5 intimate weddings

Modest guest lists lend themselves to unusual and exceptional wedding venues. Be inspired by our top 5 venues for small and chic weddings in the UK.

1. Temple of Apollo, Stourhead, Wiltshire

Who for: Romantic couples who want a beautiful, classic and intimate ceremony. The garden temple will seat 30 guests to witness your wedding

What: A tranquil paradise. Situated in one of the finest landscape gardens in the world, the stone built Temple of Apollo, built in 1765, is truly stunning. Looks familiar? You may well have seen it in the proposal seen in remake of Pride and Prejudice. If it’s good enough for Keira Knightley Matthew MacFadyen…

Why: It’s timelessly beautiful and will provide a magnificent backdrop for your wedding photographs.

2. Millbrook Estate, High Bickington, Devon

Who for: Nature lovers who want to be married hidden away, in a breath taking valley. Millbrook specialises in weddings for up to 20 guests, they also do ‘Runaway Weddings’ for less than four guests…

Why: Stunning and very private, Millbrook is set within a valley location of 32 acres of beautiful countryside with lakes, wild flower meadows and mature woodland. Marry in the extremely intimate secret garden conservatory or in the summerhouse, which has enormous folding doors to let the outside in, and a huge fireplace for roaring log fires in the winter months. The venue even offers private dinning for true romantics.

3. Forter Castle, Perthshire, Scotland

Who for: The Bride and Groom who want a venue fit for a King and Queen. The castle can accommodate 16 for a sit down meal or up to 24 for a buffet and sleeps up to 12.

What: This16th century fortified tower is like something from a fairy-tale – it’s been lovingly restored from a ruin to retain its original character and charm, but with opulent modern-day comforts and even boasts its very own chapel. The surrounding highlands are unspoilt and sure to impress.

Why: It’s dramatic and intimate at the same time.

4. Nash Point Lighthouse, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales

Who for: Quirky couples looking for a unique place to tie the knot. The spectacular Lighthouse can hold 25 guests, over two floors.

What: One of the few operational lighthouses where you can get married, beautiful Nash Point Lighthouse is situated on one of the cleanest, sandy coastlines in South Wales and noted for its variety and birdlife. You’ll be treated to a spectacular view while you say ‘I do’ – a great choice for those with an affinity with the sea.

Why: It’s a deliciously different option and a real statement about who you are as a couple.

5. Tunnels Beaches, Ilfracombe, Devon

Who for: Couples who want to a beautiful, informal ceremony at the beach. Tunnels Beaches encourage weddings for up to 60-70 people, with the option of more even guests.

What: A network of hand carved tunnels lead you to a tidal Victorian bathing pool and stunning sheltered beaches, where this chic, contemporary venue lies. Get married in the Thatched Gazebo overlooking the sea, with a sublime view of the rugged coastline and the sound of the sea.

Why: It’s a stunning yet understated choice and the scenery will look fantastic in your photos.

Fairytale Weddings

When it comes to romance, beauty and timeless charm, Disney has it all sewn up. Everyone has a favourite Disney character or story, and even if you’re not the biggest Disney fan, it’s hard not to be bewitched by the escapism of Disney’s larger-than-life fairy tales.

In celebration of Disney’s enduring sparkle, be inspired by four of the most famous — and best loved — Disney princesses. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for a Disney themed wedding, or you’d just like a touch of Disney magic on your big day, check out these four very special Disney princess mood boards.

Eternally Elsa

Frozen is a modern classic, loved by millions across the globe. Perhaps you’re such a big fan of the film that you’ll be playing “Let It Go” as you walk down the aisle…or maybe you just want to incorporate some of Elsa’s signature sky blue into your wedding styling. With her side plait and ice cool beauty, Elsa is a stunning Disney icon — and a few touches of Frozen magic will make your wedding day spellbinding.

Charming Cinderella

Cinderella is perhaps the most popular princess to inspire a wedding day. Her fairy-tale revolves around love and marriage — and a beautiful girl’s search for Prince Charming. Now you’ve found “the one”, you could celebrate your own love story by taking a leaf out of Cinders’ book: go for full-on glamour with a huge ball gown, sparkling headdress, sensational underwear, a horse drawn carriage, glitzy reception décor and — of course — a beautiful pair of glass slippers.

