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An Exclusive real life wedding - Sam and Laura

Tell us a little on how you met and the proposal:

We met in 2007 out in Southampton, I was with someone else at the time so nothing developed. 3 months later and newly single, I had hired a bar for my 25th Birthday. In walked Sam and I went over to say ‘remember me?’ – to which he answered ‘no!’ Turns out we had mutual friends that evening, so after a bit of investigating Sam’s background, I agreed to go out on a date post my birthday, and the rest, as they say, is history….

As our friend recited in her personal reading on our wedding day – Sam’s always said he needs marriage like he needs a hole in the head, so it was a huge surprise to everyone when 9 years after we met he proposed the day before my 34th birthday. There were a lot of tears (on my part!) We both decided that if we could, we should get married a year later on our 10 year anniversary. We were only one week late!

How did you choose Lainston House as your wedding destination?

With the ceremony taking place in Romsey Abbey we wanted somewhere local but that had an exclusive feel with rustic charm. Lainston was perfect. We didn’t have exclusive use of the house but it certainly felt like we did. Our guests arrived and were directed through to our private drawing room for reception drinks and canapes. Then they were taken out onto the front lawn and through the candle and fairy light lit corridor down to the barn for the wedding breakfast. Separate from the rest of the house, with amazing beams and hundreds of candles, we had the perfect rustic, exclusive venue we were looking for. It was also really important for us keep the party going as long as we could, a lot of other venues we looked at had to finish at 11pm. Filling the accommodation around the barn at Lainston House, we were able to dance into the early hours of the morning – and we certainly did that!

Tell us more about your big day

We didn’t really have a wedding theme, so we asked Laurel Designs to style the venue with flowers from Pomp & Petals and as many candles as they could carry, to really complement the rustic feel of the venue. There were lots of personal touches including a few hand-made chalkboards around the drawing room and barn. The most favoured of all by our guests was the large AT LAST scrabble letters in the drawing room. These were matched with individual wooden scrabble name places for each of the guests in the barn, which proved to be a lot of fun on the tables, coming up with new word combinations – as you can imagine!

Ahead of the wedding the tasting and wine pairing were a definite highlight! Lainston House put us up in a lovely room for the night so that we could really enjoy sampling all the different wines. We enjoyed it so much that we arranged for another stay prior to the wedding to meet the photographer for a few ‘practice’ shots. There were lots of personal touches that made our day special, from being greeted by the staff on arrival with glasses of champagne on hand, to the decoration and congratulations note left in our honeymoon suite. The receptionist even provided us with a toothbrush and toothpaste in the early hours, being the one thing both of us forgot to pack!

Of course the most memorable moment of all was walking down the aisle and walking into our wedding breakfast as Husband and Wife, to the cheers and smiles of all our friends and family.

What tips would you give to a couple starting to make their wedding plans?

Enjoy every moment, including the planning. And choose a photographer and videographer that suits who you are as a couple. Both Sam and I don’t enjoy having our photo taken but knew we wanted to capture the day. Natasha Jay and MoosMovies did this perfectly for us, staying very much in the background and shooting the day as it unfolded. We had a few ‘proper’ shots but at no point were made to feel pushed or rushed (which I have heard can sometimes be the case from other brides). We were so glad we decided to go with both, the highlights video especially helps us relive the day when it seems an age ago – best decision we made.

Photography kindly provided by

Natasha Jay Photography

The Bride and Groom: Sam and Laura Loving
That date: Saturday 7th October 2017
The location: Ceremony at Romsey Abbey and Reception at Lainston House, an Exclusive Hotel
Photographer: Natasha Jay Photography
Videographer: Moos Movies
Flowers: Pomp & Petals and Laurel Designs
Styling: Laurel Designs
Stationery: Laurel Designs
Attire: Brides of Winchester
Make upTaz Bayley Makeup
Rings: Jeremy France Winchester
Band: Hot Shots Professional Covers Band 
Cars: Cathedral Cars

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Lainston House