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Join us for a wedding full of magic and sparkle at the beautiful Clearwell Castle

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All About Eve

28 High Street Chepstow Monmouthshire NP16 5LJ

7 Clytha Park Road Newport Gwent NP20 4NZ



01291 629338 6

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01633 243943

Jesus Peiro 2017 bridal collections now available at All About Eve Bridal, Chepstow Weddings WEST

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All About Eve

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THE TEAM Editor: Helen Dorritt Sub editor: Cath Dean Writers and contributors: Keri Beckingham, Kirsten Butler, Alison Maney, Becki Murray, Emma Slattery and Gianina Turner Design: Cath Evans Production co-ordinators: Emma Gorton and Ruth Wood Commercial director: Tracie Simms Website editor: Gianina Turner ADVERTISING To advertise in future editions of West Weddings contact Jacqui Lewis T: 0117 934 3136 E: EDITORIAL To contribute to future editions of West Weddings contact Helen Dorritt E: DISTRIBUTION To have a regular free delivery of the magazine to your business contact Amanda Field T: 01242 278053 E: SUBSCRIPTIONS A yearly subscription (four issues) costs just £10 including P&P. Call Amanda Field on 01242 278053 PUBLISHER West Weddings magazine is published by Bristol News and Media, 2nd Floor, Temple Way, Bristol BS99 7HD T: 0117 934 3000

Visit our brand new website at www.west-weddings., follow us on Twitter at westweddingsmag and like us on Facebook at www.facebook. com/westweddingsmag FREE COVERING BATH, BRISTOL , GLOUCESTERSHIRE, SOMERSET & WILTSHIRE

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WEST WEDDINGS WINTER 2016 There’s something very special about a winter wedding. It may be cold outside but that doesn’t stop the celebrations from looking amazing. The frost glittering on the ground, bright blue skies, perhaps even a flurry of snow to make it even more picture-perfect – all of these add such a wonderful touch to a wedding day. We’re celebrating this season with the best that the West has to offer for your wedding, whatever stage you’re at in your planning. If you’re just starting out on your wedding journey and are still choosing a location, check out our round up of museum venues on page 72 and our review of the gorgeous Clevedon Hall on page 74. Still looking for The One – your dress, that is? There’s a gallery of the latest season’s gowns starting on page 27, featuring designers such as Lusan Mandongus, Jesús Peiró, Maggie Sottero and Lillian West. And if you’re now looking for ideas for those allimportant finishing touches, you’ll find handy tips for planning a winter wedding on page 58, our pick of the latest wedding products on page 57 and our favourite seasonal beauty buys on page 62. For even more inspiration, turn to page 43 for our photoshoot. We worked with a team of fabulous local businesses to create a fairytale wedding at Clearwell Castle, all expertly captured by Emily Rose Photography. So pour yourself a hot chocolate (a splash of Baileys is optional), get comfy on the sofa and start planning!

Helen Dorritt

Join us for a wedding full of magic and sparkle at the beautiful Clearwell Castle

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Welcome to


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Contents WINTER 2016

REGULARS 7 WEDDING NEWS A round up of the latest news, events and dates for your diary this season 13 ASK THE EXPERTS Your wedding questions and dilemmas answered 16 REAL WEDDINGS Five couples from the region share all the special details of their big days 37 GROOMS Tips on conquering nerves and our pick of stylish cufflinks 40 ONLINE Find out how to get your West Weddings fix in between issues! 41 PLANNER Keep track of those facts and figures in our wedding countdown 78 PHOTO GALLERY Fantastic photography to inspire your wedding album 82 CAPTURE THE MOMENT A special photograph from one couple’s wedding album


16 30 58

FASHION 27 GOWN GALLERY All the best of the season’s new dresses, with gowns from Jesús Peiró, Lusan Mandongus, Maggie Sottero and more 43 COVER SHOOT A fairytale celebration at the magical Clearwell Castle

BE INSPIRED 57 58 61 62 65 68

PINBOARD All the finishing touches that we’re loving this season WONDERFUL WINTER WEDDINGS We share top tips for planning a celebration at this time of year TEAM BRIDE Gianina Turner helps you to pick your bridesmaid squad BEAUTY BIBLE The latest products to help you look great from top to toe THE STORY OF A DRESS How Alison Maney continued sixty years of history at her wedding A WEDDING WANDER Take a walk with us around the pretty Bristol suburb of Clifton


VENUES 71 A selection of the region’s best places to celebrate your vows

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10/11/2016 17:36:33

Wedding Open Day & Bridal Exhibitor Showcase

Private Hire & Chauffeur Service

Sunday 19th February 2017 11am – 3pm Come and meet the hotel’s dedicated wedding coordinator and chat with a fabulous array of the areas leading wedding suppliers. Experience this amazing venue and see how it could host your dream wedding day. All you need for your wedding under one truly stunning roof! Guided tours of the Castle available.

Free Goody Bag • Free Parking Free Admission • Free Prize Draw

Catering for all your Wedding Chauffeuring requirements

Nick Green t: 07877 813 739 e:

For further details visit: / or email





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In full bloom


or those of you who have always wanted to have a go at making your own bouquet, a course at the Bristol Flower School could be just what you need to set you on the path to floral bliss! Established over 20 years ago by florist Jill Woodall and now run jointly by her and daughter Claire Preston, Bristol Flower School offers courses throughout the year. These range from half day sessions to longer workshops, and include a wedding wonderland weekend and a luxury Christmas workshop on 3rd-4th December where you’ll learn to make wreaths and table decorations. You’ll be in safe hands, too: Jill has over 35 years’ experience, and has won the Dame Margot Fonteyn Cup twice for her bridal bouquet designs, while Claire runs her own design business, Bramblewood Flowers. Cementing their status as the experts, Jill and Claire are also writing a book, How to Create Your Own Wedding Flowers, which will be published next year by the Crowood Press. The

good news is that in addition to teaching you the tricks of the trade, Bristol Flower School also offers a full creative service, so Jill and Claire can be booked to create the wedding flowers of your dreams.

t, c a p m i w o L high style



Animal magic


ive the perfect wedding gift to animalmad couples this season by adopting them a cute critter at Folly Farm. The Pembrokeshire adventure park and zoo is offering you the chance to adopt donkeys, giraffes, goats, lions, meerkat, owls, penguins, pigs, rhinos, sloths, sheep and zebras for £49 each. For this the happy couple will receive a day entrance ticket to Folly Farm, an adoption certificate, a fact sheet, a soft toy and the adopter’s name displayed on

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a thank you board at the animal’s enclosure. Ten per cent of the price will go towards Folly Farm’s conservation partners including Wildlife Vets International, Barbary Macaque Awareness and Conservation and Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners, which organises under-the-sea litter clean ups along the Pembrokeshire coastline. FOLLY FARM W: WWW.FOLLY-FARM.CO.UK/ ADOPT-AN-ANIMAL

ooking to arrive at your wedding in style while also maintaining your green credentials? Aptly-named Green Chauffeuring is able to help, picking you up in a Mercedes E-Class that as well as looking sleek and elegant also happens to be a diesel and electric hybrid, meaning its CO2 emissions are much lower than standard cars. Based in Bath but covering all of the South West including Bristol, Somerset, Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire, the company is run by Nick Green. Green Chauffeuring prides itself on offering a professional and friendly service, with a host of extra touches for wedding couples including the car being decorated in ribbons to match your colour scheme. It doesn’t just have to be for your wedding day, either – why not start off your honeymoon in true luxury by getting Green Chauffeuring to take you to the airport? Best of all, there’s a 5% discount for all honeymoon transfers when mentioning West Weddings when you book a honeymoon transfer. GREEN CHAUFFEURING T: 07877 813739 E: GREENCHAUFFEURING@GMAIL.COM W: WWW.GREENCHAFFEURING.CO.UK 7

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Aztecs of love T

his coming January is an exciting time for the Aztec Hotel and Spa in Bristol, as it’s undergoing a refurbishment of its main function suite. This modern 4* hotel in the north of Bristol already boasts extensive facilities for wedding and events, including a complimentary suite for newlyweds, a luxurious onsite spa, a licence for wedding and civil partnerships and space for up to 250 guests, and this update of the suite will enhance its already impressive offering for couples planning their wedding. Work on the suite will take place in the first three weeks of January, with a grand reveal taking place on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th January – and you’re invited! Drop in during the weekend for your chance to have a look around the function suite, enjoy drinks and nibbles and chat to the experienced events team, led by weddings and event co-ordinator Lauren Manning, who will be on hand to answer any questions you have about hosting your wedding at the hotel. Couples can also book a Champagne show around of the hotel on a date to suit, where you’ll be

entered into a prize draw to win a luxury overnight spa break worth over £500 in any Shire hotel. AZTEC HOTEL AND SPA AZTEC WEST, ALMONDSBURY, BRISTOL BS32 4TS T: 01454 201090 W: WWW.THWAITES.CO.UK/HOTELSAND-INNS/HOTELS/AZTEC-HOTEL-BRISTOL/

Plan your wedding like a pro! A grand day out


ust got engaged but not sure where to start with planning your wedding? Professional wedding planner Olivia Mills from Host Event Management has created a step-bystep course to help you plan your wedding the easy way. If you’re finding the process a little confusing, stressful and time consuming, this is the perfect course for you. When you sign up you receive eight lessons that include video tutorials, course notes and practical guides such as a budget planner, guest planner and invitation wording. Olivia is offering West Weddings readers an exclusive 20% discount when signing up to the full course — just use the code 20PERCENTOFFWW. THE ONLINE WEDDING PLANNER W: WWW.THEONLINEWEDDINGPLANNER.COM 8

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edding World has been organising South West wedding exhibitions with the wow factor for over 20 years. Showcasing a variety of top wedding suppliers, services and experts, Wedding World exhibitions allow couples to browse everything needed for a wedding, from dresses to rings, cakes to cars, florists to harpists, menswear to mother of the bride outfits, photographers to videographers and lots, lots more! The highlight of each Wedding World exhibition is the professionally-choreographed designer cat walk shows at 12 and 2pm. The shows start with a dance performance from A.Y.

Dance, who offer themed dance hen parties and first dance choreography, and then a medley of songs from the amazing wedding singer Lewis Hutton, before sharing the latest designs for brides, grooms and guests. Entry to the exhibition is free, and all visitors will be entered into two free prize draws which will be drawn on the day following catwalk shows. The next Wedding World exhibition is coming up on Sunday 15th January at the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel on College Green, so head to the website to apply for your free tickets today. WEDDING WORLD W: WWW. WEDDINGWORLDEXHIBITIONS.CO.UK

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Love ctuallywe


ove Actually Weddings is excited to announce a new wedding fair for the New Year at the beautiful Bristol Harbour Hotel in Bristol’s historic Corn Street. Taking place on Sunday 29th January, this is your chance to see this new luxury venue that’s right in the heart of the city. The hotel fuses two iconic former bank properties to offer contemporary accommodation with impeccable design and a spectacular wedding and events space. Leading the way in city chic, the hotel showcases a glorious façade and exceptionally restored interiors, offering an abundance of character and detail for everyone to enjoy. The elegant architecture of the former Banking Hall, the stunning roof, exquisite interiors, beautiful décor and spectacular city location make Bristol Harbour Hotel an unforgettable wedding venue. “We’re thrilled to be working with this fantastic new venue,” say Emma and David, the owners of Love Actually Weddings. “It really is capturing the imagination of everyone in the city. We can’t wait to host this event, as we look forward to showcasing this historical building. It has charm, romance and beauty, and we’re confident that it will become an iconic and very popular Love Actually Weddings fair in Bristol for many years to come. This venue is really special – in fact, you can bank on it!” In addition to the Bristol Harbour Hotel fair, Love Actually Weddings is hosting a full season of fairs across the South West and every event has something different to offer. The winter programme includes the Hilton Swindon (15th January), Tithe Barn, Dunster (22nd January), Cheltenham Park Hotel (5th February), Cotswold Water Park Hotel (19th February), Farrington Park (26th February), Tortworth Court (5th March) and the Bishops Palace (12th March). David and Emma then return to Bristol for the M Shed wedding show in Bristol on the 19th March, which completes the first run of 2017 fairs. A full list of Love Actually Weddings fairs can be found on its website, and suppliers who are interested in exhibiting can contact Emma or David for more details.