Seductive Snow White

Snow White is a dark fairy-tale complete with a wicked witch, a poisoned apple and a glass casket where Snow White sleeps until she is woken from her slumber by a handsome prince. If you’re using this story as your inspiration, forget the seven dwarves and concentrate on the enigmatic beauty of this Disney classic. Opt for dramatic make-up, a crimson dress, blood red roses against bright white icing, linen and candles, and a classic red and white colour palette. If you’re a raven haired beauty with a mysterious side, Snow White is definitely the princess to inspire you.

Rocking Rapunzel

In the 2010 Disney movie Tangled, Rapunzel appeared as a feisty, independent and spirited princess with a bubbly personality — as well as magic golden hair. If you want to blend timeless Disney romance with a contemporary edge, use Rapunzel as your role model. Look for a boho-inspired gown, 70s-style headband, pops of purple in your colour scheme and – in keeping with Rapunzel tradition – a castle with a tower for your reception.

Perfect Venues for Outdoor Weddings

If you want to get married outside then take a look at some of our favourite wedding venues where you can hold an outdoor ceremony

Although the weather isn’t always reliable, outdoor ceremonies are growing in popularity in the UK.

If you’d love to say your vows outside, here are some UK venues to consider:

1. Ta Mill, Cornwall

There’s a choice of outdoor options at Ta Mill, on the fringes of Bodmin Moor, including lawns that can accommodate up to 100 guests with a wildlife pond in the background. If the weather changes, a canopy can be used on the lawn, or up to 60 guests can be accommodated in the indoor venue. To continue the outdoor theme you can enjoy a bespoke wedding breakfast in a personalised marquee in the gardens.

2. Heaton House Farm, Cheshire

As well as offering a choice of two barns, Heaton House Farm also has a beautiful oak pagoda available for outdoor weddings. Licensed for civil ceremonies, and with its own patio area, the pagoda has panoramic views across the Cheshire plains. Guests can be seated on the patio area with additional seating extending onto the grass if required.

3. Laughern Hill Estate, Worcestershire

Laughern Hill Estate can provide a “complete al fresco outdoor wedding experience”. It has a selection of ceremony locations, including beside a wishing well. You could have a quintessentially British marquee wedding or a boho festival style tipi. You could dine under a vinery of real leaves and sumptuous grapes or devour a mouth-watering hog roast within the walls of a secret garden. You could even dance the night away under the stars…with your own silent disco.

4. Careys Manor, New Forest

Careys Manor Hotel is the only venue in the tranquil New Forest that holds an outdoor wedding licence. The hotel’s elegant, custom-built wedding pavilion harnesses the traditional romance of a walled garden with its serene design and sweet floral aromas. Up to 100 guests can be accommodated here – and they will also be able to use the award winning spa facilities.

5. Nymans, Sussex

In a peaceful country setting, Nymans is a National Trust property with a loggia that is licensed for weddings and civil ceremonies. A beautiful gothic building, with soaring arches and ivy clad walls, the loggia is set within a sunken garden that has striking floral displays. Intimate ceremonies for 30 guests can take place inside the loggia or, for a larger congregation, an unlimited number of additional guests can be seated on the lawns.

6. Brinkburn, Northumberland

Offering an unusual historic, tranquil and quirky experience, the estate is set in a secluded wooded ravine on the banks of the river Coquet in Northumberland, with a beautiful 12th century church and stables in the grounds. Outdoor ceremonies can be held here with the sound of the birds singing and the river running as a gorgeous soundtrack to your day.

7. Polpier, Cornwall

If you’re looking for an outdoor wedding venue with a stunning view, picturesque Polpier on the Cornish coast has a spacious front lawn that looks down on Mevagissey fishing village and harbour. With a feature gazebo that can be dressed with flowers and decorations, up to 100 guests can be accommodated at an outdoor ceremony in the self-contained gardens.

8. Cripps Barn, Gloucestershire

An old Cotswold stone barn has flag stone floors, an open fire place, a large south facing terrace with fire pits and a bonfire in the garden. Couples can get married either in the barn or outside in the woodland glade which is equipped with a microphone and speakers in the trees so guests can hear music and the couples’ vows. After the wedding, the barn is a perfect place to party – and there is free camping available in the field next door for any outdoor-loving guests.

