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Holkham Hall Norfolk wedding venue

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The Teenage Sweethearts.

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Emily and Ben met as teenagers and have been together ever since. Isn’t that incredible? The pair currently live in Switzerland and are both from Leicestershire, but chose to get married at Holkham Hall in Norfolk.

It seems to be THE place for stylish Brides to get married. Back in June we all went green eyed over this this gorgeous affair from there too.

I’m sure you lovelies are going to enjoy today’s wedding just as much. Bride Emily is wearing the divine Hepburn by Suzanne Neville which fits her like a glove. ‘The one’ was found at one of our Love Lust Bridal Boutiques, The Stamford Bridal Rooms.

The choice of Bridesmaids dresses confirms my love for neutral coloured gowns. Emily’s girls look amazing in their nude Ted Baker dresses.

And in true British style, the weather gave Emily and Ben four seasons in a day – all of which have been dramatically captured by Katherine Ashdown.

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A Place Full Of Memories

Emily The Bride: Ben and I currently live in Zurich, Switzerland. We grew up in Leicestershire (a few villages apart) and met when I was only 14, Ben 15. We have been together ever since! And have enjoyed many adventures along the way.

We decided to get married in north Norfolk as we have enjoyed many holidays there over the years, together and with family and friends. It is a special place for us, with lots of wonderful memories, so it seemed like the perfect choice. The stunning Holkham Hall sits 1-mile away from Holkham Beach (which is often voted the UK’s best beach & our personal favourite), and the hall itself has the most amazing grounds, full of deer, a stunning lake and rolling countryside! I have been visiting the hall since I was a little girl with my family and it is now our favourite picnic spot.

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The Perfect Setting

We had our wedding ceremony in the pretty flint stone church (St Withburga Church), positioned on a small hill, overlooking the lake within the grounds of the estate. It was truly magical and we felt so privileged and lucky to get married there. I kept thinking of all the Earl’s and previous aristocrats who would have got married in the church many years ago!

We had our wedding reception in a marquee within The Walled Gardens at Holkham Hall. Again, this felt so special, like a secret garden, just for us!

Inside the garden was a little apple orchard, and many vintage looking green houses. It was the perfect setting as we had many children at our wedding, so they were safe to run riot and the parents could just relax! We created a kids area outside with straw bales, games and a tepee. We also had our bar outside under a mini marquee structure so guests were able to enjoy the gardens and drinks outside.

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A Flawless Finish

I got ready in The Vine House, in Burnham Market. Stunning boutique hotel owned by The Hoste Arms.

I wanted to look very natural on my wedding day, and to basically, look like ‘ME’, not over-done with makeup or hair. I wanted my make-up to last during the day and to also look flawless in the photos. My photographer, Katherine Ashdown recommended Love Moi Makeup based in Norfolk. Emily, the make-up artist was brilliant! I only had my trail 2 days before the wedding (as I live abroad, timings were often tricky), but it didn’t matter.

I was so pleased with the finished result and I looked just as good (if i say so myself!) at the end of the evening back in the hotel! I didn’t want to take my makeup off!!! I definitely recommend ladies that you invest that extra bit of money and have your makeup done professionally. Totally worth it!

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Taking The Hairdresser With Us

Craig (based in is salon in Leicester) used to cut my hair when I was in my teens, and he still does a grand job of my Mum’s hair, so we asked him to join us in Norfolk (with his cute dogs) to do my hair, Mums and Bridesmaids. It was so great having Craig there with us and he did a wonderful job of making us all look our very best.

We had our nails done in the Hoste Arms Spa. The ‘Gels’ looked lovely, very natural and lasted for over 2 weeks without marks. I wore my favourite perfume on the day: Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir. So fresh and summery.

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It Ticked All Of The Boxes

I had the loveliest experience buying my dress with my Mum and Bridesmaid from The Stamford Bridal Rooms in Stamford, Lincolnshire. The owner, Aimee was a delight and made the whole process memorable, special and fun! The bridal shop had some stunning dresses. I had an idea of what I liked: sweet heart neckline, lace, figure hugging, slinky, and elegant.