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Wedding Fayres (11am - 3pm)

Bristol Zoo, Christmas Special Sunday 4th December Hilton Hotel, Swindon Sunday 15th January Tithe Barn, Dunster Sunday 22nd January Brand New Venue Bristol Harbour Hotel, Corn Street Sunday 29th January Cheltenham Park Hotel Sunday 5th February Cotswold Water Park Hotel Sunday 19th February Farrington Park, Somerset Sunday 26th February Tortworth Court, Nr Bristol & Gloucester Sunday 5th March The Bishops Palace, Wells Sunday 12th March M-Shed, Bristol Sunday 19th March

ADMISSION is always FREE with loveactually For information of all our events, please visit


You can bank on it!



10/11/2016 16:56:52


Your Wiltshire wedding F

or those of you looking for a beautiful countryside venue, the beautiful Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort in Wiltshire is throwing open its doors on 19th February for a wedding fair. This is your chance to meet wedding co-ordinator Marina, take a look around the hotel and gorgeous grounds, meet local suppliers and discuss the options for your luxury celebration. There’s also more good news: if you hold your wedding at Bowood before 31st March 2017, it will only cost £79 per person, which includes catering, drinks and venue hire! The venue has a number of last minute dates in January February and March, so if you want a winter wedding in 2017 then this is an offer not to be missed. BOWOOD HOTEL, SPA AND GOLF RESORT DERRY HILL, CALNE, WILTSHIRE SN11 9PQ T: 01249 822228 W: WWW.BOWOOD.ORG/WEDDINGS

Spread the cost C

ountry House Weddings, who owns West Country venues Clearwell Castle and St Audries Park, has recently launched a new financial package for couples to borrow up to £10,000 of the cost of their wedding. Available for any remaining dates until 31st March 2017 for CHW’s four nationwide venues, the wedding packages on offer are all inclusive and offer everything couples need to have an amazing day in a picture perfect setting. A 10% deposit is required but the remaining balance can be spread across a 12 month period and is completely interest free so it won’t cost you any extra. CHW Accounts Executive Thomas Palmer says: “Wedding finance can create a fantastic opportunity for couples to host their dream wedding without the need to wait a lifetime to save for it. The simple application process can take minutes to complete with an almost instant decision, giving couples ample time to plan and organise their day. It can also help remove the pressure of sourcing additional funds for those all-important finishing touches.” For more information on the offer and for terms and conditions, contact CHW. COUNTRY HOUSE WEDDINGS T: 01787 477778 W: WWW.COUNTRYHOUSEWEDDINGS.CO.UK


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Bridal at St Peter’s Hospice


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/stpetershospice Registered Charity No. 269177

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Tel. 07800596008 Stacey Jade Hair

Mobile stylist specialising in Bridal Hair covering Bristol and the South West. Winner of ‘Hair’ 2014 / 2015 / 2016 for Bristol & Somerset Wedding Awards & ‘The Bride’ 2015 award for The Natonal Hairdressers Federaton.

Get yourself noticed by theBride-to-be!

Call Jacqui Lewis on

0117 934 3136

to advertise in the next issue of West Weddings magazine


We will listen to your ideas and offer our ideas to help you create your dream individually styled beautiful wedding flowers. From a single bouquet to an army of bridesmaids and button holes.

Tel 01454 856 737

We will guide you through the whole experience and help you add the special details that make the difference between a good event and a fantastic unforgettable one. Friendly / experienced / helpful / professional staff that will take the stress away from you. 3 Chelford Grove, Stoke Lodge, Bristol BS34 6DD email web ©LW

Wedding Exhibition The Bristol Marriott Royal, College Green, Bristol Sunday 15th January 2017 11am – 3pm


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Live Entertainment Catwalk Shows at mid-day & 2pm For FREE TICKETS please visit

Experts in Special Hair for Your Special Day 25 Uley Road, Dursley GL11 4NJ Tel: 01453 544515 Weddings WEST

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Picking a venue, finding evening entertainment, selecting a theme?

. .. s t r e p x e e h t k s a o t d e e You n These useful tips from our industry experts will leave you stress free

A sense of place

Start the party

Style it up

Question: We’re trying to pick our wedding venue, but are struggling to narrow it down. What elements do we need to consider when choosing?

Question: We’re holding our reception in a nightclub, so can you recommend some suitable evening entertainment that would work well with a DJ?

Question: I really want to give my wedding a theme but I’ve got so many ideas, I don’t know where to start! What are your tips for making the day look picture-perfect?

Sally Burt, Cheltenham

Becky and Steve, Weston-super-Mare

Jenny Cook, Bristol

Hannah Bailey from Thornbury Castle says:

Answer: In the words of the TV programme, my advice is location, location, location! You may want to celebrate your wedding right on your doorstep, or you may want to travel outside your local area so it feels a bit more of a ‘romantic retreat’. Whichever of these you pick, however, you do need to think about the logistics of where your venue is and how it works for both you and your guests. Firstly consider transport, as chances are a few of your guests will be coming from outside the local area. Is it easily accessible by car, or public transport? If not, you might need to consider alternative ways to get your guests there, such as hiring a coach that picks them up from a central spot. You’ll also need take into consideration where you, and your guests, will stay the night before and night of your wedding. On-site accommodation, which is what we offer at Thormbury Castle, is a lot more relaxing for all. The advantage of this is that you can all have breakfast together and keep the party going! W: WWW.THORNBURYCASTLE.CO.UK

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Helen Dorritt from West Weddings says:

Answer: A photobooth is always a good option and great fun for guests, especially if there are props involved! Local companies that offer this service include Fishee Designs and The Digital Studio Booth. If you want to go down the DIY route, you could have fun a lot of fun selecting your own props. To save time, however, Pudding Bridge also offers a ‘booth in a box’, a box of full of specially chosen props to match your theme. You could also opt for a fun group activity like marryoke, where guests record a special music video, and which would work really well in the nightclub setting. Check out Spoolfrog’s videos online. And continuing with the nightclub theme, you could also get face painters or body artists, such as Cats Whiskers in Frampton Cotterell, to come in and decorate your guests. Good luck with your planning! W: WWW.FISHEEDESIGNS.COM W: WWW.THEDIGITALSTUDIOBOOTH.CO.UK W: WWW.PUDDINGBRIDGE.CO.UK W: WWW.SPOOLFROG.CO.UK W: WWW.CATSWHISKERS.BIZ

Kirsten Butler from The Little Wedding Helper says:

Answer: My biggest tip is to be selective. A wedding that has incorporated too many themes can look overdone. My advice would be to start by creating a Pinterest board of things you like, see what running themes emerge, then to take it from there. I also suggest paying special attention to detail where your guests will be spending a lot of their time. For example, your guests will be sitting at their table for a large part of the day, which is why the sequinned linen I often use proves to be so popular. If you’re the kind of bride-to-be that spends hours perusing Pinterest and collecting gorgeous images of how you want your wedding to look, but you simply don’t have the spare pairs of hands, the time or the creativity to make those pictures come to life, then you can always consider hiring a stylist for the day to bring your vision together. This is something I offer, providing a range of options from an inspiration session right up to a full styling service to set up your venue on the day. W: WWW.LITTLEWEDDINGHELPER.CO.UK 13

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The wow factor L

ocal fair organiser WOW Weddings Shows West has organised some fabulous shows for you to enjoy this season, highlighting the best of what the region has to offer to couples. Sunday 12th February 2017 sees the re-launch of The Bath Wedding Show at the Guildhall, Bath. This will showcase some of the area’s amazing wedding suppliers and venues, with over 50 exhibition stands and lots for you to do, taste and try! Visit the event’s dedicated website at for more information. In January, you can also visit WOW Wedding Shows events at Stonehouse Court Hotel on 15th January, Doubletree by Hilton North Bristol on 22nd January and Cheltenham Chase Hotel on 29th January. February shows include Ashton Court Mansion in Bristol on 19th February and Cheltenham Racecourse on 26th February. All of the WOW Weddings shows are completely free, and you’ll find more details about each event on its website. WOW WEDDING SHOWS WEST W: WWW.WOWWEDDINGSHOWSWEST.CO.UK


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s hair and beauty salon group Saks celebrates 21 years in the business, Bristol will be welcoming a brand new Saks salon to Park Street on 7th December. The city centre salon is owned by Donna Downey, who will oversee a team of beauty therapists and a resident make-up artist. “Whether it’s a simple manicure, a relaxing massage or a treatment that will completely transform their skin, we hope our customers will leave the salon feeling refreshed, energised and ready to take on the world!” says Donna. Working with renowned brands including Decléor and Essie, and specialising in skin health and advanced beauty, Donna’s team will offer a head-to-toe beauty menu including manicures, massage, make-up and everything in between. There will also be a number of pre-wedding treatments including hair up, manicures and make-up sessions. And as a great big welcome, Saks Beauty Bristol is offering new customers a beauty treatment for £25. Pop in to talk to the team and find out more.

Wine and vine


Bristol bridal beauty


n an enviable countryside setting just outside Bristol, Aldwick Court Farm & Vineyard is a wedding venue with a difference. The team is pleased to announce that it will be holding a free wedding fair on Sunday 22nd January so you can visit the vineyard and meet the Aldwick team. There will be the opportunity to soak in the atmosphere of the rustic farm buildings, try delicious canapés prepared by Taste Buds, Aldwick’s in-house caterers, see the Old Barn dressed for a wedding and meet Aldwick’s recommend suppliers. And if all that wasn’t enough to tempt you, then you’ll also be able to sample Aldwick’s own tipples – after all, why be married in a vineyard if not to serve guests with award-winning, estate-produced wine during the wedding breakfast?



Silver celebrations B

ristol bridal shop Bride at Home recently passed a very special milestone – 25 years designing and selling wedding dresses to West Country brides. To celebrate, former brides from the last quarter of a century were invited to the shop for cake, canapés and Champagne, as well as enjoying goody bags and a prize draw. The shop window showcased a vintage wedding dress display and the interior was decorated with wedding photos from the past 25 years, showing the changes of bridal fashion. Owned by Jan Wright, the business was originally run from her home, before moving to its current home in Downend. As well as selling dresses from designers such as La Sposa, Bonny Bridal and Allure, Jan is a qualified dress designer and pattern cutter who can create a unique dress of your dreams. “I love helping brides find their dream dresses and being able to personalise and tailored them exactly,” enthuses Jan. “There’s a lot of hard work involved, but when their faces light up, and they’re really happy with what they see, that’s a magical moment for me.” Her love for her work is also appreciated by Jan’s brides, with one commenting: “Bride at Home is not just a business, it’s Jan’s passion. She has gone from strength to strength, and her devotion always shines through.” Here’s to the next 25 years!

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10/11/2016 17:04:10


It's a nice day for a white wedding


Rob Nakielny and Caroline Tyler enjoyed a Christmas themed celebration


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lucky meeting led to Rob and Caroline getting together. They both worked at the same company and had mutual friends, so bumping into each other on a night out was the key to their relationship. Fast forward six years and Rob had been planning his proposal for a while. “We were about to go travelling round South America and I wanted to do it in advance – in case she said no! Then I chose the most romantic time and location possible – Friday evening, having had a takeaway curry and watching some TV.” Thankfully Caroline said yes, and the wedding took place at Old Down Manor in Tockington on 20th December 2015. “It's somewhere that Caroline used to go when she was a child to visit the animals and go on the adventure playground – and to push her sister into the mud!” says Rob. It was also a perfect wedding venue. “We went to look round and really liked the set up. It was ideal if the weather was bad, as there was no need to go outside, and there was even a very high balcony for the all-important group photo.” Special mention goes to Adele, the wedding co-ordinator at Old Down Manor. “Adele was fantastic! She was so organised and made sure that we thought of everything we needed to. She was also on hand throughout

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the day to pin on flower corsages, get the timing right when walking down the aisle and generally sort out any questions.” Caroline and Rob decided on a Disney and Christmas theme, with silver, pale blue and pink as their main colours to complement the season. Bijoux Floral Design’s flowers included pinecones to enhance the wintry motif, and guests were served warming mulled wine and winter Pimm's. Kevin and Carol Belson provided a professional and relaxed photography service for the couple and they’re extremely happy with the memories they have to treasure from their day. “They were fantastic and put us at ease. Kevin even did a pre-wedding shoot with us which, on top of the great photos, made us much more comfortable in front of the camera. They were both very friendly and allowed us to portray the real us, rather than a series of staged photos.” Rob’s advice for grooms planning their wedding? “Marry a girl who loves planning – but be prepared to have to take an interest in flower arrangements.” Caroline’s advice for brides? “The groom isn't interested in flower arrangements. He's only pretending to be because he loves you so much!” For Rob the highlight of his day, “apart

from the first sight of my beautiful bride of course!”, was doing his speech, as he enjoyed being the only one in the room talking. “And naturally, Caroline's highlight was listening to Rob's speech, as he was so witty,” laughs Rob. Caroline loved the whole day. “It was absolutely amazing, completely perfect. Seeing all our friends and family in one place, getting ready with my bridesmaids, wearing an amazing dress and feeling fabulous, an epic party... and of course legally binding Rob to me! He can't escape now!”

