Your West Midlands Wedding - April/May 2023 (Issue 85)

APR/MAY 2023 HONEYMOONS, BEAUTY, FASHION, GROOMS, EXPERT ADVICE, FREEBIES AND MORE £3.55 WIN! A trip to Tuscany Celebrate your big day surrounded by glorious countryside This timeless fabric never goes out of style Not-so secret gardens Fall in love WITH LACE We love TO BOOGIE Meet local musicians and entertainers

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. OPEN DAY | 18th June 2023 | 11:00am - 2:30pm

57 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 12 FREEBIES & OFFERS Great giveaways and discounts up for grabs 49 HOT TOPIC Our experts answer your questions 89 COMPETITION Win a four-night break in Tuscany CONTENTS APRIL/MAY 2023 FEATURES 41 THE TIME OF OUR LIVES Local photographers showcase their favourite images 45 ETHEREAL ROMANCE A team of local suppliers worked together to create this autumnal styled shoot 53 WE LOVE TO BOOGIE Meet local musicians and entertainers 57 AUTUMN DREAMS Fall in love with this autumnal shoot at The Oaks 74 SOOTHING SELF-CARE Gracie Leader immersed herself in the world of Reiki to find out if the form of meditation can help you remain calm in the lead up to your big day Cover look This issue’s cover has been sponsored by formal suit hire company Peter Posh ( Celebrating 30 years in business, the company has six stores and supplies to 400 independent stockists. Follow them on Instagram at 45 VENUES 15 SPOTLIGHT ON COVENTRY, NUNEATON & RUGBY Discover some of the best venues in the area 19 NOT-SO SECRET GARDENS Celebrate your big day surrounded by countryside 3

REAL WEDDINGS 23 THERE’S MAGIC IN THE AIR Karina and Ed tied the knot at The Fairlawns Hotel & Spa surrounded by their friends and family 28 ENCHANTED ROMANCE Emily and Martin opted for earthy hues for their big day at Keele Hall 35 FALL IN LOVE Summer and Samuel celebrated their autumnal themed wedding at Ansty Hall FASHION & BEAUTY 60 FASHION FOCUS The latest bridal fashion news, buys and launches 61 FRILL SEEKERS This season’s bridal dresses enjoy tiers of ruffled tulle, silky satin layers and subtle pleats 66 HEAD OVER HEELS Walk down the aisle in style this season with our hand-picked edit of the best bridal shoes and bags 67 IN LOVE WITH LACE This timeless fabric never goes out of fashion 70 BEAUTY BUZZ Get the look with these must-haves for the bride-to-be 72 BAN THE BLOAT Professional nutritionists at Wedding Wellness explain how to avoid untimely bloating on your wedding day 76 FASHION & BEAUTY Q&A Local professionals solve your problems 35 61 HONEYMOONS 82 HONEYMOON NEWS The newest openings and must-visit honeymoon destinations 84 A GRAND AFFAIR Experience ultimate luxury combined with traditional Greek appeal at Rhodes-based Ixian Grand & All Suites 86 FLY AWAY WITH ME We’ve rounded up some of our favourite city escapes 88 SANTA NEEDS A SPA DAY The Runnymede on Thames set the scene for a much-needed pre-Christmas break GROOMS 78 GROOMS’ NEWS The latest best buys and product launches 79 SUITED AND BOOTED Styling advice for the groom-to-be 80 IT’S ONLY NATURAL With neutral colour palettes on the rise, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite products to ensure you look on-trend this season 82 28 23 4

Peter Posh is a leading brand within the suit hire market with over 30 years of expertise and longstanding reputation for quality and service. Our range of products are sought after all over the UK. We have six retail showrooms and over 200 independent retail trade customers. Our extensive range of wedding attire includes traditional tailoring and styling with a modern twist. NEW 2023 COLLECTION NOW AVAILABLE TELFORD D3, STAFFORD PARK 11 TELFORD, SHROPSHIRE TF3 3AY 01952 201 117 SHREWSBURY 10 VANGUARD WAY, BATTLEFIELD ENTERPRISE PARK, SHREWSBURY, SHROPSHIRE SY1 3TG 01743 467 105 BIRMINGHAM G3 MINWORTH TRADE PARK, FORGE LANE, MINWORTH, NR SUTTON COLDFIELD, BIRMINGHAM B76 1DH 0121 411 9272 TETTENHALL 10-11 UPPER GREEN, TETTENHALL, WOLVERHAMPTON, WEST MIDLANDS WV6 8QH 01902 858 900 WARWICK 20 COTEN END, WARWICK, WARWIKSHIRE CV34 4NP 01926 359 050 KNUTSFORD CHESTER ROAD, OVER TABLEY, KNUTSFORD, CHESHIRE WA16 0PP (M6 J19) 01565 656 966 SHOWROOMS WWW.PETERPOSH.CO.UK BIRMINGHAM | WARWICK | TETTENHALL | TELFORD | SHREWSBURY | KNUTSFORD

