Your Herts and Beds Wedding - April/May 2023 (Issue 97)

£3.55 APR/MAY 2023 HONEYMOONS, BEAUTY, GROOMS, EXPERT ADVICE, FREEBIES AND MORE... WIN! A luxurious getaway Showstopping bouquets and arrangements Bloomin’ beautiful DREAM-WORTHY DESTINATIONS Explore! Venues in South Bedfordshire Discover honeymoon hotspots PLANNING SOS Wedding tips and tricks


REGULARS 6 EDITOR’S LETTER Olivia Gibson shares her top picks from this issue 8 NEARLYWED NEWS Catch up on news from around the counties 11 FREEBIES & OFFERS Great giveaways and discounts up for grabs 70 HOT TOPIC Local experts offer stellar advice on wedding dilemmas 81 COMPETITION Win a four-night break in Tuscany CONTENTS APRIL/MAY 2023 VENUES 17 GOING LOCAL Fall in love with these properties in South Bedfordshire 21 AL FRESCO Beautiful outdoor venues waiting to be discovered On the cover This issue’s cover was taken from Richard and Catherine’s wedding on page 26, which was captured by 49 21 FEATURES 39 OH SO ROMANTIC Check out this modern shoot at Rothamsted Manor in Hertfordshire 45 AS THE NIGHT FALLS This romantic-styled shoot was captured during twilight and is full of striking shots 49 BIG-DAY BAKES Create your dream wedding cake with help from the professionals 66 SOOTHING SELF-CARE Our Social Media Editor, Gracie, finds out if the form of meditation helps you remain calm 73 FRESHLY PICKED IDEAS Discover these blooming marvellous ways to incorporate flowers throughout your wedding 3

REAL WEDDINGS 26 THYME OF OUR LIVES Richard and Catherine had an outdoor wedding surrounded by nature and herbs 33 PRETTY IN PINK Sophie and Alex’s stunning wedding at Offley Place featured plenty of local suppliers HONEYMOONS 82 HONEYMOON NEWS The newest openings and honeymoon destinations 84 FLY AWAY WITH ME We’ve rounded up some of our favourite city escapes 86 A GRAND AFFAIR Experience ultimate luxury combined with traditional Greek appeal at Rhodes-based Ixian Grand & All Suites 89 SANTA NEEDS A SPA DAY The Runnymede on Thames set the scene for a much-needed pre-Christmas break FASHION & BEAUTY 53 FASHION FOCUS The latest bridal fashion news, buys and launches 54 IN LOVE WITH LACE This timeless fabric never goes out of fashion 57 HEAD OVER HEELS Walk down the aisle in style this season with our hand-picked edit of the best bridal shoes and bags 58 FRILL SEEKERS This season’s bridal dresses enjoy tiers of ruffled tulle, silky satin layers and subtle pleats 64 BEAUTY BUZZ Get the look with these must-haves for the bride-to-be 68 BAN THE BLOAT Professional nutritionists at Wedding Wellness explain how to avoid untimely bloating on your wedding day 69 BEAUTY Q&A Our local professionals solve your problems 54 26 82 33 GROOMS 76 IT’S ONLY NATURAL With neutral colour palettes on the rise, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite products to ensure you look on-trend this season 78 GROOMS’ NEWS The latest best buys and product launches 79 SUITED AND BOOTED Styling advice for the groom-to-be 64 4

Follow us on /CountyWeddingEvents @CountyWedEvent @countyweddingevents One of the largest wedding shows to be held in the South of England. A huge number of wedding specialists on hand to inspire and advise on how to bring your wedding dreams to life. PLUS! Special o�fers on the day • �e chance to win a luxury honeymoon • Bridal fashion shows • Entertainment • Refreshments • and more... For your FREE tickets and the chance to win a £250 voucher courtesy of pre-register at: Sunday 1st October 2023 | 11am to 3:30pm FREE ENTRY WSehddoiwng HOSTED AT High Street, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7JX IN ASSOCIATION WITH We create a bespoke package to all your requirements with the option of our ice cream van or trike to choose from. EMAIL: frankies.icecreams Our one of a kind 1955 Austin A30 ice cream van is ready to impress you and your guests on your special day.