Aimee put me in the Hepburn dress by Suzanne Neville. I loved it immediately and it ticked all the boxes from my wish list! I felt comfortable, elegant and sexy on the day. I wore a sparkling head-piece and a belt in the evening both purchased from The Stamford Bridal Rooms.

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Accessories With A Vintage Touch

My shoes were brought online at Rachel Simpson. She has some stunning shoes and I love her vintage designs. I was thrilled with my wedding shoes: a truly romantic pearlised leather peep-toe with beaded French lace trim over blush pink suede. They were super comfy too which is always a bonus with pretty shoes!

My veil was so fine and elegant, it was purchased from The Stamford Bridal Rooms and my earrings were from John Lewis

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Gorgeous Wedding Party

My three gorgeous Bridesmaids wore a Ted Baker dress in a pale pink / nude colour. I loved the lace detail at the top, the butterfly-like v-neck back and the pleated, floaty skirt. I think they all looked gorgeous!

They also wore nude shoes from good old Clarks, which allowed them to dance in comfort all night long!

We hired the Groomsmen morning-suits from Christopher Scotney’s in Leicester. The guys look so handsome and the suits have that timeless quality. They were so fitting and appropriate for our venue too.

Our two gorgeous Godson’s were our Page Boys. They looked so cute in shorts, pale blue shirts and navy blazers.

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English Country Wedding

The theme I wanted to create, I suppose, was an ‘English Country Wedding’- As the venue was in a country estate and hidden away in a secret walled garden, I wanted a very elegant, country, vintage style wedding with a relaxed atmosphere, touches of fun and play.

We dressed the marquee & gardens with bunting & pompoms in pale pinks and white, filled jam jars with wild flowers and candles, strung up fairy lights inside and out to create a lovely light in the evening. I hired two gorgeous Bay Trees from The Garden Box and these really added a wow factor to the entrance of our marquee, along with an old vintage looking bike.

My bridesmaid made lots of lovely bunting and cushions too which really added to the décor. We create a kids play area with straw bales and a tepee, plus lots of games to keep them (and some of the grown-ups!) entertained. I actually hired two nannies for the afternoon, to help look after the children. They were fabulous and played some wonderful games, allowing parents to eat and drink in peace!

We used an old suit case to collect cards, and brought a digital camera and mini portable printer for our guest book – we have some great pics alongside people’s comments which is a lovely keep-sake.

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Norfolk Lavender

I love flowers, and was excited about choosing the different flowers for my bouquet and arrangements with my lovely florist, Victoria Arrowsmith. I wanted a loose, country style of pale pinks, ivory and white. I love peonies and roses, which were the main flowers in the arrangements along with lisianthus, dill, gyp and alchemilla mollis.

The flower arrangements on the tables were on vintage glass cake stands and in vintage crystal vases in different sizes. This worked so well on our long trestle tables, interspersed with candles. Every place setting also had a sprig of lavender on their menu card which looked so pretty and very fitting, being in Norfolk, renowned for its Norfolk Lavender.

I also had pots of lavender and hydrangeas outside the marquee, flowers strung in trees in jam jars and arrangements on the outside furniture. It looked wonderful and I was thrilled with the result.

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Overwhelmed With Love

The wedding ceremony was just perfect, very emotional and special for us. We both held it together very well considering Ben’s brothers (best men) were crying the whole way through! I remember walking in and seeing everyone, and looking from side to side, saying “hello”. Ben looked so handsome in his morning suit, I felt very proud of him, overwhelmed with love and excitement for the day ahead and our future together.

We had a singer perform ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ by Paul McCartney during the signing of the registers which was beautiful.

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Full And Rocking Dance Floor

We had string quartet Banquet Music playing during the drinks reception and whilst we ate. They were fabulous! They performed lots of modern songs including Cold Play and Lady Gaga which created a wonderful atmosphere, plus some old classics too. Everyone was raving about them.

In the evening, we had a 5 piece band, including a saxophone player to ‘jazz-up’ the soul tunes! The band was called Quince and we hired them through Silver Dog Music. They were just great from start to end, so professional too. The dance floor was always full and rocking! They really got everyone dancing and staged a fun dance off – girls against boys! Our first dance was ‘Waiting for the Stars to Fall’ by Boy meets Girl. We used to dance to this in our kitchen in London listening to Magic FM! It was upbeat and fun. The dance floor was flooded half way through!

