Your West Midlands Wedding - April/May (Issue 79)

APR/MAY 2022 HONEYMOONS, BEAUTY, FASHION, GROOMS, EXPERT ADVICE, FREEBIES AND MORE £3.55 LOCAL WONDERS WIN! Venues in Coventry, Nuneaton & Rugby A honeymoon in St Lucia Get married in a glorious garden Time to celebrate Stunning dresses Step into spring Ca r tw ea a d lk y Music and entertainment


21 REGULARS 6 EDITOR’S LETTER What to look out for in this issue 9 NEARLYWED NEWS Catch up on the latest from around the West Midlands 13 FREEBIES & OFFERS Great giveaways and discounts up for grabs 55 HOT TOPIC Our experts answer your questions 82 COMPETITION Win a honeymoon in St Lucia CONTENTS APRIL/MAY 2022 VENUES 17 SPOTLIGHT ON COVENTRY, NUNEATON & RUGBY Discover some of the best venues in the area 21 STEP INTO SPRING Tie the knot in a glorious garden FEATURES 45 TIME TO CELEBRATE Music and entertainment ideas 51 INDUSTRIAL CHIC Be inspired by this modern shoot at Iron House 59 WHIMSICAL ROMANCE After a flood caused this styled shoot to be rearranged, the team of suppliers worked tirelessly to create a beautiful set of images 63 WOW, WHAT A YEAR! Local photographers reflect on 2021 weddings 66 HERE COME THE GIRLS County Wedding Magazines senior editor Melissa Barker shares her wedding planning journey Cover look This issue’s cover was organised by The Wedding Bubble ( and photographed by Story Cabin Wedding Films ( at Iron House ( To see the full shoot and list of suppliers, turn to page 51. 59 3

REAL WEDDINGS 27 WOODLAND ROMANCE Surrounded by friends and family, Beth and Scott tied the knot at Crumplebury in Worcester 32 A BEAUTIFUL DAY Grace and Ben celebrated their big day with a monochrome theme at Brockencote Hall Hotel 39 COLOUR POP Vanessa and Stu had a bright and bold-themed celebration at The Old Library GROOMS 83 GROOMS’ NEWS All the latest best buys and product launches 84 IN THE PINK Fuchsia, watermelon, flamingo, rouge, salmon, coral, hot pink... the choices are endless when it comes to this oh-so fabulous hue! FASHION & BEAUTY 68 FASHION FOCUS Fashion editor Claire Ridley reveals her latest bridal fashion news, buys and launches 69 THE FRILL OF IT Layers and ruffles adorn dresses in the newseason bridal collections 74 AISLE STYLE From skyscraper stilettos to comfortable flats and even sliders, the new-season bridal shoe collections offer something for everyone 75 LOVELY IN LACE This classic fabric never goes out of style, whether you choose a traditional gown or a more relaxed, boho-inspired dress 78 BEAUTY BUZZ Beauty editor Kelly Andrews reveals all the latest must-haves for the bride-to-be 80 FASHION & BEAUTY Q&A Local professionals solve your problems 81 SKINCARE SUPERHEROES Serums are the skincare essentials of the 20s, especially if you’re on the quest for a radiant big-day complexion 27 39 32 84 HONEYMOONS 86 HONEYMOON NEWS A round up of new openings and honeymoon essentials 88 GOURMET LOVERS PARADISE IN THE ALGARVE... With 3,000 hours of sunshine and just a threehour flight from the UK, the Algarve offers a delightful year-round destination 4

And so the adventure begins.... | 01684 574546 | Situated within an area of natural beauty, Bell Heath is the perfect location for a private country wedding that you can truly make your own. M E N S T W E E D S U I T S . C O M O F F I C E@M E N S T W E E D S U I T S . C O M | 0 1 2 1 3 2 8 0 0 4 1 9 WA I N R I G H T S T R E E T , A S T O N , B I R M I N G H A M , B 6 5 T H T H E P R E M I E R D E S T I N A T I O N F O R A L L O F Y O U R F O R M A LW E A R N E E D S . We offer a wide range of designer brands over multiple different fits, including a comprehensive range of big, tall and plus size suits to help you build the perfect outfit with minimum effort. Whether it’s slim fit, tailored fit or regular fit we will find the ideal suit for your occasion. With our next day delivery service on selected brands for UK orders, you can shop online with peace of mind, try the products at your leisure.

