Your West Midlands Wedding - February/March 2024 (Issue 90)

Fashion FORWARD Dreamy dresses Check in at a hotel for your big day WIN! A honeymoon in Jamaica Wildly IN LOVE How to plan an intimate wedding Wed and breakfast FEB/MAR 2024 £3.55 Venue styling trends Dreamy DÉCOR WEST MIDLANDSWEDDING

b a r & r e s t a u r a n t The perfect place for your perfect day 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 Tel: 01675 444 890

8 REGULARS 6 EDITOR’S LETTER What to look out for in this issue 8 NEARLYWED NEWS Catch up on the latest from around the West Midlands 11 FREEBIES & OFFERS Great giveaways and discounts up for grabs 42 HOT TOPIC Our experts answer your questions 68 COMPETITION Win a honeymoon in Jamaica worth £4,500 CONTENTS FEBRUARY/MARCH 2024 FEATURES 35 LOVE IS ALL AROUND A team of local suppliers worked together to create a shoot that highlights diversity within the wedding industry 39 JUST THE TWO OF US How to plan an intimate wedding 45 RUSTIC BLISS Fall in love with this autumnal styled shoot at Warwick Arms Hotel 49 DREAMY DÉCOR The latest venue styling trends On the cover... This issue’s cover was taken at Warwick Arms Hotel ( by Floss&Bea Lifestyle Photographer ( To see more images from the styled shoot and the full list of suppliers, turn to page 45. 35 VENUES 12 SPOTLIGHT ON WOLVERHAMPTON, WALSALL, DUDLEY & STOURBRIDGE Discover some of the best local venues 14 WED AND BREAKFAST Check in at a luxury hotel for your big day 3

REAL WEDDINGS 19 LOVE AT FIRST SWIPE Nicky and Scott met online and years later tied the knot at Hogarths Stone Manor 24 MEANT TO BE Staci and Adam opted for a white and navy colour palette for their big day at Brockencote Hall Hotel 29 LET’S GET READY TO WED Kara and Robbie met nine years ago at a charity boxing match and years later, they said their vows at Brandon Hall Hotel & Spa in front of their friends and family FASHION & BEAUTY 52 FASHION FOCUS The latest bridal fashion news, buys and launches 53 DAINTY DETAILS Say “I do” in these model looks 58 LITTLE GEMS Wedding guests will love the bright jewel colours that are trending this season 59 SUPERMODEL STYLE Dare to bare in a plunging, off-the-shoulder or sweetheart-shaped neckline 62 BEAUTY BUZZ Get the look with the latest must-haves 64 SKINCARE 101 Holistic therapist and SBC Skincare’s head of education, Adele O’Donoghue shares her ultimate guide to wedding-prep skincare 66 WEDDING WELLNESS Wedding planning can be a stressful business, so we’ve gathered together our top wellness picks to help you start 2024 on the right foot 67 FASHION Q&A Local professionals solve your problems 24 HONEYMOONS 74 HONEYMOON NEWS Our travel editor reveals the newest openings and honeymoon essentials 76 A SONG OF SUN AND SEA We reveal why Dubrovnik is the perfect honeymoon destination 78 VIVA ESPAÑA! Experience the finer side of life at Hostal de La Gavina in Spain’s Costa Brava 80 PARISIAN ELEGANCE Part of the prestigious Oetker Collection, Le Bristol Paris is everything you could dream of from a once in a lifetime visit to La VilleLumière, The City of Light GROOMS 69 GROOMS’ NEWS The latest best buys and product launches 70 RING-A-DING-DING How to choose the perfect wedding ring 71 SKIN DEEP Strictly Come Dancing star and Shakeup ambassador, Neil Jones reveals his skincare tips for grooms-to-be 72 RUSTIC CHIC We’ve rounded up some of the latest on-trend products for the groom-to-be 19 29 4

Image: Stu Ganderton Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, Stoke Heath, Bromsgrove, B60 4JR T: 01527 831 363 E: Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings with its 19 acres of grounds, historic buildings and views over the Worcestershire countryside, is truly a beautiful, unique and romantic setting for your wedding. Say ‘I do’ in the majestic New Guesten Hall with its beautifully detailed medieval roof which was originally part of Worcester Cathedral. Enigma studios brings you the first of its kind, a mobile tattoo studio for your wedding reception! For a free quote contact us today! The couple and guests can choose tattoos and take home the most unique wedding favour - A permanent memory of the special day! 01242 805786 Say ‘I do’ to wedding insurance Financial protection for weddings up to £100,000 Cancellation and rearrangement Financial failure of wedding services suppliers £2m personal liability included as standard Additional cover for Public Liability, COVID-19, Overseas Weddings, Marquee and more Prices from just £38.99 one-off payment Policy Terms and Conditions apply. Wedinsure is a trading name of Insuremore Ltd. Registered Office: 282 Leigh Rd, Leigh on Sea, Essex SS9 1BW. Registered in England No. 10525133. Insuremore Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority No. 824996.

