Samantha & Michael's Wedding Story
Our story and our wedding:
How did you meet?
We met 10 years ago on a night out with friends and hit it off straight away. A week later we met for dinner and the rest is history!
Tell us about the proposal
Michael proposed on my birthday (September 2018) on the balcony of our favourite hotel in Tenerife. Although after 9 years, house and a dog, it was a complete surprise. When we arrived back home, we decided that we’d get married early the following year – why wait! We had 4 months to plan our big day (February 2019).
Why did you choose Seaham Hall?
Over the time we have been together we have spent many times at the hotel and spa especially at Christmas-time as a treat to us both. We always received a friendly welcome, the staff have constantly been attentive and helpful and the restaurants and spa have continuously been superb. When it came to choosing a venue, there was no other choice for us both for our special day – Seaham Hall had everything we were looking for, and more!
What was the theme?
We wanted a sophisticated and elegant theme to run through everything and in keeping with the venue. We chose a blush theme for the flowers and bridesmaids dresses and had cherry blossom tress in the ceremony room and on the tables in the dining room which looked great and really set off the theme – it looked magical. We also used a designer (F Couling Designs) to create an illustration of Seaham Hall which was used across the invitations and other printed materials on the day which looked stylish and elegant – and tied in the theme together.
Tell us about the dress?
I wanted an elegant and glamorous dress which sparkled but also represented my own personality. With it being a Winter wedding, I wanted a fur shrug to complete the dress. I decided on a blush colour which complimented the theme, but also added a bit more of my personality to the whole look. Pink has always been my favourite colour, so this was obviously no shock to the wedding party! Finally, I have always wanted a tiara on my wedding day, so this was the final piece that set my wedding look off – and made me feel truly special.
What is your favourite part of Seaham Hall?
If we had to pick one thing it would be the staff. Every time we go, we receive a warm and friendly welcome and they couldn’t do enough for us in planning for our wedding, particularly with the short timeframes - and made the whole day extra special.
Where did you choose to hold your ceremony?
Our ceremony was held in the atrium.
What did you like about your ceremony space?
We were lucky to have a beautiful sunny day for our wedding in February. The atrium was the perfect place as the glass roof brought the natural sunshine into the ceremony space. The whole ambiance was perfect – from the set-up, decoration, light, space and layout to being able to have a pianist play throughout the whole ceremony. We wanted a modern wedding and the space was beautiful and gave us just that.
How did you feel?
Excited, happy and emotional. It was genuinely the happiest day of our lives seeing all of our friends and family there in such beautiful surroundings. It was magical.
What music did you walk down the aisle too; does it have a special meaning?
‘A thousand years’ by Christina Perri - from the movie Twilight. We had this played on the piano. The movie came out when we first met, and we loved the song. After the ceremony we walked out of the ceremony room to ‘Greatest Day’ by Take That – again this summed up the day and how we felt.
Tell us about your menu tasting, show arounds, planning meetings?
The menu and wine tasting were one of Michael’s favourite parts of the overall planning experience. All of the food and wine were excellent, and it was so difficult to choose a favourite.
The open evening was definitely worth going to as the quality of providers was better than we’d seen at wedding shows. Seeing the ceremony and dining rooms set up gave us a lot of ideas, such as the cherry blossom trees.
The planning meetings helped greatly, and the team helped take the stress out of organising the wedding, particularly as we had only 4 months to plan everything from start to finish!
What wedding menu did you choose?
Starter - Salt baked beetroot, whipped Innes goats’ cheese, walnut dressing
Main Course - Fillet of beef, creamed spinach, wild mushrooms, red wine sauce
Dessert - Baked cheesecake, passion fruit sauce
Who was in charge of planning, you or the groom/joint effort?
I enjoyed planning the details the wedding. Michael helped on big decisions and in the end, it was a team effort.
Did you ever feel overwhelmed with planning?