What’s not to love about this gown with delicate lace and a beautiful silhouette? Dunton Lodge Farm Weddings is a beautiful property that provides the ideal backdrop to al fresco weddings. ISSN 1753-0911 Your Herts & Beds Wedding is solely owned, published and designed by KD Events & Publishing 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. DIA SHING NTS SHING EVENTS & PUBLISHING cwe COUNTY WEDDING EVENTS Hello lovely readers, and welcome to another issue of Your Herts and Beds Wedding! Spring is finally here, and I couldn’t be more thrilled! After being cooped up indoors trying to stay warm, I can’t wait to venture outdoors and embrace more sunshine. The time of year is all about getting organised and new beginnings, which is perfect if you’re trying to plan your wedding. Spring nuptials are always a fabulous season to tie the knot with more seasonal produce, fun colour palettes, plenty of natural lighting for photographs and more flowers to pick from. Gardens will be in full bloom, meaning you’ll naturally have dreamworthy backdrops to take advantage of – cherry blossoms are my favourite way to add the wow factor to stunning images. We’ve handselected stunning al fresco venues with glorious gardens to give you a head start on wedding planning! Ensure you have a backup plan if you want to exchange vows outdoors, as the British weather can be unpredictable. A marquee or indoor space will provide loved ones with cover in case of any April showers. Photographers can capture stunning images no matter the weather, so embrace the rain with a funky pair of wellies and an umbrella for the ultimate photo shoot. Keep in mind any national holidays or events, such as Mother’s Day or school holidays, as many people will be making plans in advance. Before you go, check out our stunning weddings and shoots that are bursting full of inspiration. Here you’ll find talented companies, stunning images and wow-factor details. That’s all from me; happy planning! Olivia x Olivia Gibson, Editor Spring fever 21 54 81 Feeling lucky? Enter for the chance to win a honeymoon to Tuscany! ADVERTISING Account Manager Jessie Wilson | 01376 538 478 @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 Rothamsted Manor was the perfect backdrop to this styled shoot, which featured a modern style, romantic touches, beautiful flowers and statement attire. 39 6

Wedding planner Jessica Ghansah shares the ultimate guide to creating spring weddings with advice for timings, florals, colour schemes and more! 70 This stunning cake was created by Angela Hodson at Angela Jane Cake Design, who has been creating wedding cakes for the last five years. 73 Talented suppliers from around the counties got together to create this romantic shoot at the Manor of Groves – get ready to be inspired! Emotions were on the high at Richard and Catherine beautiful wedding. The day was beautiful from start to finish, with plenty of personal touches and fun elements. 49 45 26 76 Check out these stunning blooms created by Untamed Florals, which are perfect for boho-themed weddings! Calling all grooms-tobe! We’ve focused on neutral colour palettes to help you find dream-worthy attire. EDITOR’S LETTER 7

SPOTLIGHT ON BUCKHURST PHOTOGRAPHY Here at YHBW HQ, we’ve caught up with Georgina Bedford at Buckhurst Photography to discover more about the talented company. Here’s what Georgina has to say… When did you start photographing weddings? I have been photographing weddings for around three years and have only recently decided to take it up professionally. Previously, I have focused on portrait photography but have found a new passion for capturing weddings. I started the company during the Covid lockdowns to live life to the fullest and fulfil my passion for photography – I haven’t looked back since. What do you offer nearlyweds? I offer an array of wedding packages, from the Bronze Package starting at £400 right the way up to the Platinum Package costing £1,400. What’s your photography style? I prefer capturing natural shots over posed images, as I love capturing moments as they happen. The key for me is making couples feel comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera so they can enjoy the day. What’s your favourite part of the job? My favourite part of the job is using my creative ideas to capture images that will encapsulate a feeling, moment or emotion for my clients. I also love the editing process and seeing the images transform into the final piece I envisaged. Discover more about the company: LOVE IS IN THE HAIR Located in Hertfordshire, Charlotte White Bridal is excited to announce she has been entered into The Wedding Industry Awards for 2024. Owner Charlotte White travels nationwide, creating beautiful and stylish hairstyles for all ages. She works hard to ensure clients look amazing and feel confident – ready for the most important walk to married life. Finding the perfect wedding hairstyle can be stressful with so many options available. That’s why Charlotte is there to help guide you through the experience and discuss different styles. She’ll share advice on what works well with the season, the dress’s neckline and the wedding theme. After working in the wedding industry for 15 years, she is an expert! She says, “My top tip is to opt for a hair trial! Wear white to understand how your hairstyle will complement your wedding dress. Make the most of your hair trial by going out afterwards or trying dresses on to see how the style lasts throughout the day.” Please visit her website for more information on Charlotte or to book your 2024 wedding. Check out: PLANNING SOS The Wedding Warehouse is a new shop that provides the ultimate destination for those planning their wedding. With 38 independent suppliers under one roof in a permanent shop, nearlyweds can browse at their leisure, grab a coffee and try some cake before using the company’s app to speak to suppliers – it’s like a permanent wedding fair. Based on the high street in Bedford, couples can make a day of the trip and get lunch, dinner or walk along the river. Discover the fantastic suppliers here: Catch up on news from around the counties NEWS Nearlywed 8

