They came to Writtle College with a shared love of the countryside and fell in love with each other!
Now Jason Bonney and Becky Studd have tied the knot in a wedding ceremony that incorporated their interest in the outdoors.
Jason, 26, and 23-year-old Becky met while studying a Further Education course in Countryside Management and they now work together as Assistant Rangers on a deer park in Leicestershire.
But it wasn’t quite love at first sight, as Becky recalls: “We both started our Countryside Management course in September 2009 and, actually, it has to be said that we did not get on to begin with! We only started talking to each other when I sent a round robin to all the students asking them not to forget copies of past certificates. However, I sent the text at half six in the morning, and I got a very grouchy reply from a sleepy Jason. I messaged him back, and the rest is history.”
The couple got married at St Mary the Virgin in Jason’s home town of Manuden, on the Essex/Hertfordshire border. It was the last ceremony performed by the Rev Canon Chris Bishop before he retired – who baptised Jason in 1987.
Becky said: “We are both outdoors people, trying to live a simple but good life - think Tom and Barbara Good! – and we tried to incorporate our hobbies and styles into our wedding so the entire day was country-themed.
“The reception was in Clavering Village Hall which we decorated with polka dot bunting. Our ‘wedding car’ was a Willis jeep. Our tables were each named after a tree species and we had a ring of wood from each species in the middle of the tables with a milk jug holding sunflowers, gerberas and lavender. We ate locally-sourced meat and the wedding favours were hessian bags filled with wildflower seeds. The cake was made by Jason's dad, Neil, who also made, from scratch, the flowers around the base of the cake.
“We had several students from Writtle College attend our wedding, as well as two of our tutors - it was great that they came to celebrate with us.”
The couple got engaged in May 2012 after Jason proposed in the park where they work at an old folly named Old John.
Their roles at Bradgate Country Park involve looking after the deer herds, building and maintaining dry stone walls, controlling invasive species such as bracken, tree surgery and public management and relations.
They credit their time at Writtle College with giving them the start they needed in their chosen careers.
Becky, who was originally from Norfolk but lived in Maldon during her time at Writtle, said: “We both enjoyed Writtle very much, me especially. Jason had worked various roles within the countryside sector and had grown up involved in outdoors pursuits. For me, it was a whole new ball park. I loved every minute of my time at Writtle and we both often say that if we could go back and do it all again, we would jump at the chance. Our course was ideal for the careers we wanted to follow. It offered not only the knowledge required, but the practical skill-set preferred by employers.”