What is a wedding celebrant? And is the marriage legally binding?

wedding celebrant ceremony vows

wedding celebrant ceremony vows

Deciding who will help you say ‘I do’ is one of the first steps of the wedding planning process, but whilst Priests, Registrars, Celebrants and Humanists may be familiar terms, until it comes to booking one, many couples will be in the dark about the differences between them.

Jennifer Constant, founder of The Celebrant Directory has created the ultimate guide for brides to answer the most common questions asked… 

Jennifer told Wedding Ideas magazine: “While many people will have heard of a wedding celebrant not everyone understands exactly what they do, and there are a surprising amount of misconceptions, which its time to clear up.

Simply put a celebrant is a person who performs and officiates formal ceremonies, and whilst commonly seen at weddings they can also conduct other services like renewals, baby naming and funeral rites.

“The beauty of what celebrants offer is the sheer versatility to help couples create tailored, unique ceremonies that reflect their personalities and love for each other.”

Who performs a wedding ceremony?

Celebrants, Priests, Registrars and Humanists – the choice of who performs your ceremony is a big one, and understanding the similarities, differences and possibilities of each is key to making a decision both of you, and your families are happy with

 What’s the difference between a Celebrant and a Priest?

A priest is a member of the clergy, who will have received formal training to perform ceremonies bound by the religious conventions and rites of their faith.

A Celebrant is usually formally trained by the celebrant organisation of the country in which they are based but can perform the wedding to your specification, pulling in any themes or concepts that you’d like.

What’s the difference between a Celebrant and Registrar?

Registrars are allowed by law to officiate a wedding via civil ceremony, meaning the ceremony is purely secular with no religious tones whatsoever.

The registrar is in charge of processing and approving the couple’s marriage license, with the wedding ceremony acting as a formality after the legalities are taken care of.

Celebrants can support and guide couples in completing the necessary requirements for the marriage license, but don’t have the authority to approve it, But, they can officiate a far more bespoke ceremony.

How is a Humanist different to a Celebrant?

They’re similar in that they are both secular in nature, meaning religion is not their primary concern, however, both can tailor your ceremony to include a religious element if it forms part of your wishes.

The main difference is that Humanists don’t believe in wedding traditions, superstitions and religions, whilst Celebrants don’t advocate any one wedding path over another – their job is to embrace the practices, traditions and religions that are important to you.

READ MORE: Wedding legal advice: Everything you need to know

Is a Celebrant led wedding legal?

Time to clear up the confusion. As long as you have marriage license and a signed wedding certificate your wedding will be legal and valid – it’s the paperwork that makes it legal, not the ceremony.

There’s no rule that the certificate can only be signed after the ceremony, it can be signed beforehand so you’re technically married before the ceremony even begins.

Can I have readings, music, singing in a Celebrant led ceremony?

Yes, it’s your ceremony, you can include anything you like within it. 

Celebrant led weddings allow you to pick and chose whichever elements or ideas you want to include so its as personal and unique as you.

READ MORE: Wedding venue questions – what to ask before you book


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How to plan a personalised wedding ceremony

Couple getting married
Couple getting married
alipaul.com

Whether it’s the music, the venue, or the vows, curate a perfectly personalised wedding ceremony with these handy tips and ideas

Location, location, location

Before you even start to think about the finer details of your personalised wedding ceremony, it’s a good idea to decide where exactly you will be tying the knot. Ceremonies held in churches will be very different from beachside blessings, for example, and each bring their own opportunities and restrictions. Wherever you choose, one way to make your ceremony feel your own is to choose a venue with sentimental value. Some of our featured couples have said ‘I do’ in the same church as their parents or in the parish in which they grew up. Others have followed their hearts to their favourite destinations, both in the UK and further afield, to find the perfect setting.

Personalised promises

Your vows; this is the moment that all those months of planning have built up to and it’s the reason you’re here today. Both civil and religious ceremonies come with their own established wording, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add your own touch.

From writing your own vows to changing the script, there’s a spot on the spectrum for every couple. Your vows can be as simple as promising to make your spouse a cup of tea every morning (one groom we know really did promise this and, several months later, he’s kept to his word).

If you don’t fancy starting from scratch, remember that you can choose, to an extent, which of the traditional vows you make. When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry married, the bride followed in both Diana and Kate’s footsteps by choosing not to vow to ‘obey’ her husband. You can also incorporate symbolic traditions, from a blended sand ceremony, which signifies the joining of two families, to a hand-fasting.

If you want to write your own vows or make changes to what you say, it’s always worth running this past your officiant well ahead of the wedding. They can then advise you as to whether your vows will be suitable and ensure your promises are binding on the big day.

Ceremony soundtracks

Whether you’d prefer to walk down the aisle to the romantic strings of a live quartet or to the tunes of a carefully curated playlist, music can make all the difference to the atmosphere at your ceremony.

Make it your own by choosing songs that have played a part in your relationship so far. Perhaps there was a song that was always on the radio when you first started dating? Did your partner propose with music playing in the background? How about the track that became ‘your song’ during your time together? Opting for music that make you both smile and brings back good memories is guaranteed to inject a punch of personality.

Your music choices needn’t be conventional, either. If you’re a couple whose skin crawls every time you hear something cheesy, it’s probably not the way to go. We’ve known couples to walk down the aisle to everything from the Star Wars theme tune to rock songs – proof that you really can celebrate your day, your way.

Spoken from the heart

Choosing readings can be an element of ceremony planning that couples struggle with – they’re probably not something you’ve ever had to think about before. And while traditional options are favourites for a reason, choosing less conventional readings can be a great way to personalise your day.

How Falling In Love Is Like Owning A Dog is a great option for couples who wouldn’t be without their four-legged friends. Alternatively, how about asking someone close to you to write their own reading? From a sentimental poem to a collection of your funniest quotes, there are so many ways they can bring your personalities to the fore.

For couples who aren’t fans of the spotlight, why not ditch the readings altogether? Don’t be afraid to keep your ceremony short and sweet, if that’s what suits you best.

One for the team

A popular way to personalise your ceremony is to invite those closest to you to play parts in it, too. This could be as simple as your bridesmaids throwing tradition to the wind by taking the lead, if not having the pressure of stepping down the aisle first will ease your nerves.

It could also be through your choice of ring bearer. You could entrust your well-trained pooch with delivering your rings (strap on a GoPro for a comical ceremony view), or channel your inner Harry Potter and have owls glide silently down the aisle with the ring box in their talons. When it comes to making your ceremony unique, you really can go wild!


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Review: The Runnymede on Thames Hotel

Runnymede on Thames

Runnymede on Thames

Becci Clubb reveals why luxury hotel The Runnymede On Thames will steal your heart

A 30-minute walk from the Magna Carta Memorial, The Runnymede On Thames in Windsor is the perfect place to escape everyday life, where the pace slows down and you can truly relax. As you walk in, the beautiful interiors – including a wall of characterful ducks – and relaxed vibe ensure you are instantly put at ease.

As its name indicates, the hotel boasts a stunning riverside location. Minimoon here and you can while away the days enjoying long walks along the river, feeding the ducks, geese and swans as you stroll by – bags of seeds are available from the hotel.

Enjoy a lazy day in one of the hotels self-drive riverboats or soak in the riverside hot tub, champagne in hand. Feeling energetic? Head to the fully-equipped gym, where among plenty of other Technogym fitness equipment, you’ll find state-of-the-art bikes with a small television screen fitted to them, which play your chosen programme when you start pedalling – just the kind of incentive you need after an indulgent breakfast!

Runnymede on Thames

Scheduled swimming and dance classes will leave you ready to relax in the spa lounge, which overlook the riverside gardens, or to take advantage of the hotel’s spa, which includes an indoor pool, whirlpool bath, sauna, ice plunge pool and (in the summer months) the heated outdoor pool. Pamper yourselves and drift into a relaxed state of bliss with a spa treatment, you deserve it after planning the wedding day of your dreams!

If you can tear yourself away from the hotel, there is so much to explore in the local area. Windsor Castle is just a 15-minute drive away, so take your time exploring the Queen’s home with a guided tour, view the castle from one of the many coffee shops in Windsor town centre or experience the changing of the guard. Windsor town centre has lots of lovely shops as well as a picturesque, old Victorian railway station.

Looking to get an adrenaline boost? Thorpe Park is no more than 10 minutes away by car, and for a different kind of rush, Ascot Races is a mere 20 minutes away. There are plenty of other attractions, too, from Virginia Water Lake to Hampton Court Palace and Eton College to Warner Brothers Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter, all less than 50-minutes’ drive from The Runnymede On Thames.

