First up though, their day really was a masterclass in overseas planning. They planned their UK nuptials from the US with great success. The result? A rustic, relaxed and pretty English garden party wedding.
From the seasonal summery pretty flowers to the idyllic outdoor ceremony and marquee reception. I’d be surprised if you don’t fall hook, line and sinker for their day. Look out for stylish attire, garden games and a fantastic wedding favour table to boot.
Beauvale Priory Wedding
We have a strange proposal story I guess! We met whilst both of us were travelling through the Australian Outback. Fast forward a few years when we realised we wanted to be together long-term, we had to pick either England (where Connie is from) or the USA (where Sahar is from).
I was determined not to live in the UK, so that left the USA, which is notoriously hard to get a visa for. The quickest way to get in is to marry an American citizen. So whilst sat at our kitchen table in New Zealand, we decided that’s what we were going to have to do.
Oh so romantic! However, I did get more of a traditional proposal a few years later, on a beautiful sunset-lit beach in St. Lucia.
Our vision was of a stress-free, outdoor wedding surrounded by the gorgeous English countryside. Top priorities for us were lots of gorgeous flowers, good food, a fun atmosphere and plentiful drinks.
We wanted to bring in some traditional elements but also to keep our day true to who we are as a couple.
Our budget was $20,000, which is equal to approximately £16,900. We came in way under budget thanks to all the DIY elements of our day and really prioritising what was important to us.
We knew we wanted the ceremony outdoors from the beginning. This was an important thing for us and guided our choice.
We’re both very relaxed people so we knew that a fancy hall or hotel just wasn’t for us – we were looking for something a little more rustic. I stumbled across The Beauvale Priory after asking for help on a local Facebook page. We Facetimed with one of the family members who runs it and asked my parents to go take a look for us. They sent us pictures and videos, and that’s how we picked our wedding venue without even seeing it until the week of our event!
However we lucked out and everything exceeded our expectations. The location is just stunning, the staff were incredible and they literally made all our dreams come true.
I had casually started looking at wedding dresses 2 years in advance and I kept coming back to the same one at David’s Bridal. I liked the simplicity but also the comfort factor of the dress, I knew I’d be able to wear it all night and enjoy it!
Sahar also took a practical approach to his outfit, wanting to buy something that he could wear for other future events. At Hugo Boss he was able to get a suit that almost fit him perfectly, and then they sent him off to a local tailor to do the finishing touches.
The Ceremony & Music
Because we were already legally married on 1st June 2017, due to visa rules (although we kept it hidden from most people!), we could have the ceremony outdoors and didn’t have to worry about a permanent structure or having a “real” officiant.
We wanted Sahar’s sister, Stav, to be involved in the wedding without being a bridesmaid – and this was the perfect role for her. She’s confident, speaks fluent Hebrew (for our international guests) and managed to wrangle our jumbled but heartfelt words to each other, into the most incredibly personal ceremony ever.
Your Photographer & Filmmaker
Lisa and I had gone on a Girl Guides trip to Mexico in 2009, and even though we hadn’t really kept in touch – I had watched Lisa’s growing photography business and knew there was no one else we’d rather have to capture our special day!
She made everybody instantly comfortable and half the time you didn’t even realise she was there taking photos. The shots she took of us as a couple are stunning, we will never be able to pick a favourite!
The Styling & Decor
It was a very DIY wedding from start to finish. My mum made a lot of the garden games, collected a lot of the bits and pieces we needed, and she also made the delicious wedding cakes.
I did all the flowers myself as I work in the floral industry in the USA. We went for a wildflower style with lots of different flower varieties, colours and textures. I bought some of the more specific flowers from a wholesaler and then purchased DIY buckets from two local flower growers.
I didn’t know what I was mostly getting until a few days before, so I just went with the flow and designed with my heart!
We’re planning to go to Costa Rica in 2024!
For us, it was always going to be more than just a wedding. It was finally letting the secret out to tell everyone we had already been married 5 years!
It was a reunion for people who hadn’t seen each other for so long due to the pandemic. It was a meeting of two families and two cultures coming together. It was an opportunity for us to spend time with almost all our friends and family in one spot.
Advice For Other Couples
Do as much as you can, as early in the planning process as you can! We were doing small tasks a year in advance, just chipping away at the to-do list. It meant that everyone could pretty much relax on the day, as there was nothing left to do!
We learnt a lot from previous weddings we had been guests at to decide on the things we liked and the things we didn’t like. Whether that was the order of the day or smaller details, it really helped us with our planning.
Finally, I would highly recommend going with a venue that organises the food and drinks themselves. Being able to finalise the venue, food and drink at the same time was such a huge weight off our shoulders.
Connie and Sahar, thanks ever so much to you both for sharing your Beauvale Priory wedding story.