Your West Midlands Wedding - October/November 2023 (Issue 88)

WIN! A break in Yorkshire worth £1,000 Meet local caterers and find out more about their businesses LOCAL VENUES Tie the knot in Cannock or Staffordshire Rusti ROMANCE Beautiful wedding barns Lov a firs bit OCT/NOV 2023 £3.55 OF LOVE Photographers share their favourite images WEST MIDLANDSWEDDING Th loo

CLEARWELL CASTLE FOREST OF DEAN GLOUCESTERSHIRE 01594 832320 BouRton HAll BOURTON HALL RUGBY WARWICKSHIRE 01926 940 900 ClEARwEll CAStlE Country HousE weddings Exclusively Weddings, Exclusively Yours

19 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 49 HOT TOPIC Our experts answer your questions 89 COMPETITION Win a romantic break in Yorkshire worth £1,000 CONTENTS OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2023 FEATURES 41 THE LOOK OF LOVE Local photographers share their favourite images 45 EFFORTLESSLY ELEGANT This romantic styled shoot at Brandon Hall Hotel and Spa was a black-tie theme with hints of champagne and purple 53 BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL Magenta and metallics were the inspirations for this styled shoot at The Firs Weddings and Events 56 WISHING HUE A WONDERFUL WEDDING DAY Check out our wedspirational guide to palette perfection whatever the season 59 LOVE AT FIRST BITE Our A to Z of wedding catering ideas will certainly give you food for thought ahead of your big day On the cover... This issue’s cover is from Kerry and Scott’s relaxed, boho-themed wedding. It was photographed by Patrick Partridge Photography ( at The Orchard at Munsley ( To see more from their big day, turn to page 35. 45 VENUES 15 SPOTLIGHT ON CANNOCK & STAFFORDSHIRE Discover some of the best venues in the area 19 RUSTIC ROMANCE Tie the knot in a gorgeous barn 3

REAL WEDDINGS 23 CLASSIC ELEGANCE It was love at first sight for Sophie and Graham, who quickly became inseparable 28 A NEVER-ENDING LOVE Nicole and Sam met during a night out back in 2015 and were instantly drawn to each other 35 BACK TO NATURE Kerry and Scott chose a relaxed, boho theme for their big day at The Orchard at Munsley FASHION & BEAUTY 62 FASHION FOCUS The latest bridal fashion news, buys and launches 63 ALL DRESSED UP The new season bridal edit of dreamy dresses features delicate details, fairytale-inspired florals and flowing fabrics 68 STYLE ALERT Burnt orange, green, and champagne colours are trending for bridesmaids this season 69 STANDOUT SLEEVES Make your entrance wearing statement sleeves that will take you from day to dancefloor 72 BEAUTY BUZZ Get the look with the latest must-haves 74 LADY OF THE DANCE Strictly’s Luba Mushtuk talks health, wellbeing and the all-important first dance 76 FASHION Q&A Local professionals solve your problems 77 BEST FACE FORWARD We investigate the much-discussed bridal must-have treatment, HydraFacial 28 HONEYMOONS 82 HONEYMOON NEWS Our travel editor reveals the newest openings and honeymoon essentials 84 MAGICAL MAURITIUS Explore this year-round honeymoon hotspot for a taste of the local cuisine, lush scenery and sustainable hotel choices 86 RURAL ROMANCE Discover the delights of Provence at Hôtel Crillon le Brave 88 TOTAL BODY BLISS Experience a weekend of wellness and total body bliss at Warwickshire’s Ardencote Spa GROOMS 78 GROOMS’ NEWS The latest best buys and product launches 79 SKIN DEEP WarPaint For Men shares its make-up and skincare tips for grooms-to-be 80 SOMETHING BLUE We’ve rounded up some of the latest products for the groom-to-be 84 63 23 35 4

Nestled in the beauty of Shropshire’s rolling countryside, the Apley Estate proudly presents Stockton house, our stunning 18th century grade II listed venue. With it’s stylish Georgian design, walled garden dining room, elegant bar and spacious terrace, it has been lovingly restored with guest comfort in mind. 01952 730894 stockton_house STOCKTON HOUSE NORTON SHIFNAL SHROPSHIRE TF11 9EF WHAT’S INCLUDED • Exclusive use of the whole house and grounds including seven luxurious bedrooms • A breath-taking wedding suite • Civil ceremony facilities for both indoor and outdoor weddings • Full use of our walled garden dining room • A complimentary menu tasting with your own personal chef • Breakfast the next day for the happy couple • Tables, chairs and linen laid to your chosen wedding breakfast floor plan • Crockery, cutlery, tableware and glassware • A dedicated wedding planner Your perfect day — AT STOCKTON HOUSE —