Back at the hotel, when it comes to meal times you’ll be spoilt for choice. The hotel boasts three fairly diverse restaurants – The Lounge serves up light bites, lunches and delicious afternoon teas. The Lock Bar and Kitchen, on the other hand, offers delicious evening meals (the Gurnard with saffron and white wine sauce is not to be missed!) and homemade desserts. Finally, The Leftbank Restaurant plates up a huge variety of delights in an informal buffet dining style, and dishes are laid out for both lunchtime and dinner.

Runnymede on Thames

In the morning wander down to the the Leftbank Restaurant, where you will also find a huge selection of breakfast treats, from fresh pastries, cereals, continental options and full English offerings, all while looking out over the Thames. In the summer you can sit outside and watch barges drift by.

You can also tie the knot at The Runnymede On Thames, choosing from two ceremony and reception locations. The Grand Union Suite can seat up to 140 for your civil ceremony and as many as 250 for your wedding reception. With a separate entrance, the spacious suite gives you the feeling of exclusive hire and total privacy. Work with the chefs to create a bespoke menu, or if you need a little inspiration, check out the sample menus, which can be tweaked to suit your tastes.

Runnymede on Thames

If you have slightly smaller numbers (no more than 70 people for your ceremony and up to 100 people for your wedding breakfast), you can choose to marry in The Riverside Suite. The view of the river here stole my heart, with an under-cover al fresco dining area that can be used on sunny days and a conservatory, too – ideal if you’re dreaming of an informal barbecue wedding breakfast.

The relaxed atmosphere, beautiful location and delicious food combine to create a truly magical wedding day. And after the dancing has finished, head up the stairs to your Duplex bridal suit, where you might find your own Mr and Mrs ‘ducks’ to welcome you into married life. runnymedehotel.com


 

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These are the most overdone wedding trends of 2018

Bride and groom
Bride and groom
Credit: iStock

Every bride wants their special day to be unique, but often the best ideas have already been done before. To ensure your celebrations are truly one-of-a-kind, these are the wedding trends to avoid…

1. TOO MANY BRIDESMAIDS

Gone are the days of having one or two bridesmaids; now, “bridesmaid armies” are the hot new trend, with some opting for as many as 10 close chums to accompany them to the alter.

“The ‘bridesmaid army’ trend swiftly came over from the US and has taken hold of wedding parties everywhere in the UK,” says Hamish Shephard, founder of bridebook.co.uk. This can be great for photo-ops, he says, “but it can sometimes take away from the ceremony, as they get crammed up by the altar.”

This trend, however, is slowly being faded out thanks to the new Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle. “We’re already seeing [her] decision to have no adult bridesmaids and to opt for flower girls instead shifting this perspective towards a more low-key bridal party.”

2. OVER-THE-TOP WEDDING CAKES

Wedding cake trends also have seen a huge transformation in recent years. “The humble iced fruitcake wedding cake is long gone, due to ‘Instagram wars’ for that perfect cake shot,” says Shephard.

“From drip cakes and naked cakes, then onto doughnut walls and eight-foot macaroon towers, and recently even Meghan Markle’s 154lb deconstructed lemon and elderflower wedding cake! This is a trend that’s becoming increasingly competitive.”

3. DECORATED WALLS

“Doughnut walls and flower walls seem to be everywhere!” says Robin Weil from weddingplanner.co.uk.

4. LIGHT-UP LETTERS

It may prove a hit with most, but this popular gimmick was also included in Weil’s list of the most overdone trends. While some couples choose to spell out their initials, others opt for their own wedding hashtag or go for a simple “congratulations”.

5. DRAMATIC BRIDAL ENTRANCES

When it comes to dramatic bridal entrances, “we’ve seen it all,” says Hamish Shephard. “From the bride literally being ballooned into the ceremony, to being walked in by a dressed-up dinosaur, the bride’s entrance has become yet another aspect of the wedding that can be blown up to unimaginable heights.”

“We’re are all for breaking tradition, like the growing trend of brides walking themselves down the aisle – as eight per cent of UK brides did in 2017, but maybe save the dinosaurs for the amusement park!”


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Five beautiful rural wedding destinations in Europe

Wedding table

Wedding table

Dazzle your guests and create a day to remember with these beautiful rural wedding destinations

Maybe you’re planning a small, intimate wedding; just a few friends and family, or maybe you’re inviting everyone you’ve ever met. Either way, you want a scenic, peaceful destination that’s going to wow your guests. Rural weddings are an awesome choice as you have no size restrictions, no city stress and the most beautiful backdrop for those all-important photos.

1. Gozo, Malta

Gozo

If you are thinking of having your wedding in Malta, then you should certainly consider the tiny island of Gozo. Here you’ll find rugged cliffs, turquoise seas and quaint villages. A simple beach ceremony, a swanky harbour-side soiree, cliff-top vows… all of these are possible on Gozo. Your guests will be charmed by the area’s natural beauty and ancient architecture. Only three hours from London, Gozo is a peaceful, rural idyll where you could host the wedding of your dreams.

2. Bordeaux, France

The rolling hills and majestic chateaux of rural France are fairy-tale wedding heaven. Bordeaux will fulfil your dreams of a grand affair; think lakeside ceremony followed by a reception in the ballroom of a magnificent castle. Alternatively, for those seeking a low-key gathering, a pretty open-air ceremony in a rural garden or vineyard and a fairy light strewn party in a beautiful marquee are easily accommodated in Bordeaux. There are plenty of holiday apartments across Bordeaux where your guests can stay and enjoy exploring the city as well as the countryside.

3. Yorkshire, England

Yorkshire’s wild beauty makes for a stunning setting for any wedding, without having to leave the country. The elegant simplicity of a charming village hall wedding followed by a good old shin dig fuelled by some beautiful local ales will be a delight to your guests, harking back to a time when weddings were uncomplicated celebrations of love.

4. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon

If stunning architecture is high on your list, look no further than Lisbon, Portugal. This destination is becoming increasingly sought after due to the beautiful climate, incredible food and amazing venues. Breathtaking churches and castles are all waiting to host your big day, offering a gorgeous rustic backdrop to your photographs and a laid-back atmosphere for your guests. If you are looking to have a very intimate wedding, you could stay in a private villa and have the ceremony out in the garden.

5. Ireland

Alternatively, allow the romance of the Irish countryside to give your wedding the rural feel you are hoping for. Whether set in a rustic village church, or outdoors in a golden corn field, your wedding is sure to be intimate, personal and informal. From your bouquet to the table decorations, let the nature of Ireland inspire you to create a harmonious and individual occasion for your guests.

Exchange the hustle and bustle of the city for all the scenic romance and calm of a rural setting to have a wedding infused with all the charm and peace of the countryside.


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Why you should hire a live wedding band for your big day

Live wedding band

Live wedding band

The team at Bands for Hire reveal the reasons you should hire a live wedding band for your special celebration

The music at your wedding has got to be personal to you as a couple, but it also needs to appeal to a wide range of guests. The best way to tick each of these boxes and more is to find yourself a fantastic live wedding band – here’s why!

The unmatched atmosphere

Even if you’ve hired a top local DJ who’s spinning your all-time favourite records through top-of-the-range equipment, the sounds you’ll be hearing and the feelings you’ll be experiencing won’t come close to those you’ll get with a top live band.

The energy and presence of a live performance won’t just blend into the background like prerecorded music – you and your guests will be able to feel the electricity in the air. Even if it’s not your preferred style of music, the atmosphere at a live gig is always one of excitement.

The unparalleled choice

Speaking of preferred styles, your chances of finding a live wedding band that specialises in your favourite genre are far greater than your chances of finding a DJ who can offer the same thing. It won’t take you long to find widely recommended ceilidh bands, pop covers bands, rock bands, Mariachi band and even tribute bands with wedding experience who are right in your price range.

While an iPod playlist composed of nothing but Queen songs may get a little boring for your guests, a live Queen tribute band is a different story – particularly if they’re fronted by a decent Freddie Mercury impersonator.

It’s also easier than you’d think to hire live classical music for your wedding. Don’t worry, you don’t have to fork out for a full philharmonic orchestra – you can hire a string quartet, a harpist, a pianist or a combination and still treat your guests to some elegant sounds.

The undeniable crowd pleasing

There’s nothing like a decent live band to get people up out of their seats and down to the dancefloor. Professional wedding bands know how to read a room – they’ll pick up on what your guests respond to the best, whether that’s louder, softer, quicker or slower tunes.

Live wedding band

Everyone from a hyperactive nephew to a barely active grandmother can appreciate a good beat, and everyone from an overemotional auntie to a moody teenage cousin loves a good sing-song. Live bands can also gauge how much to interact with their audience – if the room’s really lively, you could end up with a few calls and responses, some witty back and forth, and some synchronised dance moves.

The unabashed romance

Live music is very instantaneous, very fleeting, and very personal. With a setting like a wedding, where emotions are already running high, all it takes is a special dedication to a loved one and have a song sung just for them. It’s more effective than any Valentine’s Day card – and the perfect soundtrack for key events, like your first dance.

