Inside My Wedding: See inside NI couple’s stunning and intimate day at The Loft, Templepatrick

A Newtownabbey couple have shared a look inside their intimate humanist wedding day at The Loft in Templepatrick.

Sarah and Sam Craig met back when they were 16 and came across each other again on Tinder six years ago.

In Be ‘s weekly feature Inside My Wedding, couples are delving into their special day to give bride and grooms-to-be some top tips.

The pair got engaged on August 28, 2020, the fourth anniversary of their first date, and got married on December 20, 2021.

36 of their closest friends and family went to the “laid back occasion”, with more friends attending in the evening to help the newlyweds celebrate.

Sarah has told all about their big day!

Sarah and Sam

How did you begin planning your wedding?

We originally booked to get married on 28th August 2022 but due to some personal circumstances we decided to reduce the numbers and move the whole thing forward to December. This was funny because while the rest of the world were postponing their weddings because of Covid, we just couldn’t wait and moved everything forward.

We knew we wanted The Rabbit because of its stunning décor and rooms, and it was close by for our guests to travel to. It also had the sentiment of where we had our first kiss all those years before when it was The Templeton.

We planned the wedding in 12 weeks and were very aware that it was just before Christmas, so we wanted to reduce the cost for our guests as much as possible. After confirming the venue, the next thing on the list was the dresses because it was such a short turnaround time.

The Craigs

How did you decide on the venue?

The team at The Rabbit and the events staff at The Loft were absolutely amazing. They went above and beyond for us, changed plans with us and were very supportive. The service they gave us, particularly on the day of the wedding, was phenomenal.

Tell us all about your wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses and suits.

My dress was the biggest challenge because a lot of designers have a six month wait when ordering dresses. I knew exactly the style I wanted and the lovely ladies at La Boda in Banbridge were able to find me one that was in stock – it just felt like fate.

The bridesmaid dresses were ordered from Next. My maid of honour was in Abu Dhabi and one of my bridesmaids was in New York until a few days before the wedding. We really trusted our dress maker Kelly Black Designs, who was able to alter the dresses at the last minute.

The wedding party

She also custom-made my flower girls dress to incorporate elements of my dress and the bridesmaid dresses. It was absolutely perfect.

Sam’s tux was from Bogart Menswear and we ordered the best man (who lived in Australia at the time), the father of the groom and father of the bride suits from Marks and Spencer. There was a few back and forwarding to exchange sizes once we got everyone in the same country, but it wasn’t too stressful.

What was the best part in the build up to your day?

I loved all of the planning and I made a lot of the wedding favours and signage etc myself, as well as some personal little touches which I found very therapeutic. I never felt under pressure or stressed, and I think that’s because we only had three months, so decisions were made quickly and there was no time to change our minds.

The happy couple

What was the best moment of your day and your other favourite parts?

Both of our favourite parts was seeing each other on the aisle. We had a humanist ceremony and literally tied the knot with hand fastenings. Sam chose a traditional tartan of his family name and I had a sparkly material. Both of which represented who we are as people and the mixture of the materials coming together was really special.

The Loft also seated us all around one large banquet table for the meal and it was beautiful to have our first meal as a married couple with all the people who mean the most to us.

The bride

I hired the Singers Secreto ‘singing waiters’ for the dinner as a surprise for Sam. Watching that footage back is some of the best money I’ve ever spent. They got everyone up dancing and really ensured everyone was having a good time.

What would you tell other bride and grooms to plan first & what are your top tips?

Get your venue sorted and the person who you want to marry you, then everything else will start to fall into place. Don’t worry or panic about anything and remember at the end of the day you are getting to marry the person you love most in the world. Something will probably go wrong or not to plan, so if you recognise that you’ll not be too disheartened if it does.

Wedding rings

And if it doesn’t, it’s a bonus! Also, I highly recommend getting a videographer to capture your day. Ours melted into the background but captured some amazing footage that we will treasure.

Did you come across any difficulties?

We didn’t come across too many obstacles.

Obviously planning in such a short time meant that some of our first choice vendors were unavailable, but actually looking back I wouldn’t change that at all because I feel like the team of people we had at our day were absolutely perfect.

Sarah and Sam with guests at The Loft

Our photographer (Little Big Photography) and videographer (JCG videography) are fairly new to the wedding scene but they both gave us so much attention to detail, probably more so than some well-established companies. They were absolutely outstanding. I would really recommend looking out for vendors who are just starting out and who are passionate about their craft.

What was your theme?

In terms of colours, our theme was sage green, white and gold. The vibe was very relaxed. We just wanted our guests to be comfortable, well-entertained and provided with plenty of food and drinks. That evening we had around 80 people for a party.

It was perfect – because we had spent the day with our families, we then had more time to speak to our evening guests and spent most of the night on the dancefloor. Our DJ (Jonny Seeds) did an amazing job of making sure it was full from start to finish.

The groom

Would you do anything different or wish there was anything you didn’t worry about?

No, our day was perfect for us. Everyone says it goes in so quickly and it really does.

Did Covid change your plans?

We had a few guests who had contracted Covid and were unable to attend the wedding unfortunately. Omicron variant was relatively new at the time, so it did cause us a bit of worry on the lead up as to whether there would be any additional measures brought in etc – but we managed to escape these.

Do you want to tell us all about your wedding day? Email to be featured!

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