Discover the delights of Provence at Hôtel Crillon le Brave. You’re engaged – congratulations! Whether you’re at the beginning or end of your wedding planning journey, it can be stressful trying to put everything together. There’s so much to consider, from the venue and theme to the dress and accessories, and so you might be asking yourself, where do I start? Before you start surfing the internet for venues and suppliers, sit down together with a cuppa and discuss what you want your wedding day to be. Whatever you decide will have an impact on everything else you do from here on in. Think about your overall vision. Is rustic bliss your vibe, or are you more of a modern chic kind of couple? Perhaps you want to keep it classic and traditional or go completely your own way and host a festival-style wedding in a field with a temporary structure such as a marquee or tipi for cover. All of these aspects will guide you towards the style of venue you should be researching. Crucial to this process are the budget and guest numbers, as one will very much dictate the other. You may want to invite 300 people, but are you willing and able to fund 300 wedding breakfasts? Be realistic about what you want to spend, settle on a budget, and above all, stick to it. Once you’ve booked your venue and have a date set, you’ll be thinking about your other suppliers. To help you create the wedding of your dreams, we’ve rounded up local companies and asked for their top tips to create an issue full of inspiration. Happy planning! Melissa x Melissa Cullen, Senior Editor 86 53 89 Magenta and metallics were the inspirations for this styled shoot at The Firs Weddings and Events. Planned to perfection WIN 63The new season bridal edit of dreamy dresses features delicate details, fairytale-inspired florals, and flowing fabrics. a romantic break in Yorkshire worth £1,000. 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

45 19 76 23 28 35 Tie the knot in a rustic barn. This romantic-styled shoot at Brandon Hall Hotel and Spa had a black-tie theme with hints of champagne and purple. For Sophie and Graham, it was love at first sight. They quickly became inseparable, and in July 2023, they tied the knot at Sandon Hall. Local fashion experts offer advice on how to look your big day best. Kerry and Scott chose a relaxed, boho theme for their big day at The Orchard at Munsley. Nicole and Sam met during a night out back in 2015. They were instantly drawn to each other, and years later, they became husband and wife at Cheylesmore Manor House. 79 WarPaint For Men shares its make-up and skincare tips for grooms-to-be. 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 Cornwall, a county of beauty and magic; a place of wedding dreams. | 0300 1234 181 | @MyCornwallWedding Image Credit: omas Frost Photography My Cornwall Wedding: O cially Yours - the only source of bespoke, legal, celebrant-led civil weddings in Cornwall.

All the latest from around the West Midlands DATES FOR THE DIARY Keep your diary free this January for the National Wedding Fayre. With more than 125 exhibitors, a VIP lounge with afternoon tea, fashion shows, and an amazing win-your-wedding competition, the show has everything you need to plan the wedding of your dreams. If that wasn’t enough, there will be handson advice from industry experts, luxury products, services at an affordable price, and promotions from some of the region’s biggest wedding suppliers. Why not treat yourself to the VIP package? It includes a drink voucher, an upgraded gift bag, reserved seating for the fashion show, access to the VIP lounge, and fast-track entry. The show will take place on 20th and 21st January 2024 at the Coventry Building Society Arena, between 10am and 3:30pm. Entry for children under 15 is free of charge. Use the code ‘CBS’ at checkout to get a 40 per cent discount on standard tickets. All standard purchases will also receive one free ticket. Visit to get your tickets. PRETTY AS A PICTURE Birmingham artist Sandra Palmer has announced the launch of her new art print collection called ‘A Vase of Flowers.’ The collection currently features three original collages of flowers in a vase, each meticulously rendered in the artist’s signature style of line art and photography. The prints are available in a variety of sizes, making them the perfect gift for any occasion. A portion of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to Plant a Tree in collaboration with the Eden Project. Sandra explains: “I wanted to create a collection of art prints that would capture the beauty and simplicity of flowers, with a script that reflected their unique symbolism. I believe that flowers are a timeless gift, and I wanted to create something that would last forever. The Eden Project and Reewild are passionate about protecting our beautiful planet and I am honoured to be able to give something back through the sale of my art prints.” To find out more, visit Nearlywed NEWS REST AND RELAXATION PURE Spa and Beauty is now open at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole. For Hilton guests looking to unwind or add a splash of luxury to their stay, PURE Spa boasts luxurious treatment rooms, a nail bar, a sauna, an indoor Jacuzzi, 24-hour fitness facilities, and a steam room. Guests can indulge in a comprehensive suite of essential beauty and relaxing spa treatments – the perfect pairing for a stay at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole. All of PURE’s indulgent spa treatments use PURE Spa Skincare, their own line of 100 per cent natural, oil-based, vegan skincare, ideal for lovers of safe, sustainable products. From express beauty treatments to an indulgent spa day, you’re in safe hands with the friendly therapists. PURE Spa will take care of your wellbeing needs as you drift into a state of relaxation, far away from the stresses of wedding planning. Head over to to find out more information. Getty Images LET’S GO SHOPPING Birmingham-based bridal boutique June Peony Bridal Couture has launched its 2024 bridal collection called ‘Stars in the Moonlight’. Perfect for brides-to-be who are looking for classic silhouettes with modern twists, the new designs cover the most trendy bridal elements, including puffy sleeves, iconic back bows, structural corset bodices, and dress convertibility. The brides-to-be who become the first owners of certain gowns from the collection will receive a complimentary £200 shopping voucher to spend on hair accessories and a veil. For more information, visit Getty Images LOCAL NEWS 9