82 75 Win a honeymoon in St Lucia! Wedding dresses with lace detailing. For me, spring is a wonderful time of year. I love seeing nature come alive again, and being able to go outside without it being dark is something I’ve truly missed. Although I adore Christmas (who doesn’t?) I’m not a fan of the winter months and am so glad we can finally say hello to spring! With a new season comes lots of wonderful real weddings, and I can’t wait to hear from those of you who are set to tie the knot in the next few months. As many of you know, my wedding is in July 2022, so we’re finally in the home stretch and counting down the days. We opted for a summer wedding, partly due to my disdain for the cold weather, but also because when we got engaged in 2020 we were in the middle of one of the many lockdowns and were unsure if we’d be able to get married anytime soon. We booked our venue for 18 months later, and here we are about to walk down the aisle and say ‘I do’. For those of you who are newly engaged, believe me when I tell you that your day will arrive in the blink of an eye! My number one piece of advice is to take your time and enjoy the planning process. In this issue, we showcase some of the best entertainers, answer your hot topic questions and reveal the latest news from around the West Midlands. Remember, if you’ve recently celebrated your day or have been involved with a styled shoot, you can submit it at or email me at Happy planning. Melissa x Melissa Barker, Senior Editor Step ito spri g 51 Be inspired by this modern shoot at Iron House. 6 ISSN 1759-4723 EDITORIAL 01376 535 611 Melissa Barker| Senior Editor, Grooms and Travel Editor Danielle Harvey | Managing Editor Kelly Andrews | Deputy Managing Editor and Beauty Editor Claire Ridley | Fashion Editor DESIGN 01376 535 616 Graphic Designers | Sarah Hill Stephanie Hodder | Vicky O’Connor Production Assistant | Lorna Butcher Digital Marketing Coordinator Katie Laley Web Development Manager Stuart Weatherley ADVERTISING Sales & Events Director Sarah Ellis | 01376 538 490 Account Manager Christopher Meer | 01376 538 558 Subscriptions 01376 514 000 ACCOUNTS 01376 535 616 Accounting Manager | Derrick James Your West Midlands Wedding is solely owned, published and designed by KD Media Publishing. Whilst every effort was made to ensure the information in this magazine was correct at the time of going to press, the publishers cannot accept legal responsibility for any errors or omissions, nor can they accept responsibility for advert content, or of the standing of advertisers or by the editorial contributions. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. Your West Midlands Wedding is published six times a year. Subscription rates are £17.60 per annum (incl. p+p). Cheques should be made out to KD Media Publishing and sent to Your West Midlands Wedding, c/o KD Media Publishing, Pantile House, Newlands Drive, Witham, Essex CM8 2AP. Visit us online at and DIA SHING NTS SHING EVENTS & PUBLISHING cwe COUNTY WEDDING EVENTS @CountyWeddingMagazines @CountyWeddings @cwm_wedding

39 69 32 66 80 27 59 21 Vanessa and Stu had a colourful celebration at The Old Library in Birmingham. Looking for something with lots of ruffles and layers? Fall in love with our striking fashion section. Read all about my wedding planning journey. Surrounded by friends and family, Beth and Scott tied the knot at Crumplebury in Worcester. Grace and Ben celebrated their big day with a monochrome theme at Brockencote Hall Hotel. Top tips from local fashion and beauty experts. Tie the knot in a glorious garden. After a flood caused this styled shoot to be re-arranged, the team of suppliers worked tirelessly to create this beautiful set of images. EDITOR’S LETTER 7

West Midlands’ Award Winning Florists 01743 792333 AnneWhysallFlorists AnneWhysallFlorist Photography: @kimshawphotography Bridal wear: @jessicasbridalshrewsbury Menswear: @peterposhsuits Bridesmaid: @perlacocodesigns Florist: @annewhysallflorists Hair: @elegance_hair_design MUA: @emily.mulan.makeupartist C O N T A C T t: 01905 391 347 e: We offer a range of wedding and event services. To ensure your wedding journey is not stressful, but enjoyable and in experienced hands. D É C O R A N D S T Y L I N G O N T H E D A Y C O O R D I N A T I N G W E D D I N G A N D E V E N T P L A N N I N G H O S P I T A L I T Y S T A F F T A B L E WA R E A N D G L A S S WA R E H I R E F A C E B O O K . C O M / V I N T A G E V E N U E S T Y L I N G / 07821410407 |

NEWS All the latest from around the West Midlands NEW AND IMPROVED Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa is showing couples around the hotel to view the revamped spaces, speak to wedding planners and caterers. Following an extensive £5.6 million refurbishment, guests can expect upgraded guest spaces with a contemporary twist. Billesley Manor offers exclusive use of the property, with stylish rooms, beautifully landscaped gardens to explore and use of the bridal suite and 70 beautifully appointed en-suite bedrooms. The hotel is hosting a wedding fair on 18th September, 2022, where couples are invited to meet local suppliers and explore the spaces. Visit for more information. REST AND RELAXATION The team at Barons Eden, who own luxury day spa Eden Hall in Nottinghamshire, and award-winning hotel and spa, Hoar Cross Hall in Staffordshire, have curated a selection of retreats and experiences that are perfect for treating your mum. Choose from a selection of facial and body treatments at either property, including the nourishing Sea Soothers Facial and the Relaxing Full Body Massage which will leave you feeling fabulous. Treat her to a Serene Spa Escape at Hoar Cross Hall, complete with access to the full range of spa facilities and a blissful overnight stay. Alternatively, if you’re on a tight schedule, why not head to Eden Hall for the evening with the Twilight Spa Experience? You’ll enjoy access to the spa from 7-10pm and will also try a delicious dish from the head chef. Spa retreats are available to redeem with a gift card all year round, so you can treat your mum to a pamper session pre- or post-wedding. Check out for more information. Nearlywed BOOGIE TO THE MUSIC Dayton Music UK is staring as the male lead in the National Theatre Tour, Endless Love. Featuring the nostalgic songs of Lionel Richie and Diana Ross, the tour is travelling around the UK, so there’s a chance to see it wherever you’re based. Dayton was also named as a finalist for Best Regional Best Musical Act at The Wedding Industry Awards. Dayton first started in 2013 when he was 32. “My wife and I become emotionally invested in each couple’s special day. Being chosen is such an honour, one we never take for granted. Throughout the process, we create great relationships with the couples, so they feel like they are speaking to a trusted friend, rather than a service provider. I’m often rebooked to sing and DJ at their future events, christenings, birthdays, anniversaries. That’s such a magical feeling!” Head over to for more information. LOCAL NEWS 9