Your first steps together as a married couple will be something you’ll cherish for the rest of you lives, so it’s only right that they should be taken to your favourite song – and with a live wedding band, it’s being played especially for you. What’s more, if you’re at all nervous about dancing in front of all your other guests, you’re not alone – the band will be up there with you, and will get everyone else involved immediately after your first dance finishes.

The unbeatable repertoire

While it’s true that a DJ will have their whole record collection (or, in this modern age, the whole internet) at their disposal, that doesn’t necessarily give them an advantage over a live wedding band. After all, a DJ won’t have time to play every single song at your wedding, so it’s far more practical instead to carefully select the songs you want to be played.

A professional wedding band will work closely with you in the months leading up to your wedding, and will do their utmost to learn each of your requests, resulting in a formidable set list custom-made for your enjoyment.

The unstoppable possibilities

Your wedding band doesn’t have to only play at your wedding reception. If you’ve hired them for the day, you can ask them to play whenever you want, or even hire other musicians to highlight specific points of the ceremony.

Instead of the standard organ music, you could walk down the aisle to a brass band, a harpist, a steel drummer – the only limit is your imagination. You can also have your wedding band or musician play at your wedding breakfast, at your champagne or cocktail reception, or even to welcome your guests to your venue and play them out after the knot’s been tied.

These are just a few of the reasons for hiring a wedding band for your special day – don’t just take our word for it, make it happen! To find out more, visit bandsforhire.net


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How to plan your dream destination wedding

bride and groom
bride and groom
Credit: girlinthewhitedress.com

Magnificent mountains, beautiful beaches, European cities – wherever your big day takes you, here’s how to plan your dream destination wedding

Destination

Wherever you plan on getting married, compare the costs of different venues and hotels as you would if you were tying the knot closer to home. Use weather forecasts and average recorded temperatures to check whether your idyllic wedding escape will be just as perfect when you’re due to be married, especially if you’re hoping for snow or unabated sunshine.

Travel

While a hop up the motorway is often expected when it comes to attending, getting married abroad means your guests will have to fork out for flights and might need to book time off work. Consider how easy it will be for guests to attend – short-haul locations will likely mean more of your guests are able to share your special day. If having all of your friends and family around you is essential, consider contributing to the travel costs, but make your expectations clear beforehand, advises Kimberley Greenslade from the Bahamas Tourist Board. “Agree which costs you will and won’t be covering before guest numbers are confirmed.”

Timing

As soon as you’ve got a wedding date set, send out your save the dates. Letting people know early means they can book flights and accommodation well in advance and benefit from early-bird deals. Research accommodation and transfer options as well as ideal flights, and let them know if they will need any visas or vaccinations. You’ll also need to check when you need to arrive at the destination, as some countries require a certain length of residency before you can marry there.

Planning

When you’ve booked your venue, find a wedding planner local to your destination. “An initial telephone conversation with your planner is the best way to put across your wish list,” says Kimberley. “Follow up with an email, too, so you have everything in writing.” Make sure you take advantage of their experience, expertise and relationships with local vendors – they should be able to help you find suppliers who are cheaper than UK alternatives.

Married couple
Credit: karteliasphotography.com

Paperwork

To avoid the hassle of translations and obtaining all the required documents, why not legally marry in the UK first? You can then jet off with peace of mind to enjoy a beautiful blessing and reception abroad. Alternatively, check what paperwork is required, take it in your hand luggage and make sure you have spare copies to hand.

Packing

Book any extra suitcases you need in advance to avoid airport charges, remembering to save space for any wedding gifts, and keep all essentials like your rings and documents in your hand luggage. Speak to your airline and bridal boutique before you fly. They will often be able to provide you with a flight box for your wedding gown and allow you to take it on the plane as additional hand luggage.

Weather

Sunshine and crystal-clear skies make for a stunning setting, but also come with higher temperatures, so favour lighter materials for your gown, like chiffon. The climate will also affect hair and make-up choices – humid conditions can spell disaster for natural curls! Don’t forget to consider your guests, too: “When it’s hot, you may want to consider a short ceremony,” advises Kimberley. “And ensure there is at least some shade for the celebrations.”


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10 ways to make your exclusive-use wedding venue feel like home

Welcome sign at wedding

Welcome sign at wedding

How can you make an exclusive-use wedding venue truly feel like ‘yours’ for the day? We asked Bijou Wedding Venues for their top tips

Hiring an exclusive-use wedding venue, such as a private barn, mansion or country house, comes with a plethora of benefits; you’re guaranteed privacy throughout your day, and you’re free to style it to your own taste and theme.

But how can you put your own stamp on a venue that’s ‘yours’ for a whole day? We asked the team at Bijou Weddings to come up with 10 top planning ideas to help kick-start your plans.

Welcome signs

Personalised welcome signs to greet your guests will offer an introduction to your theme and what your friends and family can expect to see throughout the day. Simple words, such as “We’re so glad you’re here”, or a full order-of-the-day-style pallet can add a fun twist and be completely unique to your day. You may even be able to place your signs along the country roads leading up to your venue to point guests in the right direction.

Order of the day sign for wedding

Drinks on arrival

If you’re getting married in a church and travelling back to your chosen venue for your reception, it’s always nice to offer a refreshment to your wedding party upon arrival. Similarly, a drink (or two) post-ceremony if you’re getting married at the venue, not forgetting a welcome drink for evening guest. A ‘Pimp Your Prosecco’ stand could be a unique addition to traditional fizz, or consider offering a unique cocktail to get the celebrations started.

Floral features

Does your wedding venue offer a particularly beautiful staircase (inside or out), entrance or photography hot-spot that you can decorate with impressive flowers? Or, how about using a stand-out floral arch or impressive hanging floral display?

Botley_7June2016-1089

Cool canapés

Whether an in-house catering team provides you with all of the food you’ll need for your day, or you’re hiring in external caterers at your exclusive-use wedding venue, choose a selection of canapés to impress your guests and get their pallets excited for the feast to come!

Theme throughout

Most couples opt for a block colour or colour-combination scheme when it comes to a wedding theme, but if you’re looking to wow your guests, perhaps introduce a theme to your wedding that means something to you both; travel, films, musicals, bands, pets, books, landmarks, fairytales and sport teams are just a few ideas to get your mind racing.

Outdoor fun

If you’re chosen venue offers beautiful countryside surroundings, it would be wrong not to take advantage of them, providing the weather is on your side. Think outdoor garden games, fun wedding photography, musical entertainment, such as a string quartet, Irish band, harpist singers, or even something interactive, like a photo booth.

Exquisite food

Your guests will look forward to and remember the food at your wedding, so getting it spot on is important. At Bijou Wedding Venues, we offer couples a comprehensive choice of starter, main course and dessert menus to choose from ahead of the day. Couples who want to make their banquet extra special can opt to customise a dish, or upgrade their menu to something even more spectacular for their friends and family to enjoy.

Wedding dinner

Communication

Planning any party or event requires time and communication to ensure perfection. The more you communicate with your venue and suppliers, the more seamless your day should run. Take time to think about your wedding plans in advance, before rushing in to decisions that could cause upset later down the line.

Unforgettable entertainment

Whether you’ve chosen a romantic string quartet to play as you walk down the aisle, a magician for your drinks reception, or a brilliant DJ or band in the evening, your guests will be excited to find out what surprises you have planned in the lead-up to your day. If you choose suppliers that have worked at your venue of choice before, your planning process may be a little bit easier.

Wow factor

If you were throwing a party at home, you may want to end the night with a memorable moment. Therefore, if your exclusive use wedding venue allows it, why not opt for a fireworks display or, head off on your honeymoon in a fancy sports car the following morning?

Who are Bijou Weddings?

A collection of luxurious, exclusive-use wedding venues located in Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, North Norfolk and Provence. Bijou Wedding Venues offers complete, discreet wedding planning support with five-star service and style throughout.

Visit bijouweddingvenues.co.uk to find out more.


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Record number of brides choosing not to wear a white dress

bride and groom

Bride and groom

More couples than ever are doing away with Britain’s great wedding traditions – from confetti throwing, to the classic white bridal gown

We all know to expect with a Great British wedding – the white dress, the exchange of rings, a toast to the bride and groom, and confetti in the air as the happy couple drive away in a “Just Married” car.

But it turns out that more couples than ever are throwing the rulebook out the window, as a new survey by group travel experts Red7 has revealed that attitudes to weddings are seriously changing.

Of the 2,002 respondents surveyed, almost a third admitted that they wouldn’t insist on any wedding traditions at all on their big day, while nearly three quarters of brides stated that they wouldn’t choose to wear a white dress.

Only a third would recite traditional vows on their wedding day, while only a fifth would want a toast to the bride and groom. One in four couples would also insist on guests throwing confetti at the end of their ceremony.

