Lauren & James: The Perfect Venue.


Hi everyone! And WOW, thank you so much for all your votes – at least it’s made telling my embarrassing Shayne Ward confession worthwhile! I’m so excited to be sharing mine and James’ big adventure with you all, although much like Summer I feel like a bit of an imposter! I never thought I’d be the type of person who would be doing something like this, and I have one of my wonderful Bridesmaids to thank for introducing me to RMW and encouraging me to enter. As I am a little out of my comfort zone here, any ideas, recommendations etc are most welcome!

I’ve already discussed our exotic proposal story, I still can’t believe how lovely that all was. We were actually on holiday with another couple, my best friend (and Chief Bridesmaid) and her fiance. They had absolutely no idea that James was going to propose, so were just as shocked as I was. James *may* have a bit of a reputation for being a menace, so much so that when we returned from our beach walk, they thought we were joking until we started calling our family to tell them the good news! Despite thinking that we’re liars, as a couple who we love dearly, we were really pleased to share such a special time with them.

So I feel I must make a confession. I am obviously hugely excited about my upcoming year, however, the whole ‘planning a wedding thing’ is, quite frankly, terrifying. Someone told me to do a ‘wedding spreadsheet’ as soon as we got engaged. A wedding WHAT? SPREADSHEET?! Spreadsheets and I, let’s just say we do not mix, there has been many a time where I’ve been working on one and laptops have nearly been thrown across the room – I definitely have a hate-hate relationship with Excel. Luckily, my better half is a planner by nature, so fingers crossed we should be fine *manically laughs*. If nothing else, it will be very amusing for you all to read about!

The one thing we have sorted is our venue, Walton Hall in Warwickshire. James and I both agree that the venue is key to getting the whole day right, and it had to be perfect for both of us. When buying our first house, we developed the skilled art of silent disagreement in a public situation, without the person showing us round actually knowing (although they probably totally did). This skill came in very handy on the weekends we spent looking for our venue! Walton Hall however, ticked all the boxes for both of us. My friends have a nickname for me – PJC (Princess Joan Collins) – nothing to do with my attitude, but everything to do with my love of tasteful bling, fur stoles, classy dresses, and perhaps a little bit to do with my tendancy to get a bit ‘zip it, Shrimpy!’ when I’ve not eaten. Walton Hall fits this perfectly, it is an beautiful grand venue but still isn’t too over the top.

Let me tell you about the staircase. You know in the Sound of Music the Von Trapps have that ridiculous sweeping staircase leading down into the hall? It’s exactly like that, without the singing kids (thank goodness). James jokes that I made up on my mind on this venue on the staircase alone, which is obviously just ridiculous. Ish. And is in no way similar to the time I fell in love with a house because it had an inbuilt wine cooler. Ahem.

We’re marrying and holding our reception in the Moncrieffe room which is stunning. It has that Victorian Downton Abbey type decor with gorgeous chandeliers – and leads out on to the amazing terrace. One of my Bridesmaids (a different one, I have 6 FYI, including one little person) went to the Hall last weekend for a spa day and said sitting out there was like being in the South of France. Fingers, legs, everything crossed, we’ll be having our reception drinks out there so everyone can enjoy the fabulous view of the lake. The fact it will make for pretty special pictures hopefully goes without saying!

We’ll have our evening do in a separate reception room which has a cracking bar and dance floor. If this paragraph is shorter it’s because by that stage of the day these are the only two things that will matter! You know the perennial ‘who will get the dancing started?’ problem? I don’t *think* we’re going to have that..! (The solution is my Dad).

Another of our favourite things about Walton Hall is that as a hotel there’s loads of room for all our guests to sleep over so we can make really, really good use of that dance floor. And although I don’t want to wish my day away, I also can’t wait for the breakfast post mortem the next morning when I’ll find out all the gossip I missed and who got the ‘Drunken Uncle’ award.

We also really loved the neutral and classic decor – hopefully it means our colour scheme will sit really happily alongside the traditional features. Even my wonderful mum, Interior Designer Extraordinaire, gave her seal of approval on the curtains. I bet you never thought curtains would be an important consideration in picking a wedding venue? Clearly you’ve never met my mother.

More than anything, we just want our guests to have an amazing time, and if they don’t leave with a hideous hangover the next day, we will be incredibly disappointed.

