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We were so excited to reopen our doors again on Monday 12 April and be back doing what we love! We will never forget our first wedding of 2021 after all these months of being closed. Congratulations to Samantha and Matt, we were so honoured to host your beautiful wedding ceremony and can’t wait to see you back here soon for a big celebratory party. Here Samantha and Matt talk about their long-awaited intimate wedding day…

Can you tell us about the changes you had to make to your wedding as a result of the pandemic?

We had originally booked our wedding day for 8th August last year, then postponed to 11th April. Then when the announcement came out about stage 2 of the roadmap potentially being on 12th, we postponed by 24 hours so we could have more guests. Our guest list was condensed from around 80 to just 12 people. Our bridal and groom party arrangement had to change too – Matt’s best man lives in Australia so obviously he couldn’t come, and Sam’s bridesmaids couldn’t be there to get ready with her in the morning due to being in different households.

Despite not being what you had originally planned, was your wedding day as special and memorable as you dreamed it would be?

Absolutely! Although, it wasn’t what we had originally planned, we think our ceremony and drinks reception was even more memorable than expected. Especially as we had not seen the majority of our guests in person since last year!

Did you find any unexpected highlights to holding a smaller wedding? What were they?

Yes – time being the main highlight. Having a smaller wedding meant we could spend more time with each of our guests, and not feel rushed to get around everyone. As we didn’t have an evening party, it meant we also had time after leaving Southend Barns to do our own thing before going to our air b&b. Sam was desperate to walk around Chichester Marina (which is very special to us as this is where Matt proposed 3 years ago) in her wedding dress, so this is what we did!

What were your most memorable moments from your day?

  1. Walking back up the aisle together as Mr and Mrs Kennedy as the sun came out (even though it had snowed earlier that day!). Mr Blue Sky by ELO was always going to be our exit song so the music was perfectly timed to when the sun came out!
  2. Disappearing for a short time with our lovely photographer to the field for some photos. We loved running into the field and also having a private dance to what would have been our first dance song.
  3. Cutting our delicious and beautiful cake out on the lawn in front of all our guests.

Is there any advice you would give to other couples planning an intimate wedding at this time?

We would tell other couples to embrace the smaller numbers because you get to spend one of the most memorable days of your life with the people closest to you, without any fuss! We never even considered having a small intimate wedding, but by having less people, it felt even more special and memorable. Everything was so relaxed, which suited us really well.

How helpful did you find the team when you had to revise your plans and also in ensuring that your celebrations ran smoothly?

The team at Southend Barns have been incredible with every step of the way – from booking back in 2018, to our first planning meeting, to postponing twice and ensuring our wedding day ran smoothly. They also set up a zoom call for our ceremony so all the people who couldn’t be there could still watch us get married. Southend Barns have very kindly let us split our ceremony and reception and we are still going to have the planned meal and party next year with all of our friends and family!

Photo by @sophiejanephotoandfilm

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