Abby and Jake remember making each other laugh right from their very first conversation about basketball as teenagers, and they’ve been doing the same ever since. Now aged 25 and 26 respectively the couple have been together for a decade. Absence truly did make the heart grow fonder for Jake as having spent three months away in Canada for work, he proposed to Abby over a special dinner to celebrate his return. After a meal at The Shard he surprised her with a private pod on The London Eye. Abby remembers, “We were nearly at the top and as the sun set Jake got down on one knee. It was utterly amazing and so much thought had gone into it that it was even more special.”
After researching many different venues, Cooling Castle Barn stood out for its location, features and package. “Luckily, it held an open day not long after we discovered it, and as soon as we visited we fell in love. The staff answered all of our questions on the day and we appreciated how up front they were about costs, features and the factors we needed to consider. We walked away armed with everything we needed and we’d decided it was the venue for us before we’d even got back to the car!” Abby explains.
We don’t know about you, but we were eager to know more. So join us as Abby shares her account of the big day...
The couple opted for an elegant palette of white and silver beautifully carried throughout the day. Centrepieces were theme-fitting classic silver candelabras. The flowers featured hues of lilac, raspberry and silver from bouquets to buttonholes and corsages, while white rose petals were scattered down the aisle and a beautiful floral hoop served as a backdrop to the vows.
The innovative table plan featured a key for each guest complete with a small white tag labelled with their name and table number. "We wanted to create something different from a classic table plan and the keys doubled as a small keepsake for everyone," Abby says. The place names each bore an A + J design with a floral motif and the quote: "here's to love, laughter and happily ever after." The tables were numbered and each one had a photo of the happy couple at the corresponding age. They created their own card post box and we love the idea of leaving a calendar alongside it for guests to fill in their birthdays, so the newlyweds never miss one.
Instead of a traditional tiered affair, the big-day bake was a display of cakes in different sizes placed on petal-filled glass pillars.
The venue provided an extensive choice of food and guests were able to make their selections from two starters, three mains and two desserts.
Abby wore the gorgeous Noelle by Maggie Sottero. She tells us, "I chose this style as it had a beautiful low lace back with illusion chest that fitted my figure perfectly." She finished the look with a floor-length veil, a silver and pearl headpiece, and Swarovski earrings that complemented her engagement ring.
Jake looked dapper in a blue suit with grey waistcoat, while the groomsmen wore matching suits with contrasting blue waistcoats. He accessorised with a pair of cufflinks, which had a picture of him and his late auntie in them, given to him as a present from his mum.
The bridesmaids and maid-of-honour looked gorgeous in their off-the-shoulder grey dresses, while the flowergirl was super-cute in a grey pleated dress.
Guests were entertained to the full at the blackjack and roulette tables. The staff from Ace Casino hire brought with them trophies and champagne for the winners, as well as customised fun money complete with a picture of the newlyweds. "They were amazing with the guests of all ages and really brought everyone together for lots of fun," Abby shares.
In the evening a DJ filled the dancefloor, with the playlist of songs the couple selected.
Abby says, "We both felt excited as it seemed a long time coming. Having booked the date two years previous we were counting down for what seemed like forever. The day was perfect and once we saw each other we felt instantly emotional."
The speeches were a highlight, the bride explains, "In the run up to the wedding Jake had a few mishaps, which included losing his phone on his stag do and getting lost on the way home on another occasion. My dad's speech brilliantly included both incidents as he proceeded to give Jake a giant inflatable phone so that he wouldn't lose it again, and a road map so he's always be able to find his way home!"
The couple would especially like to thank their toastmaster, Julie: "She helped calm us, make us laugh, be honest with us and be on the ball. She was just what we needed to help throughout the whole day from getting ready in the morning to dealing with our last minute decisions."
Bride's dress and accessories
Venue and catering