DINE IN STYLE KIBOU Japanese Kitchen & Bar is opening a new site in the metropolitan market town of Solihull this spring. Ideal for a romantic date night or hen and stag do, the restaurant is located at the Grade II listed 134 High Street. Designed with a vision to transport guests to the eclectic and exotic streets of Tokyo, KIBOU Solihull will feature a range of dining areas plus a standalone marble decked bar and open sushi kitchen with high top seating. To complement the food, KIBOU will be serving signature Japanese-inspired cocktails, an ambitious selection of Japanese whisky, sake and umeshu, Japanese-brewed beers and authentic high-balls. Commenting on the new site, Sam Horswill, the operations director at KIBOU Restaurants Ltd, said: “We’re delighted to continue our journey of expansion for the KIBOU brand with the launch of a new site in Solihull this spring. We’re very much looking forward to bringing our vibrant and contemporary slice of Japan to the West Midlands and to being part of the bustling and historic town of Solihull.” Discover more at NEW VENUE ALERT! In October 2020, award-winning wedding business Caviar & Chips was granted permission to renovate the Grade II listed property nestled in 8,500 acres of Shropshire countryside into a luxurious, exclusive wedding venue. Opening in 2022, the property was built in 1702 as a rectory to the church of St Chad’s. Stockton House was part of the Apley Estate, dating back to the pre Civil War era. Caviar & Chips aim to bring Stockton back to life with the help of interior design firm Hatton & Harding by constructing seven luxurious en-suite double bedrooms and a 100 seater secret walled garden dining room. The new interiors for the house will stay true to its Georgian design, but with added boldness, confidence and beauty. Couples can get married at the church, in the secret walled garden room, the main house or the gardens. Every detail of the day can be made bespoke - all the way down to the menu. To find out more, visit WANT EVEN MORE INSPIRATION? Here at CWM HQ we’re literally never satisfied when it comes to providing our readers with enough wedspiration. Because, really, what is enough? We’d go on forever if we could. So, with that in mind, we’ve created our very own County Wedding Magazines YouTube channel, just for you. It’s full of tons of big-day ideas from venue tours to dream dresses. Catch up on beauty reviews and how tos from our beauty editor and peek behind the scenes of styled shoots featured in our titles past and present. You can even be a fly on the wall at some real weddings – after all, if we’re honest, who doesn’t love being a bit nosey! And we haven’t stopped there, as you’ll also find local supplier interviews packed with tips and tricks. We’re adding more content all the time, so why not hit subscribe so you never miss a thing? It’s your one-stop shop for wedding vid-spiration! Simply head to YouTube and search ’County Wedding Magazines’ or click here UCMAChACKNanShdZwI5QGXMQ RING-A-DING-DING Rhiannon Lewis, a jeweller in Birmingham, has released a new range of wedding rings and necklaces. Handmade from ethically mined gold and other precious metals, diamonds and colourful sapphires, Rhiannon Lewis designs and makes contemporary fine jewellery with a fresh take on classic designs. The jewels are delicately set in the new collection of shaped wedding bands and dainty gold star pendants. All designs are made to order by Rhiannon from her studio in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and can be customised with different precious metals, gemstones or design alterations to create a bespoke piece of jewellery. For more information, visit 10

M U L T I WA Y D R E S S S P E C I A L I S T The multiway dress is the perfect occasion dress, particularly for bridesmaids and occasional wear. The multiway can be wrapped in endless styles allowing you to feel nothing less than beautiful in a style that is wrapped to show your best features! YOU - are in control of the dress! Guys... We have you covered too! No need to shop around finding a tie, bow tie or cravat to match your bridesmaid dresses - available from baby to adult. Visit our website for more information where you can view our full product range and services. You can also follow our socials for daily updates, inspiration and the latest wedding trends. | | Facebook @katesdresses1


ENTER ONLINE AT WWW.YOURWESTMIDLANDS.WEDDING Closing date is 3rd June, 2022, unless otherwise stated. WIN A LUXURY MEN’S WEDDING RING WORTH £200! Hiz Jewellery, based in the heart of the West Midlands, is offering one lucky reader a men’s wedding ring worth £200. Zander is a 6mm black zirconium ring wedding ring with great appeal. Twin diamond-cut grooves are expertly carved into its surface towards the outer edges revealing the zirconium’s natural luster, which is enhanced against the soft sheen of its black matt finish thus promoting a simple but impactful design detail. A sterling silver inlay lies hidden within its form and perfectly echoes the silver tones emanating from within its etched grooves. Zander is fashioned in a soft court profile to ensure a comfortable, cushioned fit. All HIZ Jewellery rings are hallmarked in accordance with the assay office standards and marked with the HIZ brand. “We create a stunning, innovative and desirable range of men’s wedding and fashion rings,” says KT Worland, the company’s director. “Working closely with skilled craftsmen, we have taken precious metals and expertly aligned them with the more functional metal zirconium to give each ring a contemporary look and feel. We want our customers to be able to choose and wear a ring that meets their expectations and reflects their personalities. We care just as much about the detail on the inside of your wedding ring as the outside. We’ve taken our time considering the arrangement of these metals and played with the colours and finishes to produce an exclusive and stylish range of men’s wedding rings that, we hope you’ll agree, are in a class of their own.” The lucky winner will be sent a free ring sizer to measure your finger to ensure it’s an exact fit. Please enter via our website. Terms and conditions apply. For more information, visit Take advantage of these gorgeous giveaways and fab offers Freebies &OFFERS Coppa Club’s The Swan at Streatley is a tranquil countryside getaway set in the Berkshire village of Streatley. Situated on the River Thames, roughly an hour from London, the 47-bedroom property has been newly refurbished and offers river-view rooms, or suites opening onto the garden lawn making it a great option for a dog-friendly getaway! The grounds include the property’s own private island, lovely walks for couples and families (and four-legged companions) and the property is also ideal for riverside weddings, seating up to 130 friends and family! Perfect for a pre- or post-wedding getaway, guests can access the property via car, boat or helicopter and have access to on-site paddle boarding, exercise classes, hotel gym and events throughout the year. You can book a Small Double Room from £80 per night, and a Medium Double Room from £100 per night. Check out County Wedding Magazines has teamed up with Coppa Club The Swan At Streatley to give readers the chance to win an overnight stay for two people with breakfast, as well as a three-course meal with a bottle of fizz! WIN AN OVERNIGHT STAY  FREEBIES & OFFERS 13

