Your Herts and Beds Wedding - April/May 2024 (Issue 103)

WIN! A honeymoon in the Maldives Outdoor wedding settings LOVE AL FRESCO True love Local weddings BAKING UP SOME LOVE APR/MAY 2024 £3.55 Showstopping cakes HERTS BEDS & WEDDING The finishing TOUCHES Jewellery and accessories

ESTD. 1988

REGULARS 6 EDITOR’S LETTER Olivia Gibson shares her top picks from this issue 9 NEARLYWED NEWS Catch up on news from around the counties 13 FREEBIES & OFFERS Great giveaways and discounts up for grabs 68 HOT TOPIC Local experts offer stellar advice on wedding dilemmas 84 COMPETITION Win a honeymoon in the Maldives worth £3,000 CONTENTS APRIL/MAY 2024 VENUES 21 KEEP IT LOCAL Exchange vows in and around South Bedforshire 25 AL FRESCO SETTINGS Tie the knot in these outdoor wedding venues On the cover This issue’s cover is taken from Hannah and Joe’s stunning wedding on page 39, which was captured by Fairytale Wedding Photos. Check out: 45 25 FEATURES 45 BAKING UP SOME LOVE Discover the teams behind these fabulous bakes 71 SPEND, SPLASH AND SPLURGE The perfect item of jewellery or accessory piece can elevate a bridal look into the stratosphere, so don’t let budget hold you back, as we have some ideas for every purse 3

REAL WEDDINGS 28 TRUE LOVE Ellie and Steve had an intimate wedding surrounded by loved ones 34 OH-SO ELEGANT Sian and Joe tied the knot at the beautiful Fanhams Hall in Ware 39 PICTURE-PERFECT DAY Hannah and Joe’s rustic wedding featured lots of natural foliage HONEYMOONS 78 HONEYMOON NEWS Our travel editor reveals the newest openings and honeymoon essentials 80 THE ITALIAN DREAM Live la dolce vita at Villa La Massa in the heart of the breathtaking Tuscan countryside 82 PICTURESQUE PARGA Jet to Parga Beach Resort in this coastal town located on the north-western coast of Greece 85 A ROOM WITH A VIEW Get away from it all at Dunston Hall Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort FASHION & BEAUTY 49 FASHION FOCUS The latest bridal fashion news, buys and launches 50 IN LOVE WITH LACE This delicate fabric is always in fashion 55 RUFFLE UP Romantic layers and tiers are decorating bridal dresses this season 58 THE ULTIMATE EDIT Add instant glam to your big-day look with these latest jewellery launches 60 BEAUTY BUZZ Get the look with the latest must-haves 62 JUST BREATHE Actor turned meditation facilitator Maude Hirst tells us how to handle the stresses of wedding planning 64 BEAUTY Q&A Our local professionals solve your problems 34 28 78 75 GROOMS 74 GROOMS’ NEWS The latest best buys and product launches 75 FEELING PEACHY We’ve rounded up some of the latest on-trend products for the groom-to-be inspired by Pantone’s colour of the year, Peach Fuzz 77 LUSCIOUS LOCKS TikTok star Matt Newman reveals his haircare tips for grooms-to-be 50 4

MARRY CELEBRATE STAY LAKESIDE THE AN IDYLLIC BEAUTY SPOT ON THE SHORE OF A VAST LAKE, SURROUNDED BY LUSH GREEN MEADOWS AND THRIVING WITH NATURE. WELCOME TO THE LAKESIDE AT WILD BERRY FARM, THE PERFECT LOCATION FOR YOUR TIPI, YURT OR MARQUEE WEDDING 07850 346144 @thelakesideatwildberryfarm Proudly Recommended by many top Wedding Venues across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire. Comprising a team of passionate DJs with years of experience, We will provide exceptional entertainment for your big day. With our stunning modern setups we complement any venue, LED oors, Magic Mirrors we have everything covered! From Ceremony music to the evening entertainment we will give you and your guests an unforgettable day! @so_discos 07811 459639 With over 300 5 star reviews across our social media channels, get in touch!

Calling grooms-to-be, check out this suit inspired by Pantone’s colour of the year, Peach Fuzz. ISSN 1753-0911 Your Herts & Beds Wedding is solely owned, published and designed by Ellis Media and Events Ltd. 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. Your Herts & Beds Wedding is published six times a year. Can you believe it’s officially spring? If you’re anything like me, you’ve been counting the days until the sun arrives. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter but I miss embracing the outdoors and being amongst nature. I’ve had enough of the dark nights and scraping ice of my car! There’s something so magical about the time of year: the sun is shining, nature is thriving and animals are emerging. It’s also a time for spring cleaning and organising for a fresh start, perfect if you’re looking for a relaxed mind ready for wedding planning. My number one tip from the get-go is to work as a team, as the big day should reflect your love story and personalises. Don’t get too caught up trying to please everyone else; it’s your day. Highlight all the most essential aspects of the wedding to you both and make these a priority throughout the process. Set a clear budget for each element on a spreadsheet with how much you’re comfortable spending, the deadline for payments and how much balance is left to pay. The fun part of wedding planning is finding dream-worthy suppliers who share your vision. Lucky for you, this issue is bursting full of local talent with plenty of wedding planning experience. We have everything from top designers, photographers, florists, hairstylists, bakers, wedding planners, and more! Together with their help, you can plan a dream-worthy day to treasure for years to come. Pull up a chair, grab a cuppa and enjoy! Olivia x Olivia Gibson, Editor Here comes the sun 75 This stunning beaded gown from Mira Willinger features wide open long wings decorated with delicate flowers. @CountyWeddingMagazines @CountyWeddings @countyweddingmagazines Visit us online at www. and DESIGN 01376 535 616 ACCOUNTS 01376 535 616 MANAGING DIRECTOR Sarah Ellis | 01376 535 602 EDITORIAL Editor Olivia Gibson | 01376 535 611 Discover picture-perfect bakes like this design by Heaven is a Cupcake! 45 50 ADVERTISING Account Manager Sarah Knapp | 01376 535 619 84One lucky couple can win a honeymoon worth £3,000 to one of the finest resorts in the Maldives! 6

