Your West Midlands Wedding - October/November (Issue 82)

OCT/NOV 2022 HONEYMOONS, BEAUTY, FASHION, GROOMS, EXPERT ADVICE, FREEBIES AND MORE £3.55 THE FOOD OF LOVE WIN! Meet local caterers A trip to Portugal Local photographers showcase their favourite images Fall in love Cannock & Staffordshire The look of love We explore... Seasonal real weddings QUEEN OF THE SHOW Striking wedding dresses


62 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 60 HOT TOPIC Our experts answer your questions 85 COMPETITION Win a minimoon in the Algarve worth £1,000 CONTENTS OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2022 FEATURES 45 PICTURE THIS Local photographers showcase their favourite images 49 HOLD ME CLOSE Be inspired by this stunning shoot at Rhyse Farm 53 THE FOOD OF LOVE We delve into delicious food options for your big day 57 STEP INTO SPRING Inspired by the British countryside, this beautiful styled shoot at Blithfield Lakeside Barns is full of inspiration 62 OUR HAPPILY EVER AFTER County Wedding Magazines’ senior editor Melissa Cullen shares her wedding planning journey Cover look This issue’s cover was photographed by the talented Nellie Photography ( at Rhyse Farm ( To see more images and the full supplier list, turn to page 49. 57 VENUES 15 SPOTLIGHT ON CANNOCK & STAFFORDSHIRE Discover some of the best venues in the area 19 RUSTIC ROMANCE Tie the knot in a charming barn 24 TREETOP ESCAPE Melissa Cullen spends an idyllic night away at Will’s Treehouse at Winchcombe Farm 3

REAL WEDDINGS 27 LOVE OF MY LIFE Demelza and James celebrated their big day at Bourton Hall surrounded by family and friends 32 LET IT SNOW Jessica and Hayden had a winter-themed wedding at Weston Hall 39 A RURAL ROMANCE Emma and Andy chose a rustic theme for their nuptials at Bank House Hotel, Spa and Golf Club FASHION & BEAUTY 64 FASHION FOCUS The latest bridal fashion news, buys and launches 65 DREAM A LITTLE DREAM Bring out your romantic side in one of these dreamy dresses decorated with whimsical lace, ditsy florals and crystal embellishments 70 HEAD TURNERS Pick a statement headband, hair clip or crown for that finishing touch 71 STANDOUT SLEEVES These statement dresses will take you from day to dancefloor 74 BEAUTY BUZZ Get the look with the must-haves for the bride-to-be 76 FASHION & BEAUTY Q&A Local professionals solve your problems 77 THE MANE EVENT Haircare expert for Milk + Blush Nicole Petty talks us through 2022’s top bridal hair trends and how to achieve them 39 32 27 HONEYMOONS 82 HONEYMOON NEWS The newest openings and honeymoon destinations 84 WITH LOVE FROM MADRID Easter in Spain’s vibrant capital city 86 THE ULTIMATE GETAWAY Discover why Dubrovnik is the perfect honeymoon destination 88 SWEET ESCAPES Enjoy a relaxing minimoon in some of the UK’s best boltholes GROOMS 79 GROOMS’ NEWS The latest best buys and product launches 80 AUTUMN DELIGHTS The latest seasonal must-haves for the groom-to-be 4

WHEN A FAIRYTALE CELEBRATION BECOMES A REALITY... Dovecliff Hall Hotel is a Grade II listed property situated in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire which offers the perfect backdrop for weddings all year round. Eye-catching Georgian architecture with scenic gardens adjacent to the River Dove | Packages tailored to meet individual needs and requirements | Exceptional experienced staff | Incredible locally sourced food prepared by experienced chefs | Can accommodate 90 seated guests with formal dinners, ceremonies, receptions | 15 recently refurbished bedrooms ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY Receive exclusive use of the full venue at a 50% discounted rate for all newly-weds who book their wedding to take place in 2022*. Saving couples between £1250 and £3000! (Terms and conditions apply in relation to minimum numbers). Simply quote: Your East/West Midlands Wedding when making a booking before 31st January 2022 DOVECLIFF ROAD, STRETTON, BURTON UPON TRENT, STAFFORDSHIRE, D13 0DJ | | 01283 531818 | Facebook & Instagram@dovecliffhall

Before I tied the knot, several of my friends warned me about the wedding blues – the feeling of sadness once the big day is over. It’s a strange feeling when something you’ve been planning for months or sometimes even years is over in the blink of an eye. To help avoid this, my hubby and I jetted off on our honeymoon to Greece a few days after the wedding. It was wonderful getting to spend quality time with each other, relaxing on the beach and exploring the sights. Having this time together meant we didn’t really feel a sense of sadness that the day was over and it extended our wedding bubble a little bit longer. If you’re stuck for travel ideas, we have a must-see honeymoon section focusing on gorgeous properties in the UK and abroad. Also in this issue, we reveal the latest catering trends, showcase work from local photographers and some of the best venues in Staffordshire. What’s more, we have real weddings and styled shoots to inspire you. If you’d like your wedding featured in the magazine or have been involved with a styled shoot, you can submit it at Melissa x Melissa Cullen, Senior Editor Jessica and Hayden had a winter-themed wedding at Weston Hall. 32 64 85 The latest bridal news, buys and launches. Fun in the sun WIN a trip to Portugal. 65Bring out your romantic side in one of these dreamy dresses decorated with whimsical lace, ditsy florals and crystal embellishments. 6 ISSN 1759-4723 EDITORIAL 01376 535 611 Melissa Cullen | 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 | 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 Nicola Hawkins | 01376 538 480 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. Visit us online at and DIA SHING NTS SHING EVENTS & PUBLISHING cwe COUNTY WEDDING EVENTS @CountyWeddingMagazines @CountyWeddings @countyweddingmagazines

