When you mix unique touches with personal moments in a traditional castle the result is a fairy-tale wedding that will not soon be forgotten
Tell us about the proposal – how and where did it happen?
Christopher recreated our first date with a drink and chips from McDonalds. It was on our anniversary and Christopher was hinting that he had got me a puppy as his present. I was not happy as we already had 2 dogs. Christopher then proceeded to stand up to ‘go and get the puppy out of the car’. As Christopher stood up, he then bent down onto one knee and proposed.
What was your first step in planning your wedding, did you use blogs/magazines etc?
The first step of planning the wedding was for me to view a variety of venues. Christopher was a little more reserved about planning the wedding to begin with until he found the Castle. We went to a wedding event at the Castle and reserved our date only a week or so later. I had always had a wedding scrapbook however we changed a lot of what we wanted to coincide with the décor and feel of the Castle.
What were your wedding “must have’s”?
The most important part of the wedding day was to ensure all of our guests had fun. To do this, we decided against evening guests and had all of our guests join us for the entire day of the wedding. Another important factor was the traditional feel of the ceremony and wedding breakfast. We saw a string quartet at a wedding show and fell in love. They helped create the atmosphere we wanted.
Wedding budget: how did you organise your wedding budget?
When planning the wedding, we just budgeted a maximum for the things we wanted without any advice or research. We knew we wanted the best so planned a maximum for each in hopes to come below.
How did you find your venue and what made you choose it?
Christopher found the Castle on Facebook through a suggested ad. When Christopher saw the castle, he fell in love instantly and sent it to me to have a look at. I fell in love with the symmetry of the front of the castle and when he saw there was an Open Day in February, he emailed instantly. Walking around the castle, we both fell in love with every aspect of it. The best thing was the ceremony room as it was just breathtaking and when walking down the aisle, our entrance song came on making us both well up. We knew it was the place for us.
Styling your wedding: how did you personalise your big day?
Our theme was very summer vibes with pastel pinks and a rare bit of blue. We had most of the castle decorations including the candle package, lantern package and garden games. On top of this, we had our florist decorate the aisles with flowers that would then become our centrepieces. Our cake was an 8-tier cake on display so as soon as our guests walked through the front doors, that was the first thing they saw. For wedding favours, I created some personalised children’s colouring books for children aged 11 and below; for children aged 11-18, they received a personalised shot glass with a shot of orange juice; and adults received a personalised shot glass with a shot of apple sours for a toast.
Did the venue provide any memorable extras or nice personal touches that stood out?
Anne was a godsend on the day ensuring everyone felt at ease and relaxed. She helped with buttonholes etc. as no one had a clue. Anne was amazing in the sense that I did not want to see Christopher but he wanted to see the children before walking down the aisle. Anne made all this possible and no request was too silly. Christopher also bought a dressing gown and extras from the Castle to give to me the night before the wedding.
Describe your wedding attire and favourite accessories
I had always planned on a black and white themed wedding, however, there was not a single bit of black in the wedding. Christopher and I wore the same outfit with matching buttonholes. I had seen Christopher in the suit before the wedding but Christopher had not seen me until he walked down the aisle. Our favourite part of our suit was the waistcoat as it was a double-breasted waistcoat. We had both bought each other personalised cufflinks to mark the occasion which we both loved. My favourite accessory was the Vivienne Westwood watch Christopher had gifted me as part of my wedding present. The reason I love this watch is because it matched the suit perfectly.
What did your partner wear?
We both wore the same suit and decided on a very modern style of suit. The suits were the hardest thing to sort and ended up taking nearly a year to find. We went to numerous suit shops, however, not one had the colour suit we wanted so we reverted to looking online. We ordered MANY suits from different places but when the suits came, the colour was just not what we wanted. Eventually, we saw the waistcoat first and ordered that from a high street retailer. We knew the waistcoat was not going to be changed so we decided to plan the suit around that. In the end, our suit jacket, waistcoat and trousers all came from different retailers, however, when put together, we were just in love. The colours were perfect, the fit was incredible and they were just cohesive together as if they had purposely been put together in a store. The material of our suit was quite light as we were having a summer wedding and knew we both like to dance, so a heavy suit would have not been the best choice.