9. Jollydays Glamping, Yorkshire

Although Jollydays isn’t licensed for a legal ceremony, it’s a great choice if you are a glamping fan: couples usually have a legal ceremony at the nearby village church, or at the registry office in York, and then have a humanist ceremony in the Jollydays woodland. There are three wedding packages to choose from; you could have a festival vibe, a posh vintage tea party or a romantic boho extravaganza.

The countdown

The perfect Wedding needs planning and we thought that this 12 month handy planner maybe just the job to ensure you are organised for the big day;

12 months to go…

Have the budget conversation with your fiancé and your parents
Fix a date and time
Decide on guest numbers
Visit reception venues and book one as soon as possible
Buy wedding insurance

11 months to go…

Send save-the-dates
Book your photographer and videographer (Make sure the church or wedding venue allows photos and videos to be shot!)
Book the caterer, DJ and/or band
Make appointments to try on wedding dresses

10 months to go…

Choose your guests – bridesmaids, ushers and best man etc.
Decide on your dress (allow at least six months for a made-to-measure dress to be delivered)
Choose and order your bridesmaid’s outfits.
Start thinking about a honeymoon, including the costs, season and flights

9 months to go…

Find a florist and discuss your flowers, including buttonholes, bouquets and arrangements for the church and reception venue
Taste and confirm your menu and drinks with your caterer
Choose and order your bridesmaid outfits

8 months to go…

If you’re getting married in a church, discuss readings with the minister or priest and music with the musicians
If it’s a civil ceremony, enquire about what readings and music are permitted
Order invitations and envelopes (allow one invitation per married couple or family), plus place cards, menus and a seating plan

7 months to go…

Book transport to the wedding venue and on to the reception for you and your bridal party (as well as a car to take you to your first-night hotel or the airport)
Order your wedding cake
Choose and order wedding favours

6 months to go…

Remind your fiancé to get his and the usher’s outfits
Choose gifts for the wedding party
Pick your wedding rings
Confirm the order of service with your priest or registrar, and then have guest booklets printed. If you have a choir, they need copies, too

5 months to go…

Go honeymoon shopping (Remember summer clothes aren’t easy to find in the winter and vice versa!)
Book a hairdresser and style consultation (do this earlier if you’re planning to grow your hair)
Book your make-up artist and trial appointments

4 months to go…

If you’re changing your name, renew your passport now or do it after you have your honeymoon. The officiating minister or registrar will sign the form
Find out if you need visas or inoculations for your honeymoon.
Discuss hen and stag night plans with your friends.

3 months to go…

Pick a company and start gift-list window shopping!
Book for a colour (if you get your hair coloured) and a trim
Organise a rehearsal and inform those who will need to be there
Attend a reading of the banns, if you’ll marry in a church

2 months to go…

Send out invitations six weeks before the day and keep a list of acceptances
Check that your fiancé has organised the rings, his wedding clothes, and your first-night hotel
Try on your whole wedding outfit, including headdress, shoes and underwear. Forgotten anything? Get it!
Book any other beauty treatments (nails, fake tans, etc.)

1 month to go…

Confirm numbers with caterers and do the seating plan
Discuss special requests with your band or DJ
Order honeymoon currency and traveller’s cheques
Visit the hairdresser to try out hairstyles with your veil and tiara, and have your final cut and colour
Have your hen and stag nights – after all that running around, it’s time to party!

Beautiful Readings

Planning a Wedding is pretty stressful and then there are poignant speeches and poems to consider. Brits ultimately don’t want something that feels too cringe or over the top to say. We want something that can transfer sentiment in a meaningful, thoughtful and beautifully written way that speaks of real and true love, not just the love you find in novels. Here are some lovely readings and quotes from books that will really hit a chord with you and your wedding guests, without it feeling a little too intense. 

 

The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach

“A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly be who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.” 

He’s Not Perfect by Bob Marley  

“He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

“No relationship is perfect, ever. There are always some ways you have to bend, to compromise, to give something up in order to gain something greater … The love we have for each other is bigger than these small differences. And that’s the key. It’s like a big pie chart, and the love in a relationship has to be the biggest piece. Love can make up for a lot.”