There were times, as I am sure there are with anyone planning a wedding, when it became overwhelming particularly as we had to make decisions straight away with the short timeframes. The support of the team at Seaham Hall was always there, the team were helpful and provided advice and whenever I had questions or concerns, the team sorted these out straight away.
What did you do the day before your wedding?
We had our final meeting with the wedding planner and had lunch together before going our separate ways. After that I enjoyed the spa, dinner and few cocktails with my maid of honour! I stayed in the Ada Lovelace Suite the night before the wedding and this was the perfect place to utterly wind down and get myself prepared for the big day!
Making Your Wedding Different:
Were there any special elements that you definitely wanted to include in your big day?
Our little dog Brandi is very important to us and we really wanted her to be part of our special day. Although the venue is not dog friendly, Brandi joined us for 30 minutes outside for some photos, which made our day as she was part of it.
We both love music, so we wanted it to play strong part in our day. We hired a brilliant pianist, Dave Smith, for the ceremony, drinks reception and wedding breakfast who played modern songs and was able to bring his mini grand to the venue – so the sound was amazing and brought everything to life.
The time between the wedding breakfast and evening reception, we had Glen Roughead, an acoustic vocalist who we’d originally seen and heard at the Open Evening. As soon as we heard him play, we wanted him to play a special part. He also sung, with our evening reception band, our first dance. For our evening reception we had Func on the Rocks, a six- piece band who played everything from soul and funk to pop and rock. They brought the dance floor to life!
As a surprise for our guests, and probably the part of the evening we were most excited about, were the fireworks. We had an 1-10 minutes firework display to our favourite songs from the Greatest Showman. We knew when booking our wedding that the Terrace at the back of the hotel, would be perfect for an intimate firework display – it was truly amazing.
What were the standout moments for you both?
For Michael it was seeing me walk into the ceremony room and then walk down the aisle. For me, it was walking into the room and seeing Michael. For both of us, seeing all our family and close friends in the ceremony room was so special – having the important people in your life in one place to celebrate our marriage was beautiful.
You don’t get a lot of alone time on your big day, so the 10 minutes we had together in the bar area whilst guests took their seats was special – the staff got us our favourite drink and we enjoyed a few moments alone together taking in the day so far.
Finally, the fireworks later that evening. As a surprise for our guests, and probably the part of the evening we were most excited about, were the fireworks. We had an 1-10 minutes firework display to our favourite songs from the Greatest Showman. We knew when booking our wedding that the Terrace at the back of the hotel, would be perfect for an intimate firework display – it was truly amazing.
Tell us about your wedding photos and which are your favourite and why?
We chose Andy Hudson for our photography as we like his approach and style and knew he would blend into the whole day and be part of the day. His photos captured the spirit of the wedding and some very special moments which we will never forget.
Our favourites are the ones of us both in the ceremony room and outside the hotel in the gardens. The ones taken of our guests in the main room throughout the day and evening captured everyone enjoying the day, having fun and sharing special moments with us.
Our photographer provided a slideshow of our photos and 6 weeks after the wedding we spent an evening at the hotel as a treat and we viewed them for the first time in the room on the big screen – it brought all the memories back and was a special moment for us both.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
We can honestly say that we wouldn’t do anything differently. We look back on our special day with warm memories.
Any advice for future Seaham Hall couples?
Go to the open evening to get inspiration and also meet suppliers. Seeing the rooms set up helps you envision your big day – we had we would never have chosen the cherry blossom trees if it weren’t for seeing them set up on the open evening. We loved them and they played such a big part in the whole theme.
Wedding planning/day top tip?
Listen to the advice from the wedding team at Seaham Hall. They have done this many times before. They helped us on timings, what would / wouldn’t work during the day and were instrumental in in us being able to have fireworks.
For anyone considering Seaham Hall, why should they choose the venue for their wedding day?
It’s a truly beautiful venue which stands for quality in every way. The whole experience was exceptional – from the staff, service and facilities to the food, wine and ambiance.