Tell us about your Bridesmaids, Groomsmen and their outfits
We had a maid of honour, Caitlin, a groomsman, Ash, and our children were our bridesmaids/ring bearers. We asked them to be a part of the wedding in person to which they were very happy. Caitlin wore a grey maxi dress that complemented the colour scheme and our children all wore white as I liked the tradition of a white wedding dress. To complement this, the three girls (Lacie, Erin and Amelia) all wore white dresses with white shoes and Finley (ring bearer) wore a full white suit with shoes matching our pink ties.
What was your ceremony like?
Our ceremony was magical. It flew by with both tears and laughter. We did not have readings, however, made our promises to one another very personal to us. We had the string quartet playing at intervals during the ceremony. Walking in we had Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years, whilst signing the register we had Home Alone’s Somewhere In My Memory, Spice Girls’ 2 Become 1, and Dirty Dancing’s Time Of My Life. Walking out we had Bruno Mars’ Marry You. We wanted as much tradition as possible with walking down the aisle so we both walked down the aisle. First, it was Christopher who walked down the aisle by his mum, then followed our children in order of age (oldest to youngest), finally I was walked down the aisle by my nan.
Tell us about your drinks reception and wedding breakfast
For our welcome drinks, we had Raspberry Fizz, Pimms & Lemonade, and Peroni to ensure all of our guests had something to their liking. For our canapés, we had Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding and Horseradish Cream, Smoked Salmon and Fennel Mousse; Cheddar Scone and Chive Cream, Cucumber with Avocado & Chilli Rolls, as well as Lemon Tartlets, and Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.
For our wedding breakfast, we decided on Pork or Herb Terrine and Balsamic Roast Tomato Soup to start, Braised Chicken Fillet or Leek, Spinach and Portobello Pithivier for our mains, and Sticky Toffee Pudding or Vegan Brownie for dessert. The food was fantastic and portion sizes were complemented by many of our guests.
For speeches, we had Christopher’s Father, our Maid of Honour and I gave a small speech for the shot of apple sours and to introduce a singer I had booked to write a personalised song instead of my speech. The singer was the most memorable part of the whole wedding breakfast.
Did you have a band or DJ for your evening reception?
We chose to have the Castle DJ for the evening reception and he could not have been any more accommodating. He dealt with requests well and got the music spot on for what we had requested. For our first dance, we had Alyssa Baker’s Can’t Help Falling In Love With You, followed by our song, Pitbull Ft Kesha’s Timber.
Based on your own experience, give us some top tips:
Our top tip for any couple from our own experience is to really have the wedding you desire. There were times when our budget got stretched and if we had decided to not let this happen then there would have been some little things that would have niggled at us in years to come. Our wedding was truly fabulous because we decided to have exactly what we wanted. The main thing about planning the wedding was to do it together. The process bought us so much closer together because we even did the little things together.
Did you go on a honeymoon or mini-moon?
Two days after our wedding, we had a mini-moon which was a week-long cruise around the Med with Tui Cruises and towards the middle of August we had a family moon in Gran Canaria for a fortnight.
“If we could do it all again, we’d…”
Do everything exactly the same!! Maybe slightly less alcohol in the evening so we could remember a bit more.
Purchase & Hire – Tell us who your suppliers were:
Wedding attire: ASOS
Bridesmaid’s dresses: David’s Bridal, Birmingham
Wedding rings: H. Samuel
Wedding cake: Haute Caketure
Florist: The Secret Garden Weddings
Photographer: Darren Thomas
Videographer: Two Towers Media
Photobooth: BoothCo Ltd
Band/disco/DJ: Unity String Quartet and Jamie Mathias
Caricaturist: Alan Simpson
Fireworks: Firemagic UK
Wedding favours: Weddingstar
Makeup: Elisha Burner