Suzannah Varma and Stuart Walker had a relaxed garden party feel for their June wedding
It took a year of meeting for a networking breakfast before Stuart plucked up the courage to ask Suzannah out. “She looked fantastic – even at 6.30am in the morning! Within minutes of the first time I saw her, I turned to my colleague and said ‘I like her’. He replied, ‘You’re here to do business, keep it in your trousers!’” Luckily the attraction was mutual. “He gave me butterflies like when I was a school girl,” says Suzannah.
After a proposal on the Great Wall of China, which was nearly thwarted by the arrival of a group of noisy children, the couple set about planning their summer ceremony. Suzannah favoured a country wedding with a marquee, while Stuart had visions of a festival feel, and Nyland Manor in Cheddar ticked both those boxes, a venue that was found by the groom. “We couldn’t find a place we could agree on, so I told Stuart to choose and tell me when he had booked it,” explains Suzannah. “A deadline was set, with an agreement not to talk about it until then, but a week ahead of schedule Stuart took me to Nyland Manor blindfolded. I was really impressed – the place was perfect for both our needs, and it satisfied the events manager in me who also wanted all the practical elements in place.” Described by Stuart as “a boutique hotel which looks like a manor house,” this venue has gorgeous interior spaces as well as a large patio area leading to a croquet lawn and lake.
With Suzannah being an events manager, it was no surprise that she took charge of the planning. As well as the usual activities you’d expect at a wedding, she and Stuart also treated guests to some fun surprises, such as singing waiters, a magician and a fireworks display. “We wanted the wedding to live long in the memory of all who came by adding little touches to personalise it,” says Stuart. All this attention to detail was definitely appreciated. “People were still talking about the day six months later, which was lovely,” adds Suzannah.
Suzannah’s dress came from Just For You in Bristol, with alterations made by dressmaker Susan Gilby. She combined her grandmother’s pearls with jewellery from Bridezillas and, in a nod to her Indian heritage, wore a traditional red silk veil from India. The bridesmaids also wore a turquoise dupatta with their dresses, which co-ordinated beautifully with Stuart’s tie. In another reference to her heritage, Suzannah also had a traditional henna party with female guests the night before, many of whom then sported intricate designs on their hands and feet.
Stuart finds it hard to choose one favourite moment. “Walking into the marquee as husband and wife, to be greeted by all of our family and friends standing and cheering, will take some beating – I felt very special, and could feel the love in the room. But every time I look through the photos another great memory is triggered.”
Suzannah sums up the day as “overwhelming! The amount of help we had in the run up to the day was overwhelming, the attention that was focused on me on the day was strange and overwhelming and the aftermath was also overwhelming – it’s amazing how much there is still to do after a wedding.” Her favourite moment was dancing all evening. “The focus had shifted from being all on me and the day had gone smoothly, so I could completely relax and do what I love best – I put my Converse on and danced until I couldn’t dance anymore!”