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With some glorious weather just around the corner and wedding season on it’s way, we talk to the Times of Tunbridge Wells’ very own Gemma Hall about her gorgeous rural wedding on her husband’s family farm…
How did you and your husband meet?
We met online through a dating agency. Although this seems to be the norm these days, it still has a stigma. It took me 6 months to tell my old-school dad how I met Adam – he instantly paled and asked if I was sure Adam was normal. We also initially told every older member of our families that we met through a mutual friend at a party!
Our first date was in Clapham, where I lived at the time, and Adam took me to his ‘absolute favourite’ restaurant, Bodeans. It’s an American chicken wing and ribs restaurant. I have a phobia of eating meat off the bone, so it maybe wasn’t the best start…
Tell us about the proposal…
I’d like to make up a really romantic story, but, for the sake of editorial integrity, I’ll just tell the less romantic truth. Adam and I were going on holiday to Dubrovnik. I’d been at work that day and got to the airport tired and stressed from rush hour traffic. Adam was looking crazed and shifty. He wouldn’t let his carry-on out of his sight and at one point ran away from me when I suggested I watch it whilst he went to the toilet. Thanks to the plane, I developed a cold.
We arrived at the hotel very late, tired, and I was all snotty – feeling sorry for myself. I wanted to go to sleep and start the holiday fresh the next morning. Adam had other plans. We promptly had a huge row as I wouldn’t go for a romantic midnight walk down by the water. In a fit of annoyance Adam shouted ‘fine I’ll just do it here and now’.
As he reached into his pocket and dropped to one knee, he misjudged our proximity to each other. All 6ft5 and 16 stone of him landed on my big toe. I cried and rolled around holding my foot. In all his glorious optimism, Adam just carried on proposing and took the tears as those of joy, rather than pain.
I was soon distracted from my toe by the truly beautiful Emerald and Diamond ring that he’d chosen from G Collins & Sons. A unique ring that will hopefully be kept in our family for many generations to come.
Where did you get married and how did you choose the venue?
We got married in our local church – St Michael and All Angels, Marden. A church service was always going to be for us and it was a real honour to get married in the heart of the village, especially as we have such an incredibly entertaining female vicar – Rev. Alison Duguid.
As a reception venue, we’d have been silly not to take advantage of the venue we have on our doorstep – Adam’s family farm. Adam works for his father, Peter Hall, for the farming business that’s been in their family since 1896. It’s a beautiful fruit farm, with stunning orchards and organic traditionally grown Wye Target hops. We’re blessed to live in such an environment and after Peter kindly gave us the nod to pop up a marquee in one of the fields we were full steam ahead!
Tell us about your big day and some of its key highlights
The biggest highlight was having all of our family and friends in one place. We couldn’t have organised the day without all of their help and support, especially our parents.
On the day I spent most of the morning feeling sick and wondering if I should have had my dress taken up slightly to avoid tripping in front of 120 guests. My bridesmaids all joke that I looked like I was going to a funeral. I wish I’d taken a breath and relaxed.
Adam spent the morning in the pub with his ushers silently staring into a glass of whisky. As soon as we saw each other all the nerves passed. After that, the whole day flew by in a daze of photographs, eating, speeches, dancing, drinking and celebrating. I’ve never wanted a day to end less in my life.
Key highlights include the fantastic band we hired, The Dirty Pillows, who got absolutely everybody on the dance floor. My father’s speech was hilarious, he talked unaided for fifteen minutes and most of it was aimed at humiliating Adam. I wasn’t mentioned once though, a point which I will forever bring up at family get-togethers to wind him up.
Any suppliers you’d like to recommend?
A huge shout-out to the wedding band. They are the best wedding band you can hire. They knew exactly what to play to keep people on the dance floor and singing along – it was packed for their entire set. We got the Marquee from Perfect Day Marquee. Miles and his team made the whole process very easy, we didn’t have any problems and they were there setting up days before the wedding to ensure everything was how it should be. Nothing was too much trouble.
Cuisine Studios gave us absolutely delicious food with military precision. The team did everything and anything to make sure the day ran smoothly. Make sure you get the key lime pie!! Finally, a huge thanks to Sam Yardley Photography. Sam was great – she arrived early and was with us until late into the evening. Our pictures are lovely and there are some brilliant ‘in action’ shots of guests dancing and laughing.
Plan, plan and plan some more. I can’t even list how many little things we thought we’d covered and then realised we hadn’t the day before the wedding.
Stress and nerves can take over. The week of the wedding, take a day or evening off from frantically planning and spend some time together not talking about the ‘W’ word.
Over order on drink – but buy from a supplier who does sale or return. Not good to have thirsty guests and end up doing an emergency drink run (whether alcoholic or soft).
Printout multiple copies of your wedding suppliers contact details. Give them to every member of your bridal party the day before the wedding. That way, if any problems occur, someone else can deal with it and you can concentrate on getting ready and relaxing. You don’t need any extra stress the morning of the wedding!
Sit back and enjoy every second!