Your West Midlands Wedding - December 2022/January 2023 (Issue 83)

DEC 2022 / JAN 2023 HONEYMOONS, BEAUTY, FASHION, GROOMS, EXPERT ADVICE, FREEBIES AND MORE £3.55 Fly away with me WIN! Destinations perfect for a honeymoon A mini-moon worth up to £2,000 Top tips for looking your big-day best EXPERT ADVICE The latest wedding dresses The look of love Trend setter How to plan the perfect wedding


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 53 HOT TOPIC Our experts answer your questions 78 COMPETITION A luxury getaway awaits with renowned hotel brand GuestHouse CONTENTS DECEMBER 2022/JANUARY 2023 FEATURES 47 PLANNED TO PERFECTION How to create your dream wedding 50 SNOW IS FALLING Our guide to creating the ultimate seasonal celebration 57 IN LOVE WITH LAVENDER Be inspired by this summer in Provence-themed shoot 71 THE LOOK OF LOVE Local professionals provide their trend predictions for 2023 Cover look This issue’s cover is from Shannon and Tris’ wedding on page 34. The couple opted for a country theme and celebrated with their friends and family. Their day was photographed by Humblebee Photography ( at Henley Hall ( 47 VENUES 15 SPOTLIGHT ON HEREFORDSHIRE, WORCESTERSHIRE & SHROPSHIRE Discover some of the best venues in the area 21 WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND Tie the knot in a romantic setting 26 A STEP BACK IN TIME Olivia Gibson discovers what makes Billesley Manor Hotel and Spa the perfect UK getaway 3

REAL WEDDINGS 29 DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY Abby and Connor tied the knot at The Old Rectory with a festival theme 34 IN THE COUNTRY Shannon and Tris celebrated their big at Henley Hall surrounded by friends and family 41 MY FAVOURITE PERSON Samantha and Aaron incorporated their love of navy blue into their big-day styling at Hoar Cross Hall Hotel and Spa FASHION & BEAUTY 60 FASHION FOCUS The latest bridal fashion news, buys and launches 61 SHINE LIKE A DIAMOND Dazzle this festive season in gold, pearls, charms and diamonds 62 WHAT’S TRENDING? This is what brides-to-be will be wearing in 2023 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 SKIN FOOD Discover how to achieve that much-desired bridal glow the natural way, through a healthy diet of skin-loving foods 29 34 62 HONEYMOONS 82 HONEYMOON NEWS The newest openings and honeymoon destinations 84 GREECE IS THE WORD Summer in Santorini and Athens 86 IN LOVE WITH THE LAKES A myriad of delights lie in wait in The Lake District for UK honeymooners 88 PURE LUXURY Discover The Belfry Hotel & Resort in Sutton Coldfield GROOMS 79 GROOMS’ NEWS The latest best buys and product launches 80 WINTER LUXE The latest seasonal must-haves for the groom-to-be 82 41 4

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 | |

After a very busy year tying the knot to my wonderful partner, travelling to some beautiful places and celebrating several of our friends getting married, it’s finally time to close the door on 2022. It’s been quite a year, with a flurry of weddings from some beautiful couples across the West Midlands, lots of new companies opening their doors and some getting back to normal post-pandemic. Seeing things open up again has been wonderful and I can’t wait to see what 2023 brings! If you’re a regular reader, then you’ll know that the December/January issue has always been my favourite, and I look forward to writing it every year. It’s packed full of inspiration, adorable products, seasonal weddings and the latest fashion trends. To celebrate the end of 2022, we’ve gone all out with wintry fashion pages, must-see planning tips and the latest menswear trends. If you’re dreaming of tying the knot in a fairytale venue, then we’ve got you covered on page 21 or if you’re looking for something in Herefordshire, Worcestershire or Shropshire, head over to page 15. Don’t forget if you’ve tied the knot, you can submit your day at or via Here at Your West Midlands Wedding, we’re planning to celebrate Christmas with our friends and family and welcome in the new year in style. Whatever your plans are, we hope you have a lovely time and take a well-deserved break. Melissa x Melissa Cullen, Senior Editor Samantha and Aaron incorporated their love of navy blue into their big-day styling at Hoar Cross Hall Hotel and Spa. 41 60 78 The latest bridal fashion news, buys and launches. Let it snow WIN 62Fall in love with these trend-setting dresses. a mini-moon worth up to £2,000. 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 Artwork & Content Coordinator 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

88 86 82 84 34 29 A myriad of delights lie in wait in The Lake District for UK honeymooners. Beth Morton and her hubby visited The Belfry Hotel & Resort in Sutton Coldfield. Claire Ridley spent the summer in Santorini and Athens. The latest openings and honeymoon destinations for couples post-vows. Shannon and Tris’ country-themed wedding at Henley Hall is full of inspiration. Abby and Connor celebrated their big day at The Old Rectory with a rustic, boho theme. 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 AFFORDABLE 3-PIECE SUITS FOR YOUR SPECIAL DAY Carter Esquire YourWestMidsWedMag DEC22 195x141 STG3 AW.indd 1 24/11/2022 19:53 Capturing the moments that matter. 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.

