An Essex Wedding - January/February 2023 (Issue 108) JAN/FEB 2023 £3.55 FASHION, BEAUTY, HONEYMOONS, GROOMS AND MORE Love is all around Three Essex couples share their big day Barn Dance Say your vows in an enchanting space WIN! A fairytale Northern Ireland escape STYLE GUIDE Dressing your venue made easy Picture Perfect Find your dream wedding photographer

leez pRIoRy LEEZ PRIORY CHELMSFORD ESSEX 01245 362555 goSfielD HAll Country HousE weddings Exclusively Weddings, Exclusively Yours DUI PROSPERE PRAECLARIS COEPTIS Holmewood HAll HOLMEWOOD HALL HOLME CAMBRIDGESHIRE 01487 829 555 GOSFIELD HALL GOSFIELD ESSEX 01787 472914

REGULARS 6 EDITOR’S LETTER Hello from your Editor, Claire Muffett-Reece 9 NEARLYWED NEWS Catch up on news from around Essex 13 FREEBIES & OFFERS Great giveaways and discounts up for grabs 87 HOT TOPIC Local experts offer their stellar advice 90 COMPETITION A fairytale escape awaits at Ballygally Castle in Northern Ireland CONTENTS JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2023 VENUES 19 BEAUTY IN BRAINTREE These venues are the perfect place to start your happily ever after 25 BARN DANCE Want to wed in a barn? No problem! On the cover This issue’s cover, shot by Neil Bailey Photography, sees Laura and Mike marrying at Gosfield Hall. Turn to page 36 to see more ( 51 25 FEATURES 48 CALLING ALL ANIMAL LOVERS Your ultimate guide to pets at your big day 51 STYLE FILE Ensure your venue looks the part with help from these Essex businesses 57 SNAP HAPPY We caught up with 10 local wedding photographers 57 3

REAL WEDDINGS 31 TINDER LOVING CARE Care was in order for Emma, who broke her ankle right before Adrian proposed! 36 TAKE THE MIKE Laura and Mike ensured no expense was spared at their Gosfield Hall celebration 43 GREECE IS THE WORD Andrea and Terry are living proof that a holiday romance can last forever HONEYMOONS 92 HONEYMOON NEWS We reveal the latest destinations and honeymoon essentials 94 ON THE DOCK OF THE BAY Sample a taste of the Mediterranean on the dreamy island of Crete 96 THE PERFECT GETAWAY We’ve rounded up some of the best mini-moon destinations in Europe GROOMS 83 GROOMS’ NEWS Best buys and product launches 84 MIDNIGHT MAGIC With celestial-themed weddings all the rage, we’ve rounded up some out-of-this-world products FASHION & BEAUTY 64 BEAUTY BUZZ Get the look with these must-haves for the bride-to-be 66 BEAUTY Q&A Expert advice on looking picture perfect 69 FASHION FOCUS The latest bridal fashion news, buys and launches 71 STRIKING SILHOUETTES Make your entrance in a fishtail dress, fairytaleinspired ballgown or slinky little number 77 SUSTAINABLE STYLES These designers offer something green created using eco-friendly fabrics 71 36 94 84 92 31 4

The Perfect Wedding Venue IN THE ESSEX COUNTRYSIDE SPECIAL OFFER Fully Inclusive Wedding Packages available for remaining dates in 2023

42 OUT WITH A BANG Fireworks are a great way to end your day 87 SAY CHEESE I’d be hard pushed to resist a cake made of cheese… Do you know what I’ve enjoyed most about this issue? Looking at our reader weddings! I always love a good ‘how we got together and how my partner proposed’ story, but in fact it was seeing my couples crease up during their celebrations that really put a smile on my face. Yes, it’s a bit of a cliché, but my word it’s true. Looks fade, but laughter is everlasting, so nothing’s more satisfying than seeing two people who truly love each other have a good old snigger at what could well be the silliest of things; something that no one else will truly get but them. With this in mind let me turn your attention to the three amazing reader weddings we have in store. Over on page 31 meet Emma and Adrian, who met via Tinder when the groom wooed his wife with a poem. Next, on page 36, say hello to Laura and Mike, who met on another dating site before saying ‘I do’ at Gosfield Hall. Finally, turn to page 43, for proof that holiday romances really do last, courtesy of Andrea and Terry! All that plus the best Essex wedding photographers (p57), unbelievable gowns (p71), honeymoon hotspots (p92) and more! PS I can’t sign off until I’ve mentioned that this is my last issue as Editor of your favourite regional magazine. I’ve honestly loved every minute, but the time’s come for a change, with me now handing over to the oh-so-capable Rachel Westall to guide you in the right direction for all things Essex wedding. Take care and enjoy the planning, but remember at the end of the day your celebration should be all about you and your intended declaring your forever love to one another. Claire x Claire Muffett-Reece, Editor Happy Ever After 57 WHAT A SHOT! Read our spread on the best Essex wedding snappers 90 WIN! A fairytale escape to Northern Ireland ISSN 1745-6541 EDITORIAL 01376 535 611 Claire Muffett-Reece | Editor Danielle Harvey | Managing Editor Kelly Andrews | Deputy Managing Editor and Beauty Editor Melissa Cullen | Senior Editor, Grooms and Travel Editor Claire Ridley | Fashion Editor DESIGN 01376 535 616 Graphic Designers | Stephanie Hodder | Vicky O’Connor Artwork & Content Coordinator Lorna Butcher Digital Marketing Coordinator Katie Laley Web Development Manager Stuart Weatherley ADVERTISING Sales & Events Director Sarah Ellis | 01376 535 602 Account Manager Kirsty Brindley | 01376 538 490 ACCOUNTS 01376 535 616 Accounting Manager | Derrick James An Essex Wedding is solely owned, published and designed by KD Media Publishing. Whilst every effort was made to ensure the information in this magazine was correct at the time of going to press, the publishers cannot accept legal responsibility for any errors or omissions, nor can they accept responsibility for advert content, or of the standing of advertisers or by the editorial contributions. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. An Essex Wedding is published six times a year. @CountyWeddingMagazines @CountyWeddings @countyweddingmagazines Visit us online at and cwe COUNTY WEDDING EVENTS