Psst, Sheer Perfection is offering readers 10 per cent off all beauty treatments! This couple aimed to keep their wedding intimate with close family and friends for the daytime but host a big celebration in the evening – they loved that Milling Barn could cater for this! Julia Walters at Fairytale Wedding Photos shares top advice for finding the perfect wedding photographer. 39 13 25 67 34 These lovebirds were nervous about the first dance but had the most amazing time and loved hearing everyone sing along to Elton John’s Are You Ready for Love. Can there be anything more romantic than tying the knot in the glorious sunshine at Fanhams Hall? 71 What’s not to love about these stunning earrings from Iris & Lolli Jewellery? EDITOR’S LETTER 7

Traditional & Natural Wedding Photography @georgepittasphotography Contact Us! @angel_wings_dove_release Angel Wings Dove Release

FINISHING TOUCHES Wedding breakfasts date back to the 17th-century, but many couples want to break away from the traditional three-course meal. The food choice is vast and couples can get creative with grazing tables, street food vendors or barbecues. Or why take a step back in time with a traditional afternoon tea? Elegance China Hire can provide a beautiful selection of vintage china for special events covering Hertfordshire and neighbouring counties. The company offers a beautiful selection of vintage items to grace wedding tables for wowfactor events. Owner Caroline Inglis arranges consultations with couples and liaises with caterers and event planners to develop a hire package to suit different budgets. We’ve teamed up with the company to offer readers a 15 per cent discount on hire costs of china for weddings taking place before September 30th 2024, confirmed with the required booking fee by May 1st 2024. A minimum order of £250 is required for this offer to be valid. Contact the team for an initial telephone discussion of the full terms and conditions. Check out: DISCOVER THE SUPPLIER​ A great image can evoke beautiful memories about a person or a special occasion. This remarkable quality encouraged Laura Pittas to pursue a career as a photographer, and George Pittas Photography was born! The company specialises in traditional and natural wedding photography, offering a unique and relaxed feel. Based in Hertfordshire but also covering Essex, Kent and the surrounding area, Laura works with couples to capture their dream weddings. With more than 10 years of experience working behind the lens, her passion is capturing the perfect moments when the angle and light converge to create a striking moment unlike any other. As a photographer, there’s no greater frill than finding that split-second that can be frozen and treasured for a lifetime. Laura tailors her services to match clients’ requirements and always goes above and beyond to deliver spectacular results. Customer satisfaction is vital to her services, so she’ll take every measure to understand clients’ needs to produce impressive results. Check out: All the latest from around the counties NEWS Nearlywed TO DINE FOR Dylans at The Kings Arms has been included in the Estrella Damm Top 100 for the second year running, climbing an incredible 22 places to number 72 in the respected list. Housed in a beautiful 15th-century Tudor building on George Street in the Cathedral Quarter of St Albans, this neighbourhood gem has an emphasis on quality ingredients such as txuleta prime rib dairy cow and fresh Cornish day boat fish, an extensive range of craft beer, specialist wines and spirits. Recently acclaimed as a place to eat one of the best steaks in the UK by Top Jaw and Sorted Food, its reputation for offering unpretentious but high-quality dining in a casual pub environment has grown over the past 12 months. It’s ‘the’ place to dine in St Albans with bookings for Sunday lunch now being taken two to three months ahead. It’s the ideal setting to meet with loved ones to plan weddings or pre-wedding date nights. One of the key reasons for this continued success is Head Chef Josh Searle, a young, local talent who adapts the menu to make the most of the season’s best produce from small, local and family suppliers. Developing his own style of cooking while staying true to Dylan’s ethos of simplicity and quality, Josh cooks the kind of food everyone loves to eat. Check out: LOCAL NEWS 9

