Real Weddings

Southwood Hall Wedding // Rachel & David

by:   on: 27th December 2014

I am a huge fan of DIY weddings – not only it can be so much more personal and unique, but it also brings families together in preparation of the big day for the couple.

I love the amount of thought & effort put in to Rachel & David’s wedding at Southwood Hall and I am delighted to be sharing this fabulous story with you. 


Both David & Rachel teach at Fakenham Academy. They met when he came to Fakenham to complete part of David’s teacher training. The couple always got on really well and realised they had a joint love of ‘Friends’. By absolute luck, a job became available and David got the position. David & Rachel became closer and closer as friends and eventually Rachel confessed her feelings after a day at the beach. It turned out David felt the same. Everybody knew the couple was made for each other and turns out they were right – three years down the line and the couple have tied the knot!

The Proposal

We asked David about how he popped the question:

“I had been thinking about doing it for a long time, but wanted to make it personal and memorable, so took Rachel to Edinburgh for her birthday. On our last evening there, I took Rachel to one of her favorite restaurants and on our walk back to the hotel, I got down on one knee in the gardens in the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle”

The Wedding Planning

Rachel told us that the couple got engaged at Easter in 2013 and knew that due to their finances they would be looking to tie the knot the following year.

“We didn’t know anything about organising a wedding and decided to look at venues to get an idea of costs, so we could budget and save. I bought magazines straight away. I was so excited that I registered on Pinterest to get some wedding inspiration and ideas. Being P.E. teachers we knew we wanted to get married outside and wanted time off before and after the wedding, which meant it had to be during the summer holidays. We didn’t realise how far in advance people booked their wedding venues as soon as we found ‘the one’ we booked it there and then for the following year. I kept a book where I could write in things I liked and kept adding pictures to my pinterest boards, as well as cutting ideas out of magazines. I found that when it came to making decisions we had looked at so many different ideas that we knew what we wanted. It was good to have plenty of time to plan, as at times we would go round in circles with ideas and this way we knew what our heart of hearts decision was. We didn’t make any decisions that we regretted because we had thought each one through. I loved each and every part and with plenty of time to plan we could do a bit at a time and so not feel overwhelmed or under pressure. We didn’t give too much away as we wanted our guests to have surprises. We kept our venue a secret until the invitations came out.” 

Wedding Theme

The couple said not to have a wedding theme as such but they both wanted a relaxed feel to the wedding, so opted for a vintage country theme with pastel colours and natural flowers.

The Wedding Dress

And for probably THE most important part of their big day for most brides ( besides of getting married to The One) we asked Rachel to tell us more about her wedding dress and how she came to find the right one for her:

I had looked at lots of magazines and chose as many different dresses as I was given an advice instead of picking the style, to keep an open mid and try several options. All the dresses that I liked happened to be a mermaid style bridal gowns and I knew I wanted lace and some form of strap or top to the dress. Because I have a very fair skin, I was unsure about which colour dress would suit me best. The wedding dress shopping idea was quite daunting and I had put my best efforts to eat well and exercise to make sure I stay in the best shape. I found The One on my first visit to Pure Bridal boutique in Norwich, It was by bridal designers ‘White One’ from Barcelona. My wedding dress was Ivory in colour and was lace with silver beading. It was a mermaid design and had a Tulle top section, which was so flattering with short-capped sleeves and lace detail on the edges. It had a lace up back and a plain belt to go with it. The bodice was fitted and gave me a lovely shape. I teamed it with a short veil with diamant-beaded edge to match my mum’s from her wedding day. I never thought it would make me feel so amazing. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Wedding Planning Tips

Rachel gave some of her top tips when planning your wedding:

  • “Use the talents of your family and friends. Let other people help you and take charge of aspects that you know they have the skills in.
  • Spend as much time as you can just looking at different things and getting ideas, don’t make any quick decisions.
  • Most of all plan a wedding that YOU want.
  • If you feel passionate about something then only tell a few people. We kept lots of parts of our day a secret so that our guests had surprises and also so we didn’t feel disheartened if they didn’t approve. “

David added few points too ( we through they are quite a good ones too – this Groom is certainly on his game!):

“Discuss everything with your other half. Whilst Rachel had most of the intricate ideas, it was actually very enjoyable going through the process together and keeping details away from family and friends.”

The Wedding Day

” We spent the evening before the wedding at Southwood Hall, as we hired the barn and the house for all of our families. We had a lovely evening making the buttonholes and sharing stories the night before the wedding. In the morning, we had breakfast together in the sunshine before separating with the females going to the barn and the males to the house. Flamingo Amy arrived to do our hair and Emily from Love Moi our make-up. We had great fun drinking bucks Fizz and getting excited.

At 3pm, the ceremony began and we were married under the rotunda outside. My brother in law played the electric guitar for us, which created the most amazing and moving atmosphere. I walked down the aisle to ‘Fools rush in’ arm in arm with my dad. The ceremony was very emotional and we had chosen my nieces Lola (9) and Teah (6) to perform a reading. They had chosen ‘Guess how much I love you’ which they completed with actions. It made us all both laugh and cry. Our closest friends Paul and Michelle did a reading together called ‘He never leaves the seat up’. David chose this and it was such a close match to us that our guests thought Paul and Michelle had written it especially. Whilst signing the register Misha played some more music which he learned especially for us.

After a picture of all the guests we then quenched our thirsts with Pimms and real lemonade. To keep us going we had canaps of king prawns, cheese toasties and crisps. While our guests mingled on the lawn in the glorious sunshine, we had our private photos in the gardens. We had a badminton net set up to keep everyone entertained. We choose a few formal photos so that people could spend more time relaxing rather than standing and waiting. This worked out great and kept the day running so smoothly. The guests were seated for dinner and we enjoyed a delicious buffet of spit roasted chicken and salads. The main was followed with David’s favourite, chocolate brownies. At the speeches and my dad and best man Paul did us proud. We shared lots of laughs and thankfully nothing too embarrassing came to light (!). Following the speeches, we asked guests to join us outside to throw the confetti. We finished just in time to cut our cake before the fabulous band arrived: ‘The Yow Yows’. We danced the night away stopping only for cake from our cake buffet and for freshly popped popcorn. Our night ended with a sparkler line sending us on our way. “

The Favorite moments

Rachel shares with us her fondest memories of their big day:

“I will never forget coming out onto the steps of the patio with my dad and hearing Misha playing the guitar. I felt so emotional and I was already in tears. As soon as I saw the guests I could see them all turning around beaming at me. My closest friends and family looked so happy. I immediately felt calm and relaxed and spent the rest of the day smiling. “

And as for her husband David:

“Seeing Rachel walk down the aisle with her Father was the absolute defining moment for me. The whole day itself was simply magical and having all of our closest friends and family there with us was very special.”

Advice to Other couples

Rachel says:

“Relax! Let your family and friends help so it’s not all on the both of you. Trust in your venue they will have so much experience that they can give you lots of guidance. It will fly by so spend the day being newly married and enjoying that feeling, not worrying about how the day is running.”

David says:

“Enjoy every minute as much as you can, because it flies by! Try and speak to as many people as you can, especially those that have travelled a long way to be there with you.”

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about the author

Dalia Courridge

Founder and managing director of Norfolk Brides. Social Media and Marketing consultant by day. Obsessed with all things creative and beautiful - form eclectic weddings, to stunning interiors and abstract art. Addicted to working out and weightlifting. Cannot start the day without a strong coffee.

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