Are Britain’s great wedding traditions under threat?

“The way couples think about their big day and what they want is changing,” says Ian Lucas, Founder of Red7. “Some of the traditions we take for granted are being challenged and it’s not just the big day itself that is looking different, either.”

Woman holding a glass
Only a fifth of those surveyed would want a toast to the bride and groom

“Traditions around the build-up to a wedding – especially the hen and stag experience – and what happens after are also being given a different flavour.”

As it turns out, two in five couples would want to combine their stag and hen night (rising to half among 16 to 34 year olds), while only two in five brides keep their dress a secret before the big day. As many as eight per cent of brides would want the groom to take their name, rather than the other way around.

Even present lists are being challenged, as nine out of 10 newlyweds asked for money towards their honeymoon rather than more traditional gifts, like homeware or vouchers.

“The responses were insightful,” adds Ian. “The survey showed that women are more traditional than men – this was reflected in almost every category – but it also reflected a greater willingness in society to do things differently.

“In the same way that stag and hen parties are changing – with foreign trips to exciting destinations being favoured instead of the local pub – the wedding day itself seems to be evolving.

More than half of respondents said they would welcome ‘new’ wedding traditions and younger people backed ideas like handwritten vows or the bride making a speech. We have seen all manner of changes in the 20 years that we have been in business, it will be interesting to see what new trends emerge over the next 20.”


Which traditions will you be doing away with for your big day?

Just hit ‘Like’ on our Wedding Ideas Facebook page, and ‘Follow’ on our @wimagazine Twitter account to join in the conversation.

Should More Women be Making Wedding Speeches?

Kristin Wiig, Rose Byrne

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With news that Meghan Markle will be making a speech at the royal wedding reception on Saturday, is it time to say goodbye to the age-old tradition of letting the men do the talking?

The royal wedding countdown is on, and it’s reported that after the ceremony at Windsor Castle, Meghan Markle will stand up in front of 800 guests and make a speech dedicated to her new husband, Prince Harry.

The actress will be the first royal bride to break from tradition by delivering a speech at her wedding reception – and while it’s completely unheard of in the royal circuit, it turns out it’s pretty rare in the public wedding circuit, too.

In fact, a 2016 YouGov poll revealed that only 16% of those surveyed believe that the bride should give a speech at her wedding, in contrast with the 51% who thought the groom should do the talking.

Should more brides be making wedding speeches?

So is it time for women to stand up and be heard? Professional speech writers Great Speech Writing certainly think so, and are now campaigning for change, advocating an equal voice for women at weddings.

“A wedding is a celebration of two people’s love,” says Lawrence Bernstein, founder of Great Speech Writing. “The guests tend to be drawn equally from both families. The costs are increasingly shared too. Surely its only fair that both sides should get a chance to express themselves?”

“Some of our very best wedding speeches are given by brides, bridesmaids, and mums of the bride and groom. Surely these should cease to be the exception to the rule?”

Only 5% of the wedding speech enquiries received by Great Speech Writing are from a bride, mother of a bride, bridesmaid or maid of honour. But with Ms Markle as a role model for many, it’s now hoped that more women will be inspired to follow in her footsteps.

With seven seasons of Suits behind her, at least Meghan shouldn’t have trouble remembering her lines!


Want more information and inspiration from Britain’s biggest bridal brand? Just hit ‘Like’ on our Wedding Ideas Facebook page, and ‘Follow’ on our @wimagazine Twitter account and you’re all set.

10 of Britain’s Most Romantic Wedding Venues

As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle prepare to tie the knot in Windsor Castle next month, we take a look at the most romantic wedding venues fit for royalty…

Holbrook Manor

If a rural setting is more to your taste, Holbrook Manor promises 20 acres of unspoiled views among Somerset’s stunning countryside, with room for up to 140 guests. The venue’s newly refurbished Garden Room offers a naturally bright and vibrant indoor space, which can be decorated to suit your preferences.

Or if you’re lucky enough to have sunshine on your special day, the lawn tennis court is the perfect spot for a beautiful marquee wedding. Available on a completely exclusive basis, the venue also includes a bridal suite and 20 spacious bedrooms for your friends and family.

romantic wedding venues

Bishop’s Palace

Say “I do” inside this 800-year-old palace and you’ll start your married life together feeling like royalty! With its medieval architecture, outdoor terrace, grand Entrance Hall and acres of gardens, guests won’t be able to resist taking photos as they arrive over the drawbridge at The Bishop’s Palace in Somerset.

The garden terrace provides a great space for mingling once the ceremony is over, after which you’ll be invited to dine in the medieval Undercroft for your wedding feast. Seating is available for up to 120 guests, with room for a dance area, too.

6 Sarah_Steven_Colour_139Borthwick Castle

With a 600-year history and impressive regal connections, you could say Borthwick Castle is a venue fit for royalty! This magnificent castle is situated just 12 miles from Edinburgh, and comes complete with high-vaulted ceilings, antique furnishings and stylish, comfortable bedchambers.

Fancy throwing in a Celtic twist? Additional Scottish touches can be included, such as whisky toasts and tastings, falconry displays and kilted pipers to welcome the happy couple. Available for exclusive hire for a minimum of two days, the castle can accommodate up to 70 guests, of which 26 can stay overnight.

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River Cottage

Nestled in a valley near the Dorset/Devon border, River Cottage is a 65-acre working farm with a stunning backdrop of rolling hills and spectacular sunsets.

For smaller parties of 20, the beautiful 16th-century farmhouse offers a more intimate ceremony, while those with over 100 guests have the option of the traditional threshing barn – a versatile space with plenty of room for dancing! The venue also offers a luxury seasonal menu using organic ingredients, the majority of which is grown and reared on the farm.

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Maison Talbooth

For a smaller celebration with up to 50 guests, Maison Talbooth in Essex ticks every box. This luxury country house hotel boasts surrounding views of the Dedham Vale and the river Stour, where couples have the choice of saying “I do” in the beautiful Garden Room. Hoping for a sunny day?

Take exclusive use of the hotel and tie the knot outside the fabulous Pool House, where guests can also take advantage of 12 luxury bedrooms, relax in the spa and enjoy a dip in the heated outdoor pool.

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Maunsel House

This family-home-turned-wedding-venue is an antique-lover’s paradise, featuring vast collections of ornaments, paintings and furniture. Whether you’d prefer an intimate romantic ceremony or a large, lavish celebration with lots of guests, Maunsel House offers couples a variety of function rooms, from the smaller Victorian Library to the spacious Regency Ballroom.

If you’ve got your sights set on an outdoor ceremony, the secret walled garden behind the main house provides space for a more private affair, while the elegant bandstand offers breathtaking views of the surrounding Somerset countryside.

www.tinadownham.com_maunselhouse

Hensol Castle

Recently named ‘Romantic Venue of the Year’, this 400-year-old Grade-I-listed castle is perfect for those brides dreaming of a beautiful fairytale-like wedding. Based in South Wales, Hensol Castle is a truly striking venue with unique gothic features, from arched windows and sweeping staircases, to large turrets and an impressive 15-acre serpentine lake.

There are six function rooms in which you can tie the knot, each offering light, airy spaces with stunning period decor. A complimentary stay on the night of the wedding is also included for the bride and groom.

Bride and groom outside Hensol CastleLeeds Castle

If a historic venue is what you want for your big day, Leeds Castle is sure to hit the spot. Wedding packages are available both inside the castle and within The Maiden’s Tower, an elegant 16th-century stone building once used for glamorous 1920s parties.

Those looking for a more relaxed, outdoor celebration will love the castle’s gardens, where men options range from sizzling BBQs to festival street food platters. Or for spectacular views of the moat and countryside, the 17th-century Fairfax Barn is an ideal reception venue suitable for up to 200 guests.

Woodland Castle

Rain or shine, Woodlands Castle is a charming wedding venue suitable for both small and large parties. Couples can choose to exchange vows inside The Garden Pavilion, where seating for up to 300 guests is available. Or, for a more intimate ceremony, tie the knot inside one of the many beautiful rooms inside the main house. If an outdoor wedding is more to your preference, the Victorian Veranda provides a beautiful backdrop at all times of year, but particularly in the summer months.

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Hever Castle

If you’ve got your hopes pinned on a historic venue, Hever Castle certainly fits the bill. The Kent-based attraction, which is best known for being the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, is a wonderful setting for a classic and traditional wedding ceremony. Couples can choose from a range of locations within the castle’s grounds, including the castle itself, the Edwardian Astor Wing, the luscious Italian Gardens or under a marquee on the Winter Garden Lawn.

Hever Castle

6 Of The Most Romantic Wedding Readings From Books

If you and your husband-to-be are lovers of literature, then fiction is a great place to start if you’re looking for meaningful wedding readings. Here are six of our favourite wedding readings to serenade the most romantic couple on their big day.

wedding readings from books

1. The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach

A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soul mate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soul mate is the one who makes life come to life.