WEDDING OPEN DAY For one day only, Country Tipis will be showcasing a traditional canvas tipi as well as an elegant sailcloth marquee at the Country Tipis Open Day at Brook Farm Cuffley, so make sure to get April 20th 2024 firmly marked in diaries! Couples can view both structures inside and out and can compare the two directly. Photos are great, but nothing like seeing the structures in person! The fantastic team will also be on hand, ready to chat with pairs, providing them with more information while answering any queries. Brook Farm Cuffley is an idyllic outdoor wedding venue featuring a stunning lake and walkway over to an island. Located just outside London in the gorgeous Hertfordshire countryside – it does tick all the boxes. Ceremonies take place in the spectacular setting of Pine Tree Aisle, a natural but breathtaking space adorned with festoon lighting. Couples usually opt for their confetti shot on the walkway across the lake and then have their drinks reception on the island with a pop-up bar and music! During the event, there will also be a host of other suppliers on-site for couples to meet and discuss their big day with a DJ, saxophonist, pianist, bar, caterer, cake designer, photographer, florist, and more! It looks like this could be a productive day for couples with their wedding to-do list! It seems like a fantastic day with some sample drinks and food tasters thrown in. This event is free, but booking is required so the team can manage numbers. They want to be able to chat with nearlyweds and give valuable tips to help the planning process. Book your slot here: THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL For some, wedding planning can be a little daunting and overwhelming. That’s why it’s so important to work with trustworthy, reputable suppliers who are not only experts in their field but will also work with couples every step of the way to bring visions to life. At Little Vintage Teacup, the team offers a range of services alongside vintage china hire. Their services are available for special occasions, including weddings and bridal showers, with a selection of hire packages, delicious afternoon tea (served on beautiful vintage china), tea and coffee service, buffet stations, setting up, clearing down, delivery, collection and complimentary washing up with all bookings. The team has everything covered so couples can sit back and relax, knowing everything is in good hands. No booking is too small, so contact the team today to start planning. Discover: WINNING IN LOVE There are celebrations all around the UK as The Wedding Industry Awards announced the 2024 national winners! Established in 2011, the awards are an annual event to find the most outstanding wedding suppliers from across the UK, all judged by a panel of expert and multiaward-winning judges in the wedding industry. The awards emphasises fostering relationships, celebrating successes, and embracing the joy of being part of a dynamic and thriving sector. It doesn’t matter the type of business, shape or size; it’s all down to the outstanding service offered to couples. After entering the awards, clients can score their suppliers on various aspects, and it’s all based on client feedback. Taking the average voter score and the judging process by leading professionals, the regional finalists are announced, taking place all over the UK in 11 regional award events. The talented panel of judges then decide on the winners, who are then automatically entered into the main national event to bring home the national title, and these have just been announced. Discover the talented teams who’ve taken home an award: 10

t: 01920 830256 e: w: @alternative_stretch_tents Stunning tents for stunning weddings! Step away from the traditional marquee with Alternative Stretch Tents. Based in Hertfordshire providing Stretch Tents up and down the country. WE LOVE STRETCH TENTS! Years of experience, passion and enthusiasm to get what you want from your event. Knebworth House & Barns is set in 250 acres of beautiful Hertfordshire parkland with opportunities for elegant ceremonies in the House, outside receptions & vintage offerings in our rustic Barns. 01438 813825 KNEBWORTH HOUSE & BARNS Book now quoting KHHERTS on your enquiry for the wedding couple to go complimentary

Great giveaways and discounts up for grabs BIG-DAY BEAUTY Based in Biggleswade, Sheer Perfection provides beauty services in and around Bedfordshire. With a natural make-up style, the team offer tailor-made packages to help clients look and feel their best, including beauty treatments such as nails, brow shaping and tinting, lash lifts, brow lamination and more. Owner Nikki Smith says, “I started Sheer Perfection to enhance the natural beauty of all women and help them feel beautiful both inside and out. I like to get to know each individual and look forward to continuing ongoing relationships. “Planning your wedding is such an exciting and special experience. You’ll want to look back and feel the best version of yourself. As unique as your wedding is, we will work together to tailor your make-up, considering every aspect of your big day.” We’ve teamed up with the company to offer readers 10 per cent off all beauty treatments if booked with the following code, HBM2024, before June 1st 2024. Get in touch with the team to discuss details. Discover the range of services on offer: LILY CHARMED IS GIVING READERS THE CHANCE TO WIN £150 TO SPEND ONLINE Crafted from recycled sterling silver and gold-plated recycled sterling silver, Lily Charmed ( brings you a seamless canvas for effortless jewellery curation, ensuring that each piece offers a lifetime investment for authentic self-expression. Collect and curate your very own jewellery box of keepsakes with Lily Charmed’s unique range of consciously crafted charms. Bringing joy through jewellery, each piece is designed to showcase your memories and magical life journey with a modern edge. From engraved talismans, romantic hearts and keys, pretty florals, colourful motifs cast in resin, and whimsical bees and biscuits, to lustrous pearls, chic lockets and personalised birthstones adorning charm bracelets, charm collectors, chains and hoops, Lily Charmed offers a pick ‘n’ mix of playful designs. Layer, stack, mix and match, play with chain and bracelet styles, add charms, add colour − the choice is endless! Infinity symbols represent ever-lasting love, whilst alphabet charms and custom engraving make the perfect personalised touch for weddings. Elsewhere its hug rings, friendship charm bracelets and retro Mixtape, Cowboy Boot and Puzzle Pieces make effortlessly thoughtful bridesmaids gifts. Enter online an Terms and conditions apply. Freebies& OFFERS FREEBIES & OFFERS 13

ALL EVENTS 11AM - 3PM unless otherwise stated 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. WEDDING SHOWS SPRING 2024 KENT SUN, 21 APR 2024 LYMPNE CASTLE The Street, Lympne, CT21 4LQ SUN, 12 MAY 2024 FRASERS ColdHarbour Farm, Barhams Mill Road, Egerton, TN27 9DD ESSEX SUN, 21 APR 2024 CHANNELS ESTATE Belsteads Farm Lane, Little Waltham, CM3 3PT SUN, 28 APR 2024 OLD ESSEX BARN Cranes Lane, Kelvedon, Colchester, CO5 9AX SUN, 12 MAY 2024 BRAXTED PARK Braxted Park Estate, Great Braxted, CM8 3EN SUN, 19 MAY 2024 ST OSYTH PRIORY West Field Lane, St Osyth, CO16 8GW As part of Ellis Media and EventsLtd, 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