Read all about the latest openings and honeymoon destinations for couples post-vows. 74 68 WINan all-inclusive honeymoon in Jamaica worth nearly £4,500! Welcome to our February/March issue and congratulations to those of you who recently got engaged; we can’t wait to help you plan your special day! Planning your wedding can feel overwhelming, especially at the beginning, but try not to panic. Weddings aren’t onesize-fits-all, so make the day about you, your interests and your love story. For example, if you love Harry Potter, why not incorporate it into your day? After all, it’s your wedding! Having trouble getting started? I found the best thing to do when I got engaged was to make a list of everything that I’d like to include in my day. From the big things like the venue and photographer down to the smaller details such as the cake topper and jewellery. The list might be a few sentences, or five pages long(!); both are absolutely fine. The list is there so you can find which items are important to you and to help you to focus on one thing at a time. My number one piece of advice would be to focus on your venue first, as this will dictate the day and time that you’re getting married. Due to the knock-on effects of the pandemic, many venues are still getting booked years in advance, so get your dream space locked in as soon as possible and then you can start thinking about your other suppliers. If you’re not sure what type of venue you want for your big day, check out our venue features for heaps of inspiration. Happy planning! Melissa x Melissa Cullen Senior Editor Love is in the air 29Kara and Robbie met nine years ago at a charity boxing match. Years later, they said their vows at Brandon Hall Hotel & Spa in front of their friends and family. 45 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 @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 ADVERTISING Account Manager Kirsty Brindley | 01376 538 490 This photo shoot organised by the Warwick Arms Hotel showcases a range of local businesses, from bridal couture to flowers, tablescapes and jewellery. Floss&Bea Lifestyle Photographer captured stunning images that perfectly portrayed the romantic and atmospheric ambience of an autumn wedding.

14 53 39 19 35 Check out these on-trend dresses full of beautiful details. Dreaming of tying the knot in a luxurious hotel? Head over to our venues feature for heaps of inspiration. Planning an intimate celebration? We’ve put together a how-to guide with all the latest advice and trends. Nicky and Scott met online and years later they tied the knot at Hogarths Stone Manor. TDR Bridal organised this photo shoot to highlight diversity within the wedding industry and to reflect the wide range of customers that the boutique welcomes through its doors. 24 Staci and Adam opted for a white and navy colour palette for their big day at Brockencote Hall Hotel. We reveal the latest best buys and product launches for the groom-to-be. 69 EDITOR’S LETTER 7

All the latest from around the West Midlands DATE FOR THE DIARY Safari Venues, set in the rolling hills of Worcestershire and the grounds of West Midland Safari Park, will be hosting its Wedding Venue Showcase on Sunday 25th February 2024. This will be the perfect opportunity to explore the Georgian manor house, ‘Spring Grove House’, a distinguished venue, setting the scene for dreamy events. You can also discover ‘Cellarz’, a brick-vaulted cocktail bar underneath the house, which provides the perfect party venue to celebrate with your guests after the big day. Arrive to the soothing sounds of a harpist while enjoying a complimentary glass of fizz and canapés while taking in the venue’s stunning décor. Venture outside and take in the beautiful landscaped back lawn of Spring Grove House, where an events company will be showcasing children’s entertainment and lawn games – great for adding a touch of fun and entertainment to your celebration. You can also look around ‘Red Panda Cottage’, one of the luxury wildlife accommodations offered on site as part of Safari Lodges, perfect for your wedding night as a newly-married couple. The dedicated wedding coordinators will be on hand to help answer any questions and plan your special day. Secure your spot for this exclusive Wedding Venue Showcase by reserving your tickets online for free at FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD Bigmouths Catering, a bespoke catering business based in Worcestershire, is offering our readers 10 per cent off its services. “We take a customer-first approach, meaning we can offer solutions for any budget or event size, whether it is casual, fine dining, or however you want to theme your big day. At Bigmouths Catering, we believe that great food is at the heart of every successful event. Whether you’re planning a corporate lunch, a wedding reception, or a special celebration, our team of experienced chefs and event planners will work with you to create a customised menu that will impress your guests and make your event a success. We offer an array of options, whether you envision a sophisticated canapé reception, a traditional three-course meal, or even an evening filled with delightful street food. With our dedicated team, you can rest assured that your guests will be treated to a culinary journey that complements the magic of your wedding.” To claim this amazing discount, email the Bigmouths Catering team at and mention the magazine. For more information, visit Nearlywed NEWS DELICIOUS CUISINE If you’re feeling the stresses of wedding planning, why not spoil you and your partner with a romantic meal for two at home using nothing but the best ingredients? Famed for their luxury wicker gift hampers bursting with fine food produce from small-batch suppliers, DukesHill has curated a selection of dine-in meal boxes that include their high-quality British meat. Kick off your meal with DukesHill’s finest smoked salmon pâté, paired with traditional Scottish oatcakes. The main event is a pair of tender grass-fed British beef fillet steaks full of flavour. The meal is rounded off with an indulgent sticky toffee pudding and a bottle of wine. Alternatively, delight your loved one with luxury chocolate truffles and sparkling wine. The melt-in-the-mouth-infused whipped cream chocolate ganache truffles perfectly complement the charming rosé. Packaged in a sleek DukesHill gift box with a smooth ribbon, this gift box is sure to win hearts. To find out more, visit 8