ROCK THAT FROCK The Dressing Rooms Bridal has launched fantastic new photo shoot images highlighting their stance on inclusivity. Based near Birmingham, TDR Bridal maintains that it is open to everyone, whichever community they belong to or perceived differences they have, with the slogan #OneSizeDoesNotFitAll. The owner of TDR Bridal, Rebecca Baddeley, explained: “I have known for some time that I wanted to do something, needed to do something, to address the elephant in the bridal world room. I remember around eight years ago questioning why there were no black models at a trade show. Don’t get me wrong, things are improving, but the diversity shown in the aesthetic we offer to the world of engaged couples is seriously lacking, and, as uncomfortable as it may be, we, the collective bridal industry, need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and see what we are portraying. On shoot day, the moment the first model came out of the changing area, I knew that this would be something special. It is my hope that people’s perception of what a bride should look like is challenged and may be changed so that we can all, as a collective, ensure that diversity in all its forms is represented in the bridal industry.” Find out more about TDR Bridal at MUST-SEE SHOWCASES Brockencote Hall Hotel, an enchanting wedding venue in Worcestershire, is hosting a wedding showcase on 20th November and 12th December between 4pm and 8pm. The events will provide guests with the chance to meet with Brockencote’s award-winning events and weddings team and experience guided tours of the spaces and facilities on offer to help shape their dream wedding. The Victorian manor house is set within 70 acres of stunning parkland, has French-inspired architecture, and 21 bedrooms in the main manor house, all of which are elegantly decorated with luxurious furnishings and plush fabrics, representing the country estate splendour of the hotel. Staci Williams, the wedding and events manager, said: “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, and events like these are a great chance to get to know the venue. We work with a range of suppliers who are handpicked and highly recommended and are able to talk through the various options for couples at the early stages of planning.” Visit for more information. THE PERFECT GETAWAY Set in 26 acres of extensive gardens, Stanbrook Abbey Hotel is renowned as one of Worcestershire’s best-kept secrets. This luxury hotel, dating back to the early 16th century, is a former Grade II-listed monastery with preserved heritage through its original architecture. Couples can now stay at the Manor House, a self-contained five-bedroom hideaway bursting with period features and nestled within Stanbrook Abbey’s peaceful grounds. Celebrate in style, or simply escape for a one-of-a-kind self-catering break in the Worcestershire countryside. Privacy and luxury go hand in hand here, making it ideal for extended families and groups of up to 10 people looking for a short break in the UK. With two, five, or seven night breaks, you can become lord or lady of the manor for as long as you desire. There will be a whole host of goodies and surprises to welcome you, such as two bottles of chilled champagne, a welcome hamper full of homely favourites, handmade chocolates, and much more. Plus, there are a range of experiences available to make your stay entirely bespoke, from cocktail making in the wine cellars to themed sleepovers and tipis for the children. Find out more at SNOW IS FALLING Throughout the centuries, Ettington Park in Warwickshire has captivated guests with the grandeur of the Neo-Gothic mansion. For Christmas 2023, this stunning venue is offering an amazing three-day package, perfect as a pre-wedding getaway or mini-moon. From arrival on Christmas Eve, visitors are treated to afternoon tea, followed by an evening of festive fun complete with warming winter cocktails, carols in the Victorian gardens, champagne, canapés, and an exclusive black-tie dinner with live music. Guests will awaken on the big day itself to a sumptuous, cooked breakfast and champagne in time for Santa’s arrival before sitting down to a fabulous Christmas feast. And if that wasn’t enough luxury and indulgence for one day, visitors are also treated to an opulent evening buffet. On Boxing Day, after a hearty breakfast, guests are free to explore their surroundings before a delicious carvery lunch is served, complete with magical entertainment. To finish off the stay, there will be champagne and canapés before a two-course dinner and a special pantomime to guarantee fun for all the family. Visit for more info. 10

Weddings at Tamworth Castle Receptions at Tamworth Assembly Rooms Tel: 01827 709551 Corporation Street,Tamworth, Staffordshire. B79 7DN Tel: 01827 709551 Email: Holloway,Tamworth, Staffordshire. B79 7NA Fairy tales really do come true at Tamworth Castle. Set in the beautiful Castle Grounds and with almost one thousand years of history, our castle is the most unique and perfect setting for your special day. The newly refurbished Tamworth Assembly Rooms provides a stunning and versatile space for the perfect wedding reception. Exclusive joint packages available. After your wedding ceremony, why not continue your wedding day at the nearby Assembly Rooms.