This novel is inspired by the author’s relationship with his wife, who he considered his one true soulmate even after their sad divorce. You can’t deny that this extract is a beautiful description of how two people can make each other feel safe, loved and supported, which makes it perfect for a wedding.

2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

I have for the first time found what I can truly love – I have found you. You are my sympathy – my better self – my good angel; I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my center and spring of life, wraps my existence about you – and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one. It was because I felt and knew this, that I resolved to marry you.

This lovely literary quote is spoken by Mr Rochester to his fiancé Jane Eyre, a classic romantic couple. We particularly like this quote because it mentions marriage, rather than just love, which makes it great reading material.

3. Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

People are like cities: We all have alleys and gardens and secret rooftops and places where daisies sprout between the sidewalk cracks, but most of the time all we let each other see is is a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a polished square. Love lets you find those hidden places in another person, even the ones they didn’t know were there, even the ones they wouldn’t have thought to call beautiful themselves.

This is another gorgeous quote that highlights how our other halves bring out the best in us and accept us for who we are. We think this quote would be brilliant for couples who love to travel together, or who have a passion for architecture.

4. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Oh, what a love it was, utterly free, unique, like nothing else on earth! Their thoughts were like other people’s songs.

They loved each other, not driven by necessity, by the ‘blaze of passion’ often falsely ascribed to love. They loved each other because everything around them willed it, the trees and the clouds and the sky over their heads and the earth under their feet. Perhaps their surrounding world, the strangers they met in the street, the wide expanses they saw on their walks, the rooms in which they lived or met, took more delight in their love than they themselves did.

Taken from Boris Paternak’s most famous novel, this quote describes the love between his characters Yuri and Lara. We like this quote because it describes two people completely wrapped up in one another – if you and your h2b have had a whirlwind romance, this one might be for you!

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5. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

At night, there was the feeling that we had come home, feeling no longer alone, waking in the night to find the other one there, and not gone away; all other things were unreal. We slept when we were tired and if we woke the other one woke too so one was not alone. Often a man wishes to be alone and a woman wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. We were never lonely and never afraid when we were together.

This sweet quote from Hemingway describes feeling like you and your partner are a team who can get through anything when you are together – if you’ve both overcome hardship during your relationship then this might be a good choice.

6. The Amber Spyglass, by Philip Pullman

I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again… I’ll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you… We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams… And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we’ll be joined so tight…

Although this quote comes from a fantasy book, we still think that it’s very real and beautiful, and perfect for a wedding.

Want more? Childhood sweethearts? You won’t want to miss our wedding-worthy list of non-cheesy readings for long-term couples!

Indulge Country Comforts in the Cotswolds at Barnsley House Hotel Nr Cirencester

Indulge country comforts in the Cotswolds at Barnsley House Hotel nr Cirencester offering a contemporary spa, 11 acres to explore and their very own kitchen garden restaurant to give your stay just the right amount of gluttony…

 

Belonging to the Calcot Collection, grade II listed manor house Barnsley House Hotel near Cirencester is recognised as one of the top UK luxury hotels and 5 bubble spa retreats in the Cotswolds according to The Good Spa Guide. Offering 18 utterly unique rooms, private garden suites and two-storey stable dwellings, original features are seamlessly combined with a tasteful modern palette. Beautiful furnishings, cool colour schemes and open plan living will see you ease into your stay at Barnsley from the word go!

 

Barnsley House Hotel exterior
Cosy country charm and signature Cotswold stone make Barnsley House Hotel the idyll country retreat
Barnsley House modern suites, rooms and split level accommodation provide a host of little luxuries…
Barnsley House Spa: Outdoor Hydrotherapy pool

 

The added contemporary Barnsley House spa is private and petite making use of undulating rural views of the neighbouring cotswolds farms right from the steaming waters of the outdoor hydrotherapy pool to the glass facade relaxation room. Inside the spa, the outdoor elements are carried throughout with exposed cotswolds stone work, wicker and stylishly comfortable rattan furnishings. A select menu of restorative ELEMIS treatments will take you to the lower level of the spa where cosy, dimly-lit treatment rooms await through ochre stone tunnels. A post-treatment chill out zone also on this level is cleverly designed to hub the illusion of nature and is constructed of curvaceous wicker woven walls, oversized individual sofas and plenty of plump mocha fleece blankets.

 

Barnsley House: The Potager

Dine

Aptly named after the french term for ‘kitchen garden’ Barnsley’s in-house restaurant The Potager brings the tranquility and elegant wilderness of the Rosemary Verey gardens inside – scouting a provencal-style olive palette throughout. Fruitful pots dress the dining room while herbaceous sprigs stylishly accent intimate candlelit tables. Floor-to-ceiling windows right the way around romanticise the view of the gardens at dusk – if you look hard enough you’ll be able to see soft illuminations of the Gothic summer house.

Among the ornamental fruit and vegetable plots, the gardens not only offer innumerable pleasure for mild meandering, they also provide a considerable quantity of the key ingredients that inspire Barnsley’s menu with seasonality at the forefront of every single dish. ‘Crop favourites’ of the season like russet apples and beet varieties are updated inside the menu and whet the appetite for a choice of cleverly cultivated dishes to take your fancy. Not to mention the potted elixir of salty herbed homemade salsa verde’ for anointing to heavenly artisan breads.

Head Chef Francesco Volgo will serve up the most exquisite interpretation of meat and two veg (showcasing their ethos to serve quality by simple cooking of fewer ingredients) including 36-hour pork belly & loin, choucroute, chorizo & heritage carrot. For the seafood lover – lemon sole, nut brown butter & brown shrimp. If it hasn’t been grown in the kitchen garden it will have come from the wealth of surrounding local farms (which Barnsley add you will probably be able to hear from within the grounds!) All washed down with a speciality wine list and all-too-tempting drinks menu featuring Barnsley House’s very own gin which can be spiced up with caramelised and/or floral aromas of ginger and elderflower.

 

Barnsley House Gardens designed by Rosemary Verey provide calm and relaxation in the Cotswolds – not to mention a prized kitchen garden which inspires fresh seasonal dishes exclusive to The Potager in house restaurant.

 

While the gardens hum with thriving wildlife at the height of the summer months aswell as milder autumns, The Potager’s floor-to-ceiling orangery-style doors are opened out onto the grounds welcoming warmer climes for alfresco dining morning, noon and evening.

 

Barnsley House Kitchen Garden

Exclusive Barnsley Weddings

As far as weddings go, you won’t find a more picture-perfect setting for your alfresco ceremony (fairy-light strewn trees and all) Barnsley House only offer exclusivity quite simply to ensure maximum privacy for your wedding party and the utmost indulgence of the house and outside space. Make the most of the what Barnsley House have to offer by checking the bride and her girls into the spa the afternoon before the big day followed by a private cinema viewing for up to 30 guest – we’ll even supply the popcorn! Send the boys to our resident village pub (run by us!) which is finished to the same contemporary country cosy standard no less for the perfect pre-wedding supper. Get more bespoke weddings ideas here – exclusive to Barnsley House.

Learn more about Barnsley House

10 Perfect Wedding Love Poems

10 Perfect Wedding Love Poems

Poet and titleholder of Young People’s Laureate for London, Caleb Femi has created his personal list of the 10 best wedding love poems of all time!

10 best wedding love poems
Love Poems

From Sonnet 116 in Love Poems and Sonnets of William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

I Carry Your Heart With Me By E. E. Cummings

I carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart.

Love is a Temporary Madness, from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Love is a temporary madness,
it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.
And when it subsides you have to make a decision.
You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together
that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness,
it is not excitement,
it is not the promulgation of eternal passion.
That is just being “in love” which any fool can do.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,
and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground,
and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches,
they find that they are one tree and not two.

[related]

Eskimo Love Song

You are my husband, you are my wife
My feet shall run because of you
My feet dance because of you
My heart shall beat because of you
My eyes see because of you
My mind thinks because of you
And I shall love, because of you.

 

The Wine of Love by James Thomson

The wine of Love is music,
And the feast of Love is song:
And when Love sits down to the banquet,
Love sits long:
Sits long and ariseth drunken,
But not with the feast and the wine;
He reeleth with his own heart,
That great rich Vine.

Roads Go Ever Ever On by J.R.R Tolkien

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.
Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.

 

Love Listen by Ann Gray

Let’s love, listen, take time
when time is all we have.
Let’s be unafraid to be kind,
learn to disregard the bad
if the good outweighs it daily.
Let’s make a gift of silence,
the day’s hushing into dark,
and when we hold each other
let’s always be astonished
we are where we want to be.
Let’s hope to age together,
but if we can’t, let’s promise now
to remember how we shone
when we were at our best,
when we were most ourselves.