All the latest from around the West Midlands ECO-JEWELLERY British casting specialist and fine jewellery manufacturer, Hockley Mint has announced plans to overhaul its plain wedding ring collection by offering recycled precious metals as standard. Sourced from within the UK, the various alloys of gold, silver and platinum represent another step in the business’ sustainable sourcing strategy. This will be offered alongside the company’s long-standing fairtrade gold option for wedding rings and fine jewellery. Kevan Jenkinson, the sales director at Hockley Mint, says: “This is another step towards operating more sustainably. We are sourcing our recycled precious metals from within the United Kingdom as part of our ‘Created in the UK’ ethos. So far, we have had positive feedback from our long-standing wedding ring customers, and I hope more retail jewellers will see this as an opportunity to create a point of difference in their bridal offering.” Future plans to improve sustainability include the installation of solar panels and roof insulation at Hockley Mint’s workshop to help reduce its carbon footprint and use of renewable energies. Discover more at DRESSED TO IMPRESS Tamsin’s Bridal Boutique is moving to a Grade II listed building on one of Kidderminster’s oldest streets. Set to open in January 2023, the new boutique will feature three large bridal suites, two prom suites, a suite for the mother-of-the-bride/groom and bridesmaids, and a floor for menswear with options for both hire and sale. “We are delighted to have been able to purchase this stunning building,” says Tamsin Hancocks-Guinan. “All the suites in the new boutique are private for just you and your party. Alongside a huge variety of shoes and accessories, our gowns-to-go selection will feature dresses from £299. We also offer a white wedding bouncy castle and two cars, so there’s a lot on offer for the bride and groom and their party as well as those looking for outfits for prom or a special event.” Visit for more info. Nearlywed NEWS ESPECIALLY FOR YOU Laetitia Rattu and Balram Kandola revisited Coombe Abbey Hotel in Brinklow to launch the hotel’s new 2023 premium wedding packages. The hotel stepped in to help the Birmingham-based couple, who were left devastated after their original venue went into administration and they faced the prospect of no reception venue just weeks before their wedding day. As newlyweds, they were delighted to return and be the face of the fourstar historic hotel’s two new wedding packages, which will run until 2024. The ‘Anything For You is Possible’ luxury package includes a pre-wedding complimentary afternoon tea for two, reception drinks, a toastmaster and wedding co-ordinator, as well as a four-course wedding breakfast and an evening reception. This package also features group activities, including lawn games and a grand bedroom for the happy couple to use on the day. The second package covers the exclusive hire of the hotel’s signature marquee for up to 500 guests all year round – the perfect setting for a wedding breakfast or evening reception. Features include a grand feature room for the wedding night, a lounge area, dancefloor, use of the terrace, kitchen facilities and bar, decorative lighting, tables, Chiavari chairs and much more. For more information, visit Brier 220281 by Martin Thornburg LOCAL NEWS 9

CONGRATULATIONS! The Belfry Hotel & Resort, located in North Warwickshire, is celebrating after winning several awards. Sales director, Katie Niland, received the Unsung Hero Award at The Boutique Hotelier Awards, and Kirsten Price, head of people, took home the award for Excellence in Employee Engagement at the HR In Hospitality Awards 2022. “It’s an absolute honour to receive this prestigious industry recognition,” says Katie. “It goes without saying that the support of the incredibly hardworking and passionate sales team is a testament to my success. It’s exciting to be part of The Belfry’s future and continue to exceed clients’ expectations with our award-winning hospitality.” The Belfry also retained its title as England’s Leading Resort and took home England’s Leading Conference and Meeting Hotel at the World Travel Awards. Head over to for more information. SNOW IS FALLING Celebrate Christmas at Warwick Castle until 2nd January, 2023. Visitors will go on a festive journey through 64 acres of grounds and gardens which will be dressed with thousands of sparkling lights. There’s so much to enjoy for the entire family, including a host of seasonal entertainment such as meeting festive characters, browsing Christmas markets and eating delicious food. On selected winter dates in 2022, the Santa Sleepover will be available. Families will find festive flourishes in the cosy Knight’s Village, including themed evening entertainment and in the morning, guests will wake up to the sound of sleigh bells with your very own elf wake-up call where Santa’s cheerful elves will bring a present for the little ones. Santa Sleepover packages also include tickets for Stories with Santa, where you and the family will make magical memories with Santa and Mrs Claus as you hear a story full of festive joy. Check out for more information. PLANNED TO PERFECTION The National Wedding Fayre is back for 2023! With more than 100 exhibitors, a VIP lounge, fashion shows and the fabulous win a wedding competition, the show has everything you need to plan the wedding of your dreams. There will be hands-on advice from industry experts, luxury products, services at an affordable price and special promotions. A VIP package is available and 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 – what’s not to love? The show will be 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, visit BEAUTY QUEEN Selfridges Birmingham has launched a new Beauty Concierge following the success of the service in London and Manchester. Situated within Selfridges Birmingham Beauty Hall, Beauty Concierge will provide customers with an extensive range of services, a variety of products and impartial beauty advice from leading industry experts in cosmetics, skincare and haircare. Home to the world’s leading beauty brands, experts at Beauty Concierge are there to guide you on everything from learning a new look and revamping your make-up bag, to making your routine more eco-friendly. The Beauty Concierge area has been designed with two private consultation spaces, where shoppers can experience the service comfortably and privately. Those who want to experience the service with friends can make the most of its spacious social seating area, perfect for birthdays, wedding celebrations or pre-party prep. What’s more, all shoppers will be given a complimentary glass of prosecco to enjoy during their appointment. To find out more, visit 10