I can’t believe this is our April/May issue already, time is flying by, and if you’re counting down the days until your wedding, don’t worry, it will be here before you know it! This is one of my favourite issues as I love seeing the new wedding dress collections be revealed. I got married last year and so I know how stressful finding your dream dress can be. I’m short, curvy and very self-conscious, so I was dreading trying on gowns. I had no idea of what style I wanted, a fishtail made me feel like I couldn’t sit down without bursting out of it and a ballgown swamped me, but luckily my bridal consultant suggested an A-line silhouette, which suited my figure. If you’re looking for your dress and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of choice available, make sure you listen to your consultant. They have years of experience and have helped brides of every shape and size find their dream gown, so they will know what looks good on you even if you don’t yourself. Lastly, don’t panic if you don’t have that overwhelming this is the one feeling, as I didn’t myself, just trust your gut and go for something that makes you feel beautiful, comfortable and confident. For more inspiration, head over to our fashion pages, which are full of stunning on-trend styles, including ruffled tulle, satin layers, lace and subtle pleats. If you’ve recently tied the knot or organised a shoot, you can submit it at or via Melissa x Melissa Cullen, Senior Editor This season’s bridal dresses are all about tiers of ruffled tulle, silky satin layers and subtle pleats. 61 45 89 A team of local suppliers worked together to create this autumnal styled shoot. Searching for the one WIN 57 Fall in love with this styled shoot at The Oaks. a four-night break in Tuscany. 6 ISSN 1759-4723 Your West Midlands Wedding is solely owned, published and designed by KD Events & Publishing Ltd. Whilst every effort was made to ensure the information in this magazine was correct at the time of going to press, the publishers cannot accept legal responsibility for any errors or omissions, nor can they accept responsibility for advert content, or of the standing of advertisers or by the editorial contributions. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. Your West Midlands Wedding is published six times a year. DIA SHING NTS SHING EVENTS & PUBLISHING cwe COUNTY WEDDING EVENTS ADVERTISING Account Manager Nicola Hawkins | 01376 538 480 @CountyWeddingMagazines @CountyWeddings @countyweddingmagazines Visit us online at and DESIGN 01376 535 616 ACCOUNTS 01376 535 616 MANAGING DIRECTOR Sarah Ellis | 01376 535 602 EDITORIAL Senior Editor Melissa Cullen | 01376 535 611

82 28 35 79 76 23 Emily and Martin’s big day at Keele Hall turned out perfectly. The latest openings and honeymoon destinations for couples post-vows. The experts at Suit Direct give their styling advice for the groom-to-be. Summer and Samuel celebrated their autumnal-themed wedding at Ansty Hall. Local fashion and beauty experts offer advice on how to look your big-day best. Karina and Ed tied the knot at The Fairlawns Hotel & Spa surrounded by their friends and family. EDITOR’S LETTER 7

Our 200-seat restaurant o ers incredible views over the Barston Lake near Hampton in Arden, Solihull. The 21 acres of water and surrounding parkland makes for an idyllic location for wedding ceremonies and receptions. The stunning backdrop of the lake will help to create memories for years to come, perfect for capturing your special day. As well as o ering a beautiful setting for your big day, you can also take full advantage of having the newly refurbushed restaurant exclusivley for you and your guests. As part of our wedding venue, we o er our dedicated team to be at your service, taking care of everything you could ask for, so that you can relax and enjoy your day. A traditional Wedding Breakfast is o ered, with a menu of your choice. We are can serve up to 200 people, and can increase this capacity for additional evening guests at your reception. Your menu can be adjusted to suit your wishes, with dishes made by our quali ed team of chefs. We are fully licensed for Civil Ceremonies and Civil Partnerships, enabling you to have the wedding itself on site. With the marriage and following celebrations taking place on the same site, it makes everything easier for both the happy couple and the guests. The Lake at Barston Restaurant, Marsh House Farm Lane, Barston, Solihull B92 0LB Meet our Wedding Coordinator Enquiries: 01675 444 890 b a r & r e s t a u r a n t The perfect place for your perfect day Thursday 27th April 4pm - 8pm Wedding Open Evening We would like to welcome you to our W E D D I N G O P E N E V E N I N G T H U R S D A Y 27th A P R I L 4pm - 8pm

All the latest from around the West Midlands WEDDING SHOW ALERT! Barnutopia, a charming wedding venue near Oswestry, Shropshire, is hosting a wedding fair on Sunday 7th May, 2023. With more than 15 local suppliers, including photographers, celebrants and florists, there is plenty to inspire you. Doors are open from 12pm to 4pm, and entry is free of charge. The property, situated on a converted farm, first opened as a glamping site with three Mongolian yurts in 2015. Two years later, the owners expanded as a wedding and events venue and have continued to add to the space to create a charming setting to say ‘I do’. All parts of the site are easily accessible, including the 10 luxury glamping yurts, cabins and converted stable, three fully-equipped kitchens and bathroom block with unlimited hot water. To find out more about the wedding fair, visit SHOWSTOPPING FASHION Perfections Bridal Studio in Worcestershire is excited to be stocking designs from Ukraine designer, Monreal Bridal. Having recently launched in the UK, Monreal Bridal has a range of beautiful dresses with something to suit every bride. “With designs spanning seven collections, they have modern styles that exude glamour, elegance, sexiness and romance,” says the team at Perfections Bridal Studio. “We have been serving brides from across the West Midlands and Gloucestershire since 1999 and are truly excited to bring this luxury bridal designer to Worcester. During your appointment with us, you will get exclusive use of a luxurious fitting room for an hour-and-a-half and be guided by a friendly, experienced bridal sales consultant. You will also love the unique beauty of the Grade II listed building that we are located in.” Discover more at Nearlywed NEWS STYLED TO PERFECTION Kara-Mia Venue Styling in Coventry is expanding its styling range to include Chiavari chairs; these will be available to hire from May and are perfect for weddings and events. Kara has been in the event industry her whole life, starting with a bridal shop, where she worked with beautiful gowns and listened to clients’ needs. Kara began styling boxing venues, and as she says, “if you can add style to a boxing event, you can create luxury anywhere.” Today, Kara and her team style luxurious wedding venues in Coventry and Warwickshire. “As a family-run, independent business, we’re committed to being reliable and trustworthy,” adds Kara. “We make sure Kara-Mia Venue Styling is available and responsive from our first consultation to when we collect our things from your venue. Our goal is to create a wedding space that reflects your unique love story.” Kara-Mia Venue Styling will be hosting a wedding show at the Royal Court Hotel in Coventry on Sunday 8th October, 2023. It will include handpicked local suppliers and is a must-visit for couples planning their big day. Head over to for more information. Marine by Monreal Bridal LOCAL NEWS 9

