Having met by chance in a London pub one Bank Holiday Monday in 2010, Rachel and Will soon discovered their paths had previously crossed. They had both studied at Leeds Uni at the same time but hadn’t met. After a great 3-year relationship, the happy couple from Windsor tied the knot at Buckinghamshire’s Hedsor House.
Tell us about the proposal
It was on a weekend away in October 2012. Will hired a sports car, drove down to Cornwall, and stayed in a great boutique hotel in St Ives. We’d talked about getting married, but I didn’t know he was going to pop the question that weekend – it was a complete and wonderful surprise!
What was your first step in planning your wedding?
Our first step was to find a suitable venue. We wanted somewhere quite local and where both the ceremony and the reception could take place, but we didn’t want to get married in a hotel.
We were looking for somewhere that offered a blank canvas so we could choose the exact suppliers to make and transform it into our own special and magical day.
My best friend is a wedding makeup artist and she immediately suggested Hedsor House, which is a beautiful Georgian country house in Taplow, Buckinghamshire. My Mum’s friend’s daughter also got married at Hedsor House and was keen for us to consider it. We ended up with 2 venues on our shortlist but as soon as we visited Hedsor House, we just loved it and knew it was for us!
What was special about Hedsor House?
We were looking for somewhere that offered exclusivity, privacy and intimacy. We weren’t aware of Hedsor House before and so discovered a hidden gem. It’s accessed by a 1 kilometre-long driveway and surrounded by almost 100 acres of glorious parkland, so it’s extremely private.
One of the house’s best features is its spectacular domed Centre Hall where our wedding ceremony took place.
During our service, the registrar shared some of the house’s history, which was nice as it was once the home of royalty.
Even though our wedding was in October, we were still looking for somewhere with picturesque gardens. On the day our guests enjoyed drinks in the lovely grounds and sunken garden, while a silhouette artiste and magicians entertained them.
Describe your wedding dress
My wedding dress was by Sassi Holford who designs and makes classic, English wedding gowns with a contemporary edge. It featured lovely intricate lace and I really liked the fishtail shape. It’s funny, for me my wedding dress wasn’t the most important part of the day. It was more about everyone having fun and enjoying themselves.
What accessories did you wear on the day?
I wore a stunning headpiece by Oxford’s Tantrums and Tiaras, a pair of lovely Champagne glitter Jimmy Choo’s and jewellery by Jenny Packham.
Black tie glamour
Will and the groomsmen all wore black tie as it was easy but also looks really glamorous. Will had his dinner suit made-to-measure while the other groomsmen already had their own. We gave the 4 groomsmen a really nice bow tie and handkerchief each, which we purchased from Italy.
Tell us about your bridesmaids
I had 4 bridesmaids – 2 adults and 2 children. My 2 great friends, who I’ve grown up with since we were born, wore Champagne coloured knee-length dresses from Coast as I wasn’t keen on them having full length gowns. Nude court shoes from Marks and Spencer complemented their dresses. Our sweet younger bridesmaids, who are family members, had dresses from Next and lovely sequined shoes from Primark!
What was your ceremony like?
Before, I was a bit wary about the civil ceremony but on the day, it was just the right length.
The service started with my dad walking me down the aisle to Pachelbel’s beautiful Cannon in D major.
During the romantic service, our Buckinghamshire-based registrar provided some lovely information on the house’s quintessentially English history and two friends gave a couple of brief readings.
How did you personalise your day?
Our day followed a contemporary Champagne and nude theme that featured beautiful stationery, linens, pretty cutlery and charger plates as well as candles and table decorations.
We were helped by a wedding planner. They could see our vision straight away and created a magical, elegant day we will remember forever.
We had number of statement floral decorations by Lavender Green including a beautiful archway for our guests to pass through as they entered the Centre Hall for our ceremony.
Other touches included supplying white dancing shoes (flip-flops) for anyone with tired feet as well as sparklers and hot chocolate with marshmallows for our send off at 11:45pm.
Tell us about your wedding meal
We spent a lot of time selecting our caterer and finalising our decided menu. Our food included:
- A selection of gorgeous canapés
- Goats cheese galletes with roasted vine tomatoes, olive and herb tapenade and wild rocket
- Fillet of beef wrapped in chestnut mushrooms, Parma ham and pastry
- Trio of mousses, salted caramel, chocolate and passion fruit
- Mini banoffees
- Risotto and lamb tagine
- Hot chocolate and marshmallows
- Selection of cocktails
We purchased our favours from a chocolatiers in Windsor. They were little bags with chocolates inside with a printed message, our initials and the date.
Our 4-tier white iced wedding cake was so nice and was by South West London-based Zoe Clarke Cakes. As we’re not great fans of fruit cake, one tier was lemon drizzle and the other was chocolate marble cake. The other two tiers were just decorated polystyrene!
Did you have a band/DJ for your evening reception?
Our evening entertainment started with Stringfever – a string quartet with a twist that combines the traditional and the futuristic.
London-based party band Bellissima who play the best in rock, funk, soul and disco followed with a DJ playing in their breaks.
Our first dance was to Michael Buble’s ‘Feeling Good’.
How did you choose your photographer?
We used Pippa Mackenzie who is one of Hedsor House’s preferred suppliers and we were very pleased with the photos.
What was your biggest wedding splurge?
The caterer. People will always remember the food whether it’s good or bad so it’s important to get that right. We were really pleased with our food, it was gorgeous.
What was your biggest wedding saving?
The bridesmaid’s shoes from Primark!
Top tips for other brides and grooms
- Make sure you spend time getting the food and the menu right.
- Although you spend months planning the day, they rarely go 100% to plan so you need to just go with it and enjoy it!
- If you can afford it, try to hire a videographer as it really brings the wedding day back to life – more than your photos.
If we could do it all again…
I really don’t think I’d change a single thing. Our day was absolutely incredible!
Did you go on honeymoon?
Straight after the wedding, we spent two fabulous weeks relaxing in Bali.
If you’d like to know more about holding your wedding at one of our venues, please call 01244 571208.