Sarah + Adam. St Andrews Hall and Unthank Arms Wedding in Norwich. Photography by Beth Moseley Photography | Norfolk Brides
When Sarah saw a picture of Beckets Chapel at St Andrews Hall in Norwich, on Instagram she knew that the couple’s frustrating search for a ceremony venue was over. Both Sarah and Adam love industrial architecture, but hadn’t been able to find venue that had the ‘right vibe’. Talking of vibes – this wedding is right up our street!
We love everyting about it – from the stunning Pronovias bridal gown ( and the journey Sarah had to take to find ‘The One”) , to industrial wedding cermony set up and the urban feel to the rest of the day.
Read the honest story written in Sarah’s own words below and let us know your thoughts or experiences – whether similar OR complete opposite! Perhaps, even submit YOUR wedding to be considered for a feature on Norfolk Brides.
We met on match.com and have been together 9 years in November 2017. Adam was the one and only date I went on via Match.com so it was first time lucky. After a slightly disinterested start he quickly won me over and the rest, as they say, is history!
Adam proposed on Christmas Day by hiding the ring box in the middle of some wrapped up PJs. As only children we have both always had small family Christmas’, but due to re-marriages we now have a really big and lovely extended family. This was first Christmas we were both getting to spend with loads of other people and he knew how excited I was about it. Adam has always said, that he would never propose at Christmas, as it was too predictable so it was a total surprise!
We knew we wanted a relaxed wedding which was easy and inexpensive for both us, and our guests. Weddings these days can be too expensive for people to attend, especially if there are a few in one year. Taking our friends and family in to consideration, led us to decide on getting married in our home city of Norwich, and finding wedding venue that fitted within our budget so we could spend more on booze and good food! It was really important to us to have a free bar for all of our guests.
The main, and only stumbling block for us was finding the right venue. We had always said we would have our reception in The Unthank Arms and while would happily have gotten married at the registry office, there was too many people on our guestlist, therefore an alternative option was required. We both love industrial buildings and architecture so we initially looked for warehouse spaces but couldn’t find any that would work. One day I randomly saw The Halls post a picture of Beckets Chapel on Twitter and I just loved it. As soon as we saw it we were sold! It was more money than we wanted to spend, but it was such a magical space and exactly what we wanted. Once the venue search was over, we found it easier to start deciding on other details, such as the wedding dress and decorations.
We didn’t have a theme as such, but we both wanted a simple, unfussy wedding in terms of style and feel. Once we had seen Beckets Chapel, we knew, that the greenery and foliage would be a big part of our day. Green is also Adam’s favourite colour. I guess I was drawn to the style of New York weddings in places like ‘The Foundry’ (my dream venue) and the simplicity and sparseness of industrial location weddings, so tried to replicate some of that. I had also seen some great balloons and foliage on pinterest and we didn’t have much time to dress the chapel so these were a quick and easy way of adding something different to the ceremony venue that were a bit more modern. Those little touches also made brilliant props for photos and we could easily carry some of them to the pub and re-use them for the rest of the day.
Tell Us about your wedding dress
The journey to finding my perfect wedding dress was a LONG one. I tried on over 80 dresses, and the wedding dress I wore on the day was actually the second dress I bought! I live in jeans and converse, I hardly ever wear dresses and I have never been one of those girls that has always dreamt about her wedding day from a very young age. I was also a new mum and so understanding the new me and my new style post baby somewhat complicated things too. The first wedding dress that I purchased was based on logic – it was a first dress I liked more than any others and it was the right price. It wasn’t until I went to try it on when it finally arrived in store, that I realised I had made a mistake.
When I first started shopping form my wedding dress, I visited The House of Snow, located in Bury St Edmunds. Throughout my search for that perfect gown, I managed to visit 20 wedding dress shops (yes , really 20!), and my experience at House of Snow was universes ahead of the other bridal boutiques I had been to. I just knew Harriet (the owner) would be able to save me and help me find a dress that made me FEEL like a bride. And she did. I ended with a dress that I would never have considered. It was a total wild card, and I will be forever grateful to Harriet. She is a truly amazing person, who knows her craft and does everything with love.