Literature-loving couple? Check out more romantic wedding readings from the best-loved books!

Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms by Thomas Moore

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
Which I gaze on so fondly to-day,
Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms,
Live fairy-gifts fading away,
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art,
Let thy loveliness fade as it will,
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still.
It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,
And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear,
That the fervor and faith of a soul may be known,
To which time will but make thee more dear!
No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close,
As the sunflower turns on her god when he sets
The same look which she turned when he rose!

Let me put it this way By Simon Armitage

Let me put it this way:
if you came to lay
your sleeping head
against my arm or sleeve,
and if my arm went dead,
or if I had to take my leave
at midnight, I should rather
cleave it from the joint or seam
than make a scene
or bring you round.
There, how does that sound?

10 things to remember for a wedding you’ll NEVER forget!

A Great Need by Hafiz

Out
Of a great need
We are all holding hands
And climbing.
Not loving is a letting go.
Listen,
The terrain around here
Is
Far too
Dangerous
For
That.

Caleb Femi is a poet, photographer, filmmaker and English teacher. He is the current titleholder of Young People’s Laureate for London, and is the brand ambassador for Viennese coffee roaster Julius Meinl. The brand is about to embark in its annual Meet With A Poem campaign on Sunday 1st October.

Find out more about the campaign http://bit.ly/MeetWithAPoem2017
Find your nearest participating location http://bit.ly/MeetWithAPoemLocations

 

What wedding readings and love poems will you read during your wedding ceremony?!

Celebrate With A Pop! Introducing Personalised Confetti Pops From Shropshire Petals

The easy way to create the perfect confetti moment that is unique to your wedding day, use Shropshire Petals' new Personalised Confetti Pops to celebrate...

After you have said “I do”, traditionally guests will shower you with confetti to mark the start of the celebrations. Make your confetti moment one to remember by celebrating with a pop!

 

The easy way to create the perfect confetti moment that is unique to your wedding day, use Shropshire Petals' new Personalised Confetti Pops to celebrate...

 

Shropshire Petals have just launched their new range of Personalised Confetti Pops. The range includes 19 designs that can be printed in any colour you desire. Even better, you can also add your names and wedding date to be printed in their personalised range.

With a wide range of designs to choose from, you are sure to find a theme to suit your wedding style or your own personal tastes. If not, Shropshire Petals have also launched an option to upload your own design – customised confetti doesn’t get better than that!

 

The easy way to create the perfect confetti moment that is unique to your wedding day, use Shropshire Petals' new Personalised Confetti Pops to celebrate...

 

Have fun designing your Personalised Confetti Pops, change the background colour, font colour and play around with how you want your names to be presented as you create your very own unique confetti moment.

Don’t forget that you can create your very own confetti petal mix with Shropshire Petals, too. Perhaps you’d love to feature petals from your favourite flowers, or match your confetti to your colour scheme. Any which way, Shropshire Petals’ Pick and Mix confetti service will bring your dream confetti moment to life. For Personalised Confetti Pops, choose from their pre-selected and perfectly pretty mixes, colour co-ordinated for the dream confetti flutter.

 

The easy way to create the perfect confetti moment that is unique to your wedding day, use Shropshire Petals' new Personalised Confetti Pops to celebrate...

 

Designing your Personalised Confetti Pops is quick and easy. You can also view your finished design on the interactive online preview before you buy. Simply select your petals, choose the design you would like on your label and select a font colour from the pre-set list or pick a custom colour. All that’s left to do is to enter your names and wedding date and then preview your design!

Personalised Confetti Pops are available in packs of 10 or as a Personalised Confetti Pop Box. This comes with 25 confetti-filled Personalised Confetti Pops in a handy keepsake display box.

Visit shropshirepetals.com and bring your confetti moment to life.

 

How would you make your personalised confetti unique?

‘Something old, something new…’ 15 wedding day traditions explained

There are lots of weird and wonderful wedding day traditions – your own wedding day might include a few ancient superstitions to avoid bringing ‘bad luck’ without you even realising! Here are a couple you might not know about…

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Veils were originally intended to hide the bride from evil spirits who were jealous of her happiness.

Originally, people used to tie shoes to the back of a wedding car, but nowadays we’re more likely to use tin cans – they symbolise good luck, and the noise is meant to keep those pesky evil spirits away.

Now we throw confetti or flower petals over the newlyweds, but traditionally guests would have thrown rice over them to bless their fertility.

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Rain on your wedding day is thought to be unlucky – not only for the soggy guests, but the rest of the marriage too! However, it is considered good luck for a bride to meet a spider, chimney sweep or black cat on her way to the wedding ceremony.

[related]

One of the most familiar superstitions is that it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding ceremony. This one isn’t such a romantic tradition – it originated in a time when arranged marriages were common, and seeing each other was more likely to result in one or both parties doing a runner!

Have you ever wondered why the groom carries his new bride over the threshold? In medieval Europe, it was believed that evil spirits might make their way into the house through the soles of the bride’s feet!

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Much of the bride’s outfit has been based upon superstitions, including a white dress to signify virginity and purity. Some think that a sugar cube in your glove will sweeten your union, whilst almost every bride knows the traditional poem, ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’.

Wearing ‘something old’ is meant to represent the life that the bride is leaving behind, while the ‘something new’ represents her new life as a married woman. The ‘something borrowed’ should come from someone who has had a long and happy marriage, and blue is meant to symbolise purity, fidelity and love.

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The final part of the poem is ‘and a silver sixpence in her shoe’. Traditionally the bride’s father would slip a sixpence coin into his daughter’s left shoe on the way to the altar, to bring luck and wish the happy couple a long and prosperous life together. Today, you can buy special wedding sixpences to recreate this tradition.

For many years it was also tradition for the bride and groom to give each other gold and silver coins after exchanging rings, and this act is recorded in the first book of common prayer published in 1549. Gold Sovereign coins and silver Britannia coins are a perfect way to observe that tradition today.

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Used to symbolise prosperity, love and unity, coins have a long-standing history within many wedding traditions across the world.

In Wales, silver coins are inserted into the popped champagne or wine corks and given to the bride and groom as a lasting memento of their day of celebration.

In Sweden, the bride’s mother gives her a gold coin to put in her right shoe and the bride’s father gives her a silver coin to put in her left shoe to represent their wish that she will never be without.

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In Spain and Latin America, a coin is given by the groom to his bride after the blessing of the rings. It symbolises his willingness to share all that he has or will have. The coin is kept as a family keepsake and passed down from mother to her eldest son on his wedding day.

In Poland, coins are tossed over the newlyweds instead of confetti as they leave the ceremony. The couple is required to pick up all of the coins together as a sign of their new unity.

If you’re looking for the perfect finishing touch for your special day, or a fab favour idea, visit The Royal Mint or check out our Planning section today!

Vows in the Valley at Celtic Manor Resort: A 5 Star Getaway With Wedding-worthy Views And Venues

Vows in the Valley at Celtic Manor Resort: 5 Star Getaway With Wedding Worthy Views And Venues

Prestigious golf resort Celtic Manor Resort in Newport and proud host of the 2010 Ryder Cup, families and loved-up couples return year round to the resorts plush hotel and country boltholes and not just for some of the finest golf courses in Europe…

 

Vows in the Valley at Celtic Manor: 5 Star Couples Escape With Wedding-worthy Views And Venues

 

Even if golf isn’t your thing, a visit to the Twenty Ten clubhouse is well worth a visit during your stay. You’ll be sure to take an interest in the idyll views of the championship course that bow in the Usk Valley. Follow in the footsteps of the golfing legends with a romantic walk at sunrise or dusk – another way non-golfing guests of the resort can appreciate Celtic Manor Resort’s prized welsh patch (which is spectacular) besides playing the course. The resort’s latest addition of 9 stately-sized, self-contained Hunter Lodges encourage family groups to dwell in the little luxuries of a world-class resort but with alot more exclusivity. These sit quite beautifully at the peak of the valley so the golf course is quite literally your back garden.

 

Vows in the Valley at Celtic Manor: 5 Star Couples Escape With Wedding-worthy Views And Venues

 

Seven luxuriously styled on-site restaurants include intimate country fare at country Inn Newbridge on Usk, Cen, trend-setting Asian fusion triumph of Masterchef Finalist Larkin Cen and Signature ‘Steak On Six’ (on the sixth floor) will visually delight with apt cow hyde accents and romantic panoramic table views over the Coldra Woods.

 

Vows in the Valley at Celtic Manor: 5 Star Couples Escape With Wedding-worthy Views And Venues

Vows in the Valley at Celtic Manor: 5 Star Couples Escape With Wedding-worthy Views And Venues

 

Succumb to well-being and indulgence in equal measures with a number of Forum Spa favourites to walk into and float out of… Detox your body and mind with a choice of specialist massages, nutrient-loaded facials and a herbal steam temple ritual. From inner to outer beauty, the hotel’s ultra-luxe new champagne beauty bar will see you step out in style, all the while their exclusive ‘Pop, Fizz, Wink’ menu of fruity or floral juniper-pink jewelled cocktails or mocktails can be made to order as part of your pampering.

