Sophie & Kris’ Wedding | Norwood Park

Sophie & Kris’ Wedding | Norwood Park

The couple married at Norwood park and knew the venue was perfect for their summer wedding. There was a special sign of approval on their first visit – one that will make your heart melt!

How did you meet?
We met at work in 2012. Kris was a footwear buyer and I was a clothing designer. I didn’t really know who he was until he added me on Twitter!  We got chatting and then he added me on Blackberry messenger…old school! At first I thought Kris was really quiet and shy but when I got to know him I realised he was equally as silly as me!
We bought our first house together in 2016 and got a little puppy.  We also have a cat. It can be quite a crazy household at times!

Tell us about the proposal?
For my 30th birthday present Kris took me on a surprise weekend to London. We had a lovely day out shopping and Kris booked a surprise for the evening which turned out to be a trip to the top of The Shard! It had been raining all day but as we got up there the rain cleared and the views were amazing as the sun was setting. Kris had arranged champagne and it was lovely and romantic. Kris was acting a little strangely – I thought was because he isn’t a fan of heights so i didn’t think too much of it! After a while he went off to look for their official camera man to take a photo for us. I turned around as he came back and suddenly he was on one knee asking me to be his wife! I was so surprised and happy, of course I said YES!!

How did you find the wedding planning process? 
Our early planning went really well, We found my dress, our florist, hair/MUA , band, photo booth and photographer quite early on. Five months before the wedding I went skiing and had a bad accident tearing the three main ligaments in my knee. I had reconstructive surgery and then another procedure two months later. I was in a leg brace for weeks and using crutches as well as taking 3 months off work. This put a halt on the planning and it was quite a stressful time. The hospital knew about our wedding and really worked me hard so I could walk down that aisle without crutches. The only thing I managed to do while I was injured was design the wedding invites and get these sent out! The last couple of months before the wedding were busy but I tried not to get stressed.  My nickname was ‘bride-chilla’! After a hard few months I wanted to enjoy it!

How did you choose your vendors?
We spent a lot of time researching online and visiting different wedding fairs looking for the right vendors for us! We met our Photographer Ian Bursill at a wedding fair at Norwood Park and our florist Mrs Umbels was recommended by our venue. We found our band and also hair and make up artist using Google and Facebook, and our photo booth I found when visiting a wedding fair with one of my bridesmaids. Luckily one of my brother’s best friends Luke Baker is an acoustic guitarist/ singer so he was the easiest to find!

What made you decide on your venue?
We knew as soon as we visited Norwood Park that it was the one for us. I know it sounds so cheesy but we just had THAT feeling! The beautiful Georgian house was so light and bright and really had the WOW factor without feeling pretentious. Another factor that made us think it was the right venue for us was on our first visit there was a little robin which had flown in from outside. Kris’ ‘granma’ had always said that she would come back as a robin so to us this was a massive sign that she was giving it her approval!

The separate red brick building for the evening reception had a large dance floor and opened out onto a cobbled courtyard with fairy lights. It was great for keeping everybody together rather than the inside/outside separation. One of our requirements was accommodation on site and at Norwood they have rooms in the main house for guests. The rooms were beautiful and it just felt like our own home for the day and night.

Tell us about the dress!
My dress was the ‘Avery’ dress by Maggie Sottero and I LOVED it! I visited three or four shops and I really struggled to find anything that I liked! I thought I wanted sleeves and something quite simple, definitely no bling…..and ended up with the opposite! It had an embellished bodice with an illusion plunging neckline and open back, beading and embroidery, and delicate lace appliqués that flowed into a tulle skirt. It had quite a romantic boho vintage feel which really suited our theme and I could really imagine wearing it on the day!

Because of my injury I couldn’t wear heels so I wore Vivienne Westwood blush and rose gold flat. They suited the colours of the flowers and décor and I was so comfortable! I wore a real flower hair comb to match my flowers and I kept my jewellery quite simple; a tiffany bracelet (my something ‘borrowed’) from a good friend and some Tiffany heart earrings which Kris had left me that morning for my wedding present.

What did your groom wear?
Kris wore a bright blue suit from Hugo Boss – he wears a suit every day for work so he wanted a special one for the wedding! His favourite colour is red so to incorporate this into the day he wore a burgundy floral bow tie which matched the groomsmen’s ties. He wore brown brogues from Dune, his white shirt and burgundy socks were from Next and he wore a burgundy wool watch strap with his watch, which I had bought him from Shore Project as part of his wedding present to finish off the outfit.  He looked very handsome!

