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Real Weddings

Hannah & Richard

A light and summery fairytale wedding with lots of bright personal touches, breathtaking castle backdrops and stunning bridalwear.

The Proposal

Richard and I had planned to go to Edinburgh Fringe Festival as we both love seeing live comedy. We took the train from Birmingham and from my perspective, Richard began to act quite shifty when the train was delayed. I was a little confused as our first show (Henning Wein) wasn’t until later on! When we arrived we went for a walk up Calton Hill which was beautiful. As we were looking across Edinburgh he got down on one knee and I couldn’t have been more excited. This was in August 2019 after being together for about three years.

The Venue

I was sold on the castle before we walked through the front door. Driving up the driveway I realised that this was a real-life fairytale venue and after seeing it, no other venue could’ve come close. Herefordshire was also quite geographically convenient for different groups of people who would come to the wedding.

The Planning

I enjoyed wedding planning, for the most part, being organised and being able to spend time with my family and bridesmaids! Close to the time, it was stressful, just with the thought of everything being perfect but I’m so pleased to say that everything really was perfect, right from the moment we arrived.

Overnight Stay

Staying in the castle overnight added to the excitement and experience. It was fabulous to be able to set up the night before and know that our family and friends were there ready for the big day. The rooms were all beautiful and having pizza in the courtyard the night before meant that we could spend quality time with a select few before the madness of the big day.

Couple walking along the cloisters

Hannah Purchase “I was sold on the castle before we walked through the front door. Driving up the driveway I realised that this was a real-life fairytale venue and after seeing it, no other venue could’ve come close.”

The Ceremony

Having the ceremony in the chapel bought all of the beauty of the building without having to travel to a church. We are not religious but the chapel does feel special, it was so incredibly wonderful to have our friends and family filling the room and having two beautiful readings by two of our best friends. The photos really do show the excitement of everyone after not being able to be together for so long.

The Gardens

There was so much to choose from, we were very lucky to have been blessed with a gloriously sunny day so canapes on the lawn meant all of our guests got to enjoy the South Lawns. Our photographer (Nicole Amy Visuals) was very excited to get shots in the maze and gardens around the castle, which was great because we managed to get a really amazing variety of photos without travelling far or being away from our guests for too long.

The Wedding Breakfast & Evening

It was an absolute whirlwind! The best parts were the party, being able to dance and celebrate with our family and friends and of course, the fantastic food and cutting the cake with the sword!

Food

We did get lots of compliments about the food, particularly from those with allergies. We had one gluten-free, dairy-free vegan and various other combinations! It was nice because we could feel like everyone was properly accommodated, no one had to pick anything out or anything like that!

Canapes

  • Chase Gin & Tonic Cured Salmon with Pickled Lemon, Cucumber & Dill Mayonnaise
  • Mini Herefordshire Sausages glazed with Mustard, Soy & Honey
  • Miniature Shepherd’s Pies in a Shortcrust Tart
  • Ricotta, Roasted Tomato & Fresh Basil Pesto served on a Parmesan Shortbread (v)

Starters

  • Herefordshire Ham Hock Terrine with Hampton Court Green Bean Chutney & Artisan Breads
  • Lemon & Mint Marinated Feta, Fresh Pea Pesto Bruschetta & Pea Shoot Salad (v)

Mains

  • 18-hour Braised Herefordshire Beef with Horseradish Mashed Potato, Whole Carrot & a Rich Red Wine Jus
  • Vegetarian Wellington Caramelised Red Onion Layered with Baby Spinach, Wild Mushrooms & Thyme served with a Braised Cherry Tomato Sauce (v)

Dessert

  • Glazed Lemon Tart with a Preserved Raspberry Sauce
The Groom and Groomsmen Suits – Slater Menswear

We hired the suits from Slater menswear who have shops in Birmingham and Cardiff which was useful as we have a lot of family who are based in Cardiff. It was very convenient. Hannah thought that the suit with tails suited the venue and was a little bit more special.

The Dress – Day Dress, Wedding Belles of Four Oaks. Evening Dress, Miamor Bridal

I couldn’t help but choose a big princess dress with a long train for the big day! However, when it came to the party, I had a second dress to change into. I am so pleased that I did this as the day dress weighed over a stone! I wanted a lightweight one for the evening, the skirt was quite sheer and the top was still sparkly. It was all off the shelf so you knew no one else would have it.

Bride stood on main drive in front of Castle
The Bridesmaids Dresses – David’s Bridal in Birmingham

In terms of the bridesmaids, I always call the girls “my rays of sunshine” so yellow was the only appropriate colour for the dresses, which then influenced the beautiful summery flowers. The girls looked beautiful.

The Flowers – May Rose Floral Design 

Louise was willing to listen and able to understand what I wanted. I talked to her a lot about colour and style and the flowers were amazing when they turned up. It was really nice because the buttonholes all matched except for the grooms which was a bit special. I have sent my bouquet off to be preserved. I gave all the table flowers to guests staying over so that was quite nice too. 

Hair & Make-up – Hair, Hilary Read. Make-Up, Zoe Trigwell 

Hilary did my hair for the big day, I wasn’t too sure what I wanted but Hilary really did put me at ease and ensure that both I and my bridesmaids felt beautiful. With her calming nature, she made me feel confident at the trial that my hair would look beautiful.

The Cake – Emily Rose Cakes 

I showed Jan a picture of the flowers I liked and she went from there! The top tier was chocolate orange and the lower tier was lemon and elderflower. We also had delicious victoria sponge and jam cupcakes.

The Music

Richard’s cousin played the first dance song on her guitar Can You Feel the Love Tonight by Elton John and after that, we had a great DJ.

Photographer & Videographer – Nicole Amy Visuals 

I met Nicole at a wedding fair in Birmingham. You can pay a lot of money for separate people (photographer and videographer) so when I met her and found out her team could offer both that was great.

What is the memory that stands out most to you, or the highlight of your day?

For us, it was walking out of the chapel together as husband and wife to walk through the confetti to all of our friends and family.

If you had to summarise your experience in a couple of sentences, what would you say?

A real-life fairytale comes true and hands down, the best day of my life.

Can you sum up your wedding with one photograph?

Hannah Purchase “A real-life fairytale comes true and hands down, the best day of my life.”

Suppliers

Photographer Nicole Amy Visuals
Videographer Nicole Amy Visuals
Florist May Rose Florals
Cake Emily Rose Cakes
Hair Hilary Read
Make-Up Zoe Trigwell
Dresses Wedding Belles of Four Oaks, Miamor Bridal and David’s Bridal
Groomsmen Suits Slater Menswear

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