LET’S CELEBRATE Teepees of Warwick is a family-run business in Warwick offering soft play hire, indoor teepee hire, light-up letters and much more. The company won ‘Best Party Supplier’ at the Little Ankle Biters’ Awards 2022 and is a finalist in the same category for the 2023 awards. “We specialise in creating precious moments with family and friends for every one of our customers,” says the team at Teepees of Warwick. “We cater for all occasions and cover a 40-mile radius from our base in Warwick. Our services include bell tents, igloo domes, wedding corners, film/gaming nights, dining experiences and de luxe picnics.” For more information, visit or DELECTABLE DELIGHTS Little Ivy’s Food Box is a new company in Bridgnorth, Shropshire offering catering services for special occasions. “We travel pretty much anywhere,” says Luke from Little Ivy’s Food Box. “We specialise in pizza (sweet and savoury) and pasta, however, we’re able to make any type of food requested. We work with our clients to create a completely customised menu that they will love.” Visit for more information. DRINK IT ALL IN Beans Around the World will be attending several events this year. The company opened in January 2022 offering award-winning coffees, cinnamon rolls, flapjacks, and dark chocolate brownies, and is now working on its food offerings for 2023. “We are always expanding our product ranges and our latest offerings include sandwich platters which are going out to companies in Warwickshire,” says the team at Beans Around the World. “We will be attending the Three Roses Care Home Charity Event on Monday 8th May, the Windmill Hill Arch Brewery Event on Saturday 8th July, a Halloween Spooktacular Event throughout October and an Enchanted Christmas Kingdom Event from late November through December at Hatton Country World.” Check out for more information. AWARD-WINNING PLANNING Boss Lady Events, a wedding and event planning company, has won ‘Wedding Planner of the Year West Midlands’ and ‘Wedding Planner of the Year Overall Winner’ at the English Wedding Awards. “Here at Boss Lady Events, we bring our unique blend of design, creative flair, logistical expertise, and some of the finest suppliers in the industry to ensure your event is truly magnificent,” says owner Daksha Patel. “Our sole focus is to ensure you have a stress-free experience that allows you to relax and enjoy your special day. The better we get to know you, whether you’re a private or corporate client, the more personal and customised the result will be. What’s most important for us at Boss Lady Events is that the entire process from planning to execution is relaxed and exceeds your expectations. We guarantee to save you time, boost your imagination and allow you and your guests to enjoy your event. Aside from the years of experience we have under our belt, our team take pride in what they do. We truly enjoy planning and coordinating events with our clients, and we make it a priority to make it fun and stress-free.” To find out more, visit 10

Coach Hire for your Wedding You’ve booked the venue, invited the guests and now you need to get them there! Johnsons Quality Coach Travel offers the perfect travel solution for your wedding! Call 01564 510 173 for a free no obligation quote! Why choose Johnsons? 9 Ideally located in the heart of the Midlands 9 We can meet all your transport needs for your wedding day, hen do or stag do! 9 Our large fleet offers a choice of 7 to 89 seats, including wheelchair accessible coaches! 9 Smart, friendly & professional drivers 9 Friends and family won’t need to worry about finding a parking space! 9 Preview of your coach before your wedding day 9 You’re welcome to decorate your wedding coach to add your personal touch! Whatever your wedding group size, contact Johnsons! BRIDAL GRAZING BREAKFAST � CANAPÉS � BESPOKE WEDDING BREAKFAST SWEET TABLES � BESPOKE GRAZING TABLES � GRAZING CUPS � BUFFETS 07361 812807 @Westwoods_kitchen @Westwoods kitchen 5 star reviews because we are f di Westwoods Kitchen is built on Lee’s principles and uses only local suppliers who provide the finest and freshest ingredients and the best welfare possible. Westwoods Kitchen cater for most dietary requirements which means everyone is catered for. All food is freshly prepared and cooked fresh on the day of service. Westwoods magnificent platters are not only a mouth-watering feast but also a visual delight, and one your guests certainly won’t forget! Westwoods Kitchen is a family run business headed up by chef Lee Westwood. Westwoods Kitchen is based perfectly to cater for all of the the Midlands and beyond. WE ONLY COOK WITH PREMIUM INGREDIENTS