Photography: R Yardley For further details please email: helen.winter@lich or tel: 01543 309850 / 01543 250011 BORE STREET | LICHFIELD | STAFFORDSHIRE | WS13 6LX | www.lich Lich eld Guildhall is located in the heart of the historic City of Lich eld, Sta ordshire. is wonderful Grade II listed building is over 600 years old and steeped in history. e magni cent main hall is oak-panelled with a high beamed roof and large stained-glass window. e Guildhall has seen considerable improvement over the past few years including major renovations of the main hall so the venue now boasts excellent, modern facilities. e two largest rooms are licensed for Wedding Ceremonies and ideal for receptions too. ere are also two smaller rooms available for hire, all of which are fully accessible. Close to local transport links and car parks the venue is hired at an hourly rate leaving you free to make your own arrangements for caterers etc so you can tailor make your own package. e maximum capacity in the Main Guildhall is 130. Weddings A T LICHFIELD GUILDHALL VENUE FOR HIRE ROOMS CATERING UP TO 300 GUESTS No matter the occasion - be it wedding, birthday, baby shower, work party or any other special event, our versatile venue located in Sandwell has everything you need to ensure an unforgettable experience. 2 rooms available for hire Full functioning bar in both rooms Packages or dry hire available Car park spaces available Newly renovated space Perfect for private or corporate events Competitive pricing Your event! Our expertise! Our dedicated team customises every detail of your event, from planning to execution, surpassing your expectations and turning your visions into reality. To see more of our events space follow us on Instagram. | 07888 369 241 | LUXOR EVENTS VENUE 152 REDDAL HILL ROAD CRADLEY HEATH B64 5JJ Contact us via 07888 369 241 or RECENTLY FULLY REFURBISHED This brand new venue opened in June 2023

Take advantage of these gorgeous giveaways and fab offers WIN A PRE-WEDDING GETAWAY! One of Warwickshire’s most charming hotels, The Charlecote Pheasant, is offering our readers the chance to win a luxurious pre-wedding stay for two people in a deluxe room with a full breakfast, a three-course dinner, and a bottle of house wine included. A runner-up will win a Sunday lunch for four people with a bottle of house wine. The Charlecote Pheasant is a former farmhouse and 16th-century hayloft that’s full of historic charm, with landscaped gardens, event spaces, and a host of exquisite period features. It’s a popular venue for staging wedding ceremonies and receptions, both indoors and out. With its Hampton Suite providing a self-contained space to host wedding celebrations or its outdoor ceremony pavilion and gardens, it’s the ideal backdrop for a rustic-inspired tipi or marquee reception. You can visit the hotel during one of its wedding showcases on 2nd November or 6th December 2023. It’s the perfect chance to meet the hotel’s wedding planners and see the venue dressed for a wedding day. To enter this fabulous competition, please visit the website, Terms and conditions apply; see our website for details. For more information about The Charlecote Pheasant, visit Freebies& OFFERS WIN PERSONALISED BRACELETS Are you dreaming of making your special day even more memorable for your beloved bridesmaids? Look no further! We have an exciting opportunity for you to win personalised bracelets for each of your bridesmaids, courtesy of Merci Maman. Merci Maman understand the importance of thoughtful and meaningful gifts, especially when it comes to your bridesmaids. Its handcrafted Personalised Pastille Chain Bracelet is a bestseller, a timeless and beloved piece testament to the elegance and charm that the brand’s jewellery carries. Crafted with love and attention to detail, these bracelets will serve as treasured keepsakes for your bridesmaids, a symbol of your lasting friendship and gratitude. Visit County Wedding Magazines has teamed up with Merci Maman to give readers the chance to win two personalised pastille chain bracelets worth £237. For your chance to win enter via our website, FIT FOR A QUEEN Inspired by organic shapes and capturing fluid elements in motion, Lucy Quartermaine creates stunning jewellery from remarkable designs that will transform your bridal style. Originally produced to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the Royal Pearl collection complements 925 silver with freshwater pearls for a timeless design perfect for a wedding day. Visit County Wedding Magazines has teamed up with Lucy Quartermaine to give readers the chance to win a threepiece set of Royal Pearl pieces worth £237. For your chance to win enter via our website, FREEBIES & OFFERS 13

Hidden away in the heart of England, with a harmonious balance of Country House grandeur and modern twists, Alrewas Hayes is the idyllic setting to say ‘I do’. Complete with festoon lighting, wisteria trees and chandeliers, The Lakeside sets a perfect scene for your Wedding Breakfast, before transforming into a star-lit space ready to party the night away. Burton-on-Trent DE13 7DL 01283 791625 Images: Monkeymole Photography, 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 ETTINGTON PARK HOTEL STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, WARWICKSHIRE