Flowers, cakes, stationery – tell us about your style!
We chose blush pinks and corals for our flowers with lots of gorgeous green foliage in a wild style. Sarah (Mrs Umbels) was so helpful and creative She was great and understood exactly what we were looking for. We wanted everything to be bright and summery – nothing too neat; a romantic boho feel with a modern twist ! I used the colours of the flowers to design floral invites and added a modern feel with rose gold decoration around the venue.
The cake, made by my friend Louise, was a semi naked cake with rose gold dripping and lots of flowers for decoration. It looked and tasted amazing!
We wanted a relaxed feel so didn’t just go for one colour theme. We loosely based it around the flowers so my bridemaids wore grey beaded cold shoulder dresses, but wore coral heels to match the bouquets, and the groomsmen wore burgundy floral ties, these matched with Kris’s bespoke buttonhole. I think it all worked really well together.
Tell us about your walk down the aisle!
My walk down the aisle was so exciting! I wasn’t nervous, just a little worried that my dad would trip over my dress to start with! I was looking down as we entered the room, then I looked up and saw all our friends and family waiting for me! It was so surreal but amazing! When I saw Kris I couldn’t stop smiling. I really couldn’t have been happier!
What food and drink did you serve your guests?
We went to a food tasting at our venue a few months before the wedding and we were spoilt for choice. The quality and presentation were amazing! We went for a canapé reception after the ceremony, then for the wedding breakfast we chose three courses; duck liver pate followed by pan fried chicken breast with champagne sauce. For dessert we chose passion fruit crème brûlée. In the evening we had an artisan pizza selection. We had so many compliments on the food and couldn’t have been happier!
Most memorable part of the day?
For me walking down the aisle and seeing Kris and the ceremony. Saying our vows in front of all our friends and family was the most memorable part of the day. I could have exploded with happiness! We also just took a minute together at the wedding breakfast to look around at everyone and cherish that moment. All our friends and family were together in one room and that will never happen again – we felt so lucky!
Where did you honeymoon? 
We honeymooned in Rhodes, Greece. We had booked a fancy all-inclusive hotel with a swim up room for a treat and on arrival we found that we had been upgraded and had the biggest pool at the hotel! We had a good mix of trips out and relaxing by the pool with cocktails. It was so lovely to spend time together in the sun after such a busy few months. It really was perfect.
Funniest moment?
There were two! Firstly during the ceremony the registrar called me Louise! She was mortified but we found it hilarious!
The second was during Kris’s speech. He started talking about me and wanted to thank me for everything that I’ve done for him during our relationship. Instead he accidentally declared ‘ Thank you for everything that you have done TO me!!’  The room erupted with laughter at the comment! Definitely unforgettable memories.
What tips or advice do you have for couples planning their wedding?
I think the biggest thing is to remember to enjoy the day! It’s so easy to stress about what’s happening next and are the guests having a good time – it’s your day so enjoy and let the day unfold itself. Our advice for the planning process is not to worry too much about the little things and remember what the wedding is all about – marrying the person you love! Everybody wants the perfect day but no one will remember what your table confetti or table plan looks like after a few weeks. It’s lovely to have these extras but not worth getting stressed about.

Venue – Norwood Park, Southwell 
Photography – Ian Bursill
Flowers – Mrs Umbels
Hair & Makeup – Nicola Hodgkinson
Wedding Dress – Maggie Sottero – Brides & Gowns
Bridal shoes – Vivienne Westwood
Bridesmaid dresses & shoes – ASOS
Groom Suit – Hugo Boss
Groomsmen suits – Next & Topman
Groom & Groomsmen ties – Neckwear Shop
Daytime acoustic singer – Luke Baker
Evening entertainment – Phil Rostance & the Marshall band
Photo Booth – Snapcandy
Cake – Louise Paul – Friend of Bride

Oli & Jess’s Wedding | The Carriage Hall

Oli & Jess’s Wedding | The Carriage Hall

We are delighted to share with you the fabulous wedding of Jess & Oli who tied the knot at The Carriage Hall in Plumtree, Nottinghamshire. We love the shot of the beautiful bouquet on the Union Jack chair plus the cake and THAT DRESS!! We also love, love, love Jess’s favourite part of the day… read on and find out more!

