A couple who met at school share their special day with Charlotte Pearson.
When Billie Trubridge attended a New Year’s party at Highley Manor as a teenager little did she know that 11 years on it would be her wedding venue.
Billie and Sam Worsey, both 26, met in Spanish class at Warden Park school in Cuckfield when they were 15.
After dating for a while they went their separate ways when school ended.
“We got back together three-and-a-half years ago and it was love at first sight,” Billie beams.
They moved in together and 12 months later, in July 2013, Sam proposed.
“Sam had taken some time off work and we had been doing lots of different activities together,” she recalls. “One morning he suggested going to the top of Ditchling Beacon to watch the sunrise.
“I had never seen a sunrise before so I was really excited.”
But things didn’t exactly go to plan.
“It was so misty when we got there that we couldn’t see a thing,” she laughs. “I was freezing cold and very tired, it wasn’t going well.
“Suddenly Sam gets up and says ‘Look over here. Look at how misty it is’. So I got up and looked, when I turned around he was down on one knee.”
Describing herself as ‘extremely organised’ the couple started planning straight away, opting for a winter wedding on December 29, 2014.
“We knew we wanted to get married in Holy Trinity Church, Cuckfield,” she says. “But the reception venue was more tricky.”
The search began and after visiting a number of different venues Billie’s mum suggested Highley Manor in Balcombe.
“We all fell in love with it,” she smiles. “The people who work there are amazing, nothing is too much trouble.
“You feel at home right away and you can always pop in to look or to check something.
“They were fantastic from start to finish. Banqueting manager Igor is amazing at his job and nothing is too much trouble.
“Having our wedding there meant that a lot of our guests could stay the night, and as you have exclusive use of the manor it’s like your own home,” says Billie.
“The morning after the wedding Sam and I were up early, we watched the sunrise from our balcony, and sneeked downstairs and sat in front of the Christmas tree to take it all in before other guests got up. It was so quiet and the place looked just beautiful with all the decorations.”
Billie chose her dress from Couture and Tiaras in Burgess Hill, and her sister Lottie and friends Abi and Amanda were her bridesmaids.
“They were fantastic at helping me in the morning and during the day,” Billie explains. “They all looked beautiful.”
For Billie one of her favourite parts of the day was the ceremony.
“It was one of the most beautiful parts,” she smiles. “My dad walking me down the aisle, Sam seeing the dress for the first time, saying my vows – it was so magical and an experience we will never forget.
“When the vicar Sandra said ‘I think it is time for the newlyweds to kiss’ a big cheer went up in the church, it was a great moment.”
Looking back Billie’s face lights up when she talks about the day which she says was ‘absolutely beautiful’.
“Everything went smoothly and all the decorations were exactly how I imagined,” she adds. “The people at Highley Manor were incredible.
“One of the best bits was seeing all our loved ones have such a great time.
“In the evening we did sparklers outside on the decking, everyone lit them at the same time and Sam and I stood on the steps to get a good view, it was a really special moment.”
It seems there were many magical moments.
Both Billie’s mum and dad are musical, her dad was in a band called Darts in the 70s who put on an impromptu surprise performance.
Sam and Billie also decided to surprise her dad by having a Darts song called ‘Don’t Let It Fade Away’ as their first dance.
And it didn’t end there.
“Later on a song came on and I recognised the voices – my mum and dad had recorded it especially for us,” she smiles.
“It was a version of the song ‘True Love’ with my mum singing and my dad playing sax. Sam and I got on the dancefloor, it felt like our second first dance it was very emotional.
“We had a magical Christmas, a beautiful wedding and an incredible honeymoon in Mexico. We count ourselves extremely lucky.”
Highley Manor, in Crawley Lane, Balcombe, offers sole and exclusive use for you and your guests from arrival to check out the following day.
For more information, visit www.highleymanor.co.uk
Pictures by www.chelseaweddingphotography.com