KENT SUFFOLK SUN, 21 APR 2024 RAVENWOOD HALL HOTEL Rougham, Bury St Edmunds, IP30 9JA SURREY SUN, 12 MAY 2024 NUTFIELD PRIORY Nutfield Road, Nutfield, Redhill, RH1 4EL ALL EVENTS 11AM - 3PM unless otherwise stated WEDDING SHOWS AUTUMN 2024 SUN, 8 SEP 2024 CAVE HOTEL Brickfield Lane, Boughton, Kent, ME13 9AJ SUN, 20 OCT 2024 BRADBOURNE HOUSE New Rd, East Malling, ME19 6DZ SUN, 10 NOV 2024 PENHURST PLACE Penshurst, Kent, TN11 8DG SUN, 15 SEP 2024 LYMPNE CASTLE The Street, Lympne, CT21 4LQ SUSSEX SUN, 20 OCT 2024 SELDEN BARNS Selden Lane, Patching, Worthing, BN13 3UL SURREY SUN, 10 NOV 2024 NUTFIELD PRIORY Nutfield Road, Nutfield, Redhill, RH1 4EL

SUN, 1 SEP 2024 KIMBERLEY HALL Estate Office, Wymondham, NR18 0RT NORFOLK SUN, 29 SEP 2024 SPROWSTON MANOR Wroxham Road, Norwich, NR7 8RP ESSEX SUN, 22 SEP 2024 PRESTED HALL Feering, Colchester, Essex, CO5 9EE SUN, 1 SEP 2024 OLD ESSEX BARN Cranes Lane, Kelvedon, Colchester, CO5 9AX SUN, 20 OCT 2024 BRAXTED PARK Braxted Park Estate, Great Braxted, CM8 3EN SUN, 15 SEP 2024 ORSETT HALL Prince Charles Avenue, Orsett, Essex, RM16 3HS SUN, 27 OCT 2024 LAYER MARNEY TOWER Layer Marney, Colchester, Essex, CO5 9US SUN, 17 NOV 2024 CRONDON PARK Stock Road, Stock, Essex, CM4 9DP SUFFOLK SUN, 6 OCT 2024 RAVENWOOD HALL HOTEL Rougham, Bury St Edmunds, IP30 9JA SUN, 27 OCT 2024 THE MILSOMS Hall Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP5 2PU

SUN, 3 NOV 2024 SANDON MANOR Sandon Bury Farm, Buntingford, SG9 0QY HERTFORDSHIRE SUN, 6 OCT 2024 MICKLEFIELD HALL Sarratt Road, Sarratt, WD3 6AQ SUN, 29 SEP 2024 LUTON HOO Luton Hoo Estate, Luton, LU1 4LF BEDFORDSHIRE 12PM-4PM SUN, 22 SEP 2024 RACKLEYS Marlow Road, Cadmore End, HP14 3PP SUN, 1 SEP 2024 CHENIES MANOR Rickmansworth, WD3 6ER BUCKINGHAMSHIRE SUN, 17 NOV 2024 WARE PRIORY High Street, Ware, SG12 9AL SUN, 27 OCT 2024 RUSHTON HALL Desborough Road, Rushton, NN14 1RR HAMPSHIRE SUN, 22 SEP 2024 AUDLEYS WOOD HOTEL Alton Road, Basingstoke, RG25 2J NORTHAMPTONSHIRE SUN, 3 NOV 2024 LATIMER ESTATE Chesham, HP5 1UG SUN, 29 SEP 2024 BURNHAM BEECHES Grove Road, Burnham, SL1 8DP

• Free entry • Goody bag for each couple • Up to 200 stands • 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 28TH APRIL | 11AM - 3:00PM MERCEDES-BENZ WORLD High Street, Berkshire, SL5 7JX SUNDAY 27TH OCT 2024 | 11AM - 3.00PM ASCOT RACECOURSE

Pre-register for all of our events at MERCEDES-BENZ WORLD, 28TH APRIL 2024 BLUEWATER, 6TH OCTOBER 2024 ASCOT RACECOURSE, 27TH OCTOBER 2024 Sarah Here at County Wedding Magazines and Events HQ we’re looking forward to our Spring 2024 wedding show season – perfect for all those couples recently engaged. From must-visit local fairs in some of the region’s best wedding venues to our larger Signature Wedding Shows, we can’t wait to welcome nearlyweds to our events and help plan their wedding day. Each event will boast a huge range of specialists who will be on hand to talk through your planning ideas and requirements; venues, bridal boutiques, photographers, florists, cake makers and more, there’s everything you could need to plan your wedding under one roof. On the day refreshments will be available to purchase from each of the venue’s on-site restaurants, bars and cafés. Couples will need to pre-register in advance for an allocated arrival time, although on the day visitors are always welcome, and attending our shows are free! For more information, visit County Wedding Events’ website. We look forward to seeing you at one of our events. Sarah Ellis, Sales and Events Director County Wedding Events. Pre-register and attend the how to have a chance to win a fabulous spa break worth £250 courtesy of A date for your diary... GREAT EXPECTATIONS

The Conservatory has been designed with flexibility in mind. Suitable for dining up to 250 guests with a separate reception area, stage, and dancefloor. We are a dry hire-based venue that works with a selection of preferred caterers; however, we do allow external caterers for no extra cost. Our team are on hand every step of the way, making sure that when your day comes around you can relax and enjoy every minute. | 01582 459216 01923 77 88 98