MODDERSHALL OAKS, ST15 8TG 01782 399 000 | Moddershall Oaks is a country retreat on the water’s edge, surrounded by 72 acres of Staffordshire countryside. This warm and inviting property has a fresh and neutral décor throughout and was designed with a contemporary feel in mind. Boasting a state-of-the-art sound system, Swarovski crystal lighting, hand-made Italian glass chandeliers, a glass bar, and moveable walls, this property has everything needed to create the perfect wedding. There are nine stylish guest suites available, each has air-conditioning, 49” TV systems, mini bars, free Wi-Fi, underfloor heating, luxury mini toiletries, GHD hair equipment upon request, private decking areas, and direct access to the private accommodation pool. Celebrate in style Ceremonies can take place in the lakeside wedding space, which consists of a gorgeous oak gazebo equipped with a sound system, astro-turfed seating areas, and beautifully landscaped gardens. If the weather isn’t suitable, the indoor ceremony room is just as stunning. It’s an intimate setting, perfect for you to say your vows in front of 130 loved ones. The courtyard, adjacent to the venue, is often used in the evening as a lovely break-out space for guests to retreat to should they need to rest their dancing feet. It features a wishing well, umbrellas, heaters, seating and a fish pond with a waterfall, perfect for photographs. We love... A luxurious spa retreat is included in all packages. The happy couple will enjoy a bottle of champagne after a delicious, cooked breakfast while relaxing in the heated outdoor vitality pool or the shared private hot tub (available exclusively to overnight guests only). The luxurious spa has everything you need, including several pools, a steam room, an experience shower, footbaths, a sleep lounge, a relaxation lounge, and boutique suites. Spotlight on... CANNOCK AND STAFFORDSHIRE 15 CANNOCK AND STAFFORDSHIRE VENUES

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 with up to 110 of your friends and family. 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 of your loved ones to enjoy the celebrations. For those of you with your hearts set on saying ‘I do’ under the blue skies, the outside ceremony space provides the perfect setting. We love... Weston Hall provides couples with a complimentary menu tasting before the big day to ensure that their dream vision comes to life. ALREWAS HAYES, DE13 7DL 01283 791 625 | Situated on the outskirts of Fradley Village, Alrewas Hayes is a Grade II-listed quintessential English country estate. The property dates back to 1066 and is believed to be the extensive Staffordshire woodland noted in the Doomsday Book. This large 100-acre estate comprises of a central courtyard, landscaped gardens, woodlands, and rural countryside. Celebrate in style Fusing historical charm with a contemporary aesthetic, each ceremony space offers a different style. The Orangery is bathed in natural light with a flourish of period touches throughout, this event space brings an air of elegance to every occasion. Located within the wing of the house, it has a distinctive curved ceiling, arched windows, and doors that open out onto the courtyard. It’s capable of holding 100 of your guests for the service and 52 for the wedding breakfast. The Lakeside can hold 180 people and overlooks the private lake, woodlands, and wheat fields beyond. By day, this area is a tranquil, whitewashed canvas for the creative, and by night, it’s an atmospheric, star-lit party space. Accessed via its own private walkway, The Great Barn is the largest event space, with room for 650 friends and family. Reminiscent of a cool airport hangar from the outside, it has a sleek and contemporary design on the inside, creating plenty of places to take photographs. Alternatively, the lobby, which has space for 40 nearest and dearest, or the courtyard can be used for smaller ceremonies. We love... You will receive a tasting evening ahead of the wedding, a book of trusted suppliers, access to the 11 bedrooms, including the honeymoon suite, and breakfast for all of your overnight guests. 16

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 charming 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. DOVECLIFF HALL HOTEL, DE13 0DJ 01283 531 818 | The Dovecliff Hall Hotel is a Grade II-listed property in Staffordshire. Defined by its eye-catching Georgian architecture, scenic gardens, and plush guest rooms, this manor house is ideal for those of you who adore a classic style. Your guests are bound to fall in love with its old English charm, complete with 15 recently refurbished bedrooms, all of which have king-size beds. SWINFEN HALL HOTEL, WS14 9RE 01543 481 494 | Swinfen Hall Hotel is an elegant Georgian manor house with a mixture of old and new styles. Set at the end of a sweeping drive, the property stands proudly amongst 100 acres of gardens and parklands and boasts a private deer park, ornamental ponds, a Victorian-walled garden, a courtyard garden complete with a bar, and a luxury marquee. BRANSTON GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB, DE14 3DP 01283 528 337 | Branston Golf & Country Club is a contemporary property that’s perfect for weddings. Situated in landscaped gardens on the grounds of a golf course, it has a secret garden, an outdoor ceremony area, and plenty of places to take photographs. Couples will receive a menu tasting, complementary afternoon tea for two guests, and day passes for the health and fitness facilities. BLAKELANDS COUNTRY HOUSE, DY7 5DP 01384 221 000 | Blakelands Country House dates back to 1722 and is nestled within 10 acres of formal Victorian gardens, orchards, and lakes with views as far as Client Hills. Boasting a mixture of formal architecture and converted outbuildings, the Georgian interiors and original oak-framed barns beautifully combine original features with contemporary finishes to create a wealth of space and discovery. THE MOAT HOUSE, ST17 0RJ 01785 712 217 | The Moat House is a 16th-century farmhouse adjacent to the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canals. Surrounded by two moats, there are plenty of places to explore and take photographs. The main part of the building comprises of a bar and restaurant area, and the adjoining hotel has 41 bedrooms and a function suite. THE OAKS, ST10 2PL 01782 480 048 | The Oaks is a rustic barn perfectly situated within 25 acres of blissful woodland and meadows in the Staffordshire Moorlands. Caring for the environment and sustainability was an important factor for the owners when the renovation of the barns took place. Many of the materials have been sourced from within the farm’s grounds, milled on site, lovingly upcycled, and handcrafted to create this party venue. The Oaks is a small family-run business where each member is passionate about this tranquil countryside venue. The spaces are designed with current trends in mind while respecting the original spirit of the rustic yet charming building. To keep things fresh and modern, the team has added character with antique furniture and one-off pieces sourced locally. Celebrate in style There are local churches that offer a Church of England wedding ceremony. All Saints Church, one of the oldest churches in Staffordshire, features an octagonal tower, one of the few such church towers in the country. St. Peters Church, Caverswall, is also within a few miles of the venue. Both churches are situated in a traditional, picture-perfect setting. At The Oaks, you can choose to get married inside or outside if the weather permits. The Log Barn is open-plan and still used as a working barn, processing and storing log stacks throughout the year. The main Forest Room has an intimate feel, enabling your guests to take in the beautiful surroundings. Finally, if the weather permits, you can marry under the outdoor pergola situated by the pond, which is great for those sunny days. There are also cheeky alpacas in the field close by always wanting to get in on the action. The Oaks can accommodate up to 100 of your friends and family for the civil ceremony and wedding breakfast and 140 for the evening reception. We love... If you’re looking for gastronomical theatre, the rustic outdoor catering area will not disappoint. A traditional Argentinian barbecue grill and log-fired pizza oven not only create an amazing backdrop for photos but also provide an opportunity for the specialist chefs to entertain your guests while cooking a range of culinary delights. Also check out… CANNOCK AND STAFFORDSHIRE VENUES 17