How did Oli pop the question?
I woke up on Monday 11 April 2016 to find a sign taped to the front door telling me I wasn’t going to work – the best Monday morning ever! Oli had secretly arranged for me to be off work using the excuse of my birthday the following day and whisked me away to the Gilpin Hotel in the Lake District. Knowing I would hate any public proposal, he proposed in our lodge following a champagne afternoon tea. He followed this up with a dinner that evening and a lakeside couples’ massage the next day.

When did you get married?
We got married on 14 July 2017. We were fairly relaxed regarding the date other than we knew we wanted a summer wedding.

How did you choose your wedding venue?
We held our ceremony and reception at the Carriage Hall in Plumtree. Finding a location was more difficult than we thought it would be. We knew we wanted somewhere modern and not a converted barn! The most important thing to us was great food and we knew the Carriage Hall would deliver on this (which it did!). From start to finish we can’t fault the Carriage Hall for anything and the staff were so accommodating.

Who did you choose for your beauty team?
The dream team Ali Gunn (make-up artist) and James White (hair stylist) worked their magic and made myself, my sisters (who were my bridesmaids) and the mother of the bride, shine!

Tell us something about your dress.
I had no idea what I wanted and probably tried on 25+ dresses before I found “the one”. I wore Andraea, a Maggie Sottero dress from Nora Eve in Chesterfield. I think it was fate – I’d loved a picture of the dress in a magazine so when it was hanging at the top of the stairs in the last dress shop I went to I had to try it on!

What did Oli wear?
Oli wore a custom navy suit from Hugo Boss.

What did your bridesmaids and the groomsmen wear?
My bridesmaids wore a multiway blush pink silk/jersey dress from Coast. The ability to tie the dress to each bridesmaid came in handy. We had to buy the dresses a year in advance due to one of my bridesmaids living abroad so I didn’t have any fears it wouldn’t fit!. Our best man, usher and father of the bride all wore navy suits from M&S.

How did you get to your venue?
We hired two vintage cars from Regency Cars in Chesterfield. The drivers were great, on time and accommodating with putting the roof up and down so that we weren’t windswept.

What style did you choose for your wedding? Did you have a theme?
We didn’t have a particular theme – our main focus was to have a relaxed wedding where our guests would have fun and enjoy themselves! We decided on navy and blush pink as we wanted something understated which the entire bridal party would be happy wearing.

Who was your photographer?
Andrew Acford from A Big Neon Glitter Photography. We loved Andrew’s style of photos, attention to detail and how he managed to capture people’s emotions throughout the day. He also managed to put everyone at ease, including us during the pre-wedding shoot, and went the extra mile to make sure we had all the shots we wanted (including one which involved risking his life in the middle of a very busy and fast country road!)

Your flowers were beautiful. Who created them for you?
Flowers By Philippa provided the flowers. She managed to create exactly what we wanted without us having any ideas about flowers at all! 

Did your family get involved with any of the planning?
My mum and I created flower centrepieces using wooden boxes that my dad created. Oli’s grandma also kindly prepared some flowers in vases to use for the ceremony tables.  

Did you hand out wedding favours?
Yes – we gave out miniature bottles of port, to thank people for being “port” of our special day! 

Who made the cake?
We had a lemon cake created by the very talented Knot & Bird in West Bridgeford – delicious and it looked incredible.

You mentioned food was a really important part of your day. What did you serve your guests?
Guests had a choice of steak or lamb for the main courses, followed by a choice of lemon posset or chocolate peanut butter tart for dessert. We also had a hog roast, cheese stack with crackers and chutneys (kindly provided by Oli’s mum) and toasting marshmallows for the evening guests. We knew the Carriage Hall had a reputation for excellent wedding food and it excelled itself!

How did you entertain your guests?
Other than some garden games in the afternoon (including a giant kerplunk, croquet and cricket kit!), we simply opted for a DJ rather than a live band for the evening to get our friends on the dancefloor! Instead of a photo booth, we had a polaroid camera and my dad had made a large wooden photo frame with string running across it. We asked guests to take a photo home and to leave one on our frame using wooden pegs. Having the photo frame up on our wall is a constant reminder of what a great day we had and we look at the photos more often than we do our guest book.

Where did you spend your wedding night?
We stayed at Langar near the Hall – an absolutely beautiful 5* cottage with all the extra touches you could want on your wedding day!

What was your favourite part of the day?
The DJ played our first dance song again at the end of the night. Most of the guests had left by this point and the two of us had the dancefloor to ourselves.

Did you go on honeymoon?
Yes! We went to Rhodes for some much needed relaxation!

Finally advice do you have for other couples?
Make time for each other on your wedding day away from all your guests.