CONGRATULATIONS The Business Awards UK has announced the winners and finalists of the 2023 Wedding Services Awards. These awards recognise the exceptional talent and dedication of professionals in the wedding industry, celebrating those who have demonstrated excellence in their services and contributed significantly to making wedding experiences memorable. The 2023 Wedding Services Awards honour these distinguished companies and individuals who have set high standards in the wedding industry, showcasing exceptional creativity, professionalism and passion. These awards not only recognise their outstanding achievements but also celebrate their role in creating dream weddings and unforgettable moments for couples. Food Champs ( is a finalist in the ‘Outstanding Wedding Caterer’ category and 2 Wedding Photographers ( has been nominated in the ‘Excellence in Wedding Photography’ and ‘Wedding Videographer of the Year’ categories – congratulations! For more information about the Wedding Services Awards, email AWARD-WINNING LUXURY Voted as the UK’s number one venue by Hitched, Brinsop Manor House and Barn is a historic wedding venue nestled in the heart of Herefordshire in the West Midlands. This stunning property has 86 five-star reviews from happy couples and encompasses over 800 acres of ancient woodland, a newly built event barn and a 12th-century moated manor house. Here, couples and their guests can enjoy beautiful event spaces, attentive services and delightful accommodation to complete any special day. Weddings and special events manager Daisy Bishop says: “We really do emphasise how important it is to have ‘your wedding, your way’ and with so many different options here at Brinsop Manor House and Barn, it makes it easy for everyone to have the best day ever!” Check out for more information. SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND Poppy Elder Fine Jewellery has announced her debut collection. This marks Poppy’s first foray into her own line, reflecting over 15 years of her expertise in the UK jewellery industry. This collection comprises of pieces, each thoughtfully designed and meticulously crafted in England, featuring unusually cut natural diamonds and distinctive parti-sapphires, set in pieces crafted from platinum and 18ct gold. Standout pieces in the collection include the oval step-cut diamond engagement ring, accompanied by its matching half-moon-shaped diamond wedding band. This set epitomises modern elegance, offering contemporary brides a distinctive yet timeless bridal ensemble. The collection redefines classic luxury, appealing to those who seek subtle, distinctive designs. Poppy tells us: “I’ve always been drawn to the unusual, but I also have a classic sense of style. Fine jewellery, in my eyes, shouldn’t be about chasing the latest trends. It’s about creating something timeless that’ll still be loved and enjoyed just as much in 50 years as it is now.” Discover more at RUSTIC ROMANCE Nestled near Hereford, Bredenbury Court Barns is a rural wedding venue ideal for couples who wish to marry in the heart of the English countryside. The property has been named as one of the 10 most popular wedding venues in the UK by Hitched. This West Midlands gem is surrounded by endless acres of scenic beauty and features on-site accommodation and picturesque lawns, while the rustic barn resides within the grounds of a historic manor house. This venue has earned 47 five-star reviews from real couples who tied the knot at this impressive property. Simon Steel from Bredenbury Court Barns says: “We are absolutely delighted that Bredenbury Court Barns is one of the top 10 most popular wedding venues! It is a testament to our wonderful couples, their guests, lovely reviews and our amazing wedding team behind it all.” Head over to for more information. Getty Images LOCAL NEWS 9

Take advantage of these gorgeous giveaways and fab offers IN THE MOVIES Story Cabin Wedding Films is a video and photography team that captures weddings across the UK, France and Italy. Owner Jag tells us: “We pride ourselves on capturing raw moments with a discreet and unobtrusive approach. For us, it’s about telling your story with passion, creativity and an understanding of you and your personalities. We aim to capture your moments in a raw, documentary style. We steer clear of staging any moments. We want each of our couples to have the highest quality coverage; therefore, we spend our time editing your special day. With us, you will have a one-to-one consultation free of charge. We believe in personal connections and this will help each of us understand each other better. We will go through your requirements for your wedding and provide a basic timeline of events that we can later refine. You will have the opportunity to view our wedding trailers and films on our TV screen to get a better feel for what your wedding film may look like.” Exclusively for Your West Midlands Wedding, Story Cabin Wedding Films is offering our readers 10 per cent off its photography and videography packages. To claim this fabulous discount, email and mention the magazine. Visit for more information. JEWELLERY MUST-HAVES Independent British brand Scream Pretty is giving readers the chance to win £150 to spend online at Say ‘I do’ to wedding season and RSVP to any summer soiree in style with Scream Pretty’s stunning treasure trove of jewellery. From lustrous opulent pearls, playful floral motifs, colourful touches and statement sparkle, Scream Pretty’s collection of consciously crafted recycled-sterling silver and gold-plated recycled-sterling silver designs have something for every wedding party. Its Modern Pearl collection features classically chic Baroque pearl necklaces and charm hoops, or for a touch more glam, why not opt for the Pearl and Tennis Chain earrings? Elsewhere, its Simple Sparkle and Audrey ranges bring sparkling crystals across a host of earring designs from dazzling huggies, beautiful bows, signature drop studs and delicate threaders; all designed to mix, match, layer, and stack, sitting as intricate accents that can be worn in piercings across the ear for a dainty curated look. For bridesmaids’ gifts, Scream Pretty’s Zodiac Coin Pendants make thoughtful personalised gifts, whilst its collection of heart, oval and precious hand carabiner charm collectors make the perfect keepsake. Designed with the ethos ‘Be seen. Be heard. Scream Pretty.’, this jewellery brand has you covered for every occasion. Freebies& OFFERS FREEBIES & OFFERS 11