DETAILS Venue Old Down Manor, Foxholes Lane, Tockington, Bristol BS32 4PG T: 01454 414081 W: Photography Kevin Belson Photography T: 07582139900 W: Bride’s dress The Bridal Room, 40 High Street, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol BS9 3DZ T: 0117 908 9010 W: Flowers Bijoux Floral Design, Bristol T: 07747 561391 W: 17

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Wedding waves


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Tina Maclean and Shaun Strain had a celebration filled with unique touches on board the ss Great Britain Weddings WEST

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cheeky wink in a Scottish bar was the start of Tina and Shaun’s relationship, although she wasn’t too impressed in the beginning. “At first I didn't think much of it but then he convinced me to dance, and stole a kiss,” reminisces Tina. Seven years later, Shaun got down on one knee on his boat and popped the question to a surprised and overjoyed Tina. “I loved this wonderful woman and I wanted her to be my wife, so without any planning or any gimmicks I asked her to marry me there and then,” explains Shaun. When it came to planning the wedding, Tina wanted to get married in Scotland, where she lives, and Shaun wanted it to take place in Ireland, where he's from, so Bristol was chosen as a good compromise! Shaun's son is the actor who plays the role of Isambard Kingdom Brunel at the ss Great Britain, and when the couple went to visit him at work, they both realised that this was the venue for them for a number of reasons, including the boat proposal! “Shaun is an ex-Royal Navy engineer and I spent years living on merchant vessels, so the sea is in our blood,” explains Tina. The date of the wedding also had special meaning as the couple met on 19th July, which mirrored the date of the ss Great Britain's launch in 1843. Tina wanted to honour the history of the ship and so chose an outfit that reflected this. Her Irish crochet dress was made by Cara Wagstaff at Cocoa Couture from an original 1800s design, and customised with an antique veil and wax flowers. Tina's flowers were in keeping with the style of a nineteenth century bouquet and featured cream roses, bells of Ireland and sweet peas. She also added memory pendants to honour loved ones who had passed on.

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The wedding blended traditional Irish and Scottish customs, with guests taking to the dance floor to strip the willow, the groom and many of the male guests wearing kilts, a piper leading Tina onto the ship and then into the wedding breakfast, and a traditional handfasting element to the ceremony. “This is where the phrase 'tying the knot' comes from,” explains Tina. “That was a lovely special touch as we said our vows.” Fun and family were also important elements for the day. “I wanted to have all those that mattered to me there to celebrate our love,” says Tina, with Shaun adding: “Being Irish, our weddings are all about having a good old knees up!” In the spirit of fun, the guests posed for a group photos in top hats and stick-on sideburns in honour of Brunel! Continuing the nautical theme, Tina and her bridal party made their entrance along the river on a cruiser named Patience, which coincidently happened to be the name of the song for their first dance. The wedding was also the same weekend as the Bristol Harbour Festival, “so there was an extra buzz about the city that made it even more special,” says Shaun. “We had guests from Scotland, Ireland, America and China, and they all had such a good time – many have said they plan to visit Bristol again as they were so impressed with the city and its people.” Martin Dabek captured the special moments from the day, taking the couple to all the best spots on board the ship. “A week later he sent us a video clip of some of the best pictures, and it made me cry as I watched it again and again!” remembers Tina. The day didn't get off to the best start, as Tina nearly needed emergency dental treatment.

“An hour before the hairdresser came, I was opening a package with my teeth when my front crown came flying out across the room. I had bridesmaids running all over Bristol finding super glue to fix it back on!” Despite this dental mishap, the rest of the day went exactly as planned, and the couple were thrilled at how their onboard celebration turned out. “All of it was magical, with friends and loved ones that truly mattered to us joining in to celebrate with lots of good food and drink, ceilidh dancing, laughter and smiles, in such a truly majestic and elegant setting,” describes Tina. “It really was my most perfect day.”

DETAILS Venue SS Great Britain, Great Western Dockyard, Bristol BS1 6TY T: 0117 926 0680 W: Photography Martin Dabek Photography T: 01173501032 W: Bride’s dress Cocoa Couture, 9 Clarence Parade, Cheltenham GL50 3NY T: 01242 233588 W: Groom’s outfit Chisholms, 47-51 Castle Street, Inverness IV2 3DU T: 01463 234599 W: Jewellery Andrew Scott, 9 Promenade, Cheltenham GL50 1LN T: 01242 524000 W: Flowers THE Flowerman, Broadmead, Bristol BS1 3JA T: 0117 914 1675 W: Catering Fosters Event Catering T: 0117 9776611 W: 19

10/11/2016 16:24:41

Walking in a winter wonderland

Kate and Darren Baker had snow much fun on their wedding day! 20

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earning to scuba dive is an incredibly rewarding experience, but it's even more magical when it leads to you finding true love. That's what happened to Kate and Darren, who were good friends for seven years before they got together. Appropriately, a scuba diving trip to Cornwall was set up to be the perfect setting for Darren to propose but the excitement of true love knows no bounds, and he ended up popping the question just before they left instead. “It was very Darren,” Kate says about the proposal. “He really gets into things and puts his all into them! I think he is the most handsome man I have ever met and I really do believe we are soulmates.” When it came to deciding where to get married in January 2016, the exquisite Berwick Lodge, with its glistening chandeliers and opulent decor, was ideal for the couple. “It was just perfect for the winter wedding we both wanted – it was hard not to fall in love with the place!” says Kate. By echoing the beautiful woodlands surrounding Berwick Lodge, they were able to make their dream of a winter wonderland wedding come true. In fact, it was as if their guests had stepped through C.S. Lewis' wardrobe as with the help of their wedding planner Linda from the Cotswold Celebration Company, the ceremony room was made to “look like something out of Narnia,” explains Kate. As they celebrated their nuptials, Kate and Darren were surrounded by a natural, wild woodland created by the presence of masses of flowers, put together by florists Sweet Lavender Blue. What was truly magical about the day was how many thoughtful touches that the

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couple included for the benefit of their guests. “Everything we could think of was made personal to us and our guests,” explains Kate. “That way they got a sense of us and who we are.” In the morning, that meant spoiling the bridal party with personalised gift bags including dressing gowns and tasty treats, and in the evening, when guests were dancing the night away to their requested tracks, the couple had bespoke metal lights made into their initials that were added to the dance floor. During dinner the table plan was made out of individual Lego people and all the guests had log slices with their names burnt into them to act as place settings, all contributing to making them feel special and well looked after. For Darren that also meant spoiling guests with amazing catering. “I wanted delicious food that people would remember, including a dessert table full of yummy late night treats and an awesome cake that was as big as we could get it!” And the cake truly was a Bake Off-worthy showstopper. As well as following the woodland theme it was made to look like it was floating – not easy with a seven-tier cake! As well as treating their guests, Kate and Darren enjoyed a snowy treat of their own, when some of their friends organised a snow machine for the day. “We dreamed of snow at our wedding, so this was a magical surprise!” says Kate. All of the details of the day were beautifully captured by Charlene Morton, whose relaxed approach put everyone at ease. There was further artistic documentation when the couple arranged for Parody Portraits to draw fun pictures of the guests in the evening.

For a couple who were passionate about getting all the little details just right, luckily the weather was right too! “There was awful rain in the weeks before the wedding, so when I woke up and the sun was popping out, I knew we were going to have a brilliant time,” says Kate. “It was fantastic to see a year’s worth of work come together to make our dream day.”

DETAILS Venue Berwick Lodge, Berwick Drive, Bristol BS10 7TD T: 0117 958 1590 W: Photography Charlene Morton T: 01291 408572 W: Bride's dress Future Brides, 42 High Street, Chipping Sodbury BS37 6AH T: 01454 311722 W: Groom’s outfit Ted Baker W: Jewellery Bridal Adornments W: Flowers Sweet Lavender Blue W: Cake The Cakery Bakery T: 07527 620370 Wedding planner and venue stylist Cotswold Celebration Company W: Entertainment Parody Portraits T: 07868 732726 W: 21

10/11/2016 16:26:55


A slice of West Country heaven


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Lynne and Graham Sexton enjoyed a winter wedding at the magnificent Orchardleigh House

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ynne and Graham live in Essex, but relocated their wedding to the West Country after falling love with Orchardleigh House in Frome, Somerset. “We really like it in Frome and the venue reminded us of Downton Abbey,” explains Lynne. “Having the wedding at Orchardleigh allowed all our guests to stay overnight and the grounds are absolutely amazing. The wedding planner Garry was also so professional and helpful, and we were very lucky to have him co-ordinating our day.” Their December wedding had an international flavour, with the bride’s sister travelling from Australia, the bride’s brother from Hong Kong and the best man from the USA, plus friends flying in from Dubai and France. “We got engaged in September 2015 so organised the whole event in 12 weeks!” says Graham. “We’re so lucky that everyone could make the date at such short notice and also that all of our friends and relatives made the effort to travel from Essex to Bath, as well as those coming from further afield.” Lynne and Graham also chose a local photographer, Martin Dabek, who is based in Bristol. “When we selected our photographer we spent a long time looking through many people’s work. Martin stood out for us as he likes ‘arty’ shots and enjoys playing with lighting, and is such a high level photographer,” enthuses Lynne. “This was evident in the photographs

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that he produced. There's one I love of me looking into a mirror and there are great ones with sparklers in the evening.” The couple also treasure the video they have from the day, shot by David Grange at Wedding Video Solutions. “The final product is so professional, and David included all the speeches, which are great to look back and laugh at!” Lynne kept away any winter chills in her longsleeved dress. “I was really happy that I chose a dress with sleeves. This allowed me to have a completely different look to many other brides that I had seen.” Lynne also loved her hair and make-up, done by Somerset hair and makeup artist Dren. “Dren was so professional and really listened to what I wanted. She strove for perfection with both my hair and make-up and I was thrilled with the results.” For some suppliers, Lynne and Graham kept it in the family. As well as being one of Lynne’s bridesmaids, her sister Sara is also a professional florist and so did all the flowers for the wedding. “She even managed to put in some diamante clips into the bouquets, which look great in the photographs.” The cake, by Linda Chu Designs, featured tiny gingerbread men skiing down a slope, and was a hint to the couple’s New Year’s honeymoon spent skiing in Obergurgl, Austria. This winter wedding had some lovely touches, including giving guests sparklers to lightoutside in the grounds and roaring log fires inside the house to keep cosy. “For a day in December

we were blessed with a sunny day after rain in the morning and our photographs really reflect this,” says Lynne. Guests danced the night away to a Motown band, and didn’t have to travel far at the end of the night, staying in both Orchardleigh’s main house and the lodges and cottages across the estate. Despite the short notice, Lynne and Graham had the day of their dreams. “We look back at the wedding now and cannot believe that we managed to organise everything in 12 weeks!” says Graham. “Orchardleigh House will always be such a special place for us and we are grateful that everything was so perfect.”