Cheylesmore Manor House, Coventry Coventry is an historic city with a rich and diverse history, situated in the heart of the country. It is known for its medieval Coventry Cathedral which was left in ruins after WWII bombing and home to an unfortified Manor House, previously the only unfortified royal palace outside of London, Cheylesmore Manor is now used as a stunning ceremony venue. The remnants of a medieval royal palace, the gatehouse of Cheylesmore Manor, is at the heart of the city on New Union Street. The magnificent timber building is a key piece of Coventry’s rich and important heritage. 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 to the original manor house. The Manor House houses three beautiful ceremony rooms: The Queen Isabella Room, The Black Prince Room and the Library Room. With bespoke ceremony co-ordinators on hand to guide you through every step of the way, helpful Register Office teams and even easy to manage personalised stationery packages, Coventry can’t wait to welcome you for your ceremony, from weddings to naming days, commitment celebrations and civil partnerships - we can host it all. Images courtesy of

Rustic romance Tie the knot in a gorgeous barn BRINSOP COURT, HR4 7AX 01432 509 925 | Brinsop Court is an award-winning 14th-century manor house encircled by a moat, a traditionally built oak barn, and two idyllic cottages. Nestled within 800 acres of farmland and wonderfully preserved nature, you’ll have exclusive use of the Grade I-listed estate for your big day. The venue is perfect for pre-wedding retreats; put your feet up in front of the wood-burning fire and unwind in the hot tub with a glass of something bubbly. Located just a short walk from the house, the Ivy and Wood Cottages are ideal places to spend the night before your big day. Celebrate in style You will have the choice to make your vows in an array of locations within the manor, or if you’d like to tie the knot in a church, Brinsop Church, St. George’s, is less than five minutes away. The Knot Barn is a traditionally built oak barn with a feature bar and magical views over the landscaped gardens and Herefordshire countryside. With floor-to-ceiling windows that open along the whole front of the barn, your day can have an al fresco feeling, whatever the time of year. The barn works perfectly for large and small weddings, as sections can be created to keep it feeling intimate. If the weather is on your side, the Wordsworth Lawn, Astley Pergola, and London Plane Glade are truly magical spots. When your ceremony is over, you and your guests will be ready to mingle amongst refreshments. Enjoy delicious food followed by champagne toasts in a choice of rooms. All linen, cutlery, crockery, glassware, tables, and chairs are included. Travel across the oak boardwalk, under the wooden pergolas, to the Knot Barn. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame the sunset over Herefordshire’s hills as the evening draws in. Inside, the feature bar has an impressive menu of draft ales and gin, ready to warm your guests up for a night on the dancefloor. Whether you choose a live band or a DJ, it’s sure to be a party that won’t be forgotten. As the festivities continue, there are firepits and a pizza oven outside to keep your guests toasty and refuelled. We love... The on-site cottages and glamping accommodations are perfect for extending the celebrations. BARN VENUES 19