Lorna & James’ Real Wedding | Chris Snowden Photo

Lorna & James’ Real Wedding | Chris Snowden Photo

Chris Snowden is now coming to what he would call his ‘quiet period’ before the festive wedding seasons starts in early December. So we thought we’d catch up with him and take a look at what he’s been up to.

This quiet period is now the time to do all the jobs that haven’t been done yet, and only a couple of weeks to do so (making it not so quiet). This includes writing blogs from weddings back in the spring.

That’s where we’re going today – back to the wonderfully beautiful spring! Chris is going to tell us about a wedding at his favourite time of year (apart from Autumn of course) at Thrumpton Hall for Lorna & James’ day.

I’m off to the stunningly gorgeous Thrumpton Hall for Lorna & James’ wedding. Thrumpton Hall is a beautiful 17th century Hall with exquisite gardens set in 300 acres of parkland. If you’re feeling adventurous you can leave the venue gardens and go for a walk in the surrounding fields which offer some great shooting locations! I’ll tell you about our adventure later, so keep reading.

The weather is set for showers on and off throughout the day so I ensure the wet weather gear is packed and that the bride and groom are briefed that I may need to grab them at every opportunity between showers.

Luckily the rain holds off until a while after the stunning ceremony so we grab the opportunity and head out for some gorgeous couple shots.

Lorna & James then join their wedding guests out in the garden for Ice cream and drinks. Whilst everyone is mingling and drinking I notice what can only be described as the darkest rain cloud I’ve ever seen heading towards the wedding party. I’d chosen an outside location for the family group shots and really wanted to use it. I’m guessing we had about 5-10 minutes to get them all done before the apocalyptic black mass unloaded a torrent of rain. So with the help of the groom and the ushers we herded all the guests over to the location and shot what is now the fastest family group session I’ve ever done!

I counted 12 different groups in about 4 minutes. The ever darkening skies helped all the guests come together to get the shots done and a big thanks to all of them for working together and not faffing around like most wedding guest parties! Three seconds after the final group shot was taken the doomsday cloud came down all over Thrumpton Hall. I am happy to report everyone escaped unharmed and were frizz free.

After the wedding breakfast and speeches it was time to shoot a few evening photos. I’d scouted out a field behind the venue to shoot some sunset shots and took Lorna & James along the path leading out to the field. I opened the gate and we’d walked a few hundred yards into the field and at once realised we’d attracted the unwanted attention of a few dozen cows who were headed straight for us. I realised I’d left the gate open and the thought of a few dozen cows wandering around the venue might not go down too well.  After a brief sprint we managed to beat the cows back to the gate and shut it before a stampede of hoofs ensued about the venue. I’m now what you would call ‘cattle aware’ when it comes to scouting out fields!

After our brief and what could have been dangerous photo shoot with the local herd we managed to find a great lakeside spot as the sun went down and closed out a gloriously beautiful wedding at Thrumpton Hall.

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.

What was the inspiration for your theme/style?

We decided on a vintage travel theme. This was partly because we love travelling and Pete is a Geography geek, but also because it looks good and seemed to fit with the venue! We wanted lace, vintage books and a vintage bike as well as mini suitcases and luggage tags. It looked amazing!

How did you find your vendors?

We spent a huge amount of time on Google! But we also go to spend several enjoyable afternoons at wedding fairs, including at our gorgeous venue, Prestwold Hall.  We used wedding magazines and Pinterest to collect images of ideas that we liked and then searched further for the companies and individuals involved.  Vendors also gave us recommendations of other suppliers that they had worked with. The most important aspects for us were photography and the music and we are so glad we found our wonderful photographer Mandy and the band Champagne Skies.

What made you decide on your venue?

The church was the easy bit, it’s in the town where I grew up and I couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else. The reception venue was a bit trickier. My Dad spent a day driving us around to look at venues, it was quite a tour. I think we looked at 7 in one day! Prestwold Hall was the last one we visited and as soon as we walked in we just knew it was the right place. It was beautiful. It has an intimate feel about it, but grandeur at the same time. We also liked the fact that there was plenty of inside space for our guests if it was raining, and beautiful grounds if it was a nice day. Luckily, we had the latter!

How did you handle your guest list?

The guest list was easier than we expected. We each wrote a list, then compared and discussed. We actually settled on guests very quickly. The table plan was slightly more difficult, but we got a load of small sticky notes and kept moving them around on a mock table plan until it worked!

What food and drink did you choose?