 

Vows in the Valley at Celtic Manor: 5 Star Couples Escape With Wedding-worthy Views And Venues

 

Wedding Celebrations are an equally glam affair at Celtic Manor Resort with four unique wedding packages that enable every style and size wedding within multiple venues and locations. For intimate ceremonies, the private hunter lodges on the edge of the valley can be transformed for up to 40 guests, while the 19th century manor house will seduce your love of old world elegance. Geared towards savouring long summer days, the rooftop garden and barbecue terrace offer a romantic rustic semi-outdoor space encouraging a fitting informal dining experience to views of the Severn Estuary.

LEARN MORE celtic-manor.com

Wedding Checklist: 7 Essential Questions You Didn’t Know To Ask…

Wedding Checklist: 7 Essential Questions You Didn’t Know To Ask.

You’ve already answered — or asked — the most important question of all: will you marry me? But the wedding planning process doesn’t come without a few queries of its own. And, while some questions will arise naturally, there are others you should be sure to ask regardless of the where, when, why and how of your wedding. They’ll give you all the important information you need to make your big day perfect.

The only problem is, you don’t know what these big enquiries should be — until now. Here are seven of the most important questions to ask in the days, weeks and months leading up to your wedding:

 

7 Essential Wedding Questions You Didn't Know To Ask...

 

1.What do I do with my veil?

You’ve chosen the perfect accessories to go with your gown. You also know you don’t want to wear your veil all night long. If you don’t think about it beforehand, though, you might be stuck with your veil on, if you don’t want to mess up your hair or leave it somewhere unattended.

The best time to take your veil off is after your ceremony or after your first dance. That way, you have time to take it off carefully, preserving your hairdo for the reception. Plus, you can find a safe spot to store your veil — some brides simply drape it over their chairs as a sort of decoration.

 

2. How will the wedding party get from the ceremony to the reception?

You’ve already figured out how you will entertain guests between the ceremony and reception, a period in which many wedding parties take group photos. You’ve also decided how you and your new husband or wife will travel — in style, we imagine — from location to location. But what you haven’t thought about is how your wedding party will do the same.

It’s important to remember that they’ll likely need rides, too. Whether they’ve been drinking a little liquid courage prior to walking down the aisle with you, or they’re wearing gowns that would make driving uncomfortable or unsafe, they’ll need transportation, and it’s up to you to figure it out. Even if you’re going casual with a carpool, make sure your bridal party knows so that someone can be a responsible sober driver. Or, arrange a party bus, trolley or limo.

 

3. Where do I put my engagement ring?

Obviously, you’re going to wear your engagement ring on the day of your wedding — it’s the reason why you’re there in the first place. But you don’t want your engagement ring getting in the way of the ceremonial exchanging of the wedding bands.

So, simply slip your engagement ring onto your ring finger — of your right hand. Once the ceremony’s over and you’ve successfully gotten your wedding rings on, put your engagement ring back in its rightful left-hand position, where it’ll stay for the rest of your life.

 

4. Can I wear other jewellery my dress?

You already have a pretty important piece of jewellery, your engagement ring. On top of that, you’ll stack your wedding band on the big day. You might not think you can wear any more jewellery than this.

But there are plenty of misconceptions when it comes to accessorising your wedding-day look. Some of the most commonly asked questions have to do with wedding jewellery. Depending on your dress, you can rock large chandelier earrings, a statement necklace or even a diamond bracelet. Your wedding day jewellery doesn’t have to fit any sort of mould — what matters most is that you’re happy. That way, you’ll look back on your pictures and have zero regrets about what you wore – or didn’t wear — as you walked down the aisle.

 

7 Essential Wedding Questions You Didn't Know To Ask...

 

5. Where exactly do I stand?

This is one of the reasons why we have rehearsals: it’s so very important to know where you and your bridal party are supposed to stand before, during and after your ceremony, as well as during any other special moments of the day.

It’s especially important for everyone to know their line-up and spacing before the ceremony, since pictures will capture that moment in the moment — no chance to re-pose if people are awkwardly spaced, facing the wrong way or otherwise ruining the look of the picture. Be sure everyone has their positioning down during the wedding, as well as during the bridal party introductions, first dance and any other time your wedding party will be standing up with you and your forever love.

 

6. How do I thank everyone for coming?

A receiving line has been a go-to for many years, but it’s falling out of favour for brides and grooms to stand around and say “hello” to every single guest after they just got married. So, you should come up with a plan as to how you’ll do so before the big day so that you don’t miss anyone.

Nowadays, the go-to is the reception round up: brides and grooms walk from table to table, thanking each one for coming. You could also say a few words for a more general thank-you, although personalised ones are politer and have come to be expected of just-married couples.

 

7. How should we kiss?

This is a common question, but it’s the one without a real answer: it’s up to you and your future spouse to decide what’s appropriate. You probably don’t want to go with an extra-long, visibly passionate kiss, but, hey — at the end of the day, it’s your wedding. And, therefore, it’s up to you to decide what fits the bill.

So, go forth with confidence in planning your ceremony, reception and every other part of your wedding day. With these oft-forgotten questions in mind — and the even bigger ones already on the tip of your tongue — you’re ready to plan the perfect wedding day with full knowledge.

 

 

Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. Along with writing for her blog, she frequently writes for sites like US Travel News, Thought Catalog, Style Me Pretty, Tripping.com and more.

Why You’ll Want A Bespoke Wedding Poem On Your Big Day…

Why You’ll Want A Bespoke Wedding Poem On Your Big Day!

Hamish Guerrini has been delighting wedding congregations for over twenty years with his heart-warming, personal and humorous poems for wedded couples! He takes the history of the couple’s lives and weaves it into a magical story in mini-epic verse that he will perform in person or send on a scroll or video to include in the ceremony or reception. Hugely experienced in entertaining great crowds, Hamish hosts ‘The Rabbit Hole’ venue and event at Glastonbury Festival, too!

Here Hamish tells us about why couples love a bespoke wedding poem that they can cherish forever and explores why funny is GOOD at weddings…

 

Why You'll Want A Bespoke Wedding Poem On Your Big Day...
Real Wedding of Alex & Phillip

“Even though tying the knot for the rest of your lives is a serious commitment,  a joyful and memorable wedding needs to contain elements of both profundity and humour.”

“The poems I write are designed to encompass the whole gamut of emotions and usually bring tears of many kinds to the surface; They sum up the couple’s life before they met, move onto their lives together and finally celebrate the couple in their ongoing marriage.

In order to get the best picture of each individual couple for their poem, I like to get in contact with the parents, the best man/woman and any siblings who know their history and have any funny anecdotes! I then spend several days weaving the whole wealth of information into verse.”

“Typically, I will be contacted in secret by a friend or relative of the couple to write a poem just for them!”

Why You'll Want A Bespoke Wedding Poem On Your Big Day...
Real couple Alex & Phillip

 

Alex and Phillip’s Real Wedding Poem 

(Excerpt)

The Marriage Hat Head Temple

In Tapely Park did Hector Christie a stately pleasure-dome decree,

Where Brian, the sacred Bull-tarrier ran,

Through grasslands measureless to man,

Down to the Instow Sea.

Upon this five miles of fertile ground,

With walls and towers all girdled round,

A couple of love birds alighted there,

And found themselves in loving stare.

Here to tie a sacred knot,

Here to thicken a sacred plot.

But what of the beginnings of this epic tale?

What of the origins of the protagonist male?

A Whilsthire lad with religious leanings,

This Savernake son with spiritual feelings,

Dissatisfied with one Catholic plot,

He decided to study the whole dammed lot,

And so at SOAS did he enroll,

Intending to explore the perennial soul.

This so fired his imagination,

He decided to visit the Indian nation,

And so with a chaperone he went,

To visit the subcontinent.

And there he saw such sights and sounds,

That made his chakras know no bounds,

With gusto he began to chart and record,

Buying the best camera that he could afford.

And this visual stock-take, this treasure trove,

Led him further down photography’s road.

What talented fingers and what fine eye

Could frame such fearful symmetry?

Yet what strong heart could contain

This visual lion-heart, so hard to tame?

 

Why You'll Want A Bespoke Wedding Poem On Your Big Day!
Hamish in performance clothing – Celebrant and poet

 

Couple’s Testimonial

“In our hearts the day that was approaching was to be a deeply spiritual meeting, but amidst all the fairy lights and place names a time for stillness and reflection on that most important of objectives somehow disappeared. There were so many things I wanted to say to Hamish before that day, but none of it mattered, because he just knew.