ROSE GARDEN, WV4 6ED 07748 093 525 | Rose Garden is a luxury wedding venue offering traditional in-house catering, elegant interiors and attention to detail that make it the perfect choice for weddings. This premium venue, situated in the heart of the Midlands, prides itself on going the extra step to make sure your event is truly unforgettable. From the beautifully decorated rooms to the expertly crafted food and drinks, the team at Rose Garden can take care of every detail to ensure your wedding is perfect. Celebrate in style The Rose Garden has two stunning rooms to choose from. The downstairs space can hold up to 600 guests and is ideal for holding an extravagant event with all of your family and friends. If you’re planning a more intimate affair, the upstairs area can accommodate up to 200 of your loved ones, making it perfect for a pre-wedding party or a more personal celebration. We love... The venue has a free car park with over 150 spaces. Spotlight on... Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley & Stourbridge 12

WYCHBURY ROOMS, OLD HALESONIANS ASSOCIATION, DY9 9JP 01562 883 036 | Nestled in the Clent Hills, Wychbury Rooms is surrounded by extensive grounds that look stunning in photographs. Celebrate in style The Wychbury Room is the main function space, which can accommodate 150 guests for the reception or 100 people for a sit-down meal. It’s fully air-conditioned, has access to a private balcony and is accessible via a lift, with accessible toilets available downstairs. It has a private bar and the team can discuss bespoke wedding packages to suit your needs using preferred entertainment, catering and room décor specialists, or you are welcome to provide your own. We love... There is extensive parking available on site. There is also a quaint outside bar and space that can be used for a festival-style wedding. HAGLEY HALL, DY9 9LG 01562 887 290 | Hagley Hall dates back to the 18th century and is one of the last great Palladian mansion houses. Often described as one of the area’s best-kept secrets, steeped in history and architecture, the property has been home to the Lyttelton family for over 250 years and is available for private hire. The opulent stately home is nestled within 350 acres of landscaped parkland and offers impressive views of the estate. Celebrate in style New for 2024 and 2025 is The Orangery, which can hold up to 450 friends and family. The Orangery will be situated within the landscaped grounds, offering panoramic views of the Hall, St. John’s Church, and Deer Park. For larger occasions of up to 1,000 guests, there is a choice of two marquee sites, or for smaller parties of up to 120 loved ones, the grand and exquisite State Rooms are perfect for your celebrations. We love... The venue has a dedicated head chef and catering team that are passionate about creating fantastic food and bespoke menus to suit every guest. They use local, seasonal produce and many of the ingredients are home-grown and sourced from the estate. LOCAL VENUES 13

ST JOHNS HOUSE, WS13 6PB 01543 252 080 | St Johns House is an elegant Georgian house located in the heart of Lichfield. Dan Ralley acquired St Johns House in August 2012. Having fallen in love with the building, he set about bringing it back to life. This included a rear extension, which is now the Pavilion Room, acting as the main function room at the house. Great care was taken in restoring all of the redeeming features the house had to offer, combining contemporary furnishings with classic antiques to create a very stylish, warm and friendly place to stay. With a real passion to make guests as comfortable as possible, St Johns House offers so much more than a good night’s sleep. Celebrate in style St Johns House is full of elegance and charm. Enjoy the space and use the house as a blank canvas to design and style your big day as you so wish. If you have a wedding planned that involves people travelling from all parts of the country and beyond, you may want to consider hosting a weekend-long celebration at St Johns House. Your guests can arrive at 2pm on Friday to check in and get settled; perhaps meeting in the Drawing Room for an intimate afternoon tea or cocktail hour on the patio if weather permits. Enjoy a pre-wedding supper with close family and friends, listen to some of your favourite tunes, add your finishing touches to the reception room while your partner enjoys a pint or two in one of Lichfield’s fine public houses and get excited for the following day. Wake up for breakfast and the house will be a hive of activity as hairdressers, make-up artists and florists come and go, adding to the excitement. As well as the large extravagant weddings at St Johns, the team also enjoys hosting small intimate weddings between 15 and 30 guests in any format, whether it be a daytime wedding, exclusive use, or a weekend wedding. St Johns House has two rooms available for wedding ceremonies. The first room has a capacity of 60 loved ones and the Pavilion can accommodate up to 90. We love... St Johns House has 12 bedrooms, eight of which are in the main house, and there are four located across the courtyard in the Stable Block. Outside of the exclusive use events, St Johns operates as a luxury bed and breakfast day to day. Located in the centre of Lichfield and a twominute walk from Lichfield City Train Station, St Johns is in the perfect position to explore Lichfield and beyond. Wed and breakfast Check in at a luxury hotel for your big day 14

