On 26th August, 2016, Andrew popped the question after returning from a work trip as he couldn’t wait any longer. Samantha explains: “When I got home, he had covered the downstairs of our house in candles and rose petals and cooked my favourite meal. He got down on one knee just before dessert!”
"We visited several venues across the North East, but none of them felt quite right, until we visited Seaham Hall," states Samantha. "As soon as we stepped inside, we immediately knew it was perfect for us! Not just for the day itself, but also a relaxing evening the night prior and a recovery breakfast the morning after."
Whitburn Parish Church was picked for the ceremony as it holds sentimental memories for Samantha. Having grown up in the village and visited the space a lot, it was the perfect spot to say 'I do. 'The venue styling was kept simple with a few festive touches and colours added, which complemented each other beautifully. To match the winter-theme, the stationery had a neutral colour palette, and for place names, the pair settled on log slices and had guests' names hand-written on them to add a personal touch.
"Keeping things festive, we provided bespoke baubles for favours with our names and wedding date on along with little bottles of sloe gin," says the bride. "We also provided our centrepieces and table decorations which matched the room colours and added a festive touch.
"When it came to finding the perfect wedding flowers, the bride and bridesmaids went for a winter-style bouquet to match the groomsmen's buttonholes.
For the big-day bake, the lovebirds settled on a simple design after speaking with their wedding planner and tasting different flavours. They picked a vanilla sponge cake with blush icing and rose petals, which looked beautiful and went down a treat with guests. On the subject of food, Samantha comments, "One of the best parts of our wedding planning was the menu tasting at Seaham Hall – we went in with a menu in mind and came out with entirely different options!"
The bride looked stunning in a Flavia dress by Pronovias, a designer Samantha fell in love with while searching for the one. She says: "I looked at local suppliers and contacted Nicola at Most Desirable Bridal who was in the process of clearing her stock and only had two dresses in-store with the skirt-style that I was looking for.
"I popped by on the off-chance she would see me and I fell in love with the first dress I tried on!" To add to the look, the bride-to-be settled on a plain veil, small drop pearl earrings with a matching bracelet and a tiara that was customised using beads from her mum's head dress that was worn on her special day. The bride continues, "I felt amazing! Everything I'd envisaged including the dress, hair and make-up was exactly how I'd wanted it –the trials and research were certainly worth it!"
The groom looked dashing in a three-piece blue Cavani suit with a burgundy tie and pocket square. The groomsmen wore the same except for a navy tie instead to allow Andrew to stand out.
The bridesmaid dresses were navy with a fishtail hem that featured beautiful embellishment and faux fur wrap to keep them all warm. Each member looked incredible and complemented the colour scheme perfectly.
To keep the guests entertained, the newlyweds had a sixpiece band for the evening celebrations that they knew would keep the party going after seeing them perform at other events. There was also a photo booth, which went down a hit with guests and captured some funny images while keeping the memories of the day alive for years to come.
Samantha says: "For me, the best word to describe my mood on the day was giddy. I was expecting to feel nervous, but all I remember is feeling excited and emotional having all of our closest family and friends together to celebrate with us!..
..Andy, on the other hand, did feel the nerves but soon relaxed, except for the first dance which he was dreading – but overall loved every minute!"
"Every part of the day went seamlessly with very few hiccups and the dance-off towards the end of the evening certainly kept everyone entertained – we were impressed to find out that so many of our guests knew how to do the worm," recalls Samantha.
"The ceremony felt very personal as we got to know the church family quite well in the weeks leading up to the wedding. They made us feel relaxed, and at home from the moment we walked in, which certainly put us both at ease.
"Our photo shoot on the beach was a memorable part of the day as it gave us some time to be together and celebrate before we joined the rest of our guests." All the finer details were taken care of by Samantha's mum, who did an excellent job from start to finish. The couple knew they could trust her and didn't need to worry about anything on the day.
Every supplier who took part did a fantastic job, especially Pete, the photographer who put the pair at ease and captured stunning shots. Samantha comments, "When he was taking the candid shots, we genuinely didn't know he was there! He captured the story of the day, and he wasn't afraid to get himself covered in mud climbing cliffs for the dramatic coastal shots!"
Another member who stood out to the couple was the general manager from Seaham Hall. Samantha says: "From the first day we met him, he appeared to take a personal interest in us and our wedding – we knew that with his involvement, every detail would be taken care of."
After the wedding the couple jetted off to New York for a week and then travelled to Jamaica for an additional two. Their first destination was full of new and exciting mustdo activities such as a horse and carriage ride through Central Park as well as seeing Cher perform at Maddison Square Garden.
Samantha says, "Andy planned the trip with the help of a travel consultant who made sure that we had a jampacked schedule while we were in New York followed by a truly indulgent break in Jamaica!" The pair had a rooftop honeymoon suite with a private plunge pool for the second part of the holiday. They both enjoyed time relaxing in the sun before returning home right in time for Christmas.
She adds: "The honeymoon and the cars were Andy's only jobs in the planning of the wedding and he excelled with both of them thankfully!" Samantha and Andrew share their top tip from the day saying, "In the run-up to the wedding, someone at work gave me the advice to try to take a moment during the day to sit back and enjoy everyone being there to celebrate such a wonderful occasion. He told me to breathe and enjoy the day; this was the best advice I was given as I made a point of taking the time to slow things down and enjoy the day."
Dress and tiara