Jo and Ben met at the Waveney House Hotel in Beccles where they both worked. She started out as a waitress and went on to run weddings at the hotel, while Ben was, and still is, a chef there. "One of my colleagues suggested asking for his number, I chickened out though, so she asked for me," reveals Jo. Although she says, it 'felt like forever' before she got a ring on her finger, after some persistent nudging, Ben popped the question on December 18th, 2016 while they were out for a walk in Snape. "It's a place with fond childhood memories for me as my parents often used to take my brother and I there," recalls Jo. After they parked up, Jo thought Ben seemed to be acting a little 'shifty' but had no idea what was about to happen. "As we crossed the marshes, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him!" She said 'yes', of course, and couldn't wait to tell her parents, but Ben didn't want her to call them. "I soon found out why because as we walked around the corner, there they were with Ben's mum and dad too. It was such a lovely surprise!"
On the big day Jo arrived in style in a Bentley provided by the venue. She worean Allure Romance full lace, strapless mermaid-style dress with a sweetheart neckline set off with a set of pearls which belonged to Ben's nan. The groom and groomsmen looked the part in grey suits with tweed waistcoats. They all had matching ties, apart from Ben who wore a white one to stand out from the rest. The bridesmaids complemented the warm burgundy colour scheme in multi-way dresses worn in different ways to suit them.
They opted for a rustic theme and Elms Barn was the perfect fit. "It ticked all our boxes and the venue and grounds are gorgeous," says Jo. For the ceremony, the aisle was lit with lanterns which they reused to decorate the barn for the wedding breakfast afterwards. Flickering candlelight added to the romantic atmosphere, with natural touches to reflect the country setting. "We used log slices mounted on a board with trailing ivy for the tableplan and the place names were displayed in pine-cone holders," adds Jo. Burgundy roses with ivy and cream lisianthus echoed the seasonal feel along with miniature bottles of sloe gin as favours.The naked wedding cake had tiers of Victoria and lemon sponge and they used a rustic wooden cart to display photos of loved ones that couldn't be with them on the day.
"We had a couple of entertainers, just to mix it up a little. Joey London of Chevron Disco was great, he doesn't just play music, he also likes to amuse the guests with his quirky personality," says Jo. "We also had a singer, Doug from Quirk Events, who perfomed mostly Motown numbers and got us all up and dancing."Their niece Jessica and Ben's cousin Beth also choreographed and performed a surprise dance for them. "It was a lovely gesture and definitely got emotions running high," recalls Jo.
"My grandad being there was also really special as he'd been very poorly and we weren't sure he'd be ableto make it. He woke up on the wedding morning, saying it was the best he'd felt for ages, he arrived an hour and a half early and stayed up until the very end. Sadly he passed away in January this year, so it's a particularly treasured memory."