39 57 49 27 82 86 62 Inspired by the British countryside, this beautiful styled shoot at Blithfield Lakeside Barns is full of inspiration. Read all about my wedding planning journey. Emma and Andy chose a rustic theme for their nuptials at Bank House Hotel, Spa and Golf Club. Demelza and James celebrated their big day at Bourton Hall surrounded by family and friends. Be inspired by this stunning shoot at Rhyse Farm. The latest openings and honeymoon destinations for couples post-vows. Olivia Gibson discovers what makes Dubrovnik the perfect honeymoon destination. EDITOR’S LETTER 7

Suited and Booted To book an appointment call 07429 570 655 or email BESPOKE WEDDING SERVICE FOR MEN Visit us: 71 High Street, Bromsgrove B61 8AQ SUITS START FROM £189.97 FOR A 3-PIECE Carter Esquire YourWestMidsWedMag OCT22 195x141 STG1.indd 1 10/10/2022 12:18 N O O R D I N A R Y C E L E B R A N T C R E A T I V E A U T H E N T I C W A R M If you are a couple looking for the perfect celebrant and don’t fit into a one size fits all groove, we should talk. Book your no obligation discovery call now T: 07984 873 366 | E: WWW . L O U I S E G O O D E C E L E B R A N T . C O . U K CALL LOUISE OUR WEDDING & EVENTS MANAGER ON 01242 862352 01242 862352 | EVENTS@THEGREENWAY.CO.UK THEGREENWAYHOTELANDSPA.COM Weddings Our 16th Century Elizabethan manor house offers a stunning and historic wedding venue in the Cotswolds. Surrounded by landscaped grounds and rolling countryside, imagine a picture perfect backdrop to celebrate the most important day of your life with friends and family. Your day is special, which is why we make it our policy to only host one wedding a day. Plus, with our Elan Spa, brides-to-be can relax the night before with a range of soothing treatments. GREENWAY HOTEL AND SPA THE

All the latest from around the West Midlands WEDDING SHOW ALERT! The National Wedding Fayre is back! With more than 100 exhibitors, a VIP lounge, fashion shows and the amazing win a wedding competition, the show has everything you need to plan the perfect day. There will be hands-on advice from industry experts, luxury products, services at an affordable price and special promotions. There is a VIP package available which includes access to the stunning new lounge, a complimentary drink of your choice, an upgraded gift bag, reserved seating for the fashion show and fast track entry. The show is taking place on 18th and 19th February, 2023, at Coventry Building Society Arena between 10am and 3:30pm. Children under 15 are free of charge. To get your tickets and find out more about the show, visit THE SMELL OF DESIRE Luluh Lane, an eco-conscious luxury home fragrance and jewellery brand in Shropshire, is offering a new luxury candle. Featuring a crackling infinity wooden wick, the candle offers a seductive scent and includes aphrodisiac oils that help reduce stress and tension. Using aromatherapy, Luluh Lane have been able to infuse their home fragrance products with the perfect blend of scents to help you de-stress. Emma Moss, the founder and CEO of Luluh Lane, said: “For most, pandemic induced lockdowns created an atmosphere of uncertainty, fear and anxiety. Stress caused by these factors, combined with the inability to experience new things together, significantly impacted relationships, and it was clear within my friendship circle that most of us felt that the romance in our relationships had fizzled out. Myself and co-founder Carly Stone, embarked on a mission to rekindle the flame and romance in our own relationships and want to help others do the same – which is how Luluh Lane was born. Our candles are made with love in-mind, and we have hand-chosen certain oils, which are renowned for playing a powerful role in human connections.” Head over to for more info. Nearlywed NEWS ACCESSORISE AND SHINE British casting and fine jewellery specialist, Hockley Mint has announced the launch of its new You & I collection which celebrates the past, present and future of the bridal jewellery market. The 52-piece collection includes single, three, five and seven stone engagement and eternity rings for women, alongside a small selection of engagement rings and signet rings for men. These are accompanied by matching pendants and earrings. Kevan Jenkinson, the sales director at Hockley Mint, says: “The purpose of the You & I collection is to take retailers on a journey through Hockley Mint’s 70 years in business. We have reworked vintage designs, updated our current and most popular best-sellers and added new lines that reflect the 21st-century bridal market. With this new collection, we hope to provide our retail partners with the diverse ranges they need to offer an inclusive and supportive shopping experience.” Discover more at LOCAL NEWS 9

FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD The High Field has been crowned the best gastropub in Birmingham and the whole of the Midlands at the Midlands Food, Drink & Hospitality Awards 2022. Now in its sixth year, the awards recognise the best eateries, restaurants, bars, pubs and the people who work in them from across the region. More than 600 people attended the awards, which took place at the Eastside Rooms in Birmingham after a two-year hiatus. “We are thrilled to have taken home the title of Best Gastropub at this year’s awards, it really does mean a lot,” says the general manager of The High Field, Charlotte Carter. “It’s not the first time we have won – we were delighted to have been given the title in 2016 – but it’s a big deal to win again as we constantly strive to make The High Field the best it can be. We take great pride in putting quality seasonal food on our guests’ plates, keeping their glasses topped up with great beers, wines, spirits and cocktails, and giving them a fantastic experience every time they visit. Being recognised for this in the hotly contended public vote and by leading lights in the hospitality industry here in the city is doubly fantastic!” Find out more at HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! Multi-award-winning bridal boutique TDR Bridal is celebrating 15 years of business. One of the largest stockists of bridal and menswear in the UK, it’s no surprise that TDR Bridal is also on the shortlist for the much-coveted Retailer of the Year industry-led awards. TDR Bridal stocks an extensive range of dresses, from a UK size six-32. Designer names include Sassi Holford, Enzoani, Morilee, Ronald Joyce, Jolie by Berta, Sottero and Midgley and the eponymous collections from Justin Alexander. The boutique also has a team of in-house seamstresses and a huge range of accessories and veils. “I am so proud to have achieved 15 years in business,” says managing director, Rebecca Baddeley. “It’s been tough in the wedding industry through COVID-19, but rather than shut off and shut up shop, I embraced the lockdowns, using the time to create a new business plan and develop all the ideas that I had to grow the business even further, ready to hit the ground running when it was all over. TDR is constantly developing but at its heart is a team with a passion to provide brides with the best advice, support and shopping experience to help them find the dress of their dreams. My team work so hard and they’re simply amazing!” Visit for more information. A NEW LOOK The White Lion at Radford Semele has re-opened its doors having been completely transformed inside and out by the new owners. Every inch of the old building has been carefully restored, creating cosy nooks and crannies that are perfect for drinking and dining. There’s a new bar with plenty of spots to linger, lots of original exposed brickwork and dark wooden beams, a light and modern garden room with new bi-fold doors opening onto the terrace and a secluded garden that’s been beautifully landscaped and furnished with lounging sofas and tables for delightful al fresco lunches and suppers. The new general manager, Lianne Sargent, tells us: “We’ve brought the pub back to life, inside and out and can’t wait to welcome everyone back. The new look is fresh and modern but perfectly in keeping with the building’s history, and we’re looking forward to opening with a menu full of the good stuff. We firmly believe that every great village deserves a great pub, serving seasonal dishes with genuine hospitality, and that’s just what we hope to bring to Radford Semele. I’ll be working with my fantastic team to make sure everyone feels at home, whether you pop in for a glass of wine in the sunshine, spend a couple of hours over a leisurely lunch or come for a celebration dinner with family and friends.” For more information, visit PLANNED TO PERFECTION Hogarths Stone Manor, a luxury hotel near Worcester, is hosting an open evening. The hotel is a blissful retreat for weddings, conferences and ‘just the two of us’ escapes. A short drive from Kidderminster, and only 17 miles from Birmingham, it’s right on the doorstep of the picture-perfect rolling hills of rural Worcestershire. The property boasts a restaurant, accommodation, beautiful gardens, afternoon tea and spa treatments. Come visit the team on the 16th November, 2022, between 6pm and 8pm where you’ll have the opportunity to view the venue and discuss your big day. Get in touch at 10

Moor Hall Drive, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield B75 6LN 0121 308 3751 Moor Hall Hotel & Spa is a 4* country house hotel, full of character and set in beautiful grounds. Our family-owned venue is the perfect venue for your civil ceremony, outdoor wedding and wedding reception for up to 180 guests. NEW Flexible Wedding Package for 2023 & 2024 We have redesigned our wedding packages so there is more flexibility than ever. Prices start at £125 per person in 2023 and include room hire, a choice of welcome drink, 3 course meal, drinks for the table, a drink for the toast, red carpet, complimentary menu tasting for the couple, complementary overnight stay for the couple and more. Then you can add on or upgrade items to suit you! Save the Date| Saturday 12th November Free Entry | 11am to 2pm See our beautiful hotel set for a wedding reception. Call: 01384 877572 / 07711 128572 Email: Helen Barley Harp Helen Barley Harpist and Singer

Twigg Floral Design Beautiful and natural W E D D I N G F L O W E R S Inspired by the seasons using British-grown, sustainable flowers and foliage. W W W . T W I G G F L O W E R S . C O . U K 07807366146 BOOK A SHOWROUND TODAY! CALL STACI OUR WEDDING & EVENTS MANAGER ON 01562 777876 01562 777876 | EVENTS@BROCKENCOTEHALL.COM BROCKENCOTEHALL.COM Weddings Brockencote’s idyllic Worcestershire setting makes it a dream venue for weddings, whether it is a small reception, a civil celebration or a big event. The house, with its grand approach, French inspired architecture and beautiful features such as the lovingly restored dovecote, is the perfect backdrop for your big day. Our dedicated team will assist you every step of the way so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the occasion. Everything from wedding favours, seat covers and sashes to full packages that cover all your requirements please call for information or to arrange your free consultation. T:    /    | E:

ENTER ONLINE AT WWW.YOURWESTMIDLANDS.WEDDING Closing date is 30th November, 2022, unless otherwise stated. A MUST-HAVE OFFER! Ava May Bridal, a bridal boutique in Solihull, is offering every reader who purchases a full-priced gown a free veil worth up to £100. We spoke to the owner, Jen Jamieson, to find out more about this fabulous company: “Ava May Bridal was set up in 2019, so we are still a very young business! My first job when I was 15 was as a bridal consultant, and I dreamt of owning my own shop since then – not that I ever thought it would happen though! However, fate intervened, and I got the opportunity in July 2019 to buy a run-down shop, so I jumped at the chance. I decided to reinvent the shop with a makeover and name change, and Ava May Bridal was born. We are proud to be the UK’s number one stockist of the official Disney Fairy Tale Weddings Collection. We also stock Sophia Tolli, Blue by Enzoani, Pure Bridal and one of my all time favourites – a very boho-inspired range from Wilderly by Allure. We also have a plus-size range which is made up of a combination of the designers I’ve mentioned. We aim to cater for every bride regardless of their budget, age, sexuality, race or size! “We will put you at ease as soon as you arrive, offer you a drink and start your consultation with your own, personal consultant who will stay with you for every step of the process. We don’t believe in pushy sales techniques, and we would always rather a bride leave 100 per cent happy than be forced into making a decision they aren’t ready for. As well as the standard appointments, we also offer a bigger ‘experience’ appointment which means you can have the whole shop exclusively to yourself and up to eight guests for up to three hours, whilst enjoying a selection of drinks and nibbles. These appointments are available upon request, and I have to say are amazing!” To claim this fab offer, mention the magazine when purchasing your gown. To find out more about Ava May Bridal, visit ACCESSORISE AND SHINE Award-winning Danish brand Sif Jakobs Jewellery is renowned for creating modern, luxurious designs with an affordable price tag. The jewellery is made of rhodium,18k rose gold or yellow gold plated 925 sterling silver, featuring high-quality zirconia stones that create a sophisticated and dramatic expression often featured in Sif Jakobs’ collections. County Wedding Magazines has teamed up with Sif Jakobs Jewellery to give readers the chance to win this necklace and earring set worth £158 from the coveted Belluno collection. Made with 925 sterling silver and the highest quality cubic zirconia, all jewellery is handcrafted and carefully inspected to ensure perfection. Visit Freebies &OFFERS Take advantage of these gorgeous giveaways and fab offers Kennedy by Sophia Tolli Nikita by Sophia Tolli Skylar by Sophia Tolli Ophelia by Sophia Tolli FREEBIES & OFFERS 13

Bird Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6PR 01543 414822 Set in the heart of historic Lichfield, The George Hotel is a charming 18th century coaching inn which offers a delightful setting for civil ceremonies and wedding receptions of up to 110 guests. We have redesigned our wedding packages so there is more flexibility than ever. Our starter package includes a welcome drink, three course meal, drinks for the table, a drink for the toast, room hire, an evening buffet, complimentary overnight stay for the couple and more. Then you can add on canapés, upgrade your drinks and add on drinks packages to suit you. Prices start at £90 per person in 2023 Say “I Do” and party with our new Evening Only option. From £2,500 in 2023 and from £3,000 in 2024 Includes room hire, DJ and evening buffet WEDDINGS AT BRANSTON bring your dream day to life ENQUIRE NOWWITH OUR DEDICATED TEAM! WEEKEND AVAILABILITY FOR 2023/24 01283 528 336 k m K

Spotlight on... BLAKELANDS COUNTRY HOUSE, DY7 5DP 01384 221 000 | Blakelands Country House dates back to 1722 and is nestled within 10 acres of formal Victorian gardens, orchards and lakes with views as far as Client Hills. Boasting a mixture of formal architecture and converted outbuildings, the Georgian interiors and original oak-framed barns beautifully combine original features with contemporary finishes to create a wealth of space and discovery. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The Main House was the original hall and has flagstone flooring, roaring fires, a staircase and room for 40 loved ones. Maltings Barn has enormous ceilings, oak-king beams and iron chandeliers that are ideal for a romantic ceremony. It’s capable of holding 100 friends and family for the service and 200 for the evening celebration. Al fresco celebrations are held in the Victorian Walled Garden and Bandstand. The Victorian walls and large trees create a wonderful atmosphere with space for 120 nearest and dearest. WE LOVE... The happy couple are welcome to use the on-site bridal suite on the night of the wedding. Blakelands Country House also has an in-house wedding team who will ensure every detail of the day is planned to perfection. CANNOCK AND STAFFORDSHIRE 15 REGIONAL VENUES