LOVE AT FIRST BITE Based in Leighton Buzzard, Blame Frank has introduced new catering options for pescatarians, vegetarians and vegans. The team is on a mission to change how people think about wedding food. They believe the food couples eat on their special day should be one of the best meals they’ve eaten and are determined to make the feast memorable for all the right reasons. The staff are constantly revising their menus and introducing new dishes. They’re excited to be expanding the offerings for non-meat eaters. For pescatarians, they have created an incredible crayfish roll canapé, served with chive butter sauce. For vegetarians, a tasty filled pastry canapé with whipped blue cheese, diced pear and a parmesan crisp. Vegans can enjoy a new barbecue main, an aubergine steak with miso and sesame glaze. Many options are also available for all dietary choices and cuisines, so couples are sure to find something they like. The company is offering a complimentary menu tasting session for nearlyweds who book the catering company for their wedding before June 2023. Check out: IT’S A BLING THING Specialising in fine jewellery and renowned for its exquisite diamonds and beautiful coloured gemstones, Gatwards Of Hitchin is the oldest independent family-run jeweller in the UK. Based in Hitchin’s historic Market Square, this treasure box of exceptional fine jewellery from skilled design houses and independent makers is the place to head when looking for special pieces to mark life’s exceptional moments. Couples can expect an outstanding customer experience with highly qualified staff to advise on choosing and caring for the best pieces to suit their lifestyles. There’s also its in-house workshop for repairs and alterations. The team are excited to announce that they now stock Diamonfire’s range of beautiful and affordable bridal jewellery made using cubic zirconia set in silver. The pieces are crafted from sterling silver with brilliant sparkle using Diamonfire zirconia stones, one of the most exclusive synthetic stones featuring 57 facets polished precisely like a diamond. It’s even measured in carats to ascertain quality criteria – just like a real diamond! Discover more about the company: WINNING IN LOVE After winning Celebrant of the Year 2023 for the East of England at The Wedding Industry Awards, Kelly Hawes Celebrant went on to the national stage to win Highly Recommended Celebrant. The Wedding Industry Awards highlights the best companies from around the regions, including make-up artists, bridal boutiques, caterers, entertainers, venues, photographers and more. Suppliers within the wedding industry work tirelessly to ensure that couples have the very best weddings. There’s a lot of pressure and work, not just on the day but for many weeks or months beforehand. So, it was such an achievement for Kelly to know her hard work had paid off. She says, “It was probably around 10.15 pm when I got the news from my friend DJ Mike Readings, who won National Highly Commended DJ, and I was blown away!” She continues, “I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of my couples that spent the time voting for me and rating my business for judges to deem me highly commended nationwide. I now look forward to reading their testimonials, which will undoubtedly make me very emotional!” Check out: 9 LOCAL NEWS

The oldest, independent family-run jewellers in the UK, Gatwards of Hitchin is renowned for its dedicated customer experience to help you choose that special piece from its awe-inspiring collection of exquisite fine jewellery WWW.GATWARDSOFHITCHIN.CO.UK GATWARDS, 20 MARKET PLACE, HITCHIN HERTFORDSHIRE, SG5 1DU More than a Moment Samsa May’s was founded in 2018 by owner Sam who has a true love and passion for all things weddings. Making each wedding unique and capturing every couple’s personality through thoughtful details and attention to the nishing touches. - ylin eams - Call: 07900 521 054 or email: On the day coordination, wedding styling, prop and decor hire throughout Beds, Herts, Bucks and beyond... EVENT CATERING THAT WILL KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF If you dream of a wedding breakfast that will be the talk of the town for years to come, then Blame Frank are the crew for you. Based in Leighton Buzzard but always on the go, Blame Frank provides out-of-this-world wedding catering. With dishes drawing inspiration from modern classics as well as international adventures, covering all courses from canapés to charcuterie, from starters to sweets. You will be sure to find the perfect combination of menus to create the ultimate feast for your wedding. Offering bespoke packages including bar provision, equipment hire, and service, Blame Frank have options for weddings of every size and budget. To learn more about what Blame Frank are able to offer, visit: or contact the events team at or 0208 1910789 178 Bedford Road, Kempston, Bedford, MK42 8BL 01234 855537 |

FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN ENTER ONLINE VIA OUR WEBSITE WWW.YOURHERTSBEDS.WEDDING BLOOMING BEAUTIFUL Getting the flowers right is key when it comes to creating wow-factor nuptials. Incorporating blooms throughout weddings allow couples to bring their venue to life and highlight their colour scheme. So, finding the right florist is vital. Located in Berkhamsted, Hanako Flowers offers a personal and bespoke service to help bring dream weddings to life. Whether couples know exactly what they’d like or are just starting their wedding journey, the talented and creative team will work with pairs to bring their vision to life. They’re there to answer any questions, suggest seasonal blooms and help highlight specific themes while keeping the environment in mind by using only biodegradable products, composting green waste and donating flora. We’ve teamed up with the company to offer readers a free lux bridal bouquet when they book the company for their wedding. Get in touch with the team and quote YH&BWedMag before June 1st 2023 to receive the offer. Contact the company via email ( or call 01442 967 949. Check out: Great giveaways and discounts up for grabs WIN A PAIR OF STEVE MADDEN BRIDAL SHOES The hunt for the perfect bridal shoe ends here with the chance to win the ultimate pair for your special day from Steve Madden. The shimmering Bridal Collection is not only amazing for brides but bridesmaids too, ensuring a picture-perfect look on the big day. For everyone who loves to shine you can choose from rose gold, silver, nude and white with finishes that include satin, rhinestone, leather and clear materials. If the shoe fits… be your own Cinderella! Check out County Wedding Magazine readers have the chance to win a pair of bridal shoes to the value of £150 from For your chance to win enter online via our website Freebies & OFFERS FREEBIES & OFFERS 11

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. LONDON SUN 14 MAY | MORDEN HALL Morden Hall Road, SM4 5JD SUN 14 MAY | BRAXTED PARK Great Braxted, Witham, CM8 3EN ESSEX

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 BERKS, BUCKS & OXON SUN 10 SEP CHENIES MANOR HOUSE Chenies, Rickmansworth Bucks, WD3 6ER SUN 24 SEP RACKLEY’S CHILTERN HILLS Marlow Road, Cadmore End, Bucks, HP14 3PP SURREY KENT EAST MIDLANDS SUN 1 OCT NUTFIELD PRIORY Nutfield Road, Nutfield, Redbridge, RH1 4EL SUN 12 NOV PENSHURST PLACE Penshurst, TN11 8DG SUN 15 OCT RUSHTON HALL Desborough Road, Rushton, Kettering, NN14 1RR SUN 22 OCT STAPLEFORD PARK Stapleford, Nr. Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire LE14 2EF SUN 22 OCT BRAXTED PARK Great Braxted, Witham, CM8 3EN SUN 29 OCT HOUCHINS WEDDING VENUE Houchin’s Lane, Coggeshall, Colchester, CO6 1RT 12PM-4PM SUN 1 OCT MULBERRY HOUSE Chelmsford Road, High Ongar, CM5 9NL SUN 8 OCT LAYER MARNEY TOWER Layer Marney, Colchester, CO5 9US WEDDING SHOWS AUTUMN 2023 ALL EVENTS 11AM - 3PM unless otherwise stated

• 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 London, HA9 0WS SUNDAY 8 OCTOBER 2023 | 11AM - 4PM WEMBLEY STADIUM Brooklands Drive, Weybridge, KT13 0SL DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON MERCEDES-BENZ WORLD High Street, Berkshire, SL5 7JX SUNDAY 1 OCTOBER 2023 | 11AM - 3.30PM ASCOT RACECOURSE

Pre-register for all of our events at MERCEDES-BENZ WORLD, DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED ASCOT RACECOURSE, 1ST OCTOBER 2023 WEMBLEY STADIUM, 8TH OCTOBER, 2023 X Sarah Here at County Wedding Magazines and Events HQ we’re looking forward to kickstarting our Spring 2023 wedding show season – perfect for all those couples that got engaged over the festive period. 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, Managing Director County Wedding Events Psst! Our pre-registered Signature Wedding Show visitors will have the chance to win a £250 gift voucher courtesy of A date for your diary... GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Weddings In the heart of rural Bedfordshire Ceremonies & Evening Receptions Inclusive Wedding Package Spacious Wedding Suite Wedding Garden for Outdoor Photographs Wedding & Civil Ceremony Licence Dedicated Wedding Team Free Parking for Guests The Rufus Centre, Steppingley Road, Flitwick, MK45 1AH Tel: 01525 631905 Email: Treat our space like a blank canvas and make it your own The beautiful Conservatory and private Walled Garden are an idyllic setting for your wedding reception, where you can enjoy summer drinks on the decking whilst admiring the enchanting garden. THE CONSERVATORY at the Luton Hoo Walled Garden The stylish interior of the venue, with its glazed windows overlooking the gardens, includes a starlight ceiling, pin-spot and atmospheric lighting that can be customised to your own colour scheme, along with club lighting over the dance floor, stage and integrated PA system with microphones, which can be used for those all important wedding speeches. It is really important to us that you have the wedding reception that you have always imagined. Our venue manager is on hand every step of the way, to help guide and advise at this special time, making sure that when the day comes you can relax and enjoy every minute. We will be happy to give recommendations for enhancements such as floral arrangements, master of ceremonies, musicians and bespoke furniture or tableware, and will also be there on the day itself as a friendly face making sure that the venue and proceedings run in perfect order. | | 01442 286839

local Fall in love with these properties 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 only hosts a handful of weddings per year – 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. Or pairs can enjoy outdoor ceremonies with 150 people in a marquee or tipi with the freedom to use the surrounding grounds as well. 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. GOING 17 LOCAL VENUES