ENTER ONLINE AT WWW.YOURWESTMIDLANDS.WEDDING/GIVEAWAYS WIN A STATIONERY PACKAGE WORTH £300! The team behind Bunji Print is offering engaged couples the chance to win a wedding stationery package worth £300. The Warwickshire-based printing company can help take away some of the costs and planning for your big day with this bespoke prize. The winner can choose from thousands of styles and themes, including foil stamped, UV printed, screen-printed, letterpress and thermographic, acrylic and even PVC, across a range of invitations, RSVP cards, wedding menus, order of service, place cards and thank you cards. The owner of Bunji, Steve Boyle, said: “When we looked to develop the wedding stationery range, we wanted to offer customers a product that both befitted the celebration of their wedding day while keeping it all within an affordable price range. We are very happy with the results as not only do we offer high-quality wedding stationery at affordable prices, but we believe our range of designs, colours, papers, acrylic and now vellum is second to none. Most people think when they see our invitations that they are exclusive and might cost more than their budget, not so, in fact, most of the cards in our range cost less than a birthday card from a supermarket and what’s more, they are bespoke to you.” Terms and conditions apply, please see our website for full details. To enter, visit The competition closes on 31st May, 2023. For more information about Bunji Print and to see their full wedding range, visit and-stationery Take advantage of these gorgeous giveaways and fab offers WIN A PAIR OF STEVE MADDEN BRIDAL SHOES The hunt for the perfect bridal shoe ends here with the chance to win the ultimate pair for your special day from Steve Madden. The shimmering Bridal Collection is not only amazing for brides but bridesmaids too, ensuring a picture-perfect look on the big day. For everyone who loves to shine you can choose from rose gold, silver, nude and white with finishes that include satin, rhinestone, leather and clear materials. If the shoe fits… be your own Cinderella! Check out County Wedding Magazine readers have the chance to win a pair of bridal shoes to the value of £150 from For your chance to win enter online via our website Freebies & OFFERS 12

PRIVATE BAR HIRE COURTESY OF THAT GIN COMPANY TO ENTER VISIT WWW.YOURWESTMIDLANDS.WEDDING With its huge range of made-to-order gin recipes, cocktails, beer, wine, spirits and fizz, That Gin Company offers customers a truly unique experience for their private event. In addition to a full bar the party guests have access to more than 100 uniquely made-to-order flavour infusions with something for every palate guaranteed – from the traditional juniper and floral gins through to fruity offerings such as Pineapple, Watermelon, Passionfruit and Sicilian Orange and, for spice lovers, Pink Pepper, Black Pepper and Cardamon or even Jalapeno gin! Owner Steve Bazell, said: “At That Gin Company we are passionate about our customers and ensuring they have a great experience. We want to create something you cannot get anywhere else. “Our passion lies in finding your perfect drink and everything we do is geared to the customers enjoying the drinks as much as we enjoy making them.” Steve added: “We believe we offer something different as we have a more tailored approach. For weddings, for example, we can offer bespoke gins for favours or gifts for the wedding party. “We’re experienced in providing fast-paced bar service and creating unique drinks combinations for customers. A wedding needs to be a really special occasion so we aim to provide drink options that are synonymous with what you’d want at a wedding.” That Gin and Cocktail Bar in Warwick, also owned by the business, includes a private hire room with an exclusive use bar, accommodating up to 60 guests. To find out more about the company and see the full range of drinks available, visit THE PRIZE: The winner will receive a That Gin Company private bar hire for their event, which includes glassware and a complimentary first round of drinks (by the glass). WIN FREEBIES & OFFERS 13

01926 283222 ▪ ▪ ▪ BunjiWedding ▪ bunji_wedding UNIT 8/9 RIGBY CLOSE HEATHCOTE INDUSTRIAL ESTATE WARWICK CV34 6TH With many designs to choose from, it’s easy to theme your wedding day online and over the phone at Bunji. We offer foil-stamped invitations, UV-printed invitations, screen-printed invitations and letterpress invitations. To meet our customer’s requests, we are constantly updating our product line, which now includes acrylic invitations, vellum paper invitations, wedding signs and speciality paper in various colours. BRANSTON GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB, BURTON ROAD, BRANSTON, BURTON UPON TRENT, STAFFORDSHIRE, DE14 3DP 01283 528 336 k m K

Spotlight on... WINDMILL VILLAGE HOTEL GOLF CLUB & SPA, CV5 9AL 02476 404 040 | The Windmill Village Hotel is a renowned four-star hotel ideally located on the outskirts of Coventry. Set within a 90 acre parkland golf course, the property offers an enchanting space perfect for weddings. There is on-site accommodation available, with options to suit all tastes and requirements, from lodge-style rooms to picturesque spaces overlooking the golf course and lakes. The elegant spa offers a host of inspired treatments that are truly memorable; complete the experience in the sauna or steam room or take advantage of the indoor heated swimming pool. For a more energetic stay, enjoy the great outdoors in the 18-hole parkland golf course or the state-of-the-art gym. CELEBRATE IN STYLE Windmill Village Hotel Golf Club & Spa offers several stunning suites to host civil ceremonies. The Chapel Suite, which is separate from the hotel, has original beams from its days as a barn and is the perfect place to exchange vows. The Windmill Suite has panoramic views overlooking the scenic parkland golf course, with floor-to-ceiling windows benefiting from natural daylight, private bar facilities and sparkling chandeliers. Boasting a balcony looking out over the lake, the Pickford Suite is the second largest suite and a great choice for a slightly larger ceremony or more intimate wedding breakfast. WE LOVE... The spa is perfect for pre-wedding pampering or hen party celebrations. COVENTRY, NUNEATON & RUGBY 15 COVENTRY, NUNEATON & RUGBY VENUES