WROXALL ABBEY HOTEL, CV35 7NB 01926 242 330 | Wroxall Abbey Hotel is a luxurious 72-bedroom hotel surrounded by 27 acres of luscious green grounds and spectacular views of the Warwickshire countryside. The estate is steeped in a rich history dating back as far as the 11th century. King Henry VIII, Sir Christopher Wren and the world-renowned writer William Shakespeare all had past ties to Wroxall Abbey. Celebrate in style Developed in 1866, the Courtyard formed a large part of the estate when it was transformed into a school and still has old elements of a traditional schoolhouse feel from the outside. Built as a separate annex to the main mansion house, it provides guests with total privacy. The Courtyard hosts two function suites: The Barn, which can hold up to 60 guests for your civil ceremony and wedding breakfast, as well as the Club Room, which can be used for your evening event and can cater up to 150 loved ones. With its own bar and courtyard, you and your guests can enjoy the exclusivity of your day away from the main hotel. The Marquee is a permanent, purpose-built function suite located in the Walled Gardens of the estate, next to the church. Suited for large-scale weddings, the seating capacity of The Marquee can be altered to suit the requirements of your wedding, ranging from 100 friends and family for part-use to 400 guests for full-use. The Marquee is also equipped with its own bar, reception area and secluded garden, all away from the main mansion house. With shared use of the gardens and grounds, you will be spoiled for choice with the endless selection of scenic locations for your wedding photo shoot. We love... Enjoy a comfortable night’s stay in the newly refurbished chic-style bedrooms, or opt for a mouth-watering afternoon tea in the remarkable Henry’s Restaurant. MOOR HALL HOTEL & SPA, B75 6LN 01213 083 751 | Moor Hall Hotel & Spa is a family-owned venue surrounded by beautiful grounds in Sutton Coldfield. The four-star hotel has options for smaller or larger nuptials of up to 180 guests, as well as evening-only and afternoon tea receptions. There are 83 bedrooms, including doubles, twins, family rooms and hot tub rooms, for your friends and family to choose from and all guests will have access to the pool, spa bath, sauna and steam room and a full English breakfast the following day. Celebrate in style Choose to hold your civil ceremony inside the Charter Suite or outside in the magical Sunken Garden, with its fountain, stone staircase and grottos for up to 180 loved ones. The elegant Charter Suite creates a spectacular backdrop for weddings. It’s decorated in subtle shades of grey and gold with chandeliers, a private bar, a dancefloor and a separate entrance, which is ideal for large celebrations of up to 180 day and 250 evening guests. The hotel’s first-floor rooms, which overlook the surrounding parkland, are ideal for small receptions. We love... Book the hotel’s Wedding Preparation Suite the night before your wedding for the ultimate bridal party sleepover. The space has a sofa bed, a four-poster bed and a connecting twin room, but what makes it perfect is the large dressing tables, mirrors and seating area for everyone to get ready on the morning of the wedding. 15 HOTELS

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 the 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 and 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 stunning 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 of 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. MALLORY COURT HOTEL AND SPA, CV33 9QB 01926 330 214 | Mallory Court Hotel and Spa is a magnificent country house hotel surrounded by 10 acres of landscaped gardens and set amidst picturesque countryside, with 42 blissful bedrooms and a three-star Rosette restaurant. The house creates a beautiful backdrop for your celebration, be it basking in the summer sunshine or relaxing by a roaring fire. The events team will guide you through the best possible options to suit the theme of your special day. From the moment you arrive, to the meal, to your first dance, Mallory Court can make your wedding dreams a reality. Celebrate in style The grand Lutyens-style main house Dining Room and Private Dining Room are lovely spaces for a more intimate wedding with two to 56 of your loved ones. You can hold your ceremony in either of these charming spaces, depending on the number of guests. The venue can accommodate everything from an intimate ceremony for two to a lavish ceremony for 120 or a bespoke outdoor ceremony on the great lawn. Mallory Court Hotel and Spa’s elegant Knights Suite is perfect for a grand wedding. Beautifully decorated, the glass-roofed atrium is a striking setting for up to 150 guests, with a stylish private bar, grand piano and plenty of open space for dancing. We love... As one of the finest luxury hotels in Warwickshire, the award-winning team is always on hand to support you when planning your special day. 16

