Zara and Pete’s Real Wedding at Prestwold Hall | Dottie Photography

Zara And Pete’s Real Wedding At Prestwold Hall | Dottie Photography

A love of travel and vintage chic brought this real wedding to life

Prestwold Hall set the scene for the wedding of Zara and Pete, providing a stunning backdrop for the work of Dottie Photography. Bride Zara shared some words with Buckinghams to shed some light on her beautiful wedding day and the process leading up to the big event.

How did you meet – tell us a little about yourselves?

We met at university in 2005. Pete was in his second year studying Geography, and I (Zara) had just started my Biology degree. Since then we have done a lot of growing up and travelling until we eventually moved in together in 2009, renting a flat in Fulham. 

Tell us about the proposal – where, when, how?

It wasn’t until January 2014 that Pete finally proposed to me, nearly 9 years after we first met! He suggested we go for a walk in central London like we used to when we were at uni. We made our way towards a little spot on the river where we used to sit and chat and, once I’d finished the scotch egg I had insisted on buying just before we got there, Pete surprised me by dropping on to one knee. There was a beautiful vintage diamond ring staring back at me. I was shocked, but of course, I accepted straight away!

How did you find the wedding planning process?

The planning process was great fun if a little stressful at times! We had never appreciated how much time could be spent choosing a font or deciding a specific hue. I really enjoyed being creative and making our ideas come to life.


Hannah & Jonny’s Real Wedding | Paul Massey Photography

Hannah & Jonny’s Real Wedding | Paul Massey Photography

In sickness and in health, a marriage of two doctors 

How did you meet – tell us a little about yourselves?

We met when we were working together as Doctors on Intensive Care at Northampton General Hospital. Jonny is a consultant so he was actually my boss! We were friends for a couple of years before we fell in love!

Tell us about the proposal?

Jonny proposed after we had been living together for about 6 months. We went on Holiday to Jamaica. I had a good idea that Jonny might propose as he wasn’t very subtle about it! I imagined it would be in the evening so had planned every outfit, complete with shoes and jewellery. In fact, Jonny proposed at 9.30am on the first morning, in the Caribbean Sea! It was absolutely perfect and meant we then had the rest of the holiday to celebrate.

How did you find the wedding planning process?

I LOVED it! I’m a bit of a control freak so I had a spreadsheet for everything, but I loved planning it. I even considered changing careers to become a wedding planner once it was over. Jonny may say there were moments where I became a bridezilla, but in general, I think I was quite calm and thoroughly enjoyed planning every aspect of it.

What was your biggest worry?

That something wouldn’t go to plan. Someone once told me ‘Something always goes wrong on the day and the sooner you accept that the sooner you will feel calmer’. So I was so worried something big would go wrong… like the registrars having the wrong date or something. In fact, the only thing that went ‘wrong’, was the day before, the car company rang and said the car we wanted had broken down and had to go in to be fixed. It was meant to be pearlescent cream. They said they could provide the same car in silver and would add in extra champagne, so it worked out perfectly!

How did you manage your budget?

Errrr, I’m not sure we did! We tried to be thrifty where we could. I handmade all of our stationery and we used artificial flowers for the centrepieces. Plus I sing in an 8-piece singing group, so they were happy to provide entertainment whilst we signed the register, for free. But otherwise, we did get a bit carried away! Luckily we have paid it all off now, and it was the best day, so it’s OK!

How did you choose your vendors?

We used a lot of recommendations, such as the hair stylist, makeup artist and flower company. The cake company I found through doing research and the lady offered a really personal touch when designing it, so I loved that. For the photographer, we went to a wedding fair and met Paul Massey at his stand. We took one look at the photos on display and knew we HAD to have him for the wedding!

What made you decide on your venue?

As soon as we arrived at Swancar Farm, we just knew it was where we wanted to get married. My parents used to live in an old farmhouse and it had the same feel so I just thought it was perfect. We liked the fact we would have exclusive use of it and the staff were so helpful and welcoming, especially Hayley our wedding coordinator.


