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Real Weddings

Megan & Joe

A warm September wedding filled with the joy of bringing friends and family together once again. Bright summer flowers, romantic photography and plenty of fun!

The Proposal

Joe & I had been together eight years when he proposed in Cyprus. We were in a restaurant looking out over the sea after dinner and he popped the question. It was so romantic. I have to admit I did cry a little bit! When you have been together for a while you know it will happen, you just don’t know when.

The Venue

I found Hampton Court Castle by accident. A year before we got engaged, the venue came up in my line of work. One of my colleagues had been there, so I looked it up online and noticed that they host weddings. I kept thinking about it when we got engaged and I definitely wanted to view it. Other venues we went to couldn’t compare and that was just to the photos of Hampton Court Castle! When we finally went to our viewing, we only got as far as the driveway and we knew it was the one. Even before we got inside!


Megan & Joe “I know I gave it a 5-star rating, but I really would give it 10 stars if I could!”

The Night Before

The Arkwright Suite looked lovely; everyone really enjoyed the space and the games room. The adjoining courtyard is perfect in the summer for live music etc. I love that there is a separate space for the night before, so no one sees the ballroom and it is still a big wow factor on the wedding day. 

What was it like staying overnight in the Castle?

When viewing Hampton Court Castle, we were pleasantly surprised to find that we could actually stay overnight in the castle itself. It was an important factor for us when choosing our venue. It ticked all the boxes for us. Viewing the rooms, we were just in awe of them. Every single room is unique, traditional, and decorated beautifully. All our guests were so excited to be staying in a castle. They couldn’t wait for the weekend to arrive! 

The Ceremony

We always wanted a chapel wedding, probably because I am quite traditional at heart. The chapel at Hampton Court Castle is from the 15th century so it is really special and a stunning space.

We wanted to make the ceremony as personal as we could, so I wrote a poem that my brother read and other family members also gave some lovely readings. It was all very romantic, traditional, and very personal to us. 

The Wedding Breakfast & Evening

One of the best parts has to have been my cousin being toastmaster. He really set the atmosphere at the wedding breakfast. He created games that got everyone involved and helped set the tone for the rest of the day.

We even played the game ‘Mr & Mrs’ which was really good fun! The speeches were brilliant! My dad, husband and brother-in-law all produced heartfelt, emotional, yet hilarious speeches.  

The Food

The food was absolutely delicious and everyone said how amazing it was. We decided to have the Herefordshire beef for the main course. I mean, how can you not have beef when you’re in Hereford? It did not disappoint. We thoroughly enjoyed the food provided and we couldn’t have picked a better menu to cater for all. 

We chose to provide some canapes during our reception drinks, and they were incredible. Everyone said how tasty they were and presented beautifully as well. Some of them looked too good to eat!

The Gardens

I loved the gardens! If I lived in Hereford, I would be there every week! They are stunning and such a hidden gem. There is so much to see, with the maze, the pavilions, and the lake! Everywhere you turn, there is just pure natural beauty. 

We knew we would get some amazing photos, and my gosh we sure did! Everyone loved being in the maze! It was really good fun on the morning after the wedding. There were plenty of picnic tables where we could sit outside and discuss the antics from the night before. My favourite part of the gardens has to be the waterfall. It’s hidden away with secret features that I do not want to ruin for anyone, but wow, it is just breathtaking!

The Planning

Covid was probably the biggest challenge for us. We had originally booked for July 2020. Once the pandemic hit, we had to postpone a couple of times and rearrange our suppliers etc. We just found it all so stressful. A lot of the supplier bookings were complete so it was just a case of waiting and seeing if we would have to change the date again. 

Sadly, the pandemic did take the fun out of most of the planning. As soon as it was announced that weddings could go ahead it was all systems go! Even though we planned the final parts of the wedding in six weeks, we still had so much fun organising it all, especially as we knew that it was finally going to happen! We were very fortunate that we didn’t lose any of our suppliers. 

Hampton Court Castle handled it all seamlessly with great communication throughout. We couldn’t fault them in any way. They say fate works in mysterious ways and for us, it all worked out perfectly. We were so blessed to have our firstborn son with us on the day, he was born three months before the wedding. It made the day even more special knowing he was there with us when we finally did get married.

The Suppliers

It was a bit of a daunting task finding local suppliers at first, as I am not from the area, so I used Instagram a lot. That way I could see the supplier’s work and get a good idea of what they did. The recommended supplier list from the Castle was helpful too, especially for hair and make-up. I booked them all quite early on – three months after being engaged and a month after seeing the venue! 

All of our suppliers utilised their creative expertise to help inspire us and find what we really wanted out of our wedding day.

The Groom’s Suit – French Connection 

It was a bit of a rush getting the suits as we weren’t sure if the wedding would have to be postponed again. However, they looked wonderful and all the groomsmen looked so smart. Our little page boy stole the show!