MODDERSHALL OAKS, ST15 8WF 01782 399 000 | Moddershall Oaks sits on the water’s edge and is surrounded by acres of charming 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 luxury property has everything needed to create your dream wedding. THE WROXETER HOTEL, SY5 6PH 01743 761 256 | Situated in the heart of Shropshire yet easily accessible from major roads, The Wroxeter Hotel boasts fabulous grounds and views, with several outdoor seating areas and points of interest that look great in photographs. This Georgian county house has many original features, along with some modern twists and fabulous wedding spaces. The Wroxeter Hotel is an ideal venue for exclusive use and affords a real house party feel. BARNUTOPIA, SY10 9BS 01691 791 624 | Barnutopia 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’. Approaching through the main gates, couples will be greeted by a red brick stable block that dates back to 1892. The Events Barn opens directly onto the Yurt Field with spectacular views of the surrounding Shropshire countryside. BROCKENCOTE HALL HOTEL, DY10 4PY 01562 777 876 | Brockencote Hall Hotel is a Victorian country manor house hotel set within 70 acres of stunning Worcestershire parkland. With a scenic lake and restored dovecote, it is an idyllic setting for weddings. The house, with its grand sweeping drive, French-inspired architecture and beautiful features, has 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. BOURTON HALL, CV23 9QZ 01926 940 900 | Bourton Hall is part of Country House Weddings Ltd and has more than 30 years of experience creating dream weddings. This family-owned and run wedding venue group has collectively held over 10,000 weddings across its six manors. A beautiful Italian Renaissance-style mansion, Bourton Hall offers exclusive use of its house and grounds to couples on the day of their wedding, with the picturesque gardens and idyllic Warwickshire countryside providing an unrivalled backdrop for your special day. This 18th-century country mansion exudes style and charm, with gorgeous period features such as a grand staircase and ornate ceilings throughout. Setting the scene for an unforgettable wedding, you and your guests can enjoy a ceremony in the breathtaking former Catholic Chapel, dine in the Banqueting Hall, enjoy croquet on the lawn, and relax in one of the fully stocked bars or cosy reception rooms before retiring to the luxurious on-site accommodation. This popular wedding venue has 21 luxurious bedroom suites, including a honeymoon suite and dressing room. Accommodation is reserved exclusively for the couple, so you have complete control over who stays and in which rooms. The Gatekeepers Cottage, a space for members of the wedding party to stay the night before your big day, is also available. Check-in from 5pm and enjoy the delights of this tucked-away retreat, with a six-seater hot tub, cosy living room, modern kitchenette and stylish bathroom, perfect for a carefree and restful night. Celebrate in style The on-site Italianate former Catholic chapel provides an idyllic backdrop for your civil ceremony, complete with an ornate carved wood and gold leaf ceiling and seating for up to 120 guests. The Minstrel’s Gallery is ideal for musicians to play as you make your entrance from the Italianate gallery and begin your walk down the aisle. Alternatively, choose to wed in the Italian Room, complete with a crystal chandelier, ornate ceiling and double-height sash windows; it’s the perfect choice for a more intimate affair. On sunnier days, The Portico, which adjoins the Italian Room, provides an outdoor ceremony setting for you to exchange your vows. For the wedding reception, the Banqueting Hall is the ideal setting to dine your guests in style, with extensive views across rolling countryside to the Draycote Water beyond. Seating up to 120 guests in traditional banqueting style, with the option of a top table putting you centre stage. For the evening reception, you can enjoy a cocktail in the Chandelier Bar, relax in the Lounge or dance the night away in the Draycote Bar & Disco, which has a dancefloor, a fully stocked bar and a DJ booth. We love... Bourton Hall has a wonderful selection of complete wedding packages that satisfy all your wedding needs, making it easier to plan, cater and style your wedding. With these all-inclusive packages, you can have the perfect day from start to finish, personalised with gorgeous extras, upgrades and accommodation, whatever your tastes, preferences or budget. Also check out… HOTELS 17

Get in touch for a custom quote or to arrange a viewing! Scan the QR code to learn more! | Near Hay on Wye. Herefordshire Wild & Free WILD WEDDINGS. WILD FEASTS. Free Range Weddings

FIRST SWIPE Nicky and Scott met online and years later they tied the knot at Hogarths Stone Manor Images courtesy of Still Light Photography Nicky and Scott met on a dating website. “Our first date consisted of drinks and a meal,” says Nicky. “We found that we had a connection straight away and Scott consistently made me laugh and was a complete gentleman.” The happy couple went away to Wales with their family when Scott popped the question. “It was a real surprise, as Scott always struggles to keep a secret at the best of times, so the fact that he had hidden it from me for so long really shocked me,” shares the bride. “Scott had given me a telescope and named a star after me on a previous birthday, so his original plan was to point the telescope at the star and ask me to marry him, but, due to poor weather, he ended up proposing in the bedroom of our lodge.” Read on to see some of Nicky’s favourite moments from their big day... Love at REAL WEDDINGS 19

