A Woodhall Manor Wedding // Rachel, Chris and 3 super cute cocker spaniels
Rachel and Chris’ Woodhall Manor wedding in Suffolk was a lot of fun not least because they brought along their 3 lovely dogs! I love dogs at weddings! I’ve mixed the order of these photos so that you can get a good spread of the dog-cuteness as you scroll through. Rachel and Chris were kind enough to answer a few questions about themselves and their wedding. Check out their wedding story below…
How did you guys meet?
We both grew up in Suffolk villages and both joined Essex Police at the same time- we were on the same intake at the training centre in Chelmsford and instantly hit it off. We were both travelling together from Ipswich meaning lots of time to get to know each other along the A12 corridor, the odd traffic jam meant a few long hours in the car discussing anything, everything and beyond!
Tell me a bit about yourselves
Chris grew up in Martlesham Heath, a village on the outskirts of Ipswich. He spent his days out playing sports, cycling and at the river in Woodbridge. Chris went into his family business of carpets and flooring, and has since set up in business on his own following the closure of the family company. In between this he also joined Essex Police as a Police Officer and met me along the way, we are now both running the flooring company together after a few years in the Police.
I grew up in Copdock, a village also on the outskirts of Ipswich. I spent my childhood climbing trees, getting muddy and collecting worms! I followed my Dad’s footsteps into an early career in the Police, having joined Suffolk Constabulary at 19 years of age. I then moved onto Essex and met Chris, and the rest is history!
We both love the outdoors, and spend most of our weekends walking in the Suffolk countryside with our 3 cocker spaniels (who also attended our wedding!)
How did the proposal go down?
Chris had the proposal planned for a few months (unbeknown to me), a place where we dog walked a lot when we first met, Sutton Heath, part of an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty along the Suffolk Coast. It was a lovely sunny day and he got down on one knee at the end of the walk, popping out from the trees was a photographer (ed – not me though… what were you thinking Chris?!) to snap the moment, I couldn’t believe what was happening! I like to think nothing gets by me and this took me totally by surprise, needless to say- I said yes! Following this Chris had arranged to meet our parents for a meal and some bubbly at our favourite local pub, The Turks Head at Hasketon.
How did you choose your wedding venue?
We viewed a couple of venues and as soon as we walked into Woodhall Manor at Sutton we knew straight away this was the venue for us, the added bonus was that they allowed dogs at the venue – a sure fire winner for us! Woodhall Manor was also opposite where we got engaged, it felt like it was falling into place and was meant to be. Woodhall certainly had the wow factor!
They also had the option of hiring the manor house for the night so we could have our closest family and guests stay the night too. Everything from start to finish, the personal wedding planner, to the day itself, the food (all in-house and outstanding) far surpassed our expectations. Our 3 lovely cocker spaniels stayed the night with us too so we had our first dog walk as Mr & Mrs within the grounds of the property, something we’ll always remember.
What sort of experience did you want your guests to have?
We wanted our guests to have a blast, be entertained and well fed! We had music throughout the day, with a few acoustic sets from the Groovetails and then a BBQ for our wedding breakfast- keeping it very relaxed! The Groovetails again banging out the tunes in the evening, with most people making it onto the dancefloor to cut some shapes with us.
Can you describe some of the details and stylings, did your wedding have a theme?
Our theme was a mixture of Suffolk and dogs, keeping it relaxed and bringing the outdoors inside with indoor trees and planters. Our table decorations included a dog theme, with pictures of our pooches with table numbers and donations to the Blue Cross for the wedding favours! Keeping it relaxed we had a photo booth, sweet stand, lemonade stand and garden games; plenty of opportunity for people to mingle and keep busy. The outdoor theme continued into the evening with an outdoor pizza oven for all guests to enjoy.
What was your best decision during the wedding planning?
Picking a venue where our three cocker spaniels could celebrate with us! Also, having a live band- it rocked!
What was the hardest decision?
Trying to choose what to have and not to have as there are so many great wedding suppliers, we narrowed it down by sticking to the outdoor theme and by making sure we got what we wanted out of our wedding day!
What were your favourite memories of the day?
There are too many to mention, the ceremony, the food, the pictures out in the field with our dogs, our first dance, bacon rolls at midnight! Mainly though, seeing everyone that is close to us within the same room and enjoying that moment first entering the dining room as husband and wife, it’s not often you get to see and tell your family and friends how much they mean to you.
What advice would you have for any couples planning their wedding?
Take time to make decisions with just the two of you as it’s your day. Once decisions are made and you are a few days away from your wedding, take some time to relax as what will be will be, we went for a spa day together a few days before- switching phones off and enjoyed some relaxed time.
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 Woodhall Manor Wedding Photographer, or a wedding photographer for anywhere in the UK or further afield, please do get in touch!