Perfect Summer Weather

Thursday saw the arrival of a new marquee supplier Marqco Marquees - (www.marqco.co.uk) The bride and groom had chosen the Capri style and each arch was decorated with garlands of roses and ivy provided by Marquo who also assembled the most beautiful rustic tables and outside bar with pallets from India.

The bride's mother had spent many hours making the most beautiful ties for the backs of the chairs and runners for the tables.  The dark hessian went perfectly with the dark brown chairs and the dark wood of the tables.  She also made ties for the serving tables outside in the garden..

Friday brought the arrival of Land and Wave with bell tents for the guests who wanted to hire these rather an bringing their own tents or camper vans. The playgrounds took on a festival air.  The bell tents hadfurnishings and inflatable beds if guests wanted these. Some guests stayed on Friday night as well as Saturday.  (www.landandwave.co.uk)

Parents from both sides, friends and relations arrived bearing car loads of props to decorate the marquee and grounds. Even the groom's father's bicycle was enlisted.

Emma from Martha and the Meadows started to transform the Gazebo into a stunning wedding bower.  She returned on Saturday morning to put the finishing touches in place.  She also created the beautiful wedding bouquets and wreaths for the hair of the bride and bridesmaids and bunched the flowers for the tables and the sides of the aisle.   The latter were place in jars carefully ringed with hessian, lace and ribbons by the bride's mother. (www.marthaandthemeadow.com)

Saturday brought the bridegroom and helpers to set up the chairs and glasses for the reception drinks.  They placed service sheets on each chair.  These had the most beautiful water colour on the outer cover,  depicting the gate on the ha-ha, and  executed by one of the bridesmaids . The lovely champagne glasses for the toast came from Forget-me-not Vintage who are based in Dorset. ( http://www.forget-me-not-vintage.co.uk/home.html)

The bride arrived just before midday to see the registrars in the dining room before the ceremony. She looked stunning with flowers in her hair and a wonderful floating dress. Her six bridesmaids were all in cream but in dresses that they had chosen themselves. The overall look was very Grecian.

The bride and her father crossed the lawn to the gazebo for the ceremony, preceded by her bridesmaids.

A family friend played the piano during the ceremony and the bride's sister and the best man did readings.

Kasia from Peppermint Love Photography took over 3,000 amazing photographs during the day, staying until the party ended. www.peppermintlovephotography.com  (The ones marked with a dot are in-house photographs)

After the ceremony the guests mingled on the lawn and were treated to a display from the Wessex Morris Men as the groom's father is one of the team. One guest said as they stood on the lawn watching the Morris Men - "When I die and go to heaven, I hope that it will be just like this!"

By now the sun was really hot and guests gathered in the shade to have their picnic lunches served from hampers. The hampers and picnic rugs, like the champagne glasses came from Forget-me-not Vintage.

The Bride is a vegetarian, so Cashew Catering, a vegetarian/vegan catering company from Brighton came to set up their kitchen. (They also do raw food.) They cooked both the main and evening meals. The evening meal was a delicious selection of kebabs served with olives and salads.(www.cashewcatering.co.uk)

 

Lunch finished, guests emerged from the shade of the trees to try riding the "wobbly" bicycle, make huge bubbles or just wander in the grounds with a cooling drink from the bar. (if you look closely at the picture by the bar you will see an enormous bubble floating by!) The children tried their hand at cricket or foot ball in the fields, undeterred by the heat.

Formal, but wonderfully informal, group pictures taken, the bride and groom were whisked off by Kasia into the gardens for photographs, with more taken in the evening when it was cooler and there were less shadows.

An incredible array of cakes appeared for tea, crowned by a towering wedding cake made by Cashew Catering.  Tea was drunk from vintage china collected over the last year by the bride's mother.

Speeches followed and with the sun still shining these took place by the gazebo.  The band "Pulled Strings" played for the rest of the celebrations(https://www.facebook.com/)

A friend had brought their drone to the wedding and this took some wonderful pictures from high in the sky.

As darkness fell and the band continued to play outside, they danced on the lawn as it was still so beautifully warm!  A first for Shillingstone, and recorded for ever in the evocative images shot by Kasia.