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. Boasting a state-of-the-art sound system, Swarovski crystal lighting, hand-made Italian glass chandeliers, a glass bar and moveable walls, this property has everything needed to create the perfect wedding. 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). TAMWORTH CASTLE, B79 7NA 01827 709 551 | Tamworth Castle is set within acres of beautiful grounds on top of a motte. With almost 1,000 years of rich history, there are plenty of places to explore, including the floral terraces that drop down to the banks of the River Anker and the ancient Tudor and Jacobean walls that bring a romantic and intimate feeling to any occasion. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The Great Hall has candelabra and chandeliers that create a twinkling glow and bring the room to life. The magnificent oak-timbered roof and decorated lead windows create a gorgeous backdrop for exchanging vows and set the scene for the rest of the day. This space has been wowing visitors for 100s of years and looks wonderful in photographs. After the ceremony, couples can head to the courtyard to mingle with guests while the photographer gets to work snapping those all-important memories. The bandstand on the castle’s grounds provides a breathtaking backdrop and is worth taking a few minutes to visit. WE LOVE... The castle can work with its sister site, Tamworth Assembly Rooms, to create a bespoke menu and reception venue for weddings. 16

WESTON HALL, ST18 OHS 01889 271 082 | Set in the heart of the Staffordshire countryside, Weston Hall is a magnificent Grade II* listed building that encompasses four large pitched roofs, a striking exterior and a mixture of modern and Elizabethan features. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The Shrewsbury Suite’s beautiful countryside views and original mullioned windows allow for a magical backdrop for an enchanting ceremony of up to 110 guests. On the other hand, The Westminster Suite provides elegance and charm with its oak beams and characterful stone fireplaces. With its own private bar and custom-made dancefloor, The Westminster Suite is the ideal setting for up to 150 loved ones to enjoy the celebrations. For those with their hearts set on saying’ I do’ under the blue skies, the outside ceremony space provides the perfect setting. WE LOVE... It’s important that couples get exactly what they want for their chosen wedding breakfast, so Weston Hall provides couples with a complimentary menu tasting before the big day to ensure that their vision comes to life. FOXTAIL BARNS, ST9 0AG 01538 717 050 | Foxtail Barns Wedding Venue is a new wedding venue in Staffordshire. Situated in acres of secluded woodland, this striking venue has a rustic exterior and traditional oak beams. The exclusive-use walled gardens have been intriguingly designed and lovingly restored to include the original 18th-century red brick walls, botanical bounty, fragrant herbs and wildflowers. THORPE GARDEN, B79 0LH 01827 210 999 | Situated just a few miles from Tamworth, Thorpe Garden is a handcrafted wooden yurt and contemporary ceremony room in a beautiful walled garden. The property has on-site accommodation in the boutique guesthouse, which can sleep up to 42 guests, and 21 have en-suite guest rooms, including a honeymoon suite and 16 double bedrooms. ALREWAS HAYES, DE13 7DL 01283 791 625 | Alrewas Hayes is a Grade II listed quintessential English country estate. Situated on the outskirts of Fradley Village, the property dates back to 1066 and is believed to be the extensive Staffordshire woodland noted in the Doomsday Book. This large 100 acre estate comprises of a central courtyard, landscaped gardens, woodlands and rural countryside. BANK HOUSE HOTEL, ST14 8AG 01889 566 922 | The Bank House Hotel was built in 1777 for Thomas Hart and served as the first bank in Uttoxeter. Located in the town centre, it’s close by Staffordshire market town and has an original bank vault that’s been incorporated as a feature in the restaurant. Chatsworth House, Haddon Hall and Kedleston are within easy reach, and Derby has a fine cathedral and museum that are worth visiting. STANDON HALL, ST21 6RA 07821 131 273 | Standon Hall is an enchanting Grade II listed, early 20th century mansion situated in the heart of the Staffordshire countryside. Immersed in luxury, this exclusive-use property has a range of wedding spaces available and has been designed to welcome guests with open arms and make everyone feel part of the occasion. STATFOLD, B79 0BU 01827 830 389 | Situated within 1,000 acres of stunning Staffordshire countryside, Statfold is just a stones-throw from the market town of Tamworth. This idyllic narrow-gauge steam railway and museum provide a quirky backdrop for weddings, parties, conferences and special events and look fabulous in those all-important photographs. Also check out... REGIONAL VENUES 17

Weddings at Bennetts Willow Barn Here at Bennetts Willow Barn we offer our couples the chance to have a fun and relaxed wedding celebration, with as much or as little formality and tradition as you feel suits you. We really are a wedding venue with a difference, and you won’t find another one like us! Celebrate the first day of your new lives together with an epic wedding celebration that you and your guests will remember forever. Eat, drink and be merry in the romantic, rustic charm of our unique and spectacular yurt marquee. Play games and enjoy Pimms and Prosecco in the surrounding grounds, and after dusk toast marshmallows around the fire pit. Then dance the night away in our enchanted fairy light-filled rustic party barn. Manor Farm, Malvern Road, Lower Wick, Worcester WR2 4BS | |