ENTER ONLINE AT WWW.YOURWESTMIDLANDS.WEDDING Closing date is 3rd June, 2022, unless otherwise stated. We’ve teamed up with local suppliers to offer one lucky reader an amazing set of prizes. Regis ( is providing beauty treatments up to the value of £100 in selected salons and a haircare appointment worth £150 at any Regis Hair salon nationwide. What’s more, Swinfen Hall Hotel ( in Staffordshire is providing an afternoon tea for two, and ALDO UK ( is giving away a pair of wedding shoes up to the value of £150. Perfect for brides or grooms-to-be who are feeling the stress of wedding planning, the beauty treatments and haircare appointments are sure to leave you feeling fabulous and ready for the big day. Regis is a hairdressing brand with more than 60 years of experience in creating beautiful hair, providing top-quality salon services, education and haircare expertise. The company specialise in the latest cuts, colours, treatments and finishing services and tailor them to suit each client. Swinfen Hall Hotel is an elegant Georgian Manor House with a mixture of old and new styles. Set at the end of a sweeping drive, the property stands proudly amongst 100 acres of gardens and parklands. With a private deer park, ornamental ponds, stone rose arbour, Victorian walled garden, courtyard garden complete with a bar for al fresco entertaining and a luxury marquee. Inside, is ornate oak panelling, high ceilings, stained glass windows and 17 guest bedrooms and suites. ALDO UK is the perfect destination for style-conscious couples, offering the latest styles in shoes, bags and accessories. This amazing set of prizes needs to be taken by 31st October, 2022. Beauty treatments are available at the following Regis salons: Great Western Arcade Birmingham, Wilmslow, Fenwick Canterbury, Browns York, Kingston and Fenwick Newcastle. Please visit our website to enter and to see the full terms and conditions. WIN FOUR FABULOUS PRIZES! 14

Wedding Venue Cover 300x230 AW.indd 1 17/09/2014 16:36 Our Grade II listed Georgian hotel is one of the most elegant wedding venues in the West Midlands. Set in five acres of landscaped gardens, with distant views of the Staffordshire countryside, you can be sure of the perfect venue for your wedding day. • GRADE II LISTED GEORGIAN HOTEL • CAPACITY FOR UP TO 550 GUESTS • INDOOR AND OUTDOOR WEDDING LICENCE • HEALTH CLUB & SPA • 73 BEDROOMS FOR GUEST ACCOMMODATION • FREE PARKING Tel: +44 (0) 1902 349510 Email: P A R K D R I V E , G O LD T HO R N P A R K WO LV E RHAMP T ON WV 4 5 A J Your Special Day at Park Hall Hotel & Spa...

Spotlight on... ASHTON LODGE COUNTRY HOUSE, CV23 0PJ 01788 460 112 | Ashton Lodge Country House is an exclusive-use wedding venue in the heart of Warwickshire near Rugby & Coventry. Set within three acres, this wonderful Edwardian house has recently completed a £500,000 renovation project to create a truly stunning interior. The county house has a stunning honeymoon suite overlooking the rolling countryside, along with 13 en-suite bedrooms providing the ideal accommodation for the immediate wedding party, family and friends. Wedding guests at Ashton Lodge will be wowed by the food and creative drinks that are provided by renowned local catering company, The Chopping Block. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The Ashton Lodge Country House is licenced for civil weddings, partnerships and naming ceremonies. The stunning Garden Room can seat 120 guests and is ideal for intimate weddings. Alternatively, outdoor ceremonies can take place in the garden in the new wedding gazebo. The property can provide the details of a local church for those who would prefer a religious service. After the wedding ceremony, drinks can be served in Ashton Lodge or the gardens. The grounds provide a fantastic backdrop for photo opportunities. The meal is then served in the marquee, which can seat 150 for a wedding reception and up to 200 for the evening. WE LOVE... The happy couple will love the new dressing room, which they can use throughout the day. COVENTRY, NUNEATON & RUGBY REGIONAL VENUES 17