Midnight brought the end to the music but not to the celebrations.  The bride and groom were led to the Fire Bowl in the field by a Sparkler Procession ending in a triumphal arch of light.

Guests drifted away to their tents or their beds leaving a few really close friends to chat into the early hours. The bride and groom spent the night in our bell tent in the walled garden.

 

Sunday brought the great tidy up as everything was packed away into cars and trailers with the groom's father's bicycle leaving last on the roof!

The end of a magical weekend. 

 

 

Triumph over the weather!

The weather forecast during the week leading up to the wedding was appalling but the bride and groom were amazingly laid back about it and planned for the worst! 

Friday saw a team of helpers descend on the marquee.  This was provided by Western Marquees - www.westernmarquees.co.uk/- who had provided our first marquee and suggested that we start a wedding venue!  With the weather in mind they kindly provided extra carpet between the tent and the drive. The marquee was lined in ivory and hand made bunting loaned from a friend was looped across the ceiling.  A beautiful daisy light hung like a huge dandelion head in the centre. 

The bridegroom's mother had grown the most beautiful hanging baskets which were arranged on special stands in the marquee and looked stunning. 

Trestle tables were placed in a U shape and the tables decorated with a hessian runner and jars of garden flowers arranged by the bride's Aunt.

The bride had created many wonderful finishing touches over the previous year with the aid of the addictive  "Pinterest".  She said that unpacking them from storage was like an early Christmas!  She had written all their notices in perfect script.  A table was dedicated to those who could not be at the wedding including photographs of grandparents who are no longer with them.

They had thought of everything-  an allergy to wasps by one of the guests was solved by garden cloches over each cake!

The bride arrived in a car that had once belonged to her father and which had been the pride and joy of a close family friend who had owned it since new.

The wedding ceremony for twenty five close friends and family took place in the dining room of Shillingstone House.  Chairs were brought from the marquee and the room was decorated with jars of flowers from the marquee.  The bride looked amazing with a stunning crown of flowers in her hair created by Jessie Copper of West Dorset Wedding Flowers - westdorsetweddingflowers.co.uk

Guests moved from the ceremony to the marquee for tea where the most wonderful array of cakes had been provided by Sturminster Marshall Evening WI where the bride's aunt is president.

A Gazebo was set up beside the marquee by The Perfect Pig, Hog Roast and Barbecue Co., run by a husband and wife team.  Arrangements were made, in case the rain did not stop in time, for the evening guests to come and fetch their food but in the end the skies cleared. http://www.theperfectpig.co.uk.

 

Guests could then wander in the gardens where more decorations had been hung in the trees

With the sun shining , wonderfully natural and happy photographs in the grounds were taken by Claudia Vye from Claudia Vye Photography (who took all those in the blog not marked with a dot)  www.claudiavye.com

The party continued until midnight, dancing to the sound of Sam EB, DJ from Middleman Solutions, (http://middlemansolutions.co.uk) when many of the guests retired to their tents in the grounds including the bride and groom who slept in our bridal Bell Tent in the walled garden.

Brunch was provided the next morning before the great tidy up took place!

 

Blessing and celebrations!

The Bride and Groom married abroad a few weeks earlier and came to Shilingstone to share this event with a Humanist blessing in front of their family and friends.

The ceremony took place overlooking the fields with everyone gathered round them.  The bride looked wonderful with her hair swept up and kept in place with a stunning clip.  She arrived in a VW camper van called Betty.

The celebrations were masterminded by her cousin, Claire Miles, who used to be a wedding co-ordinator.  She arranged all the flowers and lent many of the props.  Family and friends rallied round on the Friday to make sure that marquee looked perfect.

 

The marquee was provided by Dorset Party Marquees. They had been involved with the Chalke Valley History Festival the week before where the mud rivalled Glastonbury.  All the chairs had to be washed before they would be used.! (www.dpmarquees.co.uk)

The ceremony took place at 1.00 and tea followed,  served by Bethell Bridges Bakery - http://www.bethellbridge.co.uk.  The wedding cake, which had three different layers - one a surprise for the bride - was baked by https://cakes-by-christine.co.uk 

Afterwards guests wandered in the gardens and children played in the fields, playground and lawns where games such as Giant Jenga were set up.  The bride and groom were taken off for photographs by Sam from New Forest Studio - http://www.newforeststudio.com. (He took all the photographs not marked with a dot) He loved the old doors in the gardens when he wandered round before the wedding and managed to sneak them into the photographs!

