Sam and Matt first met online and after a few dates, everything started to fall into place. Sam says, "We had dinner at Matt's before I drove us to the cinema to see the remake of the Star Wars franchise. A Madonna track came on in the car and Matt thought, 'wow this guy has taste'."
Matt proposed while the pair was on holiday in Las Vegas. Initially, he wanted to pop the question on the first night while having dinner, but he hadn't accounted for the jet lag, time difference and the seven glasses each of champagne. The next intimate opportunity was after a Cher concert. Sam comments, "I had got the event's start time wrong, so the evening mood wasn't great when we turned up and Cher was finishing the last few songs. While watching the performance, Matt had disappeared behind me and reappeared on one knee. He had to ask if I was okay as I cried a lot and if it was a yes or no – of course, I said yes!"
When it came to creating their dream wedding, the couple wanted to enjoy the run-up to the day as much as possible. Sam says, "We were always told that the day is over in a flash, so we wanted the planning experience to be as fun and memorable as the big day. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and our wedding being postponed, it gave us another year of planning."
After searching around Hertfordshire for a venue, the couple couldn't settle on one particular space. Sam says, "We found some properties to be restrictive and very centred around brides. When a family friend suggested using the grounds of her house for our day, we jumped at the opportunity to create a bespoke wedding from scratch.
Two days before the big day, the couple set up the marquee and decorated the spaces – they couldn't wait to show their loved ones! Sam says, "We bought apple crate boxes from a local garden centre and had our florist create amazing tall centrepieces, which allowed our guests to see each other easily." Green and white foliage was featured throughout the wedding, including in the stationery and the pair's buttonholes.
Inside the marquee, the pair wanted the middle support pole to have a large round bar and a hanging wreath to create a real focal point. Guests were given hand sanitisers for favours and scratch cards, which they all did at the same time for some added fun.
For the wedding breakfast, loved ones enjoyed a delicious roast dinner. A member of each table carved the meat, and people could help themselves to as little or as much as they liked. Sam says, "We had commemorative aprons made for those carving the meets to keep their outfits clean and to take home as a memento." He adds, "We both love the canapés served during the drinks reception, there was lots of various dishes constantly flowing." The couple wanted a showstopping dish for dessert and opted for a coquembouche for each table to enjoy.
The couple served an elegant cake in the evening. Sam says, "We both wanted to keep the design visually classic, while focusing more on the flavours. Taking our parents to the cake tasting session was one of our most funniest moments throughout the planning experience; getting everyone's opinion meant a lot to us."
Sam says, "We knew early on that we wanted to spend the evening before and morning of the wedding together. We loved getting ready with music in the background, a glass of champagne and having that time together alone. It also gave us a chance to tell each other how great the other person looked and reassure them."
The groomsmen all looked great in navy suits with matching shoes and ties to the newlyweds. Sam and Matt wanted the grooms' women to be as comfortable as possible as they have different body shapes and sizes – so no one dress would look the same on them all. With the task of finding navy gowns, their best girls found dresses online that made them all look and feel beautiful.
The lovebirds surprised loved ones with performances from a drag queen and West End singer halfway through the wedding breakfast to keep them entertained. Sam says, “We wanted as much crowd participation as possible with people on their feet, and that’s what we got. Show tunes, ballads and an ABBA mega mix got every dancing – even on their chairs!” The entertainers performed again for the evening guests, so they felt as much part of the day as possible. Sam says, “People were hugging each other and sung their hearts out – there was so much euphoria in the room.”
The couple had their group and couple shots an hour before guests arrived for the ceremony. Sam says, "We had a lovely intimate time together with our photographer and didn't miss out on the social side of the drinks reception. It also saved guests being taken away from conversations and time with other people."
The grooms both felt so relaxed on the day and enjoyed every moment. The wedding was full of celebrations, and a highlight for the pair was watching loved ones dancing, laughing and hugging all day. Kelly Hawes Celebrant was one of the highlights of Sam and Matt's wedding. Sam comments, "Kelly first got to know us at a meeting, which was like talking to a friend, and she understood our story perfectly." He continues, "Even though we postponed our day, Kelly kept in touch to arranged meetings and contacted those doing readings to share advice." After the ceremony, guests came up to the pair to comment on how excellent Kelly was – they thought she'd known the couple for years!