DETAILS Venue Orchardleigh House, Orchardleigh Park, Frome, Somerset BA11 2PB T: 01373 472550 W: Photographer Martin Dabek T: 0117 350 1032 W: Bride’s dress Serena Brides, Kingsview House, Kingsview Court, Wickford SS11 8YF W: Hair and make-up Hair and Make Up With Dren T: 07890 556772 W: Videographer Wedding Video Solutions T: 01452 840565 W:


10/11/2016 16:29:46


In with the new


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A wedding celebration made it an extra special New Year’s Eve for Hayley Fletcher and Dan Smith

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fter 11 years together, Dan popped the question to Hayley during a trip to Venice. “I had no idea what he was doing when he stopped on one of the little bridges after dinner,” says Hayley. “I had already walked off over the bridge when Dan called out for me to come back for a picture. When he went to take the picture he pulled out the ring and captured a look of pure shock of my face. It makes me smile every time I think about it!” Their wedding was held on 31st December 2015 at The Great Tythe Barn in Tetbury, which they chose as they wanted somewhere that their guests wouldn’t have been to before. “As soon as we arrived at the barn we fell in love with it and the fact that we could have nearly all our guests staying on site with us made it even better,” explains Hayley. As the date for the celebration was New Year’s Eve, it was bound to be a massive occasion. “Having all of our friends and family together for NYE would never normally be possible, so by having our wedding on this day we got to have the best ever end and start to a year!” To make it an even bigger party, Hayley and Dan decided to have the celebrations last for three days. “I’m so glad that we decided to make the wedding more than just one day!” says Hayley. “We had 80 people for dinner the night before the wedding in the Orangery of the Tythe House, and we also did breakfast on the morning after the wedding for all the guests. On the

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evening of 1st January we had around 50 people still staying with us onsite and a very competitive evening of games unfolded.” Due to it being so close to Christmas, Hayley and Dan didn’t want to go with the traditional roast but still needed their guests prepared for a night of partying, so Dine with Style, awardwinning caterers from Bath, cooked up a feast of pies, mash and gravy. Mini pizzas and macaroni and cheese were then served for the evening, which are the couple’s favourite dishes. Instead of the traditional wedding cake, Hayley’s mother created some homemade delights including a tower of doughnuts, flapjacks and rocky road bars. Hayley wore a stunning Mori Lee lace dress, but it took visits to six shops before she found the one. “After walking into Windsor and Eton Brides I just knew that this was going to be the shop. The staff were amazing and the shop and dresses were just beautiful.” It seems like the choice of the dress was a match made in heaven, too. “I found out after I bought the dress that the lace was a traditional Venice lace, which was very apt based on where we got engaged!” Opting for fun and relaxed photos, Kevin Belson Photography was able to give the couple exactly what they had in mind. “We wanted to spend the time with our guests and to capture those moments perfectly. Kevin and Carol were amazing on the day and we hardly noticed they were there. Our photos are stunning and show just how talented they are.”

As Hayley works in events, planning the wedding was fun for her – although maybe not for the wedding party. “I’m not sure whether everyone enjoyed the 10 page checklist that I issued them all on the day before the wedding!” And despite the torrential rain just before the ceremony, which meant Hayley had to walk to the ceremony covered in a tablecloth, the couple couldn’t be happier with how it all went. “It was the perfect few days – we can honestly say the best days of our lives.”

DETAILS Venue The Great Tythe Barn, Folly Farm, Long Newnton, Tetbury GL8 8XA T: 01666 502475 W: Photography Kevin Belson Photography T: 07582 139900 W: Bride’s dress Windsor and Eton Brides, 21 High St, Eton SL4 6AX T: 01753 622400 W: Groom’s outfit Ted Baker W: Flowers Emma Petersson Designer Florist T: 07867 625887 W: Catering Dine With Style, Bath Business Park, Foxcote Ave, Peasedown St John, Bath BA2 8SF T: 01761 439483 W:


10/11/2016 16:32:16

THE BRIDAL ROOM 40 high street, westbury-on-trym, bristol



Relaxed, Romantic Wedding Photography... 26

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Book an Appointment on: 0117 9568068 e-mail: 4 The Willow Centre, Downend Road, Downend, Bristol BS16 5UJ

07740 349913



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GOWNS Timeless elegance Lusan Mandongus has built a reputation over the past 25 years as the go-to label for brides who want to wear something that’s elegant and stylish. The quartet of designers behind the label are inspired by novels, music, art and film to create a world of glamorous and refined wedding dresses. The dresses featured here are from the label’s diffusion line LM By Lusan Mandongus. Taken from the 2017 collection, lace is a recurring theme in these chic and romantic gowns, finished off with exquisite details including ribbon and diamante. You can try on these beautiful dresses in Westbury-on-Trym boutique The Bridal Room, a small, family-run business that prides itself on offering a friendly and personal service. As well as bridal gowns you’ll also find bridesmaid dresses, accessories and prom dresses, all in a range of styles and budgets to suit. LM BY LUSAN MANDONGUS W: THE BRIDAL ROOM 40 High Street, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol BS9 3DZ T: 0117 908 9010 W: LEFT 3024 Lace appliqués set off the shape of this dress, which fits closely before flaring out at the knees into a swirling skirt. BELOW 3085 This illusion neckline gown, with a mermaid flared skirt, also features a v shaped open back to complement its flowing lines.

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ABOVE 3250 Add a delicate pop of colour to the traditional white dress with this pretty blush pink gown, overlaid with creamy, sweeping lace. RIGHT 3148 Romantic, boho, ethereal. This is the dress for those of you who dream of getting married in the woods with a flower crown in your hair.


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RIGHT 3256 The dainty ribbon bow waist belt is a subtle yet striking finishing touch to this dress, complementing its cap sleeves and bateau neckline. BELOW 3246 We love the three quarter length sleeves and off the shoulder neckline on this gown, finished off with a crystal and ribbon belt.

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...satin dresses


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Satin was one of the most popular fabrics on the A/W 2016 catwalk and it’s not hard to see why. Sleek and elegant, this fabric drapes beautifully, creates wonderful lines and adds a classy touch to a wedding day. As a thicker fabric, it’s also a good choice for winter, especially on a longer sleeved gown such as the Justin Alexander or Roland Joyce styles. It’s versatile, too, and works well with other fabrics and embellishments, as shown on the Lillian West, Enzoani and Paloma Blanca designs.

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Spanish style Gorgeous, simple, elegant. This is how All About Eve in Chepstow describes the new season dresses from Jesús Peiró, and we certainly agree! With all its dresses designed and manufactured in Spain but selling in over 200 countries worldwide, Jesús Peiró has made a name in creating gowns that are renowned for their quality of finish. The dresses on these pages are all from Jesús Peiró’s Mirtilli collection, showcasing clean lines, exquisite fabrics and beautiful finishing touches such as oversized bows. The Chepstow branch of All About Eve has a selection of these dresses available to try on, complementing its range of other stylish designers including Pronovias, Maggie Sottero and Essense of Australia. JESÚS PEIRÓ W: ALL ABOUT EVE 28 High Street, Chepstow, Monmouthshire NP16 5LJ T: 01291 629338 W:

LEFT AND BELOW 7023 For the bride who likes the dramatic look, this ballgown mikado dress with plunging v neck is just the ticket.

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ABOVE 6017 Sleek and simple from the front and finished with a beautiful bow and cross over back, this dress is the epitome of elegance. RIGHT 7033 Take your adornments to the max with the bustle-like bow that completes this pretty cross strap mikado A line dress.


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ABOVE 7063 This stylish halterneck dress is finished off with a puddle train and a large shantung and voile waist bow detail. LEFT 7019 & 7002 Bows, bows and more bows! We love the sculptural lines on these two mikado dresses, and the flowing lines of the skirts.

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10/11/2016 16:42:53

Offering an exclusive selection of bridal and bridesmaid gowns, shoes, accessories and a bespoke design service. Visit our vintage inspired boutique or contact us for an appointment. 7 Market Walk, Keynsham, Bristol, BS31 1FS 01179 868911 |






5 for the price of 4

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Hire 5 outfits from Highland Wear or 5 from Formalwear and get the most expensive FREE* Full Highland Retail Service available: Kilts; Jackets, Sporrans and more.

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13 - 17 THE PROMENADE, CHELTENHAM GL50 1LN T: 01242 224494

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11/11/2016 10:26:27



Nuptial nerves The groom is just as likely to suffer from prewedding nerves as the bride, so Emma Slattery explains how to reduce stress and tension in the build up to the big day


ften it’s the bride who first comes to mind when you think of stress leading up to the big day, but many grooms can also feel the pressure. The most important thing to remember is that as long as you end up married to the love of your life, nothing else really matters, so sweating about the small things really isn’t worth it. If you are still stressing, however (and this is perfectly natural!), we’ve put together some tips on common worries to help you overcome any nerves in the run up to the big day.

PLANNED TO PERFECTION A wedding is most couples’ first experience of event planning, so making sure everything goes to plan can be daunting. Calm your nerves by confirming details with all your suppliers a week before the big day, and put together a sheet of timings that you can hand over to your venue co-ordinator. Don’t forget to make the most of your groomsmen, too! Delegate and give them each a list of jobs, so you don’t have to worry about anything on the morning of the wedding.

BEING A GOOD HOST One thing that can stress couples out is being concerned about guests having a good time, and spending enough time with them. Your guests do understand that you have lots of people to say hello to, and no one will think you rude if you only manage a brief conversation with them. Remember, they’re there because they love you and want to

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celebrate with you, and they’ll be enjoying a catch up with mutual friends, having a glass of Champagne and eating the delicious meal that you spent hours choosing.

HEAR HEAR The speech is an element of the wedding that fills some grooms with dread, especially if they’re not used to public speaking or being the centre of attention. Firstly, remember that it’s the best man’s duty to provide all the jokes so you don’t need to worry too much about being funny. Your main role is to thank people and say some lovely things about your new spouse. If content is what’s troubling you, then there are plenty of books and guides out there to help you plan. To get started, think about why you wanted to marry your partner and any funny or romantic stories about the two of you. Maybe your first meeting with your in-laws didn’t go to plan? Once you get writing you will be full of ideas. Have someone read through it to check the content, and then make sure to practise reading it out loud so it sounds more natural. Everybody will be excited to hear what you have to say but it’s not an interview or test, so just relax! And if this

really is freaking you out, throw tradition out of the window and skip your speech altogether – there’s nothing to say you have to make a speech if you really don’t want to.

BURN THE FLOOR For those of us whose dancing repertoire consists of the Macarena and some slow sways, the first dance can be extremely daunting. But as with the speech nobody is expecting a perfect tango – though if you can do that then go for it! Speak to your partner about what sort of dance is feasible for the two of you and if needs be, compromise: don’t agree to do a crazy routine you’re not comfortable with it, but agreeing to some private classes can be a good confidence booster. Whatever your final choice, enjoy this special moment with your new spouse, as you’ll feel like the only people in the room.

START THE DAY RIGHT If you can, take some time out the day before the wedding or in the morning to do something relaxing with your groomsmen. A physical activity such as a round of golf, a session at the gym or a walk on the beach will help release any tension – just don’t be late! Make sure that you eat a hearty breakfast, as due to chatting to guests and having photos taken you might miss any canapés and have a long wait until the main meal, and an empty stomach won’t help with any butterflies. The day will go really quickly, so just put aside any worries, enjoy your day, make some memories that will last forever and have fun celebrating with your loved ones. 37

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Links of lov Finish off your groom’s outfit in style with our pick of the best wedding cufflinks



ufflinks add a wonderful finishing touch to your wedding outfit, elevating a normal suit and shirt to something just that touch more special. You can opt for a quirky pair to show a fun side or reference a specific interest, or choose a classic duo that you’ll be able to wear time and time again. 1. These would make a wonderful gift for your best man to thank him for his speech.