Visit Website The perfect fairytale castle for the most memorable day of your life Eastnor Castle is an exclusive hire venue with 12 stunning bedrooms, situated on a 5000-acre country estate. Available for civil ceremonies, outdoor ceremonies and receptions for up to 150 guests. Eastnor Castle, Ledbury, Herefordshire, HR8 1RL +44 1531 633160 | | eastnorcastleweddings

high grosvenor house claverley, shropshire, wv15 5pg 01746 572055 | AVAILABLE FOR WEDDINGS, PARTIES & HOUSE FOR HIRE High Grosvenor House is a beautiful 15th Century Tudor house nestled in the glorious rolling Shropshire countryside. With its stunning grounds and venue, it sure to make any celebration truly memorable. The house and garden are available for your exclusive use with wonderful far-fetching views.

ENTER ONLINE AT WWW.YOURWESTMIDLANDS.WEDDING WIN A RELAXING SPA DAY FOR TWO The Spa at Ardencote, a luxury four-star wedding venue in Warwickshire, is giving one lucky reader and a guest a spa day, including a 55-minute Elemis treatment, light lunch and full access to the award-winning spa facilities. The spa is located in a former Victorian coach house and has an expansive range of indoor and outdoor facilities to achieve ultimate wellbeing. The outdoor facilities, which include a heated swimming pool, hot tub and Tyrolean kilo sauna are all set within a stunning courtyard where guests can relax, surrounded by sensory country garden plants that capture the essence of the spa’s idyllic rural location. Inside, is a large thermal suite comprising of an aromatherapy steam room, Himalayan salt sauna, tepidarium, ice fountain, monsoon experience shower and foot spa. The Relaxation Lounge, complete with stylish spa pods, provides the perfect sport to relax and the Tranquillity Lounge offers a comfortable and peaceful location for some well-deserved me time. To enter this fab competition, please visit our website. Terms and conditions apply. The competition closes on 31st January, 2023. To find out more about the spa, visit Take advantage of these gorgeous giveaways and fab offers STYLE STATEMENT On your wedding day, light up the room in these statement gold ear climber earrings which bedazzle with four intricately cut moonstone gems. The sparkling gemstones, in a staggered line, descend in size and sit in an 18k gold-plated setting. Every detail has been well thought out, from the size of the stones to the slight curve of the earrings, creating the perfect mesmerising bold earring for a bold woman. Founded by Ramona Gohil, an inspirational female entrepreneur passionate about her British Indian heritage and culture Rani & Co is not just any jewellery brand; its crafted unique pieces symbolise how powerful women can be. Check out County Wedding Magazines’ readers have the chance to win a pair of Rani & Co Moonstone Climber Earrings worth £64.99! Freebies &OFFERS FREEBIES & OFFERS 13

Spotlight on... HAWKSTONE HALL & GARDENS, SY4 5UZ 01630 685 242 | Hawkstone Hall & Gardens is a Grade I listed 18th-century mansion that’s a vision of Georgian elegance. The venue encompasses 88 acres of countryside, rolling hills and ancient trees. At the front of the property are breathtaking views of the Shropshire countryside and to the rear are gardens featuring a lily pond, rose garden, apple orchard, trees and a stew pond with waterfalls. Inside is a collection of historic features, beautifully complemented by modern touches. There are plush fabrics throughout, the ceilings are gilded with gold, and original artwork adorns the walls, all with an Art Deco twist. Guests can enjoy a private film screening in the cave, which boasts a flat-screen TV, PlayStation 4, pool table, darts board and its own lounge area. CELEBRATE IN STYLE There are several spaces available for the ceremony. The Chapel, a grand room, can accommodate 170 guests, while The Ballroom can hold 150. The Tapestry has a period marble arch and stunning views with room for 100 loved ones, and The Saloon has gold gilded ceilings, original artworks and space for 150 people. Receptions can be held in The Refectory. Boasting a glittering dancefloor, personalised lighting and a private bar, it can accommodate 200 nearest and dearest. WE LOVE... The Bridal Preparation Wing is complimentary the night before the wedding, with individual make-up stations, a personal butler, 15 large sash windows and beds for everyone. Couples will also receive a menu tasting and exclusive use of the venue. HEREFORDSHIRE, WORCESTERSHIRE AND SHROPSHIRE 15 LOCAL VENUES