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Food Fit For Royalty

Deborah Steward did a fabulous job of the catering at our wedding. Debbie’s husband, Kevin was wonderful too and held the day together for us, making everything run smoothly. We felt so privileged to have them there on the day – they cook for the royal family at Sandringham at their private shooting gatherings, plus other events, so we had full confidents in them!

They served some scrummy canapés during the drinks reception including smoked haddock fish cakes, spiced prawns with dipping sauces, coconut chicken skewers and veggies muffins. They went down a storm! Debbie served up an asparagus pesto tartlet for starter with dressed baby salad leaves, and we offered a choice for the main: BBQ Legs of lamb cooked over charcoal, pan fried fillets of sea bream with Norfolk brown shrimps or BBQ aubergine parcels with red pepper risotto, all served with delicious herby crushed new potatoes and bowls of steaming seasonal vegetables.

It was so scrummy and there were clean plates all round! For desert, we had two choices; summer pudding ice cream with berries, lavender shortbread and fruit coulis or chocolate, hazelnut and raspberry roulade with berries and coulis. Again, both were amazing! Our guests tucked into our cheese platters afterwards with coffee and mints.

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Even Better Than I Imagined

In the evening, we served fish finger, chicken and veggie pita-breads which were perfect for soaking up all the alcohol!
Debbie and Kevin’s daughter, Grace Steward baked all the cakes for our Wedding Cake Table – I was totally blown away by the cakes and decoration when I walked in the marquee. It looked so wonderful and just how I had imagined it, but better!

We had a huge victoria sandwich cake for our main wedding cake, surrounded by a lemon-curd cake, chocolate malterser and carrot cake, plus heart shaped rocky roads in milk and white chocolate and many cupcakes decorated with fresh berries. We had bowls of berries on the table too and jugs of cream. Everyone loves cake don’t they, so this was a real winner with our guests!

For our wedding favours, we gave all the ladies a bag of pink jelly sweets, the men some Charbonnel et Walker truffles and the children some sweeties and a book, wrapped up in pink and blue paper. They loved having a present to open on their place setting!

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The Perfect End To A Wonderful Day

Special moments for me were sitting in the car with my dad, on the way to the church. It was so nice to have this time with him. Saying our vows in the church was also so special.

Going off with our photographer for photos gave us time to chat, laugh, cuddle and generally see each other as the day goes so fast and you are constantly pulled in different directions. The weather was typically British on the day; we had glorious sunshine, a thunderstorm with lightening then a rainbow! The rainbow was magical and really added to the day. Got some great pics too. It topped off the day a treat!

I also loved our speeches, dancing until the early hours, then coming back to our hotel, sharing a bath together with a cup of tea and chocolate! The perfect end to a wonderful day!

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Words Of Wisdom

Be relaxed and let the day flow. If you are relaxed and happy, your guests will be too! I recommend getting in your dress one hour before you leave for the church. My photographer, Katherine Ashdown asked me to do this, and it was well worth it. I had plenty of time to sip champagne with my Mum and Bridesmaids, have a giggle, and keep calm before we left.

Delegate, delegate, delegate on the day! Ask your suppliers to approach a member of your Bridal party on the day if they have questions rather than bothering you.

Dance, dance, and dance! Everyone wants to be near you & the groom on the day, so stay on the dance floor and it will be rocking all night!

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She Held The Day Together

Katherine Ashdown was our wonderful wedding photographer – we were so happy to have her there on the day – she was just brilliant! We’d met a year before and spent an afternoon together for an engagement shoot. This was such a great way to get to know Kathy and feel relaxed being ‘models’ infront of the camera!

Kathy really held the day together for Ben and I. She was calm, professional, discreet, energetic and fun to be with. We loved having our photo’s taken, Kathy worked her magic and didn’t miss a trick! The results blew us away! We are thrilled with all of the photographs. Kathy did a wonderful job of capturing our day and all those special moments as the day unfolded – we will treasure them forever.