2. The texture on this simple silver pair adds a wonderful dimension. DOTTY SILVER CUFFLINKS, £88 W: WWW.MADEBYHANDONLINE.COM


3. What could be more appropriate for a wedding than this Champagne bottle and glasses? CHAMPAGNE BOTTLE AND FLUTE CUFFLINKS, £19.95 W: WWW.NOTONTHEHIGHSTREET.COM/ THEALPAHBETGIFTSHOP

4. f you love hitting the open road in your VW, these are the cufflinks for you. CAMPER VAN CUFFLINKS, £29.95 W: WWW.ANNABELJAMES.CO.UK



6. Golf lovers will appreciate the detail in this tiny ball and matching tee. GOLF BALL AND TEE CUFFLINKS, £10 W: WWW.TCH.NET

7. Show your credentials on your wedding day! MR RIGHT CERAMIC CUFFLINKS, £22 W: WWW.WEDDINGINATEACUP.CO.UK

8. Keep it simple with this two-tone pair in classic metallic shades. SILVER/ROSE GOLD TONE BRUSHED CUFFLINKS, £16, NEXT W: WWW.NEXT.CO.UK

9. There’s a whole load of Lego cufflinks to choose from at Designist, including Lego pirates and top hats. LEGO CUFFLINKS APPROX £13.50 W: SHOP.DESIGNIST.IE 38

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ove 4

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s g n i d d e W WEST



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To the manor born 12/05/2016 14:52:35

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Once upon a time...

Fall for this beautiful autumn wedding at the simply stunning Grittleton House

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Join us for a wedding full of magic and sparkle at the beautiful Clearwell Castle

12/08/2016 12:05:07

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Want even more inspiration in between issues? Head over to our new-look website where you’ll find real weddings and photo galleries, wedding fair information and a directory of local suppliers, our blog, a link to read all of our back issues online and much, much more! 40

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The essential wedding guide Use this page to plan your budget and organise the big day — without the stress of last minute panics 1 YEAR TO GO

Decide on the date. Set your budget. Make an appointment to see the minister if you are marrying in a church, or the registrar if you’re having a civil marriage. Make a list of the guests. Book the florist and the photographer. Book the wedding reception and transport. Start looking for your dress. Decide on the best man, bridesmaids and the ushers. Confirm all bookings in writing.

6 MONTHS TO GO Order the wedding stationery. Send out the invitations. Arrange the first fitting for your wedding dress. Pick the bride’s wedding shoes and accessories. Choose outfits for the groom, best man, bridesmaids, fathers, mothers and ushers. Organise rings for the bride and groom. Look for a band or DJ to play at the reception. Take out wedding insurance. Book the honeymoon and check your passports. Consult your hairdresser about the day.


Decide on your wedding list and circulate to guests. Order the cake. Confirm ceremony details with the registrar or minister. Buy gifts for the best man, ushers and bridesmaids. Discuss seating plan with the caterer. If your honeymoon is abroad, arrange necessary vaccinations.

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Plan your hen and stag parties. If required, notify your bank, building society and relevant authorities of the date that your name will change.

1 MONTH TO GO Arrange for a final fitting of your wedding dress. Confirm the arrangements in writing with the reception venue, caterer, florist, photographer, transport provider and others. Confirm the honeymoon arrangements. Have hen and stag nights. Finalise the reception seating plan with the caterer. Anyone speaking at the wedding should write, time and practise their speeches.

1 WEEK TO GO Arrange a wedding rehearsal. Collect your dress. Wear your wedding shoes around the house to break them in. Complete your final beauty preparations. Pack for your honeymoon. Think through the logistics of the day so everyone is clear what is happening.

ON THE DAY Have a relaxing bath or shower. Eat breakfast. Bridesmaids and page boys arrive. The photographer arrives. Hair and make-up. Bride and bridesmaids get dressed. Wedding transport arrives. Relax and enjoy the day!

BUDGET PLANNER Keep tabs on what you’ve spent, what you will need and how much money is left in the piggy bank with this handy guide. PLANNER


Engagement ring Wedding ring (hers) Wedding ring (his) Dress Shoes Veil Lingerie Hair accessories Jewellery Hair trial and on the day Make-up trial and on the day Cosmetics Groom’s suit Groom’s shoes Attendants’ outfits Ceremony fees Flowers Reception venue Catering Drink Cake Entertainment Photography/video Transport Stationery Favours/attendants’ gifts First night hotel Honeymoon Going away outfit Honeymoon wardrobe Insurance Other


11/11/2016 10:03:55

Elegant and beautiful Wedding & Occasion Cakes, Cupcakes and Wedding Favour Cookies. Call Anne 0117 9243036 / 0756 323 7803 to book a complimentary consultation




With many years experience in the wedding industry, Kathryn offers High Definition Airbrush makeup alongside high quality products from MAC, Chanel, Dior and Bobbi Brown, all carefully selected for their durability and suitability for bridal makeup looks. Based in South Gloucestershire, Kathryn covers Bristol, Gloucestershire and The Cotswolds, Somerset and Wiltshire, meeting you at your home or wedding venue. 07794 77 66 62


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Selection of 12 stunning Vintage Cars in navy blue, ivory, burgundy & black. 3, 4 & 6 passenger cars available. Come and visit our garages to soak up some vintage atmosphere and take a no obligation peek at our cars.

For further information contact Andrew Triggol 07712 051892 or 01275 852440 E - W -


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11/11/2016 12:07:11

Step into the pages of a picture-perfect fairytale wedding in the magical setting of Clearwell Castle Photography: Emily Rose Photography Styling: Kirsten Butler Words: Helen Dorritt

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hat better setting for a glittering winter wedding than a countryside castle? We brought together some of the South West’s most talented suppliers at Gloucestershire’s Clearwell Castle for our shoot with bride Leony and groom Oliver. Expertly styled by The Little Wedding Helper Kirsten Butler, and shot by Emily Hamilton from Emily Rose Photography, we created a storybook wedding, filled with magic and sparkle, capturing all the beauty of the season.


For all of you who have visions of a fairytale wedding, Clearwell Castle in the beautiful Forest of Dean is your dream venue. Offered on an exclusive basis for your celebration, the castle was built in 1727 in the Gothic Revival style. You enter its pretty grounds through a towered gateway and then the turreted castle is revealed in all its glory. Here’s a fact for the music fans: before it was taken over exclusively for weddings by Country House Weddings, the castle was used as a recording studio by bands such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath! Originally built as a church for villagers to come and worship, the Ballroom in the castle is now licensed for weddings and civil ceremonies, and features a 75ft aisle and leaded glass windows that offer a wonderful backdrop for your vows and, later on, your wedding breakfast. There’s also the option to use the atmospheric vaulted cellar for a larger party, as well as the two magnificent reception rooms. We loved all the varied backdrops and textures we found for our photographs, from the wonderful carved stone windowsills and wooden details inside the castle, to the imposing stone archway and secret woodland clearing in the grounds. There are 15 bedrooms in the castle itself as 44

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well as more accommodation in the charming grounds, so you and your guests don’t have far to travel after a busy day of celebration! For something even more special, you can also hire the castle for two days and make your wedding even more of an event.


Emily specialises in natural, creative photography, so she was the ideal person to be at the helm of this fairytale shoot. Her style is to work unobtrusively, capturing all the details of your special day but without any awkward poses. Emily’s love of natural light and reportage style really shines through in the photos, creating a series of images that expertly showcase all the elements of the day. In her own words, “I’m a sucker for a love story,” so weddings and engagements are Emily's speciality. She also loves taking portraits of pets, so her ideal wedding is one that features four-legged friends!


Bride Leony wore dresses from All About Eve, a Chepstow boutique that also has a sister shop just over the border in Newport. With an emphasis on good old-fashioned customer service coupled with an exquisite range of dresses from designers including Mori Lee, Sottero and Midgley, Pronovias and Justin Alexander, it’s no wonder that All About Eve has won numerous awards from happy brides. They selected three dresses for our bride to wear, all in a princess style to tie in beautifully with the fairytale theme. Leony’s sparkling accessories were from Bridezillas in Bristol, chosen by owner Amanda Davis-Harrison from the boutique’s extensive collection, including its in-house range Abigail Grace. Our first dress was by Spanish designer

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Jesús Peiró. Style 7023 is an elegant ballgown in white mikado, with a striking v neck and jewelled buckle on the waist. Amanda accessorised this with the Cateline tiara and Sophie earrings from the Abigail Grace collection, plus a white feather shrug to add some winter glamour. We loved how the full skirt created a princess look but in a classic, understated way, reminiscent of Grace Kelly. Leony’s second gown was Lisette by Maggie Sottero, a dreamy, romantic dress with layers of tulle, an illusion back and a delicate lace bodice. Amanda paired this with a cubic zirconia and platinum bracelet and Claire's glorious flower crown, then the Mei silver hairvine by Abigail Grace. The frothy skirt was the epitome of fairytale romance, while the delicate crystals on the embroidered lace gave just the right amount of frosty sparkle. Leony’s favourite dress was the third she modelled, Alesandra by Pronovias. This Spanish-designed dress features a strapless, sweetheart bodice with lacy ruffled details and voluminous layered tulle skirts. To complement the flowing lines of the dress and Stacey's beautiful plaited hairstyle, Amanda selected the Lachina hairvine by Abigail Grace, which features clusters of crystal flowers and leaves, plus a Joley crystal bracelet and a pair of Liliana earrings in crystal and pearls.


Groom Oliver modelled two outfits from Slaters, who offer a huge selection of formal 50

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and wedding suits. A black dinner jacket is always in style, and we accessorised ours with a black waistcoat and an unusual two-tone black and grey bowtie. Keeping with the formal look, Oliver’s second suit was a dark grey check slim fitting suit with matching waistcoat, giving a touch of rural chic to this winter wedding. Slaters has branches in Bristol and Cheltenham, and as well as having a huge selection of outfits to buy or hire for your wedding, it also offers free alterations to make sure you get the perfect fit.


Kathryn Braunton from Powder and Paint believes make-up should reveal a woman’s inner beauty, and she adores creating the perfect look for each of her brides. To create Leony's gorgeous make-up, she started by applying Christian Dior DiorSkin Forever foundation with a buffing brush to create a flawless appearance, with Bobbi Brown concealer and corrector to brighten the under eye area and conceal any blemishes. The base was set with Laura Mercier loose setting powder in Universal. To create the beautiful eye make-up, Kathryn primed Leony’s eyelids with Maybelline Eye Tattoo cream eyeshadow in Crème de Rose, which intensified the colours of the other make-up and created a long-lasting base. She then applied MAC eyeshadows in a range of pinks, silvers and greys to reflect the colours used in the bridal

bouquet. Kathryn intensified the colours for the third dress to create a smoky eye, using grey and black for more definition. The sparkle from the flowers and décor was mirrored in Leony's make-up with the use of a little MAC glitter pigment on, and then Kathryn applied Illamasqua precision gel eyeliner in Black with an angled brush to create a clean line with kitten flick at the outer corner. False lashes added volume and length, and gave further definition to the eyes. Leony’s cheeks were highlighted with MAC blushers in Blushbaby and Pink Swoon, to add a soft flush, and MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft & Gentle was dotted onto the cheekbones and high points of her face to give a beautiful glow to her skin. To finish the look, Kathryn used MAC lipstick in two pretty shades: Patisserie for the first two dresses, and then Cosmo for the third dress.


Our bride’s dreamy hairstyles were created by the award-winning Stacey Jade, who is one of the South West’s most popular bridal hairstylists. The first style was achieved using extensions, which helped to create volume and thickness. Stacey curled the hair in sections and used a small amount of back combing at the crown to give some height to enhance the appearance of the hair accessories. She then softly swept the front of the hair to the back and pinned in place, then finished by teasing out the curls to soften them.

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The second style was created by curling the hair and pinning it up to create an undone look, but one that’s still secure and lasting. Stacey braided the hair at the side and wove it up and over the back part of the hair, and then used Bridezilla’s amazing hairvine to flow with the style and show off the curves of the plait. Both styles were kept in place using Stacey's favourite hairspray, TIGI Masterpiece, to create a look that will last from vows to last dance.


A fairytale wedding isn’t complete without masses of flowers, and Claire Preston from Bramblewood Flowers created a glorious selection of bouquets, buttonholes and a flower crown in shades of icy green, creamy white, silver grey and blush pink, brought to sparkling life with subtly glittered beech twigs and frosted pinecones. Clevedon-based florist Claire describes her style as “English romantic rustic elegance,” which was reflected in her choice of seasonal and native flowers including Old Man’s Beard, hypericum berries, nerines, ranunculus, pink spray roses and astilbe. Claire also crafted a magnificent table centrepiece and napkin dressings, which were the perfect finishing touches to the frosted elegance of the table adorned with candles and a silver sequinned tablecloth.