MACDONALD ANSTY HALL, CV7 9HZ 02476 612 222 | Macdonald Ansty Hall is an award-winning 17th-century Georgian house situated within eight acres of private grounds. Featuring magnificent views of the surrounding Warwickshire countryside, the house has original features, including a staircase, high ceilings, open fireplaces and 62 bedrooms. The function rooms feature stunning views of the landscaped gardens, and St James Church, that’s set behind the hotel, is within easy walking distance. The property can be hired on an exclusive use basis, firework displays can be organised, and the couple can even arrive via helicopter if they want to make a grand entrance. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The Library overlooks the gardens and can hold up to 30 friends and family for the vows and 15 for the reception. While The Drawing Room, which offers views of the Warwickshire countryside, can accommodate 50 nearest and dearest for the service and 30 for the meal. Alternatively, The Rose Room has space for 100 guests during the day and 60 in the evening. Lastly, The Orangery Suite, a secluded room separate from the hotel, has space for 150 loved ones for the ceremony and evening celebration. WE LOVE... The venue was named Most Romantic Wedding Venue of the Year at the English Wedding Awards. CHESFORD GRANGE, CV8 2LD 01926 859 331 | Chesford Grange is a luxurious hotel set within 17 acres of private grounds and woodlands in the heart of Warwickshire’s countryside. The enchanting venue, complete with a stone entrance and red-roofed turrets, is a welcoming haven, offering guests the chance to unwind from their busy lives. WESTON HALL HOTEL, CV12 9RU 02476 312 989 | Weston Hall Hotel is a stunning Elizabethan manor house with historic features. The stone building is dressed in ivy and wisteria, with large windows and beautiful symmetry, creating a lovely backdrop for photographs. Boasting a mixture of original and contemporary features, including dark-wood panelling and stone floors that stand out against the neutral décor. COOMBE ABBEY HOTEL, CV3 2AB 02476 450 450 | Coombe Abbey Hotel is a historic four-star hotel with plenty of character and home comforts. Situated within 500 acres of parkland, there are lots of places to explore, including the on-site restaurant and Go Ape treetop adventure. SWALLOWS NEST BARN, CV35 8AD 01926 620 237 | Restored to highlight original features, Swallows Nest Barn is a charming brick barn in the Warwickshire countryside. This stylish reinstated 19th-century property is steeped in history, with bright floor-to-ceiling windows that provide the grandeur that any wedding day demands. Set in a valley of beautiful private farmland with a contemporary glazed annexe, there are plenty of places to explore and take photographs. DRAYCOTE HOTEL, CV23 9LF 01788 521 800 | Located in the idyllic Warwickshire countryside, Draycote Hotel is situated next to a golf course and offers picturesque views across the reservoir. There are two restaurants, two bars and plenty of function rooms ideal for weddings and corporate events. THE RUGBY HOTEL, CV21 3BX 01788 573 244 | Steeped in history, The Rugby Hotel is ideally positioned in the middle of the Rugby Town Centre. Boasting a superb range of refurbished bedrooms, including king-sized rooms, standard doubles, family options and a four-poster suite, there’s something to suit everyone. Also check out... 18

JOIN US FOR OUR VENUE SHOWCASE - 7TH MAY Our giant tipi stands in 60 acres of private countryside next to the water. Choose your own suppliers, woodland and lake-side ceremony spaces, corkage free, Cottages and glamping accommodation on the farm. T: 07402 818182 E: WORCESTERSHIRE

your special day with us at Lilleshall House & Gardens. Make your wedding dreams come true in our stunning heritage setting. Whether you’re looking for an intimate wedding or a larger celebration, we have a wedding package for you. We have availability for 2022 and 2023 dates, so please get in touch to book a venue tour – we would love to show you around. For more information on celebrating your wedding at Lilleshall House & Gardens, please contact us on 01952 603003 or WedInLilleshall Lilleshallhouseandgardens lilleshall Celebrate © Frances Stephenson WWW.BLITHFIELDLAKESIDEBARNS.CO.UK | Instagram & Facebook @blithfieldlakesidebarns

BARNUTOPIA, SY10 9BS 01691 791 624 | Barnutopia, in the Shropshire countryside, opened as a glamping site with three Mongolian yurts in 2015. Two years later, the owners expanded as a wedding and events venue and have continued to add to the space to create a charming setting to say ‘I do’. Approaching through the main gates, guests will be greeted by a long red brick stable block that dates back to 1892. The event barn opens directly onto the yurt field with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. All parts of the site are easily accessible, including the nine luxury glamping units, two fully-equipped kitchens and bathroom blocks with unlimited hot water. All units are fully furnished with beds, power, heating and free Wi-Fi. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The happy couple can tie the knot on the Yurt Field with the impressive Gyrn Moelfre as the backdrop for their outdoor ceremony. The Dell offers an alternative outside setting next to a stream, which is on the England and Wales border. Alternatively, the Events Barn, which was unused for 10 years, is now licensed for ceremonies. Lovebirds can decorate the space as they wish and celebrate with up to 120 guests. Intimate celebrations are held in the Farmhouse Dining Room, a licensed space that can hold eight guests. Receptions usually take place in the Events Barn, but informal catering can be held under the Dutch Barn or in the Yurt Field. WE LOVE... The horse, donkeys, pigs, dogs and cats complete the farmyard experience and provide great photograph opportunities. Spring Tie the knot in a glorious garden STEP INTO THEMED VENUES 21

