (candelabras) and low (storm lantern) centre pieces on the tables which were decorated with wreaths of green foliage and white ﬂowers and the top table was adorned with a long wreath of the same foliage and ﬂowers. Some interest was added to the walls with hanging foliage (eucalyptus, ruscus and olive) and we also had large wreaths suspended from the ceiling using the same foliage. For atmosphere we had a starlight lining over the dance ﬂoor with a glitter ball. My talented best friend designed the artwork and created all of the wedding stationary based around our choice of ﬂowers and my dad printed everything including a signpost and frisbees!
The week leading up to our wedding day was wet, very wet and I certainly fretted about the washout that our wedding day was inevitably going to be! Fortunately however, by Thursday the sky was dry and on Friday the sun was trying to come out. Saturday was glorious. I got ready at my parents house with my mum, bridesmaids and my dad. My brother joined Dunstan, his parents and the other groomsmen at a house that had been rented for the weekend.
For the girls the morning preparations were planned like a military operation and fortunately all went without a hitch and we were ready to leave the house bang on time! It was a beautiful morning and I was totally relaxed after months of planning as I had accepted “Que sera, sera!” and was going to be marrying my best friend! However, I think the stress of wedding planning may have peaked for Dunstan that morning…
But everyone made it to the church on time! Our wedding service was beautiful, ﬁlled with love, joy and happiness. And then we were married!
We were driven from the church to Nymans in a vintage AC Six owned and driven by a friend of my grandfather who also drove my parents on their wedding day. The Pinetum at Nymans was looking spectacular and acted as a stunning backdrop for our reception drinks, canapés and formal photos; everybody was in excellent spirits and laughter and excited chatter could be heard in all directions. We sat down to eat and used the time between courses to chat to all of our guests; it was glorious speaking to people and sharing their excitement for us.
After dinner Dunstan and I led our guests on a walk down to the stunning house at Nymans for a group photo before we went off to do our own photos and allowing everybody to explore the delights that Nymans has to offer. Spending time together at this beautiful time of the day was incredible. When we returned to the marquee, more guests had arrived and it was time to cut our incredible cake, created by Jo of Peek-a-Boo Cakes to encompass the essence of our wedding day. The cake cutting was promptly followed by our ﬁrst dance, a tentative attempt at the foxtrot and then it was party time!
Many of Dunstan’s friends are talented musicians and they pulled together a band who provided the evening entertainment, which rocked the top off the marquee! They are incredible and we are so lucky to have friends with such talent and generosity. The dance ﬂoor was packed. All night. Time absolutely ﬂew by and before we knew it our last song was played and we exited through a long tunnel formed by our loved ones. Everyone says your wedding day is the best day of your life and, until you’ve been there, I don’t even think you can comprehend what that means. Our wedding day was the best day of our lives.
Super Event were employed as our caterer but, in our experience, did so much more than just provide the food and drink for our wedding. We always experienced excellent customer service, with prompt replies to any emails/queries from Chrystelle. Super Event were organised, thorough, logical and one step ahead at all times which was so reassuring when planning our wedding, something we hadn’t done before! Super Event also worked seamlessly with our other suppliers during the lead up to and on the day of our wedding which took a huge weight off our minds.
Steve ran our wedding day and we met him on the eve of our wedding whilst setting up. He was lovely so easy going, calm, obviously very experienced and excellent at communicating, including listening to last minute special requests and helping us achieve everything that we wanted to. On the day he was there to greet us as we arrived with a huge smile on his face and evidently thoroughly enjoying his role which made it even more lovely to have him there!
Steve’s team achieved a balance of being professional whilst still having fun and engaging with our guests, we were delighted. People still speak about the wedding food at our friends wedding provided by Super Event which was three years ago; from the feedback we have had so far I think ours will be spoken about for years to come too. The food is beautifully presented and cooked and tastes delicious too. The timing of service, which was important to my father, was impeccable with 120 people being served within 10 minutes of each other.
Super Event were employed as our caterer but, in our experience, did so much more than just provide the food and drink for our wedding. They guided us through the wedding planning process with their wealth of experience and expertise and helped us deliver the day of our dreams. All of the staff that we encountered were professional, friendly, enthusiastic and so helpful. Our food and drink was stunning to look at and delicious to eat and we know it will be talked about for years to come! We would highly recommend the team at Super Event.