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Click here & view all images from this wedding

Bride’s Gown – Hepburn by Suzanne Neville at The Stamford Bridal Rooms
Shoes – Rachel Simpson
Bridemaids – Ted Baker
Bridesmaids shoes – Clarks
Makeup Artist – Love Moi Makeup
Band – Quince at Silverdog Music
String Quartet – Banquet Music
Venue – Holkham Hall
Marquee Hire – Weatherill Events
Catering – Deborah Steward
Cake – Grace Cakes
Florist – Victoria Arrowsmith
Bay Trees – The Garden Box
Accommodation – The Hoste
Photography – Katherine Ashdown

You can view the latest collections from Ted Baker and Suzanne Neville right here on Rock My Wedding.

Aren’t the ideas for keeping the children entertained great?

And don’t those cakes look delicious? I’m salivating over Emily’s description of the menu.

Lots of love,
Fern x

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Sequins, Metallics And No Rules.

Tori-Paul

Wow. Just WOW.

That all too familiar question: “Charlotte, if you were to plan your wedding now what styling/dress/accessories would you choose?”

And the answer would be “I would probably just copy Tori….”

The blush beaded gown (a SUPER flattering hue on fair-skinned blondes) the slightly un-done up do, the gold leaf garland crown…..dreamily ethereal but with a generous dose of timeless elegance.

Photographer Katherine Ashdown questioned that as Tori and Paul only chose to have the ceremony and canapés covered rather than the entire evening reception that perhaps there wouldn’t be enough details to warrant a feature.

My response: “I loooove this more than cake!!! There is no way we wouldn’t want to share it!!!!”

Ahem. There might not actually be any cake, or centrepieces or a million decor details for you lovelies to be in inspired by but my goodness, the fashion alone is enough to make your pinterest boards look the prettiest they ever have.

And did I mention they planned it all in TWO MONTHS?

Yep. ‘Mazin.

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Intimate

We both adore Norfolk and my family has a little cottage there which is where Paul would first come to visit me from London. We spent a lot of time on our bikes exploring the pubs (mostly) around Norfolk but one of our favourite places that we kept coming back to was Holkham hall with its gorgeous beach, just down the road from us. We knew we wanted a small venue and when we saw the temple tucked away and nestled in the woods we loved it instantly, as did our dog Tallulah!

With no electricity and an open fire it was just the right setting for our intimate little wedding.

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Glam Enough

I don’t really wear much make-up so I was afraid of looking over done on the day…and I have one hair style (sloppily pinned up with a couple of clips…) so I didn’t want to turn up next to Paul not really looking like me. I did my own hair which I just wanted to be natural and a little bit loose and messy but I used Love Moi Makeup and I’m just so glad I did.

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Emily did an amazing job covering up a long red scratch on my cheek (made by an over excited Tallulah the day before the wedding!) and she gave me just the right amount of glam – it was perfect.

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A Blushing Bride

We organised the whole wedding in just two months and I quickly realised that most brides order their dress at least 6 months ahead so I knew I had to be a bit creative! Scouring the internet one designer kept catching my eye again and again – Jenny Packham. One very dark and rainy evening after work in February I decided to go to her flagship store in Mayfair and emerged just over half an hour later clutching my sparkly new wedding dress – a Jenny Packham evening gown, the AD135.

It was the first dress I tried on and it was beaded perfectly – and with it’s slight blush colour, it was a really flattering tone and just a little bit different.

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Gold-Plated

I adore all things art deco and went on the hunt for some chandelier earrings, eventually coming across a Lulu Frost design at Whistles. I didn’t think I needed much more than that but I kept falling in love with the natural, ethereal look of flower garlands on brides.

Feeling unsure if I dared go all the way with a real garland I came across a Tel Aviv based designer Avigail Adam, through her shop on Etsy. She makes stunning gold plated garland crowns and managed to post one out to me just in time for the wedding!

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Gold, Silver & Inky Blue

Since we had such a tiny wedding (just 20 guests) we decided not to have a traditional wedding party – we just had a Maid of Honour – my best friend since we were about 11, Karena, and Tallulah our cocker spaniel was our ring bearer!

With my dress being a blush colour I really wanted shades of neutrals that could all blend in together so we looked for subtle shades of gold, silver and champagne. Fitting with the vintage, sparkly look of my dress, Karena wore a cocktail dress from Coast with antique gold sequins around the neck and a drape down the front which we thought was a little bit flapper style.