SAFARI VENUES, DY12 1LF 01299 406 460 | Safari Venues is situated within the grounds of West Midland Safari Park and is home to three gorgeous wedding locations. Couples can expect a grand and special setting, with a team who are passionate about making celebrations unforgettable. 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. Equally impressive are the grounds, comprising of landscaped gardens and a spacious private terrace. For large wedding celebrations, Treetops Pavilion is big and bold. 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... Safari Venues offers bespoke wedding packages and the opportunity to work directly with the on-site chefs to create the perfect menu. AVONCROFT MUSEUM OF HISTORIC BUILDINGS, B60 4JR 01527 831 363 | Made up of 30 properties, the Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings is a grand wedding venue surrounded by beautiful countryside. CELEBRATE IN STYLE Located just 50 metres from the main entrance, New Guesten Hall boasts a14th-century roof that was originally part of Worcester Cathedral’s Reception Hall and contains beautiful Medieval carpentry that can be seen throughout the building. The space can hold 120 guests for the ceremony and wedding breakfast and can be expanded to cater for an extra 60 loved ones for the reception. Intimate celebrations take place in the Weaver Gallery, located above the main hall, with up to 40 nearest and dearest. Surrounding New Gueston Hall is a manicured lawn that’s ideal for couples wanting to mingle and entertain, with the option of garden games, a drinks reception or food vans. WE LOVE... The Bromsgrove Society of Model Engineers Railway is available to hire, which creates an unforgettable experience. 16

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.


KARMA SALFORD HALL, WR11 8UT 01386 871 300 | Karma Salford Hall is a beautiful Grade I listed manor house that has retained its Tudor charm with stained-glass windows, a bell tower and historic engraving into Cotswold stone. Set in manicured gardens and nestled amid rolling hills and farmland, the property has a quintessentially English feel with new and period furnishings creating a traditional yet contemporary setting. Once the guest home for the monks of Evesham Abbey and later owned by King Henry VIII, the building is steeped in history and old-world charm with grand fireplaces, wood panelling and oil paintings. When Charles Stanford married Elenor Alderford, he marked the occasion by gifting her a bell that hung in the belfry for four centuries before it was stolen in the 1980s. It later turned up, being offered at auction. The owners of the hall at that time bought it back and returned it to the tower, where it remains today. CELEBRATE IN STYLE There are several spaces available for weddings, including the Walled Garden, which can accommodate 100 loved ones for the service, and the Tudor Court Lawn which has room for 60. Large receptions are held in the marquee, which has space for 100 friends and family. Intimate celebrations take place in either the Tempest Restaurant, which can hold 40 nearest and dearest, or the Palm Court Conservatory with room for 16. WE LOVE... The happy couple will have access to the bridal suite on the night of the wedding and receive a menu tasting. THE ORCHARD AT MUNSLEY, HR8 2SQ 07974 249 656 | The owners of The Orchard at Munsley tied the knot at the property in 2010 and launched it as a wedding venue in September 2019. Situated in an apple orchard in the heart of Herefordshire, the venue overlooks a beautiful old church and duck pool. It oozes rustic charm, scenery and peaceful surroundings that are perfect for taking photographs. BROMWICH PARK FARM WEDDINGS, SY11 4JQ 07808 297 161 | Bromwich Park Farm Weddings is made up of traditional single-story red brick farm buildings adorned with climbing ivy and vines. Based around a paved courtyard, that can be used for receptions, the property is situated next to a large 1930’s style farmhouse. Located in the heart of a former dairy farm in the Shropshire countryside, it’s surrounded by open green fields. STANBROOK ABBEY HOTEL, WR2 4TY 01905 832 940 | Stanbrook Abbey Hotel is a former Grade II listed monastery which dates back to the early 16th-century. The property still retains many of its original features, including stone cloisters, Gothic-stained glass windows and a 100ft bell tower. Standing at the foot of the Malvern Hills, the venue is situated within a 26 acres estate, with plenty of places to explore. BARNUTOPIA, SY10 9BS 01691 791 624 | Barnutopia was originally based at Park Hall Army Camp outside Oswestry. It was later moved to Tanycoed Farm and was used as a space for cattle. The current owners took over the property in 2015 after it had stood empty for 20 years. Following a successful planning application to expand as a wedding venue, the owners have continued to add to the site to create a luxurious setting to tie the knot. Also check out... LOCAL VENUES 19