 

The evening guests were treated to a hog roast by Julian Else, Butchers from Stalbridge - www.hostaroast.com  The bar was run by Tom's Bespoke Bartending Company - www.tomsbespokebartendingco.com

Salamanda Rock -http://www.salamanderrock.co.uk/ -  provided the music and dancing went on until Midnight. 

 

The bride and groom retired to the Walled garden to spend the night in our Bridal Bell Tent.  Other guests camped in the playground.

Brunch was provided for sleepy guests the next morning before helping to tidy up.  Straw bales had been used for some of the seating in the garden and the temptation for the children to make them into a castle was too much!  Straw everywhere - kindly raked up by the groom and friends.

And so ended a wonderful, relaxed weekend.  Many guests commented on the gardens which were still awash with roses and Kerry kindly posted on our facebook page -

"Stunning location. Fantastic day. Couldn't have chosen a more beautiful venue. Thank you for allowing us to use your gorgeous gardens to make such a wonderful day."

 

 

 

 

 

Out with a bang! Last wedding of 2016

Our last wedding of 2016 literally went out with a bang as they had arranged for fireworks to be let off to music at 10.00 pm.  Somewhat larger and noisier than expected but fantastic. www.euphoria-pyrotechnics.co.uk

(photograph taken by Belinda McCarthy- www. belindamccarthy.co.uk who took all the amazing photographs marked with a dot.  All others are in house.)

(photograph taken by Belinda McCarthy- www. belindamccarthy.co.uk who took all the amazing photographs marked with a dot.  All others are in house.)

A huge marquee - www.dpmarquees.co.uk -  went up in front of the house, covering most of the lawn.  DP did an amazing job and Ollie and his team were there from 8am to 9.30pm.  A white carpet gave a real feeling of spaciousness and the sofas, lighting etc .gave it a real "wow" factor!

Friday saw the decorations arrive.  First 10 trees for the marquee!  Hired from Castle Gardens in Sherborne  - http://www.thegardeneronline.co.uk - and later festooned with little white lights, they were a wonderful touch.

Car-loads of beautiful things arrived from Linen and Lace.  Again Sam and Sarah were there until late on Friday evening making sure the effect was perfect.  They provided everything from the candlesticks and decorations on the tables to the post-box in the entry hall and spent hours tying drapes on the chairs.  http://www.linenandlacehire.co.uk

The Florist, Katy and her team from Rustic Rose, in Sturminster Newton  - www.rusticrose.co.uk -  first added the most amazing flowers to the candlesticks on each table and to the small tea glasses and vases (provided by Linen and Lace) dotted round the tent. 

The bride and groom added their own touches with round each glass with their guests' names engraved on them, plus mini Yankee "Wedding Candles" for the ladies and personalised playing cards for the men.  The children all had individual bags of goodies. The bride had also thought of every comfort for the ladies with shawls to keep them warm and flip-flops for sore feet!

The finished effect when all was in place was stunning!

The bride was determined they were going to get married in the gazebo despite the threatened storms so, tent finished,  Katy moved with her flowers to the lower lawn. First a huge heart made of eucalyptus was safely pinned in position, then she laid a rope of eucalyptus down each side of the "aisle", finally covering the front of the gazebo with the most amazing arrangement - so large that the registrar can be seen peaking out underneath during the ceremony! 

Saturday dawned and a final decision to go ahead with an outside ceremony was made about ten minutes before the bride arrived when the groom and guests moved out the benches from their storage place in the gazebo. The Bride and Groom met with the Registrars in the dining room of the house.  The bride arrived in a vintage car that once belonged to her late father.

The bride, who looked terrified, was given away by her mother, but as soon as she joined the groom at the gazebo a huge smile came over her face!  A beautiful ceremony followed with Dan Baker providing the accompanying music - http://www.danbakermusic.co.uk- As they finished the signing of the register, the heavens opened and everyone had to dash for the marquee.