31 CRACKING UP We’d love to know what made Emma and Adrian laugh out loud! 19 SHOWSTOPPING VENUE Barnston Lodge is a great space to wed 36 LOVE IS ALL AROUND An amazing celebration at Gosfield Hall 26 DOWN ON THE BARN Navestock’s 17th century Old Brook Barn hosts just 25 weddings a year! EDITOR’S LETTER 7

Pre-register at Follow us on /CountyWeddingEvents @CountyWedEvent @countyweddingevents Hosted at The Brentwood Centre, Doddinghurst Road, Brentwood, Essex CM15 9NN DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED • Win a luxury honeymoon • Huge number of wedding specialists including venues • Bridal fashion shows • Covid-19 secure • Entertainment • Refreshments One of the largest wedding shows to be held in the South of England Pre-register and attend the show to have a chance to win a £250 gift voucher courtesy of IN ASSOCIATION WITH FREE ENTRY

NEWS All the latest from around the county G & TEA…? If you love afternoon tea, but fancy more of a kick to your scones and sarnies, head to Down Hall Hotel & Spa for their brand new ‘G & Tea’ experience. Partnering with leading British gin, Berkshire Botanical, this sumptuous affair features a selection of savoury and sweet bites, created by Executive Chef Robert Pearce, alongside Berkshire Botanical cocktails. Feast on smoked salmon and honey roast ham finger sandwiches, before indulging in freshly baked scones with cream and fruit preserves, plus sweet treats of raspberry and lime éclair, strawberry custard tart, and chocolate delice. Priced at £42.50 on weekdays, and £47.50 on weekends, the tea comes complete with your choice of Gin Spritz served from a traditional teapot and porcelain teacup. TAKE ME TO COURT(S) Deciding on wedding flowers is never easy, with price and season to consider. That’s why Courts of Rayleigh Florist’s Gillian Fautley now offers set packages for 2023. “We find the perfect combination to match the style, theme and seasonal selection to suit your day perfectly,” says Gill. “For just £1,000 our Willow Package includes a teardrop or luxury handtied bouquet, special buttonhole and five additional buttonholes, four smaller bouquets, two corsages, altar/top table arrangement, six tall hired stand designs, eight pre ends and a pedestal for your ceremony and entrance to your wedding breakfast. Or buy our Rosa Package, with a rose, Gypsophila and foliage handtied bouquet, two smaller posy handtied bouquets, four rose buttonholes and two spray rose corsages – all for just £250!” LET’S MAKE UP Google ‘Essex Make-Up Artists’ and you’ll be hit with nearly six million results. Gulp. Step forward Billericay’s Leanne Perilly, with an impressive 17 years as a professional make-up artist under her belt. “My passion is for attention to detail, making you look and feel your most confident and beautiful on your special day,” says Leanne. “I’ve introduced a special offer for 2023 brides who book me before the end of March 2023 for mid-week Essex weddings. For £410 – saving you £50 – this includes your make-up on the day, along with four others, in addition to your pre-wedding make-up trial.” Nearlywed 9 LOCAL NEWS

SPOTLIGHT ON… GREENWOODS HOTEL & SPA For a wedding venue that stands out for all the right reasons consider Stock’s Greenwoods Hotel & Spa, set in stunning gardens and providing a tranquil setting. With three luxurious function suites blending traditional and contemporary, Greenwoods can accommodate both intimate and grand ceremonies. Heart set on a romantic outdoor wedding? Its dovecot-style gazebo caters for up to 120, and is situated in the gardens with pretty trees and sweeping drive. TAG TEAM For a gift your other half will treasure head to the new TAG Heuer boutique, now open in Thurrock’s Lakeside Shopping Centre. Over 150 timepieces are available, including the brand’s newest launches, such as the TAG Heuer Formula 1 Chronographs in bright racing colours, as well as in-demand limited edition pieces. Alongside these you’ll also find fun monochromatic, rubber strap timepieces, featuring models from the Carrera, Aquaracer, Monaco, Formula 1, Link and Autavia collections. Visit for more information. NICE AND STABLE Need somewhere to stay pre or post your big day? Check out Gosfield’s The Stables & Silos at Iron Pear Tree Farm. “We offer wedding accommodation in a variety of beautifully converted farm buildings, whether you’re looking to relax with your bridal party before your big day, or somewhere to spend your wedding night,” says owner Carrie-Anne Porter. “Our packages vary from two to 12 guests, offering quirky but comfortable accommodation with private spa facilities and great views. All packages include a turn down service for the bridal suite, as well as wedding hampers and other romantic touches. New to our business is our Enrich Your Stay element, where you can book additional activities during your stay, while supporting local businesses.” COCKTAILS WITH CLASS Looking to hold a pre-wedding get together? Book Braintree’s Bar Number 92, which has recently incorporated the Essex Cocktail Club into its premises. Both venues are available for private use, with Bar Number 92 hosting up to 40, while the Essex Cocktail Club can cater for up to 20. The high calibre venue has an extensive menu, with an incredible list of cocktails, with spirits from the Essex Spirits Company featuring heavily. There’s a wide range of wines from New Hall Wine Estate to enjoy, plus an excellent cheese and charcuterie selection from the East Anglian region. The Essex Cocktail Club also has bespoke packages available, including options such as Cocktail Making and Wine and Spirit Tasting sessions. Guests are encouraged to make the place their own – with the option to decorate, change the lighting scheme, play your own music and enjoy your choice of cocktails! 10