Going local Tie the knot in South Bedfordshire TODDINGTON PARK 07751 779 641 | Set on 30 acres, Toddington Park is a Georgian manor house that creates the perfect backdrop to weddings and events. Just south of Woburn, the Grade II listed property has a grand entranceway and magnificent views at every turn. As couples drive down the impressive driveway, they’ll love the formal lawns, delightful meadows and the stunning lake. Available only for exclusive use, the family-owned property hosts only a handful of annual weddings, meaning guests can expect all the care and attention needed to create memorable events. Built in 1826, the Park House is an impressive manor house with plenty of character and charm. Couples can have celebrant-led ceremonies or blessings with 68 loved ones in the Drawing Room, which features natural lighting and can be dressed to match any wedding theme. Continue the celebrations in the Drawing Room, Entrance Hall and Dining Room, with 55 people for wedding breakfasts and 100 for evening receptions. All rooms open onto the front terrace, the perfect location for drinks receptions in the summer months. Pairs can enjoy outdoor ceremonies with 150 people in a marquee or tent with the freedom to use the surrounding grounds. The expert team works alongside talented suppliers who know the venue like the back of their hands and can help bring dream weddings to life. When pairs book the venue’s wedding packages, they’ll receive a complimentary stay in the renovated three-bedroom cottage and special rates for local hotels for guests nearby. 21 LOCAL VENUES

WOBURN ORANGERY WEDDINGS 01525 290 000 | The Woburn Coffee House, with the picturesque Woburn Orangery overlooking the private walled garden, is a beautiful boutique wedding venue. Nestled in the heart of Woburn, the excellent combination of elegant décor and friendly atmosphere offers a truly special location. Woburn Orangery Weddings has exclusive use of the entire Woburn Coffee House. The White Room is a secluded and characterful setting on the upper floor for the bridal party to be pampered by hair and make-up artists on their special day. Exchange vows in The Woburn Orangery, a romantic space that can host ceremonies and receptions with 48 loved ones. The Walled Garden is an enchanting private setting for photographs, reception drinks and canapés – it’s the perfect setting for guests to enjoy. The Old Front Restaurant welcomes loved ones and can be used as a reception drinks area should the weather be inclement, while the Snug is the heart of the home for the formal meeting with the registrars. PRIOTY HOUSE HERITAGE CENTRE 01582 891 420 | Situated in Dunstable town centre, Priory House Heritage Centre is the perfect setting for intimate weddings. Within the historic Grade II listed building with a Medieval undercroft is the stunning Jacobean Room, which features stunning paintings and can host 30 people for ceremonies. Or exchange vows in front of a beautiful rose pergola in the awardwinning gardens. Here, couples will find wedding chairs dressed in white covers with gold sashes and an aisle runner, all of which are provided. The space is the ideal backdrop to photographs, especially when the fowers are blooming. The stunning grounds are an ancient scheduled monument that achieved Gold in Anglia and Britain in Bloom. Celebrations can continue in the Jacobean Room with 30 people. The venue’s team can provide drinks, canapés, buffets and afternoon teas depending on the vibe couples are after. 22

SHUTTLEWORTH HOUSE Situated in 425 acres of historic parkland in Bedfordshire, Shuttleworth House offers an unrivalled wedding experience. With rolling parkland views and steeped in compelling history, the estate offers an extraordinary setting for celebrations all year round. Check out: THE CONSERVATORY AT LUTON HOO Located in Bedfordshire, The Conservatory is nestled within the historic 18th-century Walled Garden. The venue’s grounds were originally established in the 1770s by John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute. It’s now continuously developed to reflect the traditional use of the grounds. Check out: WOBURN SAFARI PARK Ever dreamed of getting married on Safari? Well, now couples can do so without having to leave the UK! Nestled at the heart of Woburn Safari Park, home to magnificent wild animals, The Safari Lodge now provides an exceptional location for weddings and receptions. Check out: THE TITHE BARN Combining historic charm with rustic elegance, The Tithe Barn is an 800-year-old venue that will provide a rustic and elegant backdrop to all events. Guests will fall in love with the spaces full of period features and the manicured gardens that look stunning all year round. Check out: Also check out… 23 LOCAL VENUES

MULTI AWARD WINNING WEDDING HAIRSTYLIST For romantic, elegant timeless hairstyles, please get in touch @kimsandfordhairdressing | Ware Priory High Street, Ware Hertfordshire, SG12 9AL Tel 01920 460316 CELEBRATE AT BE THE ONES TO SAY ‘I DO’ Facebook warepriory Instagram: @ware_priory Originally a dairy farm, Tewin Bury has been home to the Williams family since 1931. Still a working farm, you’re likely to see the brothers roaming around the hotel. Now, as an independent, family run venue, our 17th Century converted barn is the perfect host for bespoke weddings. Filled with heritage and set in the heart of the countryside, our private gardens and neighbouring 700 acres of farmland, form a beautiful back drop for your special day. We would love for you to visit Tewin Bury Farm, where we can take a walk along the Mimram river to show you our beautiful barns and the picturesque surrounding grounds. With 53 bedrooms on site, your wedding party can indulge in the magnificence of our stunning venue. We can offer show rounds 7 days a week, with weekend morning appointments and midweek during office hours and evenings. Call: 01438 841463