Pretty Amazing by name and pretty amazing by nature, Anne Gliddon’s magnificent cake was four tiers of sheer edible perfection. Anne used a number of decorating techniques including edible lace, piping and sugarcraft flowers to bring her creation to life, all in shades of blush and pink.

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Starting with a ruffled petal bottom tier and rising to a top layer crowned with delicate roses, which are Anne’s speciality, a regal touch was added with the inclusion of a delicate metallic brooch on the third tier, evoking the look of a vintage wedding dress. All of Anne's stunning cakes are made from her home studio in Bristol, and she describes her decorating style as “unashamedly feminine, chic and pretty, with attention to detail.” We certainly agree.


Vintage car lovers are in for a treat with Triggols’ Vintage Cars, who has a fleet of ten immaculately presented vehicles. Run by father and son team Andrew and Roger, who expertly restore all the cars themselves, Triggols’ offers a chauffeur-driven service, with cars seating three people up to six. From a sleek 1930s Rolls Royce Laundelette to a classic 1921 black Model Ford T, you’ll feel as if you've stepped out of the pages of a period novel when you ride in one of these cars! We used Triggols’ 1934 Ivory Sunbeam to transport Leony and Oliver, whose black and white panels were a stylish accompaniment to our theme for the day. And if Triggols’ cars look familiar, that’s because you may well have seen them before: they’ve graced the small screen in productions such as Downton Abbey, Foyle's War and Poirot.


Leony Jessop and Oliver Tolman both model for Bristol-based company Mustard. When she's not being a blushing bride, Leony is completing an apprenticeship, and Oliver is currently studying for a business and marketing degree at Bath University.


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This vintage-style pearl beaded handbag from It's Vintage Darling (£40) is just the right size to hold all of your W-Day essentials Create a pretty centrepiece on your tables with a set of six colourful souk tealight holders, £14.95 from dotcomgiftshop

These dainty silver hair clips, £25 from Pia, are the perfect adornment for your bridesmaids

Having an Alice-inspired reception? This elaborate cake stand is just what you need! It costs £16.05 from Luck and Luck

Create a unique record of your guests with an unusual drop top wedding guest frame, £19.99 from GettingPersonal

These cute little airmail envelopes from Luck and Luck, £5.50 for 40, will make fab travel-themed favours for your guests


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Wonderful winter weddings

If you're planning on getting married this season, Keri Beckingham shares five tips for hosting the perfect celebration


hen it comes to picking the month for your big day, it’s not hard to see why choosing December, January or February is becoming an increasingly popular choice with many couples. Lack of competition between venues and better availability for dates due to it being less popular results in winter weddings generally being a more affordable option, especially when compared with July and August. There’s something extra-magical and romantic about winter weddings, too, especially if it's frosty outside or snow has fallen, making an extremely picturesque backdrop to many venues. If you're


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currently planning your perfect winter wedding, here are five essential things that you should keep in mind to make sure your big day goes smoothly.


When it comes to winter weddings, making sure that members of the wedding party are dressed appropriately is essential. For you and your bridesmaids and flower girls think faux fur stoles, chic sparkly cardigans and tights. Extra layers such as these will help stop people feeling chilly, especially during the photographs when goose bumps are not the look you’re aiming for! For the groom and his groomsmen, fabrics such as tweed, wool and velvet are good options, while waistcoats can add an extra

layer and look more stylish than a jumper. It’s also important to make sensible choices when picking your footwear. Although stiletto heels certainly look fabulous, they may not be a very practical choice for walking in potential snow and ice, or on a chilly day. Bringing white coloured trainers, flats or Wellington boots for the bridal party to change into when walking outside or during photos is a much more sensible option.


Rain, sleet or snow showers are key features of winter weather, but that doesn’t mean that they have to put a downer on your big day. Make sure that you keep a supply of umbrellas handy for guests, so everyone stays dry when moving between your venues or going outside for photographs. Pretty patterned umbrellas will also a colourful touch to a wintry day.

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Yo-yo theme is perf

It’s important as well to make sure there’s somewhere for guests to store their coats at your venue, that there are plenty of mats for people to wipe their feet on to avoid floors getting slippery and that any paths are properly de-iced.


If you are having your ceremony and reception at different venues, make sure to allow extra time for travel between these to compensate for any traffic as a result of bad weather. When considering transport to your ceremony venue, although classic cars promise an impressive entrance for brides, they may not always be the

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best option if the roads are bad. To avoid any issues, check with your provider that there are alternative options available as a contingency plan if needed.


Make sure your guests are kept as comfortable as possible during your big day by keeping a close eye on the temperature of your venue and asking your wedding coordinator to adjust it as appropriate. Although it may be cold outside, it won’t be long before guests start removing jackets, cardigans or ties if the temperature inside is set too high.

Remember to also pay particular attention to the dance floor area where it will be easy for guests to work up a sweat if it’s too hot!


Ensuring your guests are properly fed and watered is an essential thing to keep in mind when planning your winter wedding. Offering a hot drink on arrival, such as mulled wine, offers a perfect seasonal alternative to the usual glass of Champagne or Pimm’s. Make sure there’s plenty of tea and coffee available to keep all of your guests warm while the photographs are taking place, too, or add a festive touch by providing them with a luxury hot chocolate (add in a dash of Baileys or amaretto) or hot toddy. And when it comes to picking dishes for your wedding breakfast, opt for warming, hearty comfort food such as soup, a roast dinner and crumble with custard – seasonal, warming and oh so delicious! 59

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Tell us about your big day or wedding plans; let us know all about the gorgeous dress you discovered or about that perfect venue. Ask us any questions you have about planning for your nuptials or share some useful tips of your own.

Email the editor at and you could be gracing the pages of our next edition.

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Team bride o you need to have bridesmaids? All of the brides we interviewed certainly agreed, as your maids will play a big part in both the wedding celebrations and prewedding planning. Having bridal attendants is a tradition that dates back to Roman times, when brides would have 10 witnesses to protect them from evil spirits. As honoured members of the bride’s party, modern day bridesmaids become involved with both the planning process and the smooth running of the wedding day itself.

consider the size of the venue and your personal circumstances. It may be that a smaller number of maids suits your budget better, too. Kate Ellis, who got married last summer, explains the reasons for her choice: “Although I have a lot of friends, I have one very close group of friends and their other halves, so I decided to choose my three friends from this group. My husband had their other halves as his ushers which was lovely, too, as everyone in the group was involved.” If you find it hard to just pick a few bridesmaids, and your venue allows it, you can go for a larger number. This is exactly what Katie Lewis did for her October wedding last year. “I had seven bridesmaids, which most people thought was crazy! They’re all my closest friends from different areas of my life – secondary school, church, university – and I couldn’t choose between them. All seven have been wonderful, supportive friends to me over the years and I knew that I wanted them to be there with me on the big day.”



Choosing your bridesmaids is one of the first steps you’ll take after announcing the happy news about your engagement. With no strict rules to follow in terms of wedding etiquette, you’re free to have as many bridesmaids as you wish – including junior and senior maids – regardless of the number of groomsmen. However, deciding which friends and family members to pick without upsetting the others can be daunting. Just ask yourself a few simple questions: who is likely to be more caring and supportive? Who excels at solving problems and knows how to keep you calm? You may also wish to appoint a chief bridesmaid or maid of honour to assist with appointments and organise the hen party. Before you even begin the selection process,

As a bride, having your maid of honour and bridesmaids to rely on during the engagement can be very reassuring. Their enthusiasm and and willingness to share your wedding vision makes it possible to bring your ideas to life. Kate recalls how her wedding dream became a reality. “All of my bridesmaids came dress shopping with me and organised my hen party together as a group. I found their views really helpful, as I knew they would be honest with me. My chief bridesmaid, Hannah, helped with the preparations in the week leading up to the big day. She also helped to make the favours – we had a bit of a production line going on to create small bottles of limoncello for our guests.” For Kirsty Derrick, her maid of honour played

The right group of bridesmaids can make a huge difference to your dream wedding, says Gianina Turner


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a very special part in the run up to her big day. “She was my best friend – someone who knew me best and I knew I could rely on. She organised the hen party, and was very keen to get involved with crafts and therefore helped with the favours. She was also with me to choose my wedding dress.” Sometimes your bridesmaids really take you by surprise exceeding all your expectations. This was the case for Katie. “One of my bridesmaids was tasked with making the wedding cake and she did a wonderful job! She had never made a wedding cake before but she’s the one in our friendship group who always makes delicious birthday cakes. I think she once jokingly said that she’d like to make my wedding cake if ever I got married… and I took her up on it!”

SMALL DETAILS FOR THE BIG DAY When last minute nerves kick in on your wedding day, bridesmaids play a key part in keeping you calm and helping you get ready for the ceremony. Then, as the day goes on, it’s also your maids who deal with any unexpected issues, entertain the guests on the dance floor or make sure that you and your groom get to spend some time together. “One of my bridesmaids got roped into doing my hair for me on the morning of the wedding and another one did my make-up,” remembers Katie. “This was entirely unplanned as I was supposed to be doing it myself, but lost my nerve! They all did an amazing job throughout the day – the best thing was that they all had fun and had big smiles on their faces all day.” Sounds like the perfect bridesmaids to us!






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Beauty Bible We share our favourite products to get you W-Day ready!



We’re a big fan of Pixi by Petra products here at WW Towers, so we were excited to learn of two new products in its A/W range. Clear some space in your make-up bag with this clever Multibalm cream to powder stick, which you can use on cheeks or eyes, and which comes in five deliciously soft shades. It’s also infused with shea butter, aloe vera and rosehip oil to help miuturise your skin. And what’s the festive season without a little sparkle? These Fairy Dust eyeshadows have a satin finish and create a soft focus finish, making them perfect for day or night.




Two-tone blush is always a great way to achieve a beautifully natural flush, which is why we like this new Blush Cocoa Shock from Kiko Cosmetics. A lightweight powder that glides on and has a matte finish, it also comes in a cute little compact that reminds us of a block of chocolate. And to continue this theme, it smells deliciously of vanilla too! Choose from Sweet Coral and Apricot (pictured) or Adorable Pink and Peach. £10.90 W: WWW.KIKOCOSMETICS.COM


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Flutter those lashes with this new mascara from brow guru Shavata. It comes with a dense, curved brush that’s packed with bristles to lengthen and volumise your lashes. Fans of dramatic eyes will love this non-flaking formula, and it’s also waterresistant, so any tears of joy on your wedding day won’t ruin your make-up! £15 W: WWW.SHAVATA.CO.UK



Tom Ford perfumes are definitely on the pricey side, but a little goes a very, very long way and the smells are utterly distinctive. New to his Les Extraits Verts line of perfumes is Vert Bohème, a showstopper of a fragrance influenced by the smells of the Sicilian coastline. Lemon, magnolia, mandarin and bergamot blend with hyacinth, violet and woody oakmoss for a rich perfume that’s just right for a winter wedding.




If wedding planning is giving you sleepless nights, try this Good Night Sleep Relaxing Balm from French organic beauty company 1001 Remedies. Made from melissa, neroli, lavender and chamomile oils, all of which are renowned for their calming properties, simply rub a little on your wrists and neck before you go to sleep, breathe deeply and drift off to sweet slumber.




Peel-off face masks always remind us of teenage sleepovers, but this new mask from Dead Sea Spa Magik is definitely one for the grown-ups. Made from seaweed that’s packed with skin-loving vitamins, plus maple cherry, the mask is a great addition to a pre-wedding beauty routine to get your skin in tiptop condition.


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Weddings at Bowood Special rates for a magical winter wedding from just £79* per guest For more information or for a private show-around of Bowood, call 01249 823 887 and quote ‘Bristol & Somerset’, email or visit

There’s more to

We’re also offering complimentary canapés if you book a wedding on a Saturday between May and September 2017 *Minimum numbers apply. Special rates are only applicable for selected dates. Subject to availability, terms and conditions apply

Beautiful Bowood than meets the eye!