Discover the legend and luxury of St Osyth Priory T. 01206 430160 NEW VENUE OFFERS BOOK NOW FOR 2023

Hat ield Place is an exquisite Georgian country house which is the per ect setting or your wedding celebration. 01245 381523 in o@hat hat The Street, Hat ield Peverel, Essex CM3 2ET We would love to meet with you to discuss your per ect wedding so please contact us today. OPEN DAY Sunday 26th February 2023 rom 11am to 4pm The most romantic venue in the country a magnificent marriage begins in a magnificent place

FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN ENTER ONLINE VIA OUR WEBSITE WWW.ANESSEX.WEDDING WIN! WEDDING HAIR & MAKE-UP TRIAL Looking for an Essex company who can make you look incredible for your big day? Consider the services of Langdon Hill-based The Perfect Marriage, run by hair stylist Jo Lewis and make-up artist Jo Edwards. “We create the perfect hair and make-up look for the whole wedding party from the bride and bridesmaids to mums and nans,” says Jo Lewis. “From first contact to the wedding day itself we treat you as we would a friend. It begins with a quote and phone chat or Facetime, before your pre-wedding hair and make-up trial, where you get to decide your perfect look. We then create a schedule for your wedding morning, so everyone has allocated timings. Finally, we get to take care of you on the wedding morning, making sure everything runs perfectly in the getting ready room!” The Perfect Marriage are offering one lucky An Essex Wedding reader a free weekday hair and make-up trial, worth £150, at their Langdon Hills salon. To be in with the chance of winning this fantastic prize, head to – and visit for more information on their wedding hair and make-up services. Great giveaways and discounts up for grabs WIN A TEAM HEN BUNDLE Fresh to Team Hen’s digital shelves are these new bride-to-be must-haves. The new Bride Make Up Bag (£14), complete with gold and chenille sewn-on patches, is ideal for stashing all those daily make up essentials in – and will look pictureperfect in the getting ready snaps on the big day! The matching Bride Weekend Bag (£38) is your new go-to holdall for both the hen do and honeymoon and can be paired with the coordinating Bride Travel Pouch (£16). All of the items are available to order in the brand’s blue Wifey design too! Check out County Wedding Magazine readers have the chance to win a Team Hen Bride bag bundle including a make up bag, weekend bag and travel bag worth £68! Freebies &OFFERS FREEBIES & OFFERS 13

Image credit Mini + Me Photography An indescribably romantic setting for your perfect day, Markshall Estate is the one you have been looking for... ♥ 2,350 acres of serene Essex countryside ♥ 48 hour venue hire ♥ 2 unique wedding locations ♥ private preparation suite Markshall Estate, Coggeshall, Essex, CO6 1TG ♥ ♥ 01376 565420 ♥ T: 01245 476444 Set in the Essex Countryside resides Pontlands Park, a Victorian house sympathetically extended into a beautiful wedding venue with 35 bedrooms. With a choice of indoor and outdoor ceremony facilities and various function rooms, along with a marquee with its own internal private bar, Pontlands is the perfect venue for intimate or larger weddings. The Dream Wedding packages start from as little as £75.00pp, which includes a 3-course wedding breakfast, reception drink and canapes* (Gold and Platinum packages only), half a bottle of wine and a glass of fizz for the toast plus an evening buffet. Contact the team for further information on 01245 476444 or email WEST HANNINGFIELD ROAD, GREAT BADDOW, CHELMSFORD, ESSEX CM2 8HR

WEDDING SHOWS SPRING 2023 ALL EVENTS 11AM - 3PM unless otherwise stated /CountyWeddingEvents @CountyWedEvent @countyweddingevents At County Wedding Events each show is professionally and meticulously run to ensure a variety of suppliers are on hand to help you plan your big day and are hosted by some of the loveliest premier venues in your area. All our shows offer you free entry and parking, a goody bag each containing gifts, and useful local information to plan your wedding. You will also have the opportunity to enter prize draw competitions and take advantage of exclusive offers and discounts on the day. BERKS, BUCKS & OXON SUN 12 MAR | RACKLEYS CHILTERN HILLS Marlow Road, Cadmore End, Bucks, HP14 3PP SUN 2 APR | THE COMPLEAT ANGLER Bisham Road, Marlow Bridge, Marlow, SL7 1RG

As part of KD Events and Publishing Ltd, County Wedding Events (CWE) is ideally placed to offer you a wealth of experience organising events in the wedding industry. If you would like more information about either holding a wedding show at your venue or exhibiting at any of our shows, please contact us at, call 01376 514000 or visit WORK WITH US ESSEX LONDON SURREY SUSSEX EAST ANGLIA KENT SUN 5 FEB HAMPTON COURT PALACE GOLF CLUB Home Park, Kingston Upon Thames, KT1 4AD SUN 26 MAR HAYCOCK MANOR Wansford, Peterborough, PE8 6JA TO BE CONFIRMED PENSHURST PLACE Penshurst, TN11 8DG SUN 16 APR SELDEN BARNS Selden Lane, Patching, Worthing, BN13 3UL 12PM-4PM SUN 19 FEB MORDEN HALL Morden Hall Road, SM4 5JD SUN 14 MAY BRAXTED PARK Great Braxted, Witham, CM8 3EN SAT 1 APR HOUCHINS WEDDING VENUE Houchin’s Lane, Coggeshall, Colchester, CO6 1RT 12PM-4PM SUN 15 JAN BRAXTED PARK Great Braxted, Witham, CM8 3EN SUN 12 MAR LAYER MARNEY TOWER Layer Marney, Colchester, CO5 9US WEDDING SHOWS SPRING 2023