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, that 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. DRAYCOTE HOTEL AND WHITEFIELDS GOLF COURSE, CV23 9LF 01788 521 800 | As guests drive through the gates of the hotel, they will fall in love with the front lawn and charming pergola. Beyond the hotel is a breathtaking 16-hole golf course with the 13th tee overlooking Draycote Water which hosts sailing, fishing and water sport events throughout the year. The building is single-story, with the exception of the first-floor bedrooms and has beams throughout, creating a barn-like feel, but with a modern twist. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The majority of civil ceremonies take place in the Phoenix Suite, with the capacity to host 140 guests. This neutral space has white walls and neutral flooring with heaps of character from the natural beams that are on display. Alternatively, the Dunchurch Suite is located on the first floor up a spiral staircase and can hold up to 60 loved ones. WE LOVE... Couples will receive a menu tasting and a complimentary night’s stay in the Serenity Bedroom on the night of the wedding. 16

CHEYLESMORE MANOR HOUSE, CV1 2HL 02476 833 141 | cheylesmoremanorceremonysuite Cheylesmore Manor House is the remnants of a Medieval royal palace in Coventry city centre. The magnificent timber building is a key piece of Coventry’s rich and important heritage. Previously the only unfortified royal palace outside of London, Cheylesmore Manor House is now used as a stunning ceremony venue. The manor is believed to have been built for the Earl of Arundel in 1237. By 1320 it had passed to Queen Isabella, wife of Edward II, along with the lavish Cheylesmore Park that surrounded it. Her grandson Edward, the Black Prince, took possession of it after her. The building we know today is, in fact, only the gatehouse and parts of two cross wings of the original manor house. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The property houses three ceremony rooms: The Queen Isabella Room, The Black Prince Room and the Library Room. The Black Prince Room retains a wealth of original features, including a magnificent vaulted beamed ceiling with an impressive stone fireplace and is furnished to a high standard with Medieval chandeliers. Once the ceremony is over, guests will exit from the room via a winding staircase down to a huge oak door leading into a large stone flagged courtyard, where a section of the city wall still remains. A small wooden bridge within the courtyard provides delightful opportunities for photographs and memories of the special day. This is the largest of the manor’s ceremony rooms accommodating 50 people. The Queen Isabella Room, with its beautiful beams, is tastefully furnished to a high standard. The room accommodates up to 20 people, including the couple and their witnesses; with direct access into the room from the archway outside. Alternatively, The Library Room can hold up to 10 people, including the couple and their witnesses. The room is on the ground floor of the manor house making it accessible for wheelchair users. WE LOVE... The venue’s rich history and stunning ceremony spaces. ASHTON LODGE COUNTRY HOUSE, CV23 0PJ 01788 460 112 | Ashton Lodge Country House is an exclusive-use wedding venue in the heart of Warwickshire near Rugby and Coventry. Set within three acres, this Edwardian house has completed a renovation project to create a truly stunning interior. The house has a honeymoon suite overlooking the rolling countryside, along with 13 en-suite bedrooms providing the ideal accommodation for the immediate wedding party, family and friends. Wedding guests at Ashton Lodge will be wowed by the food and creative drinks that are provided by local catering company, The Chopping Block. CHESFORD GRANGE HOTEL, CV8 2LD 01926 859 331 | Chesford Grange Hotel is a luxurious hotel set within 17 acres of private grounds and woodlands in the heart of Warwickshire’s countryside. The enchanting venue, complete with a stone entrance and red-roofed turrets, is a welcoming haven for guests to unwind from their busy lives. SWALLOWS NEST BARN, CV35 8AD 01926 620 237 | Swallows Nest Barn is a reinstated 19th-century property steeped in history, with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide the grandeur that any wedding day demands. Set in a valley of private farmland with a glazed annexe, there are plenty of places to take photographs. WESTON HALL HOTEL, CV12 9RU 02476 312 989 | Weston Hall Hotel is an Elizabethan manor house with delightful historic features. The stone building is dressed in ivy and wisteria, with large windows and beautiful symmetry, creating a lovely backdrop for photographs. Offering a mixture of original and contemporary features, including dark-wood panelling and stone floors that stand out against the neutral décor, each function room has its own styling, varying from dark reds, full-panelled walls to a light and spacious décor. Set within seven acres of grounds, the landscaped gardens complement the beauty of the hotel’s grand exterior and provide a lovely setting for drink receptions. COOMBE ABBEY HOTEL, CV3 2AB 02476 450 450 | Coombe Abbey Hotel is a historic four-star hotel with plenty of character and home comforts. Situated within 500 acres of parkland, there are lots of places to explore, including the on-site restaurant and Go Ape treetop adventure. THE RUGBY HOTEL, CV21 3BX 01788 573 244 | Steeped in history, The Rugby Hotel is ideally positioned in the middle of the Rugby Town Centre. Boasting a superb range of recently refurbished bedrooms, including king-sized rooms, standard doubles, family options and a four-poster suite, there’s something to suit everyone. Also check out… COVENTRY, NUNEATON & RUGBY VENUES 17