Choosing the food was one of the best bits about the wedding planning. Prestwold Hall took the hassle out of it as they do all the catering for competitive rates. We went along to a group tasting session at the venue and got to try all the food they offer! We decided on lamb, rather than the usual chicken, and cod as a pescatarian option. It was delicious, though Pete and I didn’t get to eat much as we were so nervous about the speeches! We also chose some delicious red Italian Barbera, and white New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wine and they couldn’t have been better.

Most memorable parts of the day?

The whole day was brilliant! It flew by so quickly but I feel like I can remember every tiny detail because I loved it all so much. My favourite part was probably saying the vows themselves, but the most memorable moment has to be the look on everyone’s face when Pete got up with the band to sing!

If anything, what would you do differently?

We wouldn’t do anything differently, it was simply the best day!

Where did you honeymoon?

A few days after the wedding we departed on our honeymoon. We started with a night in a spa hotel, Alexander House Hotel near Haywards Heath close to Gatwick. From there we flew out to the Maldives, transferring to our island on a sea plane, this was great fun! We spent 10 amazing nights there and then flew home via Dubai, spending 3 nights there too. It was a relief to relax together after the mad run-up to the wedding! Scuba diving with rays was a real highlight.

Funniest moment?

There was a bit of confusion as I was about to walk up the aisle. The vicar was getting impatient waiting for the organist to start playing the music. He finally caved and went up to him to tell him to start. What the vicar didn’t realise was that the music had already begun. I think Pete thought I’d changed my mind!

Did anything go wrong? Any surprises?

The day ran like clockwork. The biggest surprise for the guests had to be Pete getting up to sing ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl?’ with the band at the start of the evening, just after the first dance.

What tips or advice do you have for couples planning their wedding?

The best advice I can give is to have fun! Get stuck into the planning and you won’t feel rushed closer to the time, which means you’ll get to enjoy the build up more. Then on the day, make sure you spend time with all your friends and family and don’t forget about each other! This is probably going to be the only time in your life where you can get all your friends and family in the same place at the same time, so make the most of it. Pete and I made a promise that after 10 pm we would hit the dance floor together and not stop until the end.

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.

How did you manage your guest list?

We found this quite difficult because we both have quite big families and a large circle of friends. The size of the ceremony room at Swancar Farm set our limit so we had to stick to that (although we ended up going slightly over and poor Hayley had to squeeze in a few extra chairs!)

Tell us about the dress!

It was a Benjamin Roberts strapless, ivory lace dress with a mermaid silhouette. It was my perfect dress!!

What did your groom wear?

Jonny wore traditional navy pinstripe tail suit with a white shirt and ivory cravat.

What did the Bridesmaids & Groom’s Party wear?

The best man wore the same as Jonny and the Dads and groomsmen wore the same but with a navy cravat. The bridesmaids wore long navy dresses with a bejewelled neckline and the flower girls wore ivory dresses and little tiaras!

Flowers, cakes, stationery – tell us about your style!

The flowers were simple but beautiful. They were ivory in colour with large avalanche roses being the main feature. My bouquet was teardrop shape and absolutely beautiful. The cake again was quite simple, ivory icing with edible lace detail, navy ribbon and a sparkly ‘H & J’ on the top. The stationery was handmade and again was ivory and navy.

What food and drink did you choose?

We chose Prosecco and beers for the welcome drinks, champagne for the toast and a selection of wines for the tables. We had a choice of soup or parfait for the first course followed by lamb with red wine or chicken chasseur and finally sticky toffee pudding or chocolate something. I can’t actually remember as I didn’t eat a thing all day! In the evening we had a buffet including a cheese tower – I’m told it tasted lovely, but I was too overwhelmed to eat it!

How did you start your wedding day morning?

Jonny was at a nearby hotel and had a lovely relaxing morning with the best man. I had all my bridesmaids and flower girls with me at my parent’s house. I hadn’t slept a wink all night and was incredibly nervous. I couldn’t manage breakfast, but a glass of bubbly did help. The morning went so quickly considering I was in the shower at 5 am! The hairdresser and makeup artist were fantastic at getting everyone ready and before I knew it, it was time to get into my dress. It was the most nerve wracking and best morning of my life.

Tell us about your walk down the aisle!

I walked in to Christina Perri’s ‘A Thousand Years’. I thought I would be emotional, but I was just so excited to see Jonny and the moment I saw him I had the biggest grin on my face. I was so proud of my Dad who managed to keep it together….. well, just about!