MALT HOUSE BARN, SY4 3AP 07493 746 207 | Malt House Barn is a purpose-built converted barn set in beautifully landscaped gardens overlooking the Shropshire countryside. Offering views of the iconic Wrekin, the property has two tiers of perfectly manicured lawns, a sweeping path up to a arbour seat and a large wooden gazebo perfect for outdoor ceremonies. The interior is an elegant and versatile space that’s wide and spacious, with ample room for a circular or trestle-style set up. There’s also on-site accommodation with disabled access, modern toilet facilities, a kitchen with catering fridges and a bar area. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The Ceremony Room is light and spacious with large glass doors and windows that overlook the Shropshire countryside with room for 100 seated guests. Couples will love walking through the double-arched oak doors and taking in the wonderful sights. Alternatively, the Outdoor Gazebo is a wooden structure set within the landscaped gardens that can accommodate 150 friends and family. Evening celebrations take place in the Reception Room with up to 150 loved ones. This large open plan area is equipped with a stage and stateof-the-art PA sound system and has a bar area that can be used with no corkage fees. WE LOVE... Couples will receive two nights free accommodation in the bridal suite. Rustic romance Tie the knot in a charming barn BENNETTS WILLOW BARN, WR2 4BS 01905 590 016 | Bennetts Willow Barn is situated on a working dairy farm and is surrounded by grazing fields, woodland and a charming lake. The property has plenty of places to take those all-important photographs, including flowers that bloom throughout the year, picturesque log walls, fairylights, willow trees and a firepit. CELEBRATE IN STYLE 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 a private, exclusive use space that’s adjacent to the gardens. It includes a firepit and outdoor space for garden games or even a bouncy castle and can seat up to 140 people or 150 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 for the evening party. WE LOVE... Bennetts Willow Barn offers a discount for hiring the barn or yurt marquee for a first-anniversary wedding celebration or engagement party and there is also on-site accommodation, perfect for extended celebrations. and THEMED VENUES 19

REDHOUSE BARN, B60 4BG 07875 142 493 | The multi-award-winning Redhouse Barn is a hidden gem nestled in the Worcestershire countryside. Only a mile from the M5, the property has five acres of grounds, landscaped mature gardens, decking and a feature koi pond. Beautifully designed and luxuriously decorated with both contemporary and traditional elements throughout, including slate, limestone and oak floors with full-height glass sliding doors to allow natural light to flood in. The layout of this exclusive-use venue is designed for a great flow throughout, linking the interior and gardens. Guests will be wowed as they arrive through the gates and travel along the gravel drive to the front of these magnificent timber-framed and brick granary barns. An ancient ‘Jinny Ring’ apple press provides an impressive feature to welcome friends and family. The wedding changing room was refurbished in 2018 and provides a stunning facility to start the preparations for the big day. Available from 7am, couples can enjoy breakfast prepared by the chef and his team, whilst the barns are set up by the Redhouse Barn team. There’s also a luxurious honeymoon suite available, with a glass balcony overlooking the gardens. CELEBRATE IN STYLE For a wedding with up to 105 guests, the traditional Redbrick Barn is the perfect setting. Around 200-years-old it has two layout options available – traditional and central. The Redbrick Barn can also be used in the evening for a variety of activities, from a children’s creche to casino tables or Scalextric tracks. The Timber Barn is ideal for nuptials of up to 160 loved ones, it’s flooded with natural light from full-height doors, with underfloor heating for those cooler months and many useful items included from colour co-ordinated linens to a professional lighting rig and light-up LED dancefloor. For outdoor celebrations, the Oak Pergola on the rear lawn is the perfect spot, with a PA system and elegant Philippe Starck clear ghost chairs available. Receptions take place in a range of areas within the barns from the Lounge Bar to the rear Courtyard Gardens, which have a new clear roof, is heated and has an open-sided marquee to keep off the worst of the weather. The main gardens around the pond are also ideal to stroll around during reception drinks and canapés. The Lounge Bar and Snug area provide a more relaxed, comfortable space and is ideally located for accessing all the gardens or main barn areas. WE LOVE... The whole experience at Redhouse Barn is bespoke. Couples will have a personal consultation with the chef to design their food and drink menus, and enjoy a complimentary wine and cheese tasting event. As a special food experience event, the chef and his team will prepare the chosen wedding breakfast prior to the wedding (at a small subsidised cost) to give couples the opportunity to try their menu and make any changes required before the big day. THE BARN AT DROVERS, HR3 6AG 07748 146 862 | The Barn At Drovers is a stunning 16th-century venue situated on a working organic farm. The farm’s food is sourced directly from the fields and foraged from the hedgerows and there are stunning courtyards and gardens with 150 acres for couples to explore. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The venue is made up of two barns, the Rustic Barn has a wagon wheel and wooden ladders suspended by steel beams, old potato box slats for the walls and plenty of straw bales. While the Industrial Chic Barn has wooden beams, a corrugated ceiling and wonderful old olive buckets as lighting suspended from the beams. Al fresco celebrations are held in the field or charming woodland. WE LOVE... All the venue’s food is cooked on open fires, and there are lots of outdoor spaces for summer weddings. 20


WWW.BLITHFIELDLAKESIDEBARNS.CO.UK | Instagram & Facebook @blithfieldlakesidebarns Unique. Bespoke. Original. Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings has character –filled grounds, historic buildings and views over the beautiful Worcestershire scenery, the Museum is truly unique and romantic setting for your wedding. Get in touch... Please get in touch with our team to find out about availability, arrange a viewing, make a booking, or if you have any questions or queries. Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings Stoke Heath Bromsgrove B60 4JR T : 01527 831 363 E : Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings has character-filled grounds, historic buildings and views over the Worcestershire scenery, the museum is truly a unique and romantic setting for your wedding. Get in touch... Please get in touch with our team to find out about availability, arrange a viewing, make a booking or if you have any questions or queries. Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings Stock Heath, Bromsgrove, B60 4JR T: 01527 831 363 E:

COTON HOUSE FARM WEDDING VENUE, WS14 9LQ 01543 432 429 | Nestled in the picturesque village of Whittington in rural Staffordshire, the Coton House Farm Wedding Venue is a 16th-century farm that was used as a rest point for local beef farmers on their way to Lichfield. This traditional Yorkshire board clad building has large oak frames that blend into the rural setting. Inside is The Stables, a large preparation suite, with a comfy seating area, washroom facilities, dressing room and hair and make-up stations. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The Oak Barn is a working barn conversion with high oak-vaulted ceilings draped in fairylights. There are neutral, light colours throughout with large glass front windows, lots of space, oak floors and hanging chandeliers. The Sty, a luxurious and well-stocked bar, adjoins the Oak Barn and is perfect for any occasion. The Terrace, with seating and log burners, provides unobstructed views of the paddock, grounds and green fields. Alternatively, the 17th-century Old Dairy Barn with oak frames, black sandstone flooring, cross back chairs, and illuminated chandeliers can be used. Boasting a private and quaint courtyard looking through the stable blocks, this space is perfect for holding guests before the ceremony. The venue is also licensed for ceremonies underneath the Oak Veranda. WE LOVE... The happy couple will receive a free wine and food tasting before the wedding. BLITHFIELD LAKESIDE BARNS, WS15 3NY 07508 194 992 | Accessible via a 1km long driveway, Blithfield Lakeside Barns is a working farm with plenty of privacy and luscious grounds. Overlooking the Blithfield Reservoir, the glass-fronted property has a large patio, wood cladding to the side of the barn and a large car park to the rear. CELEBRATE IN STYLE Couples can tie the knot in the Lakeside Wedding Barn. Finished with whitewash walls, exposed beams and a neutral décor throughout, it can accommodate 180 seated guests, but there is also a marquee available for larger celebrations. WE LOVE... Accommodation for 32 friends and family is included in the wedding packages, and couples will also receive exclusive use of the property between Friday and Monday. 23 THEMED VENUES

Having recently tied the knot, my hubby and I were eager to enjoy a relaxing minimoon together, so when the opportunity to visit Will’s Treehouse at Winchcombe Farm arrived, we jumped at the chance. An oasis of tranquillity, this five-star glamping retreat has six-holiday homes to choose from, including Warwickshire’s only treehouse. Designed with outdoor living in mind, the treehouse is nestled within four sycamore and ash threes – one of which is even growing through the kitchen! This remote retreat is easy to reach with main roads close by, and it’s only a 20-minute drive from Stratford-Upon-Avon town centre. UP IN THE SKY I love exploring a new place, and when we arrived, I was instantly taken aback by how stunning this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was. We parked our car around the back of the property and were delighted to meet the resident alpacas and ponies. After a somewhat extended meet-and-greet with our new neighbours, we headed inside to see what awaited us. Prior to arrival, we’d researched this family-run retreat, but nothing prepared us for just how wonderful it would be. As we opened the door, we were greeted by a fully-equipped kitchen with a range of SMEG and Joseph Joseph accessories and a luxurious bathroom with a bathtub and toiletries. The interior perfectly combined contemporary design and home comforts, which made us feel instantly at ease. The large living space was complete with a 55-inch Smart TV and DVD player, a sofa which could be moved to reveal two bunk beds, a king-sized bed and beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. If that wasn’t enough, we were also treated to a goodie bag upon arrival, which included fresh apples and a delicious cake – yum! REST AND RELAXATION Our favourite part of the accommodation was the outdoor area. The treehouse’s terrace includes a private hot tub (which I couldn’t wait to try), a hanging chair, a hammock, an outdoor shower, a barbecue and a pizza oven. As a self-proclaimed pizza connoisseur, I obviously wanted to try the pizza oven and it didn’t disappoint. It was easy to use, thanks to the online guide provided by the owners, and we were really pleased with the result. So much so, that I’ve begun hinting to my hubby to get me one for Christmas much to his dismay. Lounging in the hammock with a cup of tea and a slice of wood-fired pizza, I looked at the surrounding countryside and felt completely at peace. Situated on a private estate, it’s a tranquil space with the only sound coming from the surrounding wildlife. STAR-CROSSED LOVE Each holiday home comes equipped with a personal telescope for stargazing. I’d never tried it before, and as my hubby is a space enthusiast, we couldn’t wait to try. Looking at the night’s sky, surrounded by the beautiful trees, was a wonderful moment that I’ll never forget. After we’d had far too many cups of tea, enjoyed the luxurious outdoor shower (a must try if you’re staying at the property), cooked dinner and spent the afternoon relaxing in our fluffy robes, it was finally time to try the hob tub. It was very easy to use, and within seconds we were relaxing with a bottle of champagne looking up at the night’s sky. With such hectic lives, it was lovely to just sit and relax together. After a few hours, we finally jumped into the super-comfy bed and fell asleep watching a film together – the perfect evening. We awoke after the best night’s sleep we’d had in a long time, feeling like royalty. We used the wonderful kitchen to make breakfast before visiting the alpacas and horses once again. SO MANY CHOICES With six holiday homes to choose from, there really is something to suit everyone at Winchcombe Farm. Many of the properties have heated geodesic domes with king-sized circular beds, firepits for toasting marshmallows and there’s even a pond with resident ducks. We loved that Winchcombe Farm works with other local businesses to offer add-on luxury extras, including concierge, pampering, gin delivery, floral decorations, wedding planning and a fine dining private chef service, so you can have the perfect stay without having to go anywhere. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing minimoon or a family getaway, each home has something special to offer. We were really sad to be leaving after such a wonderful night away and are already planning to return next year! ESCAPE Treetop Melissa Cullen spends an idyllic night away at Will’s Treehouse at Winchcombe Farm BOOK IT: 24