HOTELS BUILT FOR PLEASURE Let us set the scene for your wedding at Ettington Park, a magnificent Neo-Gothic mansion surrounded by 40 acres of stunning parkland, with the River Stour meandering its way through the estate. Blend this with our unique contemporary style, modern British food and impeccable service, and you have the ultimate venue for your special day. Whether you are planning a classic wedding or something a little different, we will help tailor a unique wedding day that celebrates you. For wedding showcase dates throughout the year along with packages and exclusive use options, please visit our website. 01789 450123 Your Special Day � Exclusive Use New Year’s Eve wedding available. £18,000 based on 70 guests and 35 bedrooms. ETTINGTON PARK HOTEL STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, WARWICKSHIRE

Not-so secret gardens Celebrate your big day in the great outdoors ALVESTON MANOR, CV37 7HP 01789 295 478 | Alveston Manor is a 16th century manor house situated within five acres of beautiful gardens. The grounds are well maintained with a splash of colour from the flowers and famous Cedar tree where Shakespeare did his first performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Boasting original features throughout, the house has plenty of character and looks charming in photographs. The Manor Bar & Blue Lounge are ideal for guests to relax pre-wedding, along with the Manor Restaurant, which serves delicious meals and breakfasts. Just a stone’s throw from the town centre of Stratford-upon-Avon, this hidden gem is traditional in décor but has a modern twist with the addition of a leisure centre and spa. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The Cedar Room has beautiful windows facing onto the lawns and can accommodate up to 120 guests for the ceremony and meal and 140 for the evening celebration. Outdoor ceremonies are held on the lawn in front of the Cedar tree with up to 120 friends and family. Additional seating can be added on the lawn or terrace in the summer months with the option for stretch tents if required. WE LOVE... Couples who book their wedding at Alveston Manor will receive a free menu tasting, use of the honeymoon suite, a pre-wedding reservation in the Manor Restaurant, a Bridal Bliss Spa Package the night before and a private family breakfast the morning after the wedding. GLORIOUS GARDENS 19

TAMWORTH CASTLE, B79 7NA 01827 709 551 | Tamworth Castle dates back almost 1,000 years and is full of historic touches. Situated within acres of beautiful grounds, it’s sat on top of a motte with plenty of places to take those all-important photographs, 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 is used for ceremonies with candelabra and chandeliers throughout that create a twinkling glow and bring the room to life. The magnificent oak-timbered roof and decorated lead windows create a stunning 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 key moments. The bandstand in the castle’s grounds provides a breathtaking backdrop and is worth taking a few minutes to visit. WE LOVE... Tamworth Castle can work with its sister site, Tamworth Assembly Rooms, to create a bespoke menu and reception venue for weddings. BENNETTS WILLOW BARN, WR2 4BS 01905 590 016 | Nestled on a working dairy farm and surrounded by grazing fields, woodland and a lake, Bennetts Willow Barn is a charming setting to tie the knot. There are plenty of stand-out features including flowers that bloom throughout the year, fairylights, willow trees and a firepit. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The happy couple 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 an 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 celebration. WE LOVE... Bennetts Willow Barn offers a discount for hiring the barn or yurt marquee for a first-anniversary celebration or engagement party, and there is also on-site accommodation that’s perfect for extended celebrations. 20

THE ORCHARD AT MUNSLEY, HR8 2SQ 07974 249 656 | Couples can celebrate their big day with a bespoke, tipi wedding at The Orchard at Munsley. The beautiful, natural surroundings of the Herefordshire apple orchard are the perfect setting for the big day and will keep guests talking for years to come. The orchard makes a fabulous backdrop for photos whatever the wedding style. The orchard changes through the seasons, from pretty blossom in the spring, to a leafy canopy in summer, to the rich colours of autumn with the apples filling the trees. CELEBRATE IN STYLE To keep things as simple as possible, The Orchard at Munsley offers one package which includes everything that couples need to create an unforgettable tipi wedding. The team take care of drinks throughout the day with a stocked and staffed bar, as well as three drinks packages available that covers the welcome drinks, wine on the tables and the toasting drink. The team also organise the basics, including the tipi, the generator for power and premium toilets. Lovebirds will work closely with the owner who will be there throughout the planning journey and on the day itself. Couples who wish to have a church wedding can get married at Munsley Church and then stroll down the drive to The Orchard or have an outside ceremony under the naked tipi. WE LOVE... The team will be there every step of the way to help with the planning and reduce the overwhelm. CASTLE BROMWICH HALL GARDENS, B36 9BT 01217 494 100 | Once part of the Earl of Bradford’s estate, Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens is an early 18th century formal garden design rescued, nurtured and now owned by an independent Charitable Trust. Keeping largely to a periodrelevant style with plant species and heritage fruit from 1680-1760, it’s like visiting the Baroque countryside in the middle of a 21st century city. Offering 10 acres of formal walled gardens, encircled by a further 30 acres of local nature reserve, Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens is one of the first licensed outdoor wedding venues in the West Midlands and the perfect space in which to host a wedding. Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens is an outdoor dry hire venue, offering couples a beautiful blank canvas to create the day exactly as they want. CELEBRATE IN STYLE Legal wedding ceremonies can take place anywhere on the extensive grounds. Options include the circular area of the Clair Voie with small amphitheatre vibes, amongst the blossoming heritage apple trees in the orchards, or how about in the classic space of the 1720 Orangery with its dramatic view along the Holly Walk? The Archery Lawn is the perfect spot for a tipi, stretch tent or marquee, with the rest of the 10-acre site available for couples and their guests to enjoy and capture some incredible photographs. WE LOVE... Couples choosing Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens for their wedding are entitled to preferential rates at the neighbouring Castle Bromwich Hall Hotel. The hotel is hosting its first wedding showcase on the 15th and 16th April 2023. Come along and see the gardens set up for a wedding, chat with the coordinators about ideas and options and meet a whole host of other local wedding suppliers. 21 GLORIOUS GARDENS