And that’s that. Of course, above and beyond all the bells and whistles what matters most (apart from the staircase) is this is the place the “Hamil-Keeps”… the affectionate name given to us by our friends…will become Mr and Mrs Hamilton! I cannot wait!

Until next time. Lauren and James xxx

Author: Fern Godfrey
Fern spends most of her time dreaming about weddings and trying to convince her long-suffering boyfriend to propose. Lucky enough to live in sunny Cornwall, if you need her – you’ll find her at beach.

32 thoughts on “Lauren & James: The Perfect Venue.

  1. Ahhh this is amazing. I love that your friends call you Joan Collins, hilarious! My friends say i’m Nancy (the crazy bitchy nutso one from the craft) so we’re really quite a pair to be real brides haha. Your venue looks incredible…that lake *squeal* heres hoping the whole of next August has beautiful weather 😉

    I bet it was a huge relief that the curtains cut the mustard, that could have been a disaster. When I showed my mum the photos of our venue she didn’t say a thing about the actual ‘building’ and gushed over the cake, dress, decor etc…(all someone else’s wedding) muuuuuuum!!!


    1. Thanks Summer…LOVE that you’re called Nancy, I also love that film! Great pair of ‘imposter’ real brides here!

      Honestly if the curtains hadn’t passed the test then I think we would’ve been looking for another venue…!

  2. Hiiii Lauren!

    Absolutely loving your first post. Your venue is gorgeous and I’m off to browse all the photos on their website. Any description of a place that includes the words Downton Abbey makes me want to know more immediately 🙂

    Can’t wait to hear more of your planning journey and don’t worry, I have the exact same feeling for excel spreadsheets, we just don’t mix. 🙂

    Soph x

    1. Thanks Sophie, the venue really is special and I promise NOT just for the stairs either! Enjoy having a look around the website, think ‘contemporary’ Downton Abbey…! Glad to hear it’s not just me that hates spreadsheets too, although from the sounds of things I’m going to have to get over that one…!

      Lauren x

  3. Wow wow wow!! That venue is GORGEOUS! You had me at hello with Downton Abbey 😉

    And that ring?! Well done James!

    I have to admit, I chuckled all the way through reading this *manically laughs* <- My kind of bride 😉
    I honestly don't think there is anything wrong with falling love with a house purely and simply because it has an inbuilt wine cooler. Anyone who doesn't is crazy!

    I'm genuinely looking forward to your posts and reading them, no doubt with my very own glass of wine in hand…


    1. Hi Hannah,

      Thanks for the lovely comments 🙂 I can assure you there will be lots of maniacal laughs followed by a glass of wine or five throughout the whole planning phase I’m sure!

      Really looking forward to sharing the rest now and to seeing all the other Real Brides/Grooms stories!

      Lauren x

  4. Lauren, welcome on board!

    I ‘m loving your photos – some top quality poses there 😉 And your venue looks like a cracker. I can’t wait for this classic country tale to unfold.


  5. Welcome Lauren 🙂

    I’m also a sucker for a sweeping staircase – there are many, many, many stately homes in the UK with staircases that I have pranced down pretending to be a Princess/Bride.

    Looking forward to seeing and hearing more about your adventures!

    Fern x

    1. Hi Fern,

      I’m actually just about to go and see that staircase now…we have a meeting with our Wedding Co-ordinator at the venue, talk about timing! I might take a photo of the staircase and email it to you!

      Lauren x

  6. Hi Lauren! So nice to read your first post on here, and can’t wait to read more 🙂 Loved all your pictures too, and how lovely that your friends were on holiday with you when you got engaged. You must have had such fun celebrations after they finally started to believe you haha. The ring is a total beaut, too!

    Also…this lady right here has a big wedding spreadsheet…and it rocks my world! I hate excel too, but it seems to love me! x

  7. ps. I was never the girl who dreamed about her wedding either…ever. The closest I got was putting blossom leaves in my hair and pretending to marry my best friend when we were 5 (the truest love of my life!) and that was only because we loved blossoms. It’s surprising how easily I have jumped into the wedding planning world…although I love organising parties and events so maybe it’s not so surprising considering we’re viewing our wedding as one big party anyway!

    1. Thanks Danielle, and yes it’s amazing how easy you get sucked in to the whole wedding and engagement thing…and I KNOW I’m going to have to bite the bullet with the spreadsheet, maybe I’ll just talk while James does it!