Discover Your Perfect Day Set in the heart of the cathedral city of Lichfield, The George Hotel is an 18th century former coaching inn with a beautiful Regency style ballroom that can host civil ceremonies and wedding receptions for up to 90 guests. New FlexibleWedding Package Includes a choice of welcome drink, a three-course wedding meal, half a bottle of wine, a drink for the toast, evening buffet, room hire, complimentary overnight stay for the couple and more! £90 per person in 2023 | £97 per person in 2024 Visit our website to find out more! Bird Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS 13 6PR 01543 414 822 | 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: 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

Walking in a winter wonderland Tie the knot in a wintry venue BRANSTON GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB, DE14 3DP 01283 528 337 | Branston Golf & Country Club is a luxurious, contemporary property that’s perfect for weddings. Situated in beautifully-landscaped gardens on the grounds of a golf course, it has a secret garden, outdoor ceremony area and plenty of places to take those all-important photographs. CELEBRATE IN STYLE Ceremonies take place in Chatsworth Room III, a stunning room with views of the golf course and space for 150 guests. If the English weather allows, there is the option to take the ceremony outside to The Wedding Garden. This area is perfect for photographs and reception drinks. The Garden Room is available for bridal preparations as well as a quiet retreat for newlyweds to take a moment to relax throughout the day and enjoy the scenery. The Chatsworth Rooms, The Blenheim and the Lobby are where couples can hold their ceremonies through to evening receptions, all with exclusive use of the Pavilion. The Chatsworth Rooms can be used separately or combined to create a larger space with a capacity of 50 to 250 loved ones, depending upon the set-up. WE LOVE... Couples will receive a menu tasting, complementary afternoon tea for two guests and day passes for the health and fitness facilities. WINTER WONDERLAND 21

ANSTY HALL, CV7 9HZ 02476 612 222 | 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. CELEBRATE IN STYLE Small celebrations are held in The Library which overlooks the gardens and can hold up to 30 friends and family for the vows and 15 for the reception. Alternatively, The Drawing Room offers views of the Warwickshire countryside and can accommodate 50 nearest and dearest for the service and 30 for the meal. The Rose Room is also available and has space for 100 guests during the day and 60 for a sit down meal. The Orangery Suite, a secluded room separate from the hotel, has space for 150 loved ones for the ceremony and evening celebration. Outdoor ceremonies are also available for up to 160 people. WE LOVE... The venue was named Most Romantic Wedding Venue of the Year at The 5th English Wedding Awards and is a finalist for The 6th English Wedding Awards. Ansty Hall is also a finalist at The Wedding Industry Awards 2023 for Best Hotel in the West Midlands. MOOR HALL HOTEL & SPA, B75 6LN 0121 308 3751 | Moor Hall Hotel & Spa is situated at the end of a long tree-lined drive and boasts a sunken garden with a double-stone staircase, fountain feature, Victorian grotto and sweeping lawns. The happy couple will love the modern and relaxing spa, which has an indoor pool with a bath, sauna and steam room, a refurbished gym and four rooms that can be used for pre-wedding treatments. CELEBRATE IN STYLE Located on the ground floor with direct access from the car park, The Charter Suite is an elegant and spacious room with a separate bar. This space can be used for up 180 loved ones for the ceremony and breakfast and 250 for the evening reception. The Bracebridge Room and Longmoor Room are located on the first floor and can each accommodate up to 60 friends and family. Receptions can be held in The Oak Room Restaurant, which offers sweeping views over the surrounding parkland and can hold 60 nearest and dearest. WE LOVE... The new wedding preparation suite has a double bed and sofa bed, large mirrors with lots of lighting and plenty of dressing table space for a make-up artist. There’s also a connecting room so the wedding party can sleep over too. 22

Macdonald Ansty Hall Hotel is set amongst 8 acres of private grounds, featuring magnificent views of the surrounding Warwickshire countryside - a magical setting for your wedding celebrations. Our Award winning venue also offers luxurious accommodation in the very heart of Shakespeare Country, which will prove a spectacularly luxurious base for your wedding party. Our suites can comfortably seat up to 120 wedding guests, with the capability of housing up to 150 people for your evening reception. Our function rooms feature stunning views of our beautiful landscaped gardens, providing you with the most romantic of venues in the charming Warwickshire countryside. Our staff will gladly assist you during your journey, every step of the way - our dedicated wedding planner will help you with all aspects of wedding planning and the chefs at Macdonald Ansty Hall Hotel will cater to your every need. Plus, we also offer exclusivity of the entire venue which can be tailor-made with a bespoke package. Find your dream venue at or call 02476 612 222 Ansty Hall, Main Road, Ansty, Warwickshire. CV7 9HZ YOUR JOURNEY BEGINS HERE