We chose pink and white flowers for the centrepieces, with lots of green foliage. We placed these inside gold hoops that tied in well with our colour scheme. We visited several venues, but nothing came close to Hogarths Stone Manor. We loved the outdoor setting and the rooms were stunning. We particularly liked the pump rooms, which was where I stayed the night before the wedding and was glammed up the following morning. For our favours, we gave our guests miniature bottles of red wine and pink prosecco. We also gave out scratch cards and an activity pack for the younger guests. Our table plan was decorated with beautiful pink flowers. Scott and I chose three bakes from Marks and Spencer: a large floral design and Colin and Connie the Caterpillar cakes. For the ceremony, we chose pink chair covers, lanterns and a floral archway. 20

My gown was a long, flowy design with lots of extra material and a pink undertone. To finish the look, I borrowed a bracelet from my sister and wore a silver necklace. Scott opted for a cream suit from Harry Brown Menswear. We were excited for the big day and to say our vows. Having the whole family together in one place was such a beautiful and wholesome feeling. Having my son, Oliver, and Scott’s daughter, Lily, with us was really wonderful. Oliver walked me down the aisle with my father and Lily acted as the flowergirl. Additionally, both children provided the rings during the ceremony. During the ceremony, I forgot Scott’s full name! We supplied music for the wedding breakfast using Spotify and let our guests entertain themselves and enjoy talking to each other. REAL WEDDINGS 21

NICKY AND SCOTT’S CONTACTS Venue and catering, Hogarths Stone Manor, | Photographer, Still Light Photography, Bride’s dress, Wed4Less, | Alterations, Sharon Farmer Couture Bridal Design, Groom’s suit, Harry Brown Menswear, | Hair and make-up artist, I Do – Hair and Make Up, | Cake, Marks and Spencer, | Flowers, Flowers of Kidderminster, 22

Contact us today 07980 776824 Balsall Common - CV77AA WWW.ISABELSFLOWERSTUDIO.COM Weddings Over 20 years experience Experts in bespoke wedding floral design to suit you , with lots of experience in many types of wedding flowers, we can work with you to create the florals of your dreams for your wedding day. Isabel offers a bespoke design service for larger budgets or many seasonal packages for the smaller budget. Book today for a complimentary consultation. We cover all midlands region wedding venues from castles, to barns to hotels to teepees in fields, throughout Warwickshire/ Coventry/westmidlands/Staffordshire/Cotswolds including Warwick castle, Swallows Nest Barn, Myths Barn, Hampton Manor, Walton Hall Hotel, Ettington Park, Dodford Manor, The Welcome Hotel, The Manor Hotel - Meriden, The Windmill Village, The Mill Barns, Hyde House, and Blackwell Grange. 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

TO BE Meant Staci and Adam opted for a white and navy colour palette for their big day at Brockencote Hall Hotel Images courtesy of TH Photography 24

Staci and Adam met at a networking event at Worcester Racecourse. “A couple of years later, we matched with each other on a dating app and our relationship quickly blossomed,” says Staci. “Adam is a big horseracing fan and I’ve started going with him occasionally, which is funny since we first met each other at the races.” Adam proposed as a surprise on Christmas morning in 2021. “He had filled the ceiling of our lounge with balloons and streamers,” shares the bride. “When I saw him, he was there on one knee, surrounded by rose petals in a gorgeous tuxedo, with the most amazing ring in his hand.” SETTING THE SCENE “When we were thinking about what we wanted from the day itself – the right food, the perfect accommodation and a lovely setting – it dawned on us that we already knew the place that provided all of that,” explains Staci. “It just so happened to be the place I work: Brockencote Hall Hotel. I’ve planned more than 200 weddings for couples at Brockencote Hall Hotel, so I know its potential. Its grounds and space were the perfect size for our guests and the Worcestershire setting near the church was ideal too. With exclusive use, we could really tailor the day to be our own, whether that was choosing the food throughout the day or changing the layout and moving some furniture around so it looked how we wanted. We had our drinks reception on the croquet lawn, which was fabulous with the clear blue skies all afternoon. We knew it would be a beautiful setting for photos too and we took some great pictures in the grounds and in a nearby field. “To decorate the space, we chose a floral arch, had 200 balloons above the dancefloor and photos of our parents and grandparents on their wedding days,” continues Staci. “We also had a champagne tower in the evening and sparklers towards the end of the night.” For their favours, Staci embroidered their guests’ names onto napkins, which doubled up as place settings. “It took time, but it added a lovely, personal touch,” recalls the bride. “Our table names were racecourses around the UK, which was a little nod to how we met and the places we have been together. We designed these to match the other signage at the wedding and had the menu on the reverse too.” Staci and Adam chose a clean aesthetic for their décor. “We had crystal candelabras from Secret Garden Wedding & Event Services as our centrepieces,” says Staci. “We hired a curved top table and my sister made cloths to fit it perfectly, which meant the flowers in front really popped. I bought the most amazing floral chinoiserie vases, which were the basis for a lot of the elements of the day and it was a beautiful way to bring navy blue into our décor. I asked our florist, Tanya Ellis from Bluebells Florist, to fill each vase with different flowers. Tanya really helped bring the vision together and understood my desire to create a floral pocket square on the men’s tuxedos so there were no pins through the satin – they looked so good! My bouquet was a traditional design with one of each flower from the vases at the venue, and it just finished off my look so well.” Finishing Touch Cars provided a Rolls Royce to take Staci and her dad to the church and a matching limousine for her mum and bridesmaids to arrive in style. The couple’s cake was designed by Charlotte Pearman at Farm House Cakes. “Charlotte and I have known each other for some time and I love her style and elegance,” shares the bride. “She created a five-tier cake with some delicious flavours, based on a simple design with our names hand-painted on the front, topped off with a bow to match the bridesmaids’ dresses. For the rest of our food, I was heavily involved in designing the menu with the incredible award-winning chefs at Brockencote Hall Hotel. We worked hard to get our favourite flavours combined with seasonal elements. Our guests loved the evening buffet, which we designed to be in the style of Nandos. We wanted something with spice, but with no pressure for the guests to have it too hot. Nandos is our favourite comfort food and was the one thing in lockdown we really loved, so it just felt like us. We had chicken to make burgers, chicken wings, and halloumi, along with some great salads and peri-peri fries. This was next to a magnificent cake of cheese; our family and friends certainly didn’t leave hungry.” DRESSED TO IMPRESS “I knew the dress I dreamed of, but finding it was another challenge,” recalls Staci. “What I really wanted was a beautiful Bardot lace dress and an Aire satin overskirt. After trying stores locally with my parents, we travelled to a boutique store in Chester, REAL WEDDINGS 25

