Everyone’s a winner

PUBLISHED: 14:55 26 September 2014 | UPDATED: 14:55 26 September 2014

Special day: Ian Aitken and Tanya Howett on their wedding day at Seckford Hall

Special day: Ian Aitken and Tanya Howett on their wedding day at Seckford Hall


Braintree’s Tanya Howett and Ian Aitken were lucky enough to win a competition to have their wedding courtesy of the East Anglian Daily Times. Here Tanya shares some of her experiences of the big day

Special day: Ian Aitken and Tanya Howett on their wedding day at Seckford HallSpecial day: Ian Aitken and Tanya Howett on their wedding day at Seckford Hall

Tell us a bit about you and Ian

Ian and I met at school and parted ways unexpectedly for several years. But when I moved back to my home town, Braintree, 10 years ago, I bumped into him in a bar and we fell back in love with each other instantly. We have been together ever since. He is a fantastic father to our two children and a gorgeous husband.

Special day: Ian Aitken and Tanya Howett on their wedding day at Seckford Hall  
The bride and her bridesmaidsSpecial day: Ian Aitken and Tanya Howett on their wedding day at Seckford Hall The bride and her bridesmaids

The proposal

Ian took me to Paris for the weekend last year. We spent a lot of time seeing the sights, eating and drinking the local food and drink, it was a lot of fun. Ian made plans to take me to the top of the Eiffel Tower on the Saturday. Once at the top he followed me round the top floor while I was taking photos, looking very nervous. It still didn’t occur to me what he had planned! He took my hand and made me stop in my tracks, he started to tell me how much he loved me; how he couldn’t imagine his life without me and before I knew it, he was on one knee. But when he opened the ring box, the ring jumped out of the box, hit the floor and was rolling to the edge of the platform. With a ‘noooooooo’ slow motion moment, Ian grabbed the ring and the panic was over. I think I replied, ‘Yes. Yes, of course. Put it on my finger before anything else happens!’


Planning was quick, as I knew my sister was back from the US (where she currently lives) in June and July to get married herself. It was so important to us that she was there on our day. July 1 was the only date available for everyone. We won a prize to have our wedding provided for us through the East Anglian Daily Times newspaper. Therefore from the moment we won we had three weeks to plan. Everyone was incredible, very caring and considerate and catered for our needs. It all went very smoothly, I couldn’t have asked for better.

The dress

The dress was a strapped, plain white ivory dress, with a long train, lovely beading around the middle and a lace tie at the back. It was very elegant and classy. I knew it was ‘the one’ when I came out of the changing room and was greeted by my mother in tears. ‘Oh,’ she sighed. The dress was the second one I tried on at Suffolk Bridal, so the whole experience was quick and easy.

The suits

Ian chose the suites but knew what style he wanted anyway. Coes were great considering we decided to change the cravat and handkerchief at the last moment. We were going to go with ivory but changed to pink and I am so pleased we decided to change, as I think it worked better with the colour scheme.

The hair and make-up

Flawless and Saxby’s were fantastic and completely guided me throughout. They listened to my ideas and they both made a lot of time for me and didn’t rush me at all. Jason at Saxby’s was absolutely brilliant. My hair looked stunning and my make-up was, well, flawless.

The ceremony

Seckford Hall was the most amazing place, we really couldn’t have wished for a better setting for our wedding. The catering was also very good. The food came out on time and was of a very high standard. The waiters and toastmaster were very considerate and organised. The cake was very elegant and beautiful too. Amelia’s Kitchen did a fantastic job and it was very, very tasty.

Tell us about the flowers

The flowers again were outstanding — Mytle and Mint were fabulous I was unsure what I wanted and had already spoken to my mum about the colours and flowers I liked. When arriving at the shop, they completely catered and understood my needs. They came up with a fantastic idea, using the whole pennie as the bridesmaid bouquet, which worked so well. We also wanted to add a Scottish flower in, as Ian has a Scottish heritage, so mum suggested a white thistle. Mytle and Mint were more than happy to include this flower. All the flowers were stunning. I really couldn’t have asked for better.

How was the reception?

The reception was beautiful and a lot of fun. Luckily it was a lovely, warm summer’s evening so we could also make use of the patio and lawn, which the children and adults enjoyed. Everything was in the same location. The DJ created a lovely stand which was very elegant and fitted in well into the setting with baby pink back lighting. While having our first dance, he set up bubbles to flow from the balcony down to where we were dancing.

Are you pleased with your wedding photos?

Abbott Photographer were great and Suzy and Andy were absolutely incredible. They listened to our requests and blended into the background, so half of the time I didn’t know they were there. Andy met with Ian and the groomsmen in the morning and Suzy came to me and the bridesmaids. We wanted lots of natural photos, which they managed to a very high standard.

What are your honeymoon plans?

We are going to Colorado on August 11 to visit my sister for her wedding reception and are hoping to use some time there to make a honeymoon. We are thinking about going to Las Vegas for a few days.

Anything else to add?

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in our wedding day, from the EADT for organising such a fantastic competition to all the suppliers and every single person who made us feel welcome, comfortable and were very helpful.

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