2023 Star Dates There's still time to book a key 2023 date at our 4* country house hotel in Sutton Coldfield! What's more, we can offer an amazing value all-inclusive price of £5,500 on the star dates below that includes room hire, 3 course meal with drinks, evening food and much more! (based on 50 day and 80 evening guests) Monday 1st May (Bank Holiday) | Monday 8th May (Bank Holiday) Friday 26th May | Friday 2nd June | Friday 14th July Saturday 28th October | Saturday 11th November Wednesday 27th December Visit our website to find out more! Moor Hall Drive, Sutton Coldfield B75 6LN 0121 308 3751 | 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

NAILCOTE HALL HOTEL, CV7 7DE 02476 466 174 | Set among 13 acres of Warwickshire countryside, Nailcote Hall Hotel boasts a par three championship golf course, green fields, picturesque lakes and waterfalls. The house has lots of character and charm, including a 17th-century black and white façade, original décor and luxurious bedrooms. CELEBRATE IN STYLE Nailcote Hall Hotel has three wedding spaces that are all very different in size and character, meaning there’s something to suit everyone. The largest is the glass marquee, which overlooks the lake, lower lawn and golf course, it can accommodate 280 guests for the ceremony and 320 for the reception. Intimate nuptials take place in The Pavilion Suite, which has a full-length balcony that overlooks the countryside with space for 50 loved ones. The Bistro and Lant Suite is a sunken space with a large glass ceiling, a two-storey stone staircase and room for 140 friends and family for the vows and 150 for the evening celebration. WE LOVE... Lovebirds will receive a free menu tasting, anniversary dinner and stay, three months leisure membership and a complimentary stay on the night of the wedding. WESTON HALL, ST18 OHS 01889 271 082 | Nestled 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 impressive 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. Boasting a 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. 25 WINTER WONDERLAND

After a busy few months, I was desperate for a getaway and didn’t hesitate when the opportunity arose to visit Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa – a hotel that provides the perfect setting for relaxing getaways, weddings and mini-moons. On one sunny afternoon, my mum and I set off to discover what the popular venue had to offer – spoiler alert, we were not disappointed. THE PERFECT SETTING Situated just outside the Medieval town of Stratford-upon-Avon, the manor is surrounded by scenic countryside and is ideally located with easy access to the M40. Upon arriving at the 16th-century hotel and descending the long driveway, we were blown away by the charming grounds and grand exterior. After an extensive refurbishment, the 125-year-old hotel has undergone a stunning transformation. The newly-refurbished spaces have been lovingly decorated using a blend of traditional and modern designs. There are plenty of quirky features, beautiful fireplaces and nods to William Shakespeare himself. The famous writer visited the property and is rumoured to have written one of his famous plays there, which is where the As You Like It Lounge got its name. With books ‘floating’ in the beautiful bookshelf, this inspirational space provided a quiet location to relax with a book and play some games. We spent a lot of time here playing with the property’s Alice in Wonderland chess set. REST YOUR HEAD With 71 on-site bedrooms to choose from, we were lucky enough to stay in the Manor House Deluxe Room. Featuring a cosy design and luxury furnishings, what place could be better to unwind from everyday life? Our room had everything we needed and more, from a mini-fridge and coffee table to reading chairs, a desk with a vanity mirror and a beautifully-designed bathroom. If you’re anything like me, then you’ll also love the double wardrobe! The super-king-sized bed provided pure comfort thanks to the duckdown duvet and Hypnos Lansdowne cashmere mattress. Each morning, I awoke feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead. I loved the rain-fall shower in the bathroom and the Essential Savon products provided, which included shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. A lovely touch was the cotton waffle bathrobes. Our room had a stunning view over the Victorian Topiary Garden, which were planted more than 125 years ago and were inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland with plants shaped like giant chess pieces. TO DINE FOR We had a fantastic meal at The Stuart Restaurant, which featured stunning décor, artwork, high ceilings, warm lighting and open fires – perfect for a romantic dinner. The talented chef creates delicious dishes using some of the best local produce. I started with the carrot and coriander soup, followed by a roasted breast of chicken with truffle mash, and everything was cooked to perfection! My mum loved the risotto and still talks about it to this day. The dinner service was impeccable, with friendly and attentive staff who ensured we had the best experience possible. The restaurant was also where breakfast was served, my favourite meal of the day! With a selection of fruit, cereal and pastries accompanied by fresh juices to pick from, as well as cooked food – guests won’t go hungry! IN TIME A step back Olivia Gibson discovers what makes Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa the perfect UK getaway 26