Outdoor weddings Tie the knot amongst nature at these al fresco venues FANAHMS HALL 01920 460 511 | Fanhams Hall is a breathtaking Jacobean mansion offering a showstopping location for events in the Hertfordshire countryside. Built as a celebration and demonstration of wealth with sophisticated symmetry and great halls boasting elaborate carvings as well as complex decoration, Britain’s Jacobean houses have a unique appeal. Can there be anything more romantic than tying the knot in the glorious sunshine of the great outdoors with the backdrop of the mansion? It is the venue to melt hearts and fulfil dreams. For summer weddings when the sun is shining, the original Japanese Tea House is licenced to host romantic wedding ceremonies, which can be used in conjunction with The Lakeside Pavilion and The Great Hall. Surrounded by 27 acres of beautifully manicured gardens, the Grade II listed space, traditionally called ‘The House of the Pure Heart’ was imported from Japan and erected in 1900. There’s also the Gazebo Lawn as a second outdoor ceremony option for couples choosing the Great Hall side of the hotel. Nestled within the formal gardens, with the Mansion house in the background, it provides a picture-perfect backdrop. The Long Gallery is the perfect indoor setting to exchange vows and can be used in conjunction with wedding breakfasts in the Great Hall. It’s a stunning example of Jacobean architecture as history dictates; it is a long, narrow room with a high ceiling. Guests will find hand-carved oak panelling and a beautifully ornate ceiling with original chandeliers, demonstrating the workmanship’s fine quality. Alternatively, Hertford and Ware is available for ceremonies and is perfectly placed to host evening receptions in the Lakeside Pavilion. The space is in keeping with the contemporary feel of the Lakeside Pavilion and has expansive windows along two aspects, affording stunning panoramic views over the gardens. These ceremony settings can accommodate up to 120 people. The Oak is a beautiful and intimate setting with 15 to 45 people seated for the “I dos” and receptions and 60 standing in the evenings. The Lakeside Pavilion offers a contemporary feel with a twist. Its unique design is in keeping with the Japanese-style gardens and boasts a private veranda with panoramic views. The location can host up to 130 for wedding breakfasts and 200 for evening receptions. The Jacobean Great Hall is a stunning setting for weddings all year round. It has a traditional high-beamed ceiling, stone-framed lattice windows, an original minstrel’s gallery, a large stone fireplace, a classic black and white tiled conservatory, and views of the formal gardens. The iconic setting can accommodate 120 for wedding breakfasts and up to 170 for evening receptions. The Great Hall is also licensed for the vows. When couples book the stunning venue, they’ll receive a complimentary tasting session and a stay in the signature room for their wedding night. Scan to view video ©Victoria Mitchel 25 AL FRESCO VENUES

BROOK FARM 01707 872 450 | Brook Farm is an idyllic outdoor wedding venue outside London in the gorgeous Hertfordshire countryside. Celebrations are held adjacent to a beautiful lake with a walkway over to an island, giving the wow factor that everyone secretly wants on their big day. The surrounding grounds feature woodland and arable farmland, so guests can enjoy the tranquil views and soak up the beauty of having receptions in the great outdoors. There’s a thorough drainage system in the grass area where tents stand, which is the dream for al fresco weddings here in the UK. Couples will have exclusive use of the stunning location with a tipi, marquee or yurt of their choice. Blessings take place next to the lake at the Pine Tree Aisle, which offers a very natural but spectacular setting followed by drinks receptions on the island – a totally unique way to kick off celebrations! For those thinking about having church ceremonies, St Thomas a Beckett in Northaw is five minutes away! Couples without an existing connection with the Parish are welcome to marry here if certain criteria is met. The venue’s package includes all of the basic infrastructure needed. Upon booking, couples receive an electronic Guide To Planning Your Wedding at Brook Farm which is so helpful for DIY weddings and runs through all the key things couples will need. Pairs can also make their own unique notes within the guide and flick to and from topics using the handy navigation panel. The pairs choose their structure, caterer and decorations while the team organise the boring but essential bits like the luxury portable bathrooms, a reliable source of electricity that will meet power requirements, industrial rubbish bins, two security guards, a sound system, parking, coordination and on-the-day management. The team will liaise with lovebirds before weddings to understand all plans and offer a ‘two weeks to go’ meeting to review details. Access is granted two days before celebrations so there is plenty of time to set up, leaving lovebirds to kick back, relax and get excited ready for the day! DUNTON LODGE FARM WEDDINGS 07849 918 568 | For those dreaming about tying the knot surrounded by picturesque English countryside, look no further than Dunton Lodge in Hertfordshire. The stunning property has fantastic uninterrupted views of the surrounding area and provides many photographic backdrops to discover. From the moment guests travel down the private driveway, they’ll fall in love with this enchanting space. The beautiful English garden provides the perfect base for any tipi or marquee for wedding breakfasts with 120 loved ones or 150 in the evenings. Or pairs can celebrate on the lawns with the family-owned Victorian farmhouse nestled in the background. The blank canvas venue allows couples to create their special day using their suppliers or the venue’s preferred companies. No matter what, the hardworking team will help couples create showstopping weddings while supporting them every step of the way. They’re on hand to help answer any questions or concerns while offering plenty of advice, as they know wedding planning can be overwhelming. The venue offers the ultimate setting with plenty of space outside for seating, props and games. It’s perfect for those searching for a relaxed and exclusive space that will wow guests while providing the ideal backdrop for events. 26