ELMBRIDGE FARM, WR9 0ND 07402 818 182 | At the entrance to Elmbridge Farm is a footpath that leads through a fairy-lit woodland, with a 700-year-old oak tree and wildflowers, which change with the seasons. The footpath leads to an open clearance, where the tipis stand, on a pristine grass terrace, above a lake. The lake spans over four times the length of the tipi itself, making it the focal point of the setting. This is the perfect space for a relaxed drinks reception, canapés, hay bale seating and lawn games. Available for separate hire, Elmbridge Holiday Cottages are an ideal base and just a stone’s throw from the tipi. There are four barn-converted lodges (sleeping 18 in total) that are situated beside the stables, overlooking the water. The penthouse bridal suite provides the perfect open-plan living space for bridal preparations and a stunning view from the balcony over the lakes. The cottages are self-catered and fully equipped with everything needed for a comfortable stay. CELEBRATE IN STYLE There are several areas available to hold a civil ceremony at the farm. The lakeside space sits across a pretty footbridge, with the lake and natural greenery creating an amazing backdrop for vows. The woodland spot is hidden away in a clearance and is a more intimate and rustic option with fairytale enchantment. There’s also space inside the tipi to have an indoor ceremony looking out over the water. For those looking for a church ceremony, there are several lovely characterful churches close by. WE LOVE... The venue will be offering glamping for 2023 onwards, which will include bell tents and luxury safari tents suitable as a bridal suite and prep space. WESTON HALL, ST18 0HS 01889 271 082 | Surrounded by 20 acres of breathtaking Staffordshire countryside, Weston Hall is a beautiful wedding venue positioned high on a hill. The Grade II listed property has four large pitched roofs and a grand exterior that will wow guests. The main hall retains many of its Elizabethan features, including open stone fireplaces and oak beams. The space is ideal for private, corporate or wedding events with charming original features combined with a custom design and elegant décor. CELEBRATE IN STYLE Al fresco celebrations are held in the grounds with Weston Hall making a gorgeous backdrop. The Shrewsbury and The Westminster can hold up to 110 friends and family. The Shrewsbury is used for ceremonies and has mullioned windows and an original stone fireplace, while The Westminster encompasses two stone fireplaces and has oak beams throughout. WE LOVE... Couples will receive a complimentary menu tasting before the wedding. 22

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PARK HALL HOTEL AND SPA, WV4 5AJ 01902 349 510 | Boasting impressive views of the Staffordshire countryside, Park Hall Hotel and Spa is a contemporary and stylish Grade II listed hotel. This former manor house still has many of its original features and boasts a Rococostyle fountain in the forefront and a split-level Orangery with a glassvaulted ceiling. The landscaped gardens are the perfect area to relax in with plenty of outdoor seating, interlinked pathways, mature planting and an array of pavilions along with a small children’s play area. The 74 bedrooms are split over three levels, and there’s also a self-contained health club and spa. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The Ballroom is the largest space available with room for up to 250 loved ones during the day and 550 seated in the evening. This self-contained wing has a grand entrance, marbled floors, statement chandeliers, high ceilings, mirrored columns and floor-to-ceiling Georgian-style windows. Alternatively, The Orangery, a split-level room with floor-to-ceiling doors and direct access to the gardens, is available with space for 150 friends and family for the service and 180 for the reception. The Wedding Pavilion is licensed for up to 200 friends and family. Situated in the mature gardens with views of the surrounding countryside, it’s the perfect location to get married in the great outdoors. Large celebrations can take place in the Marquee, located within the grounds, it’s a self-contained heated venue with private toilets, a bar area and a maximum capacity for 450 people. WE LOVE... Park Hall Hotel and Spa offers couples a bedroom on the night of the wedding, a menu tasting, reduced accommodation rates for guests and free car parking. MODDERSHALL OAKS, ST15 8TG 01782 399 000 | Moddershall Oaks sits on the water’s edge and is surrounded by acres of Staffordshire countryside. This warm and inviting property has a fresh and neutral décor throughout and was designed with a contemporary feel in mind. The venue boasts a state-of-the-art sound system, Swarovski crystal lighting, hand-made Italian glass chandeliers, a glass bar and moveable walls. CELEBRATE IN STYLE Ceremonies can take place outside by the water’s edge under the handmade gazebo or indoors. The courtyard, adjacent to the venue, is often used in the evening as a lovely break-out space for guests to retreat to should they need to rest their dancing feet. It features a wishing well, a fish pond with a waterfall, seating, umbrellas and heaters. WE LOVE... A luxurious spa retreat is included in all packages. The happy couple will enjoy a bottle of champagne after a delicious cooked breakfast while relaxing in the heated outdoor vitality pool or the shared private hot tub (available exclusively to overnight guests only). 24

BENNETTS WILLOW BARN, WR2 4BS 01905 590 016 | Situated on a working dairy farm and surrounded by grazing fields, Bennetts Willow Barn has been built within a woodland next to a charming lake. The exterior boasts beautiful flowers throughout the year, picturesque log walls, fairylights, willow trees and a firepit. CELEBRATE IN STYLE Outdoor ceremonies are very popular, but couples can choose to run the day how they want, holding ceremonies outside in the gardens, in the yurt marquee or the barn. The 20m long yurt marquee is full of rustic charm. If couples hire the yurt marquee, they will have private, exclusive use of the adjacent gardens, including the firepit and outdoor space for garden games or even a bouncy castle. It can seat up to 140 people or 150 guests without a seat each. The barn is slightly smaller and can seat up to 100 guests at any one time, with a maximum capacity of 150 people for the evening party. WE LOVE... There is a glamping site on the farm, so accommodation can easily become part of the wedding celebration. Bennetts Willow Barn offers a discount for hiring the barn or yurt marquee for a first-anniversary wedding celebration or engagement party. The property isn’t currently licensed for ceremonies but is perfect for a celebrant-led celebration. SAFARI VENUES, DY12 1LF 01299 406 460 | Safari Venues is situated within the grounds of the West Midland Safari Park and is home to three gorgeous wedding locations. Couples will experience animal encounters, special safari-inspired gifts and a four-mile safari drive-through, which can be incorporated into wedding celebrations. CELEBRATE IN STYLE Set within the scenic grounds of the Safari Park, Spring Grove House is a Georgian manor that has built its well-deserved reputation on impeccable service, luxury menu selections and attention to detail. There are a variety of rooms to cater for all numbers, including the use of a private bar and lounge facilities. Equally impressive are the grounds, comprising of beautifully landscaped gardens and a spacious private terrace. For large wedding celebrations, Treetops Pavilion is big, bold and beautiful. Its vast proportions and capacity make it one of the largest entertainment facilities in the county, perfect for civil ceremonies, wedding breakfasts and evening receptions. Nestled beneath the grandness of Spring Grove House is Cellarz, an intimate, brick-vaulted venue with an impressive atmosphere. Rich in character with a current and contemporary style, Cellarz has its own chic bar area, dancefloor and cosy alcoves, which can be hired as part of Spring Grove House or separately. WE LOVE... The wedding team offers bespoke wedding packages and the opportunity to work directly with the on-site chefs to create the perfect menu. 25 THEMED VENUES