• Free entry • First 100 couples receive a free wedding journal keepsake • Goody bag for each couple • Up to 200 stands • Bridal fashion shows • Huge number of wedding specialists including venues • Demonstration areas • Competitions • Entertainment • Refreshments • And more... Pre-register and attend the show to have a chance to win a fabulous spa break worth £250 courtesy of Pre-register at Brooklands Drive, Weybridge, KT13 0SL SUNDAY 16 APRIL 2023 | 11AM - 3:30PM MERCEDES-BENZ WORLD Doddinghurst Road, Brentwood, CM15 9NN DATE TO BE RELEASED SOON THE BRENTWOOD CENTRE High Street, Berkshire, SL5 7JX SUNDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2023 | 11AM - 3.30PM ASCOT RACECOURSE London, HA9 0WS SUNDAY 8 OCTOBER 2023 | 11AM - 4PM WEMBLEY STADIUM Sponsored by

More Than Just AVenue EXCLUSIVE USE MANOR HOUSE WITH WEDDING COTTAGE & 14 ROOMS SLEEPING 31 GUESTS Hubbards Hall Drive, Off Churchgate Street, Old Harlow, Essex, CM17 0NH For more information please contact 01279 354455 Set in three acres of beautifully manicured gardens, The Lawn is a truly enchanting, award-winning Manor House wedding venue with a stunning Orangery, galleried Grand Hall and delightful gazebo. Perfect for any size wedding, for any season. The Lawn Wedding Fair Sunday 26th March 2023, 11am - 3pm. Free entry and ample free parking. Refreshments available to purchase on the day. Register now! To find out why we remain one of the most sought a†er and best reviewed venues in Essex, contact us to arrange a viewing or visit and let us put together a tailored online quotation based on your precise requirements. Hall Road, Rochford, Essex SS4 1PL 01702 203669 |

BEST OF Braintree Where to tie the knot North of the county BRAXTED PARK 01621 770 855 | Pure Pride & Prejudice outside – a tree-lined drive and view of the Georgian mansion standing proud – immaculate décor and superb facilities inside, Braxted Park marries the romance of the old with the best of the new to create the perfect venue for your 21st-century wedding. The Orangery at Braxted Park is no ordinary setting for your ceremony of up to 160 loved ones. In this bright and airy exquisitely decorated room, boasting hand-painted murals and wonderful views over the garden, you have the luxury of a space large enough for family and friends to surround you and an aisle generous enough for the most gorgeous of gowns. For al fresco nuptials, behind mellow brick walls lies the Knott Garden perfect for romantic gatherings of up to 160. As beautiful as any bridal bouquet with secluded nooks and delightful surprises around every corner, it enfolds all who enter in an enchanted circle of love. Nestled so naturally within the walled garden, the Pavilion was designed to delight. Windows and doorways link it seamlessly with outdoor terraces and the green spaces beyond, while inside is contemporary comfort and state-of-the-art facilities. Yours for the whole day and into the night, the Pavilion can be whatever you want it to be with up to 350 loved ones. When tying the knot here couples benefit from a complimentary menu tasting for the bride and groom. 19 LOCAL VENUES

BRAINTREE TOWN HALL 01376 557 776 | You couldn’t get more local to Braintree than the Town Hall itself! Dating back to 1927, Braintree Town Hall provides a memorable setting for weddings. Originally a gift to the town from the Courtauld family, this impressive Georgian building boasts beautiful windows and detailing, all in the heart of the town centre. Inside, have photos taken on the sweeping staircase, before admiring the crafted stone pillars, yet another ideal backdrop for beautiful pictures. Ceremonies take place in the Lounge Room, for small intimate gatherings of up to 36 guests, and the Council Chamber, a beautiful oak panelled room with hand-painted murals for ceremonies of up to 70. Post-vows, additional rooms are available to hire for post drinks receptions. Psst ! Braintree Town Hall is running a winter offer of 20% off their Courtauld Package, which is to be booked and taken by 31st March, 2023. BARNSTON LODGE 01371 872885 | This beautiful Georgian house, located around 10 miles from the town centre, offers a stunning backdrop to a marquee or tipi wedding. Picture large lawns, surrounded by paddocks with grazing horses, and you’re on the right track. It even has a picturesque lake for photo opportunities and a cosy ‘brew house’; a Victorian summer house complete with open fire for your guests to retire to. Although not currently licensed for ceremonies, a blessing can be included in the hire of the grounds – and there’s also a quaint Norman church within walking distance for you to say ‘I do’ in, should you want a religious ceremony. Afterwards, enjoy your reception in the marquee for up to 200 guests. What’s more, the venue is exclusively yours on the week leading up to and on your wedding day, with a coordinator on hand to help with all your preparations. 20

Your Wedding Your Way Creating wedding day memories for all the right reasons A perfect setting for up to 180 guests. A great choice of function rooms including the Claudius Suite for the more intimate celebration, our large Balkan Suite with its own private foyer and bar area, or a combination of the restaurant and adjoining function space to seat 180. Our spacious patio area is available to hire for your ceremony, drinks reception or BBQ*. Carefully crafted packages to suit any budget. Discounted accommodation rates for all your guests. We are with you every step of the way, it’s not just a journey, it’s an adventure! | | 01206 210001 L O N D O N R O A D , M A R K S T E Y , C O L C H E S T E R , E S S E X C O 6 1 D U *Terms & Conditions apply

Houchins is an intimate and romantic wedding venue with the choice of accommodation. Exclusively yours for the day, Houchins is set in beautiful grounds just outside Coggeshall, easily accessible to Essex, Hertfordshire and London. Call our award-winning team to arrange a viewing or chat through your plans on how we can make your perfect wedding day. Houchins Wedding Venue | Coggeshall | Colchester | CO6 1RT HERITAGE MADE MODERN 01376 561448 Photos courtesy of Big Fish Photography, Dominika Meichowska, Emma Gosling, Farlie Photography, Julia & You Photography, Kristian Lissimore Photography & Pure Image Photography.