FULLER’S HILL COTTAGES 07544 208 959 | Fullers Hill Cottages is located on a working farm and airfield in the stunnng countryside. It’s a beautiful setting only a 20-minute drive from Cambridge City Centre, perfectly situated for a fantastic balance between a relaxing country affair and an exciting city experience. The 750-acre arable farm has seven luxury self-catering cottages, all with pretty gardens and hot tubs. There’s also a children’s play area, horse stabbing, and a private airfield – couples can arrive by sky, horse, or car! The team’s Little White Book has lots of contacts, ideas and discounts to help create the most fabulous wedding receptions. Why not also check out the venue’s Little Pink Book for hen parties and the Little Black Book for honeymoons? Pairs can enjoy a significant discount if they book all three events with the team. Wedding receptions take place in a marquee or tipi on the airfield. The team will include music, a photographer, catering, a wedding cake, flowers, and more. Guests can enjoy panoramic views and the tranquillity of the open countryside. With gorgeous, luxury accommodation on-site, guests won’t have far to go after all the celebrations! The seven self-catering cottages have all been lovingly designed, paying homage to their original uses. All have been rebuilt and refurbished from old farm buildings and named after what they were used for, such as The Old Dairy, The Tack Room, The Hayloft, The Stables and The Granary. There’s also Apple Cottage and Number One, both with very different styles. These spaces are suitable for wheelchair users and accessible to less mobile guests. The team provide all guests with a Direct Access Guide featuring lots of information to help make their stay as comfortable, easy and enjoyable as possible. The apartments have underfloor heating powered by a ground source heat pump, providing hot water for the complex. Wood fibre and Hempcore insulation have been used in the buildings, which has resulted in an energy efficiency rating of B. The buildings always had a certain degree of natural ventilation as they were used to house horses and livestock. The apartments use as much natural light as possible and add to this by using low-energy LED lighting where possible. They have implemented a Green Policy and a Responsible Visitor Charter in every cottage. This includes information on what is recyclable and how to reduce waste, water and energy consumption. They feel responsible for helping the environment and are committed as a business to being sustainable and eco-friendly – the Gold Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme proves just that. BEAUMONT HALL 07811 338 313 | Nestled in St Albans, Beaumont Hall provides the perfect setting for outdoor weddings! The house is not for hire, but the beautifully presented Georgian Grade II farmhouse offers a beautiful backdrop for events. As couples approach the farmhouse, they’ll be greeted by lime trees lining the driveway and the sweet perfume of lush natural greenery. The surrounding grounds are completely secluded. The venue doesn’t have a ceremony license, but it does have a space for blessings. The Honeycomb Lawn can host 200 loved ones and overlooks a pond, providing a wonderful space for memorable moments. The lawn in front of the house provides the perfect setting for arrival drinks and drink receptions before heading to the reception space. The two-tipi set-up can host 100 seated people and 150 standing. The interior provides the perfect blank canvas whether pairs want elegant sitdown dinners or festival-style events. This setting allows for sit-down meals before being transformed for lively receptions, with a cosy lounge or a rustic bar area. The three-tipi set-up can host 150 people seated and 200 standing, giving extra space for a few more people and a dancefloor. Alternatively, The Secret Garden at Beaumont Mews can accommodate 30 seated loved ones and 60 standing. The exciting new space offers an intimate, private, secluded area tucked away within the grounds. It’s perfect for cosy afternoons or evenings with chosen friends and family, with on-site accommodation for up to 16 people. AL FRESCO VENUES 27

28 TRUE LOVE Ellie and Steve had an intimate wedding surrounded by loved ones Images courtesy of Sophie Askew Photography

REAL WEDDINGS 29 These lovebirds met through Tinder and never looked back! Ellie had just moved back home after living in Paris for a year and wanted to meet new people. Besides his good looks, Steve was extremely kind and proactive with arranging dates and remembered little details about her. He comments, “Ellie was great fun to be around from the start; we just made each other laugh all the time. As she had just returned from Paris and wasn’t working yet, she would come and meet me during my lunch break, which I really enjoyed!” The pair was in Paris when Steve proposed! His original plan had been to pop the question on the Bir Hakeim Bridge, which has the perfect view of the Eiffel Tower. Ellie says, "When we got there, Steve set up the camera under the guise of taking some family photos as we had our one-year-old daughter with us but was actually going to film the proposal. However, a wedding photoshoot came along, and the photographer asked if he could take a photo of us – with the intention of getting us out of the way quickly! Our baby then started getting fussy, and the moment was ruined. So, he had to think of another plan. We got up early the next morning and set off to the Île de la Cité. As it was early, and there was nobody around! We sat on the edge of the island under a willow tree, looking over the river Seine, and that was where he proposed. It was our 8th anniversary, so it was really special and a total surprise!" SETTING THE SCENE The pair had initially planned to have a big wedding surrounded by loved ones and actually went to see a few wedding venues before falling in love with one. After getting quotes for their desired day and totalling up costs, they realised it would probably be a while before they could afford the wedding of their dreams. At a friend’s house early in July, the pair discussed having a small wedding followed by a big party later due to Covid restrictions. That conversation planted a seed in their head. Ellie said the next day to Steve, “What’s the point in waiting to afford a big wedding? The whole point of it is to be married, let’s just have immediate family there”. As Steve’s sister lives in Abu Dhabi with her husband and two young children, they realised that they would have to arrange the wedding for when they were next in the country. Luckily, they were about to come over for the summer but only had one date that they could do. The couple had looked online at a few local registry offices, but as soon as Ellie saw photos of the arches at the Hertford Registry Office, she knew it was the perfect setting. They decided to call the registry office and see if they had any wedding slots available for August 5th 2023, which was only five weeks away. Lo and behold, the date was available! So, the pair took the plunge and booked it. The bride comments, “When I reached out to our photographer Sophie, thinking there was no way she’d have a Saturday in August free, she said she had been purposefully not booking anything that day as it was her anniversary. However, I had the same name as her daughter which she took as a sign and accepted the booking. I knew the stars were aligning, and this was the date we were always meant to get married!” The couple had been to the restaurant Lussmanns the year before the wedding for Steve’s birthday and remembered how beautiful the leaded glass windows in the restaurant were as well as the food. Again, they knew it would be the perfect place for the wedding breakfast. The restaurant offered two different layouts they could accommodate, and the lovebirds ended up going with an L-shaped one to create a more intimate setting. Lussmann’s has a summer lunch menu focusing on fresh, local produce. It was perfect for the day and went down as a treat with guests. The newlyweds had planned to book a room in a bar or pub in Hertford for the reception but knew it might be tricky on a Saturday in summer, especially with the children. Luckily, the mother-of-the-bride offered to host the celebrations at her house, which was the perfect