“He knew how to put everyone at their ease, and how to tickle the trepidation out of those mistrusting of our unconventional ways.”

“He knew how much everyone needed to laugh, and conducted symphonies of belly chuckles all day long. More than anything, he knew us.As someone who has admired Hamish from afar for some time, I was truly astonished and touched by the depth of his perception.”

“He sung the story of our lives for our family and friends and it was living magic to be able to relive it all again through his words.” 

A dear Aunt, of the mistrusting variety, came to me the following morning. “Hamish” she whispered conspiratorially, “he was the catalist for all the magic that followed, wasn’t he?” He most certainly was. We are truly blessed to have a druid such as he in our lives…”

 

About Hamish

As a practicing Druid, Hamish came about writing and performing at weddings over 20 years ago when he was asked by a friend to attend the building of Britain’s largest new stone circle in Surrey and set about entertaining the troops with music and song. Later invested as a bard Hamish’s roles include writing poetry, songs and performing certain ceremonies.

Hamish has performed a poem at Michael Eavis’s 80th birthday and also at DJ Skrillex’s birthday! Hamish has also also performed in front of a number of royalty and celebrities in the UK.

Learn more about having your very own wedding poem written by Hamish — hamishguerrini.co.uk

The Best Corners Of The UK To Wed And Why!

The Best Corners Of The UK To Wed In 2018 And Why These Venues Have Made It To The Top Of List…

Your choice of venue sets the scene for your big day, so finding the perfect place is a top priority. We’ve rounded up our pick of the very best wedding locations throughout the UK.

Arley Hall

BEST BARN VENUE

Cruck Barn, Arley Hall, Cheshire

Barn weddings are perennially popular, and the Cruck Barn at Cheshire’s Arley Hall is hard to beat if you’re looking for a venue that blends history with contemporary style. The Grade-I listed, timber-framed barn dates back to the 1400s and is set in 18 acres of formal gardens with a lime tree avenue, arboretum and woodland walks. The atmosphere is warm and intimate, over owing with charm and character.

 

BEST OUTDOOR VENUE

Sheene Mill, Royston, Hertfordshire

 

This 16th-century watermill is set on the banks of the River Mel in beautifully landscaped gardens. Take your vows in the picturesque outdoor gazebo, and relax over reception drinks on the lakeside decking. The grounds are spectacular year-round, with banks of snowdrops in winter, bright seasonal flowers in summer, and vibrant autumn leaves. The Garden Conservatory overlooks the millpond, populated by families of wildfowl, including Will, the venue’s resident trumpeter swan.

 

RELATED: 23 Utterly Magical Winter Wedding Venues

BEST COASTAL VENUE

The Alexandria, Lyme Regis, Dorset

The Alexandra, Lyme regis

 

Prepare to be blown away by the incredible views from the Alexandra, renowned as one of Dorset’s best boutique hotels. The Alexandra looks out across Cobb Harbour to the world heritage Lyme Regis bay and the Jurassic coast beyond, the inspiration for many a romantic story, lm and TV series… There’s road-free access to the beach: a stunning backdrop for wedding photos. The hotel itself is a haven of English style and charm and has racked up an impressive portfolio of awards and accolades from the press and tourist boards.

 

 

BEST SETTING

Blair Castle, Pitlochry, Scottish Highlands

If you’re looking for a venue within a setting that’ll take your guests’ breath away, you’ll be hard pressed to find better than Blair Castle. For over 700 years, it’s carved a fascinating history that even involves Queen Victoria and Bonnie Prince Charlie… The 13th-century castle is now a five-star wedding location – offering an array of historic interiors, contemporary spaces and spectacular gardens. On the outside this authentic Scottish castle is surrounded by extensive grounds and gardens, lochs, rivers and glens.

 

RELATED: We turn our attention Britain’s beautiful best rustic barn venues

BEST LARGE SCALE VENUE

Hylands Estate Chelmsford, Essex

Hylands House (1)

Struggling to whittle your guest list down? It’s not a problem at Hylands, which can host weddings for up to 300 people. The Grade-II* listed mansion has a wealth of spaces for your celebration, including the majestic Banqueting Room with its silk lined walls, gold plated detailing and views over the Serpentine Lake. If you’re looking for something more modern, check out the Grand Pavilion, a contemporary space with oor-to-ceiling windows and courtyard views, ideal for large receptions.

 

BEST RUSTIC CHIC VENUE

Ufton Court

Ufton Court is a beautiful Tudor manor house and tithe barn wedding venue set on the border of Berkshire and Hampshire. It is perfect for intimate or larger weddings up to 150 and has a roaring log re in the house and fairy lights and ivy entwined beams in the barn. By choosing to have your wedding at Ufton Court you will be supporting their special children’s charity.

 

BEST EXCLUSIVE USE VENUE

Plas Dinam Country House, Llandinam, Wales

Plas dinam

If you don’t fancy strangers wandering around your wedding venue and gatecrashing your big day (and who could blame you?), an exclusive use location is
the way to go. Plas Dinam is a spectacular country mansion set in stunning countryside, with 15 bedrooms sleeping 32 guests. Choose to host your reception in the period dining room, or dance beneath the stars in the glass-roofed Victorian stables: it’s the perfect party house for a weekend wedding.

 

 

BEST ROMANTIC VENUE

St Audries Park, Somerset

 

If you can’t go all-out romantic on your wedding day, when can you? St Audries Park is the perfect choice for a fairytale celebration, a Georgian manor in 100 acres of stunning deer park. Say your vows in the glass-roofed Victorian Orangery, bedecked with garlands of fresh flowers. Have your marriage blessed in the Church of England owned St Ethelreda’s Church, within the estate’s grounds. Al fresco weddings can also be arranged in the summer months.

 

BEST FOR PICTURESQUE PHOTOS

Headland Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall

Headlands

The Cornish coastline is renowned for its beauty, and Headland Hotel is perfectly placed to make the most of the views across surfers’ favourite Fistral Bay. The venue offers a range of sensational settings for your wedding photos! Pose next to the romantic vintage gates, look out over the dramatic seascape from the cliff top, or wander down to the beach for those ‘barefoot in the sand’ snaps. The hotel itself is the epitome of English elegance, with top- class hospitality for your big day.

 

BEST CITY CHIC VENUE

The Grange Hotel, York, Yorkshire

York’s Grange Hotel is ideally situated for a chic urban wedding, just a few minutes from the city centre. The recently refurbished boutique hotel has retained its historic features, including Regency décor and a statement staircase with cast iron balustrades. Celebrate your wedding in the library and drawing room, with their light and sunny atmosphere and elegant classical design. Alternatively do something different and hire the brick-vaulted cellar, now housing the Ivy Brasserie!

 

BEST FOODIE WEDDING VENUE

River Cottage, Axminster, Devon

River Cottage

Tucked away in a quaint and idyllic valley on the Devon/Dorset border, River Cottage makes the perfect setting to say “I do” with a tasty twist! With their famous farmhouse as the backdrop, your guests can sip a glass of bubbles while wandering among the organic vegetable gardens. Food is at the heart of what River Cottage do and what they love, and you’ll get the chance to design your unique, dream menu with the team of expert chefs, which is sure to wow your guests, and be perfect for you, too…

 

BEST COUNTRY HOUSE

Rowton Castle, Shropshire

Rowton Castle boasts romantic charm with snug lounges, open res and picturesque gardens. Marrying couples can enjoy a civil ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception; be it intimate and romantic or a lavish affair with family and friends. Beautiful whatever the season, vows may be exchanged in the castle gardens, or inside in the magnificent Cardeston Suite. Add to that impeccable service and exquisite food expertly prepared by the brilliant in-house chefs! You have the makings of a truly unforgettable day.

 

RELATED: Mediterranean Venues That Will Make You Want To Wed Abroad…

BEST CASTLE VENUE

Thornbury Castle, Gloucestershire

Thornbury castle

Indulge your inner fairytale princess by tying the knot at Thornbury Castle, which once housed Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Situated in the picturesque Cotswolds,
the castle dates back to the 16th century and over flows with opulence. Head into
the immaculately kept grounds for photos, then dance the night away in the splendour of the Tudor ballroom. And what could be better than spending your wedding night in a luxurious four-poster bed?

BEST COUNTRY HOUSE VENUE

Brinsop Court, Hereford

Brinsop1

Brinsop Court is a Grade-I listed, 13th-century moated manor house nestled within its own 800-acre estate in the picturesque Herefordshire countryside. It’s a tranquil and magical venue available for exclusive use, with flexibility a key. This beautiful, five-star, enchanting country home sleeps up to 33 people and is enriched with history, offering a flawless backdrop for your celebration or event. Brinsop accommodates up to 96 day guests and up to 120 evening guests. At Brinsop Court, everything revolves around you.

RELATED: Stylish London Wedding Venues