What were the most memorable parts of the day?

My Dad seeing me in my dress for the first time and our drive to the venue.

Seeing Jonny for the first time at the end of the aisle.

Walking into the wedding breakfast together as husband and wife.

Our first dance

What song did you choose for your first dance?

Stevie Wonder – For Once In My Life

If anything, what would you do differently?

Not a single thing!

Where did you honeymoon?

2 weeks in Dubai. It was absolute luxury!

What was the funniest moment of the day?

Jonny and I were so nervous in the ceremony that we were giggling and talking to ourselves. The registrar had to remind us to listen so we knew what we were doing!

Did anything go wrong? Were there any surprises?

Nothing went wrong. Jonny surprised me with the large ‘LOVE’ letters in the disco and he also wrote a reading to be read in the ceremony. It was absolutely beautiful and a wonderful surprise.

What tips or advice do you have for couples planning their wedding?

Enjoy it because planning it is so much fun. Don’t get stressed (I didn’t heed this advice). Take a moment, just the two of you in the middle of the day, to stop and enjoy what is happening. It’s honestly the best day ever!

Is there anything else you want to tell us?

Yes! We are now expecting our first child!

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.

If anything, what would you do differently?

My Bridesmaids are really special to me and I wanted to treat them to the perfect Bridesmaid dresses, so I ordered their dresses from the Bridal shop.  They were made to order but it turned out to be more hassle than it was worth. When the dresses arrived they were all an unusual fit so they ended up needing lots of alterations.

The girls all looked stunning on the day but I realised that they would have been happy and looked great in whatever I gave them to wear and maybe if I could go back in time I would have taken them shopping for dresses on the High Street instead.

Where did you honeymoon?

About a year before we got engaged we’d decided to plan an adventure to somewhere we’d never been before. We chose Japan and had already started saving for the trip. On the day that Stu proposed one of the first decisions we made was to do the Japan trip as our honeymoon. It wasn’t the typical luxurious relaxing honeymoon but for us it was perfect. We arranged it through Trailfinders and they planned the whole thing. We took our backpacks and travelled on the bullet trains from Kyoto to Hiroshima and then Tokyo, with a few stop offs in between. We had an incredible time and didn’t want to come home.

Funniest moment?

The most surreal moment of the day was probably getting out of the car in the pouring rain when we arrived at the Hall for the ceremony. I was surrounded by people with umbrellas and I had to clamber out of my friend’s car holding my dress up around my waist. I remember finding it hilariously funny.

Did anything go wrong? Were there any surprises?

Everything had been running smoothly leading up to the wedding. I remember my seamstress telling me that all brides lose weight in the final few weeks due to stress. I laughed at her and was convinced that it wouldn’t be me.

Then it happened – the seamstress we were going to use to alter the bridesmaid dresses took ill and had to cancel. I took to the internet and found someone else who could see us at short notice. I thought she was my saviour and we entrusted her with the beautiful dresses.

When we went back to collect the dresses it was a disaster. She had ruined one by shortening the straps so short that the dress wouldn’t even go on and she had hemmed my maid of honour’s dress about 2 inches too short. She ended up having to buy flat shoes and the other bridesmaid’s mum had to fix her straps using the offcuts!

If that wasn’t enough my husband-to-be injured his knee while running in a bid to get in shape for the wedding. He ended up in A&E and on crutches just 10 days before the big day! We were fortunate that on the day itself he took some painkillers and was able to toss the crutches aside.

My Sister and Aunt were also both in hospital leading up to the wedding and one of our cats was ill at the vet. It indeed became a very stressful lead up to the wedding!

We are lucky to have some incredible friends who helped so much in the days running up to the wedding and on the day that mattered nothing was going to dampen our spirits – not even the rain. It was the perfect wedding day. 

What tips or advice for Brides to Be?

Decide early on who you are going to invite and stick to your guns. We were strict on not inviting anyone we hadn’t met. That meant that some people didn’t get plus ones and others did – we explained that to our friends and everyone understood. The venue had a maximum capacity and it would have been easy to get carried away.

Book your suppliers in early too. We were fortunate we had 18 months to plan our wedding so we were able to choose the suppliers we wanted. Our photographer (Chris Snowden) is already fully booked for 2017.

I would also recommend hiring a hair and makeup stylist who will come to you. The lady I used, Shell Edwards, was amazing – she did much more than hair and makeup, she kept us all calm and organised in the morning, helped everyone lace up their dresses and made sure we ate enough. She was a superstar.

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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