Dan Baker continued to play as the guests drank Pimms or cocktails served by Dorset Fine Dining (see details further on)  and despite the rain guests drifted out to the photo booth on the drive - in this case a mini vintage caravan manned by Hello Sweet Pea - The photograph below is from a previous wedding here when it was dry enough to drive onto the lawn - info@hellosweetpea.co.uk

 

The wedding breakfast was served at 4.00.  This was a fantastic two course meal cooked by Nick and his team from Dorset Fine Dining.  Sharing pies were followed by meringue roulade to die for! We joined the party for the breakfast so I can verify this - chocolate and berries one end and lemon curd the other - http://www.dorsetfinedining.co.uk - They also provided the food later in the evening - fish finger sandwiches, pulled pork rolls, a falafel bar and chocolate roll for pudding!  Quote from the bride " I can't recommend Nick highly enough!  He really was amazing!"

The wine and prosecco were from Yeovil Majestic who, the bride said, were very helpful and knowledgeable  and gave them a free tasting and free delivery.  The champagne for the toast was from Langham Wine Estate, near Dorchester,  (www.langhamwine.co.uk).

During the breakfast, David Willmott - http://www.davidwillmott.com - came round each table with magic tricks - so close but still impossible to see how he managed to take us in.  Music continued throughout the meal with Johnny Stephens (Rat Pack and Swing) - email -  johnny_holmes_uk@yahoo.co.uk - serenading us with a great selection of old favourites chosen by the bridal couple

Innervision a live 5 piece band from Salisbury - http://www.innervisioninfo.co.uk -and a disco by Andy Martin from Alive Network (0845-094-3815) played alternately until the witching hour of midnight.   Both band and disco will cater for any genre of music and they certainly hit the right sound that night as the dance floor filled with guests of all ages.  The disco lights gave the tent a magical look from outside.

The cake was cut for the evening meal - a wonderful towering creation made by the bride's twin sister.

Every effort had been made to keep guests amused with a casino - Viva Las Vegas - http://www.vivalasvegasuk.com - set up at one end of the marquee where black jack and roulette were available.  Proper chips could be exchanged for tokens given out to each guest to the "value" of £50.  I lost mine very quickly but not without some spectacular wins and much enjoyment. I wish I could show you some of the pictures of the guests as they lost or won - some wonderful action photographs were taken by Belinda. 

At midnight the bride and groom departed for Plumber Manor - the bridegroom was not keen to spend the night under canvas!  Some guests, however, were braver and repaired to their tents in the grounds - some to their own and some to bell tents put up by Honeybells - www.honeybells.co.uk

The party did not finish there, with guests returning the following day for a barbeque cooked, once again, by Dorset Fine Dining.  The rain had stopped and guests could explore the gardens.  Pinstripe Volcano had been engaged to play during lunch but sadly this turned out to be a rock band and wonderful as their sound was we had to cut their time short - too loud to ask the village to listen over Sunday lunch - https://www.facebook.com/pinstripevolcano

The bride had said that she wanted her wedding to be a wonderful party and without doubt it was that and more!

 

 

 

 

 

Smart and Beautifully Crafted Cufflinks

The perfect present for the bridegroom has come to our notice this week and we felt we had to let you know about them as soon as possible.

Buchanan and Wilmot produce beautifully crafted cufflinks using high quality industrial machinery.  "Our products have a subtle elegance which is designed to stand the test of time. Made from titanium, brass, gold and silver, our cufflinks have a simple but effortlessly easy to use design which is as robust as it is beautiful."  To fully understand the intricacy of their manufacturing process you must go to their website.  http://www.buchanan-wilmot.com/ 

 

You can, at present, have initials or a date engraved on the back and the company are working towards using personalised initials on the front.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple but beautiful

The bride was very insistent that she wanted a "No Faff" wedding and that was what she achieved and the simplicity was really beautiful.  Careful planning meant that everything was in place months before.  The bride had planted some large glass bowls for every table and this and the wonderful lighting in the Capri tent that they had chosen was all that was needed. (www.dpmarquees.co.uk )

The wedding was remarkably relaxed and had a wonderfully happy feel to it.  The gardens were looking at their best with all the roses in full bloom.

102_1562.JPG

The bride and groom met the Registrars in the dining room before the ceremony.

 

Friends and relations gathered by the gazebo before taking their seats as the bride crossed the lawn towards them.