& Making Memories Creating Magic

Woodland romance Surrounded by friends and family, Beth and Scott tied the knot at Crumplebury in Worcester Images courtesy of Duncan Cox Photography Beth and Scott met while on a photography course. “Scott was learning about portrait photography, and I was the subject,” says Beth. “We kept in touch as acquaintances over several years before developing a stronger friendship which blossomed into a relationship. We bonded over our slightly warped sense of humour and love of all things vintage. Aside from his good looks, I love Scott for his intelligence and how when he is talking about something he is passionate about, it’s infectious, and you can’t help but be excited with him. He is there for me and supports me in everything I do. He gives me the confidence to break out of my comfort zone and travel to new places.” Scott tell us about the proposal: “I had lots of ideas of how to propose to Beth, but so many were either predictable or too obvious. It takes a lot to catch Beth by surprise and so it had to be something completely random. I decided to make a cake and use icing around the cake to ask the question (along with the ring). Typically, Beth did not make it easy! All my planning on the day was thwarted by Beth having a nightmare day at work which meant I had to go and pick her up. Thankfully, I just had enough time to finish the baking and the all-important decoration. Upon getting home, Beth went upstairs to get changed and, on her return, found me standing in our kitchen with a cake which I turned to reveal the words “will you marry me?” before getting down on one knee with the ring. Needless to say, the proposal took Beth completely by surprise and turned a bad day into an incredible one. Just in case the cake and the ring were not quite enough to seal the deal, I had also booked a table at a restaurant we both wanted to try and presented her with another box; this one containing a new dress and shoes for her to wear that night.” Here the bride shares some of her favourite moments from their big day... REAL WEDDINGS 27

We were both very clear that we wanted our ceremony to be in a woodland in autumn. We wanted a venue that had everything in one place with a rustic nod that was still stylish and had the wow factor. Crumplebury had all of this and more. We went to see Crumplebury while it was still being built following a week of torrential rain. While it was close to opening, it was still very much a building site, and we had great fun wading through mud to get inside. Regardless, we could see how magnificent it would be on completion. With its huge windows letting in all the light and incredible views of the surrounding countryside, we knew we had found our venue. The owners, Joe and Keeley, were so enthusiastic and showed us the options in the woodland where the ceremony could be held. There was no doubt in either of our minds that this was where our ceremony had to take place. The favours were seed bombs and jams and chutneys made from fruit and vegetables in our garden. The focal point of the ceremony space was an impressive grand piano. This was dressed with leaves, candles, crystals, milk bottles (to give nod to Scott’s family heritage) and macramé from Ohh, Knots. There were lanterns dotted around the woodland floor, and crystals hung throughout the branches. Scott and I wanted the day to feel relaxed and for the flowers to reflect this. My bouquet from Bloomery was unstructured and wild, featuring deep autumnal tones and foliage, and included flowers suitable for drying so that they could be kept and displayed long after the day. Our big-day bake from Cakes By Karen continued our autumnal theme and was decorated with seasonal fruits. It was sat atop an aeroplane door which Scott had salvaged. Being a massive aviation fan, he had to find a way to get planes in there somehow! For the wedding breakfast, we wanted one long banquetingstyle table to create a laid back feel. The table decorations were loosely down the centre of the table with moss, leaves, ferns, milk bottle vases, owl feathers and the place settings, made by us, were green with an oak leaf cut out. 28

People always assumed that I would have a very colourful, nontraditional dress, but it was important to me that whatever dress I wore did not steal the show in the wrong way. The dress I wore was Adélaïde by Élysée, which I purchased at Mimi Toko. It was the perfect balance of traditional and vintage Hollywood glamour. I accessorised with antique and new marcasite jewellery with a long lace-trimmed veil. The bridesmaids wore off-the-shoulder swing dresses by British Retro. The colours looked great with the blue in the groomsmen’s suits and the green of the woodland surrounding us. Their accessories were small crystal necklaces that were part of my gift to them, small floral hairpins that I made and converse-style wellies. Scott loves New Orleansstyle brass bands, and Brass Junkies played a great mix of classic music interspersed with modern hits for our guests to dance to. Scott wore a Marc Darcy three-piece tweed suit with a pair of classic Jefferey West boots from Country Master. Rather than settling for a traditional buttonhole, Scott’s suit was adorned with a full pocket meadow to continue the wedding’s colour scheme and theme. One of the groomsmen has a penchant for kilts, and it was agreed that he could swap the trousers for his kilt after the ceremony. He duly surprised us by revealing that he had had a kilt custom made to match the fabric of the bridesmaids’ dresses! Music is very important to us, especially live music, so we hired an acoustic guitarist and a brass band to entertain our guests. Cotswold Wedding Guitarist – Matt Bee played on our return to the main building after the ceremony and had a ‘jukebox guitar’ option so that guests could choose a song from his guitar case and put it on a board to create a playlist. Our day was incredible and completely surpassed our wildest imaginations. It was relaxed, casual, intimate and full of love. We were able to enjoy every moment with our friends and family. REAL WEDDINGS 29

