While on a Christmas trip to New York, which was due to come to an end, Craig surprised Rhian with an extra night, a room upgrade and dinner at a Michelin-starred seafood restaurant for the proposal! "The night of 16th December 2015 began with the most perfect meal at Oceana, the best seafood I've ever tasted, followed by a trip to the top of the Empire State Building (Craig panicking at this point that my rock in his pocket would set off the security alarm!)," recalls Rhian. The setting was too public though and Craig wanted something more personal so they went on a mammoth tour of New York finally taking in a stroll through Central Park. "Opposite a small bridge, with just the two of us, he got down on one knee and popped the question with the most perfect Tiffany diamond ring." Originally the couple looked at Friday 13th dates in 2017 to reflect their first date, but all plans were put on hold when the couple welcomed their gorgeous daughter in December of that year! The big date was then set, 12th October 2019, with Sandhole Oak Barn providing the perfect backdrop. Here, we find out more about their wedding day plans...
Rhian and Craig knew from the minute they walked in to the ceremony room at Sandhole Oak Barn that this was the venue for them. "We only visited one venue and this was the most beautiful and perfect venue for us!" adds Rhian. "We knew that we wanted everything to be in one place and that we wanted our friends and family to be able to stay together overnight to enjoy our first breakfast as husband and wife together the following day!"
The couple loved the warm and welcome feeling of the barn, which overlooks a stunning lake coupled with the oak beams and low lighting they were also impressed with the recommended caterers, "The caterers showed passion for not only the food, presentation and taste but also the service that they provide, a sense that they truly care about your day and that it isn't just another wedding booking. They felt like they would be part ofour day, these feelings came flooding back throughout every interaction, every meeting between booking and our day."
During the planning the bride-and groom-to-be decided that they wanted a personal touch, a sense of family and to bring the time of year in with an autumnal theme. "The table décorations were a mix of autumnal flowers and foliage specifically including dahlias which represented my late-grandparents," shares Rhian. "Conkers, collected by our youngest son George, filled the base of the glass candle holders to bring colour and a seasonal feel, as did the natural log slices which were used as the base for our centrepieces to create a sense of bringing the outside-in."
The bride's vision for rustic, full displays with burgundy hues and foliage was perfectly channeled by Kirsty the florist. "She just understood my vision," says Rhian. "She was genuinely excited to create our stunning pieces and we had the most beautiful bouquets, buttonholes and table creations, with a heart-shaped wreath hanging from our outside beam. Moss was used as a base for our LOVE lights emphasising the outside-in theme."
A true family affair, the table plan was a reflection of the couple's journey together, while Craig's dad made some of the reception pieces, and the meal choice was their childrens' favourite meal, "Fin, George and Essie love bangers and mash so this seemed like the perfect choice for a cold autumal afternoon wedding breakfast."
Since proposing Craig has described the engagement ring as his Porsche on Rhian's finger, so there was no decision to be made, Rhian had to surprise Craig with a Porsche for the wedding weekend! "Nervously I went to collect the Porsche, driving it home 60mph with a very excited George, questioning why everyone was overtaking me when I was driving Porsche!" laughs Rhian. "I think this was the highlight of the wedding for Craig and also Fin who got to be the passenger returning it the following day,in fact probably the highlight for most of our male guests!"
"We were so proud of our oldest son, Fin who did a reading during the ceremony, he looked so smart and stood confidently and proudly in front of our guests for his first time in public speaking," shares Rhian. "After dessert had just finished, out came Zac our singing waiter who was incredible! The look on everyones' faces when he made a dramatic fall in front of the top table was priceless!" There were four key suppliers who made the couple's day very special, "Craig from New Road Photography, from the minute we met with Craig we knew we had to book him, his work was outstanding and his personal drive and passion to be the best that he can be shone through.
"Kirsty from Lottie Lyla Sweetpeas & Peonies, I was recommended by one of my bridesmaids, and when we had our first meeting with Kirsty at our home, instantly Ifelt like I had known her for years and that it was a friend who was interested in everything to do with our wedding who had an extreme passion for flowers and creativity who delivered beyond my dreams for our flowers.
"Fiona from Top Table was so welcoming, warm and friendly, we knew from that meeting that our day would run perfectly and that our guests would love her welcoming ways. Her and the whole team were just wonderful, faultless and felt like our guests. "Finally Alan Thomas, my father-in-law! Whilst not an official supplier, he deserves a special mention as all of the wooden décor he made to complement the barn, frommy scrappy drawings he created these wonderful pieces!"