DISCOVER LOCAL ATTRACTIONS  Avon Boating,  Butterfly Farm,  Shakespeare Distillery,  Royal Shakespeare Theatre,  Warwick Castle, TIME TO RELAX What better location to relax than the newly-refurbished spa? With an impressive list of treatments available, including facials, massages, scrubs and body treatments, guests are sure to feel refreshed and rejuvenated. The property offers several spa days, perfect for couples looking for a relaxing break away from wedding planning. Upon entering the relaxing foyer area, I was welcomed by an expert beauty therapist who went through my problem areas to create a personalised facial just for me. The facial lasted 25 minutes and included a mixture of cleansing, refreshing and hydrating products from ESPA. The background music, dimmed lighting and aroma of essential oils added to the calming atmosphere, and I entered a world of pure relaxation – especially during the head massage. After the session ended, I noticed the results instantly! My skin looked more radiant, my dry patches had improved significantly, and I had fewer blackheads – something I struggle with. During our stay we went swimming each morning and used the steam room and sauna. The comfortable loungers beside the pool offered the perfect space to relax with a good-old book. Make sure you check out some of the venue’s indoor and outdoor activities, including meditation and yoga in the gardens or the yoga hut to calm the body and mind. Exercise enthusiasts won’t be disappointed by the homely and intimate gym that’s fully air-conditioned. EXCHANGING VOWS Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa is not only the perfect getaway, but it also offers a stunning backdrop for quintessentially English weddings. Couples can hire the manor exclusively and will receive assistance from the venue’s wedding specialists to help create the perfect day. Say “I do” in The Stuart Room, which features traditional oak panelling, stunning chandeliers, a charming atmosphere and period features. For intimate celebrations, The Drawing Room, with stunning views over the gardens, is perfect. Alternatively, why not choose the Topiary Garden Suite, which has been designed to match any colour scheme? This bright and airy suite opens into the gardens to create the perfect space for drink receptions. The venue’s bi-annual wedding fairs are the perfect opportunity to meet talented companies, ask any questions you may have and receive plenty of valuable advice. Discover more about the hotel here: Scan to view video REVIEW 27


Dance the night away Abby and Connor tied the knot at The Old Rectory with a festival theme Images courtesy of P & S Photography Ltd Abby and Connor met while working in the same restaurant. “He asked me how to cut an avocado,” laughs Abby. “I helped him make guacamole and we laughed and haven’t stopped since! It was a really easy and natural connection, and we got on straight away. Connor proposed in our first home that we bought together when we were 18. He rang me while I was on my way home from work, and I could tell that he was excited about something. He scattered rose petals up two flights of stairs, and on each step was a sticky note with something he loved about me written on it. I followed the stairs to the top, opened the door and he was down on one knee with my dream ring.” Here the bride shares some of her favourite moments from their big day... REAL WEDDINGS 29

The Old Rectory had beautiful grounds and was exactly what we wanted for our big day. Selena, our wedding coordinator, was extremely open-minded when helping us create our vision. We wanted a relaxed and fun vibe, so we decided to go for a festival theme with hay bales, blankets, festival flags and signposts. In the evening, we had a fish and chips van for our guests to enjoy. We also had a candy floss and ice cream bike from Dan & Wills, which was a fun detail that everyone loved! Connor and I didn’t have a traditional cake. Instead, we opted for cupcakes, which were lemon sponge with white chocolate meringue icing. We made most of our décor, including the signs and favours, and Connor’s dad helped with the giant letters. For our favours, we chose jelly shots. I’ve always made them for parties, and they’re loved and hated by many, so it felt like a personal touch. We also had a sign that said: ‘we’ve tied the knot so take a shot’. We chose wildflowers for our flowers and centrepieces. I, unfortunately, lost my grandad, who was a very big presence in my life, so we requested yellow roses to be included as it was his favourite flower. Although it was only a small detail, each time I see my flowers in the photos they stand out to me. We also requested for Anne Whysall Florists to add rosemary sprigs for Connor’s nan, who we also sadly lost. 30

I wore a beautiful gown from Shropshire Country Brides. I had no idea what type of dress I wanted, but it was the first one I picked, and I instantly knew that it was the one. To keep everyone entertained, we hired The Vertigo Band. We also had garden games dotted around, including croquet, table tennis and Jenga. Connor picked a plain suit with a cream tie, which had sunflowers on and a hint of the same green that the bridesmaids wore. For me, walking down the aisle was the most memorable moment. It was a feeling unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, and I felt elated, emotional, excited, and nervous! Walking out once we were married felt like all the pieces had finally fallen into place and like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. After months of stress and planning, it was all worth it. I felt surprisingly relaxed on the day. I think the morning prosecco may have helped! Connor was busy setting up with the groomsmen, so I don’t think he had time to feel excited or nervous, although he did have time for a quick pint! The bridesmaids chose dark green multiway dresses. I loved that they matched but could be worn differently. I also told the girls to choose whatever hairstyle they wanted but to incorporate gypsophila into it. REAL WEDDINGS 31

