COMPETITION: Duo won £15,000 reception
A LOVING couple’s wedding dreams came true as they tied the knot in sophisticated style. Hannah Stephenson and Will Lay enjoyed a lavish ceremony with family and friends at Seckford Hall after winning a £15,000 reception last November.
Hannah’s grandmother, Sheila Graham, had secretly entered them in the B&G magazine/ Seckford Hall Hotel draw and they were delighted to find out they had been chosen from hundreds of entries. Student nurse Hannah, 20, and farm worker Will, 26, arrived in style at Seckford Hall yesterday on a decked-out tractor. They were greeted by eager well-wishers waiting to kick-off a spectacular party. “Everything is just perfect,” said Hannah. “We’ve got so many little extra things that we wanted but otherwise might not have afforded.”
The highlight of the reception for Hannah was a magnificent chocolate fountain – just one of the many features they could look forward to on the day. Hannah and Will exchanged vows at Gosbeck Church, where Will’s mother, who sadly lost a battle with cancer 18 months ago, is buried. After the ceremony almost 100 people arrived at the hotel to congratulate them, with more expected to turn up throughout the afternoon and into the evening.
The couple knew only two days before the draw that they were among the last 10 finalists in with a chance of winning a dream wedding, and they were stunned to be pulled out of the hat. Will, who works at Gosbeck Hall Farm, said: “It was a complete shock. We were amazed to be chosen.” Seckford Hall sales and marketing manager Sonia Colchester was also there to greet the couple. She said: “It’s a joy to have them here. “We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day and we get to see their lovely story unfold.” After a whirlwind weekend, Hannah and Will are off to the Maldives for their honeymoon.
“COMPETITION: Winning couple can now bring forward marriage plans”
THERE were tears of joy when engaged couple Hannah Stephenson and Will Lay learned they’d won the wedding of their dreams. Unbeknown to the lucky couple, Hannah’s grandmother, Sheila Graham, entered them in the B&G magazine/Seckford Hall Hotel £15,000 wedding competition because she felt they deserved a special wedding.
When they were randomly selected from 10 finalists at a wedding fair held at Seckford Hall on Sunday they were unable to hold back the tears. For Will, 26, a farm worker at Gosbeck Hall Farm, Gosbeck, the moment was particularly emotional as he recently lost his mother to cancer.
“He was very close to his mum,” said Hannah, “and he’s still grieving.” Hannah, 20, a student nurse on Bergholt children’s ward at Ipswich Hospital, was absolutely thrilled with her win, especially as she had only been told two days before the event that she and William had been entered in the competition. “I’m totally shocked,” she said. “My jaw hurts from smiling.”
Hannah and Will met at Gosbeck Hall Farm in December 2006. Hannah was a babysitter for relatives of the farm’s owners and got talking to Will while she was on an outing to the farm with one of her young charges. “He was working in the piggery, we got talking and it just went from there,” she said.The couple were planning to marry in 2011, but will now bring the event forward to next year. Winning the competition, said Hannah, would enable them to invite friends as well as family and have the wedding they really want.
“We’re thrilled,” she said. “When we knew we’d won we were so excited we couldn’t talk. Mum and Dad are really excited too.” Hannah and Will plan to take part in a swim at Felixstowe this Christmas to raise money for St Elizabeth Hospice, which cared for Will’s mother at the end of her life.
The couple were presented with their £15,000 wedding prize by Charlotte Smith-Jarvis, editor of B&G magazine, which is published by the East Anglian Daily Times. The whole family were with them as the announcement was made, including proud Sheila, who nominated the couple and struggled to fight back the tears.
Also there to congratulate the pair was the management team from Seckford Hall Hotel, which will provide the venue and catering for their wedding, as well as the many Suffolk-based wedding providers who will be contributing to the prize and who will share their big day.
B&G editor Ms Smith-Jarvis said: “I was so happy to be able to give this prize to such a deserving couple. Their reaction made the moment priceless, and I can’t wait to hear all about their wedding day. The whole team at B&G and the East Anglian Daily Times wishes them all the best for their future together.”
B&G magazine is on sale at newsagents and selected supermarkets, offers couples getting married in Suffolk information, advice and ideas about arranging their big day. The magazine will follow Hannah and Will’s wedding in future issues and online at a new website due to be launched this month.