Jenna Cook (28) and Aaron Brown (27) are tying the knot at Hylands House, Essex, in April, following a two and half year courtship that has not been all plain sailing. The couple has a remarkably strong bond, are extensive travellers and met on the daily commute to work.
“This was in June 2012, although we didn’t start dating until the October. After some weeks of getting the train together he finally said hello to me as the train pulled up in London. Since then, we have spoken every day”, said Jenna. “From our first date onwards, we knew we had something very special”. For very strong reasons, Jenna had cancelled four dates before going ahead. “We had built up a very good friendship before having a relationship and still to this day, we think this is why it works, and works incredibly well.
“When Aaron entered my life, he was taking on a big challenge”, continues Jenna. “My Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, which has become terminal. I am an only child and so life was extremely sad and difficult. To let someone into your life at that stage means they have to be an exceptional person.”
In their first year together, Aaron planned lots of holidays including travelling to Mexico to help Jenna deal with the constant worry of cancer, hospitals and of taking care of someone you love greatly. A further challenge was ahead though, as Jenna found a lump in her breast and had to undergo surgery to remove lymph nodes. “I am not sure where I would be now if Aaron hadn’t come into my life.”
A World Adventure at Hylands
Hylands is already a special place for Jenna and Aaron. Jenna does a lot of charity work and did the ‘Race for Life’ on behalf of Cancer UK in the Park there. Hylands was also used as the romantic setting for when Aaron asked Jenna’s parents for their blessing in regard to the marriage.
With 120 day guests and an additional 150 people in the evening, the couple are using the magnificent red and gold Banqueting Room in Hylands House for the wedding reception drinks and the new Grand Pavilion for the wedding breakfast. Jenna will take advantage of the serene Bridal Suite for her and her party to get ready in on the day.
“The staff at Hylands House are very helpful and have answered all my questions along the way” said Jenna, ”the booking process was easy and I am looking forward to my day there.”
The Banqueting Room is lavishly decorated with 24 carat gold leaf swag and scroll decorations, silk lined walls and hand painted wall motifs and completing the luxurious look is a French marble fireplace. There are floor-to-ceiling windows to let the light stream in and give a stunning view of the back lawn, parkland and Serpentine Lake beyond. The Grand Pavilion has sparkling chandeliers and ivory drapes, a stunning bar, PA sound system and atmospheric mood lighting. Guests enjoy private views of the courtyard garden with steps leading to romantic walks in the Pleasure Gardens and landscaped parkland beyond.
“We are basing our wedding on a very typical traditional family orientated one”, said Jenna “but with our own little stamp on it.” Every table is named after the places in the world which Aaron and Jenna travelled to during their first year together. “There are suitcases where people can put their cards and gifts and also a crate of flip flops so if the ladies feet are sore they can pop these on instead.”
The wedding dress is a traditional one, bought by Jenna’s Grandmother. Charlotte, Aaron’s sister is the Bridesmaid and will be dressed in pastel pink. Aaron’s brother David is the Best Man and there is a Pageboy and four Ushers. They will all be wearing Navy Suits and pastel pink socks. “We chose pastel pink to reflect back to Breast Cancer Care” said Jenna.
The food will be traditional fayre consisting of the families’ favourites and includes Prawn Cocktail, Soup, Sausage and Mash, Fish and Chips, Profiteroles and Cheesecake. There’s a sweet cart too, planned and personalised by Jenna herself, who has a very sweet tooth!
Jenna and Aaron’s wedding day is even more poignant than most. Aaron proposed in Venice in October 2014. “My engagement ring is engraved with ‘Always and Forever’ with a pink diamond on the inside of the band for my Mum, as she won’t always be with me in person but my ring will be” said Jenna. Aaron designed the ring himself.
The wedding ceremony takes place at All Saints Church, Springfield. “Both sets of parents got married in Church, so this feels right” adds Jenna.
The couple will continue their travels, with the next stop being Lanzarote, a familiar place to Jenna.