ABBY AND CONNOR’S CONTACTS Venue, The Old Rectory, | Photographer, P & S Photography Ltd, | Bride’s dress and alterations, Shropshire Country Brides, | Groom’s suit, Next, | Bridesmaids’ dresses, Amazon, | Mother-of-the-bride/groom’s dress, Coast, | Flowers, Anne Whysall Florists, | Marquee hire, Rustic Revelry Ltd, | Entertainment, The Vertigo Band, | Bouncy castle, Liam’s Bouncy Castle Hire Telford, | Cotton candy and ice cream, Dan & Wills, 32

My passion is makeup and to make every Bride look and feel amazing, after all a Wedding Day is one of the most important days of your life and it will probably be captured in hundreds of photos. I use gorgeous skincare products and luxury makeup brands and professionally apply to ensure each of my brides is glowing, confident and ready for her special day. Bridal trials can be held at home or at my new studio in Halesowen and with a variety of Wedding Packages and bespoke ideas I’m sure I have an option for you. | 07870428520 Georgia x PICTURE PERFECT Bespoke Cheese Celebration Cakes Fresh from our Deli 5 Mill Lane, Solihull, B91 3AR 01217093101 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

In the country Shannon and Tris celebrated their big at Henley Hall surrounded by their friends and family Images courtesy of Humblebee Photography 34

Shannon and Tris met in 2017 while working as lifeguards. “I was working to help fund my master’s degree, and Tris was learning to become a personal trainer before he headed off to university,” says Shannon. “I was attracted to Tris because he was quieter than the other guys I knew, and he was thoughtful and such a gentleman. We worked a lot of evening shifts together, which involved cleaning the leisure centre at the end of the day. He didn’t shy away from the dirty work, and he always put others first.” After carrying the ring around for two years, Tris proposed on New Year’s Day in 2021. “We had spent New Year’s Eve as just the two of us,” shares the bride. “I was feeling quite down as my family have a tradition of writing secret wishes for each other and ourselves, and we read these out from the previous year to see if they had come true. I knew that my wish hadn’t come true, so I asked my mum and sisters not to open my letter and instead to put it into the fire. Tris and I played games all evening, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of disappointment. After returning from the bathroom after getting ready for bed, I walked into the bedroom, and Tris was down on one knee asking: ‘is this what you wished for?’ It turns out that wishes really do come true!” SETTING THE SCENE “We are both lovers of the great outdoors, and it was our dream to get married outside and have a country wedding,” explains Shannon. “We chose Henley Hall for the ceremony as the gardens are beautiful and quintessentially British. The bridge over the River Ledwyche is incredibly romantic, and we knew as soon as we visited that we had found our dream venue. We hired some land in the quaint village of Ashford Carbonel, where I went to primary school, for our reception. We chose to hire tipis from Shire Tipis as they fitted our country vibe perfectly. “I’m a keen environmentalist, so it was important for us to minimise the environmental impact and carbon footprint from our wedding and to support small local businesses where possible,” adds the bride. “All of the décor was handmade using reclaimed materials. I made 80 metres of bunting, which we hung outside Henley Hall and inside the tipis. I also made a floral chandelier, which hung from the centre of the tipi. My dad made the most wonderful sweet cart, which we now hire out under Shropshire Handmade Weddings for other weddings and events. My sister-in-law and her partner also helped us to make a giant cornhole on which she painted a beautiful leaping trout.” The happy couple placed gin bottles filled with fairylights and vases made by Shannon’s dad on each table. “We picked the flowers for the tables from my mum and dad’s garden,” recalls Shannon. “My dad also hand-carved a tree of life inside a frame that we placed in the centre of our top table. It’s now sitting pride of place in our lounge. My parents grew a lot of the flowers for our wedding as we wanted to have English spring flowers that were grown locally. Kate, my mum’s very talented friend, also picked some of the flowers from her garden and bought a bucket to make my bouquet and the bridesmaids’ posies. She also picked some wildflowers from the hedgerow at my childhood home to place in my bouquet. It was such a kind gesture and a wonderful sentiment.” For their favours, Shannon and Tris chose bride and groom-themed biscuits that were made by Shannon’s sister, Heulwen. Shannon’s mum also contributed by making the couple a three-tiered wedding cake. It was filled with fruit, carrot and chocolate and was beautifully decorated with fondant and delicate flowers. “Tris and I absolutely love Spanish food and the culture,” reveals the bride. “We chose to serve patatas bravas and paella at our wedding breakfast. We also had canapés at the drinks reception following the ceremony. These were made by my mum, auntie and cousin. In the evening, we had an extravagant hog roast, which was loved by all. “My lovely uncle Mike drove me to the ceremony and Tris and I to the reception venue in his car, which my mum had expertly decorated with ribbon and flowers,” adds the bride. “My mum and bridesmaids were driven to the wedding by my dad’s best friend. We couldn’t have picked more special chauffeurs!” REAL WEDDINGS 35