PIG & WHISTLE 01245 443186 | Located in a 16th century wood-beamed property, this restaurant, only 10 miles from Braintree, has been transformed into an award-winning location with a license for weddings and civil ceremonies. Providing stunning views across the Essex countryside from its outside decking area and sun terrace, inside you’ll discover luxurious and opulent décor. The Pig & Whistle can accommodate 30 guests with a choice of spaces. Choose either its traditional room with wooden floor and beamed ceilings, or the dining room; decorated with dressers and opulent drapes. You can then host a reception for 30 guests for a wedding breakfast in either area, before inviting an additional 40 for an evening reception with space for celebrating into the night. MARKSHALL ESTATE 01376 565420 | Overlooking the formal lakes and with impressive views of a world-class arboretum, the stunning 18th century Coach House sits in the heart of Markshall’s landscape. With historic red bricks, rustic beams and beautiful details, it makes the most romantic setting for a wedding. Teamed with delicate fairy lights, this space is the perfect blank canvas for achieving all your wedding dreams. Say your vows in the secluded hedges of the Flower Garden, which can seat 140 during the day and 200 for evening celebrations. Or why not choose to marry under a canopy of beautiful trees in Markshall’s ancient woodlands in front of 150 guests? There are also two reception venues on the estate, with the Coach House being ideal for 200 friends and family. Instead, party the night away in a private Tipi, situated in the picturesque Brick House Farm Meadow. 23 LOCAL VENUES

Licensed to produce Civil Ceremonies • Wedding breakfast up to 200 people Weddings at the palace hot l, southend-on-sea A beautiful seaside venue, filled with natural light and stunning views overlooking the River Thames. Park Inn by Radisson Palace, Southend-on-Sea is the perfect location for your special day. Packages from £34 per person Book via T: +44 1702 455100 or

Barn dance Want to wed in a barn? No problem – we’ve got you over d! CRONDON PARK 01277 841115 | Crondon Park is an established wedding venue, located in the picturesque village of Stock. Ceremonies take place in the fairy light-adorned Ryder Room, with a maximum seated capacity of 100 – or hold your wedding outdoors in the recentlyrefurbished Baronial Gardens, with fountain and atmospheric lighting. Next, enjoy your wedding breakfast in the Baronial Hall; one of the finest examples of a Tudor/Jacobean light oak beamed barn. With a maximum capacity of 148 for meal service, and 220 for an evening reception, it’s fully air conditioned, featuring fairy lights, bay trees and bespoke coloured up lighting. Psst ! Crondon Park also offers a prewedding dinner party for its couples, offering a date night in your chosen space with live entertainment. There’s also a luxurious bridal suite with private parking, courtyard with water feature and stunning countryside views, as well as five additional ensuite guest bedrooms. 25 THEMED VENUES

OLD BROOK BARN 07747 116100 | Located within the village of Navestock, Old Brook Barn is a 17th century barn that hosts just 25 weddings per year between April to October. Offering stunning views across a meadow, it houses a secret garden for your outside ceremony or drinks, as well as a natural brook and secluded courtyard. Then there’s the barn itself, featuring exposed beams, high ceilings and carved wood detailing, along with a secluded courtyard furnished with gazebo, rustic bar area and bespoke timber furniture, created to match the character of the barn itself. Become newlyweds in front of 180 friends and family in the Secret Garden, with its impeccable lawns and attractive painted gazebo. There’s also the Courtyard (120 guests), the Barn (96 seated with a further 12 standing), or the Minstrel’s Gallery (120 guests) – positioned above the main hall with views across the meadow. You can then celebrate back in the Barn, Minstrel’s Gallery, or the Main Hall (150 guests) – furnished with round tables and chivari chairs, here you’ll enjoy a delicious meal created by Limeberry Catering. CHANNELS ESTATE 01245 440005 | Fancy getting hitched in a 17th century thatched barn? Head to Channels Estate and their Essex Barn, full of historic character, excellent lighting and beams – plus a bar in the same space for dancing. Situated in the midst of Chelmsford’s Channels Estate, it also houses the Channels hotel and Brasserie restaurant within the complex, giving you plenty of options to choose from. Your ceremony is held in the Wedding Garden, with a maximum of 130 guests, under a thatched cart house, complete with amazing surround sound music system incorporating microphones for the couple and registrars. If the weather won’t allow an outside ceremony, the decision to bring it inside the Barn can be made right up to 10 minutes before! Your reception can then take place again in the exclusive garden for drinks and canapés, followed by the main reception and party in the Essex Barn, which seats up to 130 for your wedding breakfast and 200 for the evening. 26

Outside wedding garden, hotel facilities, including bridal preparation areas, stunning grounds for beautiful photos, experience and quality cuisine, Channels Estate really does tick all the boxes! With a stunning outside ceremony garden, you can tie the knot under the beautiful thatched cart house. With antique pews, its known as the “Church without a Roof”. Of course if the weather isn’t being fair, then you have the option of marrying in the Essex Barn. The catering at Channels is all in-house, and the experienced team pride themselves on being flexible and accommodating to individual requirements. Every wedding day is unique to the couples preferences. Channels Estate also holds a 30+ luxury hotel, it boasts some of the finest accommodation in Essex, with a dedicated Bridal house the night before, with hot tub, and preparation areas. Then the glorious Oak Suite for the first night of your married lives. Situated just north of Chelmsford, the beautifully restored 17th century, thatched Essex Barn is the idyllic venue for your special day. Over 40 years of unforgettable wedding days To request for a brochure, with prices and menus. Contact or 01245 440005 (ext 2) CHANNELS ESTATE PRATTS FARM LANE EAST, CHELMSFORD, CM3 3PT