SANDON HALL Exclusive Country House Wedding Venue Staffordshire 01889 508004

Love of my life Demelza and James celebrated their big day at Bourton Hall surrounded by family and friends Images courtesy of Chris Chambers Photography Demelza and James first met when they were in their early 20s. “We were introduced through mutual friends on a night out,” says Demelza. “About eight years passed, and we hadn’t seen each other again until a night out in August 2014 when we bumped into one another and exchanged numbers. I believe in fate, and the timing was just right. I thought he was gorgeous, and most importantly, he made me laugh. We are best friends and inseparable.” James proposed during a weekend away in Bath. “The weekend didn’t go as planned as the heavens opened and we were soaked through,” shares the bride. “In all honesty, I didn’t think James ever wanted to get married, so when he got down on one knee, I thought he was joking. Once I knew he was serious, I didn’t hesitate with my answer, and I was in complete shock for the rest of the weekend. It wasn’t the romantic story that everyone likes to hear, but it was perfect for us!” Here the bride shares some of her favourite moments from their big day... REAL WEDDINGS 27

I first went to see Bourton Hall with my mom and dad as James was unable to come, and it felt like home from home. It had the turrets and the look of a castle but let more light in. I fell in love with it straight away. The original décor was stunning, and the chapel was exactly what I was looking for. We went back as a couple and agreed the venue was perfect for us. For our favours, we chose scratch cards, pink gin in small bottles with glitter inside, Lindt chocolates and the children were given a small plastic box filled with sweets and chocolate. James and I picked Sally Marie Cakes to create our big-day bake as I had seen her previous work and knew she made the most amazing sugar flowers I had ever seen! When I had my meeting with Sally, we spoke about incorporating rose gold or copper, and she did just that. The final creation was three tiers, with copper leaf trailing down with roses and eucalyptus leaves. Not only did it look stunning, but it tasted out of this world. The table plan and place names matched my vellum invites perfectly. They were on frosted plastic with rose gold writing, which looked gorgeous. We decided to go with numbers rather than trying to pick a theme for the table names. We wanted the wedding to be a little over the top but still classy. I didn’t want to stick to a colour scheme, so I used neutral hues with a touch of rose gold and copper. I fell in love with blossom trees and knew I had to have them as they were over the top but still very classy. I explained this to our florist, Wedding Wishes, and she knew exactly what I meant. She produced 10 white blossom trees, which were perfect, and people still talk about them now! For the top table I wanted a long row of flowers to go across the front that matched my bouquet, so I asked for white flowers with some greenery to add a pop of colour. 28

I had seen dresses from June Peony Bridal Couture on other brides and knew that if they didn’t have a dress in the shop, that they would be able to make my dream dress. The gown that I originally picked was a basque style, however I wanted straps to make myself feel more comfortable. Helen and Mandy knew exactly what I wanted and made just that. We added more beading to the top and slightly more to the train so that when it was bustled you could see the sparkles in the skirt. It was absolutely amazing, and I didn’t want to take it off. To finish the look, I had a beautiful veil made by June Peony Bridal Couture that everyone still talks about now! The speeches were perfect, I know my dad and James’ best man don’t like public speaking and were nervous about it on the day, but you would never have known. They delivered some emotional speeches, which were hilarious and had everyone laughing. The only thing that James asked for was a live singer as he loves music. James had already seen clips of Dayton Grey Music, and really wanted him there. Everyone loved him, he got our guests up dancing, and he was so brilliant at singing that some people thought it was a recording until they saw him! We couldn’t have picked anyone better for the job. I saw the bridesmaids’ dresses on a model and just knew my older maids would look stunning in them. I never thought I would want my bridesmaids in white, but as soon as I saw them, I just knew they were right. For my younger bridesmaids, I wanted something more fun, so I opted for a white lace crop top with a mesh midi skirt. I knew I wanted something for the evening that I would be able to dance in. On my dress journey I went to a shop called Cotswold Bridal Boutique, where I tried on a Eva Lendel playsuit called Lynn. It was so different, and I knew that no one would ever expect me to change into it, so I had to have it! I was luckily able to afford the sample one that fitted me like an absolute dream, and it was just perfect. I found Rawhide Corsets, a sister company of The Couture Company, and Jo made the most perfect made-to-measure corset, so that I could wear the playsuit comfortably in the evening. We looked at different suitmakers and found Ziggi Menswear in Birmingham. James opted for a three-piece made-to-measure black embroidered dinner suit that looked out of this world. We had an issue with the groomsmen’s suits as the company we ordered them from unfortunately let us down three weeks before the wedding. Luckily we visited Suits U, which were able to fulfil our order, and the men couldn’t have looked smarter. REAL WEDDINGS 29