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

There’s magic in the air Karina and Ed tied the knot at The Fairlawns Hotel & Spa surrounded by their friends and family Images courtesy of Lee Hawley Photography Like most modern couples, Karina and Ed met online. “It took me two days to message back as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through with the subscription service, and funny enough Ed was just about to cancel his,” says Karina. “Luckily, he received my message just in time! Our mutual love of animals and hobbies sparked our initial conversations and we became inseparable. Ed proposed in 2021 during a holiday to Centre Parcs, when we were visited by a stag at our lodge; it was magical.” Here the bride shares some of her favourite moments from their big day... REAL WEDDINGS 23

We wanted a venue that meant something to us but also had really good food. Ed fell in love with The Fairlawns Hotel & Spa when he visited and we loved that we could spend the whole day with our family and friends; nowhere else compared. We had a spa day the day before our wedding and enjoyed a meal with friends and family that had travelled to celebrate with us. The cake was four tiers and each tier resembled a flavour and symbols from Harry Potter, Marvel, Disney and Star Wars. We chose double chocolate, red velvet, cherry bakewell and lemon meringue, which went down very well with everyone. I chose a paper bouquet made from the pages of our favourite stories. Ed and the groomsmen had paper buttonholes containing a Star Wars charm, and the women of the family had ivory paper corsages with a Disney charm. The bridesmaids carried small matching bouquets, and our dogs wore floral collars and dresses. We chose glass bowls as our centrepieces with a gold candle in the centre surrounded by flowers. Ed and I wanted to incorporate our personalities and interests into our décor. We both love Star Wars, Disney, Marvel and Harry Potter, so wanted to include these without it seeming cartoon-like or tacky. Our favours were gold paper roses with the guest’s name on and a Ferrero Rocher with gold wings to resemble golden snitches from Harry Potter. 24

My dress was called Elevated Belle by Allure Bridals in the Disney Collection at Ava May Bridal. I chose to add Tinkerbelle-style straps in the same material and a tiara and veil to complete the look. I felt like a Disney princess every time I wore the dress, and Ava May Bridal was fantastic in helping with my vision. I accessorised with heart earrings from Ed and a Disney charm from my mum. It was lovely using the wedding garden at The Fairlawns Hotel & Spa. The children especially enjoyed the wooden seesaws, which kept them occupied while the photos were being taken. The Fairlawns Hotel & Spa provided the DJ for the evening reception, and we arranged for Booth Factor to set up a magic mirror photo booth for a few hours. It was a hit with our guests and meant we have a great selection of highly amusing photos. We were both excited and nervous for 2pm to come around. The bridal prep suite was busy with hair and make-up while the groomsmen were a little more serine. It’s true that the day just flies by. Ed wore a navy-blue suit with a matching tie from Tuxedo Junction. His waistcoat complemented his suit which was made from his favourite Star Wars fabric by Sam at Ava May Bridal. He accessorised with Star Wars cufflinks and a watch. The groomsmen wore the same suit with plain waistcoats and different cufflinks. My four bridesmaids chose flutter sleeve gowns from David’s Bridal. They accessorised with their own jewellery, silver shoes and matching hair clips. We added simple diamante belts to the waists and a more elaborate belt to the maid-of-honour’s dress. REAL WEDDINGS 25

KARINA AND ED’S CONTACTS Venue, The Fairlawns Hotel & Spa, | Photographer, Lee Hawley Photography, Bride’s dress, accessories and alterations, Ava May Bridal, | Groom’s suit, Tuxedo Junction, Bridesmaids’ dresses, David’s Bridal, | Mother-of-the-bride/groom’s dress, The Dress Room of Southwell, | Accessories, Millinery Creations By Caroline, | Rings, Cooljoolz, Hair and make-up artist, Michelle G Makeup Artistry, | Cake, Quality Cake Company, | Flowers, Paper Bouquets, | Decorations, Green Leevs Garden Centre & Interior Plants, | Stationery, VIP Wedding Stationery, | Canine transport, Pet Pawz, Photo booth, Booth Factor, Having our photos taken with our lightsabers after getting married was one of our favourite moments. We chose to go to a resort in Barbados for our honeymoon as we wanted to relax and do something that we never had before. It was two weeks of sheer luxury, and we loved every minute and would go back in a heartbeat. Our top tip for any couple would be to go with the flow, as not everything is going to go to plan on the day. We booked the team at Michelle G Makeup Artistry to do makeup for myself and the bridal party, however, two days before the wedding our hairdresser became sick with covid. Michelle stepped in straight away, and her team helped keep everyone calm on the morning too. The dogs walking down the aisle with the bridesmaids had a great response from our guests. 26