BETH AND SCOTT’S CONTACTS Venue, Crumplebury, | Photographer, Duncan Cox Photography, | Bride’s dress and veil, Mimi Toko, | Bride’s earrings, Smithsonia, | Bride’s hairpiece, Ophelia Ren Bridal, | Groom’s suit, Country Master, | Bridesmaids’ dresses, British Retro, | Hair stylist, Bliss Hair Therapy, | Make-up artist, Emily Grosvenor MUA, | Cake, Cakes By Karen, | Flowers, Bloomery, | Rings, James Newman Jewellery, | Celebrant, Sacred Honouring Handfastings, Macramé, Ohh, Knots, | Cheese for the grazing table, Anderson & Hill, Confetti, Adamapple, | Guitarist, Cotswold Wedding Guitarist – Matt Bee, Band, Brass Junkies, Our version of the handfasting asked, those who wished, to come up and add to our cords while also providing a word of blessing. It was wonderful to have this level of inclusion and also feel that the values of those dearest to us were being bound into our new lives as man and wife. Sacred Honouring Handfastings completed the ceremony with a toast of mead and a hearty huzzah! Scott had spent a lot of time working on his speech but somehow managed to misplace it while getting ready, so he had to wing it on the day. As much as he was panicking, he still managed to thank everyone, including our amazing suppliers and bring tears to my eyes with his beautiful words. One thing we both remember from the day is how much we laughed. Especially as I attempted to walk down the aisle! While I had remembered to test out my heels on the terrain the day before, I hadn’t given due consideration to the length of my dress and veil. I had to be rescued three times by a swift bridesmaid and my helpful father when I got stuck to trees and ended up dragging a very large branch several yards in my determination to make it to the end of the aisle before the music ended. We ended our day as we had planned; sat around a fire, chatting with the ones we love, hot chocolate in hand and married. 30

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A DAY beautiful Grace and Ben celebrated their big day with a monochrome theme at Brockencote Hall Hotel Images courtesy of Mat James Photography 32

Grace and Ben met at a birthday party. “I’d just returned from Las Vegas, and Ben was travelling there in a few months, so we were chatting about things to do and places to go for the majority of the barbecue,” says Grace. “After the party, I added Ben on Facebook. After several attempts and last-minute cancellations, we finally went on our first date 18 months later. The thing that attracted me to Ben was his sense of humour. I left the date with my jaw aching from how much I’d smiled and laughed the entire evening.” For Grace, the proposal was a complete surprise. “He popped the question three weeks into lockdown in April 2020,” shares the bride. “Every year, my family have a big Easter egg hunt, and the more obscure the hiding place, the better. I was sad that we weren’t able to get together, so Ben suggested we do our own hunt, get dressed up and make the most of the day. After finding my Easter egg, I realised it was already open, and there was a small letter inside the egg telling me to turn around. Behind me, Ben was down on one knee in our garden. To make it even more special, he had FaceTimed my parents so they were able to be there (virtually), and he recorded the whole thing from our bedroom window, so we can look back on it forever.” SETTING THE SCENE “I always knew I wanted to get married at St Mary’s Church in Kingswinford as it’s just around the corner from my parent’s home and has special meaning to me,” explains Grace. “We didn’t want our guests to have to travel far from the ceremony to the reception, so when we found Brockencote Hall Hotel and saw they had accommodation, we knew it was a winner. As soon as we were able to visit in person, we fell in love. The sweeping drive, grounds and stunning exterior were an absolute dream and fitted in with everything we envisaged for our day.” The couple gave their guests scratch cards as favours that doubled as place names. “We placed them in small black envelopes and wrote each person’s name in silver calligraphy with a penny attached,” adds the bride. “My dad loves scratch cards, and every Christmas, he would use them as place settings, so it felt like a fun nod to a family tradition. Plus, if someone won big, the bar tab was on them!” “Our table plan was a large white acyclic sheet with the same font that we used on our invitations,” recalls Grace. “For our centrepieces, we continued the monochrome theme with black candlesticks with extra-long tapered candles to give the table some height. We paired these with floating candle glasses and three bud vases with a selection of white flowers in.” Grace and Ben chose to have white and green flowers from The Secret Garden Weddings. “Ben is from Leeds, so I knew I wanted lots of white roses to tie in with his hometown,” reveals the bride. “We had the most stunning top table arrangement and chose climbers for outside the church door with lots of greenery, which made a fantastic entrance. The florist also did a beautiful gypsophila wreath for my mum’s front door, which lasted six weeks after the wedding.” “Our cake was a last-minute purchase as we had always said we weren’t too concerned about having one, but I’m so glad we did,” says Grace. “We chose a three-tier design made up of buttercream and raspberry jam. It was covered in white icing, but the bottom tier had individually piped flowers to give it some texture.” The lovebirds hired transport from Class Act Wedding Cars. “I chose to walk from my parent’s house to the church, and our driver crawled alongside on the other side of the road,” shares the bride. “When we did eventually use the white Mercedes to transport us to Brockencote Hall Hotel, the service was top notch. We had a glass of champagne and got to enjoy half an hour alone.” “Behind our top table, we had the most fantastic moongate, which was complete with a neon sign,” explains Grace. “As we sat in front of the windows and the sun started to set, this proved a great backdrop to our meal and made the perfect photo opportunity later on in the night.” REAL WEDDINGS 33