PRIORY 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 an 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 award-winning gardens. Here couples will find wedding chairs dressed in white covers with gold sashes as well as an aisle runner, all of which are provided. The space is the ideal backdrop to photographs, especially when the flowers are blooming. In fact, the stunning grounds are an ancient scheduled monument that has achieved Gold in Anglia in Bloom and Britain in Bloom. Continue the celebrations 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. THE CONSERVATORY AT LUTON HOO 01582 459 216 | 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 with beautiful flower beds, plants and fruit trees. The luxury marquee is finished to the highest specification with a music system and decorative lighting, including a starlight ceiling and customisable coloured up-lighters. Couples can exchange vows inside the marquee and blessings can take place on the lawn area. After the “I dos”, the marquee opens out onto a private patio area within the garden to provide the perfect setting for drinks receptions and garden games. The Conservatory has been designed with flexibility in mind and has a separate reception area for wedding breakfasts with 300 guests. The venue also offers a spacious dancefloor and stage for those all-important speeches and entertainment, suitable for up to 400 people in the evenings. 18

THE RUFUS CENTRE The Rufus Centre is located on the outskirts of Flitwick in Bedfordshire and provides the ideal backdrop to weddings. With excellent road links, including the M1 nearby and rail connections, the property is perfect for guests travelling in. Couples are spoilt for choice with three different wedding spaces to pick from; each one will complement any wedding theme. Check out: ROTHAMSTED MANOR Established in 1623, Rothamsted Manor is an impressive Grade I listed manor house with 12 acres of beautiful gardens and woodlands. The manor’s exterior offers impressive historical features such as stainedglass family crests in the windows, a clock tower and curved gables. The venue sits on the vast grounds of Rothamsted Research, the world’s oldest agricultural research institute. Check out: PUTTERIDGE BURY This Grade II listed Elizabethan property was built as a replica of Chequers, the country house of every Prime Minister since 1921. The venue is well known for having stunning ceilings with beautiful chandeliers, and the renowned grand staircase is a picture-perfect spot. With showstopping views from anywhere in the house, it really is the perfect location. Check out: LUTON HOO HOTEL, GOLF & SPA Stretching over 1,000 acres, the Luton Hoo estate boasts formal gardens designed by Capability Brown, glorious parkland, meadows, woodlands, lakes, rivers and nature trails – truly picture perfect! Beyond the magnificent façade of the 18th-century mansion, the historic influences continue in the Grade II listed country club. Check out: Also check out... THE TITHE BARN 01234 270 044 | 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. The dedicated wedding team prides itself on delivering a magical experience that will never be forgotten. Exchange vows in the Tithe Barn with 85 loved ones. The 13th-century space is filled with historic charm, oak beams, and traditional features. Continue the celebrations with 85 people for wedding breakfasts and 120 for evening receptions. For larger events, the marquee can accommodate 150. When nearlyweds book the venue for their wedding, they’ll be offered a complimentary tasting session to try some delicious dishes. LOCAL VENUES 19

Follow us on /CountyWeddingEvents @CountyWedEvent @countyweddingevents One of the largest wedding shows to be held in the South of England. A huge number of wedding specialists on hand to inspire and advise on how to bring your wedding dreams to life. PLUS! Special o�fers on the day • �e chance to win a luxury honeymoon • Bridal fashion shows • Entertainment • Refreshments • and more... For your FREE tickets and the chance to win a £250 voucher courtesy of pre-register at: Date to be announced soon | 11am to 3:30pm FREE ENTRY HOSTED AT IN ASSOCIATION WITH Brooklands Drive, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 0SL THE FOREST CENTRE The natural place to get married Wedding Showcase 2nd May, 12-8pm Set within the award-winning beauty of the Millennium Country Park with its mix of woodland, grass meadows and lakes, the Forest Centre is a licensed venue in an idyllic natural setting perfect for your wedding, civil partnership or reception. As a special gift, we also dedicate a tree in the Forest of Marston Vale to every couple who celebrate their wedding with us. For more information or to arrange a viewing please contact us today on 01234 767 037 NOW BOOKING FOR 2023/24 The Forest Centre, Millennium Country Park, Marston Moretaine, MK43 0PR Image by Big Day Productions