Our beautiful, iconic 400-year-old Hotel, sits beside the River Nene in the idyllic surroundings of the conservation village of Wansford, in Cambridgeshire. Throughout its history the Hotel has hosted an incredible array of famous and Royal guests including Mary Queen of Scots, Queen Victoria, Princess Diana and many others. Having completed an extensive restoration, the Hotel has once again regained its reputation as one of the region’s finest. It now cleverly displays all its historic glory with luxuriously appointed rooms featuring painstakingly restored medieval fireplaces combined with all of the modern technology and conveniences we all enjoy. With two restaurants to choose from we know our ‘foodie’ guests will be fully satisfied! Fine dining can be enjoyed in our Michelin recognised, 3 rosette awarded ‘Prévost’ restaurant. This showcases a contemporary Tasting Menu by our Executive Head Chef, Lee Clarke and Head Chef Sam Nash, all paired with the eclectic wine choices from our Sommelier. Relax and unwind in our Courtyard Bar and Lounge, smile at its unique playful décor, enjoy the music and the warm friendly atmosphere. Even outdoors, if the weather suits, in the historic courtyard setting warmed by our open firepit. Indulge Haycock Manor Hotel, Wansford - in - England, Peterborough PE8 6JA T: 01780 782223 | E: | I N A LUXUR I OU S N I GHT AWAY

VAULTY MANOR 01621 842884 | Vaulty Manor’s tree-lined driveway leads you up to a Georgian Manor House, sympathetically restored with modern glamour. From here you’ll find their stunning Essex Barn, the oldest part of which dates to the 17th century. Ready to say ‘I do’? Why not choose to wed in the venue’s Pergola, a stunning outside ceremony area with a capacity of 180? Currently being updated to include a natural wicker fence with flower beds and hanging baskets, the Vaulty team are also installing a patio path from the Manor House to the Pergola – so be sure to watch this space! Alternatively, say your vows in the beautiful Essex barn in front of 125 guests, before heading to the Baronial Barn for your wedding breakfast. Seating up to 180 guests for your meal and up to 200 guests for your evening reception, it’s the perfect setting for your special day. Psst ! During the pandemic Vaulty Manor restored its drinks reception area, which used to be pig sheds! Now a beautifully glass panelled space, it’s perfect for post-ceremony bubbles and leads onto a terrace with blooming flower beds. OLD ESSEX BARN 01376 386166 | If character and charm are what you’re searching for, look no further than Kelvedon’s Old Essex Barn. Rustic meets luxury inside this lovingly restored 15th century space, packed with original features and high vaulted ceilings. Boasting a beautiful rural setting and wide-reaching countryside views, the classic black wood exterior contrasts beautifully against the sculpted gardens. Large windows offer romantic glimpses of the barn’s interior, while the rest of the grounds feature an intimate courtyard that leads down to a picturesque pond and fountain. When it comes to your happily ever after, Old Essex Barn provides a choice of two ceremony spaces. Couples can say their vows in the historic main barn, with a capacity of 76, or amid the romantic garden gazebo, again for up to 76. Wedding receptions then take place back in the main barn for up to 76 seated and 140 in the evening. THEMED VENUES 29

Parklands, Quendon Hall Quendon Essex CB11 3XN 01799 543800 A luxurious mansion, beautifully manicured grounds with deer roaming the landscape – offering the perfect balance of exquisite elegance and grandeur, with a relaxed and welcoming feel - our versatile reception rooms overlooking our gardens, offer endless scope and flexibility whatever your dream day demands. At the end of the celebrations your guest can retire to the luxurious en-suite guest rooms and as newly weds you will be chauffeur driven down to our lavish thatched honeymoon cottage. 2022_P_ewm_mag_A4 half page.indd 1 25/11/2022 13:32

care A dating site led to everlasting love for Emma and Adrian Images courtesy of Visions of View TINDER LOVING Emma and Adrian met via the dating site Tinder. “Adrian was the first to message,” remembers the bride. “He sent me a poem, which I thought was really sweet, and we met up a week later. There were no awkward silences, and it felt like we’d known each other for years. We also got each other’s sense of humour, and our connection felt unbelievably natural.” Adrian originally wanted to pop the question on a trip to Japan, but Covid meant their holiday got cancelled. “With his proposal plans thwarted, he instead asked me to marry him at the park where we had our first date. However, it didn’t exactly go to plan, as I managed to fall out of the front door as we were leaving the house – and broke my ankle! It really hurt at the time, but I didn’t realise how bad it was, so insisted I was OK. We went to the park where Adrian got down on one knee, but we never managed to celebrate, as the pain got worse and worse – so we ended up in A&E!” The couple chose the 4th February, 2022 for their wedding, saying ‘I do’ at Parklands Quendon Hall. Here, Emma tells us all about their incredible day… 31 REAL WEDDINGS

I made the table plan myself, finding a mirror at a boot sale and spraying it gold. I then learnt how to do calligraphy for the guests’ names. We had a three tiered cake – which I very nearly knocked over by accidentally cutting into the plastic supports hol ding it up! Our centrepieces were made by our amazing flor ist, featuring gold stands to match our colour scheme and flowers that ma tched my bouquet. We also had hanging tea lights, which added to the wint ry feel. I left the choice of flowers up to my florist, simply telling her our colour scheme and theme. I also asked her to include sunflowers at the back of my bouquet, in remembrance of a family member. We walked into the wedding venue and I was blown away. I can’t put into words how perfect it was – it was everything we wanted and more! We wanted favours that people would enjoy and not leave on the table. We’re both huge chocolate and sweet fans, so pla nned favours around this. It was a huge success, especially with the ki ds! 32