 

The ceremony was conducted by Dorchester Registrars

 

 

Wonderful photographs were taken in the grounds by Adrian Feltham - email - adrianfelthamphotography@gmail.com - who took all those not marked with a white dot.

 

Photographs taken, guests retired to the tent for tea, produced by Littleton Caterers - Kathryn Fewings, Manor Farm Littleton, Somerton, Somerset TA11 6NP. Tel: 01458-272-741.  Marks and Spencers had produced the most beautiful cake.

 

The band started to play quite early.  With the side of the tent removed round the dance floor, "Johnnie be Good" floated down to the village who loved it!  http://www.RiptideBand.co.uk  -All ages took to the dance floor -  

 

The evening meal took the form of pizzas freshly baked in a Pizza oven set up on the drive by Pizza Dragon - http://www.pizzadragon.co.uk.  Luckily they had an awning as the skies opened just as they began serving.  It did not seem to dampen the appetites of those queuing and the pizzas were deemed delicious.

Dancing continued until midnight when some of the guests retired to the bell tents put up for them by Honey Bells - www.honeybells.co.uk  The bridal tent was complete with a tented bed!

 

A barbeque breakfast was provided the next day before everyone helped to clear away.  The end to a wonderful weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art Group Visit

Thursday 14th July saw the arrival of the Poole and East Dorset Art Society.  Twelve members set up their easels in the garden with some wonderful results.  Huge choice of subject from the wheelbarrows by the potting shed to the vintage scales by the stables, from the walled garden to the Catalpa tree on the lawn.  They very generously gave £4 each to charity and I sent £48 off to Home Start North Dorset, a charity I work closely with. 

 

 

First Wedding of 2016!

We were amazingly lucky with the weather - storms predicted - but the bride was determined that she would get married outside and her faith in the weather paid off!

It was a wonderfully calm, family wedding.  The bride works with children and she made sure that they had a fantastic time - from toys attached to their chairs in the Marquee to making full use of the grounds - playing football on the lawn, riding on the tractor etc.

Affordable Marquees,  ( http://www.affordable-marquees.com)  who have been to Shillingstone many times in the past, provided a brand new tent with brand new linings and it looked wonderful.  The family decorated the inside with ivy up the poles and lovely finishing touches such as a sweet stall.  Flowers were arranged very simply but very effectively in jam jars and cellophane by Jane Edmonds from Penselwood - http://www.edmondsandhoward.co.uk/- where they grow their own flowers.

The bride's mother had made and iced not one but two cakes.  One stunning traditional one and one for the Bridegroom who is a Bournemouth supporter.

Tea and Pimms followed the ceremony, served from vintage china collected by the family over the last year.  Tom Clements serenaded the guests from the Gazebo. (http://www.tomclements.co.uk)

The bride and bridegroom went to have their photographs taken by Emma a family friend. (She took the ones without a dot - the others were taken in house) She managed to sneak one of Michael and myself taking photographs of the Ceremony out of the window!

Later in the evening they were treated to a feast from "Eat Like A Greek" -  - who provided wraps and salads which the bride said were fantastic.  Drink had been bought by the family and the bar was kept going by Tom, another family friend. www.eatlikeagreek.co.uk

Food finished and the serious dancing started! The band - http://www.facebook.com/thezigzagband - was fronted by the groom's uncle who is the lead singer.  The dance floor was packed all evening.

With midnight, the music ended but the campers continued to party round the Fire Pit in the field until they retired to their tents about 1.00pm.  The bride and groom spent the night in the walled garden in our new bell tent which they luckily said was extremely comfortable!

The following day the campers - there were at least 20 tents set up in the playground - gathered for bacon and egg butties. Later, after relaxing in the sun they had lunch cooked on a barbeque kindly loaned by the Gillingham Hockey Club which the bride plays for - seen below decorated by a huge bunch of balloons (a present to the bride's father).  The children found these wonderful but some of them ended up in the trees as strings escaped from small hands! Still there 24 hours later, a lovely reminder of a perfect weekend.

New Candle votive glasses to lend

A wonderful family friend has really kindly given us 72 votive for couples to borrow if they fit their theme! 

 

102_1576.JPG

 

We have also got two rustic cake stands, yards of bunting, a fire bowl and photo booth frame.

