Dominic and Samantha's 2020 Micro Wedding at Colehayes Park, Devon

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Mr + Mrs DeBonis

5th August 2020│Colehayes park, Newton Abbot

Instagram: @sasanffa + @tenaciousdouble_d │ Photos: Simon and Kiana Photography

Day 6 of Microwedding Week is Dominic and Samantha's wonderful special day. They tied the knot with a lovely outdoor ceremony, with the bride's best friend as their celebrant. Their wedding was full of DIYs, beautiful flower crowns, an amazing spread of vegan food and so much joy. Due to Covid-19, the bride's Australian family weren't able to join them in person (yay for modern video technology) so she paid homage to them through the eucalyptus in her bouquet. 

Tell us all about your wedding theme...

As far as colour scheme went, I asked my bridesmaids to choose dresses to suit them from a pink/mauve/grey/peach pastel tones. I think they all did very well at envisaging my idea. Flowers wise it was much the same but with a few darks thrown in and plenty of foliage. We decorated the venue with lots of paper lanterns, garlands, flowers and handmade paper decorations, not to mention endless amounts of ribbon. 

  • Something Old: A ring that my mum bought for me, it’s a horseshoe which makes me think of my Nan (who died when I was 8) who always said ‘it’s better to be born lucky than rich’ I also recited this as past of my vows. 
  • Something New: A bracelet that I bought for myself just before the wedding called the ‘shackle bracelet’ I thought it appropriate as it put me in mind of ‘ball & chain’ 
  • Something Borrowed: my daughters socks  
  • Something Blue: plugs (for my stretched ears)  

What was your favourite wedding purchase? 

Definitely my flowers. A friend did them for me. She is an incredible florist, I gave her a basic colour scheme and let her do her thing. The flower crowns were key in my aesthetic. I think she did a beautiful job of incorporating incredible roses (Samantha bridal bouquet) with wild flowers and foliage cut from her garden. Eucalyptus was my only necessity when it came to the flowers to pay homage to my Australian family who couldn’t be there.  

Were there any surprises on the day?

Mother of the bride (Dawn Filler) gave Samantha a gift, a praying hands pendant from the great frog.  

Tell us about your wedding favours...

We decided not to have and wedding favours, because all of the guests were invited to stay with us at the venue for the week although in the gift bags for my bridesmaids was a glass with a hamsa hand on it, which I thought highly appropriate. A necklace with different crystals, appropriate for the individual and a handmade voodoo doll.  

Tell us about the ceremony... 

We had a celebrant perform our ceremony in the gardens at Colehayes Park. It was in an incredibly intimate ceremony and we were very fortunate, the sun shone for us during the ceremony. 

What was your favourite part of the day? 

The ceremony was my favourite part of the day although, I have to say, that was also the part that I was most nervous about. I’m not very good at being the centre of attention and hate public speaking, that and the fact that we’d written our own, very personal, vows made me feel extremely worried. My son walked me down the aisle as my Dad had decided not to attend, my best friend was the celebrant for the day and I was surrounded my the most supportive friends and family. Perfect day. 

What was the most emotional moment of the day? 

The ceremony was beyond a shadow of a doubt the most emotional part of the day, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place once we’d said our vows to each other, in fact, I cried the whole way through mine and had to ask our guests to bear with me on several occasions for me to try and gather myself in order to carry on. My daughter, India, was prepared to jump in and help me out with some of the words should I be unable but I powered on through and I’m glad I was able to say what I felt in front of our beloved friends. 

We are very private people, we both find public displays of affection awkward at times. We have 4 children and very busy lives, our love story is not that of fairy tales but in reality, who’s is? Our guests made a promise to us during our ceremony to support us as individuals and as a couple, just as they always have and it was the most beautiful, personal experience of my life. I have never felt more grateful than I did that day and I will cherish the memories forever.  
Funniest moment of the day: Samantha trying to get through her vows in a mix of emotions and comedy.    
  • Bridal Entrance: Marry Me - Train. What could be more appropriate? 
  • Bridal Exit:  Josh Garrels - Heavens Knife
  • First Dance: Paramore - The only exception

How did you choose your venue? 

After I proposed to Dominic we started looking around the area at venues but we couldn’t find anything that suited. A work colleague told me about a wedding that she had attended a few years previous at Colehayes Park. I immediately arranged a viewing for the following evening. When we saw the house and grounds we were sold! It was exactly what we were looking for.  