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Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort Derry Hill, Calne, Wiltshire, SN11 9PQ

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BE INSPIRED Alison’s great aunt Mary (left) was the first bride to wear the dress, and her grandmother (below) was the second

The story of a dress Alison Maney shares the family history behind a very special wedding gown


hen I walked down the aisle, I didn’t wear white. My grandmother’s wedding dress had turned a Champagne yellow since its first outing in 1945. But besides the colour change (which, thankfully, had spread evenly over the whole dress), the satin gown looked much as it did over 70 years ago, with long puffed sleeves coming to a point at the wrist, a romantic Queen Anne neckline, a fitted bodice, a trail of small cloth buttons down the back and a long, wrap-around train. It had been an insanely popular style back in the day – look up mid-1940s wedding dresses and you’ll find dozens of gowns like it. But this one was special. Not only was it my grandmother’s wedding gown, it had been my mother’s as well. When I wore it for my own wedding blessing in August 2015, I became the third generation, and at least the fourth bride in my family, to wear this dress down the aisle.

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THE POST-WAR BRIDE When my grandmother, Mary, married Bill Shalestik in 1947, the dress was already a hand-me-down – Bill’s sister, also named Mary, had worn it in the spring of 1945 for her own wedding. She had made my grandmother her maid of honour, embracing Roman Catholic Mary in a way Bill’s parents, the founders of the town’s Eastern Orthodox Church, never would. When Bill and Mary wed, it wasn’t in a grand cathedral or even a homely church. They stood instead in the church rectory, most likely in a small office, and said their vows in front of a handful of witnesses (only Roman Catholic couples were allowed to marry in the chapel). Bill had to swear he would raise the children in his wife’s church. And religion hadn’t been the only obstacle for Bill and Mary. Their courtship had been interrupted by the outbreak of World War

II. When Bill enlisted in the Army Air Force, he declared he would marry Mary upon his return, but only if he came back “in one piece”. After writing to each other every day during the war, Bill returned without a bruise. The two rushed to get married, not even taking time to alter the dress – my mother recalls hearing that the gown, too big for petite Mary, was held in place by a few carefully concealed pins.

THE COLLEGE GRADUATE My parents got married on a budget. The first to go to university in both their families, they had just purchased a house and were navigating poorly paid journalism jobs in 1987. Money was tight, which meant my mother, Janet, was looking for an inexpensive wedding dress. She was delighted to find her mother’s gown balled up in a ShopRite paper bag in her Aunt Mary’s basement. My grandmother was thrilled, but tentative. 65

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BE INSPIRED Alison’s mother Janet at her 1987 wedding in New Jersey

Alison (pictured left with her family and below with husband Craig) gave the dress its fourth outing

“It’s so nice that you want to wear it,” she said, “But are you sure you don’t want a new dress?” It cost next to nothing to rent a chapel and cabin at Rutgers University, where Janet and my father, Kevin, had met as students. It was a bare-bones arrangement – the wedding party even had to clean the cabin before and after the reception (yes, even my mother in her then 40-year-old wedding dress). The food was home cooked and from local delis, the flowers arranged by the in-laws and Count Basie mix tapes played on their friend’s sound system. It was, all agreed, an amazing day. As for the dress, it survived with only a stain on the skirt, two ripped armpits and a lot of sweat – after all, it’s not easy wearing a longsleeved satin dress to a June wedding.

INTERNATIONAL WEDDING I met Craig on a drunken night in Prague – I was studying abroad, he was there on a lad’s weekend. We stayed in touch, even after I returned to the States, and fell in love. We officially married in a small ceremony for visa purposes, but we also wanted to have a real, full-blown wedding. Enter, once again, the dress. This time it needed substantial reconfiguring, as I weigh about three stone more than my mother. I pondered the logistics of the puffed sleeves and the heat of an August wedding, but ultimately decided to leave the style of the dress unchanged. After all, how often do you get to wear a genuine 1940s wedding dress in the 2010s? Our wedding blessing brought together our two very different worlds at the Grange Hotel just outside Bristol, and we danced all night to a mix of Bruce Springsteen and The Wurzels. The fragile dress started to come apart in the night, with more than a few buttons popping as I danced. However, despite it now being a bit worse for wear, I’m storing the gown safely – just in case my own daughter decides to give this piece of family history a fifth outing. 66

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Award Winning Wedding Cakes

Off Just Quote West50

“The cake was stunning!” Jess, Orchardleigh 15 Fountain Buildings, Lansdown Road, Bath, BA1 5DX e:

Call us on 01225 446094 to book your consultation ©LW

Get yourself noticed by the Bride-to-be!

Thornbury Castle is one of the most unique and romantic wedding venues in the country. Offering intimate all inclusive packages from £4,000 to exclusive hire of the Hotel with marquees to accommodate 200 guests within our beautiful grounds. 27 individually designed bedchambers Award winning cuisine and consultation with the Chef Civil ceremony licence 15 acres of private ground and gardens Personal Wedding Coordinator Please contact our dedicated Wedding Coordinator to arrange a personal viewing and organise your bespoke package.

Call Jacqui Lewis on

0117 934 3136

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11/11/2016 10:51:08



Clifton We take a look at some of the wedding businesses in this historic suburb of Bristol





By day an independent school, by weekends it’s available as a wonderful setting for your wedding reception, offering historical buildings and magnificent grounds.

Run by jewellery designer Clare Chandler, Clifton Rocks’ speciality is contemporary jewellery and bespoke engagement rings, showcasing Clare’s own creations and other designers.


30 THE MALL WWW.THEMEWSCLIFTON.CO.UK Stocking gorgeous designer gowns by Suzanne Neville, Jenny Packham, Stephanie Allin and many more, this pretty dress boutique is right in the heart of Clifton Village. 68

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Shop here for handmade and bespoke headpieces, hair accessories and jewellery, all crafted in Hermione’s studio on the premises.

Part of the Rodney Hotel, this awardwinning restaurant in a stunning Georgian building is licensed for civil ceremonies for up to 80 people.

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Try on wedding dresses by Mikaella, Lillian West, Augusta Jones and Sacha James in this shop at the very top of the bustling Whiteladies Road.

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Ro Vintage brides will love a look around ad this chic store, which offers vintage wedding dresses, as well as organising prop hire, hen parties and styling.


Both a stylish café and a professional kitchen, Anna specialises in contemporary cake design, so you can enjoy a coffee while you peruse (and taste!) your perfect wedding cake.

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photography & videography • cakes & flowers • venue & room styling • table & napkin décor • candy buffet, favours & cake stands • covers & sashes • DJ entertainment • make up artist • vintage bunting & lace • invitations & table stationery • chivari chair hire

427 Gloucester Road, Bristol BS7 8TZ T: 0117 942 1770

Weddings with a difference... at the Aztec Hotel & Spa

The Complete Wedding Package - includes * * * * * * * * *

* Disco & Resident DJ Complimentary food tasting * Suite for Bride & Groom Newlywed couple included - with * 6 months spa membership - for our compliments Newlywed couple Arrival drinks * 1st year anniversary stay Chair covers * Room hire Flowers for all tables * Red carpet welcome 3-course meal with coffee * 2 complimentary Signature rooms Wine with the meal * Preferential room rates for guests Wine for the toast Evening buffet For more information, contact our Wedding Specialist Lauren on 01454 201090. Aztec Hotel & Spa Aztec West, Almondsbury, Bristol BS32 4TS


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Wedding Weekend / Grand Reveal - of our newly refurbished wedding suite Saturday 28th January 2017 Sunday 29th January 2017 9am - 5pm | Free Admission

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Style for all seasons From frosty winter weddings to gorgeous outdoor celebrations, Clearwell Castle is a wedding venue that looks good at any time of year, finds Helen Dorritt


estled in Gloucestershire’s beautiful Forest of Dean is a truly magical venue, Clearwell Castle. Originally built in the eighteenth century, the castle retains lots of beautiful architectural details while offering all the amenities a twenty-first century wedding venue could need. Picture-perfect backdrops include the mullioned stone windows, carved mantelpieces, double stone steps up to the front door and pretty fountain, while practical elements such as onsite accommodation and weekend hire packages make organising your dream day a breeze. If you’re looking to say your I dos at the castle, the magnificent Ballroom is licensed for weddings and civil ceremonies. Featuring leaded windows, a 75ft long aisle and raised

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dais, this room has a suitably grand feel that is perfect for such a special moment. The last year has seen a number of refurbishments to rooms throughout the castle, including the Cellar Bar, the Ballroom and the Baynham Suite, a sumptuous bedroom in the castle and one of 15 available for guests. And as well as looking good, any wedding at Clearwell is guaranteed to run smoothly, too. The venue is part of the Country House Weddings group, which also owns the beautiful St Audries Park in Somerset, plus two more stunning venues in Essex. Family owned and managed, the group’s houses are used exclusively for weddings, and so when it comes to organising your big day you can relax, knowing that everything is in the hands of the experts.


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teeped in history, full of beautiful objects, housed in gorgeous buildings… these are just some of the reasons why holding your wedding in a museum is a great idea. Many museums offer venue hire for receptions, with lots also being licensed for ceremonies. There are plenty to choose from, ranging from traditional style museums such as the Holburne and the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery to more specialised exhibition spaces, such as the Haynes International Motor Museum and American Museum. A wedding in a museum also provides the opportunity for your guests to have a look around the exhibits too, adding a fun dimension to the itinerary of your big day. We’ve included five from across the region here, but there are lots more on offer, including the Gloucester Folk Museum, Blaise Castle House Museum, the ss Great Britain and the Victoria Art Gallery. PICTURE PERFECT Art lovers rejoice ― the Holburne Museum in Bath offers the opportunity for both ceremonies and receptions. Set at the end of 72

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… in a museum

the magnificent Great Pulteney Street, this museum is housed in a beautiful Georgian building with a stunning glass extension, and is set in its own pretty gardens. There’s room for up to 100 guests to see you say your vows surrounded by beautiful historic paintings in either the Davidson Gallery or the Brownsword Gallery, and then your reception can be held in the galleries, garden café or a marquee in the gardens. THE HOLBURNE MUSEUM GREAT PULTENEY STREET, BATH BA2 4DB T: 01225 388569 W: WWW.HOLBURNE.ORG PRICES START FROM £1,800 FOR CEREMONIES AND £1,200 FOR RECEPTIONS

A ROARING SUCCESS If you’re a fan of classic cars, then the 400 vehicles housed in the Haynes International Motor Museum will be the ideal backdrop for your vows! Ceremonies are held either in the Duesenberg Hall, which seats up to 80 guests, or outside on the lawn and terrace under a gazebo for up to 100 guests. There’s also the option to hire one of the museum’s cars to

HAYNES INTERNATIONAL MOTOR MUSEUM transport you to your ceremony and reception ― cars to choose include a 1957 Bentley S1 and a 1971 Rolls Royce Corniche Convertible. Best of all, holding a wedding there means your guests get free entry to the museum! HAYNES INTERNATIONAL MOTOR MUSEUM SPARKFORD, YEOVIL, SOMERSET BA22 7LH T: 01963 442799 W: WWW.HAYNESMOTORMUSEUM.COM PRICES START FROM £18.95 PER HEAD PLUS £600 ROOM HIRE

CULTURE IN THE CITY For those of you looking for a large reception space with the wow factor, the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery at the top of bustling Park Street is the perfect spot. Catering for 150 up to 600 guests, you can party the night away surrounded by thousands of years of art and culture. There are two spaces to use, the grand Winterstoke Hall to greet your guests and the smaller Wills Hall for dinner, whose vaulted glass ceilings, chandeliers and stone staircases make an impressive backdrop. You can also book a private gallery viewing as an optional extra. BRISTOL MUSEUM AND ART GALLERY QUEENS

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THE HOLBURNE MUSEUM two rooms licensed for ceremonies: the King’s Room that seats up to 80 people and the smaller Wedgwood Room for up to 12. For your reception, head to one of the exhibition galleries, which have fine displays of ceramics and glass, and which directly face the incredible west front of Salisbury Cathedral, or put up a marquee in the garden and enjoy some photographs in the shadow of the cathedral. THE SALISBURY MUSEUM THE KING’S HOUSE, 65 THE CLOSE, SALISBURY, WILTSHIRE SP1 2EN T: 01722 332151 W: WWW.SALISBURYMUSEUM.ORG.UK PRICES AVAILABLE ON REQUEST


AMAZING AMERICANA Fans of all things across the pond? The American Museum is dedicated to American folk and decorative arts, and is situated in a manor house and 35 acres of gorgeous grounds overlooking the Limpley Stoke valley just outside of Bath, offering a charming setting for your wedding. Catering for 30 guests up to 200 in the Coach House and Stables, you can also put up a marquee on the South Lawn and take advantage of the stunning views.