David leaves :(

David Lewis has been helping us in the garden for over 9 years but has decided that he must now concentrate on his other profession - photography.  He has been taking fantastic wedding photographs for many years but is beginning to enter the world of commercial photography.

We are devastated as he has been a key part of making the gardens what they are today - enormously knowledgeable and incredibly flexible - pruning the wisteria on a high ladder one day and putting up the wedding tent the next/picking figs or planting carrots!  We will miss him enormously but wish him well in his new career.

 

 

Wedding Night Tent

Our 5 metre Bell Tent is up and running!  Fully furnished with a double bed, chairs, storage rugs etc., it  has been tried and tested and found to be very comfortable.  It is already much in demand for this summer's couples - at £50 a night it is a bargain!

We had great trouble finding the rugs that we wanted until we saw Lidl advertising blue and white striped ones.  We visited four shops on our way back from Cornwall to try and buy some - all sold out.  Then the wonderful Manager of Lidl in Bridport, Paula, ran some to ground in Gillingham and reserved them - huge thank you to her!

So far it has been set up in the Walled garden but you can place it in the playground if you prefer.

 

 

New wonderful suppliers!

Too long since I last blogged!  We went to a wonderful lunch party a short while ago and found some brilliant new suppliers to add to our list.

Prosecco was on tap from a mini van - Bubble Bros run by Ben Broad - http://www.bubblebros.co.uk - ice cold and delicious.

Lunch was set out in a really beautiful marquee - light and airy, with an Indian theme.  Roland Vernon - Apex Marquee in Bruton - www.apexmarquees.co.uk

Last but by no means least, the food!  This was amazing - an incredible seafood spread followed by gluten free brownies to die for!  Nomad Food - www.nomadfood.co.uk - just perfect for a summer lunch but they have a wide menu choice. 

A million thanks to our hosts for fantastic afternoon in the sun!

 

 

Need a wedding planner??

I had a meeting a few weeks ago with a wedding planner, Kayleigh Hartey from Dream Designs Dorset.  I know that some people come and visit Shillingstone House and panic at the idea of finding suppliers and bringing it all together on the day and perhaps may want to use this service.

Kayleigh and her team will help you plan the whole thing, working closely with you and your ideas, or will step in the month before and take over the responsibility of making sure everything runs like clockwork from that moment on.

I have not got first hand experience of Kayleigh's work but she was very kind about Shillingstone House and would love to work here!  Have a look at her website - http://www.dreamdesignsdorset.com or give her a ring on 07444169118.

Below is a review from a recent client.

 

 

NEW FLORIST JOINS THE TEAM AT SHILLINGSTONE HOUSE

Martha and the Meadow is a wedding and event florist who has just started to trade from Shillingstone and I can thoroughly recommend her! I have seen her work both here and in the Christmas Decorations at Stourhead.  She creates beautiful and naturally styled flowers which are perfect for the Country House Weddings that we hold here a Shillingstone House.  Emma Whicher an experienced florist, who will work closely with you, using your ideas and colours to create something that is unique for you.  Take a look at her website for more information - http://www.marthaandthemeadow.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                   

HAPPY EASTER!!

Happy Easter to all our bridal couples!  Easter here was a mixture of mad family gatherings and storms roaring through the garden, luckily without leaving too much damage in their wake.

VALENTINES!

14th February 2016 St Valentine's Day -  Did you get engaged today? Once again we are giving away a box of wine to the first couple to get engaged on St Valentine's Day and who sign up to get married here next year!!  Much look forward to hearing from you!

The heart is by our wonderful village willow weaver lynne@lynnesaunders.co.uk

The heart is by our wonderful village willow weaver lynne@lynnesaunders.co.uk

Confetti

Granddaughter posing in the fresh rose petals we were given!  All drying in the airing cupboard now ready to use as confetti next year.

Wedding Night Bell Tent

We have just bought a Wedding Night Bell Tent from  www.campingandcanvas.co.uk and are in the process of furnishing it. Double water bed and covers, bedside tables and a chest have all been bought so now we are chasing rugs and solar lighting!   Let us know if you are interested in hiring the tent!  £50 for the weekend.    This is what it looks like before carpet, bunting and cushions.