 

Sit back and Chillax

If you’re feeling frazzled on the lead up to your big day, you are most definitely not alone. There is no doubt that planning a wedding is one of the most stressful events you may have to put together so it makes total sense that every once in awhile you need to take a step back and essentially, chillax. So we’ve put together a list of some activities that are guaranteed to get you zen 

1. Keep a Balanced Diet 

Some stress can often be perpetuated by having too much or too little of something in your diet. In the lead up to your wedding, it’s important you’re staying healthy and eating enough of everything. Make sure you’re eating at least 5 fruit and veg a day (preferably more vegetables than fruit) and that you are getting the correct amount from each food group. A good way to do this is to ensure you’re sticking to this as a routine throughout the weekdays and then at the weekend let yourself indulge a little. 

 

  1. Have a friends night 

Just as much as a wedding is a celebration of the love you have as a couple, it is also all about the love you have for your friends and family. There’s no doubt that sometimes when you need to take your mind off things, getting together with all your good friends is the best thing for it. To minimise any stress of organising, get your pals round and have everyone bring a dish and some vino and just let the giggles begin.

3. Have an evening dedicated to YOU

Everyone has their ideal kind of evening and has a good idea of what sort of ingredients that might involve. For some it may be a takeaway and a boxset, for others it might be cocktails and a night out until the late AM. Have a think about what fail-safe things always make you happy and have an evening dedicated to YOU.

 

  1. Get Outside

Sometimes there’s nothing better than wonderful fresh air to clear your head and help you realise the things that matter in life. Take a stroll in the countryside or in your local park – we love a bit of people watching as a way to check out of your own life, just for a little while. Treat yourself to a hot choc or a burst of caffeine, grab a magazine or a book, a good pal or the dog and just chill – we guarantee it will do you the world of good. 

  

  1. Go on a date 

In all the wedding chat, you can often lose sight of what this is all about – your marrying the very person you love the most. So turn this period of time into a bit of a pre-honeymoon phase and value the time you spend with your husband to be. Organise a date night that you know you’ll both love and just catch up and most importantly – ban the wedding chat, just for one night. If will help you put everything into perspective and help you realise there’s other stuff outside of the wedding bubble. 

 

Research Your Photographers

Have you been looking for a wedding photographers but feel overwhelmed because there are so many options and so many styles?

 

Or, maybe you’ve dreamed about being a wedding photographer but aren’t sure how to push fear to the sidelines, take that leap of faith and turn your hobby into a full-time career.

What To Ask A Wedding Photographer

 

  1. Cost is almost always a concern, but it’s not the most important element to your decision. Find out how much the photographer charges for different packages and prints.
  2. Find out how long the photographer has been in business.
  3. Do you actually like the photographer and can you spend the day with the photographer you’re considering hire?
  4. What kind of experience do they have – the longer they’re in business doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best choice for you.
  5. What contingency plan does your wedding photographer have in place in case something goes wrong?
  6. Ask to look at group photos to ensure all the guests are smiling and laughing, because it’s usually the photographer that makes them smile so you want to know what kind of rapport they will build with you AND your guests.

 

If you spend a little more time researching the right wedding photographer, it will be well worth it in the end. 

 

Bridesmaids tips for the day

The bridesmaid’s role at a wedding might not be as clearly defined as the best man’s, but it’s just as vital. And from emotional support to practical assistance, your duties start long before the big day.

1) Check the Venue

You might be asked to help set up or make sure the placing is correct on the morning itself. Don’t worry about losing out on “getting ready time” — remember the bride is the only one who needs to look perfect, your help and support is much more valuable.

2) Getting Ready

Get dressed as quickly, quietly and efficiently as you can (the bride won’t thank you for hogging the GHDs or having a tantrum over a bad hair day) and take charge of any younger bridesmaids to ensure everyone’s dressed with hair and make-up done.

3) Act as Photographer’s Assistant

Before the ceremony, liaise with the wedding photographer as well as rounding groups of guests up later on.

4) Attend the Bride

As well as walking down the aisle, hold the bouquet as she says her vows and arrange her train. Later, check she and the groom have champagne and canapés.