      Still working on him for that Frenchie, by the way… 😉 xxx

  8. From one Lauren to another – hello!! *Manically waves*

    Loved reading your post today – you’re really quite the comedienne – well you had me in stitches regardless and I can’t wait to read more. I have to say that your nickname is quite epic and I was nodding my head in agreement re the tasteful bling and your tendancy to get a bit ‘zip it, Shrimpy!’ when you’ve not eaten. I have been known to devour a loaf of bread when I’m so hungry I could cry AND i’m gluten intolerant. Yep lack of food and me do not mix….anyway I digress.

    Your venue looks absolutely gorgeous and I can totally envisage the whole Von Trapp sweeping staircase fandango (incidentally I always wanted to be Liesel when I was younger). Will you be dressing said stairs for your big day?

    Lastly snaps to your mum – she sounds awesome!

    Looking forward to your next instalment already!

    Lolly xxx

    1. Hi Lolly!

      Thanks for the lovely comments! The ‘zip it, shrimpy’ is much worse when I’m hungover, just ask James or any of my friends! Oh and bread…my best friend/worst enemy, how you can ever cope being gluten intolerant – my heart goes out to you.

      The only people who will actually me on the stairs will be my bridesmaids, my parents and the photographer – but people will definitely see them so I think for the purpose of that and photos we’ll look in to dressing them.

      Looking forward to writing the next instalment! Lauren xxx

      1. Have a gander at Karen’s wedding and the staircase there which was decorated by the very lovely Strange Case Collective. It was awesome and Claire Penn worked her magic for making sure they were captured – the pics are on the RMW pages somewhere in the recent past.

        You made us both chuckle – proper belly laugh – at this post. Paddy also gets Hangry and I have to stop to but him a cake. That’s always a super fun time. Good work lady!

        How did the meeting go?! xx

  9. What a beautifully written first post! It made me laugh in so many places and I know I can’t wait for your next post. I am obviously very envious of the venue, it looks absolutely amazing! And the way you describe yourself and your weeing plans guarantees me that it’ll be so worth it to follow you in your endeavour. And last but not least: what a beautiful couple, you’ll make a gorgeous bride!

    1. Hi Anja,

      Thank you! Pleased you enjoyed the post, no pressure for the next one! I just hope we can pull off what we’re hoping to with my aversion to planning and hunger issues…

      Also…I hope you meant wedding plans, not weeing (this made me laugh!), now THAT could be interesting!

      Lauren xx

  10. Hi Lauren, you have chosen the most PERFECT venue! Me and the Hubby went there for a family wedding not too long ago and it was such a gorgeous day. Me and my siblings had lots of pictures on the steps at the back of the lawn – in a von trapp family type way actually now that I think of it (each leaning to one side…!) so the fact that you mentioned that is a little spooky! It has to be one of our favourite venues (and we have been to a lot!). Happy planning! xx

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Really pleased to hear you’ve had such a good experience at Walton Hall!! That is so reassuring and makes me even more confident that we’ve picked the right place. And how weird about the Von Trapp photo, I have three older brothers so maybe we’ll give it a go on the day?!

      Lauren xxx

  11. Congratulations to you both! Such a well written post and an amazing venue, it reminds me of Cowley Manor in the cotswolds where I have photographed before! Happy planning!!

  12. Hi All, groom-to-be (and apparent excel spreadsheet guru) here!

    Thanks for all the lovely comments. After popping in to Walton Hall today I can confirm that while the staircase is impressive, I still don’t quite have the same level of enthusiasm as Lauren! Looking forward to continuing the blogs and seeing how the other couples are getting on.


    1. Hiiii James! Patrick will be pleased that there is another boy here, I think he was starting to feel a bit outnumbered.

  13. Walton Hall is a beautiful venue! Great choice. I am a Banbury based wedding photographer, feel free to have a look at my website. I also own Glow Love Lights so if you fancy some giant light up letters please let me know! Happy planning. Jodie x

  14. Hello Lauren! (Fabulous name BTW)
    There must be something about Lauren’s that make us all get ‘hangry’ when we’re a bit hungry!
    My groom was a James too so this is bound to be a match made in heaven. Can’t wait to read the rest of your story xxx

    1. Thanks Lauren (great name, obvs), we’re excited (and a bit scared) to share the rest of our story so hope you enjoy! xxx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.