Paul looked so handsome in an inky blue, slim fitting suit from Suit Supply with a silvery brown tie. We bought a dapper handkerchief for his top pocket but I think he forgot to wear it!

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Ethereal Metallics

We both wanted a warm, cosy and relaxed atmosphere so we knew we wanted a lovely log fire and lots of candles. I love all things vintage so I knew I wanted lots of old cut glass candlesticks and mercury glass votives in silvery tones. I went to one of my favourite shops, Vintage Home & Garden in Thornham, Norfolk, where Jo the owner helped me put together some amazing details including an old vintage ‘Bar’ sign for our champagne table, which I just loved. We kept the whole colour palette to very soft and muted shades of blush, creams, dusty pinks, sagey greens and metallics which made the photos look so gentle and ethereal.

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Beautiful Blooms

As a total flower obsessive I knew that our flowers were going to be a really important detail of the day for us. We used the amazingly talented Clare from Love Blooms and from the beginning Clare just totally understood the kind of look I was after, putting together stunning moodboards and constantly pushing my ideas a bit further. My bouquet featured memory lane roses and hanging amaranthus which gave it such an elegant draping effect. Clare also made a beautiful hydrangea garland with stunning glass candlesticks which sat on the mantelpiece where we got married, I just loved it.

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Claire also did an amazing job of decorating the front of the temple, including making two flower garland rings for the pillars. I just love spring flowers so we also brought in some big branches of magnolia, which were stunning next to my old vintage bench. I also adore big bundles of hydrangeas and knew I wanted them to feature quite heavily so I filled the basket of my Pashley bike (which was the first present Paul gave me) with pink hydrangeas and that became our parking directions!

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In The Woods

The ceremony was our favourite part of the day by far. We had both been nervous about it but half way through Paul whispered in my ear how lovely it was and he was right. We were married right in front of the fire and held hands tightly the whole way through. We opted for very simple vows and just one reading by my brother, Joe. He read us an apache wedding blessing which was just perfect for our simple ceremony in the woods.

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Keeping It Local

We held our wedding dinner at the Hoste Arms in Burnham Market, which is our local and serves amazing local produce – so it seemed like the perfect choice. With such a small group we were able to order whatever we liked from the menu and we loved it that we didn’t have to choose for our guests. The staff were incredible and it was so nice that we knew them all well from having been in there as regulars over the last few years.

Having such a small group meant that we could have plenty of champagne and some really lovely wines, which was perfect for us as we knew that good food and wine was a top priority.

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DIY Design

Being a graphic designer by trade, I designed our invitations myself. I just adore letterpress so I got in touch with Cardlab who did an amazing job of setting the tone for our day with lovely, thick, rich pressed invitations in a gorgeous pocket with a hydrangea motif that I designed. They also made us some gorgeous tags with a blush ribbon which they printed each guest’s name on – I then tied the tags to mini milk bottles which I got from Vintage Home & Garden, and used them as little vases – giving each of our guests a rose and some sage as their place names. Our guests loved them and quite a few of them took them home, it was lovely.

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NO Rules

There are no rules – so you can design the wedding that feels right for you – we wanted an intimate tiny ceremony but were worried about offending those we couldn’t invite. We settled on holding a fantastic cocktail party in London to share with all our friends and relatives who couldn’t be at the ceremony and it was great. I also really enjoyed planning it quickly – it doesn’t have to take two years or even one! Something I discovered was that having a wedding on a weekday instead of a Saturday (we got married on a Friday) means that you might be able to get the best suppliers, even at short notice.

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Click here & view all images from this wedding

Ceremony Venue – Holkham hall
Reception Venue – The Hoste Arms
Make-Up – Emily at Love Moi Makeup
Brides Gown – Jenny Packham
Brides Headpiece – Avigail Adam
Maids Dress – Coast
Groom’s Suit – Suit Supply
Florist – Clare at Love Blooms
Photography – Katherine Ashdown

So then, how many of you are now considering some kind of gold leaf type headwear?

I am, and I’m not even getting married.

And that view? Priceless.

Big Ethereal Love

Charlotte xxx

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