DEER PARK HALL, WR10 3DN 01386 750 267 | Deer Park Hall is situated within a private 1,300-acre estate in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The property is a Cotswold stone building that dates back to the early 1800s, with a modern wall of glass looking out towards the Malvern Hills and Deer Park. Outside, there are beautiful terraced gardens, offering fabulous photo opportunities with roaming deer and panoramic views. There are two outdoor pavilions with heating and lighting, a brook cascading into a small waterfall, several firepits, outdoor sofas, and a Mediterranean-walled lavender garden with olive trees. Celebrate in style Ceremonies for up to 120 of your guests take place in the Panelled Hall, a majestic oak-panelled hall with vaulted ceilings, large mirrors, an open fireplace, a balcony gallery, a seating area, and atmospheric lighting with handmade wrought iron lights and lanterns. Alternatively, al fresco celebrations take place outside in the Oak Pavilion. Made from weather-hardened tree branches from the estate and a curved cedar-tiled roof, it lies on the edge of the Lambs Leap Lawn. Nestled into the bank next to the stream, the space has views for miles looking out to the Malvern Hills, with the deer looking on only metres away through the garden gates. We love... Wedding couples will receive flexible food and drink options and preferential choices for accommodation, as well as the opportunity to book in for a wine tasting and vineyard tour prior to the wedding. Included in the wedding package is a two-night stay in the Honeymoon Suite, The Granary, or an upgrade to Vine Lodge, where you can enjoy a private deck and secluded hot tub. Hollowcombe Cottage has four king-size rooms, all with their own en suites, making it the perfect place for family or members of your wedding party to come and stay. BLAKELANDS COUNTRY HOUSE, DY7 5DP 01384 221 000 | Blakelands Country House dates back to 1722 and is nestled within 10 acres of formal Victorian gardens, orchards, and lakes with views as far as Client Hills. Boasting a mixture of formal architecture and converted outbuildings, the Georgian interiors and original oak-framed barns beautifully combine original features with contemporary finishes to create a wealth of space and discovery. Celebrate in style The Main House was the original hall and has flagstone flooring, roaring fires, a staircase, and room for 40 of your loved ones. Maltings Barn has enormous ceilings, oak-king beams, and iron chandeliers that are ideal for a romantic ceremony. It’s capable of holding 100 of your friends and family for the service and 180 for the evening celebration. Al fresco celebrations are held in the Victorian Walled Garden and Bandstand. The Victorian walls and large trees create a wonderful atmosphere with space for 100 of your nearest and dearest. We love... When tying the knot here, you are welcome to use the on-site bridal suite on the night of the wedding. Blakelands Country House also has an in-house wedding team that will ensure every detail of your day is planned to perfection. 20

BARNUTOPIA, SY10 9BS 01691 791 624 | Nestled in the stunning Shropshire countryside on the border with Wales, Barnutopia boasts breathtaking views in every direction. The venue is licensed for wedding ceremonies and the ex-farm set-up is perfect for couples who adore rustic settings. Equipped with everything you will need to create the wedding you want without worrying about the practicalities, the venue has 10 luxury glamping yurts and cabins, a campsite, an event barn seating up to 120, an indoor/outdoor Dutch barn, and excellent facilities, meaning you have everything you need to create an amazing celebration. All parts of the site are easily accessible, including the accommodation, fully-equipped kitchens, and bathroom block with unlimited hot water. The glamping units are fully furnished with beds, power, heating, and free Wi-Fi. Access to rooms in the farmhouse means one-half of the happy couple can get ready in a private space away from the ceremony area. Celebrate in style The venue is licensed for wedding ceremonies, and multiple indoor and outdoor ceremony areas give you lots of flexibility. The yurt field is popular for tying the knot, with the impressive Gyrn Moelfre mountain as the backdrop. The Dell is tucked away next to a stream that forms the border between England and Wales. The event barn is perfect for ceremonies if the weather is poor and it can be decorated to suit any theme. Receptions usually take place in the event barn, but informal catering can be held under the Dutch Barn or on the yurt field. Small celebrations are held in the farmhouse garden room, which is suitable for up to 25 guests. We love... The relaxed yet thoughtful re-purposing of farm buildings and the miniature Hereford cows, donkeys, Zwartbles sheep, pigs, dogs, and cats complete the farmyard experience and provide great photo opportunities. MOAT HALL BARNS, SY5 8AZ 07523 116 276 | Moat Hall Barns is a proudly independent, family-run wedding and events venue managed by husband-and-wife team, Amy and Ben. The inspiration for creating a wedding venue at Amy’s family farm began after they held their own wedding at Moat Hall in 2019. Two years later, they took the plunge and left their agronomy careers in Norfolk to focus on the exciting wedding diversification project. The aim of the project was to retain the character and original features of the barns while offsetting the environmental impact of the renovation work. Examples of this are the barn’s solar-powered underfloor heating, double-glazed solid oak joinery, reclaimed tile roof and modern floor, wall and roof insulation. As Moat Hall Barns is a dry-hire venue, whether you’re dreaming of a rustic, boho, eco, or festival-style wedding, Amy and Ben have provided the blank canvas to allow you to express your creativity and individuality. Featuring many idyllic spaces, you will be spoiled for choice on where to host your ceremony and wedding festivities. Celebrate in style Dating back to the 18th century, The Top Barn is the oldest and most architecturally stunning of the barns and features tall, vaulted ceilings, exposed wooden beams and original red brick walls. Enjoy your wedding breakfast surrounded by loved ones, whilst taking in the charm and character of the barn’s original features. As if that wasn’t enough, moving upstairs to The Hayloft, you will discover the viewing gallery over The Top Barn that doubles as a ceremony area and later a serene space for your guests to relax. For an outdoor celebration, The Lake offers a gorgeous waterside gazebo where couples can exchange their vows, framed by breathtaking views of the rolling hills and the patchwork of grazing pasture. Adjoining The Top Barn, The Paddock is a lush open space ideal for an elegant marquee or tipi, where guests can play games and even enjoy camping overnight. Up to 150 of your loved ones can comfortably attend your marital event here, with ample space for seated meals and live entertainment. For those of you wanting a church wedding, Christ Church in the quaint village of Annscroft is just under a mile away. We love... The luxury Glamping Pod Honeymoon Suite and optional complementary camping for your guests. However, with the historic town of Shrewsbury being less than five miles away, there are lots of guest accommodation options available to suit every taste and budget. Katrina Boydon Katrina Boydon 21 BARN VENUES

