Sandra & David’s fun and relaxed Tunnels Beaches wedding, with Martin Dabek Photography


Sandra & David’s fun and relaxed Tunnels Beaches wedding, with Martin Dabek Photography

Sandra & David’s fun and relaxed Tunnels Beaches wedding, with Martin Dabek Photography

This is epic! After being together for 33 years, Sandra & David tied the knot in 2020. “The pandemic actually made us get married, by thinking more of what really mattered. We never wanted a big wedding, so with limited guests this was perfect… I would say if anyone was planning to get married now just do it, everything happens for a reason. A big party can always be later.

They chose Ilfracombe’s famous Tunnels Beaches and Devon wedding photographer Martin Dabek to capture their day – Martin’s a great friend of English Wedding and were thrilled to read his fabulous review from the happy couple. With two florists and stunning gazebo floral arrangements by Pumpkin and Pye, the styling is fabulous. Sandra’s dress – sustainable as well as breathtaking – is from Queen Bee Bridal.

Tunnels Beaches Wedding Photographer –

Wedding photographer’s website

How did you choose your photographer?

We found Martin on Instagram, & saw many of his photographs showing different & difficult lighting conditions that we knew he would encounter at our intended venue, given the location & the time of year.
His photos all seemed natural & not overly staged, together with an excellent eye for capturing different angles & view points of the big day.
He is based in Bristol, will travel, very fair, easy to talk too, not pushy, a good decent family guy.

Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!

We were extremely pleased with Martin. He has a natural ability to be there but not intrusive in any way. When taking the photos he just merged into the background. He was very friendly, patient, & also listened to any requests we had, never once did we feel rushed even though our time at the venue was limited.
Having the venue by the sea meant at some point we may have got wet going onto the beach. He was prepared for this with a change of clothes which he needed as we went on the beach when the tide was in & the sea was quite rough on the day, and he got caught out with a large wave hitting the rocks and so did I!
The whole family felt very relaxed with Martin around and everyone that has seen our wedding pictures and slideshow have all cried happy tears and have said how emotional the pictures were in which Martin captured on our special day as you can see in our photographs!

If you’re looking for a Tunnels Beaches wedding photographer do check out Martin Dabek Photography!

Videographer details if applicable – and any thoughts for other couples about having a wedding video?

Martin videoed our vows which was great, as our elopement was in the times of restrictions due to covid. With the video other family members could see the service too.
We never thought about videoing the vows, this was his idea, which he said was no trouble to do at all, even though he was taking the photos too!
So magical to have the video.

Tell us about your venue – what made this place special for you?

The venue was Tunnels beaches in Ilfracombe, Devon. We had seen this some 5 years prior on a family holiday, & thought the venue was amazing with its location, the 200 year old carved Tunnels, leading to the private secluded beaches & a tidal pool.
The dramatic coastline & sea backdrop, winter or summer is stunning.
The building itself at Tunnels Beaches is set into the cliff face and has all you require, for the special day. The staff are helpful & attentive without being over bearing. Well organised, & good correspondence/return of emails/calls etc in the lead up to the big day.
After being together for 33 years, the covid pandemic made us think even more that we should get married. Our 4 children & immediate family, was just the exact number to abide to covid restrictions between lockdowns 2 & 3. The venue cost was heavily discounted due to this, & everything just fell into place, as big weddings could not go ahead.
All was planned & arranged in two months!

Did you love wearing your outfits? How was the dress / suit shopping experience?

Trying to find a dress just before the 2nd lockdown was not easy. Having looked about I was fortunate to find Kate. I am not a dress person, so my complete trust was in Kate from Queen Bee Bridal (Mapledurham, Berkshire) in which she was such a professional and I felt at ease straight away.

I did not want to buy new, for both cost & sustainability reasons. Kate sells designer samples & preloved wedding dresses, & also buys back wedding dresses. She has a large stock which are available to take away the same day which was perfect.
After trying various dresses, dress number five was the one, I didn’t want to take it off, I felt amazing in it. The dress I chose needed some slight alterations for a perfect fit, so Kate put me in contact with Victoria at Beaumont Boutique Caversham who undertook the work to a very high standard in lockdown.
My Husband to be was content with a new suit from Next as by this time we were in lockdown again, so online ordering only!

It was nice to see him in a suit for a change rather than his work clothes!