Liz and Stu’s Doddington Hall Real Wedding | Chris Snowden Photography

Liz And Stu’s Doddington Hall Real Wedding | Chris Snowden Photography

A love of Lego and the most beautiful of flowers

Doddington Hall was the perfect backdrop to the wedding of Liz and Stu photographed by Chris Snowden Photography.

How did you meet – tell us a little about yourselves?

We knew each other through mutual friends for a few years before we started dating. Eventually, after some not-so-subtle matchmaking, we finally got together – and thanks to our friend for locking us out of the house and leaving us in the garden until we finally kissed!

How did Stu propose?

Stu surprised me for my birthday with a trip to London. I had no idea where we were going until we were in the car heading South. He’d booked a meal and tickets to see the Lion King. The next morning, during a romantic walk in Kensington Gardens, he got down on one knee and presented me with the most beautiful engagement ring. I’d said yes before he finished asking the question!

How did you find the wedding planning process?

I’ve been lucky enough to be a bridesmaid for four of my friends – who all ended up being my bridesmaids too! This had given me a good idea of what was involved in planning a wedding. As a groom, Stu was very involved as well and we made all the decisions together. Luckily we have similar tastes so we didn’t really disagree on anything – although he did have to stop me going over the top on numerous occasions! It’s very easy to get carried away. I’m a project manager so I had lots of spreadsheets and was quite organised. 

What was the inspiration for your style?

We chose an autumnal theme for our wedding as we both like the time of year and the colours. We started with a colour scheme of deep reds and oranges and we talked this through with our florist, the lovely Rachel from Catkin Flowers. She is based in the gardens at Doddington Hall (our wedding venue) and all the flowers she used were blooms that were growing in the garden at the time of year. We let her decide which flowers to use, so the bouquets were a complete surprise until the day before the wedding. They were more beautiful than we could have imagined and they really worked to tie everything together.

Aside from the flowers the venue itself didn’t need much decoration as it already looked beautiful and was perfect for a traditional country house/garden style wedding. We chose to add some extra touches to show our personalities a little bit. Stu is a big fan of Lego, so we made the place card holders out of Lego bricks, had Lego pieces as table confetti and a Lego themed wedding cake! We also had M&Ms made with a picture of us printed on them – a selfie that we took the night before our engagement.

What made you decide on your venue?

My dad is in a care home and we wanted to be somewhere near enough so that he could attend. It was also nice to go back to my home town for the wedding. We decided early on that we wanted a venue that did everything in one place to keep things simple, and we also needed somewhere that could cater for our 120 guests.

We started looking at hotels but struggled to find somewhere that could accommodate our numbers. In the end, we decided to take a look at Doddington Hall. When we met Justine (the wedding coordinator) she showed us around and we fell in love with the place. It was unique and a real bonus that we were able to have the ceremony in the hall itself, followed by the reception in the Coach House next door. Justine dealt with everything at the venue from the catering to the DJ and left us with nothing to worry about.

There were also cottages on-site so the wedding party and our families could stay for the whole weekend without having to worry about booking hotels.

We couldn’t be happier with the venue and the staff were fantastic the whole weekend. We had the advantage of being able to work with them to set the dining room up the day before the wedding, so I had the reassurance that it was exactly as we wanted it.

What food and drink did you choose?

We had a traditional three-course wedding breakfast and offered our guests a choice of two meals. The Beef was reared at Doddington Hall and most of the ingredients were locally sourced.

We offered prosecco as the welcome drink and provided bottles of wine on the tables to make sure everyone was suitably merry.

In the evening we served a selection of spiced meats.

Our wedding cake was made by a family friend. It consisted of layers of fruit cake, Madeira, Victoria sponge and lemon drizzle. She put dots on the icing and made flowers from icing to look like Lego flowers, all to tie in with the Lego bride and groom on the top of the cake. It was displayed on a keepsake log engraved with our names and the wedding date, provided by Take a Seat.

Most memorable part of the day?

The whole day was memorable to us. It went really quickly but we loved every minute of it. I’d been dreading the first dance as I really am two left feet, but when it came to it I loved it and didn’t want it to end. Looking into my new Husband’s eyes as he led me around the dancefloor was the best feeling.