PHOTOBOOTHS GIANT GAMES CRAZY GOLF SELFIE PODS From classic games such as giant Jenga, photobooth hire, to hiring your own crazy golf course for the day, there is something for everyone! Some games can be personalised to your event, contact for details. 01384 837 058 | WEST MIDLAND EVENTS A wide range of games and activities to keep you, your friends and family entertained for the day or even weekend. loFC, ABRSM, GBRSM If you are a couple looking for the perfect celebrant we should talk CREATIVE SINCERE FUN T:07984 873366 louise goode celebrant @louisegoodecelebrant

Classic ELEGANCE It was love at first sight for Sophie and Graham, who quickly became inseparable Images courtesy of Dave Waller Photography Sophie and Graham met through her mother. “As cliché as it sounds, we fell in love at first sight,” says Sophie. “Graham worked with my mother, and we met at her leaving do. We fell in love over jelly and ice cream. The day we met, I went home and told my family I was going to marry him.” Graham proposed during lockdown. “We were meant to fly out to Iceland; however, the flights were cancelled as we went into lockdown that day,” shares the bride. “Graham decided he couldn’t wait any longer and popped the question in our living room. I cried a lot and was very surprised.” Read on to see some of Sophie’s favourite moments from their big day... REAL WEDDINGS 23

We wanted a cake that would wow our guests, so Julia Florence Cake Design chose a striking blue that attracted the eye while keeping all the other details classic and refined. The staircase at Sandon Hall stole our hearts. We’re both quite traditional and loved the opulence of it all. I had planned our wedding to amaze and shock our guests, as we didn’t want anyone to remember it as ‘just another wedding’. Melissa from Sandon Hall went above and beyond for us! I can’t explain how absolutely amazing she was from start to finish; she took all the stress out of the day and became a true friend throughout the whole experience. Our amazing florist, Dean Sharpe’s Floral Studio, created the centrepieces and flowers. The blooms were made to stand out against my white dress. Graham and I tried to keep the décor as simple as possible to let both the venue and flowers shine. For our transport, we hired a horse-drawn carriage. We had a three-course sit-down meal provided by Vanilla In Allseasons. Our guests loved the food, and the compliments we got were incredible. 24

I wanted two contrasting dresses to bring different looks and feels to the day. My day dress, 1860 by Kenneth Winston, had a veil which was handmade by Tiffany Jordan using lots of lace. In the evening, I swapped to a gown called Larissa MJ813 by Madison James and added a tiara along with a glamorous belt and a handmade glittery overskirt. Enigma Studios provided tattoos for our guests. This added an extra element to the wedding; it was a great talking point, and some of them were truly hilarious. Graham chose a blue-tailed suit with a grey waistcoat and a pink tie from Brigdens. The whole day was magical from start to finish. We had a variety of entertainment, including a DJ, a pianist, an axe thrower, a photo booth, a phone box, an ice cream truck, and a cigar bar. We wanted to make sure our guests had the best day, and everybody loved absolutely everything. I had three bridesmaids and one maid-of-honour. The maids all opted for purple, and my maid-of-honour wore lilac. REAL WEDDINGS 25

SOPHIE AND GRAHAM’S CONTACTS Venue, Sandon Hall, | Photographer, Dave Waller Photography, | Videographer, The Kensington Photographer, | Bride’s day dress, accessories, bridesmaids’ dresses and mums’ outfits, Tiffany Jordan, | Bride’s evening dress, TDR Bridal Birmingham, | Groom’s outfit and accessories, Brigdens, | Hair stylist, The Garden Room Salon, | Make-up artist, majbeenHMUA – Beauty Educator, | Cake, Julia Florence Cake Design, Mashtini, ice cream and candyfloss, Sweet-a-Fayre, | Catering, Vanilla In Allseasons, Flowers, Dean Sharpe’s Floral Studio, | Confetti, Shropshire Petals, | Transport, Horse and Carriage Masters Ltd, | DJ, Event DJs, | Pianist, Karen Daniels - Wedding & Event Pianist, | Tattoo van, Enigma Studios, | Axe throwing, Active Aardvark Activities, | Magic mirror photo booth, Dream Weddings and Events Ltd, | Phone box, Feather & Fox, | Cigar bar, Revolutionary Cigars, | Bar, The Estate Boys, 26