Did you hire a florist? Tell us about any floral amazingness

We had 2 florists, Kate from Queen Bee Bridal (yes again!), who personally made the bouquets for myself & our 3 daughters who were bridesmaids.
Together with the making of the button holes, for the groom, best man ( our son), & father of the bride. All the flowers co-ordinated perfect with all the outfits, amazing!
Kate is a semi retired florist too, but can always be persuaded to assist, 1st class. I’m so glad that you were happy to oblige.
Flowers for the gazebo outside and the arch inside were local to the Tunnels Beaches and were arranged by Pumpkin and Pye, recommended by Tunnels Beaches. They were fantastic flower arrangements both inside & out of the venue by Natasha.

Natasha asked if we had any requirements regarding colours & flower types, which we discussed a brief. We were not disappointed seeing the flowers on the actual day, our brief had been fully met, stunning.
Both Florists were so amazing at their job both with creative minds that are exceptional.

Did you hire a wedding planner?

No wedding planner on this one!! I planned it all, by emails & phone!, except of course trying on the dresses.
Everybody in the link was fantastic, no dragging heels, or delayed responses, they just got on with the job in hand.

As cake lovers here at English Wedding we’d LOVE to know who made your cake, and how delicious it was?

We all love cake, our daughters arranged a local company called Twinkles Cupcakery they found online.
Sam the owner made a great naked layer cake, which she delivered to Tunnels Beaches.
Being middle aged a decent bit of cake & a cup a Tea is the order of the day now! Sam’s cake went down well with all.

Tell us about any special personal touches, or creative projects you made yourselves

Being in covid times, masks were required, so I had personalised matching in colour masks made with initials & the date on. Named ones for the Bride, Groom, Best Man, Bridesmaids, Mother of the Bride and Father of the Bride. These were reversible so could be used after the big day. Confetti cones I made out of brown card & dried saved flower petals from my garden, that I would have used around the house went into these. Our eldest daughter made a wooden heart with the date & our names on to remember the event.
Instead of wedding favours, I put together little wooden boxes with masks, handgel, handmade soap, sisal bag & The Earlsdale homemade candles for the guests

What was your first dance song? Why did you choose it?

Our first dance song was ,Van Morrison – Have I told you Lately

My Husband David chose it as he said the words say it all, he chose all the music for the day, mostly old skool cool!

Wedding rings

For our wedding rings we both had simple design titanium rings from Thomas Williams bespoke Jewellery Wokingham Berkshire. These were handmade at the premises, the whole service was good, & the the rings too.

Local accommodation

Would like to mention The Earlsdale B&B Ifracombe, who we hired the whole accommodation from.
Lewis & James the hosts were fantastic, really friendly, & easy going. Just make yourself completely at home was their words after the initial hello.
Staying there felt like we had stayed there before & they were family. In the evening we had the reception, a fish & chip supper there.
This was supplied & delivered by Maddy’s chippy Ilfracombe (the best in town, we sampled others on our reconnaissance mission!), & for pudding a surprise ‘Earlsdale’ homemade cheesecake. James is a fantastic cook!
This Victorian B&B with its splendid decor, great size rooms, excellent breakfast (& the choice for all ), honesty bar, hot water & welcoming hosts, ……..we would highly recommend to all, & not just for wedding guests. It should be noted that it is an adults only B&B, but as we hired all the rooms our families children were allowed to stay.

Hair & makeup

Hair & Make up for myself & 3 daughters by ZigZags hairdressers Ilfracombe on the morning, just lovely, friendly down to earth & amazing results that lasted.


A1 Taxi Ilfracombe was of great help in both dropping off & picking up from Tunnels Beaches & The Earlsdale. And also assisting with holding the lighting for Martin for our last photo outside Tunnels Beaches.

Favourite wedding suppliers

Bridal Shop :
Dress Alterations:
Flowers at Venue:
Bridal party flowers, brides shoes and accessories:
Rings :
Nails: nailsbylucy, Tilehurst
Hairdressers, Zig Zag:
The Earlsdale B&B:
Face Masks: (Etsy)
Bridesmaid Dresses: Lipsy @ Next
Groom, Best Man & Father of the Bride Suits : Next
Chipshop : Maddy’s Chippy
Taxi: A1 Taxi Ilfracombe

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