My bridesmaids wore velvet burgundy dresses with sleeves, and were exactly what I envisioned for our winter weddin g. They also had gold shoes to match our colour scheme. Adrian looked incredibly handsome in his navy suit, which he teamed with a grey waistcoat and dark blue tie. The groomsmen wore the same as my husband, b ut instead opted for burgundy ties. They also wore slightly smaller bu ttonholes than Adrian. There were a few moments we had to laugh at th roughout the day. I got caught to my dress while trying to put Adrian’s r ing on – plus my dress was too long for the first dance! Once our evening guests arrived, I changed into a tea length, off the shoulder dress for more of a party feel. I also wore customised Converse, sparkly belt and earrings. I wore two wedding dresses. My first was a Mark Lesley design with a wow train, detailed back and long sleeves. I accessorised this with a cathedral length veil, hair pins and statement hoops. I made our table names, using photos of us as ch ildren. These were a real hit, as many guests remembered the photo being taken. 33 REAL WEDDINGS

Our photographer was so friendly – everyone loved him! So many people commented how good he was with the children, and the fact he made everyone smile. I’ll never forget walking down the aisle. I saw Adrian welling up, plus all our family and friends smiling and crying. Ther e was so much love in the room, and it was an amazing feeling. EMMA AND ADRIAN’S CONTACTS Photographer, Visions of View | Venue, Parklands Quendon Hall | Videography, Pursey Productions | Emma’s day dress, Abigail’s Collection & The Grooms Room | Emma’s evening dress, Bridal Reloved | Emma’s accessories, Claire Austin England | Emma’s hair, Hair by Melissa Julie | Emma’s make-up, Vicky Jiggens Makeup Artist | Suits, Dapper Chaps | Cake, Cakes by V | Flowers, C Taylor’s Floristry | Rings, Victoria Jewellers DJ, Devoted Events | Photobooth, Booth Xperia Our videographer went above and beyond the ca ll of duty. He brought me snacks, calmed me when I was anxious, and even sorted a hot water bottle when I wasn’t feeling well. I cannot thank him enough. Scan to view video We were both on such a high throughout the day and night. I said to Adrian afterwards that it was literally the happiest day of my life – and I can still remember the feeling now! 34

Bridal Reloved Maldon is part of the UK’s largest chain of wedding dress boutiques selling new, ex-sample and immaculate preowned designer wedding dresses. Beautiful dresses waiting to be reloved BRIDAL RELOVED MALDON 3 King George’s Place, High Street, Maldon, CM9 5BZ 01621 927007, Andrew Miles Photography Shortlisted for Bridal Jewellery Retailer of The Year 2021 & 2022 Visit our website or store today to view our hundreds of wedding & engagement ring samples. Bespoke made to order jewellery up to 40% off RRP We are a family run business. We work alongside every one of our clients to create a bespoke design plan that brings the vision of your perfect wedding to reality saving you the stress, time and money. We specialise in styling events and hiring decor for contemporary and elegant celebrations across Essex and surrounding areas. Our focus is creating beautiful venue styling with lots of attention to detail and can o er styling services to suit your budget.

Mike Laura and Mike ensured no expense was spared at their Gosfield Hall celebration Images courtesy of Neil Bailey Photography TAKE THE 36

Laura met Mike on dating site Elite Singles. “It’s hard to envisage how we could have met any other way, seeing as we were both so busy with our jobs,” says Laura. “After a few weeks sending messages we had our first date in a pub. Mike was every bit the charming, charismatic gentleman – plus he was tall, dark and handsome, so I was on to a winner! The banter flowed easily, plus we both love animals, which was a big bonus as I’m a veterinary nurse. It was clear from that first date that this was something special.” Mike proposed to Laura a little over two years later. “In that time I’d given birth to our son, Mikey, which was incredibly emotional as he was two months premature. He spent two weeks in intensive care, with Mike spending every night sleeping on the floor beside my hospital bed. We settled into family life just as Covid hit, taking this time to find our first family home. On the day of the move, we arrived to collect the keys from the previous owners, who’d kindly ‘left’ us some Champagne cooling. They made a very swift exit, just in time for me to turn around and see Mike on one knee, asking me to be his wife. Virtually everyone was in on it but me!” The couple set the date for the 5th August, 2022, choosing Gosfield Hall for their big day. Here, Laura tells us more about their amazing wedding… LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION It was important for the couple that their wedding venue was easily accessible for all of their guests. “With family spanning from Surrey and London to Kent, we narrowed our search to Essex to give everyone equal travel distance,” continues the bride. “We knew we wanted somewhere that would allow us exclusive use, where we could hold the ceremony and reception, and a venue that oozed character, elegance and class. Gosfield Hall ticked all of those boxes! It’s a stunning building with a multitude of character in every corner, from the impressive high painted ceilings to the grand staircase. The beautiful courtyard and grounds are incredible, as is the immensely regal bridal suite. If there was ever going to be a place that you could embrace your special day and feel like a princess, then in my opinion it could only be here!” When it came to a theme Laura and Mike decided to complement the natural décor of Gosfield Hall. “We wanted to capture the elegant vibe of the venue, with a subtle edge of simplicity, opting for ivory and gold tones, along with hints of blue for Mike and Mikey’s suits, as well as the bridesmaids’ gowns. In my head I envisaged an iconic Wedgwood pottery blue, going on a hunt to source fabric samples of a suitable colour. This was not easy! Luckily, I had the team at Gosfield to help source lots of suppliers, including an amazing venue dresser. I cannot recommend JF Styling enough! They arranged the venue exactly the way I wanted, putting together ideas and showing me how different options could work. They were completely on board with keeping the ivory and gold theme with the chic elegant feel, too.” IT’S ALL IN THE DETAIL Theme set in place, the couple set to work deciding how they wanted to accessorise the venue to suit their vision. “For our signage, we opted for gold framed vintage-style mirrors, with vinyl decals for our welcome sign and table plan,” says Laura. “For the ceremony, we used the venue’s gold Chiavari chairs, dressed with interwoven ivory voile. We kept the aisle bare to expose the natural stone flooring, and had fresh white rose petals lining the edges by our florist. We also used clear Perspex plinths, which housed a large gold candelabra with ivory candles and beautiful artificial displays of cream and white flowers. Post-ceremony, the chairs were used for the wedding breakfast, and the candelabras became our centre pieces, with a couple of extras.” Decorating the tables with carefully thought out detail was also key to the couple’s big day. “As a finishing touch we opted for gold beaded charger plates for each setting, as well as gold-rimmed glasses and gold-tipped cutlery,” continues Laura. “We used a simple folded blue napkin and had our name places laser engraved on to gold mirrored coasters for guests to keep. We opted to not have formal favours at the tables, and supplied sticker books, bubbles and small toys for the children that attended instead. It was also important for us not to have a gift list for friends and family, instead asking for donations for the charity, Bliss, who looked after our son when he was born. We did this via a JustGiving page, and have become one of the biggest fundraisers of the year to date.” 37 REAL WEDDINGS

