Zoe and Sammy’s love story first started when they met at work and bonded over their mutual love of food and drink – they quickly realised they had a lot in common and made a great team. Zoe says, “Sammy has the most infectious laugh and smells good. It’s impossible not to notice him because he’s so confident and fun.”
Sammy continued, “After we’d been dating for a few months, we wrote to each other asking questions about our plans, goals and needs. The similarities and differences in those answers and the compatibility of our personalities confirmed what I already thought, that Zoe was the one I wanted to be with forever.”
After a while, it became apparent that the pair both wanted to take the next step in their relationship and started to discuss marriage. Zoe says, “We both agreed that committing to each other in front of our loved ones was something we wanted to do and that we’d like to be able to call each other husband and wife. We decided then and there and started planning the wedding!”
It was important to the lovebirds that the reception was located somewhere they knew well and was nearby, plus the food had to be great with plenty of space on the dancefloor – Baresca Nottingham was the perfect option! The couple adores the Spanish culture and food and the venue's tapas menu and Barcelona-theme was a great fit.
Zoe says, "We had one of our first meals out together here and have loved their food ever since. It's also the place where we discovered our favourite gin, Puertode Indias, which we grew to love even more on holiday in Malaga old town." The decoration and relaxed vibe were what the pair were looking for and the downstairs Cellar 9 bar was a perfect space for the evening party.
Across the road sits Nottingham Council House where they couple said 'I do'. Zoe says, "We chose the Dining Room because it had plenty of grandeur without being too big for our relatively small ceremony with around 35 people. The option to book theroom for an extra half-hour meant that we had a great indoor location for our more formal group photos, which was important for a February wedding!"
For favours, guests were given hand-painted chocolate bonbons, which matched the wedding cake flavour of passion fruit white chocolate ganache and strawberry jam.
The centrepieces were created by Zoe using gorgeous faux eucalyptus garlands and peonies with fairylights in the middle. Place names were written using a rose gold felt tip on navy blue cards, which matched with other décor and invitations.
To be able to keep the bouquets after the wedding day, silk flowers were used and as the wedding took place in February, peonies were out of season, which was what the pair wanted. This way they could make this possible and went with blush, burgundy and mauve tones to match the bridesmaids' dresses – greenery was added to make the overall look more natural. The talented florist also put together a flower crown for Sammy's daughter Mila, corsages for the mums, and buttonholes for the groomsmen and dads.
When it came to transport, the lovebirds walked everywhere! Zoe says, "Sammy and his group of close friends and family went for brunch in town on the morning of the wedding and me and the bridesmaids got ready at the local Lace Market Hotel, which meant that everyone was within a five-minute walk of each of the venues. Our photographer got some fantastic photos of Sammy and the boys during their walk across town."
Amazing tapas was served up for the wedding breakfast and included Pedro Ximenez beef, chorizo in red wine, flatbreads, halloumi and more. Zoe comments: "Baresca were great with dietary requirements and made sure all our guests were looked after; this was especially important to us as we had a few severe allergies in the group!"
When it came to finding the one, the bride-to-be fell in love with a Thalia dress. To make it even more special she had the mesh removed and then added spaghetti straps.
To keep warm, Zoe opted for a fur wrap and finished off the look with statement earrings, which were marquise-shaped crystals and a simple marquise crystal necklace.
Zoe says, "I had honestly never felt more beautiful, it was strange to finally be ready after all the preparations over the few days leading up to the wedding – final hair appointments, tanning, waxing, getting my nails done, pampering my skin and practising my make-up.
I was also so in love with my hair! My hairdresser, Shani, did the most amazing job with intricate curls and twists and the flowers."
Sammy wore a navy three-piece suit and white shirt with a pink tie and matching floral pocket square to match the ribbons on the bride's and bridesmaids' bouquets. All the other groomsmen picked their suits according to the desired navy colour palette and had matching ties and pocket squares.
The bridesmaids wore plum coloured midi-dresses with eyelash lace details and the maid-of-honour wore a dress in the same fabric and style in a mauve hue. Sammy's mum made a dress from the same fabric for the littlest bridesmaid, Sammy's daughter.
Zoe says: "I was just really excited and couldn't stop smiling all day! The lead up to the ceremony felt a bit surreal, but when I saw Sammy waiting, everything fell into place." Sammy was nervous until he laid eyes on his other half walking down the aisle. He says: "Turning around and seeing Zoe for the first time on the day stood out for me, she was so beautiful and happy. Another moment that stands out was walking through Nottingham city centre on a Saturday afternoon with Zoe in her wedding dress. It was weird – everyone we walked past clapped, cheered or congratulated us."
Getting ready in the morning was such a lovely moment for Zoe, being surrounded by bridesmaids and the excitement of what was about to come will be a moment treasured forever. She says: "The speeches are my favourite part of any wedding, so I was naturally very excited for ours, and our family and friends went above and beyond. The words from my dad, mum, the bridesmaids, my maid-of-honour, and two of the groomsmen had us in stitches and tears in equal measure."
The newlyweds soaked up all the culture and food in Mexico for their honeymoon. Zoe says: "We had the most amazing trip to Mexico, where we went to two of the top 50 restaurants in the world, Pujol and Quintonil! Our highlights included a taco tour and visiting Xochimilco – a network of canals where you can hire brightly coloured boats and take a tour while shopping from other little boat stalls that sell everything from flowercrowns to beer." The second half of the trip took place at a relaxing all inclusive resort in Riviera Maya. Zoe and Sammy spent time relaxing on the beaches, at the pool and on catamarans.
Here the couple share their top tips. Zoe says: "Creating a shared spreadsheet for the budget helped us make sure we were on track with savings and know where we had to cut back if required. There will also be some unexpected things that you can't plan for, like the price of precious metal increasing! When we created the budget, we put an amount in forrings, then when we went to order, Palladium prices had gone up by over 60 per cent! Luckily, we were flexible and found some that fit our budget." She continues: "On the day itself, try to find some quiet moments to be present, as the whole thing will go by so fast, and remember to eat!"