where they had a dress that was similar to what I was looking for with a satin overskirt. I got in touch with a former client of mine from Brockencote Hall Hotel called Geraldine O’Brien, who works in fashion and has had the most amazing career to date. She adapted the dress for me and was able to make it fit like a glove. I’m only sorry I won’t be able to wear it again and again!” Adam chose to wear a navy tuxedo and a Tag Heuer watch, which Staci gifted to him on the morning of the wedding. The bridesmaids opted for gowns from ASOS. “We chose a full-length navy design,” explains Staci. “The dresses were a flattering fit on the girls and were finished with black shoes and embroidered ribbons I made. We altered the same dress for our flowergirl, who was nine, so she felt like a bridesmaid too.” TIME TO CELEBRATE “As our guests arrived, we had speakers on the front lawn playing the soundtrack from Bridgerton for an elegant drinks reception, with all our guests in black tie,” reveals Staci. “For the evening, we had the brilliant Apollo Soul perform, who we were so delighted with. I have known them for years through work and we purposely chose a date for the wedding that they were available for. They began the evening with a saxophone set on the back terrace while guests relaxed in the sunshine. Throughout, they delivered amazing vocals and an eclectic musical set-up with six band members. They performed our first dance and delivered a bespoke song list just for us.” MEMORABLE MOMENTS “Although it’s cliché, we really did have the best day of our lives,” shares the bride. “We celebrated among friends and family and were so grateful to those who joined us. One of our friends said in the evening that they didn’t even need to ask how we felt, as our smiles said it all. Adam’s favourite part of the day was the speeches – mostly enjoying the best man’s speech once his was over! It was made even more special by his best man gifting him a signed shirt from Aston Villa player Ollie Watkins. My favourite part was our first dance, as it was not choreographed, but we just shuffled across the dancefloor with some spins. My dad and I followed this up with a little routine from the movie The Parent Trap, based on the handshake scene and that created a sentimental moment for us both to treasure. “A funny moment was when we lost the bridesmaids,” laughs Staci. “They took a left turn instead of right from the church and ended up down some very narrow country roads in a limousine. Luckily, they had stocked up on champagne, so they had a long but fantastic journey to the hotel. They managed to arrive just before Adam and I did, as we went for some photos in a nearby field.” The couple’s friend, Dan, helped make their big day perfect. “He was our hero behind the scenes,” says Staci. “He was the one carrying the flowers from the church to his car and then on to the venue. He had the playlist going for the drinks reception and he introduced us as our master of ceremonies as we entered the room and during our speeches. He really brought the whole day together and made the atmosphere amazing for us and our guests. I couldn’t have asked for more from my bridesmaid, Francesca, either. On top of planning the bridal shower and hen party, she was so helpful in the preparations too, assisting with the designs for the save-the-dates, the wedding website, table plan, invitations and welcome sign.” 26

STACI AND ADAM’S CONTACTS Venue, Brockencote Hall Hotel, | Photographer, TH Photography, | Videographer, Wendy Clarkson | Groom’s suit, Dancers, | Bridesmaids’ dresses, ASOS, | Mums’ outfits, Coast, | Alterations, Geraldine O’Brien | Hair stylist, Siren, | Make-up artist, Hannah Louise Field MUA, | Nails, Nails by B, | Beauty treatments, Sapphire Beauty and Cosmetics, and The Wedding House, | Table plan and welcome sign, Sign Devil, | Candelabras, Secret Garden Wedding & Event Services, | Flowers, Bluebells Florist, | Cake, Farm House Cakes, | Transport, Finishing Touch Cars, | Entertainment, Apollo Soul, 27 REAL WEDDINGS