Samantha & Johnny's Wedding Story
Jonny and I met in 2006. I was in my 3rd year of University and was just about to walk home and spotted him across the room, it’s cliched but I knew then and went home and told my housemates I’ve seen the boy I think I’ll marry. In the years that followed we both graduated from the University of Leeds and and after a few years working in the UK we decided to move down under, to the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Here, we spent three incredible years working and travelling but in the end we decided no matter how much you love something you will never love it as much than if you were sharing that moment with your family. Decision was made, time to move back to the UK but first a memorable 3 months in a retro camper van around Australia followed by an incredible month in scenic New Zealand.
Within weeks of being back in the UK we knew we had made the right decision and settled in Liverpool. Jonny was born and bred in Northern Ireland and it’s a short flight over to the Emerald Isle. my family live within a 30min drive so it’s perfect for us. But …just as i was thinking at work I miss travelling the world, Jonny told me he’d bought me a surprise trip. We arrived at the airport and Jonny passed me my boarding pass….hello Dubrovnik, a dream holiday for me!
On the second morning Jonny took me out on our sea view balcony and pointed at the boat moored by the hotel and told me he’d organised a private tour around the islands and the city walls. After some snorkelling, Jonny had arranged with our skipper to drop us off at a hidden cove with champagne sitting there waiting for us and thats when he got down on one knee. It was perfect and I couldn’t have asked for a more memorable and beautiful engagement.
We wanted to get married as soon as possible and aimed for a later summer wedding in 2016. We set about booking dates to look at different venues in Cheshire when my Mother rang and said I’ve just seen this photo online of a venue and I think it’s perfect for you, they will be at the wedding fayre this weekend. From the moment we set eyes on Knowsley Hall we knew we had our venue. It’s just beautiful, no one could fault it. As you approach on the long drive up to the hall it can’t help but take your breath away. Our wedding theme was classic, elegant and traditionally British and Knowsley Hall ticked all the boxes and was the perfect location, in close proximity to our church in Culcheth, Cheshire and Liverpool airport for our Northern Irish guests.
I only tried on three wedding dresses but when I tried on the third I knew straight away this was the one for me. It was a Sophia Tolli dress, (an Australian designer) it was a beautiful delicate ivory lace with a gold undertone, a classic. I searched long and hard for bridesmaids dresses, I didn’t want to pick run of the mill dresses, I wanted something special, after all I had seven bridesmaids and each and every one of them is so special to me, I wanted them to feel just as special on the day too. I eventually found the perfect dresses and they all loved them! The whole wedding colour scheme was centred around my dress and the subtle gold undertone, however disaster struck weeks before the wedding when the company I had bought my dress from went into liquidation.Two weeks before the wedding I managed to get hold of the dress that they had ordered but they had made a mistake and ordered the petite length, I’m 5”7, there was no way I could wear this. I was devastated, I couldn’t find another one anywhere, then luck struck and with a few days to spare I found the correct size, which didn’t need any alterations. The relief was unbelievable and I could now look forward to the big day.
The morning of the wedding I was to get ready at my parents house, only five minutes from the church, with all my bridesmaids, two of them flying over from Australia for the day. The morning went by so quickly and before I knew it I was stood at the front door of our local church waiting to walk down the aisle clutching my Dad’s hand. The day was extra special for my parents as they got married in the same church thirty seven years previously. As soon as I saw Jonny at the end of the aisle I burst into tears, trying to smile, doing my best to hold back the tears.
We had a male voice choir singing along with the congregation to the hymns and entertaining everyone whilst we signed the register. Sunlight was beaming in through the stained glass windows haloing the choir - it was just magical.
As we set off as the newly married couple from the church in a vintage 1930 Rolls Royce, Jonny turned to me and said ‘that service was just perfect, even if our day finished now it would still be the happiest day of my life’. Throughout the day we couldn’t help but say to each other, this is the “best day ever!”
As the guests arrived at Knowsley Hall, most of whom had never been before were struck by the beauty of it and in awe of the architecture of such a grand beautiful building both inside and out. Traditionally British and ever so charming set in breathtaking grounds, with a lake glistening in the sun to the rear and perfectly manicured gardens. The attentive staff, led by Wayne, Matt and Jason helped everything to run so smoothly, ensuring everything ran to clockwork, and even sorted out a late addition to the table plan without any fuss. Whilst they got all the guests into the Great Hall for the wedding breakfast, we got whisked away for ten minutes by ourselves in the morning room. It was nice to have a seat, just you and your husband, giving us a chance reflect on the incredible day so far and it is true what they say it goes by so quickly.
Knowsley Hall have got a fabulous new Australian head chef Paul McNish, with our wedding being his first showcasing his new menu. We knew from the tasting he wouldn’t let us down, he takes such pride in every element that goes into the dish and the presentation is superb, akin to a Michelin star restaurant. The guests agreed and we were told again and again, ‘this is the best wedding meal we have ever had’. Jonny had brewed his own beer as a wedding favour for the male guests and my Mum had made homemade damson gin for the female guests - little personal touches like this made the day. The speeches were emotional, I’ll never forget my Dad’s speech and how proud he was that day. There were tears of sadness for people we wish could have still been with us but also tears of happiness looking around the room and seeing everyone you care about and love all in one place. There is nothing like it.
Your wedding day definitely is the best day of your life, if I could give any advice to anyone getting married it would be enjoy every second of it but remember to take a step back and look at how happy everyone else is too. We look back at our photographs and video now and just can’t help but smile as we’re transported right back to September 16th 2016, our best day ever!