NO ORDINARY CELEBRANT CREATIVE AUTHENTIC WARM 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.LOUISEGOODECELEBRANT.CO.UK Established in 2011, Sorella is a family run business which covers the West Midlands and beyond. Our creative team work tirelessly to produce spectacular venue transformations for all events. We pride ourselves with our unrivalled 5 star service to produce the wedding or event of your dreams. | 01543 642652 57 MARKET STREET, HEDNESFORD, STAFFORDSHIRE WS12 1AD MENSTWEEDSUITS.COM OFFICE@MENSTWEEDSUITS.COM | 0121 328 0041 9 WAINRIGHT STREET, ASTON, BIRMINGHAM, B6 5TH THE PREMIER DESTINATION FOR ALL OF YOUR FORMALWEAR NEEDS. We offer a wide range of designer brands over multiple different fits, including a comprehensive range of big, tall and plus size suits to help you build the perfect outfit with minimum effort. Whether it’s slim fit, tailored fit or regular fit we will find the ideal suit for your occasion. With our next day delivery service on selected brands for UK orders, you can shop online with peace of mind, try the products at your leisure.

Enchanted romance Emily and Martin opted for earthy hues for their big day at Keele Hall Images courtesy of GingerJam Photography 28

Emily and Martin met in 2018 when Martin stopped by the pub where Emily was working. “Martin has always said he was attracted to me as soon as he saw me, so much so that when he came to order his drink, he wanted to say ‘hi’ and ‘how are you?’ but instead, he fumbled his words, and all that he said was ‘how?’,” laughs Emily. “This made me laugh, so we started to chat, and things grew from there. Martin proposed in June 2021 whilst we were having cocktails at The Shard in London. We’ve always loved weekends away in London, but this was a complete surprise. It was a really hot day, and Martin was wearing a suit and sweating a lot which I thought was because of the high temperature, but it turned out it was actually down to nerves.” SETTING THE SCENE “We wanted a venue that was local and felt like us,” says Emily. “We browsed several properties which were beautiful but didn’t feel right. As a couple, we have always enjoyed walks around the grounds at Keele Hall, and it’s somewhere that we knew we would visit plenty of times in the future. We were shown around the venue and instantly fell in love with it; it was large and grand but also somehow still felt cosy and welcoming. The wedding packages that they offered were brilliant in terms of cost and choice, and it was also expressed many times that no request was too big or small. “We didn’t want a specific theme exactly, however autumnal and earthy tones felt suited to the décor of Keele Hall, so we were drawn to these colours,” adds the bride. “We focussed a lot on having a day that included the guests and made it memorable for them as much as it would be for us. Martin and I love reading books of any kind, so Keele Hall having an old library was perfect. We made our table numbers by framing pages from an old book. Each table was a different chapter and we decorated these with dried flowers from our garden. Our table plan was a board created to look like a large open book with the different chapters as the table numbers and the name cards were handmade resin bookmarks with dried flowers and foliage.” The happy couple gave their guests heart-shaped lollies with a small tag attached thanking them for sharing their first meal as husband and wife. “We also added disposable cameras to the table for guests to enjoy getting their own shots,” shares Emily. “The centrepieces matched the autumnal theme with different sized vases with flowers and foliage mixed in. My mum helped create a lot of the flower arrangements as she is friends with our florist, LET Designs, so arriving at the venue in the morning and taking in everything that they had created was a lovely surprise.” Martin’s mum created the couple’s cake which was a lovely surprise for them on the day. “Martin’s side of the family is Ukrainian, so we wanted to add Ukrainian traditions into our wedding day; during the ceremony, we stood on a Rushnyk (an embroidered cloth), the first person to step on the cloth symbolises who would make all the important decisions and lead the marriage, so we stepped on this together to symbolise being a team through life and marriage,” explains Emily. “The Ukrainian touches also carried on to our wedding breakfast as the chef at Keele Hall created a three-course Ukrainian meal based on old family recipes which we had provided. We also changed into traditional Ukrainian dress for the evening, Martin in a Vyshyvanka (embroidered shirt) and myself in a Vinok (floral headdress handmade by my mum).“ Anthony James Wedding Cars provided the transport on the day. “The package we chose offered a car for me and also for Martin, and as the ceremony and reception were at the same venue, they suggested a short private car journey with fizz after the ceremony to allow everything to sink in,” recalls Emily. “We thought this was a wonderful touch, and our guests were too busy enjoying the games and ice cream to even notice we had gone!” DRESSED TO IMPRESS Emily chose a beautiful wedding dress called Bianca from Roberta’s Bridal. “I originally wanted it to be cut down to above the knee and have a short wedding dress, but I completely changed my mind the second I tried it on,” says Emily. “It was satin, corseted at the top, which was very flattering, and it had pockets! I finished my look by adding a crystal belt and a choppy veil. ” REAL WEDDINGS 29