5) Public Speaking

More and more bridesmaids are making a speech, They’re also often asked to give a reading and the chief bridesmaid may be a witness. So be prepared to show the best man how it’s done.

6) Be Ready for Emergencies

Have a kit prepared, including lipstick, sewing essentials, tissues, baby wipes and blister plasters.

7) Get the Party Started

Make sure guests go in to the wedding breakfast when they should, and be one of the first onto the dance floor later.

8) Don’t Forget the Details

Check everyone has confetti, remind the bride to throw her bouquet (and make sure there are people to catch it!) — you can even help to distribute the cake.

9) Go the Extra Mile

One idea is to take the brides mobile phone on the morning of the wedding and not let her have to deal with any phone calls. Let her enjoy her morning and get ready without the hassle of having to answer calls.

Picture your Limo

Here are some great ways to include a limo into the pictures taken during your special day! 

In front of the bonnet

The front of the limousine is great for individual wedding photos or for pictures of the couple. The two can lean against it casually or simply stand in front of it. The subjects of the picture can even lean against the front corner, and the picture can be taken from an angle to add depth and perspective by showing off the rest of the limo. 

 

The sunroof 

This photo opportunity is a classic. It’s great for pictures of small groups or individual shots to have the couple coming out of the sunroof like they’re joyriding. This picture can be taken close-up to capture the fun of the moment, or from farther back to show off the vehicle. This photograph is fun and light-hearted. 

 

Entering or Exiting 

A picture featuring the husband, bride, or both in the doorway of the vehicle can be a great way to show excitement for the wedding ceremony, or the beginning of their new life together. 

 

Inside 

This picture can feature either just the happy couple, or include the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Another fun thing the passengers can be doing is waving out the back window, like they would do leaving the ceremony to say goodbye to their friends and family. This also the perfect opportunity to show off the interior of your ride for the day. 

 

Beside the limousine 

A picture along the side of the limo can be great for wedding pictures meant to include a large amount of people. The long side of the vehicle is perfect for this because anyone being included from groomsmen to family members can fit within this background. Taking the picture from an angle along the side is also a great way to add perspective to the picture, and take advantage of the reflections off of the paint. This picture may be best taken with everyone lined up alongside the limousine. 

 

Bridal shower ideas

Planning a bridal shower for your sister, best friend, cousin, or another special person in your life? Then you need a creative bridal shower theme! Some brides are all about wedding flowers and lace while others just want something unique.

  1. Brunch and Bubbly

 

What’s classier than champagne? Hosting a “Brunch and Bubbly” theme for your bride allows for lots of blush pink, gold, and cream. Fresh flowers, white or cream tableware, and cloth napkins are all a must when decorating for brunch. If you’re really ambitious, you can have brunch at someone’s house. If you’d rather have someone else handle the details, hiring a Caterer is always a great option!

 

  1. Mad Hatter Tea Party

 

A Mad Hatter Tea Party bridal shower theme is perfect! You can get creative with decor and refreshments, too. Use mismatched teacups, plates, tablecloths, and napkins to add to the eclectic feel of the party space. For refreshments, tea of course! And other miniature desserts like petit fours, macaroons, or cupcakes are perfect for a tea party. Adding “Eat Me” placards or even putting the words on cakes or cookies is a great way to incorporate Wonderland into the party. You can serve other drinks like lemonade or wine spritzers, but don’t forget the “Drink Me” tags!

 

  1. Wine time

 

Wine is a girl’s best friend sometimes. And why not use this as inspiration for a bridal shower theme? Your bride will no doubt welcome the chance to sip some wine, open presents, and just enjoy some time away from the planning process. White wines pair well with white meat or light foods like quiche. Red wines complement richer flavors like red meat and roasted vegetables. So sit back, sip, and enjoy the party with your bride!

 

  1. Kick back and relax

 

Planning a Wedding is stressful. Being “on” all the time can take a toll. Laidback bridal shower themes are definitely the best choice for the stressed out bride-to-be. Set up a buffet bar, add some crisps and homemade salsa or guacamole for tasty appetisers. Let bride to be kick back with her favourite food…and a cold margarita for some laughs with friends and family!