MEDIEVAL MAJESTY Right opposite the city’s beautiful cathedral is Salisbury Museum, situated in the medieval Grade 1 listed The King’s House. There are




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Beside the seaside Clevedon Hall mixes a glorious setting with luxurious touches. Helen Dorritt explores this hidden gem


here aren’t many venues in the country that offer an exquisite mansion located in sweeping grounds that’s also in the heart of a town and boasts sea views. But that’s what makes Clevedon Hall such a special place for a wedding. Perched on a hill overlooking the seafront at Clevedon, the Hall was built by wealthy Bristol sugar merchant Conrad Finzel in 1852. It’s undergone many uses in its lifetime, including being a school and a business centre, before opening its sumptuous doors to weddings and events in 2010. And thank goodness it did: a building this beautiful deserves to be shared with as many people as possible, and the historic hall, glorious gardens and picturesque lake are the ideal setting for a wedding. Clevedon Hall describes itself as an events hotel, meaning that it can offer overnight accommodation that’s linked to a specific event, with weddings being the Hall’s speciality. A recent refurbishment has made this venue even more lovely than before, so when I was invited to a taster of what Clevedon Hall has to offer, including a dinner prepared by Michelintrained head chef Alan Jones and an overnight stay, I didn’t have to think twice! On arriving in our room, the delightfully named Snowy Owl, my husband remarked 74

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that this was one of the nicest hotels he’d ever stayed in. In fact, Snowy Owl was actually a suite, as in addition to a huge bedroom with a sofa, table, window seat and television, we also had an adjoining bathroom with a beautiful copper free standing bath and waterfall shower, plus a separate living room. There were lots of special touches, too, including refreshments, Neal’s Yard toiletries and the fluffiest robes to sink into. This would be a seriously luxurious start to married life! The Hall is fully licensed for wedding ceremonies, with indoor rooms including the oak panelled Library, light-filled Orangery, cream and white Dame Rosa Burden room and the magnificent Great Hall. A new option for ceremonies this year is the beautiful wooden gazebo that’s set in the grounds overlooking the lake, with panoramic views of Clevedon Bay. Brides enter along a specially curved path that sweeps through the garden, to take advantage of it in all its flower-filled glory. You can then tailor the rest of your celebration to suit, using any combination of the rooms on offer to create the ideal reception. When it comes to your wedding breakfast, Alan is on hand to create a bespoke menu for you, and judging by what we ate that night, you’ll be in for a treat. Dinner started off

deliciously and just got better with each course that arrived. Our appetite was whetted with inventive canapes including truffled quail eggs and duck hoisin bonbons, before a starter of Cornish crab and avocado with slow cooked cherry tomato and lemon olive oil. The main course was an absolute feast of trio of suckling pig with potato purée, caramelised apples, pork popcorn and a spiced jus. There was just enough room for dessert, and I was glad I’d saved some space: Alan’s honeycomb parfait was served with mini doughnuts and a banana and rum milkshake, and had the delightful and surprise addition of popping candy hiding under the base of the parfait. With food, hospitality and a setting as good as this, your guests will be talking about your wedding for a long time to come.


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Kayleigh Adams Photography

10% off 2016/17 Winter Wedding Venue Hire • 01249 782 434 • Weddings WEST

71 ©LW

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t: 01454 201090 e: laurenmanning@ W: cApAcItY: Up to 150 for Wedding Breakfast and 250 for evening Reception.


Bristol Road, Falfield, Gloucestershire GL12 8DL T: 01454 260502 E: W:


FAcIlItIeS: At the Aztec Hotel & Spa, we’re proud of our four-star approach to everything we do and we’re confident you won’t find a warmer reception anywhere in the South West.

Aldwick Court Farm & Vineyard, Aldwick Court Farm, Redhill, Bristol, BS40 5RF T: 01934 864 404 E: W: CAPACITY: Exclusive use of the venue means we are able to accommodate up to 150 guests for a civil ceremony and wedding breakfast. Evening receptions can be held for a maximum of 220 guests. FACILITIES: An exquisite English vineyard, overlooked by the Mendip Hills and set amidst beautiful countryside, Aldwick Court Farm & Vineyard is a charming wedding venue in the heart of rural North Somerset. Home to Aldwick Wines, the venue, in all its splendour, is exclusive and secluded, boasting two beautiful stone barns licensed for Civil Marriage Ceremonies. A delightful and alluring setting, it is as stunning inside as it is outside, with the New Barn offering exposed timber beams, an oak-floored reception area, atmospheric bricked-walled bar and panoramic views of the countryside. With Aldwick’s dedicated team always on hand to extend attentive, friendly support, couples can rest assured that their big day will exceed expectations.

Aztec West, Almondsbury, Bristol, BS32 4tS



Aztec Hotel & SpA

Grittleton, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN14 6AP T: 01249 782434 E: W:

CAPACITY: Up to 150 guests for Ceremonies and Receptions, up to 200 guests for Evening Receptions. FACILITIES: Set in a rural location and convenient for local churches, The Gables offers a delightful setting for wedding receptions, civil ceremonies and partnerships. As a privately owned hotel we offer friendly and flexible service and we will tailor make your wedding to ensure your perfect day - you can relax and enjoy the company of your guests while we take care of the rest.


CAPACITY: The House can hold up to 180 for ceremonies, 126 in The Red Gallery or 180 across both Galleries for wedding breakfasts & 300 for evening receptions. We can also cater for up to 500 in a marquee within the grounds. The Stables can hold up to 70 for ceremonies & wedding breakfast & 110 for evening receptions. FACILITIES: Stunning Victorian mansion set in 35 acres of attractive Wiltshire parkland. Just 30 minutes drive from the centre’s of Bristol & Bath & less than an hour & half from the M25. The Estate offers two exclusive wedding venues; The House with its high decorative ceilings, beautiful working fireplaces, magnificent sweeping double stair case and striking Italian sunken gardens and The Stables, a quirky suite of rooms within the original Victorian estate stable yard, offering the ultimate DIY wedding. En-suite accommodation also available.


TRACY PARK Bath Road, Wick, BS30 5RN T: 01179371800 E: W:

Priston Mill, Bath, BA2 9EQ T: 01225 423894 E: W:

CAPACITY: With several rooms licensed to hold civil ceremonies, we can offer ceremonies for between 2 and 100 guests and are able to cater for up to 160 guests in the evening.

CAPACITY: ceremonies & Receptions up to 150 guests & 200 in the evening

FACILITIES: Set in 240 acres of mature parkland Tracy Park is one of the most beautiful wedding venues in the Bath and Bristol area. This 17th century Jacobean Manor House boasts a magnificent façade which makes a stunning backdrop for your wedding photographs. The venue also has 42 recently refurbished en-suite bedrooms offering the perfect accommodation for guests.

FACILITIES: The stone walled 18th century Tythe Barn has a high vaulted roof with exposed timbers and is perfect for wedding ceremonies and receptions. To one side of the barn there is a bar, well stocked with local brews and on the mezzanine a comfy seating area. The adjoining lounge, complete with wood burner, is a cosy area for reception drinks and relaxing in.



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bowood hotel

Falfield, Gloucestershire, GL12 8DA • T: 01454 262805 • W:

bowood hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, Calne, wiltshire SN11 9PQ t: 01249 822228 e: w: CAPACItY: the Kerry Suite can hold up to 120 for a ceremony and 160 for a wedding breakfast, but is extremely versatile and can be arranged to accommodate smaller weddings too FACIlItIeS: Set in the beautiful 2,000 acre bowood estate in the heart of the wiltshire countryside yet only minutes from civilisation, bowood offers the complete package as a wedding venue, from the ceremony itself to the evening reception for up to 250 and a boutique hotel for guests to stay in. there is also a gorgeous spa and exclusive 4 bedroom lodge (Queenwood lodge) ideal for the bride and bridesmaids to stay in the night before. ©LW

CAPACITY: Wedding breakfast 110. Reception 180 (more with marquee). FACILITIES: Magnificent country house within 200-acre private estate with valley views. 69 bedrooms. Licensed for civil weddings and partnerships. Available exclusively. ©LW


OWLPEN MANOR Owlpen Nr. Dursley Glos. GL11 5BZ T: 01453 860 261 E:

Binley Farm, Kingscote, Tetbury, GL8 8YE T: 01453 861161 E: W:

CAPACITY: wedding breakfast 30 to 180, receptions for up to 250 people. Accommodation for 40 people on the estate.

CAPACITY: Ceremonies & receptions up to 150 guests and 200 guests for an evening reception.

FACILITIES: Set in its own private valley, the medieval manor house at Owlpen is described as one of the jewels of the Cotswolds. We offer weddings in our oak-framed Cyder House restaurant and in the landscaped gardens, as well as civil ceremonies in the manor house. The 200-acre Owlpen estate also has nine beautifully-designed holiday cottages sleeping up to 40, allowing you to enjoy exclusive use of the estate for the duration of your stay.

FACILITIES: The Kingscote Barn is a Cotswold Stone Barn which has been sympathetically restored to the highest possible standards nestled away in its own secret valley. The warm neutral décor allows you to decorate the barn with your own individual style and ideas. Exposed oak beams and soft lighting add to the romantic ambiance of this magical venue. Luxury onsite accommodation.



WATERMiLL AT PRiSTON MiLL Priston Mill, Bath, BA2 9EQ T: 01225 423894 E: W:

To advertise your venue in the next issue of

CAPACiTy: ceremonies & Receptions up to 90 guests & 130 in the evening

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FACiLiTiES: The picturesque gardens of the Watermill make a beautiful setting for drinks receptions and outdoor ceremonies. inside there is a rustic charm with themed lighting, hessian hangings and an old iron waterwheel rumbling in the background, as it has done for centuries. yet inside you’ll also find cosy contemporary furnishings, a snug, smart bar and a large airy room with wooden beams and stone arches that’s perfect for indoor ceremonies and receptions.

call Jacqui Lewis on

0117 934 3136


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Emily Rose Photography Contact Emily Hamilton Telephone 07912 612124 Email Website


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Kayleigh Adams Photography Contact Kayleigh Adams Telephone 07813 340737 Email Website


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This is our space for showcasing people’s favourite wedding photos. Not necessarily the professional shots or the usual images seen in magazines – maybe not even of the happy couple – but the photos that sum up what made a wedding day so special. Alison Maney selects one from her wedding album

The Grange Hotel, B

The idea of us Would you like to share your favourite wedding photo with us? Email westweddings@b-nm. with a high res (over 1MB) photo and a few lines explaining why it means so much to you, and you could be featured in a future issue! 82

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“The idea of ‘us’ seems like an intangible one, but here it is – awkwardly goofy yet glowing and happy, getting ready to cut the cake. Soon, struggling to slice into the dense fruit cake, we’ll accidentally knock the ceramic bride and groom off the top tier and onto the floor, severing the poor little groom’s head. We’ll both think it’s hilarious. That’s us.” Weddings WEST

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Get yourself noticed by the Bride-to-be!

Call Jacqui Lewis on

to advertise Weddings WEST

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0117 934 3136

in the next issue of West Weddings magazine


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� Experience perfection �

Country House Weddings Exclusively Weddings, Exclusively Yours


Clearwell Castle 01594 832320



01984 633633

01245 362555

St Audries Park

Leez Priory


Gosfield Hall 01787 472914

Award-winning venues • Exclusive use • Luxury accommodation Exquisite food • Licensed for Civil Ceremonies & Civil Partnerships



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Winter 2016

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