Do you have any wedding planning tips?
When we first started planning our wedding, I created an excel spreadsheet to track guest list, actions, costs etc. The cost tab was one that basically got left unopened once we fully got into the planning and decision making. The original budget was blown as soon as we found Beckets Chapel and even more so when I hated my first dress and bought a second one. While the cost tab didn’t serve the purpose, the excel spreadsheet was really useful for tracking everything else. I use Dropbox for work so I created a wedding folder and saved everything to it which meant we could easily store and share all of our wedding files, documents and contracts. It was also readily available on our phones, which was a great help when we were on the move. Pinterest and Instagram was also invaluable for finding wedding styling ideas and check lists.
Your Wedding Day
We got married at noon at Beckets Chapel (part of The Crypt at St Andrews Hall in Norwich). There had been some mix up the registrar end so while I was actually early the ceremony itself was delayed and then was slightly longer than we had been advised. Luckily, we had booked the Malthouse Quartet so the guests were occupied by their lovely playing. My mum walked me down the aisle and our daughter slept through the whole thing! We had an amazing reading by two of our best Norwich friends and our registrars were very supportive of our very relaxed approach to our ceremony. The centre piece of the ceremony was the beautiful arch that our friend Lesley had made for us.
The plan then was to have drinks outside, but it started to rain and we had to make do with going back into the chapel. There had initially been a mix up with our chapel booking so we had ended up providing our own booze, so we just had mini bottles of prosecco and straws! We had arranged for our favourite café, Storm in a Tea Cup to provide scones for our guests so this kept them amused while we did some of the group shots.
Everyone then got on an old route master bus, which took them The Unthank for our wedding reception. While our guests went on to the party, we got dropped off near the city centre for some of our gorgeous couple shots with our fabulous photographer, Beth.
Once we all got to the pub, we had the speeches. As my father is no longer with us only the groom and best men (Adam had two best men) did speeches. We kept it informal with everyone standing outside (luckily the pub had a large undercover area we could use on the day). We wanted to get the speeches done before dinner, so everyone could then relax and enjoy their food without dreading their speech. The best men absolutely smashed it. They did an amazing presentation that had everyone laughing with hysterics.
We then had our wedding breakfast. Our seating plan ended up being set across 2 levels in the pub so we had our family and close family friends down stairs and all our friends upstairs. We ate our mains with our family and our desserts with our friends. While it was an unusual set up, it actually worked really well and meant our friends could be as rowdy and boozy as they wanted without our families to worry about! Drinking games had been a big part of our first few dates so we had a number of these on our tables which also included sprayed silver animals as favours for the animal drinking game we had.
Two of the biggest hits from our wedding were our DIY glitter station and our amazing photo booth. Our friends and family had hours of fun painting their faces and bodies with glitter and dressing up and messing about in the photo booth. You will never have seen a photo booth like it, it is a converted caravan that Lesley has immaculately decorated and it has an old waltzer seat in it that you sit in for the photos. It is immensely fun.
Our wedding cake was a surprise gift from my family and was absolutely delicious. There was a lot of cake left over so we donated it to a couple of our local homeless charities who feed those in need in the centre of Norwich each night.
Our amazing friend Amelia Sear sang our first dance for us. We didn’t really have a song together that suited a first dance so we chose ‘At Last’ by Etta James as we knew Amelia would be able to sing it amazingly and it’s a very short song so we wouldn’t have to dance for too long! By then our daughter was getting tired so in the end she joined us and it became a family first dance instead!
Oh and it rained. A lot. While on the day this wasn’t ideal, no one talks about how much it rained and it’s not a predominant memory of our day for us we just adapted and went with it and it all worked out anyway. The worst thing was that we had lovingly made our own geometric confetti but it was too wet to do a proper confetti throw!
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