Rebecca & Craig at Kelham House

Rebecca & Craig At Kelham House

Rebecca & Craig's Wedding Story

We met eight and a half years ago when I was 17 and Craig was 19. We lived just around the corner from each other and got talking in the local pub. Craig proposed to me on the clifftop in Ibiza overlooking a beautiful little beach; it was 2 years before we got married.

It was really important for us to get married in a church and luckily for us our local church is so beautiful and full of history. The vicar was very friendly and made the service personal to us. We wanted a chilled summer wedding so the most important thing for our day was having a venue with plenty of outdoor space so guests could enjoy al fresco drinks in the sunshine. We had visited Kelham House before when we attended a wedding reception and fallen in love with the vast grounds which meant we were able to make the most of the summer weather with lawn games. We also liked how it has been recently updated and there weren’t any patterned carpets like we’d seen in other venues!

We were very lucky in that everything went to plan perfectly! On arrival to Kelham House we had Pimms and canapés; tiger prawns, chicken roulades with sun dried tomato, mini toad in the holes with crispy onions and vegetable won tons with chilli jam. For the wedding breakfast we chose caramelised onion and goats cheese tartlet followed by roast beef and Yorkshire pudding for the main course and mixed berry Eaton mess for dessert. We had red, white and rosé wine on the tables. We would both love to do it all again and wouldn’t change a thing except we’d like to slow down the day and have another chance to enjoy it all over again!

We didn’t have a set theme as such but instead we created a pastel colour scheme. We had silver buckets for centrepieces and our florist incorporated silvery green foliage into the bouquets to complement. Nat at Yummy Little Cakes used our flowers and the bridesmaid dresses to create the perfect shade of pastel pink. For our wedding cars we chose Dennissons after recommendations from a friend. We chose both our cake maker and photographer, Geoff Kirby Photography, after trawling the internet looking at the work of different suppliers and both of these vendors really stood out to us. After meeting with them we were really impressed and they seemed to really get our ideas.

For my dress, I visited a couple of dress boutiques before deciding on buying from The Dress Place because immediately I walked in they made me feel well looked after and gave me lots of time to try on as many dresses as I wanted. I was after a traditional ‘ball gown’ shaped wedding dress. I finally chose a Mori Lee gown by designer Madeline Gardner; I really like the modern touch she adds to her dresses and I instantly fell in love with the sheer back detailing on my dress.

Our favourite memories are dancing the night away with our friends and families and waking up the next morning and reliving the day over breakfast with the rest of the wedding party. We both agreed that choosing amazing bridesmaids and groomsmen are a must for the day. They kept us calm and worried about the minor details on our behalf!

For our honeymoon we went to the Riviera Maya in Mexico. We got married on the Friday and flew on the Sunday which meant the excitement of the wedding was still fresh. We spent two weeks relaxing in the sun, eating and drinking lots!


Photography: Geoff Kirby Photography

Wedding Venue: Kelham House

Cake: Yummy Little Cakes

Bridal Gown: Mori Lee from The Dress Place

L.O.V.E. Letters: JMC Productions (see Special Offer!!)

Bridesmaids dresses: ASOS

Groomsmen’s suits: Debenhams

Flowers: Zinnia

Bridal car: Dennisson Classic Cars

Service at St Mary and All Saints Church Bingham

Darren & Lizzie, The Carriage Hall, Nottinghamshire

Darren & Lizzie, The Carriage Hall, Nottinghamshire


Photography: Geoff Kirby Photography
Church: St. Nicholas Church, Nottingham
Venue: The Carriage Hall, Nottingham
Makeup: Amy Wilkinson MUA
Hair: Emma Gordon
Dress: Shade Bridal Linea Raffaelli
Bridesmaid dresses: Debenhams
Grooms suit: Next
Florals: Kirsty Jepson
Entertainment: The Soul Outlaws
Wedding cake: Cupcake Kisses
Most memorable moment: All of it – but especially the speeches

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