Dunston Hall Wedding // Heléna & Sam // Norfolk Wedding Photographer
A Dunston Hall Wedding with so many smiles and laughter! Heléna & Sam love to party and so do their friends and family. Do make sure you scroll down to the end to see the dance floor mayhem! I loved shooting this wedding back in the summer of 2018. Heléna and Sam live in Canada but came back to Norwich, Norfolk for their epic wedding celebration. I wanted to share this one because as I type its mid-winter in 2020 and this wedding is about as far away from the covid social distancing gloom that we’re currently experiencing as I can imagine! Scroll through, read their story and imagine how good it’s going to be able to party like this with our friends and family in 2021 🙂
How did you guys meet?
Sam and I met in Whistler, Canada through a mutual friend, whilst we were both taking a “year abroad” to ski and travel – that year abroad turned into a permanent move and we are now residents of Canada.
Tell me a bit about yourselves
Sam is originally from Northampton, and I’m from Kent. We both came to Canada (separately) with the intention of doing a ski season and then perhaps some travelling before returning to the daily grind in the UK. Somewhere in between skiing, working and partying we decided to apply for permanent residency and had our application approved in 2016. We left Whistler shortly after and moved to Vancouver to get more stable and “grown-up” jobs. Since then we’ve moved to the suburbs, gotten married, bought a house and welcomed our first child, Jacob.
How did the proposal go down?
On our 4-year “dating anniversary” Sam bought me breakfast in bed with a ring box on the tray and got down on one knee. He then flew me to Victoria on Vancouver Island for a weekend away celebrating.
How did you choose your wedding venue?
Sam’s family are in Northampton, and mine are largely based in Kent so we wanted to pick a neutral ground. I went to the University of East Anglia, Norwich and had a strong attachment to the city. I have always envisioned getting married in a stately home kind of atmosphere, think Pride and Prejudice. On my many trips on the National Express bus down to London I would see Dunston Hall from the road, and even thought to myself a few times “that looks like a great venue for a wedding”. I flew home for a week to scope out wedding venues with my Mum and future MIL and it ticked all the boxes – it was a very easy decision to pick Dunston Hall, especially because they had an onsite planner who helped me plan our perfect day from Canada. They also did all the catering and provided a florist/room designer meaning I could cross multiple things off my list in one go.
What sort of experience did you want your guests to have?
Sam and I don’t come home often so we wanted to maximise our time with our guests. Dunston Hall doubled as a hotel meaning we could all be on-site together. From partying the night before to breakfast the morning after. Sam even managed to squeeze a round of golf in the day before whilst I hit the spa with my bridesmaids. We had guests from overseas (Sam has a large chunk of family out in Canada who all made the journey over) so we wanted them to have an easy experience. The ceremony was held in one of the Suites, the drinks reception in the gardens and the dinner and evening party was held in the garden marquee. Everything moved seamlessly and effortlessly.
Can you describe some of the details and stylings, did your wedding have a theme?
Navy blue is my favourite colour so the colour scheme was Navy and Blush. As with any excited bride my Pinterest board was packed with inspiration, but I didn’t really use any of it. I gave the florist/room stylist full creative control as I didn’t want to overwhelm myself being in a different country. She nailed it! (My fleur was the name of the wedding designer!)
What was your best decision during the wedding planning?
Winston of course! My dad always said the only thing you should really spend money on for your wedding day was a good photographer, and he wasn’t wrong. It sounds cliche, but our wedding day was an absolute whirlwind – I barely remember it so having these photographs forever is really special. I love looking back on the memories and seeing our big day through the eyes of others.
What was the hardest decision?
For me (the bride) The dress! Don’t get me started on the dress finding process, what an ordeal. I went to so many different stores, I even flew to New York for a weekend to go dress shopping. I quite literally tried on every style imaginable in every fabric possible. I ended up with a dress I never would have pictured myself in. Sam literally walked into Moss Bros and picked the first suit he tried on – probably 20 minutes in total.
What were your favourite memories of the day?
The whole day was an absolute dream, but we were thankful for the quiet moments we managed to grab just the two of us. A wedding is the wildest day so it was nice to take a second together and let it all sink in. Most of these happened during the couples photograph sessions. We had one session after the ceremony, one at dusk, and one at night. Sam and I just caught up with each other and hugged it out whilst Winston ran around us taking the most beautiful photographs.
What advice would you have for any couples planning their wedding?
Pick a budget and stick to it, it’s so easy to get carried away! When looking at your guest list, would you buy that person dinner on a normal day of the week? Because that’s essentially what you’re doing – don’t feel guilty for not inviting your mothers cousins best friend or your family dentist. Our original guest list was 250 and we whittled it down to 132, it was either that or declare bankruptcy.
On the day find a moment for the two of you, because the day will pass you by so quickly and you’ll barely see each other. Let go of all the stresses of planning the night before, everything is set in motion, whatever will be will be. As long as you have remembered to book the officiant you’ll end the day married and that is all that matters.
Superstar wedding suppliers who helped make this wedding amazing:
I’m a Norfolk Wedding Photographer who travels all over the country and beyond capturing beautiful weddings. If you’d like a Dunston Hall Wedding Photographer or a wedding photographer for anywhere in the UK or further afield, please do get in touch!