Outdoor weddings Tie the knot amongst nature at these al fresco venues VANSTONE PARK WITH COUNTRY TIPIS 01438 900 269 | Nestled in Hertfordshire, Vanstone Park with Country Tipis is a romantic setting surrounded by woodland. The vast open green space is ready for mingling and dancing, while the woodland offers the perfect backdrop to memorable days. The venue doesn’t have a ceremony licence, but couples can have celebrant-led weddings or blessings with 150 people in one of the photographic spots around the grounds. Continue the celebrations in the three giant tipis, which can host wedding breakfasts with 150 guests and evening receptions with 250. The blank canvas design lets couples get creative to bring their dream wedding to life. Dance the night away amongst the stars, surrounded by festoon-lit walkways for the ultimate rustic vibes. The property offers the complete setting thanks to the team who cover all the bits like parking, power, toilets, rustic bar and gorgeous furniture – allowing couples to focus on the personal details. They’ll have access to the venue to set up the day before their wedding and the day after to pack everything away. AL FRESCO VENUES 21

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. The beautiful outdoor venue suits tipi or marquee receptions with 120 loved ones for wedding breakfasts or 150 in the evenings. Or pairs can celebrate on the lawns. The hardworking team helps couples create showstopping weddings and supports them every step of the way. THE GARDENS AT POLEHANGER 07584 076 242 | As couples travel down the beautiful tree-lined driveway, they’ll discover The Gardens at Polehanger. The well-manicured gardens provide a secluded spot to host memorable wedding celebrations. There are plenty of spaces with flowerbeds full of colour and uninterrupted countryside views. The blank canvas venue allows couples to bring in their own structure and all other suppliers, meaning lovebirds can get creative to bring their vision to life – the bigger the imagination, the better! Couples can have a celebrant-led blessing and receptions in the beautiful gardens with 120 people, or couples might opt for structures such as marquees, yurts, stretch tents or tipis – there are many possibilities. Pairs will have exclusive use of the site for their wedding day, including the six-bedroom farmhouse. Dating back to the 18th-century, the space has been newly refurbished with bathrooms and furniture throughout. Each room is spacious, with comfy king-size beds and unique décor. There’s also more accommodation on-site in the beautiful glamping cabins at The Meadows at Polehanger, meaning guests don’t have far to stumble when the wedding festivities end. The Gardens at Polehanger works with the wedding planner and event manager, Chloe from White Button Weddings, to liaise with couples and suppliers while overseeing the day. Couples can relax knowing their wedding is in safe hands. There’s also parking, power and water to ensure memorable weddings. 22

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. St Ippolyts Church A beautiful 11th Century church in an idyllic setting, perfect for your wedding. Come to St Ippolyts Church just outside Hitchin in North Hertfordshire Contact: Jt’s G t a ic A unique mobile bar in a beautifully converted horsebox, o ering a full range of reasonably priced spirits, prosecco and beer, all locally sourced. e charming bar has double openings and drop-down ramp to give your special day that wow factor with both open and cash bar options available. We cover Herts, Beds, Cambs, Bucks & Northants. P ease ca us t discuss y ur event! Call: 07717 354711 or email: HEULWEN LEWIS - Bespoke Jewe ery - Exquisite wedding jewellery, designed just for you. Start your journey today with a FREE consultation with Sarah. hlbespoke

MINSTREL COURT 03334 444 234 | Minstrel Court is a spectacular wedding venue overlooking a private lake with more than four acres of stunning gardens. The venue provides romantic spaces with all-year-round facilities and plenty of photographic backdrops to discover. The Lake Pavilion is set in the heart of the idyllic gardens and overlooks the lake; this space promotes an aura of grace, serenity and romance. Walk down the aisle in style under a spectacular stained-glass ceiling in The Meadow Chapel, with views of the outstanding Wimpole Meadow. The beautiful indoor area is perfect for any weather and can be accessed by fully sheltered walkways. Both spaces are covered with removable glass panels and can host 140 people. Wedding breakfasts take place in the marquees with 140 loved ones. Enjoy the calming views of the lake and gardens while dining in this bright blank canvas space. Or the Regency Barn can fit 130 loved ones and provides a cosy setting for loved ones to enjoy. The dimmable lights create any mood and makes the décor even more appealing with the fairylights on the beams. The Long Gallery is the perfect location for evening receptions with 140 people. The space is large enough for a band, disco and a full-sized photo booth. The spectacular light-up dancefloor adds to the ambience of the celebrations and is also perfect for hosting drinks receptions for winter weddings. Next to the Regency Barn and leading off the Long Gallery is the Granary, which includes the amazing Sky Cocktail Bar. The spacious bar has plenty of room for large wedding parties and is a great meeting hub for guests. The Honeymoon Suite is a private sun-soaked cottage with a large double bedroom, a lounge and an en suite bathroom. It’s the ideal space for getting ready and a perfect setting for couples to enjoy on their wedding night. THE LETCHWORTH CENTRE FOR HEALTHY LIVING 07967 633 859 | Set in beautiful Hertfordshire countryside with a natural border of mature trees, The Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living is a rustic venue that provides the perfect backdrop to weddings. There are ample opportunities for photographs on the grounds, from the waist-height grass field and the horsebox to the bark pathway under the trees. Lovebirds will have exclusive use of the venue and can take photographs wherever they choose. Wooden arches lead guests to the horseshoe-shaped clearing, where couples can tie the knot in the wooden gazebo with 90 people. Continue the celebrations in the King Room, a large hall with antique wooden floorboards and large white paper lanterns suspended from the 14ft ceilings. For more intimate events, the Garden Room can host 30 and overlooks the lawns. With windows wrapped around two sides of the room, this space is bright and airy. Outdoor weddings can occur on the large lawns with marquees, tipis or yurts with 250 loved ones. The team offers wedding planning included in the hire price, and nearlyweds will also be offered a free tasting session to sample canapés, main course dishes and drinks. The venue has a wedding open day on June 11th 2023, which is the perfect opportunity for couples to see the venue in person. There will be many suppliers, street food vans and festival-style ideas to inspire couples even if they’re tying the knot elsewhere. 25 AL FRESCO VENUES