Favourite wedding supplier: We only had 2 official wedding suppliers other than our venue which was our amazing photographers, Simon & Kiana Photography and our incredible cake supplier, Emily @ Fig & Fern bakery. Honestly, we were blown away by both so I just don’t think we could choose between them.  

Did you make any Wedding DIYs? 

Most of the wedding was DIY. We were fortunate enough to have a wonderful venue that allowed us to do as much or as little as we wanted. Which, in the current climate was ideal as that allowed us to be able to go ahead with our wedding. When we initially booked Colehayes park it was with the idea of being able to put up our overseas family as the venue sleeps 70 people. So, essentially the whole wedding was DIY from the food to the planning to the decorations.  

Wedding must-have: Cliched as it may sound my wedding must have was incredible friends and family who all pulled together for our wonderful wedding day/week and made it the most magical time of our lives. 

We cooked together, decorated everything, planned, cleaned, played music, danced and generally reminded each other every step of the way  why human contact and interaction are so valuable. We literally could not have done it without them. I have always appreciated my friends and family but never could I have imagined such a beautiful time spent with such cherished friends.  
Advice for future brides… Remember what is important to you. Be grateful for those who surround you and enjoy every moment. 

Is there anything you wish you'd done differently?

Although, obviously, not everyone was able to attend due to Covid-19, no. Nothing. 

Did you have have anything unusual at your wedding? 

Hand sanitizer, one way systems in the house, risk assessments….. the list goes on. Our who’s who guide of guests went down very well and was described as unique and very fun.  

Tell us about the food...

Being both vegan and many of our guests having dietary requirements our food was mostly plant based and gluten free although we did provide meat and dairy options. Our food was freshly prepared and served by guests.  

Tell us about your wedding cake...

We had two cakes, both vegan of course! One was Victoria sponge with fresh strawberries, the other was lemon and pistachio with fresh raspberries both decorated semi naked with dark chocolate drips and plethora of edible flowers.    

Tell us all about the dress… 

The dress was bought from eBay, like a lot of other things I own, it was new with tags and clearly had never been worn. I have expensive taste in many ways (mostly jewellery, tattoos and shoes) but I was quite aware that the dress would only be worn once so I was looking for something reasonably priced and simple as, being tattoed and with dreads, I didn’t want anything too busy. Unfortunately, although the dress was the right size on paper it didn’t fit when it arrived so I was forced to wait until businesses reopened to have it taken in, fortunately 2 days before the wedding it finally fit!   

Tell us about your Honeymoon...

We got married on the Wednesday but stayed at Colehayes Park from Monday-Friday, so, on the Friday morning, before we woke the children we walked down to the lake and sat on the bench swing surrounded by ducks in the glorious sunshine. This was our honeymoon. 

What was your wedding budget – and did you stick to it? 

£8,000. We came in under budget because we couldn’t have our wedding band and food & drink were less than anticipated due to number of guests. 

Best wedding splurge: Our splurge was the venue really, like I said, it was our intention to be able to put as many as our guests up for no cost to themselves and be able to spend a week with them. I think we’ve probably all been to weddings that we have to pay for a B&B for the night or only one of you can drink in order to be able to drive home, I’m sure we’ve all had to pay extortionate prices for a drink so we wanted our guests to not feel like they were unable to come because of finances. As a result we asked our guests to bring their own drinks and provided accommodation for the length of the stay. 

Best wedding planning moment: I think this has to be writing our who’s who wedding guest guide. We thought it would be a good ice breaker to give a brief description of each guest attending to help get people who don’t know each other talking.  

Worst wedding planning moment: Getting married in the middle of a global pandemic! 

What was your first dance song?

Only Exception by Paramore because he is the only exception. We didn’t practice it although it was originally the intention for the eldest 2 children to play/sing it but singing wasn’t allowed at the time so we just had it playing over the PA.


Venue: Colehayes park, Newton Abbot 

Photographer: Simon and Kiana photography 

Stationery: DIY 

Florist: Guest 

Cake: Fig & Fern bakery  

Décor: DIY 

Dress: Ebay 

Shoes: Vans old skool 

Suits: Next 

Rings: The Great Frog  

Celebrant: Friend of the family  

Singer: Taylor Topham

From Brides, With Love xo 

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