Rebecca and Sean’s New Year’s Eve wedding

Hemswell Court, Lincolnshire.

Rebecca and Sean – Sixth-form Sweethearts


Photographer: Sally Faulkner


The Couple

When Rebecca Heald returned to her home town of Lincoln, six years after she had left to live abroad, she never imagined she would get back together with her sixth-form boyfriend, Sean Flannery.

“We hadn’t spoken for years, but we met up and the rest is history!” says Rebecca. Sean proposed in a restaurant in Florence, which was so tightly packed he had to follow Rebecca to the toilet just to get her on her own. “We laugh about it now,” says Rebecca. “How romantic – on one knee outside the loo!” The couple married at the church of the school in which they met, St Peter & Paul’s, Lincoln, on New Year’s Eve 2008, followed by an evening reception at Hemswell Court.

Rebecca and Sean – The Ceremony


The Ceremony

“We didn’t have to decorate the church much, as the existing Christmas decorations were so lovely – we did add red bows at the end of the aisle though,” says Rebecca. The couple had a nuptial mass with a piano player and soprano who sung as Rebecca walked down the aisle. “It was freezing and very frosty, but it looked beautiful,” says Rebecca.

Rebecca and Sean – The Venue


The Venue

“Hemswell was so perfect, we knew when we saw it that we had to have a winter wedding there!” says Rebecca. “We didn’t want it to be too much of a Christmassy wedding, so we kept it sleek and stylish with a black and white 50s Hollywood theme.”

The couple used classic film stars for their table names and had masses of red roses. Guests were asked to come in ball gowns and tuxedos. Table centrepieces were silver candelabras with red roses wrapped around them, and favours were personalised mini-cava bottles.

Rebecca and Sean – The Dress


The Dress

Rebecca wanted a glam dress to match her Hollywood theme, and her ivory Benjamin Roberts dress from Belle and Bouquet with an ivory fur stole and chapel-length train fitted the bill perfectly.

“The top layer of the skirt came up to reveal a layer of gorgeous lace – I loved it!” she says. “My diamanté shoes were from Bourne and my necklace and earrings were Swarovski. I also wore a diamond bracelet that my Aunty lent me, and a blue pendant from my Mum, which was sewed onto my garter!”

Rebecca and Sean – The Bridemaids


The Bridesmaids

Rebecca’s three bridesmaids wore Raylia black dresses with black gloves, black faux-fur stoles and red shoes, with 40s-style hairdos.

The couple hired a white Bentley from Simply In Love Wedding Cars, which arrived with a bottle of champagne. “It was a lovely touch,” says Rebecca, “and it looked great in photos.”

Rebecca and Sean – The Food


The Food

The couple’s four-tier cake by Cakes By Design had two layers of chocolate and two of carrot cake, with red sugar roses. “We cut it with our wedding gift from one of my bridesmaids – a Vera Wang cake knife,” says Rebecca.

“We didn’t want a roast as it would be too much like Christmas dinner (we thought our guests would be fed up with that!) so the wedding breakfast was winter vegetable soup, steak and ale pie and raspberry crème brulée – delicious!” The couple then served fish and chips, wrapped in the Financial Times, during the evening reception.

Rebecca and Sean – The Entertainment


The Entertainment

After music and dancing from 50s-style band The Hicksville Bombers there was a firework display. “They were amazing, and it was a time for Sean and I to reflect on how wonderful the day was,” says Rebecca.


“At midnight we had a balloon drop with confetti which was magical, and all the guests sang and danced to Auld Lang Syne, which is a memory we’ll have forever.”