THYME OF OUR LIVES Richard and Catherine had an outdoor wedding surrounded by nature and herbs Images courtesy of Sharron Gibson Photographer 26

REAL WEDDINGS 27 Richard and Catherine met at university, where they were training to become actors. The pair reconnected a few years after graduation as they had lost contact, but this time saw each other in a new light. It took a while to build up the courage to admit their feelings as they didn’t want to lose their friendship if the feelings weren’t reciprocated. It was no surprise to their mutual friends when they finally took that next step; it was the start of something special. The couple had escaped to Cornwall for a week just before Christmas to attend a wedding, so love and marriage were indeed in their thoughts! They walked down to a secluded beach that Catherine had known since she was a little girl and admired the sea views when Richard got down on one knee. He says, “We both knew we wanted to get married at some stage, but it still came as a surprise for Catherine! The pebbles were slightly uncomfortable, but it was worth it!” SETTING THE SCENE As the lovebirds were coming out of a Covid-19 lockdown when they started wedding planning, they knew they wanted a big party with as many loved ones as possible. They exchanged vows in the beautiful Hertford Baptist Church before heading to their reception at Brook Farm Cuffley. The venue created the perfect backdrop to their reception, thanks to the beautiful lake and gorgeous surroundings. Richard comments, “We loved being outdoors and so close to nature, which inspired us when planning the big day. We loved the freedom of tailoring every decision to reflect who we are as a couple.” During the lockdown, the nearlyweds got into growing their own herbs, which became the inspiration for the wedding décor. They wanted the favours to be something people could use, so they gave out little pots of mixed herbs and strawberry jam. When planning the table plan, the pair found it easy to group guests on big round tables. To help everyone find their seats, they created a gardening scene for the table plan on a hessian board plonked onto a wheelbarrow and covered in flowers. Each table was named after a location special to the pair and had a corresponding piece to match. For example, the ‘Strawberry Field’ table featured a punnet of strawberries, while the Cornwall table included some clotted cream fudge – all these things made great talking points for the guests. The couple used mixed herb pots, which the bride’s mother helped arrange to carry on the herb theme. Some guests were lucky enough to take them home. The stunning flowers were sourced and arranged by the wonderful Alison McCollum, and the blooms were exactly how the couple imagined. The deep reds worked well against the sage green colours. The flowers for the ceremony were arranged by members of the church congregation, who also worked extremely hard to get everything right. After the wedding, the bride’s mum divided up the arrangements and gave a bunch of flowers to various members of the church community. The guests knew how much of a sweet tooth the couple had, so they were excited to see the cake. Catherine says, “I love icing, so there was no chance of a naked-style cake. We had a real showstopper with lemon, vanilla and orange flavours. The baker supplied us with a gluten-free chocolate cake for those with dietary requirements.” The couple displayed 300 pictures of loved ones around the marquee, which was a massive hit with guests. They included photos from their weddings, which was a great way to make them feel included. It can be hard to cater for different tastes when it comes to keeping guests from going hungry. The bride comments, “We tried to have a good mixture of options for the food without forcing ideas or beliefs onto anyone. Kingfisher Caterers were great with this; the food was plentiful and delicious.” She adds, “In the evening, we provided a