Luxurious Wedding Flowers Making Your Day Truly Special 07932 733 945 | 01245 361 939 | CherubsFlorists cherubsflorists Make Your Wedding Day Something Special! A perfect way to impress your guests on your very special wedding day. A great ice-breaker to entertain everyone. Covering all areas of Essex, Suffolk & Kent EVERYONE’S A WINNER Follow us @ @mrteescrazygolf @mrteescrazygolf Cakes by Nina Multi Award Winning Cake Designer WWW.CAKESBYNINAWEDDINGS.COM Email: If you can dream it we can make it happen. Where quality matters - using organic ingredients and attention to detail - all our flowers and foliage are sugar and rice paper. 5 star council rated and full liability insurance. Based in Leaden Roding near Great Dunmow, we specialise in bespoke floral arrangements for your wedding day, fresh and silk flowers available. For a free no obligation quote, call Alison on 07988 824332 or email ALISONWHITEWEDDINGFLOWERS.CO.UK Alison White Wedding Flowers a_whitewedding ALSO AT MARTELS WEDDING VILLAGE, HIGH EASTER ROAD, BARNSTON, ESSEX CM6 1NA Alis�n White Wedding Fl�wers Gemma Giorgio Photography

TWO’S COMPANY Laura couldn’t decide on one wedding dress – so went for two! “My first gown was the Courtney design by Pronovias, which I teamed with a cathedral-length veil and floral hair pins that matched the detailing in the back of the dress,” says the bride. “After the wedding breakfast I changed into a second gown, the Alanis from the Enzoani Love collection. This was a sexy version of the ceremony dress, if ever there was one! My hair and make-up artist stayed on site until after I had changed, and was able to glam up my make-up for a more evening party feel. I also changed my hairstyle to a more relaxed Hollywood curl ’do, with a Swarovski clip to one side. I completed my look with an aquamarine single stone necklace and bracelet from Tiffany’s, and had a ring made to wear on my right hand which encapsulated some fur from our late dog, in a sapphire blue resin as my something blue.” Laura had long dreamt of being able to say, ‘I Choo’, having looked at a pair of Jimmy Choos online for months. “They were aptly called Josefine, similar to our daughter’s name, so it felt like fate,” continues the bride. “The only problem was that they were permanently out of stock in my size! In the end I bought two pairs of shoes from Dune, with a heeled style for the day and a flat version for the evening. Mike, however, being the true gentleman that I’d met four years earlier, was not going to let me have our big day without my shoes, presenting me one evening with the very last pair of Josefines in the country, which he’d sourced from Jimmy Choo in Manchester. The only condition was that I wore them solely for our ceremony, and that they were to then be put away to hand down to our daughter, Josephine, one day.” ALL DRESSED UP The rest of the wedding party looked equally as stunning, with Laura’s older bridesmaids in pale blue Finley gowns from Tiffanys. “The dresses had a knee-length split and small spaghetti straps with additional Bardot sleeves and sweetheart necklines with diamanté waistband,” says Laura. “A more age-appropriate junior version of the dress was made for our junior bridesmaid, and I also had my daughter and niece as flower girls. As they were both only eight months old, they wore custom-made ivory dresses with satin top, lace bottom and large bow to the back, with floral hair bands.” Mike, meanwhile, went to Savile Row for his bespoke three-piece suit. “Pale blue in colour, it had a personalised lining as well as matching monograms on the cuffs of his shirt. His tie and pocket square were also custom-made, monogrammed in Wedgewood blue by Mrs Bow Tie; while his tie clip displayed the date of our wedding in Roman numerals. He even had sterling silver collar stiffeners with each of our children’s names on, all of which was complemented with a brown pair of Christian Louboutin Greggos, plus matching belt.” The couple’s son, Mikey, stood in as best man, wearing a bespoke suit to match his dad’s. “Both of our fathers and Mike’s best friend, Martin, were groomsmen, wearing plain navy blue suits with matching Wedgwood blue ties. They stood in to make the speech on behalf of our son – which saved our guests hearing how many cars Mikey had seen! Martin’s speech was fantastic, capturing moments we’ve had in Mikey’s lifetime, but told through our little boy’s eyes. It was so fitting for the cheeky little monster sat next to his dad at the top table!” EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY Ensuring their guests’ glasses were topped up was important to Laura and Mike’s day. “Gosfield Hall boasts a well-equipped bar for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, while we also selected red, white and rose wine to be served throughout the wedding breakfast,” says Laura. “We also had a plentiful supply of our favourite Champagne for toasts and speeches, which was then set up after the ceremony as a Champagne serving station, for guests to go and get a top-up as they liked. Being a summer wedding, and with most guests enjoying the outside space, this was later changed into a tea, coffee and hot chocolate station, to warm everyone up.” At the bottom of the stairs stood the couple’s wedding cake, a four-tier creation covered in Wedgwood blue icing and decorated with intricate gold vine, along with sugar crafted leaves and ivory sugar flowers. 39 REAL WEDDINGS