Written by Laura Bell, Photography by Moongate Productions
Back in boarding school, Jack had fancied Samantha for a few years before the couple were finally introduced by their respective best friends who had been dating at the time. During the 2005 Christmas holidays, Jack’s friend gave him Sam’s e-mail address and after nine days of chatting and webcamming, they grew quite fond of each other. So much so that Sam ditched her boyfriend at the time and the rest is history!
“At school I always thought that it would just be a school thing and then when we made it through Jack’s gap year and went to university at the same time, I realised that I couldn’t imagine life without him,” said Sam, now 27. The couple dated for nine years before Jack proposed on March 28, 2015. Jack knew that his bride-to-be would want to pick out her own ring, so he proposed with a “promise ring”—an aquamarine with two diamonds on either side. “The actual engagement ring is the big brother of the ‘promise ring,’ so Jack got it right!” said Sam.
“I took Sam to Edinburgh as a surprise trip for her 25th birthday,” explained Jack. “I had numerous locations for getting down on one knee but ended up doing it in a spontaneous fashion which is rather unlike me! Firstly, I had hoped to go up Arthur’s Seat but the weather was shocking. The Castle was my next choice, but it was really busy that day and we also stumbled across another couple getting engaged there! My backup was the hotel room as they’d set it up for me with champagne and a chocolate plate with ‘Will you Marry Me?’ written on it. However, walking back through Princes park, under the Castle, we were surrounded by daffodils and all alone. I sat Sam down on a bench, got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. After she said yes, we went back to the hotel and had the champagne followed by a lovely meal at Tom Kitchen’s Michelin-starred restaurant near the coast.”
The bride said she had had an inkling that a proposal was imminent as all her friends suspected he was going to ask, but when it came to it she was very surprised. “He was acting quite strangely all day and barely ate anything (very unlike him),” said Sam. “When it came to it, I was very surprised and extremely happy. I couldn’t have asked for a better proposal.”
The couple decided on a classic Bermudian garden wedding complete with horse and carriage, Bermuda shorts and gold and silver wedding cakes. They used a starfish motif on the invitations, cake and table design with aquamarine blues and pastel pinks as their overall colour palette. However Jack, being from Dorset, England, incorporated a bit of his heritage into the day as well, incorporating the London Underground map into their décor. With the reception planned at Sam’s uncle’s house in Orange Valley (originally her grandparents’ house), the bride and her bridesmaids opted to get ready there.
“I got ready in my grandmother’s old bedroom at my uncle’s house,” she said. “I was with all my bridesmaids and my parents. This was really special as my grandmother only passed away a couple of years ago. We enjoyed champagne while the girls opened their Bermuda pink sand starfish necklaces from me and I also opened my gifts from Jack.” The groom, on the other hand, got ready with his groomsmen and his father at his brother’s accommodation where they stumbled upon a TV with FIFA 17 connected. Needless to say, a mini tournament was necessary! After a bit of a panic because the minibus was late collecting them, they all headed to the ceremony. Sam and her parents arrived by horse and carriage.
The couple chose to wed at the Old Devonshire Church as it has been the Cox’s local family church for many, many years and several family members had previously been married there—including Sam’s parents. “Ever since I was a child I wanted to get married in the same church as my parents and have the reception in Uncle John’s garden,” said Sam. “Therefore, to actually be able to have my dream wedding was amazing. Old Devonshire Church is also special as it is where my grandmother and other family members are buried. It is a beautiful old church and the fact that it is quite small made the ceremony very intimate.”
Having their ceremony officiated by Bishop Nicolas Dill proved memorable for the couple. “It was funny, light-hearted and serious all in one and had us and our guests in laughter a lot,” said Jack.
The bride wore an ivory cap-sleeved, Chantilly lace gown by Louise Selby while maid of honour Charlotte Ferard and bridesmaids Sarah Palmer, Rosie Walker, Christiana Halliday, Jessica Johnson and Charlotte Moseley wore pastel blue Ted Baker dresses. Despite being from England, the groom was keen to dress traditionally Bermudian, and wore pink Bermuda shorts from the English Sports Shop and a navy blazer from Roderick Charles. The groomsmen, who included best man Harry Walker and groomsmen James Cox, Angus MacRae, Ben Smytheman and Josh Elliott, dressed similarly and wore TM Lewin ties with a fish motif with Bermuda longtail belts, while Jack wore a Roderick Charles sea horse tie. “Apparently sea horses mate for life so I thought it was appropriate!” said Jack.
After the ceremony, the couple left in the same horse and carriage to head to the reception. “I enjoyed having time with just Sam on the way back from the church enjoying champagne in the carriage,” said Jack. “We were told beforehand to take ourselves off and have some private time to savour our wedding day. We made sure we did this, as often that is something that the bride and groom regret not doing.”
Catered by Fourways, the reception featured a four-course meal under a marquee tent decorated by Starla Williams and Sam’s aunt Susanna Halliday who did all the foliage, even creating palm trees out of the tent poles. Guests were entertained during the cocktail hour with a steel pan drummer, canapés, champagne and garden games. The dinner was followed by speeches and a surprise for the bride.
“My dad’s speech was particularly special,” said Sam, “but the biggest surprise for me was Jack singing a song for me with his brother as part of his speech. I had no idea they were planning this, so was shocked to find him on stage! The song was amazing and definitely had me (and many of our guests) in tears by the end.” The couple and their 150 guests then enjoyed dancing to the Kennel Boys until the wee hours of the morning. The next day, cousin Will Cox hosted a post-wedding barbeque after which the couple flew to Miami for a mini-honeymoon. The proper honeymoon is going to be two weeks’ travelling in Thailand later this year.
When asked what they wished they had known beforehand, both said they wished they had had more faith that everything was going to work out OK no matter what happened—including Hurricane Nicole. “I wish I’d trusted my dad when he said ‘everything will be alright,’” said Sam. “Hurricane Nicole hitting Bermuda two weeks before the wedding definitely panicked me but as he said everything turned out beautifully!”
Jack agreed. He said his wish would have been “to trust everyone that everything will be okay on the day whatever happens. Also, to have known that weddings are a huge project and require a lot of work and organisation!”
“The day was honestly perfect and just how I had imagined it would be,” concluded Sam.