It was mid-April and the lockdown was in full swing. I was still working my day job, but all weddings had been put on hold and I needed something creative to keep me occupied. I wanted to give back to the NHS and show my appreciation for what a wonderful job they were all doing.
I can’t knit or sew so there was no hope in me partaking in any creating scrub activities, so I started to look at my own business and think what I could offer to do with flowers.
I reached out to a few of my friends within the wedding industry and floated the idea of us offering our services for free to an NHS worker. At this stage I didn’t really know what it was going to look like, but everyone was really up for it, so it started with a group of 11 of us. We created an Instagram, started working on building a website and talking about the logistics of running the competition.
On the 14/04/2020 we posted a teaser on the @nhswedding Instagram page, which named the 11 wedding suppliers and stated what we were doing. WELL…. To say the Instagram page exploded would be an understatement, we were bombarded with kind offers from wedding suppliers from all over Essex and beyond, offering their services and wanting to be involved with the giveaway.
Within a few days we had a finalised list of 26 multi-award-winning Essex wedding suppliers, for ease we agreed to refer to ourselves collectively as the ‘Essex Wedding Team’.
The prize was worth a staggering 26K!
Each of the suppliers involved, wanted to show their support for the hard work and dedication of NHS staff during the current health crisis.
The prize includes exclusive use of the stunning Tuffon Hall Vineyard Cellar in Sible
Hedingham, Essex, which will host the stunning ceremony and reception. The catering
will be supplied by The Great Catering Company which has offered canapés and a three-
course meal for up to 70 guests, along with evening food. The entire event will also be
captured perfectly by D&A Photography and Six Eight Video and overseen by the
expertise of One Oake Wedding Planning.
The competition closed on 30th June 2020 with nearly 600 entries. The winners, Natalie Chapman a midwife and her fiancé Mark Bomford, a paramedic were announced the winners at a surprise celebration outside Basildon hospital on Friday 10th July 2020. Natalie and Mark were asked to attend the hospital they both work at because they had been told that they were in the ‘top 3’ and were required for a photograph in their uniforms. Natalie and Mark were under the impression that two other couples were being met and that the winners were going to be announced a few days later.
Unbeknown to them, their family, friends and colleagues were all in on the surprise and gathered at the hospital too for the celebration.
The wedding was due to take place in March 2021 at the stunning Tuffon Hall Vineyard, however, its looking likely to be postponed to 2022 due to the latest restrictions on weddings.
The full list of suppliers includes:
Venue - Tuffon Hall Vineyard
Photography - D&A Photography
Videography – Six Eight Video
Florist - Rose Decor Styling
Wedding Planning – One Oake Weddings
Catering – The Great Catering Company
Hair – Bridal Hair by Jennie
Make-up – Elaine Marie Make-up
DJ & Lighting – Dreamwave DJ’s/Events