Groom standing in the Drawthrough
The Dress – Confetti & Lace 

Confetti & Lace is the shop in the TV show Say Yes to the Dress. Unfortunately, they weren’t filming at the time! The dress is called St Lucia made by Dando London. I felt like it had the wow factor, but I also still felt like me when I put it on. It is really glamorous, elegant and suited to the drama of the venue with a long train. I wanted to feel like a queen for the day, a queen bee!

Bridesmaid Dresses – Wed to Be

The bridesmaid dresses were lilac which I had already bought pre-pandemic when we were still planning a mid-summer wedding. On reflection, I possibly would have chosen a darker colour for September, but the weather was still so lovely it didn’t matter. I liked the unusual colour and I felt like it would work well with the flowers. The shape of the dress really suited all the girls and I wanted them all to feel comfortable in it. They all looked absolutely stunning!

The Flowers – Herefordshire Flower Studio

There is so much detail in the decor of the castle you don’t really have to add anything for it to be impressive. I’d say the castle was our main ‘theme’ so we just decided to enhance what was there already with flower arrangements. They were lilac (to match the bridesmaid dresses) and white with foliage. I love the big fireplace in the ballroom and we chose a beautiful garland to make this feature stand out!  

I wanted the main centrepieces to be really high up on the round tables to make a statement as everyone entered the ballroom. I feel having high centrepieces enables everyone to see each other and interact with one another. We had these really tall, oversized Martini-shaped vases with the centrepieces on, they looked amazing. 

Our florist was so helpful and really creative. I provided images of arrangements that I liked and then I was more than happy to let them work their magic on the castle. The chapel and ballroom looked incredible. We absolutely loved the arrangements. 

Stationery – Polly Pickle

We really wanted to utilise the castle as the main feature in our stationery. We wanted something unique that gave our guests a little sneak preview of the venue. It’s not every day that you get married in a castle!

Hair & Make-up – Sasha Brown Make-up  & Tabitha MacCurrach-Paine Hair

Both Sasha and Tabitha were really lovely and helpful. Tabitha helped me stay on track with timings, and Sasha was great for my nerves and keeping me focused! Tabitha has won lots of awards in the hair industry, and I felt at ease knowing she would create a hairstyle that suited me and made me feel beautiful. 

Sasha was so friendly. We had a good giggle together whilst getting our make-up done. She made me feel like a queen, and my make-up was just perfect.  I had a hair and make-up trial before the wedding day to ensure I was 100% happy.

The Cake – McGowan Cakes

Sharon was amazing throughout the pandemic. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go to a cake tasting but she was kind enough to send out some samples in the post! This was really handy to help pick our flavours. Plus it was a lovely afternoon treat with a cup of tea during lockdown! Sharon is such a creative baker and after our first consultation, we pretty much had decided on our cake there and then.

The Music – Wild Beats, live band & Jemima Philips, harpist

We always wanted a live band to perform at our wedding. We both thoroughly enjoyed it; we didn’t want it to end! We wanted a full dancefloor with music for all age groups that everyone knew, and they certainly achieved that! 

Jemima was breathtaking – she really made the day for us. She played quite a mix of modern songs that all worked, some of which you would never expect to hear on a harp. She is such a passionate musician, and it was inspiring watching her perform. All our guests commented on how amazing she was! It was very fitting for the castle and she was even the harpist for Prince Charles and Camilla’s wedding! 

The Photographer – Dean Jones

I can’t rave about our photographer Dean enough. He knows the castle really well and is so approachable. We met him for an engagement shoot to get to know him beforehand. He felt like a friend by the end of it. 

Couple pose for photo in drawthrough

He is very professional, fun and we never felt uncomfortable. We aren’t big on public displays of affection. He got just the right balance and captured some lovely moments. When you look back at your wedding photos, you want it to take you back to that exact moment and all the emotions that came with it. Our photos really do that for us. I never thought the photos could do the day justice but they are just incredible. Memories that will be cherished forever. 

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

The moment the registrar said ‘you may now kiss the bride’. Knowing that we finally did it, we finally got married with all our nearest and dearest present! The pandemic impacted everyone, but on our wedding day, there was just so much love, emotion and happiness in the room. It definitely made it worth the wait! I actually think the pandemic made our day even more special, we appreciated every single moment.

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

Our experience getting married at Hampton Court Castle was a dream come true. We couldn’t have picked a more perfect venue and I will never be able to get over the fact that we were married there. It was everything and more.

Can you sum up your wedding with one photograph?

Megan & Joe “Waking up as husband and wife in the bridal suite was just something else. We really did feel like the king and queen of the castle! We didn’t want to leave.”

Suppliers

Photographer Dean Jones Photography
Florist Herefordshire Flower Studio
Cake McGowan Cakes
Harpist Jemima Phillips
Hair Tabitha MacCurrach-Paine
Make-up Sasha Brown
Stationery Polly Pickle

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