28 buffet with huge charcuterie boards so that everyone could pick what they wanted.” There was also some locally sourced bread from a local bakery, Proto Artisan Bakery in Ware and Richard’s parents bought a delicious cheese from The Mousetrap Cheese Shop in Ludlow. LOOKING THE PART Finding the perfect gown was challenging for Catherine, who had to shop around during a Covid lockdown and couldn’t try anything on. She says, “I found my dress at Adore Brides, and the team were so helpful in letting me take it home to try on. I tend to have a flare for the dramatic style, so I went with the longest veil I could find with a princess tiara.” As the dress was quite long at the back, so the bride changed in the evening into something she could dance the night away in. Her bridesmaid Alice found the perfect dress from Halston, who was famous for his 70s styles. Richard wore a sage green tweed suit with a burgundy tie, brown brogues, a brown belt and burgundy socks. The groom comments, “We didn’t request the groomsmen to wear a particular colour, so they could wear any suit that matched the burgundy tie we had bought for them.” Catherine had been a bridesmaid seven times before, so she knew what wearing many different styles and colours was like. She wanted the bridesmaids to feel comfortable and let them choose any outfit to match the colour scheme. One bridesmaid wore a lovely vintage-style dress, while the other opted for a chic-oversized suit and a high-neck blouse – they both looked great. TIME TO CELEBRATE The lovebirds were thrilled to have booked the Tom Braggins Trio, a local band who regularly play in and around Hertford. As their first dance track faded, the band seamlessly carried on the song and went on with their set. Some of their guests stayed on the dancefloor the entire night, so they must have enjoyed the music! The trio played lots of funky dancefloor fillers, and a few people stood in awe as they appreciated how technically gifted they were as musicians. MEMORABLE MOMENTS The couple experienced many emotions as the day went on. Catherine says, “It’s hard not to feel a little apprehensive on the day as there’s a lot of pressure on the bride to look and be a certain way. I felt relieved that the hard work was over and excited to see everyone.” Richard felt super excited in the morning and couldn’t wait to see his bride. He comments, “I was looking forward to seeing Catherine in her dress, and I couldn’t wait to make that commitment to each other to spend the rest of our lives together. I couldn’t believe it when I woke up to clear blue skies and bright sunshine in March!” The lovebirds had a long ceremony full of readings, performances and even a video of themselves to show at the beginning. Different music styles were performed during the ceremony; the bride’s best friend Jo played the oboe, a family friend Mike performed a folk song and another family friend sang Misty by Ella Fitzgerald and led the worship band. Richard says, “We were taken aback when so many of our guests told us that the speeches were some of the best they had ever heard at a wedding. A huge thanks to my father-in-law and my best man, Sam, who made us all gasp in shock at times and roar with laughter throughout.” So many guests and suppliers made Richard and Catherine’s wedding extra special. Catherine says, “Our parents were a great support, and we had an army of people at Hertford Baptist Church who gave up their time to assist us with the ceremony. Our photographer Sharron did an incredible job with the pictures, and our friend Sean did a lovely video. I must thank my bridesmaids for stepping up during the whole wedding week, from last-minute shopping trips to bossing around my brothers and painting picture frames.”

Capturing your precious moments so they last a lifetime. Award-winning wedding photography. Contact: ARTISTIC. EMOTIVE. STORYTELLING. WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY THAT FEEDS YOUR SOUL With a vast knowledge of all genres and age ranges we play your choice of music and welcome requests on the night! A friendly and personal service tailored to you. WWW.CKDJ.CO.UK chris_the_dj_ CKDJ OVER 100 FIVE STAR CUSTOMER REVIEWS! Check them out here Interactive DJ and MC that will engage with your guests in a light and upbeat way Giant LOVE letters lit in colours to match your wedding theme, then multi coloured for when its time to hit that dance floor! A choice of DJ booths personally decorated for you, our rustic timber booth works great in a Tipi or barn setting! Get in touch to find out more! 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

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REAL WEDDINGS 31 Church, | Reception venue, | Photographer, | Bride’s day dress and accessories, | Evening dress, | Hair, | Make-up, | Bridesmaid’s dress, | Bridesmaid’s suit, and ZARA | Groom’s suit, Moss Bros. | Flowers, Florist Alison McCollum 07708 949 629 | Entertainment, | Catering, | Bread, | Cheese, | Honeymoon planner, RICHARD AND CATHERINE’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK HONEYMOON The couple wanted sun, sand, clear waters and plenty of cocktails for their honeymoon. What better way to escape the British weather than a honeymoon to Mexico for 10 days? Richard says, “We didn’t want the hassle of organising the trip ourselves, so we employed the help of a family friend who works for Travel Counsellors – she was amazing and sorted everything out for us!” He continues, “It was an incredible getaway where we swam, snorkelled and saw the ancient Mayan ruins.”