30 solution as they could put the kids to bed to continue the party. Around the home, fairylights, baby’s breath flowers, chiffon, and candles decorated the space. For an evening treat, the pair had a simple circular iced Victoria sponge cake from Hertford Cake Co with Mr & Mrs Farrugia written on top. The father-of-the-bride drove Ellie to the venue in his white Jaguar with attached ribbons, while a K7 Minibus transported guests from the restaurant to their parent’s house for anyone who wasn’t driving. LOOKING THE PART Ellie wore an ASOS Edition Lucinda satin maxi dress with blouson sleeves. She comments, “Since we planned the wedding in five weeks, I knew I wouldn’t have time to get a dress from a bridal shop, so ASOS was a convenient and speedy option. I wasn’t sure what style I would go with initially but after trying on a few different options, the one I chose felt the most like 'me' and fitted the type of wedding I envisioned – it felt elegant and timeless! The style was simple but still had a bit of character with the sleeves and open back. I accessorised with an antique necklace from Cromwell Antiques in Sawbridgeworth that Steve bought for me and some earrings from Opal & Iris in Ware. I added a bow to my hair, which really topped off the whole look.” “I didn’t get a chance to take in how I looked once I was dressed as I was in such a rush. I was using my daughter’s baby monitor as a clock and hadn’t realised it was an hour behind, so I had to rush to get dressed and leave. It was only really when I saw the photos back that I had the chance to appreciate how well everything came together.” Ellie had a beautiful bouquet from The Sage Garden in Ware with pink and purple hues throughout, which perfectly matched her necklace and earrings, as well as the buttonholes. The groom bought his suit from M&S the year before, when he was a groomsman for his friend’s wedding. Since it was a classic navy suit, the pair thought it seemed silly to get a new one. Steve and his dad accessorised with the same paisley print navy tie from John Lewis and a white pocket square. The bride comments, “I immediately burst into tears when I reached the top of the aisle. I had been waiting for this day for eight years, and it felt so surreal. Steve looked handsome in his suit, and I just couldn’t wait to marry him!” The couple had their daughter and niece as the flowergirls. They wore white tulle dresses with pastel flower embroidery, and both wore baby’s breath flower crowns. Their nephews were page boys; however, they didn’t have specific outfits to wear. TIME TO CELEBRATE As it was a small party, the couple played a fun playlist and poured plenty of bubbles! Everyone had a great time and commented on how special and intimate the gathering was. The bride felt calm for the most part. She comments, “I’m so glad we ended up having only our closest family members there! If we had the number of people we had originally planned, I would have been extremely nervous to walk down the aisle. The wedding seemed to go by quickly, but it was such a lovely day.” Steve had a lovely leisurely morning. Two hours before arriving at the venue, he had a photo of himself walking back from town in the rain in muddy boots and shorts, where he’d treated himself to a full English breakfast. He felt calm, excited and nervous all at the same time. It was all a bit surreal for him because it came about so quickly. There were many memorable moments throughout the day! The bride says, “Our daughter wanted to be held midway through the ceremony, which meant she joined us in exchanging the rings and our first kiss. Walking through town together after taking our couple photos and having people congratulate us was so special, as was having our closest family together for the first time. My dad gave a lovely speech in the evening. A funny moment was when Steve messed up his name while saying the vows. It made us all laugh and cracked through all the seriousness of the day. “Everyone who was there made our day feel so special. Sophie, our

A beautiful selection of vintage and fine china which is available for wedding hire - mix and match to create the perfect setting to match your style. We will work closely with your planner and other suppliers to make sure your big day goes off without a hitch. We are also able to provide recommendations of suppliers we collaborate with. Please contact us for an initial chat or visit our website. 07905 347842 | The Stables prop hire has a passion for creating unique settings for beautiful events. We love helping people to personalise their wedding or event and will work with you to create the style you have dreamed of. We will transform your space, the way you want it. You can book a paper lantern rig or lighting to transform the ceiling at your venue, or simply hire items from our collection to bring that personal touch to your event. We have a huge collection of beautiful paper lanterns of all colours and sizes, festoon lights, fairy lights, table top decorations, disco balls, backdrops and arches, neon signs, light-up marquee letters, milk churns, apple crates and everything else you need to put the finishing touches to your dream day. | | instagram: @thestablesprophire Image Credit: Cat Lane