Lifestyle Magazine

A Musical English Wedding at Buxted Park

By Claire

Pho­tog­ra­phy is by Sus­sex wed­ding pho­tog­ra­pher Sara Reeve, and Alyson has writ­ten the loveli­est wed­ding report to share with us all today. Enjoy!

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Who pro­posed, and how?

Our favorite restau­rant is Drakes of Brighton. Hav­ing spent a won­der­ful evening sam­pling fine food and wine, Matthew kept tak­ing moments to talk to the staff away from our table and became very seri­ous. Sud­denly he pro­duced a card in which he’d writ­ten the poem “I vow to you”. Whilst Matthew read the poem and we became caught up in the moment I could see one of the wait­resses cir­cling close to our table. At the moment that Matthew fin­ished the poem, four cup­cakes with pink hearts and the words “Will you marry me” were placed in front of me. How could I refuse!

The Wed­ding venue

Buxted Park Hotel – Buxted, near Uck­field, West Sus­sex. We chose Buxted Park for the venue itself and the stun­ning grounds. Matthew pro­posed in April and we knew we wanted to marry in the same year. Mar­ry­ing in Novem­ber brings the risk of bad weather, yet we knew the hotel could still accom­mo­date some stun­ning pho­tographs, and keep our guests warm and cosy. The hotel itself runs like clock­work and I had every faith that our wed­ding would be as per­fect as they promised.

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The wed­ding dress

Regalia from Suzanne Neville’s Royal Wed­ding col­lec­tion, pur­chased from Leonie Claire Bridal shop in Brighton. The team are ded­i­cated, pro­fes­sional, kind and car­ing. Han­nah, Lowena and the team really do want to make this the best day of your life. My some­thing old was a sil­ver but­ton from my late father’s fire brigade uni­form, and the tal­ented seam­stress Anne made a tiny pouch inside my dress that the but­ton could sit in. Noth­ing was too much trou­ble for them.

Bridal acces­sories

Side head­dress “Eve” by Polly Edwards. Dia­mond ear­rings a gift from the groom and “Capri” shoes by Belle @ Para­dox as they were comfy and could be dyed so I could wear them after the event.

Groom’s out­fit

A tra­di­tional morn­ing suit, with an ivory waist­coat and tie. The ush­ers, page boy and best men wore gray waist­coats and ties. Our page by car­ried the rings on an East of India – to have and to hold ring dish.

The brides­maids wore

A sil­ver gray chif­fon and satin hal­ter neck floor length dress by Alv­ina Valenta. My flower girls wore sim­ple ivory dresses with an ivory sash, cardi­gans and mary-jane shoes all from John Lewis. I made “here comes the bride” flags for the flower girls to carry.

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The wed­ding ceremony

With both of us meet­ing due to our love foot­ball and par­tic­u­larly Liv­er­pool FC. Matthew walked down the aisle to the Kop anthem “You’ll never walk alone” by Gerry & the Pace­mak­ers. Music and fes­ti­vals are our sec­ond love so choos­ing music tracks for our guests to lis­ten to before the cer­e­mony was very impor­tant. I decided to choose quirky “love” themed tracks so Blur, Queen and Depeche Mode all fea­tured. I walked into “One day like this” by Elbow. At the end of the cer­e­mony we walked out to “Bring me sun­shine” as this held fond child­hood mem­o­ries for us both.

Which wed­ding read­ings did you choose?

The foun­da­tions of mar­riage” by Regina Hill, and “A wed­ding is a party” by Anon which was read by our 7 year old page boy. This poem is par­tic­u­larly fit­ting for a child to read.

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Wed­ding photographer

The won­der­fully inspir­ing Sara Reeve pho­tog­ra­phy. I met Sara through a mutual friend. Despite Matthew and I being reluc­tant to smile, and ner­vous of the whole occa­sion, Sara gave us some great ideas and kept our nerves at bay on the big day.

How would you describe your wed­ding style?

1940’s glam­our. I hadn’t planned a theme but once the dress and head­piece were cho­sen it became clear that this was the era the dress lent itself to.

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Mem­o­rable moments

Watch­ing the flower girls wav­ing their flags with rel­ish. See­ing Matthew for the first time and him calm­ing my nerves whilst we exchanged vows. My mother’s speech, and the warm recep­tion she received. The exper­tise and kind­ness of the staff at Buxted Park when our DJ didn’t show!

Wed­ding day advice

Do try to enjoy every moment of the arrang­ing and don’t get caught up in the tini­est of details. If your groom is inter­ested include him in the arrange­ments, it’s his day too. If any­thing goes wrong, go with the flow and try not to get upset as that will be your last­ing mem­ory of the day. It’s a bit of a cliché but your day will pass very quickly, take a moment with your hus­band to watch your guests enjoy­ing them­selves and take some time to your­selves away from the crowd. Keep to your bud­get — trust your instincts and don’t be swayed by oth­ers. If you have an orig­i­nal idea and your venue and sup­pli­ers can accom­mo­date it – Go for It!

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The wed­ding reception

After a canapé and drinks recep­tion and an oppor­tu­nity for fam­ily pho­tos, we sat down for a for­mal 4 course wed­ding break­fast. I decided to offer our guests a choice of 4 dif­fer­ent main courses and 2 dif­fer­ent desserts. This took some pre­plan­ning and order­ing but our guests really appre­ci­ated this extra touch.

What were your wed­ding day highlights?

Enjoy­ing a few glasses of cham­pagne with my mother and old­est friends before the cer­e­mony. The best man’s speech fea­tur­ing Matthew’s patent red shoes. The fact that the weather was a glo­ri­ous autumn day, and how much fun every­one said they were hav­ing, and still do to this day.

Wed­ding venue styling and details (Buxted House)

As it was an autumn wed­ding – style, scent and tex­ture were very impor­tant to me. With the help of the lovely Philippa Crad­dock we chose white hyacinths and freesias with the sea­sonal twist of lit­tle white cycla­mens. These were then placed in lit­tle pewter pots around the base of the candelabra’s. The man­tel­pieces were dressed with hyacinth can­dles from John Lewis and a sim­ple glass bot­tle filled with white anemones and ranunculus.

Our rooms were dressed by Pollen flow­ers of Hove. Pollen helped me decide on the style of chair cov­ers, and pro­vided the can­de­labras and var­i­ous wed­ding signs dot­ted around the venue.

Rather than choose tra­di­tional favours we spoke to our local Hos­pice and designed a pin card that every­one could take home and con­tinue to wear, our favours fund was then used as dona­tion to the Hos­pice.

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Wed­ding day music and entertainment

Each child was given a gift bag con­tain­ing crayons, colour­ing books and puz­zles. Our evening enter­tain­ment was via a DJ. I sent a slip with each invi­ta­tion ask­ing our guests for their favorite track which meant each guest would have the oppor­tu­nity to dance at least once. It was a great suc­cess receiv­ing tracks rang­ing from Elvis to The Clash to Olly Murs! Unfor­tu­nately, our DJ made an error in his diary and thought our wed­ding was the fol­low­ing day so the hotel and our friends quickly ral­lied round to find us a replace­ment. This could have proven a real dis­as­ter but our guests still made the most of the evening. Our first dance was a 70’s motown tune “Always and For­ever” by Heat­wave.

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Rec­om­mended wed­ding suppliers


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